The Renovation of the Pittsburgh Townhouse is coming along!

I was back in NYC looking at a clown shoe collection while work was progressing on my Pittsburgh townhouse! I was sourcing some stylish accessories to decorate a Madison Square Park duplex, but these didn't quite make the cut, unfortunately...

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Back to the renovation- It's moving at a fast pace now.  All the dry wall is up and the mudding is in full swing.  I expect this part of the project to take forever since most of the house was covered in popcorn. Not only popcorn ceilings, put popcorn walls!  Lots and lots of skim coating!

One of my favorite spaces is the kitchen. I love to cook and bake!  It is not a large space and so architecturally insignificant as most kitchens were in the 19th century. I wanted it to be the center of the living space. This is what it originally looked like.

We completely opened it up. The ceiling was a bit of surprise. We thought it was a standard height. Once the demo started we realized we could raise it to the height of the rest of the first floor which is about 9'. Now it is an integrated space. Light flows in from the larger window as well as the sky light. All the "lovely" stone was removed and sheet rocked.

We removed that large awkward window in the living room below. It was replaced with two proportionately sized sash windows.

Now the space is completely open and light. Behind the staircase we snuck in two closets. A coat closet and a pantry. Closet space in these townhouses are rare.  I would love more storage, but I had to be mindful of the petite,  narrow proportions of the house itself.

In the above pic, I found an antique door for the powder room. The knob is black porcelain. LOVE it! It will all be painted white.

 The second floor build out is also coming along. The master bath is comfortable , but kind of small . I am still getting used to smaller spaces. Life in suburbia was so much more breathable.  The laundry room and walk in closet is built out. The only significant change to the master bedroom will be the installation of a mantle. The fireplace in the master bedroom was dry walled over at some stage in it's life.  The pic below has a long piece of plywood in front of it.

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I didn't want to open up this fireplace. That can be a can or worms in this old house.  But I like the idea of the fireplace in the master.  I found a mantle that came with a gas insert and summer cover. The gas insert was made by the Dawson Brothers at the turn of the century. So now it is a fake fireplace. Anyway, it needs to be finished out, but in the mean time I think it looks really nice.

The third floor kids bath seems very spacious as we enclosed the weird opening of the original space.

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The only change to my office was the removal of the slider. We put in a french door that has as much glass as possible to take advantage of the wonderful views of downtown Pittsburgh.

That's it for now!

See you...

Christina

 



Construction has begun!

Happy exciting new year! My house is progressing. I am beginning to see how it will be translated into a beautiful living space. The demo is just about done and construction has begun. One of the main reasons I purchased this house was it's layout. Not much needs to be changed in terms of bathroom and kitchen utility placement. Walls have to be created and some spaces opened up a bit. But that is about it in terms of major construction. The first floor  was pretty much an open plan.  But the living room looks much larger without the mammoth fireplace.

I wish the original mantel was in place. But it is gone like most of the special features of the house. I found a vintage marble mantel at Construction Junction that I really like. It definitely isn't Victorian, but I think it will work just fine. This is the only photo I have,  before it was dismantled. By the way, I wish there was a Construction Junction in NY, it is really what House Wreckers in Stamford, CT used to be like. Everything pulled from old houses. The ultimate recycling. There are many treasures to be found. It just takes patience.

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Back to the layout. The living and dining will be designed into an airy, but warm environment. The kitchen and dining area opened up very nicely. The kitchen used to feel like it was on a back porch. It may have been in it's former life. But now it will be completely integrated.

The kitchen faces north.  Not only did we put in a larger window, but a skylight will be installed to bring in more light.

We will save the staircase paneling where we can. But there looks like there were about ten coats of paint on it. So stripping all that paint was enormous.

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The newel post looks great. It came out very nicely.  Eventually, I would like to see it in a very dark stain.

Well that's it for now. Hope you also are seeing the progress of this design project! I know it looks daunting, but it is really coming along!

See you...

Christina

Stuff I loved at Highpoint Fall 2015

Searching for the perfect table that fit's my client's sensibility and space is a challenge that is really  exciting.  We, as designers, are thrilled when we find just the perfect item. It's something that is hard to explain, but it brings us so much joy!  For one client, I needed a little table to sit between two transitional club chairs. There is a large minimal, yet strong painting behind the club chairs. I think I found it!

    As I was taking a picture, the designer of this table approached me. It was created by  Barry Dixon . The gold ball comes out. He wants people to play with his pieces. He said you could put a birds nest in it, instead of the gold ball. So playful! Interestingly, this collection was inspired by medieval combat. So many of the pieces seem armored and sharp. Mixed with some rounded bulbous shapes. The sconce was inspired by a fencing mask. 

 

As I was taking a picture, the designer of this table approached me. It was created by Barry Dixon. The gold ball comes out. He wants people to play with his pieces. He said you could put a birds nest in it, instead of the gold ball. So playful! Interestingly, this collection was inspired by medieval combat. So many of the pieces seem armored and sharp. Mixed with some rounded bulbous shapes. The sconce was inspired by a fencing mask. 

So many great pieces to get inspired about decorating at Highpoint...

Mirrored dining chair with a storage unit that also serves as a platform for a piece of art.

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Lighting which includes sconces , Kelly Wearstler's "crystal" chandelier, simple table lamps. I am a sucker for simple lines that make a statement.

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See the guy above climbing up the scaffolding. Nice not to be so serious sometimes.

Cool coffee tables

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Ok in the above pic, you need to ignore the accessories and upholstery and just look at the simple table.

Also some decorating ideas in terms of window treatments and wall coverings. 

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In the above pic, the showroom used tape and nail heads to create the design on the walls.

 

I also liked this window treatment detail in this showroom.

And I can't ignore the children's spaces, the beginning of the decorating journey of Cici Crib Interiors.

Great compact  glider for a baby's nursery...

The decorating look may just call for a modern rocking chair- I love this super cool leather one.

And of course art work is just so important. I love these works for a baby's nursery or even a master bedroom. So peaceful. 

Too many digital clocks these days. Kids need to practice using analog clocks. Great for a playroom or boy's bedroom.

Cosy seating for a girl's bedroom...

Well that was just a sampling of what goes on at Market.  Lots to bring back and decorate in New York and  Pittsburgh!

See you...

Christina

 

 

 

Furniture and Interior Design Trends at Highpoint 2015

It is always a whirlwind going to Highpoint. One of my main goals is to see new merchandise and trends. Some trends are super obvious and some are my own gut feeling. Everyone was talking about color and exaggerated patterns. But how did that translate into rooms? It seemed like there were two different kinds. Splashy and serious. Rooms seemed to be either  male or female. How odd. Rooms for ladies- decorating was glamorous .  Gentlemens' rooms were tailored and serious. Both were bold and dramatic. The monotone, gray, unisex was gone. So if you are thinking about decorating your master bedroom into a luxurious, dramatic oasis or your bachelor pad and would like it to be an classic and tailored, there are many decorating ideas to behold..

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Bold, bigger than life colors in upholstery...

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Take note that the arms on the sofas are getting a wee bit rounded. I think we are moving into a bit more traditional looks. I think we are going to see more toiles and colonial styles make their way into homes in the future. Let's see what the trend watchers say in 2016...

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See you..

Christina

 

Cool New England Summer House

It's finally summer here in Pittsburgh,.  I'm so in the mood to head to the seashore.  As a summer project I've been asked to consult on the design of the house as well as decorating the interior of a simple Rhode Island beach house. It's a fun summer project. Not much stress- just asked to give my ideas to the architect and pick the interior furnishings for my client to purchase. The client wants a clean modern interior. 

The Atlantic  was a swirl of green and blue on the day I visited. The rocky beach was saturated in grays and sandy whites.  We will use these colors. The house is simple. We will invert the living space, in order to take advantage of the ocean views. Bedrooms downstairs. Kitchen and living upstairs. All finishes will be kept to a minimum. My idea is modern Shaker. Let's see how it will be translated.... Here are some images that we were my inspiration.

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I was in Westport, CT a few weeks ago and saw this front door. I loved the simplicity. 

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My client found these great wooden shutters about 5 feet in length. They are probably from the 1960s. So graphic. They will make a strong statement. They will find a home on the wall in the living room.

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We will use this Italian porcelain tile on the first floor for all the sandy feet that will be entering. These porcelain "wood" floors are popular, and extremely practical.

The second wood floor will be painted Benjamin Moore's Buckland Blue. A gorgeous gray blue .

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We love this calacatta marble tile for the bathrooms, but yikes it may be discontinued.

That's it for now. There will be more later.

See you,

Christina

 


 

 

What's New at Design Trade in the Strip District

April is the time when new fabrics are rolled out by the most discerning fabric houses. Interior designers were invited to Design Trade in the Strip District to preview the new collections. It was a festive and inspiring time!

 

My favorites were from opposite ends of the decorating scale. Classic and clean versus edgy and quirky.

Thibaut showed some crisp traditional fabrics with a twist. 

By the way, we were so inspired by the butterfly paper above we decided to  use it in a little girl's bedroom as an accent wall. 

My other favorite from the Spring Market preview was a French company,  Élitis. Sometimes highly textured, sometimes three dimensional, and sometimes completely out of scale.  Just fantastic. Their coverings work in both  both comercial as well a residential environments.

See you,

Christina

Interior Design of Albertine in NYC

I got a chance to stop into Albertine book shop a few weeks ago in NYC. Located in a Fifth Avenue mansion owned by the French Embassy, I quietly say it was it's interior design that drew me to visit the shop.  The space was designed by Jacques Garcia. He totally respects all aspects of traditional French design. But he also adds colors and twists that make the space fresh and unique.  Garcia designed a furniture line for Baker which is in that same quirky traditional vein.

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There is crazy inspiration for a home library or office in the bookshop.  The celestial ceiling, the green interior of the bookshelves, the trim on the bookshelves, the simple step stool, the eclectic mix of modern and traditional furniture.

And how can anyone not notice those out of proportion, gorgeous light fixtures. So enormous.

C'est magnifique!

See you...

Christina

 

 

Phillip Jeffries Wall Covering in Pittsburgh's New Hip Restaurant- Senti

Who makes the most glamorous, finest quality wallpaper? Far ahead of anyone is Phillip Jeffries. You can go completely understated with their soft fabric wall covering or over the top glam with their glowing gold striations paper. We went for the "look at me- I'm gorgeous"   in designing  Senti Restaurant and Wine Bar. Located in the hippest part of town, Lawrenceville, Senti is special place with special food. More on the fabulous Senti in an upcoming post. Today we celebrate Phillip Jeffries for profiling us in their Designer Installs!

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We used the wallpaper at the base of  the bar to accentuate the entire area. We wanted it to glow.  It has a lacquered look, but it is actually a vinyl paper. Works perfectly!

See you...

Christina

 

New website, new logo, new Cici!

New Website, new logo, new Cici! Yes, we still have our precious baby items that you love and we still decorate nurseries, but we found our clients have begun to ask what we can do for the rest of their of their "cribs".

There is nothing we love more than continuing the visual story throughout the rest of the house, turning it into a home that speaks of the homeowners' personality.

We hope this new blog will inspire you, as we visually record all the amazing design and decor ideas that catch our attention and give us food for thought as we expand our creative endeavors! 

Join in on the ride!

Beach Baby

We are finishing  a baby's  nursery inspired by beach cabanas! Oh Summer is leaving us!

The room is very light and airy. We chose  window treatments that were very similar to these.

We used this  fresh  Newport Cottages crib. The fabric panels on either side of the crib can be covered in any fabric of our choice and are completely removable for reupholstery.

We chose this striped fabric for the panels in the crib.

We chose this bookshelf from Newport. It was painted white on the outside. The inside back wall was painted aqua.

A nice accessory for the bookshelf would be this cute frame from Cici Crib .

For the bedding we did a cute crib skirt, fitted sheet and toddler blanket. The skirt is a seersucker orange with a fine wale cordoroy border.The fitted sheet is an aqua dot. Instead of a bumper we accessorized with a toddler blanket has the same outer fabric as the skirt,  but lined with super soft minky.  All custom made by Bebe Chic.

This area rug would look nice.

I would love  to finish off the nursery with this piece of art. Framed in weathered driftwood, it is just perfect.

Happy Summer!

Oh just a note that Wee Westchester did  a great little post about us on their very cool blog. Thanks Wee Westchester!

See you...

Christina

Visit to the Mark Gallery

A client and I are looking for artwork for her living room. On a very dark and drizzly day we stepped into a moment of sunshine when we visited the Mark Gallery in Englewood NJ. Gallery owner Arielle Mark is both welcoming  and knowledgeable about the stable of artists she represents. Finding the right piece is a very personal and quiet process.   We picked some works, and Arielle delivered them to my client's home.

This large piece called Haza by America Martin won our hearts. Martin is a young artist out of LA.  But not for the living room. It will be the showstopper in the dining room. Funny how things turn out...

See yu...

Christina

Kyle Bunting Beauties

There are certain design elements that will have a permanent  room in my design brain. One is the work of Kyle Bunting. His group of designers create pieces from cowhide that are just spectacular. I remember seeing a rug  in Amanda Nisbet's room at Kips Bay last Spring. See post.

At Highpoint I saw rugs that were Bunting-like. Mass produced, less expensive, but fulfill a niche.

But there is nothing like the real thing...

So beautiful.

See you...

Christina

Bedding for a Little Guy

A very lovely customer was looking for bedding for her son. She was completely taken by the Trina Turk fabrics from Schumacher. How exciting to do kids bedding in something so unexpected. There were so many fabrics to choose from Turk's fabrics are bright and punchy.  So very unique....

We chose this Ikat inspired pattern for the pillows. They will be trimmed in a narrow navy flange.

She needed a coverlet to go with them. We chose a complementary fabric that wouldn't compete with the pillow fabric. This fabric will also trimmed it in navy.

Her little guy loved his new bed. Notice how she mixes it with other traditional elements in the room. It really works..

See you...

Christina

Warhol and the Poodle Part II

We finally got some good pics of the client that had the Warhol in her little daughter's room!  See  first post. Just to reiterate, her daughter was moving into a big girl's bed and the mom wanted to make her room a little more hip. The mom didn't want to change everything about the room. She already purchased the big girl bedding.  The window treatments and some furniture would remain as well.

The first thing we did was remove the chair rail. No more crib. A big girl bed was in order.

The little coffee table was custom sized so the little girl can use it as a table with her little chairs.  The chairs also have double duty as a step stool to get in  and out of bed.

The  sofette fits nicely in the space.

She needed a pretty, but bookshelf for all her favorite things...

A real pop of pink make it oh so sweet..

But her most favorite thing is the poodle lamp!

See you..

Christina

Summer at the New York International Gift Fair

I spent the last few days at the NYIGF in NYC, looking for inspiration and new products for Cici Crib.  There will definitely be  some new stuff coming into the shop.  Here is what I saw.. Start with the best. An Italian company playing up on pantone colors. Love these for a playroom or kids bedroom.

Over and over we have see  little storage units made to look like lockers. Most of them are so cheaply made that I can't bear to put them in the shop. These metal units are a tad costly, but the quality was just fantastic. Colors are great and the cabinet styles are numerous.

Their furniture was fun..

Love these  little card tables..

I am doing a teenage girl's bedroom right now. Saw a lot  of inspiration. Check out  this very cool jewelry box..

Lot's of industrial for boys. These bookshelves are made in Indonesia. All the wood is recycled from old boats.

Love this art for a budding scientist...

Lots of ethnic influences from American Indian to Moorish. These Pendelton blankets were a great inspiration. I am working on a boy's bedroom that we are doing in gray and acid green....

Loved these Picasso pillows....

The ultimate kitsch with a twist of fun was the dog lamps from London. The ridiculous undersized shades together with these very serious models, just made me smile..

I will be taking some needed  time off for the next 2 weeks. Looking forward to spending time with my boys!  See you soon.. Christina

Nursery for a special baby girl

I got a call from a dad who wanted to do a surprise nursery for his wife and new baby daughter. Both mother and daughter were having a bit of a rough go, and were in the hospital when he called me. I could hear his worry and love for his family over the phone. His wife admired a little girl's room, that I had decorated and blogged about.   There was no one to make design decisions. He wanted a nursery like the little girl's bedroom and it had to be pink. Be positive and move quickly forward. We got much of the room together in 6 weeks.  It was entirely custom. A huge feat, which I must really thank my vendors for making such accommodations. It was a nursery that would grow into the little girl's bedroom.  The changer would be very temporary. They needed adequate storage and a comfortable glider to feed the baby.

This was the room before...

I decided not to wallpaper the entire room, as the wall's quirky angles  would hinder the look of the paper. We did one wall. It looked like an outline of a house. Perfect. I chose a sunny yellow crib to welcome the little one home.

This very traditional armoire  looks a bit more transitional, when we added the lattice fabric.  It will be nicely centered against the wall when additional muscle arrives. It is a solid piece.

So sweet...

It was really a very rewarding job. Baby is just thriving and I've gotten to finally know the lovely mom.

See you...

Christina

Secret rooms and Playhouses

This morning the New York Times Home section has a story on playhouses. I remember going over to my friends house and playing in her playhouse all day. It was even decorated with little curtains. The Times showed little houses that are completely over the top, yet very traditional. Like these from Treasured Heirlooms.

But there are so many different secret spaces that can be created for kids that are both inviting and very dreamlike. I keep a file of inspiring little spaces. Here they are...

Love this little house My Shabby Streamside Studio...

See you...

Christina