The den, plaid makeover

Plaid carpet install

The den has been in process for quite some time and not including the kitchen, the last room to finish, but we have a great base with the walls painted Railings by Farrow & Ball to layer on mixed plaid and cozy this room up! As a reminder, this is what the room looked like before we got started. 

The den, from the listing photo

It is amazing to think that our cozy den was once a bedroom!

The first thing we did was paint the space and remove all traces of gray

It still makes me sad that the homeowner painted the entire home gray to sell it, just for me to immediately re-paint, but alas – the gray is gone, and so is the pink square that the mirror was hiding… 

The carpet selection for this room was simple. I knew I wanted a modern plaid rug in a navy tone and was immediately drawn to a carpet from Stark that could be custom cut to fit the room perfectly. 

From selection to installation, the Stark carpet was in place within one month

We had a couple of real-time decisions to make as the carpet was being installed. Namely, whether or not we left the “tail” of carpet alongside the fireplace and behind the door. While it is relatively “skinny” I decided to keep the tail as the door is often open and I wanted to see the carpet extend behind the door. I also did not want the door to get caught up on the edge of the carpet when opening and closing. After months of living with this carpet, I am happy we kept the tail. 

We debated keeping this “tail” or cutting it short and decided to keep it

The addition of the carpet made such a difference in this room and I am so happy with it. It is a perfect compliment to the Railings paint color. 

The carpet is a perfect match to the Railings paint from F&B

Still in process is a cornflower blue pull-out couch from Avery Boardman that will be delivered soon. Once the couch is in place I will select chairs from Chairish (or Ebay) to re-upholster.

Stark carpet in place, waiting for furniture

I’ve narrowed down the fabric to a selection of Colefax and Fowler plaids, pictured below. They all coordinate well with the couch fabric (below, bottom right), and the carpet. I’m debating introducing more than one plaid and am thinking about it all as a big mix and match project. It needs to coordinate, but it doesn’t need to match perfectly. 

Swatches from Colefax and Fowler and our chosen couch fabric from Manuel Canovas, bottom right

Keeping in mind the art that we selected for the room, I am leaning towards the plaid on the top right of the image above for side chairs. The fabric has a sense of plum which helps to pull in the tones of the artwork and it feels like a better coordinating fit, to me. 

Stephanie Hier artwork in the den, wall painted Railings by F&B

Once the couch is delivered and in place, I will make the final decision. I’m enjoying taking my time on this project! 

A Chairish Makeover

Re-upholstering a Chairish find

I am a big fan of the Chairish app and the great deals that are available there. Chairish is like a garage sale without leaving your home. The shipping costs can be a bit tricky, but overall there are some incredible finds on this platform. I recently nabbed two chairs for $315 on Chairish, had them re-upholstered in Colefax and Fowler Bowood fabric, and they are now like new!

Cowtan & Tout, Colefax and Fowler Bowood Fabric

The most important part of getting a good total value here is to pay as little as possible upfront. This helps to accommodate the high price of fabric and labor. Otherwise, you may be better off buying a brand new chair and providing your fabric direct to the manufacturer to upholster. Before I begin searching, I get a rough idea of the dimensions that I need the chair to be, then I sort by these dimensions. I am typically flagging (“hearting”) every chair that has a good shape and size and am not discriminating based on price (I always negotiate). A particularly good tip is to find slightly dirty or oddly colored chairs that generally won’t sell well – and bargain down. My first offer is always the lowest price the slider will allow, and then I see what happens.

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SRQ Vintage chairs, purchased from Chairish

In this case, I found a pair of great chairs from SRQ Vintage in Bradenton, Florida that were in perfect condition. They were listed for $595. I offered $315 and I got them. Off to a good start! Shipping was $369 which is really expensive, but I have since learned that if you speak to the seller you can get much less expensive shipping options.

On delivery day, the chairs are in great condition!

The chairs were white-glove delivered to our home and were the perfect size and fit. However, they were missing swivels so I had our upholsterer add a new base. Comfort Upholstery did an amazing job re-upholstering these chairs quickly (and well) and picked up and delivered when complete.

Upholstered Bowood chairs by Custom Upholstery, Chicago

From start to finish this project took 2 months total from the day I ordered (April 7) to the day the chairs were delivered from Chairish (May 9) to the day I sent to upholstery (May 18) to the day they returned (June 6) and I love them!

Bowood chairs happily re-covered and in place in the living room

The chairs required 16 yards of fabric, but there was a good amount left over that has been sent away to be made into throw pillows!

The den, in process

Railings, by Farrow & Ball

The den has been painted Railings by Farrow & Ball. It is a sophisticated color and makes for a cozy room! A flashback to where we started:

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Remember where we started? The original listing photo was a bright gray bedroom.

And, where we are today. A completely refreshed base for what will be a den.

The choice of color was an easy one, working with the fireplace surround, but I was in suspense leading up to the big reveal and wasn’t disappointed. Walter and his team from Tapia’s Works did an impeccable job.

Den painted Farrow & Ball Railings matches the fireplace surround nicely

You may recall that a prior owner had painted around the mirror, leaving the space beneath a surprising shade of pink! We cleaned that up this time around.

The windows are original curved glass from the late 1980s

The windows are pretty, but are old. I solved for draft with SewSixThree on Etsy draft stoppers that are beautiful and smell great.

We sprayed paint over the fireplace with Farrow & Ball Wimborne White for a beautiful finish

A sprayed finish is the way to go for smooth surfaces like doors, and detailed surfaces like molding, with a brush sprinkled in as needed for more detailed trim. I must say that I am a true Farrow & Ball subscriber after seeing the finish compared to the prior paint.

The bookcase will provide great visible storage once we are in decorating phase

The radiator will be left uncovered. It didn’t look as bad as I was expecting

We still need to identify a good spot to hang a television and make a decision on drapes.

The finished color is so sophisticated relative to the gray we had previously

Cozy plaid draft stoppers filled with balsam pine by SewSixThree on Etsy

The mirror from prior owner is back in place and the perfect fit!

Now that the base is complete I am considering furniture ideas and searching for the perfect plaid rug. Let me know if you have any ideas!

Guest bedroom, wallpapered

Bird and Thistle, for the win!

The guest bedroom has been papered in Bird and Thistle by Brunshwig & Fils, and I’m excited that the entire place is coming together as planned and on schedule.
As a reminder, this is where we started:

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From the listing photo, the guest room before we started work

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The small bookcase behind the door was one of the first things we removed

And, this is where we are today!

Bird and Thistle wallpaper by Brunshwig & Fils, in the guest

I am thrilled with the results. Walter’s team at Tapia’s Works in Chicago did a great job installing this paper with no waste. We completed this entire job with our budgeted paper and will use the remaining strips to cover wooden tissue boxes (craft project!). The room is painted in Farrow & Ball Wimborne White. The original moldings and doors are spray finished. The doorknobs are antique brass.

The window boxes were painted in Wimborne White by Farrow & Ball

The wood floors will be revealed this week

The leftover paper will be used to cover wooden tissue boxes!

The build-in bookcase is great, but it wasn’t finished particularly well. The middle strips should be covered with molding, which we will add.

The bookcase face will be cleaned up with new molding

For lighting, I chose the Aerin, by Visual Comfort, Modern Rosehill Semi-Flush Brass and White Strie-Glass light fixture. I’m a bit worried it will be too small, but it is the same size as the flush mount previously installed, so it should be okay. There is a larger choice, but I didn’t appreciate this until after the order was placed.

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Aerin Modern Rosehill Semi-Flush Brass and White Strie-Glass Fixture

The Bird and Thistle paper is set off perfectly by the Wimborne White finish

The lighting fixtures and drapes will come next. I am planning on a bamboo shade paired with Bird and Thistle matching drapes.

 

The den, in process

Painting in process

The den is draped in a lovely shade of Wimborne White paint. Walter and his team from Tapia’s Works carefully painted the detailed mantle, trim and ceiling. The den is now ready for a coat of Railings which will be a dramatic update for this space and make it a super cozy place to hang out.

The window boxes and trim have been painted Wimborne White

I’m excited about this room because it will be painted Railings, a softer alternative to black. You may remember what the room looked like before we got started. The brick on the fireplace was the inspiration for the wall color.

Hmm… a pink surprise underneath the mirror…

It is funny to me that the previous owner painted around the mirror, but ย not underneath it. The mirror was purchased from the prior owner for $500 and will be re-hung once the painting is finished.

We will not be keeping the pink square!

I am excited to move into an era of paint that is NOT gray. I am tired of the gray paint that I have been enjoying for the last 10 years (aren’t you?!).

The bookcase has been taped off and the door has been separately painted

The finish of Wimborne White on the trim is Estate Eggshell and the walls will be painted Estate Emulsion, a chalky finish.

Original details of the fireplace have so much character

One of the neighboring units did restore their mantle to original wood and it was gorgeous, but out of budget (and time!) for us to restore, so we have kept with white paint and will enjoy the character with fireside drinks with family and friends!

The dining room, before

A high-gloss finish in process

The dining room can be closed off from the living room and hallway by two original sets of wood pocket doors. The ceilings in this house are 10 feet and this room will have a chandelier when the paint is squared away. Here is the dining room today

The dining room has beautiful original wood pocket doors

The room will be painted lacquer olive, Wendy’s Green from Farrow & Ball. The molding and trim will be painted Wimborne White to make it easier to update the wall color in the future, although I do love a full high-gloss (including ceiling!) room.

There are two built in bookcases and a large street facing window

The mantle is marble and was sourced from New York by the previous homeowner. The previous owner also refinished the doors, so they are in good condition.

Master bedroom, before

Wallpaper to be stripped

I love this master bedroom because it is tucked away in the back of the house, so it is quiet, but it also has great street views thanks to the space afforded by the side alley and the angle of the bay windows. Today it is wallpapered in this lovely floral print. This wallpaper will be stripped and Farrow & Ball Wimborne White will take its place. Here is the bedroom in the listing photos:

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The master in the listing photo

Here is the bedroom today:

Cedar lined closets with brass knobs

Wallpaper to be stripped and room to painted Farrow & Ball Wimborne White

Wallpaper to be stripped

The closets are cedar lined and afford plenty of space, although one of the uppers is HVAC…

A custom set of mahogany drawers are being made in TN. The drawers will look similar to this piece from Primitive. I’m still searching for the perfect hardware.

Custom mahogany dresser in process, similar to this one from Primitive

The wallpaper stripping will happen this week, followed by the painting of the entire apartment including ceilings.

The reason why we selected Wimborne White for the master is because a large colorful piece of art will be hung on the bedroom wall, away from direct sunlight, and white is the best suited backdrop. The art will be hung where the TV is placed in the listing photo. The stacked drawers will be placed between the bay windows that are unfortunately not captured well in the pictures above but are located next to each other with a gap between.

Master bathroom demo

The master bathroom demo is underway and all floors and the privacy wall have been removed. The master bathroom previously had hex tiles and a very traditional look and feel with 1930’s style fixtures that will be kept.

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The master bathroom floors and privacy wall are gone

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The Perrin & Rowe fixtures will be updated to an unlacquered brass from Waterworks

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The floors will be replaced with a custom Kelly Wearstler for Ann Sacks geometric design

All fixtures will be replaced with Waterworks unlacquered brass Highgate and Easton Classic fixtures.

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Waterworks Highgate Faucet with White Porcelain Lever Handles

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Waterworks Highgate Thermostatic Valve Trim

The hand shower will be removed and an in-wall shower head will be added. The fixtures have been delivered as we wait for the ceramic trim and baseboards to arrive with medicine cabinets, lighting, ceiling fan and geometric floor design to be ordered.

Kitchen update that made a big difference

(that cost us nothing)

The kitchen of this apartment is in great condition, but feels a bit dated. That being said, so many elements of this kitchen are timeless, so I want to preserve the beautiful Bolhuis cabinets, the Sub Zero and Miele appliances and the Perrin and Rowe hardware while giving the kitchen a bit of a lift.
Here is a reminder of what the kitchen looked like:

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Listing photo

Here is a photo of what the kitchen looked like this morning:

Gold Coast kitchen refresh / remodel
Taken on an iPhone ๐Ÿ™‚

In person, and somewhat illustrated by the non wide-lens camera, the space is a bit cramped. The area between the hanging cabinets and the sink is only the width of a four burner stove. I want to visually open this space up by removing the hanging glass cabinets.

Gold Coast kitchen refresh / remodel
The space feels cramped (and not just because the ladder is there)

Of course my biggest mistake was not taking more “before” photos, but everything moved quickly once the work got started! My dad is helping me here! He built the house that I grew up in, laid all the floors and spun every spindle by hand.
Part of the challenge of the hanging cabinets is that they took up a lot of counter space. If you refer back to the first photograph you can see that 1/3 of the counter space was monopolized by the base of the cabinet. At the base was a hollow opening that included an electrical strip. The opening was suited for storing breads, but a microwave would not fit.

Gold Coast kitchen refresh / remodel
The first step was to remove the heavy glass cabinet doors

First, we removed all cabinet doors and shelves. Since these cabinets were more decorative, and less everyday, the hardware was in perfect shape. We will replace the more tired hardware in other areas of the kitchen with these. This will save money since each of these knobs cost $45.

Gold Coast Kitchen Refresh
The “like new” cabinet knobs and hardware will be repurposed in other areas of the kitchen

Next, my dad removed all of the small lights running through the cabinets. We tossed the lights (one already had broken glass) and kept some of the electrical elements for use on other projects.

Gold Coast Kitchen Refresh
Dad hard at work

Cabinet Doors
Cabinet doors carefully stowed away

We removed the crown molding around the center cabinet in order to drop it down. The molding was an interesting recovery for two reasons. First, it can be re-used to patch now remaining gaps from the hanging cabinets. Second, it appears as if each of these little teeth were individually nailed to the molding (wow! so much work!).

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Recovered molding will be used to finish the gap left by the end cabinet we removed

Gold Coast kitchen remodel / refresh
It appears as if each of the teeth on the molding were applied individually (wow!)

Gold Coast kitchen refresh / remodel
Once the molding was removed and stored, we took down the cabinets

This project took almost a whole day, but it made a big difference. We successfully removed all the hanging cabinets and opened up the kitchen.

Gold Coast kitchen refresh / remodel
This made a huge difference in opening up the space!

The only thing we changed was removing the hanging cabinets, and the kitchen looks dramatically different. The work that remains includes: replacing any tired door hardware with the knobs that we retrieved from the glass cabinets, professionally re-painting the kitchen cabinets, updating the backsplash and countertops and incorporating the La Voliere chandelier so we can eat breakfast with the birds!

Choosing paint with Julie

Julie Diorio specializes in light, space and the nuance of color and is very good at her job.

I spent weeks visualizing color schemes and finalizing a plan for this space, and only one hour with Julie refining it – It was a great use of time. Before I met Julie, this was the rough plan for paint and wallpaper:

Floorplan 2
Original plan for paint and wallpaper

After spending an hour with Julie, my plan was refined. We selected the color of white that we will use across all of our white spaces to maintain a beautiful and traditional look. We chose Wimborne White by Farrow & Ball. We selected a beautiful putty color for the kitchen, Skimming Stones by Farrow & Ball, and a couple of paint choices to consider for the den. The wallpaper choice in the entry will be a “moment” that will influence the choice of color on the hallway ceiling, the back console and the dining room. Since the entry console is curved, it is not a good place to showcase large artwork and a large pattern may get lost between the five doorways that line the space. I am already working on wallpaper for the entry, back console and guest.

Floorplan
Post working with Julie

Julie and I talked a lot about WHITE and the various tones of white, and the “whiteness” of white. But seriously, we discussed in detail how paint quality impacts the quality of the results, the depth and richness of higher quality paints and the appropriate tones of paint to pair with the tone of the natural light in a space, based on the orientation of the room and the time of day. We talked about the flow and story of a space, told with color.

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Our selected white, Wimborne White, Farrow & Ball

The prior homeowner put a lot of work into the renovation of this apartment and the restoration of the beautiful molding and doors. I am planning on carrying all of this hard work forward and maintaining the historical details and natural wood finishes, like the pocket doors.