Posts Tagged ‘Home’

Before and After: My New Foyer

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Let’s start from the beginning, or rather, the entry. I didn’t change too much about the exterior of my home in our recent renovation, but I did alter the front door in a big way. Formerly a single door with out-of-date sidelights, I wanted double doors for a more grand entrance. Additionally, I wanted glass doors to let the light shine through, but also solid doors for privacy. Why not have both, right? So I added both- double glass doors with a pair of solid doors behind them. All dressed up with gorgeous polished nickel hardware and glass doorknobs.

For the interior, I knew I wanted my entry to make a big statement, and these dated brown walls and lackluster paneling weren’t cutting it. I wanted something fresh, but also classic.

And what can be more classic than black-and-white? You’ll recognize this chest from my entry in my previous home; I just can’t part with it! This fabulous grey and white labyrinth wallpaper from Cole & Son provides a dramatic backdrop for my original art collection with pops of pink!

The flooring before was strange fragments of marble with no rhyme or reason in shape or size. And that chandelier put off essentially zero light.  I needed to start almost from scratch to brighten up this space and make it current. I also wanted to add some architectural interest to the room. So I beefed up the wainscoting and added those gorgeous pediments over the doorways leading to both the dining room and the study.

The new pediment adds interest over the cased openings, and you can see that I removed the doors closing off the dining room for better flow. That drab, boring chandelier has been replaced by my stunning Rothesay lantern in glossy black, which matches the shiny new checkerboard marble floors by Emser tile. And  black and white goes from the ground floor to the second floor by way of my custom New River Artisans stair runner- a design from my new collection!

I’m so thrilled to get to walk you all through my new home, one room at a time. Join me here more this month to see the dramatic before and after’s of every room in my home, plus see all of the details we couldn’t show you in the magazine. But first, leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the renovation of the entry. It’s quite the change, isn’t it?

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before and After: My Dream Kitchen

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I have loved hearing all of your feedback about my home renovation reveal in the December issue of Traditional Home. Now let’s dig into some of my favorite details from my project, starting with the Kitchen.

As you all know, I love to cook, so of course, my kitchen is one of the hardest working rooms in my house and designing it was definitely a labor of love.

The “after” is full of amazing Thermador appliances, fabulous storage solutions, and all wrapped in the most calming shade of blue! But let’s talk about the transformation from drab, dark, dated and dysfunctional to my dream kitchen.

Ok, I’m cringing revisiting my kitchen before photos. The colors were dated with a sort of mauve and celery green speckled granite, glazed cabinets, celery walls, dark stained trim and a very 70’s pass-through over the sink into the sunroom. I honestly can hardly remember it looking like this even though I lived it in for TWO YEARS!

The overall layout of the kitchen before is actually not all bad, the U-Shape kitchen is very common and considered one of the most functional kitchen layouts. But this old space didn’t provide enough of a work surface for my cooking or my daughter’s baking. And with the upper cabinets stopping below a soffit, and having fixed shelving inside, they didn’t provide ample storage for all my china, serving ware and small appliances. It was definitely time for this space to go!

First, we gutted everything, and eliminated a laundry closet behind my range. This allowed me to extend the kitchen an additional 3 feet and to make room for  a massive island!

Seeing this photo of the space all the way down to the studs was still prettier to me than the before. After two years in this drab space, this looked like amazing progress to my eyes.

Just getting sheetrock on the walls made the kitchen look large and fresh. This is when things started to get super exciting!

Cabinetry was next and I was dying for the interior window to go in over the sink. Remember the old pass-through before? …

How could you forget, right?

My solution for a more classic style was adding an all wood oval window between the kitchen and the sunroom. This interior window now looks like it’s always been here. It feels architecturally appropriate for this 1960’s home and it’s many people’s favorite feature in my kitchen, including mine.

I love having a view out through my sunroom and to the pool beyond. And the gorgeous Kohler sink and faucet make this area even more lovely.

Everything in my kitchen design is so relaxing, and better yet, functional. I changed from the U-shaped layout to an island layout that provides me with so much more workspace. And in the 9′ long island I have included fun details like Thermador refrigerator drawers, microwave drawer, and warming drawer, plus baskets for fruits and veggies, a paper towel holder and a baking drawer that holds my dry ingredients like flour and 3 types of sugar.

And you can’t see it from here, but on the sink side of the kitchen are 2 dishwashers, which means my sink almost NEVER has a dirty dish!

Now after seeing how gloomy my previous kitchen was, you can see why I went with a bright white, pale blue, and polished nickel color palette! But before we go a few last details…

Remember my old and very odd refrigerator in the before? It was tucked under the entry stairs and accented with beauty mold around it like we wanted to highlight it, ha! It was next to a desk space that was a catch all for everything that made it’s way into the kitchen. And let’s not forget to mention that retro intercom system and gigantic doorbell hanging on the wall.

The after of this same wall is now my fantastic Thermador 30″ refrigerator column, 24″ freezer column, and an 18″ wine column.

And to the right of these is where you can find my steam oven with lots of storage above for baking sheets and small appliances and pulls outs below for anything else I want close at hand. Tucked into the wall where that old refrigerator was, this is definitely my favorite new gadget in the house!

My previous kitchen had a teeny tiny range with a microwave above that didn’t allow me to cook fabulous, big meals for my  family. The wall ovens were functional but equally dated. I needed to replace all these black appliances with some new, top-of-the-line Thermador pieces that work hard for my family and me.

Let’s get up-close and personal with my amazing new range from Thermador. This 48 inch professional series dual fuel range has 6 burners, a griddle, and 2 convection ovens! I can make literally anything and everything my family and friends would ever want to eat here. And the griddle can be switched out for an indoor grill. We created this custom hood with local craftsman. It houses a Thermador vent insert inside and has stainless steel straps on the exterior and is painted in my dreamy blue cabinet color called Slinky by C2 Paints. And here you get a great look at my marble subway backsplash Speartek, Daltile bistro floors that are actually glass tile even though they look like marble, and lacquer-look white Dekton countertops.

So there you have it…the sad before and the fabulous after of my new kitchen. I’m in love with everything about this space and I can’t stop singing its praises! I can honestly say, this kitchen has everything I could want. And I know my daughter and I will be cooking and baking in it together for years to come!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about my kitchen transformation. What’s your favorite part and what questions do you have? And to see more of my home renovation pick up the December issue of Traditional Home Magazine. And be sure to check out all the online content from my year-long renovation column with Traditional Home on their website. There are all sorts of tips, details and inspiration there for designing your own dream kitchen and dream home.

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before and After: Outdoor Oasis

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I’ve had an amazing response to my new pool and patio that’s featured in the June issue of Traditional Home! And since we’re starting a fabulous long holiday weekend today, I thought I’d show you the before shots of my home’s outdoor area and tell you a little about how I transformed it!

The existing pool and patio had an aggregate concrete surface and crumbling tile surround. It was way beyond time for a renovation, and I couldn’t wait to get rid of this old and battered concrete.

With the help of outdoor living expert David Munsey III of Better Lawns & Gardens, we resurfaced the patio with black-and-white Techo-Bloc Tux Pavers and the pool with black-and-white frost-proof tile from Daltile. The look speaks to my personal style and to the age of the house, which was built in 1968.

Here’s a shot I took of from the sunroom just as they were about to pull up all that concrete. I was so happy to see that old surface go!

As you can see in the before photo above, the sunroom of my house overlooks the outdoor area, so visual flow between indoors and out was especially important. I wanted to take colors and motifs from my interiors to the patio to make the decor look seamless and integrated.

For the outdoor decor, I wanted to have that 1960s glam vibe, like Palm Beach or the Beverly Hills Hotel. To enhance the cabana feel, I added a valance and draperies to the roof overhang.

And you know me, I have to have color! So I added energetic splashes of pink and green, as well as preppy stripes for extra kick. I furnished the patio with pieces from a line of Chinese Chippendale furniture that I designed for Woodbridge Furniture. And the Duralee fabric on the cushions feels like comfy terry cloth, which is great for a pool area!

To make gatherings even more memorable, there’s an outdoor music system, a pink flamingo float (named Frankie, after Frank Sinatra), and a giant chess set. I found chess pieces online that fit perfectly on the checkerboard tile. How fun is that? And I think Brooks Pools did an amazing job on our pool renovation.

Here’s the fabulous landscape designer David Munsey III enjoying my new patio with me – we may never go indoors!

So what do you think about this new outdoor space? Don’t you love being outside in the summer months? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

Tobi TV: 5 Ideas to Take Your Rooms from Day to Night

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I love selecting the perfect outfit for events and when I travel, and a look that will take me from daytime meetings to evening parties is a real winner. Planning that perfect room that will take you from day-to-day living into evening entertaining is equally important! It’s smart to think about the function of a room, and the furniture, as you plan your home design.

The living room in my Riverside Penthouse project, featured in Rue Magazine, is another great example of day-to-night design. It’s perfect for the family during the day, but makes a great statement for evening entertaining. Let’s take a look!

Don’t you just love that space? So fun and functional! Let’s recap those tips for a day-to-night room:

  1. Choose a durable sofa that can withstand the kids during the day and adults (with wine!) at night. The velvet sofa in my client’s home withstood 50,000 double-rubs on the durability test, so I know it will work.
  2. Try a great cocktail table that can hold flowers and incidentals in the daytime but will turn into a bar for evening entertaining.
  3. Choose art for your day-to-night space that will look bright and cheerful during the day, but will lean into moody hues when the sun sets.
  4. A soft and durable rug that the kids can play on in the daytime, and is easy to clean after the party at night, is perfect for a transitional space.
  5. Golden lamps will softly glow during the day and will bring the glam at night!

See? It’s just as easy to plan a room design that moves from daytime to night as it is to plan your day-to-evening outfits! Let me know how you use transition and function in your home by leaving me a comment below!

xo,

 

 

 

 

 

Why You Should Say No, and 5 Ways to Do It

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I have talked a lot about how important it is to say no to the “good” in order to make room for the “best.” But I wanted to dive a little deeper into that concept so that you really understand how important this is. Because I want you to start saying NO, and often!

Too often in my consulting business, I talk with creatives who let their clients cross professional boundaries. They give in on their fees, they give in when pushed about their hours, they take clients that their gut says won’t be ideal, and they take on too many commitments and responsibilities. In each of those cases, they should have said no.

There’s often a fear factor at work, a fear that the client won’t work with us if we don’t say yes to right now, a fear that we won’t get any other clients than the one in front of us, and a fear of missing a great opportunity. And we even tell ourselves that we’ll just give in this once, that we won’t do it again later. But once you let that guard down, it becomes far too easy to let it down again and again. It becomes a habit.

You know there are so many other times in your life when you should say no, too. Like when someone asks you to take on something big “just as a favor.” Or when you get an invitation to the 15th event this month and you’re already stretched to the max.

Yes, I know how hard it is to say no. Especially when a friend is asking the question. So here are a few ways to start practicing how to say NO so you feel more comfortable saying it during those critical times. First, ask for time. If you feel yourself cracking, say something like “I’ll have to think about that and get back to you.” That gives you time to build up your confidence and to remind yourself of why you need to say no.

Second, make a mental post-it note that you can refer to over and over. It could say “You are the CEO of your life and you cannot give in.” Or it could say, “Is this the right decision for my business? For my family?” Whenever you feel cornered, picture that post-it in your mind. You can even make one for your desk so you can look at it when you’re on the phone or answering an email request.

Third, don’t make it personal. You’re saying no to the request, not to the person. It isn’t rude or “mean” to say no to something. You aren’t obligated to fulfill every request someone makes of you. You’re a busy professional with a jam-packed life, others should understand that sometimes you won’t be able to say yes.

Fourth, remember that there is strength in standing firm. People often test your limits to see how far they can get. And many times they don’t actually respect someone they see as a pushover. You can even say something like: “I know we’re both strong-willed people, and I wish I could give on this, but I really can’t.”

Finally, practice saying no. You can use a friend or family member as a sounding board, as someone to practice with before you meet with that pushy client or family member. Just like giving in can become a habit, so can saying no.

Let me know when you’ve faced a decision where you stood firm and said no, or where you wished you had, in the comments section below. Remember that you’re saying no to the so-so to give you the time and energy to say YES to the fabulous clients and opportunities that are out there waiting for you!

xo,