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Casa Covet Living: She’s all done, folks!

Kitchen | Interior Design by Stephanie Ballard | Casa Covet Living
Kitchen, After | Interior Design by Stephanie Ballard | Casa Covet Living

It’s been so long since we last posted about our beloved dollhouse project / labor of love that I don’t even know where to start…  I could break this up into about 10 different posts, entitled things like:

  • Hardware is a real b*tch” (for how tricky it is to find inexpensive hardware that isn’t heinous… especially brass.)
  • Couldah Shouldah Wouldah” (for the things we may’ve done differently if we had ’em to do over… but for every one of those, there’s also a ‘this fortunate accident actually turned out way better than we’d expected.’)
  • Ohhhhhhhhh F**********dge” (for the mistakes we caught just in time that could’ve been REAL ugly.)
  • Fifty (million) shades of grey” (for the daunting paint selection process… because no matter how many ‘these are the 5 best no-fail neutrals’ posts that are out there on Pinterest, the truth is that EVERY paint color looks different in EVERY individual house, and sometimes you have to just have to slap a bunch of ’em on the wall and stare at them for a few days until you’re cross-eyed. Slash, I say that, and yet there are actually a few neutrals I’ll keep in my arsenal from now on.
  • Splurge & Save” (for what not to skimp on, and where you can cut corners).
  • Timing is Everything” (aka a good solid order of operations / checklist you need to have in place when you’re approaching a renovation.)
  • Talk to me, Goose” (for how ABSOLUTELY VITAL it is to have a solid working relationship and open line of communication with your contractor, because the second that breaks down is the second something slips through the cracks. And while we have spatted (is it spat or spat-ted?) like brother & sister a few times – he yanked my pigtails, I’ve def put him in timeout more than once, etc – I do adore, have the utmost respect for and have been incredibly lucky to have been able to work with Karrie & Tim’s contractor, Joe Borci.  Who really is the absolute best at what he does.  And who – bless his heart – we legit tortured with things like hilariously inappropriate group texts, April Fools jokes, endless intricate details for him to implement that probably made him want to lose my #…



We also tortured him delivering weekly payments delivered in envelopes like this:

poor joe | casa covet living
poor joe | casa covet living

And wardrobe razzing like this:


But I’ll save all those tangent posts for another day, cuz this sucker’ll be long enough.  Probably best to go take a bathroom break now before you settle in and start reading.  But I bet y’all just wanna see some before & afters & some highlights, right??!  Welp, here you go!  We’ll start back at the beginning… remember this chopped up, super vintage fixer upper it seemed there was no hope for?


BEFORE Floor Plan | Casa Covet Living


The idea was to open the space up, which basically required blowing out most of the interior walls in the main living area and kitchen.  The major challenges were then that we needed: a) a long wall to put a built-in media center on, b) a home for the washer/dryer, and c) an office for Tim.

blowing out walls | casa covet living


This is where we landed… After we blew out those interior walls (and had to bring in a few huge support beams), I extended the hall bath wall to create an office for Tim where the “bar” once was, which gave us a spot for the entertainment center.  We also decided to house the W/D inside of cabinetry in the office.  AND reconfigured the master suite some – removing that giant heinous fireplace wall

AFTER Floor Plan | Casa Covet Living


before kitchen 3
before kitchen 1

before kitchen 2

{ DEMO }

…To sum up all of us during the demo / design process, I was kinda like this:

Interior Designer Stephanie Ballard | Casa Covet Living


And Karrie was kinda like this: (“…hey girl, a little to the right.  Waiiiiiit, whaaaaaat?  Timeout – could somebody bring me a mai tai?”)


LAWD.  Which prompted me to stop and refuel at the West Hollywood mothership (Gracias Madre) a few times – and by refuel I mean wash down a hill of nachos with a margarita or 3.

working lunch, gracias madre | casa covet living

nachos, gracias madre | casa covet living

gracias madre margarita | casa covet living

And, Tim – bless his heart – was all posted up in a suit and serious at all the Friday a.m. construction meetings to get materials like the sand bags we much needed, trying to reign me & Karrie in and (unsuccessfully) trying to put the smack down on things like the mint pineapple hall bath wallpaper.  Ask him how that turned out for him.

There are some materials that when used together make up a good and durable combination, and then there are some materials that have been in use for long enough that they have started to lose their effectiveness. In order to make the best decision on which materials you want to use for your projects, you need to do a durable materials review first. Superdurable will definitely help you with that, it is a great source of reviews on the topic. A good durable materials review should tell you not only how durable the materials are, but also what it takes to maintain the durability of materials as well. This article will give you the answers to these questions so that you can make the best decision possible on the materials that you use for your projects. With the answers to these questions, you will be able to make the best decision possible.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 10.43.38 AM


We did a few extra custom details to make Karrie & Tim’s house extra warm & fuzzy.  Behold: the X wine rack over the refrigerator… because wtf does anyone ever really do with that space??  Other good options would’ve been to do a top hinge, so that the door lifts upward and it’s easier to access what’s inside… or to have added vertical dividers and stored baking pans / cookie sheets up there, since it’s 26″ deep and there’s plenty of space for lesser-used items.  But we wanted to open the space up some, so this was a perfect solution.  Also… a moment of silence, please, for Henri – Tim’s godawful life-size-wine-rack-man that used to sit in their breakfast nook in Santa Monica.  And that I always wanted to chuck over the balcony.  He’s currently sleeping peacfully in a dumpster behind their old apartment.

x-wine rack over refrigerator | casa covet living x-wine rack over refrigerator | casa covet living


We sprung for the most beautiful tarnished brass hardware on the island (look at the x-detail on those sweet aztec knobs – color: light bronze | hex pull – color: light bronze), and cut a major corner by scoring cheapie and fabulous ORB hardware for the perimeter cabinetry.

Brass Cabinet Hardware | Casa Covet Living

ORB Hardware | Casa Covet Living

Master Bath got glass knobs & pulls, courtesy of Home Depot (again – we needed hardware on that vanity that would “go away” and not detract from that gorgeous finish):

Master Bath Glass Pulls | Casa Covet Living

And for the Hall Bath, we recycled the perfectly gaudy vintage cut glass golf ball knobs that were there when Karrie & Tim bought the place:

vintage hardware | casa covet living

hall bath | casa covet living


scalloped toe kicks | casa covet living


x-detail, master vanity | casa covet living


It’s almost got a bluish undertone, which I love with the lagoon glass shower tile.

master vanity | casa covet living


Sidenote: chalk this up as maybe the first thing in history we’ve ever agreed on.

master bath | casa covet living

The sconces in the master bath were also a huge score… the finish is “brown nickel” – which I have never seen done before and which is super baller in person.  We needed something that wasn’t too matchy to the polished nickel plumbing, but brass (albeit amazing) wasn’t the right call either.  These are perfect… even Joe thought so.

master bath | casa covet living

polaris sconce, arteries | casa covet living


Shower Tile Going In | Casa Covet Living

master shower, blue glass tile | casa covet living
master shower, blue glass tile | casa covet living

Karrie | Casa Covet Living


before master bath



I'm an aunt! | Casa Covet Living


island pendants | casa covet living
island pendants | casa covet living

island pendants | casa covet living

kitchen AFTER | casa covet living


I sourced the open shelving from Reclaimed Wood San Diego, from this giant hill of lumber.  The best pieces were on the bottom… whoops slash HUGE thanks to the amazing folks who work there who heave-ho’d it out for me.  I grabbed 2 long planks of White Oak that we had cut into 27″ shelves.

reclaimed wood san diego | casa covet living


Their lead time was too long so we had to have it custom stained in LA.  And buzzang – did they come out PERFECT:

reclaimed shelving | Casa Covet Living


PS: Amiel for President.

tabarka inset | casa covet living


kitchen AFTER | casa covet living

kitchen AFTER | casa covet living


* sink *

before hall bath

hall bath | stephanie ballard interiors | casa covet living

* shower *

before hall bath shower

brass hall bath shower | casa covet living

hall bath | casa covet living
…don’t worry – I already christened this bad boy with a bubble bath the other night.

hall bath | casa covet living

* I can’t take it. *

before hall bath 3

hygge and west mint pineapple wallpaper | casa covet living

hygge and west mint pineapple wallpaper | casa covet living

* Look at our boy Javier go! *

hygge and west mint pineapple wallpaper | casa covet living

hygge and west mint pineapple wallpaper | casa covet living


kitchen sink | casa covet living

kitchen sink | casa covet living

kitchen sink | casa covet living


PS, this is about the coziest dang situation I’ve ever seen in person.




GYAH IT’S JUST NOT UGLY.  The construction / design portion is finished, and Karrie & Tim are merrily unpacking boxes as we speak, but we still have SO MUCH work to do on the decorating end it’s not even funny.  Starting with barstools… and we’re using this stunning Carolina Irving fabric:

Carolina Irving Aegean Stripe | Casa Covet Living

And for the breakfast nook / dining area, which currently looks like this…



We’re in the process of making nook seat cushions…


Using the NUBBIEST EVER Thibaut Crypton fabric for the bench cushion seats… that way ain’t nobody can ever screw ’em up. Crypton is amazingly pet / kid / Pig Pen Karrie friendly, because of its stain, moisture and odor resistance.  The fabric literally has an integrated moisture barrier, so most stains come up with a damp cloth and water, or if they’re super stubborn, mild soap and water.  Bing bang boom.

thibaut crypton juno in flax | casa covet living

Also in the process of choosing throw pillow fabrics.  Which is basically like trying to choose a favorite piece of candy from Candy Land.  And by Candy Land, we mean Nicky Rising & Hollywood at Home.

Interior Designer Stephanie Ballard | Covet Living Interiors | Casa Covet Living

We’re leaning somewhere towards here – for one, because we’ve both loved this Tulu Textiles fabric since the beginning of time, but also because it’ll show fewer spaghetti sauce / red wine stains.  Jury’s out but we’re percolating… hard.

Breakfast Nook Fabrics | Casa Covet Living

One more time for good measure. Cuz this post isn’t long enough:

Before & After | Interior Design: Stephanie Ballard | Casa Covet Living

Before & After | Interior Design: Stephanie Ballard | Casa Covet Living

Before & After | Interior Design: Stephanie Ballard | Casa Covet Living

Before & After | Interior Design: Stephanie Ballard | Casa Covet Living

Before & After | Interior Design: Stephanie Ballard | Casa Covet Living

Last but not least, this is about how we all feel about the house at this point… all a little bit deliriously happy.  I don’t think it translates via pictures or even video, but it is magical in person.  So cozy, and exactly what we wanted.



{ TEEM }

{ ME }

stephanie ballard | casa covet living

Also – totally holding Karrie to this:

And this was the scene last week when I popped up to shack up at Casa Covet Living. Home sweet home.

done! | Casa Covet Living
We’ll keep you posted as we continue to layer goodness into Karrie & Tim’s happy new abode!!!  Thanks for following along with the renovation and helping us make decisions along the way and cheering us on!!  You guys are the BEST! Sidenote:

don't quit your daydream

PS: Steph’s Interior Design website is currently under construction, so in the meantime, stay tuned here and over on her insta for updates! She’s currently booking out projects for the Fall of 2016 – email: with inquiries.


Steph & Karrie

Casa Covet Living: World War III of the Master Bath

Gus Casa Covet Living

Happy Sunday, Campers!  In case any of you are new to this blog, Casa Covet Living is what we call my co-blogette, Karrie & her husband Tim’s new house that we’ve taken down to the studs and are currently doing a major overhaul on.  This little lifestyle blog started 6 years ago as an outlet for our mutual love of interiors (and life in general), and while Karrie still works as a rock star reality TV producer, I finally pulled up my big girl pants a few years ago and flipped interior design from a hobby to a career, so when my bestie bought a fixer upper, I was lucky enough to be handed the reigns.

We’re currently in dry wall (see Gus up there being the best new member of the construction team??), but we have GOBS to catch you up on… including but not limited to: Countertops, Hardware, Paint Colors, the Built-In Banquette… but today we’ll fill you in on the bloodiest battle of all: the Master Bath.   Karrie and I cycle together and giggle in unison about most things when it comes to this project working along home extensions dublin, but for some reason when it comes to her bathroom, we’ve been like a coupla toddlers taking turns having tantrums and pulling each others’ pigtails over what to do with just about everything (besides the shower) in here.

Long story long, we did that GORRRRRGEOUS lagoon glass subway tile in the shower…  which looks like this (and no joke, looks 10x more beautiful in person), and which we’re all in agreement is about the happiest slice of Jamaican heaven, ever.  Even our trusty contractor – whom we affectionately refer to as Boston Joe – told us this shower is his wife’s favorite thing he’s ever done:




The Blue Lagoon was *one* thing K&T knew they’d always wanted from the get-go, so unlike most projects where you (ideally) conceptualize the entire space together first before you pull the trigger on anything, in this one, we needed to build the rest of the room around that crown jewel (the tile), which is a pretty specific look.  We didn’t wanna go too cliché beachy (e.g. with conch shell knobs and a sign on the wall that says ‘beach –> this way’…barf), but it IS more of a coastal look we kind of needed to roll with.  And we also needed a good supporting cast in this bathroom vs. doing too many other looks or things that competed with that glorious shower.

Most of the cabinetry in the house is already white, and while a white vanity in here would’ve been so clean & pretty, we figured we could get a smidge more creative than that… however, their vanity is 102″ long (AKA HUGE), so I didn’t wanna go too dark if we stained it, because it would be a mass of dark wood and weigh the room down. Karrie didn’t love my suggestion of doing a raw / distressed / driftwood-y finish, either, reasoning that it was too passé – à la “Homegoods circa 2009.”  So I was like, let’s do something like this:


{unfinished alder}


{raw walnut on bottom}


And Karrie was like:

toddler tantrum

“…yeah I think that’s o-kaaaaaay (yawn).  But it’s KIND of expected… why can’t we do THIS instead”…

cherry vanity

And I was all:

toddler tantrum 2

“…becaaaaaaaauuuuuuse-zuh!  While it’s lovely in that all-white, hipster trendy, midcentury modern space that’s been pinned and copied 4,587,665x over the last 3 years, it’s gonna be too heavy / too dark / doesn’t jam with your vibe in there.  Why won’t you just trust me on this????!!!&#^#^%^!”

And she was all…


But Amber Interiors & Emily Henderson did it, and I don’t want everything in there to be too traditional and boring – I’m EDGY – so why can’t we do THIS?”


…I was like, I can’t deal.  Mercy.


It reminded me of kids asking their parents the same question like, 800x trying to get a different answer… or of a T-Rex throwing stuff up against the fence to find a weak spot.  The only reasoning I had left to give her – as I was about to give in – was via our girl Whitney Houston: ‘It’s not right, but it’s okay.’

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 10.59.19 AM

Still at an impasse and about to let my beloved co-blogette have her way (it IS her bathroom, after all… but I would’ve felt responsible if it ended up looking jacked, so it’s a fine balance).  We were about to be at a happy middle ground and do the dang thing in a lighter walnut finish, which actually would’ve been stunning, but walnut is ALSO like market price lobster on the menu at a seafood restaurant, and we needed to trim the budget somewhere.  So, I had 4 custom stains made for her to choose from out of oak, which is much more cost effective:


Loved the 2nd from the left best (personally), but we ended up going with this one, which was also gorgeous:


She also wanted to float the entire vanity (meaning it’s attached to the wall but like ‘look ma no hands feet‘ and about 10-12″ off the floor), which is a pretty modern look that we both liked, but in the end it was going to negate too much cabinet space, so we opted to maximize that.  To open things up for them a bit, I designed the center portion of the vanity to be open X storage for towels, since there’s no linen closet in there.

master vanity

Lighting was another bloody battle – Karrie wanted brass, but all the plumbing fixtures in there are polished nickel/chrome, so while I’m all about mixing finishes, I think it works on a case-by-case basis.  For instance, this bathroom by Studio McGee that mixes a brass & crystal sconce with chrome plumbing fixtures looks great:


But there is far less going on in that scenario up there, and I didn’t think brass was quite right with all the other balls we had in the air in the Blue Lagoon Bath.  I wasn’t sure we needed to matchy-match with nickel sconces, either, and wanted to use something that introduced a different texture – like the Rachel sconces from Ro Sham Beaux, which are hemp, linen & quartz, and are BASICALLY the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

rachel rachel sconce

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 10.59.43 AM

Karrie vetoed – which was fine b/c they were way more me than her (and to be fair, I already got to do the Hall Bath **EXACTLY** like I wanted)…

Powder Bath | Casa Covet Living | Stephanie Ballard Interiors

In the end, we both ended up loving the Polaris Sconces from Arteriors in Brown Nickel – a finish that is SUPER bad a$$ that I’ve never seen used:


Even Boston Joe was like, “Man.  These are cool.”  And I delight in any level of approval from this guy:

Boston Joe Polaris

Mirrors were the next debacle.  We needed a round, 32″ max diameter mirror – not in metal (sconces are a metal/metallic, chrome faucets are right there too) or wood (vanity is stained, so more wood would’ve been too much wood… go ahead now that it’s all nice & teed up and “that’s-what-she-said” me, fellas), and we also couldn’t do anything too busy (so as not to compete with the sconces)… Same as the sconce deal – I was hoping to introduce another texture – maybe a bit softer – so everything is nicely layered, but still airy & light.  The one thing Tim & I have probably ever agreed on is our mutual love for these Mother of Pearl mirrors (hi-5 buddy) – they’re just the right amount of beachy (hello – this is the Blue Lagoon), but still have clean lines and are a nice contrast / transitional juxtaposition to the mod sconces.  And praise sweet baby Jesus – they’re bringin’ another texture to the table.


Currently, we’re still in a sudden death overtime standstill with Karrie over them (she thinks they’re too traditional).  This is her pick:


We may have to arm (or mud) wrestle for it, cuz I don’t know what else to do at this point.  OR just do a frameless beveled bad boy.  Please stand by.


As for cabinet hardware, this is where we seem to be landing in there, and I think we’re all happy about it.  The glass knobs and polished nickel pulls are from Home Depot… NORMALLY I would do knobs on cabinet doors / pulls on drawers, but in this case, I’m voting for all glass knobs – even on the drawers.  I think it’s really clean and I want something that “goes away” next to the stained vanity.  I also think all knobs is kind of unexpected and sleek.  Karrie prefers knobs on doors / pulls on drawers, so it’ll be a game time decision once the vanity goes in.  Remind me to rap with you about hardware next Casa CL post, cuz that’s a whole other pickle I think a lot of people have a tough time with.

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 11.19.02 AM

Countertops: we wanted to do a calacatta gold (sample in the above pic / slab in the below pic), which is STUNNING.  We looked at this 120″ long slab… but to the tune of about $144/sf or $7k for the whole slab, we had to walk away… in tears:


We also entertained this Calacatta Gold lookalike from Caesarstone (but with next to no veining or character, sadly), which I now forget the name of:



We fell in LOVE with this Calacatta Viola slab from Stoneland, but I mean, for who knows where.  How amazing would it be to make a dining table or huge work table out of this though?  This was also closer to $60/sf.


In the end, we needed just over 2 slabs of Caesarstone for the kitchen (Misty Carrara #4141), so to be responsible and economical, we’re grabbing 3 of those and using the leftover material for the Blue Lagoon’s vanity and shower dam.  OMG we’re so thrifty.


So here’s basically where we’re landing… see how I threw my favorite mirror in there???  Whoops.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 7.48.47 AM

More on the rest of the renovation later this week!!


Steph's Scanned Signature