Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy Holidays Everyone! I hope you had a nice Christmas and have something fun (and not too anti-climactic) planned for new years.

I've now shown you the kitchen, master bath and kids' bath for the Urban Farmhouse project. Now on to the guest bath.  We didn't want to spend a ton in here but we wanted to keep that modern rustic feel and also fit as much as we could into the small space.

Option 1 utilizes the barn board on the walls again (when I presented this I hadn't had the discussion with my clients about using it in more key focal spots), a cool retro light, oil rubbed bronze hardware and a rustic vanity. I also love the black penny rounds. Their traditional but the black gives them a modern edge.

Option 2 is definitely more traditional with its chrome edged mirror, black beadboard wainscot, hex floor tile and grey vanity.

The final option that we ended up going with is sort of a hybrid. It's mostly Option 1 sans wall paneling and with the cool red light fixture from Option 2. We also opted to use the same vanity style as Option 1 but instead of doing a store bought vanity, create something similar but custom so that we can maximize counter space and do an undermount sink.

Next up is the powder room which is one of my favorite spaces thus far. Can't wait to share it with you!

Stylin' Mamma: Stumped

Monday, December 29, 2014

Stylin' Mamma has been a little stumped lately on what to write about.  Another post on holiday dressing?  Another post on clothes that do double-duty?  Sigh.  Such is the life of the blogger: we write all the time, and we inevitably go through phases where we get a little one-note.

So here's what's new with me: I've launched a lifestyle website dedicated to the 4th Trimester mama.  It's called postmodyrn and I'm so honored that Jess has agreed to contribute to our home/decorating section.  Definitely scoot over and check out her posts if you have a minute (I particularly like her tips on maximizing your space)...they really transcend the 4th Trimester and are relevant to all kinds of moms (and people in general).

But back to style.  This is San Francisco, home of tech startups.  So now that I'm overseeing my own little tech startup I gotta think about looking the part.  But what is the part?  Hipster mama?  Not sure I can pull that off.  Norm-core mama?  Comfortable and inexpensive but...nope.  

The startup world is notoriously casual, but there is actually a lot of pressure to look "creatively professional."  So if I'm having one of those What On Earth Should I Wear? days I try to keep a few key pieces at my fingertips.

1. Slightly distressed jeans.  Emphasis on the slightly: the idea is to look a little bit subversive but still polished.  The price point on these Old Navy mid-rises is a no-brainer and they are universally flattering as advertised.  I like mine rolled up a bit at the ankle, the better to show off my...

2. ...Ankle boots!  I have been searching for a fun, pointy ankle boot with a heel I can actually trot in, and just the other day I found it!  I love the delicate cut of these, which can easily swing elegant with opaque black tights and a skirt.  But I will admit that the edgier wannabe in me was tempted by these as well.

3. Jeans and boots take care of the "casual" so now it's time to add the "professional".  This J. Crew shirt is perfection - worn under a cropped sweater (or boxy leather tee) it's the perfect layering piece, and I love the way the long cuffs peek out from the sleeves of my...

4. ...Favorite blazer.  'Nuff said.

5.  Still searching for the perfect bag to cart my laptop around in, but for the moment I'm settling for a cross-body bucket tote for essentials and a fabulous, clutch-looking case for my tech.  And anyone who reads these posts knows that I'm a sucker for a killer pair of...

6. ...Shades, and an outfit-making...



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hi Everyone.  Happy Christmas Eve Eve. I hope you have all reached your final holiday destinations and are enjoying a little relaxation before the mayhem begins. Over the past couple of weeks I've shown you some concepts for the Urban Farmhouse project I'm working on in LA, first the kitchen, and then the master bath.  Next up is the kids' bathroom. My clients have a wee one currently (about Lucy's age) but in anticipation of at least one more child, the kids' bath has to be a fun space that makes sense for bathing, washing ittle dirty hands, potty training and the like.  Here are the two initial concepts that I presented to them.

Option 1 definitely has the fun factor with the utility sink and barn lights, but storage space was a bit of an issue here:

Option 2 has a fun green painted vanity with ample storage.  I kept a bit of that farmhouse character with horizontal plank paneling and a vessel trough sink:

 Option 3 is the final option that my clients decided on. It's similar to Option 2 but we eliminated the paneling (love it but figured it was best to use it in a more impactful area) and opted for two undermount sinks so that we could maximize counter space.

I can't wait to see this project get built. What sorts of big projects do you have slated for 2015?

CURATED NEST: New Year Planning

Monday, December 22, 2014

It wouldn't be right not to shop for the best, most stylish calendar to get us through 2015 on-trend! Here's some beautiful options...

1. Travel the World via Urbanic
2. Calligraphy Letterpress via Bloom Letterpress
3. Stendig via Crate & Barrel
4. Gem & Minerals via Leif
5. Beaute via Rifle Paper
6. Sugar Paper via Target
7. Kukkuu via Marimekko
Inspiration image via Tiny Sidekick

Postmod: Tablescapes for Kids of All Sizes

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Another article went up yesterday for Postmodyrn.  You can check it out here (as well as all of their other great articles about fashion, lifestyle post kiddos).  And here it is:

Well the Holidays have descended upon us and we’re in the depths of work holiday parties, get-togethers with friends, and family Christmas gatherings.  This year we opted for the pre-lit faux tree and garland which I have to say, cut our decorating time in half.  With two little ones at home, forgoing the real tree smell and ambiance was a sacrifice I was willing to make for safety and efficiency purposes.  The glass balls are staying in the Rubbermaid box this year (and probably the couple Christmases after) and the more delicate ornaments are hung up high.  

 When it comes to entertaining, I like to keep the festive spirit alive but use kid-friendly decorations and items that aren’t so holiday specific that they can’t be used at other times of year. I’ve put together a Big Kid table for us adults and a fun table for the wee ones that keep entertaining easy but definitely maintain the festive factor.

For the “Big Kids” this year we are going holiday rustic.  A centerpiece composed of various bottles and jars painted white (use white paint on the inside to keep it from peeling), red faux berries and pinecones keeps it simple and doesn’t require watering.  For the place settings, pinecone place cards echo the theme and are something you can collect with the kids in the days before your gathering. Vintage red enamel dishes are durable and give a little campy flavor to your fete while gold flatware and patterned glasses add a touch of un-fussy glam.    Block-printed linen napkins from Etsy contribute to the rustic feel and are appropriate at any time of year.  And on top of each plate we like to give each guest a little goody wrapped in craft paper, baker’s twine and a home-made snowflake (again a great craft project for the kids).  A star garland adds a touch of sparkle and could easily be re-used for the fourth of July.  And don’t forget the cocktails! A rustic bar cart allows guests to serve themselves and a collection of blankets invite people to cozy up by the fire (I love this one from Pendelton – it’s such a classic and looks fabulous on a bed). 

For the Wee Ones we like to keep it fun and spill-proof.  Cover the table in craft paper and put out receptacles of crayons to keep those little hands occupied (I love using vintage containers or creating something fun like these bark covered tins).  For the place settings, colorful melamine plates and plastic handled flatware are durable and can be used at any time (the key is keep things graphic but not commit to a specific image like a Christmas tree or train or character like Dora).  Give the kids cloth napkins and see if they feel “fancy” (these are IKEA dishtowels and at 50 cents a pop are totally kid-worthy).  Mason jar glasses with straws make sure cider stays off the furniture and floors.  For kids favors, I like to use fun soft felt or knit animal ornaments that they can take home and hang on the tree.  Felt balls and garland in poppy colors hung above the table add to the festive feel but are also useable for other occasions. 

Hopefully I’ve inspired some of you to do a little pre-get-together decorating.  By using items that can function for every day or at least for other occasions holiday decorating becomes much less daunting and more fun.  Just remember that you are by no-means tied to doing everything red and green and ridden with holly.  Use a pop of yellow, hot pink or lime green to make things more modern and fun. And remember red items can be re-purposed for Valentines Day, the Fourth of July or any other gathering that requires a dose of heat. The holidays can be so daunting but if you keep things simple and kid friendly (and let’s be honest, adult-with-cocktail friendly too!) everyone will be impressed by how put-together you are and all you will have to worry about come party time is what to wear and where to order your food from ;)

Source pictures, Big Kids:  French jars // Gold flatware // Star garland // Beveled glassware // Blanket // Bar cart // Snowflake craft box // Red enamel plates // Printed napkin // Pinecone place card holders

Source pictures, Wee Ones: Ceramic crayon jars // Felt garland // Mason jar cup // Kids’ flatware // Graphic plate // Bark crayon jar // Felt ornaments // Felt ball ornaments // Tea towel

Graphics by Cori Magee


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

There's nothing more inviting, during these cold months, than a cozy family room. And what's more cozy than shabby chic?

I can't help but want to add lots of white texture to my living room, some branches, candles and voila. This is a look anyone can achieve because it's all about simple color palettes and layers of texture.

There's nothing too complicated and that's what makes it so inviting...
Side Table / Pottery Barn
Basket / Target
Grey Pillow / Crate & Barrel
White Bolster / Target
Pouf / West Elm
Table Lamp / Target
Candleholder / Urban Couture
Side Chair / West Elm
Coffee Table / Shabby Chic
Faux Sheepskin / Ikea
Area Rug / Loom
Inspiration image via Idyllog Him


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Last week I showed you some concepting I'd done for the kitchen of the urban farmhouse I am designing in LA. The aesthetic is modern yet rooted in tradition and we are incorporating this updated farmhouse vibe into all the spaces. The Master Bath is a clean airy retreat.  I kept the design clean and simple with subway tile, marble counters and penny round floors, hanging pendants for lighting and a stained vanity.  Touches of brass add a bit of luxury.  Here it is.

You can follow more of my Farmhouse furnishings on my pinterest board here.

MEET THE TEAM: The Other Jessica Davis

Monday, December 15, 2014

Back at the beginning of the year (well, actually, a couple months into the year) I posted about my business new years resolutions. The primary resolution I had was to delegate. With a baby on the way and an expanding business I knew there was no way for me to continue going it alone while keeping my head above water.  At the time of writing the post I had just hired a contract employee to help me with fulfillment, systems, admin and all the other stuff that I don't have time to do.  Funnily her name is also Jessica Davis.  Jessica Burne Davis that is.  Being that I am Jessica Ahnert Davis, we now have Jessica A and Jessica B.  Luckily she agreed to go by her maiden name Jessica Burne to avoid confusion at work :)

Now that we are nearing the end of 2014 and Jessica is officially part of the Nest Studio Team, I though I'd take this opportunity to introduce you to her. And here she is!
I'm sure she is mortified that I posted a large picture of her face here - although I think she looks pretty incredible.  For those of you who may have placed orders for our hardware or called with questions, Jessica Burne is most likely the person you communicated with.  As I mentioned back in my business resolutions post, Jessica is ridiculously overqualified for the job.  She worked for many years at JP Morgan as a consultant and then helped start their Private Bank Art Advisory Group. Jessica describes herself as an "art market sponge" and while working on that side of the business took every opportunity to visit client's homes and see their amazing art collections.  That said, Jessica says that the only downside to her job at JP Morgan was that "after admiring museum-quality works up close, my own taste level has exceed my budget infinitely.  My walls are decorated with family pictures and art from the kids because I cannot get myself to buy, what I call, CHART (cheap art)."  Jessica is also a self-proclaimed Microsoft Excel Geek.  According to her, there is nothing like a good spreadsheet to keep things organized. She uses Excel to manage everything from birthday RSVP's to dinner party food lists to garden plans.    

Here is a photo of Jessica and her beautiful family, along with some other fun stats

Currently hails from: Livingston, NJ 

Grew up: in London and along the East Coast of the US, moving often for her father's job

Attended: Lehigh University

Married to: Andrew Brian Davis (funnily, Jess A's husband Scott's middle name is also Bryan!)

Kids: Madeline 9 and Gabrielle 6

Loves: Family time; warm weather; beaches - lake and ocean equally; a good book; learning a new hobby (currently yoga and photography)

Guilty pleasures: Drinking a glass of wine during kids' bath time, listening to explicit version rap songs while exercising, buying too many shoes for her very difficult to find size 11 narrow feet

Hopes / dreams: To raise her daughters to be confident, successful, and empowered women; watching her major house renovation become a reality; helping Nest Studio grow into a hardware design powerhouse :)  

I hope you enjoyed meeting the other Jessica Davis (as our kids fondly call us both). As our business grows we hope to introduce you to more additions to the Nest Studio family!

CURATED NEST: Christmas Colors

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I'm excited for Christmas, as I'm sure all of you are. December is my favorite month... The holiday season are always fun and the new year is just around the corner.

In celebration of this holiday season, I've rounded up some chic products in a very thematic color scheme, inspired by this beautiful wreath. Enjoy.

1. Pendant Light via Hive
2. Messenger Bag via Banana Republic
3. Touchscreen Gloves via Urban Outfitters
4. Dresser via CB2
5. Pot Holder via Ferm Living
6. Sneakers via J. Crew
7. Sofa via Dot & Bo
8. Smeg Mixer via West Elm

Urban Farmhouse: The Kitchen

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I've been really lucky lately in that I've been able to scratch my design itch by working on a new home for a couple of friends out in LA. The house they are building is farmhouse modern - totally up my alley - I had literally been pinning farmhouse modern images on Pinterest atnd lusting over open airy spaces for the past few months until their call.  We've been working on space planning with their architect and have been figuring out the design direction for all of the areas with built-ins and hard surface finishes.  We're mostly done with those areas and next up will be fun stuff like furniture, rugs and lighting. I thought I'd share with you what we've done to date. This week I'll be sharing the kitchen. The look is clean and minimal but with a bit of a traditional bent.  Here is the design board I created (I love the mixed metals)

And an elevation of the main appliance wall.

And a quick sketch I did looking into the space.
Stay tuned! Next week I'll be sharing the master bath. 

Postmod: Maximizing your small space Part II

Monday, December 8, 2014

Last month I gave you all some pointers on how to maximize your small space, from using mirrors to dividing a space up by function to finding pieces that do double-duty.  Well, here are a few more tips that will help make that 600-square-foot-studio or 2 bedroom with 2 kids feel a little more open and zen.

Use light colors:  Just like mirrors, light colors bounce light around.  I am a huge fan of a black room, and in many cases dark colors actually recede so they can make a space feel bigger.  That said, a light wall makes a room feel airy and bright, which goes a long way toward making it feel bigger.  Light colors also usually blend in more with the ceiling and trim which means your eye doesn't stop as often and the space feels more expansive.

Keep out the clutter:  Just as with color, the more times your eye stops on an object while moving around the room, the less you experience the space as a whole.  If you reduce clutter you reduce visual noise and again the space feels bigger - not to mention that clutter literally takes up square footage, so you are in fact enlarging your space when you purge.  Clutter also takes up mental space, so having a simplified clutter-free space will make your home feel more serene and give it a sense of zen and airiness.

Ceilings:  Go darker, not white.  I'm not suggesting that you paint your ceiling maroon, but step your ceilings down a few notches from white on the paint deck and you'll find that they feel higher.  A light grey is so soothing and much more interesting on a ceiling than white-white-white.
Grey ceilings, grey walls and clean lines keep the eye moving and make this kitchen appear more expansive. Source

Consider your window coverings: A trick that almost all designers use is to hang drapery as high as possible. Your windows may stop 3 feet below the ceiling line, but hang that drapery rod a few inches below the crown molding!  Your windows will feel much higher and the whole room will appear taller.  Also, don't skimp and buy the shorter drapes; buy the longer ones and get them tailored to fit. If you're renting, consider doing a basting stitch so you can let out the hem in a future residence.  If you already bought the shorter drapes, think about adding an accent band on the bottom to make them longer. And finally, if you aren't using draperies at all or would rather something more clean-lined, a fabric roman shade that has a sheer factor so that light comes in but that maintains your privacy is a great way to go.  And again, if the drapery is closer to the wall and trim color, your eye won't stop and the room will feel larger.

Drapes hung high and in the same tone as the walls make the room feel more expansive.  Source

Go with one statement piece:  Just because your room is small doesn't mean that you can't make a statement, but make your choices wisely.  Choose one statement piece such as a boldly colored headboard or a large piece of art above the sofa and let everything else play a supporting role.  A giant coffee table piled high with books might make a great statement but might not make the most sense in a small space where circulation is important.  On the other hand, vertical pieces like a headboard or art can be bigger because they don't take up square footage but give a lot of bang for your buck.

A statement piece of art and clear chairs make this dining room feel larger. Source

With all of that said, there is one more thing to consider. Some spaces are teeny-tiny and dark and often just hopeless when it comes to making them feel bigger.  Sometimes it's better to embrace what you have. 


In a powder room that has a tiny window to an icky New York City lightwell, maybe it's better not to attempt the light and airy look; embracing dark and cozy is a better alternative.  Go bold with color and pattern and see where that leads you.  Perhaps you'll find that you love your small space even more.

Our Thanksgiving

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

For Thanksgiving this year my parents came up and spent a couple of weeks with us. My brother and sister-in-law came in from the city and we hosted with grilled turkey, Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish, a few other delicious sides, bourbon pecan pie and a pumpkin tarte from Sullivan Hill Sweets

I always love the table scape part of entertaining, so this year we decided to do it up and finally use our crystal and china (since it usually just sits there gathering dust). I had plans to create some centerpieces with grass plumes, laurel and dried hydrangea from our yard but the wet weather made everything soggy and unusable.  So instead we opted for candlesticks, simple ribbon and black chalk tags from Target and pheasant feathers for each place setting.  Here are some shots of the table.

Since we were all cleaned up and looking our best, we took advantage of the situation and had my sister-in-law Soyoung Oh take some additional photos of our family. I can't wait to show them to you next week.

How was your Thanksgiving Holiday?

All photos courtesy of Soyoung Oh of Dogear Press


Not all of us can be as lucky to celebrate the holidays with a scenery like this, but we can at least dream....

I came across this house, and like I often do, I had to imagine how I would entertain for the holidays in a farmhouse like this. 

Casual and comfortable, but always modern, is the way I would go. The most important things would be staying warm and catching up with friends and family. The table decor would be fun, with lots of personality.
Here's what I have in mind...

Factory Light / Schoolhouse Electric
Placecard Holder / Crate & Barrel
String Candle Holder / Ferm Living
Dining Table / Pottery Barn
Table Runner / Crate & Barrel
Napkins / Crate & Barrel
Salad Plates / Crate & Barrel
Pitcher / Leif
Gray Side Chair / Dot & Bo
Black Armchair / Dot & Bo
Area Rug / Habitat
Inspiration image / Mittliv Palandet

Postmod: Maximizing your small space

Monday, December 1, 2014

Last week I shared a post I did for Jaime's new website Postmodyrn about how to design with kids in mind. This week, I'm sharing another recent Postmod post I wrote about maximizing your small space:

The unfortunate part of living in a cool city like New York or San Francisco -- or even living in the surrounding suburbs -- is that you pay a high price for space.  Often, we are stuck living in a space that works but isn't our "dream home", so to speak.  So we make do with what we have.  A question that I often get from friends and clients in high-rent areas is, "How do I make my space feel bigger?"  Today I'm giving you a couple of tips I've learned along the way, and next month I'll reveal a little more on how to make your small space feel larger.

Use appropriately scaled furniture:  So much of the furniture out there these days is huge and overscaled.  A giant sectional with huge roll arms might be great for the double-height suburban great room, but in a San Francisco high-rise condo or a 1927 cottage outside of New York, one has to be a little more concious of scale.  The good news is that many brands such as Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware are carrying "apartment-sized" furniture these days.  Aside from seeking out items that are specifically labeled as apartment-sized, there are a few key things to look for, scale-wise.  As mentioned above, large roll arms take up a huge amount of real estate but don't increase the seating area on a sofa. Look for sofas that have tailored square arms, tight backs and are not quite as deep to maximize your floor space.  Same goes for appropriately scaled coffee tables, dining furniture, etc.  There is something trendy going on with bar-height tables, but they don't work well for families (have you ever seen a high chair that works with a bar-height table?) and they take up a lot more visual space than a normal table.  A large china cabinet might work in your parent's formal dining room but consider a lower slung buffet that is open above so you can display some artwork and stage the top like a bar.

Tailored appropriately scaled furniture keeps this space from looking cramped. Source

Think of how you experience a space: Divide your space into zones even if you don't have dedicated rooms.  In my house you enter directly into my living room (my dream home one day has an entry foyer and a mud room).  I especially hate this part of my house in the winter time when we have coats, boots and snow that gets tracked in.  I was able to carve out a space in the living room that feels like an entry.  How so?  I delineated the space with a rug, and made sure there was a coat closet, a place to sit and a console for dropping sunglasses and keys.  Similarly, in a small condo without a separate dining area, carve out a dining space behind a sofa or in a corner.  Often times a bench or banquette tucked up against a wall works better than using chairs around all sides of a table because it allows the table to sit closer to the wall (because you don't need the space to pull a chair out). 

 In my own home, we've created an entry space in the living room.

Use furniture that does double duty: In a small space, double duty is a key word (or words).  Use an ottoman with a tray on top of it instead of a coffee table.  This works as a footrest, storage (if you have a storage ottoman), and is much more child-friendly than a table with sharp corners.  In carving out spaces within a room as per the above recommendation, consider a bench or day bed between two spaces. It doesn't block the view, adds seating, and can even function as a guest bed in a pinch.  Places like West Elm have a slew of small cocktail tables that can double as stools for seating and tuck nicely under consoles and next to sofas. 
Storage ottomans along with mirrored frames add space to stash stuff and bounce light around.  Source

Use Mirrors:  I'm not saying that you should turn your home into a Vegas lounge -- no mirrored ceilings please!  But it's true that mirrors expand the view and double the feeling of space.  Consider mirroring your kitchen backsplash (mirror is a low maintenance surface, easy to clean as a backsplash and allows you to see the party when you're facing the wall chopping crudites).  Adding a piece of mirrored furniture gives a touch of sparkle and doesn't feel as heavy as its wood alternative (although please don't buy the entire mirrored bedroom suite).  And strategically placing a mirror so that it reflects a view of the outdoors is a great way to make a space feel airy and open. 

A mirrored back splash expands this tiny kitchen. Source

Stay tuned for more space expanding tips in next week's Postmod post.