Backsplash fabulousness

This is happening today…

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I’m using the Normandy pattern from Granada Tile.

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Here it is in different installations:

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I’m so excited!

OCD Pantry

I have a thing for organization. I think everything should have a place and, ideally, always be in that place. This is a little tough to implement when you live in a half-finished house but every once in a while this need for organization kicks in and I go all OCD on a space.

Such is the case with our pantry. One day, I woke up to be greeted by ants in our pantry (lured by potatoes spoiling under a large bag of dog food…no finger pointing). After throwing everything away and spending way too much at the Container Store, I ended up with neatly arranged shelves AND was able to use my label maker. (Nerd alert :)).

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I’m loving how everything is neat and tidy and how relatively easy it is to keep it that way.

The only thing missing was a place to create a shopping list. I previously used a magnetic notepad on the side of the refrigerator (as stainless steel appliance fronts are not magnetic) but our refrigerator is enclosed. And then I thought that maybe I would make the pantry door a chalkboard so that I can just write the list on there and take a picture of it with me to the store. But I nixed that idea because I have a chalkboard wall in my office and they are messy and full of dust which I don’t think works well in the kitchen.

Then I remembered seeing this idea and I knew it would be perfect. Five dollars and 15 mins later, I had this and I couldn’t be happier.

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And with that, I’m calling this room done and done. 🙂

Loving a Long Living Room

I have a new guest post over at Courtney Out Loud for my “monthly” column about space planning. I’m discussing how to create seating groups for long living rooms which, like everything else, is at the forefront of my mind because of my house renovations. 🙂

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So hop on over and take a look!

Black Ceilings

From the moment I saw the small cramped hallway in the house, I wanted to exaggerate those features.  The ceiling height can’t be more than 7 feet and it’s only about 3.5 feet wide.  I want to add vertical striped wallpaper (maybe grasscloth) to make the space appear taller and paint the ceiling black to make it disappear.  The ceiling height is so low why not make it extreme.  The other option is to paint the walls and the ceiling dark to make it less noticeable where the walls and ceiling meet (at such a low level).

Source: Domino Magazine

Source: Domino Magazine

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Source: Houzz

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Luxe West Hollywood Residence traditional-bathroom

I’m now getting cold feet about the whole thing.  Because there are so many things in the ceiling – lights, A/C vents, smoke detectors, etc. – I worry that it will be too many non-black things breaking up the black ceiling.  I’m also having a hard time identifying the right wallpaper but painters will be here next week and I really need to make a decision.  What say you?

Space Planning: Home Office

I’ve been working on my home office for quite a while.  The biggest issue was that the room was our temporary living space for a month or two and then it was sort of a catch-all.  Therefore, there was only so much I could do to the room until recently.  I thought it would be great to discuss this particular space because this is a great example of how proper space planning helps with ensuring proper scale and fit of furniture but after the items are loaded in the room, it becomes clear that a better space plan would work.

So here’s the space before we bought the house:

MLS21It’s the smallest room in the house and the only bedroom with a view so perfect for my office.  I originally planned to have a large desk in the middle of the room with a smaller desktop in the closet to house the larger monitor and computer that I use when drawing floorplans.  This would leave the desk in the middle of the room free for design projects (and the smaller laptop).  I also would have a nice area to lounge…you know just in case work was just so overwhelming :-).

Office (wo dimensions)

Initially, I wanted to make this a very feminine space and planned to use the wallpaper that I used in the nursery.  But then I realized that I would sometimes need to share the office with the hubby so I decided to tone it down.  More importantly, I decided to add an additional work station and more storage to account for the hubby’s papers, etc.

Office2 (wo dimensions)I wasn’t sure about the chair off the corner but knew I really wanted a place to sit and relax.  There was also third iteration of the space plan that included two desktops on the wall and changed the closet to simple storage.

Ultimately, after buying all the furniture and placing it in the room, I realized that I didn’t love the way the room felt.  Luckily, all the furniture was properly sized but I just had too much storage and more than enough work space for the both of us.  I wanted to lighten up the room…workload wise.  So I made the decision to remove some of the storage and make enough space for a proper lounging area.  This is the final floorplan:

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As of November 1(ish), we will have been in the house for one year! To commemorate this (and make me feel better about how much work we still have to do), I’m finally having a few spaces professionally photographed.  I’ll be sure to share the final office photos soon.

 

 

Space Planning – Momma’s New Kitchen

Space planning is my favorite part of a new design.  I think it’s great to be able to take a space that is poorly organized or ill-conceived and make it work (Tim Gunn moment!).  I’m working on a few new projects that are still in the beginning stages, as well as tackling the last few untouched rooms in my house, and that has me dealing a ton with space planning.  So for this week, let’s look at a few of the space plans, I’ve recently drawn up.  

First up,  I’m helping my grandma redesign her kitchen.  This is the kitchen I grew up with and hasn’t been really touched since the early 80s.  

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We’re hoping to create an entirely new space but the biggest issue was trying to rework the floorplan. 

Brewer Kitchen - Original

As you can see, the refrigerator is just in a horrible spot when you walk in.  It doesn’t look as bad on paper but in reality it closes off the room and makes it feel much tighter than it actually is.

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So I’ve come up with a few cost-effective options of moving the refrigerator along the same wall and not really messing with any other wires/plumbing/etc.  

Option 1: Keep the same footprint of the room including the L-shaped peninsula (there is a radiator behind the cabinets so there will have to be some sort of half-wall there) but move the refrigerator to the center of the wall with cabinets/countertops flanking it.  It allows the entry to fill more open and to keep as much storage space as possible.  I’m concerned about the doors of the refrigerators and the peninsula making you feel boxed in.

Brewer Kitchen Renovation 2 Brewer Kitchen Renovation2-Elevation1

Option 2:  In this option, we move the refrigerator to the other end of the wall while also creating a small pantry area.  Now, when you walk in, you won’t be slapped in the face with the refrigerator and it’ll feel like a bigger room.  Without the L-shaped peninsula, the room also just feel simple and updated.

Brewer Kitchen Renovation 2 Brewer Kitchen Renovation2-Elevation1I’ve sent the plans and we’ll see which one she likes.  Hopefully the kitchen will be renovated early next year!

 

 

Obsessed Much: David Hicks Fabric La Fiorentina Fabric

I woke up yesterday and really needed some design inspiration.  So I packed up the bambino and we went to the Pacific Design Center to soak in all the design-liciousness.  Oddly enough, I decided to go the design center without any plan for sourcing anything.  My plan was to just look around and soak it all in while grabbing all fabrics that I thought were interesting.  By the end of the two hours (Z was not into it for much more than that), I had multiple bags of wallpaper and fabric that I got to bring home and play with. 🙂

During this short trip,  I realized that I kept coming back to the David Hicks La Fiorentina fabric.  I love the graphic nature of the pattern.  I also like that the pattern is somewhat traditional but there are different size and color variations that make the pattern more modern and fresh.

La Fiorentina fabric in the more traditional ivory and bark.

La Fiorentina fabric in the more traditional ivory and bark.

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Updated colorway in lime

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La Fiorentina in a smaller pattern in the magenta colorway. Love it…

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I’m not bold enough to put this on an entire sofa but wow…(Domino Magazine)

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This might be a perfect use in the master bedroom since I don’t have much pattern in the room. (Ashley Hicks)

Considering that I already have the Hicks pendants in my kitchen and my current obsession with his fabric and wallpapers, I’m going to spend some time studying this talented designer.  I’m hoping my budget will allow me to use this in my house.  Otherwise, some client will likely get a “strong” suggestion.  Haha.

Hicks knockoff

Here’s a Hicks knockoff that might get used if the budget doesn’t allow my initial plans.

Nursery Art

I’m not a big fan of buying art for a specific space.  I prefer to pick up pieces that I like while traveling or exploring and finding somewhere to put them in the house.  I hate looking for pieces simply to fill a space.

That being said…I’m now in that exact predicament.  The nursery is complete except for artwork on the walls.  I really need something to break up the wallpaper and provide some relief on the eyes.  Luckily, it’s a nursery and things don’t have to be too serious in there. I’ve narrowed it down to wanting some sort of animals, preferably baby animals.  Now I just need to figure out the style…modern pop art, watercolors, etc.  Here’s what I’ve been considering:

elephants

Via art.comFlamingo

via EtsyOwls

via Etsy
galleryvia Etsy

What do you think? The walls are super bare and I need a lot of pieces so cost is a concern.

Planning a Bar Closet

Our former furnace lived in a closet in the family room.  When we installed the new HVAC system, we moved the system to the garage and now there is an empty closet in the family room.  I’ve removed the door and have decided to make this closet into a dry bar.  We had the closet wired for electricity and the bottom will definitely house a wine fridge with a countertop.  But for the rest, I’m trying to figure out which direction I want to go in.

Do we go for a true bar feel with a mirror backsplash and glass shelves housing our extensive collection of liquors:

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Or a more kitchen-like bar setup with gorgeous tiles as the backsplash, a few shelves that house glassware or other beautiful pieces with the liquor hidden in a cabinet.

Hoboken, NJ contemporary-kitchen

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Or do we maximize storage and just have a ton of shit everywhere:

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Eclectic Hall contemporary-home-bar

Kitchen with Bold Sophistication eclectic-kitchen

Closet makeover by Eddie Ross.

Closet makeover by Eddie Ross.

What do you think?  Should we not publicize our excessive drinking habits or just keep it real…:D

Creating a Floor Plan

Today, I’m over at Courtney’s blog discussing the basic process of creating a floor plan.  You’ll get to see the plan behind Zoe’s nursery which went from this on paper:

Nursery Floorplan1To this:

Nursery FloorplanTo the (almost) final version:

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Waiting on the final pieces (coming from across the pond :)) and will get the room properly photographed to do a complete post about the transformation.

But hop on over to visit Courtney Out Loud to see how the plan came together.