If you’ve been following us for a while, you might know by now that I’ve moved a lot. This is my third house in three years, but as the saying goes: Third time’s the charm, the fourth time is divorce. So I need to make this one last for a bit! And for that reason, when this house was being built I was VERY PARTICULAR. Every tile, countertop, light fixture, and paint color had to be selected under a magnifying glass because there are no backsies. Or so I thought… I definitely replaced every doorknob in the entire house already because it turns out I hated what I first picked. But hey, new doorknobs does not a divorce make, so I think I’m still in the clear.
So naturally, but the time the third house rolled around, the urgency for a house tour kind of fell by the wayside. With the first house, it was up in weeks. The second house, it was up within a few months. This time….well, I’ve been busy, okay? And better late than never!
Let’s start downstairs. Or as I like to call it, “the part of the house where I live.” My kids live upstairs and I find this household division really helps maintain our collective sanity. But we’ll get to their space in a bit.
When you first walk in, you can tell I am a big believer in the black and white color scheme. It’s not just for Instagram, folks. My whole downstairs is in grayscale and sorry, I’m not sorry.
The built-ins to the left and right have only black and white books, vintage cameras that belonged to my grandfather (my husband John, is a photographer so it ties in well), candles, and things I’ve collected over the years. My favorite element is a shadow box containing my grandmother’s iconic glasses. When she died, my mother had them framed for me as a Christmas gift (which is ironic since we are all Jewish).
Some of you might have seen my living room in a previous blog post, or when I posted photos from Christmas (I SWEAR I AM JEWISH), but here it is again in full view. While I’d prefer everything to be only black and white, I allowed gray as an accent color. The thought of a white couch with two kids just felt…not smart. My favorite element of this room is my all marble fireplace in a chevron pattern. It was too beautiful to cover with a TV which is why the room is centered the way it is.
Back to black and white! A few things I knew for sure I wanted with my kitchen (even though I don’t cook): A black island, waterfall countertop, and quartz counters since I have been burned by marble many times in the past. I did end up using marble counters in the spaces that get less traffic, but for the kitchen, I just didn’t want to risk it again. I also am not in the mood to divorce my husband for spilling something on the counter so this was the way to go. Another really great element about the kitchen is the way our architect designed windows above and below the cabinets. It allows for extra natural light and modernizes an otherwise fairly traditional kitchen.
When it came time to design my pantry, I had a pretty clear idea of what it should look like. Broad open shelves that are at least 14 inches deep, with double doors (always nice for a reveal!), and I wanted it facing the windows so I could photograph it in natural light. The contractors were like, “I’m sorry what?” And I was like, “Oh, if you just go to our Instagram account you can see wh—” And then they lost immediate interest and just built it the way I asked.
Easily my favorite room of the house. Also, easily the least used room in the house. Sometimes I stomp around the house yelling about how we never use it and why did we build this beautiful room that just goes to waste, and then my husband points out if we cooked dinner more at home maybe we would use it, and I pipe down pretty quickly. And the benefit of never really using the room is that the marble in my two buffets are pristine and not stained. Speaking of the buffets, I added shiplap and floating shelves to hold my entertaining pieces, china, and platters. I also added extra deep drawers and flanking cabinets for extra sets of dishes, placemats, silver, and allllllll the things we do not use whatsoever but still have in CASE we host a big dinner party.
The built-in bookshelves that separate the dining room from the kitchen and living room were ROYGBIVd to allow for a little pop of color in an otherwise colorless void. I’m a big believer that books and plants are the perfect – and most natural – color element to add in a home. I have no idea how to pick accent colors, so when I do, it’s either with greenery or a full rainbow.
I hate laundry, but I love laundry rooms. I think they should be crisp and clean with functional storage. I ended up putting marble in here as well and almost had to move or burn the house down when liquid detergent left drop marks, but I shockingly held it together and did neither. Still really annoyed though. In addition to the marble counter top, I added two floating shelves (you will see throughout the house that I am not in the least bit afraid of open shelving and you shouldn’t be either) with bins of laundry supplies, room for paper towels, and stacking bins of manuals and household supplies on the top. I also added a wall rack to hold some additional supplies and hangers to air dry clothes. My favorite part is of course our custom Steele Canvas Laundry Cart. I opted for a black leather rim and our “laundry” stencil.
I designed every closet in this house within an inch of its life. I had very specific measurements in mind for hanging rods, cubbies, and shelves. I am a contractor’s DREAM I tell you. For this closet, I wanted it to be part coats, part utility bins, part wellness and pharmacy, and part family shoe bins. That’s a lot to accomplish in not a huge space, but it really works and I love it. The only part that drives me nuts is that no one adheres to the number of shoe boxes CLEARLY provided, and then just leaves the extra shoes next to the closet. I’ve tried everything from nicely suggesting to threatening – but at the end of the day, I’ve accepted this is just not a battle I am going to win. So I just move all the shoes back into everyone’s closets myself while muttering under my breath like a completely normal and stable person.
My favorite part of the guest room are the built-in bookshelves because they actually provide a lot of functionality in addition to the aesthetic. The room is on the small side (sorry, house guests, but I needed extra room in the master since I actually live here) so the shelves were designed to move around the accessories and open up the bottom shelves. The acrylic trays protect the paint so guests can use it for any of their items without fear of my wrath. My mother-in-law even sets up a makeup mirror and station and sits on the stool to get ready in the morning.
The guest bathroom has its own linen closet, but I still liked the idea of a rolling cart and wall unit to hold extra towels, toilet paper, and personal items. I think it’s nice to display and also makes it clear that these items are for your guest’s use instead of tucking them away in the closet. For the design, I debated doing a wallpaper in here, but I decided a fun floor tile was more practical. This black and white tile is the inverse of the tile in the laundry room. It stayed within my color scheme and adds something a little extra to the space.
I’m very minimal in my bedroom… I want it even more clutter-free than the rest of my house. No dresser, no TV, very little art. I think I just need as serene a space as possible to go to sleep since my days are so chaotic.
My closet on the other hand… is packed. I have a lot of clothes, and a lot of shoes. I used to work in the fashion industry so I have a lot of remnants from my life before Lululemon. My husband thankfully doesn’t take-up much space so he’s allowed to have his items hang here too. Which might sound like the bare minimum, but when we lived in LA, his clothing lived in the guest room! So I’ve convinced him this is a big gain.
I wanted my bathroom to feel light and bright, so it’s the only room in the entire house that has white windows instead of black windows. Since the marble has so many shades of gray, I thought gray cabinets would be appropriate paired with the white framed mirrors and counters. This house has a million closets (shocking), so while it has a proper linen closet, I wanted to use the bathroom built-ins as a backstock linen closet to display my best towels, bath salts, and candles. I have really good intentions about using those bath salts too. Some day.
Coming soon… the upstairs and outdoors. And by soon I mean some time in 2019 I PROMISE. I tried to link as many things as possible, but if you have any questions just ask in the comments and I will try to add!