A Kitchen in Woodstock | Before

This kitchen has been so much fun to work on. Not only is the client great, but the house is great! From the architecture through to the client’s style, I’ve loved working on this project.

I’m excited to share more on this one as progress continues because compared to most of the projects around here, it isn’t a full gut! We are taking the space and using a lot of existing elements to change the overall look without changing everything. The kitchen has a lot of natural light pouring into it as you can see in the photos above of the existing space, which is great. It is a really great size and everything is in relatively good shape.

So, what’s the plan? (Images Below: left, existing floor plan; top right, proposed new floor plan; bottom right, new window wall elevation with shelving and molding details.) We are stripping and painting the cabinets, replacing the island with something that fits the space a little bit better and offers a bit more function, replacing the countertops, sinks, faucets and backsplash. Then to elevate things we are raising the upper cabinets, adding some floating shelves to the space and opening up the pass through window to make the space flow better. Sounds like a lot? Well it’s a lot of carpentry work that will add up to make a huge impact on the space, without gutting the space completely.

What are we keeping exactly? All of the perimeter cabinets, base and uppers (with the exception of the kitchen sink base which was shot), all of the appliances-including the built in grill in the island, all of the shelving in the space is staying (cookbook storage and art storage above cabinets now) and actually we are adding more around the rest of the kitchen, lighting will remain as is since the kitchen is so bright already, and most importantly we are keeping the flooring which continues throughout the first floor and is original to the home.

What do I love most about this project? When I first started design school, when I was still in Washington (state not DC), my second semester I took an environmental design class learning about all the ways interior design adds to landfills and how to use better products and re-use what you can to help limit or prevent this. After that class I actually dropped out and switched majors for a while to environmental science. I realized that there wasn’t really a career path I could see myself in that would fall under that new major, so then I quit altogether and did some living and some soul searching. After a few years, I finally decided to follow my passion of interior design and go back to school, promising myself I’d do my best to encourage ‘green’ choices when I could. This project totally speaks to that!! And I can’t wait to share with you all how beautiful it can be, after we get it all wrapped up, to renovate this way!

Maybe it’s the location, but this project is really bringing me back to my Pacific Northwest tree-hugging roots in the best way possible and I’m loving every minute of it. And if you made it all the way through this wordy post, I appreciate you hanging in there! I’m going to be up at this jobsite next week and I’m hoping to get some pictures for an in-progress post to share with you all then!

Do you think you’d be a fan of keeping some of your existing pieces and only refacing cabinets and updating some of the details to make a change instead of doing a full gut renovation? I’m interested to hear what you think of the concept and see how you will feel when you see the completed space–maybe I can convert some of you!

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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.

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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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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.

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!

SMP Something Blue Event

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Style Me Pretty x Tiffany & Co. event “Something Blue.” Needless to say it was a fabulous event filled with delicious passed hors d’oeuvres, plenty of bubbly and a whole lot of bling.

I wanted to do a little overview of the event. First off, I arrived there after the event had started, as I was coming straight from work, what I missed was a discussion about diamonds and rings and a round table of questions which I heard great things about. When I arrived, we walked off the elevator and were greeted with little blue envelopes filled with details on the Something Old, Something New traditions as well as a note explaining the basics on diamonds. When we entered the event, there were greeters with a choice of champagne, white wine or seltzer, and then holding some of the most spectacular rings I have ever seen.

Here’s my opinion on your engagement rings for any of you waiting for the proposal, or dreaming of your “one day,” you will have a good idea of what you want in your head and he (or she-thanks to today’s Supreme Court rulings!) will have a budget. The bottom line is, we like to have something with a little sparkly, some more than others, but at the end of the day, if you really love him, when he gets down on one knee and asks you for forever, it won’t matter how much the rock is worth, if you really love him, you will say yes and you will love the ring because it’s from him and because of what it symbolizes.

That said, if money is no object or you are budgeting on your wedding, I feel that your ring which you will wear forever, should hold a little more weight on the overall budget of the wedding expenses, everything else will last a day, so if there is anything worth splurging on, it’s the one thing that you will wear forever, and Tiffany’s is certainly a great place to start your shopping.

If you are already married, they had some fabulous bands that you can add to your wedding set as your family grows, which a lot of women do, and I even tried a few bands on! In addition to engagement and wedding rings, they have a world of other jewels for any occasion or even to treat yourself! I personally love the pearl earrings in the case with the pearl necklace and diamond bracelet shown in the pictures above.

The event had a florist on hand who made custom bouquets for the brides-to-be and a calligrapher who made a custom keepsake with your name, ring size and desired ring of choice to hand over to your sweetheart when you got home. In addition to the passed hors d’oeuvres, there was a little dessert table with Tiffany box cookies, wedding cake cookies and chocolates. Everything was beautifully done, the event was great and I had a really nice time! I finally met a friend of a friend who I’ve talked to a dozen times but never met and I also met the founder of Style Me Pretty, Abby Larson, who is so sweet and very down to earth.

All in all I’d say it was a successful night! And P, if you are ever in a bind trying to decide what to get me, I’ll take either of those add-on bands (though I think the baguettes will compliment my setting better), or the anything from the pearl case.

What is everyone up to this weekend? It’s a rare weekend when we both have a Saturday night free, so this weekend while we are both off and have no social obligations, our obligation is to each other! We are taking a little date night in the city, planning to head in early and go to the TKTS booth to score show tickets, have a nice dinner before, and then enjoy whatever musical we can get tickets to! Sunday will be a chore day and maybe a good day to take Brantley on an adventure, and then the weekend will be over before we know it!

Happy Friday–enjoy the weekend!!

PS, I apologize for the poor quality of some of these photos, they were all taken on my phone during the event, so I know they aren’t the best, but they are better than nothing and at least this way you can see the bling!

(This post is not sponsored by anyone, although it may seem like a Tiffany’s promotion, it is simply my own reflection of this event that I attended. I hope you enjoyed a little peek at the bling!)

Wedding Season|The Registry

When a couple is newly engaged and planning their big day, putting together a registry is often one of the most fun parts for both bride and groom. It’s something they look forward to and can have fun with, but it is also something that can be quite overwhelming! I wanted to give some pointers on what to think about while you are registering for items for your new home together.

Sunset on the Mediterranean during our honeymoon.

Sunset on the Mediterranean during our honeymoon.

1. First, there are fabulous websites that allow you to register for your honeymoon, register for some upcoming financial goals like your first house, etc., and these are great places to look. I highly recommend that everyone do a honeymoon within a few months of getting hitched. Don’t sweat the cost (but don’t go crazy if you really can’t afford it), you are likely to get some monetary gifts on your big day, although you won’t be able to count on how much, so plan to do a honeymoon fund as one of your gifts. Your honeymoon will build the memories that will last your entire marriage. Our honeymoon was amazing, and I don’t regret a single thing we did or didn’t do and we frequently talk about our time on our honeymoon like it was a dream. Check out Wanderable and Honeyfund. And if you love to travel in general, don’t forget to register for new luggage!

monogrammed luggage

2. Consider large gifts for your friends and family to be able to get you. Often times at showers a group of friends will go in together on one larger gift as opposed to each purchasing a few small pieces. A lot of companies also offer completion discounts for the items you didn’t receive from your registries, so after your big day, you may be able to splurge for that new sofa or those nightstands you’ve been dreaming of for less. But if they aren’t on your registry you won’t be able to apply the discount.

3. Consider all the little things. It takes a lot to make a fully functioning home and all the little pieces really add up. You will use those measuring scoops and cooking-and-serving utensils more than you think, so register for a few more pieces than you need. The worst-case scenario is that once you actually are gifted these pieces you may realize you don’t like to use a bagel stand to slice bagels in so you return it for credit and put it towards that bigger purchase that nobody was able to splurge on for you.

Place Settings

4. Look at the open-stock items for your dinnerware and flatware. A lot of times the sets come with pieces you won’t ever use, so why have them taking up space in your cabinet or coming out of what people can afford to buy you? Instead look towards the open-stock pieces in which you can mix and match pieces to create a place setting you really love and that you can actually entertain with. Once you’ve created your place-setting, ask for one or two place settings more than you think you will ever need (i.e., if you plan to host 8, order 9; if you plan to host 12 order 13), because let’s face it, dishes break. See more on the dinnerware we registered for here, also pictured above.

5. Have fun! This should be something that you and your future spouse can really enjoy. Part of planning your registry is planning what kind of life you want to live together and figuring out the essentials to get you started.

If you are shopping someone’s registry, remember these things too! Plan your purchases based on first what you can afford, decide if you want to go in on something with a group to get a larger item or if you would rather pull a few smaller items together.

In general, I like to get things that remind me of my friendship with that couple. If it is friends you always do game night with, get something on their registry that would help them host their own game night, maybe a chips and dips bowl; if they are friends you often grab drinks with, get them a cocktail shaker or some of their barware; if they are friends that you love to cook with, get them a few of their essential skillets.

Remember that these are likely all things that when they use them in the future, they will stop and think of you and how thoughtful it was for you to get them something that corresponds to your friendship together. It makes it a little bit more meaningful which makes the gift that much sweeter!

Designing at Home

As a design professional, one of the largest challenges I face is trying to feel like my home is in a good place all the time. The truth is, your home is a never-ending cycle of projects. From day to day activities like cooking, cleaning, etc., to larger projects and renovations, there is always going to be something to be done.

I work with my clients on this all the time, but it is tricky to actually follow this rule myself. Focusing on one thing at a time, and working with what you have is so much easier said that done, especially when I don’t have a copy of myself to hold my hand and walk me through it. So, do as I say, not as I do!

That said, I have been working on being happier with my space, with what I have and where we are at, without everything being exactly as I hope it will be someday.

I thought it would be good to focus on one room at a time, create a list and tackle it for each space to really get them in a good place. This would focus on the cosmetic only, it’s not a knockdown, drag-out scenario where you are crashing through walls or anything like that, so it keeps things small, dealing only with the finishing touches.

My problem is I don’t know where to start! Maybe I should start small and tackle the completion of our entryway. Hanging those little shoe cubbies was such a great move in that area, but there is more I would like to do… we need to change the light fixture and I would like to add a mirror (or something).

The living room has a few issues too, we have everything we need in there but it’s a matter of fine tuning, finishing the window treatments and getting them up, and the same goes for the bedroom… apparently I have something against actually hanging my curtains.

Lastly the kitchen. We just have storage and organization limitations there, but I think that will entail more planning to get to, so I’m not sure I would start with that. And the bathroom is off limits. Nothing is going to change in there, it is what it is and it’s perfectly fine and functional as is… though I do still need to share the little things I did there to increase the organization and visual appeal.

Anyway, so that’s where my house is currently… and that is what I’m considering to get moving in the right directions with my home? What space would you tackle first and what space do you think I should tackle first in my house?

Just remember, it’s not about everything being 100% finished. Your home is the story of the progression of your life. It should grow and change with you, so even if it is 100% done, there will still be little things that change in your space as time goes on and things happen. That’s a good thing. Let your home be the expression of you and give it the room to evolve with you.