Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Before and after #2...and the evolution of a project

This post goes through the before and after process of a full project, and includes a little peek into the design that goes into the details. Rather than bore you with all the technical drawings, I have included a couple of the key items, to give a little glimpse into what I do exactly. For anyone reading, that happens to be "in the biz", I will do some product name dropping as well.

The project was a home in south Orange County, for a large and involved family. They were ready for some change, and so I helped bring a fresh and light feel to the house.

This was the dining room before. The problem area: a 14' tall focal point wall, with no detail.

The solution: Some paneling and matching hardwired sconces. At first I was a little leery to suggest the 3rd option; floor to ceiling paneling, but once installed it was obviously the best choice of the three.

The paneling had no edge detail, we just stuck with a shaker style installation to keep it from feeling too formal. It was tricky to line everything up in relation to the mirrors, lighting, doorway, and heat register (not seen).

In the room is an antique brass chandelier from Visual Comfort lighting, along with the sconce pair. I designed the dining table, and had it custom made in L.A. It was made from solid rift oak, with a light cereused finish, and is probably the heaviest table I have ever felt (a good thing). The rug was their existing rug, which worked out great. We went with some neutral linen drapery panels, and antiqued silver finish rod and rings.

The living room before: Note your's truly in the left mirror (even though it looks planned, I hate when that happens!)

Living room after: As you can see, we continued the paneling from the dining room. The brass bamboo side tables are from Arteriors, and the Restoration Hardware coffee table is made from vintage reclaimed industrial wood (they are on limited stock, so if you want one, better hurry. It is a great value in my opinion.) We used some of their existing art, including some of their son's college art sketches, and had them reframed. A good frame will make anything look like a million dollars.

Kitchen before: Adding storage space, and opening up the room was the name of the game.

A conceptual sketch helped put the goal in sight. My client had the idea to add a window above the range. Not typically done, but in design...rules are meant to be broken, and in this case it was a perfect crime.

My contractor came by for a walkthrough, before we started. We wondered if we could remove the full ceiling, so he cut a hole, climbed up in for a few minutes and returned with the news. This is a couple days into the demo.

The finished project: Cabinet doors match the dining room paneling style. Clear glass cabinet pulls are topped with a pair of celadon jars from Tozai Home. You can't see it too well in this photo, but after a lot of time spent looking at backsplash tile, we went with a ribbed Barbara Barry subway tile from Ann Sacks. My client had the idea for the cupboard on the island to be a roll-out butcher block with storage below (which it is, but you just cant tell.)

Outside...looking in.

I love to design one "stand alone" unique piece in each kitchen, if space permits. Here I went with a hutch, featuring a unique toekick, unique hardware/pulls, a larger crown, clear display glass and more. A great way to keep things consistent with the kitchen, but give it the look of a piece of furniture.

Finished product

Family Room before
Family Room after: It can be hard, and at times expensive to find a coffee table or ottoman to fit a seating arrangement properly, so I typically have them made. If you keep the design simple, it us usually very cost effective, such as this faux leather ottoman. The chair in the back corner was an antique 1920's chair I found on craigslist and had refinished/upholstered in a Kravet linen (Pelaogs pattern) then lined in chrome nailheads. The pillows are made from Romo fabrics with the window treatment fabric a high end Osbourne and Little, that we scored in the L.A fabric district for pennies on the dollar. We waited a long time for that backordered rug, but it was a necessary touch.

Thanks for reading!!


  1. Holy crap your amazing! Wanna come do my house? :)

  2. Yay... I'm so glad I get to read your blog! (I was brought here through Cassity at Remodelaholic!) Within my first visit, you have already helped me with 2 questions I've had for a while: does crown molding have to continue through an entire house (looks like 'no' from viewing your after pics) and does wainscot paneling have to be the same level all through a house (that looks like 'no' as well.)
    Thank you for the inspiration!

  3. wow! love your style and design work. amazing! enjoyed reading your post about granite counter tops, so true!

  4. I just got your blog site from Cassity, Remodelholic. I love your blog and your style.
    Your work looks like the beginnings of a great book!

  5. Linked to you from Remodelaholic...Great transformations I really enjoyed them! The new look is much more relaxing and bright. Would you please share the paint color in the kitchen? It's just what I'm looking for. Thanks!!

  6. Hi Kim. Unfortunately...we kept the existing paint color, so I dont have the spec. It looks much more yellow in the photo than it does in person, so even if I knew the color, it is probably not exactly what you were looking for...sorry.

  7. Thank you for your response Nathan! I have been searching for the right color to compliment my white kitchen cabinets since we pulled down the kitchen wall paper from the previous owners. I'm looking for something similar to the pic. Something along the lines of a subtle gold. But everything I come across just looks too yellow on the walls. I haven't been able to commit. Any ideas?!? ;0)

  8. I went to the Corona Del Mar home tour today. It was a fundraiser for the high school and 7 homes participated. I like this design just as much, if not more, than any of the houses on the home tour. Nicely done N. Fischer. (I think I'm going to call you N. Fischer at least once in every comment I leave on your blog).

  9. Nate! I notice the house and I can't tell you how amazing the difference is! All I can say is WOW! You are amazing! Can't wait to see you guys again soon!