I have this pretty great client in Florida that bought a house built in 1908. We've been working diligently to transform the old beauty step by step. First was the kitchen but now we're onto the bathrooms! The upstairs bath is one of my favorite to transform, specifically because it has an old clawfoot tub. They are perhaps my favorite feature of historic homes and I hope to only have one myself some day! I see no reason to get rid of it, as it works perfectly fine and thankfully, my clients agree! So I've been looking at lots of great spaces to find some inspiration for mixing the old with the new and ways to update a clawfoot tub. Here are some of my favorite!
Incredibly grateful and super psyched to be featured in not one but TWO Houzz articles this past week! The foyer from my "classic coastal" home was featured as the number 1 "entryway of 2016" and on House's "28 Design Ideas Coming to Homes Near You in 2017" under "over the top foyers". So cool and wonderful! I feel so blessed by all the love and support I have been getting from everyone! God is good!
As you may or may not know, I am a sucker for a good renovation story. Renovations are kind of our speciality as it morphs our background in Interior Architecture and interior design perfectly. I also love not only seeing a home saved but completely transformed into something new or even back to it's original form. That's why, I've decided to start "Transformation Tuesday!" Every Tuesday we will share our favorite renovation stories here on the blog.
First up, is a Brooklyn town home that was stuck in the 70's until designer, Allison Jennison saw something no one else did. Little did she know and lucky for her, underneath all that wallpaper and drywall was a pretty great historic building. Read more about it on housebeautiful.com
I have been majorly digging black exteriors lately, as my pinterest shows. So I thought today, of all days, would be the perfect time to show some of my favorite findings.
It was just a couple of months ago that Ruth & David Wright came to me with a historic Victorian home they had just purchased in Jacksonville, FL. The home, built in the early 1900's was originally owned and built for a wealthy land owner in what is now the historic district of downtown Jacksonville. To say that I was excited is an understatement. Historical homes hold a special place in my heart as it is one of the main reasons I became an Interior Architect. To think of what that home has seen in its time and imagine the lives of those who inhabited it, makes me delirious with day dreams and fills my head with imagination. This home in particular was so well preserved already that it was easy for me to see the history around every corner. From it's large, heavy wooden doors to its paneled walls and 8" thick trim, you knew the family who built the home had to have been quite wealthy. Just how wealthy though I found out upon entering the master bath. It was quite uncommon for families in the early 1900's to have one shower head in their bathroom, let alone two! Yet there they were, two shower heads installed in a normal size shower for the prestigious family to use. I couldn't quite believe my eyes. In fact, I seemed to find architectural surprises around every corner and by the time I had finished wandering and taking measurments I couldn't help thinking, "boy I really wish these walls could talk."
The Wrights, turned out to be one of the best clients I have ever had the pleasure to work with. They loved the character the house had and wanted to preserve some of that by keeping all of the original trim and details if possible. With a baby on the way, the clients decided it would be best to renovate the house in stages so that they could utilize certain areas of the house while others were being renovated. With a general design direction, the first room to be completed was the kitchen. So, after many hours deliberating how to get a functional and practical kitchen while not tearing down any walls and working within the existing structural barriers, I finally had a plan that would work.
Demo has started and while we have hit some unexpected bumps including hidden beams and columns, adding new structural beams, and shortening the pantry to ensure stability and structural support around the chimney, we are finally going full speed ahead. Drywall will be going up soon followed by new cabinets, paint, lights and all those things that make the space sing. We can't wait to see this kitchen finished!
It's that time of year again when we as Americans break out our starred sunglasses and striped flip flops for a weekend full of backyard parties, great food, and if we're lucky some pretty banging fireworks. Although most people don't need an excuse to break out their red, white, and blue decor, some of us wait all year to wave our American freak flag. Check out some of my personal favorite pics to include for a party on the fourth.
This vintage American flag tapestry from Urban Outfitters is perfect for hanging on the side of the house. I personally can't bring myself to lay it on the ground but thankfully, Urban also has some other pretty cool Americana tapestries that are great for picnics or watching the firework show.
How fun are these?!
These Star poufs from Dash & Albert come in multiple colors but the navy is just the perfect shade of blue! Prop up your feet or use them for extra seating!
This chair is perfect not only for the 4th but all year round. Fold them up and take them to the beach or to a friend's backyard party! These traditional seaside chairs are made to withstand the elements and heavy use.
How cool are these?! No pun intended.... ;) Snow cones are vital to our American life if you ask me, as they have been around and apart of some of our long standing traditions such as baseball, fairs, & carnivals. They are the perfect cool treat on a hot day and with the syrups made by Sonoma syrups, they test great too.
I love everything Fishs Eddy, which is now available through West Elm. In particular these round trays are great for outdoor entertaining and they pair so well with Serena & Lily's Lobster Napkins.
One things for sure, every good party needs a good menu and you can't get much more American than Miss Kay from Duck Dynasty. Say what you want about the show, I'm a fan and proud of it. Plus I have a feeling none of those recipes are good for you which means they're bound to test amazing!
This past weekend was Valentine's Day and whether you are single or not, I hope you both felt loved and showed your love to someone. Personally I've never been a huge fan of Valentine's Day, as I don't think we should need a day to tell someone how much we adore them (it should be done every day men *wink*), but it is hard not to participate in the holiday especially when you have a lover like mine! Blessed I am and so I felt compelled to share the love myself, just not with chocolates but in the form of a design! I have been and still am dreaming of the day I get to design a totally girly bedroom for a fab lady. So I went ahead and put together a quick preliminary design, decked in some of my favorite things! The color blush, for one has been growing ever popular, and paired with bone inlay furniture, white matelasses, fur throws, floral prints, and bold but sweet art it is a color to truly Blush for! Design can be purchased as a whole through the Guest House Studio or you can buy pieces individually. Check them out individually below!
Choose a soft and light pink that has an orange undertone to it rather than a pink undertone so it doesn't look too pink! You need to find that in-between shade. Sherwin Williams 6322 Intimate White is a good choice. You could also go for a wallpaper like this Ombre one from Designer's Guild
All of these rug options make me fall in love. Personally I like the multi colored Moroccan one but any of them would work. All are purchasable from The Guest House Studio and are available in multiple sizes.
I choose a simple upholstered bed with nail heads from Skyline Furniture. It comes in multiple sizes and fabrics. Personally I would choose a solid fabric that matches the wall color but you could also go with a pattern, a light grey, or white.
To show Versatility and deck the room out fit for a queen I decided to go with a Bone Inlay Nightstand on one side of the bed and an acrylic vanity table with fur seated chair on the other. Pop a fun and sculptural lamp on each side and some fun accessories to finish it off. If you have the room consider putting two ottomans, a bench, or two small chairs at the end of your bed.
Final touches are key in a chic room. Lamps that are sculptural, a touch of glam on your mirror, and art that is bold but delicate.
Maybe it's because I live in Charleston, a growing town filled with older homes that need major work when a new family dares to make a life in them, but in the past two weeks alone, I have had multiple inquiries from clients looking to renovate a home. With each one of these clients there has been a single common statement between them, "we have no idea where to start." Shows like Fixer Upper on HGTV have lighten a fire to home buyers looking to renovate and "flip" an old home. The first thing I tell these homeowners, it's not as easy as it looks on tv! The idea of renovating can seem exciting at first but most homeowners come to realize that it is also stressful, time consuming, and can go from smooth to bumpy in a split second. Don't get me wrong, I am a big advocate for renovating. I would much rather see an older home be given new life then cut down old oak trees and build new large houses on farms that have been in a family for over 50 years. I've just seen too many renovations go completely wrong because of uneducated and unprepared homeowners, and I don't want that to happen to you! So I've devised a plan that all homeowners looking to renovate should follow. With these eight essential steps your renovation will hopefully be relatively stress free!
Step 1: Make a Need & Want List
If you're working with a small budget, this first step is absolute KEY to staying on track with your numbers. Often times we NEED to renovate because we need a bigger kitchen, we need a new laundry room, we need extra closet space. Then somewhere, slowly but surely we add WANTS to our list. We want a new fridge, we want new furniture, we want different tile. Eventually our want list out weighs our need list and we've gone and completely blown the budget! If your budget can handle all your wants then great! But creating your need and want list will help you zero in on the necessities so you can make sure you spend your money on them first before you purchase all new furniture and now can't afford that roof you needed.
Step 2: Figure out your budget
It's the word we all hate, Budget. Especially dreamers like me. If I had a dollar for every idea and dream I've ever had I'd be rich. Unfortunately only some of those ideas are good ones and the only way I'll get to those dreams is by working hard and going after them, which can take some time. The same principal can be applied to your home renovations. Figure out how much you can afford to spend. If you don't want to take a loan out, decide how much you are willing to spend and start saving! If you have a large budget then you can very well do the whole project all at once. If not, then you may need to do it in phases, in which case you will need to figure out the cost of each particular phase. Sadly, you will probably go over your budget, most home renovators do. Only because those old houses can be tricky! You can very well rip out a wall only to find termites or mold, in which case you now need to pay to make sure that infestation isn't anywhere else. Things happen, and there is no way of knowing when or why so just be prepared!
Step 3: Organize your Ideas
This is what I like to call the "idea headache." A phrase I am all too familiar with. I constantly have ideas floating all around my brain that it often results in a slight headache because I can't seem to pin point them down. Organization is the advil to this headache. Printing your photos or organizing them onto various pinterest boards will help keep them organized by room and eventually make it much easier for you or your designer to filter the good from the bad.
Step 4: Hire a Professional
If you are design savvy you may not need to hire a Designer to help you pick finishes, etc. however I would highly recommend hiring an Interior Architect (like me!) to help you with the new floor plan of your space. Having a detailed floor plan and finish schedule will make your job and the contractors job MUCH easier when starting the renovation. You will know exactly what you want and what needs to happen. Therefore, the planning and implementing will go ten times smoother than handing your contractor the sketch you've done on a napkin.
Step 5: Pick your Selections
I recommend choosing your selections before you hire a contractor. This way when you do meet with your selected contractor he will have all the necessary information to get you an exact quote. I also recommend buying the materials yourself if you can. Some contractors will charge a 20% up charge on the goods so purchasing and supplying the tile yourself will help you stay in budget and not take on any hidden fees. Make sure though that you have an option A and B for all your selections! Often times things are out of stock when you need them or the price is just too high when you add on the construction fees and you need to go with a more budget friendly product. We offer a comprehensive list of vendors for just $30! It's our favorite places to shop for anything and everything, organized by category, so contact us to get your copy!
Step 6: Get a Quote...or Three!
Always, always, ALWAYS get more than one quote for a project. If you are doing the work yourself fine, consider asking a friend who knows or paying for a consultation fee with a contractor to have them look at your plans and estimate how much it will cost you. If you are hiring a contractor have at the minimum two separate companies come look at the space and give you a quote. Once they've come back to you, don't make your final decision based on cost. Joe may be cheaper than Billy but is Billy going to do better work? Also, consider sticking with a contractor who can do most of the work himself. Here in the southeast, most general contractors sub everyone out and I mean EVERYONE! This really rubs me the wrong way simply because a job that should take 3 months is now taking 6 because Danny the painter can't get you in for 2 months. Hiring a contractor that has a crew who can do all or nearly all the project themselves will save you money and time.
Step 7: Get a Realistic Timeline
Knowing when tile is in or when your house will be painted, etc. is very helpful for staying on track and on budget. Get with your contractor and devise a realistic timeline that you will both be following. That way if something gets pushed back then you know everything will be pushed back. This is also more incentive for your contractor to stay on target ;)
Step 8: Have a Back Up Plan
As in all things in life, stuff happens! So always have a plan b. Especially when doing a full home renovation. Sometimes, a job that size requires you vacate the space for a time, so be prepared. Have a family member or friend you can stay with or a place to rent month to month.
The last remaining days and hours of every year bloggers, critics, and editors survey the crowd to come up with their predictions for what the next year's "top (fill in the blank)" will be. Some of these predictions are pretty accurate, others make you wonder just who were they surveying? None the less, 2015 has turned out to be a year of many changes and firsts for me. I quit my job, moved to Charleston, started my own business, and finally fulfilled my long time dream of living at the beach. While I may be 5 miles from the beach versus 5 steps, it's a work in process and when I ring in 2016 I can effectively say it's been a good year but it's about to be a great one.
In the design world, 2015 has been a year of tech inventions, open floor plans, and getting rid of the stuffy cluttered things that fill up our lives. We've seen some great new buildings and homes be built (including a hotel under water in Dubai). Industrial is still hot but many people are resorting back to the styles they've known for years. Looking back at the year, we've come up with a list of the top ten trends we've seen in the design world and Charleston specifically in 2015.
1.) Colorful Cabinets
This has been the year for the daring and bold to take the plunge and paint their kitchen cabinets a radiant color. From grey to blue and occasionally red, it's a way to add life and personality to your kitchen. Hopefully we don't get tired of it!
2.) Washed Wood
Distressed furniture made a huge come back in 2014 but in 2015 we saw people not only buying more washed wood furniture pieces but also stripping the wood in their floors. The result is a beautiful, raw, natural look that makes you feel right at home.
3.) Tone on Tone Linens
Bed linens took on their own meaning to "minimal living" with companies showing tone on tone beds such as this one. My favorite sources for soft linens such as these ones are West Elm and Ikea.
4.) Ship-lap Walls
Not sure about the rest of the United States but in coastal Carolina ship-lap walls are in just about everyone's house. Not that this is a bad thing, as it's an architecturally great way to amp up your space. My only warning is be careful on going overboard. This may someday look like wood paneling did after the 90's. If interested in adding trim details to your house contact us at The Guest House Studio and we'll be happy to come up with a trim plan for you.
5.) Muted Hues
Soft, subtle, and very muted were the color trends we saw come to life in a lot of spaces this year. Gray and white in particular was very hot. Tone on tone spaces where the walls, furniture, and art are one shade but different hues. This space is one of our favorites.
6.) Mason Jar Goods
Mason Jar weddings, mason jar lights, mason jar candles, you name it! Mason Jars have made a huge comeback from their typical use of canning jam and hiding moonshine. This year we have seen more and more people use them for as decor for their weddings or a way to bottle their homemade sea sea salt. I'm not complaining though, as I am a fan or reusing products as much as we can! The candle above is made by Blackjack wax and the lighting is made by Born Again Woodworks.
Sectionals have always been around but in the past year more people have spent their money on a sectional than a normal sofa. Why? True it does provide a lot of seating but so does a sofa and two chairs. I think the reason we've seen more consumers opting for a sectional rather than a sofa is because of the extra comfort level it provides. The act of truly snuffling into your furniture for a movie or a good book. To order a sectional fit for your home and lifestyle contact us today and we'll make sure you get the one that's just right for your home.
8.) Farm Tables
Longer, rougher, and natural - farm tables are all the rave right now. 2015 saw the rid of formal dining rooms and the natural open floor plan in most homes. Therefore most home owners soft after a natural distressed farm table. It's extremely durable and gives the space a feeling of a casual lived in space versus a "please don't put your fork on the table." This one is from one of my favorite Companies Lamon Luther. They seek to give the homeless a skill and job that they can learn and profit from. Contact us for a quote or to place an order for your own.
It's back!!! Wallpaper saw a rise in the 80's and 90's when housewives every where were lining their walls with it. Then it died with the millennium as sustainability, concrete, and good old paint took it's turn. Now, in 2015 we have seen more homeowner's and businesses seek just the perfect pattern, texture, or print for their space. These are just a few of my favorites. Inquire under the "contact us" tab for pricing and availability.
10.) Dipped Gold
Naturally I've saved the best and my favorite one for last. I am OBSESSED with Dipped Gold anything! From Jewelry to lighting and furniture this is one trend that I could literally die over. I've collected my fair share of dipped gold jewelry this year and am working on the furniture part. It's usually not a shiny gold but just enough of a shine that makes anything look elegant. The necklace is from Kealoha Jewelry on Etsy and the table is from Made Goods - order able through The Guest House Studio.
It all started almost two years ago, when I (Christyn Dunning) and one of my dearest friends took a trip to celebrate her 30th Birthday. We had been bouncing around the idea of starting our own Interior Design and Event studio. She, a navy wife and very talented designer was waiting in limbo for the Navy to tell her where she would be living in a year. I myself was feeling unfulfilled and discouraged at the design firm I was currently working at and sought a life that didn't revolve around making other people a lot of money on my sweat and tears. I realized as we drove from Miami to Key West, that I missed the days of backpacking across Europe, meeting new people and discovering new things. I also missed working more closely with my clients and using my architecture skills to improve their already existing homes or help them build a new one. Over the next few days I found myself with my toes in the sand and mind trying to answer the question we all seem to ask ourselves, "what do I really want to do with my life?"
I found the answer when I stopped asking myself that question and was instead asked by my friend on the way back from Key West. Tired of my constant complaining, she asked "if I could do anything, what would it be?" Here's my answer:
"I love meeting new people and I love design. I also find great happiness in discovering and helping artists sell their work and put food on their table. I want a job, that incorporates all of this, I basically want a Guest House. A place that is filled with creativity, beautifully made goods, and amazing people."
So here I am, in Charleston SC - the place I picked to start this adventure after uprooting my life in Annapolis. The Guest House Studio is for now an Interior Architecture/design firm getting ready to launch our first online shop and retail store. Our hope is that in the next several years we will find a building we can call home. It will be a mix use space with rooms above for people to stay during their travels and a studio/shop below as great design is at the heart of our firm. But, it will also be much more than that. It will be a community where artists, travelers, and locals meet to tell their stories and make new ones. So stop by sometime, we would very much like to hear your story!