Archive for the ‘before’ Category


Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Super fresh sofa. Still steaming.

I’ve been working with some fabulous clients and helping put together their incredible desert home. Just thought I’d preview a recent sofa project since its roots are quite thrifty, and frankly, I’m obsessed with sofas.


The sofa came from a local thrift store and with its original grungy/filthy crushed velvet upholstery it looked a hot mess…

…but it had curves and comfort and was the perfect scale and shape for the intended living room…



Reborn as a red hybrid baby of a Toga and a Chesterfield, this thang is all modern and all comfortable – a bona fide TV viewing hang out snuggle up and down sofa.

For some reason my pics are making it look like super crazy neon red, but it’s actually a more toned down rusty red-orange in person. That desert sun, it’s bright – I’m telling you.

Total cost wise it was commensurate with a nice Ikea sofa and cheaper than the big decor stores like West Elm or Room&Board. Plus, this thing is built like a freaking tank, is totally unique and the hardwood frame will last forever. I just thought this idea was something to mention when folks pass on vintage sofas because the upholstery is a gross mess. It might be worth investing a few hundred extra dollars to get it recovered so that you can incorporate something totally unique into your pad.

Things are chugging along with the design projects and I can’t wait to show off more completed spaces as they get finalized. Trust me, it will blow up your face – that’s how good this stuff is coming along.

Enough Already

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

A long while ago I mentioned that I was working with fancy set decorator and all around super star Laure Joliet on a TV makeover show. Well, it’s finally started airing on that new Oprah network and is called Enough Already with Peter Walsh. Laure already wrote a pretty awesome post explaining the whole shindig and the great folks involved like art director Mike, Heather, Barry and the whole crew. Laure also so kindly let me use her images below (did I mention she is also a killer photographer? I know, she is annoyingly good at everything) since with the madness of the schedule I never did get a decent shot.

When I say madness, I mean utter and complete madness.

Did I also mention that the show was about organizing and designing spaces for people with “extreme clutter” issues? Not quite hoarding, but teetering on the edge of the bell curve. Above is the “before” image of the dining room that Laure grabbed with her iPhone while they scouted the home.

How it worked was that in four days we had to remove everything, sort through it all, shop for essentials, install flooring and wall treatments and then makeover two to three rooms. During that time they are also filming things as well, so logistically it was nuts.

They were long – very very very long – and exhausting days but also incredibly exciting and fun. It seriously takes a huge bunch of folks to make these sort of transformations happen that quickly and everyone was surprisingly chipper and helpful and so well organized. It was a great team to be apart of.

Boom. Check out that blue grass cloth.

Look that’s a dining set! It was totally buried in that pile before, but now you can sit down and use it. Whenever possible we tried to reuse the owners original possessions and incorporate them in the new design. I liked that it wasn’t just about gutting everything and starting over, but that we truly did attempt to show how they could use their existing pieces to create a more cohesive and “designed” room.

See where that clock is and that little bit of credenza poking out under that big lamp? That’s this fireplace and this credenza (to the right) after we finished:

We also reused their existing chairs and added a rug and coffee table and lots of fancy pillows.

I’m proud of my fireplace vignetting – totally taking credit for that – but Laure found that really cool driftwood mirror!

With all the art we tried to take family pictures and enlarge them at Kinkos as well as reuse pieces they already had. Did you know that Kinkos can be kind of weird about that? Yeah. Seriously. I may have gotten into a bit of a tussle one late night with a Kinkos manager about enlarging a baby picture. Just be forewarned if you want to try to enlarge some family or personal photos, if the photo looks too “pro” they might freak out.

We got them this great sofa (which was a floor model from Blueprint) and a fancy new bubble lamp. Styling.

The other major room we tackled was their master bedroom. Don’t be fooled, Elmo is terrified.

Here’s the after.

So nice right? We installed hardwood floors and obviously had a major hook-up with a grass cloth company since there’s more nice grass cloth on the walls. I think it came out pretty well. Simple, relaxing and clutter free. Not like a scary pea green dungeon.

Thanks again to Laure for letting me use her images and for letting me join the crew. It was super awesome fun crazy exhausting, but ultimately warmed the cold little modernist cockles of my heart. It was incredible to see how utterly transformed these homes could be in just a few short days.

If you guys want to check it out on the TV – Enough Already airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network, Mondays at 8pm.

Coffee Table

Monday, February 7th, 2011

At this point I don’t even know how to say that I found another coffee table without feeling deep pangs of guilt and embarrassment. It’s turned into a bit of a sad joke, this whole switching coffee tables every month thing, but I just can’t stop myself when I spot something I really dig.

I’m addicted. I love coffee tables. Probably even more than I like sofas.

But, it could be worse, I could be addicted to eating a “household cleanser” or sofa cushions like those folks on My Strange Addiction.

Amazing what teak oil, Feed ‘n Wax and some elbow grease can do. Seriously, if you find a piece of wood furniture and it looks shabby and neglected but is structurally fine – GOOD. Ask for a discount and then get your oiling on! Trust me, it will look perfectly amazing with just a little bit of effort.

Curious about how to spruce up furniture? Check out this tutorial.

The Boy gets mad when I freshen up furniture on our patio since oil and debris get everywhere. Now I’m trying to do it out in our driveway to avoid the mess, which I’m imagining is such a great show for the neighbors. As if we weren’t weird enough already.

Come on. Give. It. Up.

This is a pretty incredible table.

I even vignetted it up like a proper stylist.

I can stack books! With things on top of them!

Are you guys coffee table vignetters?

I’m normally not. I don’t like a bunch of stuff cluttering up a table I use everyday since I like to put my feet up, have drinks and other things strewn about that are frankly, fairly ugly. I noticed that the first batch of pictures were looking kind of sad, so I thought “styling” would help liven this table up. Don’t expect my coffee tables to be like this if you come over.

I imagine there is this question of why the den’s furniture is laid out the way it is. It’s a weird little room. Difficult to photograph and harder to understand in pictures. It’s kind of like a big L with a built in desk on the other side and an entrance to the kitchen smack in the middle. Definitely challenging to space plan.

Oh, did you notice the old sofa is back. I know, I foretold it.

I also know that the portrait of what people like to refer of as “Lindsay Lohan” should be way lower. As a former gallery director and curator, I am ashamed that I’ve let this hang way above eye level¬† for years. Art hung too high or improperly is a giant pet peeve and I am a complete hypocrite for letting this happen.

Problem is, that if the painting hangs at the proper mid line it hits the wainscoting and hangs all wonky…then you hit your head on it when you sit on the sofa and it falls on you and hurts you and then people sue me. It’s one of those things I don’t think about in real life until I see it in a picture. Different art for above the sofa is a must, but I haven’t found anything appropriate so “Lindsay” stays super high. Tee hee.

Also, screw the wainscoting. It ruins my life.