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:

astor bedroom, kids
From the listing photo, the guest room before we started work
astor bedroom kids 2
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  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!

Guest bedroom, in process

Painting has begun

The guest bedroom, along with the rest of the house, is getting a fresh coat of paint, starting with the molding. Of course, all of the molding and ceilings will be painted Farrow & Ball Wimborne White. We chose Wimborne White because it is beautifully suited to the warm eastern exposure of the home. All of the painting and wallpaper hanging is the work of Walter from Tapia’s Works, and his team. As you can tell from the photographs, Walter and his team have done an exceptional job prepping the space and protecting all surfaces.

I was a bit skeptical that the Farrow & Ball finish was truly superior to the less expensive paint options, but as many would agree, it is. There is a beautiful texture to the paint and depth of color that was very noticeable to me, particularly after looking at the shiny paint that had been applied so poorly prior. For a historical home like this, I wanted the paint to be perfect and it is looking great so far.

Wimborne White sprayed on the trim in the guest bedroom

The walls of the guest bedroom will be papered in Bird & Thistle.

The floral radiator also got a coat of Farrow & Ball paint

One of the best tips I received while planning out the paint colors and wallpapers was to keep the window boxes consistently painted white, including the empty box below. The molding was a unique challenge that this tip solves nicely for. Each of the windows will be framed out as its own piece, with white trim and box underneath. Wallpaper will flank each side.

The entire window box has been painted white and the walls will be papered Bird & Thistle

The window treatment will likely be a mix of natural grass and custom curtains, made from Bird & Thistle fabric to match the wallpaper. I have been keeping an eye out for fabric on Ebay and Chairish that is discounted and am expecting I will find something over time.

Walter and team from Tapia’s Works have protected the built-ins

The built-ins were not wood, so they will not be painted. Instead, the shelves will be finished with wood moldings on the face of the bookcase and filled with “things”.

The entrance to bathroom and closet have been sealed and the doors have been painted

It is exciting to see the painting come together so quickly and the finishing being done so well by Tapia’s Works, who have been great to work with on this project.

Gucci wallpaper is just as good in person

The Gucci wallpaper came today and I’m impressed. The paper came in this gorgeous gift box tied with a bow! I took a risk on this paper without seeing it in person first, but was drawn to the pattern which was inspired by vintage fabric and think that the cream backdrop with red flowers pairs nicely with the white paint throughout the adjoining rooms and the red stone that I am considering for the kitchen.

Gucci wallpaper, boxed and ready

The paper inside was just as beautiful and was carefully wrapped and labeled. The texture is woven and has a nice feel and the print is fine and clear. My only complaint would be that the cream is a slightly more yellow tone than the online photograph led me to expect, but I did compare it to the white paint swatch and it does work, which made me less worried.

Gucci Herbarium wallpaper is beautiful and has 115+ sq ft. / roll of coverage

The coverage of this roll is not insignificant – it is 33 feet long and 3.5 feet wide, or, 115.5 square feet of coverage. It is $190 per roll and can be found here.

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.

Wallpaper for measure

We are planning to paper the guest bedroom in Brunschwig & Fils “Bird and Thistle” wallpaper in the Green colorway. We removed a bookcase from this room and it is looking less than perfect these days with lots of color patches.

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Many colors happening in this room today, with our chosen swatch of the future, Bird and Thistle by Brunschwig & Fils.
Guest Bedroom
Close up of Bird and Thistle, Brunschwig & Fils

I’m working on placing an order for this paper so we can be ready for Walter to install in the coming months. As a reminder, we are working on the guest room, highlighted below.

Astor 1210 Floorplan Guest
Floorplan of Guest, with built ins

I have found a couple of different resources for estimating the number of rolls needed. The bookcase helps us out because we do not need to paper the majority of that wall. I checked Lowe’s = 6 rolls. I checked Amara Living = 6 rolls. I checked Omni Calculator (this site has a calculator for everything!) = 6 rolls. Three for three! We will go with 6 rolls and get this order placed.

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!

Wendy’s (Ellis) Green

Farrow & Ball full gloss paint

I discovered high shine “Wendy’s Green” paint from Farrow & Ball while searching for the perfect olive paint. The store actually does not carry a true olive paint but good news!, the custom mixed Wendy’s Green is available, with a 2 gallon minimum. This is the same green that designer Wendy Labrum used at the 2017 Lake Forest, IL Design & Garden Showhouse. I love it!

All room images were pulled from La Dolce Vita.

The one that got away 

Perhaps anyone who has house hunted has found the “almost perfect” house before finding “the one”.

We each found our own “perfect” house but unfortunately it was not the same house, so we went with neither and had to move on. However, from time to time i still think of this one…

This house was even better in person and I loved every detail. It was impeccably clean and looked like it came straight from Architectural Digest.


The molding was fresh and new (no cakey old paint) and the cream walls were the perfect backdrop for art. There was an incredible flat marble fireplace that was the perfect touch of modern for the space.

The dining room windows looked out on Lincoln Park and I loved the books and beams.

The back of the house didn’t have the best view, but that was the only slight downside that I saw.


The endless closets were a great plus!

If you like what you see – this beautiful place is still up for grabs!