The Warwick

As some of you know, I spend my days answering phones, scheduling and doing all the glamourous tasks given to a Hollywood assistant. But every now and then we do actually get to experience some of the glitz and glamour in person…. Last night I had to work the LA premiere of MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM. I have yet to see the movie, but I know that anything that stars Idris Elba is going to be freaking fantastic (side note: he’s just as dreamy in person. I may have swooned when he walked by me on the red carpet…)

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Anyways, this post is about beautiful spaces, not beautiful men. Like every other Hollywood premiere since the dawn of time, the film screening was followed by an after party. I was one of the lucky few who got to get a sneak peek at the event space before the party: the newly opened club THE WARWICK in the heart of Hollywood on Sunset Blvd.

It. Was. GORGEOUS. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  We’re talking supple leather couches, fireplaces backed with herringbone-patterned brick, brass accents and beautiful rugs.

They were still prepping the space while I was there so I only managed to snag a few quick iPhone photos that I shared on Twitter, but I managed to grab some other great pics of the space online. I’m not normally a Hollywood club goer but this is making me seriously reconsider that stance. I hate lines but I would definitely wait to get inside of this space again.

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Upstairs area:

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(Photos courtesy of herehere, here, here and here)

The space is the perfect eclectic mix of old school study, Hollywood glamour with just a touch of industrial.  And the art and accessories just take it to a whole new level – giant nude black and white photos on either side of the main bar and this guy perched on top:

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He’s kind of fabulous and I wanted to take him home just to see Jefe’s reaction.

So who wants to spend next Saturday at the Warwick with me?!  I’m ready to put on my party shoes and throw back a scotch.

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Dorm Meets Design

…And Sledge is back with a vengeance!

Let’s talk college. For those of us who have been there, we all remember the grueling late nights of studying (or rehearsing for us theater folk), the horrible cafeteria options and the dorms. Oh the dorms. That ridiculous rite of passage where by you’re forced to live with a perfect stranger for 9-10 months and cram your entire life into a poorly lit space the size of a shoe box.

Well for you new readers, I promise you there’s hope. Your first year does NOT have to consist of you gaining the freshman 15 and sleeping in a drafty room that reminds you of where Martha spent a year in West Virginia.

No matter how many times you’ve scoured your school’s website and Google Image searched, you really have no idea what kind of space you are walking in to. Maybe a little something like this:

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Or worse:

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But there are plenty of tips, tricks and advice towards making this cement block of a space feel like home.

The key to really enjoying your space is making it comfortable. That starts with the piece of furniture you’re going to spend most of your time in: the bed. Let’s start with support – a solid mattress pad and an egg crate are musts. Egg crate you ask? Yes, you can thank me later. Those mattresses are likely very uncomfortable and any extra cushion will be appreciated.

Good sheets are just as important. I’d recommend going a step up in the quality department. Seriously. Those college nights can be long, no matter what you’re doing and you’ll love coming home to a bed that doesn’t like it came out of Van Wilder.  Personally, Jefe and I loved our Striped Sheet Set from West Elm.  They’re extremely soft and held up really well after 2 years of solid use.

West Elm Striped Sheet Set

Comforters and duvets should be washable. Trust me. This will be your bed, couch, study spot, dinner table, and dance floor all in one. Spills are bound to happen. In terms of style, I’d pick something that’s uniquely you without screaming “Star Wars is my jam!” Going a little bit more sophisticated never hurt anyone.   A moderately priced duvet may be your best best as it’s washable and can be swapped out if you tire of it.  This actually was my duvet eons ago, in a bit more a sage color, and it was worth every penny; it got softer with every washing and paired nicely with the buttery yellow walls of my bedroom in our sorority house.  To pair with those great striped sheets, you could try a luxurious, yet neutral option from H&M’s new home line:

H&M Duvet Cover

Now lets talk pillows. As I suggested, that bed is going to get some serious use (wink wink). So besides your usual pillows, I would get a few “decorative” ones that can serve multiple purposes. I’ve found bigger European and body pillows are best and can turn any bed in to a couch or help create an extra seat on the floor.

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Luckily, floor pillows are all the rage so it should be easy to find something in your particular taste.  I’m a big fan of these floor cushions that would work great as a backrest on  your bed or tossed on the floor for added seating.

World Market Floor Pillow

Lastly, I would add a throw blanket. It can be folded at the end of the bed, draped over the foot rail or used for extra warmth in cold months (or to cover your new best friend who fell asleep on your floor after a late night out).  And it adds a homey touch to an otherwise cold room.

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After move-in day and you’ve had the chance to spend some time in your space, you can always look in to some DIY options for headboards. Is it necessary? No. Will it help make the space feel like it’s more yours and less like a cement cell? Definitely.   There are plenty of options from large wall decals to simple pieces of foam and fabric-wrapped wood that would really take your room up a notch. You’d be amazed what batting your eyes at that upper-class man with a pick-up truck will get you. Usually a free trip to Home Depot for the wood for your DIY project AND an invite to his house party later that night ;-).  Alternatively, you could go the wall decal route:

DIY Decal Headboard

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While researching this post, I also came across this great new invention: over the bed storage that can also double as a “headboard”.  You can customize the back wall with decorative paper or fabric and a little modge podge.  It also gives you some much needed storage above your bed for those photos of your besties from back home.

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Overbed storage

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Lets talk lighting. Quite possibly the worst part of dorm life – those horrendous overhead fluorescents that make your skin look green. So we are going to TURN. THEM. OFF. Lamps are your best friends. It’s safe to say that you’ll need a minimum of 2 to truly avoid the overhead: one for your desk exclusively and one for the rest of the living space. And your eyes will thank you for that soft white light while you’re cranking away during a marathon study session. It will also give your space a great, homey atmosphere that will be the envy of all your hallmates. I would recommend a style that could easily transition to a first apartment so you’re not buying something as a temporary solution.

PB Teen Task Lamp

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Land of Nod lamp

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And that rule applies for just about everything other than those extra long twin sheets that you will most certainly never use again: purchase for longevity.  My third year of college I bought a queen size duvet for my twin bed; my only regret was not doing it 2 years earlier.   I manage to found one that was great quality (without breaking my budget),  so I was able to keep it for the long haul and still use it today.

Desk space. Lets get creative. Do you really need that plain mesh pencil cup from Office Depot? How about a pretty monogrammed mug from CWonder instead? It serves the same purpose but gives you a little panache.

CWonder Mug

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I think the same can be applied for just about anything: why choose a plain notebook when you can get one covered in chevrons that makes you smile every time you look at it? Or how about a cork board covered in fabric? Maybe some DIY bookends (kids still use actual books, right? Or am I that old?!)

CB2 Bookends

These are from CB2 but could EASILY be DIY’ed

The point is, take this as an opportunity to really exercise your imagination in how you can really put your stamp on the space so it’s as inviting as possible.

Storage. You’re gonna need more, no matter who you are. Unless you’re one of those lucky kids that gets an apartment in their first year and are spared this form of mild university-condoned hazing, you will inevitably need some form of storage beyond the blond wood, 30 year old dresser you’re issued. Once you’ve spent some time in your space, figured out what fits where and what still needs a home, plan that trip to your local Target (or if you’re one of the lucky kids near a city, a nearby Ikea). Modern, design savvy storage has come a long way since the standard clear plastic bins of my college years. Below are some suggestions:

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World Market Rolling Locker

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(Drink cart anyone?! For your bottles of Diet Coke…)

Closet storage is pretty straightforward.  Just find the things that work for you and your space.  3M hooks can be a lifesaver as are those hangers that can hold 4 pairs of pants at once.  I also used to drape my scarves over hangers to save space.

Lastly, let’s talk food. Yes, I know you’ve got a meal plan. But there will inevitebly be those times that you’re just sick of the cafeteria’s chicken parm or you really want a late night snack and don’t feel like leaving the building. For this, I’d recommend one full set of dishware. We’re talking real metal silverware kids. As for the plates, melamine has come a LONG way and there are so many cute options now. Just make sure that yours is microwavable as you never know when you want to heat up some leftovers or make a bowl of soup. Yes, you will have to wash them, but there’s just something nice about having something to call your own that is semi-permanent. And besides – you don’t have the space to hoard stacks of paper plates and cups.

Now for some inspiration of some epic dorm room design:

Boho Bold Glam

Boho Glam

Epic

This is probably the most shared, epic dorm room design I’ve ever seen.

Minimal Glam

Minimal Glam

Simple and Classy Room

So simple and easy!  A rug, some art, a pedestal, a plant and a new bookshelf.

Sorority Girl Room

For the bright and bubbly sorority girl

Traditionally Masculin

Traditional and masculin.  Love the suitcases for some under the bed storage!

As you can see, dorm room decorating has come a long way.  So here are two great examples of how to do a blue dorm room, on a budget, in different styles to really make your space your own:

PREPPY FEMININE

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MASCULINE ECLECTIC

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It’s Time to Get Schooled

Happy Friday!  In honor of the start of the weekend (and the fact that I am long over due for a post for you guys), I thought I’d share my new favorite watering hole.  Public School is the newest hot spot in downtown Culver City.  It’s been on Jefe and my’s to-do list since it opened in December, but thanks to the line out the door and around the block, we have yet to make it inside.

But apparently tonight was my lucky night when I met up with a friend from graduate school.  I managed to walk right in and grabbed a table in the back.  While I waited for my friend to arrive, I looked up and was immediately fascinated with the light fixture overhead.

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Then I took a look around and immediately whipped out my phone for some serious Instagram-ing.  I started with the menu and cocktail napkin…

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Followed by a stunning exposed brick wall.  The line of bulbs were the clear Edison kind dipped in silver.  Beneath those was a shelf of old microscopes.

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The interior is simply gorgeous.  It is the perfect blend of industrial, vintage, rustic and old-school chic.  Unfortunately I couldn’t get any more images of the place without walking around looking like a stalker, but I did manage to find a few online.  They really don’t do the place justice, but will give you an idea of it’s true beauty:

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As I was trying to be good since this was my second night out in a row, I opted for a single beer and a healthy meal.  I got the heirloom tomato salad with ruby red grapefruit, basil and balsamic vinaigrette glaze.  Thanks to our stellar waitress, she managed to get me a side of grilled chicken too.  I was so famished after 11 hours at the office, that I inhaled it before I could get a solid picture to share.  My friend was nice enough to let me taste some of hers.  She got a burger that looked absolutely incredible and some fries with a spicy ketchup.  Now I’m a die-hard Heinz fan myself, particularly after living in Pittsburgh for 4 years, but this Sriracha ketchup was a nice touch to the perfectly crisp fries.  Public School’s own Instagram will give you a taste of what you’re in for:

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So what do you guys think?  I’m admittedly still daydreaming about that burger.  And the excessively awesome amount of globes.  The use of reclaimed windows was perfection.  I can’t wait to go back.  Has anyone else been to Public School yet?  Any new spots in your own neighborhoods that will rival my new favorite?

Feeling Rejuvenated

That is certainly how I felt after a recent trip to the mecca of lighting.  Thanks to Jefe’s awesome family who keeps wanting my design services, I’m working on another project for them – this time it’s for his brother and sister-in-law Rachael who live in a gorgeous pre-war apartment on the Upper West Side in New York.  This stunning space, however, is not without its challenges.   Their building is beautiful but like most things in New York, its surrounded by other buildings.  And that, combined with it being on a low floor = some trouble with natural light.

And with a 3 year old and a newborn, Rachael is a bit preoccupied at the moment.  So I’ve been tasked with helping to find creative lighting solutions for numerous spaces in their apartment that both fill the room with ambience as well as offer practical task lighting.

Let’s start with their entryway.  In terms of natural light, it is unfortunately one of the more troubled spaces.  It’s got some beautiful stained wood trim throughout and the entire apartment has 10+ foot ceilings, but it’s a rather dark space to welcome someone in to your home.

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Next up is the biggest challenge: the living room.  As you can see below, it does have 2 windows, some overhead as well as task lighting.  But it is not nearly enough and the chandler just isn’t working for the space.

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Next up is the hallway leading back to the bedroom.  The kitchen, pantry, and bathroom are all off of this little hallway, too.

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Lastly, we’ve got the bedroom.  It’s a similar situation to the living room in that they have lighting, but what they have isn’t serving them how they’d like and it’s definitely not enough.  (And please excuse the baby paraphernalia – New Yorkers have never complained about an overabundance of space):

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This brings me to where I come in.  Jefe was the first to tell me about the project.  I sent some initial suggestions of types of lighting to Rachael and she followed up with some great ideas and specific fixtures she had been looking at.  So we came up with the following search criteria for new lighting:

  1. Illuminate the space
  2. Is aesthetically pleasing
  3. Is somewhat historically accurate/doesn’t look out of place
  4. Doesn’t cost an arm an a leg. (I’ll be the first to admit some of the items I’m about to show may be an arm’s worth… but I think my decorating privileges may be revoked if anything was to cost both appendages…)

For the entryway, she fell in love with the Hood light from Rejuvenation.

Hood Light Fixture

I’ve seen the Hood light frequently in design blogs but had no idea that by merely customizing the finish and the glass shade, it could look like a completely different light.  Rejuvenation is awesome like that in you can customize almost everything.  But with such a great custom store, the challenge is figuring out the right sizing and finishes from the huge amount of options.  And without a store in NYC, Rachael tasked me with checking it out in person.  So I grabbed Jefe and we headed out there last week.  It’s conveniently located in the Helms Bakery area of Culver City, a cute little strip of home furnishing stores that I just got nuts in, with everything from Room & Board to H.D. Buttercup.

While I was there, we agreed I would peruse for other period appropriate options for all of the rooms.  I struck a conversation with a very helpful salesman, who mentioned that the Hood light was first created as factory lighting in the 1890’s.  Old-school industrial lighting– no wonder I loved it so much.

After very little deliberation, I quickly settled on the burnished antique finish for the Hood light.  It was dark and period but had enough gold undertones to not feel so heavy like the oil-rubbed bronze.  Coincidentally, almost every other fixture I looked at for this project was in burnished antique.  I truly think it is the best option in terms of keeping with the feel of the period of the apartment without going overboard on accuracy.  Below is a great example of all the different hues in a single finish:

Rejuvenation - Burnished Antique

For the glass shade, you can go clear, which is beautiful in person, but a little more modern than I think Rachael would like.

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Then there is frosted, but that almost always feels too 1980’s to me (and hard to photograph with an iPhone).  I’m also not a big fan of seeing the hotspot of the bulb.  But the milk glass is just gorgeous.  It catches the light in such a way that the whole thing just glows; you don’t really see any single hot spot and it’s bright without being blinding.  It’s a truly beautiful fixture.  Unfortunately they didn’t have the one in store that Rachael wanted me to check out, but here’s another version of it with a really unique, detailed shade:

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As we continued through the store, I moved on to a potential fixture for the other hallway (or even their kitchen).  I think another milkglass shade would be great.  And although these are a little too “modern” (circa 1930’s and 40’s) to be period appropriate, I think they’d be a great option.  They even had a few that were closer in period, but were a little over-the-top with the art deco style.

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The best thing about Rejuvenation is that they have the whole store organized by period and style.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  I think Jefe was a little sorry I discovered such a pricey gem.

Next up was the bedroom.  Rachael had found a light she liked, the Fremont, and was very period appropriate.  It was a bit more feminine in style, but it would have paired nicely with their current furnishings.

Victorian Light Fixture

The problem with this guy is he’s not very large in person and it puts off a dim, very yellow light.

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So I looked to find something similar in style with feminine, period details but could produce a LOT more light.  Their bedroom is really large and needs something to really light up the space.  And the great thing about Rejuvenation and most of their lights is you can add or subtract arms (aka-bulbs) to your fixture as needed.  I love this guy , the Macleay Park with another arm or two:

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Alternately, the Belmont could be a great option as the fixture is not as ornate and all of the lighting is pointing down instead of up.  It was one of the few fixtures that I thought might also work in a different finish, possibly the polished nickel.

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Lastly, I LOVED all of the below fixtures.  I thought they could work both in the bedroom or the living room.  I think they all illuminate the space with a diffused light, but throw some light up on the ceiling to just brighten up the space.

The Caruthers, which could be period or more of a classic revival style (and is the one and only “boob” light I would allow in my own home):

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Or the Abernethy, which had a bit more detail:

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I’ve got some other ideas for the living room in terms of other lighting sources such as table lamps, sconces, etc, but for those still reading, I’ll save that for another post.  Updates to come once I chat with Rachael on her thoughts and what the next steps are (or maybe I’ll get lucky and have hit it out of the park on the first try?!  A girl could only be so lucky).  Happy decorating!