Midcentury Millbrae

This is a story about a room . . . well, to be more exact, this is a story about two rooms in one. I'll explain more below.

In a house with two busy working parents, it is often the case that the master bedroom becomes neglected. With the impending arrival of a new addition to the family, these clients realized that their master bedroom needed a makeover. In its existing state, the master bedroom would be unable to accommodate a small nursery setup, a necessity until the new baby was old enough to move in with her big sister. I know this is a common problem that confronts many of my clients who live in smaller spaces, especially in San Francisco and New York. I hope this before/after shows you that it can not only be done but done stylishly! 

Here are some before photos to give you a sense of the space. 

The room isn't small by any means, but it is shaped a bit awkwardly. Directly across the bed is a sliding door which sounds nice in theory. But it made the bedroom visible to the entire rest of the house due to the home's layout, making it necessary for the curtains covering it to remain closed most of the time to preserve privacy. The storage furniture in the room felt a bit oversized and was making the room feel smaller than it was. And somehow I didn't grab a picture of the long row of glass closet doors that covered the entire length of the wall. (Note to self, take better before photos.) The glass closet doors made the entire room feel somewhat dated,. The paint color was an off-white with yellow undertones, which contributed to this dated feeling. We like midcentury, but we want the 2016 version of midcentury if you get my meaning. Here we go! 

To bring in modernity, richness and interest in this room, we wallpapered! See below. 

An improvement, I would say. Remember I mentioned the glass closet doors that extended through the entire length of the room? We replaced them with these off-white heavy curtains.  I was slightly concerned that it might be too much fabric but it turned out so well. Due to the height of this closet, standard closet doors would not fit, and custom doors were outside the budget. This is a great long-term temporary solution. 

I work really, really hard to collaborate with my clients and find compromise wherever possible.  I also don't push for something unless I feel very strongly about it. This wallpaper was one such suggestion. There was some hesitancy on the clients' part but I knew this blue grasscloth would work so well here and I'm so glad they trusted me. The wallpaper has a sheen and richness that the camera can't truly capture, it adds so much to this otherwise blank canvas of a room. 

We replaced the rug with one that was bigger and more appropriately sized to the space. Grounding the space with the right sized rug is a principle that is often overlooked but it's really important in creating the right balance in a room. The warmness of the walnut bedframe and nightstands seriously pops against the wallpaper. And there are touches of gold and brass detail throughout the room including these wall-mounted sconces which allow for more surface space on the nightstands. 

Let's move on. This is a very sad corner, secretly dreaming to be brighter and better. 

I think we did this corner justice. We tucked the glider in the corner, as can be seen below. 

Such a sweet corner. Don't worry, the clients are purchasing a roman shade for that window to make sure the newest addition of the family gets proper shut-eye. The bassinet will be placed between the glider and bed, making things slightly tight for a little while but there is still room to move around. 

We just wallpapered the one wall, getting a lot of bang for our buck. We repainted the other walls Grey Owl by Benjamin Moore. It's such a small change but makes such a difference. The cooler tones offset the warm wood floors and create this beautiful contrast. 

Should we move to the other side of the room? Directly opposite the bed is a slider door as I mentioned above. Here is the before. 

Due to privacy issues, and the fact that the clients never used this sliding door, they placed storage furniture in front of it. I thought the situation could be improved. Below is the after. 

Photo by  @mrgregma

Photo by @mrgregma

The existing heavier silk curtains were just not working for the room or the clients. The room felt very dark since these curtains were always closed to maintain privacy. We replaced them with these curtain panels which are the perfect solution. The panels allow some natural light to come in yet preserve a sense of privacy since this area is the primary dressing area.  And before you get up in arms about blocking the sliding door, don't worry, this is a temporary floorplan. Once the glider moves out, the dresser can be relocated to that corner.

As I always do, I brought some plants in to bring in some life and energy. Pro tip? I swear that plants from Ikea are hardier than most. Since I knew my clients are insanely busy, juggling their careers and household, watering plants falls to the bottom of the list. Fingers crossed that these survive. 

Sconces above your nightstand are so on trend right now and you can see why below. They create the coziest and most inviting bedroom lighting. 

Photo by  @mrgregma

Photo by @mrgregma

All you parents out there, I know you're busy and you work really hard. You really deserve to come home to a master bedroom that is truly a retreat. Don't forget to take care of your needs as well as your kids. Even the smallest changes can make a big difference as this before/after demonstrates. Let me know if you're interested in changing your bedroom into a sanctuary you deserve. Thanks for reading! 

An Utterly Fantastic Holiday Surprise (Part 3)

The conclusion to this amazing journey.  If you've missed my previous posts, you can check out Part 1 and Part 2 first.  Needless to say I lived all of my HGTV dreams with this project.  And after completing this Goliath project with all the added fun challenges (distance, secrecy, time constraints, etc.) I'm confident I can do almost anything, so bring it on!

This post focuses on all the bedrooms in the home.  Adhering to my philosophy and aesthetic sensibilities, I kept all the bedrooms serene and clutter-free.  Some may think that these bedrooms are almost too sparse, but I disagree.  Bedrooms should be a place for rest, and with all our modern distractions, keeping the bedroom bright, clean and clutter-free is essential. 

As I mentioned in the previous posts, the clients just had a very handsome new baby boy. Although he is still sleeping with his parents, I wanted to furnish the nursery so when he is ready to move into his own room the clients wouldn't have to do any work.   Here is the before, a perfectly nice room. 

Nursery Before

For the first couple of years, the nursery is primarily for sleep and storage.  As such, I wanted to make sure there was enough storage for all the items necessary to keep a baby happy and a serene environment conducive to naps and sleeping at night. 

Nursery After

Lovely.  The knitted wool rug should soften any footsteps that may awaken the baby.  The open shelving is a piece of furniture that the baby should be able to use and grow into as a toddler, a place to store his books, toys, etc.  I do love themed nurseries, but there is something to be said for just keeping things neutral and classic.  

And for such tiny beings, it's amazing how many things babies require.  The parents plan on installing custom closet shelving, but I speculated that may be several months in the making.  For a temporary solution, I inserted storage furniture in the closet.  

Nursery Storage

Adorable, right?  Tiny hangers for tiny clothes. If the parents don't get to the custom closet project for a while, this inexpensive storage bookcase will suffice for a time.  It will help them keep things organized so they can immediately inventory their supplies and see what is necessary for purchase. 

Moving downstairs to the guest room! I very inconveniently forgot to take a photo of the room before, but if you can use your imagination like every other room in this house, it was an empty box. 


Serene? Calm? Pretty? I would say "yes" to all three.  I knew this guest room would get a lot of use from visiting relatives and friends.  So I chose a classic white bedroom set which I believed would not only appeal to most people but, just as important, would also appeal to my clients' style sensibilities.  The gray bedding balances out the brown and beige hues in the rest of the room.  And my favorite?  The mercury glass table lamps.  I know mercury glass everything has been trending for the past couple of years, but I think they are classic and are a great way to add some sparkle in a very subtle way.  

Some ways to make your guests feel extra welcome? Provide some reading materials, fresh flowers, and travel toiletries just in case they forgot something at home. 

And last but certainly not least, the master bedroom.  Here is the before. Calling out to be filled up. 

Master bedroom before

And here is the after, the oh so pretty master bedroom. 

Master bedroom after

I actually can't take any credit for the furniture in the master bedroom.  The master bedroom furniture is the one thing my clients ordered ahead of time. However, I will take credit for the wonderful acrylic nightstand lamps and for having clients with great taste.  The lamps are difficult to see in the above photo but they are the perfect combination of glamorous and classic. The visual lightness of them also offsets the heaviness of the rest of the furniture in the room. The upholstered bed is grand, and the dresser nightstands are nice landing spaces that also provide great storage. The glider in the corner also fits in well with the rest of the room, although it will eventually be moved to the nursery. 

And only because sit down vanities definitely don't exist in any homes I know, I was really, really, excited to style this space.  Here is the before, excuse the mess, it was taken during my initial site visit. 

And here is every girl's dream. 

Vanity after

Sigh. I heart this space. Every vanity should have fresh flowers.  Although this bathroom is covered in mirrors, I thought why not take advantage of the bouncing light by placing the small mirrored tray for perfumes and lotions, plus, it adds that touch of girly glam. 

I'm not much of a makeup girl, but this acrylic beauty cube quite possibly could make me a convert. It's pretty enough to have it atop your countertop so that you don't have to tuck away your makeup everyday.  It also has numerous configurations for drawer dividers so you can adjust according to your needs. I think it deserves a closer look, don't you?  See below. 

Whew.  And I'm done! I've said it before and I will never stop saying it, I'm so, so lucky to have clients who not only believe in me but who also trust me to help them with their homes.  For this project, this is especially true. This is probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do and I'm beyond thrilled that it turned out so well.  So calling all husbands out there, do you want to secretly surprise your wife by redecorating a room or maybe even a house?! You know who to call. 

Observing client confidentiality I can't reveal my clients' identities, but I would like to say I may have furnished your house, but it is you guys and your adorable baby boy who have made it into home.  

Till next time!