Thursday, September 5, 2013

We're Alive.

I feel like we should just get that on the table, because once again, we've gone dark. Somehow, you blink your eyes and months have gone by. I don't think we're proud of that, but the nice thing about blogging is the ability to come back and catch up.

Maybe it goes without saying, but Susie and I are coming off of one of the crazier summers that we've ever had. In addition to balancing family and friends, our business had a great summer. I think we both feel very tired as we roll in to fall -- in fact the last couple days have been very dreary and we're feeling like without the kick in the pants of the sun, we both are needing some big cups of coffee to get by.

I think the best way to get through summer is with photos, since after all, this job is visual.

 Demolition at one of our projects began in the middle of June. There is much more to be told about this project, but needless to say, it kept us busy. 

Which led to lots of cocktails... in this case homemade basil gimlets from an episode of Barefoot Contessa that I managed to catch. AND a basil plant that I managed to keep alive all summer. Best $3.99 ever. 

Countertop installation in a bathroom we reconfigured and started from scratch on.  This particular stone was amazing. A small amount of crystals in the marble kept it feeling young and playful.

 One of our finished bathrooms -- this one was for a little boy complete with a custom shagreen bench for bathtime and a shower curtain that feels more like draperies than the usual fix. 

 Breakfast table in the process of being styled. These chairs were vintage and so incredible. They make for the perfect chair to sit at for long casual meals with friends.

 One of our favorite chandeliers ever before it came to its "forever home" in our client's entry. This one was a real miracle to pull off since the normal lead time is 14 weeks. Needless to say, we breathed a big sigh of relief when it was installed safely -- agate doesn't take kindly to rough treatment. 

 We doubled as shipping and receiving as box after box came through our door. We spent so much time breaking down boxes in order to make room for new items. Our nightly routine consisted of jobsite visits and and pouring a glass of wine as we ripped apart boxes and sorted deliveries. 

This art is serving as inspiration for one of our projects as we work on the main floor of a Seattle craftsman home. Strong greens and neutrals will make an appearance. 

Laying down the beginnings of this laundry room floor. The end product has amazing drying racks that pull-out from the lower cupboards and pull-out laundry baskets. This is a laundry room to envy and we're pretty proud of it. 

 Soup to nuts, this one was a total reno. We'll post before pictures sometime, but it started as something completely different -- let's just say that marble herringbone floors were not in this house a few weeks before. This photo was snapped mid-install.

 One of our client's favorite spots. And really, we'd be lying if we said we haven't enjoyed a margarita on these sofas.

 One of our projects on the day we took possession. Such a beautiful property that has since gotten some much needed attention to the front entry and approach. 

... A reference photo for us as we worked to bring this room to reality.

 One of our most favorite wallpapers EVER and the rest of the powder is even better. Antique mirror, Waterworks and bone top it off.

 I pinch myself when we get to work with clients on their dishware. I could have just keeled over with excitement while selecting this pattern.

 Coming along. This has got to be one of our favorite designs for an island leg. A small fillet detail wraps the island with such delicacy.

 Do you recognize this one? It's still in progress because we were still moving our clients in and the barstools are temporary while the factory in Paris enjoys their August vacation. What can you do when you're dealing with European vacation schedules? Improvise.

 Snapped a quickie in bad light to keep track of our install. Sometimes I find the best way make a list is with my phone. I pity the person who thinks they'll find "interesting" photos on my phone. I mean, a limited audience might be pleased to come across it, the rest might think I have an odd fetish for furniture, light fixtures and people holding things up for me. 

Needless to say,  we consumed a lot of makeshift meals and fast food this summer. It was not a banner year for swimsuits, but honestly, we didn't have an opportunity to even think about "summer" until it was nearly over. So we drank. And emailed and tried to do that in the right order. Responsibly.

 Installation day for two Dennis & Leen sofas. These were almost too hard to leave behind.

 The most gorgeous original malachite custom wallpaper by one of our most favorite artists. She makes us want to giggle so much that it's almost hard to get anything done. But when we leave her alone she makes beautiful things like this. 

 THIS is why we insisted on a wall of sliders. The view in this house is incredible and opening it up to the waterfront makes it all completely worth it. We can't wait to see the kitchen go in any day. 

 In between just a few things, I managed to get away for the sailing trip I had written about and got in some fishing... or really, reading. However, I'm a hell of a fillet-er, not to mention doing it on the side of a boat is no easy task. Our trip was beautiful and while I was gone, Susie escaped to Mexico with her family. Much needed R&R. 

 Captivating construction shot, I know.  But when we get to enjoy the fruits of a better layout, seeing plumbing lines move to better spots is pure heaven. 

 Isn't this gate amazing? I snooped on this house as I walked to a Sunday morning post-wedding brunch on San Juan Island. Roche Harbour has some amazing houses, but this one has to go down as an absolute favorite.

 Finishing out a master bath re-decorating project with one heck of a cushion. I would camp out in here while I waited for my counterpart to be ready. 

That's just the start of it, but overall it was a pretty epic summer. We managed to cram it all in, but now we're left with the start of school and as soon as Labor Day rolled around, the rain came back. I think we'll still have a few more days of nice weather , but the good news is it makes sitting at our desks doing paperwork not quite as painful. 

Enjoy your Thursday. 


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013: Sailing

If you've made it through a summer with me on instagram, you've learned that it means one thing to me: boating. While being in a city that relies on bridges because of so much water can be a drag sometimes (tolls, crippling back-ups with no alternate pass) it also means that I rarely go a single day without crossing some sort of body of water and it usually lends itself to amazing views that do a soul good. We all grew up boating and in the summer after work, when it finally gets nice, my buddies and I meet at the dock and take off for dinner or an evening spent on the water.

In addition, I have a dad who lives for his sailboat. And as a bonus, he's raised me sailing and helped me slowly learn the craft and although I'm still too nervous to captain, I make a trusty deckhand. After finally retiring a month ago, he's setting out for a bucket-list trip to circumnavigate Vancouver Island on our 38' Erickson. He'll be gone for a month, but we're taking turns meeting him on different legs of the trip and it's no coincidence that I picked the most beautiful part: sailing to Desolation Sound with warm waters and epic fjords.

Packing for a sailboat is not too far over the line of packing for camping. I say that because you have to be prepared for big swings in temperature and layers are a must, plus you're not exactly retiring to the Ritz every night (it's a little "Night John Boy" if you know what I mean). It's not unusual to have the sun shining, but be freezing cold because if the wind isn't blowing... you're not having a good sail. And when you're not sailing, you're stuffing your gob with cheese and wine... my kind of outdoor activity.

This year, I'm investing in (1) a new fleece that I can tool around in on the boat and off that's cozier than cozy. (2) new boat shoes with an updated shape that doesn't cover the top of my foot as much. (3) I've got to upgrade my swimsuit to something that can alternate between straps and strapless, because at this age showing up to a friend's wedding with swim team-style suit lines isn't so friendly... or chic (4) My old aviators are coming along, but next year I really need to upgrade to polarized lenses, which weren't an option at the time. (5) T-shirts. T-shirts. T-shirts. (6) Give me a nice long inseam on a short. I'm tired of shorts that aren't comfortable... might just go up a size too, I want 'em comfy. (7) For a number of reasons, I'm investing in a kindle paperwhite for reading. I'll miss the actual books, but I'm finally caving in -- actually reading is more important than the feel if that's what it comes down to. (8) The perfect sneaker since 1917 and it's a staple for vacations on and off land.

I also thought I'd throw in some photos from some of our family trips last summer. These are from close to home locations and weekends to various islands nearby:

Someone snuck a shot of me and I'm being brave and putting it up.

Susie's kiddos coming back from crabbing -- I think we finally caught one crab after a couple tries... not one of our more fruitful trips.
Hoping your summer is filled with fun things to get excited for -- planning is half the fun I'm told.

All the best,

If you're interested in creating a home you love, please contact us at or

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Serena & Lily's Hampton Store

After seeing some sneak peak images of the new Serena & Lily store in the Hamptons on our various feeds yesterday, it makes me extremely jealous that we aren't able to go visit and also don't have stores like this in our area. Look at the beauty:

Photo via Heather Clawson @ Habitually Chic

Heather Clawson of Habitually Chic was invited to the opening and has many more photos to share. As does Traditional Home's Tori Mellott on instagram:

Photo via @torimellott

We strongly suggest you check out these two ladies' photos from the store -- envy inducing.

All the best,

If you would like help creating a home you love or are interested in purchasing to-the-trade items, please contact us at

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Beach Lover's Nursery


A few months ago we began working on a nursery for a friend of mine due in July with a baby girl. What I know to be true of my friend is that the woman manages to take more tropical vacations than anyone I know. She is a warm-vacation worshiper and is happiest when she's not at her desk (obviously) and instead on a beach in Hawaii or somehow swinging invites to the Ixtapa Food and Wine Fest two years in a row (I mean, come on...). So when I showed her this fabric out of a big stack, I realized I could have just brought the one and not bothered with the rest. It was 1) not pink, 2) tropical in its style and 3) versatile enough to grow with their daughter. 

My friends were tasked with picking out their favorite crib and dresser for this teensy room given some parameters for size. Same goes for a chair that they both found comfortable given that both she and her husband are on the tall side and wanted to be able to rest their head for those late nights and early mornings. The white slipcover is still-to-come due to a backorder issue, but the chair from the Land of Nod is a winner for it's swivel-rocker feature. We also decided to have a crib skirt made in the 11th hour so it's a few weeks out and in a coordinating green.

For us, this room was an exercise in working with color in a soothing way. Color and nurseries are a given for lots of people, but my friends didn't want anything to "baby" and given how neutral Susie and I tend to be, this was a fun step outside our comfort zone.

Pre- Slipcover!
We found these original corals and we worked with the artist to find the right shade of lavender based on the wall color so that it was in the same tones, but stronger. They are all signed and I know for some people, my friends included, having something original from an artist is important, rather than something off of a shelf at a big box store. And just because they are custom and original, it doesn't mean they were expensive!

Replacing the light fixture was a big change to the room (in addition to the crown that we added). The ceilings are low, but when we started working on the room, my friend said she wanted two things with no wiggle room: a chandelier of some sort and something interesting for the ceiling or a wall. This Morovian Star fixture did both. It's fun and special like a traditional chandelier would be, but it has muss less drop and allowed us to do something special while not sacrificing heads to bumps and bruises.

And, since doing a wallpaper on the ceiling was slightly out of reach, the fixture creates light patterns on the ceiling (which we did paint at 200% strength of the wall color for subtle variation).

My favorite Target lamp gives extra light to the room in addition to having two three way bulbs -- genius for wanting only 40 watts if the baby is sleeping or as much as 200 if you were trying to land a plane. Floor lamps combined with a corner chair are an absolute must. As soon as the lamp goes in, it completes the vignette and gives the spot purpose.

Love this little metal and wood table too. Perfect spot to rest your bottle/mug while camped out.

Also, a note on drapes: If there is ONE thing that makes a room, it's adding drapes to your budget. Even for a nursery when there is so much to buy, they make the biggest  difference. As soon as they went up, the room immediately felt special and bigger. We added a tape to the leading edge to give them some interest and sophistication (plus play up the green), but there are multiple ways to accomplish drapes via workrooms and sewing shops and I'm so thankful that my friends trusted us with their home and budget. 

All the best,

If you would like help creating a home you love or are interested in purchasing to-the trade items, please contact us at

Monday, May 13, 2013

Vaunte & Trad Home's Tori Mellot

I can't remember how I started following Vaunte on instagram. It was one of those rabbit holes of the internet when you realize you're 4 steps from where you started and don't ask me how I got there. But since following them, I've signed up for their emails, which is saying something since I have unsubscribed from nearly every other service that joined the fad of littering my inbox with "Shop NOW" flash sales multiple times a day.

Vaunte seems a little different though. It's like being invited in to someone's closet and the "someone" is always one of good taste or if not your taste, it's really interesting to see what they wore and what they're putting up for sale at amazing prices.  It's Decades of the internet and without the boring anonymous client numbers. Snooze.

Case in point: Tori Mellot, Senior Design and Market Editor of Traditional Home (and formerly Domino)'s items went on sale this weekend and I can tell you a few things about her: Typically a size 2/4 and the girl loves a mini dress (her clothes would look like a t-shirt on me). Also a good label lover. In addition to my not-so-astute observations, they give a great profile to accompany the sale with an awesome questionnaire -- she has some great answers.

I have to pull out some highlights to this questionnaire because her honesty makes me laugh:

Jeans: I think jeans are over-priced. I get all my jeans at Zara and they are awesome! Plus I wear white jeans so often in the summer that they are threadbare by August. Why would I want to spend $300 on a pair of jeans that I'm going to have to pitch at the end of the season? That's stupid, duh, so I go to Zara and I get jeans that make my ass look good and my legs look long. 

As an aside, I also should note that this is the same gal talking about jeans who chose a Birken over a car because that's the price comparison we're talking about, so take it for what you will. We all spend money in our own way, so no judgement from me.

Movie: Sixteen Candles all the way. I'm still waiting for Jake Ryan to show up at my house in a candy-apple red Porsche.

I had to throw this in because that movie is referenced all the time between Susie and I. Despite our generation gap, Sixteen Candles is a common language for us. In high school, all I had to do to describe my crush to her was compare him to Jake Ryan. He. Is. My. Jake Ryan. And an a-ha moment was had.

Best Compliment: To give: That I'm funny or skinny. To Give: That someone is beautiful or skinny. 

That's some honesty right there... But who doesn't love when a friend tells you you look skinny?

Christian Louboutin, currently $175

Alaia, currently $155

Cynthia Rowley, currently $135

Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, currently $125

I love it when fashion and interiors collide. To me, they are a seamless integration of design and for now, I'm highly enjoying

Here's to a good Monday,

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