Behind the Scenes – Install Day

Behind the Scenes – Install Day

A few details revealed from a recent furniture installation of a Northern California new modern home.

Last week the furnishings were delivered for a project I've been working on for several months. All the big items have been held at a receiver until most of the pieces were ready and construction was complete. I love install day, but at the same time, there are always a few butterflies. This project has been one of my all time favorites to work on for many reasons. For one, my adorable sweet clients were so fun and trusting it made my job a pleasure. I would literally show them a piece and they would respond with "We LOVE it!" I didn't have to show them a million things, they knew that what I presented had been thought out, compared against many other possibilities, and was what I felt was the best choice. In the end, I couldn't be happier with how this project turned out. And I think they feel the same 🙂

In the days before an install, I shop for smaller pieces – the cream on the top that makes everything look and feel finished. I took some photos from one of my stops…

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Accessory shopping!

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Several car loads later, I am ready to meet the delivery truck and start arranging furniture and style bookshelves, tables and countertops!

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Family heirloom chairs, refreshed with high gloss white paint, beautiful stain resistant Galbraith & Paul fabric and polished chrome nail heads. A completely new modern look – perfect for this young family.

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Remember these brushed brass pulls I mentioned here? They look fantastic against the creamy pale gray Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray cabinets.

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They look equally gorgeous against the darker gray island which is painted in one of my favorite grays – Ben Moore Galveston (my bathroom vanities and Gwyneth's kitchen cabinets are painted this color).

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The countertops on the perimeter cabinets is soapstone and on the island it's Caeserstone Frosty Carrina. The Morrocan style tile is from here.
 

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Only 3.5 more days til the weekend!!!

xo

Summer lovin’ and postcards from Cape Cod…

Summer lovin’ and postcards from Cape Cod…

Postcards from a few days on Cape Cod.

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…

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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.

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The clam chowder was delicious too.

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On an unrelated note, a thank you to Barn Light Electric for their blog post about a recent project I did in Glen Ellen, CA (see photos below). You can read about it here.



Little Cabin in the Woods

Little Cabin in the Woods

A tour of a vintage decorated cabin in the woods

On the spur of the moment, I decided to get out of dodge and ended up, in of all places, a little cabin in the woods on the banks of a flowing river in Northern Oregon. Let me tell you, my expectations were high. I’ve had a cabin-in-the-woods fantasy for as long as I can remember and this lived up, matter of fact exceeded, every last one. Road trip season is here! Bring it.

Come take a look around with me…

You had me with weathered shingles and white trim.

The cabin is situated on a big, flat sunny patch with a main house next to it.

I wonder if these grape vines covering the front porch are used for wine making?

No appliances but certainly not lacking in charm factor in this light bright happy kitchen.

The fridge is 70 years old!

The color palette is pale green and brick red. It couldn’t be more fitting for this adorable little gem.

The owner, whom I’ve never met, is clearly a collector of vintage pieces. Vintage collecting is a passion that can easily get out of control. I know this first hand. It’s so tempting to go overboard, but what I loved about this cottage is how well edited the decor is. Charm galore. The place had such a positive and relaxing vibe too.

A dark photo I know, but I wanted to include it to show you the claw foot tub nestled in the windowed nook. It was just perfection. The other cool thing the owner did, was to put a vintage wooden toy ironing board on the end of the tub for soaps, candles, etc. So if you see one at your local flea market and you have a claw foot tub….

The attic with these four mismatched antique twin beds could not have been cuter. This space is girl heaven – oh the games of playing house, talking all night, braiding each other’s hair. Like a story book…

The grounds were rustic and simple.

Hi little lady bug!

This is the main house. It looks like the original homestead was a one room log cabin and they built around it.

Big vegetable garden!

I love the farmhouse style of this currently vacant chicken coop.

Check out the leaded glass door.

Behind the main house is this trail down to the river. Falling asleep with the windows open and hearing the rushing water was heavenly.

Also behind the main house were these matching bathtubs. They are plumbed with hot and cold water.

My daily routine…

Taking a much needed break from work, email, phone, tv and my regular routine reminded me how essential it is for maintaining happiness, finding inner peace and boosting creativity.

Here’s to summer, being spontaneous, unplugging and stopping to enjoy the simplest of life’s pleasures.

Happy week to you!

xo

The Devil Is In the Detail – San Francisco Decorator Showcase Examined

The Devil Is In the Detail – San Francisco Decorator Showcase Examined

Details from the 2015 San Francisco Decortator Showcase

Well hi there. Finally backI often consider writing another blog in addition to this one – I even have a name picked out – for those times when life gets in the way of blogging. The ups and downs give us character and remind us we are leading full lives I suppose… Even if only to serve as benchmarks to compare the plateaus against. Maybe… Anyway, all is fine, actually great. I've missed you and here….

xo

serena

Speaking of details, thank you to reader M.A. who emailed me a couple of months ago asking about my window trim detail. She kindly followed up recently with a photo of her almost complete kitchen remodel! Beautiful isn't it?! I adore it when you lovelies send me your project photos, so please do show and tell! 

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Second, a reader from Australia emailed me about specifications on my board and batten siding, but I can no longer find the email! My apologies! The comment section on the blog post is the best and fastest way to get a reply from me and often other readers inquire about the same thing. Here is a close-up of my b & b siding and the dimensions.

Battens are 2.5" and boards are 9.5" (the space between the battens).

I toured the 2015 SF Decorator Showcase a couple of weekends ago and took photos of some of the details that caught my eye. And, as we know, it's the details that make all the difference.

Texture, texture, texture! Love the tree stump table base!

I like the idea of using a stool made of a material other than teak in a shower. It offers a way to bring color and/or angles or curves to a small space.

It's hard to see in the photo, but this is beautiful straited high gloss wall application.

 The above and below photos are of the same space.

 I haven't seen colored nail heads used before. I like the merlot color against the charcoal wool fabric.

 Such a fun surprise for a laundry room.

I really liked this space. It was like walking into a black and white photograph. Often rooms in showcase homes can take playful or daring design to an extreme, but I think the blue mannequin in the monochrome room was perfection.

Although it's hard to see in the photo, the millwork is painted the same color and finish as the walls. This is a great affect especially where there is elaborate architectural trim.

 Black marble, dark grout and brass. What's not to love?

Hunter green lacquered walls with cream and natural leather. In this room, that classic combo is anything but traditional. (Above photo and below four photos are the same room).

If there is one common thread throughout the showcase house, I would say it's the color green. I spotted it in almost every room. Personally I haven't done any projects with a green color scheme or green furnishings and I don't know why… Lots of inspiration to be gained from the great use of this color.

This shade of light green – was just sublime. One of my favorite color combinations is purple and pale green. This room reminded me of Laduree in Paris. 

This curtain fabric is so pretty! 

For information on the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, including the designers who created the above rooms, click here.

Happy short week to you!

FarmHouseUrban Update – Powder Room Reveal and my anniversary

FarmHouseUrban Update – Powder Room Reveal and my anniversary

Powder Room renovation in dark gray with brass fixtures

First off – Happy New Year! The first week of the new year has significance for me, because it was during this week 5 years ago that I said to myself, “why shouldn’t I write a blog?” Thank you each and everyone of you for reading, commenting, emailing and showing your support all these years, even when I veer way off topic. As I say every year, I'm humbled and touched beyond words that you find inspiration here. I am bursting at the seams in anticipation for all the wonderousness that this new year will bring and look forward to sharing it all with you. I wish you all a new year filled with heaps of joy, abundant good health, never ending peace and overflowing, heart pounding love!

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As you may remember if you've been following the blog for awhile, the original house did not have a powder room. When I was designing the new space, I took out the existing bar area (which was HUGE by the way) and replaced it with a pantry (click here to see it) on one side and a powder room on the other. Here is how the powder room turned out.

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The vanity is made of soapstone which I don't treat with any oils. I prefer the ashy natural gray to the darker shiny. The base is made of two metal legs. 

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Instead of leaving the edges open, I added this curved piece to finish it on both ends.

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All the other bathrooms have brushed chrome fixtures and white walls. In the powder room I walked on the wild side and went with dark charcoal walls and brass/gold fixtures and accents.

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I found this antique candy dish at an estate sale and think it's the perfect recepticle for these multi-colored soaps.

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This antique French mirror is one of my favorite pieces. It's constructed with fragments dating back to the 17th Century. The flash has distorted the colors a little, but there are touches of gold to the worn wood. 

That's it, hope you liked the tour. Please feel free to add your questions to the comments below!

Have a wonderful week!

Recent Design Project Revealed: Soho Loft in Northern California | Plus a HUGE Thank You!

Recent Design Project Revealed: Soho Loft in Northern California | Plus a HUGE Thank You!

Over the past year, most of my work focus has been spent on some very exciting interior design projects. I haven’t mentioned much about work for awhile, so here is a little update…

After three wonderful years, I closed my storefront and design studio over the summer and moved my studio into the lower level of my house. It is awesome! I can’t wait to show you photos of how it turned out! One of the reasons I decided to do this is because many of my projects are long term and in wine country, so I was not in the office enough to justify the rent. Another reason is because I still sell beautiful, rustic chic items for the home on my online shop – www.shopFarmHouseUrban.com. All kinds of exciting fun new products, ideas and inspiration are coming to you in the New Year through the shop site so stay tuned!

This past week I had a photo shoot of a large project I just finished. My favorite and the best interiors photographer in the Bay Area did the shoot. Thank you Sean Dagen! I am so excited to show you how it turned out below!

But first some background. The 4,000+ sq. foot house was purchased last Spring by a recently divorced dad of three young boys. Masculine space to put it mildly. When I started on the project, demolition to the interior had just started and there was no architect. With a total of 15 spaces (4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, kitchen, family room, dining, living, office, laundry and sitting room) this was a huge project. All cabinetry, fireplaces, bathrooms and kitchen were down to the studs and needed every detail to be designed, specified and construction overseen. I am most proud of this project because it challenged me to go deeper into an area of design that I love, but haven't done to this level before. The majority of the scope was about cabinetry, built-ins and architectural details and less about furnishings.

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Cabinets are shaker style with modern pulls on both uppers and lowers. White walls, and cabinetry are contrasted with dark lighting fixtures and my favorite industrial barstools. A huge island serves many purposes from dining table to entertainment station.

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In the living room, built-in cabinets and alcoves flank the fireplace which is made of concrete. The street signs are custom and include all the places the client has lived as well as significant places in his life. Wood panelling was placed on focal walls throughout the house. In here, the tv is hidden behind flush doors.

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A perfectly worn leather sofa that belonged to the client was the starting point for the living room. A distressed denim and burlap wingback chair by Ralph Lauren Home added a bit of color. 

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The dining room has panelling on two walls and a small wet bar and wine refrigerator. A cluster of beeswax pillar candles when lit will add a dramatic visual affect.

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The table and bench are from the Big Sur Collection from Crate and Barrel. The Parson's style table is a slam dunk in any room and even makes a great desk. I threw the sheepskin over the bench instead of a cushion and to soften all the right angles. Tolix chairs are fantastic anywhere. The centerpiece is a resin bowl made by a local artist. 

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There are two kids' bathrooms that are identical for the most part. All the same materials were used – white penny tile and oversized 6"x18" subway tile are from Ann Sacks. The trough sink is a great way to fit two kids into one bathroom without taking up the vanity space that two seperate sinks would. Fixtures are from the Kohler Purist collection. The cabinet is custom.

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I gave the three boys a short questionnaire to not only get a feel for how best to furnish their rooms, but also to have them feel a part of the design process. One of them had a strong desire to have a loft bed. This was really fun to design! I took out the existing closet which went the span of the room and had folding doors. I replaced it with two seperate closet and dresser configurations on each side of a nook-style bed. The ceiling is fairly low, so having a true loft bed was tricky. The big drawer below holds a trundle bed on casters for sleepovers.

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The Master bedroom is simple – built-in bed and cantalievered nightstands, Tolomeo reading lights (the best reading light in my opinion!) a bench made from reclaimed wood found on Etsy and a cool leather chair.

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Between the Master Bathroom and closet, there was a small closet with folding doors. Since the walk-in closet is enormous, this space seemed unnecessary so I took it out and made this little cozy spot. Again, Tolomeo reading lights in sconce version.

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 The space I love the most is the Master Bathroom. It's also the one that took the longest to design. We looked at every gray stone and tile on the planet before selecting these gorgeous 12" x 24" porcelain tiles from Walker Zanger. The vanity is about 9' long and is made out of reclaimed Hemlock. Leather pulls are made from an old belt belonging to the client.

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The big, deep tub is so beautiful and adds a crisp, modern contrast to the warm wood vanity.

Well, that's it! There are many rooms we didn't take photos of, due to time limitations. It took over 8 hours to shoot the above photos.

If you have questions about products or materials, I am happy to answer them, but ask that you do it by leaving a comment rather than emailing me. More than likely, others will have the same question and I'm much faster at responding that way too!

Another exciting thing happened last week! A kitchen and family room that I designed awhile ago was featured in Better Homes & Gardens – Kitchen + Bath Ideas Magazine which hit the news stands last Tuesday!!! Thank you KBI!!! The photos turned out great and I will share them with you here on the blog in a few weeks when the magazine is no longer on the shelves. In the meantime, the magazine is really worth getting! LOTS of awesome photos and filled with inspiration on storage!

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Hope you have a fantastic week!

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