Teen Boy’s Bedroom Makeover

Teen Boy’s Bedroom Makeover

A couple of months ago when we added our kids' bathrooms, my son Luke's room had to have some walls moved and reframed.  He's turning 16 this summer and has had the same bedroom furniture since he was three. It was an ideal (and long overdue) time for a new room. I interviewed him to get a little direction. It went something like this:

me: "honey, do you have any thoughts on your new room?"

son: "yeah, I want a small couch – you know for two people – and a table in front for snacks, and an old school turntable."

me: thinking to self 'for two peop…?!'  "well… what about colors?  what colors do you want?"

son: "no colors."

Realizing he was describing a nightclub and not a bedroom for relaxing (alone) and doing homework, I decided I better just take matters into my own hands.  

There aren't many sources of inspiration for teenage boy's bedrooms out there. For some reason they don't make it to the glossy pages of our favorite shelter mags… Over the past year or so I've been collecting images of rooms that I thought my son would like. (To see my other teen boy inspiration rooms, click here.)This room from the Ace Hotel in Portland (via Remodelista) turned out to be one of our favorites and the inspiration for his room.

Ace hotel - remodelista

Lukes' room



The built-in drawers and closet had to be taken out in order to move the wall to accommodate the bathroom.  In total, the room lost about 8 inches of floor space.  The closet was relocated to the opposite facing wall. Instead of a dresser, we installed an Elfa shelving system from The Container Store inside the closet .  

after from same perspective as above




Luke bdrm before

after from same perspective as above

IMG_2813We took the window out and added the closet to the right.  Luckily we had open space for it on the other side where a future powder room will go. Rather than a headboard, I had a piece of cork attached to the wall to create a giant bulletin board. I enjoy seeing what Luke puts on it, and imagine that by the time he leaves for college (sniff) it will be filled with pictures, notes, ticket stubs and other mementos from his high school years.  

IMG_2817There wasn't room for a bedside table and frankly since it was always messy, I wanted to find another -tidier- option.  This platform bed from West Elm has three drawers on each side, which was the perfect substitute for a bedside table. It's been great to have no clutter! I found this gooseneck LED reading light was perfect for the space since it mounts on the wall and can be bent any direction. I contemplated adding a small shelf along the side wall for an alarm clock, but he uses his cell phone which charges overnight on his desk anyway, so there was really no need. I'm realizing I didn't hide electrical cords…


IMG_2814We kept the old pine desk we bought at a garage sale years ago, but painted it Restoration Hardware Charcoal.  After it was painted I thought it looked kind of disconnected to the room just by itself on the long white wall, so I decided to paint part of the wall the same color.  We still need to hang some record albums Luke's collected along the wall, but just haven't gotten to it yet! The orange Eames chair is from Room & Board.

You might have noticed the basket of legos on the desk?  If there is one toy that reminds me of Luke's childhood it's legos. He lost interest years ago, but I kept them anyway – stored in a giant plastic tub in our basement.  For nostalgia, I thought it would be fun to make drawer pulls out of legos to replace the knobs on his desk.  I suggested it to him and he adamantly refused.  I get it and let it drop.  I did leave a little basket of legos on his desk, just in case…

Hope you like it!


Paint – White is Benjamin Moore Atrium White. Gray is Restoration Hardware Charcoal.

Platform bed and wall mounted shelf – West Elm "Storage Bed"

Striped duvet – West Elm

Wool blanket and Gray pillows – Pendleton for Room & Board (machine washable!)

Light fixtures – Harold's Lighting (based in Seattle)

Orange Desk Chair – Eames from Room & Board

Family Room Remodel – Before and After

Family Room Remodel – Before and After

I recently finished a family room remodel for an active family of six – two parents, four teenagers and one huge, fluffy Golden Retriever. The project included new window treatments, new upholstery to an existing sectional sofa, paint, furniture and accessories.

There are still a few things to add (will get to that in a minute), but since the majority of the installation happened days before, I wanted to get the room photographed while it was still new and fresh.  So this past Friday, fantastic photographer Mark Adams and I tweaked pillows, hid cords, moved furniture and cocked our heads to the side until it all came together.


Before1 - bolinas

There were too many cushions here and they were way too small.  I find it's much more comfortable to sit on a wider sofa cushion.

Before2 - bolinas

The window treatments were the same color as the walls, which was a bright white with a touch of lemon yellow.  The lack of contrast made the room feel bland and washed out.

The challenge with painting this room was that the wall on the far right, continued through a dining area and then into the kitchen, which meant that if that wall was painted, the rest of the Great Room would have to be painted too and that was out of the project scope. We ended up painting two of the three walls Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan (HC-81). It's a fantastic neutral that goes brilliantly with natural linen.

Before3 - bolinas

This little Asian chest and the art are the only pieces that stayed.



above photo by and property of serena armstrong/theurbanfarmhouse

We are still waiting for a custom coffee table exactly like the one above, except a square shape. I've had this one in storage from my store. The top is made from reclaimed barn wood and finished in a gray milk wash.  The base is brushed metal with a pewter affect – absolutely stunning.  I brought in the coffee table for the shoot since by the time the custom table arrives the room might have a more 'lived in look' than I wanted for the pictures.

Coffee table - Mark Adams

The sofa was redone in a natural, thick Belgian linen – gorgeous. Now there are only two lower cushions, four uppers and no welting creating a much cleaner look.

Tracy family room

above two photos (low resolution) by Mark Adams

I'm happy to provide product info about anything in the room.  

If you live in the Bay Area and need help creating a home you love, please do contact me for design help! 

Happy week to you! 


Beautiful chairs for sale and the urban farmhouse store

Beautiful chairs for sale and the urban farmhouse store

This past October I tested the retail waters and opened a one-month-only store (aka pop-up).  It was a great experience in every way, most of all I realized that in some way, shape or form, having a retail component is something that I really want to do and a great fit as a designer.  As I work out the details, I am gradually building my inventory of refurbished antiques and home decor pieces.

One of the first things to go at the store was a pair of vintage chairs.  They are so pretty! Here they are at the store before they were sold.



The two I bought were from a set of four. At the time I could only splurge on two, but hoped the other two would be available when/if the opportunity came. I am so happy that I just got my hands on them!!!


I thought that before I upholster them, I would offer the option of customizing to my readers.  With the first pair I went with a Belgian linen in flax with a charcoal gray Belgian linen wide stripe. Double welting and the chair back are also charcoal. The price for the pair (in above fabric) is $3,400 or individually at $1,800. The options for customizing are endless, although I think the stripe really compliments the chair. Was toying with oyster linen with an orange stripe for a splash of color!  

If you are interested in the chairs either as a set or separately, please let me know!  Happy to send fabric swatches and discuss options!

Have a great weekend!


Teen Bathrooms Revealed!

Teen Bathrooms Revealed!

At long last, our kid's bathroom renovation is complete!   

Just to refresh your memory (since it's been 4 months, but I'm not going there…) or if you're a new visitor, here are a couple of before's.



A small, shared bathroom with a lot of wasted space off of the hallway.



Kids Bathroom Floorplan

floor plan designed  by architect Max Crome

Kids bathroom sketch

sketch by me

And the afters!


One change during construction was the medicine cabinet.  Our contractor assumed we only wanted a mirror based on my sketch. He told us he has seen a drop in medicine cabinets and hasn't installed a built-in for years.  I suppose the availability of the store bought, wall mount variety is to blame.  He also said more people are opting for just a mirror.  I can't imagine not having a medicine cabinet!  Where do all the little bottles and tubes go?

A built-in medicine cabinet is behind the middle mirrored panel.  This was a change to my original sketch (see below), but when the cabinets went in, I thought the space would feel bigger if the mirror went the whole width of the vanity.  


In our previous house we put pedestal sinks in the kids' bathroom.  Not a good idea! I found them to be very impractical for kids. The sides are often not big enough for them to set things on, and inevitably spills occur and toothpaste caps would fall on the floor or down the drain.  Also, in a small bathroom (these are about 5 1/2' x 8''), under the sink is prime real estate.  I also prefer to hide the waste basket, cleaning supplies, etc.  


The tall cabinet serves as a linen closet (and extra storage).  Since our house is only about 2,800 sq. ft, and we lost a large linen closet in the renovation, we needed to make the most of every inch.


Instead of tile or a plain wall, we went with wood paneling. Painted in Atrium White by Benjamin Moore.  The cabinets are Wickham Gray by Benjamin Moore.


For my son's bathroom I used oil rubbed bronze knobs and pulls on the cabinetry.  They're the Asbury from Restoration Hardware.

The faucets in both bathrooms are Kohler Purist in polished chrome.  


The 3" x 6" white subway tile is Rittenhouse Square by Daltile.  I confess it's all I have ever used, because I just love it. Great price, great product. In these bathrooms, we used a bull nosed trim rather than the bull nose edged tile and we also went all the way to the ceiling for a clean look.

A 1" x 1" sq carrera marble tile was used on the shower floor.  


Another handy teen feature – no towel bars!  I wish I could say I have trained my kids to neatly hang their wet towels on a bar, but sadly I cannot.  In fact, my son, who has been using our guest room during this project has broken the towel bar off of the wall several times due to trying to stuff in a wadded up towel.  The solution – hooks!  The one above is from Restoration Hardware and is part of the Spritz collection which is the same as the lighting in both bathrooms.  I thought they added a little modern touch to the mostly traditional look and also went with the faucets.



My daughter's bathroom is almost a mirror image, except that she has a bathtub and I used different knobs and pulls. 


Lily and I had fun going shopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  She picked out the white towels with hot pink and gray accents and the vanity accessories.  All by DKNY.  I was thinking pale pink and gray, but she fell in love with these and once I saw them in the bathroom, I agree they are perfect for a pre-teen girl.



The knobs and pulls are from Restoration Hardware.  The look changes dramatically from the oil rubbed bronze in my son's room! 


Another 'anti-clutter' feature – a hidden drawer behind a big drawer front.  I thought the shallow top drawer would be perfect for her to store her hair bands, brushes, etc.  The bottom part of the drawer has an electrical outlet in the back, so that she doesn't have to rest a hair dryer near the sink. It's not only safer, but it keeps all those things out of sight.  



So happy to have them done!   I'm really happy with the way they turned out and made the most of unused space.  

Here is a quick -look list of all the sources:

Paint on walls and panelling – Benjamin Moore Atrium White

Paint on cabinetry – Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray

Faucets/Fixtures – Kohler Purist in polished crome (there are MANY styles under the same category as we found out the hard way, so make sure to spec out on the website EXACTLY which Kohler Purist you want).

Tile – 3"x6" Rittenhouse Square by Daltile

Knobs/pulls – Boy – Asbury by Restoration Hardware in oil-rubbed bronze, Girl- Traditional Glass by Restoration Hardware.

Light Fixture – Three light Spritz by Restoration Hardware

Marble – Carrera used throughout.  

I might be forgetting something, but I'm typing as fast as I can at a coffee shop in Northern VA – the Sweetleaf in McLean to be exact and they are about to close!  I'm here visiting my grandparents then head to nyc on tues for 4 days with girlfriends from Seattle. yippee!  I took the photos about 5 mins before I left home :0  

Happy week to you!


Fresh Starts, Recent Projects and Giveaway Winners!

Fresh Starts, Recent Projects and Giveaway Winners!

Before the holidays and after my pop-up store was over, I worked on a few small projects.  The clients wanted to refresh a few things here and there in their homes, and to do it in phases.  A new paint color or new fabric on a worn chair is sometimes all that's needed to breathe life to a room.  It can really lift spirits too!

Project #1

For this client, the first phase was a small dining room makeover in time for the holidays.  The chairs were the most in need…


The budget was not huge, but since the rest of the furnishings were all higher end, I wanted to choose something that would stay consistent with that level.  The Design Center has so many fabric showrooms – most of them pricier than we wanted to go.  But some have GREAT close-out fabrics that are under $50/yd (down from hundreds)! 


Such was the case with this beautiful Pindler and Pindler vine pattern.  We backed the chairs with a beautiful lapis blue velvet.

Chairs - after

Here they are leaving the upholsterer.  He did such an amazing job making sure the vines all went the same way on each chair.  We had the wood refinished and wobbly legs fixed.

Chair - after

Chair back - after


Project #2

This client has a space on her lower level that her four teenage kids and their friends use heavily.  She is the most easy-going mother ever as evidenced by the holes in the wall due to various sports being played indoors.  



The kids didn't seem to use the sofa as much since video games are better played closer to the tv. 



This room is also where sleepovers take place, so the goal was to find pieces that could be rearranged depending on the activity and that are INDUSTRIAL strength!


We tried to keep the budget as low as possible and we succeeded!  Target slipper chairs were around $150 ea (she had two already) recovered in chocolate ultrasuede – an extremely forgiving and durable fabric. And yes, new fabric and reupholstering was still less than new chairs from a big box retailer!

The ottoman was hers, but needed new upholstery.  I used a Sunbrella fabric – almost indestructible. These outdoor fabrics are perfect for kids spaces since they're made of acrylic, but feel like cloth and now come in gorgeous patterns and colorways.  There were a few more things added to the room, but I wanted to get a quick photo before kids got to it!


New beadboard painted in Benjamin Moore Navajo White covers the damaged walls and (hopefully) protects them from future run-ins with lacrosse balls!  And walls were painted in BM Dorset Gold.

Just getting started on Phase II now…  

If you are thinking about giving your home (and yourself!) a fresh start for the new year and need some help, send me an email and we'll take it from from there!

Last but not least…The American Pickers dvd and pillow winners drawn from the random.org selection widget that I unsuccessfully installed but was able to use, are numbers 1 – Tricia Z and 11 – Gina!  Thank you to all who entered!!!  I loved hearing from you and wish I had dvds for all  - hint hint History Channel šŸ™‚


Mini make-over: new bedding

Mini make-over: new bedding

A couple of weeks ago I was reading a post from one of my favorite blogs – Trouvais where I learned about the gorgeous bedding company; Bella Notte.

a little aside story: I found Trouvais before our trip to Paris last summer when I was all about everything French. I was mesmerized by the garden belonging to the author Trish (picture pea gravel paths and stone steps lined with lavender). After a few emails back and forth, I discovered that Trish doesn't live in Provence as I had thought, but merely blocks from me!  If six degrees of separation is true, it's got to be three in blogland.

Anyway, Trish posted that Bella Notte was having a warehouse sale nearby. Even though I really didn't need anything, I had to check it out.  O.M.G.

Before I show you my pretty new bed, here are the before's.  Starting with the day we moved in…

Bedroom before

bedroom before

The blue carpeting was pulled up revealing beautiful oak floors.  We stained them a dark brown, took the curtains down and put on a coat of Benjamin Moore Atrium White.  


bedroom after

The windows and door on the left lead to a sunroom.  It's really more of an enclosed porch since it has no insulation and appears to have been added on more recently.

Sun room before
sunroom before

We put a subfloor down (I think it was just plywood) over the decking which is what was under the old carpet, carpeted with an inexpensive remnant, and gave the wood paneled tan walls a fresh coat of paint.

Sunroom after

sunroom after

I love this space – a quiet escape. I have no idea why I took this with the sheepskin on the floor, but it's too dark now to take another photo!

And here's our newly outfitted bed in Bella Notte




I've been loving the new look – so feminine and frou frou!  A friend even asked if my husband was ok with it! haha (He is). I bought it to go on the guest bed, but now re-thinking.

More dreamy Bella Notte…

Bella notte - gray and mustard

Bella notte linens

Bella notte - aqua bed

Olive + purple pillows bella notte

Bella notte - bed

To learn more about Bella Notte and to be transported to France, visit Trouvais by clicking here.

Happy new week!




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