Moving Day!!

Craziness is happening at the house and I’m here with the movers trying to empty the apartment. Sad to be leaving this view:

20121031-110719.jpg And Nala will have no more of this:

20121031-110813.jpg But I’m excited for the new adventures in LA and living in a partially renovated house. Let the games begin!!

Crazy Week Ahead

Happy Monday!

I’ll likely be MIA this week as I’m packing and moving into the unfinished house on Wednesday. I thought I had a good start on packing but with the trip to Chicago and Detroit, I’m super screwed with the amount that needs to be done before the movers arrive (or I’ll pay them to pack which makes no financial sense).

Anyway, I came back from my trip to find that my contractor had completed everything I asked and the house looks AH-mazing. I have a kitchen, pantry, powder room, and master bathroom with proper plumbing, electrical and a little bit of drywall! Inspections are tomorrow and then the pretty stuff comes in!


I’m so happy about the progress! I’ll leave you with a pic of how Nala spent her weekend.


Obsess Much: Professional Packers and Movers

I’m in the middle of packing up our house for the move at the end of the month and I’m obsessing right now about professional packers and movers.  We’ve had the service in the past and it is amazing – they pack everything in your house, drive it to where it needs to be, and if you’re lucky (and pay for it) they will unpack a few boxes when you arrive at your new location.  Unfortunately, we can’t justify the expense in the middle of an overbudget renovation but a girl can dream.

Happy Thoughts: Scenes from my weekend

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend. I had a relaxing and productive weekend all wrapped in one.

On the new home front, I received a sample door for my kitchen cabinets:

I don’t think I like the “San Francisco” style and will likely go with a simple Shaker style but the construction on the door was great. I’ll likely order later this week (or early next week whenever demo is done and I can confirm the measurements).

The hubby and I also spent a few hours demolishing the cabinets in the garage.

It wasn’t a major change but was needed to get other parts moving. I’m very excited about what is coming next.

Lastly, we spent Sunday evening with good friends from San Fran enjoying delicious fried chicken from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc restaurant (being served at Bouchon Beverly Hills).

It was simply delicious along with the steak frites, mussels, and salmon tartare. (Sorry for the bad picture…we had devoured half of it before I remembered to take a picture.) We had a great time catching up and are always happy when friends come in town.

I love weekends like this where you are able to get things done but also relax with afternoon naps and enjoying time with friends and family. Well the weekend is over and I’m off to spend the day screaming at contractors because work on the house starts today!!!!

Here’s to a great week!

TGIF: Live it Up and Drink It Down

I sat down this morning to write a post about renovation realities.  My intention was to explain some of the initial experiences I’ve had with the renovation (and really just bitch about things).  But it’s Friday!  It has not been the greatest week but a few good things have happened (new client, finalized some plans, made new friends) so I’m going to choose to focus on that as I head into the weekend.

My motto: “Life is too short, live it up and drink it down!”  Silhouette by  Carter Kustera.

I’m planning to be a homebody tomorrow and then head to the Long Beach Antique Market on Sunday.  Hope you have some fun plans!

I’ll be back next week to give you a run down of the renovation process thus far.  Feel free to check in on my random musings, etc. on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram (@joystreetdesign).

California Home and Design – Small Space Big Style Showhouse

Yesterday, I spent the morning with the fabulous Christian May of maison21 at the California Home and Design’s Small Space Big Style Showhouse.

The designs in the condo were colorful, interesting, and creative.  It was much cooler and hip than any showhouse I’ve ever visited.  Here are a few sneak peeks of my favorite rooms of the space:

Love this black and white graphic bathroom designed by Christian May. Wallpaper created by Black Crow Studios. Photo Source.

Pink and girly mezzanine level designed by Molly Luetkemeyer. Love the choice of wallpaper. Photo source.

Colorful midcentury living room designed by Christopher Kennedy. Photo source.

If you’re in LA, be sure to check out the Showhouse located in Hollywood.  You can buy tickets here.  The showhouse will be open Friday – Sunday from September 14 until November 18.


My weekend ended with this:

Tire exploded/shredded on the 405…good times

Otherwise, we had a great weekend. Our good friends from San Francisco came to visit with their adorable daughter and we ate good food, enjoyed the beach, they drank alot, and L.A. traffic wasn’t too bad.  It’s very rare when I’m actually looking forward to the beginning of the week but after the tire episode and the countless meetings/conversations with the contractors for the house, I’m actually looking forward to getting back into work mode and being distracted.

Here’s hoping that this week is a great one!

More Happy Thoughts: Los Angeles Bars and Restaurants

I’ve had the pleasure to go to a few new restaurants in Los Angeles and thought I would share.

Last weekend, we met some friends at Genwa, a delicious Korean BBQ restaurant.  I tried many new dishes and we ate loads and loads of meat.  It was perfect.

Genwa – accoutrements and grilled meat

I had a fantastic lunch at Le Pain Quotidien in West Hollywood. Lunch was a salad with peaches, burrata, watermelon, and a few greens :).  I couldn’t get enough.

I admittedly don’t spend much time in Long Beach but I’ve identified two great spots for drinks and snacks.  District Wine is a great wine bar that has a solid wine list and outdoor seating.  Their happy hour specials are usually pretty good and the staff is unbelievably nice and courteous every time I’m there.  This type of service makes you want to come back … and back … and back.

They even provide board games to waste time on while you get drunk 🙂

I’ve also been to Fuego at the Maya several times.  The restaurant’s views are fantastic and the happy hour margarita can be deadly.  What’s not to love?

$5 Margaritas with this view…yes please!

Unfortunately, I’m on a self-imposed drinking prohibition for the month of September so I probably won’t have an update for next month.  (Who wants to go out and enjoy a good meal without having a glass of wine too :)).  I’ll be back the following month!

I post my visits and pictures on Twitter and Instagram (@joystreetdesign), so follow me!

Lovely Weather Changes Everything

For years, I’ve had an unhealthy obsession with San Francisco. The city is unbelievably gorgeous with iconic bridges, water views, and European cityscapes.

The food is top notch with a small population serving up a diverse mix of cuisine ranging from Peruvian to Burmese and everything in between. (I must admit that the barbecue and soul food in San Francisco is very disappointing and requires me to go home to Chicago to get that fix.)  The people are interesting and there are social activities (museums, plays, clubs, bars, etc.) to keep you occupied.

Ok…enough gushing about SF.  My biggest complaint about San Francisco was the weather…it sucks!  On any given day, it could be 10 degrees warmer. Even on the warm days, you’re chasing the sun to really enjoy it. San Francisco rarely gets a real summer and NEVER gets summer nights.  I can count on my hands the number of times in 10 years that I left the house without bringing a jacket.

So while I still miss San Francisco for a variety of reasons, I am in heaven right now in Los Angeles.  We actually get a summer and summer nights!  I’ve worn shorts for the first time in 10 years (not sure this is a good thing).  I have sundresses that I just don’t wear when I’m on vacation.  It’s all very new and exciting for me.  I’m not sure how long this weather will last so I’m trying to enjoy it as much as possible.

So I guess I’ll deal with the smog and traffic if I can continue to enjoy this type of weather.  I think people tend to discount how much having the sun on your face improves your mood. Even on a bad day here, I still feel lucky to live in a place with amazing weather and usually perk up a little.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer!

**The pictures of San Francisco were taken by my good friend and fantastic photographer Idris.**

House Hunters LA

For our first year in LA, the hubby and I decided to rent an apartment so that we could figure out the landscape and neighborhoods (since we heard you can lose friends by moving too far away). We have been renting a great apartment on Ocean Blvd in Long Beach (the LBC as it’s commonly called…ha!). We are across the street from the ocean, have amazing views, and great outdoor space.

The only problem (other than the absurd rent) is that Long Beach is extremely far from Los Angeles. Actually, it’s only approximately 25 miles from downtown LA but in LA traffic, I might as well have stayed in San Francisco. It’s been great experiencing life in Long Beach. We’ve met interesting and nice people and have had the opportunity to live in a place we are in no position to buy. But now it’s time to move on.

Since the beginning of June, we’ve been looking for a house. One of the perks of being an attorney in California is that you can sit for the real estate brokers license exam without satisfying the education and work experience requirements. So I decided to get my brokers license earlier this year to save the 2-3% fee charged by a broker (or in the case of buying-to make the 2-3% fee). This sounds great until you account for the fact that I have no damn idea what I’m doing most days. This fact coupled with my ignorance of LA neighborhoods has led to some very interesting house hunting trips in suspect neighborhoods.

I considered getting an experienced broker for the help and to just have someone to go to the houses with me (the hubby generally only visits those houses that make the initial cut). But then a friend (who shall remain nameless) said that I was essentially going to be paying $15K to have a friend (!) and I should suck it up, learn what I needed, and do it. I don’t agree with the characterization but I sucked it up and have been learning as I go (and bothering my friends who do this for a living…thanks!!).

I’ve seen over 40 houses (with my own eyeballs) and its amazing what passes as appropriate these days. I’ll leave you with some of the “best” images from a few homes.

Lovely updated bathroom

Yummy knotty paneling in the bedroom with 6′ 9″ ceilings

Someone hold me back from jumping in this refreshing pool! #iwantapool

P.S. This is my first post on a mobile device, so please excuse any formatting errors.