Before and After: Our Most Recent Renovation

We've just finished up a pretty new project and we're beyond excited to share the final pictures! This full gut-reno was unfortunately prompted by a fire in our sweet client's kitchen. Thankfully no one was harmed and once their belongings had been moved out, they came to us to begin the re-build.  We laid all new floors, re-imagined the kitchen layout for a better flow, and even added a beautiful new plaster fireplace. Keep scrolling to see the transformation...


The old layout featured a peninsula that blocked off the dining area and made it difficult to fit more than two people at a time in the kitchen. Adding the island gained us some precious prep-space and opened it up, making it freer for entertaining or busy family weeknights.

For finishes, we opted for rift cut oak cabinets and durable quartz counters and backsplash to give it a more modern feel (finally, a break from shaker, ha!). We loved that they decided to bring the counters over the side in a waterfall—such a clean and crisp detail. 





Next up was the Living Room. Our clients wanted to warm up a once-blank wall without overwhelming the room. We installed a new fireplace insert and custom built the sleek, minimalistic surround, finishing it in a hand-plastered treatment. 


Of course, the bathrooms were completely overhauled as well. Our clients hadn't changed out the builder-grade finishes they inherited when they moved in, so we started from scratch to create luxurious spaces that will stand the test of time (and three young kids).





Lastly, to change the feel of the entire apartment, we upgraded the trim throughout and swapped the doors for fresh single panels with new chrome hardware. 





For the full apartment photo tour, head over to our Shipyard Project page. And stay tuned this week—we have some fun summer-inspired spaces to share!



House Tour: Light and Bright

As winter lingers in the Northeast, it feels like a good time to pretend it's summer. So, today we're channeling warm, sunshine-filled Australia with a house tour in Palm Beach, Sydney.  You may recognize the stunning space—designed by Alexander & Co—since we've featured their bar area in a past inspiration roundup. And though it's a good indicator of the rest of the home, we couldn't have imagined the whole place would be this gorgeous!

Considered details are woven throughout (think wood-paneled ceilings and artfully designed floors) linking the different rooms for an effortless, streamlined effect. The best part? These very same relaxing ideas can be incorporated into any home, regardless of your proximity to the beach (yes, it's oceanside, of course)... Scroll down to see our new favorite space in all it's jaw-dropping glory:


The neutral palette of warm natural woods, white cabinetry and airy furnishings helps details like the ogee edge counters and a paneled island (check out the marble baseboards, too!) to stand out.  


Notice how the bordered herringbone wood floors are echoed in the bath, where the marble tile follows the same pattern. Similarly, wainscoting makes it's way around the house, and both brass and iron metal finishes are incorporated throughout. It's a sign of carefully planned design and workmanship. Whether the space is 500 square feet or 3000,  highlighting and replecating select custom details makes it feel luxurious and comfortably cohesive. 


And just in case you weren't jealous enough, here are a couple shots of the view. Unfortunately, we don't have any tips there except to save your pennies and keep your eyes peeled for some beachfront property..


All photos by Felix Forest for EST Magazine and found via Apartment 34.

Signs of Spring, Part 1

Birds are chirping again, the clocks move forward in a week, and despite the impending snowstorm, crocus and hellebore blossoms are peeking their shy little heads up around town. We're just going to ignore winter's last gasp tomorrow and focus instead on all things warm and bright. 

To welcome the new season, we've rounded up some simple, no fuss ways to refresh your space. Scroll down for a quick list of decor ideas sure to usher in some sunshine (or at least melt the snow, we hope!). 

P.S. Stay tuned later this week for Part 2—a dive into the (admittedly less glamorous) home improvement projects you should schedule now for the spring. But first, the fun stuff!




Sure it’s obvious, but the easiest way to infuse a breath of fresh air is to drop a bouquet of something colorful and sweet-scented—daffodils, hyacinth, freesia—into your favorite vase and leave it next to the sink or on a nightstand (bonus points if you sacrifice them for the guest room).  If cut flowers are too short-lived for you, then swing by Terrain for a live magnolia branch and enjoy the slow-opening blossoms for weeks!

Or, if you're looking for a more permanent solution to the winter doldrums, try a floral wallpaper. They work best in small spaces like a powder room or reading nook, and they last longer than the real thing.



If you’re tired of all the winter whites and can’t stand to see another gray wall, then maybe it’s time to pick a new paint color. Our favorite treatment? Limewash paint, which produces a subtle, lovely variation in color and texture, perfect for days spent inside during spring showers. Check out Portola Paints for colors—we love Etcetera and Rococo





Until the days are longer, keep things bright with the right lighting.  A bed flanked with sconces looks cozy yet polished. Choose a plug-in version for the same look without the electrician’s bill. We love this fixture and this company.



Incorporating a nice big mirror is like a nice deep breath for your space.  Pick a pretty finish (like this Champagne option) and enjoy the light bouncing around the room as if it’s mid-summer. 

Do you have any seasonal rituals to bring about Spring in your home? Certain candles? Swapping in a new hand soap scent? Let us know below!

An Ode to Stone

Earlier this week, a client wondered aloud which stage of the design process we like best. Some designers look forward to planning the layout (it's high on our list, too), others love hunting for accessories or homing in on just the right paint color. For us, it's the visit to the stone yard. There's something about walking amongst rows of massive slabs that's simultaneously both calming and invigorating. Their presence is so huge, their patterns so wonderfully unpredictable. To think these were once buried deep in the earth makes them feel almost like a living thing—how magical that you could share a home with something so wild.

Needless to say, it's a lucky day when a job necessitates a trip to our local yards. From marble to soapstone, honed granite to quartzite, there's no shortage of striking stones to pick from. If you're starting a search and feeling slightly overwhelmed, below is a quick primer of our favorites to help narrow it down. But first, will you look at how lovely these are??


Probably the most recognizable of the natural stones (looking at you Carrara and Statuary), marble is timeless in any setting. Pros include it's versatile appearance —hone it for a more rustic look, polish it for a classic finish— and it's comparitively affordable price tag for the more common types. The downside is it's porous surface, allowing it to etch and stain easily, especially with acidic materials like lemon juice or red wine. Not for the faint-hearted perfectionist, this is a stone most at home where the marks of a life well-lived are embraced.

Available in a wide array of colors and patterns (some mimic marble in their soft veining), it can be polished, matte, or leathered for a textured feel.  Once sealed, it's non-porous, meaning it won't stain or etch—and it won't be damaged by a hot pan.  It gets points for being more affordable than some of the other contenders, but it's dated history (lest we forget the flecked beiges of every 90's real estate listing!) means you have to carefully choose a pattern that looks modern.  

Here's where it gets a little confusing. Quartz counters are technically man-made, or engineered. They're comprised of ground natural quartz held together with resins and polymers to create a hybrid, granite-like surface. The composition makes them extremely durable, stain/crack resistant (no need to seal them), and easy to clean. They're offered in an array of colors and patterns, and some come in a leathered or honed finish. Wonderful for a rough and tumble kitchen (i.e. real life), their only major downside is the absence of all the gorgeous natural veining and color variations you get in a true natural stone. 

Strength and beauty are quartzite's claims to fame—it's denser and less porous than marble or granite and takes heat well. Plus, it's a natural stone, so the veining and variations are incredibly dramatic and downright lovely. It still needs to be sealed and resealed annually, and is often fairly expensive on the countertop spectrum. But—try to walk through a slab yard without falling head over heels for a's nearly impossible. 

No patience for maintenance? Then soapstone is for you.  It's completely non-porous, so it won't stain and is unaffected by acidic foods and liquids or harsh cleaners. It also conducts heat, so it can withstand hot pans and trays without damage.  It comes in a variety of grays to dark greens with some veining and though it doesn't need to be sealed, it does patina, or darken over time.  If you prefer to speed up the process, adding mineral oil can achieve that charcoal coloring.  It's talc content makes it soft to the touch, but also makes it susceptible to chipping, (though it's nothing a little sandpaper can't buff out).  It's comparable to higher-end granites, but it's worth the price tag for never having to worry.