As we dive head first into March (or is that tentatively tiptoe past the PTSD – it can go either way). I, for one, am dreaming of the long-awaited day when I can actually escape my house for a long stretch. Sadly, the #HoodCanalCottage is far behind schedule (and not just because it took me a month to find the perfect bathroom faucet. We also had to replace the roof!). For now, I just have to bide my time daydreaming about bucolic rural destinations. Thankfully, this stunning cottage in upstate New York, restored and redesigned by General Assembly, is helping me do just that.

As a tried and true modern lover and (aspiring) minimalist, I never thought I would be attracted to the cottage chic trend, but I think after nearly a year of Covid lockdown the idea of escapism has really taken hold. It helps that General Assembly dusted this 240+ year-old stone cottage with just the right amount of modern touches and the perfect level of restraint – transforming it into a stunning contemporary retreat that balances both modern and traditional styles quite nicely. You feel like you might be staying in what was once grannie’s cottage, but she doesn’t live here anymore!

Located on 4.5 acres on the New York/Pennsylvania state line, the Callicoon property is the charming vacation home of a young family who share their time between Manhattan and upstate NY. The house was built in 1780 and was updated with a second structure in 1877! And here I thought This Old Victorian was old.

General Assembly was contracted to handle all aspects of this renovation project from interior architecture to interior design, furniture sourcing and styling – with the specific request to provide more bedroom space. By rearranging most of the existing floor plans and moving the stairs that connect the two levels, the studio was able to turn the home into a comfortable 3 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom respite from Manhattan’s hustle and bustle (and/or lock down).

As it often is the case when working on a historic site, the overall goal for this project was to honor the building’s history and expose its existing structure and General Assembly certainly did just that. General Assembly’s sensitive approach treated the renovation as another chapter in the building’s life. From the get-go, the stone building was full of character and gave a lot of great elements to work with – from the thickness of the walls to the materials and the colors needed to balance the heavy stone, as well as the orientation of the natural light across the spaces. General Assembly did a wonderful job juxtaposing those architectural elements with a bevy of classic Scandinavian designs from iconic brands like Menu, &Tradition, and Fritz Hansen

Throughout the completed project, the home’s new architectural elements sit within the original stone shell – a clear line between what is new and old. With its visible smooth vs rough contrast, the original exposed header detail is a great example of how General Assembly made it a point to preserve and highlight what was already existing in the house. The staircase is also intentionally set off the stone wall to create another contrast of straight vs jagged and highlight the historic structure.

As you shift to the cottage’s upstairs living quarters the use of current materials comes into play, yet cottage vibes are maintained with the wide plank hardwood floors and simple, clean-lined furnishing and the consistent use of natural materials.

A sweet bathroom uses simple natural materials, a ceramic Cedar & Moss sconce and a floral wallpaper to add the cottage chic touch.

I love how the rustic header was preserved in this shower! This project is giving me so many ideas to cozy up the Hood Canal Cottage. While I don’t have any 200-year-old architectural elements to work with, it’s designs like this one that remind; the right layers and perfectly chosen pieces can infuse a deep sense of style and personality into any type of space.

I hope you find as much inspiration in this home as I do! For even more home tours click here.


photography by mathew williams courtesy of general assembly

Hi Friend. I certainly didn’t mean to step away from here for such a long stretch. There’s been many a thing keeping me busy lately, from hybrid homeschooling to madly designing the #HoodCanalCottage, not to mention national political near-catastrophe, environmental disaster, and of course this nagging pandemic. The world’s larger turmoil made sharing here feel rather small. Insignificant. Insufficient. We’re all dealing with A. LOT. Carrying so much. It’s been weighing on me.

Is it weighing on you too?

But I had a shift last week. As I sat with feeling really sad about all we’ve lost in the last year, I started thinking about the pockets in daily life where we can still find joy. Design can certainly be one of those places. So many other adult forms of inspiration, play and fun have been stripped from us – live theater, music, in-person art. Even the simple pleasure of eating a beautiful meal outside your home – gone. Moments of pure joy can feel few and far between. It is in that vacuum that design can take on even more importance as it’s an art form you live in.

Design can directly impact your mental and physical wellbeing. Design changes the way you interact with your environment and all the things that are in it. Design can offer pleasure and joy, but it can also improve your quality of life. I certainly found that to be the case as we finished our house. And then our yard. And then my office. Each piece of intentional design elevated my daily life – alleviating the grind and instead offering reprieve. Restoration. Maybe even healing – if only momentary. I can say for sure that design has helped my family maintain a semblance of mental and physical health as we perpetually shelter in place.

There have been so many days I feel like I can offer so little to help you weather these trying times, but I hope design inspiration I share here can offer you a bright spot, spark an idea, or might even inspire you to fully reimagine your home so that it becomes a space that nurtures you – mind, body and spirit. It’s hard, if not impossible, to go outside our spaces to nuture ourselves right now. So we might as well turn within.

This space – called the Dangar Island House is a current source of major inspiration for me as I work on the Hood Canal Cottage – I’m going to be sharing a HUGE update on my design progress in the next couple of days. But for now, please feast your eyes on this gorgeous Australian weekend escape.

Originally owned and designed by renowned design expert Karen McCartney (author of one of my favorite design tomes – The Alchemy of Things), this gem of a vacation house is perched among the trees on a small island about an hour north of Sydney. This three-bedroom, two-bathroom home is a study in simplicity. But the absence of bells and whistles is not a detraction. Instead, the pared-back design, clean lines and minimal decorative architectural details make every intentional decorating choice stand out. The local woods used to frame doorways. The bleached American oak floors. The strong black accents. Each choice stands on its own but also plays beautifully with everything around it.

The home’s open living space is dotted with iconic design classics including wishbone dining chairs, Noguchi lamps, Carl Hansen safari chairs and Serge Mouille wall lights. The clean lines and lack of clutter draw your eye to each one of them, their lines, curves and natural materials melding seamlessly with the surroundings.

The house’s serene feel is also thanks to the use of an extremely consistent color palette and beautifully curated mix of curiosities, art, and lamps. McCartney talked about how she intentionally designed all the house’s storage to be open, ensuring anything brought into the house had to be either useful or beautiful. That might not always be possible in the homes we occupy on a daily basis, as day-to-day life is often messy and trends towards efficiency over form. But what if we focused more on aesthetic pleasure rather than saving that extra five minutes? What might we gain?

As I return to this stunning home again and again (and again!), I just keep reminding myself to stick to essentials in my own design choices. Rather than try to overfill or over-design, you want to give key pieces space to breathe. And so often less is more – particularly in a space designed for escape. No one wants to be reminded of day-to-day clutter (or the mental to-do lists!).

The Dangar Island House was recently on the market. I’m not sure I could ever walk away from a gem of a spot like this. It’s actually not entirely clear whether or not it sold – if it did, I hope the new owners have a deep appreciation for the special qualities of this home. And I hope I can achieve that same level of exceptionalism with the Hood Canal Cottage.

Only time will tell!

images via modern house and boutique homes

After years of living in bright white spaces – which I always have and always will adore – I’m finding myself drawn to warmer, more textural homes – just like this one designed by Crystalyn Hummel. I don’t know if it’s working on the Hood Canal Cottage, the pending arrival of winter, or simply the desire to try something new, but give me all the wood-wrapped spaces right now! I am SO into it.

Selecting a beautiful honey-toned white oak keeps this home feeling open and airy instead of dark and closed in. Adding clean, minimal, and modern accents – from the stone selected for the kitchen to the lighting (virtually all Apparatus Studio here) adds a distinctly elevated feel to each room.

You know I’m a huge fan of the extra-wide plank floors. I’m putting something similar into the Hood Canal Cottage and I cannot wait.

The bedrooms and casual spaces in the house continue to use wood, but more as an accent, balancing it with matte white walls to give the house a cleansing beat. Iconic modern furniture from Faye Toogood, Menu, Gubi and others are dotted throughout add ing timeless style that will last for years to come.

Adding yummy texture through Moroccan rugs and nubby pillows help create a sense of cozy comfort in the sea of hard surfaces.

The picture window for the bathtub in the house’s main bathroom is a dream. And I’m still very enamored with the extra thick bathroom counters – especially when they come with yummy contiguous stone sinks. The clean lines flow so beautifully. Do you love it too?

This home is a perfect example of how restraint, consistency, and curation can create a minimal yet warm and welcoming design. This is a huge inspiration for me right now. I hope it is for you too!


photography by read mckendree courtesy of crystalyn hummel

It feels extremely odd to focus on design this week, but I’m considering it a form of self-preservation today. We all need to do what calms us as we prepare for the inevitable storm ahead. Please tell me you’re voting today or tomorrow if you haven’t already. Click here to find your polling place. Every single vote matters – even if you think your vote won’t make a difference where you live – I promise you it will. Please please please vote.

While we all await our fate, please enjoy this stunning project designed by my go-to gal Lauren Nelson. It is incredibly soothing.

I have major entry envy.

Both a guest house and private tasting room for Petrichor Vineyards in Santa Rosa, CA, Lauren put her magic touch of approachable sophistication mixed with laid-back elegance in every single space she touched. Subtle Morrocan vibes, classic well-made pieces, and a muted yet saturated color palette work beautifully. I particularly love the use of the deep, rich blue tones in the updated kitchen. All the natural light and vaulted ceilings keep the space feeling open and bright despite the darker hues.

Lauren is the queen at beautifully impactful simple moments. This vintage chair and stunning cabinet make me feel like I’m somewhere in Italy.

Even though we’re in the heart of wine country, I am loving the Moroccan vibes peppered throughout the home.

This bedroom has such a mix of textures and styles, yet everything, from the rug to the bed to the curtains to the sconces all play harmoniously.

This officially might be my favorite bathroom vanity of all time. The counter top sink, the sconces, that faucet and yummy texture on the walls…it’s all delicious.

This space is going to serve as my moment of zen – I plan on revisiting it regularly between now and the end of the election day – whenever that may be. I hope this home tour brings you both some calm and some hope. I truly believe we have the capacity to bring ourselves back from the brink. We just have to show up and make our voices heard.


photos by bess friday courtesy of lauren nelson design

Oh hey there everyone. I know it’s been a hot second. Trust me, I’ve been missing posting here, missing sharing with you and feeling rather guilty about not having more to give at the moment.

Between sagas with our new Coastal Cottage (can’t wait for the moment when I can share about what’s been going on), putting the finishing touches on my home studio, navigating Covid Zoom school and doom-scrolling Twitter (btw – I’m sure you know the election deadline is less two weeks away, but you can vote right now! Click here to make your voting plan – because I PROMISE you your vote makes a difference), the days slip away.

But I did stumble on a project so good I had to jump on here and share it immediately. It is the design inspiration I think we all need right now.

After more than a decade of thinking about all things design as a blogger, I think I finally found my dream job – a home stager! It seems ideal. You get to go into other people’s homes and place beautiful pieces without actually having to incorporate a client’s opinion. You don’t have to worry about the budget because all the pieces are going to come back to you anyway! And you don’t have to fret about electrical plans, replacing plumbing or the like. It’s pretty genius – especially if you’re doing it as well as Brooklyn-based home-staging and interior styling firm Hovey Design.

Hovey recently put their magic touch on an iconic property in Brooklyn Heights, 48 Willow Place – a mid-century marvel currently for sale for the first time since it was built (for a cool $6.9M). Designed by famed architects Joseph and Mary Merz in 1965, this beautiful home is certainly a departure from the typical Brooklyn brownstone. Hovey took full advantage of all the original design features, staging the space with a trove of unique vintage pieces – many sourced on trips to Mexico City – creating a delicious sea of honey tones and a gorgeous variety of luxe textures.

I’m considering a trip to Brooklyn Heights just to see those woven rope armchairs in person!

The room is a master class in mixing materials, from wool rugs and sheepskins, to leather, travertine, Japanese linen and rattan – combined they create a major mood.

This home’s open concept kitchen, dining and living room was certainly before its time – but feels exactly like where I’d love to be right now.

This home completely transports you out of New York in the best way.

Hovey pays attention to every detail in their projects – down to slipcovering this built-in banquette in a sumptuous pinky brown Ungaro bouclé fabric.

From textiles to pottery, rugs to art, Hovey has cultivated a collected vibe makes this feel like the home of a world traveler with a great eye. It makes me want to be that person too.

I can only imagine the warehouse of treasures have at their disposal. Luckily for you, they were willing to share a few of their favorite sources.

For example, those amazing woven bulls heads in the living room? They are designed by Spanish artist Javier S. Medina. Some of Hovey’s other favorite international gems include Cocol, Onora and Lago DF. I’m most excited about the-new-me site Smallable – it’s got a bevy of some of my favorite international lines and according to Hovey ships fast. I officially have a new rabbit hole to lose myself in! Although the Hovey Design site is also a great place to get lost.



photography courtesy of Hovey Design

Emmanuelle Simon Designs a Stunning Mini-Apartment in Paris on Apartment 34

As we sit at home most days, one of my favorite pastimes is looking at other people’s spaces! I highly suspect it’s one of your favorite activities as well. That’s why I had to share this eye-catching petite Paris apartment with you.

Emmanuelle Simon Designs a Stunning Mini-Apartment in Paris on Apartment 34

This apartment might be tiny – it comes in at just 300sq ft, but it packs some major design punches. The space evokes the feeling of an idyllic hotel suite, but one you never have to check out of. Interior designer Emmanuelle Simon set out to optimize livable space and create a soothing respite from the outside world, without sacrificing functionality or beauty.

Simon outfitted the apartment with custom limestone colored waxed-concrete cabinetry that tucks away all essentials, creating a sleek, clean effect. Oak was used to create a custom banquette and sits atop a window seat that wraps one entire wall of the apartment, offering both seating, more storage and a place to display objet.

Emmanuelle Simon Designs a Stunning Mini-Apartment in Paris on Apartment 34 Emmanuelle Simon Designs a Stunning Mini-Apartment in Paris on Apartment 34 Emmanuelle Simon Designs a Stunning Mini-Apartment in Paris on Apartment 34

The varied texture between the wooly morrocan rug, travertine coffee table, small ceramic accessories and vintage Dutch rattan chair in the image above is a master class in mixing materials.

Emmanuelle Simon Designs a Stunning Mini-Apartment in Paris on Apartment 34

Of course, the pièce de résistance of the apartment is the beautiful mirror-polished brass counter and backsplash in the exposed area of the kitchen. The brass surface reflects not only light but also subtle reflections of the space itself, creating a unique illusion of additional depth.

The apartment’s clean, minimal look is further balanced and warmed with choice vintage pieces such as glass vessels clad in wicker, fuzzy throw pillows in soft creams and dusty rose, a large 1960’s ceramic table lamp from famed Marshall Studios, and a classic Gubi Multi-Lite Pendant.

I love how this apartment illustrates that you can pack elevated taste into even the tiniest of spaces. You just need to make smart, impactful design decisions to optimize every square inch you have. This apartment offers thoughtful details – I would certainly love to have a little piece of Paris like this to call my own!


For more inspiring home tours, CLICK HERE.

photography courtesy of Emmanuelle Simon

I would certainly never call myself a traditionalist, but I would say there’s an influx of modern style that will redefine what traditional looks like in 20 years. This San Francisco home designed by JDP Interiors is the perfect example – timelessness, classic, elevated but approachable. I’m all in.

This family home sits atop San Francisco’s iconic Russian Hill neighborhood, affording the space sweeping views of the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. The goal was to focus the design around this spectacular view. A custom sectional upholstered in a luxe nubby wool dominates the living spaces. Everything is kept low profile to maximize the view. The muted yet warm color palette is right in my wheelhouse.

The open concept plan maximizes the views from the kitchen straight through to the living area. The stunning travertine dining room table is a custom design by Bananas & Hammocks, the genius designers behind my custom steel doors!

I love how this home’s kitchen blends seamlessly with the rest of the decor. It’s mix of black, white and bleached oak adds interest and keeps thing from being too one note. Brass pendants from Lawson-Fenning & Workstead.

The built-in banquet seating trend is not going anywhere anytime soon and I’m not sad about it. Especially when it involves cushy velvet.

The main suite echos the dining area with a plush built-in headboard and maximization of the epic views. All of the choices in this home are elegant, refined and what I hope traditional will look like for years to come.

For more home tours, CLICK HERE.

design by jdp interiors / photography by bess friday

Today I have a very special reveal for you, 10 months in the making. Considering the renovation of This Old Victorian took five years to reveal, this is progress. Our house is obviously a special find in and of itself, but it was actually the yard that really drew us to the property. It is so rare to find any kind of outdoor space in San Francisco – or any major city for that matter. Having found it, we wanted to maximize every square inch. For nearly two years we’ve worked on a complete dream yard redesign and I get to finally share the full tour of the completed space with you NOW! Buckle up, this is an in-depth tour. I do hope you enjoy it.

The best way to get a picture of the yard’s Before status is to CLICK HERE. But I’ve included a pic or two below to give you a sense of the vibe. Think mish-mash jungle with very little truly usable space. It was akin to a secret garden, but sadly not a functional one, particularly for small children.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34 How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34
In the built-in seating area surrounding the gas fire pit, pillows are clad in my only source for outdoor fabrics, Sunbrella. Sunbrella offers an amazing array of outdoor fabrics that allow you to get the style you want without sacrificing the durability you need.

The After is a complete 180!!!

The objective for this yard makeover was three-fold: maximize the usable outdoor space, create a feeling of seamless indoor-outdoor living, and add the maximum number of usable elements we can enjoy daily.

I think we achieved all of these goals and then some. We did that by packing as many different functional components into the design as we could, including outdoor dining, built-in seating, a fire pit, grill, hot tub, vegetable garden, office space and off-street parking. I’m thrilled to say that we accomplished our primary goals without having to make any major design sacrifices. It was a feat that took patience and painstaking work, but in the end, I think it’s all worth it.

Let’s take a closer look.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34
Outdoor pillows from Room & Board clad in Sunbrella fabric offer a soft spot to relax around the Bol fire pit from Paloform. The planter beds behind the retaining wall are filled with Mediterranean-inspired choices including rosemary, olive, and fig trees. 

Creating an outdoor space that looks like this was a massive undertaking. With a project of this scale, I knew immediately that we had to call in professional help. This was not a do-it-yourself type of situation. Thankfully, I found Beth Mullins of Growsgreen Design to execute our vision.

One of Beth’s key design decisions was to work with the existing elevations in our yard – of which there are many – rather than fight against them. While working with the existing levels still required massive excavation and then reconstruction of the space, the decision allowed Beth to create distinct zones throughout the yard that flow beautifully from one to the next. A uniform color palette of black, untreated wood (a yellow cedar that will naturally patina to a light gray), concrete, and greenery keeps everything feeling connected.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

Sunbrella has been my go-to for outdoor textiles to create a comfortable, welcoming feel to each moment in our yard. Sunbrella is the gold standard for high-performance outdoor fabrics – but I love that they don’t sacrifice style. I was thrilled to partner with Sunbrella on this project. Adding Sunbrella to your yard is easy. You can find Sunbrella everywhere from Room & Board to Serena & Lily and even small designers. I recently discovered the small woman-owned Sien +Co and love the added dimension their gorgeous handmade Sunbrella-clad pillows add to our yard.

Having added the bevy of outdoor-friendly cushions, the cantilevered wraparound bench is what I call our sit back and chill area. The bench serves as both seat and table, allowing for spots to play games, enjoy a drink, or even cat nap! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s back this renovation train up a bit.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

There were so many technical elements that needed to be addressed with this dream yard renovation. The grade changes of course, but also irrigation and drainage, engineering, electrical, let alone all the demo and structural work that took place. Did I forget to mention a giant palm hand to be craned in over the top of our house?! Yeah, that happened – successfully thank goodness. The challenges were endless.

The image above is a perfect example of how complicated this yard design really is. It combines multiple elevations, an in-ground cedar soaking tub, gorgeous concrete and woodwork, a second cantilevered seating area, and design choices to create a connection to the grilling and hang-out space above. Every decision you see here was intentional and meticulously considered, from the angle of the decking boards to the raw treatment on the concrete, down to the placement of the lights and hot tub control panel. I just love how all the different lines and angles play with one another.

Let’s also pause to have a convo about our opaque fence! It’s definitely one of the major design moments in the yard. It was inspired by the original fence we were replacing. It was an old, yellowed corrugated plastic that was completely gross, but I loved that it allowed light through. It always brought a beautiful glow into the space that I didn’t want to lose. Thankfully, I had a major moment of inspiration when I visited the design studio of my friend Tina Frey. She used an amazing opaque material to separate spaces in her studio. So I knew it existed! After a lot of searching, Beth found a product most often used in greenhouses and that is what she used to create our fence. I love how the shadows of the trees dance in the mornings. It’s truly unique.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

Now let’s discuss this project’s timeline. After the initial design phase, where we finalized all the schematics and selected a lot of the design elements, demolition began in August 2019. Demo took nearly two months. I cannot even tell you the amount of dirt, rock, brick, and hardscape that was yanked out of here. I’ve included a couple of in-process shots below just to give you a sense. I basically lived in a mud pit for four+ months.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

After demo was finally complete, the structural work slowly began. This included framing and pouring the reams of concrete retaining walls, the undergirding for the decking, a climate-sensitive irrigation system, running electrical, and more. Planting was done in stages so some of the plants have had nearly six months to establish.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

Once the rebuilding began, it took nearly six months before the yard really looked like it was put back together – and of course, Coronavirus slowed work down even more. Thankfully we were able to button up the majority of the finish work in the nick of time.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

To create an Apartment 34 studio space, Beth brought in Modern Spaces & Sheds to create a mini 10ft x 10ft office I get to call my own. I love the Shou Sugi Ban detailing on the building’s exterior – I’ll be sharing video of how it was done on Instagram. A full studio tour is also in the works – as soon as I finally finish the inside! Sadly, that design work has also been significantly slowed due to Coronavirus. But to have a space I can retreat to for work has been the biggest gift during this difficult time. Now if it only came with invisibility built in….but I digress.

That gorgeous chaise you see in the image above is from Room & Board and it offers the perfect place to lay black and relax with a glass of rosé at the end of a long workday. Or at lunch. Or really whenever. We’re quarantined for goodness sake!

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

I fought really hard to put in the cedar soaking tub and I couldn’t be happier that we did. It’s the most incredible way to unwind at the end of the day.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

All of the built-in seating allows us to keep the need for additional furniture to a minimum. A super comfy bench pad with Sunbrella fabrics creates the perfect spot to lay back while keeping an eye on my son playing in the soaking tub. I wasn’t afraid to go with a white pad because Sunbrella fabrics are so durable and so easy to clean. Just a little soap and water gets out most stains. We’ve put this yard to heavy use since SIP started and I haven’t even had to clean the Sunbrella cushions yet!

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

We tapped into existing plumbing to add an outdoor shower to the exterior of the office space. A hidden french drain below the decking handles all the drainage issues. The beds are planted with native grasses, dwarf olive trees, and creeping rosemary that will eventually fill in and cascade over the concrete retaining walls.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

We also added potted trees to create even more dimension and interest around the decking. These pictures were taken just after my gorgeous dogwood tree finished its spring bloom.

I’ve always loved a good Adirondack chair, so I was a sucker for the modern Emmet Rocker from Room & Board. I added seat pads in black Sunbrella fabric but I think I also want to get a second set of Sunbrella seat cushions in white. It’s nice to have a contrast, but I’m also a big fan of white on white. This seat is a favorite spot to enjoy a morning coffee or late afternoon cocktail. I kept the look of the outdoor furnishing modern to complement the modern meets historic vibe I used on the house’s interior.

A fresh concrete pad will eventually become a little mini-basketball court for our son to practice his free throws as he gets older. It’s currently a great place for chalk drawings and zooming around toy cars. We opted to forgo any lawn in our yard to limit water consumption and maintenance. Eventually, we will add in some flowering plants but the goal is to keep the space fairly monochromatic. Beth recommended we layer slowly over time.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

As you move to the front along the side of the house, we added built-in raised garden beds, painted to match the fencing. It’s been so fun to have our own mini-vegetable patch. Carter selected everything we’re currently growing. Built-in drip irrigation means our veggies actually have a shot at surviving! The grasses, rosemary, and palms planted along the perimeter of the yard will continue to fill in over the years.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

The design of our yard makes me smile on a daily basis, but what I love most about this outdoor space is how much we use it. All of it. That is the hallmark of truly good design. We want to be in this space. It works incredibly well for us. I’m sad we’re not currently able to share it with friends and family as was the original intention, but having an outdoor oasis has been our primary survival mechanism during Shelter In Place. And with no end real end to this pandemic in sight, we will be relying on this space for months to come.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

The Skagerak Fuori Trolley above is another favorite entertaining accessory. Even if I’m only entertaining myself. It’s the perfect serving cart and adds to my modern vibe. Since it’s made of teak and powder-coated metal it’s also meant to stand up to the elements.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

This pea, mint and burrata salad is going to be a go-to all summer long! Recipe coming soon.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

I am fully aware how insanely lucky we are to have this outdoor space to help us ride out this crazy time. I had never worked on an outdoor project before and it brought an even deeper appreciation for the art of landscape design and has introduced me to another world of outdoor furniture and accessories. I’m certainly not in a rush to do another yard project of this scale – instead, I plan to cherish our dream yard every single day.

I so hope you enjoyed this tour. If you have additional questions feel free to hit me up in comments!

For all our posts about my yard redesign, CLICK HERE.


landscape designer beth mullins growsgreen / photography by seth smoot / styling by kendra smoot

This post is in partnership with Sunbrella. Thanks for supporting posts that have kept Apartment 34’s doors open. If you’re interested in collaborating with us, please CLICK HERE.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

I remember bookmarking Brigette Romanek’s house after I spied the climbing wall she built in her daughters’ room in Arch Digest. Thankfully, I never showed it to my son because I know that’s all he’d beg for till the end of time. While Brigette’s home is actually a piece of major Hollywood rock n’ roll history (apparently it was a recording studio at one point and every musician you could possibly name has once partied here), it’s the first place Romanek put her unique design perspective to work and it launched her business, Romanek Design Studio.

That’s why it doesn’t surprise me that this self-taught designer’s business is flourishing. In less than two years, Romanek has been name to the AD100 List and is currently juggling more than a dozen projects across residential, commercial and hospitality. She designed the first LA boutique for clothing brand The Great and Chef Ludo’s restaurant Petit Trois and even a home for Queen Bey and JayZ, among many other projects.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

But I’m particularly enamored with Brigette’s own abode. It’s another amazing example of how you don’t have to let your space’s architecture limit your style. You might think a house this grand has to be traditional, formal and stuffy. Instead, Romanek has created a perfect mix of vintage and contemporary design pieces – think Jean Royère, Apparatus Studio, Pierre Jeannert, Knoll, Faye Toogoode and more all mashed together with modern art and functional pieces that can really be lived in.

The sunroom is a beautiful bright space to enjoy breakfast.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34 

A relaxed sectional, vintage rug and Apparatus table lamp are a great mix of casual and elevated styles.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

I also love how Romanek uses color in subtle, yet striking ways. Her book collection is the means to add vibrancy to this otherwise neutral library. The pops of blue and pink mimic the colors you see in the artwork dotted throughout the rest of the house.

Like the colorful vintage abstract painting serving as the focal point in her formal dining room.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

There’s an art to Romanek’s mixing that could end up jumbled and too disconnected in the wrong hands, but she does an amazing job connecting tones, lines and textures that pull disparate pieces together.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

But what I really love about Romanek is that she’s self-taught. Less than 7% of all interior design degrees are going to Black Americans, but Romanek did not let that stop her. Instead, she pursued a passion and champions constant learning and self-improvement. Too often women use a lack of experience or formal education hold them back from starting their own businesses – a concern that doesn’t seem to hinder men nearly as much. Brigette is a wonderful example of simply jumping in and trying – obviously to great success. This is a great article about her journey.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

I’m certainly getting a ton of inspiration from this house – from wanting to add a more eclectic mix of art to This Old Victorian, coveting an impressive indoor tree and considering starting my own jumbo crystal collection!

I’m excited to watch where Romanek Design Studio goes from here.

For out entire Home Tour archive, CLICK HERE.


images by nicki sebastian for jenni kayne

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