What a Week

Living in New York City has no doubt been one of the most privileged experiences of my life, but also the most humbling. It is a city of extreme diversity of every variety (race, sexual identity, wealth), but somehow manages to be tolerant, gracious, and forgiving. 

While there are plenty of quantifiable things that separate the very top from the very bottom, there can also be very little. As much as I miss the convenience of driving (read: as much as I hate being crammed into a subway car...), it is a beautiful experience seeing every walk of life doing the exact same thing. We might be going to very different places, but we all have places to go.

I think the most important thing I've learned from living here is that it feels good to be uncomfortable. It feels good to be a small fish in a big pond. And it feels amazing to be a part of a community that collectively cooperates for the good of everyone. It isn't perfect, but something is working - you can see and feel it whether you want to or not. 

It was awful listening to very real conversations on the street and subway this week, especially from those who expressed legitimate concerns for their safety. It was also interesting, but heart-breaking, to hear a lot of those same people suggest that they still would have felt compromised had Hillary prevailed. The privileged reality for me is that my life will largely remain unchanged despite the deeply polarizing outcome of this election. It is embarrassing to admit it (especially because I am so profoundly opposed to Trump), but there is still a lonely comfort there. 

The conflict for me is that I am deeply uncomfortable feeling like my well being is coming at a real cost to so many other groups of people. There is just no way that feels right.

While I can only speak to my personal experience, it feels really important to me to try and respectfully share my feelings, especially because I did not vote with the same sentiment as many of my conservative friends and family. If I lived almost anywhere else, I likely would not have had the opportunity to experience such a raw, emotional response to the election. In all honesty, I hate conflict and I probably would have avoided it. But now - for better, for worse - I don't feel like I can or even want to avoid those feelings. 

It feels like now more than ever I want to experience genuine empathy for others and try and attempt to understand a perspective other than my own. I hope whoever is reading this can also share in this need and the fear of ignoring something so important. I can attest from my own experience that it really does feel good to be uncomfortable, especially once you see how much it can benefit everyone. 

Life is hard, I hope we can decide to help each other.

Safari Chic: Nursery Design

I had the pleasure of working with a sweet couple on this sophisticated safari themed nursery this summer. We started the decorating process at the beginning of April and wrapped things up well before their son's arrival, just over a month ago. This room went through quite a transformation, so I was very thankful for my client's motivation and organization so we could get it all done. 

The apartment is a large one bedroom that has been converted into a two bedroom. The small secondary bedroom (approximately 8' x 12') was serving as a guest room with a daybed and dressing space / walk-in closet since the master bedroom has such limited storage. Because so much storage was displaced out of this room, we ended up re-configuring a hall closet and designing a built-in for the master bedroom in addition to the nursery design. Everything from hand bags to golf clubs to a large collection of shoes needed a new home, so we had to get creative and create space. 

This client's apartment is already professionally decorated, so when I saw lots of sophisticated prints and beautiful fabrics and wallcoverings, I knew we were going to get along great. We started off the process by discussing all of the items that needed to fit in this petite nursery, creating furniture plan options, and putting together thematic schemes once they knew the sex of the baby. Since multi-purposing is the name of the game in New York City, our goal was to maintain a comfortable guest space without sacrificing any nursery necessities (full-size crib, changing table, glider, etc.). 

Here are a couple of (not great) before shots:

And where we landed with the new furniture plan:

Cozy, to be sure! But it all efficiently fits and works well for the client's needs.

The clients had a very good sense for the look and feel they wanted in the space, so it was such fun exercise abstracting that into a couple of schemes for them to choose from. We ended up tweaking a few selections in the end, but this was the winning scheme:

And, finally, the new nursery space photographed by Nicole Cohen:

The clients selected a very handsome Duc Duc crib with walnut accents and a steamer trunk style changing table to really round out the theme. We blew up some beautiful photographs from the safari the clients went on and hung those above the daybed. We found the great, handmade mobile on Etsy and also stayed on theme with the bone inlay mirror above the changing table. And who doesn't love a over-sized giraffe and tiger?

I loved designing and collaborating with this couple on such a special space for their son and am so glad I could help them make the best use of their existing space with their changing needs.

 

A Pre-War Paint Schedule

At long last, we are set to close on our new apartment this coming Tuesday! I knew this had the potential to be a long process, but had not idea it would take five (five!) full months, so we are thrilled to be moving forward. Given that the apartment is in estate condition, the next month+ will be filled with some immediate updates, but it will certainly be an ongoing project. We plan to work through renovations as quickly as possible and move the week before Thanksgiving. I couldn't be more excited. 

Small spaces can be challenging for obvious reasons, but the upside is that every square foot is meaningful. My dad did some simple - but dramatic! - math this weekend and determined the new space is just about 60% larger than our current apartment. While it is still a one-bedroom, we are really going to benefit from having significantly more room.

INSPIRATION

I've had entirely too long to think about what I'd like to do in the space and haven't really wavered on much since we first saw the apartment. I keep coming back to these inspiration images on my secret Pinterest board:

I really admire Steven Gambrel's use of color, especially in this first image. He is able to pull off a lot of color / pattern without the space feeling chaotic. I especially love that he painted the door, a trick that Miles Redd often uses.

I discovered this kitchen in a Remodelista article and loved, loved, loved the mixture of modern and traditional elements - the inset cabinets (traditional) with flat fronts (modern), the brass hardware (traditional) with the sleek stone counters/backsplash (modern). 

This final image from Jeffrey Bilhuber's Country House featured on OKL is something I've even sent to a couple of clients - I just love that contrasting poppy red cabinet interior. Such a fun use of color.

I have not doubt I will be my own worst enemy/client during this process, but at least I know what I like, right?

PAINT SCHEDULE

The apartment has lots of beautiful pre-war details we are excited to play up - picture mouldings, cove ceilings, transom windows, original doors. The floors are also original and just need refinishing.

This is subject to change until we actually start painting but this is where I am going with our paint schedule. Below the paint are the fabric swatches we are working with (existing, new) in each space. 

LIVING ROOM:

BEDROOM:

INTERIOR HALLWAY:

BATHROOM:

KITCHEN:

My goal is to work with warm and cool colors side-by-side since we have and like a lot of both. I am trying to shy away from bold wall colors - except for the interior hallway - since the space gets a lot more light than our current apartment. I've always really loved shades of coral, so I think using it on the doors will be a fun way to connect the rooms while still using distinct colors + patterns in each space.

Looking forward to sharing more from this little apartment reno starting Tuesday! Follow me on Instagram to see little snippets from this personal project + my client work!

Project Progress: Westchester Family Home

I started working with a lovely family in Westchester County late last year. Just about half an hour away by Metro North, it's been really fun working on a family home here in New York since I usually only get to scale up in Texas! While we certainly aren't finished yet, we have done a lot throughout the house including completing two of their kids rooms, so I wanted to share some project photos and updates with you.

This client reached out to me after seeing the two fun kids rooms at our Arlington Street project, so I think you will see a lot of overlap in style (love for color + prints - clients after my own heart!) with these two projects. Just like at Arlington Street, we've been careful to select a variety of things that are high quality but offer durability while not sacrificing style. Nothing is too precious, but it is all very special and tailored to their great taste. They are a young family and we are working hard to design their home around their lifestyle.

See the project gallery here and enjoy some updates below!

Son's Room - featuring an antique bed, bamboo shades + side tables, Katie Ridder's Beetlecat fabric, Sister Parish's Pocantico fabric, blue + white striped coverlet, indoor/outdoor rug, and some fabulous photos taken from a really neat Cuba Car Series. 

Daughter's Room - featuring a custom half-moon ticking stripe headboard, Carleton Varney's Growing Wild print, painted wood pelmet box (a la Arlington Street, I like to think it's a thing now), custom fabric lamp shades. So sweet!

Kitchen + Breakfast Spaces - colorful vintage runner, antique breakfast table, indestructible Panton chairs, and Serena & Lily blue Windsor style chairs, Breuer style counter stools

Dining + Living Spaces - lots of fun prints (including Josef Frank, Les Touches, Lulu DK, and Raoul), a custom buttered brass sputnik style chandelier, and wallpaper on the way!

Look forward to sharing more as we continue working on this beautiful home!