Design Files: Philanthropy By Design

I just realized that I’ve never revealed another great project.  There is an organization called by Philanthropy by Design which helps nonprofit organizations improve their spaces with the assistance of interior designers.  It’s a fantastic organization and I was lucky to be able to volunteer my services.  My project was one of the SRO community rooms in San Francisco. SROs are essentially residential hotel rooms for low-income residents typically with shared bathrooms and common spaces.  This room was in the basement and acted as the tv room/dining room/relaxation room for all the hotel residents.    It started like this:

CIMG4642 CIMG4643 CIMG4644 CIMG4650Obviously, this room was a little rough around the edges and we were tasked with making it more inviting and less depressing.  Working with a team of volunteers, I came up with the plan to clean it up, make it a lot more colorful, and deal with all the poor construction issues – the exit doors not working, a “countertop” with broken glass shards, a ceiling that had seen many better days, and poor craftsmanship in other areas.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any after pictures with the furniture but the difference we made with just one weekend with Rebuilding Together (another great nonprofit organization) and dozens of volunteers is amazing.

IMG_0747 IMG_0744 IMG_0743 IMG_0749 IMG_0751

IMG_0734We added new colors, a gorgeous new bar top, freshened up the ceiling and added new pendant lights.  It was truly a group effort and was a great experience.  Here are a few additional shots of all the volunteers helping out.

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The residents were excited about the new space and I hope they’re still enjoying it.  I’m currently looking for a similar organization in Los Angeles that provides opportunities like this. I believe that everyone should have a space that’s comfortable and welcoming.  It was a pleasure being able to help those less fortunate and I would love to do it again.

I’d love to help you design a space that you love and truly represents you.  Please contact me if you are interested.  Follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram (@joystreetdesign).

A Few Additions…

The remaining areas of the house – the communal spaces – have been pretty much neglected.  We’re basically working with what we have except that there is an additional living space – the den – and we did not have furniture for that space.  Here are a few other things that we’ve added to the house that I didn’t get to discuss when they arrived.

I designed a sleeper sofa sectional for the den.  This is the original sketch:

sofa sketch

Three months later (and a certain amount of money 🙂 ), here she is:

2 3

I also found this great mid-century dresser at the Rose Bowl flea market for a song.  Unfortunately, I didn’t need a dresser so I turned it into the entertainment center.  I removed the top two drawers for the peripherals.  I made basic box frames and added black mesh fabric to the front (allowing the remotes to work and air to flow around the components).

Entertainment Center

I’ll show you the entire den space next week.  Have a great weekend!

I’d love to help you design a space that you love and truly represents you.  Please contact me if you are interested.  Follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram (@joystreetdesign).

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

black ceiling3

Source: Houzz

black ceiling1

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?

I’ve Missed You!

absence quote

Hello Lovelies!

So sorry to be away for so long.  A week off turned into a month off, which turned into two months off…you get the idea.  I’ve been ready to come back and chat with you folks for a while but was lacking inspiration.  Some of this lack of inspiration is due to a lack of sleep and personal time (no complaining here :)) but most of this lack of inspiration is because my main purchases right now are baby-related items…and baby-related items are generally very unattractive.  Have you looked at the high chair options out there?  WTH? If it isn’t super cheap and ugly, it’s expensive and ugly.  I get that all the kid is going to do is throw food around and make it dirty, but it has to sit in my dining room every day and I want it to look pretty.

The chair I decided to get...doesn't go with a damn thing but it's so girly I couldn't resist.

The chair I decided to get…doesn’t go with a damn thing but it’s so girly I couldn’t resist.

Anyhoo, I digress.

So I’m jumping back in with both feet and looking to get my mojo back.  It’s final design time in several rooms in the house and I have a few new clients that I’m eager to help.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sure to get to the stuff that you (may) want to see – the renovation updates and any other loose ends – but I’ll also try to just throw in fun designs I run across along with inspirational designers I’m studying to help get back in the swing of things.

And just because I’m a proud mama…this is what’s kept me away from the blog for a while…


How could I not be away? 😀

Fired Up and Ready to …

Last week, I had the opportunity to get out of the ongoing project/construction zone (i.e. my house) and enjoy a few design and educational events.  Taking the time to do this provided me with inspiring ideas and information to energize me.  I’m fired up and ready to … think about what’s next 🙂


As I mentioned before, I’ve been thinking about the direction I want to take the blog and the design business.  One day, I had the pleasure of attending an event hosted by Houzz in Santa Monica and an alumni event with Kai Ryssdal from NPR about integrity and communication.  Funny enough, these events were on completely different intellectual spectrums but they both provided me with a burning sense to come home and strategize about the business and blog.  What I took away from the Houzz event was a way to energize my marketing efforts and reach out to an informed consumer.  My marketing efforts should be focused on identifying the importance of working with a design professional and what I bring to the table that is different and unique than other professionals.  The takeaway from the NPR event was the importance of a quest for continued learning and interest in the world.  This made me think about the reason for my career change and how interested I was in design and the desire to learn as much as possible.


Lastly, I attended a dinner sponsored by Lamps Plus to start this year’s Design Bloggers Conference.  It was great to meet other designers and bloggers and discuss their process, goals, and interests.  It was a fun event and made me want to hunker down and focus on making this little blog fun and enjoyable for myself and the readers.

Not surprisingly, I’ve become less energized and excited since moving to Los Angeles, quitting my job, starting a business, buying and gutting a new home, renovating for 6 months, and living in a construction zone while gestating a small human being in my belly.  I need to recapture that excitement that led me to start this new career and work as hard as possible to make a real run at making this a success.  I’m still figuring out what this really means and I’ll probably use the blog to discuss this as I’m ironing it out but I know that, at the very least, I’m going to be focused on being more involved in the design community (online and in Los Angeles), studying design and trends to get a much better understanding of historical trends and further my design knowledge.  I will continue to work with clients and update you on the progess as it happens but I’ll be adding more analysis and discussion of design trends and applications.  Let’s hope this works out!  I would love for you to follow me on the journey and provide feedback on what works (and doesn’t work).

success just aheadFollow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram (@joystreetdesign).


Happy MLK Day!

Happy Friday!

Camera is here! I’ll play around with it this weekend and hope to have some progress pics next week.

Happy Friday!!

Happy New Year!!!

I hope everyone had a fantastic New Year’s Eve celebration and is ready for a great 2013!

Sorry I’ve been away for so long! I’m planning to get right back in the swing of things with the new year and be a much better blogger. We’ll focus more on renovation realities, inspiration pieces, and my actual design projects this year. I hope you’ll stick it out and enjoy the content!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a few updates on the house renovation and other exciting news this week. Here’s the highlight of my week so far:


Who knew a simple faucet would change my life ;). What a great way to start 2013!

I’m Baaaackkk!!

Hello Lovelies –

Sorry I’ve been away for so long.  We lived without internet in the new house for almost two weeks and then other things just took over my life.  It’s been a crazy few weeks but things are finally moving along.  I’ll be back later this week with more design-related news but here are a couple quick notes:

  • Living in a renovation is not as horrible as I thought but it’s also a little worse than I expected.  The hubby is being a trooper but I’m pretty sure he’s miserable.

  • Moving away from the ocean is a little sad but this view makes up for it.

I don’t think Nala agrees with me.  I think she’s a little depressed in her new surroundings.  But I would be too if I there were always people in the house banging away and waking me from my slumber.

  • Our wonderful friends flew all the way from New Jersey to help us install our hardwood floors.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get as far as we hoped while they were here but we had a good time and, more importantly, we got to spend time with this little angel:


I’m excited because we’re in the design phase of the project so I’ll be sharing all the plans. Glad to be back!



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!!