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.


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! 

The After: Upper East Side Kitchen Renovation

After a very long pause, I finally wanted to pick up where I left off and share some more photos (all by the very talented Nicole Cohen) and details on this kitchen renovation. 

If you'll rewind for a moment and take a look at the 'before' photos and the generic floor plan in my previous post, that should all give you a pretty good sense for the original space. Most New York City apartments are built with a few floor plans per floor and then each repeats over and over again on each floor forming a 'line'. Each line is serviced by electrical and plumbing risers that flow all the way up a building, which means they cannot be touched since it would impact all of your neighbors. Once the risers are identified along with the structural supports and you account for any sort of code restrictions (fire escape clearances, ADA, etc.) and other limitations, that's when you can (finally!) start designing your kitchen.

My clients use what was the formal dining room as a second, informal living space - this is where we installed the fabulous vinyl "grasscloth" wallpaper and high gloss built-in! - so it was very important for them to have a dining space with room for several extra family members. Since the original maid's room was being used as an office, it was also important that my clients have a dedicated desk space. Lastly, we needed to convert the (very tight) full bath into a spacious (and fabulous) powder bath for guests. 

We went through several iterations with the architect and given all of those parameters, we settled on option E here, which even changed some more post demolition discoveries:

While it is hard to tell, we stole a few feet from the Sitting Room and opened up that vestibule passage which was previously a very slight 29". The vestibule then leads you past the service entrance, storage closet, utility closet, dry bar, pantry, powder bath, and finally on into the main kitchen space - compression and then release!

Side note - the Sitting Room floor has a very pretty border and the dotted lines on the plan off the foyer represent the balance of that wood floor. The original floor was in good shape so rather than replace it, we kept that little bit of history and had wonderful Dean Barger layer one of his original and beautiful stencil designs. If you take a closer look you can see the wood border on the top and right edges, which continues on in the new Sitting Room with the original parquet.

Truly the perfect detail for the space.

But before decorative floor treatments could happen and were even considered, my client and I spent a thoughtful amount of time selecting flooring, tile, stone, hardware, appliances, cabinet styles, cabinet layouts, paint colors, wall and window coverings, and the list goes on. If for no other reason than decision fatigue, it is worth having a designer on board to help make those calls! Originally my client was leaning towards wood flooring in the new space, but when we found this great ceramic hexagon tile (which is actually a collection of 6 different tiles to create a varied look) we switched gears. My client was very happy with the idea of resilient quartz counters in white, so between those two selections, we had a really positive jumping off point for the rest of the selections and look. 

Even before seeing Emily Henderson's big master bathroom reveal, we had also already selected Fireclay's Ogee Drop for the backsplash in a pale blue. We used a fun turquoise herringbone for the separate dry bar space. The window coverings and powder bath wallpaper are both Galbraith & Paul, which both installed beautifully. The booth cushions are covered in an Innovations faux leather (spills no more - these are wipe-able!), and the booth table is custom made with brass legs and a walnut top. The light fixture in the booth is by Coleen and Company, the sconces in the bathroom are by Ro-Sham-Beaux, and the vestibule fixture is antique murano glass from Vincent Mulford in Hudson, NY.

We used a mixture their children's art and sweet silhouettes on the walls in the booth area, which added such a lovely personal touch. A gallery wall with family photos was designed and hung in the hallway in a mixture of gold frames and an original Wayne Paint hangs in vestibule above Dean's work.

While it certainly didn't just happen overnight, I just love that it all feels so complete, personal, and 'done'. I am really proud of this space and the selections and decisions my clients made. Living through a renovation isn't easy and they really chose to do everything right. Even if their particular selections and styles aren't exactly for you, this space is a true reflection of them, which I think is what design is really all about.

You can see photos of the rest of the apartment here.

The Before: Upper East Side Kitchen Renovation

I feel really lucky that I fell into some really wonderful clients pretty immediately after starting my own business. Without any real portfolio to show for myself, they took a chance on me and trusted me with their homes. You have to start somewhere, right? Well it's no exaggeration to say I am incredibility fortunate and all the business I generate today is directly linked to those successful first relationships and projects. 

One of those very first clients reached out to me last year about this time to discuss a large project she and her husband were excited to finally take on: renovating their kitchen, office (originally intended to be the maid's room), family room (originally intended to be the formal dining room), and one full bath. 

The year prior to that I knew and communicated to them I wasn't ready to take this type of project in Manhattan. At the time I had completed a small renovation in Greenwich Village and some kitchen renovations in Texas, but nothing like this. If you are familiar with New York City renovations, you know that it is no small miracle that anything gets done in this city considering the DOB filing process, building requirements, short building work days (not to mention holidays!), prohibitive cost, not to mention the long-term headache that the client has to endure while all of this is going on. 

We ended up plowing ahead! and on July 1 began demolition. While it was admittedly that headache I mentioned (x100), it was worth it. Regardless of where you live, the modern kitchen truly is the heart of the home and seeing this family genuinely enjoy their new space is so gratifying. 

I am admittedly not a great blogger, but I hope to capture, share, and memorialize this special project here so you can really see the transformation. I also had the joy of working with Nicole Cohen (check out her blog Sketch42, art, and photography) for the first time on some professional photos of the whole apartment, so I am especially excited to share those. 

But first thing's first, here is the original building layout for their particular apartment line. Their layout happens to be slightly different, but this should help you understand what you're looking at and the space we were working with:

Here are some "before" shots of the space. You enter the kitchen and family room (previously the dining room) off of the large entry way via a narrow hallway. The kitchen was galley style with just enough room for a breakfast table on one end. The office (previously the maid's room) was just on the other side of the kitchen with a tight full bath attached. 

Between the kitchen, maid's room, bathroom, and hallway, we were working with about 325-350 square feet. Not large by suburban standards, but generous for New York City and - funny enough - about the same square footage of my entire apartment!

Looking forward to sharing more in the coming weeks!