amy elbaum / blog

A house into a home

I recently joined in on an initiative with Casper, providing a few “move-in essential” tips for turning a new house into a cozy, home-y space.  If you haven’t heard of Casper, they are a cutting edge mattress company providing affordable mattresses that are absurdly comfortable, and they also make moving easy since they simply arrive at your door in a box! They even offer sheets and pillows too for added coziness! We all know having a good night’s sleep is #1 in a new home, so it makes sense that they are trying to help people who are moving into a new home feel comfortable and happy! Even as I work on my own house – endlessly renovating and trying to furnish – I feel when I add my smaller, personal touches I actually start to capture that warm & fuzzy feeling you should get when you feel “home”.

Casper suggested tips #1-#3 and asked me to chime in for #4-#6:

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Let’s get into it!

Great Bedding:

Is there seriously anything better than new, luxurious, super soft bedding to make you feel like you are HOME? Definitely not. But great bedding goes above and beyond thread count – your bedding can transform a room and should always be considered as a part of the larger design scheme. Check out how some of these bedrooms were totally rocked out by their bedding alone:

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While I am a huge fan of the all white bedding situation, adding pops of colors and patterns through throws and pillows can turn any ordinary bedroom into a wow space.

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Blush sheets? Genius. They give this super simple bed design a little something extra.

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Tying in antique textiles can bring a bedroom to the next level. I love the boldness of the bedding on these twin beds in an otherwise quiet room.

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This custom dyed green bedding makes a huge statement against the white walls yet feels so calm and serene. Love it!

I have always dreamed of having an all white bed, and after years of yelling at my husband for eating in bed, obsessively cleaning my dog’s paws and our recent bout with Brady’s stomach bug, I am hanging up my hat and flat out giving up on that dream. Our bedroom is certainly not on the priority list in our house, but once I get to it I will definitely be considering new bedding options.

I recently got to attend the Parachute Hotel in Venice and see their new lines of bed linens and was totally wowed. I love their subdued colors and organic, natural vibe. They just came out with a tan color that seems to be speaking to me (please don’t tell me tan is as easy to get dirty as white UGH):

tan bedding

I am also a big QUILT person, as is my husband. We both tend to wake up super hot and sweaty when using a down comforter, so we use quilts year round. Love these patchy options from Parachute: gray quilt

Now that looks like something that would take my family quite some time to destroy.

I was also recently introduced to Coyuchi home, which has amazing organic bedding and more. I love their Strata blanket as an accent piece over a neutral bed:

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For something more whimsical, I have always loved Serena & Lily’s ever growing bedding collection. Here’s a few I have had my eye on lately:

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Fresh Flowers or Plants

Fresh greenery will literally add life to your space. From a small arrangement on a bedside table to a fun statement tablescape in the dining room, flowers and plants definitely add to a cozy, lived-in home.

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tablescape

I have about the exact opposite of a green thumb, but can give you some pointers on easy things to keep alive (and why I am so excited to be seeing faux plants on the rise!).

I have always found orchids SUPER EASY to keep alive and that they always look super chic and styled all on their own. This one on my current kitchen table I have had for 2.5 months, have watered probably 3 times, and it is currently making my house look amazing (the cute little geometric vase from Dwell studio isn’t hurting either):

orchid

The next venture I plan to take in my living room is getting a faux potted plant, likely a fig tree. I recently advised my clients in Malibu to get themselves a fig tree, and a few months in they are struggling to keep that beauty alive 🙁

fig tree

Enter the amazingness of the faux plant. Lots of options these days – I am likely to splurge on this beauty from Pottery Barn:

faux fig tree

Bam! Place that bad boy in a fab basket and call it a day. My son/dog/husband can try all they want but there will be no dirt to throw and I will not have to strain myself to keep yet another person alive in this house! There are more faux plant options at Target, Home Goods, and World Market 🙂

Personal Photo Wall

Last but not least, there is nothing that brings more of you into your home than YOU! Personal photos displayed in a tasteful way are a must. I am of course a fan of the gallery wall, but am always looking for new ways to show off my cool family and friends.

Here is what I had in my old townhouse, which was limited in wall space so I fit what I could:

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Hi family! I kept things streamlined by using all the same size black frames with white mats and varied on horizontal vs landscape direction.

Now that I am a big girl and have humungous, endlessly empty walls, I have goals to add to this collection and span an entire hallway of photos:

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I also have a nice little built-in in one of my hallways that I will probably re-arrange and re-decorate for the rest of my life that I think could host a whole bunch of leaning family photos. See said space below:

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I saw this image of leaning images on a shelf that definitely left me feeling inspired:

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I love gallery walls period so will just leave a few more here to admire:gallerywall3 gallerywall4 gallerywall5

So that about wraps it up, the AE guide to making a new house feel like a home. I’m still working on that over here, but will keep my own advice in mind as I continue to transform my own house.

xo, AE

Warm it up for winter!

When I was contacted by Douglas Elliman’s Florida real estate team to write a post about how to winter-ize your home, I was stoked to get on it. As a former New Yorker and graduate of the University of Wisconsin, I know a thing or two about winters – not to mention this LA winter has not been the most pleasant! And though I have a large closet in my home dedicated to housing all my winter coats and boots that don’t get a ton of use out here on the west coast, I also believe there are lots of ways you can warm up your home and not just your wardrobe in those cold months. So today I am sharing some tricks on what you can do to make your home more cozy as those temps keep dropping (is it spring yet?!):

1) Faux Fur: I love faux fur for just about everything and anything (including clothes and shoes) but this is a really easy way to warm up your space. Use it on a throw, a pillow, a rug or upholster something fun:

fur throw

fur pillows and thowerin fetherson fur ottoman

In our DC condo project we added these faux sheepskin ottomans to sit under a console and provide warmth as well as additional seating:

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Yet again in our Hoboken Condo project we added a simple white sheepskin pillow to warm up this royal blue and chrome vignette:

And this is a design board I put together for a former client for her master bedroom – the white faux sheepskin rug really warms up the space:

southampton design board

Which leads me to another tip…

2) Layer Rugs: I love rugs, and one is never enough. Adding a layered rug instantly adds depth, texture and warmth to any space. I love a vintage rug over a natural fiber rug and of course a faux hide over anything is magical:

layered hide rug layered stripe rug layered vintage rug

I also love to layer with rugs diagonally – see the design board I created for my own master bedroom (which I am hopeful one day will become a reality) where I layered a vintage rug diagonally over a neutral jute rug:

layered rug design board

3) Winter white: we all know I will never have a room with white furniture in my house (cue the waterworks) but if you can swing it (read: are a mature awesome adult who has no messy husband/child/dog or are an empty nester with children in college) it is a MUST, especially in winter. Add white wherever you can, especially in different tones:

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I am lucky enough to be currently working with some empty nesters who agreed to purchase this unbelievable, one of a kind white sofa from Shine by Sho:

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We will be adding white textured pillows to make it even WHITER! Yay!

4) Throw a throw on it: adding a throw blanket to a sofa or bed is not only practical in the winter but also again adds warmth and dimensions to the space. Bonus points if you can bring in a plaid or buffalo check print:

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I almost always advise my clients to throw a throw on it – here are some living room and bedroom shots from our past projects where a throw has warmed things up exponentially:

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5) String up some lights: lighting is everything really, and it can transform the atmosphere of a space, especially an outdoor space. If you live somewhere with tolerable weather or if you are brave enough to face winter head on in the east coast or Midwest, warm it up with some mood lighting. These all white string lights add the perfect amount of warmth and atmosphere:

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Would be so great to add some string lights to the terrace from our DC Condo project. Adds such a warm glow right??

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It looks like warmer weather is headed our way here in LA, but a lot of you have several months to go still! Stay warm…xo, AE

Dreamy, dreamy dressing room

So we are settled into our new house (more like “settled” as we have little furniture, no light fixtures, and the exterior of our house looks like a big hot mess). None the less – it is so lovely to be here and finally live in the space we have been working so hard on over the last few months. The transformation of the bathrooms and kitchen has been really something and I am so looking forward to someday having it all done! Just kidding, I am a designer and I will never EVER be done 🙂

One of the spaces we did not touch (sadly) is my master closet. I have hopes that at some point we will build something spectacular, but for now I can only fantasize, which is also fun! I have thinking of what this space would be like for me….now we all know I am more of a modern girl – clean lines, graphic patterns, black & white – but when it comes to my DREAM dressing room, I actually gravitate towards something very classic and feminine.

Here are some images that give me LIFE:

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I love the white classic moldings and details as well as the cool blues and grays in the rugs and furniture.

Another essential feature to a great dressing room is WALLPAPER (wait, when is wallpaper not an important feature??)

wallpaper3 wallpaperlighting 0c699a35114ba2ff81b86a196095318cI have always loved mural wallpapers for a dressing room – the top image from Aerin Lauder’s home has always been a favorite image of mine – but I also like something subtle that gives the room a really serene feel.

Another super important factor in a dressing room is lighting (duh!). A glorious chandelier can really transform a space and give you the soft lighting you need to select your best outfit yet:

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The last few details for me include some sort of animal print-esque carpeting:

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And an uber feminine ottoman, for putting on your fancy heels:

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So, that leads to my design, of my dreamiest, most magical dressing room:

closet design board with textUgh, I love it! May have to build a bigger house next time to accommodate. Live and learn!

Lets go through some of my choices, starting with wallpaper:

farrow and ball wisteria wallpaper

This is from Farrow & Ball’s wallpaper collection, called Wisteria. I love their take on traditional patterns – they feel timeless yet modern at the same time.

Next up is the carpet:

stark kubra

This is the Kubra pattern from Stark. I used it once before in a very feminine bedroom:

Next up is the blingy bling bling chandelier:

arhaus poppy large

This is the poppy pendant from Arhaus. Check out the rest of their lighting collections here. Perfect for a feminine dressing room!

The vanity is a shagreen covered desk from Bernhardt. I love the feminine, clean shape:

bernhardt criteria desk

Those scalloped edges kill me!

The upholstered chair is a deco style piece from Mecox Gardens:

mecox beaufort deco side chair

I have actually lusted after this chair for years. So simple yet so stunning.

The mirror is from Horchow:

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This mirror adds a slight antique-y look that fits in so well in this space.

Lastly the ottoman – had to be something skirted because where else would I ever put something like this?? I took inspiration from an ottoman by Edward Ferrell:

edward ferrell danbury oval ottomanI took the liberty of making it a light blush colored upholstery to add a hint of color to the scheme.

Well, I’ll keep dreaming over here but also keep posting updates of what is ACTUALLY happening in our house. xo, AE