Interior Designer

Charleston Symphony Designer House Before and After

This Spring, I was asked to design a room for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League Designer Showcase Home.  This beautiful home in the heart of historic downtown Charleston, is located at 50 Hasell Street and has a stunning facade, the traditional piazzas on the side of the house and a little garden out back that will seriously take your breath away. I had such a great time watching it go from an old and deserted structure into a beautiful historic home that will host many memories to come!

Upon arriving at the home for the first time, I was taken into my room, an upstairs bathroom, and was greeted by a very old and tired space, full or broken tile, worn down grout, rusted plumbing and in serious need of some TLC. Because we only had a few weeks to complete our rooms, I knew there was no time to waste and I immediately got to work! 

Before

Before

I first decided on my design concept for the room.  Because it was a small room, and the home would later be used for a wedding venue, I wanted to create a space that would not only make a large impact, but have a historic and feminine touch. 

The exterior of the home was to be painted a beautiful historic color with a blend and pink and peach. The color reminded me of the stunning Charleston sunsets and was all the inspiration I needed to design the bathroom. My wallpaper was the first thing I selected, which was a beautiful Anna French paper full of lush flowers, birds and a peach background.

This little bathroom created a host of challenges but none that I couldn’t handle.  The first and most important challenge was of course the flooring and tile. Because it was an old home, and the tile was set directly on the wall, removing said tile would have also taken off most of the plaster resulting in us having to ultimately take this baby down to the studs, which we didn’t have time for. However, a miracle arrive, (literally) when I found the group at Miracle Method of Charleston, a company that restores old tile and tubs making them look better than new! They were so amazing to work with and with our tight schedule. Because the tile was almond at the time, I decided to go with a bright white for the floors and walls in order to brighten up the space. It took about two days for Miracle Method to complete the tile, and it turned out amazing! 

The sink chest was also one of my favorite things about the room and something anyone can do.  I selected a very simple white sink chest sourced from our friends at Lowes of Mount Pleasant. The chest came in a very plain white (still very pretty) with stainless hardware. I replaced the hardware with crystal knobs, and had my faux finisher, Crystal Eadie Miller or NewLook finishes come in and create a beautiful finish on the chest. A Kohler Bancroft faucet  in a stunning Vibrant polished nickel finished out the sink. It turned out great! 

As soon as I walked into my bathroom for the first time, I knew it needed a statement piece to really create that "wow" effect.  What instantly came to mind is what I have to say is my favorite light fixture of all time, the "Fiona" by Ro Sham Beaux.  When this chandelier was installed, it was like a piece of jewelry that was desperately missing from a ball gown!  

The shower curtain was also a bit of a challenge because there was nothing to support the L-Shaped Valance and Curtain. My drapery maker and I put our heads together and came up with the perfect solution which involved the making of a corner bracket, which held the structure together.  It was sturdy and a great way to get the look of the curtain floating instead of suspending from the ceiling with ugly rods or ropes. 

I completed the bathroom with a hand made Oriental rug from my friends at Pacific Rugs in Atlanta.  It softened the space immediately and really tied everything together! 

It truly was an honor being a part of such a wonderful event and organization.  I could NOT have done anything at all though without all of the vendors (sourced below) who helped to make it happen.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!  Also thank you so much Patrick Brickman for taking these beautiful photos! 


XO,

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Thank you to the following people who helped to make it happen! 

Miracle Method of Charleston

1st Class Painting and Restoration

John Kolodka Painting and Wallpapering

New Look Finishes

Ro Sham Beaux 

Kathy Shields of KS Designs 

Pacific Rugs - Atlanta

Lowe's of Mt. Pleasant

Patrick Brickman Photography 

 

My Love for Maison Ladurée and Creating Your Own French Tea House at Home

It's a well known fact, that when faced with the question of what my favorite dessert item is, I will always say the French Macaroon.  

For many years however, I would have answered this question quite differently and most likely would have told you it was some recent pastry or cookie I had eaten.  However, this was because of the following reasons:

1.  I wasn't intollerant to gluten at the time...

2.  I had never been to Ladurée...

My first experience with a French Macaroon was probably the best way any person could experience a macaroon for his or her first time.  It was at the Ladurée in Paris on the Champs élysées and it was there that the boy took me to have tea and desserts.  If I wasn't already sure at the time that he was the one...I knew after that experience, that this man knew a very quick way to my heart and it was through my newfound love of the French Teahouse.  

Ever since then, I have been so inspired by the original design of the Ladurée in Paris, so much, that I planned my wedding around those lovely colors from the beautiful sorbet colored flowers, to the purple uplighting that mirrored the lighting in the back room of flagship Laduréin Paris.  We even served macaroons and tea/coffee in vintage tea cups along with our wedding cake.  

Every Laduréhas their own design flair, but the common denominator is the fresh feel, opulent lighting and beautiful macaroons and pastries. My favorite however, is the Laduréon the Champs Elysées  and of course my favorite room is this one below.  So let's just have a moment of silence while we observe and catch our breaths.  

While traveling the world and going to each famous tea house sounds wonderful,  it's just not easy to do so...especially when you want to feel the "pretty" each and every day.  However, the next best thing is creating a space that evokes the feel of the most famous Tea House in the world. Below are some tips to create a space fit for Marie Antoinette.  

Add a Bit of Sparkle....

Okay, so a crystal chandelier may not work in every space but I love putting chandeliers in spaces unexpected such as powder bathrooms, tubs or closets.  If there is a space where you know you are going to be relaxing, then that touch of sparkle will add the feminine feel of a tea house.  

I also love to add small touches like crystal door knobs or hardware to a cabinet or door.  Even by adding that small touch, it immediately creates a softer and beautiful feel.  Master bedrooms and bathrooms along with dining rooms are my favorite places to do this!

Add a Touch of Gold....

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Some may say that gold is making a comeback when it comes to hardware and plumbing fixtures.  However, if you ask others...gold was never really out of style.  When it comes to creating a timeless feel as many a tea house design does, then a little bit of gold goes a very long way.   One tip I always tell my clients is to never fear mixing metals.  Using all one metal such as gold, silver or oil rubbed bronze makes for a very dull space and even by adding a bit more variation, you immediately create interest in the room.  A beautiful gold mirror, small gold cocktail table or even a stunning gold wallpaper in a powder room, helps to create a beautiful feel that instantly transforms a space.  

Have Fresh Flowers in Your Home....

This task my seem daunting, but worth it because you are worth it.  Beautiful flowers aren't just for special occasions and unfortunately, many people don't think to do this small thing that makes such a big difference.  Of course, if we are wanting to go with that feminine feel of the Tea House, then I suggest a beautiful pink english garden rose, or tulip.  By adding a small touch of pink to your dining table, side table, bathroom or even bedside table, you can't help but smile.  Give yourself the gift of fresh flowers every week and you will notice a sudden change in the dynamic of the space.  If you have a green thumb, then plant your heart away so you will always have fresh flowers nearby.  If you can't even keep a cactus alive, (guilty) then invest in faux flowers.  There are a few lovely companies out there who make flowers that are so hard to tell they aren't real, you won't believe it!  My favorite is NDI.  I especially love their tulips! 

Use Your China...

The beautiful china you got on your wedding day is doing absolutely no good collecting dust in your buffet.  I remember watching Oprah one day, and she said that every afternoon, she has a cup of tea and a healthy snack on a beautiful piece of china.  It helps to create a beautiful afternoon ritual that you will look forward to.  I am very guilty of standing in the kitchen pantry eating a piece of chocolate out of the package or drinking my afternoon coffee in the same cup from that morning.  But with just a tiny touch of effort, you can create a truly wonderful experience!  

Use Fabric Everywhere You Can....

Of course, without going overboard.  However, fabric is one of my favorite ways to create a romantic and inviting space.  I have many clients who ask me if drapery panels are really necessary in their space if they aren't even going to use them or if they already have shutters.  My answer is almost always yes.  Draperies frame a window, and really complete the look of a room.  They can help tie in elements of the room that didn't make since before.  They are a lovely way to create a room where you can see yourself cuddling up by the fire and reading a good book with a nice cup of tea (on your good china of course!)

XO,

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