While doing some research for Wednesday’s post, I came across some progress pictures that got me thinking. They are shared by Clayton Woodworks Carpentry of San Francisco and give us a glimpse into the great amount of work that goes into a project like this before we can admire the glossy shots published in our favorite magazines.

It’s easy to imagine that the business of interior design is a glamorous one, one that consists of endless shopping trips with clients, selecting colors and playing around with pretty fabrics. But the reality is very different. While it’s true that the design process itself is fun and exciting, it is also true that it only represents a small fraction of the job. The rest is a delicate balancing act between many different trades and vendors, project managing and coordinating craftsmen and artisans, dealing with unexpected setbacks and deadlines, constant trouble shooting. And then there’s that budget.

And while architects and designers can create beautiful drawings and mood boards and interior plans for their clients, it takes a lot of hard work and skill to implement those creative ideas. So this post is dedicated to all of those talented people behind the scenes, from vendors, contractors, paperhangers, seamstresses, and other artisans, and of course project managers, whose names often get forgotten (if ever mentioned) because they are the people that make any beautifully imagined home come to life!

progress 4

View Post

Happy Monday! As promised, I have a dramatic makeover to show you. Pictures of this cute cottage have been in my tear files since 2008 and they still look fantastic! Plus, there’s great design wisdom in how a tiny, drab home became an unforgettable gem!

My favorite thing about makeovers is that they can contain clever ideas we can all use. Good design is not only beautiful but teaches you something and as you will see, every inch of this home was intelligently planned to maximize its potential. The exterior alone is unrecognizable, while the interiors were reconfigured with minimal architectural tweaks to fit two bedrooms, two baths, a laundry room and an open bar kitchen. For all this, credit goes to New York designer John Bjornen.


View Post

I know I mentioned this last week but I am over the moon with the February issue of House Beautiful. It is filled with gorgeous projects from cover to cover and although I already wrote about one of their stories here (Nina Farmer’s Boston home makeover), I can’t help sharing yet another one. It is a 1900s Atlanta cottage with plenty of charm and an old world feel. Those of you who share my love of old houses will really like this one!



View Post

Let me start by first saying this, the February issue of House Beautiful is incredible! Cover to cover, with each image and story told, House Beautiful has delivered a truly gorgeous, insightful material. So if you haven’t gotten yours in the mail, please go out there and buy a copy asap. This is one issue you’ll want to hold on to. It’s that good! The magazine’s February theme is Before & Afters (and during) – which by themselves are some of the most gratifying design stories we could ask for. It might just inspire your next home makeover!


Starting with the cover, a mid-reno shot of Eddie Ross’ dining room (yes, you read that right! A mid-reno shot can be cover-worthy!) The former executive editor of Better Homes & Gardens and author of Modern Mix shares a stunning image of his dining room at Edgewood Hall, the historic home in Wayne, Pennsylvania he’s renovating with his partner Jaithan. Can’t wait to see it all finished! Following up – everything you need to know when considering a bathroom overhaul, and of course several before and after projects: Amanda Lindroth, Shon Parker and Nina Farmer are just a few of my favorite designers in this month’s issue.

View Post

I haven’t met anyone who didn’t enjoy a good before and after design story. In this case, a great one! Have you? Designer Madeleine Stuart and her husband, writer Steve Oney, purchased a historic Santa Barbara bungalow and fixed it up into a totally dreamy  retreat. Wanna see? 🙂

The Spanish style home came with plenty of charm and great bones, which helped of course, but the dark interiors needed fresh coats of paint and new fittings. And nothing like white walls to capture all that beautiful Santa Barbara light.


View Post