Friday, February 24, 2017

A Favorite Layout | Back To Back Sofas



If you have been reading this blog for some time, you already know of my love for back-to-back sofas; often formally referred to as tête-à-tête sofas (meaning head to head) in reference to the private conversations that this inviting arrangement allows for. It's a layout I so terribly wish would fit in my own home, but alas I don't have a room wide or long enough! But if you have a grand space that lacks intimacy, this is actually the perfect solution.

Some of my favorite designers have utilized this room dividing trick. The stunning snap above was designed by one of my all-time favorites, Marianne Simon (who by the way has been sharing recent projects on IG; I've said it before but I'll say it again - you MUST follow her).


There are a few different takes on this look that I love: the sofa above in Amy Berry's recent project is a single unit and just exudes 'bespoke.' I equally love when there are individual sofas separated by a sofa table and a pair of fantastic lamps in between. Chairs can be set on either side for a more sophisticated look. You can go very traditional, or very modern with this layout. One thing I definitely notice is that I am drawn to identical sofas in this seating scenario. 




left: via McGrath II | top right: Windsor Smith | bottom right: via Better Homes & Gardens



top left: via McGrath II | bottom left: Sarah Richardson | right: Richard Shapiro


Would you go for it in your own home if you had ample space? I'd love to here!

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday's Favorites To Follow



Each week an image or two tend to stop me in my tracks and totally inspire me, re-invigorate me, sort of remind me why I dream about interiors day and night. This was the image for this week - it's an entry foyer enveloped in the Fornasetti nuvolette wallcovering I love so dearly, complemented by stunning curved mahogany doors and nero mosaic tile - it doesn't get much better. This is the work of Brooklyn-based firm Fearins & Welch Interior Design, my Follow Friday pick to share for this week.

There is so much impressive work to be seen in their portfolio:




That stone fireplace!




The large-scale architectural print really captures my eye here:


This butlers pantry covered in grasscloth is so beautiful, like a little jewel box. I adore the color of the cabinets here as well.




I've always loved the romantic appeal of a vestibule - that little pocket of space between the door and the entry way - what a perfect opportunity to do something bold in a small dose and really make a first impression!


This last image is another 'stop me in my tracks moment' for me ... bookshelves behind the tub, too good! The nero tub and herringbone tile are so stately as well.


Be sure to follow Fearins & Welch on instagram, and see more from their stunning portfolio here.

Happy weekend everyone!


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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Textbook Tuesday | Suzanne Kasler's Timeless Style


Suzanne's signature style of hanging artworks in a tight grid grouping magnifies their graphic impact

There's a reason most design books come in such a large size format, often 10 x 12" or more; it's all about the imagery and there are so many details to take in that simply cannot be appreciated in the same way when we view small-format photos on our computer screens and phones. The best design books are big - and Suzanne Kasler's stunningly large 304-page book entitled Timeless Style, is at the top of my personal list - it's an essential addition to any library of interior design.

There are too many things to love about this book, I can't possible list them all. One of my favorite features is that it's divided by project, so that each chapter takes you on a complete tour of the space, and is appropriately titled to convey the feeling of that particular home. Suzanne takes us through 8 houses, and starts us off  'At Home,' in her own elegant Regency-style house in Atlanta.

Sitting pretty on my own coffee table

Suzanne's own foyer displays an original 1940's French lantern that helped her to design her own
version for Visual Comfort


Suzanne's signature palettes are soft and muted - the blues, greys, and pale beiges. I love that she describes them as conveying more of a feeling than an actual color - and subtle enough that you never tire of them! She is truly all about selecting the classic, not the trendy.



Throughout the book, Suzanne takes the reader through her entire design process. She explains how to create a home that's sophisticated, yet comfortable for her clients - often families with four or five small children. She describes selection of color, wallpaper, and how that special piece of furniture can entirely make the room.

She even goes as far as to explain placement of furniture in detail, "[w]hy is that little sofa in a corner? Because I like to create different places to sit in a room. You feel the space in a whole different way when you're looking at it from this intimate nook."





In referring to her love of antiques, Suzanne explains, "[i]f a piece is chipped, crusty, and crumbling, lead me to it! Age has its advantages when it comes to furniture. There's a kind of patina attained by an object after years of use that can't be duplicated. It has a rough magic that conjures up another place, another time." The Russian benches pictured below are described as having "the crusty look that I love." And the collection of intaglios framed and hung in a grid really provide impact with repetition, functioning almost as an architectural element in a hallway. I hope to replicate something like this in my own hallway one day!


Timeless Style, really leaves you feeling as though you've had a personal tour of eight fantastically designed homes by Suzanne Kasler herself. I know this will be a book I continue to refer to for tips, tricks, and styling inspiration. She truly offers a wealth of creative design ideas that are original, and can be implemented no matter the size of your home or the size of your pocket-book. If your looking to add another treasure to your personal design library this one should be next on your list!

To see more of my favorite features from Suzanne's design work, hop here to my Dissecting the Details post on La Dolce Vita blog.
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Monday, February 6, 2017

Reno Project Reveal | The Kitchen



A new week, a new reveal for you! Thank you so much for all of your feedback on the entry reveal last week! I've got the full before & afters of our kitchen reno, of which I've previously shared our plans & progress here. Now, I know you've seen many-a-makeover out there that takes an old honey oak kitchen and magically transforms it to an all-white haven, but the difference with this one is we really really had to work with what we had. We couldn't afford new cabinetry, we couldn't change the footprint, we couldn't remove the ceiling drop between the eating area and kitchen. Trust me when I say my head was spinning with ideas for this space, sadly most of which were just too lofty to make happen. So, we had to be CREATIVE on a massively tight budget.

If you've been following along over the past year you'll remember that I completed the breakfast nook as a One Room Challenge in the spring of 2016, and that portion of the room has only moderately changed with new artwork and styling (updated pics below). So let's start with the blueprint so you can get a feel for the shape of the space:


An a full shot of the before:


First order of business was remove the yucky box lighting:


And then, one of the major changes we implemented was to fill in the space above the uppers with drywall. This was approximately a 1 foot gap (I think 13 inches to be more accurate), and lucky for me my father in law is a drywaller so we were blessed to have this go up super quick:


As you can see above the backsplash was also removed in a hurry :) On to the other major change, in the breakfast nook we got rid of the little half-banister (you can see it's between the french doors and the bay window) and raised the sunken floor to create a much more open space:



Another eye-sore in the space, you might remember this one from my ORC, swapping out the funny little lonely cupboard for a real pantry door, we purchased a Masonite shaker door (brought to you by Metrie):


And then once those few basic changes were made I drew up a moodboard to help direct me. I knew I wanted to change the door fronts on the cabinets, it was the cheapest solution to changing the 80's cathedral curved shape of the oak doors. In total new shaker style doors in oak cost us $1200 to purchase. That's a lot less than a whole new kitchen.


And soon things began to take shape. The calacatta 3x6 tiles made a big impact:


The jewelry of this space is by far all of the polished nickel finishes. I was doubtful on whether a potfiller was necessary, but once we selected the Brizo Traditional pot filler I couldn't have been more happy. It only cost $200 for the plumber to run the cold water from the faucet behind the wall and to the stove, money well spent as I find most people who walk in this space seem to notice this feature right away.


I also knew I had to address the newly placed drywall above the cupboards so I played around with Metrie's products and came up with what I'd like to call a little 'trim sandwich' of sorts. I utilized Metrie 4 1/4" crown combined with French Curves Collection panel mould trim and a flat pine screen mould to cover over the gap between the drywall and top of the cabinet.


So finally, now that you've got a good idea of the details, here are some of the before & after shots side by side:


Photography by Tracey Ayton


Photography by Tracey Ayton

Photography by Tracey Ayton

Taking that scalloped detail off the top of the cupboards opened things up so dramatically, and taking everything to the ceiling with trim was the perfect answer to a budget-friendly makeover!


Photography by Tracey Ayton

I finally cracked-down and painted what I really wanted in this space, a chinoiserie inspired motif on canvas. It took me a while but I'm so happy with it, and it was a DIY that gave me the most bang for my buck.

Photography by Tracey Ayton


Photography by Tracey Ayton


Photography by Tracey Ayton

Photography by Tracey Ayton

We chose the Brizo Talo SmartTouch Technology faucet & soap dispenser to pair perfectly with the potfiller. The polished nickel and traditional styling is divine and I can't tell you how handy it is to simply tap anywhere on this faucet to turn it on. With baby bottles 24-7 this could not have come into my life at a better time.


Photography by Tracey Ayton

People wouldn't often think to place a towel bar in the kitchen but we LOVE ours, the Brizo Traditional 18" towel bar does not look like it only belongs in the bathroom, and is helpful to keep towels in reach. Although truthfully lately baby Marcus keeps pulling them down onto the ground ... hope he grows out of that stage soon, lol.

Photography by Tracey Ayton

Photography by Tracey Ayton

Photography by Tracey Ayton

Photography by Tracey Ayton

Photography by Tracey Ayton

I am so happy with the space! We did what we could with what we had and it feels fresh, updated, and literally 10x bigger than it once seemed. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the completed space, and thank you if you made it all the way to the bottom of this crazy long post! For reference, here is a complete list of the products we utilized in our kitchen:

Metrie - 4 1/4" crown combined with French Curves Collection (Scene I) panel mould trim and pine screen mould, door casings and baseboards from the French Curves Collection (Scene I)
Masonite (brought to you by Metrie) Pantry door
Circa LightingDarlana Lantern
Robinson Lighting - Island pendants
Creekside - 3x6 Calacatta polished tile
Craigslist - Rattan chairs
Bombay & CoBlue & white tableware and vases
IKEAPlacemats
Flowers and CompanyFlorals and Myrtle plants  
Benjamin Moore - Cabinetry and trim is painted Chantilly lace (pearl finish), walls are Chantilly lace (eggshell finish)
Kentwood - Oak Lynx engineered hardwood flooring

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