Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Holy Yikes! It's Our First Reveal of 2020

A year ago we got a call from Mindy, a potential client who'd been referred by my design sis, Renee. Mindy had big plans for her kitchen - but she wanted it designed and planned only. The renovation would take place in 2020. Hmmmm. That's an unusual request for us since most clients want instant design gratification, but we said no worries - let’s meet and get the ball rolling. We knew some things immediately at our consultation:
  1. Mindy was a tiny firecracker with a colorful vocabulary. Her hashtag was immediate #nwdholyshit
  2. Family was everything to her and would inspire and drive this project.
  3. Her husband Danny and I were gym buddies but he had no idea what I did for a living - because I’m usually out of breathe on the treadmill or at the boxing bags struggling to stay alive - while he glides along effortlessly. Let's just say he was shocked to come home one day and see me seated at his kitchen table chatting design with his wife. The look on his face was priceless.
  4. She had a clear vision of her likes and dislikes but agreed to do something that was very hard for her to do - trust someone to bring her vision to life. Because again, she’s a firecracker with some strong opinions!
  5. Their twins, Matthew and Sophie, were adorable and could not contain their excitement. 
Mindy is also a planner so there were things she already had in motion. She wanted a new kitchen window, new glass doors in the dining room and she wanted to know for sure if she could ditch a never used sliding door in her kitchen and raise one of the windows. Getting a consult at this stage was a game changer because had she spent money on a new sliding door and new breakfast window, we would have been forced to design the kitchen in it's existing footprint. Advice: always call in a designer very early in the process. It'll save you a lot of heartache later.

The family had never used the sliding door in the far right corner (there's a large sliding door to the left in the dining room which everyone uses instead) so we hatched a plan to seal that area, raise the window by the breakfast table and create much needed counter space and storage. We raise windows often to achieve this as most homeowners rarely use a breakfast table and prefer a true island with seating.

Just for you to know, I'm not a fan of peninsulas (attached to a wall) and much prefer an island (not attached to a wall) so most of our designs will have an island. That was the push here, but while the kitchen is very long, it's not very wide. Creating an island would mean sacrificing the back wall but we would create so much new storage and work space with the raised window and sealed sliding doors that it would be worth it. 

The new design included an island. We wanted drama to match Mindy's personality so did so on the floor with this stunning tile and kept the cabinet color palette a calm and soothing grey and white for a modern yet classic and timeless kitchen. 

To our surprise, Mindy decided not to wait until 2020 to tackle the project. The design had blown her away and she'd also lost a dear friend. She decided to live in the now and get the project done right away. Let the demolition begin. To note: we had decided to replace all the tiles and not just in the kitchen so since the dust from this is insanely epic, the family moved out for weeks and stayed with her hubby's family. Oh and hello, those popcorn ceilings you see were also removed and replaced with a smoothly skimmed ceiling.  

This was a massive renovation with loads of photos and videos which can't all be shared here, so please go check out the #nwdholyshit highlight reel on our Instagram feed to see how this all unfolded over several months.

But enough chatter! Here's what you came for. A smorgasbord of reveal pics. Go forth and indulge. 

We have an island! And a stunner of a gallery wall to display the love and happiness we always felt with this family of five. The gallery wall was raised to reach to ceiling, not sure why developers do those walls that stop inches from the ceiling - stop doing that please and thanks!

We also switched from chrome pendants to brass. This was a leap of faith for Mindy, who'd sworn up and down that chrome was a must. But once she saw those pendants, I mean, who could blame her? 

This new picture window was a game changer and we are glad Mindy had her mind set on having one. Because of the seamless nature of this window, we knew right away a continuous slab was the way to go instead of tiles as the backsplash. This is quartz with marble veining to mimic the look of marble. Much easier to maintain than marble, durable and zero grout lines to worry about. 

 We waivered once, when we realized we needed more slabs than we'd budgeted for - but thankfully Mindy agreed to push ahead to maintain this key component of the design plan. The dishwasher was their existing washer. It was in perfectly good shape and survived the renovation wars like a champ. 

A new counterdepth refrigerator was relocated next to the sink. This was the area where the old peninsula was once attached. A counter depth is pricier than a standard refrigerator but worth the splurge to not have such a huge bump out from the rest of the base cabinets. 

The new slide in range and hood are now along the wall where that old sliding door used to be. The handles and knobs on that range is as fire as it gets.  


This is a custom kitchen so we added some extra bells and whistles including a larger spice rack and a pullout for baking sheets. 

In the island, we used pegs to store the glasses and cups since we have no upper cabinet next to the refrigerator. These pegs can be used for plates as well. They're adjusted as needed. 

Now that we'd raised the window we have an entire new wall of much needed storage and counter space. The window is still large enough to pour in added sunlight. 

We made lemonade of of that corner for sure!

We added a desk area for either of the kids to do some homework, but it's mostly where Mindy sits to organize her bills and plot her next renovation project. The bulky pantry with the bi-fold doors that stayed open was removed and a new pantry with pullouts added. 

The view from the laundry room. The sliding door used to be what you saw while standing here. 

We are so thankful for Mindy, Danny and the kids for trusting us to bring so much more love and light to their home via this major renovation. They're now officially family and we can't wait to tackle another project in a few years. And happy upcoming bar mitzvah Matthew and Sophie. Xavier sends his love!

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

One Room Challenge Fall 2019: Week 6 - THE REVEAL

 It's finally here! The big reveal of our combined office/dining lounge for the
One Room Challenge and hip hop hooray, we are finally flexing our design muscles in a much larger office space. The bonus: I now have a dedicated space to chill and read at night aka the mom cave (more on that later). 
This has been a doozy of a challenge that went down to the wire - literally as you can see from our IG stories we just grouted the tiles inside our coffee station this morning and had our final throw pillows delivered. 
Our guys have worked overtime to stay focused on our client projects, while helping us with this challenge. My eternal gratitude to them for making this all possible and to Gloribell and Debbie who have tolerated my many moments of indecision and rolled their eyes and at 2 am emails that start with "So, what if we do XYZ instead! And of course, a huge thank you to all our sponsors, a few of who went above and beyond what they'd promised and indulged our additional product requests. To see how this has evolved from an idea to today's reveal please go check out all the previous posts here, here, here, here and hereLet's deconstruct this design shall we?

Here's how things looked as we tackled the renovation elements needed for this transformation: 

Old dining lounge under construction and under the watchful eye of our Cuban art beauty. 

I've been obsessed with wood and wanted to use it in a big way to end the year so we decided to run it up the walls and ceiling. This is a custom treatment that was installed by our carpenter Andres of Dang Wood - we know he had many moments of frustration to make this work but he understood the vision and worked tireless to make it happen. 

Once we made that decision to run the wood up the ceilings, we decided why not add more drama. We fell in love with this deconstructed abstract watercolor and ink mural by Minted artist Ashleigh Ninos. We loved the movement and unfinished vibe it had, the perfect muse for us as we work daily to pull together our own abstract design ideas. 

For our gallery wall, we used artwork from several other Minted artists and focused on black and white pieces with architectural elements to continue to inspire us daily: Cool Angles by Khariza Estacio Spliting by Van Tsao Study of Shade #1 by Van Tsao DC subway fast track by Van Tsao Shutters by Paul Berthelot Brooklyn by Lindsay Ferraris

To frame that gallery wall we chose the Tuxedo black and brass sconces from  Blue Print Lighting in unlacquered brass and electric high-gloss black enamel. The design is strongly influenced by both French and Italian mid-century modernism. These can be customized in over 40 color options and is the perfect touch of luxury to add to any special area that needs some soft lighting. 

Let's chat about this burnt orange sofa shall we? Lord have mercy. We needed a new sofa for the office where we could take a break and chat, and also where clients can relax when they meet with us. There were very few furniture sponsors for the challenge and it was down to the wire to find one and thankfully Jonathan Louis swept in to save us with this comfortable and stylish Elle Collection Sofa in Monaco Rust

I love the tufted back and that there were no cushions to move around and drive me crazy. They were also a dream to work with, offering so many customizable fabric options for their sofas and throw pillows including the ones we selected: Mongolian Lamb Tibby Truffle Toss Pillows and the Gambella Kona Woven Fabric pillow that have truly made this new space a show stopper -  and with orange, my favorite color of all time.  

What I loved most about this challenge is that I was able to return to one of my first loves, fabrics! We spend so much time working on the nuts and bolts of the renovation process that we sometimes never make it to the soft details like fabric so my heart melted from the smorgasbord of fabrics to choose from with Fabricut, one of our favorite sources for fabric and trim. I first fell in love with the fun and whimsy of the Big Ditty Black and White fabric and used it for the window treatments in both the office and mom cave (more on that later). 

Because I'm a drama queen, I decided to add this Ingot Raven trim  and ohhhhhhhhh lord if it isn't a perfect marriage. 

But wait, I needed more fabric for the dining chairs! And even though I'd reached my sponsored cap, the amazing people at Fabricut understood my vision and indulged my wishes with these jaw-dropping options you see on the back of our Home Pop accent chairs where we used this Naja Onyx fabric and the mother of all fire fabric with this Worldly Velvet Fire fabric on our very much on trend cane dining chairs. 

Our HomePop mid-century modern inspired wing back chairs were among the first items we chose. Sturdy and stylish in a textured grey pattern, we love the drama they added to the dining table. We turned things up a notch by adding the black Fabricut fabric on the back with a brass door knocker because again, drama queen! We loved Home Pops black triangle mirrored accent table so much we added two to either side of our sofa.

Our dining/office table needed to stylish as well as functional. We scored a winner with the Urban Light Concrete Table - Grey from the team at It's seats 6-8 and will become quite the workhorse for us as we prep for presentations and at night as we host dinner parties. Concrete is a great industrial option that can be equally glamorous when paired with stunning chairs and accessories. Below every great dining table should be an equally great rug and this neutral yet very statement wool area rug from the Masai collection at Loloi Rugs 
This rug, while neutral, makes such a statement with its printed design, yet it was the perfect foil to soften our black bamboo floors. 

And every great dining lounge must, must have a statement light fixture, or two. I've used lighting by Varaluz in the past and know how stunning their fixtures are but wowza for these Gymnast Pendants that now float above our table. We loved how the pendant mimicked the lines of our wood walls and ceilings and that you can move the pieces around to get multiple shapes. 

The mother of all built-ins done by Joseph of Miami Home Crafters paired with these Emtek Modern 8" door pulls in Satin Brass. We wanted a bold contrast against the cabinetry and the scale of these pulls were just the right touch. They seem to built in to the cabinets and since this will be a high traffic area, definitely a great way to avoid hardware that sticks out. 
Did you notice our white walls? In a shocking twist I chose Behr Marquee White paint for all the walls in the dining lounge and black for the mom cave.  Our coffee bar is gonna work overtime. Do you know that we consume about 4-5 cups daily combined?

Thank you to the Hudson Valley Group Ligthing for creating the perfect mini sconce via the Alexa Sconce in Aged Brass. She's a beauty with our stunning tile from the The Tile Shop whose Streamline Stone Mosaic Tile made us all swoon!

The pesky outlets and switches I usually hate are now sitting quite pretty throughout the space as the Legrand - The Adorne Collection has managed to make a beauty out of these functional elements. 

I'm a fan and can now stop complaining about switches and outlets messing up our beautiful pics. We used several throughout our spaces including: this paddle switch in powder white

Before we step inside my mom cave let's take a bow to these Zephyr wine coolers from Zephyr was an amazing surprise sponsor who wholeheartedly supported our wish to have wine in our office/dining lounge! We promise, no wine will be left uncorked.

While the challenge was for one space, our old office needed a new spin and so it was time to make it my official mom cave, a place where I can now close the doors at the end of the day and just chill!

And here she is! My only little slice of heaven, to read, smile at my favorite art and just unwind at the end of the day. Lord, black paint is the truth! Thank you Behr for the perfect black paint via Limousine Leather that made this space so dreamy!

Our mom Mom cave design is a bonus room we completed not because we had to but because we needed to - Huge thanks to the team at Varaluz who indulged this last minute request but lord if this Matrix Pendant isn't life!

And to our amazing tribe at Nourison Rugs for this this area rug that made our mom cave as alluring as can be. 

Okay folks! Thanks for following along our manic journey these past six weeks. Now please go check out all the other designers/bloggers and the magic they created 6 weeks!!
And cheers to wine after every work day and to beautiful trays that accessorize em like this gold drip canopy tray from Jill Rosenwald 

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