Mantel

Recently Completed // Master Bedroom Suite Retreat

One of the best things we can hear from a client is that our design work has changed their relationship to their home. In the weeks after we installed this master bedroom, my pair of television-writer clients told me that they would wake up in their transformed master bedroom and talk about how they couldn’t believe they were in their own house. The wife reports that her husband, who may lean toward untidiness, now rushes around in the morning, making the bed and tucking clothes into drawers. He always jokes that he has to leave the room “looking nice for the guests”. Given that the couple asked me for a space that felt like a serene, comfortable and unique suite in a bed and breakfast, I’d say our work here is done!

Photo by Amy Bartlam. Design by Natasha Jansz Design.

The architecture of this space and some of its details were already great to begin with: a spacious suite with vaulted ceilings, French doors leading to a balcony overlooking the pool, a freestanding tub in the bathroom, a fireplace with a lovely stone tile surround, and plenty of natural light. The wife showed me this Serena and Lily bed that had captured her heart, and told me that they would like to see pale blues and greens in the design. Inspired by the shape of the headboard, its brass nailhead detail, and the prettiness of watery colors, we proposed a feature wall of an exquisite blocked-printed wallpaper by Galbraith and Paul, and showed it with Lulu DK’s playful bird fabric as a focal point on a backdrop of textured neutrals. We added dark metal furniture to balance all the lightness, and had so much fun with the details.Photo by Amy Bartlam. Design by Natasha Jansz Design.Although much of the furniture here was sourced at retailers such as Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware and West Elm, it was great to go custom to get certain details right. Case in point: this generously proportioned ottoman at the foot of the bed, clad in a soft velvet, with legs that complemented the turned legs of the bed. The tall mirror with inlaid capiz shell frame, Roman shades, drapes and throw pillows were also custom-designed for the project.

Photo by Amy Bartlam. Design by Natasha Jansz Design.I’m a little giddy about the details above, so beautifully captured by photographer Amy Bartlam. There’s the textured trellis pattern of the drapery, teamed with the textured chevron pattern of the duvet cover. The “lingerie dresser”, clad in zinc, is the ideal smooth counterpoint, and lends the room a masculine warmth. This was a very narrow space between the drapes that called for a very tall something for balance, so finding that dresser was a real eureka moment! And let’s not forget those spectacular pink peonies, which we were so glad to track down in November for the photo-shoot!! Photo by Amy Bartlam. Design by Natasha Jansz Design.Here we are on the balcony, which needed a Dash & Albert outdoor rug to make it feel like a room. We had my clients’ old teak furniture refinished, and ordered new cushions for the chairs, covered in Perennials outdoor fabric. The tie-dye pillows are from One Kings Lane, and my psychologist friend remarked that they remind her of a Rorsarch test! I don’t know about you, but I think about sipping a cup of tea and reading a magazine when I see this space.Photo by Amy Bartlam. Design by Natasha Jansz Design.I am obsessed with the “Saturn” ceramic planters here, found at Potted in Atwater Village – more textured pattern in our palette of whites, and they strike a pleasing balance against the vertical lines of the balcony railing and the upholstery fabric. The succulents are sedum – a bushy-for-a- succulent plant that can take a lot of direct light, which is perfect out here. (In real life, my clients have a nice shady Sunbrella patio umbrella to hide under when they are spending time  here – it just couldn’t be adequately captured in a photograph without a crane!)Photo by Amy Bartlam. Design by Natasha Jansz Design.

More texture and pattern quietly abound here at the fireplace, along with organic touches – the basketweave stone tile of the surround, the nubby weave of the chair upholstery, flora in the Miguel Arguello still-life art and fauna in the pillow print…and sometimes you just need a spiky brass urchin to finish things.Photo by Amy Bartlam. Design by Natasha Jansz Design.This gorgeous inlaid bone dresser mixes clean lines with intricate pattern and an exotic flair. I often use black to ground a design in a pastel room, and I love the way this piece complements the black granite counters in the master bath beyond.Photo by Amy Bartlam. Design by Natasha Jansz Design.

The color, texture, pattern and organic touches found in the bedroom flow seamlessly into the master bath, which is anchored by a large indoor-outdoor rug for its own unique character and warmth.

The paint colors used to create this haven are all by Ralph Lauren Paint: Pale Cap on the bedroom walls, Crescent Blue on the bathroom walls, and Egret trim throughout.

This and other pretty bedrooms can be seen in my portfolio here.

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Resources
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)

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 // From Goth to Traditional

No matter what your style is, you have to work with the given architecture of your space. Here are Before and After pictures of 4 rooms of a large home I did this year. The architectural style of the house my clients had just bought is what I would call Contemporary Mediterranean. The previous owners had applied a very specific aesthetic to it, one that involved deep, dark paint colors, medieval-looking light fixtures and heavy drapery.

L I B R A R Y // B E F O R E

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While this Baronial style actually worked well with the architecture, it didn’t suit my clients’ tastes (or the furniture they were bringing with them) at all. So we decided to lighten everything up and give the house a warm but pared-down Traditional style instead. Let’s call it California Traditional! It’s more modern than an East-coast Traditional style, and it has understated exotic flourishes.

L I B R A R Y // A F T E R

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No remodeling was required on this project, but we seriously needed to strip back the Goth elements! Paint, window coverings and lighting were the key to the transformations here. We kept the new design cohesive with the Contemporary Mediterranean architecture by sticking to clean lines (those simple, tailored shades) and aged bronze finishes.

L I V I N G  R O O M // B E F O R E

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One of the challenges of the architecture of this house was that the Living & Dining Room windows lacked privacy from the street. This meant that window coverings would need to be closed most of the time, and would be an especially important element of the design. We used this as an opportunity to set the overall tone for the rooms through the introduction of texture and pattern. We chose a few exotic prints in organic motifs, which in turn lent themselves to some other Global touches in the furnishing and styling. An eclectic yet tailored mix was the result.

L I V I N G  R O O M // A F T E R

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D I N I N G  R O O M // B E F O R E

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Well-made custom window coverings can be shockingly expensive (and there were something like 40 naked windows and French doors in this house that needed something) but for these “showier” rooms of the house, they were well worth it.

D I N I N G  R O O M // A F T E R

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This is not a sponsored post, but I’m a big believer in outsourcing for window coverings. We enlisted 3-Day Blinds to do the Roman shades on this project. They have a huge selection of fabrics and materials to choose from (you can also send your own material to their workroom), so once we nailed down design specifics, we were able to turn every step from measuring to installation over to our rep. Everything was then covered by a comprehensive warranty that put my clients with a cat, a large puppy and a baby at ease about the durability of the shades.

B R E A K F A S T  N O O K // B E F O R E

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B R E A K F A S T  N O O K // A F T E R

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Photography: Ilse Helgen

This project was a lot of fun, and I’ll be posting about a couple of other rooms I completed in the house when we talk styling!

Past Work // Family Room Reno

About two years ago, we bought a ranch-house in the Valley – a 1930s cottage with a 1970’s face-lift and addition. I immediately thought the sunken Family Room was fantastic because it was light-filled, connected to the yard through huge slider doors, and had a working fireplace. The hardwood floors were in great shape, and I loved the exposed beams.The problem was that the room felt like a giant sauna, with golden-brown knotty wood covering every surface!  Here is how I approached the transformation in the planning phase of the renovation.

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I had originally planned to do a really smooth paint finish over the brick fireplace surround and hearth, but once the other clean details were put in place and the “country” feeling was gone, I came to appreciate the interesting color variations and subtle rawness of the antique brick. My change of heart was a convenient one – painting brick is tricky because of the pointing (“grout” in between the bricks). Adhesion is a challenge, and I happen to find a craggly paint finish very undesirable.

The most dramatic change in the room came with how we dealt with the walls and ceiling. Naturally, we looked at just lightening up the wood paneling with white paint. But the problem with painting knotty wood is that often, in a matter of months or years, the knots insist on showing up as unwelcome yellow blotches through the paint.

The next obvious option was to demo the panels. But the drywall underneath would probably have been a mess, and we knew it was likely that we were going to have to take the walls down to the studs and start over anyway.

detail bOur solution was to put the drywall OVER the existing panels on walls and ceiling. The wood was a good base for the drywall, and we avoided a lot of demolition time and expense and mess by doing it this way.The new drywall overlaps the structural beams a little, but it looks good. I was NOT about to cover up the best parts of the architecture, just because I couldn’t get the transition perfectly right. These beams are gorgeous, and it’s not common for people to build houses with materials like this anymore. So the beams were left revealed, and we had really good drywall guys who made the finish at the exposed edges look smooth – in a raw kind of way!

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Notice the structural pillar between the pony wall and header beam in the foreground of the picture? The curved details of it made it too “country” for my more pared-down aesthetic, so we had it boxed in with plywood, and painted the same color as the cabinets and window trim. And we left the wood caps on the open ends of the walls as a throwback detail!

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I love the clean look we got from going with drywall and paint – especially in the way that the exposed wood beams, which kind of disappeared before, became a wonderfully graphic feature in contrast.

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Sauna no more! We really love spending time in this room. I am looking forward to getting into some other details about it (and showing you some updated pictures) in future posts about lighting, window coverings, furniture arrangements and styling.

Photos: “After” photos courtesy of Robert D. Gentry

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