Posts Tagged ‘Modern Design’

Scouted! Getting Handsy

It’s not like I set out to be a collector of sculptures and household whatnots in the shape of hands… it’s just that they always seem to beckon! I have a few spread around the house, and here was a bunch I had accumulated for “future projects” (that I of course could not part with) and finally made a little vignette out of in my bedroom.

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The big one is my favorite – a vintage mold from a rubber glove factory that I found in Healdsburg on a weekend trip to Sonoma a couple of years ago. (Nothing like prowling an antiques store after a couple of glasses of wine!)

This week we installed two sets of brass curtain tie-backs in a kids’ room for some fun clients, and they add such magic to the room! This is all I can reveal of that project for now…

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….but I am happy to share resources for some of the best handy home accessories I have come across lately for giving a room some life.37781564_025_b

Anthropologie Handheld Tieback // $48

 

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Shades of Light Need a Hand Wall Sconce // $89

 

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Kelly Wearstler Saints Hand in Burnished Bronze // $225

 

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hodihomedecor Hand Hooks (Set of 2) // $56

 

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Areaway Reality Hand Hooks (Set of 3) // from $225

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Design Details // Vintage Travel Poster Art – Aloha Hawaii

I have a special affinity for vintage poster art. Old movies, concerts, advertising images, political propaganda – I love what graphic artists do. And I love the way this kind of art can easily give a space a point of view. Vintage poster art is usually graphic and vividly colorful. It also frequently captures the nostalgia of a bygone era, so it can bring immediate warmth and charm to a room.

I love the color combination and ruggedly adventurous feeling of this one!

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When I am helping my clients find art that is meaningful to them and gives me an exciting design direction, I often like to find out about their heritage, and the stand-out places in their memories.Then I see if I can find a vintage travel poster that reflects it. An actual vintage one is great if they are looking at it is a collectible piece, but a well-framed quality reproduction will also work. For some current clients who have just doubled their square footage and are in need of a lot of new art, Hawaii is the place. I hope they can choose just ONE of these images. We want the overall vibe to be eclectic, not “Tiki Ti!”!

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The image above is my favorite candidate. The bright colors and optimistic spirit of it would make it a great focal point in the Playroom that a little boy and girl will share. This blue and red one below could also work well to energize white walls.

Hawaii 3 This next image with the hula dancer is a bit more expected. The iconic symbol of Hawaii makes it a bit less interesting to me than the other choices, but I was drawn to this one by the color. We have a lot of blue in the house, and the orange would complement a couple of our areas beautifully.Hawaii 4All images are posters that can be found at All Posters. To personalize a search on the site, type in “vintage travel” and add the location that may evoke some good memories of your own.

 

Past Work // The Virg – Apartment Bedroom & Bathroom Renovation

This is Part 4 of my series on the recent renovation of The Virg, a 12-unit apartment building in Hollywood that was re-developed by 3SC Capital Partners. I consulted on all the design decisions for the project. You can follow these links to read about what we did with the building’s Exterior, typical Living Room, and typical Kitchen. Now here is what we did with a typical Bedroom and Bathroom in each apartment.DSC_0840 copy
B E D R O O M // B E F O R E

This project was about elevating the property to re-position it in the rental market. The cookie-cutter apartment features of the 1980s had to go: industrial carpet, vertical blinds, and mirrored closet doors.

B E D R O O M // A F T E R

I favor simple white roller shades for this kind of architecture. They offer privacy, but let in light. And they almost disappear when they are rolled up, allowing the view to be a feature of the space. I recommend inside-mounted shades, so that a renter has the option of installing a curtain rod and some drapes over the window. That way, they have the flexibility to express their personal style AND block out more light, if that’s important to them!

blindsThe floors are durable laminate planks, and decently approximate hardwood flooring with a cerused finish. Waaaay more hygienic than carpet, and all a tenant needs to do is throw down their own rug for warmth and style.

Mirrored closet doors are hopelessly dated! (At least, the kind that you find in these 80s and 90s remodels are hopelessly dated!!) We replaced the junk-y sliders in place with simple sliding wood doors, painted white and mounted on a sturdy track. If this was my room, I would get a lightweight and inexpensive mirror, (look for them in hardware stores – about 48″ x 12″ ) and mount it on the back of the bedroom door for a full-length view. doors

B A T H R O O M // B E F O R E

You knew this wasn’t going to be good! This was one of the cleaner bathrooms when we started. The toilet in this unit was OK, but everything else needed to be upgraded. Modular plastic shower units and harsh light fixtures would not do.

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 B A T H R O O M // A F T E R

I have dwelled in many an apartment in my day, and I bring that experience to this kind of design. I know what I yearned for, all those years! So all the new fixtures installed are clean and contemporary-looking. I selected pieces that were relatively inexpensive, without sacrificing practicality. The medicine cabinet is generously sized, and if depth allowed, each bathroom got a double towel- rail. Everyone needs room for at least two towels to hang in a bathroom!bathroomvanityandlight copyWe selected a really neutral gray tile with a hint of texture for the bathroom floors, and continued with the same material in a different size for the shower enclosure. We also added an integrated shampoo niche.
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There is a major cost-saving upside in going with a shower curtain rod instead of glass enclosure, but I don’t like glass enclosures around a tub like this anyway! In a rental, it is more surface area and nooks and crannies to collect mildew and deteriorate the value of the space. There are more potential maintenance issues with glass and doors. And they can be a total pain if you’re trying to bathe babies and little kids. (This is the only bathroom in a 2-bedroom apartment, so we wanted to make it amenable to a young family.) One last reason that I value a curtain rod in a rental unit is style – this bathroom could go in so many directions according to the shower curtain that a tenant hangs. As a renter, I always took advantage of that.

Past Work // Apartment Kitchen Renovation

Here we are back at The Virg, the 12-unit apartment building in Hollywood where I recently completed a major renovation with 3SC developers. You can read about the Exterior transformation here and what we did in a typical Living Room here.  Onto a typical Kitchen!

This was one of the better kitchens in the building when it was bought – recently renovated and pretty clean. But the plan to re-position the property in the rental market meant that we were adding a dishwasher, expanding the foot-print, increasing the counter-space and adding storage. And of course, installing better appliances, finishes and fixtures all around. Tile countertops were not going to cut it!

K I T C H E N 1 // B E F O R E

K I T C H E N 1 // A F T E R

6-kitchenFresh and functional was the goal – in a neutral palette, with modern style. Caesarstone is my go-to counter-top material, and quartz is my answer to a Caesarstone look on a budget! One of the best things we did with it was to finish the top of the pony wall in the material, and extend it out on the end. It’s now a little bar for one.

Even though we were extending the kitchen’s length, we chose to leave the partial wall enclosing one side of the original area in its place. Apart from saving a bit of demo cost, we liked the way it tucked around the side of the fridge, which was black and looked kind of cheap compared to the stainless steel fronts of the appliances.
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How will people use this? This is something I’m always picturing when I design interiors. Here, I think the wall we left in place also defines the additional cabinets and counter-top we added on this side as a good place to charge a phone and throw down mail. Or maybe it’s the coffee bar…

 K I T C H E N  2 // B E F O R E

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K I T C H E N  2 // A F T E R

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White subway tile on the walls is inexpensive, neutral, and timeless. Fresh white cabinets, stainless steel appliances, a nice deep sink (always under-mount if I can help it – simply the cleanest-looking and easiest to clean) and a goose-neck facet with a pull-out spray elevate the design and increase the apartment’s value. I’m pleased to say that we were able to pull off these spanking new kitchens for under $10,000 each.12-kitchen

Past Work // Apartment Interior Design – Living Rooms

The Virg is a building in Hollywood that I have been working on for the last few months with 3SC developers. You can read about what we did with the building’s exterior here Read on for interior details!5

Inside the building, there are 12 units, and they have come with a variety of worn-out finishes and dated fixtures. Here are examples of how we have improved upon a typical one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartment in the Living Room areas.

6-overallThis project has been about elevating this building to re-position it in the rental market. Things that had to go were: popcorn ceilings, gross carpet, and ugly tile.

I had tile like this in the last apartment I lived in – it looks dirty and feels gritty, even when it’s clean!

L I V I N G  R O O M // B E F O R E

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In addition to scraping the ceiling and painting everything, we laid hard-wearing laminate flooring that has the look of cerused hardwood. We replaced windows and doors, maximized built-in storage, and replaced dated vertical blinds with roller shades and curtain rods.

L I V I N G  R O O M // A F T E R

12-livingroomdetailThe result is a fresh, neutral space that maximizes natural light, and has attractive, durable finishes that are easy to keep clean. Regardless of architectural style and budget, this is what I aim to bring to any rental unit. A built-in view of palm trees doesn’t hurt my design!
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A fter shots by Caroline Froeberg

Past Work // 6th Street Living Room

For the last couple of years, I have been working with select clients across the U.S. on living spaces that I will never actually set foot in. Here is an example of one of my customized Decorating Guideline Packages. I work on them with my talented assistants, Anna and Caroline, and deliver them to my clients by email.

This one is a recent Living Room design for a young family in Washington, D.C. Their new townhouse is their first home, and all they had for this room when we started was a credenza to go under their TV. The clients and I determined together that they wanted a casual, “Coastal Modern” vibe for this room. “Ikea to West Elm” was the price point they gave me for sourcing.

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To get started, my clients sent us pictures, and all the relevant measurements for the room. Next, we had a phone meeting to chat about the way they wish to use the rooms in their home, and what their style was like. The way I communicate ideas with my clients varies. In this case, a shared secret Pinterest board was key. My client, a Pinterest virgin when I first mentioned it to her, went so far as to snap pictures of their art and existing furniture pieces and upload it to the board, so we could see them laid out with the possible new pieces. It was so helpful for putting together a design that we knew would work cohesively with what they already owned and liked.

On this project, we needed a furniture plan before we did any sourcing. My team and I explored rug sizes and furniture arrangement possibilities in drawings. The one we selected was best for its reasonably baby-friendly round coffee table, and the inclusion of swivel chairs, for which my clients had expressed a fondness. It also filled out a niche in the room that would have been perfect for some custom built-in storage (which was not in the budget) with a good Ikea solution that happened to fit beautifully. I love it when that happens!

6thOf course we elevated the design by changing the hardware on the Ikea pieces to something more special (even if it is from another bargain resource!). I ALWAYS do this with Ikea furniture when I can. My clients went one better and painted the back pieces of the shelves an ocean blue before assembling them. (This kind of hack is actually one of my signature design moves, but I must give them props for coming up with the idea themselves here!)
These are the specifications for this design, which my D.C. clients have kindly agreed to let me share here on the blog. As you can see, I lay out the details in my specs so that my clients can go down the list and have all the info needed to place the orders for the things they choose to buy. I don’t get involved in any purchasing for a project like this, so it’s all very low-pressure, and clients can watch for the store sales or make substitutions according to their preferences.
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We wrapped up this Decorating Guideline Package by inviting the clients to another secret Pinterest board with some options for art and accessories. They have placed a lot of orders in the last couple of weeks, and it is good to hear that the furniture is already rolling in.

My team and I can fit in only a couple of these Decorating Guideline Packages per month with my larger local projects, but they are so fun and satisfying to complete! If you have a room that might use some design help from afar, email me the details.