We actually built the home we are now lucky to call home a few years ago…but we didn’t build it for ourselves – we built it as our first and one and only spec house. We sold the house very quickly to a wonderful client – but after a few years the house came on the market for sale…and with a twist of fate we became the lucky buyers.

Having built the house only a few years ago, there was nothing that needed to be done to the house, but we didn’t build it for ourselves, so now that we owned it we decided we had to put our personal stamp on our house. We knew immediately of the small changes we could make to the house to give it our design stamp. Anders being from Sweden and my many travels there has provided infinite inspiration and appreciation for the Gustavian style – which is actually a beautiful blend of Swedish and French country elements.

We troweled on the softest blue on our walls and painted the woodwork one of my favorite Farrow & Ball colors – Elephant’s Breath. A couple of buying trips to Round Top, Texas provided the resources to replace all of the lighting in the house with European antiques – mostly Swedish.

Our kitchen updated just with a softer palette of color, beautiful lighting and special hardware. We found the antique cow panels in Round Top, and we both thought they would be beautiful incorporated into a vent hood. I love them in this spot.

The biggest change we made to the master bathroom was to change the color of the woodwork to a softer patina gray with silver leaf accents, and we replaced the beige travertine stone to carerra marble – lots of subway tile…The mirrors over the vanity are Swedish and fabulous!

Our living room is just the right size for the way we live and entertain. We built the mirror using antique Swedish architectural elements we purchased from A. Tyner Antiques a few years ago, it is the perfect scale for our two-story space.

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2 - 07 - 2011

Swedish Twist: Part Four

Another picture if the installed beams. The center one is enormous and perfect scale for this grand “great room!”

No one likes to look at the ugly returns in the ceiling, but I love how they transformed theirs into another beautiful feature.

And old door frame, now perfectly placed for the refrigerator surround.

A close up of a section of the kitchen cabinets. Old construction meets new.

The cook top and ovens are in!

Your first peek into the bathroom off the kitchen, I love the new onyx slab on this antique cabinet.

A close up of how they put the onyx slab in the antique cabinet, so it’s flush with the beautiful old wood, “old meets new.”

I love this “head knocker,” a fun old cabinet above the toilet.

Laundry room, where the sink will go

Above the sink, cabinets on either side, such unique details!

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Anders and I are truly blessed when we work with a client who has a uniquely wonderful style and knows how to put their personality stamp on their home, and at the same time being an absolute delight to work with.

This particular project was very interesting for us because it was not at all our typical project. Often when we do a major renovation to a home, we are working with a home that is at least 35- years or old. This home was only 7 years old, but it definitely had several design and aesthetic issues, and the floor plan was not at all optimal for the way our client lives in their home.

Our main goals for this project were to create additional living space without adding additional square footage to the home, create a more open and unified floor plan, and add architectural interest and significance with a new color palette to all of the spaces. If you have followed our design blogs you have seen the wonderful blogs posted by our energetic and talented colleague Whitney as she chronicled the different stages of this project….we thought you might like to see a final post.

We actually swapped the location of the dining room – we thought it would be wonderful to have the fireplace in the dining room….of course today it really isn’t a room – because we took away all of the walls that once divided these previous spaces. The carved panels above the fireplace are the most outstanding wood carvings we have ever used….after we built the bar, the opposite side of the room needed some more weight….the use of these panels definitely accomplished that…we finished the panels in one of my favorite colors by Farrow & Ball – Pigeon - with lots of silver leaf and layers of different glazes. What a backdrop for that red Buddha and the fabulous 18th century wooden candelabras.

We thought it made more sense to have a sitting room next to the bar…so that’s where we moved it – next to the Grand Piano which now sits in an entirely different place as well. The bar is truly exquisite…I cannot believe our clients actually trusted us to take two fabulous antique pieces and literally chop them apart….our vision was to create a bar area that would become a focal point for the space – be beautiful enough to be seen when you entered in the front door, and look like something we salvaged out of an old European hotel. Anders is still waiting for the first martini but we know that’s coming soon.

You know that I’m working my way to the kitchen … and in this house the new kitchen is truly the heart of the home. What was once a very small and impersonal kitchen is now twice as big as its former footprint, and is dripping with too many details to mention and all of the functionality that any cook could wish for. The two islands were a special find….old French pastry tables. We left them untouched except where we built in lots of appliances and added the stone tops. When we first found them and our curiosity forced us to open the steel doors they aroma of chocolate came wafting out….how could we resist….we said “these are the two islands” …. And here they are!

We really try to make every refrigerator and freezer look unique yet fit the style of the kitchen. We had the space to go up high so I thought the cubbies for the baskets would just offer more storage…and how about the antique French mirror on the doors – love to use this in a room with no windows to capture the light reflecting around the space. The terra cotta pipe was incorporated around the wine refrigeration to offer more wine storage – but I also wanted to incorporate the terra cotta element into the space. It is amazing how this pipe keeps the red wine the perfect temperature.

The cobalt blue Ilve range set the tone for the kitchen – so we knew the vent hood had to be fab! We have never worked with corbels this size – ginormous! The antique iron backsplash was also a special find – 18th century from France. We built the entire vent hood out of various architectural elements – guaranteed uniqueness!

Why didn’t we have sinks like this when our kids were babies? This sink is so functional…the lower cabinet doors were a design I came up with because my client love some carved panels we found for her….I decided to use all of them to create her doors and drawers with. The overdoor above the sink was a fun find on a buying trip…Anders thought it would be perfect above the sink on the curved wall. We used honey onyx on all of the walls in the kitchen….cut into diamonds.

The kitchen is much more open to the breakfast room now – but again these aren’t rooms just open spaces styled and fitted to the new spaces. This hutch was equal to the French pastry tables in the “must have” factor. When we saw this piece which is actually quite large we just had to have it…..it is very old and was taken out of a farmhouse in France. It is a rustic piece – the bins look like they were used to store grains – heck there were holes in the back of the hutches….I could just see chickens laying their eggs in this piece – but I don’t really think so. The glass is original and very wavy – beautiful! This piece is used not only for every day dishes, but large serving pieces, and my client’s cook books. The urns on top are French reproductions….need some more!

We added the wood paneling to all of these spaces to gain the rich intimacy we get with wood – the kind of feeling you just can’t get from drywall or sheetrock. I used the color Old White from the Farrow & Ball line of colors…it is the perfect color palette for the house - we used it everywhere on the doors and trim throughout the house, this combined with the buff colored tucco finish on the walls is soft, and forgiving - with a life of its own. We brought in reclaimed beams from an old barn in Missouri and the mantle is also a creation using massive architectural elements. The andirons are the best we have ever seen, and purchased on a buying trip with our client.

Our client asked for a spa-like bathroom using soft colors….after a complete reconfiguration of the space this is the new bathroom. I limited the color palette in this room to only 3 colors….celadon green, a medium blue and a soft white.

A dreamy bedroom – now twice as big – again through the elimination of walls and windows to get a better floorplan for furniture. I used the antique Swedish herbariums from Swedish Dekor to build the TV cabinet and bi-fold screen – want the TV – just don’t want to see it when it’s not being used.

This project from start to finish was truly a labor of love and excitement. This Spring I will post a blog about the outdoor spaces…stay tuned…our first Koi pond will be unveiled.

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As a design / build team, my husband and I are tasked with nearly every project we do to design bathroom spaces that are highly functional and test the senses in beauty and uniqueness. Whether it’s new construction or a renovation, bathrooms come second only to the kitchen in importance to a home’s value.

We began re-purposing old European sideboards and buffets years ago as bathroom vanities for master and powder baths. We were always trying to replicate the look of an old beautiful antique so we just started using them.  At first, this concept gave our trim carpenters and plumbers fits, as they couldn’t understand what we were trying to accomplish. They only saw that we were about to destroy a beautiful antique. Today we have mastered the techniques needed to quickly take an old table or French or English buffet and make it a wonderful vanity….complete with a marble or granite counter top, a sink and beautiful faucets with running water, and yes storage space underneath.

What makes a bathroom functional?

We start with a great shower space and size – as beautiful as free-standing tubs are – what we all use every day is a shower. The shower needs to be large, have multiple shower or spray heads and always, always an adjustable slider bar for one of the shower heads. The showers needs to have plenty of “out-of-site” shelves and niches for all the bath products we use today. Benches to sit on and a shelf for shaving legs is a must.

Tank-less Hot Water Heaters – never ending hot water for showers and the soaking tub.

A separate water closet for the toilet is preferred when space permits. Vanities and mirrors need to be designed in such a way to allow for comfortable and adequate functionality of the space.  Makeup vanities or tables are a luxury we like to add.

What makes a bathroom beautiful?

The most important element is the design you achieve with the use of tile and stone. Today’s combinations, size, color and texture of tile and stone are literally unlimited…so designing a beautiful shower today has never been easier.  We like to mix the size and shapes of the stone we use…we want people to walk into the bathroom and feel compelled to touch the material because it is so interesting.

The finish of the fixtures is another important element. Fixtures help define the personality of the room – from traditional, European or contemporary – the choice you make will definitely help put your stamp on the room. We love to use polished nickel it has a warm luster and classic look that never goes out of style.

Frame-less glass enclosures for the shower add beauty and function to the shower. We love to use arched doors and sometimes put a design etched into the glass on the door for added interest.

Mirrors and lighting are critical to the overall feel – we try and find unique mirrors and sconces that harmonize together to give a unique design and ‘wow’ factor. One of our favorite treatments is to hang an antique or reproduction mirror on a mirror along with the sconces. This treatment is much more beautiful and interesting that just hanging up a mirror and having the sconces coming out of the wall. We always hang a chandelier over the tub preferably with the tub being in a niche or alcove in the room – this brings a lot of elegance to the space.

Freestanding soaking tubs will make a statement in any bathroom. Again, today’s options on tubs are limitless and this is another element that dictates the style and feel of the bathroom design.

Finally, little details like the art, rugs, towel hooks, and trays to keep things organized all add up and provide the finishing touches to the space. We created dozens of bathrooms from large master spa-like areas to the tiniest bathroom you can squeeze into – but we still follow these principals and it always works for us.

Details – here you see them at work…these elements add to the beauty of this wonderful bathroom.


Swedish Bathroom

In this bathroom we used an old Swedish buffet as the vanity, and Michelangelo marble in the shower - we found a vessel sink in the same marble. Antique Swedish iron sconces from A. Tyner Antiques, and two large framed black ammonites play off of the black in the Michelangelo marble.


Swedish Design

We like to incorporate “head knocker” cabinets into our bathrooms and water closets…who doesn’t need the storage – and we always make it a design statement at the same time. And tile…how about this fabulous light green onyx cut into subway tile….this is a wow!


Swedish Interiors

This is an example of a vanity designed and built as an old dresser. We added our furniture finish to it, with special hardware and polished nickel faucet this area makes a classic statement.

We love to use subway tile – and we love to use carerra marble cut into subway tile! This beautiful powder bathroom has all of the design elements….beautiful vanity, vessel sink, gorgeous mirror and light fixture….timeless elegance.


Swedish Decor

This large master bathroom has it all – we had enough space to incorporate a special niche created from antique columns. This tub by Waterworks is everyone’s favorite! I kept the palette soft and Swedish!


Swedish Decorators

And remember even the tiniest bathroom can be fabulous – use every inch – and don’t miss one single detail – they all add up!

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