Since completing our house remodel five years ago, I’ve received numerous inquiries regarding the specific details, manufacturers, colors and brands we used, so I created a series of posts that highlight each part of the house and include the information that you might be interested in. If I’ve left anything out, please feel free to inquire in the comments section below and I will reply there.
To start, I thought it would make sense to take a look at the exterior of the house before:
The biggest flow issue we faced, was the lack of a front door or even any sort of a clear entry to the house. That’s a problem! The glass doors in the center of the house (black square above) opened to a brick floored, 6′ x 6′ interior ‘courtyard’. There were two exterior doors – one on each side wall leading to different parts of the house. This was an issue because visitors would never in a million years know this. They would twirl around in the driveway looking around as if the entrance would eventually reveal itself. So, the kitchen door (where the stairs lead above) by default, became the main entry to the house.
Another big issue – there wasn’t a garage only a one car carport. Notice the driveway on the right. Whether or not to give up that extra parking and turnaround space was a big decision. In the end, we were able to take space from the basement to make a 2-car garage and the new driveway allowed for several cars, so we were able to add fruit trees, landscaping and a stone pathway.
You are probably saying to yourself right about now, ‘What on earth was she thinking buying that ugly thing?’ To be totally honest, it was love at first sight. To me, the house had the right bones – big rooms, not much wasted space, great natural light, but mostly it was because it just felt happy, like it had good ghosts.
So, to make things easier for you, I created a cheat sheet at the bottom of this post with all the specifications, links and details about each item for which I receive the most inquiries.
Hi sweet reader, I hope you’ve had a wonderful couple of weeks. My biggest news: I had the house all to myself while Lily and her Dad went to the Bahamas for her Spring Break. It was rainy and cold here in California, which turned out to be the perfect climate to deep dive down some creative rabbit holes. I can count the times on one hand that I’ve been alone in my house for 24 hours or more since becoming a mother. As much as I cherish that role, I also really loved the time to myself. Initially, there was a inner battle – productivity vs hedonism. Ultimately, I found the sweet spot with a little of both 🙂
Over the past several years, I’ve developed a fondness for Spanish style architecture. What I realized as I was collecting images for this post, is that this style has many names – Mediterranean, Hacienda, Italian and probably more, But to be technical, what I’m referring to is called Spanish Revival and has a historical significance as to how and why it became popular in the US, There are also many adaptations to this style of architecture. Around here, I’ve noticed new homes being built with roots in the Spanish Revival style, but often are enormous, watered down versions and lose the charm that the smaller scale homes have. Here are the most distinctive features and what I love about this architectural style:
White Stucco Exterior
4. Large Scale Metal Divided Light Windows
As you can see repeated in many of the above photos, other key features include tile roof, iron work in railings, lighting and furniture, big fireplaces,
Maybe it’s because Lily and I are headed out-of-town for a week of skiing in a few days (I can’t wait!!!), but all I can think about are cabins. Truth be told, I started fantasizing about them this past summer – lake cabins in particular – and the ever-so-slight departure I noticed away from the farmhouse/barn design trend of the past 5+ years. I still firmly believe in the permanence of this style and love it (obviously) but if I were to spot an aesthetic trend in interior design emerging, I would say that ‘cabin chic’ might be next. Just a prediction 🙂
On an administrative note: There are still a few tweaks, additions and modifications to the site in progress, I’m working diligently on fixing them with the help of Luke over the phone from college when he’s available, Our highly skilled and efficient tech department is on it! and you will see improvements made in the days to come. Thank you for your patience.
ps – ski trip photos will be on Instagram!
Notice the double sets of doors. I have been seeing this done quite a bit lately and think it’s just brilliant. It allows for privacy and weather protection when you want, light and openness when you prefer that.
I would love to know more about that counter piece on the left… It looks like it’s a vintage piece of furniture and melds beautifully with the other elements in the room. Sometimes clients are apprehensive about mixing woods. This is a great example of how well it works and is actually better than having all the wood match exactly. It looks like there are five wood components to this space and they’re all different.
What a nice place to read or take a nap.
I really like the gallery wall but what caught my eye is the painted shiplap. Typically we see it in white, and in cabins wood-paneled walls are often kept natural, but painting one in a rich gray to create a focal wall I think compliments all the other wood details in the space beautifully.
I want to be right here! Doesn’t this room draw you in? Especially in a vacation/second home environment where family members and friends are likely to gather, a comfortable seating arrangement to pile into is so inviting.
Stacks of blankets and pillows are decor by themselves.
The cabin essentials kit:
Faux fur blankets – can’t have enough of these lying around. From here.
Recent updates to my house and missing David Bowie.
Hi sweet people. I wrote this post about a month ago, right before I thought I lost all of my photos and was having computer issues. Other than omitting the part about the bad weather we were experiencing at the time, and where I riffied on about how I've made yoga and meditation a lifestyle rather than a part-time hobby, I didn't change anything…
The passing of David Bowie this week hit me hard. His music was the soundtrack to my youth as I'm sure the same is true for many. I was with my Dad when he got the news that John Lennon had been shot. He sat down, covered his eyes with his hand and began to sob. At the time, I felt so awkward. An Ivy League graduate, college football linebacker and Korean War Veteran crying over the death of a musician… I get it now.
To the Thin White Duke…thank you.
Speaking of changes, I've been making some around the house lately. What do you think?
I went back and forth – modern or traditional for the dining room light fixture. As you can see, I finally decided on a traditional chandelier. The chairs and table are all modern, so to balance them out I decided a chandelier would be perfect. A mix of both old and new is what I strive for. I love how sparkly it is at night too.
I bought this early American table at an estate sale a few years ago thinking I would sell it. I don't know why I fell so hard for it, but I absolutely love it and cannot part with it. It bounced around the house in different spots, usually to fill a temporary hole, but I think it found a permanent place under this Hiro Yokose painting.
I wanted a table for next to this acrylic chair from the 70's that I found on Ebay (for $100!) but it had to be simple yet substantial. I opted for a petrified wood stump from here.
See that french daybed in the back? I've had that piece for awhile and am not sure what to do with it. I moved it to the above location around Christmastime when I needed to make room for the tree. I'd like to remake the mattress more like this and make big fat bolsters in a contrasting color like dark + light gray or brown + natural linen. I'm still deciding…. We'll see.
So now there's this big open space at the top of the entryway stairs and between the living and dining rooms where the daybed was… A round table would work, but it's not that practical and I don't want a formal feel. So, I'm thinking of a small 'conversational cluster'. I'm considering moving the coffee table from the living room (above) and adding 4 modern chairs. Ideas?
Hi sweet readers. I hope this first week of August finds you soaking up the sunshine, going barefoot whenever possible and enjoying the last of our beautiful late sunsets… We have one month to go, and I, for one plan to make it the most of it!
I was in Cape Cod for a few days… Is there nothing more quintessentially summer than East Coast beach towns?
Here are just a few snaps.
Spotting this color burst was like that feeling you got when you were a kid and you opened a box of crayons for the first time.
I was intrigued by the simple design of the front of this building and the modern take on a traditional Cape Cod structure. The barn door covering the glass doors in particular. Since it's the office of an architect, I naturally had to check out her work…omg…
I heart nooks! What a yummy spot to curl up in for a nap or with a good book.
The above 6 photos are from the portfolio of architect Jill Neibauer. For more info and images click here.
This house is in Provincetown and while I was taking these two photos, a local explained to me that there were five fire stations built like this around town. They have all been sold and converted to homes. I saw a few more as we were leaving, but this one with the fire truck space converted to a porch was my fav.
This post could also be called 'Hydrangeas and Blue Doors' but that's kind of boring.
I wish I had taken pictures of the lobster rolls we shared at The Canteen. There are two varieties – cold with mayo and celery and hot with warm butter on toasted bread an inch thick. Best. Sandwich. Ever. Or as they say there 'Evah'. Here are some from their website.
Hi lovelies. As I write this, it's raining buckets. I have the fireplace going and am wearing the requisite rainy day attire of fuzzy socks and a big sweater. Not only is it Halloween, AND the San Francisco Giants Parade, but it's also my birthday weekend. Rain was not supposed to happen. I actually don't have any big plans. Since the b-day party a couple of weeks ago, it's been a festival of coffees, lunches and dinners with girlfriends. I prefer it that way – in ones and twos – and feel incredibly blessed to have the circle of amazing friends that I do. So, this leaves a big fat birthday weekend with lots of time to read! As such, I thought I'd share my latest crop of favorites in case you might be finding yourself doing the same.
I was sent a pre-release copy from the publisher and read it over the summer. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Very descriptive especially for those of us who love art, interiors and France.
Here's what Booklist says about A Paris Apartment:
Shuttered for 70 years, the ninth arrondissement apartment is a treasure trove for furniture appraiser April Vogt. Plus, an extended trip to Paris allows her to avoid her troubled marriage. As April uses the diaries of Marthe de Florian to establish provenance of the pieces, she becomes obsessed with Marthe’s Belle Epoque exploits, her rivalry with Jeanne Hugo (Victor’s granddaughter), and her path from Folies Bergère bartender to renowned (if forgotten) courtesan. All the while, April struggles to forgive her husband’s infidelity, a situation not helped by the presence of Luc Thebault, the estate’s solicitor, who seems determined to make sure April doesn’t work too hard. Gable’s debut is strongest when Paris is the focus, whether it’s suffering a rude waiter at a corner bistro in the present day or dripping in jewels and furs and being bored by Proust in a café at the turn of the century. Some of April’s actions late in the book will render her unforgivable to many readers, so if sick parents and infidelity are red flags, pass on this one. Otherwise, vive la Paris apartment! –Susan Maguire
Almost two years ago, when I was going through an extremely challenging time personally, I stumbled upon a TED talk given by Brene Brown about vulnerabilty (watch it below). At that time, there were 7+ million views. Now there are 17+ million. It was a life changing moment, because up until that point, I lumped vulnerabity under the heading of 'Weak Characteristics'. Wrong! Her work on this subject, which is detailed in her book Daring Greatly has words of wisdom for all of us, no matter what place in life we happen to be. It takes a tremendous amount of strength to be vulnerable, especially if you've been hurt. If you are feeling scared to go forward into the unknown – whether it's starting a new business or opening your heart to love again, and everything in between, read this book. You will feel better, I promise.
Design – ModernCountry by Caroline Clifton-Mogg
I was incredibly honored to recieve a copy of this beautiful book from the Publisher. The images are absolutely GORGEOUS! As you might guess, this book conveys my favorite style – comfortable, cozy spaces that also have a modern twist.
Are you familiar with The Scout Guide? In case you aren't – they are beautifully curated city guides for most major US cities, each filled with the best of what's to offer locally in that city. I just discovered they also have a webiste and blog highlighting small businesses, local artists and hometown favorites in the various cities they represent! A visual treat and great resource when planning a trip.
Hi, and welcome! I’m so glad you landed here and I hope you find this to be a place you visit often.
I started this blog in 2008 as a way to chronicle the remodeling of our nondescript Northern California house into our dream home. While that did happen, so did a lot of other things - life and all the messy, glorious, complicated, wonderful things that go with it. As such, in early 2017 I decided to change the focus from the house itself to the life that happens inside.
My wish is that this blog provides beautiful inspiration, creative ideas, connections to other like-minded folks, as well as stylish products for your home, to wear and to give.