Dreamy Denver Project

I finished this project last year, which feels like forever ago, but went back and had it shot in September of this year.  It's very much a classic house, a home you want to visit for a holiday party, so I think it's especially apt to share it now. Plus it's in Denver which reminds me of snow and seasons . . . things we lack in California, not that I'm complaining. It's always nice to VISIT snow, anyway. 

These clients recently moved from Manhattan to Denver. Not only were they dramatically changing their scenery, they had also purchased a new house and needed help with decorating and furnishing. Their aesthetic preferences leaned a bit more traditional than what I usually do, but I was more than up for the challenge.  Ready? I apologize in advance, I only have grainy real estate before photos of the home since I didn't do an initial site visit.  Here we go. Below is the before/after of the living room.

As you can see, although we adhered to a more traditional style, we lightened everything up. The beautiful woodwork framing the doorways and windows in this room are the highlight and we wanted to make sure nothing detracted from that. Since this also serves as the formal living room and the family room, it was important to keep toys hidden but easily accessible. Do you spy those baskets in the bookcase? A bounty of toys lie just behind that wicker, which makes everyone happy. 

Paint does wonders, right? Before, it was very much a beige box with layers of neutrals that didn't really allow this room to shine or allow the special details such as the gilded iron work to stand out. A coat of gray paint with some weathered yet elegant dining furniture transforms this room into one made for holiday dinners and celebrations. The chandelier is statement-making and shimmers so nicely when turned on. My favorite touch is the abstract art, something unexpected that elevates this room nicely. 

Paint does wonders, right? Before, it was very much a beige box with layers of neutrals that didn't really allow this room to shine or allow the special details such as the gilded iron work to stand out. A coat of gray paint with some weathered yet elegant dining furniture transforms this room into one made for holiday dinners and celebrations. The chandelier is statement-making and shimmers so nicely when turned on. My favorite touch is the abstract art, something unexpected that elevates this room nicely. 

For our last room, let's head upstairs to the master bedroom. 

Photography by Chandler Kim

Photography by Chandler Kim

Moving on to the dining room. Below are the before and after photos. 
A true master retreat, complete with a sitting area! It's interesting to see the staged photos of the room and compare it to the current state. The traditional style was implemented in both instances. However, you can see how different the room looks from the before/after photos. It illustrates how interpretations of a style can vary widely. With a soft palette of neutrals and tufting, we've created a master bedroom that is romantic and serene. 

I hope you enjoyed this before and after and I hope you have a great holiday season! 

A Kaleidoscopic Hillside Haven

When clients expand the scope of a project, I'm happy to oblige. If you recall, I finished reading rooms for Mom and her Mini-me a couple of months ago. After we completed the reading rooms, Mom thought it high time the rest of her house got a makeover. 

The client is a fan of Scandinavian furniture and clean lines, and a lover of whimsy and color. Basically, I love what she loves. Although we were starting with a couple of existing pieces, we we needed to find some new classic foundation pieces for both the living and dining rooms. Also, the key to success here was making sure to find balance in the eclectic design we were implementing in each room. Ready? Here we go. 

The living room is this family's main living area. In San Francisco, space is expensive and runs at a premium so there are no separate play rooms or family rooms. This room has to be multipurpose and remain "adult" enough to entertain guests. Below is the before. 

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Do you spy that beautiful Finn Juhl Poet Sofa? The graceful curves are so inviting. The client had recently splurged on it. Now she just needed the rest of the room to match. We aimed for a sophisticated collected design, emphasizing the thoughtful use of color. We changed out the rug, larger brown sofa and coffee table. We needed tones to compliment the purple blue of the Poet and the brown sofa just wasn't cutting it. Also, although the artwork on the walls was interesting and captured the spirit of the room, I felt that a couple of larger pieces would be more well suited. We made all of these changes and you can see the transformation below. 

Undeniably stunning. Go bold or go home. And we made this work. We matched the jewel tone of the Poet with this dark canary yellow sofa. To balance the vibrancy of these colors, I accessorized with monochromatic hues elsewhere. The cabled wool rug and the warmness of the wood tray tops bring in different textures and interest. 

Not a fan of yellow? If this room doesn't convert you, I don't know what will. Just the warmest and coziest of rooms. I've never been to any of the Scandinavian countries that produce the furniture that inspired this room but I'm thinking they would approve. Let's move on to the adjacent dining room. Below is the before. 

If you scroll back up to the living room, we moved the Nelson pendant light to the living room.  I thought we needed a light with more impact for the dining room. The rug and table were going. We were keeping and adding to the Eames chairs. With beautiful original built-ins for storage staying, the transformation for this room was easy and swift. See below. 

Yes, you may recognize this rug. I've used it before and in a nursery. But it was just too perfect not to use it again here. To balance the strong colors in the adjacent living room, we kept things here really simple and neutral. Yet we carried over the same principles, clean lines and adherence to Scandinavian design. 

One last space. For the life of me I can't find a before photo of the foyer sadly. But we did do a mini makeover for the space. We cleared out the clutter, hung a large mirror and created an ideal landing space for this busy family. Take a peek below. 

Wrapping up this project felt so good. Everything just gelled together which doesn't happen for every project. This home has magic in the air and if you're ever lucky enough to visit, you would agree. 

As we prepare for Thanksgiving festivities, I hope you're taking pleasure in the enjoyment of your own home. Thanks for reading. 

My very "Grown-up" Bed

At the age of 35, I've finally achieved what I consider a very grown-up bed.  Finally, right?  I blame grad school for delaying this achievement even longer.  From college to my 20's and admittedly into my early 30's, I didn't invest very much in my bed, linens, pillows or my mattress. I thought there were more important things to spend money on and I was moving every year or so. But when you think about how important sleep is to your health and well-being it's a bit nuts that we don't invest more in all the elements that allow you to sleep restfully.  

In my former career as an attorney, I was a walking zombie. I was so stressed that it would take me very long to decompress and I would wake up frequently in the night. I was averaging 6 hours of sleep or less which isn't good for anyone. When I changed careers, I made the conscious decision to also focus on my overall health as well, including sleep and my sleep habits. 

So what steps did I take?  Here are my prerequisites for a very grown-up bed:

1) Bedframe. Invest in a bedframe you love and that is suited to your lifestyle. Do you like to read in bed? A higher upholstered bedframe is probably a good idea so you can sit and read for long periods of time. Do you have allergies? Weird question I know, but you might want consider getting a bed raised off the ground, so you can clean all those dust bunnies on a weekly basis.  Do you have a dog that sleeps on the bed with you? Might want to forgo a frame with a footboard so your furry friend can hop in easily.  You get the idea. My recommendation, stick with a frame that is timeless in both color and design. 

2) Sheets. Invest in quality sheets that feel great on your skin and ones that let your body breathe. Stick to natural fibers like cotton and linen. I swear by my linen sheets, I know some people find them a bit too scratchy, but they get softer with each wash. It took me four months to save up for my linen sheets and worth every single penny. Thread count isn't everything as numerous articles have stated. If your budget allows, focus on companies that have a good reputation and are known for their linens. I've heard good things about Parachute and Rough Linen

3) Mattress. Perhaps the most important element, purchase a mattress that is well made, comfortable and provides the right amount of support.  When we first moved to San Francisco, my mother-in-law gifted us with a really expensive tempurpedic mattress. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I woke up sweating every night. Apparently, this is a common problem. When we moved to Oakland, we placed that mattress in the guest room and since we just purchased a house we spent $300 on a mattress and that's what we had been using until Tuft and Needle gave us a mattress to try. The first couple of nights, I wasn't quite sure if it was firm enough for me, but a week in, I can confidently say I'm a convert. And a plus? No sweaty nights. The firmness and support level is ideal for my husband and me.  What's so surprising is that we have differing opinions of what makes a mattress good for sleep, and despite the lack of consensus, the Tuft & Needle mattress has suited our needs and wants equally.  The lesson? Find a mattress that's right for you. I also don't think you have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get that perfect mattress. There are so many options out there today, go forth, do your research and try some out! 

4) Pillows. Similar to mattresses, pillows are so basic but so important. Are you a side sleeper? A back sleeper? All those things matter when choosing the perfect pillow for you.  Do you have allergies? You may want to avoid down pillows and stick with synthetic fillings. There are even pillows for those with back/neck issues or people that are prone to snoring. Your partner just might end up thanking you for that pillow switch! Similar to mattresses, the sky seems to be the limit on how much one can spend on just one pillow, but order some and test them out prior to committing. 

For fun, I've created two bed looks, one for those in your 20's and another for those in your 30's, both from current projects I'm working on. Hopefully these looks can inspire you to start investing in your bed, sleep and sanity! 

In your 20's, it's often the case that your budget is a bit tighter so I've sourced items that look great and are affordable. 

I recently finished a project with the most inviting bedroom. It's the ideal design for those in your 30's, armed with a bit more disposable income, to create that sanctuary you deserve.  All sources below! 

 I started a bit late in obtaining my grown-up bed, and I have major regrets. Learn from my mistake. There's nothing better than crawling into your own bed, especially if it's beautiful and comfortable. 

Our mattress was generously provided by Tuft & Needle. All thoughts and opinions are my own.