It’s hard to know where to start. Some of you know a bit about my story, while others hardly know my name. Well, I’m Kate. And, just like you, I’ve got some problems.
For the sake of brevity, I’ll fast-forward a bit to how I came to be 34 years-old. When I was 16, I became sick. Finally, at 17, I was diagnosed with a severe form of Ulcerative Colitis. Sometimes, it was managed. Often, it was not. I saw a meme last week about a dude in Florida being arrested for crapping in someone’s driveway. The meme was all like, “WHO THE F WOULD DO THAT?” And I was like, “IT ME.”
So aside from having like ZERO control of my bowels for my late teens and early twenties, it was basically a total shitshow (pun intended). I was hospitalized 26 times between 2007 – 2016. I had nine surgeries in that time. I had my large intestine removed. My rectum removed. Parts of my small intestine removed. A cyst that held two LITERS of fluid removed. I had an ileostomy created. I had an ileostomy reversed. I was subjected to NPO (nothing by mouth, or no food or drink) sometimes for two weeks at a time (don’t ever complain to me about your dry mouth ever again). I had blood clots in my portal vein, nasogastric tubes put down my throat more times than I’d like to remember, and emergency surgeries to save my life from complete small bowel obstructions.
Suffice it to say, I spent a lot of time in white-walled hospital rooms with shitty blankets and NPO signs above my bed. Maybe it’s beginning to make sense to you why neutral decor isn’t my thing.
It was, as I said, a shitshow. Until 2016. 2016 was the year that broke me.
After several rounds of IVF, I became pregnant with our second child. At the 13-week ultrasound, we were told she was dying. She held on until 17 weeks. The day we lost her, I broke. Nothing had come very close to breaking me before, but that broke me right in half.
One week later I found myself hospitalized again. This time for a raging pelvic infection and something called an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) had developed in my uterus from losing the baby. I was losing a lot of blood and the infection was spreading. After a one-week stay in the hospital, they had stabilized my body, but my mind was still broken. Parts of my body were, too, now. I was told I could never carry a baby again.
So, I did what any person with no savings and a completely irrational mind would do: I joined a waiting list for a surrogate.
And three months later we were matched with AN ANGEL ON EARTH.
A lot of people ask me a lot of questions about the surrogacy process. They ask me how it felt to have another woman carry my baby when I couldn’t carry one myself. I am asked if I felt angered or exasperated by my lack of control over the pregnancy that carried my daughter.
Do you want to know how I felt?
I felt grateful, excited, appreciative, and there was really not a moment (and there still isn’t ) where I just downright felt like crying with gratitude that there was a human being who was willing to go through the hell of a pregnancy (and C-SECTION!) to give us this child. I was in the operating room for our surrogate’s c-section. Watching another woman give birth to my baby will stand as the most profound moment of my life until the day I die. It was generosity, selflessness and humanity personified. The moment Josie was born felt like all of those things were being born, too. And the gravity of those emotions was profound enough to make me whole again, though the way it pieced me back together made a very different puzzle than the one I had been before.
This finally brings me to Josie’s room. This very room was the place I would come when I wanted to be close to her throughout our surrogate’s pregnancy. This room is in New York, and our surrogate was in Kentucky. I couldn’t be at most ultrasound appointments, I couldn’t feel her kick, and I couldn’t feel my belly growing larger with life. But, I could sit in this space. I could dream of Josie being here, our rainbow baby, and I took meticulous pains to make sure her room was as colorful as her life.
Because there was no way any baby of mine was going to spend any amount of time in a whitewashed room.
Thanks for checking in for Week 2 of my new series about harnessing approachable methods of sustainability within our homes. For those of you following along on Instagram, you may know already that I am far from an expert in this realm, only a concerned citizen looking to do my best for our ailing planet. It is also my aim to present these ideas to you with a great deal of approachability, and it is my hope that you will add to the commentary in comments section, via email, on Instagram, etc. I am always looking for ways to do better, too. Lastly, I promise to not feed you the obvious. We all know recycling is bad, and that blasting our air conditioners at 64 degrees all summer long is frowned upon. What I want you to walk away with from these posts is a host of new, unpredictable ways you can help save our planet. I promise these posts will be SHORT, and the advice will be EASY TO IMPLEMENT. Also, be sure to click all bold links to take you to products and/or articles mentioned.
This week it’s all about that cuppa Joe! Many of us start our days off with a steaming cup of the good stuff, and there are some obvious, and not so obvious ways we can tap into the eco-friendly powers of our cup of coffee. I’m going to start with a short list of the obvious:
If you don’t brew at home, be sure to take a reusable stainless steel canister to your barista each morning. I forget often, but the more we remember, the more green our planet will be. Our favorite is the Yeti Rambler.
Encourage your local coffee shop to switch to Compostable Coffee cups. My brother owns three coffee shops, and I always feel relieved that his customers are walking out the door with these compostable cups each morning.
Be mindful of where your coffee is sourced from. Supporting coffee farms that embrace sustainable farming practices is one of the most powerful ways we can impact our environment through our coffee drinking habits. Counter Culture sets a great example. Read more here.
Now, let’s chat about those LESS obvious ways we can make a difference with our favorite beverage. Most people brew their coffee at home in the morning, and there are several steps that are taken to complete that process. One of the first things we do is set up the filter. And this is such an easy switch to make if you haven’t already, but using compostable coffee filters is a super simple way to be easy on the environment. The link I have provided is for #2 filters, which fit most at-home coffee machines.
Ok, our coffee is done, we’ve poured our cup and we’re cleaning up before we sit down to enjoy. STOP RIGHT THERE. Before you toss that compostable filter in the trash, you may want to think twice. Coffee grounds are one of the most potent plant fertilizers around, especially for azaleas, roses and blueberries. This article is a tremendous resource for the best ways (and the best plants) to sprinkle those grounds around the garden, or even on certain house plants.
Thanks for tuning in this week and I hope you’ll stay tuned for this ongoing series. Beginning next week, I will provide a checklist on each post for each item that is mentioned, and please be sure to subscribe to the blog to have each post delivered directly to your inbox.
I don’t know about you, but I can remember the very day I realized our planet was f*&*ed. I was sitting at the beach, getting a little too tan and sipping from a plastic water bottle when I read that Elon Musk had made the colonization of Mars the primary focus of Space X. “Surely, why would mankind’s second smartest brain decide to pour all of his efforts into Mars when so much work is needed to save our Earth?” Then my mind shifted to the dire predictions of mankind’s first smartest brain, Stephen Hawking. And from there my mind just shifted to ALLLL the dark places.
I’ve since decided, after many a bleak night ruminating over our impending doom, that Elon Musk is a narcissistic depressive who would rather focus on fulfilling his boyhood dreams of colonizing a hostile planet than focus on the more arduous, and certainly less self-fulfilling, task of nursing our blue planet back to health. UP YOURS, ELON.
So where am I going with all of this doomsday talk, you ask?
Like nearly all of us, I’ve felt helpless and depressed over our miraculous planet’s bleak diagnosis. I’ve spent a lot of nights not sleeping and some days hardly eating. “My brain has 1/100th of the brainpower of these men and women who seem to have given up,” I would think. I have little expendable income to make monetary donations, and my own personal efforts to buy used, recycle, drive electric, and reduce my overall carbon footprint feel futile.
Greta is young. She lacks money, formal education, off-the-charts intellect, and powerful connections. By all intents and purposes, she has none of the things that I had presupposed one would need to make any kind of impact at all on, well, the world’s most pressing issue. But, I’ve learned a lot from Greta. When first reading about her climate change platform, it is difficult to not see her youth and dismiss her as a kumbaya-singing little girl whose naivete has gone sadly unchecked. But then you read on and realize her youth is her greatest asset. Because with youth comes hope. And hope is exactly what we need more of.
I’ve decided to join Greta.
I may not have nearly the platform she has to speak from, but just like Greta I’m starting this journey with no money, a laptop, and a little bit of hope. I’ve decided to join the resistance and shirk my seemingly unwavering devotion to my personal depression. Sure, our species has never before surmounted a problem of such impossible proportions. But, until recently, I also thought Greta Thunbergs to be about as real as the Lochness Monster. And if Honey Boo Boo can steal the national spotlight, surely anything is possible.
I will be starting this journey with blogs pertaining to home decor. Each week, I will highlight a way in which we can reduce our carbon footprints within our homes, and will also offer a way in which we can get involved in the fight against climate change. This week, I want to bring your attention to Let’s Fund, a group using Effective Altruism to vet the different charities and programs that are focused on fighting climate change. I came across this program while reading an important article regarding the vital role of innovation (vs. the deployment of current technologies) in our fight against climate change. If you have any extra change in your pocket, making a donation through Let’s Fund will help the people with the brainpower of Elon Musk, but the altruism of Malala Yousafzai, make important strides toward effective innovations that, very well, could save our planet.
Hey, if Honey Boo Boo can do the impossible, so can we.
I hope you guys are either coming from, or are on your way TO, all of the other kickass homes that are participating in this week’s “Something Different Home Tour” (please find list/links at the end of this post) – each of these homes is oozing with eclectic goodness and to round out this week’s tours I am going to open up my doors and have you take a peek into mine!
If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that we’ve been in our home for two years now… and have been renovating and designing for two years. And I anticipate we will continue to do such for many years to come! My husband, Billy, and I are a contractor/design duo and we tackle these projects solo. The best part about that? If we can do it, so can you! Neither of us has a background in these areas, just a passion for it, and we’ve learned that there is literally nothing in the home arena that can’t be accomplished with a little help from Pinterest and YouTube.
I’m going to start out by taking you to our one and only bathroom, and our first complete remodel of a room. We took this space down to the studs and kept nothing except that good old art deco square pink tub (because why would we ever get rid of it?!). You can read about how we tackled this space with a fairly strict budget here. We originally had a closet in this space and decided to do away with it to open up the space. We discovered that when you get rid of all the expired products, ratty towels and pair down your hair brush collection, a six-drawer vintage dresser is MORE than enough room to store your bathroom essentials- even for a family of four sharing a single bath.
Which brings me to this important point about our home: it is focused on sustainable design. And this becomes true of it more and more each day. As a vintage shop owner, our home has always been loaded to the max with thrifted finds. But more recently, we’ve embraced a less consumer-centric lifestyle that is reflected in the way we design our home. Open shelving in the kitchen does not allow for the hoards of kitchen items that get used seldomly to never, and the complete lack of closets on the ground floor has forced us to think long and hard about whether we can “get by” without certain items. In a similar vein, if a toy comes in, a toy gets donated. If a new vintage rug comes in, one gets sold. You get the idea. I like to think of it as “Marie Kondo-ing” for the thrift obsessed. Because don’t get me wrong, lots of new thrift is constantly entering those front doors, but when one thing comes in, another item gets sent off to a new owner via my Etsy shop (in a reused cardboard box, of course 😉 ).
When you head up the stairs and into our three bedrooms, you’ll find the only closets in the entire house. They aren’t large, but they’re large enough. And though we plan on adding a master en suite to the home, we do not plan on adding excessive closet space – something we view as a crutch to hoarding. And one thing that may surprise you is that – despite the fact that two of our three beds have bed skirts – we have little to nothing hiding under them!
All of this talk of living light may surprise you coming from a self-professed “maximalist.” But, as discussed in this blog on maximalism, there is a profound difference between maximalist style and hoarding. We maximize the artistic potential of wall space by using wallpapers and hanging gallery walls. Likewise, we use our floors as both practical and aesthetic vehicles by coating them with area rugs that provide visual interest, noise control, and warmth to every space. The very conscious decision to not add closets to our 1910 home (which was built without them), is a very intentional choice to make sure the things that join us in our home are meaningful, or useful (and, ideally, both).
If there is one thing we hoard, it’s plants. We love the warmth and pops of color they add to any space, but they also function as natural air filters. But our love of plants goes even beyond our admiration of their aesthetic and functional aptitudes. I strongly believe that the only way I make it through New York winters with my head intact is because of the organic and tropical vibes these green babies bring into our home.
This journey towards sustainability in design isn’t a path we have always been on – and it is one that lacks the satisfaction of having a final destination. There are areas where we could do WAY better (we SHOULD be saying hello to solar panels and compost and be bidding adieu to all plastics and long hot showers!), but we’re increasingly interested in living sustainable, eco-friendly lives and our interest is reflected in how our home is being built and designed.
A friend recently remarked on how we should be thanking one another for our efforts to do good on a number of different social, environmental and humanitarian fronts, rather than lambasting one another for everything we’re NOT doing. I find that I don’t even need a troll squad because I am so busy PERSONALLY beating myself up over everything I’m not doing. And while there is SO much that we are NOT doing in our home, we are trying to do better each day. But, because of that much needed reminder from a friend, I am choosing to be proud of how far we have come, and be optimistic about how much further we can go towards our goal of sustainable living.
I hope that taking a peek into the home of Kate Pearce Vintage can serve as an example of a home that is ever-evolving, right alongside the people who live in it. Our homes should be reflections of ourselves, and our hope is that our home tells a story of optimism through its bold colors, attainability through its whimsical imperfections, and an endless evolution of self through the immutable rotation of its art and objects.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that this chat about maximalism is long overdue. I’ve been wanting to delve into how to embrace allll the thangs in your home, while still maintaining a sense of order and intention. Striking that kind of balance isn’t easy. But it can be done. Here’s how.
First things first: we need to make a distinction between maximalism and clutter. I think the biggest misconception when it comes to maximalist interiors is that they are filled to the brim with “stuff” – but maximalism isn’t always about having loads of items scattered about. The most important thing to keep in mind is that maximalism is curated. Clutter is….clutter. This is something that we non-minimalists struggle with in our homes, and it takes a lot of practice to be able to discern the difference.
As a vintage dealer, I constantly have loads of vintage items entering and exiting my home. In fact, that first thing I do when I come home from sourcing these items is style them. I do that for two reasons: 1. to shoot photography in order to list the items and 2. to decide if these items are something that I may not want to list at all, and instead keep in my own home. I used to live with nearly all the items I had for sale, and would desperately search the house for corners, nooks and crannies to style them in so I could appreciate them before they were sold. Now, I walk through my home and ask myself what can be taken away and stored until that sale is made. The result has been a much more cohesive look that has allowed the items that I DO decide to live with really shine. Instead of asking myself what I can add, I now ask myself what I can take away while still maintaining a varied interest in the space.
The second topic I want to talk about is not a tangible item, but something that is aesthetically crucial to nailing that maximalist look: color. After all, maximalist interiors are often not just maximizing decorative items, but are featuring a mix of color, patterns and textures in a way that is visually cohesive. We want to use these design tools to add interest, contrast and depth to our spaces, while avoiding clash and an overwhelming of our senses. While there is no single formula that will be universally appealing (after all, the disparity of tastes amongst humans is what makes humanity interesting), I find that creating a neutral backdrop helps. In most rooms, I paint my walls black or white and add pops of color from there. In other rooms, loud wallpaper takes on the lead role, while the rug, furniture and/or art become secondary players. Overall, it’s important to remember that if we want certain items to shine, not everything can be the star. Treating color and pattern as intentional tools in a space, rather than using them with abandon, will help minimize a sense of clutter and will add to the room’s dimension.
Which leads to this idea of having negative and positive space in your rooms. Any good painter knows that the canvas needs to have balance. Even when we look at a Jackson Pollock painting, which may appear to be pandemonium at first glance, you will notice that his drips and streaks have an expert intentionality to them and his canvases are amongst the most compositionally balanced in the post-modern era. Pollock chose to go wild with movement and texture, and consequently, used symmetry and a very limited palette to allow the eye to focus on that fluidity and texture. The overall point here is this: we need to choose which design tropes we want to focus on, and allow the others to play supporting roles.
I think a good exercise in maximalism is to take everything we want to put into a space and, well, just put it into that space. Then, we need to subtract. Take things away from the space until the things that we really want to draw attention to grab our attention. I also love using things in groups. For example, I have been a bit obsessed with porcelain busts as of late, and have a group of three of them placed on my piano. And that is all that is placed on my piano. The different heights and facial expressions add dimension and a diverse expressivity, but allowing them to be the only items on that surface allow them to shine.
Nailing maximalism is tough. Like any artistic endeavor, it’s a style that needs to be practiced and it’s something that I’m still working really hard to perfect. I also try to remind myself that perfect is boring and, unlike with minimalism, imperfections are at the heart of a maximalist style. But beyond the obvious differences between a maximalism and a minimalism, these two styles are truly not polar opposites. Like any interior that has a sense of artistry, it all comes down to curating with intention. And that is truly what both maximalism AND minimalism are all about.
WE DID IT! [insert man + woman clinking wine BOTTLES here]. Four months and a nearly impossible number of man hours later, we are sitting on our kitchen barstools gazing at our dream kitchen. And it is SO worth all the sleepless nights, months of takeout, months of DUSTING, and having pretty close to zero dollars in our bank account. #priorities
I want to take a moment to thank all of the incredible companies that sponsored our kitchen along the way, and made our dream kitchen possible. Without them, this space never could have been realized. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, we chose each of them and hand-picked their products. We are just so grateful they were willing to put their trust in us and give us ORC newbies a shot at making their products come to life. We are always very particular about the brands we collaborate with, and each of these companies should be lauded for their careful craftsmanship, top-of-the-line product, and a brand of approachability that is all but absent in today’s marketplace.
Perhaps the most gaze-attracting focal point of the kitchen is our graphic black and white tile wall from Riad Tile. The matte cement tiles are such a beautiful, organic texture and we’re just loving the way they pop in the room. We inserted a fairly neutral range hood into the picture to allow that tile to really have it’s moment, but added the cow skull to offer the space a bit of a focal balance. I have been dying to use their tiles for a project and we couldn’t be happier with how they came out – now I’m just dying to lay them everywhere! Hello, future mudroom!
Now, onto THAT HALLMAN INDUSTRIES RANGE. I mean, just GAH! There are no words. I fell in love with this range online without seeing it in person and loved that it’s pricepoint kicked lots of its competitors to the curb, without sacrificing an OUNCE of style. And I am beyond happy to report that this puppy cooks and bakes to a point of perfection that FAR exceeds my personal culinary capabilities. There is really no need to even speak beyond these basic facts, because this range does ALLLLL the speaking for itself.
That brings me to that gorgeous brushed gold Moen pot filler above the range. We went with Moen via Build.com for our pot filler, faucet and soap dispenser and these products were everything we had hoped for and more. I love how rich the finishes are and how they offer a complementary, but mild contrast to the raw brass finishes in the Pepe and Carols hardware and on the Hallman stove. It was important to me that we streamline the kitchen sink – I always find it aesthetically disruptive when there are too many things going on around the kitchen sink, and I loved that the Moen faucet had a pull down sprayer built in that is visually indiscernible. And I’m going to just be downright candid here: I’ve never owned a high-end faucet before and the difference in quality makes me want to throw out our crappy old leaky faucet 1,000 times over.
I just want to pause now and take a moment to talk about VINTAGE. Because, truly, no space of mine would ever be complete without lots and lots and lots of it. Kitchens are their own animal: as much as I am dedicated to purchasing and selling vintage for a variety of reasons (hello, climate change!), vintage kitchen fixtures and appliances are not only incredibly difficult to come across, but are also not always ideal to use (for probably obvious reasons). But when it came to nearly every single other item in the kitchen, we went vintage all the way.
Seeing as I am a vintage shop owner, I have been mostly hoarding anything remotely kitchen-related since we decided to move forward with this reno in January. But, I’ve also been shopping from some of my favorite dealers, including Anna Simpkins of BasketsandBrass and Joe Mauer of Secondhand Stories. I had been searching all ends of the earth for vintage brass cantilever counter height stools. I must have spent 20+ hours searching. This is not a joke. I take vintage hunts more seriously than a lion on a fox. And then, one day, BOOM. My man Joe over at Secondhand Stories just HAD them. It was pretty much magic.
Now seems to be a good time to chat about a topic that holds considerably less magic: our budget. I’m not going to get into too much detail other than to say that for a complete demolition and rebuild of a brand new kitchen, our budget was LOW. We sourced many of our building materials (including brand-new Marvin windows!) at insanely low prices at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. And as much as we’d love to have those high-end cabinets, we were forced to go with IKEA. This isn’t something I’ve cried myself to sleep over because 1. crying over such a thing would make me want to slap myself and 2. these cabinets are pretty, pretty rad for having cost under $3k!
I decided to give them a major upgrade by going with Pepe and Carols hardware. Krystal of Pepe and Carols dreamed these pulls up for me and was so kind as to custom make them for us. She’s now working on matching refrigerator pulls for our Cafe Appliances fridge and I’m beyond psyched about them! As a small aside, I spray painted the Cafe Appliances fridge handles in Rustoleum matte black finish for the time being.
And perhaps my favorite vintage item in the space is that stunner of a June + Blue Boujaad runner. Becca of June + Blue has long been my favorite Moroccan rug dealer. She has such an incredible eye, but her authentic experience and deep knowledge of these rugs and the cultures surrounding them are a true breath of fresh air in a world that has become overrun with a brand of mass-marketed global consumerism that so easily disposes of a sincere cultural appreciation. I love how this piece, in particular, ties the entire room together by picking up the colors in the Hallman range at eye level, and again from above with the roman shades (expertly crafted by Interiors by Robert, with fabric via Boho Luxe Home).
Speaking of those roman shades! I had originally envisioned a black, transparent linen fabric for our roman shades (much like the one used in our bathroom renovation) and then this fabric walked along and popped into my brain and I just couldn’t get it out! The deep, rich dyes coupled with the Moroccan asilah pattern played so well into the eclectic vibe we were going for in this kitchen. I had worked with Boho Luxe Home before on their pillow line (MAJOR swoon factor), and when they offered to sponsor the fabric for these shades I was beyond excited. Unsurprisingly, they’ve been a favorite feature amongst visitors to the new kitchen!
Ok, and now I wanna get real with you for a minute. We’ve been home owners for seven years now and we know what it’s like to dream of kitchens that don’t leak, break, and put sores in our eyeballs. And part of me wishes we had done one of those “How to Transform Your Kitchen for $500” type renovations, because that’s where the true creativity starts to play in. But we were lucky enough to have sponsors hop on board, and I am so BEYOND lucky to have a not-by-trade husband who just happens to not only know how to do finish carpentry, plumbing and electric work but is ALSO willing to work 30 hours/week on a kitchen for four months after coming home from his 70 hour/week job.
Oh, and FREE LABOR IS EVERYTHING. I do NOT mean for that to sound like a plug for indentured servitude. What I’m getting at is the fact that I am the luckiest person on earth to have not just these super sponsors get behind me, but also a most magical dude who has skills up the wazoo and the willingness to put LITERALLY his entire life aside to build a kitchen for his family for four straight months. Billy, you are our world, and now we owe YOU the world.
And before we part ways, I just want to give a shoutout to some local artisans and shops that did some incredible work for us (note: not sponsored!). E&S Marble & Granite Co. really nailed the look I was going for on the countertops. I wanted marble, but marble doesn’t want me (hello, red wine stains!). Stephanie at E&S steered us toward using quartz slabs that mimic Calacatta marble, but have the durability of quartzite, and damn was she spot on.
The next local shop was Reclaim Everything – an absolute powerhouse in the reclaimed wood department. We knew we wanted touches of reclaimed throughout the kitchen and we worked closely with Reclaim Everything to source the appropriate wood from a 100+ year-old barn. They carefully dry the wood out to a specific humidity level before cutting and staining the pieces to your tone of choice. I drooled like Homer Simpson on a donut when I saw these wood pieces installed.
I’d also like to give a shout-out to the uber-talented Cristina Marino of Harbor and Heart Studios. Cristina is a mega-talented photographer and she squeezed us into her hectic schedule and edited these photos for us in a time crunch because well, ORC deadlines aren’t very forgiving. We are especially loving the family portrait she snapped in the kitchen – a rare family shot that will be cherished forever!
And the last shop I want to throw some major props to is Bob Boccard of Interiors by Robert. If you’re in the New York City area, he should be your go-to for any upholstery project. His painstaking attention to detail and unmatched skill in his field are the reason celebrities and high-end designers use him for their most important projects. He’s pretty much NYC’s best kept secret since he does not have any online or social media presence – but he’s really not a secret at all to those NYC interior design insiders. His work on our roman shades and vintage barstools was pretty much mind-blowing.
Well, that pretty much does it for our first One Room Challenge and I have to say it was such a high! I am so excited to check out all of the other incredible reveals over at the One Room Challenge blog – I sure do hope you’ll pop over there too. All the designers work their butts off for six straight weeks, and the result is some really delicious eye candy for us all to devour!
We can’t thank you enough for popping by to check out our reveal, and we hope you’ll sign up for more notifications! We’re definitely addicted to One Room Challenge-ing and are already dreaming up our Fall 2019 ORC plans. Or at least I am. I’m guessing the husband is probably more focused on his upcoming golf trip….
Can’t believe we’re almost at the finish line! And here we are – so busy with these final touches – that I almost forgot to post this week! Before I say anything, I just want to give my husband a MAJOR shoutout. Guy hasn’t had a break in months. First it was 9-9 work on Saturdays and Sundays and this past month he has even been up until 2am nearly every night of the week to get this kitchen up and running for us – and complete for the ORC reveal. Move aside, Chip Gaines! ha!
So we’ve made some major progress this past week. We’ve added crown molding, had the floors finished, painted the walls, finished tiling with our Riad tile, got our super amazing vintage Moroccan rug in from June and Blue – and our stove arrived from Hallman Industries! I’m going to give you some sneak peaks at some, but not all of that, because that damn reveal needs to have some surprises!
And, of course, what Kate Pearce Vintage space wouldn’t be complete with lots of vintage touches. Those, too, will be a surprise for you next week, but I’ve been hoarding lots of great vintage and buying some from some fellow shop owners who just have the best eye – I’ll be sure to give them all shoutouts at reveal time, too.
So, back to that tile. I always want to be transparent with you all, so it’s important to know that we teamed up with Riad Tile for this space, but I also want you to know that we chose THEM, not the other way around. I have long been in love with their thick, matte concrete tiles and was dying to use them in the kitchen and they were kind enough to team up with us and put enough trust in us to install their showstopping tiles (I think my husband did a pretty damn good job!). I know I keep saying this about every part of the kitchen, but these tiles really may be my favorite element. They add that touch of bold that I crave for in each of my spaces, but the matte finish and the raw concrete material allows them to add just the right amount of approachability to counter their graphic design. Riad tiles are handmade by expert artisans, their prices are just AMAZING for the outstanding quality and the best part is they are so sturdy they could even be used on an outdoor patio (hello, spring 2020 ORC!).
This is the first peak, too, that I’m offering up of our range hood. And, let me tell you that range hood took up SO. MUCH. TIME. First, range hoods are EXPENSIVE. Like, GAH! Not sure we would have gotten a 48-inch range if we had realized. So, since our budget was low and we had mostly drained our resources at this point, we spent loads of time researching how we could most cheaply install a safe range hood while not sacrificing style. We finally decided on buying a range hood insert, and my husband used his super skills to build a sheetrock frame around it. What you see here isn’t the finished product – we’ll have some fun surprises coming at yah next week with the range hood.
And, the floors! As much as I wanted to leave those beautiful natural wood herringbone floors au naturale, they needed to be finished. We live in a home with two young children, two dogs, and two not-so-neat adults. We hired this one out, because color was super important to us and we had no idea what the ___ we were doing when it came to finishing floors. We asked them to stain the floors in a way that would enhance their natural coloring, and we are really happy with the final product – if anyone is on Long Island, New York and needs a floor guy, let me know! I’ve got a good one!
So, I’m going to leave it here for this week but, as always, please be sure to check out all of the other incredible transformations happening over at the One Room Challenge site!
Next week….. final REVEAL! HELLLLLLLLLLLLZZZZZZZZZZZZ TO THE YES!
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but after nearly four months of construction, the end is JUST around the corner. This past week was a big one for us as we saw our countertops get installed, and then everything else just seemed to fall into place: the sink, fixtures, microwave and workable surface area were all just THERE overnight and after living without a kitchen for so long it feels SO GOOD.
Speaking of countertops, we decided to go with a trusted local family shop called ES Marble & Granite and they worked through some of our ideas with us over the past few months until we found something that would be both practical AND beautiful. You know those little marble shelves that rest on the top of high backsplashes that are all the rage right now? Well, I desperately wanted one for our kitchen, but it turns out that neither our wallet, nor the extra hours of construction that were needed to make it a reality were on board. So, we decided to keep the high backsplash and lose the shelf.
Another area that we spent some time exploring was MATERIAL. If you haven’t realized this about me yet, I will spell it out for you now: I A-M N-O-T P-R-A-C-T-I-C-A-L. So, of course the aesthetic-obsessed part of me wanted marble countertops. You just can’t beat that worn-in, timeless matte look of marble and I wanted to embrace all the chips and stains and have that splash of marble in my kitchen transport me back to Italy, where all the wine rings and colander stains are just part of what make their spaces endearing.
But, apparently, not everyone in my home is into red wine stains… and the blueberry stains from children being reckless … and the hot pan rings from the mama being too lazy, so we decided on a quartzite material that would mimic the look of Calacatta marble… and I have to admit I feel like we’re living with the best of both worlds. We have those charmingly irregular veins that are strikingly dramatic in tone, yet the entire surface is as hardy as granite. And leaving the high backsplash but losing the shelf allowed us to really appreciate the statement that the marble is by allowing the eye to follow it throughout the room from all angles.
Consider the countertop decision-making process my first lesson in embracing flexibility.
So after those countertops went in, we had our sink, faucet, and soap dispenser installed and that moment actually brought me to tears. No more walking up the stairs to wash hands, bowls, and glasses .. and after four months this mama right here just broke the F down. HALLELUJAH. This is said with the utmost understanding that having fresh, running water in my home at all is a COMPLETE luxury and I often wanted to punch myself for complaining about the lack of water on our ground floor (again, the luxury of having two floors). POOR ME.
But onward we go to finally getting to install those beautiful brushed gold Moen fixtures from Build.com They went in, I DIED. We had decided to go with a black quartz sink to pick up on all of the other black details throughout the kitchen and the way these gold fixtures popped next to the black undermount sink just made my heart sing. I wanted to keep the entire sink area as sleek as possible, so I loved the minimalistic design on the Moen faucet and soap dispenser, but I also loved how it double-functioned with a pull down sprayer. I spent hours upon hours upon hours searching for the perfect faucet, and I am so glad I found this one. It is one of the focal points on the kitchen and it’s looking PRETTTTY damn sexy. We can’t wait to install the matching pot filler!
Two more major developments happened this week, but I am just going to talk about one of them: the installation of our super-duper kick-a$$ hardware. This was another element of the kitchen that I spent WAY too many hours researching and agonizing over. I love how modern and sleek brass pulls look but they are so, well, EXPECTED. Everyone and their mother has been slapping brass pulls on their cabinets for the last five years and I wanted to do something that was equally modern, but a bit more UNexpected.
I reached out to my friend Krystal at Pepe and Carols and we went through many different options – she was even so kind as to send me lots of different samples in the mail. Now, before I say anything else I just need you to know that Pepe and Carols does not make ANYTHING that doesn’t make me swoon, but I was envisioning sort of a combination of the pulls she was sending me. I relayed my vision to her, and shortly after she mocked up the pull I was dreaming of, sent it over, and queue lots of drool pouring out of my mouth. I loved how they followed the geometric lines of the rest of the kitchen, but still had a softness to them. The black and brass dual-toned look picked up all of the brass and black elements in the kitchen perfectly – and she even added brass spacers on the side to give them that eclectic vibe I was shooting for. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Krystal for making the pulls of my dreams for me!
Other fun details were completed this week, but I am going to save that discussion for next week’s post because they aren’t exactly complete yet. This upcoming week we will see our floors get finished, our HALLMAN RANGE ARRIVE (GAH!), and our reclaimed wood will arrive just in time to be hurriedly installed before REVEAL coming up in two short weeks!
As always, be sure to visit the One Room Challenge to check out all of the other amazing spaces that are being transformed over this six week-long ORC season. So many of them are inspiring me to dive right on into our next project (which means they are INSANELY cool because I would have to be INSANE to do such a thing).
We SEE YOU week 3! And you’re only giving us mild panic attacks because deadlines don’t stand a chance against Team KPV! [insert hyperventilating cries here]. As always, be sure to check out the progress of all of the other incredible room transformations over at the One Room Challenge!
This week I want to talk a bit about materials and give you a sneak peek of our floor. Then I want to take you through the first steps of the construction process post-demolition. We were super lucky to hook up with some amazing sponsors for this kitchen renovation, and I need to be perfectly candid with you about how they came to join us on this journey. In short, we chose THEM, not the other way around! So when I tell you they kick so much a$$, I want you to really believe me.
As I mentioned in the previous post, the first part of the kitchen that was chosen was that dreamy blue stove and we were so grateful to get Hallman to come on board as a sponsor to make that stove even more special with some great features. So, consider this stove as our jumping off point for the rest of the kitchen. I have spent the 17 years of my adult life dreaming of kitchens, and the first thing that always came to mind when dreaming was that statement stove, but did that mean that every other element in the room would have to bow down to that splash of blue? Hell to the NO.
The next crew to come on board was Boho Luxe Home. I had worked with them and their gorgeous pillow line before, and I was beyond excited when they offered their stunning fabrics for our Roman shades. We put a lot of work into the windows in this space by not just adding completely new windows and new locations for them, but by more than doubling the size of our main window. It was so important to us that this kitchen was bathed in as much natural light as possible, and we wanted to draw the eye to this element, and balance that blast of blue in the stove with another gaze-attracting feature. We decided to go with their Moroccan Knot fabric, and I am super stoked to see them completed when they get installed next week!
So, bright blue stove, wild Moroccan fabric…. now where do we go? My overall vision for this kitchen was to have some strong boho eclectic vibes, but there are so many directions to go beyond that point: gold glitzy ritzy eclectic? Or earthy, hippie boho? I love both of those extremes so much, so I wanted to try to meet somewhere in the middle. If I could choose a single sentence to define my entire interior style, it would be that I don’t like settling for ANY single style. The main challenge is making totally disparate styles work together in a cohesive way. And that, in a nutshell, is what this kitchen is striving for.
Our next sponsor, Build.com, helped us add a little bit of that glamor I speak of. We decided to go with a brushed gold faucet, with a matching pot filler, to pull from those brass elements on the range, and to add a touch of high class to the space. We chose the Moen line for their stellar track record and their beautiful finishes. We can’t wait to see them installed tomorrow!
It was at this point in the process that I decided to step back and really take a hard look at the direction I wanted things to go. I am NOT someone who plans an entire space in a CAD program before breaking ground. That just doesn’t work for me. I always start a room by choosing the element that is most important to me (perhaps a bed frame in a master bedroom? or a rug in a living room?) and then I work from there. I find it to be a much more organic process, but the downside is it takes much more time. I like to SEE certain features in a room before adding to the layers. And oftentimes, inspiration comes from a visit to my local thrift store, and not from a West Elm catalog. The unpredictability of the process is what excites me most about designing spaces.
Although I wasn’t able to visualize almost any elements before having to choose nearly all of them, I was still able to move through the process by being intentional about every step, and decided to add layers in the order of what was most important to me in the room. I knew I wanted those glitzy fixtures, but in order to counter those pops of gold, that bright fabric, and that fancy stove, I knew we needed to tone it down somehow. In order to achieve this, we decided to add some authentic reclaimed wood to the room. I love the versatility of wood, and it can really work in almost any type of space. I’ll get more into how and where we decided to add these touches of reclaimed wood next week. For now, I’ll let you know that we decided to go with a dark, sumptuous stain to allow the wood to dance alongside those more glamorous elements, all the while allowing the rusticity of the wood itself to make the entire space more approachable.
This was about where we stood half-way through the process on the design end, so now let’s chat for a moment about what started to evolve on the building side, post-demolition. Once our two month (plus)-long demo process was complete, we needed to sheetrock the entire space (ceiling included). As I had mentioned in the last post, the entire space was plaster and lath, and we opted to tear all of it out to make the electrical work more seamless. Now, this is where we struggled a bit being an essentially one-man team. Billy (my builder hubbie) did not have the proper equipment or man power to sheetrock a ceiling, so we decided to give the man a well-deserved break and hire this one out. Our contractor did an amazing job bringing this room back from the dead, and we were finally able to take a few deep breaths after seeing the walls and ceiling replaced in the room.
The next obstacle? FLOORING. Now, these floors are possibly my favorite element in the room, while my husband has come to abhor them after they took an obscene amount of time to install. I might remind you that we had three layers of floor to demo before reaching our subfloor (which needed major repairs), so finally seeing a beautiful floor under our feet was INCREDIBLY rewarding. And I have to give a MAJOR MAJOR shoutout to the hubs for making my herringbone floor dreams come true. I was a big brat about the floor. It was herringbone or the highway for me, and he didn’t even argue because he must have just known how amazing they were going to look too (love yah babe! 😉 ).
So, this is about where we were mid-construction and mid-design, and we had all kinds of wonderful and terrible surprises in store for us in the coming weeks…..
Here we are in week 2 of the One Room Challenge, but really week 15 for us (yes it’s taken that long to overhaul our kitchen, and we’re still crossing our fingers to be complete by the ORC deadline). I’m going to begin with some real time updates, and then dig into some design hurdles…and then chat about how fun it was to smash all the things in the kitchen to tiny little pieces.
I was super excited when Becca of June and Blue reached out to me last week to ask if she could sponsor a rug for the kitchen. I own a few of Becca’s rugs, but really it’s my life goal to own every single rug she ever lays her eyes on. The girl has magic eyes for rugs and was able to source the most perfect piece for this kitchen by pretty much only looking at my inspiration board from last week. I can’t wait for you guys to see it, but this is also a good segue into how challenging it can be to design a space when you have a deadline.
There is something intoxicating about the ORC. I often say reveal day is like Christmas morning for adults. There are, still yet, other major “pros” that come along with tackling a room for the One Room Challenge. For example, the ORC is also a formidable enemy to our procrastinating tendencies when it comes to tackling home projects. On the flip side, it can be a serious challenge to piece together a comprehensive and aesthetically thrilling space in such a short period of time (I guess that’s why they call it the One Room CHALLENGE). They always say “a great home takes time” (or at least there is a hashtag that says it), and I truly believe that truly special rooms can’t be thrown together overnight.
So this has been a bit difficult for me, especially given my very visual nature. Our stove took 16 weeks from order to delivery, so we had to order it before we even knocked down one wall. Our cabinets wouldn’t be installed until just a few short weeks before the ORC deadline, and I was having trouble visualizing what I wanted when we didn’t even have the cabinets in our hands (a huge thanks to Krystal at Pepe and Carols for creating some kick-ass custom pieces for me and allowing me to wait until the last minute so I could see those cabinets in place first). And then comes the rug I bought from Josh at Kazimah Carpets for the kitchen. I fell hard and fast for that rug and snatched it up – and have ZERO regrets about it – but then a few sponsors came along and my vision for the kitchen began to shift and, alas, the rug I had envisioned in the space was no longer going to work. Good thing it’s such a stunner that it will work in pretty much every other room of the house. I offer you this tale about rugs as a way of showing how designing an entire room before the room is even structurally intact can be, well, STRESSFUL AF.
Now, onto the demo details! Our old kitchen was quite small, with very little counter space and room for only one or two people to be in the space at a time. But the largest challenge was the strange configuration of the room that most certainly did not maximize the utility of the square footage we had access to. The kitchen abutted a small powder room that had been squeezed into the space and hosted the only interior entrance to our basement (a huge issue if we wanted to carry anything large in and out).
So, we decided to demolish the powder room to create more space for the kitchen and to open access to the basement. We will, at a later date, add a full bathroom to the main floor (hello, Fall ORC!), but for now we are living with just a single bathroom on the second floor (a challenge for elderly guests, as you can imagine). We also decided to demo the wall between our dining room and kitchen to make an even larger and brighter space to meet all of our dining needs for our family of four. And, as if these weren’t enough changes to make, we decided to move the entryway to our sunroom over to make space for the refrigerator and we also changed the placement and size of every window in the room. I was able to source brand spanking new Marvin windows from the Habitat for Humanity Restore – a must-visit site for anyone looking to renovate their home on a budget.
Our home was built in 1910, so during demo we were dealing with plaster mixed with horsehair and lath – all of which we took down to make way for a total reconstruction of the electrical and plumbing – and replaced with sheetrock. My husband, Billy, had to pick up three different floors before we were able to finally reach our subfloor (which also needed a lot of repair work). We found a few surprises, one being a brick chimney hiding in the wall that I was really excited about. Everyone who has entered the space has suggested we should sheetrock around it, but I have been adamant about leaving it as an unexpected architectural element – and an homage to the century-old roots of our home (the chimney was originally used for a wood-burning stove to heat the home).
The total time it took for demolition was three months, working about 20 hours/week. It was an enormous and strenuous undertaking and I owe all of that sweat equity to my husband, who is basically some kind of Roman God (who just happens to have Nordic features), but who also has not only been living and breathing this kitchen for months after work hours and on weekends…AND has also happened to build some super sexy abs and biceps along the way.
What more could a girl ask for?
So, takeaways from ORC week 2:
Try to not buy/commit to any items until your vision is COMPLETE and…
Always marry someone who knows how to not just build, but also knows how to do plumbing and electric.
That’s all for now – be sure to check back in for Week 3 updates and also be sure to visit the ORC page to see what all the other designers are up to!
The crew here at Kate Pearce Vintage is diving in head first to the Spring 2019 One Room Challenge and we couldn’t be more excited. This is our very first ORC and we’re not just dipping our toes in this round, we’re going BIG. We’re gutting our 1980s kitchen to the studs and building our dream boho kitchen – and for those of you who aren’t new around here you know that will mean lots of color, texture and, you guessed it, VINTAGE vibes. Because we all know vintage is the name of our game.
As you may have guessed, taking a kitchen down to its studs and rebuilding from scratch is a task that takes more than five weekends (we’re a husband + wife duo who work Monday-Friday), so we’ve started a bit early and are crossing our fingers to be done by reveal day. We’ve teamed up with some fabulous sponsors for our project and are just itching to show off their beautiful products – Riad Tile, Boho Luxe Home, Build.com, Hallman Industries and Wallternatives are all along for the ride.
SO – what’s this kitchen going to look like? We’ve pinned more than 75 kitchens on Pinterest and another 100+ are saved in our I-Phone “Kitchen Inspo” folder. More than four months have been spent agonizing over where to begin, HOW to begin, and where we want to end. We’ve sucked inspiration from so many beautiful Instagram squares, including these two from Jean Stoffer Design (Left) and Beginning in the Middle (Right).
And the more images we saved, the more we noticed themes beginning to emerge: BLUE, matte black and brass accents, statement stoves and bold, graphic patterns. We also just fell HARD for calcutta marble. But out of all of those things, the piece that caught our eye the most in kitchen after kitchen….. after kitchen.. was that statement stove. So, we ordered a 48″ cobalt blue Hallman range and used that as our starting off point for the rest of the kitchen.
We’re loving the current trend of mixing metals, and this Hallman range hit all the marks for us: that bold blue color, with brass and stainless steel working together to prove that two metals are just so much better than one.
The biggest challenge for me, as a designer, is to balance bold with a cohesive composition. I love taking a viewer’s eye to different elements of interest around a room, but the room still needs to work together. I like to think of it as the Kardashian effect: each player steals our eye for a moment, but the overall picture is even stronger than any one element on its own. It’s for this reason we decided to go with your ubiquitous white shaker cabinet. With bold roman shades, graphic black and white tile, and a statement stove, the cabinets just HAVE to blend and not shout, otherwise we’d almost certainly have more than a few offended eyeballs on our hands.
Now that you have an idea of where we are GOING with the kitchen, I think you’d better be clued in to where we began.
The photo above is how the kitchen looked on move-in day in June of 2017. We knew we’d be gutting the kitchen in short order, so we didn’t bother to do much, but I did get some 50 cent hardware off Amazon and I painted the kitchen cabinets a deep blue. Overall, though, this is very much what the space has looked like.
Just to the right of the kitchen there was a powder room that we demolished during week 1 of construction to make more space for the kitchen. We are also removing the wall between our kitchen and dining room to make the space feel more open, and replacing windows and doorways is also in the plan.
This has been an enormous undertaking, but we’re really just so excited to see the final outcome.
If there is one question I get asked on Instagram more than any other, it is some variation of: “where did you get that rug?” So, I thought it’s about time that I tell you a few of my magic carpet secrets. As fair warning, everything I am about to say will be said with conviction, but is 100% my opinion and not scientific fact. Ok, here we go…
For starters, a new rug is rarely a good rug. I own two “new rugs” in my home and they serve a very specific purpose: to be layered under my better, OLD rugs. One is a grey wool rug that has brightly woven boucherouites layered on top. The other is a large jute rug with a talsint layered on top. I promise you, no one ever asks me, “where did you get that boring grey wool rug?” or “where is that large jute rug that can be found on every corner of the internet from?” No one asks those questions. Ever.
So where do I get all those beauties that I layer on top? Occasionally they are found at estate sales, but I would advise that estate sales are not the best place to find these beauties for two reasons: 1. really nice ones in modern shades are difficult to come across. In all my years of attending hundreds of estate sales, I have only ever come across 5-10 I have wanted and 2. estate sale companies tend to inflate the prices on rugs. Especially if you’re in need of a rug in a short period of time, estate sales are just not where you’re likely to find your beauty.
The good news is that there are loads of online shops offering some pretty badass vintage rugs. Sure, they can be found on FirstDibs, OneKingsLane, and even Ebay, but the best shops are the smaller shops that take the time to source each vintage beauty with their own set of eyes and test the integrity of the rugs with their expertise.
One of my all-time favorite shops is June and Blue, a vintage rug shop curated by my girl Becca. I have a hard time visiting her site because I want EVERY LAST RUG she curates. She takes two trips each year to Morocco to source these beauties, and her prices are INCREDIBLE. Becca is an American ex-pat living in Amsterdam, and she even offers free worldwide shipping on all of her beauties. If you’re looking for large sizes, talsints, or boucherouites, Becca is your girl. Though, truly, she really rocks the entire rug scene and even offers a sale every Sunday to feast on over your pancakes – it’s called SHORTSTACK SUNDAY and she offers 10% off on runners and small-sized rugs. You can also drool over Becca’s insanely tasteful decor and her witty sense of humor by following her on Instagram.
The next shop you should surely check out is Kazimah Carpets. Josh and his wife are a power duo from California who just spent a few years in Kuwait City, perfecting their knowledge of Middle Eastern rugs and home goods. Their shop has a host of incredible bohemian-style finds, and they are still sourcing incredible carpets from Kuwait. Kazimah Carpets has a stellar collection of runners in bright colors that will be sure to knock your socks off. I love Josh’s shop for so many reasons, but he really stands out with his collection of oversized runners and his eye for color. Josh also has an amazing Instagram account that you should absolutely be following.
Those two shops are my main go-tos when I’m on the market for a new rug. Both Becca and Josh are also always willing to work with you if you have an image in your mind of a rug you’re looking for, they will search the earth to find it for you. Literally.
There are other shops, still, that have incredibly curated collections of rugs for you to indulge your rug-buying whims on. For the sake of keeping this blog at a coffee-break size length, I will simply share these shops below with links to their shops and Instagram accounts:
I was chatting with an Instagram friend the other day and she said that she was intimidated by estate sales. This was not the first time I had heard that from a friend and I thought to myself, “well, if I had not grown up frequenting estate sales with my mother, I might harbor similar feelings towards them.” So, I’m here to tell you that estate sales are nothing like attending an auction at Sotheby’s or Christie’s. I also want to tell you why you absolutely need to get over that fear, because you are seriously missing out.
Perusing estate sales on weekends has long been a favorite pastime of mine, but ever since opening my Etsy shop three years ago, attending estate sales has been of absolute necessity for my business. I suspect I have been to well over 500 sales in my lifetime, so I feel fairly well poised to offer some advice on how to best navigate these mysterious places. The first order of business would be, “how do I even FIND estate sales?”
I am sure every country and every state has their own methods, but for me in the NYC Metro area, EstateSales.net has been an indispensable resource. Nearly every estate sale company operating in and around New York City lists their sales on this site, and the site is also nationwide so I do know that it is likely a very good resource if you are in the United States. The best part of EstateSales.net is that you can input your zip code to see which sales are closest, but you can also see photographs of what will be inside the home. This is how I am able to vet homes before I take the time to go to them, and I hardly ever enter a sale that doesn’t have a very good mid-century inventory. Other ways of finding sales are the app YardSales – or simply checking your local papers or google. Once you find your favorite Estate Sale companies, get on their email lists so you are sure to never miss a good sale.
Ok, so now that we know how to find a sale, what do we do now? Most sales happen on weekends and, around NYC/Long Island, I often wait in very long lines to enter them. Want to avoid the lines? Go late in the day, or if you have the flexibility, find that gem of a mid-week sale. Lines also tend to be longer during estate sale season (Spring – Fall). Just be aware that if you do go to the sale on Day 2 or later in the day, you will not have the pick of the litter (but you will undoubtedly score better prices). If there isn’t something that you have your heart set on, going later in the day can really be a win-win.
Many estate sales companies also have lists that are put out early in the morning. If a sale starts at 9am, the list may be put out at 6:30 am and dealers and estate sale junkies will be there to get there names on the list so they can be the first to enter the home ( how do you think all those Brooklyn vintage shops score their steady supply of Eames recliners )?
Ok, we have our sales, we’ve waited in our line and now we’re inside. Now what? Well….. go crazy! Estate sale companies will almost always give you a better deal if you buy in bulk. And unless you were the first one through the door or a price seems very fair to being with, don’t ever pay that price on the tag. In the 500+ sales I have been to, I have only walked out the door on two occasions paying full list price for items. If bargaining intimidates you or offends your unbending propriety, I assure you these companies are expecting you to bargain with them (hence why they price their items as they do).
The last bit of advice I’d like to offer about these sales is to please not be intimidated. Sometimes I think it was a good thing I worked on Wall Street before entering this business because my skin was already pretty thick going into it, but don’t let those estate sale gurus push you around. People can get a little crazy in these places, but just remember that the worst thing that can happen is someone says no to your price (and if they say no with attitude, just take a deep breath and remember these people are dealing with a bunch of vultures all day). And if you think you’re the only estate sale freshman in there, I assure you that you aren’t. There are ALL types of customers in these sales: rich, poor, dealers, collectors…. or just that guy walking down the street who decided to pop in to see what all the commotion is about).
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there! I promise, there is nothing more exhilarating than digging through a dusty basement to find that authentic Fernand Leger ceramic with a $2 price tag on it.
So, they always say that necessity is the mother of invention, right? Well, that’s the gist of how this bathroom came to be. We moved into our 1910 fixer-upper 1.5 years ago, and lived with the bathroom for more than a year. Then, one day, when our youngest daughter turned around 7 months-old and I had finally gotten enough sleep to be cognizant of my surroundings, I got into the shower and had this moment where I had just had enough of the bathroom. The white grout in all of the tiles was almost black from mold and dirt, the tiles were broken, the ancient wooden cabinetry was warped and filled with mold, and there was this bizarre closet smack in the middle of the space that just needed to be KNOCKED DOWN because…. well, just BECAUSE….because it drove me NUTS!
So, armed with no interior design degree and little to no renovation experience, my husband and I decided to tackle the project 100% solo. We took our little to no money and headed out to salvage yards and Lowe’s (and added a splash of Restoration Hardware because I felt we deserved to splurge just a LITTLE).
The first step was taking the space down to the studs. We smashed tile and walls and we stripped everything from the room… except for that amazing pink art deco tub.
Everyone thought I was nuts.
“If you’re replacing everything else, why not replace that TUB?” people would ask. “Can’t you have that thing refinished in WHITE?” others would suggest….but forward march I did without listening to anyone’s opinions about my ancient pink tub. I didn’t keep it because of budgetary reasons, I kept it because it’s irreplaceable and AWESOME. How these people couldn’t see that blew my mind. But, they see it now. Because everything we replaced around it allowed it to to finally shine in all its pink glory.
So, about that tub. From an aesthetic perspective, I wanted that beautiful little tub to be the star of the room. The current pink floor tile that attempted, but failed, to match the the pink of the tub was all kinds of wrong and it needed to be replaced with something fun and modern, but subdued enough to allow the focus to still remain on the tub.
The other obstacle to overcome was to make this a bathroom for both adult and child because, for now, this is our only full bathroom. But down the road we would like it to be the bathroom for just our two little girls. Knowing this, we needed it to be sophisticated enough to serve as our only full bath, but fun enough so that a few years down the road it can be easily turned into a kid’s bath. So, white mermaid scallop tile with a modern charcoal grout next to millenial pink tub it was. Sophistication: CHECK! Fun Factor: CHECK!
Now, onto the walls. I always admired Johanna Gaines infatuation with shiplap, but after the millionth room she coated from floor to ceiling in shiplap it started to feel a little overdone to me..even dull. I knew I wanted to use it in the space, but I thought white shiplap would make the entire space feel drained of life. I also knew the shiplap would abut the pink tub and there is no coupling that makes me swoon more than seeing pink living next to black. So I slapped some Farrow and Ball Off-Black on that cheap Lowe’s shiplap and BOOM. My heart felt full.
But no space will ever feel truly complete without some serious vintage touches. Yes, the pink art deco tub checked that box in some ways, but the space was still feeling a little too, well, impersonal, if you will. So, I turned to the cabinet to inject this space with some really good vintage vibes. We were able to find an old, mid-century dresser that had the perfect dimensions and bones to work as a base for our sinks and storage for alllll the things. All it needed was some new hardware and some of my husband’s handiwork to translate the look I had in my brain into the REAL THING.
I found some fab Anthropologie hardware (that, apparently, I bought them out of) that picked up the gold in the Restoration Hardware faucets, and the black in the shiplap of the walls and the grout of the floors and shower. I found a piece of quartz from a scrapyard at my favorite marble and granite place, some great semi-recessed sinks from Build.com to give the entire piece some dimension and there we had it: an awesome, mostly vintage piece that gave this space some SOUL.
The large gold mirror was an antique piece I had salvaged long ago, but we lucked out that the dimensions were exactly the same as the cabinet.
But there was still a little something missing…. and it was just a bit more color. I still wanted to that pink tub to shine, so I decided to pick up the same shade of pink and repeat it on the ceiling with the semi-flushmount. Sazerac Stitches was kind enough to customize the piece, and put these peachy pink shades on one of their awesome fixtures.
Oh, and in the end, I felt the space needed just a touch more color and a touch more vintage …. so I killed two birds with one stone by snagging this June and Blue vintage beauty.
And there we had it…. the bathroom of our dreams for much less than we had expected to pay… and just a touch more than we could actually afford! In other words, our first true foray into the world of DIY home renovation….
We’re gearing up for a major kitchen reno here at Casa Pearce and what better way to begin the process than look to Instagram for inspiration. But, let’s also be honest, I’ve kept a folder of kitchen inspiration for about a decade now and have been dreaming of my first kitchen reno for pretty much my entire life.
Since we are gutting to the studs, there are so many details to be covered, and I’ll be taking inspiration from tons of different sources. From color, to tile, to layout and lighting, that folder I just mentioned is so large it would probably make your head burst if you saw it. But, I’m going to show you some of the highlights that are really going to inspire this reno for us. Today’s post will focus on the element that is the starting point for every room I ever create: COLOR.
For those of you who have been following me for a while on Instagram, you know that color is my middle name. I simply can’t live without it. But, it’s also very difficult to do well. When it comes to color, it’s important to use it as a design element to accentuate a space, and to make sure it’s not overdone. I want you to come out of my rooms remembering how all of the details worked together, instead of only being able to recall “GREEN” or “BLUE,” or worse yet, “I CAN’T EVEN RECALL A COLOR BECAUSE THERE WERE TOO MANY.”
Take this stunning kitchen by Barlow & Barlow above, for instance. The oranges in the books complement the blues in the cabinetry, but the greys and whites accentuate the architectural elements, allowing them to shine. There is so much interest in this space, and while color is a defining feature, it doesn’t steal the show.
The next major inspiration shot comes from Devol Kitchens. The greens in this space set against the gorgeous marble countertops and backsplash just make me DEAD. Like, nothing will ever be this good again so I may as well just throw in the towel.
There was something I read recently about designing with color, and it was that it was important to repeat the same color at ground level, eye level, and above eye level. I walked around my rooms and realized that I do this, not because it is a design rule, but just because that makes sense to me. I don’t even do it purposefully, it just happens. That’s exactly what I love about this kitchen. The entire design doesn’t seem contrived by some formula, but the color, texture and overall design just seem to come together in the most natural of ways.
So, that’s the goal for our kitchen reno: bold color that doesn’t overwhelm, and will come together to create a seamless landscape that doesn’t quite defy the rules of interior design, but just follows them without trying to.
Kate is a vintage obsessed, interior-styling guru who can't leave her home without someone asking her why both her daughters have red hair. If you're looking for her, the nearest estate sale is your best bet.
Kate loves to style interiors with vintage finds and can often be found arguing that coffee is an adequate supplement for vitamins.