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.
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 people. I hope your week is off to a wonderful start. A few days ago I received an email from a reader that besides making my day, got me thinking that a post on barn lights is long overdue…
First the email from sweet reader:
"OMG first of all I am obsessed with your house. I cant tell you what an inspiration it is for me. We are in the process of turning our 15 year old cape cod into a modern farmhouse, almost done taking it from yellow to white. Then I stumbled across your website. Whoa, I love it you are so talented. I love the wood porch. I have a real quick question for you. Im ordering the original barn light but am having a hard time figuring out how to find the size options for the straight arm. It on lists G1 and G4 etc and below it only shows "gooseneck" option photos. I noticed the first one you ordered was too long so just trying to figure this out. Thanks so much for your time Your newest and biggest fan"
She is referring to barn lights purchased from Barnlight Electric.Barnlight Electric has been my go-to resource for not only exterior barn-style lighting but anything with industrial feel for quite some time. I used it in my house (see photos below) as well as several client projects.
To answer the readers' question, my lights are the smallest shade size 12" and the shortest arm 14". I highly recommend you call Barn Light directly when placing your order! There are so many variables and options and they are SUPER helpful.
I opted for the straight arm vs. the gooseneck becauseI prefer straight lines to curved.
I chose the galvanized metal and I ADORE it.
Barn Light offers many colors and finishes from matte to high gloss. I ordered all the gray to black options for a client project I was doing in Sonoma. We ended up choosing metallic chrome which was gorgeous against the creamy white exterior color. I wish I had a photo, but the client is away and couldn't snap one in time for me to post!
I used barn style-lights in this client's industrial kitchen. To see the rest of that project click here.
While I was outside taking pictures…
The garden looked so pretty in the afternoon light.
Summer is officially here. The boys are back from college, the house is full of chaos, I can't keep the house stocked with food. It's as though locusts have come. I think there's a haiku there somewhere.
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!
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.
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.
Instead of leaving the edges open, I added this curved piece to finish it on both ends.
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.
I found this antique candy dish at an estate sale and think it's the perfect recepticle for these multi-colored soaps.
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!
The transformation of an unused space to walk-in Pantry in a modern Farmhouse style.
One of the seredipitous occurances during our house design process was ending up with a walk-in pantry aka a Butler’s Pantry. Originally the space was going to be opened up making the TV nook into a full-size family room.
We could not extend beyond the existing footprint of the house or else we would end up in permit HELL, so I decided to re-purpose some unused space – a huge wet bar in the center of the house (a common design element here in Marin County in home’s built in the 50’s). It’s gone and in its place are two spaces that we didn’t have before and are thrilled to have now – a pantry and a powder room. Voila!
Deciding what kind of door or whether to have a door at all took some time. At one point I considered painted double doors, as well as a sliding barn door but decided against both because I thought they would be hard to open if hands are full of groceries, platters, etc.
My grandparents had a swinging door that separated their kitchen and dining room in their home and I remembered how easy it was to push it open with an armload. My contractors located the hardware and then came what it should look like. I went with stained Alder because it was less pricey than Walnut and a farmhouse-style plank + X.
Open shelving is really important in a pantry, so everything is easily accessible.
When I had a party a few weeks ago, I set up a cocktail bar in the pantry. I decided to leave the cocktail ingredients out, because I love the festive look, especially with the holiday season here. For last minute get-togethers, all I need to do is put out a bowl of lemon and lime wedges and a bucket of ice. All the ingredients are here for guests to help themselves.
Every time I have a party that has more guests than the previous, I buy more stemless wine glasses to match the new total. I get my glasses here.
The countertop is Calacutta marble and is the remnant from the kitchen. Double serendipity!
The tall cabinet is for mops, brooms and cleaning supplies.
I found this ceiling mount Industrial Light Fixture here.
Small spaces are so intriguing aren't they? Here are a few pantry's that I adore.
It looks like the cabinetry above is stained a bluish gray. The collection of pewter is a stunning combination.
I love this pantry because it looks like one could create something like this themselves using shelving from Ikea or The Container Store. The adjustible shelves are really handy for pantry's.
Ahhh. I just love this sweet space. What a treat to have a nice bright window!
I love pantry spaces so much, I created a Pinterest board! Click here to see them.
The title of this post refers to my Powder Room – I know! I ran out of time! I'm headed to NYC to spend Thanksgiving with Luke, to be inspired and to come back with a fresh, new perspective. I will show the Powder Room photos in the next post!
In the meantime, HAPPYTHANKSGIVING to you and THANKYOU for reading FarmHouseUrban for almost 4 years!
Looking out from the kitchen doors to the gravel patio. We may add a barbeque later to the corner closest to the door. It's been stubbed with a gas and electric line, so it will be easy to add.
The arbor is made of redwood and is chunky and simple.
The walls throughout the landscape have been stucco'd with a light gray stain. I'm hoping that in a few months, the new plants will cover up our neighbor's fence.
Oh look! It's a rare sighting! A teenager eating a blowl of cherries while she keeps her mom company and critiques her picture taking skills.
This is looking at the kitchen doors from the table. The ipe deck matches the other decks throughout the house.
I am most excited to have a lawn. Grass is a rare commodity here in California. You don't get to have much because water consumption is a huge issue. So, despite the fact that the property is 20,000 sq. feet, this is all the grass we have. That said, it is just perfect for us. It is a simple but highly pleasurable thing to walk barefoot in grass.
Cement pavers lead to the back driveway.
There is a path that leads from the gravel eating area down to the lower part of the property and main driveway. I love the way the path turned out. We used stones and natural colored pea gravel. Since it's not meant to be a main entrance, we wanted to keep it pretty informal.
The sloped area on each side of the path is home to a few fruit bearing trees, so it's referred to as "the orchard". There are limes, lemons and meyer lemons.
Two black mission fig trees.
Two Fuji apple trees and one Gala apple tree.
And five Frantoia olive trees. My friend Victoria recommended them. She has a farm in Sonoma and makes her own small batch olive oil as well as olive oil infused lotions and soaps.
Moving down to the front porch, there are big rectangular cement pavers leading from the driveway to the porch and front door. This cute little garden space will look more filled in soon when the plants get a little bigger.
I love hydrangeas and we have a few varieties scattered around. I would like to add more every year.
Roses are another favorite flower. Here is a little pale pink bud. It will be nice when it opens as there are no other buds left on any of the roses since someone accidentally left the gate open and the deer had a party.
I can't remember if I've shown this space earlier. It was finished last year, but since it is used so much, it's worth showing again. The fire pit and adirondacks are a regular hangout.
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.