House Beautiful

Archive for the 'Designer Spotlight' Category

Designer Spotlight: INDIGO + OCHRE

Daddy always says, ‘An ounce of pretention is worth a pound of manure’.” Remember that line from Steel Magnolias?  Yeah.  I mention it because I have always thought the same to be true about design.  I can’t really rap with houses that feel like museums, or places that are all stuffy and overdecorated… where I can’t touch (or spill) anything.  I’m not advocating that every home be equipped with bean bag furniture and be the sort of place where you can throw peanut shells on the carpet… I’m just sayin’, there’s a happy balance: that glorious tweener place where a room looks like eye candy but feels like your favorite pair of buttery-soft, perfectly worn-in jeans.  And it takes some serious skill to achieve.  Two of our design heroes are AMAZING at that mash-up: Nate Turner & Kishani Perera… Hence the reason we’re they’re #1 fans.

And speaking of fan clubs…  I’m a newfound member of the INDIGO + OCHRE fan club. Since I pin like it’s my job, I do see a lot of spaces I like, but rarely any I LOVE. And I’m tellin’ you what – I just stumbled on a few rooms by this Brooklyn based design firm that made my jaw drop…  but after I was done ogling, I wanted to pour myself a cup of coffee and move right on in, because these spaces are just as cozy as they are stunning.  They feel soulful.  Let’s start with the biggest jaw dropper of them all, shall we?

Let’s be honest.  If that powder room was a dude, it’d be a panty dropper.  And if I die and come back as a powder room, I’m comin’ back as this one.  It’s PERFECTION… the ornate carved/distressed mirror… the exposed brass plumbing… the gooseneck faucet mounted on the side of the sink which I have *never* seen done in a powder room but love… the flippity flopping tile… and the recess in the WALL for the SOAP, which might be my favorite part of the whole room.  I can’t take it.  Ok, this is super fun, let’s move on:

This bedroom kills me.  Mostly because when I look at it, I feel at home.  Or, like I’m at my family’s mountain house.  I feel like I can hear people downstairs playing cards and laughing.  Like there’s a breeze blowing through that open window, and like I might just wanna curl up in that bed, read a book and take a nap.

Same jam.  Just feels like home.  Is somebody making biscuits and gravy for breakfast?  Cuz that’d be great.

This one totally is not my style, but when I look at it, I imagine that people who are 10x smarter than I will ever be live here.  Brilliant, worldly New Yorkers.  Academic-folk with salt-and-pepper hair and nubby cardigans and black-rimmed glasses, à la Claire Underwood.  I bet the smell of library books is wafting through this place.

I would give up Velveeta AND frosted sugar cookies for one entire year if it meant I got to cook in this kitchen.

Those sweet shelves…  that COUNTERTOP.

Does anybody else see how massive that farmhouse sink is??  Nomnomnomnom.

Converting an antique piece of furniture into a vanity, avec marble counters + brass fixtures = lovely.

Another cozy bedroom, another sofa at the foot of the bed (always a great move), and that barely-there airy color on the walls…  Le sigh.  Are you guys pickin’ up what I’m putting down??  It’s easy to make a space look over decorated.  But it takes a lot of talent and a lot of soul to design homes that are beautiful but don’t feel decorated…  that evoke such a sense of comfort, nostalgia and warmth…  and that – well – feel like home.


*All images via INDIGO + OCHRE

Well hello, California.

Hey kids!!  It’s been a minute, huh?  #whoops.  Wait, before we start, go ahead and hit play on this sucker so we can getcher mind right:

K.  I kinda don’t know where to start!  I think the last time I blogged was back in 1847 when I was shoving out of the deep dark hole that became my life in Columbus – behind the wheel of a 27 ft. U-Haul.  Since then, I spent some QT with my parents in the homeland, hammered a lifetime supply of Pizza King, then threw Gus in the car and drove across the country…  which was surprisingly not awful.  If I hadn’t had books on tape, I might’ve thrown myself through a plate-glass window, but other than that, the trek that took 4 days and 38 hours was peppered with old friends, tumbleweeds and cacti, a peaceful sort of solitude and a million things I’d never seen before.  It went something like this:

All packed up, thanks to my Dad, who packed 900 pounds of my $#*t into a 2 pound bag – or UHaul trailer – with scientific precision.  Stevie B is a wizard.

My navigator is ready to roll!

Illinois and Missouri were dismal, so I couldn’t show you any pictures that wouldn’t make you want to punch yourself in the face.  Then came Kansas…  THIS is everything you ever needed to know about Kansas.  The end.

Gus thought it was a snore too.

Never have I ever been more excited to get the flip out of Kansas and cross the border into Colorado.  I remember driving on the flat, yawn-tastic road that I thought would NE-VER end, and then the hills started getting rolly, and I literally went over one and (GASP!) – there were massive, majestic Rocky mountains in my face.  I stayed in Denver that night, where an old family friend put me up and fed me homemade lasagna and sang me Happy Birthday.  It was divine.

I had glorious plans of driving west from Denver through the mountains to Salt Lake to see another old friend – and that drive allegedly boasts some of the most beautiful scenery on this side of the Mississippi, but I wasn’t sure that hauling a U-Haul trailer through steep, winding mountains packed with ice was wise.  So, we audibled south through New Mexico…

…which *literally* made me feel like I was on the set of No Country for Old Men, and Havier Bardem was about to come out from behind a prickly bush and waste me with an oozie.  It was real creepy there for awhile.  And by awhile I mean like, 600 miles.

And then it got REALLY pretty after Albequerque.

Arizona was stunning…  especially at sunrise while I was sipping hot coffee and listening to John Denver.  It was like a little slice of desert road tripping heaven.

There were about 9 million Hopi Indian roadside markets that I would’ve given my left nut to have stopped at, if not for the fact that I was pulling what felt like the Titanic behind my car and on my 9 millionth hour of driving.

Plus, by Day 4, my favorite co-pilot was losing steam.

Day 4 was also my birthday…  heeeeeey.  I’m still not totally on board with selfies, but we took one that day to commemorate – somewhere along Route 66.

Rolling into Cali was REAL fun, and it was around then that I started to get a little tickle in my shorts.

FINALLY, we made it to San Diego.

When I turned the key and walked into our new (dark, empty) place, I could not possibly have anticipated the overwhelming wave of sadness and “oh $#*%, what just happened to my life?” feeling that hit.  Like a ton of bricks.  I don’t know if I’ve ever felt quite that alone before. But then, one of my new roommates came home, helped me unload the entire U-Haul at 8:00 at night, and took me to In & Out Burger.  That 900 calorie burger + the kindness of a relative stranger was soothing to my crippled little soul…

Also soothing were the next several days, which were filled with trips to the Del Mar dog beach to let my little nugget play in the ocean…

…A trip to LA for my birthday weekend to see Karrie…  who greeted me at the door with a glass of champagne, had Velveeta on the stove, and also had this birthday basket on my bed.  I mean…  she’s a total slampig, but she’s also the most gracious, generous friend, and never expects anything in return.  I mean, look at that.  An Hervé Leger dress from RTR, a hydrangea plant for my new yard, the new Domino, an extra box of Velveeta, and a new book??  I can’t take it.

We did my birthday dinner at Gjelina with a fab group of girls.  And if you haven’t had the Butterscotch Pot de Crack Crème there, then you haven’t lived.

Karrie and I made our Uber driver on the way home super sorry he ever picked us up.  #whoops

We also did a long canyon hike one day, and I almost had 17 heart attacks every time GusGus got too close to the edge.

What else…  after a few days in Santa Monica, my right hand man & I came back to SD to get settled before I started my new job.  Did I tell you I moved in with two boys?  Yeah.  We’ll just call my new digs “The Frat House.”  And at the frat house, I did a little tjuz-ing:

…And planted a mini-potted garden outside with the essentials:  basil, a lemon tree, a jalapeño plant, and Karrie’s hydrangea bush.  It’s not the luscious jungle that we planted last year in our Ferngully of a backyard, but hey.  Shit happens and this works just fine.

On that note, there were a lot of heavy sighs while I unpacked the contents of the beautiful house (and life) that I loved so much…  followed by yanking up my big girl pants and pressing on.  The past few months have been surreal, to say the least… and what happened has been the biggest and most unwelcome lesson I never wanted to learn and the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  But moving here was 100% the right thing, and I know that now…  I knew it before, but it’s finally starting to feel like the right thing, too.  We’re finally settling in and it’s starting to feel like home.  Sorta.

PS:  Check out that stunning, embroidered John Robshaw Jammu bolster pillow that Karrie and Melissa bought me for my birthday.  I cried.  Partly because it was so overwhelmingly kind, and partly because it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen… in all its pink grapefruit and pea green glory.  Gus also thinks it doesn’t suck.

San Diego is a gorgeous place.  People told me before I moved here that the weather is perfect, and it is indeed PERFECTION.  Cool mornings and nights which means you always sleep with the windows open, and warm, sunny days, EVERY SINGLE DAY… and nice people!  I’m talking in rush hour traffic, they let you in and smile and wave. Never have I ever.

You know what else is REAL fun??  My new JOB.  Ehhhh mah GAH why did I wait so long to bust into the design field?  I went to work as Kristin’s assistant at Anne Rae Design.  Here’s my new boss lady:

You can call her Kristin…  or Anne Rae…  or Nado (tornado), which is what I call her. She keeps introducing me as her “Co-Pilot,” which is insanely gracious and also insanely inaccurate, seeing as how she’s a bonafide, super bad ass designer, and I’m a babbling design enthusiast with a blog just trying to learn the ropes.  But that should tell you something about the kind of person she is.  I met Kristin through Karrie years ago – she’s a fellow Midwesterner and an MSU Design School grad who had an overflowing plate fulla business and needed a hand (or five).  She could’ve hired 1000 people more qualified than I am, but she took a chance on me, and I will be forever grateful to her for that.  In other news, look how cute our office is (!)  Or, a sliver of it.

We just moved into it last week, but we’re getting ready to hang this chandy and window treatments in that fabric.  I die.

And here are snippets of a few projects we’re working on…  one is for a lovely lady who loves all things Tuscan, so we’re giving her Tuscany with a modern, sophisticated twist:

Another is a handsome man cave that we’re calling the “Out of Africa” room.  This shot of fabrics scarcely does it justice…  picture grasscloth on the walls, tufted leather chairs, and a sliding barn door to the bar (all Kristin’s genius work).  And among other things, an oversized ottoman in that Grey Poupon Mustard-colored mohair velvet from Schumacher, which makes me let out a little pee every time I touch it.  It’s luscious.

And on that note, this is the longest post EVER and I’m sure everyone needs a bathroom break.  Hope you guys are having a great weekend (!) and now that I’m settled in and Karrie’s wet her whistle and blogged for the 1st time this year, we should be posting a lot more fun stuff a lot more often.  Holler.