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. 

Mill Valley Project: Chapter 1

Have you tried furnishing a home in around 30 days? My advice: don't try it if it can be helped. But if not, below you'll find some before/after photos of how we did it and some tips if you're in a similar situation.. 

My former clients called me and said they had just closed on a house. They absolutely needed to move in 30 days because the newest addition to the family was expected in about 50 days. In addition to the short turnaround, there were other challenges. The current sellers were still living in the house (so we had to schedule furniture deliveries and visits carefully), and we needed to buy a ton of furniture since their square footage had tripled in size.  As you might guess my first reaction was like....I need to take a seat. But since I had done something similar before (story here). I felt more than up to the challenge. Thankfully Mill Valley is much closer than Las Vegas!

Because of the tight timeline and numerous logistical challenges, I decided we would try to order as much furniture as we could, have the house move-in ready as possible and then refine the design in September. As such, this project is still ongoing. We're filling out some of the spaces and waiting for some final deliveries, but there are a couple of finished rooms I can't wait to share with you. The main living area is a lovely open space. First up, the formal living room. Below is a before photo with the furniture from the stagers. 

The floor plan essentially remained the same and we used all the furniture my clients had in their prior living room which I helped them decorate a couple years ago. 

To me, this room is so very Mill Valley to me - classic, clean and inviting.  Moving on from the living room, we head directly into my favorite room, the dining room. 

Yup, I want a closer look too but before we do, here is the obligatory before photo. 

The clients decided to leave their old dining set behind.  They were ready for a change, a mix of style with a modern bent, my speciality.  And below is the after! 

Stunning. The blue bohemian rug adds that unexpected element and the tension it creates against the more traditional table and chairs is ideal. The built-in bar saves spaces and pares down the furniture in the room, letting the table take center stage. A closer look below. 

Follow me over to the kitchen which needed just a bit of styling. Again, here is the before. 

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Just some small changes and decluttering to leave the clients with a kitchen that will make anyone envious. 

Can I move in? The island is perfect for entertaining and some quick meals. The reclaimed wood accents throughout warm up the space and brings in the cozy.  Right next to the kitchen is the kitchen nook.  Below is the before. 

The previous wallpaper was in good condition but didn't really go with my clients' style and was a bit too contemporary compared to the rest of the furniture in the house. We changed it up and chose dining furniture that was more aligned with the style of the kitchen. See below for the after! 

This kitchen nook before/after is a great lesson in how wallpaper and furniture can literally transform the style of a space completely. Where the before photo shows a more contemporary industrial nook, the after space exudes a sense of classic modern living at its best. Last room? The adjacent family room. Below is the before photo with the staging furniture. 

This room is still in progress. We're still waiting for the delivery of the sectional, but here is a sneak peek of how it looks now.  

A child-friendly room that invites you to lounge, relax and kick your heels back. Can't wait for the sectional to get delivered, which is expected at the end of this month.

All of the furniture in the dining room, kitchen nook and various other pieces throughout the rest of the house were ordered and delivered in around 30 days, all from different vendors. If you've ordered furniture recently, you will know that 30 days is an incredibly short lead time. For upholstered pieces, 6 to 8 weeks is often the minimum.  Even tables, rugs, etc. can take close to two months depending on inventory and shipping speed.  If you're under a tight deadline and need to have a home furnished asap, here are some tips:

- Look for quick ship options, especially for upholstered items.

- Check the inventory of items prior to purchasing. 

- Ask detailed questions re shipping timelines. 

- Stay flexible and if possible consider ordering as many items as you can from one vendor to reduce delivery appointments and further logistical challenges. 

- Try to schedule all your deliveries on one day if possible to keep you sane. 

- Be nice but relentless with customer service, they can often bump up your delivery appointments if you press. I had West Elm on speed dial. 

I'm doing a second smaller install mid-September since we're still waiting for deliveries for the guest room, master bedroom, nursery and TV room. So keep your eyes out for the next installment of this amazing project. 

 

 

A Mighty Fine Dining Room for Under $2,500

Thanks to the internet and technology, there is no doubt that today we have greater access to a wider variety of budget friendly furniture. I truly believe it's now easier than ever to furnish your home at a lower price point and still make it look wonderfully curated and unique. Everyone likes a good deal, raise your hand if you don't. The challenge is to make sure that your wallet-friendly purchases don't look budget, am I right? This dining room is a perfect example of how to make smart choices and create an entire room for a relatively small amount of money. Here we go! 

This client recently moved into a new home with her significant other. They were combining their respective furniture and personal items for the rest of the home but decided to start fresh with the dining room. Below is the before. 

Generally, I'm not a huge fan of dining room sets that are counter-height. It often feels awkward, a bit too far from the ground to allow guests to linger at the table after dinner for conversation. As you can also see, the dining room space is actually quite large but it wasn't really being optimized for entertaining. I was consulting and purchasing for other areas in the home. but this was the one room that we were starting completely fresh. With a fairly tight budget, I knew I had to be cognizant of price points without compromising on aesthetics or quality. 

Below is the design plan. 

Table  ($449)/ Dining Chair  ($119)/ Rug  ($150)/ Buffet  ($1,099)

Table ($449)/Dining Chair ($119)/Rug ($150)/Buffet ($1,099)

We ended up purchasing the bookcase and accent chair for the living room.  Everything else on the board we purchased for the dining room, as reflected in the after photos below.  

The majority of the money went towards the buffet, which was one of the pieces for which I wanted to focus on quality. To reflect the beautiful natural light from the skylight, I chose this affordable glass dining table. The glass table alongside the mirror creates the most awesome halo of light for this room. And for color, we chose this flat weave rug with lovely movement and texture. 

Boom! So bright and beautiful. I know some of you may be thinking, a dining room for under $2,500 still sounds a bit steep. And It's true that I can definitely whip up a dining room design plan for under $1k or even less than $750. But keep in mind that there is a fine line between saving money in the near term versus saving money overall. You may end up needing to replace cheaper but less well-made pieces every couple of years, resulting in a recurring expense over time. On the other hand, you may pay more for a higher-quality piece, but that could be a one-time expense for an item that you can take with you to each new home over a longer period of time. 

Just remember to make smart choices.  If necessary, invest in one single piece and fill out the rest with more affordable choices until you replenish your furniture budget.  Bookmark furniture for most of us is a necessary fact of life. If you're thinking about redoing a room on a budget, know that it's possible to do so and still make it your own!