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.

Ellendale Student Housing

I just wrapped up a large (the largest in Veneer's history to date) housing complex with SC Student Housing. We did 10 units in 2 and 3 bedroom configurations. We applied 3 unique color schemes throughout but kept the design consistently modern. The super great part about working with the guys at SC Student Housing is that they enjoy trying new ideas, using new materials, and pushing the envelope while sticking to their budgets. It would be easy for them to pick one beige color scheme and buy every component as builder special off the shelf. Instead, we worked together to make a truly unique luxury living complex for the students at USC. Here are some photos to give you a sense of the complex. 

The kitchens are two toned cabinetry made of thermofoil. For such a large scale, the thermofoil was the cost effective way to go and the wood finish was surprisingly life like. The fun part was doing white glossy uppers with weathered teak or American walnut.

The bathrooms make a big design statement with the floating vanities, vessel sinks, graphic wood grain porcelain tile, and saturated colored walls and counter tops. Of course, my favorite white subway tiles in the shower help keep the high end look on budget.

All photography by Amy Bartlam

All photography by Amy Bartlam

Engineered hardwood floors, white walls, and dark colored walls reflect the look of all the bedrooms. This one was unique with its ceiling lines. Overall, these elements came together to create a certain branded look that hopefully all the students will associate with an SC Student Housing building. I'm working with SC Student Housing to create a cohesive portfolio so with time all their buildings are different, but share an overall design aesthetic. Seriously, how many owners do you know who would allow their designer to specify pale pink kitchens with mismatched cabinets, blue or lime green counter tops, black doors, and high graphic wood grain tile. Love these guys and looking forward to more unique applications on future student housing units.

Linday Cowles Fine Art Wallpaper

I recently got an email from the artist Lindsay Cowles about her new wallpaper line inspired by her abstract paintings and I am smitten. I want to find a place to use them STAT.

These remind me of the Eskayel wallpapers, as seen below, in their Rorschach test beauty, but they are their own unique presentation. Wouldn't any of these look amazing in a powder room or as an accent wall in a dining room or bedroom. I covet.

image via Remodelista

image via Remodelista

Weekend Mini Project

Here's a super easy weekend project for you to try at home and all it involves is a little spray paint.

image via Erika Brechtel

image via Erika Brechtel

A couple of months ago I went to the Lulu & Georgia Pop-Up shop in West Hollywood and I couldn't get this Bertoia diamond chair knock off out of my mind. It was simply spray painted gold for display purposes, but it was beyond great. I knew it was really easy to achieve on my own but there was no corner of my house that needed another chair so I just let the idea marinate. 

Cut to a visit to the blog Little Green Notebook. I am consistently floored by Jenny's tireless creativity - the woman makes her own lighting, lays her own wood floors, reupholsters chairs, etc. Most of it I would never dare to try, but a little spray paint, I can do. After seeing this post for her two tone kitchen counter stools, I had an aha moment and thought why not for our little Zuo Modern children's wire chairs?

I followed her directions, but I found that laying the metal bases on the cloth tarp lead to patches of paint sticking to the cloth when I moved them. Blurgh. So I changed to craft paper (newspaper would do I imagine) and sprayed on more coats to even out the black paint. The white seats went smooth as can be thankfully. I also learned to let the paint dry completely, overnight, before trying to reassemble the chairs.

The kids little craft/snack table has gotten a little more spirit. Whether you decide to do this on a grown up chair or a kiddo version, in gold or two tones or any fun color, its a fast and satisfying upgrade that anyone can do.