Last week, I was given the opportunity to go on a fantastic work-fun trip. A set of clients recently relocated to Phoenix, AZ, after living in the Bay Area for several years. I had the pleasure of helping them design their East Bay home, and after they sold it, they asked me to help with their next house renovation in Arizona. Of course I said, "Yes!"
Coincidentally, my sister was also on a business trip there, so we were able to coincide our trips and mix in both work and enjoying all that the Scottsdale-Phoenix area has to offer, which I discovered is A LOT OF FUN and filled with mid-century modern architecture and inspiration.
Fresh off the plane, my Client took me straight to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West.
Architecture and FLW Fans will not be disappointed. The setting, nature and history behind this national historic landmark and creative "laboratory" is fascinating and absolutely spectacular in person. I had seen some photos before, but nothing beats experiencing the property and architecture/rooms in person. Light diffusion, sound, and nature and how they all interplay can all be witnessed throughout the property and tour.
We spent the rest of my short trip enjoying local eats (due to allergies, I eat gluten-free, no dairy) and there were plenty of yummy spots to enjoy. My Client showed me the best vintage shopping (both mid-century focused and general thrifting) and I somehow was able to fill a small empty suitcase for the trip back to California!
Here are some photos of Taliesin West and our incredible hotel Hotel Valley Ho, which for mid-century fans, is a must-stay!
Hotel Valley Ho
Midcentury Modern Unique
4610 N. 7th Avenue
#303 N 7th Ave
Michael Todd's Treasures
4433 N. 7th Ave
Over the weekend, we had the pleasure of participating in Anthropologie's Summer Launch party at the Walnut Creek Anthropologie store. A few weeks ago, their Head Stylist (and dear friend of ours) Shannon asked us if we would be interested in helping them introduce the brand's Summer collection with a Sunday morning party. When she said Mimosas and coffee would be served, naturally we said yes. (Only (half) kidding). The store would be newly stocked with their Summer collection -- both furniture and home accessories and they invited us to talk about our design work and inspiration, plus introduce the new collection, which happened to feature a talented local artist.
I came into the store prior to the event to take a look at their new product line and was really inspired. This post, nor our participation in the event was not sponsored in any way, so I am totally truthful when I say how excited I was to view their home collection. Loads of color, pattern, texture ... all elements that are just the right flavor to layer into the type of work we do, which while it tends to be on the more modern/clean lines and minimalist side, we strive to create spaces that are still warm, and inviting.
We were happy to meet the very talented Bridgette Thornton a local Bay Area Artist, who's playful watercolor designs are featured on Anthropologie's new outdoor tableware collection. I need to get our own set for going to our pool club this summer!
I gave a talk about Destination Eichler -- how we came about and what we do, then I got to "play" with Bridgette's new collection by pulling together a tablescape of her pieces and mixing in other products that I found interesting and colorful, along with beautiful Terrain greenery.
Thank you to Shannon, Paige, Ryan and the Anthropologie team for inviting us to take part in this launch party! And big thanks to the friends/family (you know who you are) who lent moral support in the audience (and took iPhone footage), to the nice guests who listened in on my presentation and came by after to say hello, and a few clients who stopped by too. I haven't really done much/any public speaking since leaving my corporate job, (where I was used to giving updates at the monthly "Business Review" meetings and Quarterly full company presentations). Let's just say this was WAY more fun and I appreciated the guests interest and kind words for our work and business.
Cheers to Bridgette! We wish her continued success with her beautiful work and line. We met many delightful new folks we look forward to connecting with and enjoyed a peaceful kid-free Sunday morning. :) It was a good day and we're ready to jump into what the coming summer season has in store for us!
Photos by Bridgette Thorton and Stephanie Perham
We are SO thrilled to be a part of the Spring 2018 Issue of Atomic Ranch which features our Lucas Valley Eichler project from 2017. This is a very special milestone for us, as it is our first client project to be featured in print! Before we lived in a mid-century home, Atomic Ranch was (and still is) our go-to for inspiration and a peek into cool MCM houses, so it's pretty surreal to see our design and photography for our clients in the magazine. A big thank you to our fabulous clients who gave us the trust to work with them, also letting us photograph take up a weekend day to photograph their beautiful home!
Here's a few sneak peek from the Spring Issue. Thank you Sarah Jane Stone and Atomic Ranch for featuring our work! PS. This isn't the last you will see of this Eichler Kitchen and home! More to come on that...
You can get your copy via Atomic Ranch or your local bookseller.
Last spring, we were approached by a wonderful family who have been in their home for twelve years and were ready for a full home makeover. With a very busy household, (think two children, three dogs, two cats, and another daughter away at college), this family was ready to reimagine their home to match their distinct style, fabulous furniture/art collection and active lifestyle.
While we didn't take down walls or change any exterior features, changes such as new flooring, wall treatment, lighting, and fixtures, planned cohesively made a big impact in this space. We opted for family-friendly/durable materials to withstand the family's daily traffic, while making updates that expressed the family's love for fun and adventure. Palm Springs is a favorite destination for the family, which is reflected in their mid-century style furniture and fun artwork collection. It was such a blast working with the homeowners to bring in more personal elements and style to their home!
Originally, the homeowners wanted to solely swap out the backsplash with new tile and keep the original cabinetry. After a few changes were made throughout the house (including installation of new hardwood floors and tile), plans eventually changed (as they often do!), and they decided to go with all new kitchen cabinetry as well. The the new tile had already been installed and needed to be removed to meet the new cabinetry configuration, but thanks to Heath Ceramics In-Stock Palette, we were able to secure beautiful new tile (very!) quickly that better suited the new white cabinetry. While not part of the original plan, the homeowners ended up with entirely new kitchen that meets their family's needs and reflects their modern style. Kudos to extremely flexible clients and Contractor!
The washer and dryer now reside under this countertop area (vs previously stacked), which now doubles as a bar and entertaining area.
The clients' had a brilliant idea to utilize space underneath the stairs as a cozy area for pets. They also had a wood hand rail installed over existing metal stair rail, completely changing the look.
POWDER ROOM BEFORE:
POWDER ROOM AFTER:
We added a bit of drama to the Powder Room with custom drawer fronts and legs from Semihandmade (over an Ikea vanity). The clients had even more fun with this room, adding a rock theme to the decor.
KIDS' BATHROOM BEFORE:
KIDS' BATHROOM AFTER:
COMPUTER NOOK BEFORE:
COMPUTER NOOK AFTER:
Graphic wallpaper adds pop to this multi-functional space. The clients had their contractor install a custom built-in bookcase under the staircase, maximizing space and storage.
FRONT ENTRY BEFORE:
A huge thank you to our clients for allowing us to be a part of this fun and transformative project! They were such as joy to collaborate with and we loved helping them make their home really feel like their home. They even entertained our oldest son when we came to photograph the space (inspiring him with their furry pets too!) Cheers!
Fireplace Tile: Fireclay Tile
Wallpaper: Emily Sanford Design, Spoonflower
Vanity: Ikea Godmorgon with fronts from Semihandmade
Faucet: VIGO Satro Matte Black 1-Handle Single Hole Faucet, Lowes
Light: Vista 2 Sconce, Cedar & Moss
Industrial Wall Mirror, West Elm
Paint: METAL .06, Colorhouse Paints
Tile: Vives Rift Grafito, Tilebar
Boxie LED Ceiling Light, YLighting
Master Bedroom Walls
IMAGINE .05, Colorhouse Paints
ENGINEERED HARDWOOD FLOORING
Urban Floor Calabria
Construction by Jeff Lewis 408-781-1746
I was looking for holiday gift ideas and Karen suggested succulents and I was also anxious to try DIYing some concrete planters because it seemed all the rage on Instagram so I went for it!
Step 1 DIY Concrete Planters : Make Concrete Forms
I looked around for household items that I could use as forms. I've seen posts from folks that used all sorts of crafty items, so I ended up with:
- Pho soup takeout container
- Cover for a DVD-R spindle - (Because everyone has one of these sitting around!)
- Styrofoam container
- LEGOs - Thanks to Sebastian's brilliant idea!
Here are several examples of my DIY concrete planter forms.
Preparing the DIY Concrete Forms
Casting concrete requires a little bit of upside-down thinking. You need to pour concrete into a mold and put in knockouts to create pockets of space. In all of my cases, I used a small cup to form the area where my succulents will be planted. The bottom of the form will end up becoming the top of my planter.
I used a silicone caulk to seal the cups upside-down to the bottom of all my forms to ensure the opening of the planting area would be nice and smooth.
Step 2 DIY Concrete Planters: Mixing the Concrete for the Planters
I made batches of concrete mix using:
- Portland Cement - this is the raw powder that binds and hardens
- Sand - this is an aggregate that is mixed to give it some additional strength and texture
- Green glass - I broke up some beer bottles to mix in some additional aggregate to add some variety to the finish on some of the planters
For most of the batches of mix I took 5 scoops of cement and 3 scoops of sand.
Step 3: Pouring the concrete into the mold
Since this form was larger, I was able to sprinkle some of the green glass at the bottom of the form before pouring the concrete.
Step 4 DIY Concrete Planters: Vibrating the Mold
You need make sure all the concrete fills the mold completely and allow air bubbles to escape to the surface, so I used an electric hand sander to vibrate all around the form. It helped to level out the concrete and make sure the finish was free from too many holes along the finished surface. You'll never get all of them out, but it helps greatly to reduce the bubbles.
Step 5 DIY Concrete Planters: Breaking the concrete from the mold - The Fun Part!
I broke the concrete from the mold about 18 hours after pouring - you could say it was early, but my time was limited. The planters casted in the plastic containers released from the mold very easily. As the concrete dries it shrinks a tad, so all I had to do is flip it over it squeeze around the container.
The LEGO mold was fun, and a great activity for the kids - they had to release the form piece-by-piece.
The styrofoam mold was the most difficult, as I had to cut using a blade and tear off pieces to release the form completely. The concrete picks up imprints of all the textures from the mold, so all the cellular foam patterns appeared on the surface.
Step 6 DIY Concrete Planters: Sanding DIY Concrete Planters (only two of them required sanding)
There was green glass aggregate I wanted to expose on two of the planters, so I used a wet concrete polisher with a 50, then 200 grit pad to polish off a layer of concrete, otherwise it wouldn't be seen. (This isn't' one of these tools most people have handy, but from doing our countertops, I actually had one... and was siked I got to use it again!)
The planter from the foam form also needed polishing to remove the rough finish left behind from the cellular pattern.
Step 7 DIY Concrete Planters: Arranging the Succulents
We sourced plants from our 'secret garden' (aka - Lolo's backyard, for which we owe much thanks)I put a layer of small stones at the bottom of each pot, added my cactus soil, then topped it off with a final layer of stones. I finished them off by adding felt pads to avoid scratching the table. After doing a couple I let Karen and the kids finish the remaining pots and add their artistic touch. Those receiving these succulents can thank them!
They turned out great and we were very happy with the results. Looking forward to seeing what else we can make!
P.S. - Much thanks for Mark Melonas at @lukeworks for inspiration.
I haven't bought new Christmas ornaments in years; most of ours are from my prior career working for various retailers and amassing ornaments after each holiday season.
A few years back though, I splurged on this one ornament, if I recall it was actually from J.Crew, or similar to a collection designed by kate spade:
I love the black and white, modern look. So simple, yet elegant.
A lovely Instagram friend forwarded me an IG story of a DIY painted ornament project. It got my creative juices flowing (Thanks Karen! Her name is Karen too. :) and I ran out to the craft store to get supplies to attempt my own version.
It was super easy and fun! I even got our 10-year old son into it and it was his idea to paint the glittered ones, which I hadn't even thought of doing!
Just a few packs of plain ornaments from the Dollar Store (or use some plain ones already on your tree):
Acrylic paint and brushes (I chose just four colors, to stick to a mid-century modern inspired theme):
Paint lines, dots, crosses ... as simple or fancy as you'd like. We rigged up a hanger to allow them to dry.
Here's a quick video of the process. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
I love visiting clients during the holidays! It's always fun to see their holiday decor, and in this particular home, it is an especially memorable time, since it is their first Christmas as a family of three! (Plus their two adorable fur babies.)
I started working with these wonderful clients over the summer. They were relocating from the East Coast had just purchased a mid-century modern home in Palo Alto, CA. We started with a few virtual design meetings, since one of the homeowners was still wrapping up their time in Philadelphia before the big move. They had just a few weeks to plan (and complete) a few light renovations before the arrival of their first child and I was really excited to help them accomplish their design goals.
We selected new oak hardwood flooring to compliment the warmth of their beautiful original tongue and groove ceilings, planned a new fireplace design, and updated lighting throughout the home.
The family room is the center of the home and visible from their courtyard entry. We chose a textured wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries to give depth (and drama, which I love!) to the main wall. Mid-century style furniture from West Elm provides storage: a desk/shelving unit offers a home office area, while the media console adds a stylish flair to house the large tv (one of the homeowner's main request was to keep his big tv!) :)
I love that the homeowner enjoys color as much as I do! The orange pendants provide a fun pop, replacing non-midcentury lighting that had been there previously. The fireplace got a makeover, with hand-painted Starburst pattern from Fireclay Tile, a marble hearth, and quartz trim. Inspired by my own Seth Thomas Clock, the homeowner scored one online and had it refurbished locally. The perfect accessory to the new fireplace and it tells time correctly!
We are still waiting for some new lighting to arrive for the kitchen and dining nook, so stay tuned for that. I had so much fun working with these clients and happy for them to start making family memories in their new "old" mid-century home!
Wallpaper: Phillip Jeffries Manila Hemp, Peacock Blue, Phillip Jeffries
Pendants: Astron Aluminum Pendant, Rejuvenation
Media Console: Audrey Media Console, West Elm
Desk/Bookcase: Linden Wall Desk and Storage Set, West Elm
Rug: Diamond Point Rug, West Elm
Fireplace Tile: Starburst, Fireclay Tile
Clock: Vintage Seth Thomas Clock
Hardwood Flooring: Monarch Plank Domaine European Oak
Last year, I got a received a thoughtful inquiry from potential clients. Here is an excerpt:
I'm Nathan, and my dear husband is Gabin (copied). We are in the process of purchasing a fabulous 1962 single story residence ... in Alameda. The house has not been renovated since 1979, and for the time, it was a glamorous renovation (turquoise shag rug insets).
The home layout is spacious, elegant, and full of light. It's 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, with 3,200 square feet of living space. (Now you know where all of our $ has gone.)
We are looking to start a relationship with a savvy designer that can collaborate with us on an overall vision for the home, and support us in bringing this vision to life. There is plenty of work to be done, and we'll need to take a staged approach due to magnitude of the project.
I hadn't even met them yet, nor seen the home, but of course, my brain was thinking "Yes! Yes! Yes!"
We scheduled a consultation shortly thereafter (while the sellers were still in the home), and I was soon gaga over the house and for the opportunity to help the new homeowners fulfill their vision to make this mid-century modern home their "Forever Home."
Many of you have already been following along, as I started posting photos from the first time I stepped foot on this amazing waterfront/Lagoon property. The home was built in 1962 and the exterior overlooks the Lagoon, a shared water way with the neighboring homes. Just a few blocks away is Alameda's Crown Beach, and less than a few miles away are lots of great local shopping, restaurants and businesses. Alameda is so cool! (My sister lives there too, so we know how great it is!)
Inspired by Palm Springs Modern and the glam of the 1960s, we went for a fresh, airy new space, highlighted by beautiful stone chosen by my clients. A cement tile accent wall by our friends at Cle Tile gives a pop of graphic design and color.
I was amazed that after posting a photo of the Cle "Point" Tile to Instagram, someone sent me a photo of his original mid-century modern ceramic pot, which had the exact same "Point" design! So we were able to bring back an element of mid-century modern design back into the space after all.
There's still many details of this home to capture and share, but after photographing for four hours, we all needed a break, plus our clients' adorable babies needed to continue their snuggling and nap times without us flashing cameras and lights everywhere.
We hope to continue with a "Part II, Before + After," once the rest of the landscaping is completed and the family has settled in more.
We are so happy to have played a part in helping these clients transform a mid-century modern diamond in the rough, into their Forever Home! Kudos to their vision to preserve the integrity of this home and see through a major renovation, (while simultaneously preparing for the arrival of their daughters) to make a home that they can enjoy for years to come. Congrats Gabin and Nathan!
We inherited a foam roof that was leaking even before we purchased the home, but didn't find out until we took down a wall (that shouldn't have been there) to find molded wood. We also discovered puddles of water underneath ceramic tile which was also removed during our kitchen renovation. (Imagine smashing tile and getting splashed with water, wondering - WTH is going on here?!!) During a 3-day rainstorm, we noticed a soaking wet vintage chair and I immediately blamed the kids ;) The following rainstorm after that, we saw where the leak was coming from and only then we had our AH-HA moment. Sorry kiddos! The roof was hardly seven years old, and the fly-by-night roofing company was long gone. We found Yelp reviews with consumers all up in arms, but oh well - that's another story.
Researching DIY Foam Roof Recoating
There wasn't too much information about recoating a spray polyurethane foam-based (SPF) roof system, so I figured I would share why I tried. Quotes were rumored in our 'hood to go for anywhere between $5,000-$10,000, so this was one of those projects I wanted to figure out. Another Eichler owner, Barry Brisco of San Mateo CA, shared his experience recoating on the boards at Eichler Network, which gave me some hope and guidance with this project. I tried to locate the Apoc 252 elastomeric product he referenced, but Pacific Supply in Oakland no longer carried it, so I then got tips from our awesome neighbor located conveniently across the street, Brian Maher, who recently DIY'd his recoat over the past month.
Materials and Tools Used for the DIY Foam Roof Recoating on Our Eichler
I went with the Lowe's sourced BLACK JACK Ultra Roof 1000 White Siliconized Elastomeric Reflective Roof Coating (10-Year Limited Warranty) and decided to spray using the Graco Magnum X7 Airless Paint Sprayer, loaned to me by a fellow DIY junkie Johannes Sjoeberg @sagamadison - thanks a ton!
At Lowe's, there were two other main options, a BLACK JACK 700 which had a 7 year warranty, and a BLACK JACK Premium Silicone Waterproofing Coating which had a 50 year warranty ($200/bucket) which seemed a bit overkill, and I wasn't all that familiar with silicone products. The 10 yr product seemed to fit the bill at $83/bucket and was acrylic based, so I knew cleanup would be manageable.
Steps for the DIY Foam Roof Recoating on Our Eichler
- Blow all the debris off the roof.
- Power wash all the dirt and grime.
- Patch cracks, joints, seams, then spray coating
DIY Foam Roof Recoating Step 1: Blowing Off Loose Debris
DIY Foam Roof Recoating Step 2: Power Washing Surface
I borrowed a power washer, also from Johannes @sagamadison which was a 2000 psi unit that I hauled up the ladder to the roof. It worked wonders and took me a few hours to complete the cleaning. The difficult part was dealing with ponding on the flat part of our roof, where the dirty water just sat there begging to be left alone. Spraying the puddles of water around seemed, at times, counterintuitive because I was just adding more water to the pool, but in the end it worked. I tried the leaf blower, but as you blew, water would evaporate and leave muddy streaks. A better system was to blast it with the power washer all the way to the gutters or off the edge, while someone also helped to push-broom it. I thought about wet-vac'ing but I wasn't in the mood to haul up yet another piece of equipment onto the roof, and dig around for a 3-way outlet extender.
DIY Foam Roof Recoating Step 3: Spraying the Coating
The coating needs to be applied to a dry surface (although a competing brand mentioned to spray a mist of water that could allow for a slower drying time if needed in high temps), so this isn't one of these projects you can start at the crack of dawn because the condensation first needs to evaporate. (Yes - I can sleep it!)
I had prepared six 5-gallon buckets of coating, but planned on only using five. I was a little nervous that the sprayer wouldn't handle it because the specs on the competing product (Apoc 252) required a 0.2-0.3 tip using 3000-4000 psi at 4 gpm, and mine had a 0.17 tip (max suggested) and put out 3000 psi but it worked just fine.
I had a long 70' hose which made it convenient because that way I wouldn't have to haul up 5 gallon buckets onto the roof (I had already almost killed myself bringing down the pressure washer).
Total Cost of One Coat of Roof Coating:
One full coat took about 5 buckets, so $85 x 5 = $425
Paint sprayer: $500-700
Power Washer: $200-400
All in you could be looking at $2,000 for two full coats and buying the tools.
Two coats should be applied. I managed to spend a few hours on Saturday cleaning the roof, and Sunday spraying, so you could tackle it in a single weekend, but I probably only put in eight hours in total for a single coat.
Good luck if you are going to tackle this project!