Improvementalism:
The fanatical belief that remodeling doesn't need to cost you a fortune - or your sanity.

We’re Featured on Design*Sponge!

Hey! I’m really excited to share that we were featured by the lovely Grace at  Design*Sponge for a DIY herringbone entryway paint job.  The full article, including detailed How-To instructions can be found here.  If you don’t know Design*Sponge, take thyself to their site immediately – get a cup of coffee, plant yourself for a few hours.  It’s addictive!

It’s been kind of redonkulous (hey.. even my Mom says it) around here lately, which is the only (lame!) excuse I have for such a delayed response to this fun post going up in… gulp… September!

Yes, yes, it’s a crime of Dastardly Social Media Proportions not to have slathered this all over myself with butter the week this came out – getting featured on Design*Sponge is a huge deal!

I can only blame it on my awesome clients for occupying me so fully with their cool projects.                    Heh. (you know who you are…..)

Regarding the project: It was easier than I’d have ever expected to do this entire project – took me less than one day and cost about $60.  I mean… who doesn’t love total change in a space for $60 and some elbow grease?

blue tape

The only part that required a little thought was taping off the sections, but I actually drew it out a few times to see what I liked.  I ended up making a wider chevron pattern so it wouldn’t be TOO busy… it is a small space.

My chevron pattern doodle...

Anne at MilkPaint was kind enough to donate a sample of their new SafePaint for walls (totally non-toxic, rich and interesting paint for projects that need some ‘history’ added) in Light cream.

love me some SafePaint

It was so easy to mix – and if you let it stand for a while before you use it, it thickens up nicely.

This was really easy...

Then off to the races! I was super impatient to see the results… I could totally imagine how this would come out but I do love me a reveal!

living proof I can actually paint!

What do you think?

xo!

Breaking Up – The Heat is Gone

A heartfelt breakup letter from the trenches:

Oh knobby faucet… you’re not as awful as you could be – it could be worse! You could leak, or make a lot of noise at inopportune times. You’re better than that, but you kind of know we’re not right for each other. I’ve outgrown you…

Let’s face it – cleaning up was never your specialty.  In the last few months, you never lifted a finger. I can’t be with you if you refuse to work!

I’ll admit, from the start I’ve felt a vague sense of separation. It’s like you never gave me all of yourself! You kept a little part of yourself walled off.

Ugh – and there’s nothing stylish about you – at times you’re just so square! and well… fragile.

I don’t even wanna talk about the ‘heat’ department. No heat here! It’s just all fizzled out.  I could cry just thinking about how frustrated I am… I think we ran out of juice.

You may feel a little hollow after this, sort of empty inside. That’s normal after such a long relationship. I know we’ve been through a lot – and we’ve got some history.

But often these things are for the best. Errmm…. at least for one of us.

Oh – and it’s probably not a good time to mention it, but I’m Seeing Someone New!

This Tree and I Are Going to Have a Little Chat…

Hmm. Somebody’s misbehaving…

Hmm... this is not a good fit.

This tree and I are going to have a little chat. You see… whoever built this patio didn’t expect this tree to get so big.  This tree has a big job to do here, too… with strong roots anchoring this home into a hillside property. Her branches are long, strong, and lovely.  I’d say this is going to be a delicate negotiation.

Perhaps something like this. “Um, hello tree! You are big and beautiful!  Erm… can we have a little talk about your waistline? I believe we are outgrowing this little hole made for you.  I’m going to see what I can do about letting out the hem, but I need you to stay healthy in the process.  Can you do it?”

Let's let out that waistline a touch...

The conversation I’m picturing in return… light blinking through the tree canopy.  Leaves, rustling an answer.  “Yessssssss…….” and a pent-up sigh of relief from a  lady who wears a garment that does not fit.

Wallace Neff Pasadena Perfection – 1649 Lombardy Road

As you know, I love seeing what’s on the market.  Not only does it help me hunt for gems for my clients who are looking to buy a home, but it satisfies my geeky obsession with tile, beautiful finish work, and meaningful updates that can be done to a Los Angeles home to make it a better space to live in.

This week’s goodies are no exception: when I tell you I’m ready to chuck it all and move into this home I’m so not kidding – the closets and bathrooms alone had me living there in my head – lovingly storing all my sweaters Martha Stewart style in the cedar lined closet! (…ask my caravan buddy Irina – she had to drag me out!)

I’ll show you what I mean.

Gorgeous stained wood floors and built ins in the Library/Office

The downstairs library shows off the beautifully stained wood windows and floors. And check out the peaked built in bookcases! Who couldn’t get a little work done in here…

This is ridiculously cool. Look at this fireplace! I need a book and a coffee immediately...

People can go way overboard with tile and fireplaces on occasion.  I’d say this is a beautiful example of a simple, classic tile layout on the hearth, with eye popping colors that perfectly tie into the fireplace, and a Herringbone brick pattern inside.  I’m seriously in need of a book, a blanket, and a coffee to further take in all it’s glory. Um, waiter?

What a perfect nook, just off the kitchen

I love this little nook just off the kitchen.  It feels like a tiny spot to pay bills, display books and art, and a perfect place to leave your keys.  The floating wood shelves just show the care this home was redone with, and a recessed light inside this nook actually makes it functional.

Who wants to track mud in here? Clever, beautiful mudroom...

Parent Alert:  With a mudroom like this, half your kid’s hockey team could leave their stuff  here and you’d still have space to walk.  I think I sat here for ten minutes, dreaming about my Wellies living here in color- coordinated glory.

Tile perfection in the powder room

I could go on forever about whoever laid the tile in here. I looked. Closely. And I think they did an incredible job! The grout colors set off the beautiful tiles and accents in a way that shows someone really thought carefully about the feeling they wanted to evoke in these bathrooms.  Every single one in the house showed similar love.

Vintage hardware sings on basic but rich looking tile in the bathrooms

The vintage style hardware in the bathrooms makes all the new updates feel like they’ve been hanging out here all along, and are in keeping with the style of the home.

Arched wood doors and tile in the entry welcome you home

Check out the Saltillo tiles in the entryway. Not to be a stickler, but the tile and the hardwood floors align in smooth, loving perfection in all the spots they meet. As a project manager and a designer, this signifies to me that the contractor and designer though about how you flow from one room to another, and calculated for seamless transitions in the flooring.  It would seem like a simple thing, right? (it’s not) Again, impressive stuff.

Custom painted arched windows display the jaw dropping view of historic trees and a grand lawn

The quality of light that beams into this home is really enchanting. It doesn’t hurt that all the windows are custom, historically relevant, have killer hinges, and display views of the historic specimen tree in the front lawn, and the well manicured property on all sides.

Where's my folding board? Move over Martha Stewart -my sweaters are moving in.

Seeing Cedar lined closets makes my sweaters itchy to relocate.  Move over, Martha Stewart… I’ve got a folding board and I’m not afraid to use it!  Even the doors are made of Ceadar. Talk about attention to detail…

Laundry chute! Goodbye baskets...

LOVE, love the addition of a laundry chute.  This cute little cabinet door in the hall whisks away Mom’s ‘wandering around and muttering to herself’ routine.  Just tell the kids it’s a basket ball net and let ’em shoot away! (clothes and linens only, please. No siblings…)

Mum's sanctuary... freestanding tub!

I’ll end the tour here in the Master bathroom. Yes, that’s me sitting on the floor taking this picture – this is where I staged my protest and didn’t want to leave!  Your eyes do not deceive you – this room really is that big. No camera tricks here… just an impressively sized and well-laid out Master bathroom.

There you have it: And if you want to wander through and fall in love yourself, the official site to the professionally shot images lives here. For the record – the stager did a beautiful job too of showing off the rooms. (Did you stage this home? Hit me up here so we can link to you!)

You could shoot Mark Ogden a call too – he’s the listing agent. (626) 396-3908

Tell him you saw it here at Improvemental.com! Think he’ll buy me a coffee if you buy it?

Have a cool property you want me to come drool over? Let’s talk!


Client Love for Improvemental

Laurie did a museum quality restoration of my 1921 Craftsman. She also managed my move, had the chimney rebuilt, supervised the installation of new rain gutters, a new hot water heater, and about fifty other things. She somehow did all of this on time and on budget. She's really good. She did such a good job on my house, I recommended her to my parents. That's not something you do unless you're really happy with a person's work.

- Adam, Hollywood Hills

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