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!

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

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.

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

Have you ever imagined purchasing a home, and transforming it exactly the way you dreamed? After walking into the foyer of this magnificent home, you feel an instant gratification of grandeur and fantasy. Every corner is detailed with artistic perfection, and no square foot is left behind, this house is a perfect Jewel Box. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to document the transformation, enjoy the pictures below:

The entry-hall and grand stair case: the paneling was added to add some drama and detail.

Formal living fire-place was simple cast stone, now upgraded with intricate wood paneling, enhanced with the Swedish color palate.

I can’t wait to see where this goes…

The bar…

This bar is made from a black forest antique hutch, some of it is original antique, and some is brand new. Can you tell which is which? I can’t….

I can get lost in all the details, one of the characteristics I love about European antiques.

The study doors, first coat.

Pantry doors.

Wine fridge surround: they took terra cotta pipe, and transformed it into wine storage!

Refrigerator surround, just the bones.


A peak of some of the kitchen cabinet doors: steel doors from French pastry tables.

Ceiling detail in powder bath.

Powder bath sink.

Cabinet in powder bath, this piece reminds me of a fairy tale.

These rosettes on the drawers are just another example of the endless details.

Not your average laundry room.

More paint coats to come.

Doors to Master Suite.

Ceiling in Master Suite.

Master Suite continued. 

The detail takes hours, but worth every minute. 

“His” vanity in master bath. 

“Her” vanity. 

"Her" medicine cabinet.

A view of the kitchen from the family room.

Upstairs guest, there wasn’t room for side tables, so they just built this beautiful surround, so Swedish!

A close up of the upstairs surround.

An upstairs bath vanity.

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All My Best -

There is something very special about vintage Swedish herbariums – they are irresistible!  Of course they have been used for decades, but by only a few who understood what they are.  I first really started paying attention to them on our buying trips where antique dealers like A. Tyner Antiques would bring scores of them to shows like Marburger Farms at Round Top, Texas.   We bought several for a client’s home – we weren’t exactly sure where we would use them – we just knew we wanted to incorporate them – and would find a perfect place to display them.  We bought 16 – each of them unique and from the early 1900’s.  As the months that we were completing their renovation went by, I would walk through their home and imagine where we would place them; in the end we put them over a long French pastry table of carerra marble in the master bedroom.  We hung those 4 across and 4 high – it was a spectacular display – and I think about it all the time – this definitely created a soft “wow”!  I had Swedish herbarium envy – I wanted some for myself.

In another project, I used 12 botanicals over a fabulous French sideboard that we refinished in one of my favorite colors from Farrow & Ball Paint  called Mouse’s Back with antiqued silver leaf accents.  This room was filled with lovely French and Swedish antiques and beautiful upholstered pieces using various Vervain Fabrics.  This home has very high ceilings so finding a single piece of art that would be the room’s focal point was challenging.   By using the botanical art in a large grouping I was able to achieve a very high impact – but the soft colors of the vintage herbariums kept the wall very simple and incredibly elegant and worked beautifully with both the French and Swedish pieces in her home.

Swedish Herbarium

I have a client who asked me to design a room around her collection of botanicals.  Their “keeping room” was formerly a little stuffy for this active family, so as we renovated her home we modified her interior to be more casual by introducing some Swedish antiques and collectibles into the updated design.  We refinished and reupholstered most of her furniture using a much lighter and softer color palette and had fun changing the personality of the room from stuffy English to casual Swedish.  In this setting, I used 8 Swedish botanicals hung in perfect alignment over a Swedish bench purchased from Leslie Taylor Home in Dallas and flanked on either side by two wonderful antique Swedish lamps.  This room was transformed into a much more inviting and casual space.

Swedish Botanical

Botanicals always seem to look just right wherever I use them.  They are lovely in a guest bedroom – here I hung 5 herbariums in a single row where there was a very long wall but tight space didn’t allow placement of any furniture on it.  The display of the botanical art was the perfect solution for the décor of this room – it added much needed interest but didn’t disrupt the calm effect I was trying to achieve for this space

Swedish Herbarium

We completely remodeled a home for one of our clients, and it turned out to be one of my very favorites.  We did the entire home in a casual family-friendly Swedish / eclectic mix of furnishings and accessories, and the result was really quite special.  You always get a better result when you are able to have every room in a home play off of the rooms surrounding it.  In this home, we created an open floor plan that lives large and happy due to a unified color scheme and by repeating the finishes from room to room.  We refinished several pieces of their furniture and as the lighter colors came into the interior – the use of the antique Swedish herbariums really created a cohesive and “just right” look.  Here they are hung as a focal point in the great room of this home.


Below is a casual family room located in the center of the home, while the room is used to watch TV in – it still needed to flow with the rest of the home’s interior so I used 8 botanicals aligned over the light green velvet sofa – it was just the right touch in this room and says “Swedish Style” is alive in this room too!


Look how the antique Swedish herbariums bring elegance to this special master bedroom.

Framed Plant

The vintage Swedish herbariums offered through Swedish Dekor are truly special.  Each one-of-a-kind pressed flower or herb botanical from Sweden, has its’ original hand-written Scandinavian description.  We found the perfect frame and they are matted in linen.  People who understand what these are use adjectives like “fabulous” when they see them….where will you put yours?   Send your photos!

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -