Monday, March 12, 2018

A Wine Lounge That'll Make You Green With Envy

One of the joys about being an interior designer, is designing to the specific taste of each client. This happens when you listen carefully, and pay close attention to a client's style and needs. And so, when we first met our client Stephanie, whose kitchen we revealed here last week, we knew she had major style and was open to the unconventional aka a green velvet sofa!
But, in the most serendipitous discovery, we learned that she is also in the wine business via Plum - be still our wine loving hearts! She wanted to create a wine lounge in her very own home where copious amounts of wine could be poured without schlepping back and forth to her kitchen - even as fabulous as it now is :) 

So here's where we started. Stephanie hated the floors so we tackled those first with an upgrade to a white/grey porcelain tile. We loved the molding detail so those would stay for sure, but some fresh paint was sorely needed so we painted all walls and molding in Olympus White
The biggest challenge of course was how to include a large wine refrigerator and her Plum machine without making the space feel like an extension of the kitchen.

 A custom wine bar would be the way to go but oh my word, the details on this gave us some sleepless nights. But in the most shocking development, the black we first chose for the unit, Inkwell by Sherwin Williams had a deep blue undertone which we all missed until it was too late. This was some next level agony because it meant dismantling the entire piece (it includes quartz countertops) and having it repainted with the magical black we now love, Tricorn BlackA painful and pricey fix, that had to be done because black was a major part of the room's color story. The lesson learned - not all blacks look alike!

Oh, lord those cabinet pulls gave us new life! Talk about a scene-stealer. 

Anywho, with that saga behind us we could finally breathe easy and soak in the other design details of this lounge. 

Ummm, like these black and gold chairs! So sassy and sexy it hurts! Still glam, but definitely a great way to add some masculine balance for Stephanie's hubby, Arad.  

But let's get back to that green velvet sofa! When we pitched it and she agreed, we knew we would have a stunner of a space. 

 A space to be loved the most by Dexter, her pomeranian who strutted around like the boss of the domain - that was until brother Theodore came along. 

Here's some more behind the scenes intelligence: we had chosen a very stunning black and white coffee table for this design. But it went out of stock permanently, causing tears all around. But oh what a blessing! Because we definitely needed this wooden table to bring some warmth and balance out the  green, black and gold elements. Lesson number two: sometimes you gotta lose something you love to find what was really meant for you. 

And there you have it folks. Our very first wine lounge and one we are insanely proud of! Major shout out to our style queen Amanda of The Homebody Interiors for working her magic, to Joseph of Miami HomeCrafters for the custom wine bar and smiling through the debacle and our photographer Ricardo of RMS Studio for these amazing pics. 

~Get An Inspired Look~
End Table, or this Awesome brass accent option

Friday, March 9, 2018

How To Create a Stylishly Glam Kitchen - On a Budget!

This is a tale of how to renovate a kitchen on a budget and learning to appreciate some dark chocolate. Cabinets that is. 
When our client Stephanie called for help with their new home, she admittedly hated the kitchen even though it had been renovated. It was just felt dark and claustrophobic to get, and it had that dreaded builders grade granite which designers swear is sold in granite world for ten cents a slab hence its developer love fest. 

Now let's be clear. This was a beautiful kitchen, but not our client's taste. So although I know it looked fine as it was, your home should reflect you because you are kinda paying the bills. 
Anyway, as much as ya'll know I love a full kitchen gut job, budget and practically dictated  that we find a way to make her love the kitchen, with some modern updates in key areas. 
The cabinets would stay - they are solid wood and in great condition. 
But the granite and backsplash had to go because, I mean, just stare closely and you'll see why. 

Definitely not our client's taste and she needed to love the kitchen. 


Stephanie telling us her wish list and moi with a damn head scarf trying to write it all down! Yes, my handbag must make an appearance in all before pictures
The fixes: 

  1. Expand the depth of the island by adding 12' deep cabinets in white to brighten things up a bit on the seated side since she had loads of room - see that for the win? Extra storage!
  2. Add new quartz countertop on the expanded island with a waterfall edge for the added modern touch
  3. Add more stylish/glam pendant lights 
  4. Soften up the backsplash
  5. Update the cabinet pulls
  6. Fresh paint for the entire first floor of the home
  7. New floors for the win

And so here's where we are after tackling our must do list. 

That backsplash is LOVE!

Ditto the new gold cabinet pulls. Tip: you have to source replacement pulls that are the same size - hole to hole, not just length - to avoid making holes in the existing cabinets. 

And that's that folks. Swanky updates and on a budget. 
Huge thanks to our design assistant turned stylist, Amanda for her styling genius. And to Ricardo our photographer for making it all look so good. 

~Get the Look~

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Design on a Dime Miami 2018

Late last year, we were invited to participate in Design on a Dime Miami 2018, an event spearheaded by Housing Works to help end AIDS by 2025 and provide housing assistants to those living with this deadly disease. 
Thirty designers would each design their own space with items donated by vendors. Those items would then be heavily discounted and sold to the public. The fundraising goal seemed staggering, and with my full-time assistant headed out on maternity leave, I️ was hesitant. 
Fundraising is no easy feat, plus I️ needed to focus on our clients and spend quality time with the little man, Xavier Q. Doubtful, I️ considered saying no. In the end, and with a reliable squad of cheerleaders pledging their support, I️ gave it to God and agreed to be among the featured designers, I would also be the only black designer featured, a formidable achievement in black history month no less. 
The event is a tricky one because you need to design your space around donated items and you kinda don't know what you'll be getting. In fact, the first list of vendors we asked for donated items, all said no. This was a shocker since they were vendors we sourced extensively for our clients. Mildly shaken, we re-focused and kept at it and eventually the donations started pouring in. It also helped that we sent a concept of what we wanted to design as it helped sponsors gift items that would align with the overall design plan. 

This is how we started on Installation day at the amazing Moore Building in Miami's Design District. 

As you can see, we didn't get an orange sofa but introduced orange - my signature color - in other ways including via this custom made vanity by Signature Piecez. 

The albums were on loan from two of our amazing clients and bwoy did we have to guard those with our lives! They were for display only, but everyone wanted to buy them! Yikes. 

I tried to snag these brass and black leather chairs for myself but sigh, they were the first to be purchased. 

Me and my stylish date for the night, Xavier Q. He was in rare form dancing the night away and schooling the older heads on the art of break dancing. 

Hitting the red carpet at the start of the event. FYI those shoes lasted 10 minutes! Always pack your comfy flats ladies.

So happy all the ladies of the NWD squad came out to show their love and support!

In the end, not only did we exceed our fundraising goal for this worthwhile cause, we’ve made some amazing new friends/supporters and had a blast dancing the night away in the music lounge we designed. The lesson learned? Trust yourself. He’ll never give you more than you can handle.
A special thanks to all our sponsors who generously donated items for our space:
Morada Furniture
Signature Piecez
Currey and Company
Elegant Concept Interiors
Malene B
Dressing Room Interiors
City Furniture
Frame Art Miami
Craig Tinsky
Bungalow Drift
Island City Traders
You can see more behind the scenes shenanigans on our Instragram and FaceBook.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Our Last Kitchen Reveal of the Year!

As you know, kitchen renovations are quite possibly my favorite design projects. So much happens in that space on a daily basis, so I'm always pumped to see my clients have a truly well designed and functional space to create their culinary masterpieces. 
This kitchen was no exception. It belongs to none other than this client, whose living room reveal was one for the record books! 
Anywho, here's where things started. With some kitchen design offenses:
1. Wasted space above cabinets
2. An island that was too small and too far away to be functional
3. Fake flowers - if you really know me, then you also know these aren't ever allowed in my designs!
4. An uninspiring space for a lady who LOVES to cook for her family 

Here's what we planned and it became quite the favorite on our IG page

The sink and stove were already in the best locations so the main changes here were to expand the island and bring it closer to the range for practical purposes. We also relocated the opening for the pantry closet to the other side, creating room for two pantries on either side of the refrigerator while still leaving extra room fin the storage closet for large items.

Be still my heart for this island! Not only is it much larger and closer to the range/stove for easier cooking, it's stylish as can be with a microwave drawer, room for Deon and hubby Hector to sit and chill.

The first cabinet to the left of the bar stool, has a built in charging station for tablets and phones.

A hood now takes center stage above the range, with a stunning backsplash as it's backdrop. The kitchen layout is also a true triangle, the optimum way to achieve function in a kitchen. 

To the right of the refrigerator, we created a true beverage area for our clients to have a great space for pouring drinks when guests are around, or for coffee prep in the mornings.

Glass cabinets offer display space for treasured items. 

 And that's it folks. Our last reveal for the year! It's been quite a year for kitchens and we can't wait to transform many more in 2018. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Grown, Glam and Gorgeous Living And Dining Room

Our client's pup Marshi steals the show. 

Not all design projects are as smooth and seamless as they appear on HGTV. Sometimes we butt heads with our clients, curse them under our breath then sip lots of wine because we know our design mission is for the greater good!
This project was one of those. Our dear client Deon had suffered through the loss of a husband, had raised two kids on her own and had been diligent enough to see them both off to college. She was also a newlywed, and the love between her and new hubby Hector was so palpable it made the newly divorced me believe again in happy ever after.
But Deon admittedly had some control issue and so, as much as she’d admired our design work, she wasn’t about to let us just have our own way. Oh no ma’am!

This is where we started. An outdated design that definitely needed some glam to represent the new Deon.
We had a lot to do. Install new floors, paint, update lighting, all furnishings, window treatments and accessories.
It didn’t help that almost every single item in our approved design plan went into months long back order status causing multiple meltdowns for everyone.
The most heartbreaking was the loss of these accent chairs the corner stone of our original design. But as we always do, we rallied for equally fabulous options and decided on these stunning swivel chairs.

Swivel chairs? Oh no ma’am! Not happening said Miss Deon. Not elegant enough, not fab enough and just not gonna happen. Who the hell wants to swivel in a formal living room she asked?
This is when I️ in turn had a designer diva moment and declared that said chairs were happening because they are fabulous as all hell, and because we are NWD and she’d better learn to trust me on this or we would need to break up. End of story.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, these pleated swivel chairs made Miss Deon cry a mountain of tears on reveal day, and issue an apology - which we have on tape just in case she ever needs a reminder!Anyway, we are now dear friends and I’m allowed to sit in the chairs and swivel, even with a glass of red wine. The end. PSA: Trust your designers!

Deon and Hector honeymooned in Paris so these Parisian vignettes were a tender nod to that memory. And because we'll never tire of nailhead details on a sofa.  

A bold black and white rug is a contrast for a room filled with soft neutrals. A round coffee table is always a great way to balance the straight edges of a sofa and end tables. 

We of course extended the glam to the dining room with a table that seats up to 8, and a showstopper of a chandelier that took me forever to help install because of those pesky links but boy is she a beauty. 

And to the entryway because, of course!

Even the stairway got a budget-friendly makeover with the best design weapon ever - paint. I still can't believe how many of our IG followers were impressed with this simple update. 

Huge hugs and love to Deon and her family for allowing us into her humble abode to create the glamorous pad she'd long desired. Cheers to new memories and to always trusting your designers! Stay tuned for their kitchen reveal. It's kinda major. 

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