Archive for Interior Design

Renovation Story Part III: Interior Floorplans

At the time of purchase, I did plenty of internet research about the history of shotgun houses. I want to share what I learned with you. Part of what makes this neighborhood historic was the period these houses were built along with the traditional layouts and floor plans.

A classic shotgun style home would have only 3 rooms: Front Bedroom, Kitchen, and Living Room. Occasionally, the living room would be located at the front of the home.

Historically additions were added as fourth rooms to the side of the home. In this case, our home had both an addition and an upper floor, which offered 2 additional bedrooms.

You may remember from the previous post…this upper addition of a second floor over the back portion of the home is referred to as a “camel back”. So our home has 2 additional bedrooms.

The interior doorways would traditionally all line-up so that a single mythical “shot” could be fired into the front door and exit out the back door…our house was a little more chopped up than this…here is the original floor plan below.

You may notice the tiny bathroom on the North side of the property. This was likely an addition to the home. Although bathrooms did not exist within these homes at the turn of the 20th century, they were added to large hallways as indoor latrines became more commonplace. Not only did we decide to expand the kitchen into the original bathroom, but I designed a Master Bath to occupy the unused space in a large and grandiose hallway.

The hallway was really unique because of it’s high ceilings. There was evidence of really interesting hardwood floor tiles, but they had deteriorated so badly that I felt adding a Master Suite with a bathroom would add the most value to the house for a modern lifestyle. The high ceilings in the Master and Guest Baths also lend some charm to the rooms themselves.

The updated Floor plan below shows how we decided to open up the Living Space and Kitchen. We expanded the kitchen into the small bathroom to provide an open L-shaped work triangle. Next, the guest bath was shifted into a small section of the hallway and we constructed a linen closet at the base of the stairs. From the front of the house to the back we lined up the interior doors, which allowed us to move the exterior side door back into the original placement within the property.

Doing a floor plan remotely is more challenging than you may think. There are additional windows on the South side of the property that I only discovered upon traveling to see the residence early Autumn of 2013.

Here you can see how the crowded kitchen looked before the renovation.

and large hallways…as you can see, the hallway was large enough to be used as a dining room at one point.

Once the demolition began, we had lots of dated wood paneling, ceilings and floors to be removed!

If you missed my first 2 Renovation Story posts…you can begin reading here.

Come back next week, for an updated look at the interior demolition.

 

 

 

 

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Renovation Story: Back Yard

Let’s pick up where we left off of the Renovation Story…the backyard.

The backyard is where we began the Renovation because back in the warmth of September. My husband and I were visiting our family and we wanted to put a little work into the property.

I knew that eventually the back door of the property would lead to the Master Bedroom. With this in mind, I knew that I wanted to create a a more secluded feeling for the back of the house. I also wanted the Master to open to a paver patio, where the owners could enjoy the shaded evening and the outdoors.

This really sweet back entrance fueled my inspiration.

Our house, while not nearly as glamorous had the potential and has a similar color of siding too.

The original back of the property below revealed the asymmetry of the design. The door was off centered and the upper windows needed a lot of work as they had experienced dry rot.

The lower windows were able to be saved and we made the decision to move them to replace the 2nd floor windows.

Before construction began, we laid the stone patio by hand using Tranquil Country Pavers from Lowe’s. I liked them for the European feel.

I did some research on how to lay a stone patio and consulted with my contractor before I began work. Below, you can see the patio which runs the width of the back of the house, approximately 18′ wide and 8′ deep.

This next photo shows the exterior changes to the property after we centered the door and removed the lower windows completely. Typically, I love natural light and would hesitate to remove any windows. I ultimately decided to take them away so that the Master would be more private and have lots of options on the interior for furniture layout.

2 nautical sconces flank the back door. I think they are really fun and mimic the grill pattern found in the door.

Although, the patio is still in tact, it needs to have sand pushed between the pavers again this Spring. We also have a retaining wall in the works and landscaping which I will share with you once complete. We have yet to decide to build a pergola over the door. I am still entertaining the idea and would love to hear your thoughts!

I will post an updated photo of the lighting installed on either side of the back door soon.

*Here it is with porch lights, new roof, and soil grading complete in the back yard.

Now, I just can’t wait to landscape, once the grass begins sprouting through the seed and straw.

 

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A Renovation Story: Part 1

As you may have noticed, I have not written a blog post since August of last year. The timing of my absence has much to do with the home renovation that has ruled over my waking and sleeping hours over the past 6 months. Although, originally a project that was estimated to take 2-3 months maximum…the timeline has doubled in it’s trajectory. This is the listing photo of house the we made an offer on last February without ever having physically seen the house in person.

Fast forward 5 months later to July, when we closed on the offer after a patient wait for the Estate to reach a resolution. I flew to Kentucky to sign all the necessary paper work and begin planning the future of the property.

This historic shotgun home is located in Clifton, a neighborhood on both the State and National register of Historic places. I devoted some time over Summer to reading and learning about what it meant to be a part of this historic community.

When researching the property, I came across this picture of the home from the year 1950. As you can see from the photo, the lot to the right had not been developed and was still an empty lot.

And now, that I’m finally sitting down to reflect and share the design process. I want to tell the story of the renovation from inception. So, I will do my best to include all the small details that made the project special and fun for me.

Starting with the inspirational photos of shotgun homes in the area. I gathered ideas for updating the entryway, adding a porch or an improved front “stoop”. 

Ultimately, it was a meeting with the Landmarks commission that ruled out many of these improvements to the original “footprint” of the home. Although, my case worker was extremely helpful, it would have been a challenge to have any dramatic changes made to the front of the property without finding evidence of a porch or a proof that my property was set back from other properties in the same line. From this first meeting, I resolved to focus on the exterior finishes and adding a patio of pavers to the back of the property instead vs a porch on the front.

The back porch is completely shaded in evening, so this seemed like a logical choice.

I learned that Louisville, Kentucky and New Orleans currently have the largest number of these homes in the nation. Our particular house is referred to as a camelback house, which means there is an upper floor that attaches to the back of the house. Here is what the original “camel” back of the house looked like.

We made a few simple changes to rethink the back of the home and add a patio.

I will share the results of the renovation each week! So come back to see how a few adjustments to the door alignment and windows have realigned the property.

 

 

 

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Modern Classic Guest Room

It has been a fun and rewarding project working with my client Paul, on his guest bedroom this month. He wanted to create a classically inspired, comfortable and modern space for his many guests to enjoy on their visits to L.A. Our original concept began with a black and white palette and a hint of Hollywood charm.

You may be surprised at the difference that we made by simply changing the lighting, headboard and focal point in the space. I call this a bedroom reinvented! One major change was in the overhead lighting. Although, I wasn’t sure about orb chandelier in the bedroom at first, I absolutely love it over the bed. I see how visually light and stunning it feels.

Another favorite accent that I added are the classic swing arm brass sconces placed by the new gray linen tufted headboard. The warm gold and the cool gray-blue are the perfect color combination!

The gray linen headboard was special ordered and a great price for it’s quality. Both Paul and I liked the sophistication of the winged sides with the silver nail head finish. The pillows and sheets layer together to create a Hollywood style. The bedding is a super soft white cotton linen that is trimmed with a dark gray edge. The pillows are a mix of silk, velvet, and cotton, so lots of textures and patterns combine and work together.

The nightstands were one of the best finds ever. We had a blast looking for them at the Santa Monica Antique Market. You can see how they looked before with the layers of old white paint…It is amazing how an antique piece can be fully restored to it’s original beauty. We used Ebony colored stain by Minwax.

Here is a closer look at the carved legs and feet. They have a claw and ball style and I would date these as a 1930’s Hollywood Regency designs? Any experts out there with ideas?

I promise even better professional photos when we do the actual photo shoot along with a few room updates…we still have some art to arrange and a modern chair in the works.

On another note, if you have a bedroom or guest room that could really use a little extra love contact me. You may be surprised how fun and easy it is to work with a designer to pull it together.

Next, I will show you how I custom designed a large round hanging mirror for a client in Birmingham, Alabama…until next time have a fun and safe 4th of July weekend.

 

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Cool Blue Living Room Refresh

As a part of my vow to refresh our living space this Spring/Summer, I have also promised to do a quick spring cleaning of my blog as well. (ahem! anybody notice the new banner?!) That was all me;) I guess fiddling around with Photoshop for the past 5 years has started to pay off. Although, I do need the expertise of a pro graphic designer for the remaining look and feel.

Many of you have asked to see the results of a client home restyle that I did this Spring. I am happy to finally share the results of the photo shoot with you.

All photos are credited to Amelia Tabullo photography.

 

Originally, this mirror was a tricky one to find. In fact the search for a round 24″ mirror inspired me to create this hanging leather belt mirror.

DIY explained here.

In this case, all of the waiting and hunting around really paid off in the end, when I came across this metal porthole mirror. It is steely with a tinge of blue and really reminds me of something from the side of a ship. I just love how she captured the reflection of the books in the mirror peeking through.

In my opinione, the juxtaposition of the warm walnut and cool blue is what makes this really work.

This project was all about working with we had and streamlining the look with accessories. For example these custom walnut sofa wraps can be made to fit any size sofa and really added warmth and interest to the IKEA KIVIC sofas that my client already owned. The wide arm works so well with a wrap!

Other accessories included custom slipcovers, pillows and throws. I really like the combination of cobalt blue with the brown walnut wood.

If you’re looking for more living room design ideas, head over to see the almost completely updated version of my design portfolio here.

I will be sharing some clicks of this fruitful photo shoot.

Have an inspired week!

 

 

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Vintage Beachy Bathroom

Click here to see how the bathroom looked before.

It still needs some styling…perhaps a Mason jar with some fresh picked flowers. I’d love to do a cafe curtain on the all wood window in white to kind of break up the moulding a bit.

I know it still needs that je ne sais quoi…perhaps a little shabby farm table to right of the pedestal sink to hold Turkish towels or baskets full of bath accessories.

I am very happy with how the tiling came out: warm and modern.

We found the original ornate switch plate in the attic…the house that keeps on giving:)

I know it kinda doesn’t match everything in the room, but it IS special and original so I went with it!

Overall, I am very happy with the update. Now, on to style the bathroom and do some photo editing.

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Beachy Vintage Bathroom

This is one of 3 bathrooms that I am renovating over the next 3 months. In fact this one should be complete by this weekend. I was inspired by a crisp white palette with beachy tile undertones. This bath is the largest in the house, so I guess you could call it the master. Although, it is pretty small, I thought adding a classic pedestal sink and lightening up the space could make it feel larger.

The home which is over 100 years old has classic influences mixed with modern updates. The windows have an all wood trim and I am thinking of doing a cafe curtain here to minimize the warmth of the brown…still not ready to go for painting out the trim completely white.

I hope it will come out really beautifully. I will be sure to post photos early next week when the renovation is complete.

Maybe some sea green color or pattern somewhere? What do you think?

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