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A Quick, Low-Budget Makeover // Minimalism Meets Modern Prep

One of my favorite quickie projects of the year…

This article originally appeared on Apartment Therapy.2

This is a bedroom I designed and installed in just a couple of weeks. My clients were a recently transplanted east coast couple, reluctant to commit to their new west coast life in a rented house. They wanted to furnish this room quickly with inexpensive pieces that they wouldn’t mind parting with in the event of another cross-country move.

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But they also wanted their room to feel like a quiet, uncluttered haven that reflected them personally. I hit the flea market and my favorite accessible retailers and gave them a bedroom that is a bit modern, a bit Swedish and a bit preppy. There are splashes of happy color and cozy texture in the details.

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Our starting point was the walls, which went from beige to a very light and subtly celestial blue (Ralph Lauren Paint’s Ephemera). 

My favorite thing in the room is the print, which sets a playful and romantic tone. This couple got married in Bermuda! So I sourced reproduction vintage travel posters featuring the destination, and asked them to pick the one that most resonated with them. Their choice gave me some pretty colors to play with, and when I found the Vera Bradley-esque quilt and shams, it all clicked against the quiet backdrop of pale blue and white.

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We scouted a pair of vintage bedside chests to give the room more unique character. They had a chalky finish, so we painted them in a semi-gloss for a cleaner look and feel. Key to this room’s design is the industrial styling of the bedside lamps. Along with the straight lines of the furniture, they lend the space a modern and masculine edge to balance the pastels and prettiness.

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Ikea’s ever-practical Hemnes dresser is a clean-lined chameleon, changing according to the hardware you put on it. We upgraded this one using gorgeous china knobs with a gold pattern from Anthropologie. And after trying out 4 different table lamps, we went with a wood one to break up all the glossy white with something organic.

7The bench was slated for the foot of the bed, until we found these brass and marble hooks from Anthropologie. Teamed with a fuzzy sheepskin and a pair of eye-catching laundry baskets, all the pieces make up a dressing area vignette – and my client’s chicest handbags and pretty floral robe became art!

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Photographs by Tessa Neustadt

SOURCES
Melrose Trading Post flea market – vintage bedside chests (painted Behr Swiss Coffee)
Ikea – Hemnes 8-drawer dresser, Ranarp bedside lamps, Omvaxlande tray, Rens faux sheepskin, Ensidig vase
Anthropologie – Byzantine knobs (dresser hardware), Circlet brass and marble wall hooks
Target – table lamp and shade, bench, rug, throw pillow (none are still available!)
World Market – Watercolor Ogee quilt and shams, Valeria frame, cloche candle, baskets
Allposters.com – Bermuda reproduction vintage poster, framed
Bed Bath & Beyond – bed-skirt
Joann Fabrics – headboard foam and fabric
Home Depot – headboard frame materials
Clients’ own bed, linens and drapes

Take Me Away // Napa Valley Working Vacation Weekend

A design project in the Napa Valley had been a long-held little dream of mine, and in 2015 it has come true twice! Earlier this year, it was the tasting room for a small winery in St. Helena. And then this Fall, I started collaborating with a dear friend on her lovely new cottage in Napa. This is a picture of the bungalow where Emily used to live. So charming, and the scene of many good times over the years. We want more of that feel with the new place – an unpretentious warmth.

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Emily’s new house doesn’t come with quite this much vintage character, but it is on its way to revealing its own charms. After a few weeks of Pinterest back-and-forth based on floor-plans and pictures, last weekend I made an overnight trip of it and finally met the house in person. Amid the beautiful distractions of the Napa Valley and time with my friend, the mission was to review design progress, develop some ideas further, and of course get some good shopping done.

IMG_4876I was very pleased about some key pieces of new furniture that had arrived. It’s no secret that I am obsessed with these dhurrie chairs, and this is my favorite colorway.  I adore these hues and that texture paired with the copper Martini table. Emily was initially a bit skeptical when I pinned this chair, but now it’s true love.

IMG_4877This gem of a bentwood rocker was picked up at an estate sale, and Emily is in the midst of re-finishing it. We decided on a rich black stain to contrast with some of the other furniture in more naturally finished woods. It is such a gorgeously sculptural chair, and is going to look great next to a big plant.

IMG_4933This is part of a gallery wall for which I did a preliminary lay-out. Emily has a fair amount of art that she has collected in 20 years of travel, and I love that it’s a mix of media including textiles and photography. We sorted through it all and made decisions about how to frame and hang the best pieces.

To wrap up Day One of our work, it had to be a dinner at one of my favorites in Downtown Napa, Angele Emily and I sat at the bar, where the people-watching and eavesdropping was almost as good as the food and wine!IMG_4892

And then we saw Janeane Garafolo, who I hadn’t really thought about in years, do standup at City Winery. Since Emily and I became friends in college in the 90’s (probably J.G.’s heyday, as far as high-profile work goes), nostalgia made us curious to check out her current act. Happy to say we laughed a lot – her comedy held up!

Day Two was all about shopping. The Napa-Vallejo Flea Market turned out to be NOT what we had imagined (at all!), so we quickly moved on to sourcing vintage furniture online. I introduced Emily to the world of bidding on Ebay. (We missed out on a sweet midcentury credenza, and then found an even better one and won it for a steal!)

Then Emily showed me the brick and mortar stores in Napa that she has been prowling for inspiration.  Poor House is my new favorite, with so many pieces that looked made for my aesthetic – a perfect mix of simplicity and distinctive details.IMG_4923So inspired by everything in the vignette above, from the quilted leather of the chair, to the streak of red on the desk!
IMG_4921The swooping lines and rich walnut finish of the lounge-y chair (above) caught my eye, as did these bar-stools, which hit just the right “warm industrial” note for me with the leather and the leg details.IMG_4915

Antiques on Second is a store I will return to with a truck one day.
IMG_4909I have such a weakness for campaign furniture. My current projects have no room for this folding bench, but I want somebody to give it a home in an entry hall or covered loggia. IMG_4910These chairs also deserve a good home. That green! So much character. I’m going to run with this idea sometime for sure.

Before I knew it, it was Sunday evening and time to head home to L.A.. My farewell to Napa and Emily was made less sad by the spectacular sunset we got to accompany us on the drive to the airport.

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I’m not allowed to show up at home after a trip without a special little surprise for my kids, so I made sure to stop at The Roost Napa on my way out to look for gifts. Here’s one I found for myself!

IMG_5042I was going to have so much remorse if I didn’t buy this tote bag. My passion for its playful print is unbridled!! And it will always remind me of this special little trip.IMG_5027

And I didn’t forget my girls, who got these awesome finger puppets. They were only a buck each, and the details are wonderful. As expected, they were a hit with this little monster.
IMG_5022Weekend Mission Accomplished! A bit of work, a bit of play, and lots of fresh inspiration for this project and my work next year. Thanks, Emily!!

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Scouted // Galbraith and Paul Wallpaper

I am currently working on two different projects where a special wallpaper has been called for, and in each one, Galbraith and Paul‘s exquisite Lotus has been the answer. pink orange

For me, the 16 dazzling color combinations make the wallpaper a possibility for all kinds of interiors where exotic can meet contemporary.

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This pattern can skew Traditional, Modern or Bohemian…I can imagine it in the most casual room of one kind of house, or the fanciest room of another kind of house.

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And it comes as a hand-block printed textile as well!

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This is from a Master Bedroom design I am looking forward to bringing to life after a client’s remodel next Spring. The wallpaper will be a feature wall behind the bed. So excited about this one!!

IMG_4074Galbraith & Paul produces their wallpapers and textiles at their studio workshop in Philadelphia. They have plenty of beautiful patterns. Lotus is just my current obsession!

Recently Completed // Woodland Nursery Preview

Nurseries for friends instantly get “pet project” status with me!  Whether this baby would be a boy or a girl was to be a complete surprise, so every choice had to be loosely gender-neutral. We also had to incorporate a dark wood crib and dresser, handed down from two older siblings, and make them feel fresh – and maybe a bit softer. As I shared concept ideas from all over the map, the already glowing mama lit up over this gorgeous Sleeping Fox rug from Anthropologie. I love the tone it set: playful, yet soothing – with lots of nuanced color for us to riff on elsewhere in the design.

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1. Multi Dots Bin // Petit Pehr 2. Alice in Wonderland Print // Etsy 3. Velveteen Rabbit Print // Etsy 4. Harry Potter “Always” Watercolor Print // Etsy 5. Where the Wild Things Are Print // Etsy 6. Moravian Star Pendant // ATG Stores 7. Silent Fox Rug // Anthropologie 8. Garland // Land of Nod 9. Laura Frisk Woodland Creatures Pillows // Etsy 10. Tanga Toggle Knob // Anthropologie

We picked a warm white for the walls (Ralph Lauren Paint’s Tibetan Jasmine) as a quiet neutral backdrop for colorful focal points. Craftsman Greg Mauro built custom library display shelves for the walls, which we painted in a gradient of Ralph Lauren greens. I am looking forward to posting a picture when the project is professionally shot. In the meantime, here are the paint chips. These are good woodsy, leafy greens.FullSizeRender (2)

Personal touches are really what make a nursery design special, and I love finding out about what is meaningful to my clients. The art we sourced from Etsy was based on the family’s favorite children’s books. You just can’t go wrong with Alice riding a flamingo!

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New hardware elevated the old dresser, and broke up the heaviness of the piece with a contrasting white. Some fun felt garland strung over the crib brought the exuberance. And World Market had this adorable set of owl hooks for $14. Whoot!

Nursery hardware

A beautiful set of hand-made wood-block print pillows by artist Laura Frisk was the finishing touch, and another affordable custom element. I got to pick the colors for each creature, so everything is cohesive with the rug.

IMG_2732 And how cute is this? It was a lovely touch, included with the pillows by Laura Frisk. I love supporting talented artist-entrepreneurs!
FullSizeRender (4)A little cherub now dwells in this woodland wonderland nursery. It’s a girl – with an adorably gender-neutral name! I think this spirited but sweet design suits her very well.

Thanks to her mama for allowing me to share the details!

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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!

Recently Completed // A Dreamy Nursery

I have been dying to share this recent project on the blog, and now that it has been featured on Apartment Therapy, I can! This was a special one for me – a nursery I designed for my little friend, Schuyler. She is 17 months now, and her parents and I go way back. This room had great natural light as a starting point. We wanted the decor to feel soothing, but include lots of playful touches. If you like what you see, here are some ideas you might use.

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1. If a guest bed must be included, make it feel like a cohesive part of the nursery. We did this with loads of pillows, and a garland strategically hung above. They define the bed as a lounge for Schuyler to read, play, and cuddle with her favorite people.

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2. Be game for a gray nursery. It can be a great (and gender-neutral) base for so many colors and patterns that you can mix in with art and textiles. The importance of painting samples on the wall and considering them at different times of the day can not be overstated! The color we settled on (Behr Silver Drop) highlights all the white pieces in the room, and acts as a foil for a layering of peach-y pinks in our accessories.

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3. Layer on the texture. From the macrame-like chair upholstery, to the felt garland adorning the bed, to the velvety cottons and fluffy shags of the pillows, this room has plenty of subtle interest in its mix of textiles.

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4. Keep it from looking cookie-cutter. Basic white furniture is a good standard for a nursery, but add some interesting hardware. We chose drawer pulls with a carved texture and a silvered finish for the dresser.

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Also avoid the catalog look by mixing in some organic pieces. The different wood finishes of the armchair and the little vintage chair lend this room some individuality and rustic warmth.

Neustadt-445. Personal touches are key!  The silver sailboat sculpture on the dresser is a nod to Schuyler’s East-coast family culture.6In style, the sailboat was a good counterpoint for a preppy “S” monogram over the crib. The sweet Labradoodle rocker is a miniature of the family’s real-life pet. And the final piece of the design, the abstract painting on canvas, was done custom for this room by my talented assistant, Anna. We approached it as a quick DIY project, and it ended up being a focal point that makes the room feel modern, fun and unique.

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Here are the resources – all very accessible, because nurseries aren’t forever!

Sources
Crib, dresser – Giggle
Dresser hardware- World Market
Drapes – Pottery Barn
Armchair – Urban Outfitters
Kid’s chair – vintage
Rug – Pattern Society
Garland – Land Of Nod
Woven basket, floor lamp, multi-colored pillows – Target
All other pillows, sailboat sculpture – Pier One
Frames, Bedspread and Boucle Throw – Ikea
Bedskirt – Bed, Bath & Beyond
Crib Sheet – Aiden + Anais
Painting – Custom original by Anna Tichon

 

Show Me 3 // Tolix Chairs

A Tolix chair, also known as a Tabouret chair, is an inexpensive way to add some Industrial Chic to a dining space. In steel, copper or brass, I like them teamed with a rustic wood table for an organic contrast. In one of a multitude of fun powder-coated color finishes, the iconic chair looks great with a range of dining table finishes.PD_15034_MAINHIGH // Marais A Chair // Design Within Reach // $275

 

763e5594a1472bc987e1808c38f474adMID // Redsmith Dining Chair // Anthropologie // $170

 

8837bf832ec1c7de74c034045e200e1dLOW // Café Side Chair // Retro Furnish // $65

In one of my favorite dining spaces I have designed, I gave my client’s grand and beautiful trestle dining table a modern edge with some armchair versions of a Tolix chair. You can take a look at it on my Pinterest.

Design Details // Colorful Balconies

I have been working on the complete renovation of an apartment building in Hollywood this year (pictures and details on that coming soon!), and we made a big change to the exterior by simply using color to highlight parts of the existing architecture. On my mood-board for the project were these images: A couple of very minimalist, almost institutional-looking buildings, brought to life with color. I love the way it completely breaks up the repetition of the balconies in each one. The effect is playful and commands attention.

In this building, the walls and doors of the balcony spaces have been painted in the pastel colors of candy-coated Easter eggs. Or maybe it’s a box of fresh chalk…
68a003c5f06f16bb8b9fbd03b551dbbeIn the one below of the Hard Rock Hotel in Pattaya, Thailand, each balcony is bathed in colorful light.

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These buildings remind me of the work of artists like Mondrian and Ellsworth Kelly and Sol LeWitt. The combination of austere line and exuberant color is very dear to my heart!

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