“Basic” New Build

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In reality, not all homes are historic farmhouses or custom build. My friend and client Lauren, an architect herself with discriminating taste, found herself ready to plan a home for her large family with a basic “surburban type” builder.  Not her dream situation but Lauren is smart enough to realize the budget and the square footage were enough to “do something with” for her young family so she approached it with a grateful heart, with THE most amazing attitude, and resourceful and creative ideas. Because after all, it’s a new house y’all and she realized that…but when you have been educated and work in custom and you know what all is out there it’s a little hard not to want to incorporate all of that custom “top of the line” knowledge. But as I mentioned these type of basic builders are NOT custom, they typically do not allow changes.  The granite choice, even the paint colors are SET IN STONE….very limited! I am not even going to publish the builders name because they do not want to offer all of these choices, that is not what they do..they are not custom build.

BUT Lauren is the epitome of lovely and kind and she had a few inside connections and was able to talk them into a few small changes. Like polishing the concrete floors downstairs! Which at first I was like “ummm I’m not sure NO stain???” But Lauren had worked with a builder that had done this and done this well and boy was she right…it looks amazing! Score one for “not your average basic build!”

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She also made some good basic choices like choosing to do all white walls. Add moldings and case out doors. AND Being a design guru she knows LIGHT IS EVERYTHING and choosing to do SW Alabaster walls AND trim provides a true backdrop for all of the color she knew she would be adding with rugs and textiles and her FIVE gorgeous children! And black doors…black or painted doors always elevate and this small thing (she knows the painters thought she was crazy) instantly added class.  And that’s just Lauren…she homeschools five kids and cooks constantly and yet she is walking class…in the most unsnotty, Godly way.  Her humble self deprecating humor keeps you from disliking her even know she is amazing and gorgeous and thin to boot! (sorry Lauren just had to say it you are thebomb.com)

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I love this photo of the girls in the schoolroom.  The light is a knock off of the classic 3 arm french light by Serge Mouille. Sofa from Craigslist, IKEA billly bookcases line the walls with doors.

And the kitchen! No marble countertops and its still gorgeous! I can’t wait to add some color and fabric to windows!

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So most of the changes and arm twisting and cookie deliveries had to do with the kitchen of course!  Lauren was planning this on a budget…a subzero and professional range are not exactly budget but she scoured craigslist and the internet and found BOTH online…hours away but she got them and stored in her old garage for MONTHS.  The day those were installed I am sure she heard angels singing.  I love it when I see someone who actually cooks ALL DAY LONG and has a heart for hospitality gets these pricey items…she will truly use them! Fitting in to their basic builder cabinets wasn’t easy but patience, kindness and maybe cookies and brownies go a long way.  You def catch more flies with sugar than vinegar as shown here!

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Love the island.  Not sure how she got them to do the X but its awesome! Lights from Joss & Main, stools from amazon.  We will def being showing more of the kitchen down the road! (Once the children get off the island;) Notice the counter…again they aren’t marble but they look fine they really do the white subway and cabinets and hardware and appliances really set the tone..I can’t wait to show you more on her hardware etc. Notice how she used cup pulls on doors!

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Her wall of the back covers of “Cook’s Illustrated” look so good in these ribba frames..you can also really appreciate the trim work and alabaster paint and polished floors in these photos.  Lauren has a great tutorial she found on hanging ribba frames, shown here.

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And those rugs…she scours ebay sources like Mystical Rugs and Gallery99! See how she taped out even the rug…blue tape is her friend y’all…it keeps us from making costly sizing mistakes!

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We also didn’t love the curve of the sofa but its a huge sofa and fits so many people which she DOES love….so the fig tree from TALL PLANTS and the gorgeous lamps (TJMaxx yall) really distract from that curve.

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That fig is BIG, like 8-9 feet but the room needed it and candle the size.  They are so nice at Tall Plants and I am always amazed at the selection of topiaries, ferns and of course fiddle leaf figs..the day I was there last, they had two matching mega ones headed for the River Oaks Country Club. And they deliver around Houston.

These chairs will be slipcovered. Love that molding around fireplace.  I can’t wait to see what kind of art she creates for over mantle.  It will be abstract and have color.

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I love how she has taped out her plans to add more trim for a faux paneled wall look to dress up the white walls in a subtle way. The ottoman is from craigslist as is sofa…Lauren’s sister found it on Austin Craigslist..it is a restoration hardware piece that has been recovered custom and then listed on craigslist….Lauren should do a Craigslist commercial! It’s a Kelly Wearstler fabric…ok now we don’t like you Lauren!;;

Lauren’s style is def NEW TRADITIONAL with classic rugs and colors like blues mixed with a bit of her own modern art and chic lighting. She is the master at sourcing good sconces.

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I adore her master bath…the sconces are from Savoy House, Monroe Collection… and art from ebay! Absolute black granite was the only choice but wise choices on faucets and lights and backsplash saved the day.

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The kids look a little over the process but I love watching Lauren enjoy each step and get in no hurry making things perfect…she knows to get the bones right and move slowly doing things right the first time….so opposite my “lipstick on a pig” move fast tendencies…i love how my clients sharpen and teach me!

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Thank you Lauren and family for letting me share your home…Remember y’all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  It takes time to build a thoughtful and collected home.  And that is okay. More than okay..it’s a blessing.

The Cottage Journal feature

I am so honored and thrilled one of my favorite e-projects was just featured in the Winter issue of The Cottage Journal.

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I know many of you enjoy that magazine and I was so happy when they inquired about Willow Wisp Cottage.  The homeowner Andrea’s style and look goes with their publication so well and it was a perfect fit!  Andrea is in CANADA and The Cottage Journal and I are both in the South…yet via the good ol’ internet we were able to work together AND get this published without any of us traveling.  It doesn’t hurt that Andrea is a great photographer and home enthusiast..She has such a good eye and ability to execute..all she needed was  a few sources and ideas and she was off and running!

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This was before

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And from the family room..the flow with the wainscot in the hallway is so nice!

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These lights over bar are placeholders..we had brass lights there but they are going to her new home..you can see the brass pendants in the photo below.

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We used oil rubbed bronze dark cup pulls and knobs on the outer cabinets and brass on the island hardware to tie back to the brass pendants.

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I love the good ol PB Bolton Lantern over the island…and that countertop on island..she had such amazing local craftsmen doing work like that..i love how their home has some stained woodwork and cozy feel but white cabinets too..such a great combo and it really illustrates how you can  have both..the little craftsmen cabinet doors at top ties it together i think! It’s like those pages in magazine where they say “what is different” well its the lights over the bar..both look good actually!  Which are your fave?

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I love her  coffee bar!

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And the counters…oh wow her counters.  Its Danby marble from Vermont  oh yes it is!

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Just at the contrast with the island top!

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View  into her family room..all we did was add the bird prints and slipcovers and a few fabrics…Andrea already had the rug.

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And her dining room…I had my signature buffalo check drapes sewn here in Texas and shipped to Andrea!

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She bought the table locally in Canada and the chairs are from Ballard…woohoo Ballard Designs for shipping to Canada!  The light is Pottery Barns anouk which i have used a lot like the Bolton they work well together!  This home is so pretty with so many great bones…the floors, the coffered ceilings the woodwork so it was a joy to work on and with Andrea..as you can see she is an awesome stylist and photographer…thank you for letting be involved Andrea!

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You can read all of the details about the renovation on Andrea’s blog here and here! In many ways the elements are simple and on trend (but classic I do believe), subway tile, white cabinets, marble mixed with wood counters and touches of brass, but each kitchen has its own soul and Andrea’s home certain has soul and warmth! And I think you can find the issue still on stands! Thank you again to The Cottage Journal!

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