If you don’t follow Apartment 34 on Instagram, than you might have missed the exciting announcement that official This Old Victorian – aka my five year renovation saga – is about to come its close. Domino Magazine announced its first ever Renovation Issue and I’m thrilled to announce that office tour of our house is included. If you want your first sneak peak into the our before & afters (and they’re rather dramatic), click here.

But I think once you try your hand at renovations, you catch the bug. And so I’m already designing my fictional future dream house in my hand. And I think I already found my dream kitchen.

This epic kitchen is another product of design savant Amber Interiors. She has figured out the magic mix of California casual, old world grandeur, and what I like to call elevated rustic style that combine to create warm, welcoming but also dramatic spaces.

Obviously, the architecture of this space lends itself to its awesome dramatic feel, not to mention all that stunning natural light. But that is probably one of my biggest leanings from our renovation – that a space’s bones are everything. If you happen upon some a home with some good architecture, jump on it! You can be confident that even the ugliest of toads can be transformed.

The use of various both refined and rustic materials offers really beautiful juxtaposition in this kitchen. Honed Calacatta marble counters and backsplash feel sleek and fancy. But then the reclaimed French limestone looks as if you could be in a farmhouse in Burgundy. The mix and match continues with smooth plasters walls abutting a white brick pizza oven. Brass hardware offsets the custom white oak cabinetry, but the cup drawer pulls reinforce the more country, rustic feel. Finally, a rustic beam holds residence above a sophisticated Lacance range. Yet it all works.

This space would feel fitting should it be in middle of wine country, in Europe or in downtown LA. In fact it resides in Malibu, CA but you certainly wouldn’t say it has a beachy feel.

I love how Amber switched the far counter’s top to a dark limestone to anchor the space and mirror the dark range across the room.

If I could get my hands on this space I might have thickened the countertops (I still love that fat look), selected more modern cabinetry hardware and swapped out the antique pendant lights for something more minimalist and refined. But that’s fun thing with renovating. Once you get to play with the details, you just want to play more and more and more and more.

Good thing I have my yard project to keep me busy at the moment, because I’d be rather tempted to start housing hunting again! Don’t tell my hubs.

design by amber interiors, photography by tess neustadt 

I may be back in the office this week, but an overabundance of jet lag, emails, photos to edit and a general denial that my summer in Italy is over has made it a bit tough to get back on my blogging game. For that, I apologize. I’m determined to chip away and get eager to share all my Italy travel guides, the myriad of design updates I’m working away on and so much more. Sadly my brain works faster than fingers on the keyboard. So for now, I’m just going to keep chipping away, but then I spied this bright and cheery kitchen that stopped me in my tracks and made me smile, so I had to share immediately as I thought it might brighten your week too.

A Peach Kitchen on apartment 34

It just so happens that this lovely space belong to my amazingly talented friend Rosy, so it’s no wonder the design is picture perfect. I actually shared this kitchen in this post after I hosted this event in Rosy’s beautiful home. The change from this kitchen’s previous look is rather dramatic. As someone who very publicly eschews the use of color, I don’t know that I would ever think to paint my kitchen peach, but after seeing the affect of this amazing makeover I’m all for it.

A Peach Kitchen on apartment 34

The secret to success when using a hue like this, is to use it as a pop of color. I actually did something similar, albeit with a dark hue, in the Sunset Bungalow project. Using color as an accent gives a room an extra dimension and a jolt of interest. Imagine if the kitchen niche was simply white. You’d hardly even notice it at all. I also love the addition of shelf, painted in the same peach hueIt adds another layer of texture and it quite practical in a kitchen. You always want a (good looking) kitchen tool or two at the ready.

A Peach Kitchen on apartment 34

While certainly a touch feminine, the dark woods and mix of terracotta tones keep things from tipping too girlie.

 A Peach Kitchen on apartment 34

I spy the perfect amount of terrazzo with that nicely placed tray.

A Peach Kitchen on apartment 34A Peach Kitchen on apartment 34

I don’t know about you, but this is the midweek pick-me-up that I needed!

For more color inspo, CLICK HERE.

photography by seth smoot for domino magazine

I know last week I was opining about the mystique of all-white monochromatic spaces, so I figured why not flip the script today and share a multifaceted space without a hint of white in sight. And I’m quite positive you’re going to love it because this room is just.so.good!

Home Tour: Gorgeous Kitchen in Gray Scale on apartment 34Home Tour: Gorgeous Kitchen in Gray Scale on apartment 34

Designed by my girl-of-the-moment, Leanne Ford, this all gray kitchen resides in an 19th century row house in Pittsburg, but it takes a totally fresh take on the concept of a kitchen (it’s like she was reading my mind). Ford gutted a back addition of the house to extend the kitchen down the middle of the first floor and I am drunk in love!

Reason number one: a fireplace in the kitchen! Swoon. You know how I love a good fireplace. The only other timeI think I’ve seen that is the Nancy Meyers set of Anne Hathaway’s in the movie The Intern. Google it – it’s a seriously good kitchen too.

But of course the second reason I love this space is all the gray! Ford applied Portola Paint’s Roman Clay in Sasha to the walls and ceilings to give the space a really textured plateresque look (taking notes for a project I’ll be revealing to you later this week!). To ensure the room felt cohesive, Ford lime washed all the brick in a lighter gray to meld the two surfaces together. All of the oversized windows flood the space with natural light keeping it from feeling too cave-like.

The third thing I really love about this kitchen is that epic island. Clad in cascading soap stone it houses all the kitchen’s essentials – sink, range and oven are all nicely tucked in there with ample counter space to spare. Vintage pendants with black accents draw the eye up.

Home Tour: Gorgeous Kitchen in Gray Scale on apartment 34Home Tour: Gorgeous Kitchen in Gray Scale on apartment 34

Wood elements dotted throughout the room soften and warm up all that gray. Salvage wood floors, oak shelving and even the logs styled in the fireplace add light, fresh accents.

Home Tour: Gorgeous Kitchen in Gray Scale on apartment 34Home Tour: Gorgeous Kitchen in Gray Scale on apartment 34

Since this kitchen was designed for couple who love to entertain, at the back of the kitchen Ford added a seating area rather than an eating took. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a morning cup of coffee or hang out during a dinner party You know the action is always in the kitchen.

To play homage to the original structure’s age, all of the accent pieces from the club chairs to the art and accents are all vintage.

Home Tour: Gorgeous Kitchen in Gray Scale on apartment 34

Another favorite moment, while technically not in the kitchen, is the powder room Ford created. She used a Willy Guhl Planter to create the coolest looking sink. To amp up the rustic vibe, the water source pipes were left exposed. I’m obsessed.

This kitchen is the ultimate example of something completely custom, personal and truly special. I’m very tempted to move to Pittsburg right now.

For more inventive kitchen ideas, CLICK HERE.

photography by reid rolls for leanne ford

I know, I know. I was espousing the need to minimize kitchen design just a couple of weeks back. And while I’m still feeling the paired down look, I’m also human. I will always be easily seduced by a stunning kitchen moment. 

The following example certainly qualifies.

A Major Kitchen Moment on apartment 34
A Major Kitchen Moment on apartment 34

You wouldn’t know it first glance, but this kitchen resides in a nearly 200 year old townhouse in Brooklyn. Part of a double height addition, this kitchen is oversized without being overly opulent.

A Major Kitchen Moment on apartment 34

I love how this kitchen has the Euro-influenced backsplash that features single open shelf (still realllyyy wish I’d done that in my kitchen but it wasn’t a thing in 2015!), but doing it with the Vermont soapstone is perfectly understated, rather than in your face. And its texture is so yummy, I just want to stand there and pet it. The bead-board cabinetry in a yummy subtle cream and oversized reclaimed oak island could read rather rustic, but the 20-foot steel clad windows and the huge modern pendant balance the look.

A Major Kitchen Moment on apartment 34
A Major Kitchen Moment on apartment 34
A Major Kitchen Moment on apartment 34

I love the wall to wall cabinets that hide appliances and storage creating a serene, clean look. This feels like elevated farmhouse at it’s very best – particularly since its in New York! The wall of cabinetry leads you into a sunken hangout area, creating a large contiguous communal space.

A Major Kitchen Moment on apartment 34

While everything in this kitchen is on a grand scale, there’s still an air of minimalism and restraint I really appreciate. So maybe I’ll hedge my bets on the minimal kitchen and say maybe we could all benefit from a little more restraint.

For more kitchen inspiration, CLICK HERE.

design by elizabeth roberts architecture & design

In typical American design, kitchens are the heart of the home. And said kitchens are typically big, bold and eye catching, crammed full of every design element under the sun. Think flashy ranges, huge custom hoods, major marble, open shelving upon open shelving, giant islands, chandeliers…it’s all just…a lot.

That’s why kitchen design in Scandinavia felt like such a breath of fresh air. I was so inspired by the understated, minimalist kitchens I saw while in Sweden and Denmark last week. Rather than wall-to-wall cabinets, miles of tile or crazy bells and whistles, what if our kitchens were quieter. Simpler. More like furniture?

What if we all had downsized kitchens?

Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34

I was lucky enough to visit the Frama showroom in Copenhagen and see the Frama Studio Kitchen. This design is the epitome of the minimal kitchen idea. The Frama Studio Kitchen is designed to be a free standing element in a space without mounting to any walls or floors. As the brand describes,

“The Frama Kitchen portrays the light expression of a piece of furniture within the kitchen environment. Every Frama Studio Kitchen is built upon a powder coated metal grid, providing an industrial but light approach. The free standing units encase top of the line appliances while retaining a low-tech and analogue expression.”

While this kitchen design has won major awards, I really love that this look takes out the ostentatiousness of kitchen design without taking out any style.

Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34

Completely customizable, you can use different components to meet your storage needs. And this design also begs the question – how much stuff do we really need to cram into our kitchens?

This type of kitchen is perfect show off the architecture or other materials used in a home. While it seems an obvious choice for an industrial space, this look would also look minimalist and beautiful in a really refined home.

Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34Is it Time to Downsize the Kitchen? on apartment 34

What would it be like to have a kitchen you could change around with relative ease? It could shift to meet the needs of a growing family or to satisfy someone’s design whims (hello!). And think about the cost savings you would enjoy if you aren’t dealing with built-in custom cabinetry, slabs of expensive stone or jumbo sized ranges.

I’m thinking I probably should have done my Scandinavia trip before finishing This Old Victorian. Maybe I just need another project!

For more kitchen design ideas, CLICK HERE.

images via frama / 1st dibsour food stories / residence mag / vogesparis / frenchrosa / ignant

Or more accurately, I want to keep up with Waldo Fernandez and Kathleen & Tommy Clements, the designers behind Jenner’s her private LA home (not the one they film). Jenner had nothing to do with the design. She just signs the checks. Money can’t buy you taste, but it can buy you really good designers who have it in spades.

And these designers poured all their good taste into this kitchen. I am swooning over this kitchen. The dark cabinetry – with tone on tone hardware is stunning. The offset table-height wrap around bar on the island is lovely. That yummy bronze hood. It’s so so so good. There’s nothing over the top. Every detail is timeless. It’s perfect. I’m annoyed I’m not a billionaire. (the rest of the house is actually equally as good but it’s easy to do when you buy some the prettiest, high end design classics and put them all in one house.)

I’m frantically running around doing my last second errands for Sweden (did you see I’m hitting the road??) but here are some other gems around the web I’ve been loving this week.

Speaking of amazing design, did you hear CB2 is launching vintage?! So crazy. So genius.

This home is giving me all the picture perfect Scandi vibes.

And Jen’s final home reveal of her amazing Austin casa is making me crave all things modern.

Glad Copenhagen can never really be destroyed, unlike Tulum. Guess I missed that boat.

My girl Cassandra has a good design dilemma in her living room – you should weigh in.

My friend Liz is keeping her kids entertained with genius parenting hacks while the Oakland Unified School district is on strike. She’s a genius.

This spring-y DIY is perfect for the first weekend in March – and also perfect for kids.

If you want to get a jump on spring cleaning this weekend, I made a video about that.

Black History Month may have just ended but we should really all keep learning. (thanks for this link too Liz)

And one special story I hope you check out. My friend Kacie and her family of three children have been having their own European adventure for last couple of years in England, but they were about to embark on an extended five months of travel through Europe. After moving out of their home & putting everything they owned into a caravan, it stolen the night before their departure and every single thing the family had was lost. They’ve set up a Go Fund Me – give it a read. I’m hoping we can help ease some of their fears, tensions and help give their darling kids some comfort.

Do tag along for my adventures in Scandinavia! It’s going to be a design-filled whirlwind!

In kitchen design’s recent history, the Magnolia Home-ification of the dominant kitchen trend has led to a swath of all white behemoths. Are they pretty? Sure. Will you still probably like them in 20 years? Highly likely. Am I SO sick of looking at all white kitchens? Abso-freakin-lutely.

I think that’s one of the reasons I’m just obsessed with the new kitchen trend I’ve caught percolating up through design magazines and on Pinterest – the return of warm wood cabinetry to a modern kitchen.

Is the All White Kitchen Trend Finally Over on apartment 34

Now to be clear – this is not the dark wood cabinetry of the 80’s. There’s not a shaker or builder grade cabinet to be found here. Rather, this new kitchen trend showcases beautifully warm, rich solid walnut cabinets. The look is flat front with minimalist hardware, but amazing craftsmanship. Think highly skilled joinery and refined detail. These are not rustic nor traditional. The look offers a truly modern, yet timeless style.

Is the All White Kitchen Trend Finally Over on apartment 34

To keep the look from being too overbearing and heavy you’ll notice there are few if no uppers used in these designs. That is what further modernizes these kitchens. In each of the looks, the gorgeous walnut anchors the room, while things are kept light and air up above. Perhaps you have a shelf for a bit of display or storage space. Or maybe there’s nothing at all, accentuating a minimal more Scandinavian style.

Some designs have stone or stainless steel counters and others continue with wood. Some designs feature a backsplash, some showcase a clean, naked wall.

Here’s an example of how you can in fact pair color with warm walnut cabinetry (gasp!).

While this look is more popular in a European context, I’m strongly advocating for American designers to adopt this style. It’s fresh, it’s warm and reminds that the kitchen is not a sterile showroom but instead the working heart of the home.

i’m not quite ready to gut my kitchen and start over to get this look…but I’m certainly tempted. Are you? Are you feeling this look??


For our latest favorite kitchen design ideas, CLICK HERE.

images 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10

I think I might be one of the only people on the planet who really isn’t into Halloween. I know, I know. Even with a kid now I’m just not that jazzed on this holiday – not feeling pumpkins, don’t enjoy faux spiderwebs, really see no need to hang a skeleton from my front door. And I certainly have NO idea what I’m going to actually be on the big day (I will dress up as this is the first year my kid really gets it, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a very 11th a hour kind of thing).

All that said, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate some good (ahem) design inspired by the season.

Halloween Inspired Cook Here, Eat This on apartment 34Halloween Inspired Cook Here, Eat This on apartment 34Halloween Inspired Cook Here, Eat This on apartment 34

Case in point, this stunning (almost all) black kitchen. I’m obsessed with the dramatic contrast between the black upper cabinetry, the island and lowers with the deliciously veiny marble counters and backsplash. The moody lighting in simply gorgeous. Created by one of my favorite San Francisco based interior designers, Nicole Hollis, there’s a depth to this space that could teeter on foreboding and instead is just dramatic and practically perfect in every way. That round wood topped table with a blackened base is giving me life.

I certainly think this stunningly dark kitchen pairs perfectly with one of my long running favorite cocktails. If you have a Halloween party on the books, definitely consider serving up this nearly black libation. It’s ghoulish, but also delicious. A winning combo in my book – no ghosts or skeletons actually required for enjoyment.

Halloween Inspired Cook Here, Eat This on apartment 34

DRINK RECIPE: Pomegranate + Blackberry Lemondrop 

6 blackberries
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
1 oz. lemon juice
1.5 oz. vodka

First, muddle blackberries and place in shaker with juices, vodka and ice. Shake for 20 seconds, strain into glass and garnish with blackberries on a pick.

This drink makes you pucker, in a good way! It’s perfectly sweet at first with a punch of sour towards the end. We love the idea of blackberries as a garnish, making the dark berry drink even more moody and monochromatic.

For our Cook Here, Eat this archive CLICK HERE.

interior design by nicole hollis / original cocktail photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick / original drink recipe by craft and cocktails

When I’m looking for fresh design inspiration, I almost always turn to kitchens. The diversity in kitchen design is unrivaled. Hence why my “Kitchens” Pinterest board has over 2,300 pins! You can find a kitchen style to suit literally any taste (good, bad and ugly). The creativity you can inject into a kitchen is also essentially limitless. That’s why they’re my favorite source for fresh color palettes, new materials and inventive problem solving.

Case in point, my latest favorite new kitchen design idea: the round vent hood.

inventive round vent hood on apartment 34

We’ve talked about a myriad of eye-catching vent hoods over the years, from marble, to gold, to copper, but this totally new take recently grabbed my attention. And as soon as I spied one option, there was a second and then a third, leading me to believe a trend is a-brewing. I for one love how the dramatic cylindrical vent hood offers a totally fresh take on a kitchen’s typical focal point.

inventive round vent hood on apartment 34inventive round vent hood on apartment 34

On the one hand, this option adds a unique curve to what is a typically a very linear room. Conversely, the round hood doesn’t disguise what it is – a utility pipe – so it has a bit of an industrial edge too. The options above work particularly well because they designers choose to paint and lacquer their hoods, offering a much more sophisticated edge.

It so happens that all of these designs stem from Australia – so I don’t know if they have a leading cylindrical vent hood supplier down under or if the Aussie’s are just leading the charge on this new trend (as they often are for most of my favorite design ideas) but I’m all for it. In fact, it’s making me want to add a vent hood to our kitchen!

What say you? Are you into this totally unique look? It’s certainly encouraging me to play with new shapes in unexpected places in our house.

PS: Before you dash off, I have some rather exciting news. Apartment 34 has been nominated for a Domino Magazine 2018 Design Blog Award – for best Lifestyle Blog! To say I was thoroughly shocked by this news is quite the understatement. It’s kinda like a Christmas, birthday and 10-year blog anniversary present all rolled into one. And the honor is even more meaningful as so many of my favorite OG fellow blogger are nominated as well – Simply Grove, La Dolce Vita, Sarah Sherman Samuel, Jojotasic, House of Brinson, Paper + Stitch, My Paradissi, and even two who go waaay back with me, Bright Bazaar and my BFF Coco + Kelley, in the very same category no less.

But who is the final winner of each category is up to you. All winners will be determined by popular vote. You can vote for your favorites one time per day from NOW through Sunday, September 23. After the people have spoken, the 2018 class will be celebrated at a party at Hotel Zachary in Chicago, courtesy of the sponsor of the award, Tribute Portfolio Hotels, and each winner will receive a feature profile on Domino. No biggie.

I secretly hope it all ends in a massive tie. There’s got to be a way to make that happen right?! CLICK HERE TO VOTE.

PPS: For even more kitchen inspiration, CLICK HERE.

kitchen 1 by studio esteta, photography by tom blachfordkitchen 2 by lucy bock, photography by mark roper / kitchen 3 by gia bathrooms & kitchens photography by emily bartlett / kitchen 4 pinterest

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