Thursday, November 29, 2012


Nooks and Crannies

Sometimes it is the little things- or little spaces that are the most fun to design.  They are the nooks, the crannies, the spaces that are often overlooked.  Often they become a feature when they could have been ignored.  These spots are found all over the house- the stairwell, a coat closet, a little jog in the wall.

Speaking of a coat closet, in this tiny cottage (it's mine!) I needed a powder room- badly!  But, when a house is tiny you have to look very hard to find a space:-)  This was a coat closet by the front door.  My first thought was, "Who needs a coat in Southern California?"  Ok, so I was desperate, but I bumped out the wall another two feet and moved the door over to the left as far as I could and put this little vanity in.  The sink is called a "Gerber" sink.  How appropriate is that?!  My daughter may have called it a "prison sink," but she was only 8 when saying that.  HAHA!!  Anyhow, putting the jewelry on- the grass cloth, the Moroccan light, the fabulous Pink Pagoda Elephant, the Asian mirrors and some Thai towels turn what could have been a junk collection into an adorable powder room!

This is another spot...the mini stair well.  It is located at the entrance to 4 bedrooms, so it is walked by all of the time.  So, I did a couple of things.  First, was design some tiles for the riser.  I love the shape and repetition as well as the colors.  This space could be really boring with plain wood!  Then, I designed this simple railing that has a little "somethin', somethin'" going on.  It could have been straight, but the slight curve at the top ties it into the curve in the tiles.  It also could have been wood, but sometimes you can have a little too much of a good thing.  The painters did a fabulous job giving it a hint of shine.  You can't see it in the photo, but I had them start with a base of black and add a layer of a coppery metallic-y gold to it.  Then, they sealed with a black.  It is so subtle, but enough to have something catch your eye.  

Speaking of stairs, the stair case below is at the entrance to a home I worked on.  Individually, the materials are great, but together they were just a hodgepodge.  Soooo...

I broke up the color palette.  I had the house painted a fresh white, kept the Saltillo tile on the treads, the brick on the driveway and the railing, but designed new tiles for the risers.  I chose a simple color palette and made four designs that were repeated up the stairs.  When you drive in, you notice it and wonder what the inside will look like:-)

Laundry rooms.  Yes, mine is horrifying, but it doesn't mean my clients' have to be!!  The painted gray cabinets, the inexpensive Carrara marble tops and the Dal Tile subway tiles in a chevron pattern make this stunning!  OK, the farm house sink helps, too and the pull out drawers that were designed to hold more soap and detergent than I have used in a year, but the simplicity rocks. You say, marble in a laundry room?  Yes!  So you spill a little bleach...The Romans have spilled bleach for hundreds of years and it gives the room character:-)  At least, that it what I say to myself when I look at my house.

Another random jut (jog) in the wall...Well, it is right across from a bar and near the kitchen.  The first thought was to put in a cabinet, armoire or something because it is essentially a hallway, but the second thought prevailed.  Why not make it into a lounge-y area where you can bring a drink.  Think Studio 54 in the 80's- or maybe not, but the space ended up being used as an awesome party area.  People always congregate in the kitchen, but they have the bar, the sofa and the bench that is in the great room close by.  Personally, I think it is the shiny disco wallpaper and the gold sconces that attract loungers, but perhaps it is the alcohol a short distance away.  Ha!

This is another area...It is in a hallway that is near three bedrooms.  It was initially supposed to be a built in for extra closet space, but I thought it would be fun to have a cozy area to sit, put some shoes on or wait for your sibling to hurry up and get dressed!  The grass cloth warms the entire hallway up and the art adds a bit of color.  The client's favorite thing though is the velvet cushion.  The kids love to dive on it!

Sometimes when you have small spaces you have to think vertically. This teenager wanted a hangout area and a place to throw all of his crap on sit and talk to his friends.  So, up went the bed and in came the chair.

Fireplaces are often the focal point in a room.  But, since the room has 16' high ceilings, I wanted to ground the space more by focusing on the oft forgotten space- the niches.First, the arches went in. Then, the new fireplace that soared almost to the ceiling.  Then, two niches to the left and right of the fireplace called for some attention:-)  They begged for a textured wallpaper and a mirror to reflect and bounce light. They also needed something that would ground the large fireplace which were the two chests.  I love the way these niches turned out.  It is my favorite thing in this living room.

I hope you are able to look at your random spaces in a new light!  I'm all about the nook and cranny!


  1. Great food for thought, Kathleen! The transformation (photos 3 & 4) of the tiled stairs and painting the house white is gorgeous.

  2. You have some great ideas! I love the pink pagoda print in the guest bathroom...and the teenagers room...chic yet young and fun. Every nook and cranny counts for sure.

  3. Wonderful and creative solutions! That's why you are so busy....cuz you're good. No, you're awesome!! Love it all. Kathleen, I bet you don't miss living in DC, huh? ;-)


I love your comments! Thank you for reading. Best, Kathleen