May 4, 2010
Everyone should have a neighbor like Debra—that impossibly chic former investment banker turned decorator with a PhD in mysticism and perfect skin. I’ve been going back and forth on what stain to use on the back wall—ash, walnut, natural, oak? So I called Debra, who came up with the genius idea of using a 60/40 water/paint wash using the same paint that is going on the walls and ceiling. In a small space, she said, we needed continuity of color. The paint is Farrow & Ball Light Gray, which is also featured in our bedroom and living room. I emphatically believe it is the prettiest color of paint in the whole wide world, and sometimes I just gaze at our bedroom walls mesmerized by it. Out in the garage, the washed boards are going up on the back wall as we speak, and the effect is so beautiful—it looks like the weathered redwood homes throughout Sea Ranch near where I grew up.
March 1, 2010
Not much to look at, is it? That’s where imagination comes in. Like getting rid of that awful, concrete splattered rickety door and replacing it with new carriage doors. Painting them blue. Adding French doors to the side. Letting in more light. Until now it’s all been theory. But after several months delay, our extended houseguest has vacated the guestroom so we can finally break ground on our remodel. This weekend we emptied the contents of the garage into said guestroom and our contractor will tear up the concrete floor and pour a new slab. Having lived through a major remodel when we bought the house two and a half years ago, I’m bracing myself for the rocky road ahead…
1. Farrow & Ball Stone Blue – for the carriage door; 2. Farrow & Ball French Gray – for the stucco exterior; 3. Farrow & Ball Cream – for the wood trim.
Balance, Design, Products
December 18, 2009
Writer Heather John often finds herself working from the couch – at least until her garage gets converted into an office.
Heather John, who works from her home in California, has the enviable job of writing about wine and spirits for Bon Appetit magazine. She also blogs about food, fashion and design. I asked Heather about her plans to set up a new home office in her garage. Look out for more posts from Heather in the coming weeks as her renovation takes shape.
Give us an idea of the overall design? We’re adding French doors to let in more light, built-in bookshelves for my “library” of fashion, design, food, wine/spirits books as well as an area for wine/spirits tastings. The fantasy is to set up shop with a George Nelson table and an Eames Aluminum Chair (in light blue or tan, a girl can dream!), and mix in some antique rugs I “liberated” from my parents. I’m also OBSESSED with paint, specifically Farrow & Ball. I’d love to paint the walls in Dix Blue and then do something dramatic with the bookcases, either somber with Down Pipe (the color of lead pipes), or outrageous like Incarnadine—a crimson red similar to the paint David Hicks used at Baron Court in the 1970s.
Farrow & Ball Blue ‘Night’ was chosen for the dining room walls – more blue is planned for the workspace.
Keeping a workspace tidy is key. What will you do for storage? I’ve asked my husband to check out what kind of desktop storage is on offer at Muji while he’s in New York this week. I’d also like an industrial looking file cabinet. There are some affordable options at CB2. And some not-so-affordable options at Rehab on Beverly, specifically some vintage steel basket lockers recycled from factories and schools. Guess which ones I’m angling for?
What’s the desktop accessory you can’t do without? X-Acto Electric Pencil sharpener. I hate mechanical pencils, and nothing beats a freshly sharpened No 2!
What has the transition to home been like? I’ve been working in an office for the past 10 years, the first half of which were spent at the Los Angeles Times, and the second half at Bon Appetit Magazine. Transitioning to home has been more challenging than I would have imagined, mainly due to distractions—namely a 17-month-old toddler! Also, psychologically there’s something strange waking up in your work environment. This is ultimately why we decided to convert the garage instead of a spare room inside the home—that way I’m leaving the house and going to a dedicated work space, even if it is a few feet up the driveway from my kitchen door.
Wine tastings will move from the kitchen to the garage once the renovation has taken place.