Ryans Apt

A Master Plan for a Master Bath

February 8, 2013 | Alex

Now that I've got a master plan for Ryan's bedroom (if not any demonstrable progress towards execution), I've started to turn my thoughts to the adjacent bathroom.

The bathroom was beautifully renovated by a previous owner and further accessorized by a subsequent owner, so there are a variety of built-in design elements. For example, contemporary faux bois floor tile and mint green square glass mosaic tile co-exist with polished chrome towel racks from Restoration Hardware's Asbury Collection. I like a mix of styles, but I need to careful not to rock the boat too much in one direction or it could seem as though I'm trying to ram a modern aesthetic down the throat of a traditional space.

Here's my master plan for the bathroom-- with a few decorative accents thrown in to convey the personality of the space (if you don't have natural light for plants in your bathroom, how about these candles disguised as succulents!):


Sources  (clockwise from top left)

  1. Running Horses by Kevin Russ, Society6 - $16 - $25
  2. Porcelain Wall Socket and Chrome Tipped Bulb - $2 and $3 ea., respectively
  3. Asbury Wall Hook, Restoration Hardware - $21 (*sale price)
  4. White Oak Veneer
  5. Glass Mosaic Tile - Mint
  6. 3-unit Componobili, via MoMA Store - $169
  7. Succulent Candles, via Joss and Main - no longer available (see similar option.)
  8. Turkish Bath Sheets - Azure, Restoration Hardware - $49 (*sale price)
  9. Malin + Goetz Bath Products
  10. Cachi Square Tray, Aire del Sur
  11. Horn Vase with Metal Rim, via One Kings Lane - no longer available (see similar option.)

I would also like to find Ryan an attractive laundry hamper. The master bath has a bamboo waterfall curtain that rolls down to hide the stacked washer/dryer, so I was thinking of keeping it the woven family to try to tie the bamboo in with the other materials. I also just love the look of African baskets-- if your hamper is going to be on display, might as well make it a statement piece, right?



  1. Victoria Lidded Storage Baskets, World Market - $39.99 - $59.99
  2. Senegalese Woven Hamper, Brookfarm General Store - $145 (similar option via West Elm for $99)
  3. Woven African Striped Hamper - Acqua, Connected Fair Trade - $150 (similar option via Land of Nod for $45)
  4. Senegalese Storage Baskets - Blue, Serena & Lily - $68 - $148

If you're purely here for visual inspiration, I won't hold it against you. But if you're interested in a breakdown of the functional problems that require solving, read on!

1. The light fixtures over the sink are permanently damaged.

One was actually damaged before Ryan even bought the apartment, but the realtor claimed the lightbulb merely needed replacing-- in retrospect, we should have figured out that if that was true, the owner probably would have taken the time to change a conspicuous broken light bulb before an open house. Another fixture gave out soon after Ryan closed on the place. The electrician wasn't able to fix them, so they will need to be replaced. Florescent tubes are a huge nightmare for a variety of reasons, so we've decided to go a different route. I love the utilitarian look of porcelain wall sockets with chrome tipped lightbulbs. The price tag doesn't hurt either. Rather than try to match replacement tile to patch the spots where the current fixtures will be removed, we plan to frame out the mirror-- possibly in an oak veneer frame. Thoughts on the viability of oak veneer in a humid room are most welcome.

2. The wall-mounted sinks are beautiful, but don't provide enough surface area for two people + one dog.

What kind of bath products does a dog need, you might ask? You'd be surprised-- he's got about as much stuff as Ryan and I put together (granted, we are a relatively low maintenance couple.) Since we often use the toilet as a grooming pedestal, I'm toying with adding a floating shelf above it. But for human grooming, we really need a surface that's easily reachable from the sink. The trick is to find something tall enough to reach without bending over, but narrow enough to fit comfortably between the two sinks. At first, I was swooing over CB2's TPS mint file cabinet, but both the dimensions and color are just a tiny bit off. Lucky for me, I think a 3-unit Componibili  will be just about perfect (albeit pricey). And in addition to providing extra surface area, a Componibili would provide covered storage. Which brings me problem #3...

3. Lack of easily accessible covered storage

The previous owner who renovated the space did something pretty nifty to maximize storage in a small bathroom. A bump-out behind the sinks contains small cubby-like storage on either side of the unit. It's great for stashing extra rolls of toilet paper, contact lenses or small cosmetics. But the cubbies are trickier for larger or irregularly-sized toiletries. And although the master bath is not really a public space, I don't love to have unattractive, infrequently used yet necessary products (like this) on display 24/7. The Componibili will help stash toilettries, but since the master bath does double-duty as a laundry room, we also added a simple Ikea Expedit  unit next to the washer/dryer to provide extra storage.

4. All towel bars, no hooks.

Don't get me wrong-- I love a good towel bar. But what to do when your towel is sopping wet? A hook  reigns supreme in those situations. Lucky for me, Restoration Hardware is holding a bed + bath sale! Although the Asbury Collection  may not be what I would have picked out, it makes sense to keep the hardware consistent throughout. Swapping it all out for a more contemporary line of hardware is most definitely not in the budget.

5. No toilet paper holder

Okay, here I have a dilemma. The Asbury Collection includes a toilet paper holder. But it's $50...and that's the sale price. What to do? I don't know if I can bring myself to pay that much money for a toilet paper holder. Maybe we can continue to use the cubbies for toilet paper storage?

A Midwinter's Morning Dream: Ryan's Bedroom

February 6, 2013 | Alex

As I took a coffee break and perused my Google Reader feed, I happened upon this post  by Emily Henderson. As I've mentioned before, her update of Glee co-creater Ian Brennan's house in LA  is one of my favorite before/after  shoots. It's rich with inspiration for-- as Emily dubs it-- "dude design." The headboard color in Brennan's bedroom also happens to be a near identical match for the custom headboard I made for Ryan's bedroom in Brooklyn, back when he moved here in 2011. (That's right-- I said "made." Let it be known that I have exceptionally advanced stapling skills.)

Styled by  Emily Henderson  | Photography by  Bethany Nauert , via  Style by Emily Henderson

Styled by Emily Henderson | Photography by Bethany Nauert, via Style by Emily Henderson

Emily's description of how she pulled together and styled the bedroom under time pressure for HGTV's show Secrets from a Stylist  reminded me how I've been "working on" pulling together Ryan's bedroom for going on 2 years. And by "working on," I of course mean occasionally thinking about, but not making material progress on. But if I was under the gun to meet a production schedule, how would I pull it together?

Commence fantasy. Well, let's first assume I have a generous corporate sponsor. Second, let's say it's an extremely limited time frame-- and that estimated shipping time from One Kings Lane  is 5-10 mins (we're in a fantasy world, remember?) If both those conditions are met, I could pull together Ryan's bedroom lickity-split.

Here's how I think I'd do it:


Sources (clockwise from top left)

  1. Industrial Extending Scissor Sconce, Restoration Hardware - $159.99 (*sale price)
  2. JARA Shade - Gray, Ikea - $19.99
  3. Ash Dustbox, Muji - $49.99
  4. Kevin Russ, Colorado Canyon Railroad, via One Kings Lane - $189 - $299
  5. 9" Up in the Air Plane, via One Kings Lane - $25
  6. 16" Silver Desk Globe, via One Kings Lane - $49
  7. Rustic Wood Tray, via One Kings Lane - $45
  8. Alpaca Pom Pom Throw - Navy and Beige, via One Kings Lane - $389
  9. Shibori Sham - Blue, Vera Wang Bedding, via One Kings Lane - $45 - $49
  10. Set of 2 Industrial Metal Side Chairs - Iron, via One Kings Lane - $269

*Italics indicate items Ryan owns. His duvet (not pictured) is Restoration Hardware's Stonewashed Belgian Linen in Indigo.

A couple of items merit some explanation. The Muji dustbox , for example, was purchased 4 months ago with the intention of turning it into a lamp. This will happen. Just as soon as I learn how to balance a full-time job, evening classes, a blog, freelance design work, my personal relationships, my beloved pup and mastering the basics of electric wiring without being so darn lazy. And without making excuses like, "but it's cold outside and the electrical supply shop is far away."

I would re-purpose the iron side chair, part of a pair available today on OKL, as an end table. This is a favorite Emily Henderson trick and a really nifty one at that. This vintage drafting stool  could also make a cool (albeit small) side table-- and it's adjustable! Bonus.

Styled by  Emily Henderson  | Photography by  Bethany Nauert , via  Style by Emily Henderson

Styled by Emily Henderson | Photography by Bethany Nauert, via Style by Emily Henderson

The reversible alpaca pom pom throw  I am deeply in love with, but sadly, cannot buy because it is nearly $400. I wish someone out there would just buy it already, so I could be saved from myself. (I briefly tried to make the argument that if my 2012 tax refund exceeded the cost of blanket, then it was like the government was buying me the blanket. But even I knew those were just the deranged justifications of an shopaholic.)

In terms of a floor covering for the bedroom area, it's got to be Flor  or nothing. The aforementioned beloved pup has the occasional potty training slip-up (mostly when he feels he is not receiving sufficient attention-- "sufficient" being defined as 100% of the attention of every human being or animal in his immediate environs.)

I ordered Flor tiles for Ryan's study a couple months ago and have been over the moon with how dog-friendly they are. I would even go so far as to say that they meet the insane-in-the-membrane puppy-friendly standard. Hektor is as about as rambunctious as they get, and besides some light damage to one corner he decided to chew on (maybe just his way of saying, "hey! welcome to the apartment"?), the Flor tiles look good as new. For around the bed, I've narrowed it down to three pattern options:

Images via  Flor

Images via Flor

Since the patterns are large-scale, it's tricky to get a sense of the full effect from the samples-- click the links below for an in-room view. But the common theme is a cool grey with subtle blue undertones (I swear the blue undertones are more subtle in person.) The best thing about purchasing Flor tiles for around the bed is that we won't waste money on square footage underneath the bed-- we'll just purchase enough tiles to create a border around the bed, with a small amount of tile underneath the bed to give the appearance of a full area rug.


  1. Reoriented - Pepper, Flor - $18/sq
  2. Kilt - Smoke, Flor - $14/sq
  3. Reoriented - Grey, Flor - $18/sq

End fantasy. The Flor carpet around the bed is a realistic proposition and I think I might one day make that lamp. Check back in 2017 for a before/after that will knock your socks off.

Important Note: Mother/Daughter Design Interest is a member of One Kings Lane's affiliate program. We are very grateful for the opportunity our partnership provides us to create new content for our readers on a daily basis. 

Progress on Ryan's Study, But Tough Decisions Loom

December 27, 2012 | Alex

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday (or, better yet, that you're still enjoying your holiday.)

I signed off the blog for a couple days to celebrate at Christmas at my parents' house. Very relaxing with great food, cheerful holiday decor, many trips to the beach to wear out Hektor, followed by some glorious puppy cuddling time. Hektor turned one yesterday, so we did a dual Christmas/Birthday celebration. He got a birthday veal bone and a stocking full of tennis balls-- all of which he promptly tore to pieces in under 10 minutes. He's a spirited one, that Hektor.

But, alas, now it's back to the grind! January is typically a dismal month for me, but I think this year might be different. I have a lot of exciting projects coming up in 2013. One of which is to finally complete Ryan's study!

I've been talking about Ryan's study since I started the blog back in May. Since it's the space Ryan uses the most, we initially thought it would be a priority. After adopting Hektor, we (wisely) decided to hold off on decorating the study until we were out of the woods on house training. Oh man, am I glad we did. Ryan's poor Dash & Albert rug has seen it all. It's served us well, but Step 1 will be to kick it to the curb-- with a BIG sign taped reading, "House Training Victim. Take At Your Own Risk" taped to the front to dissuade bargain-seeking Brooklynites.

Step 2 is to pick a replacement rug that can be easily cleaned. While Hektor shows basic mastery of the "do your business outside" concept, he occasionally backslides. And with a dog of any age, there's always the risk of an upset stomach. Enter Flor tiles! Flor has been around for a while, but only since becoming a dog owner have I truly appreciated their offerings.

Flor's products are treated nylon (like an industrial carpet), but in colors and patterns you'd expect to find only in wool or cotton rugs. As the name suggests, their products are sold in "tiles" that attach to each other on the bottom with a patented Flor sticker. So if Hektor does have an accident, we can either wipe it down with a Clorox wipe or, for more serious accidents, detach the one victimized tile and hose it down in the sink or shower. If he does irrevocable damage, like chewing, the one tile can be replaced for about $14 (rather than replacing the whole carpet.) A lot of people complain that the carpets feel industrial under bare feet. They are synthetic fabric, so no, it doesn't feel like walking on a flokati. But both Ryan and I did the barefoot test and were comfortable with the way it felt.

The one weakness of Flor products is that they cannot be used over existing carpet (like wall-to-wall carpet) or any kind of padded floor. The cushioning causes the stickers to strain, which will separate the tiles. I learned this recently when considering them for another project (a super exciting project I'm keeping under wraps for now, but hope to reveal soon!)

That's enough chit-chat. Let's get into some images! Here's what I'm thinking for Ryan's study:



  1. Saranac Pillow, Dash & Albert - $44
  2. Cowhide Pillow, Room & Board - $129
  3. Hague Blue, Farrow & Ball
  4. Pedestrian Walkway on the Brooklyn Bridge, by Bettmann (56" x 42" Premium Photographic Print, Unframed) - $159.99
  5. Karlstad Loveseat and Chaise Lounge, Ikea - $678 + Unbleached Linen Slipcover, Bemz - $329 + Midcentury Modern Table Legs, Tablelegs.com - $12 ea.
  6. 8" x 10" Easy Chair, Burnt Umber, Flor - $420

Ryan already owns the Dash & Albert Saranac pillow, the Brooklyn Bridge print (part of my Art.com winnings!) and a Karlstad sofa from Ikea. He bought the sofa when he moved to Brooklyn in the Isunda Gray. While the slipcover is a smidge rough in texture, it served us well. That is until a teething Hektor discovered a loose thread and unraveled a good chunk out of the fabric playing tug-of-war with the sofa arm. We're planning to replace it with a natural linen slipcover from Bemz, a Swedish company that makes slipcovers specifically for Ikea furniture in a variety of fabrics from European textile mills. The fabrics are much higher quality than Ikea, but still reasonably priced (unless you spring for the designer fabrics, like Marimekko, which is tempting.)

The mid-century modern inspired legs were purchased unfinished for $12 each from tablelegs.com. I sanded, stained them and screwed them into holes made for the Ikea legs. Easiest Ikea hack in history.

The blue is a Farrow & Ball color I fell in love with when I saw it on Emily Henderson's Instagram feed. We may or may not paint an accent wall behind the sofa. Yes, it would look cool-- especially with the Easy Chair Flor tiles in Burnt Umber. But is it necessary? Definitely not. We shall see what happens.

At the moment, more pressing decisions are begging to be made. For example:

Office chair #1? Or office chair  #2?



  1. Modern Director Office Chair, Terracotta by Zuo, Amazon.com - $209
  2. Ribbed Mid-back Office Chair, Terracotta by LexMod, Amazon.com - $219

Desk lamp by Logan Hendrickson of One Forty Three? Or his Swing Arm Lamp, to double as desk lamp and sofa reading lamp?



  1. Emerson Desk Light, OneFortyThree - $115
  2. Otis Wall Light 24", One Forty Three - $175

Should Ryan hold out for his dream of installing recessed lighting over the study? (He has great recessed lighting on one half of the downstairs, but mysteriously, only over the bedroom half. Over the study half-- nada.) Or give it up and just buy a floor lamp already?



  1. Adjustable Pipe Lamp, West Elm
  2. Fujiya Floor Lamp, CB2 - $249
  3. Woody Floor Lamp, BoConcept - $299

Thoughts? Strong preferences? Please save me from the throes of indecision.

Newgate Bubble Clock + Ryan's Entry

November 30, 2012 | Alex

Ryan's Newgate Bubble Clock via West ElMarket finally arrived! We bought one on our Market bender over a month ago, but when we brought it home, we discovered the hour hand was a bit wonky. So back it went. And its back-ordered replacement took about a month to arrive.

Now that it's officially in our clutches, I'm starting to get serious about the small entry way inside Ryan's front door. In addition to the clock, we absolutely need:

  1. a door mat; and
  2. hooks (sufficient for hanging Hektor's leash, keys, Ryan's bike helmet and maybe a jacket).

Space allowing, I'd also like to try to work in the following items:

  1. a boot tray for the sloppy, slushy months ahead (although potentially dangerous to leave shoes exposed, given the whole mischievous puppy situation); 
  2. an umbrella receptacle; and
  3. maybe some where for stashing mail.

Here are a few of the products I'm thinking about:

  1. Newgate Bubble Wall Clock, via West Elm Market - $85
  2. Portuer Wall Pocket, Urban Outfitters - $16-$19
  3. Karens Vase, Ikea - $14.99
  4. Chilewich 18"x28" Plynyl Shag Doormat - Black & White, via Didriks - $45
  5. Good Directions Boot Tray - Powder-Coated Steel, Sierra Trading Post - $24.95
  6. Eames Hang-it-all - Walnut, via Simply Benches - $105

Off to Toronto tonight! Will visit with our wonderful Canadian friend and cruise the One of a Kind  Show. Dwell Studio's blog released their Toronto Guide just in time-- alas, it seems the timing was intended to coincide with founder Christine Lemieux's trip, rather than mine. Sigh. Stay tuned for highlights from the show.