Hi! I hope everyone is having a good fall. Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? I wanted to pop in to share some pics of a recent client project that’s now completed. I just ran over to the project site yesterday and snapped these photos so keep in mind, they aren’t staged or styled, but I was too eager to share them to wait.
First a little background: This house is in my neighborhood and is over 100 years old. It’s a brown shingle craftsman very typical of homes in this area and the owners are bringing it back to life little by little. They have done a lot of work on the upstairs and have big plans for other parts in the future. They are both wonderful cooks (she’s French so of course!) and spend a lot of time in their well-used kitchen. We think it was updated sometime in the 80s and was ready for a serious facelift. We couldn’t play too much with the footprint as the guest room and bathroom are on one side and some beautiful original built-ins back up to it on the other, but we did change things around a little.
Here is the before.
Notice that the kitchen is really a pass-through here. When you opened the front door of the house, you saw straight through the kitchen to the back guest room. The only access to the guest room was through the kitchen as well. We shifted the doorway a bit and changed a closet and hallway layout so you now see the stove and backsplash. And here is the after:
Here is the before of the sink area:
And here is the after:
This was such a fun and rewarding project for me and the clients were fantastic to work with. And I learned SO much. I loved figuring out how to combine French (the cement Moroccan tiles reminded her of Paris cafes) and Craftsman (cabinetry, architectural details, color scheme). I don’t know if my favorite part is the tile, the soapstone counters, or the lower cabs in white oak.
Please be sure to sign up to follow me in Instagram if you aren’t already. I have been so slammed lately that Instagram has become my quick and easy way to share project updates. I’ll try to post some Instagram photos soon to update everyone on some other projects.
Thanks for checking in!
Over the summer we finally made a big shift and decided to get rid of our guest room to let Duncan and Hart have their own rooms. We only used the guest room a couple of times a year and even though the boys had a large and pretty cool room, we finally got the message that they wanted their own space. I think Duncan had felt for a while that he was just a guest in Hart’s room and even though his new room is half the size, he’s really happy with the shift. Because his room was so much smaller, I wanted to make sure it was cool and what he wanted.
As a reminder, here’s what the guest room looked like when we moved in:
And here it was after being transformed into the guest room:
And now its third incarnation, Duncan requested a “forest cave”:
I didn’t style the next photo but wanted to show his shelves and play space under the loft bed. It’s a mess but I guess that means he actually uses it:
I also have to give credit, he chose the art for the space including the brass bird sculpture on his shelf below:
Hope you enjoyed Duncan’s room tour! Have a great weekend and don’t forget about the Novica drawing ending on Monday.
I know my posts are few and far between these days but it’s only because I’m busy with so many exciting projects. I’m hoping I’ll have them to share before too long. If you’re interested in sneak peeks be sure to follow me on instagram. There you’ll see progress on the mid-century modern Eichler inspired remodel, the Craftsman period kitchen, the midcentury updated ranch, and the boho inspired craftsman bedroom, not to mention a crazy amount of updates around our house. Here’s an instagram pic of the wallpaper that’s now up in Becky’s room:
A week or so ago I received an email saying my bachelor living room remodel was being used in a feature on Houzz.com. It was perfect because it was focusing on projects that use two of my favorite things: saturated blues and brass. Be sure to check out the article for some great ideas on how to combine the two.
Also, today I have a giveaway from Novica.com. Novica is an online global marketplace sponsored by National Geographic that allows artisans from around the world to sell their products. You can find beautiful handmade clothes, jewelry, art and more. I picked up this gorgeous handpainted tray from their wonderful selection of serving platters:
Be sure to also check out their unique selection of table lamps and I’m in love with the idea of chilling out in one of these hammocks one weekend afternoon. Just leave a comment in my comments section before midnight next Monday, 9/30 stating which item from Novica you’d like to buy and you’ll be entered to win a $50 gift certificate. I’ll hold the drawing and post a winner.
Thanks for stopping by!
I finally got the other wingback chair done and it looks great with her partner. You’ll notice in the photo below that the chairs aren’t perfect matches–but I actually love that. The one on the left is a little more feminine with more detail and piping, a slightly wider stripe, and a little shorter overall so I think of it as the “hers.” The one on the right is the original and even though I sit in it the most, I think of it as “his.” In any case they’re finally together:
Those turquoise pillows are an experiment and I think I’ve decided to return them. I picked them up at the Crate and Barrel outlet the other day but they’re too bold for what I’m going for here.
The chairs were done by Mignonne, a great local furniture and design shop here in Berkeley. Johnelle and her team did a great job and are so nice to work with. Be sure to check out their new fabric room with an awesome collection of vintage fabrics.
I must be in a turquoise phase because we have a lot of it being added to our house these days. Follow me on instagram to see a sneak-peek of the turquoise update in Becky’s room (it’s her favorite color). Duncan’s room is almost finished too (it’s our interpretation of a “forest cave”–his request for his new room) and I have so many new projects to share I’m bursting! Thanks for your patience…I hope I won’t keep you waiting long.Pin It
Thanks for all your interest in my last post about my kitchen update. I had originally intended it to be just about the brass faucet but then went on rather off-handedly to talk about the rest and the info I gave about painted cabinets seemed to spark a lot of interest so I thought I would give a little more.
First, let me say my cabinets don’t look that bad. If you weren’t looking for it, you probably wouldn’t notice the chipping and peeling under the sink and on the dishwasher panels but since I know it’s there, I see it and it bothers me. Plus, it’s only a year and a half out so what’s it going to look like in 5 years? That worries me.
Here’s what they look like just facing front on:
And here are detail shots of the chips on top of the doors and drawers around the sink:
I am the first to admit we are hard on this kitchen: I cook 6 nights a week, the kids running in and washing hands, Becky “helping” me do dishes, not wiping everything down after we use the sink (which is so many times a day–do people really do this?). And some of the chips are on the painted panels of the drawer dishwasher fronts which I don’t know how you avoid moisture there. I will also say though that I have seen this on other people’s homes with painted cabs under the sink as well–people who seemed to have high end renovations (wolf appliances, shaws sink, etc) and after 8-10 years, the paint is looking really worn. And I have since heard from other people (cab makers and serious renovators) that painted cabinets are pretty high maintenance.
The cabinets that aren’t exposed to moisture are actually holding up pretty well. There are some scuffs and chips but considering the amount of abuse they get with stools being pulled up to them all day by little hands and feet trying to reach things, help cook, or the occasional toy being slammed into them, I am happy with them. If I were more on top of it, I could do 5 mins of touch ups here and there and they would be good as new. Same goes for the uppers: some chips and wear but not terrible. Still, not what I was hoping for after 1.5 years.
There was also some interest in foil wrapped cabs so I thought I would explain a little more. Thermafoil used to be seen as a cheap alternative to solid wood doors (think melamine-esque) and, depending on the quality you are getting, is can still be true. If you are wanting a natural wood grain door, I agree that foil-wrapped however can look completely seamless and give a durable illusion of a painted door. Foil wrapped in any quality is a cheaper faux version of the real thing. You can see the foil-wrapped faux wood grain cabinets at places like Ikea. They actually look pretty good but again they aren’t real wood–they are usually MDF wrapped in a heat treated surface. If you want natural wood grain I recommend going solid wood if budget allows.
If you are wanting a painted or modern looking surface, however, high-quality foil-wrapped seems like a great option. It will look just like sprayed cabinets and has much more durability. There is a lot of info out there maligning thermafoil cabinets but these are usually referring to cheaper (generally made in China) versions that will peel and chip. It really does matter what the quality of the thermafoil is as there are many high-end projects in the design world that use thermafoil for durability and thermafoil and foil-wrapped have been used with great popularity for years in Europe. Only work with a company that guarantees the surface, generally 15-20+ years. I don’t think thermafoil can be painted or re-wrapped but if you want a painted-like surface and aren’t going to change your mind then that seems fine. Especially since painting a solid wood door near a wet surface doesn’t seem to hold up more than 1-2 years anyway with heavy use. Maybe 3-5 if you don’t have 3 kids…;)
And as I said before, I don’t recommend the faux wood foil wrapped unless budget makes this a necessary option. The Ikea options look so good now though and even high-end designers use them all the time and I think they are guaranteed for 15 years so I might be changing my tune on this! I am working with a client now who decided to do wood grain Ikea foil-wrapped cabs after much debating with me and I finally gave in after researching them and going to look at them in person. They really look great. Plus, the money we saved on cabinets meant we can do more in other parts of the house. And finally, the project is mid-century modern so I think it’s more material appropriate.
I’m also doing a craftsman kitchen right now and we are using solid wood stained cabinets for the lowers and white foil-wrapped uppers. I’ll let everyone know more as I see them installed.
I read a lot about thermafoil being sensitive to heat and needing heat deflectors around stoves. I can’t comment on this yet as I don’t have direct long term experience with them but I have been advised that the decomposition factor is really related to “old school” lower grade thermafoil. At this point, if you want a painted or really modern looking surface that is not natural wood I would love suggestions from others as to what the best choice is for durability. Another alternative is laminate and again, the look and durability depends on the quality. Low pressure laminate has issues too and most people cringe when they hear the word laminate with a kitchen reno. There doesn’t seem to be a perfect answer yet but based on my own experience and advice from professionals, I can’t recommend painted cabs near moisture or in heavy use areas.
Also, a reader was wondering if my experience with painted cabinets may be reflected in the quality of the cabinets–a great question. Actually, my kitchen is a great little experiment in this since we replaced some of the cheap cabinetry with high end and left about half of the cheap stuff in place. We had both versions prepped, primed, and sprayed by professionals and actually the high end cabinetry is holding up worse than the cheap stuff because it is what is exposed to moisture. It really does seem to be moisture that is key.
Also, another reader asked about factory finishes and if they are stronger. The short answer to that is yes. Instead of just being painted on, factory painted cabinets usually have their paint baked on I believe and that does add to durability. Still, with moisture, I have heard they will start to peel and chip too. Does anyone have direct experience with these?
Hope this extra info helps! I would love more input if others have advice out there!
Update: I have to say I have seen the difference first hand now between thermafoil and foil-wrapped and I can’t recommend thermafoil. Even if it’s a high-quality thermafoil material that mimics a painted surface, it will be near impossible to hide all those laminate-like seams. The foil-wrapped though looks great!
I mentioned recently that I got a new rug for the kitchen and wanted to show some better shots of it. Here’s a reminder of the old rug:
Not bad. This was the one I made from stitching together 6 ikea rugs. It had been through about 45 washings though and was starting to look a little worse for the wear.
Here’s a close up of the new kilim:
Definitely warms up all the white and relates well to the brass. Also, the rest of our house has really orange toned floors so this works well with them.
And, a few weeks ago I had a reader ask about how the unlacquered brass was holding up. Here’s an update:
I’m really happy with it so far. I haven’t done anything to it except clean it with non abrasive cleansers every couple of weeks or so and if anything, it’s aging slower than I thought it would. If you remember, the neck is copper plate and the rest is solid brass and the solid brass components are really heavy and durable. I will have to replace the neck someday with a solid brass one but for now it’s fine and looks the same as the solid brass. It’s aging at the same rate and you only know it’s not solid brass when you handle it. So, 1.5 years later I still would totally recommend unlacquered brass and give it a strong thumbs up!
I also am pleased with the marble. It has etching and some spots as I knew it would but again, that’s what I wanted so if you are up for a patinaed surface, I recommend the marble. If you think that might bother you, definitely take a more durable route. I’m doing soapstone for a kitchen client right now and I can’t wait to see it installed. For durability, I love a honed black granite with a smooth or leather finish. And of course, I LOVE concrete counters in traditional and contemporary settings. Did anyone see the post about DIY concrete counters from The Little Green Notebook? Dying over them…
The painted floors are holding up pretty well although we had a fridge leak recently and there are some water issues. Not bad–a little staining and tiny bit of peeling and I guess we would have water stains if they weren’t painted too but still–a little frustrating. Luckily, I can just spot paint the damaged areas myself–someday…;)
The painted cabs are another area I would rethink. I don’t now recommend painted cabinets for clients on the lowers after realizing how much the heavy use takes a toll on them. Especially at the sink. They are peeling in places and have some chips–Not bad or really noticeable but for lowers now I always recommend stained wood or foil wrapped if possible. I do have cabinet paint for touch ups and I guess before a real photo shoot or something I will touch them up but for now I’m just letting it go.
Anyone else have words of wisdom for kitchen renos?Pin It
Just a quick sneak peek of some progress in a client bedroom redo.
We chose a deep rich turquoise for the walls and an apple green velvet headboard with nailhead trim for the bed:
We painted out the trim and doors and everything in this turquoise and it feels so rich and dramatic in there now. In the next photo you can see the fabric we are going to use to make a duvet. We just laid a large sample on the comforter to get a feel for what it will look like.
We painted almost everything that turquoise. They actually have a little nook off the bedroom with a stained glass window (this is the bedroom of my Oakland clients. You will totally recognize the stained glass from their LR in my previous post) and they were unsure what to do with it. They have a lot of books and love to read so we decided to turn it into a little library reading nook. We also painted it a contrasting color–a deep yellow with some green in it. The shelves are in the process of being built but the exterior of them will be painted in the turquoise:
You can see how the color plays off the stained glass without being dictated and dominated by it. Who wouldn’t love to have a mini library in their bedroom?
Here you can see the colors better together. Forgive the iphone pics. It was also evening–thank goodness for summer time lingering light.
Here’s the drawing of the shelf design so you can see the double arches that will be going up with some cornice molding:
(Excuse the coffee stains! I do so much of my work in the mornings before the kids get up when I am enjoying my morning coffee. Things feel so calm and clear then). Also, you can’t tell from the drawing but the upper arch of shelves will come out about 6 inches over the lower ones to provide extra storage. These are high ceilings (10′) and we wanted to take full advantage of that vertical space. Too bad we can’t get a library ladder in there–or can we….
Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek into the process. Hope to have more to show you before too long.
I just have a few little sneaky peeks to share with you from around the house. First, I bought a new rug for the kitchen:
I loved the rug I made from the Ikea rugs last year but it was getting washed a couple of times a week and was really looking worse for the wear. I wanted something darker and warmer to hide stains and ground the room a little bit more. This kilim is bigger too and so far I’m liking it. I had been thinking about a new rug in here for a while and one of my favorite rug suppliers had a sale so I couldn’t pass it up. Hopefully the kitchen will be clean enough in the next few weeks for me to take a real picture…
Also, I mentioned a few weeks ago that Duncan was desperate for his own room and as a middle child he puts up with a lot so we decided to get rid of the guest room and give him his own space. This room is a lot smaller than the other bedrooms as we had to take a couple of feet out of it a few years ago to add another bathroom upstairs. (You can see images of the light bright old guest room here). But I am determined to make it really special for him so he won’t even notice–So far so good. I have too much to do to it yet to do a big reveal but I wanted to show a sneak peek of this amazing antique swing arm light I got at the flea market over the weekend:
I love this light so much I walk into Duncan’s room and turn it on and off when he’s not around. Luckily, Duncan is as kooky as I am and he totally loves it too. He loves brass (he calls it “gold”) and requested a lot of gold in his new room. Not only am I excited to have a 6 year old boy who loves brass but just a six year old boy who requests a specific finish in his room. He is so my kid…
He requested his room feel like a cave. He wanted a forest/nature theme. He requested gold. We went on Etsy together to look for art and when he saw an antique hand colored lithograph of a forest for sale he literally said “Ooo lala! That’s beautiful!” He requested having plants in his room (specifically Aeonium which is his favorite succulent). He also asked for a brass bird sculpture for his room for his birthday. I’m not kidding people.
Now I know it’s not like he lives in a vacuum. He sees me doing all this nutty decorating stuff everyday and the things I gravitate to and he obviously is being influenced. But the fact that he is able to be influenced enough by this stuff to make these requests is what I’m talking about. When he’s eight we are going into business together.
And finally, here’s some fabric that’s going into Duncan’s new room too:
One other little thing: Someone emailed me recently to ask about a red and aqua fabric from an earlier post . I accidentally deleted the email and can’t retrieve it. If that was you, will you please resend your email and question? I’ll get to it ASAP.
Also, if anyone is interested in the curtains from the guest room, I am making room for new things and am listing them for sale. They are a discontinued Waverly print that were professionally made and are in good condition. $300 for the pair. Let me know!
Thanks for stopping by!
Working with online clients is so different than designing a room or rooms for a house you can be physically in. I don’t know about other designers out there but for me a lot of my “aha” moments with design happen when I am just being in a space with no distractions for a while. Suddenly I just get what should go where and how the space should flow. It also helps to meet the client and have a chat about his/her likes and dislikes. You can just get a feel for who a person is by sitting and being with them for a while which helps to tell their story in their house.
But that doesn’t really happen with online clients–at least not immediately. You get emails and pictures and measurements and really that is enough to slowly build a vision, but finding those “aha” moments can take a little more time, imagination and really, trial and error.
This has been true with my latest client–she’s been so awesome to work for so far and is really letting me talk her into stuff which I love! But at first, I totally misread her style. Starting with the dining room, we are doing a few rooms in her new house (a gem of a mid century ranch in LA) and somehow from our correspondence I came away with mostly traditional, a little contemporary, soft colors, with some bling thrown in:
After the first pass at a design board, I always like to get input to see if I am on the right track. This helps me refine the process and many clients are better able to articulate what they want after they have a starting point. So after some fun back and forth, I realized my client is really more contemporary, neutral, and just a little traditional:
I have to admit, I also like the second one way better so I’m really glad it worked out this way! And now that I get her tastes a little more, I’ll have more courage in tackling the other rooms we are doing.
How do other designers out there tackle online projects? Are we all really visual or do some of you have a more methodical approach?
A couple of months ago I posted a sneak peek of a client’s living room promising more to come. I don’t mean to be a tease but sometimes these things move more slowly than you plan. The living room is finally done enough take some pictures and show you some before and afters.
Here’s where we started:
And here are some afters:
Some more before:
This is a Victorian condo in downtown Oakland and these ladies are awesome to work for. They are adorable together, fun, have a great eclectic, slightly boho/slightly global style, know what they like, but are also up for almost anything. And you can see they like plants as much as I do!
And the best part is we are now moving onto doing their bedroom. It’s hard to stop with just one room…
Thanks for checking it out!Pin It
I live in Berkeley, CA with my husband and three children. A desire to share a lifetime love of creating beautiful spaces led to this blog where I display my home renovation, client projects, and inspirations.
If you would like a home that makes you happy to come home to, contact me for a consultation.
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