Getting the Layered Look

Today is the second in a series of posts.  We’re going through the steps I took to create the warm, relaxed look we achieved in Melissa’s living room.

 Restoration Sofa

To begin, we had two major statement pieces from her previous home, a Restoration Hardware leather sofa and trunk coffee table.


One of the goals was to brighten the space, so I started with an on trend chevron rug from Overstock which anchors the space.

Alexa Chevron Blue RugFrom there I added throw pillows in soft blues and subtle greys, with a few pops of yellow from both West Elm and Pottery Barn.


When it comes to layering a space, throws are the perfect accessory to add style and comfort and they can be found at any price point, like this one we found at World Market.


Lighting is one of the most important elements in any space, so we’ll cover lighting and accessorizing a room in the next post which is how we rounded out the space.

Melissa's Living Room



Take the City with You

Meet Melissa, my client with a living room design project:  Using existing, beautiful yet slightly masculine sofa and coffee table to create a living room with pops of color that is chic enough to entertain, comfortable enough to lounge, and safe enough for toddlers.

Melissa's Living Room

She wanted to carve out a spot for reading or watching TV so I looked for a perfect chaise lounge.  We added a lovely throw and vibrant toss pillows in the space overlooking a set of black and white photos of baby’s first haircut, particularly meaningful as her husband owns a hip SF hair studio Patrick Evan Salon.


Next we wanted to make use of built-ins to create extra seating, storage, and most importantly a place to display a photograph of the couple strolling through San Francisco, the place they called home for so long.


To create this warm, inviting living room, we combined the couple’s previously purchased upscale pieces with fabulous finds on a $1500(ish) budget.  Most importantly we didn’t want the room to feel like a suburban home, so we took the city with us in our approach and over the next few posts, I will show you how we did it.

I Need Another Rug (Like I Need a Hole in my Head)

I’ve had my eye on this Restoration Hardware daybed for like twenty-five days. Two weeks ago I broke down and bought it for my son’s room and soon realized I paid more for his bed than my own, so I cancelled it.  But I couldn’t stop thinking about.  So I bought it again.


For the living room.   Soon we’ll have a low profile tufted day bed instead of a couch which is cool because we live in California where people lounge all day, in long fluffy hotel robes, in front of a roaring fire while ‘working’ on their iPads.  So now we need to choose a rug that compliments the piece.  My hubby says the only rug he wants is the rug that will prevent me from wanting another rug, but I just can’t decide.

Please help by voting for your favorite out of the following four options.

1) Has a groovy seventies vibe, but I might get bored with it quickly


2) More of a mat than a rug which is super durable and looks modern though it isn’t soft or cozy


3)  Chevron striped rug that looks good in any setting but the print is suddenly everywhere


4) Thick-striped rug with bold presence, but nearly twice the price of all the others


Simply check either 1, 2, 3, or 4 and vote as many times as you’d like

Thanks for your help everyone!

A Stylish Lash Studio

Recently a client came to me with a request, design a space for a custom eyelash business with equal parts style (for the waiting room) and function (where she applies the individual lashes).  She wanted a feminine feel without overly feminine colors, so I layered neutral tones and textures with metallic elements like the soft, silvery feature wall, the golden end table, and the starburst mirrors.


When I started the room was bare with a single harsh fluorescent light blinking dimly above the dark floor.


Working with an unfinished space like this one, and a client like Melissa, is a decorator’s dream.  She gave me the freedom to choose nearly every aspect of the design, aside from the wide plank dark floors she’d already selected which beautifully anchor the space.


 The design took approximately one month to complete and in the coming weeks I plan to share how each piece was selected within the confines of time, space and budget.  Until then, thank you for sticking with me while I’ve been on hiatus!

Making Room in the Master Bedroom

With a baby on the way, everything changes. And every room changes right along with it.  Like the Master Bedroom, which transforms from a peaceful, tranquil space…

(Except maybe for the night when a drunk driver crashed into a line of parked cars beneath the window at 3a.m., finally coming to a halt halfway through the front door of the building across the street.)

And before you know it, plush blankets and tiny teddy bears are piling up faster than you can say baby.

And friends are reminding you that yes, you’ve spent a fortune on the nursery, but of course at first you’ll keep the baby in your room so you can feed, rock, soothe, cuddle and repeatedly check to be sure baby is breathing while losing all hopes of sleeping for the next five years.  You decide you want to create a sweet space for baby in your room, preferably in close proximity to your bed for easy access, nighttime feedings, no sleep.

And since you’ve already spent what seems like a college fund on baby stuff, you don’t want to spend a fortune on new bedding, so you grab a couple of throw pillows off the master bed and line them up along the back of the crib (but of course not while baby is inside which if I don’t say, at least two of my friends will remind me what a dingaling I am thinking I can put a baby in the crib with pillows).  Then you buy an inexpensive crib sheet and use a grey blanket as a crib skirt.  Which you find amusing since Tahoe the Rhino is sitting on your dog eared copy of 50 Shades of Grey.  Get it, grey crib skirt, grey book?  Ha ha. I don’t have the kid yet and I’m already losing sleep.

But if you opted not to find out the sex of your baby, or like us, you are waiting for a call about a foster baby and have no idea if it will be a boy or girl, you need a set up for a girl, too, so you pull a quick switch and add a pink blanket in place of the blue one and a wicker baby basket that works for both sexes but just feels more feminine.

And POOF!, you have another space for baby.  With all the preparation and getting readiness, it never feels like the baby will actually arrive, but they do eventually come…don’t they???

Starlight, Starbright My Pendant Light is Finally Complete!

Do you remember my post from a couple of weeks ago about creating a drum light to cover the apartment grade bulb in the ceiling light?  It didn’t exactly scream sweet, playful nursery…

So when I saw this sweet light

It inspired me to make a light of my own, minus the dangling butterflies and plus a retro modern geometric pattern

However hanging the light was becoming a problem because the shade didn’t quite work with any of the hanging hardware I found, until I came across this nifty little light bulb clip

Which means I actually clipped the drum shade directly on to the light bulb, which would not normally work because you would be able to see that the drum was not surrounding the light, but hanging from it.  But lucky for me the room, being a closet, is the size of, well, a closet, and from no angle can you tell that the lamp shade is clipped to and actually hanging from the light bulb.  Part jimmy-rigged hoe down.  Part genius.  And with that I thought I was done.

But then as I was writing this post, ding dong came the delivery guy and inside the box was an Etsy rubber duck inspired mobile I ordered last week.

And it was one of the cutest things I have ever laid eyes on.  Which brought me back to the dangling butterflies from the inspiration photo.  And with that a rubber ducky dangling, Waverly ensconced, ten dollar lamp shade is now the shining light of our nursery.

Which means I’ll have to buy another mobile for the little one, who after meeting with our Placement Coordinator yesterday, could be here as soon as next week!!

And so we are waiting with breath that is bated and a phone under the pillow, just in case. 😉

A Nursery for Our Foster Baby to Call Home

After a two years, four surgeries, two hospital stays and fifteen plus trips to the ER, my illness is finally behind us and we are on the road to parenthood through the foster and adoption system in San Francisco, CA.  YAY!  I am beyond excited to receive that first call and I’ve been working on a nursery for our foster children to call home.

More than anything, I wanted a bright, cheerful space that would feel a million miles away from the situations many of these children will leave behind.  Even though they are babies, so much of their lifelong development and attachment ability is formed while they’re infants so I wanted lots of bright colors, soft textures and organic toys and blankets to make them feel safe and warm.

I converted an outdated night stand into a navy blue changing table with an anchor hanging above to fit a nautical inspired space that reflects both living in San Francisco and my husband’s love of sailing and the sea.

With such a small room to work with, typical in the city, I tried to make the most of the space by using a dresser with plenty of drawers and cabinets to store an endless supply of onesies, diapers, and all the accoutrements that come along with caring for an infant.  I hung a little clothing rack from the ceiling with nautical rope to display some of my favorite baby outfits, and lined the dresser with books, shoes, and all the adorable things that come with having a baby.

We’re ready for you little one and can’t wait to meet you!

Lots of Love, Andy & Marshall

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