Narnia at Home

I know I wasn’t the only child who dreamt of having a secret room at home, Narnia style, to escape to for a few hours with your friends and pretend that you’re in another world. This converted monastery in Poland designed by JRKVC certainly would have done the trick.

A bedroom is cleverly hidden behind a wall that is a bookshelf and door in one. Another ingenious feature is the master bathroom, which is actually directly accessible from the living room through the open hallway.

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The optical illusion tile in the entryway is a firm favorite.

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Despite its all-white walls, the apartment maintains a sense of warmth through the generous use of warm toned wood and a healthy sprinkling of greenery throughout. It treads the fine line between minimal and cozy by not being too stark, and at the same time, not cluttered.

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The open shelving and floating hood, both in light colors, keep the kitchen looking light and airy, balancing out the dark lower cabinets, which ground the space. Kitchen hoods can often look heavy and imposing, but by painting the hood white (the same color as the walls), the hood almost disappears.

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Catherine Kwong Design

Catherine Kwong Design specialises in high-end residential and hospitality projects. Their designs are elegant, fresh, contemporary and always refined.

I first came across Catherine Kwong Design a couple of months ago, as a fresh San Francisco resident, and was excited to stumble upon interior designers in the immediate area. The stars aligned and I had the pleasure of meeting Catherine in person and hearing her speak about her interior design firm and design process during San Francisco Design Week.

Catherine Kwong Design specialises in high-end residential and hospitality projects. Their designs are elegant, fresh, contemporary and always refined. The firm is based in San Francisco, California. In 2015, Catherine was named “Designer to Watch” by Architectural Digest and it’s easy to see why when you see the samples of her work below.

Presidio Heights, San Francisco

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The firm only had 3 months to furnish this home in Presidio Heights. Vintage lighting was sourced and installed, in-stock furniture was moved into the space, and everything was pulled together with the addition of large pieces of artwork.

Personal favourites: those tan leather dining chairs (so warm!) and the coffered ceiling (so luxe).

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These armchairs were reupholstered in what appears to be velvet (love that sumptuous deep blue tone) and custom brackets designed by the firm were added for that final luxurious touch.

Pacific Heights, San Francisco

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The handblown glass chandelier is in one of my favourite designs and its shape complements the long, rectangular shape of the dining table perfectly. The built-in cabinet with what appears to be iron hinges and pulls, together with the dining chairs finished in a leather seat, lend a gorgeous rustic feel to the space.

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That huge slab of marble forming the mantelpiece is a showstopper. Again, we see a touch of sumptuous deep velvet in the form of an armchair, this time juxtaposed with the hard, linear shape of the glass coffee table.

Jackson Square Loft, San Francisco 

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The 800-pound steel firewood container designed by Catherine is the perfect counterpoint to the more traditional fireplace mantel. The leather slingback chair is one of the designer’s personal favourites.

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The custom wooden ceiling bracket was added by Catherine to inject a personalised, rustic touch to the otherwise plain white walls.

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The dining room wall is panelled with vintage wine racks. The panelling is functional and also serves as a unique decorative backdrop. The idea was that guests could help themselves to wine at their leisure. The dining table is from Blu Dot and the legs were customised by Catherine by adding gold leaf to the steel legs. Velvet appears to be a favourite material of Catherine as it’s seen again here in the form of the dining chair upholstery.

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The kitchen is comfortable and casual with at touch of country. The grey cabinets keep the space from being too feminine.

Explore more of Catherine Kwong Design on their website.

Yellow Brick Home

I stumbled upon Yellow Brick Home about a month ago and have been hooked ever since. Kim and Scott are DIY experts – a husband and wife duo from Chicago who have turned their (almost 130-year-old) house into a beautiful home with their own bare hands. They also run The Pet Shop and The Print Shop.

Simple, all-American and timeless, their home is full of hidden treasures and fun little details, topped off with a generous sprinkling of love and adorable dogs for good measure.

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A few things that stand out to me most (apart from their clearly impeccable taste) are:

(1) the paint colours – sophisticated neutrals that are just different enough from the standard neutral wall colours to keep things interesting but still timeless. If I had to pick a favourite paint colour from their home, it would have to be Benjamin Moore’s Intense White used on their living room and bathroom walls; the soft warm tint keeps the rooms warm and inviting but still bright and fresh;

(2) the light fixtures – many of which are from Rejuvenation. Again, simple, timeless classics;

(3) the gorgeous headboards;

(4) the rugs; and

(5) the amazing mosaic honeycomb tiles on the bathroom floor (which they also DIY’d themselves!).

If you enjoyed this post and/or enjoy DIY, I highly recommend checking out their Pinterest and Instagram for more!

Refined Sophistication by Studio Piet Boon

“Founded in 1983 by Dutch designer Piet Boon (1958), the Studio Piet Boon philosophy is based on a balance between functionality, aesthetics and individuality.”

Headquartered in the Netherlands, Studio Piet Boon is all about refined sophistication.

This urban residence in Amsterdam has a certain hotel-like sensibility, with its minimal lines and natural stone materials. Perhaps it’s due to the lack of personal belongings in the shots but it’s hard to imagine anyone actually living here long-term. The apartment feels more like a luxury vacation rental than anything else. Nonetheless, the architectural feel of the apartment is undeniably a treat for the eyes.

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The all-white walls allow natural daylight to take centre stage without detracting from elegant architectural pieces such as the scaled-up kitchen island constructed out of large slabs of natural stone.

The crystal drop pendant light infuses a touch of femininity and glamour to the bright and minimal bedroom.

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The levels of concrete leading up to the bathtub create a striking spa-like effect in the bathroom.

More Studio Piet Boon here.

Clean Lines by Griffiths Design Studio

“Simplicity, style and elegance is the signature of the most successful design ideas.”

Australian interior design is having a moment in my book (and on my blog, clearly). Griffiths Design Studio, led by Gillianne Griffiths, is based in Melbourne, Australia, and was founded with the philosophy that “simplicity, style and elegance is the signature of the most successful design ideas.”.

This apartment in Toorak, Melbourne, evokes a deep sense of calm and serenity with its clean lines and simple monochrome palette.

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Highlight: the charcoal coffered wall.

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Highlight: the whimsical but structured light fixture.

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Black and white perfection.

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Visual interest is created by mixing varying tones of grey within the same room.

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Whoever said neutrals couldn’t be cozy was very wrong. A chunky knitted throw does the trick.

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Clean lines keep the space looking airy and fresh.

Check out more of their projects on their official website.

Understated Luxury by Studio Tate

The penthouse exudes understated luxury in its finest details, from the carefully selected marble, to the intricately designed ceiling strapping and custom cabinetry.

Melbourne-based interior architecture studio, Studio Tate, designed this minimal but luxe penthouse for an empty-nester couple. The couple favours monochrome interiors, so a predominantly black and white colour palette was selected. The penthouse exudes understated luxury in its finest details, from the carefully selected marble, to the intricately designed ceiling strapping and custom cabinetry.

Bold splashes of colour (such as the bright teal couch, chartreuse velvet armchairs and colourful artwork) prevent the space from being too monochrome and add visual interest. Areas that would benefit more from the calming effect of a neutral palette were kept neutral, such as the bedroom and bathroom.

Some of my favourite elements are the ceiling strapping, the mid-century modern furniture pieces, the clean lines, the glamorous touches of gold and brass, the pendant light over the dining table* and the statement-making marble selection.

*See my post on Douglas and Bec for a great selection of similar pendant lights.

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More understated luxury to feast your eyes on, on Studio Tate’s website.

Breezy Bohemian in Pacific Palisades

This house is the epitome of easy, breezy, Bohemian interior design. The white walls allow the Californian sunshine to flood the space, the wooden beams and window frames lend a raw, rustic feel reminiscent of the colonial era and the textured soft furnishings inject Bohemian coziness to the space.

This breathtaking Spanish Colonial house in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, was designed by Katherine Carter, London-born Californian transplant now residing at Venice Beach, LA.

Katherine lives by the philosophy that, “A well-designed interior and exterior should embody exceptional design that is timeless, unique, charming, luxurious, functional, comfortable, and most importantly speaks the client’s language.”

This house is the epitome of easy, breezy, Bohemian interior design. The white walls allow the Californian sunshine to flood the space, the wooden beams and window frames lend a raw, rustic feel reminiscent of the colonial era and the textured soft furnishings inject Bohemian coziness to the space. The house is the perfect example of how the fiddle leaf fig plant can make a whole room come together while bringing a bit of the outside in. The beautifully curated rug selection also provides the perfect finishing touch to each room.

Fun fact: this house belongs to reality TV star and fashion/makeup guru, Lauren Conrad.

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Caramel leather, rattan and warm wooden tones infuse a sense of warmth, coziness and down-to-earth vibe to the space.

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The white-on-white-on-white room is broken up through the clever use of texture. White honeycomb floor tiles add visual interest and provide a nice textural contrast against the white subway tiles on the wall.

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That gold geometric pendant light adds a touch of modernity to the otherwise traditional entryway (and there’s that cheeky fiddle leaf fig peeking in again!).

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Those wishbone chairs with rattan upholstery are the perfect Bohemian accompaniment to this casual dining space.

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For more Bohemian gorgeousness, click on through to Katherine Carter’s website.