Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Welcome to Surfside

We moved into a home this past April and it's been as exciting as you would think it would be. It's a privilege in ones life to buy a home and I feel honored and Blessed to experience it. The process has been enjoyable, except for the time my handyman told me I can't replace the load bearing pillars with gold. Those moments haven't been so fun for me.
I wanted to share this experience and transformation with you all because what kind of designer would I be if not?
The happy trio making their into the new place.

This picture was taken a few minutes after I received the keys to our new house, I waited until the realtor and agent left before I took this selfie. For those who spend a lot of time with me, now you know I can make this face.

The first two weeks in the house looked like this;
I know, I told myself to breathe in before, during and after I took this picture. On the one hand I wanted to take my time with unpacking to make sure I was putting everything in the right place but on the other hand my mindfulness with unpacking quickly turned into me idly standing around like Leonardo DiCaprio at the Oscars. Did I just say that? Every decision started to make my head hurt. I needed someone to physically come over, take things out of boxes and saying "Chana, I think milk belongs in the fridge." And this someone knows who she is- thank you!

My mornings were not easy for me because this is what the route to my coffee looked like. I don't do well before my coffee when I'm vacationing so this was a challenge for me.

Now lets go through the process of finding the color scheme/vibe for the house. I wanted it to feel comfortable and inviting, at the same time I wanted to enhance the mid century bones the house already had. I consider myself so lucky to have found a space that really speaks my language. I love the warmth of mid century design, I've always been drawn to that era's shapes and style. As a designer, I use this process for my clients and never really thought I would use it for myself. As it turns out, designer or not, we all need a guide.

My process of inspiration;

I love muted colors, organic shapes and lots and lots of textures. As I started to capture what inspired me it became much easier to start putting it all together. 

Then came the inspiration board;

And so started the paint process, you know the fun part of painting when you spend tons of money and time on itty bitty samples of paint. But there's a goal and it's to find your perfect color, which I did.

How can I not include this picture, it's so attractive. I know this part of the paint process might scare people because it's so hard to look at, but you need to do it. Paint looks completely different on the wall than it does on the chip. It also looks different on the wall during the day and during the night. Furniture, lighting and art are all things to take into account when finding the perfect color. Getting paint samples is a must!!

One of the big questions when we moved in was to "paint the brick or not paint the brick." I was on the "paint the brick" train from the start but I waited until we were moved in for 2 weeks to pull the trigger. I don't think in every case brick should be painted, in my case I felt very strongly about connecting the house through colors so for me, painting the brick felt right.

Now it's time to welcome you all in as I will  show you the before's and after's of the house. 

(Disclaimer, there's still a lot of changes I would like to make to the house so please take that into considerationwhen looking at these pictures. If I waited for it to be perfect, I would never post.)

Here's the entrance untouched, this is one of the better shots because my hunk of a son in the shot.

First came the paint

Then came the metallics and greenery

This is the first living area in the house, it's full of character and space.

The after

Some not so flattering features of the house- we all have our flaws and this one's made of green textured glass 'Ew' -said like Jimmy Fallon.

Temporary solution for the all the green-ness was bookshelves in front. And there's no space of mine without a cowhide. It adds so much texture and it works ANYWHERE.

In order to create two spaces in one area, I divided the room. The office area on one side and the TV area on the other; by creating separate zones, the space feels bigger and functions more efficiently. 

The wood wall that had me at hello, I talk to walls when they're made of wood.

Turned it into backdrop for a gallery wall.

A space needs to evoke all senses in order for you to truly experience a room; I like to make my candles feel very cozy.

Another view of the same room

I added sheer curtains to give it some depth without taking away the light.

The dining room is more of a big area off the kitchen that can also double over as another living space. The lighting in this room is perfect during the day because of all the windows and then at night we have this pineapple shaped chandelier that keeps us smiling.

The other side 

The after, I know the after looks a lot like the before because we've only added drapes and a table, but we'll get there.

I wanted this area to feel light open as well as inviting. I did that by sticking to strong neutrals and lots of layering to get that lived in feel.

With most good things, it's usually coupled with a little sadness. We said good bye to the apartment that gave us so many good moments and memories. It will always hold a special place in our hearts, Eliana and Noam both took their first steps here, they both also had their first tantrums here. Thank you for the beautiful times, we will never forget you, although I'm not promising anything.

On to the next chapter,

Thursday, May 21, 2015

My Favorites

So every job I work on is a completely different experience with different needs. When I start a project I try to take on that persons style and find pieces that speak directly to who they are. Having said that, there are pieces that no matter the space, will always work. These pieces are also not expensive at all (now I have your attention) They are pieces that anyone can buy and use in their homes to add some style. I decided to share my very sacred list of 'favorites' because I'm a genuinely nice person.

Here are some of my favorite items from Target and IKEA; 
(My frequency to Target is so beyond embarrassing that it's actually made a 360 and now I'm comfortable with it.)

The Colby Cowhide $199    Stockholm Rug $199

Dining Table $199      RIBBA Frames $14.99

Threshold Tufted Bench $59         Mid Century Modern Bench $149

Nate Berkus Side Table $79.99       Vaughn Upholstered Chair $189

The reason a lot of these work is because they're classic in shape while still feeling fresh. The mid century bench from Target for example, has beautiful lines that will work anywhere and mixed with the dark gray upholstery it feels very modern.
Every piece here will invite intrigue and a little chic into any space they call home.

My Favorite Go-to Paint Colors;
These grays are always going to work. They're all soft and strong, making a perfect backdrop almost anywhere. They've all been tried and they've all succeeded.  

These are all paint colors from Benjamin Moore. 
I need to make an entire separate post for my Sherwin williams picks- so many options.

Enjoy and happy shopping!
You're welcome :)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What I've been up to

I'm proud to say what has kept me from blogging this past year has been my work and family and work...

I've had some great jobs over the year and every job has taught me something valuable. They have taught me that the most important part of doing good work is believing in yourself. Your vision is your expression, some people will relate to it and some people wont and that's OK. 
As long as every time you produce work that relates to you 100% of the time, the clients will be happy. 

The last year has also given me some perspective when it comes to couples and their homes. It's important to listen to both parties and create a space with both of their needs in mind. Women are usually more vocal with what they want; "I want it to feel modern but not cold, like a warm modern; I want it to be sophisticated but also inviting; I want a serene space but not boring; I love color but I also love the neutral look; I need this home to function for my kids but I also don't want it to be a kids' space." Men usually tell me to go easy on their card. 

I've also learnt that handymen come from another planet that is not Earth. They come from a place where up is down, 9am is never and men know that socks belong in the hamper. I have no idea how these handymen are making it over here but it's very deceiving.

I've really loved all my jobs this past year and feel truly honored to all those who have welcomed me into their homes to help create a space that is true to them.

Here are some of my highlight moments..

This is the 'before' space of a Bal Harbor home. The space was really open and and light it just needed some TLC, which meant warm paint colors and some layering.

The paint color I went with in the end:
Benjamin Moore; Big Bend Biege

Some of the layering that was done:

This project taught me how important it is to layer texture and color to create a home. So many people ask me how to get that 'finished' look. It's really about finding pieces that work together and compliment each other. Don't be afraid to play with shapes and sizes; big with small, tall with short. That's what's going to give your home depth- that 'finished' look.

Then there was this master bedroom that I loved for many reasons but mostly because I was given the opportunity to bring life to this room right before the arrival of their new baby. Knowing this space would be used to love and nurture a baby really made me happy. The room also turned out beautiful so there was that part that made me really happy. Here's the little area that was created in the bedroom for some special mommy and baby time.

Being involved in this next Miami Beach home 
was so enjoyable for me. I loved transforming it into a home that felt more youthful.
This is the living space before;

Here it is after;

This was a little nook in the kitchen area that needed a lot more attention than it was getting;

This is after;

This job taught me that when you have a client who is realllllly good at scouring out items on Craig's List, you end up with perfect yellow kitchen tables like this one. It also taught me that I need to be better at it.

I think the most transformative job I did over this past year was this office. It meant a little more to me because I knew it was an area my husband would spend most of his days, so I wanted him to have happy thoughts. It was also a commercial space rather than a residential so it pushed me to think outside the box which was hard because I love boxes.

Here are some before pictures of the entrance; 

Turned it into this;

Receptionist desk;


The conference room before;


This is how a small office was being used before; 

This is the space after;


The world map that was on the wall before was painted over when the office was re painted. I was feeling bad about it because the person working there had specifically chosen it for the office. So I reinvented it in a way that doesn't make me sad as a designer and a person in general.

This project taught me that deep down all men want to be surrounded by pretty things, I don't know why they bother to fight it.

And then there was the biggest change of all which was my new baby boy who melts my heart. I've learnt that besides sleepless nights, non stop diaper changing and the 75 pounds of baby gear that's useless because it's not you, babies are the most beautiful beings and watching them grow is a treasure.

Having said that, there are some things I've taken away from being a mommy of two. For example, car seats have gotten a lot heavier since I had my daughter. I think they weigh like 40 pounds now, pre-baby, which is great for those of you who don't have time to work out. All you need to do is carry your baby around in a car seat that hangs off your forearm awkwardly until you want to cry. 

I've learnt that there are certain words that don't exist anymore when you have more than one child, like the word "effortless" I said good bye to that word with my first baby. "Sleep" is a word that has been replaced with "snooze" or "nap." The words "fun" and "family day" don't exist together either. Instead "fun" usually stays home to binge watch Netflix and sends along words like "stressful" and "overwhelmed." Of course this lesson didn't come to me early on. I did a lot of family days before I realized that "fun" never joins in.

I've learnt that most events in my 3 year old daughters life will take place by the car. We'll be coming out of the car when suddenly she realizes she needs her hello kitty sticker from last week and let's face it we all know I threw that sucker out before it even came into the car (oops). And for some reason all cheerios MUST be picked up from the floor of the car immediately although that same urgency doesn't exist when it comes to cheerios on the kitchen floor. The important thing to take away from this is light layers and sunscreen for those of us in Miami. For those in colder climates, bundle up, because I think it takes less time for elderly people to exit a car than toddlers.

The biggest lesson I've taken away from this past year is that not blogging for so long is not fair to all my readers out there and for that I apologize.