Thursday, December 5, 2019

A Mark D. Sikes' Designed House For Sale!

One of my most favorite designs ever shared by Mark was a home he finished about 9 years ago in Pacific Palisades.

I'm sure you remember it from his book, Beautiful. It's also been shared a zillion times on blogs, instagram, and more. The book shows more photos of the house than Mark's online portfolio, but it did leave lots of rooms unaccounted for. I always wondered, did they do the whole house or only these few rooms? 

Well, now we know because the house is on the market for just under $10,000,000.00. I also got to feel a bit better about not being able to find the house for this long! You see, the owner is a builder/designer and bought a ranch on the lot where this house now sits, and had this one built. I've been lucky enough to pull a few before pics from her website

The new house built on the foundation of this:

When Mark was hired to come in and decorate the house, the house already had somewhat of a neutral identity: 

White slipcovered furniture, sisal area rugs, and neutral colors throughout. Peeking into the dining room, the table has two hanging fixtures and you can see the arch into the kitchen. 

From Mark's book. New upholstered sofa and chairs made it all a bit more sophisticated. A larger abaca rug, heavier curtains and the addition of some gorgeous banquettes and warm leather made this room my favorite to date. Mark reused the clients existing glass coffee table. 

The banquettes had great little cigar tables scattered about for varied use. Swing arm wall sconces flanked antique mirrors above them. There were two, one on each side of the main opening into this room.

Mark reused the commode that the owner had there, but most everything else is new and more refined.

This sofa was actually the sofa that pushed me into doing white upholstered when I had that big tufted beauty in my apartment a couple years ago. I always wondered how this faired, and it appears it did pretty well! 

In fact, it appears almost untouched, even the pillows and cashmere throw are in the same place as when Mark left the house. It's almost eerie how similar the house is to when it was photographed 8-years ago for Mark's book. The most notable difference is the absence of the antique area rug that Mark used to weight the main seating group. It definitely added something to this room, but I don't think it looks bad without it. 

An unseen room in the book, this foyer. The client had a blue and white collection that predated Mark, so I assume that this room is a collection of those, and the palladian chairs that had been in the living room prior to the redo.

This room was featured in the book, and on Mark's website. But I never understood it. What was this room? A reading room? Seemed awfully small for such a large house. But the real estate pictures resolved those questions:

This small room is an office. And again, nearly identical to when Mark was originally finished with the room, down to the Queen Anne's lace in the vase in front of the mirror.

From the book, and the website, the dining room. The table and chairs belonged to the owner, as did the bar that is being used in front of that Gracie wallpaper.

Again, nothing changes, and the styling stays the same!

There's no before of the kitchen, but my assumption is that it was not something that Mark worked on.

Off of the kitchen is this family room. This one may have been Mark? The mirror is one he's used before, and we know he loves a slipper chair. It could have been a simple reworking of the client's pieces.

A library area on the first floor.

Hall Bath.

We probably all remember this little library moment outside of the master bedroom, right? Well, when Mark first took on the project, the house had been styled with a center table in this room:

Again, Mark just came along and elevated all of this, beautifully.

The real estate photo shows this looking nearly exactly the way that Mark left it, except for the framed family photos.

And the bedroom, which had a very large sitting area adjoining:

Wouldn't you love to have Mark come in and decorate and then have it be perfectly the same ever after? Part of the reason that this one is so "perfect" is because it's no longer the family's primary residence, and that's always why it's on the market.

And that's it. No additional rooms. The house has 6 bedrooms, but this is the only one photographed. You'd think with a $10,000,000 listing, they'd spent a little more time and money on photos. But ... this is where I leave ya. While the last big sale of a house Mark designed resulted in the old client re-hiring him for the new place, I don't think that the same will happen with this one. The homeowner has started her own design business, and the new place seems fully decorated!

Wonder what she'll do with this furniture?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Moving on Up ...

I think many of you probably follow along on instagram, and you probably already know that about 19-months ago I met a wonderful man whom I've fallen madly in love with. We've each been maintaining private residences even though there's only been a handful of nights we've not spent together. About a month ago, we realized that it was silly - and that taking the leap into living together wasn't really that much of a leap when it came to trust, and love, and commitment. The leap, was in where?

His apartment was too small. Mine was too, well, mine. And frankly, when I thought I was going to be moving to Florida and sold all of my things, I lost a lot of love for the place. I spent thousands of dollars reinventing it, desperately trying to make it new, stretching my design muscles and trying to bring food to the blog.

But it never was quite right. I never fully loved any of it, and it was primarily because of the space. So, since we were moving in together, we decided to just start a new. In a beautiful little townhouse just for us.

Cute little row house style townhouses in a quad each with a different entry or roof line. Ours has a bay window, like you see here in this unit, a brick walled private patio, and a sweet little front door with diamond shaped panes.

Que the gasps! I know, wall-to-wall carpet. This will stay. I ripped out the carpet in my current apartment and put down the laminate (like you see in the dining room here) but I'm not going to do that here. Firstly and most importantly because they no longer make the laminate that is in the dining room and kitchen, so they either wouldn't match OR they'd have to be replaced throughout. Secondly, it's expensive - and unnecessary. I have to treat this like I would any client who would come to me and say, "Artie, I'm in a rental and I need it to look beautiful but not disrupt the apartment or violate my Lease Agreement." So carpet stays. And look - it doesn't always have to be a terrible thing:

Ellen Degeneres

I've somewhat figured out a furniture plan based on the floorplan we saw in the model. Ours is flipped, has a bay window, and I think the dining room is a more defined space. But I won't know for sure until after the New Year. There's a full basement, which I'll use as studio space, and a half bath downstairs.

Kitchens have nice upgrades: granite counters and stainless appliances. The kitchen in the unit we are moving into has a double galley kitchen I believe, so it may be a bit different from this one. Same finishes though, with a window that looks out to the patio area. Upstairs there are two bedrooms, one full bath.

It's a sweet place, very much like a home - and I'm VERY excited to move in! Most of my current furniture will make the move, but the dining room will be completely new. Both of the tables I have currently are too big. They're actually WAY too big for the dining room I have now, but c'est la vie.

I found the PERFECT dining room table, an antique Scandinavian pine farmhouse table with the sweetest hand turned cabriole style legs. It's by far one of the most beautiful pieces of furniture I've ever owned.

Tyler hasn't seen it yet, and I'm trying to keep the whole dining room a surprise as my little "wow" moment for him. That being said though, I do need dining room chairs!

Ellen Degeneres

The dining room table is this color, smaller, but rectangular with legs that are a bit darker and more decorative. I haven't decided yet if I want to keep the legs as is, scrub them down like the top, or paint them in a gray wash like most Gustavian pieces. Still, this gives you an visual on one idea I've got, pairing the scrubbed pine table with beautiful dark wood french cane chairs.

 I love this pairing. I might style the top with these: 

Wouldn't lose little footed terracotta planters look great with just some simple moss in them? And at that price, you could afford to do several. 

I also like the modern route: 


Certainly a bit more comfortable I'm sure, and I'm always worried about the longevity of cane seats in a household like mine. 

Amazon has this set of 4 which is very similar. Also in velvet, for less than $50/chair! 


I've also thought of mixing chairs, but not quite sure of a good mix. I like this this leather and scrubbed primitive table mix a lot! I also love it with the black chairs. 


I love these metal and burlap chairs. Talk about heart going pitter pat. Even mixed in with white slipcovered parson chairs, they look great! Oh if only I had a bigger budget! These may be a cost effective compromise:

I'll keep my eye out - and would love to hear what you think! Drop me a note in the comments! Excited about this new stage, and hoping y'all will follow along! 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Tis' the Season

I know, we haven't even eaten the turkey yet! BUT Christmas, like it or not, is right around the corner! And if you're interesting in buying handmade ornaments for your tree, you gotta do that kinda thing early, so they're ready to go when you start to deck the halls. Right?

I put together a little grouping, now on Instagram. But I wanted to let anyone reading the blog know about it, too! And how you can have yourself a merry little Christmas, and a totally custom piece of art for your tree, too!

These lightweight wood ornaments are perfect for live trees. They won't weigh down the boughs, and you still get plenty of drop. The ornament itself measures 4.5", but with the bead and bow you're looking at a sizable 5" at least!

There are two options. The single bead above. And the triple bead, below:

These take a while to make, which is why I'm telling you about this in the middle of November! Each of the ornaments is first gilded with an oil based gilding wax.

Here's a little detail of the ridge of the ornament! Here you can see all that beautiful gilt finish on that sweet little edge. These are just barely 1/4 of an inch thick, which again, makes them a great weight for live trees, but also allows them to function as gift tags, or embellishment for your wrapped gifts.

Each one is unique, hand-painted and one of a kind.

After the oil gilt wax cures (that takes a WHILE!) I then apply antique Christmas sheet music to the front side of the ornament. Once that is securely in place, the ornament is painted with one of my abstracts.

That includes the beads! They too are hand-painted. So cute! Makes me want to do jewelry!

This was the test color palette that I worked with because I love these colors together, but (and again, here's why I'm letting you know early!!) I'm offering a limited number of CUSTOMIZED ornaments for my blog readers and IG followers. 

They will be created with all the same pieces that you have seen here, gilt wax wood ornaments with sweet bows and hand-painted beads and abstracts over antique Christmas sheet music.

The backside will be finished in the gilt wax and the ornament will be tied to hang with black jute twine. I picked this because I feel like it really disappears into the greenery.

I also work a little of that beautiful shimmering gilt into the abstract painting, cause a little glitz never hurt anyone - especially at Christmas! 

So, here's your chance to pre-order some of these beauties! The orders are in groups of 3, and you can customize with your color palette! Just let me know the colors you'll be using in your Christmas decor and I'll paint something with those colors for your grouping! All you have to do is let me know which colors to use, and I'll do the rest! 

They are $18/ea for the single wooden bead and $24/ea for the triple wooden bead. Again, they must be purchased in groups of 3. I've got PayPal buttons ready below for your order. Just make sure to put into the notes section your colors, or send me an email! 

You can leave your color information in the "NOTE TO SELLER" box! Or send me a picture of your current Christmas decor! 

(similar to pictured)
Includes Shipping to Continental USA

(similar to pictured)
Includes Shipping to Continental USA

(similar to pictured)
Includes Shipping to Continental USA