Castle Heights - The Den

The den is a small and unassuming space that sits in between the living room to the back yard. It also functions a s apart time guest room with its sleeper sofa, the one furniture item I had to work around. It was a neutral and clean lined enough piece that I had no problem with that. When its not used by guests, my clients like to sit here and read while absorbing the Western light. 

The walls were painted Wickham Gray and I started scouting for golden, caramel, and honey hued pieces to tie the wall color to the existing sofa. The Loloi rug was the perfect piece with its gray and brown accents and subtly Moroccan pattern. We paired it with another pouf in caramel brown leather.

Small modern decor accents such as the macrame wall hanging by Himo Art, the brass swing arm lamp from One Forty Three, and marbelized pillows from Tonic Living were used to weave in golden highlights.

Across from the sofa we needed small storage solutions. Vintage dressers are an affordable way to infuse a small space with lots of retro style and real wood notes. A floating circular wire shelf above provided a spot for some books, and vintage props. 

The final details that really give this room its finished and thoughtful patina is the vintage lamp that boasts both the room's color scheme of grays, browns, and honeys as well as the organic marbelized pattern of the pillows and the geode book ends. Without this one lamp, I think the room wouldn't feel as composed. Seriously, its all about the details.

I love to think that these little design love notes took the room from meh to absolutely lovely and a space you want to spend time in.

Castle Heights - The Dining Room

Moving from the living area is the dining area of the same open space. The dining room had to relate in style to the living room of course - with midcentury tones, walnut wood, and brassy accents. This room was a slam dunk as I already had a clear idea of what the client wanted and how to achieve it - casual and colorful. 

Color was brought in by way of the Eames chairs and the large vintage kilim rug (which also covers much of the wood floors that aren't in the best of shape). The large beach print by Max Wanger instantly infused the space with the laid back feel I was looking for and brought in light blue as an accent color to tie into the silvery grays throughout.  

Upon seeing a pricey brass light fixture the clients were inspired by, I thought of this accessibly priced modern brass fixture by Park Studio LA and I was a hero. PS - nothing looks better with silvery gray than rich brass.

In a small corner we stuck a brass bar cart and stocke dit with vintage bar ware for more color and personality.

The Sienna buffet from Organic Modernism was the piece that bridged the mature living room area with the relaxed and youthful dining area. Midcentury modern design and sexy brass legs provided storage space as well as room for styling on top. Its just missing that one amazing piece of abstract art on the blank wall space above. The search is on.

Something super fun that rarely happens to me was the opportunity to pick out ALL the decor objects and tabletop accessories for the space. My clients wanted pretty things that would add that final finished layer of sparkle and interest but they just didn't want to spend the time on it themselves. I put together a wish list of all the beautiful objects I had been lusting after and pinning for myself one day and they went for it. Too fun. I focused on vintage brassy, modern geometric, and naturally sculptural objects for an overall organic modern look. Just look at these gems.

That's it for the dining room. Easy breezy. Coming up next, the den.

Castle Heights - The Living Room

Hip hip hurray, Domaine picked up the story about our pretty little bungalow and I'm over the moon. Its one of my favorites! We should start digging deep into each room then, now that its already Friday and I thought I would get through each room by week's end. First up, the living room.

If I'm not starting a home design with a kitchen and working out from there, then its the living room that sets the tone of the house. My goal here was to have it feel youthful, yet refined. Grown ups live here, but they are fun. Its not a large living area so I tried to fit in a lot of flexibility with the furniture. It all starts with the sofa and my clients already had something mid-century in mind. I love this sofa from Gus Modern Spencer sofa because it comes with a chaise lounge that is totally detachable and can be used as a little love seat facing the sofa or in another room entirely. For now, it works as a place to prop one's feet and a quiet divider from the dining area. Add a beautiful indigo throw by Susan Conner and some Hmong batik pillows and you are set.

The bay window was a little challenging in its fuddy duddy old timeyness. It provided the only view to the street beyond and I didn't want to crowd it with chunky furniture. The Bertoia diamond chairs were the only solution really to offer seating and transparency. With Icelandic sheepskin throws to maximize their comfort. With a black marble tulip accent table, an exquisite conversational cluster now occupies the bay window.

Like any modern home, the sofa faces the TV of course. Mounting the TV to the fireplace was obvious. Just as obvious to me was painting the white fireplace Kendall Charcoal to that big TV disappear when it is not in use. The corner to the left of the fireplace was the only logical spot for a media unit and this piece wall mounted cabinet from Blu Dot was a perfect fit.

We ran out of space to bring in more seating, but that's where poufs are the perfect answer. You can stack them or tuck them away when they aren't in use. And display their beautiful textures out on the rug when you need them. I also appreciate the varied heights of these two for visual interest.

This rug was our main infusion of color for the room and we searched high and low for the perfect vintage tribal rug. Finally, this jewel came into our field of vision and I am gaga for it. It was the main reason we went for a glass topped coffee table. To show off its beauty. And the pinks, purples, and indigos in the accent accessories were informed by the rug.

Lastly, details were incorporated to tie everything together. They either offered natural texture, geometric color, or a little metallic sparkle to make the light grey space feel lively and fresh.


That sums it up for the living room area. Next up will be the dining room.

Castle Heights Bungalow

Remember when I shared my design boards for the Castle Heights Bungalow a  few months ago? In a very satisfying conclusion, you can see the finished space on Style Me Pretty Living today. Its fun to see how the design boards became a reality, especially with only a few weeks to spare before Junior made his appearance. I think since there are so many intricately layered spaces to cover, I will break it down by nursery, living room, dining room, and den in 4 separate posts coming up. For now, please enjoy all the available eye candy on Style Me Pretty.


Dining Room

Living Room



Ins and Outs in 2015

It seems like every self respecting blog is calling out what will be trendy in 2015 and what is out. I am no fortune teller but I am a good observer so here are the trends that are catching my eye that I will be incorporating into my near future designs. And the trends that have had their day in the sun and I would strongly recommend avoiding in the near future.

Hmong batik and African mud cloth textiles - Ikat is over. For global flavor its Asian hmong and African mud cloth fabrics that are getting popular. Mixing and matching is key along with with bonus points for indigo hues. (sources: 1/2/3/4)

Mixing metals - brass is going strong among the design set but I have very few clients "brave" enough to go there. Chrome is the new cool metal to get for bathroom fixtures, lighting, and kitchen hardware. I wouldn't specify any new fixtures that are brushed nickel, but if you want to mix them in with brass and chrome fixtures you will be good in my book. No matchy matchy. Let's get crazy with our metal mixing in 2015. (sources: 5/6

Rattan - not Golden Girls wicker. More modern shapes with rattan as the material to add natural texture. Warning - don't overdo it. This is an accent only with a chair here, a side table there. Think Franco Albini (sources: 7/8/9)

Palm Fronds - I never got behind the pineapple print craze of last year but this new incarnation of botanical patterns I can see fitting in with the rattan accents already mentioned. A clean graphic version of traditional botanical prints. (sources: 10/11/12/13)

Hamsahs - I have been into hamsahs as protection from the evil eye since I can remember. I love how you can have many design interpretations of the same concept. I like seeing the current crop of hamsah designs in graphics and jewelry. Even when this trend is over, I will still be into it. It has been going strong for 5000 years so why not a few more. (sources: 14/15/16/17)

That was exhausting, huh? A lot of trends to keep up with these days. I will tell you what I will not be scouting or even thinking of using in 2015: anything chevron (paint brush stroke patterns interest me more), espresso wood stains (ash and white oak are the stains I now get excited by), salvaged wood and overly industrial furniture (yet I still like midcentury modern designs). And what about you. What trends are you into and what are you over? 

Forty Years

A mesmerizing exhibit by Nicholas Nixon of 4 sisters shot every year for forty years. The New York Times catalogs each and every shot with its bewildering and bewitching to watch their faces and bodies age year after year. Some years the changes more dramatically pronounced than others. I could spend a lot of time going back and forth between the faces and the images. I'm sure you could too and make 

Noteworthy 07

I have been feeling some stress the last few weeks. I know I spread myself a little thin between taking on one too many projects, but that's honestly the mode I operate best in. There's mommy duties and holiday planning. The dread of the impending 2 week holiday break and how will I keep the kids busy?  And a little real estate legal issue that we got dragged into unjustly. We took every precaution to avoid the exact situation we have found ourselves in and that's pretty distressing. It turns out that people have zero integrity in their business dealings and that's even more distressing. We will sort it all out, but its hard not to constantly think about it. 

On a sunny note I somehow found myself with every to do item on my week's list crossed off before noon and I was delighted to carve out a little time to post another noteworthy collection. Happy Friday indeed people and happy holiday season.

1) A new construction LA house that is truly inspiring. It illustrates that if you save, plan, and design well your dream house is in reach. Once we sort through our legal issues, I hope for this to be our reality one day. A girl can dream.

2) I was happy to procure this delicious vintage leather Percival Lafer lounge chair for my good friend and soon to be client. He has an ah-maz-ing modern industrial Japanese zen house that just needs a few small touches of warmth and this chair will greatly help matters.

3) Thinking about holiday tables and helping a client sort hers out. This modern organic Thanksgiving tablescape arrangement was a good source of inspiration.

4) Our office/playroom is going through another redecorating. I was only happy with it for one minute and now it seems off again to me. This is ongoing theme here and the guest room of my house. Anyway, its not quite done but I did make this modern dream catcher with my own two hands and I am happy with the way it turned out. Super easy. 

5) I am working on a Happy Camper in Joshua Tree themed nursery and this photo captures the vibe I want. Click through for the full house tour. One of my favorites.

6) Along with the nursery, a loungey living room is being developed. 

7) This to die for handmade planter - perfect for any room in any house.

8) Attention any Secret Santas who are searching for that last minute gift for me: this minimalist necklace is on the top of my wish list. Or this infinity necklace, this ring (size 4), or the dagger necklace. Seriously, I'm not kidding.

9) The Encino Lake house is getting close to completion. A fugly Tudor is slowly becoming the modern family home it was yearning to be. Very slowly. Its been 18 months already and due to many factors its taken that long to get to a place where we are installing finishes. Tile floor is down, custom cabinetry has been installed, and now we finally chose the interior paint colors and some new furnishings. Very satisfying and I can't wait for my clients to move in. In another 2 months or so? 

Santa Monica II Completed

Over the course of the summer I had the pleasure of working with a truly sweet couple on their home in Santa Monica. They were vibrant, easygoing, and intelligent yet their home of more than 30 years did not reflect these sensibilities. It was well loved but tired, in need of repairs, and had seen its fair share of children and pets. It needed major updating, but we weren't about to demo kitchens and bathrooms. The layout remained the same. The key was to address every single room (3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and the living spaces) so that the updates were consistent throughout the house and it felt like a fresh space. The difference that picking one color scheme and applying it everywhere, along with contemporary lighting, can make is jaw dropping. Just look at the before and afters.

Let's get into specifics. Lighting is not the first thing that happens, but it tends to be one of the most exciting. Choosing the forms, materials, and sizes for the lighting is an almost scultptural exercise and makes a huge impact on how you are affected as you move through each space.

The bentwood pendant is an easy and accessible method to add an organic form to the sharp lines of the dining room. And some warmth to balance the cool hues.

This twirling baton chandelier is the perfect scale and style for the staircase. 

I have had a crush on the ceramic semi-flush mount ceiling light from School House Electric for too long. I was happy to find just the right application for it along the hallways.

The kitchen exemplifies and concentrates all the upgrades we did. Everything else kind of radiated out from this point and relates back to the kitchen.

  • Paint all walls, doors, and cabinets one of the 5 colors in our palette.
  • Dress up existing cabinets with new hardware. I went for extra long square pulls to make the Shaker cabinet fronts feel less traditional.
  • Update to energy efficient appliances.
  • Install new white oak wood floors stained to medium walnut where carpet and linoleum existed. Refinish and stain existing oak floors in the living and dining rooms to match.
  • Out with the dated tile counter tops. Hello clean white quartz.
  • Splurge on marble subway tile back splash since we were saving a mint by not reconfiguring and rebuilding the cabinets.

There were 3 bathrooms that needed our attention. Cabinets and tiled showers were to remain, but similar to the kitchen, everything else was cleaned up.

  • Walls, trim, and cabinets were painted white for a new start. 
  • New porcelain tile floors to match the existing shower tile.
  • The same counter top material and hardware as the kitchen
  •  New plumbing fixtures and lighting

Along with the vessel sink, these simple elements gave the master bathroom (along the smaller ones not shown) a sleeker and more expansive feel.

The most rewarding part of this project was working with two easy clients. They trusted the process, the estimated budget, and the schedule. I presented my ideas at the beginning of the summer. They instantly approved every selection I offered - no second guessing, seeing third or fourth options, or revisions were requested. Of course that's 100% ok for a client to ask for, but when they don't, man do things go smoothly. Once the designs were approved I laid out the schedule for them - 2 weeks to put together the drawings we needed to get the work done properly, then get a quote for labor, 4-6 weeks to order materials. When the supplies were in we could start the demo and installation with another 6 weeks to completion. Letting me drive allowed us to get things done in exactly the sequence and budget I predicted and freed my clients up to not stress over the daily details. I couldn't be happier, they couldn't be happier. It was a surprisingly devoid of surprises. If only every project could go that smoothly ;)