Black and white bathrooms are all the rage these days and I have a few in the works. Don't you feel that they can get a little stark though? One way to jazz them up is with some colorful or graphic bath accessories. Especially in a kids bathroom. Here are some suggestions.
You would probably be expecting a Father's Day centric post as we head off into this weekend, but I figured enough blogs were doing the shaving, bar lover, coffee lover, bbq themed gift guides. Instead, I will leave you with the usual round up of things that caught my eye recently.
1) A lady who loves rugs as much as I do, if not way way more. The rugmaker behind Aelfie and her fab live work space on Lonny. 2) a very simple paint diy for those rocks, er "crystals" my son brings home daily and I don't have the heart to throw out. 3) Presented as a plant guide, the styling here is the trifecta of modern boho: white painted floors, vintage rattan furniture, and indigo pillow. xoxo. 4)Yup, basically the most perfect summer shoe: clog meets color blocking. 5) Can you believe this gorgeous 600 sf space is actually a mobile home? In Paradise Cove, Malibu but still. Shot by my talented friend Amy Bartlam. 6) Midcentury and vintage done very well in Brentwood via Plastolux. 7) Mom jeans are back in? Are you kidding me?! 8) I found my dream house, this will be the inspiration for any future house I own. 9) Originality by way of a brilliant splatter ceiling.
I found a neat little kilim that is both the perfect size for Ilana's room and the best feminine faded pastel colors. The problem with Ilana is that she cannot handle change. Not one item can be swapped out in her domaine. Clearly she was born to the wrong mom since both Alec and Lev know not to get too attached to any piece or arrangement in the house.
First I eased her into it by layering the rug she is used to over the "offending" kilim. I paired it with a sweet pastel kantha throw on her bed.
On the sly I replaced the shag rug with a sheepskin rug so the pattern of the kilim below can really shine. But the floor maintains a soft feel underfoot. I tried out this supersoft peach and mint Mexican blanket (so 80s, what's not to love) on the bed.
End result - the trickery sort of worked. The kilim was suspiciously accepted. But that Mexican blanket I found in a crumpled pile in the hall. Hey, you can't win them all. I have to let her have her space.
To me, the bedrooms are the most interesting part of the house and where things got really juicy. To be honest, I was a bit surprised by how adventurous R was willing to go, yet the rooms were kept pretty simple. Let me explain.
I have been very cautious to use wallpaper in the past since its such a big commitment. What if the client gets sick of the pattern and then is stuck with it. Plus its really hard for me to find patterns that I don't think are cheesy. For this house, wallpaper just made a lot of sense since the master bedroom was on the small side and we needed to make it feel majestic fast. It didn't hurt that this pattern from Hygge&West is beyond mesmerizing with its metallic accents and underwater illustrations. The room took on an aquatic feel and I paired it with a modern abstract blue rug from Loloi Rugs that reminde dme of looking at pool reflections. I brought in more black lighting fixtures to relate to the dining room light and the exterior paint. We had the vintage nightstands custom painted black as well.
With the intensity of the wallpaper and black lighting fixtures, everything else could be kept really simple and no fuss. A large linen bedframe, a black and white Moroccon blanket, and just a leaning mirror with Paul McCobb chair are all that are needed to complete the room. I couldn't resist a pair of shibori pillows to underscore the water theme. It has a boutique hotel room feel to it and I adore this bedroom.
In the children's room something really special happened. R is a pilot and he was able to get aerial survey maps to use as custom wallpaper. The contractor painstakingly matched up each map (bless his heart) to create a consistent full scale map that started at LAX behind the door and moved along two walls to reach Indiana at the window. It is truly incredible and photos do not do it justice. I have never seen anything like this before.
The room sleeps 3 kids as the twin bed actually houses a trundle below. WIth the awesomeness of the wallpaper, we could keep everything else pretty streamlined like the master bedroom. A cute little propeller based dresser. A neutral black and white scheme. And a rainbow of Bright Lab Lights strung over the crib for color.
If we imagine the master bedroom as water, and the children's bedroom as air, then the guest room is earth. This was the most bohemian and earthy I got in the house. And secretly I know it was R's favorite since he chose to sleep in this room rather than the master bedroom. Its small, but it is very inviting with all the wood tones, even a wood bead pendant above, and the nice dose of natural light it gets. You see more indigo to give a little contrast to all the woodiness in the African mudcloth we hung as a headboard and the playful Caroline Z. Hurley throw at the foot of the bed.
Some really beautiful details add texture and life to the otherwise minimalist room. It feels very LA to me.
What do you think now that you have taken the full tour? Which are your favorite rooms in the house.
You have seen the exterior in the previous blog post, now let's work our way inside. As is typical in a lot of these small LA homes, the walls breaking up rooms into teeny tiny compartments are usually torn down during renovations to create one larger open plan living space.
Seeing this configuration is pretty common but I wanted to make it feel really different and edgy. The all white modern kitchen and large glass windows was a nice start for the vanilla box. The first thing we did since we were very short on time (my client was only in town for 5 weeks and the first week we spent on concept and design development - nailing down the look and feel of the space) was go to a vintage furniture store and buy as many large items that caught our fancy. My client definitely had a funky aesthetic and sought out the weirder items. In a good way. How else are you going to add a lot of personality to a bland white space? Those nesting tables in the living room and the console at the entry are two such examples.
The second thing we did was get up very early on a Sunday morning and visit the Long Beach Antique Market. A favorite source for midcentury finds at negotiable prices. That's where we found a lot of accent pieces and the dining room chairs. They needed reupholstering and new chair pads which of course cost more than the set of 4 chairs, but it was worth the effort of cramming them into his car and bringing them back since they add a lot of wamth and life to what would be an otherwise stark space.
Once we felt like we had our fill of vintage items and hand washing after sifting through some grubbiness, it was time to balance out the vintage with clean shiny new things that still had a midcentury feel to them, but that would be available in 4 weeks or less. The custom sofa from Thrive Furniture was made in 10 days. That gorgeous leather lounge chair was ready to go from HD Buttercup, as well as the sculptural wood accent chair from Organic Modernism. West Elm is always a reliable source for shelf styling objects. And that stunning black chandelier from Townsend Design was worth the full 4 week wait, even though I was worried it wouldn't make it in time. It really completes the entire larger living space.
Bright colorful objects from local sources and textiles from around the world helped add energy and vitality to the overall neutral space. Its happy and bright and makes me smile when I think about it.
The pictures are in for my third project in Santa Monica and I don't know where to start. Amy is so good, its hard to edit it down to 20 or so images that capture the house. So instead I will break it out into a few blog posts to allow me to be generous with the photos without boring you. Background - the house is a second vacation home to a British pilot. He was only in town for 5 weeks in which we had to develop the design concept, shop our little hearts out, and install everything before he flew back to the UK. Talk about a mad dash but I loved seeing instant results. We will get into that, but first let's start with the outside.
The house is in a lovely part of Santa Monica right near the airport sitting on a hill which grants spectacular views. It was recently remodeled (not by Veneer) and was a perfect blank slate to get creative on. It looks pretty large the way it is situated on the incline on the site, but its quite petite inside. A compact 3 bedroom. There is a small pad outside where we created a little lounge
You don't need much to enjoy Southern California evenings when you have a view like that. A small outdoor sofa layered with textiles for interest, a fire pit, an Acapulco chair, and string lights. Instant quintessential Cali for a Brit. If you notice the main color scheme is black and white to relate to the house's exterior. And yes those Acapulco chairs are very comfortable.
Attached to the house is a funky little space that we called the Studio. Its like a sunroom where we imagined people hanging out and listening to music and working from home. We outfitted this room with some vintage pieces and lots of plants. I would like to see a little jungle in here over time as R brings in more potted plants and they thrive.
There was this one ugly blank wall between 2 doors. We had toyed with the idea of cladding it in salvaged wood but ended up with a much faster and cheaper solution - hanging a large flat weave rug on the wall for texture and interest. Placing two lounge chairs in front of it created an instant mini breakout area. Wouldn't you love to sit there with a friend having a nice chat or solo flipping through a magazine? Its a sweet little spot.
For a while I have been concocting this dreamy outdoor birthday dinner. It would require a large backyard or industrial loft space (which I currently am not in possession of), a collection of my favorite people (definitely have those), and hoarding vintage rugs and cushions to use as the main seating (I will gladly work on that). I am thinking this soiree will happen for my 40th birthday in the very distant near future. Everytime I see one of these parties styled for a blog, I mentally categorize it. I can't help it. How perfect would this be on a summer night (cough; June birthday). Who's coming?