New House Update: Light of My Life

I realize it’s probably a bit odd to start a home renovation project with a singular focus on one design category, but zeroing in on one item certainly does help you set your design direction. And for me that direction looks like it’s going to be determined by lighting. Lighting really is like jewelry for the home and I never could resist a great accessory! If I had to whittle down my lighting love affair to a must-have it would be…anything by Serge Mouille!!

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From the mid-century Parisian designer’s floor lamps, to his brilliant chandeliers and wall mounted sconces – I’m obsessed. They’re artfully minimal, yet make a total style statement no matter what space you put them in.

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There’s so much variety to choose from with Mouille. Wall sconces can come with up to five arms and some of the ceiling lights feature seven. What’s so wonderful about these fixtures is how beautifully they combine art with functionality. You can swivel the arms and turn the heads to create ambient or direct light as needed. SO genius!

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It’s nearly impossible to pick a Mouille favorite, but I’ve been particularly loving the wall sconces of late. They’re dramatic yet refined and would so elevate a living room, bedroom or really any place you might decide to place one. I’m currently day dreaming of a the perfect reading nook…

And while yes, these lovelies are going to cost you a pretty penny {originals get up into the five digits real quick} I argue their timeless elegance is worth the splurge. Thankfully, reproductions are made today at a slightly friendlier price, but this is a piece of design genius that is definitely worth saving for! I know just right where I’m going to put my future dream light in our new house too…but just where that is, you’ll have to wait a little longer to find out!

images via here, the new york times & my pinterest

New House Update: Fixating on Bathroom Fixtures

Now that we’ve shared the big news that we are officially San Francisco home owners {eek!} I’m starting the exciting, anxiety and pressure ridden renovation process! We just got the plans back from our architect {we’ll be sharing them soon!} and they are so much more than I could have ever dreamed up on my own. While the removal of walls and genius layouts make me want to move in yesterday, the real fun is going to be the design process. Even though demo hasn’t started yet, the fear of time flying by and the excitement of finally decorating a place of all our own isn’t letting me sit still. Thankfully, San Francisco is full of great design stores and show rooms to keep me busy!

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The big question keeping me up at night right now is bathroom design. There are so many choices to make in such a small space! Do we do tile or marble, stone or something else {??} on the floors? And what about walls?? What about fixtures? Colors? Textures? Oh my. To center myself and start to focus, I decided to simply start somewhere! You often need that initial nugget of inspiration to give you a direction. So this weekend I ventured into the Ferguson Kitchen and Bath showroom on Valencia Street to begin the daunting task of narrowing things down. Even though my secret Pinterest boards are full of great general inspiration, there really is nothing like going in and seeing a product in person. After all, I’m by no means a professional interior designer so seeing scale and actually feeling things out really helps my frantic brain focus!

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I went in looking for something modern to juxtapose the classic architecture of the house; that I knew. I was immediately super impressed with the DXV by American Standard line. They definitely were the most modern of the showroom. I loved how streamlined and beautiful each piece looked – two key elements to my aesthetic! And I fell in love with their Free Standing Tub! Its sleek shape and clean lines had my name written all over it. Complete with a crazy luxurious floor-mounted faucet, I see many bubble baths in my future!

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Here’s what I’m loving right now for the bathroom:

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 Get Your Shop On:

> Vintage Pendant 3-Arm Chandelier
> Slim Round Shower Head 
> Percy Wall Mounted Vessel Faucet
> Lyndon Free Standing Soaking Tub 
> Aesop Hand Soap
> Dot & Bo Woven Ottoman 

While I might have set my bathroom design direction, count on me to ask for your much-needed opinion in the next couple of months of renovation. I’m going to need everyone to weigh in as much as possible! For now, I’m slowly starting to pull moodboards together for the rest of our rooms. More on those coming soon!

image 1 via Brittany Ambridge Photography // 2 via Atlanta Homes Magazine

This post is in partnership with DXV by American Standard. Discover the DXV collections. Thoughts and opinions are 100% our own. Thanks for supporting collaborations and projects we’re excited about and that help keep Apartment 34’s doors open!

We’ve Got Big, Major, Epic News Today!

Isn’t it funny how so many things come full circle? When I started this little ole blog {closing in on eight years ago!!}, it was all to chronicle the renovation and design of the first home I ever called my very own – a teeny tiny condo in Seattle {#34 of course!}. But as life has a tendency to do, things took a sharp left turn shortly after I purchased #34 and I didn’t manage to do a dang thing to it. Well I did remove the watermelon pink striped wallpaper, but that’s as far as things ever got. We actually sold the condo last year {as you may remember} and while I was happy to see it go, I also felt disappointed that I never got to see the project come to fruition.

Well I’m thrilled to announce that I’m finally going to get my chance to design my dream home, but this time, in a very big way because WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!

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Yup – we’re going to live there! I can still hardly believe it!!! Holy-begeezus you guys, this amazing, classic, historic Victorian is our house. It feels unbelievable for all kinds of reasons, but right now it’s still not quite real because we haven’t actually moved in. While it may look rather fabulous from the outside, we discovered a house that is a totally insane, over-the-top, and a major fixer-upper. To repair what’s broken or damaged, make needed improvements and update the space to make it conducive to modern life, we have to make a pretty dang extensive renovation. Needless to say, it’s going to be a little while before we officially call our new house, home. So what do we have to work with? Well, I’m so glad you asked!

The house has a lot of amazing things to love. Fabulous details like huge bay windows, dramatic high ceilings, period crown molding and fireplaces in nearly every room! However, it was a little hard to appreciate those details at first sight as they currently look like this…

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Built in 1870, the house has only had three owners – well four now. But the last inhabitants took liberties with their design choices. Very questionable liberties. Every room in the house is painted in colors I don’t think I’ve ever seen anywhere. Certainly not in any home. The dining room above, for example, features pale peach walls and a ceiling painted in what you might describe as magenta. It’s almost impossible to actually give the color a name. The fireplaces have lovely features – like a 2×4 as a mantel! And those chandeliers are a beautiful form of some sort of 1970s plastic. Now that’s classy. You may say, but Erin, the floors look interesting at least. They would be, if they weren’t a laminate. At least those really spectacular pocket doors dividing the dining and living rooms make up for it because they still open and close – even after 140 years!

But of course, everyone says kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. Again, that wasn’t exactly true in this case. This is currently our “kitchen.”

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The photos above don’t even do the kitchen situation justice. In case you can’t tell, there aren’t any permanent shelves in there. Nor counter tops. Nor any built-in appliances. Everything is just free standing or rigged up on the wall. The first time I stepped into the room was…a little mind boggling to say the least. And the bathrooms – well they’re just as special. This is the “master bath.” It can be described simply: as a formica museum!

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As you can see, we have our work cut out for us {and this is really only the half of it!}! And I couldn’t be happier. I finally have the blank slate I’ve always dreamed of. I’m sure I’m more than a little naive about what we’re really in for – but I promise we’re going to share everything we learn with you! From the fun of creating mood boards and setting a design direction to the brass tacks of how to pick a contractor, shop for slab counter tops or select the perfect shade of white paint {I’m on the hunt – anyone have a current fave?!}, we’re planning on taking you all along for the ride – however long that might be. We hope you’re just as excited as we are!