The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly at My Beach House Renovation

Photographs by Tessa Neustadt Courtesy Homepolish

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Dear Diary,

If I had to make a list of my very favorite things to do in the entire world, looking at before and after pictures of houses would probably be near the top. There’s something insanely satisfying about looking at a gorgeous interior photograph and then looking at a totally ugly picture of what it used to look like. It’s like, no matter how pretty the after photo is, it’s always prettier in contrast to the revolting before picture. This is why when I meet people for the first time, I like to show them a hideous picture of myself in high school, obese with cystic acne and ugly hair. Then I pull that photo away to reveal my today-face. And people are like “OH MY GOD YOU’RE GORGEOUS! Especially compared with that disgusting troll doll photo you just showed me!”

The only thing better than looking at before and after photos of houses is looking at before and after photos of houses I designed. This has the added benefit of stroking my incredibly thirsty ego AND the same visual crunch that looking at regular before/afters. So you can imagine my joy when I remembered that, for once, I’d actually taken before photos at a client’s house. You may have seen this house written up on Lonny or Homepolish. But today I’m going to divulge all the nasty that came before this glorious rhinoplasty. GET READY!

THE LIVING ROOM:

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A little history on this house: it was built in 1953 and was relatively untouched. It’s in San Clemente in a super cute, sleepy neighborhood that just happens to be across the street from the beach. My clients brought me on at the beginning of the renovation. Not because they needed me to coordinate anything (these people are wizards who basically always have a contractor on call – they live my dreamlife). I was brought on to give my design expertise and to make them feel more confident about knocking down, like, every wall that stood in the way of their freedom to live in glamour.

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And, TA-DAH! Look at my new face! The room’s all “YOU HATED ME IN HIGH SCHOOL AND NOW I’M PRETTIER THAN YOUR DUMPSTERFACE!” In the living room, we kept many of the original features but ripped up the carpet to reveal (unexpectedly gorgeous) hardwood floors. And then (because interior design makes literally no sense) we covered those floors back up with a gorgeous sisal. We added in a 10′ wide accordion door, which opens up the front of the house to delicious, decadent sea breezes that remind anyone who visits that, yes, the world is a wonderful place.

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There are lots of things about mid-century architecture that are charming, classic, and amazing. But that super weird half-wall plopped right in front of the door is not one of them. I’m not really sure what that guy was doing there, but he was a major buzzkill and had to be let go. We let him go as gently and tactfully as we could, yielding axes and screaming “WHYYYYY!!!” as we chopped him down and burned him in the fireplace.

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What a difference a day make, huh? Here’s the same space without that disgusting carpet, which was for sure haunted and def filled with the misery and tears of a thousand ghosts. Also, HELLO. That chair (which I found at Lawson-Fenning and forced the clients to splurge on) is one of my favorite things on earth. After looking at before and after pics, obviez.

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By the time my clients had finished spending a bajillion dollars on renovation (realistically about $200k), we were all basically like Oliver Twist. PLEASE SIR, CAN I HAVE SOME MORE? Except instead of soup we were hungry for art. My totally genius solution was to buy some gorgeous wallpaper from Black Crow Studio and have it framed at my cheap frame guy.

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I learned a while ago that you can get away with doing furniture from big box stores if you find art and objects made by real artists. This spooky eyeball from Michele Quan Studio tells my clients “Hey, I’m watching you. If you move that pillow over there I’ll cut off your arms.” Also, since Michele Quan’s name is basically Michele Kwan, every time my clients look at this sculpture they can think back on a time where American figure skating really did Make America Great Again.

Living Room Resources: Sofa from Restoration Hardware, Painting Above Sofa from Black Crow Studio, Wicker Chair from Lawson-Fenning, Credenza from West Elm (no longer available), Eye Sculpture from MQuan Studio, Coffee Table from Crate & Barrel (no longer available), White Upholstered Arm Chairs from Wertz Brothers (vintage), Blue Throw Blankets from West Elm, Floor Lamp from West Elm, Painting Above Fireplace by Nick Bodimeade.  

THE MASTER BEDROOM:

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A really good before picture should be as disgusting as possible, so I’d like to thank the person who sold this house for like two million dollars and didn’t bother to paint their disgusting walls. YOU GO GIRL! Without these scruffy walls, this would look like a normal room. A normal room with a haunted carpet filled with ghost tears, but a normal room nonetheless.

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This room was a pretty simple one to makeover. Since this is a vacation home, the clients didn’t need a lot of storage. This cleared the way for me to use a cute little dresser under the TV.

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That big window looks out directly over the ocean, so my clients can listen to waves crashing as they dream about how much they love me and wish I lived with them in their gorgeous newly renovated home. (I could sleep on that luxurious megabench at the end of the bed!)

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Being that this room is very bright and open, I decided on a pretty muted color palette of greys punctuated with hits of indigo.

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My friend Ben Medansky made this vase in collaboration with my other friend John Parot. LET THIS BE A LESSON TO ALL OF US THAT THOSE WHO BEFRIEND ARTISTS ARE THOSE WHO FIND THE BEST POTTERY AND ART. And those without artist friends are cursed to die alone, freezing like the Little Match Girl, without ANY pottery.

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I’m obsessed with this photo because I can’t stop staring at the Joni Mitchell/witch art I sourced for above the bed. Joni WITCHELL. I put her there so if they ever move anything (even the bedding to get inside) she will come alive and drag them to the pits of hell singing “BLUE-OOOO-OOOO-OOOO-OOOO!”

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HOW CUTE IS THIS LAMP? That’s it. That’s all I had to say here.

Bedroom Resources: Bench from West Elm, Bed from CB2, Nightstands from Crate & Barrel, Chandelier from West Elm, Lamps from One Kings Lane, Dresser from West Elm, Bedding from West Elm (no longer available), Wool Art from Lawson-Fenning

THE KIDS ROOM:

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This is the kids’ room before we started renovation. I actually think this would have been a great room for kids. IF YOU HAD THE WORLD’S WORST CHILDREN WHO DESERVED NOTHING BUT PUNISHMENT AND DESPAIR.

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Fortunately, my clients don’t have demonchildren, so we decided their room should get a colorful makeover. My favorite part is the wave pattern I painted on the wall (full disclosure: my client helped me paint and we spent the whole time talking about our feelings). It gives the room a subtle point of interest and gives a gentle nod to the fact that we’re at the beach. And by “gentle” I mean it basically screams “HEY THE BEACH IS RIGHT THERE DID YOU NOTICE? IS ANYONE LISTENING? DOES ANYONE CARE ABOUT ANYTHING AT ALL???”

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Part of my design plan was that I threw away any toys, clothing items, or shoes that didn’t go with my beachy blues color scheme. Luckily, the adorable children were allowed to keep this cute skateboard. The rest of their toys didn’t fare so well and suffered the same fate as that weird room separator that used to stand in front of the front door. That’s right. I chopped them with an axe and then burned them.

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An important fact about skateboards is that they’re much more useful as home decor than as a floatation device. People who use them in the ocean have a 100% higher chance of being bitten in half by a shark than people who lean them in corners and just look at them. THE MORE YOU KNOW.

Kids’ Room Resources: Arrow Shelves from Etsy, Rug from Rugs USA, Bunk Bed from Restoration Hardware, Beanbag from Fatboy, Dark Paint Color Caribbean Cool by Benjamin Moore, Light Paint Color Water Drops by Benjamin Moore

THE HALLWAY:

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You know what’s totally depressing? A totally depressing hallway. Like this one, which screamed “I WAS ONCE LOVED BUT IT HAS BEEN SO LONG SINCE I’VE BEEN TOUCHED BY A HAND THAT TRULY LOVES ME.”

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But hey, ripping up carpet, changing out cabinet hardware, and refinishing the floors can do wonders! (Sidenote: mid-century houses really knew what they were doing with storage. Like everything that can be storage, is storage. Now builders are like “LET’S PUT A HUGE HOLLOW WALL HERE WITH NO DOORS IN IT!” People in the 50s really knew that the key to happiness was having a place to hide all the things that brought shame upon them and their families.)

Hallway Resources: Hardware from Liz’s Antique Hardware

GUEST BEDROOM:

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This is the type of guest bedroom you wish you had if you have guests that come and stay for too long and throw their towels all over the bathroom like they’re at a hotel. But if you actually like your guests, perhaps a cleaner, more inviting space would be better.

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A CLEANER, BRIGHTER SPACE LIKE THIS ONE GIRL.

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I was obsessed with this pot from Lawson Fenning, which is handmade and weirdly comforting to touch. I spent a good five minutes caressing this thing. It was very weird in an East of Eden petting/spooky way.

Guest Bedroom Resources: Bed from CB2, Nightstand from CB2, White Linen Bedding from Parachute, Vintage Map from Shopclass, Lamps from Schoolhouse Electric, Pot/Vase from Lawson-Fenning

THE KITCHEN:

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The man in this photo is saying something to the (hidden on the right) real estate agent I think you need to all hear. “MA’AM, THIS KITCHEN MAKES ME WANT TO WEEP AND JUMP INTO THAT WALL-OVEN.”

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But with a little bit of design ingenuity and tons of physical labor I didn’t do myself, the kitchen was transformed into a culinary wonderland any modern cook would have to be insane not to love.

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The Fireclay tiles are my favorite accent in the otherwise all-white kitchen. They add just enough color while still allowing the kitchen stay bright and peppy, like the 1950s housewife who probably originally inhabited this kitchen, popping pills and drinking wine whist cooking for her perfect family.

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Pretty sure I got them a runner after this, but for now this area serves as prime SLIDING IN SOCKS territory for the kids.

Kitchen Resources: Range from Thermador, Integrated Refrigerator from Thermador, Countertops are White Caesarstone, Backsplash Tile is from Fireclay Tile

THE GUEST BATHROOM:

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Before, the guest bath was cramped because it had unnecessary walls. But I was all “TEAR DOWN THAT WALL MR GORBACHEV!” And the walls came down to reveal a gorgeous, open bathroom.

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The bathrooms are pretty simple and modern. But I added a little warmth and charm with small brass mirror and cute hand towels.

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The faucets are the same Jason Wu for Brizo fixtures I have. But these are chrome and mine are black. They look chic in chrome. Who knew?!?

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Most nights, I lay awake screaming because I never asked my client where she got these adorable beach towels. The rectangular bathtub is pretty awesome too. I have a thing for rectangular tubs.

Guest Bathroom Resources: Tub from Americh, Wall Tile Eleganza Tile, Foor Tile from Eleganza Tile, Tabletop Mirror from Lawson-Fenning

THE DINING ROOM:

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The dining room was previously cut off from the kitchen by a big wall. We had that wall torn out so the whole space would feel more open and inviting.

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Now you can walk from the living room to the dining room to the kitchen to the library without going through one door! THE FUTURE IS HERE, AMERICA!

Dining Room Resources: Blue Stools from Joss & Main, Table by PCH Series, Chairs from West ElmRug from Rugs USA, “Cocktails” Art is Vintage. 

LIBRARY:

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This is the cute little library that overlooks the back yard. Previously it was a pretty unusable space, covered in haunted carpet. (Sidenote: I’m not anti-carpet. I love it. It’s just kind of not something that lasts forever. You have to clean it regularly and replace it when it gets too nasty to come back).

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WOOOP! Here’s the new space! We got rid of that crazy railing and put up a glass barrier to make the space feel more open while also protecting small children from falling from terrifying tall heights.

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See how crazy and choppy it was before?

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Now this room has a little under-the-stairs daybed (that’s actually a twin mattress and can sleep a guest).

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The shelving, previously empty and neglected, was filled with objects, a mixture of things my clients already owned and accessories I sourced for them at the flea market.

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There are accordion doors in the back of the house too. So the sea air can flow all the way through to the back yard. And if you squint your eyes you can see a bucket of booze on that outdoor dining table, just waiting for you to come over and guzzle.

Library Resources: Round White Concrete Table from CB2, Rug from Rugs USA, Leather Sling Chairs from Urban Outfitters (no longer available), Pouf by Nate Berkus for Target, Interlock Ring Sculpture by Michele Quan

Alright ladies. That’s it! I hope this tour has inspired you to complete your own glamorous before and after makeover this weekend. Make sure to take  DISGUSTING before pics before you start. GODSPEED!

Love,
Orlando

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Hollywood Hills Home Goes from HORRENDOUS to HAY!

Photograph by Tessa Neustadt

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Dear Renovation Lovers,

My recently-completed project for THE WORLD’S CUTEST COUPLE is finally done and up on Homepolish Mag. Follow this link to read about how we transformed this place from MEH to EH MEH GED! I’ll be covering the behind-the-scenes (including DISGUSTING before pics next week here on Hommemaker).

Love,
Orlando

FULL POST THIS WAY >>>

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Creating a Happy Place Part II: Finishing Touches!

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Dear Sleep Lovers,

I recently teamed up with Cocoon by Sealy to spruce up my guest bedroom as part of their “My Happy Place” campaign. The timing was perfect, because I’m getting ready to (finally) do the full reveal of the Orcondo renovation and the guest bedroom was the one room that still felt lacking in polish. As a reminder, this is what the glamorous (and super comfy) mattresses that sparked the whole makeover look like:

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The master bedroom at my condo is pretty dark and romantic (that’s a designer way of saying it get’s like no natural light). The guest bedroom, however, is bright and open. So I took inspiration from a few recent projects that featured bedrooms illuminated with tons of natural light.

INSPIRATION

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This bedroom, which I designed for a Homepolish client in San Clemente, has pretty views of the beach and delicious, buttery West Coast sunsets.

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This guest bedroom has the combo of simple minimalism and inviting coziness that I wanted my guest bedroom to have.

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And finally, I’m obsessed with this bedroom at my clients’ Hollywood Hills home. It’s a pretty simple room, but the art, textiles, and lighting make it feel so personal and custom. I wanted my guest bedroom to feel like this.

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I got this gorgeous photograph by Matin Zad from Tappan Collective a few years ago and I’ve been enchanted with it ever since. This image was the jumping off point for my design plan for the guest bedroom. I wanted the mood of the space to feel exactly like the photograph, totally peaceful, elegant, and cozy.

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Spoiler alert! The photo ended up being hung above the bed! Luckily, it’s framed in a pretty lightweight frame, with plexi glass instead of heavy real glass. So it won’t decapitate my guests if it falls on their necks during an earthquake. I always tell people who live in California to be careful about what they hang over their beds. If it can cut you in half, don’t hang it there (i.e. don’t hang swords over your bed, k?).

COLOR PALETTE

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I kept the color palette minimal and warm. The wall color is Sleigh Bells by Benjamin Moore, the trim is White by Dunn Edwards. I added in gold, sandy beige, and ivory in the art and bedding. I’m not normally so attracted to neutrals, but I wanted the room to feel quiet and comforting. Sometimes, part of good design is knowing when to stop. When you have enough color and visual interest. That moment came for me when I hung this gorgeous set of Japanese panels and knew that I wanted them to be my pop of color:

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I found this piece at the flea market and couldn’t resist it. It’s definitely aged and some of the cranes on it look like ghosts, but it’s so beautifully painted and the metallic adds a nice formality to the room. Because the condo was completely renovated and so much of the furniture is brand new, it was important to bring in some pieces that were more weathered and touched by time. After all, this is supposed to be a Happy Place, and vintage stuff makes me happy.

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I keep a crate full of extra bedding and pillows next to the desk so my guests will never feel cold, alone, and unloved. Like I did for the entirety of junior high. Naturally, this crate has become one of my obsessions and I often find myself going into the guest bedroom just to check on whether it’s still perfectly styled or not (if you take one pillow out, the whole thing is destroyed and life starts to feel chaotic and out of control).

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I’m constantly switching out pillows and accessories so I won’t get bored with my space. So sometimes I’ll put the pillow and throws that normally are in my bedroom in the guest bedroom. It’s amazing how tiny things like this can change the vibe completely. Also, I’m a crazy person and maybe I have too much free time.

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To continue with the My Happy Place theme, I even put a large-scale print from Minted in the closet. There isn’t a ton of room in there, so I wanted to make it feel more peaceful by hanging this calming piece.

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One of the biggest improvements in my Cocoon by Sealy-inspired makeover (aside from the fun new mattress, obviez) was the closet makeover that finally gives guests the ability to stow their luggage in the closet instead of throwing it all over the floor like animals. Not sure if this improvement was more for me or my guests.

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Making a Happy Place that is cozy and inviting for guests means showing them you care. This is why I always leave out a little carafe and a note about where to find water (we have a little water filter next to the tap). Small gestures can make your guest feel totally welcome. If you don’t do things like this for your guests, they may act out by standing over your bed, watching you as you sleep, cursing you with ancient witch spells.

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I’m very happy about the guest bedroom turned out. Sometimes, when I go in there I get mad that it’s not my bedroom. Working with Cocoon by Sealy to transform it from SNAGGLE TOOTH to SNUGGLE ME has a true delight. And I can’t wait to share more of Orcondo in the next few weeks as we finally reveal its mega makeover!

If you’d like to do your own My Happy Place makeover, Cocoon by Sealy is offering my readers a $50 cash gift card with purchase when you enter the code STYLEMAKER50 at checkout. The code will be effective starting May 12, 2016 and all purchases with the code must be made by May 31, 2016. So if you entered our giveaway and didn’t win, think of this as your second chance to get something for free (congrats to winners Cece and Andrew, btw!). Happy bedroom designing, people!

Love,
Orlando

Resources: Cocoon by Sealy Soft MattressBlu Dot “Dodu” Platform Bed from AllModernWhite Linen Duvet Cover from ParachuteHerringbone Blanket from Serena & LilyBath Robes from the Ace Hotel Gift ShopGymnasia Candle from Scenthouse, Grey Rug from RugsUSA, Custom Light Fixture by Park Studio, Matin Zad Print from Tappan Collective, Breath Print from Minted, Side Tables from Wertz Brothers, and Ikea Rast Dressers.

This post is sponsored by Tempur Sealy. All opinions are my own.

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One Room Challenge: Treehouse Reveal!

Photographs by Tessa Neustadt Courtesy Homepolish

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Dear EVERYONE!

My One Room Challenge treehouse is finally finished! (As of yesterday when Tessa Neustadt took these beautiful shots). Here’s a little peek of what it looks like inside:

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Wanna see more pics? The full tour is up on Homepolish, so head on over to see the whole thing!

Love,
Orlando

FULL STORY THIS WAY >>>

And check out the other One Room Challenge participants here:

• Claire Brody • The Curated House • Design Manifest • Driven by Decor • Honey We’re Home• Hunted Interior • The Makerista • Making it Lovely • My Sweet Savannah • Pencil and Paper Co.• The Pink Clutch • Savvy Home • Simplified Bee • Sketch 42 • Jill Sorensen • Orlando Soria• Thou Swell • The Vault Files • Waiting on Martha • The Zhush • Media Partner House Beautiful• TM by CIH

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One Room Challenge: Week Five

Photography By Orlando Soria, Brooke Spreckman, and Bethany Nauert

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Dear Construction Diary,

With one week to go in the One Room Challenge, I’ve still got lots to do. Luckily, the interior walls are all painted and all we have left is the fun part. FURNITURE. At one point in my life I really wanted to start a line of furniture and call it FUN-ITURE. But Then I realized that was stupid and someone probably did it already. Anyway, I love choosing colors and doing construction-oriented design stuff, but my true love is plopping furniture into a space and finally making it feel cozy and welcoming.

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One of the challenges of designing the interior of a tiny treehouse designed for small children is that you end up feeling like a giant no matter what. So when I had to go upstairs to paint the railing, I crunched up into the teeniest, tiniest ball to try and fit up there. It was all worth it though. LOOK HOW CUTE THE YELLOW (Benjamin Moore Bright Yellow) AND MINT (Benjamin Moore Caribbean Breeze) RAILING IS!

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The ceilings were painted white and the beams went a chocolate brown. I’m normally not into this color of brown because I grew up in a house/cabin this color and I always hated it. BUT! I like that it brings in a little bit of a 70s camp vibe so I’m gonna make it work.

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Naturally, painting required a TON of concentration. That tree is standing be hind me, totally judging me, being like “YOU MISSED A SPOT!” Shut up, Tree.

I wanted this room to feel like the happy childhood I never had but always wanted, so I also painted the formerly dark brown door a light pink (Benjamin Moore Misted Rose). Which makes it look so much more cute and fun in there. And the staircase was all “I WANNA BE YELLOW.” So I made her yellow. And now she’s like “I OWE YOU MY LIFE.”

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We stained the walls with this beautiful Monocoat Oil Finish (in Silver Gray) and it looks SO amazing. The kids are super into it and are demanding that we not paint it or do anything to cover it up too much because they LOVE looking at it. The yellow color we used everywhere is Benjamin Moore Bright Yellow and it’s so happy and bright it’s almost neon.

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We snagged these cute outdoor chairs from CB2. We’re trying to make all the furnishings we use as weather-friendly as possible, considering this room can get a little leaky (the gap between the tree and the house isn’t fully sealed because the tree needs to be able to move a bit in the wind and the structure has it’s own foundation).

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We also sourced a lot from Nate Berkus’ Target line, which is so good it’s maddening. Sidenote: I’m an ambassador for Legends of La Cienega, which is happening this week, and I keep seeing Nate Berkus and all my other design heroes running around being besties with each other and being totally glamorous, laughing while holding cocktails and thinking about their success.

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The floors look terrible here but that’s just because they’re filthy from us running in and out playing with furniture and paint. We’re getting a little plaid rug to make it a little more homey, but it’s going to be one of those plastic outdoor ones so it doesn’t get filled with spiders that jump into the kids’ mouths when they scream about how many spiders there are in the rug.

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We have a lot of accessories to buy, some art to hang, and a lot of small touches to put on this space before it’s ready for its final reveal. So tune in next week to see if I pulled it off or if I failed completely and should be forced to live outside forever, in a rug full of spiders.

Love,
Orlando

CHECK OUT THE OTHER ONE ROOM CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS!

• Claire Brody • The Curated House • Design Manifest • Driven by Decor • Honey We’re Home• Hunted Interior • The Makerista • Making it Lovely • My Sweet Savannah • Pencil and Paper Co.• The Pink Clutch • Savvy Home • Simplified Bee • Sketch 42 • Jill Sorensen • Orlando Soria• Thou Swell • The Vault Files • Waiting on Martha • The Zhush • Media Partner House Beautiful• TM by CIH

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San Clemente Beach House Gets A Mega Makeover!

Photograph by Tessa Neustadt Courtesy Homepolish

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Dear Bikini Body,

Just kidding, I don’t have a bikini body. I’ve been traveling a lot for work, which means my current body resembles a piece of Hawaiian pizza someone threw in the garbage because it was disgusting, which has been sitting there for two weeks and is now covered in toxic mold. BUT! Hark! My work travel ends for at least a month next week and I will have time to be home in Los Angeles, partaking in the LA pastime that brings us together as a community: eating tons of salads and working out with trainers who have racially-ambiguous surnames.

Why do I have bikinis on my mind? Well, I’ll tell you. I recently helped a Homepolish client gut renovate their beach house, taking it from an abandoned mess to a mid-century masterpiece. You can check out the full transformation on Lonny by clicking on the word Lonny, which I’m typing again Lonny so you remember to click Lonny. If you think about it, Lonny could be a really cute nickname for Orlando, so this is a match made in heaven. That’s five times I just wrote Lonny. Okay now six. GET TO WORK CLICKING WHILE THERE’S STILL TIME!

FULL STORY HERE (in case you haven’t clicked yet – what is WRONG with you?) >>>

Love,
Orlando

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Orlando’s Obsessions: Sculptural Lighting!

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Dear Lighting Lovers,

GATHER ‘ROUND FOLKS! It’s time for me to tell a tale of wonder, whimsy, and warmth. Today’s extra-special Orlando’s Obsession, my ongoing series for Homepolish, is all about sculptural lighting and how it can make your life way more enjoyable, rid your face of that pesky acne, and help you lose weight until you look like a dancing skeleton. So head on over to Homepolish Magazine and check it out!

Love,
Orlando

FULL STORY HERE >>>

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Creating a Happy Place: Cozying Up The Guest Bedroom

Photographs by Tessa Neustadt

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Dear Sleepyhead,

Ask my boyfriend, I am pretty bad at falling asleep. Bedtime normally involves me wiggling around for hours and hours thinking about all the things I did wrong today, all the stuff I forgot to do, and being filled with dread about all the ways I’ve ruined my life over the course of the day. My neuroses are amplified by laying down to go to sleep. So I was excited when Cocoon by Sealy invited me to create a Happy Place to sleep in honor of the release of their new Cocoon by Sealy line of ship-to-your-door mattresses.

First of all, what is “Cocoon,” aside from an 80s alien movie with Jessica Tandy in it? It’s pretty simple. Kids these days aren’t going to stores to buy mattresses. Instead of going into a scary showroom where someone pressures you into buying a mattress you can’t afford, many people are opting for mattresses they buy online that are delivered directly to their homes. Cocoon by Sealy is that. It’s basically the easiest way to buy a mattress without leaving your house. You can do it from the comfort of your sofa, while eating a pizza and being as lazy and disgusting as humanly possible. Or you could do it from your phone while you’re on the treadmill at the gym being as non-lazy as possible. Or you could do it at your office while you’re pretending to work. There are literally millions of options.

To celebrate the arrival of their fun new line of mattresses, Cocoon by Sealy has asked a number of bloggers (including me!) to create a happy place in their homes. Knowing my guest bedroom was in desperate need of help, I chose to concentrate my efforts there. We have guests quite often and the guest bedroom (and its disaster closet) were totally inhospitable. Below are my tips on creating a happy place for your guests.

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This assignment from Cocoon by Sealy got me thinking, what exactly makes a bedroom “happy”? For me, the following items helped transform the bedroom into a softer, cozier, and thus happier place: Cocoon by Sealy Soft Mattress, Blu Dot “Dodu” Platform Bed from AllModern, White Linen Duvet Cover from Parachute, Herringbone Blanket from Serena & Lily, Bath Robes from the Ace Hotel Gift Shop, Gymnasia Candle from Scenthouse, and a plush Grey Rug from RugsUSA.

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Okay, so first things first. The mattress. I have to make a confession here and tell you this is the first new mattress I’ve ever owned. My last apartment was filled with hand-me-downs and vintage furniture and I got my last mattress from a friend who was upgrading his mattress. I’m actually not that sensitive to bad mattresses, but I laid down in the guest bedroom a few weeks ago (as I often do, this room is so relaxing and bright and happy because of the pretty wall color – Sleigh Bells by Benjamin Moore) and noticed the mattress in there was super hard and uninviting. It made me feel guilty my poor, defenseless guests had basically been sleeping on concrete for the past 9 months.

So I said goodbye to that mattress (actually I gave it to a friend for her guest bedroom) and waited for the new mattress to arrive. When it got here it was in a crazy tiny box and I could not understand how an entire queen mattress was inside there. Basically, me opening that box was that part in Mary Poppins where she pulls a giant lamp out of a bag. I’m still shocked there was a whole mattress in there. Years from now, on my deathbed (maybe THIS VERY COCOON BY SEALY!), I’ll be like “I still can’t believe there was a whole bed in that box!”

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The mattress takes a few minutes to actually fully fluff up, so don’t be scared if you take yours out of the box and it’s flat and pancakey like this for an hour or so. Once mine was fully expanded I spent a few minutes jumping on it and it was pretty fluffy and awesome.

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Don’t you just wanna smash your face into that cushy mattress???

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A fun fact that not everyone knows is that most mattresses these days don’t require the use of a box spring. I’m obsessed with the platform bed I got from AllModern which has slats that pair nicely with the cushy softness of the mattress. I have an upholstered bed in my bedroom as well and it makes a big difference in creating a soft, cozy bedroom where you want to snuggle with literally everything.

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Another way I added some comfort to the guest bedroom was by adding something familiar and handmade. About a year ago, I was visiting my parents when I noticed some beautiful linen pillows covered in adorable, happy birds. I was like “WHERE’D U GET THEM PILLOWZ?” and my mother was like “I made them duh!”  So naturally I forced her to make some for me.

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I ordered some of the Lemming Dove Linen she used online and she sewed me from pillows. LET THIS BE A LESSON TO ALL OF US THAT IT PAYS TO HAVE A MOM WHO SEWS.

Since this is a guest bedroom and I wanted to make it comfortable and inviting, the disaster closet HAD to be dealt with. When we moved in, we threw in some random shelves we had from my old apartment, which quickly filled up with props, art supplies, and garbage. So I got rid of them, went through all my garbage and gave a lot of it away, added a few tiny dressers on one wall, and built-in shelving on the other.

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There isn’t a lot of clearance in there, so I found the shallowest dressers available at Ikea (11″ deep) and used two of them. They also function as a place to put down your suitcase so it doesn’t have to go on the floor in the middle of the bedroom.

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The wall shelves were WAY easier than I thought they’d be to install (I had to use those crazy butterfly anchors). I also installed a hook on the back of the door so I could hang our Ace Hotel Robes, which are super comfy and soft and made of sweatpants material (whatever that’s called). Oh, it’s called terry cloth. You’re welcome.

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The coziness doesn’t stop at the Cocoon by Sealy mattress and the robes. My guest are always enthralled with my linen duvet and sheets from Parachute. I love linen a lot and it makes me happy to wake up in it every day (I have the same sheets on my bed). My boyfriend is from France and always screams things like “UGH THESE REMIND ME OF THE SCRATCHY SHEETS WE HAD GROWING UP!” Apparently France has been on its linen game way longer than America. But for many Americans like me, linen is still such a fun luxury. I literally want to go into the bedroom right now and bite the duvet with my mouth I love it so much. [1 minute elapsed time]. Okay, I did go into the bedroom to bite the linen duvet. It was worth it. I’m back in the dining room writing this again. WHERE ARE YOU?

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During the renovation, we added drapery by Decorview all over. Drapery serves a double function of softening the room by adding texture and shielding you from the rays of the sun if you’re feeling particularly vampirey. I’m also a huge fan of plants everywhere, so I have tons of succulents that I rotate throughout the condo. Basically, succulents hate living inside, so I keep them inside for a week or so then put them back outside for a few weeks so they can get full sun and recover from my abuse.

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Art is another great way to add warmth and coziness. I hung this amazing Japanese screen I found at the flea market. I actually took it apart because one of the panels was completely janky, but I think it looks better with a little breathing room.

Finally, for no reason, here’s a GIF of my bed being made, step by step:

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I’ll be sharing more of the guest bedroom next month when I finally share the rest of the Orcondo renovation here and on Homepolish Magazine. And stay tuned for more guest bedroom styling tips in the second “My Happy Place” post.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to roll all over my bed, wallowing in my happy place.

Love,
Orlando

PS: BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! Cocoon by Sealy wants you to create your own happy place! They’re giving me two of Cocoon by Sealy mattresses (whichever size you need!) to give away. All you have to do to enter is post a comment and two winners will be chosen by a randomizing internet robot (that exists!). Winners will be chosen Monday, May 2 at 12 Noon PST so make sure to enter before then. No purchase necessary.

IMPORTANT UPDATE! The giveaway is now CLOSED! Congrats to winners Cece and Andrew!

This post is sponsored by Tempur Sealy. All opinions are my own.

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One Room Challenge: Week Three

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Dear Construction Diary,

Things are moving pretty quickly on my One Room Challenge Treehouse project. The biggest change is that we’ve added plywood walls everywhere, boxing in the formerly-exposed posts and making the whole interior look a lot more finished. The reason we didn’t do drywall in here is that it’s not completely safe from the elements (there is a small bit of leakage around the tree trunk which we are tying to fix with a sealant but we’ll get to that later). We’ve also finished the railing on the loft and even added trim around the windows. And by “we” I mean Fernando, the builder who’s basically doing this whole project. His name is important not only because he’s incredibly talented and doing a great job, it’s also important because no matter what, people always think that’s my name when I introduce myself. “Hi, I’m Orlando.” …”FERNANDO???” “No, Orlando.” …”ROLANDO???” “No, Orlando.” “YOLANDA?” “No, Orlando.” “FERNANDO?” …I think you get the picture.

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I actually didn’t think it would make such a huge difference to add in the plywood walls but it makes the whole place feel so much more finished and glamorous.

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We had to cover the cute rope handrail so we’ll have to figure out another solution for this once we’ve dealt with the walls. But first, we have way more important things on our hands. We have to figure out all the furniture. I proposed four different scenarios and my amazing new design assistant Brooke drew them up into four different proposals.

Basically, the whole theme behind all of the design ideas is based on a combination of summer camp aesthetic mixed with Ace Hotel-inspired hipster decor. I normally wouldn’t go this on-trend, but keep in mind this is for kids who are young and adorable and not as cynical and snobby about hipster trends as we grown ups can be. Okay fine. Me. I’m the one who’s a jerk about things being too hipster trendy.

The treehouse needs to feel cool but still kid-friendly, so I wanted it to feel as current and hip as possible. They’re going to be teenagers in five years anyway and by that point they’ll probably want to totally redecorate it to better represent their teenage pain and anger. And I’m totally down to help them with that goth makeover when the time comes.

Below are the four design plans we came up with.

PLAN 1: DESERT SAFARI

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This plan features a little seating area next to the window and a trunk in the nook behind the tree. You’ll notice this small space is actually kind of awkward so the plan is to put a storage trunk back there we can put pillows on so it becomes another lounging space. We’re getting lighting custom made by Park Studio to hang above so it can be a little reading nook. Here’s a photo of the space I’m talking about so you don’t think I’m crazy:

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PLAN 2: WOODLAND CLUBHOUSE

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This plan is pretty similar to the first one but has fun woven chairs and different art. Also, instead of having two facing chairs, we have one accent chair and a vintage stadium seat. This plan also features the world’s most disgusting/amazing deer art which I thought was a painting but is actually a 3D sculpture, which kind of makes it even better. I doubt my clients are going to go for it but I think it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my whole worthless life.

PLAN 3: MOD COMPOUND

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This design is a little more mid-century modern than the rest and much more black and white. This one has a loveseat instead of two chairs and has a lot more neutral tones.

PLAN 4: ART ESCAPE

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We also have a daybed option, in case one of the kids (or the parents) wants to go out there and take a little nap or snuggle up with a book. This look is a little more boho than the other ones and features this super cute art I randomly found online. I actually bought it for myself and am going to hang it over my bed.

BUT WHAT TO DO WITH THEM WALLZ???

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Okay, so while we’ve been fixated on the furniture, we’ve also been trying to figure out what color to paint or stain the walls. We’re playing around with this grey stain option, mainly to cover up the yellow of the plywood and show off the cool grain of the wood. This idea actually came directly from the kids, who wanted to make sure the treehouse didn’t lose its rustic look. I’m planning to paint the freshly-installed trim bright yellow, along with the stairs/ladder and the upstairs railing.

I’m also obsessed with Native American patterns, and am hoping to incorporate this Hopi design somewhere into the treehouse, whether it’s handpainted on the wall or the floor or on one of the accessories:

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So, there you have it. We have three weeks and basically everything left to do. Will we figure out what furniture to order in time? Will we stain and or paint everything before our deadline? WILL WE FINISH THIS PROJECT AT ALL? Or will we leave two, adorable innocent children with an unfinished playspace, a preview of the disappointment they will face throughout their lives? STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT! Oh, and let me know which design plan you like.

Love,
Orlando

OH, AND CHECK OUT THE OTHER ONE ROOM CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS AND THEIR PROGRESS!

 Claire Brody  | The Curated House  | Design Manifest  | Driven by Decor  | Honey We’re Home  | Hunted Interior  | The Makerista | Making it Lovely | My Sweet Savannah |  Pencil and Paper Co. | The Pink Clutch | Savvy Home  | Simplified Bee  | Sketch 42  | Jill Sorensen | Orlando Soria  | Thou Swell  | The Vault Files  | Waiting on Martha  | The Zhush | Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by CIH

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Orlando’s Obsessions: Statement Chairs!

Photograph by Claire Esparros Courtesy Homepolish

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Dear Chair Lovers,

I’ve written a tantalizing post for Homepolish about accent chairs and how they affect my emotional, spiritual, and erotic life. So, whether you’re sitting in a chair, standing on the subway, or swimming in the ocean you should head on over to Homepolish Magazine and check it out. Harry!

Love,
Orlando

FULL POST THIS WAY >>>

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