Shien Cosmetics was the first beauty brand I ever had the chance to work with and it’s been really inspiring watching it grow. Branch just finished Shien’s print lookbook and you can check out even more of the layouts right here.
Woohoo, it’s finally Friday! I’ve been feeling really restless this week, jumping from project to project, to chatting with friends online, to trying to recover from post-tax shock (things didn’t go as well as I was hoping, we’ll just leave it at that!), to revamping the Branch media kit with new photos and services to setting up design files for the San Francisco and Chicago Blogcademy workshops (we do custom totes and documents for each).
When I was in LA last week, my friend Mary Bee surprised me with two bags of clothes over dinner (she happens to manage one of the best vintage stores in the city) and this suede hand-painted top from the 80s was lurking in the bottom. When I’m at home, I tend to default to black skinny jeans a lot so throwing this number on is my way of dressing things up! Also, freckles! I used to hate them so much when I was younger but now I don’t really mind — thanks to the Palm Springs sun for bringing them back out.
I can’t believe these flowers are still alive and kicking! They were a gift from a Branch client a few weeks ago (hence, the blazing orange!) and they’re thriving —- like a lot of you, we’ve got Spring going on inside right now because outside it’s been a raining mess allll day, every day.
I always say that snail mail is the best mail! My week was brightened up when Kat surprised me with a beautiful quartz necklace. Kat may be my business partner and design client but even more than that, she is one of the most thoughtful, dependable, giving people I’ve ever met.
Remember how we had a massive black bear in the corner of our living room? Well, he’s since relocated to my brother’s room (quite a shock if you’re visiting him for the first time!) so we put a palm in that place (if you’re wondering, it was under $30.00 at Home Depot). Our living room has been in shambles post-bathroom construction so we’re slowly trying to freshen things up. Drop cloths and dust, be gone!
Last year, I bought my first espresso machine and I’m proud to say that since then, we’ve used it almost every day since! It needs a good cleaning but that’s only because it gets used so much — it felt like a lot to plunk down at the time but has since more than paid for itself. When I’m in town, I rarely go out for coffee anymore.
For me, weekends are the time to clean my office and go through stacks of magazines (I subscribe to a lot so there’s always something new showing up in my mailbox). All these pages were taken from the newest issue of Marie Claire. Beautiful layouts, right?
This week, we finally unveiled our new bathroom. It’s pretty hard to fathom how much work went into such a tiny space. Yes, I’m temped to take photos every time I walk by!
Enjoy your weekend! I’m off to design the brand new Blogcademy backdrop.
• One of my favorite columns to check out is Lovely Lady over on Emma Dime, where creatives share what they’re wearing. This week, I’m honored to be featured!
• The Fresh Exchange just took off on a long journey and shared what they pack and how they create blog posts while on the go.
• As a creative entrepreneur, someone else always appears more successful than you. But it’s important to remember to be yourself no matter what.
• The 90 best Tumblr blogs for designers!
• If you feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day, maybe it’s time to start thinking differently about time.
• A study was done on internet troll personalities and the results show that they’re narcissistic, machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic. Yep.
• Thanks to technology, we are in the midst of the rise of anti-capitalism.
• L’wrenn Scott’s suicide is such a tragic loss and it has revealed the dark side of New York City’s glitzy scene.
• It’s interesting how women start to perceive themselves once a camera is turned their way.
• When you’re self-employed and people have heard of you, they tend to assume you’re raking in the big bucks.
• A hidden feature in Youtube lets you stream an unlimited amount of music!
• You’re never too old to do something amazing.
• It’s not surprising that happiness makes people work harder.
Image: Chris Craymer for Italian Vanity Fair.
Late last year, we knew it was time to tackle the remodeling of our first floor bathroom once and for all. The plumbing was completely shot, the ancient layers of paint were peeling off the walls, the toilet looked (and functioned) like it was original to the house, there was no ceiling fan and the tub backsplash had been redone a few decades before with some terribly botched linoleum placed on the walls. Basically, it was a hot mess and we couldn’t ignore it any longer. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t take proper before photos of the bathroom because it was so bad that I never actually set foot in it. As you can imagine from this brief description though, it was disgusting.
Do you have that one room (or closet or drawer) in your house that’s a complete disaster? That room where if you know guests are coming over, you rush to shut the door and pretend that it doesn’t exist? That’s how we felt about this bathroom…but it was tricky because it was the only bathroom we had on our main floor. How do you nicely tell your guests that they have to go up or down a flight of stairs to relieve themselves when there’s a bathroom 3 feet from where they’re standing?! Haha.
I don’t know about you but when someone starts talking about construction around me, I get overwhelmed and uncomfortable. Ripping things apart and then rebuilding them has always completely intimidated me. I’m great at pulling together a vision and digging into the depths of the internet to order the surface-level pretty things to outfit a space but the actual remodeling part makes me feel completely stressed out. Luckily, Joey seems to excel at everything I am terrible at. Electrical, plumbing and construction are like second nature to him. Thank god.
As December rolled around, we were finally ready to get started on this project. Our first order of business was to rent a dumpster. After some back-and-forth, we came to the conclusion that there was absolutely nothing that could be salvaged. To do this job properly, our bathroom had to be completely ripped down to the studs.
Just two days after we tore our bathroom out, we had our holiday party. Great timing, right?! We were already seasoned pros at not mentioning the bathroom so we just kept the door to our bare-raftered secret tightly sealed.
From there, it was slow going. As Joey dug in, there were way more issues with the plumbing and electrical than we’d realized. And, because we wanted all four walls to be done in floor-to-ceiling subway tile, that was another huge undertaking. Once the floor and ceiling were finally in, the black grout we’d chosen also complicated matters. It’s a mess to apply and the sponges Joey used to wipe down the tiles would turn the buckets of water black — he was having to dump them after every few passes.
Slowly but surely, week after week, our tiny first floor bathroom began to transform. It just took a lot of labor and patience. Along the way, we picked up a lot of tips (which is great because our upstairs bathroom will meet the same fate soon enough).
1. Visualize your new bathroom before you tear it apart
To get everyone on the same page with how I imagined our new bathroom looking, I pulled images from my Houses, Interiors & Decor pinboard and explained what I thought would work best. That way, we all had the same image of what the outcome would be and there were no surprises.
2. To be safe, plan for your project to take three times longer and triple your budget
If any of you have had to do repairs to old homes, you know that it always takes three times longer and costs three times more than you think it will. We honestly thought this project would take a month to finish! But, once we could see what was going on inside the walls, we realized that the electrical was very poorly done. Always scary but Joey re-routed it all and got it up to code. Then, once he replaced the pipes to the sink and shower, he noticed that the pipes they connected to in the basement were also bad. It’s always the stuff you can’t see at first that gets you!
3. Splurge on a few details
We got by on a very tight budget for the bathroom remodel but knew that a few splurges would make the room feel extra special. We picked out a Schoolhouse light fixture, some fancy soap and an oversized shower head to add some visual interest.
4. When in doubt, keep it classic
We’d discussed all sorts of tile patterns and detailing in the months leading up to the bathroom remodel but when it came down to it, having a nice, simple, unfussy main level bathroom is a people pleaser. You just can’t go wrong with white subway tile, black grout and simple fixtures. We’re going to be more adventurous when we remodel the upstairs bathroom since just Joey and I share that one.
5. Improve on the basics
When Joey demolished the bathroom, the window casing and door molding went with it. When it was time to rebuild, he extended the new windowsill by a few extra inches so that it was deep enough to add a planter. It’s one of those little details that the average person might not notice but we really appreciate.
6. If you don’t know how to tile, watch Youtube videos
It’s hard to believe but up until this bathroom project, Joey had never tiled anything before! He learned on the fly by watching a handful of Youtube videos so he knew what supplies to buy and how to do the grout. I’ve heard a lot of first time tilers say that they did the same exact thing!
Our remodeling resources
This list is by no means exhaustive but if you’re planning a remodel of your own, here’s where we picked up the majority of our things:
Sink, tub and toilet: Home Depot
Towels, floor mat and toothbrush holder: H&M
All tile: Color Tile (we have one a few blocks from our house so it was easy to get more when we ran out!)
Light shade and fixture: Schoolhouse Electric
Paint, grout and related supplies: Home Depot
Hand Soap: Grown Alchemist
Faux grass and planter: IKEA
Some of you are probably wondering about the cost and though I didn’t keep a running total, all in all I estimate that everything, from the dumpster rental to the electrical to the tiling to the plumbing and all related supplies clocked in at about $5,000.00 even. Not bad considering what a mess we had!
Honestly, I still can’t quite believe this project is done! We still have to get glass shower doors put in (right now we can only take baths) but Joey needs a little break first before we do that.
If you have any more specific questions about the remodel or item resources, let me know in the comments!
I’m so excited to share that today, I’m featured in the Creative Diaries series over on Breanna Rose discussing what an average day is like working at Branch. As you can imagine, no two days are exactly alike but hopefully this will give you a much better idea. It’s not all glamour and kicking back reading fashion magazines (I wish!) but totally worth the hard work.
This feature was also a great excuse to take some updated photos of my workspace as well. Click on over to read more!
Top photo: Made U Look
All other photos: Shauna Haider
When I’m stuck in the same place for too long, I lose perspective. When I walk the same route down the same streets every day, I don’t notice the flowers around me, the street art or the vintage signs emblazoned with inspiring typography.
The second I step foot into somewhere new, my mind races — I have visions of images I want to create, still lifes I want to arrange and much more ideas for client projects than I have when sitting at my desk. Travel keeps me inspired.
Traveling doesn’t have to be a big, orchestrated event. It can be a day trip to the beach or a smaller gesture like a drive across town to a neighborhood you haven’t explored or simply walking into a new coffee shop you’ve passed a million times but never took the time to stop into.
Last week, I traveled back to Palm Springs even though I’d just been there the month before. I had no good reason to be there. But then again, I had no good reason NOT to be there. Instead of listening to my practical side, I listened to my heart — I was feeling burnt out after a particularly trying month of remodeling around our house and a handful of rush design projects and I needed a break.
Walking through town, I snapped photos of plants, signs, store windows, palm trees, meals I ordered and even though I didn’t buy a single thing (except for the necessities like food, hotels and gas) I had the time of my life. So much so that I stayed in town an extra night.
My practical side always does kick in eventually — that extra night wasn’t in my original budget so I simply sped up a client timeline and delivered a project early which more than made up for that. It all worked out. It somehow always does, doesn’t it?
Sometimes, you need to loosen up the reigns and let yourself run free. Creativity can’t be put in a box. If you’re feeling stagnant, burnt out and lost, a day away might be all you need. Give yourself the permission to have some fun. Fill up the tank, grab some snacks at Trader Joe’s and hit the open road. And don’t forget to pack a notebook and pen because I promise you, that wave of inspiration you’ve been chasing will strike.
I just got back to Portland this morning (after coming uncomfortably close to missing my flight). I had to head home earlier than I wanted to finish my dreaded taxes — all you entrepreneurs out there know the pain of tax season!
Let’s back up a bit…on Monday, I had a client meeting in Malibu — our project, a photography book is nearly finished and we were making some last minute tweaks before it goes off to print. It’s going to coincide with an art show and I’ll have MUCH more to share once things wrap!
After that was done, I realized that though I had work to get done, I could do it from the road and my schedule was actually pretty open for a few days. We made some last minute hotel reservations and headed over to Palm Springs.
Joey and Rocky had visited the Ace but never stayed there so we checked in for the night and I showed them around.
I had the most random suitcase of stuff packed — nothing made much sense together since we were in a mad rush to finish the bathroom and get the house back in order before we took off for the week. It was fun to dust these old Dries wedges off, though.
Palm Springs is my happy place. I have a thing for midcentury modern architecture and I love visiting because the buildings make me feel like I am walking through a magical time warp. Can you even imagine if this was your apartment building?!
After our early morning walk, we had breakfast next to the Ace pool and peeked around the grounds — it was pretty quiet considering it was mid-week. So relaxing.
We had such a great time in Palm Springs that we ended up booking a second night at The Curve. A little tip: It’s literally three doors down from the Ace and if you search out online deals, a third of the price. We actually loved it here and it’s a great budget option if you’re okay with less trendiness and the internet being on the slow side.
I hope you enjoyed my peek into Palm Springs. It’s time for me to sign off and finally conquer those taxes once and for all. Enjoy your weekend!