Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Reno Project Reveal | The Entry


Photography by Tracey Ayton

I've finally got the beginnings of a final reveal of our house reno for you! And what better place to start than where you end up when you first walk in the front door? Our entry way was a huge project and is now a major source of pride that brings us joy. It's tailored and classic (my favorite), but still comfortable and inviting. You can see my previous 'progress' post here. I'd love to hear what you think of what we've worked on for the past year, so please come back to visit for another reveal next week!

OK, let's start off with the floor plan: you can see the circled area shows you that you face the curved staircase right when you walk in. The foyer also turns left towards the mudroom allowing for a spot to place a table for keys and mail:


Here's the 1989 entry way, just as the house was left when we purchased last spring. Honey-oak, wallpaper borders, and dusty rose carpets galore.


First order of business was to remove all of the wallpaper (not a small feat):


We knew that this old staircase, though dated, could be brought to it's potential by adding interior finishings. We did just that with Metrie's moulding products. I have to say in all honesty this is the highest quality millwork we have ever worked with, I was thrilled to support a historic Canadian company with such high standards for fine architectural details and I would whole-heartedly recommend their product.


We began to map things out and bring our plans to life. This was a super fun creative exercise for me, mainly because we could comfortably mix styles and combine different products knowing that they would work well together. (In case you are curious of the specifics we chose this recessed panel mould, this crown, this baseboard, this chair rail, and this door casing). The main products were selected from the French Curves Collection (Scene I), but we confidently played with things and added a few pieces from outside of that collection and still created a traditional and cohesive look.


We sanded up the banister and footings of the staircase, and by this point I was (rather pregnant) tired and we decided to paint rather than stain (Benjamin Moore Black Bean Soup). It was the budget-friendly option and still gave us the look of traditional wood stairs with a runner even though we couldn't afford the real-deal! I love the paint and it's holding up to wear and tear very well. (Walls are in Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace in satin finish).


So now that you kind of have a feel for the before & progress shots, here are a few back to back 'before & afters.' Looking towards the doorway:



The doorknocker is this one from Lee Valley Tools.


Photography by Tracey Ayton

And from the door towards the stairs, I love this view! We chose one of my favorite flush mount light fixtures from Shades of Light for the space, as we only have 8 foot ceilings here. The polished nickel is divine.

Photography by Tracey Ayton

And the wool Karastan carpet!! I'm in love with the pattern and the wear-ability, I'm so happy with this purchase. I'm thinking I'd love to have pieces made into rugs for our Master bedroom eventually.


The peek-a-boo view of the powder room wasn't so pretty before. The trim around the door was lacking and the chair-rail was a poor attempt at creating traditional detailing.



Now walking in the door to the pop of Scalamandre zebras is a pleasing sight!


And as I mentioned above, I had one little nook where I could attempt to create a vignette and a dropping spot. I managed after some serious searching to find this antique Craigslist gem that only needed new hardware:


right: Photography by Tracey Ayton

It really feels like it's framed by the millwork and it perfectly finishes off the space!

Photography by Tracey Ayton

Photography by Tracey Ayton

So what do you think? It was a labor of love and I am happy with the results. There's always something you'll wish to tweak or wish you thought of during a reno, but overall I think the entryway turned out just as I envisioned and we gave the 80's foyer a new lease on life.

Thanks for reading through this picture-heavy post to the end!

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Friday, January 27, 2017

House Tour | Uptown Manhattan Apartment



I've professed my love for McGrath II in a recent post, and Suzanne and Lauren McGrath have done it again. In a current feature on Architectural Digest's website, we get a glimpse into a stunning NYC apartment with classic furnishings and traditional detailing:


I love that modern take on a traditional glass door hutch or china cabinet in the kitchen! I also love that the designers explain that they often start a room with the rug as the jumping off point - it's always fun to hear about different designers' processes! This stripped beauty below was created by McGrath II in conjunction with Holland and Sherry.


And the Phillip Jeffries silk wallcovering is to die for:




Another detail that shouldn't be missed is the custom millwork surrounding the mirror to give it architectural detail:



Overall, this lovely apartment feels so timeless and fresh. Nothing trendy that will be tossed out in 5 years, which I absolutely love. After all, these designers coined the phrase 'good bones, great pieces,' and I couldn't agree more with that approach! To see more from McGrath II, hop here.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Designer Profile | Liza Bryan Interiors



The image above stopped me in my pinterest-scrolling-tracks the other day. It reminded me that my favorite art is architectural prints in groupings, that I love traditional elements like the sconce and the tufted settee, and that I truly have a weakness for a well-done polished neutral vignette. I hurried to research the designer responsible for this nook and discovered new-to-me Liza Bryan Interiors. Based out of Atlanta, Liza's work is in keeping with Southern traditional charm. And I think what I consistently loved about each of her spaces below was the finishing details. The millwork, the glass patterned doors, the windows in creative shapes ... I could go on, but I'll let the photos do the talking instead :)










Quite stunning non? I'm so glad I stumbled upon Liza's work and I'll definitely be following along to see more from her in the future. I'd also venture to say she the reigning Queen of neutrals, done right there is so much interest in each of these spaces! To see more from Liza Bryan Interiors, hop here to her portfolio.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

The Best Street Photographer You've Never Heard Of



An unassuming French-American nanny working in Chicago and New York went essentially unnoticed during her lifetime. Since Vivian Maier's death in 2009, several individuals have discovered some 150,000 photographs she had taken, most auctioned off from her storage space as boxes of undeveloped rolls of film that had never been printed or seen, even by her. Vivian's work has since garnered critical acclaim, and the Netflix documentary 'Finding Vivian Maier' was nominated for an Oscar (I highly recommend it if you've got down time this weekend!).

Vivian's subjects primarily consist of the architecture and people of New York City, and she carried her camera everywhere she went. You'll see instantly recognizable NY landmarks such as the Public Library and the top of the Empire State Building (pictured above and below, respectively). From the elegant, rich, and famous, to the poor and down-trodden children in the slums of New York City, she captured it all. I think the main intrigue of this mysterious nanny was, why did she not show any one her incredible work during her life? Would it all have been lost or destroyed, had no one purchased those random boxes of negatives?


Vivian captured humanity in a very raw sense, and probably was able to do so because she shot everything with a Rolliflex camera which is held at the waist rather than up at your face, keeping her picture-snapping slightly more concealed than today's street photographers whose subjects are well-aware that their picture is being taken.



Audrey Hepburn at the Chicago premiere of 'My Fair Lady,' 1964




It seems however, that Vivian did have some willing subjects agree to pose for her to capture the perfect shot:



Truthfully, the work that most caught my attention was actually Vivian's own self-portraits. They are incredibly creative, what a far cry from the awful 'selfies' we see flooding social media in our day and age. Her mirror and reflection shots are perhaps my favorites. The angles and perspectives she captures are truly captivating:







What an intriguing person she was! It's no surprise that several people have dedicated much of their time researching more about Miss Vivian Maier since her death and rich discovery of this artwork that the world almost never came to know. Truthfully it's also such a strong addition to the image and archival history of the cities of New York and Chicago. To read more on this story hop to her work's official website here. Have a wonderful weekend!

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