Most Popular: Before & After

Before & After: Biscuit

We closed Biscuit last week for some much-needed updates. When we opened the store my main focus was on getting the bedding line out, and the retail side of the store was completely secondary. I still laugh thinking about what we actually had in the store when we opened…A few books, jewelry made by my friends, some refinished furniture pieces, Gray’s art…And that’s about it.

This past week we did a complete overhaul. Wallpapered, added displays, repainted. It’s a whole new Biscuit…

Our front vignette before:

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And after:



Euro Shams & Duvet: Jenny Floral, Standard Shams: Katie Red & White, Sheets: Jamie Blue, Coverlet: Cornflower Blue. Jenny & Katie prints available online soon.


When we opened this space was a living vignette:

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And now:



IMG_0088Euro Shams: Coral border, Standard Shams: Amber in Mint,  St. Tropez Throw,  Duvet Alaina- Alaina and Amber available online soon.

This was our second bedroom vignette when we opened:

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Which we have now turned into a sort of “mens” section. Or at least a more masculine-friendly bedroom, with mens gift items.IMG_0175



Then, finally, this last little section was a dining room when we opened:DSC_0250-Edit copy

And now…




What do you think of our new Biscuit?

Before & After: Pete’s Office

Someone asked the other day if Pete was going to have any say in his office decor.

Well of course he does!

It is his office.

And this isn’t really a before & after. It’s a before and during- at best.

Pete’s office is a wee nook off of the playroom on the third floor. And before you roll your eyes at my generosity on giving Pete a large closet off the playroom in the attic to call his own- trust me. This was a major win for Pete and a big loss for me. We both work from home quite a bit, and while our house is lovely, there aren’t many private spaces. With a toddler running around working at the kitchen table is almost as productive as not working at all. So let’s all feel happy for Pete that he got the office.

The owners twice before us used it as a little workout room:

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Not a bad use for the space.
And then the sellers we bought from used it as…



And now.

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It has taken us many arrangements to figure out the best way to make it work.Screen Shot 2013-03-25 at 7.57.22 AMWonk.O.Lah.

When I asked Pete what he wanted in there, we looked through my Pinterest to see what struck his fancy.

He liked this space:a7d1bdc54a1dda98df5b49aeff5500bd

j.randall powers

And wanted that to be the inspiration. His dad collects Native American artifacts and I think the gentlemanly vibe with those elements appealed to him.

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When you walk in to the room you have this little nook straight ahead. For now it houses some filing cabinets and a printer/workstation. Not exactly the perfect view to walk in to, but it is kind of nice that it is out of the way from the rest of the room.Screen Shot 2013-03-25 at 7.57.26 AM

We tried the desk in all different arrangements, before settling on putting it against the closet doors that lead to no mans land.

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We are going to get a bulletin board made to fill that space with a great frame around it so that you don’t even see the closet doors any more. Right now he is using a chair from the dining room while we have a vintage desk chair upholstered in a great orange canvas-y number. The desk I found for Pete at a local antique store and is everything.

That bench below the window has to stay because it is an air duct. We decided to build in some shelving around it to give it more purpose. Now I am thinking the trim needs to painted out in a glossy/slightly tweaked version of the walls (Alligator Alley- Benjamin Moore) kind of like this:6479e06919755ea7291a0e1581e33abe

Looking toward the door there is this little wall space. Too wittle for most substantial pieces, but too big for nothing. Pete found a cabinet that fits perfectly on 1stDibs that is on its way.

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Then over on the other side from the desk I am going to have a chair and a half/loveseat situation made for

We are changing out the light to a flush mount. In the original arrangement it hung over the desk and worked, now it’s like a heat lamp on Pete’s sweet head.

He doesn’t know what he wants to use the dormer space for. At first we thought we would put up a curtain or screen and just use it for storage, but there isn’t a lot of natural light up here and I am not sure we want to lose that.

Then on the walls Pete has collected some fun/special/manly items over the years that he is going to fill it to the brim with.


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Like this. Total more is more.

What do y’all think of the direction we have going on here? Thoughts on “man rooms” in general? Do you like seeing the process or is it unsatisfying seeing the middle steps without the true “after” reveal?

Before & After: Playroom

Guess what! Guess what! Guess what!

I am doing a sale on One Kings Lane today. I’ll let you know when it is live.ie0_18274

I am mildly thrilled.

We put together lots of my personal treasures and pieces from the store at extry special prices, and there are a lot of other bossy folks with treats as well, so stay tuned on how to get you some.

To celebrate we have our playroom before & after, which y’all haven’t seen yet.

You might recall our family room in Chicago:


Which I then basically recreated in Austin:


With the major upgrade, IMHO, of a gold disco ball.


The sectional was a custom piece I had made for our family room in Chicago, and oddly enough the dimensions have fit absolutely perfectly in each new space. The ottoman is a storage ottoman from Ballard that I had upholstered in some tiger velvet. The rug there was a Jonathan Adler custom color that unfortunately got destroyed with baby/dog stains.

Lesson learned for the next time.

The footprint of this  house is much smaller than our Austin home, but we have a usable third floor in the converted attic space. This was the space before:


We didn’t end up changing all that much construction-wise. Added and changed out some lighting, painted, redid the carpet but…phdoto 1

It doesn’t feel like the same room at all.


Looking back towards the stairs and Pete’s office 4

Same view after.

Now you haven’t seen this room yet because it still needs a lot of work, and was even less ready for its closeup for the Matchbook shoot. But I figured now we are all in this together, and maybe y’all would like to see the work in progress?

So let me backtrack a bit.

I wanted the room to be fun and more than a little kooky. It is on the third floor, separate from the rest of the house so I felt like we could let ‘er rip without being too offensive.

The color combination in our previous family room iterations was one of my first balls out color experiments that I really loved. The idea came from the vintage circus poster that lives in the room, where I pulled the powdery gray/blue from the background and the intense red/orange trim color from some of the illustrations.

I wanted to do another equally unexpected color combination that maybe pushed the boundaries of appealing design- but was totally stumped.

The room is obviously pretty dark with very little natural light and super low ceilings. I think the way it was before with all the white just drew attention to that. There was really no way to make it not be a dark attic space, so I thought we should go for it and make it a full on circus tent. That way the ceilings/light would actually be a plus, seem more purposeful, and it would be fun for 4-2

The plan for the whole room eventually came from this carpeting.

We had to have wall to wall carpet, which is nerve wracking in a family space where spills and stains are inevitable. Like I said, the rug we had over our carpeting in Austin got completely destroyed by Grace and the dogs. This carpeting is perfection. You could pour an entire bottle of red wine on it and never see it. Not to mention it had a bit of the blue from our couch we would be reusing here.

It also worked with the WaterForElephantsBut LessTragicFancyGypsyCircus feel I was going for.


I also love Tim Walker’s work and have been consulting his books heavily for inspiration lately.

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This portrait he did of Vivienne Westwood was particularly appealing to me and stayed in my minds eye when I was planning for this space.
So back to the overall room.

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I promise I will have it photographed in a way that will do it justice once it is finished. Please ignore the one lightbulb that is out. #reallife.

This was my chance to let my freak flag fly with the color, and ultimately I decided on a chartreuse I pulled from the carpet inspired by the Tim Walker picture.

Which was definitely a risky decision as chartreuse can go baby poop very quickly and this room has terrible light.

And I know it’s not for everyone- Pete actually hates it. But I adore it. It is just the right amount of ugly, which to me makes it that much more beautiful.

I toyed with the idea of actually tenting the ceiling with fabric, but that seemed a little intense for the playroom. So I settled on the stripes in blue from the couch. There was a lot going on in a small space and although another color would have ramped it up even more, sometimes I gotta hold myself back. And I am glad for it.

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Originally I wanted the stripes to meet the walls and then have a faux sort of swag/scallop at that seem, and I still might do that, but they got the stripes up first and were going to go back and add the detail and I kind of liked that it was a bit more modern and not so obvious without it. So I decided to wait and decide.

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The bedrooms in the house are pretty small, and there isn’t much room for toys/playing so the playroom gets a lot of…play.

I didn’t want to over decorate it or make it too precious that it wouldn’t be for the kids anymore.

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We reused the furniture from the previous playrooms, and just added some ikea shelving.

On the “work in progress” front…

The room has these two nooks I want to do something really special with.

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I have been waiting to see more of what Grace likes to do and what she might find magical, and like I said I don’t want to do too much here so that she can’t make it her own. But I an thinking in that nook where I am currently curating piles of books/crap in a very intentional and artistic way…That I want to have a cushion made and throw a bunch of pillows and stuffed animals in there for snuggly time. And maybe do some shelves on the walls for books? Like this:

Then in this 2-1I’m not sure. I think I will let Grace decide.phodto 5

The circus poster made its way in here again. There is so much going on in the picture, it’s like a really beautiful Where’s Waldo and Grace loves staring at 2-2Then over by the couch, it backs up to the railing over the stairs and I need to have some sort of barrier made so that bubbles don’t go tumbling over. I am thinking about doing an upholstered (perhaps chartreuse leather???) screen so that it is removable if we need to fit something up the narrow stair case.

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We really like it up here.

It still has a ways to go, but what do you think so far? Do you hate the chartreuse as much as Pete does, or do you kind of dig the ugly/beautiful? Any thoughts on my remaining to-dos in here?

Pete’s office is up on the third floor as well, which is also a work in progress that I will show you later this week.

wall colors: Paddington Blue & Flower Power both Benjamin Moore.

Gracie’s Room + Guest Room: Before, BEFORE & After

I found more before before pictures of these two rooms. Pictures of what they were like when we bought it, and then pictures of the spaces when our sellers bought it.

(And then next week we have our last two rooms- which haven’t been shown anywhere yet- the playroom and Pete’s office)


You might remember this room from our house in Austin.


Our Austin room. It was originally the idea for Gracie’s nursery when I thought she was a boy, and it is one of my favorite’s ever so we decided to remix it.

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This is what it looked like when our sellers bought it…

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And when we bought it from 1

And now. Same angle as the two befores. We went with white curtains this time because the Anthro ones I had in Austin they don’t carry anymore, and the Austin ones we left with the house. Both previous owners had the bed next to that far window. Which doesn’t really make sense to me. Don’t you typically want to wake up to a view of a window instead of a door? 2012-12-09 21.50.55

As with the other guest bedroom, I have held off a bit on really doing this one up to see what our future child situation is. In Austin I knew we would be waiting awhile after Gracie to start thinking about more babies, but I think it might be time soonish to give her a sibling, and it seemed silly to invest in new pieces when so much could change the plan.

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We reused pretty much everything from the room in Austin. The side tables were the ones we had in our family room in Austin, new lamps, same headboard from Chicago and Austin. The rug is our living room rug from Chicago. The art was from MeCox and we had it in Austin.

Obviously the bed got some Biscuit goodness.

2012-12-09 21.46.54The Paul, The Jamie, and our red accent which will be available again in Season 2.

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The constellation wallpaper, which was the inspiration for the whole room originally. It is from Ralph Lauren and the constellations glow in the dark. In Austin we had a brass star flush mount light in this room, but we moved this guy in here and it charges the glow in the dark wallpaper sooo much better. Magical.

I have to say, I really much prefer the smaller scale of the bedrooms in this house. I know everyone wants bigger these days, but I am not sure why? Bigger closets, sure. Bigger pantries and storage spaces, but a bedroom should feel warm and cozy and it is hard to do that with so much room.

However…Gracie’s room is quite snug. Here is a reminder of the lap of luxury giant room she had in Austin

Which we basically concentrated down into her current room.

Here is the space before before:

hr2705314-16 copyWhen our sellers bought the house.

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Our sellers used the space as an office.

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And now. That is the same angle as in those two pictures…

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oHay Grace!

Pulled back a bit. We still need to put up her shades, but she has shutters now. The original inspiration for the room came from that canopy fabric originally by Paule Marrot that Brunschwig discontinued and so I had it made. The rug is Jonathan Adler, the glider is from Lee Industries, pouf from Furbish, dresser is a vintage piece I got in college. Crib is from Art For Kids.

The room is so.small.

As you can see, the back wall where one owner had the bed and the other had that big ol’ mirror now has a door to her bathroom now. This room, for some reason, reallllyyyy took me awhile to figure out. When we first moved in I had the bed and the dresser switched.

Like this:
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Which made no sense and the room felt even smaller. Having the canopy there blocked the openness the windows provide. And then the dresser on the other side was flanked by the tall red etageres from Furbish, so it was a lot of vertical space being taken up on both sides of the room.

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Switching the crib and dresser made it sooo much better. We reused her canopy from Austin without hemming it, since we knew it would be going over a daybed again soon.

Everyone keeps asking me what we are going to do for her big girl room, and I am like, have you seen her?!? She is a teensy tiny baby. Leave me alone. But I guess it is almost time? What do I have, until she is two? So like I said we have debated keeping this room as is and moving her into one of the other rooms in a few months, but to me this will always be Gracie’s fabric, and I really just want to work with what we have and add another layer.

Inspired by this bedroom from Elle Decor (searching for the designer now):Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 8.22.02 AM

Right now I am thinking upholstering her wall in raspberry buffalo check, and switching out her current dresser with this one from Biscuit. It is bigger and sturdier than hers, and I think the green will stand up to the upholstered walls a bit better. We will replace the crib with a daybed…And that’s really all I know right now. This plan will change about 100 times before I actually do anything.

But as always let me know if you have any questions. I am going to do a big post tomorrow on some questions I have received on color etc. so lemme know!

Before & After: Guest Bedroom (in progress)

This guest bedroom is still a work in progress.

Remember the guest bathrooms?

As I mentioned there was only one bathroom upstairs for the three bedrooms, and the existing bathroom was really far from the bedroom we speak of today. Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 8.08.25 AM

As you can clearly see, you would have to be an athlete to make it to and fro the bathroom from the guest room. Not to mention that one wee bathroom is not going to work once those bedrooms are filled with babies. hr2924042-36

Plus, although the room was big, the dimensions made it seem smaller because the ultra long length made it seem really narrow.


And all of the windows meant it was tricky to place furniture.

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So we decided to carve off some space from the end of the room to create a Jack & Jill bathroom that would share with Gracie’s room.

IMG_1089So before…

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And after. Those pictures are taken at the same angle. The windows to the left are the same, and you can see we closed up the window to the right and made a smaller window that is next to the tub. The wall the headboard is on is the bathroom wall.

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This is next to the door and closet.

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And this is the angle looking from the bed.

A lot of you ask how I choose what to do in a renovation. I really don’t want to do anything structural if I don’t have to. I did a little mini-reno on the house I lived in during college and we had to fix the foundation and the walls cracked like crazy and we fixed them but the house still settles for years and the walls will keep cracking and have to be repaired. Just not worth it unless the price is amazing.

I think the projects in this house were ideal. I can’t imagine buying a house and not at least wanting to repaint everything. Even if I liked what was there, to me painting is kind of like cleaning before you move it. I don’t want to live with someone else’s breath on the walls. Is that strange? Probably. But a fresh coat, to me, is a given.

Then kitchens and baths- I loved that I got to keep the original tile in the one bathroom, and that I got to start over in the master. Kitchens and baths tend to be the things that need the most updating- or that updating takes the most effort to do- and so I actually prefer when a house has outdated bathrooms/kitchens because at least I am not going to be wasteful in wanting to change things. I would much rather renovate an existing bathroom than put one in. Getting the proper pipes and plumbing to the proper space is expensive and intrusive. Our last two houses have been pier and beam which does make things a lot easier.

Moving a wall- so long as it isn’t load bearing- is really easy and we are hoping we can move some wall action in this room quickly/painlessly sometime soon.

I didn’t really think about the decor of this room all that much. If we have another girl this will be the next nursery, and it seemed pointless to really do this room up knowing I would want to refluff it for a baby. I also forgot to factor in the moulding around a door when I did my initial plans, and I thought a full size bed would fit where the twin is. But no such luck. As the room is now it is super choppy. And where the bed is now is really the only place you can put it. However…Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 8.08.20 AM

If we moved the closet to where the bed is now, I think it would open the whole room up. You could put a queen size bed in front of the window- which would be nice for privacy anyway because that window is huge and looks out onto the street and it would be a bummer to have to have the blinds drawn on it at all times. Or if it were the nursery you could but a daybed there- we have one in storage from Gracie’s room in Austin- and still fit a crib as well.

Decor-wise I painted the walls Mint Julep by Benjamin Moore. I thought I was going to be able to use my great-grandmothers burl wood headboard but it was a full, so instead I made this red tufted guy with some leftover velvet I had. IMG_9648 copyThe wall shelves were found on 1st dibs. I knew even with the full size bed there wouldn’t really be room for a bedside table, and this piece has little drawers and room to place a glass of water. IMG_9672 copy

On the shelves are the Beatrix Potter collection I had in my bedroom growing up, as well as some special items people have given Gracie that are a bit too fragile to live with her right now. Designing the initial plan for the room I wanted to balance the preciousness of those items and the vintage headboard with some kookier, less feminine elements.

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When I saw this rug at Furbish I knew it would be perfect. It had some of the mint on the walls in it, with a lot of black and other unexpected colors. I love it in there. I think we are going to add curtains in a print, and recover the glider as well.

16429-001China Rose would be so good.

Part of me wants to just go ahead and rip out the closet and get it over with, but part of me says we should wait and see what happens with our, ahem, family planning in case that makes me rethink the plan.

In closing today, Pete and I started Mad Men a few weeks ago. I know I know. We don’t know how we haven’t watched it until now yet either. But we are flying through it and are on Season 2 now.


In the Season 1 finale Don gives Peggy this advice:

“Think about it deeply. Immerse yourself in it. Then forget about it, put it out of your mind. And an idea will float right in front of your face”

Or something like that.

And I think in terms of a creative process, that is pretty close to what I do.

When doing a whole house, I don’t really come up with a whole color scheme or style at once.

I start with one room, and I really think about it. I am a really tactile learner, so I usually have to draw it out and draw in different furniture plans. I make lists of ideas. I stare at pinterest images, I pour over fabric selections, sometimes I select one thing like the curtain fabric or the rug or the headboard.

And then I move on and don’t really think about it for awhile.

And what I have found is that after I put it out of my mind, the idea for the room really does just sort of come to me. Like with the Furbish rug, I would never have said “Oh, I need a red and black and yellow kilim in here”. And if I had been looking for it I probably would never have chosen it. But I was looking through Furbish for a client and it just popped out at me.

I think creativity works better when it is spontaneously recalled rather than forced. 0hOAb

You’re welcome.