Even though spring (and really we should say summer since we’re only a few weeks away!) is supposed to usher in the the season of light, bright spaces, colorful space, I always fall back to my happy place – all things black. Strong black moments add that gorgeous graphic punch in a space, but pops of black can still feel relevant to the current season. They can even feel like a vacation destination!
So don’t think you can’t add some hits of black to your world this time of year. Here are some of my faves.
Please live in this stunning town house in near Bondi in Sydney. Home to the founder of Alexander & Co, one of my favorite Australian designer firms, this home is innovative, unique, bright, playful and choca-block full of design icons without an ounce of pretense in sight. I’m working to achieve this same kind of elevated, yet lived-in vibe in This Old Victorian. I’m taking all the notes on this house. Scroll to see why.
This multi-level house brings you on a seamlessly flowing journey. Similar materials and repeating colors bring cohesiveness to the four bedroom, three bathroom home.
The home’s lowest level houses the kitchen, dining and living areas, creating the heart of the home. I’m obsessed with the sunken built in sofa. Leather-clad and with gorgeous custom oak mill work is both stunning and really family friendly. The leather sofa and upholstered Gubi dining chairs soften the rest of the room’s hard surfaces – marble floors, lime washed oak cabinets and stainless steel counters and appliances. But my favorite moment might be the large, bright piece of art about the kitchen counters. We’ve talked about bold art in a bathroom, but putting it in the kitchen is also equally unexpected and stunning.
Did you also notice the two toned cabinets? In the working area of the kitchen the cabinets are white, but transition to the oak as you transition into the living area. Another subtle but genius choice.
A more formal seating area at the front of the house has a soothing black and white color palette.
The family room features perfect mix of vintage and contemporary designer pieces and deeply saturated hues. Is that a denim Togo sofa? So good. The exposed pine beams clad the ceiling and carry throughout the house.
Sculptural ceramics and vases displayed on across a bench add an artsy vibe to in-kitchen dining area.
This home offers a really interesting mix of high and low materials, but maintains a really elegant feel. From the bright white walls and the flood of natural light, to the friendly, causal yet still refined feel, this home hits all the right notes.
It’s one of my favorite times of year – the San Francisco Decorator’s Showcase is here. If you’re not familiar, this annual event takes a home – let’s be real – an insane mansion, usually in the picturesque Pacific Heights neighborhood, and as many as 30 designers completely transform it, room by room. This year’s showcase is particularly spectacular. The house itself was completed in 1904 and is a replica of Le Petit Trianon, Marie Antionette’s chateau on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. The home is over 18,000 square feet, features 14 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, two kitchens, an elevator and a full ballroom. No biggie. Needless to say there was a lot for this year’s designers to work with (side note, the house was also abandoned for nearly a decade so it was also in total disrepair).
There is so much to see in this Showcase. Each designer has the liberty to put a highly personal spin on their assigned room. There were many a stand out space in this year’s house but I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite highlights for you.
Probably no surprise, but I was immediately drawn to all of the spaces with neutral designs. The living room, by Heather Hilliard, was a nod to modern Parisian apartment. It features a mix of classic vintage, contemporary pieces and the first look at one of the many rooms featuring curved lines. Keep your eyes peeled. You’re going to see a lot of soft lines.
And in the Wabi Sabi Soak Room (aka a bathroom sans toilet) by Clara Bulfoni, you get a beautiful breath of fresh air with warm woods, stunning handmade Cle tile (I used them on my fireplace and am obsessed) and yummy textured plaster walls. It has movement, it has tons of natural elements and is the perfect calming retreat.
It can be hard to remember to call your mom sometimes but it can be even harder to remember Mother’s Day, especially when you are one! But the big day is this coming Sunday, so I thought I’d help you out by sharing some last second gift ideas that I’m 100% confident any mom in your life would actually want. You can consider this a not so subtle reminder that all moms have enough mugs and candles already. If you’re mom feel free to forward this to anyone in your life who might need a little hint!
So I realize my Scandinavia recap is a bit overdue at this point (the real-time recap is still on Stories though). What can I say – I’m verrryyy slow at editing the 3,000+ pictures I took during those five days. While I continue to whittle away at culling my travel guide, I thought I might as well share one of the many design finds from the trip. I saw so many gorgeous collections, but I was particularly smitten with the brand Skagerak.
The Reykjavik Daybed designed by Included Middle is inspired Iceland. The bed frame is German Douglas Pine and the upholstery is from Kvadrat.
Skagerak came to my attention through Objects by Camilla Vest. The images here are all from the gorgeous showroom located in a lofty 1899 townhouse in the heart of Brooklyn. Objects represents coveted Danish brands including Skagerak, along with Brdr.Petersen and Skovshoved Møbelfabrik as well. Founded by Copenhagen-born and long time New York resident Camilla Vest, Objects started out of a passion for sourcing and combining unique pieces in a minimal yet playful way, based on the design philosophy that less is more – exactly the ethos I came home with from my Scandinavia visit.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. My design spirit animal is definitely Australian. There is just a bevy of amazing designers but one of my all time faves is Arent & Pyke. Virtually every project they do is pitch perfect, but one of their latest – a penthouse apartment with endless views of the Sydney Harbor feels both current yet classic at the same time.
Originally built in 1928, the top-floor apartment of a stuccoed Spanish mission-style building came with the atmosphere of a large Parisian apartment already built in. The apartment features grand proportions and elevated views.
The central living room’s interior architecture includes an original French-style garland frieze and fluted archways, large windows framing harbour views, and a vaulted ceiling. While all of those timeless details remain untouched, the final decorating scheme references a typically eclectic Parisian style of decor, which marries antiques of many eras with the new and avant garde.
The living room is a study in eclecticism, mixing styles and time periods that all work wonderfully together.
Large bold art is a signature detail throughout the apartment. The pieces pop against the bright white walls and inject deeply saturated color that is further reflected in the raspberry colored Redondo side chairs, throw pillows and accessories.
While the apartment is dominated by white plaster, I love that they embraced a dark kitchen.
This apartment feels like the perfect spring appetizer but the main dish of summer is served. I’m certainly lapping up every drop.
Hi friends, happy Friday! You’ve made to the end of the week and that glorious sense of relief, particularly if you’re a semi-permanently sleep deprived mama like me. It seems like no matter the age of your child, sleep is always a major issue. Which is why we’re marking the fourth anniversary of our Real Talk, Real Moms series by discussing all things sleep related! I’m confident that across all the mamas, you’re going to find a nugget of genius that relates directly to any sleep struggles your family might be experiencing.
With a four-year-old in the house now, I’ve managed to get past the majority of the sleep regression stage. Most nights we have a solid sleeper that’ll give us 11-12 hours of peace (save a night terror on the occasion. Those are never particularly fun).
A few thoughts on those early years of sleep that I think have given me a pretty good sleeper (and I will not front – I read all the sleep books – so many that they they all blend together now. I’m pretty sure this one was my favorite though). It’s amazing what you can forget in a few sleep deprived years. But here are the key points:
> Set a sleep schedule and stick to it. Same nap and bedtimes daily. Kids love and thrive with routine. Do not fear it.
> Sleep begets sleep. It can seem counterintuitive, but the more sleep a baby gets, the more they’ll sleep. So don’t fret those naps and maybe even move the bedtime up earlier.
> Create a super soothing sleep environment. Some people say this is “spoiling” your kids, but any sleep book for adults talks about creating the most sleep inducing environment possible. A blacked out room, cool but not too cold temperatures, a sound machine. Give them the best chance of falling and staying asleep.
But these days, I have a whole new struggle on my hands. I’ve got a vocal, opinionated, willful preschooler. Swaddling is long gone my friends. While we can get a full night’s rest, it’s the getting to bed part that is proving extremely tough. Our bedtime routine regularly hits 90 minutes. And I swear it’s only your typical stuff – bath, brushing teeth, going potty, getting on pajamas, reading a story (or four), singing a song, a drink of water. Ok it’s a lot. And the rituals are mission critical, at least to the four-year-old. An attempt to drop one element is always met with massive resistance. Or better yet, the need to start the entire process over from the beginning. But things cannot continue this way. Such a long bedtime routine exhausts everyone, devolving into all the behaviors that’ll break us parents down – whining, stalling, hitting, tantrums. And I’m trying to not drink wine during the week anymore!
We try to do all the things the podcasts say. Boundless patience. Make things playful. When they get upset, get calmer. But I just can’t stomach a 8pm bedtime anymore. So while I like to try to come to these posts with something helpful, or a least share a personal perspective with you, this go round I’m in the thick of the struggle friends.
I’ve considered all the obvious solutions but we can’t really start the bedtime process earlier in the evening. There’s the getting home from school and the cooking and eating of the dinner that has to happen first. We’ve resorted to making baths an every other day thing in attempt to take out one element. We’re trying hard to stick to the one book per parent rule.
So this post is bit more of a cry for help than anything else. How do you manage your nighttime routine? Maybe 90 minutes isn’t abnormally long but it certainly feels that way to me. I would love any and all advice you may have.
I’ll certainly be scouring the posts of all our other mamas for every creative idea I can find. You should too!
Cane furniture has been having a resurgence for a little while now, but the best options have either been vintage or high street attempts to recreate cane pieces. Until now. I’ve continued to go down the Scandinavian furniture rabbit hole since my trip to Sweden last month and this is one of my favorite discoveries. Meet the furniture collection Cane.
This collection takes the ages old tradition of caning – one of the oldest forms of furniture making – and puts a distinctly modern spin on the ancient furniture making technique, creating pieces with chic shapes and a variety of modern colors. The designers, Ada Chirakranont and Worapong Manupipatpong, are Thai-born and now work in Bangkok but you can see the influence of their Scandinavian-based design training.
This collection feel light and airy, playful and vibrant but also distinctly modern. The pieces’ caned surface allows light and air to flow through the furniture while casting fine patterned shade across the furnished space.
If you’re looking to invest in a lovely piece of caned furniture – or maybe an entire collection for your house this summer, look no further. I’m sure these pieces will become classics coveted 50 years from now.
I know last week I was opining about the mystique of all-white monochromatic spaces, so I figured why not flip the script today and share a multifaceted space without a hint of white in sight. And I’m quite positive you’re going to love it because this room is just.so.good!
Designed by my girl-of-the-moment, Leanne Ford, this all gray kitchen resides in an 19th century row house in Pittsburg, but it takes a totally fresh take on the concept of a kitchen (it’s like she was reading my mind). Ford gutted a back addition of the house to extend the kitchen down the middle of the first floor and I am drunk in love!
Reason number one: a fireplace in the kitchen! Swoon. You know how I love a good fireplace. The only other timeI think I’ve seen that is the Nancy Meyers set of Anne Hathaway’s in the movie The Intern. Google it – it’s a seriously good kitchen too.
But of course the second reason I love this space is all the gray! Ford applied Portola Paint’s Roman Clay in Sasha to the walls and ceilings to give the space a really textured plateresque look (taking notes for a project I’ll be revealing to you later this week!). To ensure the room felt cohesive, Ford lime washed all the brick in a lighter gray to meld the two surfaces together. All of the oversized windows flood the space with natural light keeping it from feeling too cave-like.
The third thing I really love about this kitchen is that epic island. Clad in cascading soap stone it houses all the kitchen’s essentials – sink, range and oven are all nicely tucked in there with ample counter space to spare. Vintage pendants with black accents draw the eye up.
Wood elements dotted throughout the room soften and warm up all that gray. Salvage wood floors, oak shelving and even the logs styled in the fireplace add light, fresh accents.
Tracking new trends could be called an occupational hazard, but that doesn’t mean I can’t daydream about fresh design ideas. I’m currently distracted by the newest bathroom trend – I give you the square sink.