Old world meets modern; The Master Bedroom

There are bedrooms and then there are MASTER bedrooms. This is one of those. Maybe its the size, the amount of windows/light or maybe its the beauty of each antique piece – I don’t know. Maybe its the fact that once it’s obsessively styled and beautifully shot it is forever clean and just so perfect in my mind. I’m sure they don’t style the bed each morning and they probably have clothes laying on the bench at times, etc, but in my mind this bedroom always just feels like a pretty boutique hotel room in the South of France. And I want to go to there.

Shana, my client, has great taste and already had some pretty amazing pieces to work with. We just helped with the execution and pulled it all together (check out their living room and guest room)

When we met this room it looked like this:

shauna feste 1

Could be worse, obviously, but it was just big, blue and intense like 1997 prom dress, with less cleavage. We didn’t have to do anything structural to it – it needed to be painted, the floors need to be refinished and that was pretty much it.

shauna fest bedroom

We painted the walls ‘Swiss Coffee’ (a pretty warm white, that goes beige if you aren’t careful), and we painted the window frames that dark gray called ‘Deep Space’ (by Benjamin Moore). You might be surprised that I did that because generally I’m more of a fan of white frames and often painting window frames just creates big squares in the room. but these frames and mullions were wood and metal, and there were other dark wrought iron accents in the house (namely the living room and the upcoming dining nook) that simply wanted to be dark gray. I actually love how it broke up the space, accentuated the architecture and added drama.

We started decorating, by bringing in the pieces that she already had and supplementing with some new pieces. She makes me look VERY good because in this room in particular she had a lot of these pieces already. The bed is from Restoration hardware, and it is big and soft and jut so incredibly inviting, and the rug is a huge sisal that honestly I don’t remember where we purchased (maybe she already had it?). But everything else here is vintage or antique. So we started playing and playing.

shauna fest bedroom

Ready for a really sunny, bright new master bedroom? I rarely gush about my own work, but we just shot this last friday and going back into that room gave me a such a rush of calmness and pride. It’s just so big, warm, high-end and yet totally comfortable and laid back. It’s not the current style in my house but man, there is a huge part of me that wants to buy an old Hollywood Spanish-style house and get my old world on. Next house. Next house.

Click through to see the after …


Mixing pillows and patterns; 7 different ways

Today we are mixing a bunch of pillows (and patterns) and then you are going to vote for your favorite pillow combo (using our fancy voting poll widget at the bottom). The winning pillow combination will win a helicopter ride to Aruba, and then a chance at one-on-one hot tub date with Prince Farming. They are so excited and have been tanning and highlighting their hair for WEEKS, so please be sure to weigh each combo properly and vote with your heart.

Here’s how it went down: when I was MANIACALLY organizing and cleaning our house over the break I realized that I had approximately 47 decorative pillows, just hanging out in closets, on furniture, etc. That doesn’t even include what is at the studio. So, before I took them all over to the studio (some to keep for future projects, some for our EPIC garage sale that is coming soon) I figured I’d shoot a little pillow post.

We started with two solid 24″x24″ white linen pillows on both sides and just changed out all the smaller pillows. We didn’t have any big solid pillows to help anchor the corners (which is what you need on a bench like this) – but for most sofas you are fine with 20″x20″ or 16″x16″ even, as long as the other pillows vary in sizes.

Lets get into it:

Pillows_ Bench Midcentury Modern Emily Henderson_Blue and Green

This first one is the ‘Grey Gardens meets Steven Alan, with a side of subtle’. Hilariously enough, this might be the most masculine. And by masculine I mean, like Adam Levine, totally muscular but he would rock a floral shirt. And women across America would faint.

Cream Ruffle: vintage | Blue Floral: vintage | Grey and Yellow Geometric (no longer available) | Teal Blue Yellow Striped | Grey and Yellow Cross | Cream Linen


Rustic Spanish California Home – Simple, Eclectic Guest Bedroom

Nothing hurts my soul more than not being able to find a ‘before’ photo. Can you imagine watching The Biggest Loser and the contestant saying ‘Sorry, we forgot to take photos or weigh me at the beginning but trust me, I was a lot bigger!!’

Its just devastating. But I’ve looked through two old computers and 2 old phones and I’m now convinced that I didn’t even take before photos, in fact I’m wondering if this room actually existed before. Did my imagination dream up  this room? Did I use The Secret and produce this room with my brain? Maybe. My brain be very powerful. As I’m writing this my powerful brain is renovating my disgusting bathroom. Finally, I found a (mental) contractor that is in tune with me. (Meanwhile this was all before DropBox, which I realize every single day saves my career).

Luckily this room makeover is the fastest and least dramatic of the whole house (which is why I’m posting it so fast after the living room) so a lot of process photos aren’t totally necessary. It is the guest room and you know how most guest rooms go – no splurging; just pretty and simple. Lets get into it:

guest room before

After the reno was complete we just needed to get this room to be functional and ready for Shana’s family to come and visit her and her newborn (read this post if you don’t know the back story of this situation). She wanted us to focus on the other rooms first to make sure that we weren’t inspired to spend like 15K in this room. Instead we used a rug she already had (I mean, who just has these rugs just lying around in their garage?) and we custom-made a bed, changed out some sconces, dressed the bed and thats pretty much it.

Unfortunately there is really only one angle that Country Living shot, because the rest of the room was just simple – a wardrobe, a bench and that’s kinda it. We are shooting the other rooms in the house tomorrow and if we have time we’ll shoot a pulled back shot of the rest of the room for you, but honestly it wasn’t totally designed so there might not be much to see.



We ordered the bed from Dekor (like the sofas) and chose this more classic, and slightly deco shape to work with the house. We pulled the color from the rug and wanted it to feel seamless with the rest of the house, so that blue was a no brainer.

Shana bought these french antique sconces from a dealer, but as you can see, when Orlando held them up we thought they just didn’t portray the french beauty that they had and went kinda ‘wanna be’ really fast, even though they were the real deal. They were candle sconces and would have had to be rewired to function so we decided that the effort and expense wouldn’t give the result that we wanted. So we nixed those and decided to do something slightly more modern with the sconces seen on the right. They still felt old world (they are aged bronze) but had a simpler shape. We kept her side tables and lamps because they were pretty great. Ready to see it transformed?

Welcome to the new guest room:


eclectic guest room

Yeah. I’d move in. We styled it pretty differently for the style book (I can’t wait to show you) but I love how they styled it, too. Here’s a secret – there is only one of those brass lamps – they must have photoshopped the other one in. How do they do that? They have the camera on a tripod and they take one photo with the lamp on the left, then they move the lamp to the right and take another with the lamp on the right and then they put the two photos together in Photoshop. I would say they were cheating except that for the book we actually made that painting larger over the bed – it’s a bit dinky as is. Magazines are full of lies. Beautiful, wonderful, eye-candy lies.


Don’t you agree that the painting should be about 10″ bigger? And how do you feel about those shades? I still kinda want to modernize them with drum shades but at the same time I think that traditional bell shades like these are coming back in so maybe in a year I’ll feel differently (but maybe not pleated?)


Right outside the guest room is the backyard and the view/light in here is just beautiful. It’s such a happy room which is why we didn’t put too much money or effort into it. It kinda looks good all the time because the light is just so beautiful.


That tassel bedding is just incredibly adorable if not perfect. It’s from Anthropologie and its expensive but you could DIY that pretty easily.


Its simple, happy and totally guest friendly.

guest bedroom

Some quick questions answered: The wall paint is Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore and the window frame color is Deep Space, by Benjamin Moore.


Regardless of the lack of ‘totally before’ photos, this transformation is still pretty satisfying, no?

Here’s a ‘get the look’. (And I read all the love for the ‘look for less’ in yesterdays post so don’t worry more of those will be coming, we just didn’t do one for this because it was just so few things).

Get the Look_Shana Guest Bedroom

1. Kilim Rug | 2. Side Table | 3. Upholstered Headboard | 4. Brass Lamp | 5. Striped Pillow | 6. Tassel Bedding | 7. Grey Blanket | 8. Chinoiserie Vase | 9. Wall Sconce 

Happy Friday. Now go get your guest room ready because Tailor Swift and I are on our way over. We hang like that. xx

*photos c/o Country living Magazine. Photographer Max Kim Bee and stylist Elizabeth Beeler

Rustic Spanish California Home – The Living Room

country house living room

Sometimes, just when you start to feel pigeonholed the right project comes along and pulls you right out of it. A year and a half ago I had finished a lot of mid-century eclectic projects in a row, which I LOVE, but I also love every other style (the good versions) so I was jones-ing for a change. Luckily Shana came along with her french-antique/spanish/industrial/country dreams, and a beautiful house that was a total blank canvas and I was as excited as a rider-less rodeo bull in a fence-less field. That’s pretty happy.

The only problem? They bought it mid-flip – meaning that the ‘flip’ was already under way and couldn’t be stopped (its complicated). It was going REALLY fast with what you can imagine to be not so beautiful builder grade choices. This house was a BEAUTIFUL 1916 Spanish style house and they were going to turn it into a faux Tuscan RHONJ monster. It’s the stuff you have nightmares about. The buyers (Shana and Brian) had very good taste and wanted an authentic spanish house with modern amenities (how novel, right?) and they didn’t want BS faux aged stone, and in fact, like most of us, were pretty offended by it.


The problem is that (traditional) investors don’t really want the new potential homeowners to really slow down the process of their flip by having opinions. But they did agreed to let them have some say if they hired a designer to help them make good, timely and on-budget decisions. Basically the investor already had a contract with this General Contractor, so they had  to finish the house under the original budget and time. By the way this whole thing happened inside of Escrow so it was shaky and weird in general.

So here’s how it went down: they would show us the faux tumbled tile that they were planning on installing in the kitchen, and after we swallowed the bile in our collective mouths, we would say gingerly,’Well, maybe we could pick out some comparable tile?’. For the most part they agreed and if we did it fast enough and just covered the budget then they would install our choices. There were many things that weren’t purchased yet but what we wanted went way beyond their budget so we went out-of-pocket. It got tricky at times, for sure, but we all wanted the same thing – a beautiful house and fast.

Meanwhile the situation was even trickier –  Shana was in Atlanta directing a feature film while pregnant almost the entire time we were under construction and designing. She wasn’t returning until the film was over, only weeks before her due date. So her house needed to be move-in ready by then. It was a pretty hard out. In a lot of ways this was amazing – she trusted me and I had a lot of freedom, but then of course it was hard to do some things just from pictures and emails so we didn’t finish everything before she got back.

Six months later it was finished and it now looks pretty darn beautiful if I do say so myself. It was a case of the right client, with the right house, with the right budget with the right designer. The bones of the house are BEAUTIFUL, the layout is so great and open. There is so much character in this old house but now its all modernized with 2015 amenities.

So that’s the general background of the project. Geez, that was a post already. Lets get into it, shall we? First up … The Living Room:


When I came in the walls were painted this insane avocado green, probably from the 60’s. The flooring was old, scratched and hadn’t been taken care of, but the wood was good. The living room was easy – just updates on the walls/flooring, add some lighting and we were done. That beautiful window with the stained glass crest was insane, and the beams, not to mention the doorway that you can see in the above grid of photos.  But the green made it feel really dark and well, nightmare inducing. Oh that crazy double vanity up there? That was what they were going to put in the master bathroom (because it was left over from another house). Luckily we stopped that.


3 new (to me) hybrid Design/DIY blogs

I’ve been reading blogs FOREVER, like 10 years (yes, I love the irony in that) and there are times when I know i’m just checking them because I always have. But lately (as in the last year) I’ve found some new ones (new to me) that you all should know and they are doing a lot of things really, really right.

These blogs bridge the gap between DIY blogs (which can be smart and resourceful, with lots of information and process shots but often not the best styling or inspiring photographs) and Interiors blogs or web-sites (which can have pretty photographs but often not a lot of information or process). To find blogs that have great ideas, information and pretty styling and photography is super rare.

And from one blogger to another trust me that creating this content takes so much time, effort, money and brain cells. It’s a legit JOB, and these guys are killing it at their careers.

Rosa Beltran Design. She is an LA based designer (Silverlake in fact) that just does really beautiful attainable room makeovers. I found her during the ‘One Room Challenge’ thing that produced a lot of good work (and a lot of mediocre, as well, but that’s kinda the fun of it). This is what she did:


It was a modern Parisian theme, for her sister and the amount of DIY’s in here are actually hard to spot because they don’t look like they could possibly be DIY’d. Just so pretty taste and not all mid-century so it’s just so refreshing to see (especially in LA, and yes, I’m talking to myself right now). Nice job, Rosa. Please continue to kill it.

Next is Design Confidential. Rayan creates these crazy smart build plans for tons of pretty and simple furniture. She includes materials needed, costs, step by steps with tons of really intricate measurements that are VERY impressive. You would think that she had an architectural background but I’m pretty sure she is just really smart and good at things. These are some of my favorites:




But it’s not all renderings, nay. She does normal design/style posts with some secrets and lots of resources.

People make her projects and share them on her blog. I think that these two shots are of hers. If I were ever to be someone who builds furniture (which is exactly what I wanted to do 12 years ago) I would be so psyched that Rayan exists to do the heavy thinking.


All done with a real, engaging, down to earth voice.  Please check out Design Confidential.

Last up is Vintage Revival. Many of you probably know Mandi, but honestly I didn’t til last year so clearly not all of us are trolling new sites as often as we should be. Mandi does awesome makeovers, styled and shot beautifully. They are ambitious, smart and just so well done, with mistakes and all. Take The Nugget – a vintage airstream that was disgusting but now is this really amazing, beautiful little gem of a space. This is what she did to the kitchen area:


Ridiculous. And in that after photo you can barely even see the flooring which is one of the most spectacular things i’ve seen on a blog in a long time. I might steal that pattern for my bathroom surround. Check out Mandi’s blog, now.

There was a lot of hub bub 2 months ago about the death of the design blog (after YHL called it quits, sadly). The critics said that people (namely first generation bloggers who now have kids) were getting burned out, unable to keep up the projects and creating the content they did in their 20’s, and eventually closing their doors. Not only was there ‘blogger burnout’ conversation but many people claimed that people were leaving blogs and just trolling Pinterest. And some people have, and some blogs have suffered.

But Pinterest doesn’t show design process or personality, only blogs can do that. And these ladies are proving that as long as they remain a destination full of information, process, resources and personality with beautiful shots, they’ll grow and grow and become even more of a destination. But creating that content is insanely time-consuming and exhausting, so hopefully they’ll do what I wished YHL did, and hire help before said ‘burnout’ takes full force.

So my two questions are:

1. What are the other good design/decor/diy blogs that you guys can recommend? Especially the lesser known ones …

2. I realized that all three of these blogs use watermarks (logos in the corner of pictures). I’ve been on the fence for a while about that: it’s so great that the credit doesn’t get lost and where the idea originated is ALWAYS remembered (and therefore you get more traffic). But I also fear that it keeps larger websites from reposting photos (Lonny, Domaine, Domino, etc tend to stay away from Watermarked photos) and that people will pin them less, which is a huge source of traffic. But these watermarks don’t bug me at all and if a larger site wants to post your photos they should ask you for a high res photo and credit in the copy anyway, right? What are your thoughts on watermark? Does it make you pin it less? Or do you really care?

Check out Rosa Beltran Design, Design Confidential and Vintage Revival for good DIY and Design blogs.

Oh and be sure to check out Amber Interiors and Justina Blakeney who are less DIY (which is why they aren’t in the list above) but are  two really awesome inspiring interior design and styling blogs with great personality and photography.