Bright and Cheery Nursery

You guys, I'm back! It's only taken two years to feel like I have some sort of control over my life, but here we are!  Better late than never.

I made a tiny human and it turned our lives completely topsy-turvy. Apparently, forming said tiny human makes you do insane things like fall asleep standing in a utility closet at work.  We also decided to move while I was pregnant, which catapulted me into a frantic state of painting and redecorating.  We had a strict deadline of July 4th, which was the date of our baby shower/housewarming/July 4th BBQ.  The next weekend, much to our surprise, Vivienne was born. 10 whole weeks early. 

Luckily, we had finished the nursery just in time for her arrival.  I wanted her room to be colorful and bright, and the very basic, beige-walled box that we started with proved to be a challenge.  It was so hard moving from our architecturally interesting Spanish-style apartment to a space that felt small, cramped and plain.  Her room sat for almost a month filled to the brim with boxes and furniture we didn't know what to do with.  This stressed me out to no end. I had to shut the door so I wouldn't see the constant reminder of my failures on my way to bathroom. Slowly but surely, we cleared the clutter, and my lovely friends came over and lent a hand painting the nursery. 

BEFORE

BEFORE

Four adults, two dogs and 3 coats later, the room (and one of the dogs) was covered in this vibrant, rich peacock blue color.  I wanted the room to be fun and interesting, so instead of a traditional pink girls room, I chose all of the colors! I kept all the large pieces white and added little pops of bold color through bedding, drapery, and fun accessories. I ended up with a quirky and engaging space that is full of life.  It makes me so happy being in there and I can only hope lil' Vivi feels the same!

AFTER

 TOP 10 NURSERY ESSENTIALS

1) CRIB: Jenny Lind Crib, Target $199 I love this crib! I found this on Target.com and it's much less than comparable cribs. It's also on wheels which make moving it out to vacuum or store things under and around it a breeze.

2) CRIB BEDDING: Famer's Market Lemon Crib Sheet, Land of Nod $19 These particular lemon ones aren't available anymore but Land of Nod has the BEST bedding.  The hand is nice and thick and it has a cooling cotton sheen. I was sure to grab the blueberry set and coordinating strawberry changing pad cover too. I say, buy at least 3 sets.  I purchased a plain white crib skirt on Amazon to hide all the under crib storage and sewed on the pink pom pom trim from Jo-Anns. Also, that crib bumper is no regular bumper.  It's mesh and breathable!

3) ROCKER OR GLIDER: Finn Rocker, Rachel Ashwell, $2244 Okay, I know your eyeballs just fell out of your head when you read the price, but this was gifted to us by a very generous friend. I'm never getting rid of it, because this is officially the nicest anything I own besides my wedding rings.  Obviously you don't need this one, but get the most comfortable chair you can afford, because you're practically going to be living in this sucker.  Even though my late night feedings are over, I still spend a ton of time in this chair!  The watermelon pillow and pear print pillow from Ikea pull together my fruity theme. 

4) RUG: Zigzag Wool Rug, West Elm Gosh, I don't remember how much this guy was, but look, the runner is on sale for $99! Get a rug for those chubby little knees!  A fiber like wool cleans well and feels nice. 

5) STORAGE: Rain Gutter Bookshelves, tutorial hereYes, you read that right.  I made bookshelves out of rain gutters.  It was inexpensive and completely customizable.  And people love gifting you baby books so you'll need the storage!

6) DRAPERY WITH BLACKOUT OPTIONS: Pierre Frey Drapery, $$$ My official title at work is a Textile Specialist. What's that, you say?  It essentially means that I know a lot of random information about textiles and that I am now a certifiable snob when it comes to fabric.  Because of this, I get a lot of beautiful and pricey freebies.  These curtain panels were made with such freebies. Vivi can now say she has French drapery from one of the oldest textile houses in the world in her room. This is one lucky baby. Not showing is the cheapo black out roller that we installed behind her drapery.  This is tantamount to baby's sleeping success!

7) CHANGING TABLE: South Shore Changing Table, Overstock, $270  Honestly, I wish we bought another changing table.  This one came in ONE MILLION PIECES.  It took me about 8 hours to build, and I'm pretty handy!  The drawers also don't pull out very far which bugs me to no end.  How will I ever see the teeny tiny socks that are in the back of the drawer?!  I say, get a nice dresser and buy a changing mat and a cute cover. Our cover is quilted so it's nice and cozy. Done and done!

8) LAUNDRY HAMPER: 3 Sprouts Laundry Hamper, Amazon $20 Keep one nearby, you'll need it. This is light and it has handles so it's easy to lug around.

9) DIAPER PAIL: Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail, BabyRUs, $80 This diaper pail barely peeking out to the right of the changing table is great!  It really fits a ton and doesn't take special bags.  You can use the trash bags you already have on hand which is not the case for most pails.  Most importantly, it does a great job of sealing the stinkies in :) It also comes in a ton of colors!

10) WHITE NOISE MACHINE: Dohm Sound Machine, Amazon, $50 Not pictured, but essential!  Viv sleeps with this soothing sound machine every night and with every nap.  It blocks helps block out the sounds of daily life and noisy puggles.

Overall I'm so pleased with how this room turned out. It's filled with love, light, and treasures from friends and family from all over the world.  I think this room is a true reflection of her joyous spirit and I hope that it grows well with her.

MASTER BEDROOM MAKEOVER

Yay!  A truly lovely before and after. This project was a 30th birthday gift from a sweet husband to his pregnant wife. She was thrilled with the results! Even if you can’t afford new furniture, accessories and a little paint goes a LONG way!   They were skeptical of doing such a dark color at first but embraced it after seeing what a difference it made.  We turned a boring cookie cutter room into a tranquil, and dare I say, sexy bedroom. 

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

I chose a plummy grey color for the walls and a lighter grey for the ceilings.  It really made the crown molding stick out and made the room really cozy and perfect for rest. We also installed two capiz light fixtures above their nightstands in lieu of bedside lamps.  They save space and add glamour to the room. 

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The client asked me to put in one of my trademark murals into the room. I chose to do elegant branches of a cherry blossom tree and added tiny yellow blossoms to mimic their bedspread.

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BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

Again, there was no new furniture purchased, just accessories and paint.  It makes for a HUGE difference.  My favorite find was the beautiful round driftwood mirror we found, on clearance might I add! I incorporated a loose nature theme.  The capiz chandeliers, driftwood mirror, the mats in the frames were a natural burlap material. We also accessorized with silver accessories to reflect light and sparkle against the dark walls.

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LOOK MA, I GLUED STAPLES TO MY FINGERS!

So recently I went on a reupholstering kick.  I reupholstered an office chair, a victorian bench and an arm chair.  Of course I was overtaken by excitement and forgot to take before & after photos (it happens ALL the time) but I did manage to snap one.  

I inherited this chair from a previous owner in Texas and it made it's trek all the way to L.A. with us.  I happened to have a huge piece of embroidered silk from Designers Guild and I was itching to use it!  I ended up cutting a pattern from a paper bag, sewing and stapling the main fabric and then hiding all the sins by gluing contrasting cording to the perimeter.    My hands were wrecked after this project but I'm pretty darn proud of the results!

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WEST HOLLYWOOD BACHELOR PAD

This was one of my favorite spaces I have ever designed. My client bought a small duplex in West Hollywood and we remodeled his side to make it the ultimate space for him. We began with a completely blank canvas with terrible lighting from a insanely low ceiling fan, no character, and VERTICAL BLINDS.  He also surprised me by saying he was having a Super Bowl party a mere two and half weeks later.   We pulled off buying a whole house of furniture, lighting and accessories just in the nick of time! 

BEFORE

BEFORE

 

This is the finished product!  My handy dandy handyman came and installed recessed lighting throughout the house.  We placed them where I knew artwork was to hang and where key furniture pieces would reside.  My client wanted a space that wasn't too frilly, something modern but most of all comfortable. There's extra goodies all over for this small space.  There's hidden extra seating under the console table, surround sound all over the house that is easily controlled through his iPhone, and a MONSTER television mounted and tucked in the corner.

AFTER

AFTER

Below is my favorite room of the house, but it certainly did not start that way.  I wanted to make his dining room sexy, inviting and the best space for entertaining.  I convinced him to let me install a faux leather wallpaper as a focal point for the room.  Combined with a mother of pearl mirror, a linear crystal chandelier, rough hewn wood, and an amazing vintage floor lamp, this room became a whole other beast.  I wouldn't mind partaking in a cocktail or two!

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

 

AFTER

This is the last room of the house, his quaint little bedroom.  The original wall color was macaroni cheese orange.  I'm a big fan of pasta,  but no room should ever be this color!  We installed swing arm sconces for his bedroom so he could control his lighting without leaving the comforts of his own bed. They even had dimmer switches on them, you know, to create "ambiance."  I'm a big fan of multi-layered beds with lots of texture and color.  You spend a good majority of your life in bed, so make it count!

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

 

His house was such a fun project, even with the major time crunch! In the end he was left with something cozy and serene, with just a touch glamour.  If this doesn't help him find a wife, I don't know what will.

SPANISH APARTMENT IN KOREATOWN

So this is where we live now.  It's like my very own studio.  I find immense joy in designing rooms and this tiny hamlet of a home has bore the brunt of it.  My husband is truly the most patient man alive, and I am so blessed to have him.  I'm especially lucky that he can reach the highest of ceilings with a paint pole.

I have a confession though - sometimes everything does not go as planned.  I once lived like a mermaid and it's all Brangelina and Anthropolgie's fault.  

Did you see Mr. & Mrs. Smith?  Do you remember that beautiful room they stayed in with the gorgeous crumbling turquoise walls?  Oh you don't because you're a normal person? You don't get distracted by wall color and forget two of the most attractive people on the planet are tussling on the bed before you? Well it happened, and that stupid wall haunted me for years.

Then the Anthro (it's what the kids say) catalog comes in.  In it, the very same turquoise hue made my heart ache.  I declared that I would conquer the weekend and finally get the the turquoise I've been longing for! I painstakingly layered three colors of paint to age and texture the walls. And then it happened, it was too late, I had accidentally created Ariel's underwater cove.  I definitely had whozits and whatsits galore and it made all my thingamabobs look crazy.  I lived with it for a few months, sometimes really liking it, but it wasn't the serene room I was seeking.  Here's what it looked like...

BEFORE

WHOZITS AND WHATSITS

THINGAMABOBS

So finally we purchased a new couch, a steal off of Craigslist and I marched myself to Restoration Hardware and asked for the color on the walls. At last, serenity...

AFTER  Ahhhhh…so much more serene.

AFTER

Ahhhhh…so much more serene.

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A BUNGALOW IN THE HOUSTON HEIGHTS

Did you know that they make one bedroom homes?  I didn't!  We did have the pleasure of living in a sweet little gem in Houston.  My sister bought it as an adventure and left it to us to make it pretty.  It easily sold to a lucky bachelor, and now he lives in this boldly colored home. 

BEFORE

Unfortunately this is the only before picture of the house.  Let's just say there were either boring or VERY poor color choices.

AFTER  Color!  This room had great natural light.  The large mirror over the faux fireplace helped spread it around the room.

AFTER

Color!  This room had great natural light.  The large mirror over the faux fireplace helped spread it around the room.

That coffee table is made of one part of a folding screen!

That coffee table is made of one part of a folding screen!

This was our tiny shotgun dining room.  I painted it a dark brown and LOVE it.  It was like having velvet on the walls. I also repainted a vintage dresser I found and used it as a buffet.

This was our tiny shotgun dining room.  I painted it a dark brown and LOVE it.  It was like having velvet on the walls. I also repainted a vintage dresser I found and used it as a buffet.

Panting the inside of a bookshelf really makes things pop!  It's a very easy weekend project.

Panting the inside of a bookshelf really makes things pop!  It's a very easy weekend project.

I loved our itty bitty bedroom!  The natural light always kept it from feeling cramped and dark.

I loved our itty bitty bedroom!  The natural light always kept it from feeling cramped and dark.

I really wished I had a before picture of the smallest bathroom alive.  It used to be sponge painted macaroni yellow and turquoise. YIKES.

I really wished I had a before picture of the smallest bathroom alive.  It used to be sponge painted macaroni yellow and turquoise. YIKES.