Master Bedroom

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:

astor bedroom 2
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:

Gold Coast kitchen refresh
Listing photo

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

Gold Coast kitchen refresh / remodel
Taken on an iPhone 🙂

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!).

Gold Coast kitchen refresh
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.

The “before” photos

the listing photos

I have saved all of the listing photos of this unit so I never forget where this project started. The apartment is beautiful and the prior owner kept this apartment so clean and took such impecable care of it.

astor entry
Circular entryway with Scalamandre Ming Circus wallpaper
Kitchen with double height cabinets
Double living room with wood burning fireplace

I have a lot of ideas to breathe some new life into this place and am excited to start. The goal is to make smart updates that have big impact. The plan is to paint the majority of the rooms, selectively introducing wallpaper for the guest, front entry and back console. While gray has been a very popular color, I don’t care for it now and am excited to shift to neutral white and cream to showcase artwork.

astor dining
Dining room with second fireplace
astor den 2
What will be a den, with third fireplace
astor bedroom, kids
Guest room
astor hall 1
Main hallway
astor bedroom 2
Master Bedroom

First I will work with my favorite paint expert to select Farrow & Ball colors and get to work on carefully painting and stripping this wallpaper.

Floorplan 1.0

Chicago gold coast condo

After living in Manhattan for the last 13 years, we grew accustomed to not having a car, being centrally located and walking to our favorite spots. For us, the latter two items were ultimate must-haves so location was very important in our search and we kept coming back to the Gold Coast for its convenience and proximity to the lake. The Gold Coast has beautiful tree-lined streets and lovely architecture. It is currently beautifully decorated for the holidays and we love to take walks in the neighborhood. For all of these reasons and more, we are excited to move into our new pre-war apartment, built in the late 1890’s. The Gold Coast neighborhood does not require a car, and all of our favorite restaurants from Somerset to Velvet Taco, to Lou Malnati’s, are only a few minutes walk.

We love the space and will “live in every room” as our real estate agent Debbie encouraged us to do.

Floorplan
Floorplan of our new home

I’m looking forward to the decorating projects ahead and for sharing them here!

La Voliere Light and Vertigo Home

I shop for home goods while visiting Laguna

I stumbled across Vertigo Home with J while in Laguna at a wedding. This shop is beautiful and I fell in love with what I believe to be one of the most unique and beautiful lamps. Behold!, the bird cage lamp by La Voliere, a la Vertigo Home, Laguna.


I waited approximately 3 hours to make the decision that this lamp had to be mine and another 2 months to receive it, but alas, it is here. And, it is gorgeous…


Okay, this is not my house, but here it is in the box and I can’t wait to install this beautiful light somewhere!


Thank you Vertigo Home for making the process of sourcing this hand-painted bird lamp all the way from Paris and for delivering it to me safely. You are awesome!