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Betsy’s House

Betsy’s House is a dream home, with many possibilities and projects to unfold in the future. After a mini-renovation, the family moved into the home in the early Fall of 2015. Her warm rustic wood beams soar over an open living area surrounded in light and lifted by a lovely wide plank pine floor in a natural finish. The house is a two story ranch built in 1966 into the sloping terraces of the Pacific Palisades. While midcentury lines prevail throughout the home, tons of french paned windows look out over a rustic ambiance in the canyon she was built upon. It is natural that this elevated perch among such lush landscaping has influenced a treehouse like effect. Her gardens and lovely blue paned windows and doors are the features of fantasy living! Let’s get started.

New Additions at Betsy’s House – Part II

Hi there.

I’m back with some progress and also some news of holy crap, no fast progress.

As a reminder, we are looking to add an addition onto our home on the slope of Rustic Canyon in the Pacific Palisades, CA. The dude and I are also welcoming the addition of our new baby human child into our home.  I have passed the halfway mark and I must be in the sweet spot of pregnancy because let me tell you, I LOVE being pregnant. I wanna be pregnant all the time. It’s my favorite way to be. I haven’t felt this good in years. I know all you mama’s are all “just wait for the hell that is your third trimester and then the sleep deprivation of baby time and worry through the teenage years and heartbreak of the empty nest” whatevs. I’m all about all of it at this moment!

These are my two baby purchases so far.

Not long after I published the first look at this new addition at our home, I got a note from our architect. My inquiry was about how long the permitting and design process should take. Since I’m expecting our baby in July and this new addition has everything to do with whether or not she will have her own room, I was curious how I might set my expectations.

You know how pregnant design blogger  women like to decorate nurseries and pick out cribs and bedding and mobiles?

The news I got back completely blew my inexperienced mind.

” Optimistically, we’ll have a permit by September or October. “

WHAT? That’s so forever away. And it doesn’t even include the time it will take to actually build the thing! We might be on baby #2 by the time this all comes together.

Not that I had any expectations that the project would be built by July of course. But I didn’t expect the permits to take as long as all that. Perhaps it’s not like this everywhere else in the country but here, particularly with the coastal commission, this is apparently the norm. Here’s how it breaks down as explained by the architect.

  • Consultants schedules, city reviews and architectural design time can vary greatly. 3 to 4 months to get a submittal together.
  • The City can do an expedited  review in approximately 4 weeks or 6-8 weeks for a regular review schedule. The City’s various departments, Public Works, Fire, Planning, Coastal all must review the project.
  • Upon receipt of their review, the Architect & Structural Engineer can resubmit within a month.
  • That totals 7 months. So, optimistically, we will have a permit by September or October.

With that news, we got started immediately in February. Nita (that’s the architect) sent out one of her team members to measure every square inch of the house, and then just a couple days later she had a surveyor team out for topographic and slope analysis. I’ll show you what that survey looks like below.

The Surveyor’s Drawing after a Topographic & Slope Analysis

Now that it’s complete, the architect has full CAD files of the property and the home to begin designing around.

I must admit, that sounds super fun to me!

So far, the only thing I know about the designs to come is that if we are lucky, we can get the city to approve an addition that sizes out at around 20×25 feet. Due to all of the lot requirements, it means we have to push the garage toward the back of the home, taking up what little yard space we do have. But the living space that we get out of the deck on top will make up for that. I sent the below sketch to Sarah and she said it was a bit tough to make out what’s going on. Hoping that it’s a little more clear with the illustration from above – but basically the gist is that its showing us where our addition will be situated on the lot from a bird’s eye view. Flush with the back of the home leaving 18 feet between house and property line for the entire length of the backyard.

A Google Maps view of the home with Architect’s notes for new garage placement. Hoping to get approved for 20×25 feet of addition

I realize that this progress report isn’t quite as exciting as say, a design plan… but my understanding is that a design plan is what is coming next. I can’t wait to see what the professional pulls together for our new living space and garage addition.

 

 

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New Additions at Betsy’s House

Hi, It’s Betsy and I got news!

WE’RE HAVING A BABY!

Long time readers around here know that our personal sharing comes in waves. For this momentous event, we decided, hey let’s take the blog along on the journey.

I’m gonna hold off on our conception story at the moment. Some of you may be into that kind of thing since it involves factoring such hardships as his cancer recovery and my advanced endometriosis diagnosis which I casually dropped in this update from last May. But I need to be drinking caffeine (or wine) to get into that one here on the blog. I’m drinking neither of those these days. But the good news is, it worked and we have been #blest!

For now, we’re bringing you along, because with the addition of this human being to the world, we will also be introducing an addition onto our home!

Well, we hope to. Here’s the skinny.

This is a current image of the two story end of the home with the open garage we’d like to convert.
The vehicles represent the area where we’d like a new garage to go.

If you weren’t around for the house hunt and the progress we’ve made since 2015 – the home is perched on the slope of Rustic Canyon, in the Pacific Palisades. It’s just a quick walk to the beach, nearby restaurants, and the Santa Monica Palisades Park. It’s a 1960’s rancher built into the slope and on the exterior, it gives off the impression that its a two story house. It has charming blue window frames with a white exterior and its surrounded by huge leafy tropical plants.

I rarely leave it. Especially these days!

In the past two years, we have converted the upstairs living area from a two bedroom back to its original 60’s floor plan with three bedrooms. We added HVAC, removed some of the previous owner’s more traditional built-in units to modernize a bit and we painted all the main living areas white with black interior window frames. We are slowly but surely making it our own.

This is our baby Aussie that we call Kitty. She loves to feel the sun in the sunroom.

It’s somewhat of a split level home in that when you walk in the front door, you are immediately led up a set of stairs to the living space. But once you are up, it’s all up here. The downstairs is nothing but garage, cellar and a studio. Downstairs is the area we want to become livable.

I took this photo of the front entry back in the house hunting days, when the previous owners still lived here. So, that’s their lamp. Don’t look at me!

The Entryway stairs open up into the middle of the home, between the Living area and the hallway that leads to the bedrooms.

Here’s a look at the current floor plans for the upper level and the lower.

We are hoping to add on a new garage and convert the existing downstairs garage & studio area into an integrated living space with two new bedrooms, a laundry room, storage and if we can squeeze it, a little TV den. This should turn our downstairs area into an official teen dream for Heffe’s kids as they are entering into a more grown-up era of their kid lives. (They are 10 and 12.)

Currently, we access the downstairs studio from the back side of the house, through a separate entry at the bottom of a terraced patio. On the front, there is a two car garage that is half tools and normal garage mess, and half Heffe’s car, plus another room that we call the cellar. We call it that because that is where we store all of Heffe’s home brew supplies and his craft beer collection. It’s also where I moved the laundry because I hated it in the kitchen. But boy its rough down there and its only accessible through the garage door, which makes laundry even more deplorable. It has straight up plywood walls, exposed plaster, wires and plumbing, dude mess everywhere, SHOP TEOT packaging supplies and kids bikes.

This image of the empty cellar is of particular interest because it illustrates the height difference between the front entry main landing and the cellar floor. You can see where the plaster wall ends at the entry landing floor.

Now bear with me from here, or skip along to the pretty pics. I wouldn’t blame you.

I’d hoped we could work with the architect to open up those plaster walls of the current entry and maneuver the existing stairwell into an access point to a new downstairs mudroom/foyer area that is currently the cellar. Upon initial consultation, she and the contractor agree that we may wish to explore other options for stairs. It’s apparently too challenging with the floor height discrepancy, and being that its our main entry, they agree it will be easier and more cost-effective to build a new stair and keep things as they are in the current entry.

I really want to be able to illustrate better for you, but even in person it requires a certain amount of bouncing back and forth between the cellar and the front entry to see just why this idea is such a challenge. Let’s pretend the height discrepancy isn’t so steep and below is a rendered view from the same vantage point as above, but with the walls blown out.

It would take about 7 or 8 steps to get from that entryway landing to the cellar floor in the real world.

Anywayz… that’s why we hire an architect! We’re waiting to hear from her on what’s feasible with the city, zoning wise and hoping that we can add enough square footage to accommodate our new needs. At the very least, we’d like to squeeze another two bedrooms into this house, somewhere. But at the moment, I’m not sure what the end product might look like.

That’s the gist. Now let’s look at some eye candy, that may or may not apply to our final plans.

Dreaming of a clean white laundry nook in my future.

We need bottle storage in a major way. The dude’s craft beer collection is a tad bit over the top. Maybe we will get to explore something creative under the stairwell.

by Studio McGee
I believe a downstairs den area will result in a small and cozy media focused room. Some new windows for light will be crucial to keep it light and airy.

I’m looking at small spaces for the den too, in case we end up needing most of the area for bedrooms.

If ever you are gonna pull off the low slung Togo profile, a teen dream den seems like the opportunity. I’ll take mine in a leather as aged and smooth as the design idea itself.

This is just a corner that I like. If I was a teen I’d be into this in my SoCal dream den.

A built-in daybed with some storage seems like a cozy solution for a small bedroom.

I don’t know what the consensus is on babies and spiral staircases, probably imminent death, but I know that if we have to add a second set of stairs somewhere, I’d like for it to take up as little real estate as possible.

These doors are a dream that may not fit into my reality anywhere. They are a bit of a departure from the current style of the home.

Maybe this is more our speed. Either way, I’m dreaming of a wide opening with large panes of glass, to take in the view.

The new garage roof will hopefully end up as outdoor living space for us (in exchange for the yard we are giving up.) That means the current sunroom with the black window frames will open up to this outdoor space and the french windows will all have to be replaced.

We’ll likely talk about that aspect more in depth as I can hardly wrap my mind around it at the moment. It just opens up all kinds of worms. Excited worms.

All of this is very exciting and the beginning of a whole new era for our home and our family as we grow from a crew of 6 to 7. If you need help figuring out that number, that’s two pups, two adults, two kids and a brand new tiny baby.

 

 

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Black and White plus Wood

Hi, it’s Betsy.

I’m moved by all things black and white plus wood lately! Just can’t stop pinning this fantastic combo in many different iterations.

My favorite thing about this job that we’re doing here, is immersing ourselves in design inspiration and then interpreting all that we’ve seen into our own spaces.

I love so many styles, from the sentimental and maximalist touches of boho to the rustic mix of farmhouse modern and of course the midcentury time capsule homes that are ubiquitous here in So Cal. Plus part of me still pines for the style of the cottage and craftsman homes that pepper the state streets of Southern Pines.

A little bit of all of that has made it into own home, and of course lots of it is apparent in my inspiration file.

I’m happy to take from all of these styles and use what I like and what I feel works in my own home.

Thanks to Sarah, I’ve honed in on a look for my new house to aspire to.

One trend that has emerged, both in my inspirations and in practice, is the black and white plus wood combo.

Let’s have a look at some of the inspiration images I have been referencing.

Becki Owens olivia-babarczy-home-3From Becki Owens

Modern in Black White and Wood

 

the-olivia-palermo-guide-to-styling-your-homefrom MyDomaine

studio mcgee kitchenStudio McGee

 

Of course, as a color lover, I like to see these elements play as a backdrop to other lively textures and pops of hue.

In our home, we’re working with colorful accents in the way of boho rugs, diy art projects and a boat load of ever-changing African Indigo inventory for SHOP TEOT. Throw in some global textiles, a vibrant vegetable dyed Persian pattern, a little fur for texture, plus some plant life and you have what, in my mind, is the winning combination of the moment.

We’ll call it California Eclectic! It’s a work in progress.

Shaniqua Black White and Wood Combo

 

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Betsy’s New House Progress

Dodgehead

Decorating is a living process, kinda like training this little dog of a puppy!

We’ve been in the new house now for just a little over 3 full months, and each day it gets better.

I suppose it’s a never ending effort to get a home feeling like home. I know all of mine have always remained a work in progress, cause being “done” isn’t really something that I’m interested in. Otherwise, it would be time to move, right Sarah? So, we have lots of projects left and I can think of many things that we still might like to acquire (like the perfectly sized persian rug.)

But, we’ve also made a few strides lately and I’m finally at a place where I can snap a few pics and share.

shaniqua-kitchen-stove

We’ll start with the least impressive… the kitchen!

We knew that this would be my least favorite aspect of the new home, and that we would be taking our time before planning any renovation. But I did swap out all of the previous owner’s glass knobs. In theory, a glass knob is a sweet option for cabinet hardware, but it wasn’t working for us and our desire to give this home a cleaner more modern vibe. We can deep dive into this room and how we are changing it later, but for now, I updated the cabs with the absolute most inexpensive hardware in the world, and while I know they aren’t what we ultimately want, the overall look is better. It’s got a little graphic punch, and if it makes any sense, this black speaks to the black window panes on the other side of the room. I’ll keep dreaming of an eventual gut renovation for this kitchen.

Care and the picture ledges

Speaking of spreading the black around, we pulled a little something off in the stairwell entryway as well. Back during the renovation, I purchased a wall of picture ledges, and we finally got them up. Most of this art came together from our previous home, and I’m just real pleased with all of it, the kid’s art, the family photos, and every stitch of sentimentality that I’ve ever put in a black frame. I imagine this will be an ongoing evolution.

 

shaniqua bedroom

If you are into that Hmong lumbar pillow, the extra rare extra large indigo bedcover, or those Euro pillows in indigo, you know where to find them!? Shop.theestateofthings.com!   

I am aware that the rug is too small for the bedroom! I have to decide on one huge, or maybe two large rugs for this room that are cozy, dog friendly, something the dude can live with, something economical, plus beautifully bold without us being sick of it in 6 months. So far I can only seem to love the $11,000,000 Persians. So for now, I have the same rug under our bed that was under our bed at the last house, in an 11×10 bedroom. So yeah, it’s too small, I’m aware. Thanks Emily Henderson and Sarah Farrell, it is an honor to be schooled in this way by you! ;)

 

SONY DSC

Lastly, here is a little look at one end of the sunroom. It’s one of my favorite spots in the house, since as you know we deliberated hard on painting the black window frames. I’m sure glad we sprung. They make just the personal stamp on the home that we need. The other corner still has some boxes stacked up and it does NOT have a hammock. Oh, the shame.

We have drawn up some plans for some built-in shelving and a floating console for the living area. That should give us the final storage needed to finally unpack all of our books and board games, and then we’ll be box free! Also, the kids’ rooms are really coming together nicely, and I love them both. I’ll share them someday soon, we still have a few projects up our sleeves for those rooms too!

Alright, that’s where we are, thanks for being here with us! <3

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Betsy’s House: The Bed

It took us a while to get our new bed selected, and you guys may have recalled when I was polling for opinions. I thought we had settled on a particular bed… the one on the left.

which-west-elm-bed-the-estate-of-things

but then Heffe realized it was upholstered and decided that this was not appealing to him. Turns out, he says he’s thinking more along the lines of a rustic wood.

It is always a bit fun and funny when the dude presents his distaste for what I think are solid choices for our shared life. I do my best to respect his desires, but I’m sure you can imagine that it’s often met with rolly eyes and or giggles if not heavy sighs while I shake my head. But, back to the drawing board I went, this time digging into some full bedroom imagery to illustrate to him my case for the upholstered headboard, and then a few looks into the style that I assumed he was after, for comparison.

First I gathered the rooms, and here is what we looked through. My case included examples from Amber Interiors, that Archiectural Digest feature of Patrick Dempsey’s house (not only b/c I love “Can’t Buy Me Love” but also b/c that entire Malibu house is dreamy,) plus the home of Ione Sky since I was in an iconic 80s actors mood.

I was leaning toward upholstery due to my desire for draping various textiles over the headboard. I felt like a nice neutral backdrop could play well to my evolving obsessions with the pieces of fabric I bring home from time to time.

 

As I dug, similar themes emerged… white backdrops, neutral upholstery, global textiles, rustic woods and maybe even an accent feature! At least we know what we’re after.

Next up, we thumbed through the beds that I found to suit the style.

 

So, after all of that storytelling with the dude, we settled on this sweet midcentury design that combined a bit of the upholstered look along with the wood.

drommen-beds CB2 Drommen

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Betsy’s New House: Hallway Decorating Ideas

It’s move in day y’all. As I type, the old house is full of boxes, being carried out one by one.

I’m so excited that tonight will be our first official night in our new home. My mind is reeling with all of the new features that I’ll get to actually live with.

Throughout the renovation, I took an abnormal preoccupation with the hallway. Here is what was going on in my  brain from my favorite vantage point.

output_H3hpeD

 

I went all E Hendo on y’all and made a gif… really I made this to illustrate to the dude what I was having a hard time articulating without a visual.
Now bear with me for a minute while I belabor myself with over-explanation.

Our house was full of doors. There were two in the hallway where there should be none. Once we started getting into moving things around, I was pinning long light filled halls with beautiful runners and quiet design moments and I wanted that in our hallway. I started to think about perspective and how soothing it is to visualize those two lines running to meet each other at a point on the horizon.

So the threshold into the back part of the house became a pre-occupation. I felt it was cutting off an opportunity for a beautiful line of site, a lovely perspective leading to a statement door frame to the Master, or a quiet chair in that far away corner. I was envisioning a thing of simple serene beauty and all of these extra door jamb angles were getting in my way.

This is what it looked like on our initial house tour, with the old homeowner’s stuff.

old-hallway

The contractor was happy to move the door jamb in the middle of the hall, but he was not so keen on busting out the door frame at the threshold. You would need to come over to the house and get the real feeling of the space to feel me out on this one, but his argument was that we needed the door trim to maintain the consistency throughout the home. I am not really so much into consistency.

My thought was that we are trying to modernize the home and clean lines would help with that.

Opening up the hallway with a flat drywall corner seemed like a sound design decision to me. But, he held out on his stubborn design opinion by deciding that while he would do it for me, he would charge me an arm and a leg for the job. So we decided fine, we will wait and we will live with it, and if I’m still obsessing over the hallway perspective when it comes time to redo the stairwell, then we can address it then.

It’s always interesting when you have a conviction that people want to challenge you on. Am I POSITIVE that the home would look better with the gaping opening. Nope.

But I still haven’t stopped thinking about it either.

Either way, it is miles better with the two doors and the one door jamb removed. Here is the new blank slate.

hallway-emptyThose holes in the floor will be filled in soon.

Will I run a long runner up the hallway? Will we adorn the walls with radical art? Will there be repeating pendants to guide us down the hall?

Here are the inspiration images that I started pinning for a hallway decorating ideas. I’d love to hear your ideas or see your hallway spaces.

 

hallway decorating ideasArt + Persian runner does a lot for this hall.
via Domaine

hallway decorating ideas runnerThe wall flood lighting adds drama to a window less hallway, and I love the chair at the end.
From Carla Aston

hallway ceilingWe could keep playing perspective games and go with a linear picture ledge.
From Apartment Therapy

black wall hallway with chair railChair rail is an option, but I think we’re steering away from traditional moulding. At any rate, I like all this for fantasy fodder for a different style of home.

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