The Lake House Renovation: Our Bedroom, Day 2

Posted 24 July 2016 at 6:37 PM | Comments (0)

Now that walls are coming down, we are coming face to face with our limitations. Everything we want to do is dependent on something else that we can’t do, so each step forward feels like a few steps back.

I should be concerned, but I am having a blast.

We continue to remove wallpaper and wood paneling, with the help of our two troublemakers (ages 5 and 8):

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Our Bedroom, Renovation Day 2

My husband stripped the closet and now we can look straight into the living room. That’s where we found new problems, like a cracked chimney and rotted floorboards:

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Our Bedroom, Renovation Day 2

We did find a treasure trove of vintage trophies in the attic, and the kids think if we sell them, we might be able to afford this renovation after all:

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Our Bedroom, Renovation Day 2

Good thinking, kids.

For Day 1, click here.

How Deep is Your Window?

Posted 11 July 2016 at 8:42 AM | Comments (0)

One of my favorite architectural details is something you may have never even thought about: the depth of a window. When it is deep, it captures light. Pay attention to it. Even as the sun is moving away from that room, making it dimmer and dimmer inside, the light will reflect upon the deep frame and make it glow. Suddenly you realize you have architecture there.

It is one of the many ways that form and function work together in a home—the idea that what is useful can also be beautiful.

Here is a random photo of a window with barely any depth at all. Obviously, the window itself brings light into the home, but it is not contributing to the architecture in any way (the windows in our new house are just like this):

Residential Window With No Depth

And then there are these windows. Even without trim, and even in the midst of a total room overhaul, you can see how the light around them adds luminosity:

Residential Windows With Depth But No Trim

This window is not quite as deep (I’m guessing four inches?), and it has a sill, but you can see how it is framed in light:

Residential Window With Depth and Sill but No Trim

This one does have trim, and the light has the same impact:

Residential Window With Depth and Trim

And this one has a wood jamb and still the light is beautiful:

Residential Window With Depth and Natural Wood Jamb

We will lose a few inches in our already small bedroom when we deepen the windows, but I know the change will be worth it. My husband is on board, too—not as much for the visual impact, but for the extra space for thick insulation. Form and function. Win-win.

*All photos are from a random Web search.

The Lake House Renovation: Our Bedroom, Day 1

Posted 10 July 2016 at 5:33 PM | Comments (1)

A couple of weeks ago, we closed on a house! We haven’t owned a home since our Chicago condo, so we are part newbies and part experienced homeowners.

Our new house is a small, 1959 ranch and close to the lake. For now, I’m calling it “the lake house.” It needs a lot of work. A lot. On our first day of demolition in our bedroom, we discovered a little bit of everything I feared: zero insulation, critters, rotting wood, and mold spores.

We have only minor experience with renovation, but we’re about to learn. All we know right now is that 1) it’s going to take a while, and 2) we won’t be able to afford what we want to do. So where to start? With the part that’s free, of course! D-E-M-O-L-I-T-I-O-N.

Here’s what we did today in our new bedroom.

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Our Bedroom, Renovation Day 1

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Our Bedroom, Renovation Day 1

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Our Bedroom, Renovation Day 1

Give Me Just a Little Color, and I’ll Let You Have Your Beige

Posted 9 July 2016 at 9:45 PM | Comments (0)

I know.

I know you’re trapped in your beige living room. Beige carpet, beige sofa, beige armchair. Or maybe it’s a cross between beige and gray (greige). Whatever you call it, it’s a lot of neutral and zero personality.

A friend in Dallas e-mailed me a picture of her very beige living room and asked for armchair suggestions. But you can’t send me a picture like that and expect one measly little armchair! She needed more than an armchair. She needed color.

So I made it super easy. The terracotta armchair below is so muted that it’s practically a neutral. To keep it sunny and joyful, I added some muted yellow accents, and to bring in glamour and shine, I added gold.

Classy and Neutral Terracotta and Corn Yellow Home Decor Inspiration Board

Now wasn’t that easy? Terracotta, corn yellow, and gold don’t go very far out of a beige comfort zone. This color combination is super palatable, and it looks great in Texas. So, y’all ready to embrace color?

Illustrated Cypress Trees Birth Announcement

Posted 8 July 2016 at 9:24 PM | Comments (0)

I’ve mentioned before how much I love illustrated projects. When a client actually wants me to spend my time doing Photoshop brushstrokes, you can bet that I am in project bliss. So I guess you could say that baby Angelina* was introduced to the world with bliss from all sides—from her family, obviously, but even from this stranger, who pretends to be an artist from time to time.

Illustrated Cypress Trees Birth Announcement

*Names will always be changed.

Monochromatic White and Beige Minimalist Bedroom

Posted 4 July 2016 at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)

Ahhh. Sleep. Precious sleep.

This tranquil, minimalist bedroom first reminds me of everything I loved about the ‘90s, and then, second, it hypnotizes me so that I am running for my own bed. Not much can convince me to go to bed (I am of the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” philosophy), but this room is doing a pretty good job.

Monochromatic White and Beige Minimalist Contemporary Bedroom

Though I am a huge fan of color, I admit I’m looking forward to the reemergence of monochromatic minimalism in home décor. It’s coming, people. Maximalism is not going to last forever…

Glamorous Teal and Beige Living Room

Posted 3 July 2016 at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)

What is it about this color combination? It gets me every time.

Glamorous Teal and Beige Living Room

Notice all the shine in the room. Sometimes, in a room of matte or rough textures, I find that something with a bit of shine—a silver picture frame, a gilded mirror—elevates the design.

This room, on the other hand, is all shine. So here, something as simple as that wooden tray can be grounding.

Cheap Jeans vs. Expensive Jeans

Posted 24 September 2015 at 8:44 PM | Comments (0)

Refinery29 published this infographic, illustrated by Isabel Castillo Guijarro, to explain the difference between a $200 pair of jeans and a $20 pair. I have never been proud of my fast fashion purchases and this only affirms, well, partly, my guilt, and mostly: how much things need to change. (Click the image to enlarge.)

How a $200 Jean Becomes a $20 Pair, Illustrated by Isabel Castillo Guijarro

Hayden Panettiere’s Nashville Home

Posted 22 September 2015 at 8:17 PM | Comments (0)

I adore the edgy, eclectic mix of patterns and textures in Hayden Panettiere and Wladimir Klitschko’s Nashville home. There’s a little of everything—something modern, something traditional; something playful, something moody—and the effect is splendid.

Hayden Panettiere's Nashville Home Entryway Designed by Benjamin Vandiver

Hayden Panettiere's Nashville Home Living Room Designed by Benjamin Vandiver

Hayden Panettiere's Nashville Home Dining Room Designed by Benjamin Vandiver

Designed by Benjamin Vandiver, I really like how these three particular rooms possess somber, dark colors next to luxurious, gilded shine. The combination is so striking and serves as a reminder that, in contemporary décor, it’s opposites that attract.

For the full article in Domino, click here.

Favorites from the Emmys 2015

Posted 21 September 2015 at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

I was mostly underwhelmed with last night’s red carpet, but these three gowns were exciting. Just what awards show fashion should be!

Emmy Awards 2015 Red Carpet Fashion: Claire Danes, Jaimie Alexander, Kerry Washington

Claire Danes. Several online publications called her gown “unflattering.” If you’re someone who believes in one ideal female body type, perhaps you would think so; I, however, do not fall in that camp. To me, her Prada dress was stunning in every way, and it showed off her perfectly cute shape.

Jaimie Alexander. I actually don’t know anything about this woman, but wow, she looks fierce in Armani Privé. The whole look is almost too severe, but surprisingly, it works—in a glamorous badass kind of way. Now I need to watch something she has been in to see if she lives up to last night’s fierceness.

Kerry Washington. This Marc Jacobs dress basically stole the show. More and more, I am realizing that Kerry Washington is a fashion plate of the highest degree. Her taste for edgy and high-end fashion matches her class and intellect, which is great for her (and unfortunate for all those who bumble along when they stand next to her).

I like to make mention of the other looks that almost made it into my top three. In this case it was Ellie Kemper, whose Naeem Khan dress was pretty phenomenal but the overall look felt a bit boring. Big hair would have worked here. Maisie Williams was just perfect in Ermanno Scervino. Perfectly dressed, perfectly accessorized, perfectly made up, perfectly pink. There was nothing to dislike. And Natasha Lyonne, who is not generally on my fashion radar, really surprised me. While it doesn’t exactly look expensive, her fringed, hippie-chick look was very now and very refreshing. She either knows what’s hot in fashion, or else she was grateful to finally find something that suited her taste. I may never know.

Emmys 2015 Red Carpet Fashion: Ellie Kemper, Maisie Williams, Natasha Lyonne