Sansome Project Sketches …Storage Solutions

I recently signed a new client who lives in a great building in downtown San Francisco’s Financial  District.  He is currently a single guy playing bachelor who secretly would like nothing more than be settled down.  However, his current condo doesn’t necessarily scream “family man” – mater of fact, the place is just screaming…..for help.  While the building has great bones, many of the design shortcuts that the building took to come to market (i.e. ceramic tile kitchen countertops, carpet on the floor, no overhead lighting) have left something to be desired.  But enough through it all, the one thing that the client’s space lacks is storage.  Seriously, the poor man has a coat closet and a half of a bedroom closet since a large vent runs through the middle of it.

So one of the big things on my list aside from furnishing is to see how much usual space can be carved out of a 650 sq foot one-bedroom. In a case like this where space is an issue, I always look up to see how much vertical space we can borrow and there is a lot, starting with adding in a second box over the existing kitchen cabinets.  In his bedroom, he has a blank wall that is begging for  a set of built-ins …

In my ideal world, we will be able to take the PAX system from Ikea, use the closet system to gain storage and retrofit in a small area for an office.  Since the system won’t fit exactly, I am asking the contractor to add in open shelving for books and whatnot.  Above are two quick sketches I did to think through the design.  I am still not 100% on it but  I am close.

In his living room/kitchen/dining (aka the not so great room) the client has requested space for his bike.  Yes, he is an avid biker and wants to be sure his bike is safe ….

So the thinking here is to notch out the drywall to give me an extra 3-5″ of space which will allow the bike to be flush and not have the handle bars stick out into the hallway.  I am thinking about lining the niche with extra flooring to give it some design consistency but also to protect the walls.  I toyed with the idea of building a pony wall and inserting shallow shelving, plexi with botanical or doing a hemp rope screen to shield the view.  However, I am now thinking, add a spot light and just like the bike be a testament to urban living.

Again, trying to borrow space that isn’t being utilized, I am proposing ditching the  breakfast bar.  The client doesn’t use it and it eats valuable floor space….

I think that area could become a great seating area or nook complete with bar storage by building two boxes to support the overhang and installing adjustable glass shelves .  The overhang is plenty deep for the typical bottle of booze and should he give up his drinking ways, the shelves can easily accommodate books or decorative elements.

The one final thing that needs to  happen in the “great room” is adding in a window bench for the dining area.  It adds storage and more seating than any chair can provide.  I still need to sketch out this idea because there are some elements I think I want to tweak to make it less ho-hum.

So we met with the contractor yesterday to walk through the site and get his feedback.  Overall, it went well but my gut tells me that we may need to scale back on some items to hit budget.  Personally, I would scale back on the decor and stick with the remodel because a good remodel is always a better return on investment than a fantastic sofa.

But in the defense of sofas…….

Okay, I need to get into gear!  Today I have a play date with three adorable kids   and their awesome Mom.  But before I head out, I am curious, if you could have one piece of storage added to your home, what would it be?

Check me out on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and now Instagram(@CourtneyOutLoud).

A Home For Cocktails…..

I love a good mixed cocktail.  There is a magic to all the shaking, muddling, stirring and garnishing that goes into creating these delicious concoctions.  They are meant to be placed on a pedestal to be admired, sipped and lounged over.  Yet repeatedly, I find myself throwing them back simply because I have no place to put them at parties or social functions.

Enter ……

These perfect little tables are meant, as the name implies, to provide sanctuary to your libations.  For myself, I love using them because of their diminutive size, they are the perfect accessory to squeeze into a tight corner.  More so, some of the tables on the market are literally works of art that could easily substitute for sculpture.  However, rather than go down that path for the post, I stumbled up a cocktail table that I think is stylish, modern and perfectly priced……

The Stockholm table from Ikea is something that is new to me but I am instantly smitten with.  A quick inspection of it in the store revealed that it is of substantial weight (a good thing for cocktail tables) and it has a hinged top that allows for a small amount of hidden storage.  At $US99, I think it is the perfect piece in a modern space or a traditional home looking shake things up.   If you are extra handy, you could buy two and cut the second down by 6-8″ to have a fantastic looking two-tiered side table for less than $200.

Today I off to the Design Center to hear a speaker and hopefully pull some fabric for the Douglass Street project…..I am thinking yellow velvet, cognac leather and grey linen for some reason.  We will see how it all pans out.  So tell me, do you have a tiny piece of furniture in your home that you love?

Check me out on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and now Instagram.

99 Problems & Shelving IS One of Them……

I recently started a new project for a great couple in the Castro area of San Francisco.  They live in a converted Victorian row house, occupying the top floor. They hired me to work on their entry, foyer and living space which I am excited to tackle.  However, being that they are a young couple who just purchased the home, design funds are limited to say the least.  As with many new homeowners, they have a big want list which I am slowly weeding down based on the budget.

When I took on this project, the first thing I asked them was if this was their “forever home,” starter home or an investment property because it changes how I will allocate the budget.   Based on their response, I thought it best to invest the largest portion of the budget to address some structural changes to the space including the demo of an odd pony wall, addition of a window seat and built-in shelving in the living room.

Opting to spend a chunk of my budget on these items are two-fold: (1) these changes, while not only beautiful will add resale value and (2) since space is tight, I need to use every nook and cranny to maximum utility.  At the moment, I am fixated on figuring out the layout of the shelving trying to take into consideration the couple’s “large” flat screen TV (I think the technical term is “freaking huge”), the request not to change the existing fireplace or mantel and their mandate for sleek and comfortable with a European feel.  So here are some options I have come up with so far…..

Traditional with a combination of open and closed storage.  Since solid wood isn’t  an option, we would do it in a medium tone veneer.

A tad more rustic, this option uses reclaimed wood (a splurge) but the tension between the Victorian elements of the house and the aged nature of the wood could be fantastic……or really really bad.

This is our least expensive option, which uses Ikea floating shelves in a high white lacquer.  Paint the back walls a dramatic color and with the right accessories, it could be quite dramatic and dynamic……

The last option would what I am calling “encased” because  we would build an open case to hold the shelves but the back would remain open.  I love the “x” design at the base that can hold wood for the fireplace or books.  It’s a nice bit of geometric interest in a pretty straight-forward built-in.  I want to do a grey wash to the shelving which I think would give the built-ins more interest.

I have a few more ideas percolating but they all are dependent on pricing of materials.  I am meeting with the contractor today to discuss options and get his take since in the end, I can create it but his team needs to do the hard part and build it!

Okay, I am off to meetings and to handle a family emergency that has cropped up.  Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable weekend!  Remember, life is too short not to live it up……

Check me out on Facebook and Pinterest as well as Twitter.

Master Bedroom Update: Display Shelving

So I am gonna keep it real.  I have a lot of sh*t.

Yeah.  I went there. 

Honestly, I love collecting stuff and have accumulated a vast assortment of odds and ends from my travels across the US and abroad.  Between masks, dolls, textiles, carvings and pottery I have a nice array of artifacts that I had nowhere to display.  Redecorating the master bedroom gave me the perfect opportunity to put many of these wares on display, especially since one side of my bedroom was bare (there was a reason I only shot the room from one angle!).

I wanted a set of brass shelves and searched high and low for an either one long console or two shelving units that could span between 60-70 inches.  Everything I found was either out of my price range or simply ugly (imagine shiny 80s tubular brass).  So I waited and figured I had time on my side with this scenario, but then Nate Berkus and his crew called and I had to accelerate my timeline in getting the room to at least a presentable point. 

Panicked, I literally was scouring the internet, Craigslist and all the junk shops in a 50 mile radius looking for something to fill the space.  Surprisingly, I found my savior at Ikea in the form of two display cases they were liquidating.  They had the frames only on sale for $9 each, and when two were combined, they were the perfect length at 65 inches.  The only caveat was that they were white and came with no glass or shelf inserts.  However, that didn’t deter me as I had a plan.

Enter Phase 1 of the plan…spray paint…

This is the frames with one coat of metallic bronze spray paint.  You can see the original white color on one of the legs still. 

After three coats of spray paint, the frames are looking okay but it would eventually take 5 thin coats of paint (about 3 cans) to get the final look I wanted.

Enter Phase 2 –  I replaced the shelf inserts with glass I had recut from existing panes I found at the junk yard.  Here is a helpful tip that I recently discovered – many glass shops can recut existing glass panes to fit your new projects for less than what it costs to get a new pane cut.  As I mentioned, I found the glass I used as a junk shop for $5 a pane, so for about $30 plus another $40 to have the glass recut, I was able out my shelves.  To get new glass cut, I would have spent $40 per pane or over $240 for this project– score one for  me!  Just be sure that the glass is the proper thickness and has no defects, otherwise your glass shop may decline your request.

However, even with the snazzy paint job and new glass, there was still something bothering me about the shelving.  There were these random sets of holes in the cross beams that instantly drew my attention and I hated……

I desperately wanted to plug those suckers up and frantically brainstormed how to make the holes “disappear”.  Fortunately, inspiration came from the nailhead trim I used for my bedside tables

Through some wine induced brainstorm/haze, I realized that by hot glueing a brass nailhead to a drywall anchor, I could create the perfect plug for those random holes.  Why I thought of this combo, I don’t know but surprisingly, it worked!  The drywall anchors fit perfectly into the holes and the nail heads were the exact shade of brass as my spray paint, so it was clearly meant to be!

So for under $100, I was able to get over 5 feet of display space for my collectables and perfectly fill what had previously been unused spaced in my master bedroom.  I just now have to decide on a wall treatment, art and bedding and the room will be “complete”. 

(Complete.  Yeah right…like that is ever an option to someone who loves design.)

The one caveat is that the addition of the shelving with all my collectables has moved the room from modern trad to more global traditional — not a bad thing per say but it does impact the art I intended to use for the room.  But alas, change is always the constant in design.

So have you found any awesome furniture deals?

Check out my Facebook and Pinterest pages as well as my Twitter.

I Got Nailed: Nailhead Trim Nightstand

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to put a quasi-dirty lead as my post title. For those of you who are offended, you should never come to one of my dinner parties as double entendres flow like the wine. But in any case, I finally got around to doing something about my master bedroom nightstands.

I bought them from Ikea over 6 years ago for $10 each and they have served their purpose well. If I remember correctly they were part of the Expedit line but have since been discontinued. In any case, for $20, they have been dutiful servants in supplying beside storage and a flat place to rest my evening tea.

While functional, they weren’t fun. I was positive there was a happy medium where the two could meet. I toyed with a variety of ideas ranging from painting them to covering them in wallpaper. However, I finally bit the bullet and decided to go with a simple nailhead treatment on the front for two reasons. First being that it was quick and inexpensive – these are not my “forever” nightstands so I wanted something that could jazz them up without forcing me to dip into my future furniture budget (what….you don’t have one?). Second, I figured if I screwed up and it turned out horrible, I could simply turn them around and no one would be none the wiser.

I initially started off buying 10 packs of individual nails and quickly found out that (a) it was going to take a really long time to do the project, (b) I can’t nail in a straight line even with the assistance of several other nifty upholstery tools and (c) it was going to take a CRAPLOAD of nails to do the simple design which translates into $$$. So like any good DIYer, I shoved the mess in the corner and let it sit for a week. Then I caved in and bought a roll of brass nailhead trim…

I was able to score an entire roll off eBay for $5.99 plus shipping. Doing the individual nail route would have cost me well over $25. Once the roll arrived, I got to work and finished both tables in less than an hour.

Do I love it? I really like it but would have preferred the look of the individual nail heads but at a grand cost of $8 for supplies, I can’t complain especially since it completely changed the look of the tables.

While not dramatic, it’s just enough to get me through until I find the perfect bed side tables. So tell me…..what piece of furniture in your house are you itching to replace?

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Tree Stump Planter: Super Easy Tutorial

As I mentioned on Monday, the patio is moving along at a nice clip.  The only two things that were remaining was installation of lights and making a decorative planter.

Well yesterday I knocked one of those off the list….can you guess which one (for a hint look at the title….)?  So using a tree stump that Scruffy found (yes my dog has an uncanny eye for design if you also include the mirror he found) I was able to create this……

And this is how I did it……

As I mentioned, Scruffy found this great tree trunk on one of our afternoon walks that was marked “FREE – PLEASE TAKE”.

Immediately on seeing the piece, I knew it had potential as a table.  The organic form and interesting knot hole put me in the mind of burled wood.  However, I knew that I had no place for such a piece in my home, but outside it could make the perfect side table.  So I hightailed it home, got my truck and snagged the piece I had seen on the walk. SCORE!  Total Cost: $0

I inspected the piece when I got home and saw that it was pretty much dried out with a majority of the bark coming off easily.  Using a hammer, I simply knocked off the remaining bark and cleaned out the knot hole.  And then it sat for a week as I tried to figure out what to do with it. I tossed around some ideas and finally decided on a planter rather than a table. because I had an area on the patio that was barren.  It was initially going to hold a small sculpture but that plan was scrapped, so the planter was the perfect alternative.  It provided a place to house more plants plus added an organic form to what was becoming a rather grid heavy patio.

So set with a plan, I started to work.  From start to finish, this project took me about 30-45 minutes.  As I mentioned, I had previously cleaned the stump and the knot hole.  However, upon cleaning the knot hole, its bottom came out, so I needed to find a way to hold the soil in.  After a quick scan of the garage, I settled on using the plastic netting that previously packaged my decorative rocks.  The netting is strong, flexible, water can easily flow through it and non-biodegradeable.  So with a few staples, I attached the netting to the tree….

I wanted to elevate the stump from the ground not only for esthetic reasons, but also because I didn’t want the wood sitting on mulch creating a damp playground for who knows what.  So I turned to Ikea and their Besta legs – a pack of 2 plastic legs runs $5.  I had the option to go with the more sleek shiny metal legs, but at double the price and the fact that in my design, the legs weren’t going to be seen I opted to go the cheap route.

I used a Sharpie to draw on the stump where I wanted the legs,  With an 7/32 drill bit, I eyed the center of each leg and drilled a pilot hole for the screw.  I then followed with a 1/4 bit with a flared head which was the perfect size for the screw.  With a little pressure, the legs were screwed in….

Total cost of legs: $10 + tax.

Flipping the  stump over, I added a layer of moss over the netting to stop soil erosion since the netting holes are large.  The moss also helps regulate moisture, so it’s an added bonus.  Tally for netting and moss: $0 (already owned the moss from the terrarium project).

Now with the stump upright, I did a quick sand with 220 grit sandpaper and wiped it down with damp rag.  I then rubbed the top of the trunk with tung oil to bring out the wood’s color and help protect it from the elements.  I initially thought about putting a coat of poly on it, but it didn’t look right when I tested it on the underside.  It looked too shiny and manufactured.  The tung oil turned the wood a deep dark brown and brought out a natural glow – perfect for a modern rustic planter in my book.

I applied three coats of the oil in rapid succession – the pic above is after one coat.  Total cost for tung oil – $0 (I use the oil on the patio furniture so I already owned it).

With the stump all oiled up (gosh – I never thought I would utter a phrase that could have such a double meaning…) I got to work on the plants.  I decided to stick with my beloved succulents for 3 reasons — (1) succulents come in a variety of sizes, textures and colors, that could look great against the color and form of the planter, (2) they don’t need alot of water which is perfect when dealing with a planter made of organic material and (3) I haven’t killed any yet so why ruin a good streak.  Oh there is a fourth reason too – since I wanted the planter to have impact year round, succulents were a perfect option since even in the winter, they are alive.  I chose two plants to fill the knot hole – Blushing Beauty and String of Pearls. 

The String of Pearls provides visual interest and a nice trailing factor while the Blushing Beauty provides texture and color since it will turn shades of cream, green and red as the season changes.  Total tally: $15 for the two plants at Home Depot.

And there you have it.  The actual execution was quite simple and easy.  The hard part is waiting for the wood to try out and cleaning it off.  Other than that, it was smooth sailing.  But here is the planter in its home on the patio…..

Now for the grand total for this project: $20 – Yup folks, I spent a grand total of $20 on this project thanks in large part that I already owned many of the items I needed and I found the tree stump for free.  However, if you had to purchase everything (including the stump) the project would run you about $45-$50. 

And then there was one — the final project for the patio is lighting.  I am hoping to finish that by the end of the month.  As usual, I will let you know how it all goes!

PS: You can see the stages of the patio renovation here, here and here.

Follow me on Twitter & Facebook.

Loving Out Loud: Overlays by Danika & Cheryle

Sometimes great ideas are born from necessity. 

This happens to be the case.  When designers Danika & Cheryle couldn’t find moderately priced trim work for several of their clients, they decided to make it themselves.  The result is Overlays by Danika & Cheryle….

The overlays are made of a lightweight, flexible and paintable composition making them perfect for a variety of projects including all those Ikea hacks.  For added bonus, these ladies sized many of the overlays to fit existing Ikea pieces – so no need for intricate cuts. 

But I know what you all are thinking — “Great!  They look cool in their photos above but do they work in real life?”  Well leave it to DIY Guru and all around Bad Ass, Bri, of Me, You & a Wiener to test the overlays out.  Here is what she did with the overlays to an old dresser she had:

Last, they are priced awesome at less than $20 per overlay.  So let’s recap – they are well-priced, easy to use, paintable and pre-sized to fit most Ikea furniture.

I think these ladies have hit a home run!  You can order them from their website.  I am ordering mine this week to test on my side tables.  If I was a betting man, I would venture to say these will go fast — so don’t say you have not been warned.

ps: Thanks to fellow bloggers Bri and Shannon for turning me on this awesome product!

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!