My HGTV Kitchen #1

I’m so glad that the episode featuring my first design for HGTV House Hunters Renovation has aired. Now I can share pictures and talk about the design!! So many great things about working on this project – from teaming up with my husband Will and his crew at Crescent Canyon Construction to make the transformation happen, to filming with the HGTV crew over the course of the remodel, to styling it all for the for the reveal and these pictures at the end.

Scott and Nyrie were the homeowners. They were fun to work with, and had really good taste in design! Here is a breakdown of their wishlist:

Style: Traditional – with industrial touches for him, and farmhouse elements for her. They wanted the room to feel visually light and bright, and emotionally warm and inviting.

Function: A place where all 5 family members could sit and eat; a chalkboard wall as a family message center; a separate cooktop and oven – with the wall oven at a very specific height for Nyrie.

Features: White Shaker cabinets, marble countertops, farmhouse sink, subway tile, glass-fronted cabinets, some light green color.

This is where we started – there was no budget to change the slider doors and window, but everything else from the soffit on down obviously had to go. Goodbye, 1980!!

Hello, Today! I was going for an airy “Los Angeles gastropub” vibe – what do you think?

Spatially, we took the wall behind the fridge back a couple of feet, into the former tiny dining room (now a home office overlooking the living room). This allowed us to include a counter-depth fridge  that doesn’t stick out far from the pantry cabinetry on the same wall. It also bought us some room on the back wall to incorporate a larger cooktop, separate wall oven and more counter space and cabinetry.

The key to doing a Traditional / Industrial / Farmhouse kitchen that isn’t boring and formulaic is all in the design details. Instead of trusty but ubiquitous 3×6 white subway tile for the backsplash, I sourced this gorgeous Ann Sacks tile – 4×8, in a subtle gray-green. It coordinates with an engagingly textured (as in everybody on the HHR crew wanted to run their hands over it when they saw it) 2×8 tile that I used to make a focal point of the cook-top and hood.

Painting the interiors of glass-fronted cabinets gave them depth, and broke up all the white millwork in the kitchen with color. Glass-fronted cabinets can be challenging to style, but a colored paint makes them a fine backdrop for an easy-to-build collection of functional and eye-catching white ceramic pieces. I sourced most of these on hauls at Marshall’s and Homegoods.

We explored expanding this window, but the budget did not allow for it. I made the black work for us cohesively by introducing black lighting fixtures and hardware. I love the way they ground the white and pale green. The black elements are the punctuation in the room!

This is the custom shelf unit I designed with Will and his crew to be a marriage of farmhouse and industrial elements. The piece is suspended from the ceiling so it is visually light, while it also allows much more actual light to bounce around than a clunky cabinet would. On a practical note, it puts the family’s most oft-used dishes, serving bowls and glassware in easy reach for dining.

There is a whole host of beautiful industrial light fixtures I could have used at the bar, but instead I went for more unexpected sculptural shapes. I kept them cohesive with the overall design by choosing black finishes.

I embraced minimalism in the bar’s design, fixing it to the wall and supporting it with a sturdy metal pole. Backless barstools tuck in easily, and allow the eye to travel uninterrupted from kitchen to dining room, making the entire space feel connected. A butcher-block bar top provides an organic (and economical) contrast to the marble-like quartz countertops.


The family wanted a chalkboard wall as a family message center. In my styling, I wanted to show it as a place to create a focal point for a lifetime of special occasions.

I’m currently working on a new kitchen remodel with Will for House Hunters Renovation, with an exciting new set of design challenges. I expect it will air in the spring or summer. In the meantime,  I will be back soon with details about my design of the dining room and patio adjacent to this kitchen. Skip on over to my portfolio of this project if you would like to see it now!

If you would like to see the HouseHunters’ Renovation episode, it’s called Big Family, Big Renovation, and the design fun starts halfway through the show. Here it is on YouTube. 

Online Sources

Flooring – Lapacho engineered hardwood /Simple Floors

Tile – Savoy 4×8 field tile and 2×8 textured tile in cottonwood / Ann Sacks

Faucet – Vimmern with pullout spray / Ikea

Sconce at sink – Sconce with spun brass shade / Olde Brick Lighting

Sconce at chalkboard – Donovan Glass Sconce / Pottery Barn 

Pendant lights at bar –  Black Pod Pendant / Shades Of Light

Barstools – Barchetta 30″ Stools / Wayfair

Cabinet Hardware – Stone Mill Hardware Marshall Pulls in matte black / Lowes

Rug at sink – Mikey by Magnolia Home / Pier One

Cake stands – Jade colored glass and Ivory AmelieWorld Market

Paint – Healing Aloe 1562 (walls) and Quiet Moments 1563 (cupboard interiors) / Benjamin Moore

Appliances – KitchenAid

All Photos (except the scary “before” picture!) by Amy Bartlam, 






























Fast Work // A Fresh, Eclectic Entry Hall and Living Room

1This is a living room and adjacent entry hall that I turned around fast for some clients on a small budget (less than $5K) last year. Their rented 1940’s bungalow had some cool vintage character, including a working fireplace and original windows. Unfortunately, all the walls had been newly painted beige…and my clients were not beige kind of people! They agreed that changing the character of these front rooms with paint was going to be a worthy investment, even for just a year or two.

With some projects, the art is a part of the finishing touches. With this one, we looked to it as a starting point for color. These clients had become engaged on a ski trip to the Swiss Alps, which I considered a sexy jumping-off point for the design! I showed them reproduction vintage travel posters that could reflect their history – and also be framed and shipped fast. The one that really resonated with them featured black and white with deep blues, which gave us an interesting palette to mix with grays and wood tones.

Sampling blue paints for this project was my happy place!
The one we picked very inexpensively defines the entry, and gives the tiny space a presence in the living room by drawing your eye there. These clients love sailing, so this was a bold color that didn’t feel too crazy for them. I tried out this black dresser from their bedroom to ground the blue a bit further, and it turned out to be a perfect fit as an entry piece with storage.

The contrast of the deep blue in the entry with white walls in the living room made the space feel instantly fresh.
My clients wanted to keep some of the Traditional furniture that they had been given by their parents, but were ready to jettison an overstuffed gingham sofa and a few ornate tables for some pieces with cleaner lines and a more low-slung Mid-century style.


Everyone’s favorite new piece is the vintage dresser, found at a flea market and used here as a credenza. While its wood had an ugly grain and looked terribly beat-up, I was sold on the distinctive brass hardware, which was miraculously all intact. It was also a well-made piece, with the scale and storage we were seeking. We patched up the wood in places, and painted the dresser a sophisticated blue in a durable glossy finish to make the hardware shine.

The sofa was custom-made, but most of the other pieces in this space were either sourced online and delivered fast, or picked up on a World Market / Ikea / Target styling haul. Many are still available.

All photos by Tessa Neustadt

Ralph Lauren Paint – Harbor Blue in Entry, Picket Fence in Living Room, Rue Royale on credenza in Living Room
World Market – Riveted table lamp bases, Tribal Drum shades, Deer Departed canvas, Leila sunburst mirror, glass vase, pillows, candle holders, frames
Ikea – Llapljung Ruta rug, Hektar floor lamp, Fejka potted plan
Crate and Barrel – Pastis walnut and white lacquer nesting tables
West Elm – Nook coffee table, Martini table in brass, throw blanket
Urban Outfitters – Moda leather chairs, hand sculpture
Target – Small floor lamp, trio of brass wall decorations, tall wood vase
Allposters.com – Zermatt by Pierre Kroenig print, framed
Huset Shop – Hay tray table
Melrose Trading Post – vintage credenza (restored and custom painted by Natasha Jansz Design)
(Clients’ own – Leaning mirror; black dresser; Edison glass cloche table lamp – similar at World Market)

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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


Photographs by Tessa Neustadt

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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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


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.


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.
Holman LR

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.