Looking Good in Castle Heights

First thing's first, out of no where I was included in around up of 50 top Instagram moms by Mom.me which totally made my not so great day a lot better. Second thing is things are starting to look really good in Castle Heights.

Castle Heights - Living Room.jpg

An energetic couple who had just bought a cute 2 bedroom cottage and are expecting a little one come February contacted me. They were eager to make their little box feel more like them, which turns out to be very me. A good dose of mid-century modern vintage, infused with ethnic textiles and garnished with minimalist modern design touches. And brass, requests for brass were put in. Awesome.

In a week I put these design boards together expecting revisions and changes. Nope, its all good to go so we are in a buying frenzy trying to get our hands on all the goodies you see and get them all installed pronto. The quicker the better which is how I love to work.

Our favorite room may turn out to be the nursery. All three of us are getting really jazzed about the subtley Safari theme we are developing. Its going to be earthy, sweet, and stylish. I think we are only a few short weeks from being complete.

Progress in Santa Monica

These are pretty crappy i-phone pictures but I am super eager to give you a little progress view into a remodel that is wrapping up in Santa Monica. A vivacious couple who were living in a tired but loved house that deserved better. It was time for a change. Here is the kitchen BEFORE. Oh, you know this kitchen. You have been in similar ones dozens of times. Oak cabinets, linoleum floors, tiles counters. Nothing special.

And here it is in its too cool for school current state. I'm just too excited to hold back the progress shots. In a few weeks I will share the full tour - exterior refresh, beautiful new lighting, the kitchen and bathroom renovations, new hardwood floors, and paint throughout.  

Yummy. Aren't those floors delicious?!

TV and Gallery Wall

IT seems to me there is only one right way to showcase your flat screen television monitor: camoflauge it among your favorite gallery wall framed art.

These different rooms all take on the same balanced and layered feel with one set of key ingredients. 1 sexy credenza + 1 flat screen TV (wall mounted or on a stand) + a collection of framed prints in various sizes = a beautiful TV art wall. I must give it a try.

Work Hard/Play Hard

Gotta say, I'm into the current state of the office/play room. Its totally busy with layered rugs, and an overload of colors, books, toys. But it happened organically and over time so for this little room, it works :)

Worth Noting 06

Happy Friday. Ready for a long holiday weekend? We plan on visiting the tide pools in Malibu, crashing our friend's block party, and even more beach time. How about you? I will leave you with some nice links to ponder this weekend. Make it a good one.

1) Tove Lo - Habits is on heavy rotation for me at the moment. I know its a Top 40 song but the strange mix of deeply sad lyrics with a danceable beat is a winner. Its a well crafted and moving song and has good reason to be popular.

2) Lovely house tour - lots of light, funky little design touches but pretty spare. 

3) If you like small spaces, this creative garage conversion to charming apartment is for you.

4) A little DIY rug from felt scraps.

5) I saw a version of this 3 ingredient chia pudding in the packed lunch of my toddler's classmate and I wanted to sneak a bite for myself. 

6) Wanderlust - a black and white beach in Iceland. Someday.

7) I like the inexpensive prints from the shop of Julia Kostreva.

8) Leave it to Ikea to come up with the cutest little medicine cabinet that reminds me of a MUCH more expensive version by Thomas Ericksson.

9) The LA home of Momo Suzuki is just so LA, you know. 

Loving My Kantha Throws

I recently picked up a few kantha throws made of vintage Indian saris quilted together and I am super enchanted with their lightweight, summery, global goodness.

I bought 3 thinking each bed would get one, but my children rejected the ones I bought for them so those are on the etsy shop now. They are all super neat though with their handmade patchwork of storied fabric faded to pastel perfection.  

Just look at that embroidery work. So pretty. I'll be keeping mine at the foot of my bed until its chilly enough to switch it out for wool, holding onto summer as long as I can. 

A (Kid Friendly) Day at the Museum

This being Lev's last week of summer vacation before he starts kindergarten, I'm trying to go out with a bang. One of our favorite things to do is visit LACMA. Did you know they have the Nexgen program that allows kids to be accompanied by an adult through the museum for free. Two kids means a family can gain entrance gratis. Amazing right? EVen if you don't think your kids can handle walking through the exhibits without pawing the art, running, or yelling - the guards are pretty ferocious there, the LACMA grounds are really wonderful for kids.

The first thing my kids run to is the outdoor sculpture we call the spaghetti sculpture. I'm sure it has an actual title. They love running through, gathering, and stroking the hanging rubber cords. I like to grab a coffee at the Coffee & Milk Bar across the paviliion while I watch them run around.

Next up we paint at the Boone Children's gallery. Unlimited paper and paints for the kids to let the inspiration from the museum flow. There is soothing music and its a pleasant place to stop.

Right outside the Boone gallery is a fountain good for the kids to get the wiggles out and the museum gift shop for me to browse. Don't you find that all art museums have super well designed and inspiring shops? Look at those color blocked shelves and the blue stained concrete floor. 


Walking through the Ahmanson building into what is actually the grand entrance, we like to run through the lamp posts of the Urban Light outdoor exhibit then chill out at the many tables of the Ray's and Stark bar. The kids have their own snacks and its nice to sit in the shade and people watch. Or order more substantial food if you like.


On our way out we like to wander past the Levitated Mass. It gets brutally hot in this area during the summer so we leave it to the tourists and don't stay too long. 

The final stop for us is Pit 91, an excavation site that is part of the La Brea Tar Pits. Its a self guided viewing post to see the work that is being done to unearth fossils of saber toothed tigers, dire wolves, wild horses, and the like. The kids love seeing the sticky smelly tar an dthe fossils. I like the newly revamped look of the site. They did a great job modernizing the exhibits with contemporary graphics and color schemes. The tar pit is actually their favorite part. 

At the end of the day, I came home with a few art books on sale at the gift shop for $5 each - photographs of the American West and paintings of Southern California. Besides the books and the coffee I bought, our entire visit and all teh activities mentioned were absolutely free. Amazing right? Gotta love LA.

Ellendale Staging

One of the units at the Ellendale complex was especially tricky to furnish. The only open plan kitchen and living area is on the small side yet this is the unit that will house the baseball team so the living area had to be comfortable enough for plenty of hanging out. Most apartments are furnished by the students themselves but we didn't think they were up to the challenge of this one so we decided to furnish it. Then stage it for the photos so the students could have an idea of how it could look.

This view gives you an idea of how narrow the living room is before you walk into the kitchen. I found just the right sized sectional sofa at Plummers. It fit within an inch of the kitchen floor, almost like it was meant to be. I thought the dark gray color would be good for hiding the wear and tear a large group of collegiate boys might have on the sofa as well as tone down the intensely red accent wall.

Here you get a better feel for the living room set up, contemporary with vintage details. As I do.

The TV had to be wall mounted so there was enough floor space and room for storage.

All photography by Amy Bartlam. Doesn't she have a wonderful eye for details? And now, the source list if you want to get the look at home: sofa, coffee table, gray pillows, kilim pillow, kilim lumbar pillow, Oriental rug pillow, side table/storage trunk, rug, geo planter, vintage camera, fish tray, serape blanket, disco ball.