Monday, August 12, 2013

Sarah's LA Apartment: The Beige Box Challenge

Sarah and family are planning the move to LA for the end of this month, which means that we have had all of no time to find them a new apartment.  Last week, we scheduled a whirlwind of a trip (two days traveling, two days in LA) and were determined to find something that would work.  
We knew we wanted something walkable (which apparently is a dirty word in LA), a reasonable drive from Beverly Hills (where her husband Devin's office is), close to the beach (because why not?), and with at least two bedrooms plus a den (welcome, guests!).  This was a tall order given our time frame and budget constraints, but we chose to remain naive and optimistic.  If it didn't work out, there was always the mini-bar...

We saw a couple SUPER cute bungalows in Venice and fell in love with the commercial strip, Abbott Kinney.  It had a hip, eclectic vibe that we thought we'd never find outside of Brooklyn.  This house was Sarah's favorite, and only one block from the beach, but we ended up passing on it because the kitchen and bathrooms were disastrous, it was pretty far from Devin's office, and he just couldn't see our vision.  We're still a little sad about it.  

After falling in love in Venice for a second time, this time with a house that was way too small but also so so cute, we decided to head north and check out Santa Monica.  While definitely not as cool as Venice, Santa Monica was pristine.  Everything was perfectly pretentious in that--why, yes I'd love a mimosa and a walk on the beach, followed by a shopping spree and a massage--kind of way.  

The first apartment we saw in Santa Monica was a man-cave fantasy: all chrome and hard lines with a living room that didn't get enough sunlight but did get a black leather couch and a 50 inch TV.  Devin loved it.  Sarah and Devin were officially equal on vetoing places that the other adored.
The next place in Santa Monica had a great location--walking distance to the beach, to the 3rd street promenade, to a bunch of shops and restaurants on Montana, and to a park right down the street. We figured with that location, the apartment was bound to be a nightmare.  Instead, we found some good potential, begging for decorating help.  We had to oblige.

What the apartment lacks in soul, it makes up for in size.  All of the rooms are huge, by Brooklyn standards, and there's a den (and a cute patio)!  It checked almost all of the boxes we had named going into our search and seemed to be a great compromise for Sarah and Devin.  Is it their dream apartment?  No.  Do we want to gut the kitchen and bathrooms and rip up all the carpet?  Of course.  But we think that we can work with it so they'll both be happy.  

We can't wait to share our plans with you for turning this boring beige box into the perfect home for Sarah and her family.  Spoiler: we just scored an amazing deal at Restoration Hardware! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sarah's LA Apartment: Thinking about Daybeds

As we start to think about and hunt for a new apartment in LA for Sarah and her family, we've been thinking a lot about guest rooms.  Because Julie is in NYC and our parents are in Chicago, Sarah will definitely need a space to house her monthly guests.  But with a growing family and crazy LA rent prices, we're thinking creatively about how to fit a guest space into Sarah's apartment without sacrificing play/work space for her family during the time that they don't have guests in town (which is sure to be absolutely never).

This is where a daybed comes in.  If you're anything like us, when you think of a daybed you imagine the daybed your friend had in 1992 which looked shockingly similar to this:

We get it.  But with new, stylish options out there in terms of daybeds, they are actually the perfect solution to creating a multifunctional guest space.  Check out the two amazing options we're considering for Sarah's apartment.  They'll allow us to create a comfy sleeping space for guests, but will keep the room looking like an office and/or playroom when guests aren't in town:

First up is this tufted beauty from Restoration Hardware Baby and Child:

We also love this daybed from Ballard Designs, which can be customized in tons of different fabric options.  This option also has a trundle, which is great for multiple guests:

The plan is to use the daybed as a couch when it's not in use.  A more affordable option that we're considering is this daybed from Ikea:

If we went with this option, we'd get a custom slipcover made for the mattress and would also have large pillows made in the same fabric to line the back of the daybed.  This way, it will still look like seating when it's not being used for guests.  We think the frame on this daybed is the perfect starting point to create the look of a built-in on the cheap.

We're waiting to see what the apartment looks like before we choose the daybed, so in the meantime, we're pulling inspiration from others who've used daybeds in oh-so-stylish ways:

Have any of you used daybeds in your own homes?  Do you have a favorite from the 3 we're debating between?  We'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Julie's Dining Room: Faux Tortoise

We have to confess that we have an obsession with all things tortoise.  Julie has been lusting after these napkin rings from Bloomingdales for a while now: pretty! At $20 a pop she couldn't justify spending the money to get them, but once we're obsessed with something there is no. stopping. us.  Earlier this week we found these napkin rings from Crate and Barrel...currently on sale for $.95 each! 

We freaked out and bought 12.  We realize that napkin rings shouldn't be this exciting.  We think they'll look great in Julie's dining room (still working on the lighting situation...will keep you posted on that), and once we she bought them we wondered how else we could use tortoise in the space.  Too much of a good thing is just extra good, right?

We're thinking about doing a faux tortoise treatment on the stool underneath this console table:

Can't quite picture it?  To give you an idea, the tortoise shell was painted onto the table in this room:

If we can pull it off, we think it will be pretty amazing.  We're feeling inspired by pretty spaces filled with faux tortoise, like in the rooms below:

Tortoise trim...insane!

Obviously, a vase like the one above is such an easy way to pull some of this look into a room.  If you love it as much as we do, we'd use this ice bucket as a vase and fill it with some pretty, all-white blooms (only $25.99!):

We'll keep you posted on how our faux tortoise treatment turns out on Julie's stool.  Wishing you all a great week!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Get the Look: Restoration Hardware Baby and Child

While in the process of designing the nursery for Sarah's son, we visited Restoration Hardware Baby more often than we'd like to admit.  Although we ultimately went in a different direction for her son's nursery, we really love the look of RH Baby...but we don't love the price tag.  Some of our favorite items from RH Baby for a girl's nursery are the hand-folded vintage map dresses.  Aren't these stunning?

We think these would be gorgeous hung above a changing table or dresser in a nursery and would transition really well into a "big girl's" room, as well.  At $599 each, however, they're not all that reasonable for someone looking to design a nursery on a budget.

It's no secret that we turn to Etsy when we're looking to recreate a look on a budget (like the Sputnik chandeliers we posted about here).  And once again, Etsy didn't disappoint.  To get the RH Baby look. we'd buy these dresses, and have them professionally framed in white shadow boxes:

Because these are only $66 each, you'd be able to recreate this look at a fraction of the RH Baby cost, even with professional framing.  Love that!  In all honesty (and because we're crazy), we'd probably message the Etsy seller and ask her if she could make the dress bows out of maps, as well.  This would get you a look that's even closer to RH.

We really can't stress enough how helpful it is to do a quick search on Etsy (and eBay, and Craigslist...) when you're thinking about making a big-ticket purchase for any room in your house.  You'd be surprised at how often you can get the same look at a much more affordable price.

Are there any items you're planning to purchase that you'd like us to hunt down for you on the cheap? Let us know!  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


We have some big news to share with all of you...Sarah and her family will be moving to Los Angeles at the end of the summer!  Although the move is bittersweet, we're excited for this next phase of life for her family.   AND we're excited to start decorating a new apartment, California-style! We'll still be working on 1201north, but the whole thing will be a lot more bi-coastal than we originally planned.
Thanks for tuning in-- we're excited for what the next few months have in store!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Target: Campaign Furniture

We know that campaign furniture has been trendy for some time now, but we're not sick of it yet (and not sure we ever will be).  We love the simple lines and recessed hardware and the fact that campaign pieces look great in all types of design.  We were lucky enough to snag a vintage campaign dresser and side table for Sarah's apartment (more on that to come) from our local flea market, and now Julie is considering nabbing this desk from Target:

The desk comes in salsa (above), black, and midtone and is only $119!  We think we've made our love for Target pretty clear, and these newest pieces of furniture from their Threshold line have completely sealed the deal for us.  

If Julie buys this desk, she plans on adding brass casters to the feet and hitting the hardware with some gold spray paint or Rub N' Buff to match, like in this desk:

Even though it's technically a desk, we think it would also be great used as a console table in a small hallway or entryway or as a vanity, like in the room below:

Love the look but want it on a smaller scale? Target also offers a campaign side table (on sale right now for $63.99!), which we think makes the perfect bedside table.  We're obsessed with it in gray, and it also comes in salsa and green.

It reminds us so much of the Pottery Barn Devon nightstand, which costs $299!

If you want the look of the brass corners on the Pottery Barn nightstand, we'd suggest picking up these brass corners from Home Depot and getting your DIY on.

We're thinking about snagging this side table in green for an office redo we're working on for our mom.  We can't wait to share all of those plans with you in the coming weeks!

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