Before and After

Before & After // Bathroom without Remodel

Unless you have a huge budget to remodel, when you move into a new house, you have to pick your battles. The Master Bathroom of my house is probably going to be the location of a staircase if we add a new master suite one day, so we didn’t want to spend much on this room when we moved in. On the other hand, this is the bathroom in our home that guests use. It had to be inviting! Here is what we did with a small budget.

15 New We were fortunate that the lay-out was fine, and we weren’t contending with any hideous tile. There was also hardwood flooring (not my first choice for a bathroom, but it flowed with the rest of the house), Carrera marble counter-tops, unusual mid-century faucets, and cabinetry that was well-made. All of it was in good shape. Despite all the pluses, the overall “Before” wasn’t good!  Challenges included blah paint, an off-center window, a huge unframed mirror glued to the wall, and a harsh light-strip.

15 BeforeDid I mention the suite of gray fixtures? The toilet, sinks and tub were all colored. Very 80’s!

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My prescription was new paint and lighting, and an unusual mirror. The paint is two shades of gray – Flagstone on walls and Zinc on trim from Martha Stewart’s discontinued Home Depot line. Note that I did not paint the window in the trim color because I didn’t want to highlight it!

We bought a new white toilet immediately, and I didn’t care about the gray tub because I knew it was going to be covered by a jazzy shower curtain. Making peace with the gray sinks was my big compromise here. It would just wreck the marble if we took it up to install new sinks. And since I’m a bit of a Caesarstone snob, new countertops were definitely going to break the bank!
22I hesitated to post this bathroom because it already looks different (I have a new shower curtain and better accessories now!), and I’m planning on replacing the lighting with something prettier. The West Elm sconces work well enough for me design-wise, but they were largely selected for value! It’s been three years now, and I’m ready to upgrade. (These white sconces may get a second life as reading lights over my daughters’ beds!)

Past Work // An Inviting Entry

An entry can be merely a pass-through space, or a room that says “Welcome“, and sets a warm and interesting tone for the rest of a home. I favor the latter! If the architecture allows, I like an entry space to have an inviting coziness to it.

2bThis was a condo I decorated last year. Below is a picture of the space from my initial consultation with the client. When I saw the skylight, and she started showing me the art she had collected in her years of travel, I knew this room was going to be a fun project.
1a My client had a vision of a wall with a gold-leaf -type finish somewhere in her home, and I thought this room was a great place to do that. Everyone sees the hallway! But nobody spends time there, so you can afford to be bold.1bA wood console table with Ming feet worked well with my client’s eclectic art, and a perforated metal pendant light fixture that cast beautiful shadows around the ceiling and walls brought the magic. A leaning mirror visually enlarged the space, and along with the tall vase of branches, it turned the carved tribal chair into part of an interesting vignette.

Here is a another room I did in this home.

Photography by Ellen Smiler

Recently Completed // Apartment Laundry Room Remodel

This is my final post about The Virg, a 12-unit apartment building in Hollywood that I remodeled with 3SC Capital Partners. In previous posts, I have talked about what we did with the building’s Exterior, a typical Living Room, typical Kitchen, and typical Bedroom and Bathroom. The last piece was the Laundry Room, shared by all the apartment-dwellers. Our design directive was to make it feel fresh and inviting -on a tight budget! I knew immediately that we could do something fun with the stair risers to make the space memorable.1

This is what the laundry room looked like after it had been cleaned up and painted white to look respectable, as soon as the developers purchased the property. (I think the guy in the picture below is an inspector!)

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On the plus side, this was an apartment laundry room that was NOT in a scary basement! The space, though cramped, offered an abundance of natural light. My clients were ready to upgrade the laundry experience for their tenants by relocating the hot water tank elsewhere, adding a second set of washer and dryers, and putting in a little counter-space. They also needed some locked storage for cleaning supplies for this area. Here is what we did:2We painted all the railings and security “caging” the same light blue we used on the building’s exterior. (Far less prison-like than black!)  We laid new light grey linoleum on the floor. We located the washers side by side, and stacked the dryers opposite. And we added a small counter for folding clothes, with cupboards above and below.

3We gave the tenants some abstract art in soothing hues to set the tone. (Picked up this canvas for $35 at Target!. I styled it with some cute canvas laundry baskets from Target as well.)4Ilse and Anna, talented girls on my team, executed the bold “Laundry” sign and running stripe by hand, in a font and colors that were cohesive with the exterior of The Virg. The stripe gives the space energy, and connects the stairway and narrow mezzanine walkway to the actual laundry area for a more spacious overall feeling.
laundry-stairrailing I came up with the “laundry directions” to paint on the stair risers – wisdom gleaned from many years of doing apartment building laundry! Those dank, creepy laundry rooms were a far cry from this freshness.stair-overall

So fun to revisit this part of the project! Thanks, Anna and Ilse.IMG_0871“After” Photos by Caroline Froberg. Thanks, Caroline!

Past Work // Styling Story – Before, After and In-Between

There is no greater satisfaction in my work than at the end of a project, when I get to styling! It is the final layer. Even when the clients are there all along for a project, I can still send them off for a day, work some magic with art and accessories, and give them a fun and surprising reveal of a completed design.

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Above is a feature wall in the Family Room in a Mediterranean Contemporary house I finished last year.

This is what it looked like just after my clients had bought the house, but were still renting it back to the previous owners. The style was sort of Global Goth, and I predict it was done when the Osborne Family was a hit show. (You can see more of the transformation of this house in this post.)

BEFORE DESIGN

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Below is a snapshot of the Family Room soon after my new design was almost in place, and my clients had moved in. We had lightened the walls and ceiling coffers with paint. My clients had wanted closed storage and open shelving for display on this wall. After quotes for a custom cabinetry build-out around the fireplace and TV proved to be way out of the budget, I came up with a less expensive way to fill out the niches and make the wall eye-catching. Key was this pair of media credenzas from Crate and Barrel. They fit pleasingly into the niches, and I designed custom shelves to go above them.

AFTER DESIGN – BUT NOT DONE!

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Barton Sol built the shelves, and stained them to match the credenzas for a cohesive look. I designed the placement of the shelves around built-in speakers on the wall, and a beautiful pair of horse sculptures that my clients had in their collection. We painted the back walls of the niches above the shelves blue to relate it to blues throughout the rest of the house, and to further define this as a feature wall. It worked, but you can see that something still needed to happen to bring this design together!

AFTER STYLING

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When styling, my team and I power-shop stores like World Market, Ikea, Target, West Elm and Crate and Barrel for accessories. Our haul might include lighting, vases, photo-frames, baskets, pillows and throws….fun stuff to play with! I consider all the art and accessories my clients already have, and curate a mix with the new pieces. I try to make it feel fresh and stylish, as well as personal to my clients. In this case, the design point-of view I introduced was in the goldenrod color in the accessories. It related to a big piece of art in their Living Room, and it was an on-trend color when I was out accessory shopping! I love the way it livens things up against the blue and wood tones. It’s bright, but it fits in with the California Traditional vibe of the new design in their house.

I am constantly adding styling ideas to my Pinterest – follow me!

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 // Kitchen Remodel – Part 1

Here are some of the details of the Kitchen remodel we did prior to moving into our home about 3 years ago. The house already had a lovely open lay-out and good flow, and I wanted to take that further with the Kitchen by expanding the depth of the bar, removing the hanging cabinets over the bar, and removing the ceiling soffet. Often soffets house electrical components and you’re stuck with them – it was a happy day when we opened up the drywall and confirmed that it was merely a design choice, and could be eliminated altogether!
beforekitchenSplurges for this kitchen were the Caesarstone (when it comes to counter-tops, I say buy the best and you’ll only cry once), the Olivieri sink (I was sure we wanted a double-bowl, stainless-steel under-mount sink with an integrated drainboard, and this was the only one I could find) and the Ann Sacks handmade tile (not a lot of wall to cover, and I was in love with the colors and pattern). We saved money by sticking with the original floors, and by selecting an inexpensive faucet, cabinet hardware and pendant lights.
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1. Trim Paint // Ralph Lauren Mombasa Mist 2. Wall Paint // Glidden Parchment White 3. Backsplash // Ann Sacks 2″ x 6″ Chevron Tile in Dense Fog, London Sky and Cloud 4. Pendants // West Elm Globe Pendant 5. Faucet // Ikea Ringskar Faucet 6. Cabinets // Martha Stewart Kitchen in Maidstone Ocean Floor 7. Countertop // Caesarstone in Lagos Blue 8. Hardware // Lowes Satin Nickel Arched Cabinet Pull 9. Sink // Oliveri 274-1 Drainboard Series Sink

8 NewOne day I’ll tell you about the other side of the Kitchen, including adventures in DIY stainless steel back-splashes!

Past Work // Dramatic Powder Room

If you swoon over pattern as I do, a Powder Room is the perfect place to indulge that fetish in the form of a beautiful wallpaper. You get bang for your buck when you invest in a Powder Room, since everyone who is a guest in your home may see it at some point – and in a quiet moment, where they may take in the lovely design! Since it’s a place where people are going to get in and get out quickly, you might as well do something bold.

GÇó072114 NJ Geurin bathroom 2My client and I had been working on her condo with lots of white walls, neutral furniture, and gold accents, along with touches of red. She wanted drama for the Powder Room, and asked me to show her wallpapers that had gold in them. I was so impressed that she was game for my favorite find, “Migration” in Oslo, from Walnut Wallpaper. It’s beautiful, but a little risky in that it could skew kitschy! We went for it anyway.

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This pendant light by Ladies and Gentleman Studio was the icing on the cake. We used the small one, in a brass finish.

454d27418bf67c8848c8bf263c5ad0b7So this is what the Powder Room looked like before: clean and serviceable, but forgettable. (And forgive me for the lid up on the loo – that is gauche, even for a “Before” picture!)

IMG_1638And here is what the Powder Room looks like now: an experience!  The room is fun and lively, like my client herself, and we were thrilled with the way it turned out.

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Photography by Ellen Smiler

Catch Natasha Jansz on HGTV's "HOUSE HUNTER'S RENOVATION" October 28th 10pm/9c