Bachelor Pad Details

Here is a quick breakdown of everything in the photos from the other post.

First, the sofa wall:


The sofa is the Dorset by Rowe and came from a store near Berkeley called Papillon.    Rowe has very affordable options and offers a decent amount of customization.  I am working with another client right now who is probably getting a Rowe sectional in a similar color but with contrasting piping.  Can’t wait to see that!  The customized pillows come with the sofa.  I chose a redish orange stripe but in the pictures they just look like a solid orange.  Wall color is Benjamin Moore Deep Creek.

Because the space was limited, we chose a vintage bench as a coffee table.  The end tables are vintage typewriter tables, one metal and one with a wood top to add some warmth and contrast.  The lamps are Ikea.  The mirror belongs to the client but I updated it with some ASCP.  Potted succulents are from Ikea too.

The rug is a vintage Afghan Royal Balouch from ecarpetgallery.  The chair on the left is an antique poker chair from a local cardhouse found at Urban Ore.  The chair on the right is a midcentury vintage Eames chair from the Alameda Point Antiques Faire.

My favorite part of the whole room is the vintage brass bird also found at the Alameda Flea Market.  I almost kept him.

05_mcnab_livingroom_after copy_smaller

The floor lamp next to the leather chair is a vintage photographer’s lamp and the foot stool for the chair is against the wall for more seating.  The art wall is comprised of some pieces belonging to the client and some I added.  The vintage maps (hard to see but they are the 2 large pieces at the bottom) are 1930’s topographical maps of areas surrounding the SF Bay region.  My husband scored those at UC Berkeley on Cal Day–the science department was selling a bunch of old maps for a $1 a piece!  I wish I could have bought them all.  Other pieces I added were 19th century engravings of Paris landmarks (the client lived in Paris for a time) and some vintage postcards.  Also a replica of an antique map of San Francisco.  The stars and music posters belong to the client as well as the harmonica holder (he’s a musician).  The pillow in the chair also belongs to the client.



I hope to have photos of the dining area and kitchen soon.  We are waiting on the building maintenance to install new light fixtures there which I’m worried could take a while.  You may remember the table/desk from an earlier post which is across the room from here serving as his dining area and office with another poker chair.

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope some of these links helped you add to your sources.

A Home With Character: Art, and A Great Offer From Lux Archive

As you may know if you have been reading this blog for a while, one of my main goals when designing a space for someone is to imbue it with character.  This can be done in so many ways: patina, antiques, layering, that quirky piece that just doesn’t quite fit, or often, through art.  I have done posts in the past about how to build an affordable art collection instead of buying mass produced art from chain stores or other outlets, and today I have a great offer to help you on your way.

Lux Archive is a website that offers one of a kind or limited edition fine art photography at affordable prices.   Whether you are a seasoned collector or an art lover looking for their first great piece, I’m pretty sure you can find something on their site.  Here are some great examples of the hand selected pieces they offer from photographers around the world:






Each museum quality print comes with a certificate of authenticity individually signed by the artist. And until June 1st, readers of my blog receive 20% off.  Just type URBANORCHARD20 at checkout to receive your discount.

And I am not receiving any products or compensation from Lux Archive–just thought they had a great offer and beautiful art!


And a special thank you to all those who serve our country this Memorial Day.  Thank you for your sacrifice.


Bachelor Living Room–Before and After

Here are some of the final pictures of the client’s living room I have been working on.  This is the bachelor who was going contemporary eclectic in his one bedroom condo.  We are still waiting on some light fixtures in the kitchen and dining room so those photos will have to wait.  The living room before was a basic rental–all white with carpeting:


And after:


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Justin Guitar Wall_smaller
I’ll do a post about the details in the next day or two.  Also, I have a great discount offer on a wonderful site to share tomorrow–Can’t wait!

A Magical Afternoon With Treebeard

I try hard not to post too much about the kids.  I want this to be a design blog and not be about family–although I enjoy many design and lifestyle blogs that do both.  But today I had to do a quick post about my dreamy four-year-old.

Duncan is almost five and finishing his last year of preschool.  Instead of trying to describe him, I’ll just list a few typically kooky things he does:

-He hangs out under our dining room table talking “cat language” to our cats usually in the form of a song

-He usually wears his clothes backwards but just on accident

-Last year at Thanksgiving when asked what he was thankful for he said “dragons”

-When I have asked him to sit up and eat his dinner he has looked at me out of one eye and whispered “but I’m a dead turtle”

-After taking him and his brother to a big indoor play space for two hours where they ran around and played I asked him if he had fun and he said “Were you there?”

He’s pretty spacey and dreamy but a very kind sweetheart too.  I love that he loves plants and flowers and likes to help me with my various projects.

Today when I picked him up at school the class had made masks of creatures they each wanted to be: Most were birds, tigers, bears, etc.  Duncan chose to be an Ent from the movie The Lord of the Rings (yes, the boys have seen a very edited version of those movies with me holding the remote!).  For those of you who don’t know what Ents are, here’s a picture:

They are thoughtful, old souls that care for the forests.

Duncan was “in character” all afternoon.  He took big slow steps and would only talk in a quiet slow voice.  Several kids in the class began to call him “Treebeard.”  When we got home he insisted on having a talk with all the plants and trees in the yard to make sure they were OK.  We then had a tea party and invited other Ents (the penguin and the Godzilla in the pictures below) and a few house plants.

We also had to use our leaf plates and bowls.

Eventually we got up and our old cat Fig joined the party.

Looks like Treebeard is wearing his clothes inside out and backwards.

Special thanks to Teacher Jackie for drawing this beautiful Ent mask.  Special thanks to Duncs for giving me a magical afternoon!



Fabric Finds: Kelani Children’s Fabric

If you don’t know the website Kelani Fabric, you are in for a treat!  Especially if you love to drool over amazing prints as much as I do.  A few years ago I found this website that features Australian (and some Japanese) fabric designers, many of their fabrics hand-printed, and I ordered a yard of the fabric below for a chair seat cushion:

Kristen Doran Winter Nest, Chocolate

The other day just for fun I started perusing their kids fabric and I was so overwhelmed by all the amazing options I had to stop and write a post.  The images, colors, and themes are so adorable I want to design a thousand kids rooms just to use all these great prints.  I had such a hard time narrowing down my favorites that I included a bunch–get ready!:


Owls Red and White on Grey

Echino Bond Aqua


Owl and Berry Blue, Green and Yellow on Natural

Woodland Tails Deer, Cream


Jadore Birdcage

Woodland Neighbors Grey

My Graffiti Robots and Rockets, French Blue

Folklore Birds and Owls, Orange

Puti de Pome Elephants, Charcoal

Summersville Town, Coal



Alexander Henry, Kitty Garden Gerbers, Apricot

Alexander Henry, Spotted Owl White

Alexander Henry, Starling, White

Kristen Doran Molly Birds Red and Aqua

I could have included about 20 more too!  Be sure to check out their home decor fabric–it’s a great source for inspiration.

Vintage Door Knocker

I found this little stag door knocker in London last month and have finally gotten around to hanging it:


It was too small to go on an exterior door (nevermind that our front door is all glass anyway) so it now hangs on our guest bedroom door.


John is a total Game of Thrones geek (I mean that lovingly) and he says it is very House Baratheon…So sad that I totally get what he’s talking about. I do like how it adds an interesting detail to the room as well as to the hallway now.  Plus I obviously have a thing for deerheads/antlers since they are in several rooms in the house.

Now I am picturing different vintage doorknockers on other bedroom and bathroom doors in the house.  Perhaps this is a new collection starting…


What are some little interesting details you have around the house? Is there something you like to collect?

Bench, Before and After

You might remember this old bench from last fall:



It had good lines and is really long (57″ x 21″) so it would be great for the foot of a bed or under a large window.  As you can see it needed a lot of work.  After replacing the batting, painting and waxing the legs, and upholstering it with a lovely woven heavy stripe, here is the result:


I also added the nail head trim to give it a little weight…

I wish I had somewhere to use this bench!  When I get my new website up and running I will be offering this piece for sale.

And finally, I was playing around with styling the photo and I initially had it styled like this:

It was too much–sometimes less really is more!

Kitchen Sink/Plant Hospital

You wouldn’t know it from this picture but I don’t have a green thumb.  I have a bad habit of bringing plants to within an inch of their lives and then nursing them back to health every few months or so.  These plants are all in my plant hospital and are doing better after some constant water and sunshine.  For many it was touch and go there for a while.

You’ll notice that most of them are succulents (except the rose and the little orchid) which are supposed to be hard to kill, right?  Not for me…

I have to admit, I like having a garden feel in the kitchen even if it isn’t all that conducive to cooking six nights a week.

Here’s how our sink area is holding up since the renovation.  Since all of the kinks have been worked out, I have been really happy with it so far:  The sink is nice and deep and hides all the dirty dishes I might not get to right away;  The faucet is slowly getting some patina, functions well and no longer leaks;  And the marble (which I was the most concerned about) has held up great. I’m sure I’ll have to be more concerned as the sealer wears off in a few months.   You can also see from the above picture that we had the correct cabinet doors installed.





You may remember from my previous post about the kitchen reno that the neck of the unlacquered brass faucet (that I actually had the lacquer stripped off of) is really copper with brass plate–shhh, don’t tell anybody!  We have been careful to make sure no one accidentally scours the neck or polishes it and I don’t think you can really see a difference.  I may someday replace the neck with a solid brass one but for the foreseeable future, it’s staying put.


I also wanted to thank everyone for all the fantastic suggestions regarding my last post about needing inspiration for the old door we found.  I knew I was asking the right group!   Now the hard part is going to be deciding which idea to choose.  Check out the comments section if you are looking for ideas for repurposing old doors.  Also, thanks to Camille who sent me this incredible link with more door ideas than I could implement in a lifetime.  It does make me want to head out to the salvage store though and come home with a bunch of old doors…

Needing Inspiration

Our side yard has a pretty large debris pile in it from the many projects we have done on the house as well as the ones the previous owners tackled.  Not too long ago I found one of the original doors to the upstairs rotting away in it.  I was going to try to use it to replace another cheaper hollow core door downstairs  but it was too far gone and the center panel fell apart.  Now I’m trying to decide what to do with it:





It’s great old wood and with some cleaning and waxing, the patina would really show.  But what sort of cool and pretty yet useful thing could it be?  I thought about chicken wire in the center but can’t figure out what purpose that would serve.  Also thought about a mirror on the back or a chalkboard with maybe some herb pots around the sides?  Is there something horizontal I could do?  I don’t know…I’m stuck!


That’s why I need all of your creative minds to get me through this mental block.  If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them!  Thank you in advance!



Thank You Mom!

You may remember my post from the other day about the store The Gardener.  Well, my mom read that post too and look what I got from her:




The topiary frame I wanted!  My mom is the best!  I don’t know exactly where it will go yet, we still have so much to do to transform the yard, but for now I like being able to see it all the time right here.  Thanks so much Mom!

What are your plans for Mother’s Day?  I’m looking forward to hanging out with John and the kids and enjoying the nice weather.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!   Have a great weekend and be sure to tell your mom “thanks.”