Recent Posts by Sarah

The Cure for The Common Ranch

The best way I’ve found to alter the ranch style house that was so prolific for decades is to OPEN that space up.

The key to updating and opening that place up is to find a ranch with the right bones. The right bones is a house that has the living area and ideally the kitchen along the back of the house. Why? So you can open up the back wall and be in harmony with your backyard and flood the place with light and fresh air.

You can open the house up in a more extreme way with accordion doors or even a garage style door that lifts.

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Or on a smaller scale with a bank or banks of full view french doors.

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Later we can talk about things like double-sided fireplaces, beams, board and batten ceilings and additions all healers for the rancher.

ranch addition

Trends: Hats as Art & Display

Last year I was in a fantastic thrift/antique spot in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with one of my favorite girls on the planet. Myrtle Beach has a few redeeming qualities, one of those is that my best friend of 20 years (what!) lives there. Among lots of treasures, there were three straw hats hanging on the wall. I tried to explain to Amanda that we could group some in her entryway to make an artistic display or statement of sorts but also to channel a beach vibe but not in an obvious “Beach Life” distressed wood sign kind of way. I couldn’t convince her BUT maybe if I would’ve shown her these images, she could’ve seen it. If you need to pretty up your entry way a little or make a cool statement on the wall, this is an easy way to do it.

Behold –hats as art. I’ll race you to the straw hats in Goodwill!

Designer Tom Scheerer is way in to it. When I saw those hats at the shop I immediately thought of some of Scheerer’s entries.

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I’d like the bamboo sofa that cool girl is standing on.

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Dogwood Project: Master Bedroom

Hi. It’s Sarah. We’re going to take a quick dip into a residential Design & Development project I’ve been working on.

The Dogwood Project is a modest 1960’s ranch located in Durham, NC. A college professor and her family live part-time in this home while school is in session, and the rest of the time, they spend in their New York abode. We would describe the homeowner’s style as a collision of modern, eclectic and global.

Since the beginning of the Dogwood Project, I have been operating in an official capacity to consult on new paint colors throughout the home. The client loved the color selection at the Durham project and so they emailed for our input. She wanted to freshen up the paint job in her 1960s home which we did happily.

After the success of the paint color consultation, the project has evolved. Now, we are re-thinking the master bedroom space plan and decor. Here is a look at where she started.

dogwood bedroom before plus floorplan

The client was seeking expert advice on the room layout, and we could see why, as the room certainly had challenges.

The Problem
Each wall in this small room is occupied with a challenging door or window, leaving limited options for bed placement. Additionally, equally distributed bold patterns are competing for attention in the room.
The Solution 
Our goal is to make the bed more commanding in the room. Despite the window position, we can achieve the desired result by shifting the bed to the left, closer to the window and then re-distribute the horizontal space with neutral drapes and a large scale piece of art.
While intuitively the thought is to center the bed between the window and the wall, what we hope to do is create a feature out of the bed, and tricking the eye as to where visual weight belongs, for a new balance.

We mocked up the change as a rendering before we suggested it. This is a good practice when you can’t be in the space yourself or if you need your client to envision your ideas before making the change.

The client and I wanted to maintain a modern aesthetic with some added layers and texture. I utilized some existing elements that they already had like this wonderful Anthropologie throw, and I suggested some new additions as seen in the design board below.

We sought to redistribute pattern throughout the room for greater balance in the scale from neutral to busy. The client operates on a no shade philosophy in their household so the recommended natural shades were cut and instead we found a quiet cream linen curtain option. We kept the bedding and drapes neutral as well, which allows the rug, art and accessories to pop, maintaining focus in the room.

Here’s the plan,

Dogwood design board

We love working with the Dogwood clients because they give proper but quick consideration to our suggestions but most importantly they are willing to try out our ideas.

You can see below that the lighter curtain, the artwork and bed positioning have already made an impact on the layout.

Once we get the right rug placed on the floor, it will really ground the new composition of this room.

Also, I think we will adjust the artwork slightly more toward the window and we’d love to see more prominent lamps and matching end tables that bring more warmth, texture and a modern appeal to the room. All in all these minimal changes have made a vast improvement to the room.
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I Spy Potential

During a routine cruise through my local real estate listings I saw this jewel. If you’ve got the feeling that you just want to ship lap some walls, bring some character back, get your modern farmhouse on and just generally do it up Chip & Joanna Gaines style–this house is for you. This house would almost certainly be one of the three properties that a Gaines client would see, we’ll call it the “pond house”.

It’s a whole lot of 1990s goodness but I’m guessing the upside is that all the renovation would be cosmetic. For $275,000 you can buy a 3,200 square foot house with a detached mother-in-law apartment, 25 acres, a shabby barn, a pond that needs some TLC in the form of carp to eat the algae and a whole lot of potential.

Do you see what I see?

 

farmhouse back porch

The decision to cover the entire porch on the back of this house was clearly a good one.

You could tailor the exterior to look similar to these examples that have been in my inspiration file since the onset of my Farmhouse obsession.

farmhouse historical concepts

We need to get an outdoor fireplace happening and screen in some of the porch and put a metal roof on.

farmhouse screened porch

Moving around to the front, we can get some windows, new front door, remove the vinyl siding, update the columns and railing, add a few architectural elements and we are in the business of modern farmhouses.

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farmhouse columns

 

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If you think you are going to take this on please email me, I’m happy to be of service!

It’s Always Time for Accessories

The April issue of Elle Decor features some stunning homes and to me it’s the best issue in a long while. You should pick one up.

The best feature is the former YWCA camp from the late 1800s in Northern California that was completely reimagined by architect Gil Schafer and designed by Rita Konig.

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It’s highly personalized and the rooms have heaps of character. Konig’s interiors and her personal apartments are testaments to the importance of accessories to layer your space and communicate your personality and experiences.

Said best in the article by Konig,

“The Harrises believe in details and discoveries, and they trusted me. So I’d buy something odd, like a ship in a bottle or a stuffed seagull–I mean, who bothers to stuff a seagull?–and They’d get excited about it. Others clients might say “That’s a detail; we can deal with it later.” But they understood that sometimes, little things matter most.” Details are what allows you to create the story that gives life to a house.”

It’s because of Konig that I always search for colorful vintage glass ashtrays.

The moral of this post quite simply is — loosen up and buy the accessory that can personalize your space, don’t keep putting it off. And do always mix the old and the new.

Here are a few other vignettes to wet your whistle.

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Shop TEOT: Vintage Eero Aarnio Wicker Stools

Eero Aarnio stools

Vintage Eero Aarnio Wicker Stools

It was hard to let these babies go once I got my hands on them. They are superb foot rests not to mention way cool with their hourglass shape. They provoke a sort of what would Tom Scheerer do? type of moment upon first glance, at least that’s what they did for me.

And here’s why,

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Wouldn’t our stools look right at home in a place like this?

Green Envy

Peter Dunham’s feature in Elle Decor is what opened my eyes to the recent influx of green accents that have been floating across my radar.

peter dunham green sofa

J. Crew labeled their green offering in the spring line “pesto” and next to blue, green is my favorite so I ordered a new “baby suit” in pesto green.

jcrew green swim suit

 

green peels

My mind also wanders to Sarah Sherman Samuel’s green upholstered bed,

green bed smitten studio

 

green cabinets

It seems though that the green accent is often the sofa,

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green liess sofa

 

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Jersey Ice Cream Company

Have I mentioned the design duo called the Jersey Ice Cream Company before, forgive me if I droned on about it on some other occasion.

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The mix is moody and casual and the settings are generally rural but there is always the right amount of modern surprise.

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jersey ice cream

The shelving and storage is always expertly styled.

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jersey ice cream porch

More great styling work, its all about the details.

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I have a thing for eat-in kitchens, I think they are decidedly the way to go…for me at least.

jersey ice cream eat in

The expertly tossed attic hang out room.

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the perfect English roll arm sofa

Betsy and I have been talking sofas. Reason being…I was thinking about putting my dirty well-loved Petrie on the shelf and getting a…Belgian Classic Slope Arm when Restoration Hardware was running a legit year-end sale on their in stock furniture.

I waded in to a sea of online reviews and read other people’s sofa journeys and rambled on about it via email, text and on the phone to Betsy. She listened, for the most part patiently, as she does. I texted my neighbor who has a petite track arm that stands up well at 3 years of age to two small children, no pets but no major spills. “I hate to bug you about this again but did you say you got the brushed linen in fog” She knew exactly what she’d purchased because she had the receipt! Her only regret? She didn’t get the luxe depth.

The conversation between Betsy and I shifted, as it most often does when I talk to anyone about sofas, to the english roll arm sofa. Betsy said, you’ve always known you wanted a roll arm–thats what you should get. But I’d have to settle because the perfect roll arm that is financially feasible and easily accessible eludes me…it eludes most.

Design junkies know these images,

sofa coppolaSofia Coppola

Jenna Lyons English Roll Arm SofaJenna Lyons

sofa pinkAnn Mashburn

 

and the image I’m fixated on,

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sofa bulow2I tell Betsy that Pavoncelli’s children in the Town & Country feature are laying on the perfect sofa. Betsy isn’t easily convinced but she wants to pour over it with me.

 

This is some of what that conversation sounds like,

“Well it’s a tight back. I can’t tell if the back has a seam and if it’s a single seat cushion or two because of the magazine binding” We can’t find the whole flat image on the internet. “It’s down-filled, I think it’s pretty safe to say the seat cushion is down-filled. Is it George Smith? Well AD says that Markham Roberts likes George Smith.”

I love the sofas of both George Smith and George Sherlock. They are what others try to replicate. Why don’t I invest in one? Well…because they are $12,000.

 

But what happens to these sofas that are seemingly perfect and supposed to last forever? What happens when they are sat on and loved and napped on for a good long while–say 20 years or so?

Well Grandma saggy buns comes to mind,

sofa saggy buns
The cushions are starting to take a dive at Ashley Putnam’s place,

sofa putnam

 

One of the authors of the Everygirl, has the Pottery Barn Carlisle in her Chicago apartment but the cover looks a bit askew and the seat cushions look a little broken down. My Petrie seat cushions look very similar and it’s 9 years old. The Carlisle is a roll arm sofa that a lot of folks go for, it’s relatively affordable and it’s good looking. I thought it was a sure bet until I sat on one and then I quickly put the brakes on. Sorry PB, painful but true.

sofa everygirl PB
A well loved George Smith three-seater once for sale on 1st Dibs,

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This two seat Smith is on sale for $6500 on Viyet, BTW you should cruise Viyet if you haven’t yet. This sofa turns nine this year. It looks good don’t you think, wonder if she’s had work done? Ultimately the legs are too contemporary.

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Perfection doesn’t yet exist and by perfection I mean the perfect sofa that we can afford, that is a beautiful roll arm silhouette, that is well-made and can be reconditioned over time, something that will last. This is all assuming that you’re in to roll arms. Maybe you’re in to slipcovered track arms and if that be the case well then we can still talk.

 

 

 

Streaming on Sofas

Did you know that “NetflixandChill” is a code phrase in the online dating world? Ah, the things we miss out on being all coupled up in 2016.

But, whether you are on Tinder or not, don’t we all love a good night in with a cuddle on the couch and some marathon TV, you know for the actual purposes of devouring your latest TV thrill?

Turns out, we at TEOT have a fascination with the darker side of the drama spectrum. To lighten things up a bit, we’ve paired our juiciest marathon obsessions with an equally intriguing sofa, for a combo worthy of its own meme.

When it’s time to binge watch, we whole-heartedly endorse these streaming and sofa combos.

 

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Making a MurdererRestoration Hardware’s Belgian Classic Slope Arm

You basically have a civic or really a human duty to watch the 10 episode documentary series on Netflix called Making a Murderer. It’s a documentary deep dive into a murder mystery the likes of our favorite podcast SERIAL. Has the justice system failed an innocent citizen? Is there a vast government conspiracy at work? Sink into the luxe depth of the Classic Slope Arm and try to keep up with the details.

 

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FargoJoybird’s Braxton Sectional

The FX series based on the Cohen Brothers film of the same name is Billy Bob with creepy bangs, its a classic Cohen, “take no prisoners,” split-screen delight with a great soundtrack. If you like dark comedy, you may agree that this series was the best thing on TV all year. We’ll take it stretched out on the midcentury lines of the Braxton of course.

 

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The Returned + The Willoughby

(the French version, you gotta watch the original French version available on Sundance & Amazon)
It’s a slow horror series with a look at humanity through the kind of dark lens that only the European can hold up. Encroaching waters threaten a small lakeside town, haunted with the supernatural return of formerly deceased loved ones and the leftover anguish from serial murderer. You need a deep, dark lived in velvet sofa with classic lines to envelop you and cradle you throught this rocking cerebreal horror. We think Anthropologie’s classic roll arm sofa in Forest Green will do.

 

 

 

 

Shop TEOT: Vintage Navy Ceramic Lamp

Did you love almost everything as I did about Eliza Dyson’s CA home in House Beautiful’s December/January issue? If you haven’t seen it I recommend clicking the link to soak it in for a little or a long time.

Dyson’s bedroom is just one of the many places that I’ve spotted a classic navy blue ceramic lamp. We love the color of our vintage navy table lamp, so versatile, shiny and navy….sweet navy.

 

vintage navy lamp

SHOP TEOT Winter Sale 15% Off

Dear TEOT Readers and SHOP TEOT Lovers,

How did you make out this Christmas!? Maybe you all have very attentive and astute gift givers as significant others, friends or family, which is seriously lucky!

For those of you who missed the boat, or didn’t get exactly what you wanted and have got Christmas money in the pocket burning a hole, now is the time.

We’re offering 15% off the whole SHOP TEOT INVENTORY. And, yes that includes the vintage settee that everyone loves so much.

Dig into the SHOP TEOT WINTER SALE now through Jan 3 with coupon code BAGIT.

 

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Asheville Project: Bath Plan II

The Asheville clients got two design plans to choose from once we narrowed our vanity style down (i.e. color, white or wood) we were ready to jam out the overall plan. The clients narrowed it to a wood vanity or a colored vanity. We’ve seen the wood vanity concept, so let’s take a look at the vanity with some color.

I’m recently a fan of Benjamin Moore’s mysterious but saturated gray color called Brewster Gray. I don’t think it’s going to be an infallible color in every space but so far so good. I painted a sad little 1980s oak vanity Brewster Gray recently and it gave that little bathroom a new lease on life.

We’re keeping with a modern farmhouse aesthetic and my argument was strong for either a full shiplap wall or just wainscoting. Shiplap will add dimension and create that utilitarian look that we love so much.

A simple vanity with just a few drawers because it’s a guest bath and an open slatted shelf for towel storage should fit the 50″ wide space nicely.

The key differences between the two plans are the floor tile, sconce choices, hardware and the introduction of the blue/gray vanity. The obvious question to you is– Plan I or Plan II?

Asheville bath plan II

Recent Comments by Sarah