Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Home Is Our New Sanctuary - Two Sisters Have New Bedrooms That Show Why

I know most of us have been going stir crazy because we've been forced to stay indoors until this virus gets under control. Damn you coronavirus! But here's the bright side: having a home that is functional, beautiful, calming and truly reflective of our personalities is a great side effect of this madness. Just ask sisters Nia and Sania, whose parents reached out to us last year to finally separate the sisters who had always shared a room. 
They have very different personalities and their new spaces needed to highlight that. Sanai, the tween, is an adventurous lover of the outdoors. Nia, her teenage big sister, is the quieter of the two and wanted a soft and soothing space reflective of Paris where she's long dreamed of traveling to. The two now share this new swankified bathroom so of course their bedrooms had to level up and be in the same league. 
We'll start with big sis Nia's reveal, who's happy as punch to have the soft and serene sanctuary she's longed for. Here's where we started: 

You can see a video of the bedroom before here

Da Plan

Progress pic of the space as we layered with the molding detail. 

Okay. Enough chatter! Here's the full reveal because that's what you're here for.

And there ya have it folks. The space where Nia has been confined to during this virus scare. Not a bad place to be right? Do you have a favorite element in this space? Please post a comment below and let us know what it is. We'll share little sis Sanai's bedroom this weekend. We are also praying for their parents who are both first responders on the front lines of dealing with this virus crisis. Stay safe everyone. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Home Office Is the New Black; Lets Dress It Up and Ourselves Accordingly

Lord a mercy if the home office hasn't become the most talked about space in our homes this month! Here's the facts: most of us will be forced to work from home thanks to this next level pandemic aka the corona virus so we need a plan. As a veteran in the home office lane, who has always worked from home, I'm sharing a few tips on how to quickly carve out a space that's both beautiful and functional to make you as productive as possible.

1. Consider your dining room. How many of us REALLY dine in our dining rooms? Stop walking by them as a shrine and make it a functional home office. I've done this twice in my home. 

This was our old combined living/dining room which I transformed last year for the One Room Challenge to be a fully functioning office by day for our design team, and a dining room at night and for special occasions. 

You'll need loads of storage for samples, school supplies, paperwork and files. This was a custom built-in but since that won't be an option for a quick office conversion, consider bookcases and buffets/servers from a big box retailer for added storage you'll need. 

2. Your existing dining table can serve double duty. Make it a true work-horse by making one half as the kid zone if you're home-schooling during this virus, and the other half where you get work done. It will also help to set dedicated office hours. I've always started my day at 5am which now gives me a solid 3 hours of work time before Xavier is up and hollering for breakfast since his school routine is out of wack. You may not be an early riser, so do the reverse and get the kids day started first and then carve out some office time and consider working later into the night if you're a night owl.

3. Don't have an entire room to dedicate as an office, then consider an empty closet like my design sissy from another mother Stacy did here in a little used closet in her home years ago. 

Via Design Addict Mom
3. Dress the part. I always get fully dressed and wear light makeup even if I have no meetings planned. 

This has always set the tone that this is a place of business. Walking around in your pajamas all day just won't do that. Shower, get dressed and get to work. You'll likely be doing a lot of meetings via FaceTime, Skype and Zoom so don't be caught off guard looking a hot mess. Though feel free to cheat a bit and get dressed from the waist up!

My former home office space, the home's original dining room. I worked here for 5 years before moving to the larger living/dining combined space. This transformation was also a product of the one room challenge because I live for a deadline. I've never installed a TV in either home office. 
4. Limit social media and TV while in the office. I can't focus with the TV on so for us it's always been light music via Spotify or Pandora to get through the day. My notifications on all apps are all turned off, so I only check DMs, Facebook etc. when I pause, not all day incessantly to let them derail my work flow. But do pause and check on your fellow home office squad. We'll all need to feel connected and sane as we grapple with the fallout from this virus.  

5. Take a break. Coffee breaks are key for us always. Ditto some much needed chatter about mindless trivia - latest Netflix binge-worthy show, school and personal sagas, anything to have a momentary distraction. With the kids around this will ultimately save your sanity. Have em take a nap, and join them! A power nap has saved my life on many occasions. Or just walk around the block or your back yard for a few minutes before you get back to work/school work life. 

Any other tips to work successfully from home? Please post in the comments so we can all share and maintain our sanity.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

A Black, White and Brass Bathroom - High On Style And Function

A year ago, the most amazing family reached out to us for a consultation. They'd seen this infamous red sofa photoshoot and our design work and emailed to say that anyone who could take a photo with that kinda attitude is someone they wanted to work with. After stalking our work for a while they decided it was time to meet and get the ball rolling.
Like most clients, they wanted to work in phases. Phase one: the transformation of their daughters bedrooms and their shared bathroom. 
We'll reveal the bedrooms next, but the bathroom needed to be hella stylish since there is no powder room and it's also the bathroom guests would use. 
This bathroom is a standard 5ft x 8ft with no room for expansion so the new design would take place in the existing footprint.  

Here are five things we did for this bathroom that will help you with any bathroom renovation:

1. Remove the tub. A tub is a great thing to have for resale since a family with young kids will need a tub. But if there's a tub in any other bathroom in the house, then it's all good to remove it. We did so here and this immediately makes the bathroom feel larger. If you don't plan to ever sell, then please remove the tub and install a shower with grab bars, especially for aging in place.  

Adios tub, hello shower!

2. Install a frameless shower glass panel/doors. We always do since this opens up the space and makes it feel much larger than it is. Also install the glass as high as possible.  Standard height is only 72' high but we usually take ours as high as possible in this case 90" - you need a few inches between the ceiling and the glass for steam to escape. 

3. Consider a tankless toilet. This will be a splurge as it'll drive up both the labor and material cost of your budget. But not seeing a bulky tank in a small bathroom is a win-win and a definite wow factor that guests will love.

The tank of the toilet is installed inside the walls, eliminating the bulkiness of the typical tank we usually install. 

For some added bling, we installed a gold flush plate. 
4. Splurge on a statement tile as an accent wall. The dramatic tile shown here was a splurge but the black porcelain tile we used on the main floor and remaining shower walls were inexpensive. This hi/lo hack is one we use often to stretch our clients budgets. 

5. Consider a pendant instead of a traditional wall sconce by the vanity. This allows you to do a much taller and wider mirror since there's nothing in the way to stop them from being great. 

We love the style and function of this mirror with its own shelf

Using a vanity with dual storage options - closed and open -  is also a great way to create visual airiness in a space, in lieu of using a traditional vanity with closed storage.

And that's all folks. One of our favorite transformations ever especially because our clients were openminded throughout the design phase. They were also perhaps our most patient clients ever, never worrying about delays or extended timelines because they trusted the process. We are forever thankful for their trust and look forward to begin phase two in a few months. 

Shop the look via our Amazon Store

Sunday, February 16, 2020

My Rookie Trip to Vegas For KBIS DMMas a Design Hound - Part Two

Okay, back to all things KBIS for part two of our Vegas shenanigans. We had a lot to soak in over four days but there were some distinct themes we noticed: a focus on wellness as a key element of design, the innovative use of traditional materials like sculpting quartz into a tub. The use of smart home technology to make things life at home as stress-free as possible - think WiFi operated ovens, remote temperature-controlled wine closets, remote control screens to bring the outdoors in and to pop televisions from the ceilings, a remote control to turn on a fireplace. 

Our sponsors Control 4, elevated the smart home by showcasing so many ways technology can make life at home soooo much easier. 

Like this television that with the push a button on a remote control, tucks away in the ceiling when not in use; connecting the outdoors to the indoors with remote controlled screens and a wine room that's temperature controlled remotely. Genius and I need one. 

There was also a great emphasis on the kitchen as furnished space with modular cabinets, creative storage and negative space as a design element, not something detrimental or overlooked in the design process as highlighted here in the kitchens showcased by Nobilia. The German brand is available locally with a 6-8 week lead time, and prides itself on stylish yet modern and functional cabinets that are easy to assemble and install.  

I was obsessed with the lighting along the edges of these base cabinets. So much so we are incorporating this in two modern kitchens we are currently working on. 

I also loved this mix of open storage paired with cabinets from Nobilia, emphasizing again that the kitchen can be a great place to showcase art/accessories as well as the functional items needed for a kitchen.

One of the most refreshing moments as a Design Hound was to experience a steam shower and spa experience courtesy of Mr. Steam, the 100 year-old company that's arguably the leader in all things steam. Imagine, sitting or standing still in an enclosed shower and allowing steam, to seep into your pores and relieve the stress of the day. The benefits of steam, which can be supplemented by adding your favorite essential oils, are endless - Detoxing our system, reducing inflammation, breathing easier to name a few. While adding steam capabilities to your bathroom will add roughly another 25% to your overall budget, the long term benefits are clearly worth the cost. Environmentally, a 15 minute steam shower only uses 2 gallons of water, while we use an average of 40 gallons of water for a standard tub bath - holy what! 

Steam us all you want! Design hounds soaking in the benefits of steam and a moment to relax. 

Thankful to our gracious hosts from Mr. Steam. 

Just an FYI: Designers love to eat and drink and admire all things design/archictecture. A lot. So kudos to our sponsors for indulging us every step of the way...

Loved the opulence at the Bellagio Hotel, where we had dinner with the team from Mr. Steam. 

Loved the moody vibe of The Cellar, a restaurant at the Nomad Hotel. 

Ultimately, the most resounding theme during this experience was friendship. Running a design business as an entrepreneur is an often lonely adventure. So spending quality time with like-minded individuals, who understand the joys and struggles, and having curated sessions to offer tips on how to grow our respective businesses was the added bonus from this trip. 

So thankful to Veronica, Florence, Sarah and the entire Modenus team for bringing us all together for such an exceptional experience. 

Loved the DMM Talks Lounge chats curated by Modenus and Design Milk. 


Cheers to the amazing sisterhood forged in Vegas!

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