Friday, November 25, 2016

The annual Birthday Wish List

Black Friday.  The day of consumer lust.  Might as well share by annual Bday wish list!

When I was in high school I read a book called Write it Down Make it Happen.  It was self help-y and definitely not about obtaining stuff, yet much of last year's wish list ( here) came to be, including the horn bowl and modern necklace (thanks mom!), suede and leather tote bag and one of the design books (thanks Eileen!), Shelly Mosman portraits of my girls (amazing!), and a new car (thanks to an accident this summer that was minor but totalled my car nonetheless.  And no, not a land rover.)

Looking back, I am remarkably consistent with some of my wants, including cashmere-lined leather gloves and long necklaces!

Clockwise from top left:

I'm pretty sure these 42 year old eyes require glasses.  Thinking Warby Parkers.

Always have some good design books on my list!  Curious about the new Domino book.  The John Derian book is GORGEOUS.  and Commune is a left over form last year's list!

A wool or cashmere leopard print scarf

Cashmere lined leather gloves

A long tassel necklace

A dresser for the entry!

Good looking raised dog bowls

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


I'm having a very strong nesting urge.

Maybe it is because my house has been torn asunder by a 9 pound puppy named Auggie.

Maybe it is because all of my projects seems to be "in process," where it is more about trouble shooting than inspiration or results.

Or maybe it is a deep seated need to restore order in my small corner of a world that feels upside down since election day, never to be right again.

(drama queen)

We have lived in our house for 6 years, the longest I have ever been in one place as an adult, and we have reached that state where every drawer and closet and cupboard needs to be turned inside out and given a good scrubbing.  Honestly, that's a bit what my whole life feels like.

As cabinet positions are names and liberties (already!) threatened, decorating has never seemed sillier.  Yet I still believe in the comforts of home, and if I didn't live in a blue city in a (barely!!!!) blue state, I think I would be taking cover.

So what will I do around here next?  I have a little money set aside for house projects.  I am at a point where

a) I want things to work better for our family and contribute to our happiness or, at the very least, ease of living , and

b) I don't want to fall into the trap of temporary solutions

So I will probably have to make choices to stay on budget. The area of focus?  Our entry.

It has been a bit of a revolving door!  For a while it happily looked like this, until that desk went to the girls.

I had this vintage x-base desk (which I love) in the guest room, and wound up bringing it into the entry in a pinch.

But really, it's not working for us.  Not enough storage, and not enough free space beneath to add baskets.  (not that baskets are any solution with a puppy on the loose.)  I'm convinced that we need a dresser for storing gear: in the winter, hats and gloves etc; in the summer, sidewalk chalk and butterfly nets and jump ropes.  I had something in mind like this:

But guess what?  I mentioned it to my husband and he has an opinion.

He thinks we need a bench for people to sit on to put on their shoes.  (although--  We used to have that and I don't think anyone ever used it.)  So then maybe something like this:

Except in reality we probably aren't going to add a pendant light....and again that doggie likes to steal shoes (and gloves and socks and shirts and underwear) out of baskets

So we'll see!  Maybe I'll luck into some perfect vintage dresser and find myself with enough money left over to put a runner on my stairs.  It will be much better for the dog that way.

This is one of my more rambling posts, coming together over a week or two, but I'm hitting publish!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tangletown Traditional: Living room sketches

I shared some sunroom sketches for this house the other day.

Today I've got some living room design sketches for you.

I have to say, despite my personal funky-eclectic taste, this sort of "fresh traditional" scheme is a real comfort zone for me, and I love to use it in older homes.  My approach in this case was to choose pieces whose lines felt traditional but not overly fussy or formal, and fabrics that feel young enough for the family that lives here.  The color palette comes in part from other choices we've made, like the tones in the wallpaper in the entry.

The living room opens to the right off of this foyer, with the dining room directly across the way.

I wanted to pull in the brown, coral, and blue in different combinations

The client and I are both loving the first option.  

What do you think?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sunroom Sketches

Pretending  things are business as usual today.

It's been way too long since I have shared any work in progress!  We are working on early concepts for the sunroom in this house, which will likely include a wall to wall built in banquette, terra cotta or cement tile floor (though more French in feeling than Moroccan), and a table or tables for homework and dinner party overflow.  Also natural grasscloth on the walls and blue paint on the ceiling.

Excited about this one.  Living room sketches coming soon.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Whoa, hello!

This summer and fall were perhaps the fastest on record!

I've mentioned before that a lot of my focus has been on one massive project in California, that has been in the works for more than a year.  We are approaching the home stretch, and the last several weeks have been a crazy blur of major decision making.

I realized the other day that I have shared virtually NOTHING of this project or process.  It's a great one, full of great vintage, statement lighting, tons of wallpapers, incredible colors, 4 bathrooms from scratch, incredible folding glass doors for that California indoor-outdoor appeal, and so on.  The process has been so fluid it has been hard to stop and post about it.  And I am saving the final choices for the big reveal.

But!  It occured to me that it might be fun to share some of the looks that we DIDN'T go for.

So today, the entry.

I love this first look, but I knew even when sharing it with the client that it wasn't quite right for her.

This was more on the money in terms of elements in the house, but she didn't love the idea of a brown wood credenza.

This was the only option without a vintage storage piece.  The mirror was vintage to make up for it!  It doesn't read well in the photo, but the front of that buffet has a beautiful hex pattern engraved in it, and we do seem to have hexagons popping up through out the house.

What do you think?  Which would you choose?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Teeny tiny bathroom

I wish I could call this a "before and after," but I forgot to snap photos of the before!
This is a shame, because while the "After" is pretty cute, the real transformation is in how much bigger this small space feels.

This is what I would call a bathroom "refresh."  We didn't move any mechanicals, and we kept the original tub.  But everything else is new--tile, lights, medicine cabinet, toilet, and most importantly, vanity.  The old one was huge and blocky and cut off the space.  The new one is slim and sleek but still provides storage.

I may have shared the design boards before, but here we go again (if I don't remember, you sure won't!),  I gave them 3 options:

Option 1: Classic/ Vintage
(I should mention that we were deciding between flanking sconces with the original wiring versus moving to one overhead sconce, so both options are in these boards--it was to be one or the other, NOT both.  We were also debating re-using their shower curtain versus a new one.)

Option 2: Coastal

Option 3: Rustic

After a little revision, we landed on this:

Before, the bathroom was painted a very bright green, with some real acidity to it.  We wanted to to keep the space bright but also calm it down.  White paint made sense for brightness, but it may have felt a bit unfinished.  The grey "wainscot" feel fresh and modern and finished without getting too dark or heavy.

One of the ways we saved was not moving any mechanicals.  The sconces are placed a bit wider than we might have chosen if we were working from scratch, but aligning the towel ring and towel bars with the light's centerline makes it all feel pretty deliberate.  I think it's important to know when you really have to spend the money and when it makes more sense to make it work.

 We did corner shelves instead of a tiled cubby in the shower--we wanted to keep the lines of the tile as simple as possible.  You can also see next to the window we added a porcelain robe hook for easy access to a towel while showering.

In a small space, little details make a big difference.  I love the porcelain cross handles with the hot and cold labels.

But my real favorite is the blue-green-grey matte penny tile.  It looks hand made and is so fun and pretty!

We didn't want to spend a ton in this bathroom.  We got a totally cute, totally functional space on a tight budget!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Before and After: Bloomington Avenue

This reveal is a long time coming!  We shot the family room months ago but just shot the living room and bedroom today.  If you follow me on instagram or have looked through my portfolio, then some of this is not new to you.  But the living room came out so pretty, it's worth a peep!

My client originally called me to work on a previous home.  A while after our initial consult she called to tell me she didn't need to redecorate, she needed a divorce.  (Amazing how often we humans try to solve the wrong problem!)

Once she was settled in her new home, we got to work together, making the space into something that reflected HER taste and her new life.  I think this is such a great example of the power of decorating.  We did almost nothing architectural (just a built in window seat in the family room), but paint, furnishings, window treatments, and a little bit of styling can completely transform a space.  We hardly even changed the furniture arrangements!  I think my favorite thing about this transformation is that we didn't buy a lot--instead, we transformed her old things into something she could love anew.

These "Before" shots are before she bought the place:

Living room before:

Living room after:

 The new wall color is SO much more complementary to the beautiful woodwork.  Rugs are miracle workers.  And of course I love a solid dose of color like those revamped loveseats.  (Here is the loveseat before!):

Looking into the room (back) before:

Looking into the room (front), after:

A few other details, just for fun:

How about the family room?  This was a 1950s addition to the older home, built over a garage, and it had all the trappings of that decade, with wood paneling, acoustic tile ceiling, and scalloped window cornices.  It's a big room but it wasn't being fully utilized.



We updated the woodwork, added a window seat, wallpapered over the ugly ceiling, and painted EVERYTHING the same mossy green color. (Coincidentally, I chose the same color from her old living room, but it reads very different in this light-filled space.)



Woodwork before:

And after:

(I loved styling the shelves with her things.  And those bolsters with the perfect fabric placement at the ends are one of my favorite things in the room! And also we shot on such a snowy day you really can't see the window treatments, which are such a pretty striped linen.)

View from the couch Before:

And After:

We masked the weird bump out in the wall with the enormous custom wood entertainment unit she brought from her old house.  You can see how much the all-one-color paint trick helped this side of the space.

I mentioned before that we transformed a number of her old pieces.  I think this is the most dramatic.

Ottoman before:

Floral, skirted, button/channelled top, and two rows of traditional cording.

Ottoman After:

Black faux-hide fabric, squared corners, no skirt, and two rows of jumbo sized nailheads.  You would NEVER know this was the same piece!

 Armchairs before:

Armchairs after:

LOVE the black piping defining the arms.   (I often have some small regret on a project.  In this case, I REALLY wish we had done the buttons in the chair backs in black,  My client wasn't into the buttons in the original chairs though, and would have preferred to have none, so we made them in the same fabric to let them recede.)  You can see the dotty fabric a little better in the image below. 

So much better, right?

After completing those two spaces. the client came back to me for a BUDGET makeover in the bedroom.  We did a lot with a little.  

Bed before:

Bed after:

Much of the budget went to stripping the wallpaper and having the space professionally painted.  This weird grey, with some purple undertones, does such a good job of cooling down the room.

Before: the bed was on a strange angle.  Rethinking furniture placement went a long way here.


The dresser stayed where it is, but we added radiator covers, pretty breezy curtains, and a reading corner (with a high quality, low-price chair and ottoman from a consignment store)

This was the view in the door before:

That poster was the inspiration for the feeling and palette in the room.  We reframed it and hung it on that wall.  It's not quite enough to hold down that wall and needs some eventual companions, but for now, it's still an improvement!

There you have it!

I'm exhausted.


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