A Cheery Florida Beach House

Nothing can give you a little leap in your heart or teary eyed feeling than when a client calls you up after living in their space for three years and asks if you'll do it again for them in their new place because they loved what you did before THAT MUCH. 

Never one to shy away from a road trip, the concept of driving down to Florida from Philly to help my clients with their new house on the beach seemed like a managable task.  I mean, just get on I-95 and head south, that's it, right!?  Plus, it was January and the thought of escaping briefly to sunshine and palm trees sounded pretty appealing.  

So south I headed and found myself in this sunny abode, a blank canvas with a peep views of the ocean from the top floor living spaces. 

BEFORE

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We talked about what the clients were looking for: a warm, cozy space with modern touches that worked for their busy lives with two young kids.  They had a few things from their old place that they wanted to reuse if possible, items from our first project which included a living room rug and velvet armchair, and a great coffee table that we scored on Craigslist three years past.  Other than that though, they were ready for some new pieces and a simple layout that would work for them and their two kiddos. 

We talked about going with a soft grey on the walls and I started in envision a palette that echoed the soft tones, layers, and textures of the north Florida beach landscape. 

My clients had mentioned wanting to have a grown up looking play area for the kids where they could keep an eye on them while cooking in the adjoining kitchen.  They also entertained a bit and were having a large group of friends and family coming in for memorial day weekend. So flexible seating was on my mind.  I developed a plan for breaking the the room into different zones for kids space, dining, and kicking back in the living/TV room and put everything together into a 3-D model. 

After some follow-up meetings with the clients they loved the layout and furniture selections but had decided to forgo the grey walls.  They had been living with the yellow for a while and it had grown on them.  They had also been experimenting with some new artwork and were beginning to be drawn to some brighter colors and they asked for those colors to be incorporated in the space.  So I worked to bring some more color and pizzaz into the space in a tasteful way that wouldn't overwhelm. 

In May I traveled back down to Florida, with a dining room table and loads of accessories in the back of my SUV ready to complete the install.  Lucky for me my parents live just a couple hours away from my clients house, so I had the added benefit of the world's best assistant for the day, Mom :) and so in a whirlwind of a day we brought months of planning into fruition. 

Considered pops of color with kid friendly fabrics, flexible furnishings, and custom details like a Horse Chestnut dining room table that I built for them (can't forget the woodworking!) and original artwork, photography, and ceramics to create a warm and welcoming space for this family.  You may notice that there are no photos of that glorious pink chaise that I specified in the design plan above.  It unfortunately did not make the delivery in time for when I was in town, so I wasn't able to capture it soft, velvety deliciousness.  I've heard that they're loving it though, and kudos for folks willing to go out on a limb with a pink chaise! 

Interested in seeing more spaces that I've worked on?  Head over to the portfolio. 

  

 

Midwest Adventures

A year ago today Adam and were frantically loading the remainder of our belongings, pups, and plants into our SUV and trailer in preparation for our two day drive to our new home in Philadelphia.  We were leaving Norfolk, Nebraska where we had lived for 18-months; headed off on the next adventure.  Even though our time there was short, we made many dear friends and were able to be closer to Adam's family.  We had received a small batch of walnut whilst living there that was gorgeous.  It was really great to work with, and I started thinking that maybe it would be worth taking a road trip out there to get more of it.  After months of pondering, loosely (very loosely) planning, I ended up driving out for a visit in August with friends and family, a show in Omaha, a pop-up in Kansas City, and retrieval of the much coveted walnut.  The quest for walnut turned into a whirlwind of events teetering between exhilaration and exhaustion.

For the first leg of the trip I headed to Norfolk, I spent a couple days visiting old friends and gathering blooms for the upcoming show: Hutchfest in Omaha.  Simpler Thymes farm is just outside of town and I discovered it right before I moved last year, it's a beautiful property with a great old stone house that reminds me of Philly.  The owners always spend time visiting with you, and they have several bee hives and sell honey, so it is a great place for good conversation and tasty treats.  After collecting flowers with a friend, we went back to her place and started arranging them in simple mason jars for the show. 

A few snippets from HutchFest in Omaha, sponsored by the great interiors shop Hutch 

Some toodle-ing around in Omaha & Lincoln at some of my favorite places including Mulhall's (one of the best nurseries I've been to), Home & Closet vintage, farmer's market at Aksarben, I picked up some of my favorite condiments from The Grey Plume (the onion marmalade and whole grain mustard are some of my favorites) as well as hanging out with my pal, Kathleen and her sweet family.

It was an absolute treat to spend part of TWO different days hanging out with my friend Kathleen of Thinking Smaller.  We worked together when I lived in Nebraska and she is a passionate advocate for the handmade and local community.  I always feel like I can just pick up right where I left off with her, plus, we share a deep love of all things pastry, so we're obviously kindred spirits. Favorite spots we popped in at included Le Petit Paris (best croissants, ever), Kitchen Table (everything is delicious), and Bean Smith Coffee Roasters (try the Ethiopia Kochere).

Mornings spent playing in nature...

A overnight in my college town, Lawrence, Kansas at my friends 1800's home with the best outdoor lawn art, and then over to Hun's Garden to pick more flowers for our pop-up with Coveted Home later that day. 

We had a little pop-up shop at our Kansas City stockist, Coveted Home shop, it was a great night meeting new friends, with music, drinks, and treats from Ashleigh's Bake Shop.

An of course, the impetus for the trip, the walnut gathering. The road in to the building was blocked off, so we ended up taking the long route through the long grass and hills, past the cows and rattlesnakes (!!), stopping often to make sure we weren't going to get stuck in a muddy spot. My brother-in-law was super gracious to venture through all of this, thanks Tait! 

Summer Herbed Mascarpone with Tomatoes

Ah, late summer days when the tomatoes you have been nurturing since the spring are bursting with fruit, their limbs toppling over in exhaustion, despite your best efforts to cage and support them.  We've had quite the harvest of tomatoes this season and have been savoring them in so many different ways: soups, pizzas, classic mozzarella and basil drizzled with olive oil and balsamic, and of course, eaten right off the vine.   One of our favorite ways of enjoying them as of late is paired with a bit of toast and an herby mascarpone that we've been whipping up on the spot, with a handful of whatever herbs we happen to have going in the garden.  While we're no recipe developers, this snack/meal/appetizer is so versatile, simple, fresh, and tasty, we thought we'd share it here.

Ingredients: 

A small handful of herbs, whatever you, your neighbor, or the market has that looks good to you. 

1-8 oz. container mascarpone

Fresh, summer tomatoes

Slices of your favorite bread, crackers or pita would be great too! 

A pinch of salt

I pulled some sage, lemon oregano, and a few tiny basil leaves from the garden.

Gather the rest of your ingredients. 

Chop the herbs finely and then mix in with mascarpone, add salt to taste and if you're feeling adventurous, any other seasonings you prefer, I ended up adding a little garlic to mine. 

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. 

Slice your tomato, give your bread a quick toast on your lowest toaster setting, and cut bread into small pieces, slather a generous helping of herby mascarpone on your chopping board if you're not into getting out a plate and doing too many dishes like I am, our serving boards  are great for effortlessly going from kitchen to table.

Schmear your bread with herby mascarpone, top with a tomato slice, and enjoy! 

xo, Nicole