Monday, September 27, 2010

The Living Room - Before & After

Here is what the living room looked like when I arrived. My parents had already painted the living room walls a neutral off white, but the ceiling was still painted a dark taupe (something the previous tenant had done). While the chandelier was an impressive gothic fixture, it looked like something that was more fitting for a castle than a cottage. The tenant had also left behind the green sectional you see in the picture, the coffee table, some end tables and the rug. My parents had brought in some accessories and extra seating to make the living room feel less sparse.

Here is the after...
We painted the ceiling white and replaced the gothic fixture with a tole-like chandelier. I actually found this light in the dumpster of my apartment complex (much to the horror of my husband). It was a dirty off white, but I saw potential. I am a big believer in the power of paint and I was sure that with a few coats of glossy white spray paint it would have a new lease on life. I didn't know where to use it at the time, but when I came up to san francisco to view the house I knew that it would perfect for milton street. The chandelier in the dining room (which you will see in another post) is covered with ornate grapevines which I thought would relate well to the ivy leaves on my rescused chandelier.

Since the green sectional was in decent shape and it was free, we decided to keep it and add a few throw pillows. The coffee table was purchased on craigslist for $20. It had a faux finish on it that looked like a copper patina. My brother spray painted it black (thanks Robert!) and once again the power of paint worked its magic. The floor lamps we borrowed from my parents house. The architectural prints came from a book I purchased many years ago called "Andrea Palladio: The four books of Architecture." I cut out 15 prints and framed them in literally the cheapest frames I could find. I believe I purchased these at walmart for $1 each. Here is another before shot of the room (from the dining room looking towards the front of the house).

And here is the after...

I ordered the seagrass rug online for $99. We reused the existing curtain rod, but painted it from silver to flat black. The curtains are from ikea. The little table in the corner was borrowed from my parents home. Here is another before shot taken from the bay windows at the front of the house looking towards the dining room. Notice the display wood display cabinet in the dining room...

Here is the after...

I know it is a slightly different angle that doesn't give you as wide of a view into the dining room, but I think you get the idea. First we removed the small table and two chairs. Now remember that display cabinet from the last photo. It was part of a dining set that my parents purchased from a friend. We removed the glass top and my mother and I painted the lower half a high gloss black. We replaced the wooden knobs with some inexpensive antique brass pulls and knobs from lowes. The mirror, frames, and orchid was borrowed from my parents house. The pair of blanc de chine lamps I purchased from one of my favorite consignment stores for $70. Yes thats right $70 for both. Can you believe it? It was such a steal that I actually felt a little guilty upon leaving the store. Of course that didn't stop me from running to my car and speeding off like a nascar driver, just in case they realized they had just made a mistake. Those lamps now sit in my office and i love them a little more each day.

This was definately a design on a dime design project. By the time I arrived, so much time and money had been spent on the important things like repairs to the foundation, bringing the electrical and plumbing up to code, and a new roof, that the staging budget was looking pretty sad. But good design isn't always about spending a lot of money. Good design is about being imaginative and creative. Having a small budget or no budget at all forces you to be creative by making think outside the box and sometimes these are the projects I am most proud of.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Curb Appeal - Before & After

Here she is before in all her glory, looking a little more shabby than chic. It is sort of a funny house to begin with. Rumor has it that years ago the city decided to raise the street level and gave the homeowners the option to either have their home raised or get monetarily compensated. Everyone on the street decided to raise their house, except for the homeowner at 17 milton. They chose the money. It looks sunken because it is.

and here is the after...

Because the house is below street level, it was seriously lacking curb appeal. While the tall solid fence provided privacy it also completely hid the front of the house, making it look even smaller than it was. We couldn't get rid of the fence for privacy and safety reasons, but I was sure we could do better. Lets face it - it couldn't get any worse. It was also expensive to replace the fence entirely so we decided to work with what we had. Half of the boards were removed so that you could see the house behind it. The top of the fence was also cut down to create a stair step effect. The fence, windows and all the trim were painted white. I chose a dark grey for the walls to help make the white trim stand out. The front door was painted a dark navy blue and flanked with some potted urns.

The door leading to the basement also got painted in the same dark navy blue. We replaced the sconce and added some greenery.

Not so shabby anymore.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Lot of Firsts

Not only is this my first day as a blogger (and therefore the first project I am posting), it is also a photo of my first apartment and my first staging job. I actually lived in this lovely house at 17 Milton Street for over a year while attending SFSU. How could I have afforded to rent such a house in San Francisco? The truth is I couldn't. The only reason I got to live here was because it was one of my parents rentals. I was entering my second year of college and after living at home for the first year, I was eager to get my own place. Luckily fortune smiled upon me and the tenant at this sweet glen park cottage announced he was moving out. He had lived there for many years and with lots of dogs, so it was in bad shape. My parents agreed to let me live there while they made improvements. This little house holds so many fond memories for me.

It may have looked like a dump, but it was my first place and I loved it. It was the perfect house for parties. As a fixer upper, I didn't have to worry if someone spilled on the carpet. I'd say "don't worry we are ripping it out next month anyways". And when the hardwood floors were installed the party moved to the unfinished basement also known as club 17. Of course my definition of "GOOD DESIGN" was slightly different back then. There was no dining table in the dining room, since it was mostly used as a dance floor and the lighting in the kitchen consisted of Christmas lights tacked to the walls along with a dos equis XX beer light. That year went buy in a flash and before I knew it the place was ready for a more respectable tenant. It remained a rental for many years before my parents decided to sell it last year. That is when the "good design" side of this story begins since I had the honor of staging it for sale. But that is another tale for another time...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

First Post Ever

Here we go! This is my first post ever and I feel like a baby taking its first steps. I'm excited and a little bit scared.

For years I have loved reading, looking, and drooling over all the design blogs out there and I have finally decided to join in. I hope that this blog makes you smile and inspires you the way so many others have inspired me.