Thursday, May 18, 2017

Kitchen Reveal

If you follow me on instagram, you may have already seen a little sneak peek of the kitchen redo I did here in the apartment.

When I moved into the apartment, the kitchen looked like this:

There's absolutely nothing wrong with it, it's just not "pretty". The cabinets, the counters, even the appliances are all new ... but this kitchen still needed a little something extra. There was no way I could paint the cabinets, but it became clear to me that the this tiny little kitchen would be much brighter, and appear more open, if these dark cabinets were gone.

So, one day, without permission, and a lot of brute strength, I pulled the upper cabinets down. I know right!?!?! The wall behind the cabinets required a ton of repair, but after patching and sanding and painting, the kitchen looked more open and spacious than before. I built the shelves and installed them on the corbels (purchased at Lowes) and painted everything out in the wall color (SW Dover White).

The next step was changing out the sad plastic mini blinds, and ho-hum light fixture. This roman shade was actually a DIY project by me! I still can't believe I made that thing! I found the pendant on clearance at Lowes, and installed it over the sink.

You can see that I hid the lower cabinets with this linen skirt, sheered onto tension rods which were held onto the cabinets with cup hooks.

I got the rug at an auction, it's a Russian Bukhara rug - and those things are practically indestructible. Great for the kitchen, especially since this is where Arlo and Louna wait for their treats, and it takes a daily beating from cookie crumbs and puppy toe nails.

The lower cabinets still function as storage, and are easily accessed by simply moving the curtains on the tension rods. But there are a lot of things stored on the counter and shelves that I need for daily use. Cereal bowls and silverware are tucked into this little basket, along with cloth napkins and lemons for morning tea.

On the other side of the shelves, the cabinet came down, but I left the wall space vacant. A simple German roe antler mount looks pretty good there, I think. A cutting board and Ralph Lauren candle urn (scored that one for 95% off the retail price) stay there all the time - and now that Spring is officially here, I have a feeling I'll be able to pick small bouquets of flowers to keep in the crystal vase those sunflowers are in.

Keeping it all neat looking is really about grouping and stacking. Making sure that everything is where it's supposed to be, and the "decorative" things are also utilitarian.

I started collecting cutting boards. Who collects cutting boards!? ME! And they all get stored here in the basket. I love this vignette, so I had to share another view.

At the end of the day, it's a decent apartment sized kitchen - and the finishes are what they are. If it were my home, and I could pick and choose, I would certainly have different cabinets, counters, appliances ... you name it. But, for now, in a rental - I'm pretty happy with it.

Proves that just about anything can be made better with fabric and paint! 

Hope you like the little switch ups as much as I do, and that you can be inspired in a little way (or a big way) by the change. Happy Weekend! 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

From $19M Estate to NYC Thrift Store

I got back from NYC yesterday morning, a great little extended weekend trip that I needed very much. Sometimes we all need a break from reality, am I right? When I'm in NYC, which quite frankly isn't often enough, I like to take it all in. I walk nearly everywhere and pop into little shops that look interesting along the way. I also, of course, make lists of places I want to go, including thrift and consignment shops, and those swanky 5th avenue joints.

Friday was my thrifting day on the trip, and I think we popped our heads in to no less than 20 of Manhattan's finest, thanks to some expert guidance. When we walked into Housing Works in Chelsea, the very first thing I spotted, was this:

Does it look familiar to you? The very second that I saw this monstrous chaise I knew it! It was like seeing a celebrity, or a friend from high school that had aged along side you - but was still so familiar you had to run up and say hello.

I apparently felt the need to take pictures of it from every angle, as if I were some sort of paparazzi of interior design and furniture. You see, if you don't know this piece of furniture you're about to. And if you do know this piece of furniture, you know that it was like one degree of separation from one of favorite interior designers, Jeffrey Bilhuber.

Bilhuber has a luxury design firm in NYC with clients that dot the city. This chaise, which is down filled and uber plush, was designed by Jeffrey for a children's reading room, featured in his book Jeffrey Bilhuber: Defining Luxury:

Go ahead, scroll back up. It's the same piece! So I know what you're thinking. I was thinking the same thing. How did it end up at Housing Works thrift store? And for just $165?

Yes. $165! Go ahead, collect yourself. And before you ask, I didn't buy it. I didn't have a way to get it back to Buffalo, and I DO NOT have room for it. But back to my story. So how does a $16,000 piece of furniture used in a gorgeous room featured in a book get to a thrift store for $165?

Well ... the piece started life in Greenwich, Connecticut in the 17,000 square foot mansion of former music executive, Charles Goldstuck. The Goldstuck house was a huge part of the Defining Luxury book for Jeffrey. Some of the published photos of the Goldstuck home are Jeffrey's most shared on the internet. For example:

And then of course, there's the Children's reading room with the chaise:

The Goldstuck family bought the home in 2004, and renovated it with Jeffrey. The original structure was constructed sometime around 1911 and finished in 1918. While it was a lovely home, completely personalized by Bilhuber and the Goldstuck family, they apparently wanted to ditch the home for a place on the water in Greenwich. So they listed it for sale in 2011, for over $19 Million! But they couldn't seem to move the manse until until September of 2013, for $4.5 million less than the original ask. 

The Goldstuck family moved from the house, and purchased another Greenwich treasure, and moved all of the furniture with them, setting it up in the new place possibly under Jeffrey's guidance. 

The new house was/is gorgeous, and much smaller. The family downsized by over 10,000 square feet. What they kept with them is also unclear, because the real estate photos don't show the rooms furnished. 

At the new house (which is now for sale) the table Jeffrey had fitted with a custom tablecloth sports it's iron legs. Here's what it looked like when they lived in the other place: 

The dining room table was left in the photos, too. Here's what it looked like in the other house: 

And low and behold ... 

There's the GIANT chaise that the Goldstuck's donated to NYC Housing Works to end up in the hands of one very lucky buyer, shopping NYC thrift. 

Isn't that cool? 

So where's the rest of the furniture? And why are they selling this house? Well, the couple finally found a house on the water in Greenwich. 

I'm hoping they call up Jeffrey to help them decorate this one - it could be outstanding! To see more of the house as it was decorated by Jeffrey, take a look at his book Defining Luxury, here:

Friday, April 21, 2017

Mark D. Sikes' 2017 Henredon Rooms at High Point

"Cobalt and Chinoiserie". That's what Mark kept tagging all of his instagram pictures with this year just before unveiling his collection of furniture with Henredon at High Point. I've been anxiously awaiting the reveal, and even posted about the teasing he was doing here.

This was the first teaser that Mark posted. Two of his Carlyle chairs, upholstered in rich cobalt velvet against cobalt blue walls.

Then this. Two of his Pacific Heights sofa's making one long banquette against a cobalt wall. I knew that Mark would make this beautiful, but I wasn't sure how. 

Then the Chinoiserie started to come in, with the Queens Road Coromandel Screen. 

Mark worked with artist Kayce Hughes for the art in the room. And before you knew it - we had peeks at spaces that were beginning to look a lot more finished:

Mark shared all of these pictures prior to High Point opening up today, and I'm sure there will be a TON of photos on instagram in the coming hours of his spaces, as there were last year. In fact, here are a few:

Great inspiration for those of us who can't make it down to North Carolina. You can find many of those pictures by searching #markdsikes or #henredon, and the tags for high point market: #hptmkt and #hpmkt2017. You can also check out all of the photos that were taken at people who were checked in to High Point Market here and here and here.

You can also glean loads of inspiration from Mark's book, Beautiful. I have a signed copy from Mark and I've purchased 6 copies for friends already. Take a look and grab your copy here:

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Changes ... They Are A'Coming

I've been working on a redo of my bedroom at the apartment for the last several days. It actually started as an early morning aggravation 2-weeks ago. I had been so frustrated with the four poster bed, and the lack of continuity between the bedroom and the rest of the apartment. In such a small space, there's really no need to have such varied and marked changes from room to room. I knew that one neutral palette throughout would make the rooms feel larger, and more cohesive. So, I set out with an idea to change the bed.

This is how you likely remember the bedroom, and granted, this is a pretty good photo. Due to the shadows, you miss the carpet completely. At first I thought I'd have my seamstress make new slipcovers for the bed in white, and it'd be good. But then I saw this picture:

I saw two glaring issues. First, the carpet. It was just eating the beauty of this room. Secondly, the bed. This room lacks architectural symmetry and that's something you really need in a small room that you want to put a four poster bed, or a canopy bed in. This bed can't be centered on any wall in the room, and the more I looked at it - the more I knew I had to find a new bed altogether.

And I wasn't about to deal with the frustrations of putting the bed online for sale. It's a fine bed, but frankly, I needed it gone right away to deal with the other issues. So, there it is. Well, was. (I think someone took this in less than an hour). Which left me with the other glaring issue. The carpet. Taking out the carpet meant LOTS of work. Mainly the removal of more than 300 interior design books and solid wood bookcases.

But I really had no choice. The books came out, along with the rest of the furniture, and I set in to work on the ugly carpet I should have replaced when I moved into the joint!

I dreaded pulling it up. I knew it needed to happen, but the living and dining room really took SO much effort that I just didn't want to have to go through all of that with the bedroom. Luckily though, I found a new flooring product, very similar to the living and dining room that went down like a dream!  I had it completed in less than 3 hours. Granted, I didn't start it until nearly midnight once I had pulled up the carpet, scraped and cleaned the floors, and cut all the planks.

Here's the 2AM selfie I sent to a friend who thought I was absolutely insane to be up so late on a THURSDAY with work the following day, putting in a floor. And yes - I'm insane. Initially I was sticking with the blue color story I had created for the room, so I ended up with this large gray blue rug.

Then, once I had the floors finished, I just hated it. I also knew that I really needed to focus on getting the room back to a wash of neutrals - like the living room and dining room, so the rug just wasn't going to work. The zebra I teased you with in this photo: 

Well, it is now in the bedroom, mostly hidden under the bed, but it provides a wild touch I sorta love. It will be layered over a large 9x12 seagrass rug that is supposed to be delivered tomorrow. The radiator that was covered by the dresser (now against the wall where the bookcases had been) will be covered. But that's all I'll tell you for now. There'll be a sneak peek of that space on instagram tomorrow and I'll share it here, too! 

Working on putting the space together has been tiresome, for sure. Most everything that I've wanted has been ordered, because it just wasn't available to me locally. I'm sitting on my hands here, just waiting for things to come through. When they all get here, and the custom sewing projects are finished (there are a few of those in the works) I will photograph everything and send it down the pike for you to enjoy. I promise!