Friday, January 27, 2017


I'm just back from 4 days in San Francisco, working on installing the big project I've been working on for a year and a half.  If you follow me on instagram, you saw some little snippets of what's happening there.

If you have read this blog for a while, you know that I love art.  Yesterday, as I was wrapping up and running to the airport, my client looked around with satisfaction about how things are coming together.  I found myself saying, "it's the art and the window treatments.  That's what really makes a house feel finished."  And I believe it.

It's not only about polish and the "final layer."  Art and window treatments can really be put to work to enhance your home or hide flaws.  In this house we used gorgeous sheer roman shades on the side of the house that sits close to an unattractive building.  We used art to balance the height of the massive front door. (etc.)

We also installed a pair of facing gallery walls in the upstairs hallway that leads to the kids rooms.  It  is one of the most "private" spaces in the house, and it turned out to be the perfect place for personal photos and art.

I think the best testament to the power of art is something I heard the dad say when getting his kids up in the morning.

"I just love this hallway.  Walking through it is like walking through a big hug."


If you want more on art strategies, check out my "Hanging Art" posts.  For a gallery wall tutorial, go here.  (Come to think of it, I should review and update this as I have created dozens of art walls since then and have learned a thing or two!)  I also hashtag "artmakestheproject on instagram if you want to see other examples in action.

Happy weekend!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Rustic meets Shabby Chic in a cabin in the woods

Today I'm heading about an hour out into rural Minnesota to hang a gallery wall and continue work on a really cool cabin in the woods.  The house has rustic elements, but the previous inhabitants also added more shabby chic details that are staying for now.  The living room has an impressive stone wall and fireplace, and we are mixing textures (leather, a "sweater" rug, a kilim ottoman) and balancing masculine with feminine.

The house has a large, newer entry which needed some defining.  After playing around with floor plans, we settled on a console and large mirror as the first thing you see when you come in, with a farm table used as a partners desk in the front window.  My client ended up finding the table and console on craigslist and I sourced rugs to warm it all up.

I'll share little bits and pieces on instagram when I'm there.  So fun to work in a different setting and in a different style.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Weekly blog post? Let's do this

Is Thursday a good day for a regular weekly post?
Over the hump, kinda bored, but we're not into the Friday wrap-up yet?

You tell me.

Anyway, this is a quicky.  Right before the holiday, a beloved client asked if we could refresh her eldest daughter's room as a Christmas present.  Well, you know I LOVE doing girls' rooms.  So I met with the 11 year old (and her mom), and we decided on lavender walls and green as one of the secondary colors.  She already had a white jenny lind bed and side table.

Here are two of the sketches I sent their way.

When you are skipping custom things, you're at the mercy of the market for color palette.  Luckily I found plenty to work with.

This scheme gets its fun from the bright rug.  I pulled the chartreuse for our green then mostly neutrals and a little pop of hot pink.  They have a pair of small sclae tufted chairs already that will move out of the living room as we bring that project into being.

But I wasn't sure how girly my client wanted to go.  she is also a hockey player, after all.  I gave her this version, with lots of green and some hits of teal.  Still feminine, but a little tougher around the edges.  Love that suzani chair, too (an overstock find.)

Apparently the first one was a hands down winner, and I can't wait to see it all done!

So tell me: do you like "design sketch" posts?

Monday, January 9, 2017

New Year

Every year around this time, I feel that funny pressure to write a post about resolutions, or a mantra for the year.  That funny pressure to contextualize in these one-year increments when the truth is, so much in life (and in design!) happens over a longer stretch.  I'm old enough now to see longer-term trends in my own life, and to know that I have often worked in 5-year cycles.  5 years in each of my Brooklyn homes.  5 years in each of my previous careers.

I know I'm not alone in saying that 2016 wasn't the best for me.  But interestingly, it was the year I passed the 5 year mark, both in my current home and in my current career.  I think the 5 year mark has in the past been when I get bored, or when it feels like the learning curve (which I LOVE) is over, and the rest is just a slog.  I think 2016 was the year I got through all that.  I'm excited, not bored, by the idea of moving from learning curve to mastery in my work.  I'm content, not bored, by the idea of fine tuning and tweaking my home, not building it up from scratch.  (Hmmmm....does it kind of sound like I am growing up?)

This year, in the spirit of commitment to this career, continued professionalizing, and moving towards mastery, I am looking forward to formalizing and finalizing a lot of things that have been sort of crawling along slowly for a long time.  (not even a hands and knee crawl; a lot of it feels like an army crawl, all elbows dragging through the mud.)

Some of these things include:
- Moving my business out of my home and into an office (in process!)
- Finalizing my graphic identity (almost done!)
- Finishing my website (press page, I'm looking at you!)
- Starting the process to join ASID
- Building a HOUZZ profile
- Moving to a proper accounting system
- Hiring an intern
- Weekly blog posts!  (What?  Yes!)

On the project front, long term projects coming to fruition early this year:
- Noe Valley (San Francisco) 4000sf gut remodel.  It's beyond.
- My parent's basement!  Bright turquoise mohair, zebra print, chiang mai dragon.  So fun.
- The upstairs for this house (in addition to the basement we've done the entry, living room and a kitchen/dining refresh), so I can finally share it all.
- This living room and sunroom
- a major kitchen reno
- a pair of vintage/ Craftsman inspired bathrooms

I think I might have just talked myself into a GREAT year.

What about you?


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