Thursday, March 9, 2017

Things I'm Loving - Black, Brass, Wood & Glass

I'm all about neutral color palettes with a lot of texture and a few impactful pieces. I've found black, brass and natural wood tones to be a winning combination time after time - and lucky for us, this is a combination that will stand the test of time. 

Here are a few of my favorite items I've stumbled upon in my recent project research. 
1. Metal Windsor Chair 2. Gingham Jute Rug 3. Painting 4. Bar Cart 5. Vases 6. Coffey Pendant 7. Brighton Pendant 8. Staunton Pendant 9. Leather Stool 10. Pillow 11. Bench 12. Pillow 13. Counter Stool 14. Wallpaper 15. Southern Cotton Painting 16. Lamp 17. Console Table 18. Jeanne Rug 

1. A modern take on the classic Windsor chair. I absolutely adore these chairs. The profile is so pretty and thankfully I have a client that has approved them for her kitchen remodel.
2. A classic pattern in a durable material - win win!
3. I have used Lola's pieces in other projects and man, they are showstoppers. The perfect combination of high impact and simplicity - a tough balance she manages to get right every time!
4. The price of bar carts never ceases to amaze me...for such a small and simple piece, they can be absurdly expensive. Thankfully, this one is not easy on the wallet, but the leather detail on the handle is pure perfection. 
5. Similar but different hand painted vases keeps your styling cohesive, yet interesting.
6 - 8. A fresh take on timeless styles - each of these pendants has such a pretty and distinctive shape.
9. Another small, but mighty wood and leather piece. Stools can serve so many purposes (extra seating, ottoman, end table to name a few) and are often times an underutilized resource. 
10. In an all white room, this small pillow is all the impact you need.
11. I'm clearly on a Windsor kick. :) I actually just purchased this bench for my entryway. I love that it can function both indoors and out for extra seating during summer gatherings.
12. Handmade, eco-friendly and pretty. Enough said.
13. The right mix of modern and industrial with great clean lines (and an even price).  
14. I have been obsessed with this wallpaper for a very long time. It's a classic and interesting pattern, but it doesn't make you dizzy (anyone else have that problem with some of the new geometric patterns?). I'm currently presenting this to a client for her powder room...keep your fingers crossed she goes for it. 
15. I see so many different things when I look at this piece and I love the soft muted colors.
16. This lamp comes in a gazillion colors and I adore them all. This is a truly transitional piece that can work with any style.
17. This is the perfect high impact console for a small space AND it has storage! If your home is space challenged, be selective and make sure each piece can serve multiple functions.
18. Plush, neutral and pretty. This rug commands a good bit of attention without stealing the show.

What do you think? I'd love to hear about trends and products you're currently loving...

Monday, January 9, 2017

Guest Bath Remodel - Extreme Makeover Style

To say our house is a work in progress is quite the understatement. We bought our home 5 years ago and have lived in it for 4.5 years. We renovated for six months before moving in, and in those six months, only a third of the house was actually worked on. Unfortunately,  it was mostly the expensive, yet not very exciting things (HVAC, windows, sagging infrastructure, roof repairs, etc.). In the meantime, we had two children and purchased a historic commercial building that was in such disrepair it made our house look new. Simply put, there's been little time, energy or resources dedicated to desperately needed renovations.

Over the summer we offered to host out of town guests, so our guest bathroom quickly became a priority.

This was our own mini extreme makeover because lets be honest, this room complete with cherubs on the tile, peeling wallpaper, missing sconces (all the lighting was stripped from the home before we purchased it), a textured ceiling and two pedestal sinks (one not even hooked up), was AWFUL!!

BEFORE:




I wanted the room to be neutral, but a bit playful and this Serena and Lily wallpaper fit the bill perfectly.
It's neutral, but the pattern is fun and not something I will quickly tire of (a big problem of mine). I usually build a design plan around the rug - but in a bathroom, the rug is not typically a focal point, so I started with the wallpaper.

Here's what else I knew - the room needed to be completed start to finish in THREE weeks and we were doing the majority of the work ourselves. Therefore, everything I purchased had to be in stock and ready to ship. I also wanted to keep the budget to $5,000 or less.

Here was my vision.

I needed a vanity with some storage and had to figure out a way to get a tub and/or shower in the space. I fell in love with the color of  this vanity (although I will probably change out the hardware at some point), and my rep at Wayfair did an amazing job making sure it arrived with one day to spare before our guests arrived.


I debated long and hard over a walk-in shower, but in order to make that happen walls would need to move and that was not in the timeline or budget. So instead, I decided on an undersized clawfoot tub with a shower kit. Seemed simple enough at the time, but the size I needed did not come in acrylic and getting 500 lbs of cast-iron up three 3.5 flights of stairs was no small feat.

I've said it before, but if I can give one piece of design advice, it's this - do not skimp on lighting. I know nice light fixtures are not cheap, but the right light can literally make, or break an entire space. I have always loved the Cadence pendant by Feiss and the sconces are amazing, too. They are a great size and the antiqued brass is so pretty. A modern take on the traditional lantern, they were a perfect fit for this room.



The one place we skimped was the flooring. White ceramic 16" tiles would not be my preference, but I also could not justify spending the time or money to tear out a floor of a bathroom that gets used 5 times a year. Instead, I painted the tan grout a light gray...and for $10 and 2 hours worth of work, the floor is now palatable. 



My plan was to cover most of the floor with a runner. I love the runner in the design plan and it looked SO pretty in the space, however I did not take into account how close together the feet on a smaller clawfoot tub are, and the runner does not fit in between them. :( Originally, I had my husband lift the tub and I slid it underneath, but that meant it couldn't easily be moved and that did not sit well with me especially in a bathroom used by sometimes poor aiming little boys.

Finally, I had already committed to the antiqued brass lights, but finding a clawfoot shower kit in anything but a horrible polished brass is almost impossible (unless you want to drop a couple grand on a piece of metal). Since I love mixing finishes, I went with brushed nickel on all my plumbing fixtures.

We finished the room off with some crown molding, new baseboards and with MANY late nights, were able to get everything done within budget and just in time for our guests to arrive.







Tuesday, October 25, 2016

For Sale - 6111 Central Ave, Indianapolis IN, 46220!

I am so excited to share my latest real estate listing! Not only are the owners great friends, but I have been fortunate to collaborate with them on their bathroom, basement and kitchen/ dining room/ living room/ bonus room renovations. 

It is an all brick 4 bedroom, 2 full bathroom home in an AMAZING location in Indianapolis. Do not be deceived, this house is MUCH bigger than it looks and you can walk to Broad Ripple, the Monon, Canal Trail and so much more - all within 5 minutes. 

The kitchen was remodeled this past July and has new cabinets and wood floors, quartz counters, subway tile back splash, stainless appliances, crown molding, all new lighting and a huge porcelain sink (see below for before pics).
The wall in between the kitchen and dining room was removed to allow for a large center island and an open concept floor plan.



I know I'm biased having done the design, but aren't the light fixtures amazing?! The kitchen pendants are from Shades of Light and the dining room light is from Ballard Designs.

The dining room went from being dark and closed off to open, airy and fabulous!

The living room has newly refinished hardwood floors, new paint and crown molding, gorgeous built-ins, lots of natural light and a fireplace with marble surround. 

You may remember my post on this bathroom remodel a few years ago (if not, take a look here). Complete with marble hex floors, top of the line vanity and a subway tile shower surround, this bathroom will stand the test of time.

The basement was another HUGE undertaking. Completely finished in 2015, this remodel added SO much bright and comfortable living space!
If you are familiar with the area you know that a finished laundry room is a HUGE bonus! Not only is this one finished, but it has a laundry tub and shelving for extra storage.
The basement also has a full bathroom and spacious bedroom with two large closets and an egress window.


The bonus room off the kitchen is currently used for an office, but could also function as a mudroom or playroom. This room has new paint and tile floors.

The backyard has a great deck and is fully fenced making it the perfect place for kids and dogs to play.




For more information click on this link or contact me at amarten@bhhsin.com!

And just in case you're curious...here are a few of the kitchen and dining room BEFORE photos.
The opening between the kitchen and bonus room was filled in and we switched the placement of the sink and stove.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Things I'm Loving...

Happy Tuesday! Right now I'm working on a lot of projects with very different design styles, which I find inspiring. I always tell clients that I do not have one specific design style. I consider my personal taste to be classic and minimalist, with a tad bit of contemporary mixed in (just to keep things interesting), but I never push my personal taste on a client. My goal is to understand what you love, and then design a space that thoughtfully captures YOUR style. Otherwise, it would be like trying to dress you in a black suit everyday, when you're more of a jeans and t-shirt kind of person; you would just never be quite comfortable - and if there's one place we should all be comfortable, it's in our own home.

So, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite items I've stumbled upon in my recent project research. 


1. Abstract Prints 2. Mornings Away Painting 3. Source: Blu Tea Kitchens 4. Diamond Trellis Rug 5. Graphic Charcoal Paint 6. Terra Cotta Vase 7. Source: Serena & Lily 8. Coffee Table 9. Painted Lamp 10. Barstool 11. Moss Chair 12. Buffalo Check Pillow 13. Ceramic Pendants 14. Dresser

1. I have a love/ hate relationship with abstract art, but this set is the perfect balance of traditional and contemporary...and the colors make me so happy.
2. The movement in this landscape is beautiful...I could look at this piece all day.
3. The perfect balance of clean and contemporary with a bit of rustic mixed in....oh, and I'm obsessed with those lights!
4. I love this rug. The jute offers great texture (and durability) and while the trellis pattern is a classic, its less than perfect weave makes it feel just a tad bit contemporary. I actually love this rug so much, I recently purchased it for my own home. Unfortunately though, the jute was really dirty. I'm waiting to see if I received a lemon, or if this is simply a product flaw. Stay tuned!
5. I know gray has really hit its stride the past few years, but to be honest, I didn't fall as hard for it as I thought I would. But this gray had me at hello...so much so that it will be making a debut in my own home very soon. I'm love the slight blue undertone. I'm a neutral girl and this shade is a great way to add color without really adding color.
6. The lines and texture of this vase are stunning. A simple piece like this can add so much interest to a room.
7. White...check. Navy...check. Magenta...check. Millwork...check. Rattan daybed...check. Yep, this space pretty much checks off every box on my favorites list.
8. This coffee table is not only huge, but the inlay top and gold leaf legs are gorgeous. This is the perfect example of a piece that will stand the test of time.
9. If my kids wouldn't knock this over in 2 seconds flat, this lamp would be sitting on a side table in our den right now. Hey, a girl can always dream though, right!?
10. I just used these stools in a kitchen remodel and they are not only a great balance of rustic and contemporary, but they are super comfortable!
11. Moss green...my second favorite color to navy at the moment. Moss green on an adorable and streamlined chair!? Yes, please!
12. For those of you that know me, you know I've been obsessed with plaid since I was about 10 years old. In my opinion, plaid/ buffalo check will never go out of style and for that I'm very grateful.
13. I'm dying to have the right project for these beauties. They're fun, pretty, unique...any takers?
14. Such a fun dresser! The leather strap pulls and steel finish are a great unexpected combination. 

So, what do you think? Would you use any of these items in your home? What are you currently loving? Please share!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

DIY Basket Light

Despite spending the past 4 years undoing reminants the most horrific design choices ever made (when our house was a "decorator show home" in the late '90's), sometimes it's the littlest things that drive me nuts. If I had to guess, it's because those are the things I can quickly and inexpensively rectify. One little thing is the fan in my son's bedroom. I mean, lets be honest . . .when you compare it to the cherubs, birds and bees painted in my back staircase, a fan should be the very least of my concerns. However, sadly it wasn't - so I finally decided to do something about it.


I've loved rattan and basket lights for a long time and I had my heart set on using one in this space. After all, the room has a coastal/ laid back feel inspired by this painting my late grandma created when she was just 18 years old.


There were many lights I considered purchasing (see below), but despite my love for each, when it came down to size and/ or price, none worked. Unfortunately, spending $300+ on a light fixture for a 2 year old just doesn't seem like a good use of money (especially given the countless other projects on my list). So, I decided to make my own. Initially, I was going to create a light out of a bushel basket. One kind of like this...

But finding a bushel basket that was the right size for the room was proving to be a challenge. Then, one day a few weeks ago, as I was rushing through Target purchasing decor for a client, I noticed this beauty sitting there. I tried to resist it, but it was large and gorgeous and only $34!! Winner, winner!


Now I just had to convince my electrician, err husband, to turn the basket into a light. He said if I found the cord kit, he'd make it. Little did he realize, thanks to Amazon, not only did I find this kit for $16.95, but it was in his hands 2 days later.


Our concern was whether the basket would sit level with just the cord supporting the weight. So, he welded a washer to the inside of the basket and luckily that did the trick. It's not all that attractive from the top, but thankfully we do not know anyone 9.5' tall, so it shouldn't be a problem.




And there you have it, $50.00 and 45 minutes later - we have a wonderful rattan light that casts the prettiest glow.




And, in case you're curious...here are the other rattan lights I strongly considered.




I love them all, but if the Fray pendant had a white cord, I would have bought it in a heartbeat (great size AND price!). Unfortunately, black wouldn't have worked in the space and many of the others felt too small or too expensive. 

What do you think...do you like basket lights? Have you ever made a light out of an everyday item? 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Design Trends: Are They Right For You? (Part I)


It’s been said that the only thing constant in life is change – and this certainly applies to design! New trends come and go every season, but which ones are truly worth following?

When deciding whether or not to incorporate a current design trend into your home, the most important thing to consider is your own personal needs and preferences. For example, open concept living is extremely popular right now, but that doesn’t mean it is the best option for you. Before making design decisions, I suggest making a list of pros and cons to help determine whether or not a certain trend will work for your space. You might also keep in mind resale value if you plan to move within 5-10 years. Will the trend be out of style by the time you want to move?

Take a look at some of the current trends below. Which would work for your space and design style?

Open Concept Living
Image: DecorPad
Open concept living is one of the biggest trends in home design today. Whereas homes used to be built with separate living areas to be used for a specific purpose (kitchen is for cooking, dining room is for eating, office is for working, etc), the open living space trend is based on the idea of having a large, open space that incorporates several living areas into one (kitchen + dining room + office + playroom, etc).

Pros:
  • Good for entertaining – the chef/host is not stuck in the kitchen alone; guests can have space to interact with the host while he or she is prepping in the kitchen
  • Homework time – kids and parents can simultaneously work in the same large space
  • No matter how big or small your kitchen is, people always congregate in the kitchen! Having an open concept space allows guests to be in the kitchen without crowding the chef
Cons:
  • Can’t “escape” a messy kitchen – if you’ve finished eating dinner and want to relax on the couch with the family for an hour before bedtime, you might have to look at a messy kitchen the whole time 
  • “Out of sight, out of mind” does not work very well with open concept living
  • More noise due to fewer doors and separate spaces
  • Lack of privacy due to fewer doors

First Floor Master Bedroom
Image: Cavalcade of Homes

Many homeowners, especially those in a later stage of life, prefer to have their master bedroom on the first floor. The absence of stairs provides convenience by preventing multiple trips up and down the stairs all day long. It also creates a private space away from other bedrooms.

Pros:
  • Convenient for those who want to avoid excessive use of stairs
  • Close to all of the main living spaces on the first floor
  • If there is a second floor that is rarely used, you can adjust the thermostat upstairs to reduce heating and cooling costs
Cons:
  • Parents with young kids may not feel comfortable being on a separate floor than their children
  • Difficult to escape the noise from the main living areas
Many people find the ideal situation to be two master bedrooms: one upstairs and one downstairs. But if that’s not an option for you, which would you choose?

2nd Floor Laundry Room
Image: Uniques Home Design
Another recent home trend is having a laundry room on the second floor. For a house with all bedrooms on the second floor, this sounds like a very convenient option. However, there are also some cons to this plan.

Pros:
  • No need to go up and down the stairs a million times to do the laundry! With a washer and dryer near the bedrooms, it is very convenient to wash, dry, and put away clothes
  • If lack of closet/bedroom space is an issue, having a laundry room on the second floor could eliminate the need for hampers in every bedroom – just place all dirty clothes, sheets, and towels directly in the laundry room instead of in separate hampers
Cons:
  • Washers and dryers can be noisy, which may be a problem if the noise disrupts sleeping children or adults (this could be remedied by ensuring the washer and dryer to not back up to a bedroom wall)
  • In the unfortunate event of a washer leak, there is potential for more damage if the laundry room is on the second floor and water damage extends to the first floor
  • You will still need to go up and down the stairs to launder items used on the main floor – kitchen towels, table linens, bathroom rugs, beach towels, and anything that comes inside the house from elsewhere
Another trend that might be the perfect solution is to have the main, larger laundry room on the first floor and a second smaller stackable set on the second floor. Or how about a simple laundry shoot to help with transporting laundry downstairs?

There are many current design trends (too many to fit into one post!), so I will be back with another post to highlight a few more. If there are any trends you would like to learn more about, please feel free to comment below!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Picture's Worth...

Have you ever tried traveling somewhere new without a map? Probably not the best idea, right? Well...that's kind of what it feels like trying to design a space without inspiration photos. It's like embarking on a road trip without directions which, as we all know, can make reaching your final destination really difficult.

The first question most my clients ask is "where do we start?" and more times than not I ask to see pictures of spaces they love (and if possible, LOTS of them). Pictures tell me more than walking through someone's home, more than a questionnaire - literally, more than a thousand words! They portray the overall feel of a space - the layers, the texture - all the things most people have a difficult time articulating. 

Here are a few of the photos inspiring various projects I'm working on and how they're serving as the road map to our overall goal:

This is the inspiration for a living room project where we are aiming for a fresh take on the traditional coastal look. 
Image: Jill Litner Kaplan Interiors
I am currently working on a few commercial projects and this is the inspiration photo for a cafe in a historic building. We are trying to balance the old exposed brick and beams with sleek warmth...industrial without being too industrial. 

Image: Forbes.com
This is serving as the inspiration for two projects - both offices, but the focus for each is different. The large scale gallery wall is the focal point for one and the clean/ contemporary palette and furnishings for the other. Both will have a few warm pieces incorporated to keep the space feeling inviting.
Image: Boswell Construction


Lots of inspiration in a seemingly simple space - the inlay floor, accented transom, beautifully arranged gallery wall and high contrast (both the wall against molding and light paint in the adjoining room against the darker hall space).

Image: Remodelista
Formal but comfortable. This room is luxurious without being pretentious thanks to the muted palette, soft rug, abundance of pillows and symmetry.

Image: Alexander James Interiors
This is the inspiration for a dining room project - it's elegant without being too feminine thanks to the dramatic board and batten accent wall, tailored furniture and deep finishes.
Image: Stiles | Fischer Interior Design
The more inspiration photos the better, but this photo is serving as the single point of inspiration for a living room project. Thankfully, it's such a beautifully layered room there is a lot to take from it! Ultimately, we are aiming for a space with a balance of rustic, traditional and contemporary elements in a palette of deep blue and aubergine.
Image: Heather Garrett Design
So if you're thinking of calling a designer to help you with a space, start flipping, tearing, searching and pinning! I promise, it will save you both a lot of unnecessary stress.