Valentine's Day Gift Cheat Sheet

Oh no, less than 10 days before Valentine's Day. Whether you are buying something for a lover, friend, or for yourself because you deserve it (!)  I'm going to save you hours of internet browsing and show you the good stuff I have bookmarked. Skip the cheese,  go straight to the cool.

1) Le Cool Summer 11X14 print is sexy and chic and your good taste in art won't blow the bank at $50 per print 2) Obsessed with this neat collection of stacking gold and black diamond ringopen cuff ring, and cuff bracelet from Love Naomi Studio. Alone or as a set. Better as a set of course. 3) The desert prickly pear photograph by Wilder California reminds me of me.  Anything from Wilder California is pretty rad. 4) If you have to do something with a heart on it, go for a useful little basket that you can stick a potted plant in and show your nurturing side. 5) Linen sheets (not satin) are very romantic, what happens when you aren't in bed? You can buy just the pillowcases as a token if not the whole set. 6) Gold lipstick stained mug is divine and affordable. 7)  Simple and hella cool I Love You print. I actually ordered this and its very good quality. 8) Wouldn't it be so much fun to come home to a balloon banner of giant Be Mine balloons. And tassels. And confetti. Go for it.

A Modern Classic Bathroom

I prefer to work modern - clean lines, minimal ornamentation - but sometimes the dictating style of the house won't allow for it. Take for example a traditional Spanish home, typical in LA, with stucco walls and arched windows. There is no way a midcentury or Scandi inspired  bathroom will work. What to do, what to do?

BEFORE - dated, dank, and lame. This kids' Jack and Jill bathroom needed a light and bright facelift in line with the home's traditional base.

Take note of the old shower stall. I hate these claustrophobic stalls. We can surely relocate the toilet into this space and create a new private toilet area.

Take note of the old shower stall. I hate these claustrophobic stalls. We can surely relocate the toilet into this space and create a new private toilet area.


The first thing we did was tear down the wall separating the tub and the vanity area. This allowed for a longer vanity and breathing room between the tub and the vanity areas. Since we relocated the toilet to the shower stall, the tub became a tub/shower combo which is all you need for a kids bathroom in my opinion.

Photograph by Phoebe Chauson

Photograph by Phoebe Chauson

Look at that tight tile tub surround and the minimal glass shower guard in leiu of a glass door enclosure or sloppy curtain.

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This image gives you an idea of the new layout and plumbing reconfiguration.

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The question - how do you get a bathroom to feel modern while meshing cohesively with a traditional house? One way is to take the elements that make a space feel traditional and  reassign them to a modern aesthetic.  For example, white painted cabinets, marble counters, and subway tile all feel traditional. When you strip the cabinet style to simple clean lines and pair the white marble with modern polished chrome hardware, it feels more contemporary. Using larger 4"x10" subway tile instead of the ubiquitous 3"x6" tile is a subtle hint that this is not your granny's bathroom. 

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 I used traditional cement (Encaustic) tile on the floor to tie it back into the Spanish style of the rest of the house. This type of tile is authentic to Old World Moorish Spain.  When you use the tile in only grey tones it feels fresh, graphic, and absolutely New World. Knowing me, you already predicted I would bring in tribal rugs to liven it up and add personality instead of a boring old bath mat.

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One more note, I wanted the kids bathroom to be pretty but also functional and easy to use. I placed a wood stump stool near the tub so a parent has a spot to sit while they watch the kids bathe, or a dry spot to place books and toys. The towel hooks x 2 are right near the tub for convenience. Baskets on the lower vanity shelf neatly store extra towels. And the tub spout is extra large and wide to have the tub fill extra fast.

Noteworthy 16

Lots of yummy inspiration at the start of 2016. It feels like the creative juices are flowing across the interwebs. There is so much good design out there right now it makes my head explode. Which in turn inspires the next round  and so on. In good news -  Veneer Designs has an intern and she is bright, cheerful, helpful, and talented. Good things to come in 2016.

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1) And just like that, I'm not sick of 3x6 subway tile anymore. Oh the possibilities. 2) The excellent home of Annabode fills the renovation blog void The Brick House left behind. 3) Nine ways to use the impossibly cute and practical pegboard. 4) Awe inspiring landscape architecture by Surface Design Inc. 5) I bet you never saw breeze blocks look this good. 6) About to design a nursery for twins and this beauty is an excellent starting point. 7) Man, those Aussies have it figured out. File this stunner under "dream home" 8) If you had a built in nook like this in your home you would never make excuses not to read again. 9) Cute cottage reno

Home Update: The Bedrooms

Setting the alarm and waking up to get back to the school drop off/work routine was rough this morning. We got to sleep in (to 8:00 AM) way more than I expected over the break so that 6:20 wake up was not a welcome one. With that in mind, let's take a look at the most recent updates in the bedrooms of my home and think about the delicious sleep we caught up on last week. 


Here is my bedroom. Its gone through 4-5 different iterations - beds, wall colors, rugs, you name it, but I think I found the right balance after all this time.  Its very neutral and calming but with a bit of funkiness by way of my darker textile accents.


I have a lively little green corner in the window. My homemade dreamcatcher/god's eye hanging, and my little shell and gem treasures styled on the dresser top.


Outside our door is a long hall where the children's bedrooms are lined. I placed a bench and rug to give this little area some life and a good area to catch stray hoodies, towels, toys, and books before they make it back to their final destinations. 


Ilana's room is in the middle of the hall. Its the smallest, but so is she. It fits mostly her bed and a few of her favorite things. The monochromatic SCandi inspired tones keeps things from feeling too cluttered.


Lev's room down the hall is farthest from us but its also as big if not bigger. This is a fun room where many of the toys were sent to live when they were banished from the office and the books have taken over a wall. We all spend a lot of time hanging out in his room since there is floor space to play on, a comfy reading area, and the bright colors and vintage furnishings practically begs you to get silly.

Home Update: The Office

My home office actually does double duty as the playroom for my kids. Truth be told its hard to be inspired and productive with a mess of toys all over the floor. Actually, its hard to feel professional at all and I end up working from the dining table most days. When the living room and dining room got their shiplap upgrade, I was determined to keep the ball rolling to the office down the hall. 


The majority of the bulky plastic toys now live in the kids' bedrooms.  I tidied up and streamlined to create an inviting and more practical space. 


I want to give a shout out to Buddytruk as an app that allowed me to buy this rad Danish bookcase off of Craigslist. It had to go the night I contacted the seller and there was no way for me to get to her with a truck in the time window she gave me. I used the app to get a driver over to her house to pick up the bookcase.  Then drop it off at my house. I paid him digitally. I paid the seller using Googlewallet as soon as it was delivered. Basically I did everything through my iphone and I loved it. 


Another addition is this very large Barcelona style daybed I had recovered in denim. Its a sofa and it can sleep a single visitor overnight. I piled it high with pillows and started a new gallery wall on the wall space above. Can we just look at the before version and appreciate the difference?

My work area is a vintage Danish secretary desk which ended up being a nice match to the Craigslist bookcase I had Buddytruked. I like the drawers below for storage and the roll top desk quickly covers any mess happening on the desk. My little motivational banner from Sugar House Prints sums up how I feel on the regular. She custom printed the quote for me upon request and was as sweet as her shop name would make you think.


I banished most of the toys upstairs but a few stuffed animals and the wooden toys get to stay in baskets. Baskets are a design mom's best friend. They make clean up happen quickly and look chic while doing it. 


Home Update: The Shiplap Wall

A and I have been itching to buy a new home. Actually a beater we can gut and remodel to our specifications. We love our townhome but there is only so much you can do within.  We have been diligently saving our pennies for the right time and location, but how do you  feel ok about the home you have grown tired of?  The answer is shiplap! Yeah baby.


Listen, the before was totally acceptable. I was bored with the gray painted accent wall and was pining to try something different. The ship lap is an inexpensive exterior siding material that once sanded and painted brings a ton of character and texture to my living and dining area without the busyness of an art wall.

BEFORE: totally fine. Probably too heavy and dark if I am being honest.


PROGRESS: If you are interested in seeing how the ship lap is installed by my wonderful contractor, Jose.

Bit by bit the now ugly (to me) wall gets covered by bare wood panels.

Bit by bit the now ugly (to me) wall gets covered by bare wood panels.

After nailing. a little sanding and caulking to smooth out the rough edges. Then paint.

After nailing. a little sanding and caulking to smooth out the rough edges. Then paint.

AFTER: Light and bright. An excuse to swap out pillows and rugs, and wall hanging. Tee hee hee.

Look at that beauty by My Macramania

Look at that beauty by My Macramania

Yes, my dining area got a few upgrades too. The Big Sure table and bentwood Thonet chairs are not going any where, but I added white S chairs to the mix, and took down the gallery wall in favor a pared down trio on the wall.

The inexpensive print by Fine Life Co truly captures the laid back spirit of my dining area.

The inexpensive print by Fine Life Co truly captures the laid back spirit of my dining area.


Would you believe the dimensional geometric metal hanging is from Target?

Finally the fiddle leaf ficus is thriving.

Finally the fiddle leaf ficus is thriving.

I feel like the living space finally captures my (current) essence and represents my brand (!). Making these changes had a domino effect on more rooms in the house that I will share with you this week. For now, a few more detail shots by the brilliant Amy Bartlam.


Noteworthy 15

Christmas addition notables because when your kids wake up at 6:40 and open all of their presents in 15 minutes, you have some downtime for the rest of the day. 

1) I like me the simplest of mantle decoration, fresh evergreens and vintage brass candle holders 2) a sweet idea of gift wrapping for the kiddos 3) a rad way to gift wrap for the grown ups 4) a minimalist Scandi inspired wreath 5) A time to gather. Local Milk shows us how to set the stage. 6) an incredible knit stocking that is just my style. The day after Christmas is a very good day to stock up on beautiful decorations for next year. Everything is at least 50% off. 7) a mixed metallic wonderland