Hi Friends. Well look at that – we’re halfway through April. Turns out, I’m not so great at designing an entire house from top to bottom (and doing it all from 1200 miles away) and blogging about it simultaneously, especially when you toss in pandemic parenting, the continuation of endless cooking and cleaning and attempting to take care of myself on occasion. There just aren’t enough hours in the day and I cannot burn the midnight oil the way I once did (thanks 40’s). As a result, this little ole blog is just getting neglected. For that, I ask your forgiveness.

To make it up to you, I’m bringing you an insane amount of design inspiration over the coming days with a series of home tours and interviews that have been informing my design choices at the Hood Canal Cottage (and admittedly making me want to switch a bunch up at This Old Victorian as well).

For those dying for Hood Canal Cottage updates, I am sharing a bunch of major sneak peeks on Instagram this week. Even though I have a love/hate/love relationship with Instagram these days, for some reason, it just feels easier to give quick updates there – so if you don’t already follow, please do pop over to Instagram if you want to see the Hood Canal Cottage mid-construction.

Now, let’s dive into a truly stunning home tour as a little palette cleanser for your week.

This home is designed by Pernille Lind, one of my favorite design studios. Based in London, Pernille expertly combines modern and traditional styles to create warm, inviting spaces that just draw you in. This project is a perfect example. At first glance, you might make you think this is a stately home somewhere in the UK, but it’s actually a Colonial Revival home in Chicago. The beautiful mix of design styles and materials immediately caught my eye. It shows how you don’t have to stick to a “modern” or bohemian or antique look, no matter the architectural style of your space.

Keep scrolling for a closer look and for my interview with Pernille about her process!

What was the project scope and how long did it take?

I flew over to see the house just when the client had gotten the keys in May 2018. We then found a local architect to help with the planning permissions and a contractor for the renovations. The construction crew started on site in October 2018. I regularly went over to attend meetings to appoint local cabinet makers for our bespoke kitchen and joinery, as well as oversee some of the build process and key material selections with the client. The client could then move in August 2019, where I flew over to install all of the main furniture, as well as sourcing smaller items, such as unique vintage pieces and art. These we spent a while finding in local shops and markets. We added in an additional trip beginning of 2020, as some items still needed sourcing and we could then photograph the project.

What sources do you use for inspiration?

For every project, I always look at the architecture of the building and interior spaces, its character, light, and period features. This informs the direction of the interior experience and the key notes to play on. Generally, I’ll look for inspiration through a variety of artistic mediums, however, materiality and color seem to be the first steps I take when getting to grips with the concept of a new project.

In the living room, we have a curved sofa from Eichholtz and two Carl Hansen CH25 armchairs in oiled walnut and natural cord. We found a striking vintage Italian travertine marble table from local antique shop South Loop Loft along with the brass Italian mirror over the fireplace. The black metal and fiberglass floor lamp is also from a local vintage store ‘Salvage One’. This piece really steals the show in the room, and unfortunately, the seller didn’t have much information about the origins of the light, I would expect it’s 1950’s.

The living room is the home’s gem. Late in the afternoon, the sun light reflects the long shadows of the palladium windows across the floor. It’s very dramatic and creates this additional visual layer to the room.

In the sunroom office, we sourced a desk chair from Jayson Home in oak and cane, paired with a vintage Scene Two olive burl-wood Parsons-style desk from Henredon. The wall colour is Farrow & Ball 201 ‘Shaded White.’

How did you work with the client on creating the vision?

The client’s brief was to create calm and natural surroundings, as well as incorporate an essence of their many years of living in Europe and world travels. Moreover, they were looking for a considered approach to creating a functional home for a modern family with a love of entertaining and having friends and family over.

The house has abundant daylight and great period features, such as the arched palladium windows, frame molding and European style cornicing. I, therefore, kept the color palette muted and soft, in order to let the architectural features be the main heroes of the spaces, and key to the clients brief – achieve a calm atmosphere only punctuated by a few contrasting furniture pieces, such as the black stained dining table and dark wood vintage pieces.

To achieve a more modern living style, I opened up the kitchen and dining spaces on the ground floor, and further created a luxurious master bedroom en-suite, by converting a walk-in wardrobe with an existing bathroom. I then located the dressing room within an adjacent bedroom and added a connecting door to the master bedroom.

In the kitchen and dining area, the dining table is from Gubi called ‘Moon’ table with wicker and black painted bentwood dining chairs from Thonet. The pendant is a new production 3-arm Serge Mouille light. Over in the kitchen island, we chose PH 3/2 Pendant lamps by Louis Poulsen over the island and Bestlite BL7 wall lights by Gubi over the kitchen counter.

Renovating old homes always comes with surprises. Where there any in this project? 

The house has only had 4 owners in its lifetime. The current owners are the 5th. In the process of the renovation, they came across many interesting relics. As they were replacing some damaged floorboards in the attic level, they uncovered a metal plate (secured with brass tacks) that was patching a hole. Upon closer look, the plate was an old cracker tin that had been cut and flattened out – it read “National Biscuit Company.” The company is today known as Nabisco, and they think the tin dates back to sometime before 1928.

They also uncovered interesting historical features in the home such as a basement coal chute and coal room with a slanted floor, a root cellar that stays cool all year round (it was converted to a wine storage space), and a separate maids’ stairwell and maids’ quarters.

In the master bedroom, the bed is the Nelson Thin Edge Bed by Herman Miller with a vintage four-tiered, gold-plated Kinkeldey chandelier from the 1960s. The artwork above the bed is by Josh Yöung. The bedside wall lights are Signal Sconce in bronze, by Workstead. The wall color is Farrow & Ball 211 ‘Stony Ground.’

To see more home tours, CLICK HERE.

 

 

design by pernille lind studio, photography by john and maura stoffer

I’ve been an uber-fan of Dutch designer Faye Toogood for such a long time. Interiors, furniture, fashion – there’s nothing she touches that doesn’t turn to beautiful. Her Roly Poly chair is on the tippy top of my wishlist for the Hood Canal Cottage.

As I was internet rabbit holing looking for inspiration for the cottage over the weekend, I stumbled across this apartment on the real estate site The Modern House and was immediately stopped in my tracks. And of course it was designed by Toogood (interesting side note, the co-founder of The Modern House is Toogood’s husband!).

This apartment resides in Winchester, a hamlet toward the UK’s coast. The apartment resides on the ground floor of a historic Victorian building in the heart of this lovely town. The entire apartment is a major mood.

The project is such a great example of using consistency in your design to create an incredibly distinct point of view. I was immediately taken by the super consistent monochromatic color palette of cool whites and light grays used throughout the apartment. That sea of greige is punctuated by wood, little hits of black and touches of patinaed brass for punches of contrast.

A couple of things I really like about this kitchen – the single open self (I was just having a debate on Instagram this week about the status of the open shelving trend), the simple flat front cabinets (yay for no hardware-I did that in our kitchen too!) and the jumbo paper lantern pendant. I’m putting one in at Hood Canal and cannot wait to see it.

Vintage art is always a wonderful way to punctuate an otherwise plain hallway. So are those incredible light fixtures.

This cast-iron tub in the primary bedroom is truly spectacular. I love a tub in a bedroom.

That cast-concrete sink in the primary bedroom’s attached WC is just gorgeous and of course keeps within the approved color palette.

Designing a room – not to mention an entire home – can feel like a desperately overwhelming task as there are literally an infinite number of choices that can be made. But, if you give yourself parameters within which you must work, like a tightly honed color palette, so many decisions – from picking paint colors, to your family of light fixtures, to the final bedding selections -suddenly become that much easier.

As I work to determine the final finishes for Hood Canal, I’m going to come back to this project as a constant reminder to rein it in. When it comes to design, setting limitations is actually incredibly freeing.

 

images via the modern house

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

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