Last year when we were presented with a project in which we would gut a guest bathroom and convert it into a master bath in Hollywood Heights in Dallas, I knew it would be no easy feat.  It was a very tough decision for EJ Interiors to make when deciding whether or not to take on the project because the client is legendary for being the biggest perfectionist and most picky client of all time.  You might know her? Her name is Emily Johnston Larkin (A.K.A. me)

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I’ve heard it time and again from showrooms- “You are one of our nicest designers but you are also our pickiest designer….dont worry that is a good thing…?”  (awkward silence)

I just can’t help it- it’s in my blood!  I started planning this project last December (and no, not December 2013, December 2012). My bathroom was more than 80 years old, so I wanted to make sure that if I was going to change “history”, then I needed to do it in a way that would flow with the rest of my little 1930′s English tudor home so I planned and I planned (and then planned some more).

Here is a “Before” photo of the bathroom before we moved in- can you say yikes?!!

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In this bathroom was a 1980′s vanity, the original black and white tile from the 1930′s, and a shower that even Twiggy could not fit in.  It became our guest bathroom when we moved in and was so NOT functional.

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Oh yes, this is the lovely coffin sized shower where I would have to kick the door open just to shave my legs! This was not going to work for very long….

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Once we moved in, we got rid of that awful pinky cream wall color and the brass around the shower door, but that wasn’t enough- the 1980′s vanity was still staring me in the face every day.

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You are probably asking- well what about your other bathroom? (the one that is considered the actual “master”) Why couldn’t you just use that bathroom? Well, this is why…..

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And how we decided to move into this house upon seeing the above photo in our home’s listing, is beyond me! But this bathroom is a story for another day…

Back to the guest bath!

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Ben and I were on a time crunch because we were leaving on a trip to Europe so we hurried and hired a contractor (the amazing Kirk Eppler of Eppler Construction).  And by amazing, I mean that it was a miracle he didn’t quit on me.  At one of our first meetings when he came out to measure, I already had all the new walls taped out with blue scotch tape and proceeded to move the tape 1/20th of an inch to make sure the door openings and such were juuuuust right.

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We started the demo while we were in Europe since we knew it was going to be crazy messy.  We essentially eliminated a hallway (that went from the guest bedroom to our den) to give us more space in our bathroom and then we merged two smaller closets into one larger one.

Thankfully, Material Boy Nathan was there to take photos of the demo while I was gone-

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Next order of business was to pick my materials!  Since my house is in a conservation district, I didn’t want to do anything too trendy nor too modern- I really wanted to stay classic. I decided to go with 2″ calacatta marble hexagons for the floor and 3×6 calacatta subways for the walls laid in a brick pattern with snow white grout (the tile would go all the way up to the ceiling in the shower and then to chair rail height on the other bathroom walls- a great suggestion by Material Girl Lauren- (a K&B designer who was so sweet in letting me bounce ideas off of her!)

I knew I wanted to do Calacatta gold marble because of it’s warmth (Carrara marble was way too cold for my house).  Calacatta looks best paired with polished nickel since it’s a warmer metal so I chose that for my fixtures versus the widely used and “colder” chrome.

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As you probably already know, a designer is her own worst client (seriously).  We love so many different things that it is hard to commit to just one and the thought of this bathroom being so PERMANENT and not something I could just sell on Craig’s List the next week was a little terrifying.

Next I had to select and coordinate my vanity, sconces, and medicine cabinet.  I am a total organizational freak and someone who likes everything to look very clean, so I opted for a lucite washstand from Palmer instead of the traditional painted wood vanity cabinet (even though most people told me I was crazy to do this). Since I had limited square footage in this bathroom, I loved the idea of the lucite not taking up a lot of visual weight in the space and I also knew that if I had a washstand, I wouldn’t be able to throw a bunch of needless junk in it like I would probably end up doing with cabinets and drawers.

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To solve the storage problem, I went with a large 1930′s inspired medicine cabinet from Restoration Hardware. I loved its atypical rounded edges and polished nickel frame!

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I spotted these Visual Comfort Sconces by Barbara Barry at Taylors on Ten showroom and I just about died. They were exactly what I was looking for! And then I also purchased a Thomas O’Brien Bell Jar pendant from them for my ceiling fixture.

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One of my many CAD drawings throughout the process…I’d make copies of them for everyone working on the bathroom just so we were all on the same page-

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Once the marble got here, I decided to take it upon myself to go through every single box of it and separate out the ones that had “too much UT burnt orange in them”. I stayed up until 2 am one night and looked through thousands of individual tiles before the tile guy came and laid them the next day.

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And even after I had hand picked every single marble subway that was to be installed in that bathroom, I STILL had the tile guy rip out a bunch that I didn’t like out of the wall the next day.  (and I ask again….how did Kirk the contractor not fire me throughout this process)?

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{The incredibly sweet tile guy making my “edits”}

And then after my window got put in and the tile installed around it shrunk the actual size of the window, I analyzed how “small” it was for days. Now I can happily say that I am completely over it and love the size.

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So after a lot of blood, sweat and tears, the bathroom was FINALLY done!  Here is the “new” master bathroom and connected closet-

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{White linen monogrammed hand towels add a personal touch to the bathroom}

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{One thing to keep in mind if you are considering a washstand is that ALL of the pipes and the bottom of the sink will show underneath the countertop….so it requires some extra special “pretty pipes” and a sink with a finished base to look presentable! I learned this the hard/expensive way}

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{The best investment we made to our bathroom was the shower bench!  My husband and I both love having the bench and opted for a larger shower instead of double sinks (we are never getting ready at the same time so we felt that double sinks would be a waste of space for us}

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{Towel and robe hooks are the vintage style hooks in polished nickel from Restoration Hardware. And it sounds crazy but my new black velvet hangers in the closet have been life changing!  My husband would beg to differ- he is still an advocate of the free wire hangers from the dry cleaner.

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{We divided the closet into “his and her” sides and it’s a lot larger than what we had originally, but still a fairly small closet ,so organization in here is key.  We have belts, purses, scarves, hats, and necklaces all hung on different size hooks and then shoes are tucked into two lower shelves. We also have a shelf up top where I store things in baskets}

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{We went with a frameless shower door that has polished nickel accents; faucet and fittings from Newport Brass}

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{One of the details that I am most happy with in the bathroom is how we put the shampoo bottle niche and soap dish in the half wall in the shower so you don’t see any toiletry bottles in the shower upon entering the room. They are completely hidden!

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{Remember how I said that most people thought I was crazy to not put in any cabinets in my bathroom? Well the only reason I am able to get away with this is because I did the built-in “x cabinet” and drawers in the adjoining closet. I put all my extra toiletries and towels in there as well as underwear, socks, tank tops, etc- perfect for having close by for when you get out of the shower!}

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{I had considered putting a train rack for towels above the toilet ….but since I like to keep things hidden as much as possible, I went with black and white figure drawings framed in gold, instead!}

And now let’s take a trip down memory lane…..

BEFORE AND AFTER

Phew! Thank you for following my bathroom renovation- aren’t we glad it’s over? :)





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The Lotus

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Jan 28, 2014 | No Comments | Category: Material Girls Projects, Walls

Last September while in London, I was lucky enough to visit Farrow & Ball …the creme de la creme of wallpapers and paint! It was a rainy afternoon (and my birthday of all days!) and my husband wanted to take a cat nap before we went to my celebratory dinner, so instead of resting up too, I hopped in a cab on my own little adventure and booked it to the F&B store in Chelsea ten minutes before it closed. I was determined to catch a larger glimpse of their Lotus wallpaper (and a few samples)- a wallpaper I had been coveting for years.

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I first heard about the Lotus paper when my mom saw it at Boxwoods in Houston and was dying over how gorgeous it was…we then posted a photo of it on the blog. This was almost four YEARS ago! I’m often sick of a wallpaper after four SECONDS so to still be coveting that precious Lotus paper four years later? Unheard of! (But I guess that means it was true love!)

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So what I love most about the Lotus in particular are two things- 1) that you can hang it right side up (how it’s traditionally supposed to be oriented) or upside down..the image above shows it “upside down” if you can believe it! 2) that it comes in two sizes- small and large. I’m partial to the large  because I always “go big or go home” in design and the large was definitely more my style. The small is great but has a more traditional feel to it.

You may be thinking- “where have I heard that name- Farrow and Ball?” Well, Farrow and Ball is no newcomer! It was started in the 1930′s by John Farrow and Richard Maurice Ball and the company has 43 showrooms across the UK, US, Canada & Europe as well as a global network of stockists carrying both paint and wallpaper. They are everywhere! In Dallas, you can now get it through the trade at the Lee Jofa showroom.

Here are some of my favorite images of the Lotus installed in different spaces- (as you can see, it can go more formal in a dining room or more casual in a laundry room! It can also go more subtle with the tone on tone colorway or more dramatic and graphic with the black and neutral one)

 

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F&B even has the Lotus on the front of their building!

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I’m happy to say that I finally bit the bullet and did the dark teal colorway of the Lotus in my small entry-

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The Lotus makes the space seem SO much larger!  I love how the shapes of the lotus practically “grow up” to the ceiling! I haven’t been able to bring myself to put any wall decor over it, I just love it so much.  Wallpaper is an investment but you get so much bang for your buck with it and it can make such a statement.

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At first I was worried it might be too colorful, but the teal actually is so grayed out that it almost acts as a neutral and I love how it complements the orange-red color of the bricks on the exterior of my house.

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We just wrapped up the Kappa Kappa Gamma Tablescapes annual event hosted by the Dallas Alumnae Association and for this being our first year to be invited, we could not be happier with the showing and our debut!

Running around Dallas to find the perfect pieces to compliment one another, knowing that no idea was too extravagant,  was draining but well worth the effort when we saw it all completed.

Nathan and I at the Tables by Candlelight event!

We were able to add drama with our centerpieces from Scout Design Studio! And we clearly can’t get enough of agate coasters- these Jonathan Adler coasters were almost impossible to find because of the popularity of blue (the color of the year for 2014)!

The overall theme this year was harvest and so we wanted to play up the gold and orange tones contrasted with cobalt blue.

I love the patterned china plates (from Uncommon Market) balanced with the stems from the Forestwood Antique Mall wine glasses.

After spending so much time with our project, the best part is getting to walk around and see what everyone else has created.

This reminds me of the images Nathan discussed in his tablescapes post from a few weeks ago about beach and “under-the-sea” themes.

This centerpiece was a showstopper! The inclusion of a rug was a nice touch that added some charm and personality.

This table was so quirky with its library-chic aesthetic!

Most of the tables featured an over-the-top flower arrangement to capture attention. I like how pops of color are brought in to help ground the look with the plates and chair cushions.

There was such a range in colors and themes and it was great to see all the ideas on display at the Dallas Country Club this past week!





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When we moved into our house last May, my husband would repeatedly tell me how badly our house needed new landscaping. Naturally, being a first time homeowner and having always focused on decorating the “indoors”, I just didn’t understand why we would spend a fortune hiring a landscape designer and putting in flowers and plants when we could be spending that money on the fun stuff inside.  ”Why buy one Japanese Maple when you can buy two custom pillows?”

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{House landscaping before}

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And the backyard was as bad as the front (or worse). We didn’t even have grass! It was a big field of mud and totally flat looking.  Photos right before we moved in-

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Ben kept trying to convince me of enhancing our curb appeal and I just wasn’t buying it.  Then one day it hit me last June.  As the big Dallas hail storm descended over our little historical Hollywood Heights neighborhood and totaled cars, broke original stain glass windows, and damaged roofs, we were left with a huge mess to clean up outside. Hollywood Heights looked like a scene from a movie- our street was even on the local news! We hadn’t realized it yet, but our little clean up project from the hailstorm would soon turn into much more.

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Once we gathered up all of the leaves, broken stems, and even the tree branches that fell through my husband’s car, I realized that this was my chance to start over and make our landscaping what it needed to be.

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In order to execute our new landscaping properly, Ben and I decided we had to hire a landscape designer (a fellow Longhorn no less!) since neither of us knew anything about plants.

Mark drew up the plans for us and after a few tweaks, we were ready to get started! We knew we had limited time to get it done..not only because I was hosting a Sip and See for my sisters’ babies in November but also because the cold winter would hit and it was now or never to get these plants in the ground.

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We got the landscaping of the front yard done 12 hours before the party started and we were really impressed with Mark and the Green Thumb landscapers work.  We had a nice conglomeration of coral colored encore azaleas, bunny grass, double knock out roses and my favorite, the sculpted pom pom juniper.

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After we finished with the front yard though, it was time to get serious about the backyard.  Let me preface this with Ben has never ever been into gardening or planted a plant in his entire life up until this point but he decided to take on the challenge of the backyard himself- designing and implementing it. It was definitely no easy feat! So over a period of eight months, I stood back and watched as he transformed the backyard from our flat, dry, no grass mud field to a beautiful area with a diverse assortment of plants and flowers.

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{Our rosemary, mint and chive garden at the entrance to our gate…wish I knew how to cook!}

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Ben rearranged the stone walkways (for my new chairs no less), built a shed on the side of the house with his dad (good bonding experience), added a lattice above the existing fence (still in progress), and is now trying to grow ivy up the brick walls (may take a while).  He is out there every single weekend perfecting his garden and I have to say I’m really proud of him for what he has done with it all!  (I can’t say I was too much help though…the inside and patio furniture got the best of me :)

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While he was busy digging in the ground, I set out to find interesting backyard accents and furniture.

I managed to find this 1950′s seahorse bird bath on Craigs List for only $60!! (saw one in Houston and had been in love with it ever since)

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I also bought a cool outdoor metal bamboo dining set from my friend Christian at Think Twice (seats still need to be recovered).

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And then some of my favorite finds ever were these vintage fiberglass peacock chairs that I bought from Grace of A Storied Style. I added some Pottery Barn pillows to them for a quick easy bit of pattern.

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The fun didn’t stop there…I then hopped over to Scout to purchase this antique garden stool from my friend Kristen. They always hook me up with the best pieces! I then found a really interesting white iron bench from Lula B’s with a greek key motif- a total steal!

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 My mom even picked up my front porch patio chairs out of bulk trash from my sister’s neighbor’s front lawn (yes we’ve stooped to a new level!) and then I adorned them with graphic pillows and cushions to make them look more customized and unique.  All for a whopping $35/chair!

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Of course the front entry and office entry wouldn’t be complete without interesting door mats so I swiped up two from Ballard.  One was Suzanne Kasler’s personalized coir mat  and the other was their lion coir mat- both of which I’m obsessed with.  I love a good lion motif!

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If you haven’t been to Uncommon Market yet in Dallas, they have some great outdoor accessories (as well as indoor). I got two of these gray urns at an amazing price for our front porch. They each flank the door and are a great way to experiment with new plants.

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The one piece that Suzanne (the previous owner) had left ended up being our favorite outdoor piece of all (and no I’m not talking about her outdoor frog thermometer or her “cat and mouse” weather vane!) We actually really heart our Mrs. Powers doorknocker! I can’t help but laugh when I arrive home each day to this little old brass lady on a swing greeting me at the door.

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So once we were done with the backyard and the last plant was potted, I couldn’t resist putting Zoey on our Christmas card in front of the house because this picture really did sum up our ENTIRE year of being hermits who worked on the house non stop-

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So what I’ve learned is that outdoor decorating is a whole new kind of fun and a good activity that Ben and I can do together on the weekends.  Our next project will hopefully be to remove our old iron gate and build a new gated structure for the entry that will lead into EJ Interiors’ office.  Our inspiration? “The Secret Garden”….well, actually it was Ben who thought of this idea (what has he turned into?) but I won’t tell him I told you that!! :)

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Nine-to-Five-movie-poster

One of my all time favorite movies ever is 9 to 5.  How can you not just love Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin?  I could seriously watch this movie every week!

I’ve been thinking about how these stellar heroines transform their working atmosphere by the end of the film.  They’ve been on my mind a lot lately, as we’ve been workin’ 9 to 5 (and then some), on tons of home offices for clients these past few months.  I’ve always believed that people work more efficiently in an environment that they’re comfortable in, so for me, an office full of  personal touches and some glam elements makes me work that much harder!

Our clients must be thinking the same thing because, they also want colorful inspiring environments to work in and we are having a blast designing them.

So without further ado…. meet our seven most recent office designs (including our own!).  All of these designs rock a different color scheme and have their own unique personality.

NAVY/SLATE/ORANGE/WHITE-

We knew from the start that we wanted deep rich navy walls in this home office and so when we found Oscar de la Renta’s amazing grosgrain ribbon fabric at Lee Jofa, it was love at first sight.  This gorgeous silk fabric comprised of slate blue, navy and white was the perfect fabric to pull everything together.  We added splashes of orange through her vintage butterfly chairs and abstract artwork while incorporating a gorgeous carrarra marble countertop desk and custom metallic snakeskin swivel chairs. The big gold sconces from Global Views and stone lamps from Currey and Company were a no brainer in this room!

Stacy's Office

GRAY/BLACK/WHITE/GOLD/PUTTY-

This client wanted a calming color palette that would flow with the rest of her house so gray, putty, white, black and gold immediately came to mind.  She had an existing black and white zebra rug that we were to incorporate over a sisal rug as well as beautiful white built-ins.  We found a scrolly Lee Jofa fabric that screamed perfect (there is that Lee Jofa fabric saving the day once again!) and we decided to do this fabric on the backs of two rounded French Louis desk chairs.  When you walk in, the patterned backs are the first thing you see which makes for a really dramatic entrance. We paired the French chairs with a modern lacquered lucite desk (love the juxtaposition here) as well as custom greek key pillows, mirrored twig tables, and a gray tufted settee. This one will be installed soon- I cannot wait!

Clyde Office

BLACK/WHITE/BROWN/GRAY/BLUE/GREEN-

This office was also a lot of fun to work on because it was for a client’s commercial office.  This was his personal office and as a home builder, we wanted him to have a very aesthetically pleasing space with lots of cool pieces to reflect his taste as a builder.  We used items that had a slightly masculine mid century modern feel to them.  Most pieces were neutral and then we added a pop of color in the large scale artwork.  We made sure all of his neutral pieces had a lot of texture to them- zebra wood, cowhide, rippled leather, etc so it would keep your eye wandering from one piece to the next! How fabulous are those cowhide arm chairs from Palecek?

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CHARCOAL/GOLD/TAUPE/CREAM/PLUM:

This office couldn’t be more of a focal point in this client’s home..it is the first thing you see when you walk up the stairs so of course, it had to be eye catching and fabulous!  We love this office because it’s traditional and classic, but with a contemporary twist!  I’m obsessed with the moroccan drapery fabric at top left and the tufted velvet gray sitting chairs.  Of course no office is complete without a wall mounted set of horns (for those UT longhorn grads)!  We picked up on the deep purple through the abstract landscapes from W King Ambler and were over the moon when we found this gold and black funky sunburst from Cyan. It’s a perfect marriage of masculine and feminine pieces- an office space that works for both hubbie and wife!

Patel Office

DEEP TEAL GREEN/CREAM/CHARTREUSE/CHOCOLATE BROWN/GOLD-

This office was a more of a library/sitting room area (not your typical desk/desk chair set up).  We painted the walls a deep green and incorporated four small cozy wingback chairs for curling up with a good book. I could stare at those Russian landscape art all day- they are some of my favorite prints!  This office was super calming but also really cozy.

Martin Office

 

GRAY/BLACK/CHARCOAL/GOLD/CREAM/BUTTERY YELLOW-

This office was definitely on the more dramatic and glammy side!  We incorporated a dark manly desk with modern artwork behind it.  The mirrored credenza was my favorite piece (actually, it’s a toss up between that and the herringbone patterned cowhide rug) And take a look at those lamps with the black shades from Arteriors- love!! We need those for our own office.  The sea urchin wall art from Global Views completes the look.

Hardaway Office

TEAL/BLACK/WHITE/WARM WOODS/DEEP PINK/GOLD/EMERALD GREEN-

And last but not least…I’ve also been working on my own office!  I bought some new wall art while I was in Roundtop this week and I can’t wait to get it framed and up on the wall!  We also just had wall to wall seagrass put on the stairs, as well as the second floor!  I had the pink terracotta tiles downstairs painted white, (thanks Kelly Wearstler for the inspiration)  Now we’re just waiting for our deep teal morroccan style rug to come in!  We bought the gold Indian “hand” to hold our business cards (thanks Scout!) and will eventually do a gallery wall up the stairs. I randomly found some gorgeous acrylic and glass lamps from Home Goods for $49 each (who would have thought?) and am now just waiting on a black Dorothy Draper chest to magically appear at my local consignment shop so we can snatch it up and have a pretty place to hold our printer paper (who are we kidding?)

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Hope you enjoyed our office design tour. And now off to utilize our own office design some more…with some late night work!





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After telling my father in law that I was on the hunt for a vintage sputnik fixture, it wasn’t more than two weeks before he texted me with a photo saying “Sputnik complete. Buy of the day.”  He found it at the Goodwill Auction in Athens, Texas for…..drumroll….$40!

In the past, he’s bought me a pair of bamboo chairs for $10, a glass top for my bamboo patio set for $15- all from either the local auction or garage sales.  The moral of this story is that you never know what you’ll find at these types of places.  One man’s trash could be another woman’s treasure (ie: me!) and I’ve never felt apprehension about parking my car on the side of the road and venturing into an unknown thrift store, consignment shop, garage sale, estate sale, or the like.

Last night I thought it might be helpful if I sent my father in law a list of the vintage pieces that I’m always on the lookout for (since apparently he is my good luck charm)..a vintage dictionary of sorts.  As I start typing out a LONG list of 25+ things with descriptions on each, (and wanting to send the list to everyone I know so they could be on the lookout too) I realize that there might even be people out there stumbling upon these pieces at garage sales, without even knowing their worth.

{image via Again and Again}

So without further ado, here’s my list of “trendy” vintage items that are hot hot hot right now! If you see one of these for $10 at a garage sale, it would be wise to throw it in the back of your truck bed and never look back..seriously….I guarantee that there are a bunch of people out there who will be glad to take it off your hands!

{All image examples via Circa Who, Again and Again and Gypsy Soul Interiors- just a few of my favorite go-to vintage sources. Circa Who- please move to Dallas!}

1) Faux bamboo- I’ve never met a piece of bamboo furniture that I didn’t like.  I often call myself the “bamboo” lady.  I love bamboo pieces because they are easily paintable and look awesome in bright colors.  Dressers, nightstands, armoires, dining and patio sets- you name it. Faux bamboo is everywhere now! Especially in my house.  I would say out of everything on this list, faux bamboo detailing is probably the easiest to find.

 

 I have this same style of patio set (and painted it glossy blue gray)- best find ever. Thanks Christian!

Circa Who has a set in this style as we speak!

2) Lucite/acrylic- This clear material can go by either name but I find that it’s most commonly referred to as lucite.  Lucite can be found in both furniture and lighting.  Finding acrylic is like finding GOLD! Snatch. It. Up.   Whether the whole thing is acrylic or just the legs/base, I’ve discovered that people are okay with even the slightest bit of acrylic heaven!  Post something on Craigs List with lucite in the name and it is gone in a flash! The ghost chairs of course are some of the most widely known acrylic pieces but as much as I love them, I’m partial to unique vintage lucite pieces.

Oftentimes, you will see people selling just the lucite base of a coffee table or dining table on Ebay or what not.  It’s so easy and affordable to get a glass top cut for one so definitely don’t overlook those pieces that solely include the base!

3) Rattan- It has a similar look to bamboo and is made up of stems of a palm.  I’m actually looking for a rattan hall tree at the moment with very specific dimensions which has been hard to find.  I saw one in Canton a while back and my husband convinced me not to buy it- the one time I listened to him, it definitely backfired on me! Rattan also makes great patio chairs like these below.

4) Elephant Garden Seats- People love these little whimsical garden stools and planters. I’ve always been a little on the fence about these. I think they are fun but I know if I brought one home Ben would give me the “why” look times a thousand..

5) Black lacquer ming chairs or ming style of furniture- People die over the black lacquered ming chairs! A pair will often go for $800-900.  I wish I had somewhere to put these in our house….still trying to make room!

6) Dorothy Draper chest- I’d sell my first born for one of these.  You will come across the Dorothy Draper impostors and the true Dorothy Draper’s. The impostors can go for $750 and the real ones in the thousands. A pair of these can be hard to find! Not too long ago I saw a pair on Dallas’ 24-7 estate sales website and so I raced to get to the estate sale right when it opened and the lady there told me that they were gone…someone had camped out in front of the sale since 2:30 AM waiting for them!! Although I pine for a pair of these chests, my beauty sleep is a little more important.

7) Pagoda- anything “pagoda”- esque goes- light fixtures, mirrors etc. Gold, white or a bright color is always nice!

8) Fretwork- Snatch up anything with fretwork on it!  You usually see this interlaced detailing on cabinets, armoires, and dining tables.  I saw a big white rectangular fretwork dining table at a warehouse sale a while back for pennies and was so sad that it wouldn’t fit in the EJ Interiors office.  Maybe it was a sign I didn’t need another vintage piece!

9) Caning- I personally love anything with caning. My dining chairs have cane backs and I love them, but you do have to be careful that you don’t lean too far back into them (I have stretched a cane back or two). My favorite are cane back benches…

Bamboo AND Caning combo?  Cha ching!

10) Wicker or fiberglass fan chairs- I have a pair of these in my backyard (courtesy of Gypsy Soul).  They have such a great shape to them. My fiberglass ones survived the legendary Dallas hailstorm in June so I’d say they are pretty sturdy little things!

11) Blue and white porcelain- Timeless. Enough said.

12) French Louis chairs- These have caning which I love, but the most sought after ones have an upholstered back with either a round or square shape.  The square ones can be especially hard to find!

13) X benches- A pair of these is definitely worth picking up! Most of the time they are all upholstered, but sometimes only the top is upholstered and the base is metal or wood.

14) Shell back chairs- ever since I saw one of these chairs in Leslie Pritchard’s home (of Again and Again), I have daydreams about these!  When I saw six of them on Circa Who’s website, I was like a kid in a candy shop.

15) Brass- It seems most of my clients either lean one way or the other- silver or gold.  I tend to gravitate towards gold.  Anything with brass is a must in my book!

 
16) Mirrored- I always say that every space needs a touch of mirror. I have a hard time finding vintage mirrored pieces (I find more new mirrored pieces) so it’s extremely exciting to stumble upon something like this every now and then-

 

17) Bar carts- Finding my $40 brass bar cart was the highlight of my year!  People LOVE the brass bamboo ones, but lucite bar carts and chrome bar carts are also other bar cart must haves.

 

18) Greek key- I know it’s something we see everywhere, but greek key still seems to be going strong!  I especially heart a pair of greek key wooden nightstands like so-

19) Elephant desks or elephant consoles- People go nutty for these consoles and desks with elephants on the legs!  I must say…I’ve always wanted one! My favorite is when they lacquer them a bright orange.

 

20)  Tassel or rope detailing- on furniture/mirrors is very popular right now!  We’ve blogged about this before but this motif seems to be here to stay!

21) Animals- are the perfect home accessory!  Elephants, greyhounds, foo dogs, owls, lions, horses, zebras- you name it! These adorable creatures are definitely man’s best home decor friend-

22) Garden stools- it can be hard to find a good vintage garden stool (especially a pair of them!) You often see them in ceramic or metallic form.

23) Campaign furniture- How to identify these?  From the brass hardware.  The burl wood is more desirable than the oak but both make pretty statement pieces and can always be lacquered up in a heartbeat!

24) Fiberglass outdoor dining set- These are so adorable and are a great space saver (with their small chairs and round table) for small backyards/patios.

25) Quatrefoil- This motif (aka the four leaf clover) can turn an otherwise basic furniture piece into a true gem!  Gypsy Soul had this super cute wooden chair with quatrefoil accents.

26) Faux bois- Love a good faux bois detail! It always looks great on a dining chair or arm chair.  Look at these with cane- perfection!





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As a first time homeowner, the idea of filling your entire home with furniture (and filling it quickly) can be daunting and not to mention, expensive.  The case of my home is especially severe because a) I’m extremely impatient and want every room done yesterday (I’m still trying to comprehend the fact that I will live here for 5+ years and there is no deadline)  b) I am constantly changing my mind and switching out things so nothing stays in the same place longer than a month’s time.

{Zoey on the day we moved in…. thinking- “mom, how are we going to take this entirely pink painted house with gross peeling trim from drab to fab (and fill it with furniture) by next week?!”}

So where does this leave me?  Well, in Ben’s eyes it definitely doesn’t warrant buying all new super nice furniture for every room and honestly, I don’t think I could ever have a house of all new things. I love old things just way too much and especially giving pieces a whole new look through refinishing them. Lately, I have been doing a LOT of that.  Sometimes I paint the pieces myself and other times if it’s just too difficult, I hire someone to do it (ok, I admit, a lot of the time I  hire someone else to do it).  Remember the part where I said I was impatient? :)

Here are some of my recent before and after furniture projects and the info on the paint colors that I used-

BEFORE-

Antique secretary-

AFTER-

Antique Secretary-

Paint- Benjamin Moore- 689- Rhine River- Satin Finish

 

 {still needs to be accessorized!}

BEFORE-

Vintage Dorothy Draper-esque Nightstands-

 

AFTER-

Vintage Dorothy Draper-esque nightstands

Paint- Benjamin Moore White Dove with gold accents

(Need your opinion here dear readers! Do you think the gold is too orangey and should I go back to more of a soft/antique gold or do the outline of the drawers more of a yellow gold like the pulls?) Decisions, decisions!

BEFORE-Funky vintage sideboard with geometric detailing-

AFTER-Funky vintage sideboard with geometric detailing-

Paint- Home Depot- Behr- Custom Color Match

BEFORE-Fiberglass peacock chairs

AFTER-Fiberglass Peacock Chairs

Paint- Home Depot dark charcoal spray paint

{Excuse the flowers falling from the tree and our nice mess in the background :) }

BEFORE-Faux bamboo armoire (can’t seem to find the before photo so I borrowed this photo from Bazaar of Serendipity blog)

AFTER-Faux bamboo armoire

Paint- Sherwin Williams- Pure White

BEFORE-Faux bamboo dining chairs and table

AFTER-Faux bamboo dining chairs and table

Paint- Benjamin Moore- White Dove

So basically throughout the house I painted most of my furniture white and gray so they’d stand the test of time and then sprinkled in other pieces with more bold pops of color to add some excitement.

And stay tuned for the “afters” of these “befores”!





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This week, I was so honored to be included in iVillage’s article, “What My Mom Taught me: Celebrity Home Designers” in celebration of Mother’s Day.

It got me thinking about how much my mom has influenced my career path and how much she means to me.

My mom has been interested in interior design as long as I can remember. Growing up, things were always changing around our house.  Whether she was re-painting a room or a piece of furniture, putting up wallpaper, or making drapes, she was the woman who did it all (and all by hand).  Most of my friends assumed she was a decorator and did that for a living.  My husband loves to tell the story of how when he first met my parents and came to their house, he sat down on the couch and realized he was sitting on mounds of fabric swatches.  Little did he know, the same thing would continuing happening a few years later at our own house :)

 {My childhood home, in which my parents still live in today}

I have such fond memories of my mom and decorating.  I think it was at some point during highschool, when I caught the design bug from her.  My bedroom’s color scheme went from pink to purple to blue to turquoise.  The artwork in my bedroom (AKA, the Mark Paul Gosselar poster) was strategically placed at eye level and the Laura Ashley bedding was always fully coordinated to a matching valance.

My mom has always been there for me through every move- dorm, apartment, rental house, office and now, our new house.  These moves always bring a fun new decorating adventure for us.

 {My oh so stylish college apartment}

Most weekends we spend at the consignment stores hunting for treasures for one of our houses and telling eachother “you so need that!” (when we clearly don’t)…like this bar cart I got last weekend for $45!

My phone usually rings within hours of receiving the newest House Beautiful in the mail with my mom asking, “did you see that gorgeous spread?” or “did you read the blog post today on Colour Me Happy or Cote de Texas?”  We pour over magazines and blogs together, analyzing each and every room.

 

 {House Beautiful}

We’ve also recently started going to Roundtop to further feed our obsession with antiques.  We also hit up all the warehouse sales in the design district, go on local home tours, and stalk our favorite streets in Dallas (hello, Tokalon).

 {Some of our china from Roundtop}

We can’t help it- Interior design is just what we do! (and it always has been)  We couldn’t care less about shopping for clothes- in fact, that’s usually considered a nightmare to us.  We will take Riverfront Boulevard over Northpark any day of the week!

So in honor of my mom on this Mother’s Day, I thought I would share with you her thirty year transformation of the house she has lived in since the 80′s (and boy could you tell it was the 80′s when she first moved in!)

Entry in the 80′s-

Entry today-

Dining in the 80′s-

Dining today-

Some other “today” photos..this house has undergone so many transformations throughout the years-

Whenever I tell her that “I want my house to be done!” She says, “Emily, I’ve been working on my house for thirty years and it’s STILL not done!  Once you finish the last room you go back to the first and start re-decorating.”  So true….

Thanks mom for being such a great design influence and a great decorating companion!  Happy Mother’s Day weekend everyone!!





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“Why put off buying today, what you can sell tomorrow?” (is my new personal slogan).  It’s a revolving door over here at casa de Larkin.  It’s not uncommon for me to buy something and then the next week it shows up on Craig’s List.  I just can’t stop myself- I have furniture and accessory A.D.D.  I will buy something vintage and then get sick of it before I even have an opportunity to recover it.  With the new house, the addiction has only gotten worse.   I’m constantly lurking on Craig’s List, Ebay, estate sales, thrift stores, vintage shops, 1st Monday at the WTC, warehouse and sample sales for that unique find.  It’s gotten so bad that I just realized my whole house is filled with faux bamboo and I’m starting to look like the crazy “bamboo” lady. If you are interested in taking any of these off my hands, please email for pricing, availability and condition (I may have more photos too)!  (I’ll also post them on a link on the Dallas page)

 {Abstract giclee art from Dallas design district.  Framed in brushed nickel frame. 49.5″W x 73″H}

 

 {PAIR of vintage  butterfly back chairs- approximately 30″w x 25″d}

 

{Vintage white faux bamboo dresser with gold hardware- 54″w x 20″d}

{Abstract giclee art from Dallas design district- framed in black frame- 31.5″ square}

{Global Views faux malachite magazine holder from Dallas design district- never been used- 20″L x 14″W x 20″H)

{Pair of 24″ square pillows with Duralee artichoke print- green and gray; One rectangular gray/white greek key pillow in Duralee fabric}

{Vintage desk/vanity chair- needs to be re upholstered and legs re painted}

{Amazing octagonal mirror upholstered in light creamy taupe fabric with gold nailheads- 42″ x 42″.  Antiquing on mirror}

Close up below-

{Global Views drum shades- set of TWO white shades with gray trim- will sell separately- 25″dia x 12″h}

Can easily make them into gorgeous chandeliers! (this is what it looks like made into a light fixture)

{Gorgeous beveled Horchow mirror- fell off my wall so has two cracks on front and one on each side- but should be repairable.  Selling it for super cheap!- 32″w x 47″h}

{Pair of mercury glass lamps with white shade- 15x10L- shade size x 24″H}

{Wood pedestal table-  22″dia x 26.5″ h}

{Highland Court/Duralee fabric- blue and white ikat- 1.5 yards}

{Curvy/glossy black vase- 12″w x 14″h}

{White armoire with acrylic Anthropologie hardware- probably needs to be re-painted- 82″h x 41″w x 23″d}

{Dark wood floor length mirror- 18″d x 26″w x 70″h}

{Set of three tall jewel tone vases- will sell separately- Green- 19″h; teal- 22″h}

{Fairly new CB2 Acrylic Counter Stool- 16″L x 16″W x 33.5″H- Seat height- 23″H}

{Craft desk- dark espresso- very similar to the craft desk they sell at Pottery Barn- 48″L x 30″W x 36.5″H; Accomodates one counter stool}

{Small sunburst mirror- 14″dia}

{5 yards of Pindler and Pindler gray-blue linen fabric- from the Dallas design district- 54″ wide- still in its original packaging!}

{Global Views- turquoise oblong shaped bowl- 24.5″L x 7.5″W x 8″H}

{Vintage plates from Roundtop- a PAIR}

Also selling- two Pottery Barn natural rugs.  One is a 5×8 seagrass rug with neutral border and the other one is a 5×8 sisal rug with a black border, black iron patio dining set, tv stand, TV, white outdoor rocking chairs, wood table desk and more fabrics!

There’s a lot more where this came from…email if you need something specific. You never know, it may be collecting dust in my garage!





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The old mantra “out with the old, in with the new” may have met its match.  Nestled in East Dallas, the Hollywood Heights neighborhood makes me wish all zip codes were this well preserved.

With most of its houses dating back to the 1930s, it is one of the oldest conservation districts in the whole US-of-A, and homeowners in the area today are not permitted to tear down any part of their house or even renovate their exteriors, which allows for a true and rare glimpse into the history of American architecture!

Now, doesn’t that just make you feel downright patriotic?

 

Each year, the HSMNA (Hollywood Santa Monica Neighborhood Association) puts on a home tour.  This year marks its 21st  and I’ll be there with bells on, supporting my new hood.

There is an entire weekend full of events- starting with the Candelight Tour and Auction Party on Friday night at the Arboretum and ending with the Art in the Park event at Lindsley Park on Sunday (which will feature local art and gift vendors, including art from Christian at Think Twice!)  Five houses will be open to visitors on the tour.  I can’t wait to see which homes are on the tour and how they are decorated on the inside!

This event is extra special to me, as it takes place right around the same time we move into the neighborhood.  (HSMNA, please consider this house below for one of your upcoming home tours- I’ll be ready in five years! wink wink ;)

Purchase Home Tour tickets HERE for $12! See you there!

April 28-April 29

Saturday and Sunday

Noon to 6 pm

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