A Mini Dining Room Refresh

I have been pining over Cesca chairs for years and years. I love their standing in the modern design canon and the that way too many people had a knock off version in their mother's eighties kitchen. I love that people think they are ugly and I think they are incredible specimens of designs.  ANYWAY, after hemming and hawing I finally pulled the trigger.

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About the same time, Lighting Society reached out to me to see if I was interested in using one of their lighting fixtures in my work. Once I caught sight of the stylish Thurston chandelier I gladly decided to collaborate. I have been into oversized lighting over dining areas of late, and I like that it offers high end style in an affordable way.

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The last piece of the equation was new art. I'm obsessed with Amy Bartlam's large scale fine art photography prints of Joshua Tree. Obsessed to the point that I coerced her to sell them through my webshop. I wanted to stare at these two beautiful landscapes side by side each day and hung 24x30 prints above my sideboard to capture the minimally organic modern California cool feel I was after for my dining space. 

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All the parts and pieces go together really well now. Like it was meant to be all along.

My Dream Dressing Room

With the price of square footage being as insanely high as it is in LA, very few of us have real deal dressing rooms. Even my more wealthy clients skip it. BUT if you considered that a capsule wardrobe would save a lot of space AND you dared to dream, what would your future dressing room look like?

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Mine is a minimally tomboyish assortment of items that would make me very very happy to spend time with every day. I have always had the idea to display shoes in a traditional bookcase for an eclectic twist. The black wood Tremont Cabinet from Arhaus with its leather handles is the exactly right amount of rustic masculine to counter the overly feminine shoe. I started with that. I would want to bring in an uber cool lounge chair that screams California Cool, for both hanging loose clothes on and taking a few moments to myself. A modern brass side table where I could stack books and magazines I mean to read and place drinks would accompany the lounge chair. Of course a full length floor mirror is required and I would want something modern, feminine and in a rose gold frame. All these over a lush and authentic Beni Ourain rug below, and a large Taza lantern above to give the intimate space a warm exotic layer. Muuto coat hooks for displaying my statement jewelry as wall art and favorite hats and bags. And finally, hang art that both calms me and inspires me to get dressed and join the world outside. Now that I have devised it, I want it so bad. In my next house then....

Style Cues for 2017

This being the first Monday of the new year, let's look at style cues to come. I don't like to say trends because when you are investing on refurbishing and renovating your home you don't want passing trends. You want to spend money on elements that feel contemporary, unique, and timeless. These are interior design elements we will be seeing more and more of in 2017.

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DARK GREEN PAINT COLORS

Dark forest green and Black Forest green are the answer for designers who love using charcoal grey and navy blue as kitchen cabinet and accent wall colors. If you feel like everyone and their mother is using dark grey and dark blue, dark green is a fresh alternative. It looks fantastic with white oak floors, pastel colors, and brass hardware already a mainstay in contemporary interiors. It feels different than every other home. I already have my sights on it for a new kitchen in Nichols Canyon this year.

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ART DECO

If you are sick of Hollywood Regency and feel like you have seen it everywhere lately, then a new round of Art Deco revival is for you. Defined by bold geometrics and ornamented geometric patterns, it celebrates luxury and the machine age. You will see it in furniture with the use of lush velvet, channel tuftinga nd curvy shapes, and brass frames. In wallpaper and tile with strong linear patterns. To be honest its too glam and maximalist for my tomboy style, but I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who are excited by this chic development that you will see a lot of in upscale European hotels and restaurants.

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HANDMADE POTTERY

After all those open shelves were installed, we realized we needed beautiful pottery on display to fill said shelves. A collection of vintage 70s pottery, new handmade studio creations, and wooden vessels look just right in modern open kitchens. I have to say this is my favorite home design trend as I gravitate to the earthy, organically shaped, and bohemian collection of pottery vessels. Its easy to pick up a unique piece here and there and they provide functionality while elevating daily use to a ritual.

What developments and style cues have you noticed taking shape in the new year?

Culver City Remodel

Culver City Kitchen Remodel

Culver City Kitchen Remodel

Culver City has been a hotbed of activity for my design firm of late. It makes sense - young 21st century families moving into post war developed starter homes results in some friction between how they want to live and what the homes can offer. In a lot of cases, a reconfiguration is necessary, In some cases we can get away with cosmetic overhauls. In most cases a combination of both. Enter Culview....

Exterior BEFORE

Exterior BEFORE

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen BEFORE

Master bathroom BEFORE

Master bathroom BEFORE

Kids Bathroom BEFORE

Kids Bathroom BEFORE

Culview was your typical grandma house. You could tell a family had lived a nice happy life here, but zero changes or updates had been made since the 1960s and even though it was a nice size house it felt sad and dingy.

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We started with a kitchen remodel before the new family moved into the house. The planning and execution occurred last winter. I wanted to tear down the wall between the laundry and cooking areas so that became a bigger single room and have the majority of storage on one wall. We were also short on time so we went with Ikea cabinet boxes and Semihandmade flat slab walnut fronts. The Ikea cabinets were delivered in 2 weeks so the contractor could start installation. The Semihandmade fronts took 10 weeks but the lack of fronts wouldn't slow down the overall kitchen installation. We chose the walnut and white mix to capture the modern style my clients were after while referencing the midcentury origins of the house. With snazzy chrome retro style handles to complete the midmod look.

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As soon as the kitchen was complete we rolled into the exterior refresh. My client wanted to paint the bricks from day one. We went with white and simple black accents to keep it looking clean as well as it give the house a little prepster East Coast vibe since it wasn't a purely midcentury modern style. It had some traditional touches so black and white was the only way to tie it all in.  A new door, new outdoor lights, mailbox, and house numbers were all that was needed to give the house major curb appeal. Look at that lush new landscaping out front. I was so happy to see the brick pavement go. What was that?!

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After a few months of settling in, my clients were ready to tackle the 3 bathrooms. A kids bathroom, a guest powder bathroom, and their master suite. The two downstairs bathrooms were easy as they were purely cosmetic. All the plumbing locations remained the same and we installed new tile and fixtures that related to each other.

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How fantastic is that funky black and white graphic floor tile with the brass and woody elements? It feels midcentury but of this century and a lot of fun for the kids and guests who will use these bathrooms. I also used 9" white hex tile as the accent and shower walls for neutral texture.

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And that brings us to the master bathroom which was the biggest transformation of all. In place of one long room with a nappy tub/shower combo, I wanted to create a luxurious walk in shower with a built in bench, clad in marble, for my clients.

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How delicious is the new bathroom layout with the mountains of honed marble tile, the floating cabinet, and brass accents that matches the downstairs bathrooms?

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The final piece of the puzzle was changing the entry into the master suite so that we ended up with a walk in closet into the master bathroom. With a sliding barn door and new closet system, I'm truly envious of the finished results.

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Fantastic quality work by Lion Builders, we were able to transform the house and have a beautiful project to show for the time we put into it. 

Tokyo - My One Regret, Missing a Tea Ceremony

We had an amazing/magical/fantastical family trip to Tokyo over the Thanksgiving break. I was nervous traveling internationally with the littles but now that Ilana is 4.5 it turned out way better than I expected. Of course, it was a different trip than if Alec and I had gone on our own. There was a lot we couldn't do, but I was fine with missing out on a few grown up activities if it meant I got to go to Tokyo at all. We humored the littles with a lot of kid activities and they humored us right back. There was one thing I'm sad I didn't get to do. There was just no way to bring kids with us and it was too out of the way to warrant they wait on me to do it solo. 

A traditional tea ceremony in a Japanese garden. And this one, Yakumo Saryo, to be specific since it was hailed as the design lovers best.

Seriously, look at the perfect minimally zen aesthetic applied to the landscaping, the architecture, the interiors, and the food presentation in the most artfully restrained format. Beyond inspiring.

They offer a traditional Japanese breakfast, lunch, tea ceremony and confectionaries by reservation only. There was no way to simply drop by for a peek and it was  kind of a longer subway ride to a more suburban neighborhood so it didn't happen this time. But it will be one of the first things I do NEXT time I go to Japan. You can bet on it.