Black is the new Black

It was brought to my attention that I never shared the before and after of our LA house exterior on the blog, and since I aim to please… (and because you better believe we will be painting the new house some shade of black as well), here she is!



It’s amazing what black paint can do! Right? Well, and a new door, and new shutters, and a lot of cement work, and landscaping and a new fence. ha See that tiny cactus to the left of the “before” photo? It is the same one in the “after” photo and that is just about the only thing we saved and look… he is so happy!

We did the landscaping plan ourselves and worked with a local landscaping team to bring it to life. Keep in mind I know almost NOTHING about plants and in hindsight I would not have chosen the “stick on fire” plant (that is the one next to the cactus partly blocking the left window). For one they are poisonous to dogs and babies (only if they eat them so it hasn’t been a problem, but still) and then secondly it grows SO fast. Like way to fast and too big. The agave and the other plants have grown in so well we didn’t even need them. The main lesson I learned is to start your plants small and it won’t take long for your garden to grow in. I wanted it to look good instantly, which it did, but then a year later it was already looking almost too full! Aside from that, I love how it turned out.

We painted the walls just a slightly darker shade of the same color. Previously, I had mentioned it being Iron Mountain from Benjamin Moore but when I went to go retouch the paint before we rented it out to tenants I realized that wasn’t the case and remembered I had mixed Iron Mountain with Cracked Pepper by Behr to make a custom color and then I brought it to the paint store to get color matched.

The other big change was extending out the stairs to the front door to create a small patio. It instantly made the entry feel more grand. Then we had the landscaping team pour custom large sized pavers for the side walk, which brought in one more detail that helped to modernize the exterior. All the seemingly small details on their own make one big impact.

To see all of our Los Angeles house renovations, check here.

And now… what to do on our new family fixer!? It may be super boring for blog reading purposes, but on modern houses, I basically will go one or two ways with the exterior and that is white or black. Find me a charming victorian and I might go the softest shade of pink… but still, a black victorian would be pretty great too for the juxtaposition alone. But anywho… from the second we saw the realtor photos of the house we knew we would 100% be painting it black if we got it ( we just painted our last project white, so clearly we are due to go back to black. ha). A modern black house in a wooded setting has always been a dream of mine that I can’t believe is actually coming true and so close to the city. There is just something magic about being surrounded by all that green and how a black house feels right at home amongst the trees.

While we are waiting on finalizing designs on the inside, I am itching to get rid of the red so I already made a couple trips to our local to get samples and we are getting right to it. Above you can see where I painted some swatches next to the window and my options are almost black, black, blacker, and blackest. (ok the real colors are : (from the top down) Urban Bronze, Tricorn Black, Caviar, and Iron Ore). When choosing exterior paints, always paint the swatches… the bigger the better, and also in multiple places. Colors change in every light, so it is good to live with them for a couple days and see how you like what paints at different times of day in the different locations. From there if you are lucky, one will be the clear winner. If you are unlucky and you like one on one side and a different on the other, I would choose the one you will see or care about the most.

We are still in the ‘living with them stage’ so stay tuned for which shade we choose! And which would you choose?! Or if you still think black is crazy, what color would you do?

In the meantime I will leave you with some pretty black houses surrounded by trees, in case I didn’t make a big enough case for it myself.

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To see all of the posts and to get the full back story on where and why we moved, check here.

Mandy Moore Master Bathroom Tour

I’m continuing on with the full tour of our residential project for Mandy Moore, we have the master bathroom! Bathrooms and kitchens are my favorite spaces to design and this one measures pretty high in the ranks of favorites. Just wait until you see the before and after (below). As I’ve mentioned Mandy’s house had a few unfortunate 90’s renovations where they added curved elements that clashed with the original architect’s design. At first glance we were going work with the existing footprint but the deeper we got into the project the more it was evident that we needed to straighten those lines up. So , the architect, worked to adjust the footprint around the bathtub to match the lines of the rest of the house, which also created the opportunity for a much more generous shower.

And speaking of that shower… we (Mandy, Taylor, Emily and I) all took a trip to Stoneland to pick out the beautiful marble slabs. The unlacquered brass shower hardware, sink and tub faucets came from (aren’t they stunning?!).

This bathtub moment is what bubble bath dreams are made of. The modern freestanding bathtub and the statement light fixture above are both from Wayfair.

The custom vanity Emily and I collaborated on is made of white oak, and houses kohler sinks and Rejuvenation faucets. We carried the marble slab over from the shower to the vanity by using it as the countertop and up the backsplash.

And it wouldn’t be as satisfying without a side by side before and after right?







To see all of the progress and tours so far on Mandy Moore’s house,  check here.

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Mandy Moore Master Bedroom Tour

This post was created in collaboration with Parachute

Ok you guys, it is time! It is Mandy Moore’s house tour time. If you have been following along on our project, you have gotten sneak peeks galore on , (the architect), and feeds. In that case, you also most likely saw the Arch Digest story/tour, but now I get to share allllll the details that so many of you have asked for, and all the photos that I have been dying to share.

First up is the Master Bedroom. We didn’t have to do any huge architectural changes in this room (aside from the flooring. hello poured-on-site terrazzo… more on that later). Thankfully the 90’s renovation didn’t flounce up this space. On the first walk through with Mandy, I immediately had the idea to create a custom built-in bed. The space between the little “bump outs” (for lack of a better term) begged for it. We ended up building them out a touch to make them more substantial, and to house the built-in headboard with floating nightstands. Everyone’s favorite , emerald green velvet, and soft textured layers of ivory and white make this space impossibly inviting. The view isn’t too terrible either.

One of the most satisfying aspects of this project was getting to work with many of my favorite artists, friends, and the people behind brands I love. The master bedroom truly highlights that. From the minute I heard about and founder Ariel Kaye’s mission to create the best sheets on the market, I was interested, and from the first night I slept in their bedding, I became a devout fan. So, it was a no brainer to outfit Mandy’s bed in Parachute. If you’ve ever heard me talk about , or founder Michelle Aaro, all the bazillion times I have used their lighting in projects, you know how much I love their product. Her collection is perfect for the modern home and I am not sure if it is the beautiful designs or the fact that Michelle is one of the genuinely sweetest persons on the planet that has me always sourcing from them (it’s both).

Now, let’s talk about that bench. I met at a trade show after she reached out to me on Instagram saying she was going to be in town. I nearly missed her as I was leaving the trade show and realized I didn’t see her booth. After furiously DMing her, I ran back inside just in time to catch her and her stunning line and was so glad I did because every piece is just that.

And last but certainly not least, the wall hanging. Fiber artist and I go way back, ok not that we had ever actually met in person, but we have been on email basis for years while I have been saving my pennies for one of her pieces. Before she recently (ish) moved to Ojai, she got her start while living in Grand Rapids, MI (where we just landed) so we have a friend or two in common as well. I have always admired her artistry and the way she is continually pushing forward with her work in a medium that is riddled with copycats. We commissioned this custom piece for Mandy and Taylor and it was the perfect addition to the space.

Ok this post has turned into a giant mushy love fest but I couldn’t be more thrilled with how this project turned out and all the people involved.  Mandy, as I’ve mentioned before, was the type of client one can usually only dream of and my design team partner in crime, , is the architect one can usually only dream of working alongside and of course my love for the photographer, , runs deep as does her talent.

And before I leave you… a little before and after




So there you have it… Mandy and Taylor’s master bedroom, their two cute pups, and the whole rest of the house to go (including another Parachute clad bedroom that hasn’t been seen before). Stay tuned!

To see all of the posts on the Moore Residence project, check here.

Interior Design by Shescorts Sherman Samuel
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Moore Residence – Arch Digest Cover Story!

If you’ve been following along on the progress with our Moore Residence project over here you know I went radio silent for a while and by now you might have figured out why. I couldn’t be more thrilled about the reason being our project made the cover of Mandy, the pups, our custom built-in sofa, terrazzo floors, and all… right there on the cover.

To say this project has been a favorite would be an understatement. The house itself (a complete gut renovation of an original mid-century Harold B. Zook), the clients (Mandy and Taylor were incredible from day one… thoughtful, involved, and generous, giving us basically cart blanche) and the whole team from from construction to the final shoot. There wasn’t one bad apple in the bunch. And the result… I couldn’t help but share a few of my favorites from the feature.

I’ll be rolling out final room tours, before & afters, and all the details here, over the next couple weeks, so stay tuned for images you haven’t seen yet!

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to paint or not to paint?

Well we have cleaned the place up a little bit (so we no longer look like squatters) but more like devout minimalists. This room is SO big it is hard to even grasp from a photo. That is the same 10 foot long sofa from our A-frame that took up the entire room and it is just floating in a sea of rust carpet with one lonely in the corner about 10 more feet away. How the heck am I going to fill this space?!  Anyway… we are still living in limbo until construction starts so only unpacking the essentials. Mostly we are waiting on me to finalize designs and get all the materials on order so we can kick this big ole project off and the real reason I am writing this post is because I finally made one big step in the right direction.

It took some major deliberating but I finally made my decision on the plan for the ceiling and flooring materials and I’ll tell you, it wasn’t easy. Really, it was the first decision I had to make before any other finish decisions could be made. Those soaring wood paneled ceilings were one of the main things that drew us to the house in the first place and whether we were going to keep them as is, try and refinish them, or paint them was debilitating!

While I have made up my mind (for now), I had to run through every possible combination because… designer brain never stops. From the realtor photos the wood looked very orange… it is, after all, the 80’s pine wood tongue and groove. In person it doesn’t look nearly as orange and it does make the space feel special. So once we saw the house in person, I initially wanted to keep the ceiling wood because it is what sets it apart, however, the house is dark and of course I want to brighten it up (getting rid of that rust carpeting will help). Having darker tones on the ceiling and the floor isn’t an option with me, so that meant I would have to go light on the flooring and from what I found, that was getting expensive quick (yes terrazzo, I’m looking at you). I also did not like the idea of having wood on the ceiling and wood of a different tone on the floor (like in the kitchen), that is just too much. The more I thought about it, the easiest and most cost effective route was hands down to paint the ceilings white and do light oak wood flooring throughout. It is light and modern but warm, very California and very simple to execute. It would definitely brighten and unify the spaces compared to all the different flooring materials that are going on right now. And of course I found a bazillion beautiful examples of white painted ceilings…

This one is white/bright on the ceiling AND the floor and I love every last detail.

From the book  shot by B

And this one with the painted white ceiling and a light grey/concrete looking floor, I would definitely take it.

Design by Gordana Golubovic, photographer,  via EST magazine.

And then here we are with a painted white ceiling with light wood flooring looking stunning as usual.

Found via Casa Vogue

and then again (). See what I mean? Easy Peasy. Except, I apparently am not one that likes to go the easy route.


So back to keeping the wood ceiling… do I refinish it and see if we can restore it to its more natural color? Do I roll with it and find a light wood flooring that goes with it (no), do I paint the dark stained beams only (I think so) and find a white/light flooring to go with? Can I do poured concrete on a second story? What if I splurged on terrazzo in the main living spaces and source other light/whiteish floorings for the other rooms? DING DING DING! winner winner… at least for now. I haven’t fully pulled the trigger but I’ve got all the material estimates in hand and I’m holding my breath while I wait for the labor costs. It’s difficult splurging at the very beginning of a renovation when you know there is a very very long road ahead of you, but that is the plan and as soon as I made that decision things started to come together for the rest of the house. So I think it will be worth it.

While I did find a ton of inspiration for the white ceilings I found it WAY harder to round up any that felt like me with the natural wood ceilings, which has me a little freaked tbh, but I like to push myself and the few I did find are pretty spectacular.

Especially this one… wood ceiling, white floors and all my favorite golden warm tones. YES!

and this one from  This one breaks my rule of no wood on the ceiling and the floor but they are drastically different tones which makes it work and the incredible fireplace and little wood nook (a mini version like the one in our house!) more than makes up for it in this stunning space.

And finally, this one also has the wood on the floors and the ceiling but the kitchen is beautiful and can’t you just see this being Clover and I in a couple years? One could hope ours will look this good, as right now I am in a sea of wood, on wood, on wood, on a rusty wood color in our kitchen (below).

Photo by Miha Matei.

Along with keeping the wood ceiling as is, I am planning to use a mix of different flooring materials throughout the house in the same light ivory/whiteish shades to keep it cohesive. It will be some combination of terrazzo, carpet, and cement tile. So there we are, one decision down, 8,000,000,000 more to go. Unless of course you guys can change my mind… but really, what would you do?

To see all of the posts on this renovation check here.
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