Tuesday, September 30, 2014


There's been a long standing argument in our bedroom. So far, no amount of negotiating has convinced my husband to see things from my point of view. At the root is a clash between longtime sleeping preferences and prioritization of form vs. function.  An argument about whether we should replace our current ceiling fan with an actual lighting fixture may seem trivial (and in the grand scheme of things, lets face it - it is a bit), but design mojo aside, I'm rallying for fewer mornings with a scratchy throat and stuffy nose and a little more fun in the bedroom.  Here, let lay out my argument.

We've spent countless hours and expended all of our energies upgrading and decorating more prominent areas of our home like the living room and kitchen. The back of the house is still very much a work in progress. It's funny how we push aside even rooms where we tend to really live in order to prioritize spaces typically reserved for company. Our Master bedroom has certainly suffered from this behavior. But I'm looking to change that and spice things up in that part of the house with an upcoming renovation, which will hopefully include a much longed for fixture above our bed. Let's be honest, a well designed fixture can make an impactful design statement and elevate what is often in real life, an overlooked room in the house.

My husband has a slightly different idea about what should be going on above our bed. He prefers the soft wind and dull drone of our ceiling fan overhead when he sleeps. He has slept with a fan on his face for most of his adult life, something that many here in temperate Southern California have become accustomed to. The truth is, our summers are hot and nights are frequently stale with little to no breeze away from the coast. Ceiling fans have become a necessary evil.

While fan placement above the bed is often dictated by region, sleeping preferences also play into the decision. Here my friends, is the root of the root, the bud of the bud.  If I'm being honest, I dislike the feel of the fan on my face. I wake up most mornings allergy ridden and resenting a night's sleep under the fan. Yet, I'll attest to the fact that either the air conditioner or fan is necessary on many nights- particularly during the summer.

Setting aside sleep preferences for a moment, I'd argue that our master bedroom is also a prominent room deserving of a little drama. Not only do we spend much of our evenings there, it also opens up into a second wing in our house visible from all of the other rooms.

When we first purchased the home, we were in a mad rush to meet our electrician's deadline for fixture delivery and ordered several at once - including the fan. It's the most basic white model carried by Home Depot and has worked just fine for its purposes. Had we the budget in those early days, we might have selected something a little sleeker looking. While there are far more budget-friendly choices when it comes to choosing a fixture, the truth is that well designed fans at an accessible price point are indeed harder to come by- even now four years later.

So the jury is still out on our design dilemma. I've offered up a plan that would allow my husband to have a fan blowing on his face all night long while I sleep happily under the beautiful shandy of my dreams. Its easier to think about making this change as we face the possibility of cooler weather. But will I regret it come the next heat wave. Frankly, there's a really good chance. 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7


Monday, September 29, 2014

Fresh Ideas // Spacious Bath

Spacious Bath, Fresh Ideas

Not all of us are lucky enough to have a spacious custom master bath in our home. But there is still inspiration to be borrowed from rooms unlike our own. Today, I'm featuring a modern ensuite bath designed by Richard Hallberg (photographed by Miguel Flores-Vianna) with plenty of fresh ideas that can easily be adapted to make even a smaller room feel much more grand.

Behind the tub and between the back windows, a mirrored backdrop lengthens the room and reflects natural light to keep things bright and airy. The designer emphasizes the scale of the room by placing potted trees atop the counter (a trick he uses often - see his online portfolio). Though a more conventional backsplash would have been tile or stone, here a large scale piece of art becomes a central focal point behind the bathtub instead.  The design plan stepped further out of the box with floating shelves beneath the vanity vs. traditional cupboards. Towels placed at the ready give this room a spa-like feel, as does the soft upholstered ottoman in the center of the room.

We have a much smaller master bath configuration at present and are planning to renovate sometime in the next year. The floating shelves and potted trees are two ideas I am considering incorporating to make our outdated small space feel more modern and spacious.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Changing Tides

I've felt the swell building for quite sometime now. What has long felt like just a distant rumbling or uncertainty underfoot, seems finally to be taking on some sort of shape. I'm still not exactly sure how big the change I'm sensing might be, but I am certain for once that something is indeed well.. happening.

Perhaps its part restlessness. I always feel a bit of verve and tenacity to make things happen in these early days of Fall, though the weather has not quite changed here at home (though trust me, I'm looking for any sign). Perhaps change is in the air as a natural end result to some activity or action. We are coming off of a very lazy summer spent by the pool and while it would be at the top of my list to charge off and complete a million house projects before the holidays, we've actually already accomplished most of our bigger to-dos as far as the renovation go (though there will be some to look forward to).  Perhaps its more of an internal change I'm feeling - some of the more personal things I want to accomplish in my own life that are nagging at me - a sign of age, of growth or at least a willingness to grow. 

I've also been working really hard to listen to what my body needs over these past few quiet months and have been trying to be good to myself. In the end, its maybe that just standing still for a minute or two has finally let some of the more internal stuff bubble to the surface. I'm still waiting patiently to see what it all means. 

For now, I've settled back into blogging after almost a three month hiatus. In addition to a full week's worth of posts, you may have noticed I've also tended to some housekeeping around here and spruced things up a bit. Be sure to click on the categories in the left sidebar  - they are now linked to previous posts for each!  Did you also notice that I've committed to participating once again in the One Room Challenge Linking Event that Linda hosts twice a year? You can find my past project reveal right here. I'll announce plans next Thursday for the latest room I'm overhauling.

'Til next week friends, enjoy the weekend.


Thursday, September 25, 2014


DIY Casters
 To prove to you that I'm not just having some fleeting romance with all things casters of late (see Monday's post), I pulled together a menagerie of hot wheels for you all to peruse. Gilded and polished, industrial or finished, threaded or plated - casters come in so many sizes, styles and materials, certain to suit just about any project. Here are a just a few I've come across worth consideration to uplift a table, armoire, storage basket or bar cart.  As a bonus, I've even rounded up a few DIY worthy projects across the inter-webs and linked up below.

DIY Casters

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15 


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Eat This // Pitaya (Dragonfruit) Smoothie Bowl

Dragonfruit, Smoothie Bowl

I rarely take the time to eat breakfast. For years, I've subsisted on endless cups of coffee taken at my desk until oh say 2pm when I'd find myself hightailing it to the kitchen (or drive thru) to save my stomach from eating itself. But for several weeks now, I've been working hard to break my bad eating habits and feed my body with healthy fuels - lots of whole grains and seeds, fruits and vegetables, all those good fats and plenty of water and vitamins. My new routine starts with an early breakfast to keep those hunger pangs at bay. My rotating favorite includes a colorful superfood assortment of good for me toppings against the fuchsia backdrop of a dragon fruit smoothie.  It comes together rather quickly, inexpensively and the best part is that it is a flexible compilation. Feel free to sub in your own favorite healthy toppings. 

Here's how I build my own Pitaya bowl at home:

Blend together:
1 Pitaya Plus Frozen Smoothie Pack
1 Banana
1/4 cup of Almond Milk
1 tbsp brown rice protein powder (Optional)
Ice (Optional)

Top it with:
1 tbsp Bee Pollen
1 tbsp Hemp or Chia Seeds
1tbsp Goji Berries
1/2 Banana 
2 tbsp Unsweetened Coconut

Check the Pitaya Plus website for purchase locations near you. I find mine at our local natural foods store, but juice bars far and wide are also using the stuff to make their own bright pink smoothie concoctions. Also, I know we are getting into cooler weather in some areas and a frozen smoothie bowl may not be at the top of the list on a cold morning. I forego the ice and find that it's not any chillier than a typical bowl of cold cereal. Only, this breakfast bowl is much healthier and let's just be honest, much prettier too.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

In the Works // Some Space of His Own


In the grand scheme of all things design related here at Holtwood House, I've been quite lucky. I've been lucky in the sense that I've had so much help putting projects into action and quite frankly, lucky that I've been given pretty much carte blanche when it comes to all the big (and little) design decisions along the way during our renovation. My husband has for the most part, yielded to all my minimalistic tendencies, even though his own style might just be filled with some added creature comforts.

He works out of his own home office, so he's able to retreat behind closed doors when he wants to with his own "stuff". The truth is though, we've never really finished up that room. It's fallen to the wayside while we've tended to bigger, more visually prominent projects and together, we've decided it's time to organize it up a bit and make it more him.
Vintage Cameras, Vintage Trophies
 His style tends to sway a little more Gentlemen's Club. He likes the big leather club chairs and has a growing collection of vintage - old family racing photographs, horse racing memorabilia, albums and cameras. It would be nice to take some of these things out of boxes or out from under piles for him to enjoy. 

Industrial Office, Studio

Once again in this space, he's actually been quite liberal in allowing me to take the decorating reigns. But I'm determined to make it all about him. We all need our own space in our shared homes. In fact, I have my own both in my studio and out back in the garden. Though it may not sync up as nicely with the other rooms in the house, I'm seeing this space reborn along the fine lines of industrial meets sophisticated men's club. We'll find space for all those artifacts, but steer clear of a "theme". 

Brass Lighting

He has some bulky IKEA furniture in there now. I'm dreaming of more refined pieces - perhaps a little vintage walnut. I definitely see shelves coming into play and am tossing a few DIY ideas around to see how we could work them into the mix. It's not a very big room and I'm worried about overwhelming the space with too much (cut to my minimalistic tendencies sneaking in).
Leather Chairs, Leather Couch
 He has a bit of leather going on in there now, but perhaps it's time to make it a more pronounced part of the plan. One of my favorite combinations is a dark backdrop, contrasted by warm, yummy leather.

Masculine Library

There will be some art and I've been researching ways to keep his collections well lit among the shelves. We have some other overhauls happening about the house, so I'm looking to use what we already have first and then work from there. Perhaps a bit of brass even mixed in with some of the other metals. More to come on this project that is just getting started. For now, we are still in the early stages - budgeting out costs and building out our game plan.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 (Jean De Merry) // 8

Monday, September 22, 2014

Current Fixation // Casters

Industrial coffee table

I'm a big proponent of changing things up - and often at that. Whether it's when decorating or setting up for a big party here at the house, my approach to design is fairly fluid. I usually build from what we have, move things from one room to the other (even occasionally from indoors to out) and then add a newly purchased item or two to the mix. Because I like to move things about so often, its no wonder that I'm drawn to the mobility and versatility offered by casters. 

Rolling Garden Beds

Big or small, industrial or furniture grade, these little wheels give me the ability to push a heavy piece along with little to no help and instantly transform a space. But I've also found some fringe benefits to the functionality of casters. A new set of wheels can also breathe new life into to a stale, ordinary chair, worktable or shelving unit. 

Rolling Storage

Magazines on Casters

Casters come in so many sizes and are an inexpensive way to add character and versatility to a piece of furniture. While I love the application for a coffee or dining table, these days I have my eye on a set to add to an outdoor worktable/bar and some inventive storage for our closet floors. There is nothing worse than digging through a pile of stuff in the cramped quarters of a hall closet. How easy would it be to simply pull a rolling storage bin out and sift through its contents instead?

Rolling Worktable

Rolling Island, Elle Decor

Rolling Dining Table

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 (source unknown)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

3 Things I Want to Make // Leather Details

Fall always feels like the right time to sort of straighten up and pull it together. After the lazy days of summer, I'm naturally craving some routine and organization- a refresh both in how I spend my days and here amongst the comforts of home. As I tidy up a bit and store away all remnants of summer fun, my mind is turning to incorporating a few leather details into several areas around the house. Today, I thought I'd share a few of the projects I'm kicking around that will help bring additional warmth and texture into our space.

Via Brittany Makes
I've been wanting to switch up our master for quite some time, maybe add in a comfy chair and ottoman. A mismatched leather ottoman will solve any concerns over space, or making the seating vignette overly matchy.

Via Chris Loves Julia
I'm planning out the Fall/Winter garden and with that will come some new plantings. Our garden labels need some sprucing up as well and these simple, beautiful labels by Chris Loves Julia would give our black garden pots some richness for the cooler months ahead.

Via Sofie Samuelson

Though I don't have a cart of this kind hanging around the house,  I've been looking to add one to the studio so that I can pull it about when I'm working on holiday projects (I still like to sit in front of the TV or at the kitchen table). I love that these simple little footings elevate even a basic, unfinished piece of furniture. They would also work the same magic on an unfinished table or set of chairs. 
© Holtwood Hipster. All rights reserved.
Blogger Templates by pipdig