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!

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.