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! 

Mill Valley Project, Part Deux

Finally here! Mill Valley Project, Part Deux. If you want the background, rewind and read all about it here.  It feels like we've been working on this project for a while, but not so. We tackled this large transformation and completed it about two months. Whew. Just tired thinking about it.

Quick recap? The family was moving into this new home within 30 days because the newest addition to the family was dying to come into this world, basically 2 weeks after move-in. We tried to accomplish as much as we could in a month despite a host of logistical hurdles. And for the most part we did! But as is the case with projects like this, we needed more time to perfect things. This post is about my second installation where we finished the rest of the rooms and put finishing touches on others. 

We saved the best for last, ready? Here we go. 

Let's start with the kids' rooms. Here is the before of C's room with the staging furniture. 

Granted this was with the staged furniture and staging is a very hard job, but I definitely wasn't feeling the curtains or the red pendant light, especially for the cutest girl I know. With good bones and a clean canvas, this room was relatively easy in terms of design. We wanted to make sure it was a room that C could grow into. So for curtains and lighting we chose items that were slightly more traditional. For accessories, we had more fun.  Below are the after photos. 

Decor above cribs can be challenging. I long to hang a gallery wall or even just a nice framed print but in California I would never dare. Earthquakes are a reality. A great solution? A colorful garland can cover that bare wall in a beautiful way.  Here, C can stand in her crib now so I hung it a bit higher so she can't reach and pull it down. Safety first. 

This guy's name is Floppy and he's just perfect. He was just a digital file that I printed out so nothing too valuable or precious. Floppy's monochrome colors tone down the cuteness level just a bit to the right level of sophistication. 

Onward! Let's move on to H's room. Below are the before photos with the staging furniture. 

LIke C's room, very much a blank canvas that was crying for some fun and personality. Here are the after photos. 

As most of you know, for the first few months, a nursery may remain empty while the baby stays with mom and dad. I wanted to make sure H had a room he would enjoy and love when he was ready. Adhering to the minimalist theme throughout the house, I kept things clean, bright and modern. Mom and dad can fill things out with all the baby necessities when H is ready for his own room. 

On to the TV room. This room sits outside the kids' room and will be primarily be used for family hangouts and play. Accordingly, we chose comfortable and kid-friendly seating along with minimal accessories to keep things clutter free. Here is the before again furnished by the stagers.  

We can do better right? We want a kid friendly lounge area but not one that is literally screaming that this is for kids only. 

The coziest corner. I kept everything neutral and soothing so that when there is a huge pile of toys on the floor, it won't be so bad. The long bench cushions also keep things visually clean and attractive. 

With no coffee table, it was important to provide as much landing spaces as possible for coffee, water and wine. These nesting tables were an ideal solution. A secret? These aren't actually marble but they look so real. Even better for a space dominated by kids, right? No need to worry about watermarks or etching. 

Last but not least, let's head upstairs to the master suite. Below is the before, again with the staging furniture. 

The clients were ready for a change. Their old bedroom furniture was dark wood that felt a bit heavier. We wanted to start with a clean slate, bring in some modernity with a mix of classic. Below is the after. 

So fresh and so clean. That about sums it up. With those beams and all that natural light pouring in, I would never get out of bed if I lived here. The neutral headboard and nightstands are mainstays, a good foundation for any bedding. The lamps are different in both shape and color and add interest. The ideal sanctuary for busy parents. 

Thanks for joining me on this Mill Valley journey. Hope you had as much fun as I did!

A Dreamy Denver Project. A Progress Report

It's been a bit quiet on the blog, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been busy, it's more of a sign that I've been too busy. But I'm happy to be busy when it's with things like the Dreamy Denver Project. 

I'm so unbelievably excited to share this project with you. The lowdown, these clients bought their new home last fall. Prior to purchasing this home, they made do with furniture that was past its prime. These clients decided that moving into this new home meant it was time to invest in furniture that they loved. 

We've already ordered the majority of the furniture. And because I'm always candid here and about the process, the first four deliveries from different vendors arrived damaged! Proof that the before/after posts you see on this and many other blogs don't convey how long and stressful a redesign process can be. It looks like magic online, but trust me, it doesn't always work that way. I've been told that it must be easy to be a designer since I'm neither spending money that is mine nor designing for a space that is mine. This couldn't be further from the truth. For my own home, I'm happy to let mistakes happen, and it's actually a place where I can try out new ideas. For my clients, I know that my services are often a luxury and I try to make sure I deliver a perfect product down to the coaster. Sometimes to get there, this means a ton of phone calls, emails and negotiations with vendors/contractors, but at the end of the day I'm happy to say it's usually worth it. And I'm grateful for patient and understanding clients! 

I plan to go to Denver in late February for the final install and to apply finishing touches and styling. For now, here is a brief rundown of the design scheme for each room. Here is the exterior of the home. 

I mean talk about curb appeal. How beautiful is this home? Clearly, no improvements need to be made here. Step inside with me to the living room. 

This living room is big and open. Right off the foyer, it's the first room to greet guests. The furniture pictured in this room and the other rooms were most likely done by a staging company. Staging companies have a challenging job, they need to furnish a home in a way with the broadest appeal with their own inventory. But as you can, the room suffers from too much brown and other muted tones. It definitely needs some color and life. Below is the living room board and the design plan I created for my clients. 

There have been a few edits to this board, but largely the general feel of the room feels the same, a neutral palette with saturated pops of color in navy blue and hints of yellow. I have yet to install this room, but I'm already in love. The marble coffee table offers some texture diversity. The linen colored sofa along with the gray side chairs are cohesive and collected but doesn't feel too matchy. 

On to the dining room. 

Similar to the living room, the furniture in the room pictured above brings out the wrong tones. With the greige paint, there needs to be more contrast, and the rattan chairs are far much too casual for this elegant dining room. Although the chandelier is perfectly fine, I think this room would benefit from a light fixture that would bring in more sparkle and shine. Below is the board for the new dining room! 

The dining room adheres to the clients' preference for an updated classic look throughout the house. However, I've updated the look a bit with a more modern chandelier, dining room chairs with a curved silhouette, and a blue rug that should help offset the dominant brown tones in the wood molding and walls. Since this room is slightly more formal, we opted to go with all chairs instead of using a dining bench. The scalloped wall mirror adds a touch of whimsy and will help the light bounce off the new chandelier. 

Last but certainly not least, the master bedroom. 

Again, like the living and dining rooms, this room also suffers from furniture that is a bit dreary. The furniture also feels a bit dated. With such a large wonderful space, I'm excited to see the final outcome. 

So serene right? Like the furniture pictured in the master bedroom photo, the board shows a design scheme that relies on a neutral palette, but you can see/feel the difference between the two right? The furniture I have chosen although neutral utilizes more whites, especially in the rug, allowing for some brightness to seep in. Also, the gray and blue throw pillows will help change the look and feel of the room, providing great contrast between the walls and the furniture. 

Fingers crossed that the rest of the deliveries arrive safe and sound. I love that this house looks and feels so different from the homes I usually do and although long distance projects are often challenging, they are often the most rewarding. I can't wait to install this project in person!

Thanks for reading!