I’ve been chugging along on the Hood Canal Cottage design – I know I am SO overdue for an update for you, but when you’re in the throes of design deadlines it can be really hard to find a moment to pause and recap everything. But I swear, it’s coming slowly. In recent weeks I’ve moved on from major architectural design and finish decisions into the interior design side of things. It’s been a tad overwhelming, as I haven’t decorated a space from scratch since we moved to San Francisco nearly 10 years ago (did you ever catch the tour of my first place in SF? I’m almost embarrassed to share it, but I was SO proud of it at the time).

Designing the Hood Canal Cottage is a unique situation to be in for a hobby designer like me. Usually, you move and take pieces with you, but since the cottage won’t serve as a full-time residence, I’m starting from a literal blank slate.

My focus this week has been on the dining room – or in this case dining space as the dining area sits within a great room that also houses the kitchen and living room. I’ve been shopping around like a madwoman trying to hone in on the look and feel I want to bring to life in the dining area. I want it to feel distinct and anchored – its own little zone within the larger room. And the idea I keep coming back to again and again is banquette seating.

Banquettes and built-ins have been having a moment for a while now, but I would argue for very good reason. A built-in banquette is a great space saver in a smaller space and increases the capacity around a dining table. Since I envision the Hood Canal Cottage as our hub for future Thanksgiving dinners and holiday gatherings, I definitely want to be able to cram as many people around the table as possible.

Like many of the examples you see here in this post, our dining table will also run parallel to a long wall, rather than float in the middle of the room. This actually limits the ability to pull back a dining chair. I would probably have to use a bench on that side of the table, but a banquette will allow the table to sit a little closer to the wall and not have legs you have to work around, saving precious floor space.

I also love how a banquette offers the opportunity to add big long seat cushions, back pillows, or both! Adding cushy upholstery to a dining space softens areas often dominated by hard surfaces. I love how that brings a sense of coziness, inviting you to sit and linger over your morning coffee, or pour that last little bit of wine and stay up talking. I want this home to encourage anyone who stays there to slow down and enjoy the little moments. Kinda like you’re living on vacation. That is the goal.

Adding a major upholstered piece at the dining table will also help me bridge the living room space and kitchen.

While I am obviously leaning toward jumping on the banquette bandwagon, I do have some convincing to do. Not everyone in my household is into the idea of a banquette. To add to that resistance, I’m not finding any good off-the-shelf options so it’s likely I’d have to go custom to create my vision. Custom is certainly not the most affordable of options.

So what say you? Do you happen to have a banquette in your home?? Do you like it? Have you found it comfy? Useful? Are there downsides you’ve dealt with? I think I’m pretty committed to this design choice at this point, but I would love to hear what you think! Please share in the comments section.

Catch up on the Hood Canal Cottage HERE.

Check out more design ideas HERE.


images vincent van duysen | home designing | mr & mrs whitedanthree | amber interiors shoppe / larritt-evans design | poppy talk | nicole franzen | decus interiors

A design trend has slowly been creeping into my consciousness of late, but the look has officially taken on must-have status. I need a pleated lampshade in my life! It is my latest Idea to Steal.

Pleated lampshade on Apartment 34

Be they pendants, floor lamps, or for the table, a light with a pleated shade is suddenly feeling rather chic. A pleated lampshade is a great way to add more interest and texture to space. While I’ve seen them in a myriad of colors, I do prefer a crisp white option with a knife pleat.

The secret to keeping the look from going too “grandma” is pairing a pleated shade with a fixture that has a modern feel. Think of a simple cord pendant, an elegant minimal floor lamp, or a modern ceramic lamp.

Pleated lampshade on Apartment 34 Pleated lampshade on Apartment 34Pleated lampshade on Apartment 34

There are a number of gorgeous vintage pleated lamps out there. The Mads Caprani Arc Floor from the 1970s is definitely having a moment. There are also many sites that sell vintage lamps from Scandinavia. They can be from the 1940’s all the way through mid-century. One of my go-to resources for v is Counter Space in LA. I’m currently coveting the pleated table lamp by Hay design. It’s actually the primary design inspiration for the Apartment 34 studio design – but that story is still to come!


Pleated lampshade on Apartment 34Pleated lampshade on Apartment 34

What do you think of the pleated lampshade trend? Do you have one in your house yet?

For more theft-worthy design ideas, CLICK HERE.



images via curated spaces / the dreslyn / h&m home / 1st dibs / curated spaces / 20modern / sarah nedovic / finnish design shop




foraging on apartment 34

As virtually the entire world spends 24/7 in our homes, it’s certainly forced many of us to reexamine our spaces – how we use them, how we maximize them, and how we beautify them. Myself included. Now more than ever before our spaces need to be our respite, sanctuary, and refuge from the stresses of the outside world.

I’ve always loved to have fresh flowers in the house, but with florist shops shuttered and even the flower markets closed, it’s nearly impossible to come by fresh blooms unless you’re lucky enough to have quite the flower garden. Sadly I do not. Enter foraging.

Foraging has long been florists’, stylists’, and interior designers’ secret weapon. In fact, one of my favorite florists Louesa Roebuck wrote an entire book about it called Foraged Flora. When you use something foraged – usually branches of one variety or another – you not only bring life into a space, but you also add an interesting geometric, architectural shape to any vignette. Foraged branches can work on both large or extremely small scales and be placed virtually anywhere. The dining room table, the mantel, the kitchen counter, bedside, or in a bathroom. There truly are no limits. I’ve included a variety of examples of gorgeously foraged branches as you continue to scroll.

foraging on apartment 34 foraging on apartment 34

While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to foraging, there are some general guidelines to abide by. Here are my top foraging tips:

    • First and foremost, do you not clip from private property (unless it is your own of course!). Public parks are also generally a no-no. Look for alleys, open lots, public lands and forested trails.
    • When you find a publicly available space from which to clip, do so gently. You don’t want it to be immediately obvious that you removed something and you certainly don’t want to harm the plant.
    • Do clip a little big larger than you think you’ll want. You’ll most likely trim down your clippings upon returning home so you want to make sure you start out with a bit extra.
    • There’s no right or wrong plant variety to clip, but some popular choices include flowering quince, magnolia, dogwood, and olive branches are perennial favorites.
    • Trim up the ends before you put your clippings in water & change water daily. You should get up to two weeks of life out of them this way.

foraging on apartment 34foraging on apartment 34foraging on apartment 34foraging on apartment 34

Now it certainly helps if you live near wooded areas to be a successful forager, but you can get creative. These days I’m making it a rule to always have my clippers with me and my eyes peeled for a good little moment – even on my once-every-two-weeks trip to the grocery store.

My friend and famed interior designer Athena Calderone has become kind of the foraging guru. She recently created a quick video all about foraging, which you can watch right here

What do you think of this trend? Will you be packing your clippers on your next walk?


images colin king | design constanze ladner photography renee kemps | design athena calderone photography nicole franzen | design nate berkus & jeremiah brent photography nicole franzen | design constanze ladner photography renee kemps | design jasmin johnson | zara home /  design athena calderone styling colin king photography mathew williams | design athena calderone 

If you’re looking for a coffee table that will stand the test of time, look no further than the plinth coffee table trend. These tables have literal lasting power given that they’re solid blocks of stone!

Idea to Steal: Plinth Coffee TablesIdea to Steal: Plinth Coffee Tables

Low profile yet sculptural, the plinth table can certainly stand (or should I say sit) on its own. I’m particularly fond of styling these bad boys to maximize the negative space. That really lets the beauty of the stone stand out.

Idea to Steal: Plinth Coffee Tables

But if you are more of a maximalist there is plenty of surface area to play with. The table’s low profile allows you to  have more fun with with objects of varying heights. You can creating stacks or books for favorite objet, or use a tall dramatic flower arrangement. The plinth table is kind of the perfect blank canvas.

Idea to Steal: Plinth Coffee Tables

I am particularly obsessed with the the plinth table by Menu in the Rose Calcutta marble. The stone for these tables is selected and assembled by hand to ensure the edges line up perfectly. The movement is just gorgeous. Additional adornment is hardly necessary.

Idea to Steal: Plinth Coffee Tables

While you can search around and find a few other plinth-like coffee table options from big box retailers, I do think the Menu design is the most classic, elegant and timeless. Thankfully, if you do a little digging you can find them at discounted prices (ahem, here!)

Idea to Steal: Plinth Coffee Tables

I am very tempted to take my own advice and add one of these beauties to This Old Victorian. Very very tempted.

How about you??

For our entire archive of theft worthy design ideas, CLICK HERE.

images 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 

We all know gallery walls are a consistent style winner. They’re certainly instagram gold as this recent post illustrates. But they’re also a touch ubiquitous. Search gallery wall on Pinterest and you get a litany of pics, many of them virtually, if not exactly, the same.

So what if we swapped things up a bit? I’m not saying nix the gallery wall entirely. But what if we went with a mini gallery wall instead?

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

Specifically, I fell in love with the 3-piece gallery when I visited the Nomad Hotel in Los Angeles in the fall. Our entire room was decorated in nothing but little groupings of art, all combined in threes – as shown below. I was obsessed.

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

In my current quest to whittle our homes down to their essence, I’m really feeling the idea of limiting your art wall to just three pieces.

It makes sense that the look feels so good. Three is a magic number when it comes to styling as it offers variation but also balance. When styling a coffee table, bookshelf or console, the golden rule is to group things in threes. So it only makes sense that this rule should apply to our walls too.

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

Technically the vignette above does feature four pieces but I think it would look so much better if you took one away.

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

And while you can group like with like, using similar themes, color palettes or frames, I actually think you should introduce as much eclecticism into a mini art grouping as you can. Play with scale, feature different subject matter, different techniques and a variety of frames. Make a guest want to walk up and look more closely.

Idea to Steal: A Mini Gallery Wall on apartment 34

So rather than scramble to find a million art prints, why not select just a few extra special favorites and give them their time in the sun? You can even swap your art in and out – a quick and easy way to update your space without having to buy something new.

What say you? Are you ready to take down the giant gallery wall and give the mini gallery wall a go instead?

For more Ideas to Steal, CLICK HERE.

images via brady tolbert  / apartment 34sfgirlbybay & sfgirlbybay / avenue lifestyle 

What do they say it takes to make something a trend? Seeing the idea three times? Four? Well, I’ve been seeing a design cropping up just about everywhere of late – including on the cover story for the new Spring issue of Domino Magazine.

Enter the built-in sofa.

Idea to Steal: Built-In Sofas on apartment 34

While the built-in definitely has a 70’s throwback vibe, when done right the look feels fresh, modern, and seriously chic. And some of my favorite interior design crushes are doing it oh so right right now.

Take the LA home of Garance Doré, about to grace the cover of Domino Mag. Designer Sarah Sherman Samuel flanked a minimalist fireplace with not one, but two custom built-in sofas complete with gorgeous curved arms and soft pink linen upholstery. It feels a touch Moroccan, but also has beautiful casually elevated vibe.

Idea to Steal: Built-In Sofas on apartment 34

The built-in sofa is a perfect solution for a lounge-y room – think a TV room or play space. A wraparound version like the one above feels super cozy and inviting.

Idea to Steal: Built-In Sofas on apartment 34

I’m obsessed with this built-in example. Another piece of design by Sarah Sherman Samuel, this time for the home of Mandy Moore, this couch a) has gorgeous upholstery, but what I really love is the function of the built-in side table separating the two cushions.

Combined with the recessed bookshelves (another favorite design idea I actually used in the Sunset Idea House all those years ago), it feels like the built-in sofa was integrated into the original construction. It takes what would otherwise be a pass-through space and turns into a spot you actually want to stop in and stay awhile.

Idea to Steal: Built-In Sofas on apartment 34Idea to Steal: Built-In Sofas on apartment 34

While a built-in sofa has a decidedly relaxed vibe, they don’t have to look like you’re in Morocco or Ibiza. Wood framed designs (vs. plaster or those painted white) offer a warmer, less tropical vibe.

Idea to Steal: Built-In Sofas on apartment 34Idea to Steal: Built-In Sofas on apartment 34Idea to Steal: Built-In Sofas on apartment 34Idea to Steal: Built-In Sofas on apartment 34 

Now a built-in sofa certainly isn’t for the commitment-phobe. You have to really love your design and not be a serial changer of well, everything, such as myself. Hence why I don’t have any builtins in #thisoldvictorian, but I’ve certainly considered it. Our media room would have been an awesome spot for one. And who knows, maybe that’ll be my next update!

What do you think? Would you be brave enough to put a built-in sofa in your house?

For our entire Idea to Steal archive, CLICK HERE.

images 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

Open shelving has been all the rage in kitchen design for quite some time now. To the point of them being ubiquitous. Almost required in all kitchen design. Yes, I have opening shelving in my kitchen. But there’s a fresh, sophisticated and really really good looking storage solution cropping up in some kitchens I’ve spied of late and I’m really smitten. And kinda wishing I could have a kitchen design do-over.

I give you what I hope will become the hot new kitchen trend – enclosed glass shelving – my latest Idea to Steal.

idea to steal: enclosed glass shelving on apartment 34idea to steal: enclosed glass shelving on apartment 34

Enclosed glass shelving is a beautiful, tailored way to both store and display some of your kitchen pretties. While I know it can be really hard to keep a kitchen neat and tidy, putting a number of your items on display certainly offers an added incentive. You can simply create a typical cabinet with a glass front, like the image above, I’m particularly into using a different material like black steel. They are a lovely option and great if you aren’t redoing your kitchen. But if you’re starting from scratch, I’m really feeling the look of recessed, built-in cabinets like the images below.

Glass-fronted built-in cabinetry also offers a great incentive to make sure you only aquire beautifully designed kitchen tools, ceramics, glassware and serve ware – which often helps you support smaller makers and artisans. An added bonus in my book.

idea to steal: enclosed glass shelving on apartment 34idea to steal: enclosed glass shelving on apartment 34

Enclosed glass-front shelving also offers the opportunity to create a moment of contrast, texture and lovely visual interest in what otherwise can be a very utilitarian space. Final added bonus – when you enclose your kitchen pretties behind cabinet doors you stave off the dreaded layer of dust that assaults open shelves.

While my kitchen design is long been complete, I’m already plotting how I might do the next.

What do you think? Are you feeling this look?

For more theft worthy design ideas, CLICK HERE.

image 1 / 2 / 33 / 4 / 5

Whoever said the lavatory is strictly a place for “business” was WAY off. This highly trafficked room deserves so much more. In a space that tends to be de-prioritized when it comes to decorating, we’re loving the idea of using a piece of art to elevate your typical bathroom decor.

In fact, we’d argue that the bathroom is a perfect place to display an eye-catching art piece. There’s always a “captive” audience, if you know what we mean.


We’re not suggesting you throw down mad cash for an original masterpiece here. Rather this is the perfect place to get a little experimental and peruse sources like eBay, Etsy, Elsie Green or your good ole fashioned flea market for something inexpensive and interesting. We love the high contrast and seriousness of the portrait in the bathroom above. It adds an air of gravitas to the space. You’ll note there isn’t a shower in this space so there’s less need to fret about dampness.

In the end, adding a piece of original art is a simple way to give the bathroom the attention it deserves. After all, it’s always been there to help us take care of our dirty work.

What sort of interesting decor have you seen or chosen for your bathroom?? We’d love to hear more Ideas to Steal!

Check out our archive of theft-worthy design ideas HERE and more bathroom design ideas HERE!!

image via Oscar V

Friends, the terrazzo trend. Can we talk about it? I am very (very) on the fence about this design choice. I’m actually leaning over into the “what are they thinking” camp. Because terrazzo is a state.ment. And one I suspect will feel very 2018 in about 2019. Terrazzo is on airport floors. I don’t think it should be in kitchens or bathrooms or anything built after 1974. But… then I spied this kitchen that features a creamy, soft, super neutral terrazzo. And now the terrazzo jury is out.

idea to steal: understated terrazzo on apartment 34

This version of terrazzo feels elegant. I realize I’m drawn to describe this kitchen as elegant because of all the other elegant elements in this space. The warm oak cabinetry is very stately and grounding. I love the joinery – it feels very architectural. The beautiful brass hardware elevates the cabinets to feel more urban and modern. And even the accessories dotted throughout the space – in black, white oak or silky cream tones all have sultry curved lines and sculptural shapes. Each element plays really well with the counters. The entire look feels very modern but organic at the same time.

idea to steal: understated terrazzo on apartment 34idea to steal: understated terrazzo on apartment 34

While I love the soft grays, blues and even hints of blush pink mixed in these counters, the look is still not for the faint of heart. I mean that island is a very dramatic moment in this room. Even with the toned-down color palette, it is still a very bold choice.

idea to steal: understated terrazzo on apartment 34idea to steal: understated terrazzo on apartment 34idea to steal: understated terrazzo on apartment 34idea to steal: understated terrazzo on apartment 34

So I remain undecided. Well, correction. I can decisively say I really like the look of this kitchen. And yet could I ever actually live with terrazzo? I’m not 100% sold yet.

How about you? Are you into this look? Are down with this trend – even the bold styles – in general?

If you need more interesting design ideas, CLICK HERE.


kitchen design and images by nordiskakok

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