Author Archives: steve

Dining Room Update!

Just to refresh our memory, here is my original sketch for the dining room:


And finally the paint has ben laid and the chandelier has been hung!


Now for the fun part! As you can see we used the dark blue (Newburyport Blue) for the bottom half and kept the white molding throughout to give the room strong contrast. The top of the walls are painted with a slightly warmer white (Monterey White) that still adds enough definition between the stark white molding and the wall itself.

Now that I have been seriously thinking about this room, and by seriously I mean with a tape measure and budget, I have decided that a rectangular table will not work. The room is only 10′ X 10′ so the best option is to go with a round table that can be expanded when more room is needed at the table. This will allow for much more breathing room the rest of the time, which is most of the time, when the table is not expanded.

Here are my latest two sketches for the room now.

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Now let’s see how close we come to this! Step one is to find the right table. Since the table is the center of the room, literally, it’s best to build the rest of the room around it. The table that I used for these sketches is available at Restoration Hardware, but is much more than I want to spend at $1,095, AND, it is not expandable. However, I will use this table as a jumping off point to find a similar look and style at a lower price, hopefully!

Everything else is more or less a stand in for now until we get the right dining table. But at least we have a sense of direction to start building!


PROBLEM: The client has recently renovated a room (new floors/walls/lights) that needs to serve double duty. The space will become a cross between a home office, bar, and entertaining space. The requests were as follows:

1. Plenty of storage for books, papers, and various other elements.

2. A desk that doesn’t look like a desk. It should be on the tall side so one could pull a stool up to it and feel like you’re at a bar. Hence no desk chair as one would normally think. This high desk/bar should also allow people, when seated, to look out through the back windows and enjoy the view.

3. The room should easily be able to transition from work space to entertainment space.

So this is what I’ve come up with…






A few things to highlight are: The red credenza. This aged deep red cabinet will serve as both an anchor to the room and as easily accessible storage. Adding a large black and white photograph in a gold frame compliments this deep red color instantly adding richness to the room. The two white book cases that flank the cabinet are perfect for storing and displaying just about anything and have tons of space. The two leather club chairs and small red and black cocktail table give this room some comfort and help it feel much more relaxed than any office would ever feel. The gray chevron patterned rug adds a strong contrast to the warm but heavy colored hardwood flooring and immediately brings a sense of lightness to the room. The desk against the back windows is tall and narrow, in fact it would be considered more of a sofa table that I’ve repurposed to serve in this space. The tall height means you can stand and work, or sit in the old-school draftsman stools and have a cocktail or two. The clients already had a vintage wooden refrigerator that was easily incorporated into the space and can serve as additional storage. The two gold starburst mirrors on either side of the desk/bar help to accentuate the warm tones throughout, as well as adding addition reflective light to the room. And finally a pair of dark drapes not only contrast the warm tones of the various woods in the room, but they also serve the practical purpose of blocking out any unwanted light while you are working.

And here is some additional info on some of the pieces used in this redo:

WHITE SHELVING UNIT, from West Elm, $899


LEATHER CLUB CHAIRS, from Homeware, $559

CHEVRON RUG, from Pottery Barn Kids, $499

RED CABINET/CONSOLE, from Pottery Barn, $1,099

RUSTIC STORAGE DESK, from West Elm, $499



Pouring through some clearance deals on different websites today. Here’s my top three!



This is a really cool lamp at a really low price, only $70 on clearance at JC Penney. I love the balance between the sort of old world gas-light feel, and the modern nickel finish and lines. Plus it is 5 feet tall, which is perfect for most spaces.


go-cart-bright-orange-console-table go-cart-bright-orange-console-table-1

This orange table/cart/bar/desk pretty much does it all for $99. The size is great at 55″ wide and 21″ deep by almost 30″ tall. Perfect for using during parties as a buffet table or in your office as a work station. The beautiful thing is that this piece of modern metal is on wheels, so you can roll it wherever you need it!


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This is a great deal from Target. These geometric pillows are only $14 each. They add a great pop of color to your room and can really spiffy up an boring sofa, chair, or even your bed. There’s also an orange version for even less, only $10!

A Touch of Red

Red. Don’t be afraid of it. While natural colored wood can be great, sometimes a home needs a little extra pop of color. I don’t mean that a room should be decorated in all red, it shouldn’t feel like your in a Chinese restaurant or Little Russia. But just by adding one or two pieces of red furniture a room can really come to life. Below, I will give you an expensive option along with two cheaper ones to choose from. Enjoy!


This rustic red looking console from Pottery Barn is just the right amount of red. The Aiden Media Console is $1300 and the hand-finished look makes this piece seem like it’s been around for centuries. Use it to store media in your living room or even to store linens in a hallway. It’s low enough and wide enough to work in almost any room.


This cabinet is a bit smaller than the first one, in both size and price. At only $388 from Wayfair, this 3 foot high cabinet is perfect for smaller spaces and smaller budgets. Yet it can pull the same duty as the $1200 option above. I could see this console being used in an entry way as a place to gather mail and keys as well as provide a surface for a small lamp. This piece is also available in a rustic black and a rustic green/blue color.


Available from Home Decorators Collection, the Wuchow Three Drawer Console sells for a paltry  $270! While technically this is a file cabinet, there’s no rule that says you cannot use the drawers for other things. The shelf underneath provides a nice space to display books, glassware, or granny’s collection of spoon rests. But note, this is also the smallest of our options at about 2.5 feet tall and just under 5 feet wide. So be sure that you place this console in an appropriately scaled room!


So my wife and I were walking through the mall the other day and we parked near Sears. On our way out I spotted this beauty in the corner.


I’m not sure if I am more offended by the design and style or by the $1200 price tag!?!?! Is there ever a need for camouflage furniture? Maybe it’s part of an outdoor patio set?

Book It For Less!


This is a gorgeous bookcase. It should be for $2,099. If you can afford it then I say go for it, it’s on sale at Room & Board. For the rest of us that don’t have two grand to spend on a bookcase here’s the poor man’s option.


This version is sold at Amazon for $198. If my math is correct, which it usually is (cough cough) that’s a savings of $54,367. No that can’t be right. That’s a saving of $1,901. Still a good bargain for an almost identical look. Similar lines, similar design, similar colors, and a fraction of the price. Do I expect this bookcase to last a lifetime, no. Do I expect to get my $198 worth, yes! You could buy 10 of these bookcases for the price of 1 high end model. What’s that? Not cheap enough. Okay, how about this one?


Pretty much the same exact model as the one above but slightly cheaper at $175 from And you get free shipping!

Now before we all go out and buy these knock off’s you should know that there is a significant size difference (that’s what she said). The original $2k model is about 70″ wide and 72″ high. Our two knock-off models are only about 47″ wide and 62″ high. But hey, if you need more space just buy two knock-offs and you’ll still be way ahead of the game!

Grandfather Clock Made Simple

When we think of grandfather clocks this is what usually comes to mind:


Big. Heavy. Oak. Expensive. These are the words I would use to describe virtually every grandfather clock I’ve ever seen, until now! FInally someone (Mark Daniel to be exact) has designed a grandfather clock that is neither big, heavy, oak, or expensive.


Available at CB2 for $199 this Old Timer Clock is the perfect size for any home or apartment at only 5’5″ tall. And better yet is the simple design of the white face with red aluminum hands and pendulum. Straight lines and light colored wood will help this clock fit in to any decor. It’s a modern take on an old standard.


I recently signed on to and took a look at their home décor section. They have some very affordable and stylish items if you pick through carefully. You do have to register an email address and user name to browse the site, but it’s very simple. Here are 9 great things I found:


A. White Sitting Buddha $20.99

B. Potted Arrangement $11.50

C. Mustache Clock $6.99

D. Horse Head Bookends $18.99

E. Brown & Blue Global Pillow $37.49

F. Bamboo Can $23.49

G. Lime Green Zigzag & Dot Reversible Place Mat Set of Four $20.49

H. Blue Candleholder $11.99

I. White Portrait Mirror $17.99