One Room Challenge: Our 6 Week Living Room Makeover - Week 5

Accessories - those small touches that contribute to the unique character and life of a space. While they may not seem important compared to furniture, accessories can often make or break a space. They impact how a space feels, and ultimately you want a space that feels personal, authentic, and complete. In our post for week 5 of the One Room Challenge, we’ll be sharing our approach to accessorizing your home.

 A vignette of objects both decorative and functional from our Brooklyn Co-op Project

A vignette of objects both decorative and functional from our Brooklyn Co-op Project

We take a Goldilocks approach to accessories: not too many and not too few! Too many can feel cluttered while having too few can feel like you’re living in a hotel. Via a thoughtfully curated selection of accessories, you can add depth to your spaces and amplify the beauty - all without sacrificing functionality.

For our living room makeover, we selected several key new pieces that add visual interest. We're also mixing in a couple trinkets that we’ve collected over the years that have sentimental value. It's always important to select varied materials, colors, and textures that create a collection of accessories that feels personal and unique to your story. Don't be afraid to put together different styles, metals, or finishes as long you as you love it - that's exactly how you avoid a showroom or over-designed look. 

 Clockwise from top left:  1  /  2  /  3  /  4

Clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

What are some of your favorite accessories that you've collected over the years? We'd love to hear the stories about your most treasured pieces!

Next week, we’ll be sharing the big reveal in our final post for the One Room Challenge!

Missed the previous weeks' posts? You can catch up here: 
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

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Check the progress of the other bloggers participating in the One Room Challenge:
Guest Participants
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Work in Progress: Pike Creek Kitchen

 WIP: Cabinets installed, but still have more to go.

WIP: Cabinets installed, but still have more to go.

The clients for this project had been wanting to remodel their kitchen for a very long time, as the space had not been updated since the 1984, when they first moved in! The goal was a complete kitchen renovation that included new flooring, layout, cabinets, paint, trim, and lighting. The only things that were kept were the dishwasher, refrigerator, and stove.

 BEFORE: Old cabinets ripped out.

BEFORE: Old cabinets ripped out.

Through various interior design blogs, I had heard of Semihandmade, a company based in LA who makes semi-custom fronts for IKEA cabinet frames.  I spent A LOT of time online researching Semihandmade kitchens and reviews of IKEA cabinets. Some of the things I learned might surprise you!

Contrary to common belief or assumptions, IKEA cabinets are actually pretty good quality mainly because of the German-made hardware they use. Yes, the cabinet frames are particle board instead of higher quality (and more expensive) plywood, but it seems like particle board is pretty common now for most mainstream cabinet makers. The main issue I have with IKEA cabinet frames are the thin, flimsy fiberboard backs, but since you can’t really see the back of cabinets, it’s not a dealbreaker for those on a budget.

We went with Semihandmade cabinet doors because they're thicker and have a more high-end look than IKEA doors. I also preferred the classic simplicity of Semihandmade’s shaker-style doors. It was an easy process to order the doors and panels because you use IKEA’s software to design the kitchen and then send the design to Semihandmade. I’ll be writing a separate post on learnings from this kitchen process and tips for working on an IKEA kitchen with custom fronts.

 WIP: Red Oak hardwood floors that match the rest of the house was installed prior to the cabinets.

WIP: Red Oak hardwood floors that match the rest of the house was installed prior to the cabinets.

Because the house is a "neo-colonial" style commonly found in the suburbs of the East Coast, we decided on a transitional style for the kitchen that would mix some traditional elements with contemporary ones and feel coherent with the "neo-colonial" house style. For example, classic pendant light fixtures are paired with clean, minimal wall sconces, traditional green marble tiles are straight-set for a more modern backsplash, and shaker-style cabinets are paired with traditional hardware for a timeless look. I can’t wait to see how these details shape up in the next few weeks...

Work in Progress: Introducing Potrero Hill Duplex

Just over a year ago, I started a fantastic new project in San Francisco that is somewhere in between new construction and a gut renovation.

Here's a couple photos from the real estate listing to give you an idea of the place:

 BEFORE: The non-descript facade.

BEFORE: The non-descript facade.

 BEFORE: A diminutive little house in between to two towering buildings.

BEFORE: A diminutive little house in between to two towering buildings.

For this project my client has several high-level goals to hit:  

  1. Add as much square footage as possible
  2. Optimize usability of space
  3. Design a home that will be widely appealing yet unique

Now after one year, I'm a couple weeks away from submitting the permit application. This is what it took to get to this point:

  • Intense studying of the San Francisco Planning Code, Residential Design Guidelines, and various bulletins to fully understand the maximum buildable area we could achieve.
  • Numerous visits to the San Francisco Planning Department to get clarification on said code, guidelines, etc.
  • Creating a cohesive concept for the client's desire to have a sanctuary within the city.
  • Many, many iterations of floor plan designs (first as a single family home, then as a 2 unit building) to optimize space, circulation, lighting, and ease of use.
  • Building a 1/4" scale physical foam core model to help the client visualize the space, see how the spaces fit together, and provide feedback on the design.
  • Hiring and working closely with a geotechnical engineer, civil engineer, structural engineer, and architect to provide input and required documentation and reports. 
  • Sending out notifications of the proposed project to all the surrounding neighbors and listening to their concerns.
  • Historical research into the property (using microfiche and going to the public library!) because the building is over 50 years old.
  • Filling out many, many application forms.

Fingers-crossed that this permit submission process goes well....

Work in Progress: Seattle Loft

I'm excited to share a sneak peek of a small loft project that I've been working on the past several months. It's still missing the art, plants, new floor lamp, and a few decor items, but I'm pretty proud of how it's turning out given that I saw the Seattle area space for the first time last week, after all the pieces were delivered. The client is a bachelor who was ready to upgrade his rental and favors an industrial vibe. Check out the living area: