Decisions & Inspiration | ORC Week 2

In cased you missed the announcement last week, we are joining in on the One Room Challenge again this season! The ORC is hosted by Linda at Calling it Home and has been running for 11 seasons now I believe. It has become a challenge that many design and decor bloggers and enthusiasts look forward to every Spring and Fall Season. The challenge is to pick one room and transform it in six short weeks. We first participated last spring with our Living Room and with baby on the way, we knew we wanted to participate this fall to get our space ready for our new arrival! Here are some inspiration spaces for our room:

 

(Sources, clockwise from top left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.)

Since last week not much has changed in our bedroom. Okay, nothing has changed. But there has been a lot of planning and brainstorming of details happening. So without further ado, here’s a look at what I’ve been up to with our space this week!

Color, or a lack thereof. The bedroom right now is green, like a really pretty jewel-tone green, but it needs to be lightened up. Though I debate painting it the moodiest of deep eggplant purples, or seriously stormy gray, for what we are doing, neutral is key. I do feel that babies can thrive in dark spaces, but, for us we are also keeping resale in the back of our mind since we won’t be painting again before we sell our place (whenever that is) this is it. Buyers are unimaginative and that is putting it nicely… so light and bright it is. And I think the change will be refreshing for us too!

Texture, texture, texture! Since we aren’t finding out the gender of Baby P, and we will all be sharing the room, in addition to keeping the colors neutral, we are using a lot of texture to add to the space. Our area rug in here is a white short pile shag carpet with a grey linear pattern, which we will keep and just steam clean to refresh. Our curtains have a great visual texture to them, they will also stay. I’m considering re-upholstering the bed though… currently it is a light tan/beige color. I’d love to have it be more in the gray/white/ivory family we are going towards, so I’m considering a white or ivory linen or velvet…or maybe charcoal… Thoughts? The bedding will pretty much stay as is (white with greige border detail, and quilted greige euros) with the introduction of some new pillows maybe… I’m thinking of maybe some of the fun lamb pillows we have in the living room.

Let there be light! I want to make sure we have enough layered lighting in the room so that if baby is sleeping and we want to read before bed, we still have the option. I’m thinking of hanging some pendants over each side of the bed for that purpose and then adding a lamp/nightlight set-up on the changing area to make sure we can see what we need to in the middle of the night. And then I just have to decide on which ceiling fan/light combo to go with. Here are the ones I’m considering (clockwise from top L, 1, 2, 3, 4.):

What do you think? I need some opinions on the fan/light situation as well as the option to either leave the headboard alone or make the change and if I change, what color/texture to go with… help!! Follow along with our progress every week here, and be sure to also hop over to the Calling it Home blog to see the other Guest and Host participant spaces. These are so great for inspiration, definitely worth the time to read through the posts!

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Complete Destruction | ORC Week 3

Welcome to week three of our One Room Challenge, where we are guest participating in a challenge to transform a room in 6 (or really 5) short weeks! If you missed our previous posts, see what our room looked like before and our plans/progress here.

Last week after I read through a good chunk of the other ORC Guest Participant posts, I started experiencing maximum anxiety about my time frame for this project. Having been away for 5 days took a lot of my progress time away and after seeing the strides everyone was making I was like oh crap I need to get down to business.

So, as soon as I got home from the office last Thursday (and finished snuggling with #BrantleyBub) I started ripping out the telephone wire I pointed out in last week’s post. I sent out a snap of the progress I was making and immediately got a text from the hubs, like “what in God’s name have you done?!” Well it wasn’t that dramatic, but he was a little nervous curious and the text did come through pretty quick.

Over the weekend, we began taking the old moldings out. We very quickly realized that we weren’t going to be able to get off so many layers of poorly applied (and like lead) paint, so we cautiously began removing them, with much concern for the plaster walls… we did not need those crumbling down on us. We plan to replace them with period appropriate moldings. It was so fun though to see the history of colors that have been on our walls from shades of green to blue to pink and white.

Remember last week when I said we might do the floors, pending budget and availability of scheduling someone? Well yesterday we had the guy come out to give us the quote, because after removing the molding and revealing the edging, it quickly became apparent that it needs to be done. So we are pinching pennies and cutting from some areas of the budget where we can to make room for the floors. They will be repaired and refinished and the soonest we can get on their schedule for is May 2nd. That’s cutting it awfully close to the reveal week, but ya know what? It’ll have to do.

So, flooring aside, we successfully removed all of the trim ourselves (with the exception of the window trim), and for my hubby who has never really been all that handy, and for myself who grew up in a DIY family but hasn’t ever undertaken serious projects at home (everything I plan with my clients, someone else executes), I am insanely proud of us! So right now we are in the “complete destruction” phase of the project, where nothing looks pretty and we are lucky if there isn’t still demo dust scattered around the living room (and the rest of the condo). Hopefully soon, things will start looking a lot prettier!

We also swatched paint to decide on our color change. I narrowed it down to 5 choices, which do you like the best? (The colors are as follows–all Benjamin Moore: 1., White Satin. 2., Breath of Fresh Air. 3., Jet Stream. 4., Heaven on Earth. 5., Silvery Blue.)

I’m planning to paint the base molding and the ceilings white, and the walls, door and window trims and doors themselves all the same as the wall color. Because our room is so small, and there are a lot of doors/doorways/windows for the small space, I want to eliminate the illusion of the space being broken up so much. I feel that if the color is consistent on all of the details with just the top and bottom framing out the wall color with crisp white, then the room will feel a lot more expansive. That said, I’m catching a lot of flack so far from the few people I’ve discussed it with, but I think we are going to move forward with this plan anyway. Since I can’t shake the idea, I decided to dig up some images of rooms where others have embraced the concept and rocked it! Here’s a look at some rooms where they’ve done some version of this:

[Paint Inspo Images: Martha Stewart’s Pink Guest Suite, Latitude Lane Den by Angie Hranowsky, AB Chao’s Moody Bedroom as featured on Apartment Therapy’s post here, Eclectic Dining Room by Suzanne Kasler and Kim Winkler as featured on Carla Aaston’s blog here.]

What do you think? Are you a fan of unifying the space by painting everything including moldings the same as the wall color?

This weekend our goals are to finish removing the last bit of trim, tend to the radiator, and start working on patching and priming the walls. I’d love to say we will paint, but if there is anything I’ve learned from doing the molding it’s that everything takes longer than you think, and I do not want to rush the paint! We also have an appointment for the window treatments to finalize our fabric selections and get our install scheduled. So all in all, I feel we have made great strides this week (even if it only does equal one thing off the list).

Here’s a look at our list:

  • Remove old moldings
  • Install new moldings
  • light fixture/ceiling medallion
  • Radiator-clean up and/or cover
  • Gallery Wall
  • DIY Art Project
  • Refinish Wood Floors
  • Paint
  • Window Treatments

One Room Challenge, One Room Challenge Spring 2016, One Room Challenge Guest Participant, ORC Spring 2016, ORC Guest participant

Be sure to pop over and scroll through the featured designers progress updates here, and jump to the Calling It Home blog for the guest participant link up to see everyone else’s spaces as well! I hope you are having fun following along with this challenge!

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ORC Week 2 | The Plan

Or, the things I love and loathe about our current living room.

When I shared last week I got a ton of comments from people who LOVE our current blue paint (Benjamin Moore’s New York State of Mind, btw). We love it to, but it is dark in this small space, an although I think it adds a ton of our personal flair to the space, I think a lighter brighter space could work to our benefit in here. Since we do love the blue, we are going  to stick with our same basic color scheme though we’ll be selecting a lighter blue.

Best Benjamin Moore Blues, Benjamin Moore Paint, Best Blue Paints,  Blue Color Scheme,  Classic Blue  and white, white painted wood, window treatment, swatches, color schemes,
We used to have too many surfaces and pieces of furniture but we cleared a ton of excess away when we KonMari’d earlier this year. So, in general, I’m happy with our furniture. (Though the cushions on the back of the couch could use a little help.)

Let’s talk about the art. We purchased some fabulous painting while in Italy on our honeymoon, we have gotten all of these pieces incorporated into our home, and a long ass time ago, we planned out our gallery wall…during this transition, I would like to attempt to create a DBK original painting to include in the gallery wall and get everything actually hung up so the gallery is a completed focal point. The three other pieces on the living room walls (the areal view of Manhattan in black & white, the painting between the widows–one of the honeymoon buys–and the mirror) are all staying, not just in the mix, but in their existing locations too.

Navy Paint, Navy Walls, Navy and white, Gallery Wall, Gallery , Art Wall, Wall of Art, Bad Paint Job, One Room Challenge 2016, ORC guest 2016
The details, aka the things I loathe. Our condo is in a pre-war building that has details up the wazoo, but when the last person attempted to update our unit, they gave no concern to the details. Our moldings look atrocious. They have layer upon layer of paint on them, some have been spackled in an attempt to patch them, and some have wires (that are old and not connected to anything) fastened into them–and then painted over multiple times! Needless to say the moldings are going to be getting some serious TLC on this journey.

 

I would love to include refinishing the original hardwoods into the plan this go around, but I’ve not had luck finding anyone that does that in our area yet, and I’m not sure it will fit in the budget this go around either.. But I’m optimistic, so we will see!

So what’s new? Well, first and foremost, we need some sort of window treatments in here… The unit across the courtyard was empty when we moved in so they weren’t a priority anywhere except the bedroom and bathroom really. And now that we have lived without them for so long ,it has become what we are used to.. .but in addition to the privacy they will add, I’m excited about finding something that might aid in reducing our cooling budget in the summer too.

Finally, I have been planing with a good friend/coworker of mine to build a radiator cover to enclose that old over-painted beast, and I am hoping that it will be done in line with this challenge! And lastly, I’ve been trying to hunt down the perfect light fixture for this room too, though I haven’t found anything perfect yet, I’m not ready to cross this detail off the list.

So that’s our story around here for this week! What do you think of the plan? Do you like change in blue tones and the attention to details? Make sure you take a few minutes to hop over to the Calling it Home ORC page to see what is new with the featured designer participants this week along with the other guest participants too!

Since I was gone last weekend, nothing has changed around here yet, so the upcoming days/weekends are going to be be busy!! I think sanding moldings and determining the specific new blue for the walls will be my main goals for this weekend! What is your favorite mid-light shade of blue for paint?

Tomorrow (deepening on how things go) I’m hoping to get my updated posted on our little girls weekend in Napa, so be sure to check back for that later this weekend too!

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The 1893 House

This suburban New Jersey project has been under way for us for about 6 months now, with DBK involved for a little over 2 months. They found the home last summer and immediately started seeking out contractors and an architect and I didn’t step onto the project until the architects plans were complete and the crew was about to break down the walls.

I love this project. I love this old home, the clients, the character in the details, the things we are able to salvage and retain and the things we are working so hard to incorporate to get it back to it’s hay-day style. (The pictures above are from the real estate listing which didn’t share photographer information, but since I came on board late there was already a bit of debris around the house so I wanted to share something so you could at least envision the space before it became a construction zone.)

I love being able to walk in and envision film reels of this house’s glory days. I can’t wait for this couple to be able to enjoy their own glory days in the homes renewed beauty when we are done with it.

That said, when I first walked in and walked through with the client, I was awe struck. The details truly are magnificent and they really don’t make homes like this anymore. However, upon seeing the architects plans for the house, I had to proceed with making a few adjustments, and without hesitation, I brought up my concerns with the client.

Basically I had concerns with the layout of the master suite, and the flow of the kitchen. There were some minor issues with the hall bath that we caught and addressed before they would become an issue, and we have more recently been combing through the electrical plan and making sure the lighting is enough and that we have our proper layers of light in each space. (The lighting I will have to share more on another day, because I get so excited just mentioning it… I can’t wait until it’s actually all in place.)

For the Master Suite (first five images in this photo group), the changes were made but didn’t get to the construction crew in time, and because of this, we had to re-frame the master suite (relocating closet space and bathroom space). It was extremely frustrating for the crew and I’m pretty sure the GC is still upset with me, but honestly, these are the details we need to make sure are done with 100% accuracy so that when move in date comes and the client is using the space, they are moving through it with complete ease.

Good design of a space isn’t just fitting it all in. It is making sure there is good function and flow… making sure that the end user can function well and thrive in their new environment. I truly believe that is key to any successful design project.

So, the changes were made. The space is really beginning to take shape and the home is opening up beautifully. (The last picture in the lower grouping is of the kitchen space opened up now into the dining room area… I can’t wait to see how the light and space feels when framing is complete!)

I will share more progress as we move through and make more progress. All of the photos here are obviously rough and in the works as the construction team has been working through all the rough work. Hopefully I can give you an update next month that is a little more resembling of a place you would actually enjoy spending time.

What do you think so far of this project? Would you be brave enough to buy a 100+ year old home and take on it’s restoration? I have been sharing a lot of in process images from this space over on my Instagram and you can follow along with the hashtag #dbkproject1893 to see some updates and selections along the way.

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Simplifying a Bathroom

This project is the type of project that is so fun! No major plumbing or electrical changes are taking place, but the transformation is so HUGE! The work is in progress now, hopefully will be done soon so that I can share a reveal with you but on the phone last night she said to me that already the bathroom is “one hundred and fifty seven thousand times better!”
I love that, and I have to agree. The old space was outdated with burgundy 4″ tiles everywhere with the exception of a one piece tub surround unit that felt cheap and dingy in the space, a vanity that was dis-proportioned to the space and visually felt bulky with the details and finish, and an overall yellow tone in the space that didn’t feel right.


The goals for this space were to maximize the functionality and the storage while making the space feel clean and bright and more open.


Here’s what we are doing:

First things first, the vanity that is existing is 42″x 21″ and with a long narrow bathroom like this one, we want to make sure the vanity protrudes into the space too much. We decided to order the vanity to be 60″ wide with a reduced depth of 18″ to allow more storage in the length, while running the cabinetry more flush against the wall.

Due to the position of the door, we can’t run the vanity all the way to the door, so we positioned it as close to the commode as we could according to the code regulations, leaving a 20″ space between the entry wall and the vanity unit… perfect spacing to accommodate a decorative hamper or waste-basket, or just leave it open, either way, the space is left feeling elongated and open.

We changed the vanity finish from dark wood to a painted white finish and from a dark granite top to a gray and white top.

The other main thing that we changed that will make a huge impact is the tile. On the floors we removed the old dated mini burgundy tiles from the floor and replaced them with a large 10″ gray hexagon, and on the walls, we used a large white tile, staggered just like a standard subway tile would be, but in the large scale, it makes the space feel so open and the white is so refreshing compared to the old dark tile that was there before. Instead of using a standard bull-nose tile to finish the ends, we capped it all off with a sleek chrome trim. (Some in progress shots below.)

Basically the re-design is a simple change in the scale and tone of the details to really simplify and freshen up the space. Hopefully I will have more details to share soon… be sure to follow along on Instagram to see any updates that may come along.

What do you think? Are there any little things you can do to simplify your bathroom? (Or any room in your home?)

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Updating to a Classic Look | Farmhouse Bathroom Renovation In Process

TGIF y’all!! I wanted to celebrate that we made it through the week by sharing a bit about one of my current projects!

I started working with this client on their space several months ago (back when there was still snow on the ground). We sorted through all of the details of their space, worked out a plan, and started selecting our materials.

Farmhouse Bath Floor Plans

Orders were placed around March or April and then we waited. This is not that uncommon in the world of renovations. You have to wait for your contractor to fit you into their schedule, the town to approve your permits, and the materials to all arrive. All that said, we were ready to go in June, but couldn’t start until a few weeks ago due to many variables.

You can take a look at the planning process in this post (the first image shows me working through this space planning). And the plan above is the one that we ultimately went with. The idea was to bring in some more classic farmhouse elements to be true to the home’s character while not creating something that would easily feel dated.

We decided to choose materials that represented that classic farmhouse feeling with the wood look tile on the main floor, white subway on the walls (in an updated scale and finish), and accents of Carrera marble in the counters, shower floor and saddle pieces.

We went with a claw-foot tub centered in the bathroom space with a beautiful and classic tub filler to finish it off. This detail was the one sticking point for this client, we had to find a way to make a claw-foot fit in the space in addition to the shower, and ideally make it stand out as a centerpiece.

Farmhouse Bathroom Storage Cabinet Linen Tower Custom Amish Dining Room Hutch

For the cabinetry, we went with a simple style and a classic valance base that nods towards an Amish farm style cabinetry detail. The plan is to carry this theme through with custom corner cabinets to flank the tub and add storage in the space (we had to knock out the linen closet in the hallway to make everything fit in the space that we wanted). The corner cabinets would be a painted white finish with a valance base that would match that of the vanity cabinet, but for now they won’t be added due to budgeting restrictions (also very common in renovations), however they are all planned and ready to go whenever we are ready to add them. The vanity cabinet itself is a really pretty chestnut brown finish, which is a nice rich tone without the reddish undertones.

I can’t wait to see how this whole space comes together! Hopefully I can share more soon! Are you working on any projects at home? What renovations are on your list currently and what types of renovations do you want to see me share more of here?

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100 Year Old Basement Renovation In Process

This project started out a lot like many others. When I first met with the homeowners, the wife was timid and anxious about even letting me see the basement, but upon seeing it and discussing the space with her, she became very excited to be moving forward with renovating this space.

When I presented the plans to the husband and wife they both became very excited about the space and anxious to keep things moving. This basement needs to consist of more organized storage for household items, their extra refrigerator, an appliance pantry for larger counter-top appliances that get used only a handful of times throughout the year, a laundry room, and gym. In addition to these shared spaces, we needed to create a space where family can crash when needed, so there is also a shared mud room with exterior entry and a full private suite with a kitchenette, living room, bathroom and bedroom, and knowing how amazing this space is going to be when it is finished, any member of the family who gets to crash in this basement is going to feel like they landed at a 5 star hotel.

Through shopping trips, research, planning and revising plans, I have become pretty close with the family and they have had some unfortunate news come to light. That said, we are doing everything we can to finish this project as efficiently and inexpensively as possible.

The space has been fully gutted and the french drains are going in. The space feels so much larger than it felt before and they are starting to be able to envision the plan within the shell of their basement now. We are at a pretty fun stage of the game with everything so raw right now. (All of the images above are pre-demo; below is where we are now.)

I wanted to share this seemingly nothing of an improvement so that you can see how these projects start. We have to knock things down in order to pick them back up again, and in this business it isn’t all pretty. Sometimes you might be ashamed of how your space looks now, but it will get there, even if it takes forever.

This basement is 100 years old, it has a lot of character, and we are intending to keep a good chunk of the character in tact. Can’t wait to show you more along the way as we progress.

Deadline City

Labor Day weekend is fast approaching, and aside from the holidays, it is one of the busiest times of year for design pros. Many people want to wrap things up by this weekend for a variety of reasons: from hosting an end-of-summer bash, to getting things finished before school starts back up, to coming home from their vacations and wanting to arrive to a finished space!

Whatever the reason behind it, designers this week are slammed! I like to think that I’m a bit more composed than a headless chicken, but when all is said and done, you can find me enjoying at least one day off with a cocktail in my hand and hopefully some sand beneath my feet. I’m coming for you Labor Day!!

Probably the biggest thing I have going right now is one of my clients will be hosting all of the festivities surrounding their niece’s wedding. After purchasing a new house, almost every room has a project that needs to be completed. We have been focusing on taking care of the rooms that are completely empty or will be high-traffic areas before we work on the spaces that are outdated and just need a change.

We have all been running around from Philly to New York and all corners of the internet to find materials, make selections and get things ordered. The thing is, despite ordering in advance and selecting “overnight” shipping options, we are still waiting for a few key pieces. Friday morning, I will be bustling around their home getting window treatments hung and placing furnishings that might only be placeholders just to fill the space before the parties begin.

I will take some pictures if I have time and share next week what the house looks like in it’s temporary state of completion, place-holders included. And then you can really see the transition of the space coming together. For now, all of the pictures included here are of the space as it was when I first came to see it before starting work on the space.

The one space I’m missing is their son’s bedroom, which I’m kicking myself for not taking a photo of, since even though we are doing very little with his space, the changes we are making will likely have a HUGE impact.

Anyway.. that’s what I’m up to! What are your Labor Day plans?

WIP|Dressing Room

One of the projects I am really excited about right now is a dressing room I’m working on for a great couple. The house is an older home with tiny existing closets, but at the top of the stairs to their second level, there is a larger bedroom to the left, the master, a bathroom directly across from the stairs, a linen closet next to the stairs on the right and a smaller bedroom on the end of the hall just past the linen closet.

A look at the exiting extra bedroom just after moving into the home:

Since they have two additional bedrooms on the first floor, we’ve decided to convert the second bedroom upstairs into a large walk-in closet, or dressing room, creating a full master suite upstairs. The room has stunning hardwood floors, an existing closet, and for resale purposes it may need to be converted back into a bedroom, so we are anchoring all of the shelving into the walls which can be patched and painted easily enough when the time comes.

Personally, I think that the dressing room would be an excellent sales feature on its own without being converted back, but resale won’t be for a while.

The first thing we did upon my first visit to the home was take a look at all of the shoes, clothing and handbags that they were hoping to house in the dressing room. I then needed to see the space. I took my measurements and hit the drawing boards.

I came up with two options for them in the space calculating the number of items each could potentially hold and presented each to them. To help them better envision how each would feel in the space, I measured out some of the key pieces and marked them with blue painters tape on the floor, and once we could all really see how the space would lay out, a plan was very easily selected.

From the plan, we began furnishing the space. The largest piece of the dressing room is obviously the cabinetry, which had a lot of research involved. Although similar in many ways, the cabinetry for closets are very different from kitchens and baths.

That said, we began looking into a happy medium between big-box stores and Ikea options which turned out not to be customizable enough to fully customizable cabinetry lines. We found our happy medium with a local shelving systems company, Bella Systems, who thus far has been a breeze to deal with.

It took some back and forth between all the parties involved to find the exact right use of space and components involved before we settled on the final layout (the above left floor plan) and placed our order. While we wait for the cabinetry to come in, we are working on selecting seating for the space, a new makeup vanity and coordinating stool, new jewelry storage, art/details for the walls and other accessories.

I promise to update with some selections soon and I can’t wait for this space to come together! It is going to be a dream for the homeowners and the envy of all of their friends and family (myself included)! All digitally created images provided by Bella Systems, some modifications have been made from these plans to fit the current plan moving forward… I can’t wait to share this space with everyone!

Work In Progress… {Putting Pen to Paper}

… Or in my case, I always use the same type of pencils. I keep an overflowing quantity of them on my desk at home and in the office at all times. Putting pencil to paper for me is how everything really starts unfolding in the design process. After meeting with clients and discussing their wants and needs for the space, I go home and lay it all out.

Finding the Right Layout

This is a layered process, and I mean that very literally. The way that I typically work through a space is by first drawing the shell and giving myself an outline of the immovable space we are confined to for the project. Then, I make copies, and from those copies I layer in the different elements of the space working to see if we can get all the wants and needs into the space. Most of the time there is a compromise that has to take place. Something big is required (by code or by client) so something else less important has to take the backseat.

For each project, this process is different. For some clients, it is very cut and dried and only takes one draft; for others it can take dozens. I just finished a kitchen plan that was very straight forward with the space allowances, the clients requirements and the materials we specified. It took one first draft and the final was essentially the same with some minor tweaks. Simultaneously I am working on two separate bathroom spaces, an expansive master on-suite and a small family bathroom in a farmhouse. Both are much more complicated and have taken several drafts to get on the right level with the space, the client must haves and the necessary design details.

This process can be frustratingly drawn out and can take a long time. I wish it was all easy..but going through the motions for me also helps solidify the design we move forward with knowing that it is the best option and that all other options have been drawn out and considered.

Hand Drawing Detail 1

A lot of my clients ask if I’m going to send them a computerized drawing of their space and plan when we do our initial meeting, and although I have learned software programs while I was in design school, there is something about putting pen to paper that is so much more valuable to me and my process than clicking the mouse a few times. Maybe someday I’ll go all fancy and switch to the software, but I love the practice of drawing plans and spaces. From a creative standpoint, it also allows me to connect with the space so much better and really see the layouts take their best shape.

I thought it would be fun to share a bit about my process when I get started on a new job as it starts to take shape, especially as there has been a ton of drafting and re-drafting of plans happening around here lately.