I have been down here in Florida for the past week visiting with my family. We have had a house here for about 20 years. My siblings and I usually all try to descend upon it some time in April, while my parents spend half the year here. (You can see a few images on my Instagram and I will probably share a few more there this week. How about that Blue Spring?) But it is back to work later this week, finishing up projects and getting ready to have a couple more photo shoots soon. I hope you all had good holidays whatever you celebrate and wherever you are.
After another busy week, you would think that I would have preferred to spend Sunday having brunch, going to the Farmer's Market, wandering the city and lounging around reading. Well, luckily I managed to get all of that in on Saturday, so when Sunday rolled around I decided to begin the task of unpacking the bags from the shoot that had just been dropped in the corner and left for days. The botanicals had been sitting in a plastic pitcher on the kitchen counter all week. The thistle was done for, but that green bushy stuff - whatever it is - is still going strong and the hearty pussy willows were ready to be cut down and placed in the vintage silver vase I recently picked up. I actually had quite a few design leftovers from this job. I may have to open up a shop soon! After things were unpacked I couldn't resist styling up my dresser and taking some photos - just with my iphone, I didn't get the tripod out or anything, but I guess I just needed to get one more fix to last until the next project wraps.
In project news, there is a little bit of a lull this month because everyone is going to be away next week, including me. Project PCV is about to cross the finish line at a snail's pace, but it's all good. I am hoping by the end of May to begin snapping the pics. Project Inwood should be heating back up soon and we've moved upstairs at South Orange. There is still a lot to do downstairs, but the master bedroom plan is complete and moving ahead, as you may have noticed if you follow me on Instagram. You can also take a peek at it here.
In other news, spring is finally here. Yes, it is still a little cool and rainy, but the daffodils are up and there is no turning back. Hope you all are enjoying some warm and sunshine this month. Until next week.
Here is one of my favorite images from this weekend's shoot at the bachelor pad. I could not love more those little vintage silver boxes (apparently for shaving supplies) and how the thistle looks against the almost black bedroom walls. These are the moments that make the countless hours of hard work worth it. These little styling moments and photographs are pure joy for me. My business is young and I still always fear that the images won't turn out, but once things start clicking relief and excitement sets in and you forget that you were up until 1 a.m. ironing the wrinkles out of your client's duvet! I love to do the photography on my interior design jobs, but this time I also took on a big art project, so needless to say I am a bit exhausted from wearing so many hats this past week. I am still editing all of the images, so it will be a little while for the full reveal, but there are some other sneak peeks up on my Instagram. As always, feel free to follow along on there and if you have an art or design project you need some help with, you can get in touch here. Have a great week!
Next week I will be shooting the bachelor pad that I recently finished. The project was completed last month for the most part, but I scheduled the shoot for when my client will be out of town next week. For the innocent bystander, watching a photo shoot is probably mind numbingly boring, so I like to spare my clients when I can. These images are quick snaps from the last installation, so all of the main pieces are in place, everything just needs to be cleaned up (that streaky mirror!) and styled for the big day - and my client, of course.
I admit that this mirror was picked by my client and I was a little worried about it, but I think it is all going to come together in the end. The glossy dark black finish brings it off the dark wall, but it doesn't scream at you. At first I thought it was too dark, but then with all of its ornate detail, maybe it is better dark. I have been collecting styling bits to have options and am excited to play around with them.
I am going to try to keep it pretty simple though, because that is my client's style and really best fits the space too. I think it is easy to get carried away because it is actually a really fun part of the job - the final layer - but I am keeping restraint in mind.
Well, except where the pillows are concerned I guess. Yes, those are A LOT of pillows, but I couldn't resist. They look so good. Cougar, the cat, is thinking, "Lady, what have you done to my sofa?!" He is just not sure what to think. I also removed his blanket for this pic, so I think he was really ready for me to leave at this point : )
These prints arrived today and will be hung in the living room. My client is going to be collecting art over time and has been having me look at things here and there. Most of the art going in for the shoot will be coming back out because he is looking for specific things and the two pieces he bought aren't in yet. It is kind of crazy. I can handle photography, but I have decided to challenge myself to make a large piece - with paint and gold duct tape (!!!) - to go above the sofa just for the shoot. I am really hoping it doesn't look awful. I want something simple there and am rolling the dice on pulling it off. I will be prototyping over the next few days, so stay tuned to my Instagram feed and feel free to weigh in with brutal honesty. Until next week.
If you have a design project you'd like some help with or are interested in ordering prints, feel free to get in touch here.
Spring is ten days away. I am beyond excited - along with the entire Northeast I am sure. It isn't that I don't appreciate the winter, I do. I actually like the rhythm the seasons provide. I enjoy a little nesting and solitude, but by March, when it starts to turn into cabin fever and seasonal affective disorder : ) , trust me, I am over it. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love nature. I live for my garden in the warmer months and can spend hours photographing trees and flowers. Last year I bought this dress for myself for my birthday because it just seemed too perfect. I wore it for weeks on end. So, this week I am going to post florals and botanicals on my Instagram to countdown to spring. Follow along here if you like. Have a great week!
Although February was quiet on the journal, it was a busy month behind the scenes. Here is a little update on my current projects. The South Orange house is moving along. The design plan for the living room is above. The client's inspiration images were full of bohemian touches, lots of color and creativity, but they also wanted to marry that with their traditional house and make good investments with their time and money. As usual we started with the function and floor plan and then plugged the inspiration into that. I really like the plan and we just need to purchase a few nore things for this room - the rug, settle on the chair upholstery, the pillows and some lamps, but most everything here got the A-OK. The amazing Minorca rug is also in the dining room now and I am DYING to see it. I am going out next weekend, so will try to post some images on Instagram, if you want to follow along. Here is some progress on my other projects, which you may have already seen on Instagram. My apologies for photo repetition if so.
Here we have the latest from Project Peter Cooper Village. I am excited to say that it is really shaping up. We are moving slowly at this point, compared to the initial chaos, because that is what fits the family's life best right now, but most of the big work has been done, so I guess you could say we are leisurely tweaking. The beautiful blue velvet sofa from ABC Home is in place and I love it. It reads a little dark, especially for the camera, so I keep my fingers crossed that it will look good with my better camera (Luckilly I don't shoot my work with my iPone!!) It looks good in the room though. I asked my client to pull out this Mexican blanket I remembered she had in the boy's room on my first visit. I initially wanted it to possibly recover or drape it over an ottoman/coffee table - because we are still deciding on the right piece for there. Then I had the impulse to layer it over the sofa and it just worked. I think especially with the three young boys roaming the place this will also be easy to maintain worry free for now. This client also loves a lot of color. The room already has colorful furniture, so when it came time for a rug I thought we needed a more neutral base. I love these rugs from Land of Nod. I used an indigo one in the Brooklyn Heights office and it is really pretty. This one has bits of all different color, but overall is natural - and the price for an 8 x 10 cannot be beat. On to the next . . .
The Long Island City bachelor pad is pretty much done. This low quality pic I snapped at dusk doesn't do the paint job justice. I know black walls are super trendy and I don't recommend them gratuitously - I have even tried to sway clients away from them, as you may recall here - but I just felt this was right for the room and client. I was willing to also do a navy or dark gray, but the client decided to wing it without testing and chose the Wrought Iron from Benjamin Moore, just a shade lighter than black. It turned out really nice. He also went rogue on the desk legs and bought the chrome instead of the iron (this is why I like to manage the purchasing!!). Now he doesn't like the awesome vintage brass task lamp - because it is not chrome. I wanted brass accents in the room, the nailhead on the West Elm headboard is kind of an aged coppery brass, so . . . what are you going to do. Well, I am going to take the lamp home with me I guess. We ordered classic chrome wall sconces instead. It should be fine. It will all be fine. Sometimes it is really hard to convince clients to wait for the big picture, for the whole room to be pulled together, because then your eye has other places to land and you won't keep thinking about it. Although I did want brass accents, I am okay with mixing metals, as long as the overall look is good. I think when we embrace the imperfection, or let go of the ideal image in our head a little, things can sometimes look more real and more interesting. During my renovation I lost sleep over little details that I now don't even notice on a day to day basis. These are homes we live in after all, not museums.
And uptown at the Inwood job, paint saves the day again. These guys didn't test swatch either - again, that is why I like to be in charge ; ) - but I gave them a short list of some pretty fail proof grays, so I was confident. I kept asking, what gray did you choose? They were nervous about gray being too cold, but I assured them we were going with mid to warm grays and avoiding cool undertones. I even suggested they swatch a warmer gray like Balboa Mist, which I also would have been happy with. They have an awesome big loungey blue sofa, but still this big, beautiful red family heirloom carpet and the warm wood credenza also dominate and could take a hit of gray for sure. So, it was a game changer folks. I've said it before, but paint is amazing. I still don't even know the color they used. One half of the newlyweds has been in LA since January for pilot season and the other half has been flying out to visit, so it has been a little hectic. Most of the living/dining room is done here, we recently ordered a beautiful blue overdyed rug for the foyer, the bedroom is almost complete and everything else will have to wait. This project is now on hiatus until everyone is back in NYC and demo starts on the bathrooms.
I am not so great at keeping the journal updated, but as you can probably guess, I do my fair share on Instagram, so follow along there if you like. If you have a design project you'd like some help with, feel free to get in touch here.
I am excited to share a new project I started this month. I am working with a great family on the cutest house in South Orange. I pulled this image off the web - because obviously it is not summer in South Orange right now. The image was small, so I just turned it into a little painting, but I will take a better photo at some point. I must confess, I am smitten with the neighborhood. New Jersey - who knew? The house is on a lovely tree lined street amidst all of these wonderful older homes - all with sun rooms (a.k.a. Maplewood rooms out there). So, although the commute is not ideal, it is a pleasant place to be.
Here is a little peek at the initial direction of the sun room. If only I did not let those chairs slip through my fingers on eBay (bad interior designer!). But that is okay, we already have an antique black and gold sideboard and some rattan and zebra startiing to happen in there. I can't even begin to show you all of the inspiration images they sent me, but suffice to say I loved them all. There really wasn't one particular direction to them, but what it expressed to me more than anything else was their fearlessness. They want something stylish and tasteful, something that respects the house, which luckily has not had any horrible modern renovations, but they certainly don't want something staid and boring. They (we) love the traditional elements of the house, but want to bring life into it. I always say that any style can be done tastefully and with whatever twist best represents the client, but sometimes it is a bit challenging if you don't exactly share a vision. I don't think that is going to be a problem here, so I have a feeling this is gonna be a good one folks.
So far in the dining room we have the Blu Dot Strut table happening in green. Some antique chairs, similar to the above, are on their way up from Florida and we are crossing our fingers that there is room in the budget for this really great Minorca Rug from Lulu & Georgia. The dining room has wood paneling and it has been decided that the woodwork will not be painted out - read "I am dark and traditional." So, we are trying to counterbalance that with some clean lines, color and pattern without getting too crazy or busy. There may or may not be a gold disco ball involved as well, You'll just have to wait and see.
First off, while I am sure it is no news flash, it is winter - and, as you can see by this shot I took out the train window a couple of weekends ago, it is living up to expectations with lots of snow and arctic temperatures. Not quite the perfect weather to be running around to flea markets and thrift stores in, but I cannot be stopped : )
I found this painting while making the rounds and picking up final layer styling bits for the bachelor pad job. It doesn't really fit with that project, but it might fit with a new job I am working on and, for now, it really fits in my apartment and is at high risk of never leaving, like so many other pieces of art that have piled up over here. I am in love with the colors and it makes me really happy to look at it every day, so at least that is good.
I also braved the cold to attend the opening of Melissa Joy Manning's new shop in SoHo. I love the interior along with all of her beautiful jewelry. I like to use agate coasters in my work, so found this wall installation of agate particularly lovely.
Finally, here is a shot of a stack vintage kilim pillow covers waiting to be packed up for a partial installation over at the bachelor pad job this week. The walls were painted - yay!!! - and I cannot wait to see them. We went with light gray (BM Moonshine) in the living area and dark, dark almost black gray (BM Wrought Iron) in the bedroom. My client was a little scared, but I think it is going to look so good with the warm wood and linen headboard - fingers crossed!
To get the instant behind-the-scenes play by play, feel free to follow along on Instagram.
I started working on this Long Island City apartment last month and am happy to say we are about three quarters of the way done. The client is motivated to pull things together quickly. The building is brand new construction so it is in great condition, no kitchen to update here. The job is really just decorating. The client wants a warm, modern and stylish space, but given that this is a rental and he may be leaving the city in a year or two, the emphasis is on furnishings that he can take with him. In other words, we will be painting, but I am pretty certain that we won't be lacquering any walls or doing custom drapery. Here is how things are shaping up so far . . . gray sofa, credenza, chair, coffee table, lamp, cow hide - check. The rest of the items in the mock up are just placeholders. We are figuring out the art still. We know we want plants, just have to get those in. Painting is happening this week and I pray there is some money left in the budget to switch out a ceiling fixture or two. This is a mood board for the bedroom . . .
We have several pieces already in here too - dresser, headboard, desk - so after painting, it will just be adding finishing touches and pulling it all together. So far, I am pretty happy with how things are turning out and should have some pictures soon. Have a great week.
Wishing you peace, love and happiness in 2014.
Happy New Year!