remodel

Project Undecorate

I spend a lot of time in my little corner of the internet chatting about decorating. But what about undecorating? Whether it’s the holidays or the middle of your average uneventful week, everybody can and should undecorate. Now is the perfect time to do so since you’re just coming out of your Christmas food coma and wondering what to do between now and New Years. Why not make decluttering a New Years Resolution? This is the perfect time to shed the weight. We resolve to do it for New Years with our bodies, so why not do it in our homes?? With the holidays we go out and spend money to buy MORE stuff to bring into our homes! The average household has way more stuff than most of us ever need or even use. This week I am personally dedicating some time to shedding the extra stuff, the extra weight and here’s how you can join me in some very easy, achievable solutions for a fresh start to 2015, starting with your living space!

Unload, unburden, get rid of stuff. Edit, edit, edit.

#1 Put It Away

Start with the easy things- all that holiday garb. Nobody wants a Christmas tree in their living room come March. No one thinks your blow up lawn Santa is cute after January 2nd and Christmas lights are not meant to be left strung up year round. Bottom line, none of this is adding anything to your post-holiday curb appeal. Take that Target gift card Santa gave you and treat yourself to some color coded bins (red and green for Christmas, orange and black for Halloween, etc.) to store your holiday items so they are easily recognized and accessible.

#2 Throw It Away

If your singing holiday angel now croaks because she was dropped on floor one too many times, get rid of it. If there are too many glitter infested ornaments leaving slut dust all over your floor, think about eliminating some, I mean, how many can you really have? If things break or no longer work or just start to look like a collection of junk, edit them down.

#3 Donate

Goodwill, Salvation Army- get that tax deduction before year end! Still worried about “giving” something sentimental away?  Why not give it to a family that can truly use it if you aren’t?

#4 Edit, edit, edit

I often hear, ‘I don’t like it, but that’s worth a lot of money!!’. It’s only worth something if you sell it. If you don’t like it, it’s not worth anything to you! If it truly is worth something, cash out and move on! Ebay, craigslist, garage sale, antiques road show, whatever, but don’t keep it just because someone might potentially pay you something for it, especially if you don’t like it.

My recommendation is that if you haven’t worn it or used it in 1 year, really evaluate if you have use for this item? If not, set it aside. I like to keep a running giveaway bag at all times in the closet in the guest bedroom. When I come across clothing, toys, books, whatever that I am no longer using, I put it in that bag. I would say that I add to the bag at least every week. I’m not a hoarder but I’m certainly not a minimalist either. Bottom line is that we accumulate, and at some point some things have got to go! It’s truly amazing when you clear out things and literally create more space in your environment, how you feel that you have created space within yourself and your mind as well. I am rigorous with clients about getting them to declutter, donate, filter, and once they literally unburden themselves of things, they always tell me how much better they feel in their mind as well.

Lastly, note that everybody has some sentimental items that might be seen as ugly, or useless, or inconsequential. You have them, I have them, we all do. I’m not saying to get rid of anything ugly or old just because it’s not currently en vogue or because your stylish neighbor poo-poos it. Just carefully select which items you choose to surround yourself with. Surround yourself with things that are a reflection of the best side of yourself and if that’s all stuff from your great-grandmother, so be it. But if something is useless or bothersome, or ugly to you, then part with it and leave it at that. Stay tuned for our next post on getting organized and staying organized in the new year! Happy New Year and here’s to shedding those empty calories Design Dish style!

xo,

Emily

P.S. Check out this hilarious little stand-up clip from the Tonight Show where Jerry Seinfeld all about how we accumulate ‘stuff’!

 

 

House Demos- from dud to stud

If you’ve ever considered doing a major home remodel (since I happen to be in the middle of two house demos with clients), I thought I would share some helpful tips. There is a lot of excitement, anxiety, decision making and cash-flow that goes into these projects so you must be brave, a little adventurous and up for the challenge. What do they say- dreams don’t work unless you do, right? Fortunately for my clients, as a designer I help make homeowner dreams a reality and I’m always up for reworking a design dilemma! So let’s strip things down to the studs as we take a look at two very different home projects I am currently managing for my clients.

With any major home demo, once the sledgehammer goes through the wall, and your home is no longer the old version of itself, it can feel really overwhelming and daunting, in both positive and negative ways. Yes, the home you once knew is no more, but the memories will still be there as you create a space reimagined with possibility. I love this part of the process, because you get a chance to see what’s underneath it all and address much needed updates that will absolutely benefit the way you live in your new space. Major demo and remodeling allows you to update wiring, HVAC systems, lighting, plumbing, A/V and so on. Not to mention all of the surface finishes throughout. These updates of course are both labor intensive and costly so if you’re considering a full-scale remodel, you need to keep a few things in mind. For one, it helps if the home has good bones and you are satisfied overall with it’s layout. Also, consider property value in your area if you think you may not stay in your home long enough to recoup your investment. Maybe you love the neighborhood or the schools? If you plan to stay in your home but it’s not meeting your current needs, this is where demo will benefit you most.

PROJECT #1: TRADITIONAL RANCH

BEFORE

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AFTER

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This traditional ranch home nestled in the San Fernando Valley is being redesigned into an elegant, family friendly space with a slightly bohemian vibe; more details on the style can be found here. My clients are a family of 5, three of them being boys under the age of 10. The current home is roughly 3,000 sq ft and we are adding 500 sq ft to accommodate a new home office and bath. They are also cooking enthusiasts so a state of the art kitchen is a must, as well as a bigger laundry to keep up with the wear and tear of boys! Overall, the goal of the remodel is to create a more family friendly and entertaining space for company, while also adding square footage to meet the needs of  a home office. Since the homeowners are going for this nouveau elegant meets bohemian aesthetic, this is where I am really harnessing my creative resources! I think it’s coming together nicely. Take a looksy… emily-lamarque-design-studio-bohemian-elegance-concept-board

PROJECT #2: HISTORIC SPANISH COLONIAL

BEFORE

(First Floor)

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(Second Floor)

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AFTER

(First Floor)

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(Second Floor)

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Built in 1922, this spanish colonial home is located in a historic section of Pasadena. More details on this home can be found from my other post, here. It is over 4,000 sq ft and since it was built in the 1920’s, it is in desperate need of a major overhaul. However, since it is in a historic neighborhood, the façade must retain it’s original integrity. This is a major challenge, particularly when the owners have a modern aesthetic and we are working with a Spanish colonial home! So I’m developing a modern Spanish style design, and I’m very excited to see this one evolve since it is definitely pushing the creative limits.

Here is my inspirational concept board for the home. It is still evolving, but this has been my jumping off point of color palettes, fabrics and finishes to start…

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What interests me most about this home is how it becomes a historic viewfinder into the way people lived in the past. Originally, the kitchen was completely cut off from the living and dining areas. It was opened up to the dining sometime during the 70’s or 80’s, which is evident from a few aluminum windows and other telltale signs. Nowadays the kitchen functions as a central hub for gathering and entertaining. It is safe to say that with a home like this, complete with maid’s quarters, the original owners weren’t doing the cooking. Rather, they were entertaining in the formal living room where families used to congregate. Interesting how times have changed! In other older home formalities, this home has a porte cochère and a detached garage. It truly makes me wonder if it was utilized for a horse and carriage!

Lastly, in other surprising news to us, yet typical for this design period, there is no designated master. The four bedrooms upstairs share two barely functional bathrooms (gasp!). The bathrooms are tiny, with zero storage. Back then it was all about the vanity area and getting ready, but home spa retreat? Not so much. Thank goodness we are updating this home with the times! We will be reconfiguring the bedrooms to function as three full-size masters in the home with ensuite baths, while the downstairs maid’s quarters will function as a playroom for the grandchildren. This will also have a full-size luxurious bathroom, so this room could easily convert to a downstairs master as well. We will also be adding an elevator for added convenience. For outdoor entertainment, we will be redesigning the pool, adding a jacuzzi as well as a pool bathroom.

Here are some visuals of how I think this property can fully transform into a modern Spanish hacienda…

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Architectural trees and plantings, still very modern and Spanish combined.

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I love this fountain, the potted small citrus trees, the ironwork on the gate and the smooth white plaster finish on the chimney and walls.

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I love these homes that are Spanish but still feel very modern and architectural.

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This is interior, but still in the vibe and VERY pretty. Look at the top detail in the niches.

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Rows of olive trees, drought tolerant shrubs and succulents… so very spanish in landscape style, yet can also lend themselves to a modern feel.

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An incredible lavender color palette…

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This one is a little modern, but still would work beautifully.

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As you can see, there is a lot of attention to detail when it comes to home remodeling! It is truly wonderful when you have the luxury of time to plan your design and make design decisions before you get too deep into the construction process. But fear not, working with a designer eases you through the process to make sure the details are not overlooked, that your vision for the space is properly executed and that any issues that arise are resolved. My goal is to work together to make sure you love your living space, and yes, from time to time, I also serve as a design therapist, a hand holder of sorts, reassuring clients that “it will all look incredible when it’s complete”. That’s my job, and I love what I do! Stay with me and see how these two projects unfold.

xo,

Emily

Our Home: Finishing Touches

If you’ve been keeping tabs on our home transformation project, so far we have touched on house hunting, demo and design, interior finishes and finally, today’s post, the finishing touches. Our charming mid-century modern ranch home is nearly complete as I’ve spent the last year putting on the glitz in between client projects. But, honestly, is a designer’s work ever truly done?!? If you are interested in seeing the finished project, you can tour my home at the upcoming Pasadena Kitchen & Home Tour. Click the link for more details. Come by, say hello and check it out, it’s going to be a stellar event!

Moving on from the gratuitous plug… it’s no shock if you know me that I have a love for mid-century modern style. In re-designing this home, I wanted it to pay homage to this artful period, but elevate the look with today’s modern amenities, fixtures and style. I wanted our home to look and feel happy, bright, clean and kid friendly- a tall order, but I am always up for the challenge.

This process was a bit different and not how I typically work with clients, in that it was very progressive, pulling pieces over time and working out of order in many respects. I didn’t have a cohesive vision or concept going into the project, which was very disconcerting because I am such a planner! For instance, one of the first things I started with was the window shade fabric for the kitchen and dining room.

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Taking inspiration from this pattern, I pulled my main color palette of aquas, coral, orange and white and I began collecting things that I loved that also reflected the style period. I had a wide assortment of things that I knew I loved or wanted in my home, and from there I worked on filling in the blanks. Start with something you love and take a balanced approach to building around it. Keep in mind color, texture, lines and a little sparkle and let the layering begin!

8b2fd430c351ac61af651c56569279b9Many of the fixtures I installed, like this amazing Jonathan Adler sputnik lighting fixture, are throwbacks to that mid-century bygone era, and of course some actual vintage pieces add flair and nostalgia as well. I was careful to make sure that the decorative pieces had lots of cheerful color and patterns, while much of the case goods and interior finishes and paint remained light and neutral. That way, I can give each room a facelift when I want to change things up on the cheap. Which is more often than I’d like to admit! Anyone else share my illness? I believe it’s called interior decoritis…. and yes, it’s most definitely acute… acute interior decoritis. Oh how I suffer! It’s miserable.

Once I had decided on the right assortment of bright, colorful, vintage inspired fun, this was the finished concept….

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Cosamia art// Bird bowl // Coffee table // Chandelier // Vintage Camel // Dresser // Original art // Sunny Stool // Pomegranate wallpaper // Yellow tray // Greek key rug // Rattan chair //  Tassel pillow // Table lamp // Eames side chair // Green fabric // Picture frames //

It’s modern, chic and kid friendly. It is a great mix of color, sparkle, texture, and lines. Original art completes the space, giving it wow factor and pulling your eye downward from the lighting fixture… that is if you can take your eye off that illuminated masterpiece!  Best of all, it perfectly fits our family of three, plus pets and feels just right. If you’re in the LA area, my home will be on tour, Sunday, October 19th. Purchase tickets here! Step inside, I can’t wait to welcome you!

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xo,
Emily

 

Newport Beach Condo on the Market

So, here is some serious scoop that deserves some dishing…I just found out yesterday that one of my very first interior design projects is officially on the market. The high-rise condo on Lido Island in Newport Beach that I gutted and remodeled for one of my very first clients will be going to a new, and hopefully loving, appreciative owner.

Seeing the real estate listing is a little bittersweet for me. As a designer, I poured blood, sweat, and tears into that project. The full remodel took roughly 2 years. I did all of the cad drawings, obtained permits from the city of Newport Beach, planned, planned, and did more planning to make that 2000 square feet the most elegant, efficient, and luxurious space.

Every aspect of this home, right down to the smallest details was executed with the utmost care. For instance, the layout sizes and dimensions of the tile and grout lines were carefully calculated prior to installation so that the wall tiles throughout could be installed without the tile having any cuts.  CRAZY right? This kind of painstaking detail is almost unheard of these days. The contractors that I worked with on that job were truly the BEST artisans and craftsmen, and I look forward to working with them again. It is truly one of a kind, and I know my clients have thoroughly enjoyed it there. I’m thrilled!

Let’s rewind the clock and see how this transformation happened…

The BEFORES

This place was a not so groovy 70’s abode frozen in time. It featured a sunken living room, floor to ceiling mirrors and glossy white floor tiles. The floors were so slick, they would have been the perfect slip and slide for adventurers seeking a neck break… I’m not even kidding. “Slippery floors, what a novel idea,” said no one, ever.

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Fabulous views out all of the windows to the harbor made this place worth the investment. Cha-ching.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-living-1emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-living

Behind that wall was a very, very dated kitchen. We took out the wall and opened that room right up. emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-dining

The theater lighting on the ceiling says it all. Cue the circus music….emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-kitchen

I do have to admit that the disco child in me digs this groovy wallpaper a little bit. Not so much the rest of the bath.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-powder

Nothing says luxury like wall-to-wall carpeting that pours into your master bath which comes complete with a sauna, but no shower…. nada. Which leaves me wondering that the homeowners must have liked to sweat and not rinse?? Ok I digress…. emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-master-bedroomemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-master-bedroom-viewemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-master-bath

There she is, the beloved sauna! I love a good shvitz as much as the next girl, but not in place of a shower. emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-master-bath-saunaemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-guest-2 emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-guest-1

And the guest bedroom and bath. Nothin’ too special goin’ on here, except the view! Bay and boats for days. emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-guest-bath

PS, is the wallpaper sea urchins or deranged chrysanthemums? I dunno, but it’s as good as gone!

The AFTERS

This is my favorite part (what, you thought I was going to say “watching the paint dry”?). This is the reward that you can literally SEE and TOUCH after all that painstaking work! Check it.

The entry, complete with a swanked out bar is perfect for entertaining. Those are actual amethyst gems twinkling on these incredible pendants by Fuse Lighting. The pictures can’t possibly do them justice.  And the chiseled limestone feature wall is absolutely stunning in person.

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The new living room. No more sunken life-threatening hole here. I loved designing the entertainment cabinet. One of my favorite ways to do cabinets, bars, and bookcases – the doors slide outwards to cover the bookshelves perfectly and reveal the inside space.

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Can I just tell you how much I LOVE Holly Hunt furnishings?!? Tailored, refined, chic, elegant, with the most striking lines and structure. Drool…emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-living

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Fabulous Tracery rug by Kelly Wearstler via The Rug Company, one of my fave go-to rug sources.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-kitchenemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-kitchenemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-kitchenSemi-precious concetto countertops by Caesarstone are INCREDIBLE. Total splurge, but hey, they don’t stain!

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Exotic sapele wood floors compliment the wenge throughout…emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-powder-glass-wallsemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-powder-room

Gorgeous glass and limestone tile on all the walls. Faucet is by THG, one of my absolute FAVE plumbing fixture companies. THG is jewelry for your bath. You can’t go wrong.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-door-hardware

Stainless steel contemporary door hardware. Mmmm.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bedroomemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bedroom

Velvet, mohair, silk in the master bedroom. Need I say more? Total luxury.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bathroom

This is one of my favorite two bathrooms I have ever done. It’s not huge but it’s perfect. The calcatta floor was cut from slabs that were each chosen individually. And the best part – the shower has no curb so the bathroom looks even bigger. No wait, the best part is that there IS a shower! At long last!emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bath-vanity

Crystals dress up the bath…emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bath-vanityemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bath-vanity And let’s not leave out my other favorite plumbing fixture company – Dornbracht. Love, love, love. The epitome of the ultra-modern faucet.

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The elegant master closet…emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-guest

And finally, the cozy guest bedroom.

I hope you dug this little look-back as much as I did. And the coolest part is that you can now enjoy it yourself for the asking price of …

What? You thought I was gonna give it away? Hardly! But you can see for yourself at www.601lidoparkdrive5e.com. Take a looksy!

xo,

Emily

Our Home: Interior Finishes

If you’re just joining us, this is the third installment on our home remodel. If you’re interested in playing catch up, you can read all about the process and how our home was selected as part of the Pasadena Kitchen & Home Tour right here. If you’ve been happily reading along (thank you bunches), we just finished demo and now we’re moving onto the incredible task of selecting interior finishes to complete our happy home.

I speak as both a homeowner and as a designer when I say this– I don’t think there is anything more challenging than designing your own home. At least for me! I know what you’re thinking. I am a designer, this is what I do, it should be a no brainer, right? Think again. Show me 100 different fabrics for a client and I can narrow them down to a handful in matter of minutes, but when picking something for myself, it’s only a matter of time before I over-think everything and short-circuit! I see SO many different fabrics, finishes, furniture, etc. every single day, so to actually settle on one thing and decide that I am going to love living with it for an extended period of time…..well, I get commitment-phobic!

Whether you’re a designer or not, the promise of a clean space that you can have your way with starts out very exhilarating, full of potential, and then it can become completely nerve wracking. But at the end of the day, I had to move forward making decisions, selections, and choices for my own home. Since this is Design Dish after all, here is another taste of yummy goodness from my own home. So let’s serve up the finishes!

 

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Finishes are tricky – they can be completely stunning or downright fugly. It either works beautifully or it misses the mark entirely. Even worse are finishes that are beyond boring. Blah? We’ll pass. They can be intimidating to commit to because the vast majority of finishes are permanent (think tile, counters, flooring, etc.) and don’t move easily once they are installed, so they need to make a statement and look incredible. And since they are pretty ‘permanent’, that means they are more costly – you have both the material cost and labor to install them. I myself had a l-o-o-o-n-g laundry list of requirements for the finishes I picked for my own home. So how did I narrow it down?

First and foremost, I had to love them! Obvi! I didn’t want to install something only to hate it two weeks later. Plus, the finishes had to be light, bright, airy, and cheerful. While I love a sophisticated dark room, I just don’t want to live in one at the moment. Also, kid and pet friendly – they needed to withstand the abuse of an active three year old who has a penchant for launching hot wheels at the walls as target practice. We are total animal lovers and since the fur-babes are family too, our selections needed to be easy to keep clean, as in no super dark finishes that show adorable, but obviously dirty, paw tracks! So to recap – cheerful, super-durable, youthful with a chic twist, unique, bold, colorful, timeless, slightly mid-century vibe, and of course, within budget. Seriously, that’s a darn tall order. But like any good designer, I worked it out!

So now that you’ve seen my selections, here’s a peek at how they all work together in my efficient mid-century ranch…

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emily-lamarque-design-studio-graphic-wallpaper I selected graphic wallpaper and patterns that were neutral but had a matte shimmer to make the patterns pop without interfering with my growing collection of wall art. But since I had to indulge my color obsession, I also selected this fab peacock paper for the powder room and kept the look clean and period-esque by incorporating the terrazzo tile.

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Next up- colorful glass tile.  Part retro and part spa- like, this tile is fun and reminds me of a gorgeously tiled swimming pool! It was a bold color risk, but it is the statement piece for our bathroom and I am all about making a statement!

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Lastly, ma-ma-marble! It’s ma fave. It’s clean, timeless and elegant, and something we can all commit to. But since I wanted to add visual interest, I mixed tile patterns as seen in the fretwork mosaic and a small trim of metallic glass square tiles on our backsplash to pick up the glistening speckles in the quartz counter top. Subtle bling!

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Please keep tuning in for the next phase of our home remodel. There is so much more to cover. Design delights guaranteed!

xo,

Emily