Preparing the Land: Drilling Our Well!

preparing for a well
preparing for a well

It’s been a few months since our well was drilled, but this week we got our water quality test results. I figured it was time to give everyone an update!

We weren’t actually planning to drill the well until right before construction began. But after financing fell through with the bank, we decided to keep things moving forward and pay for it ourselves. It was a big investment but having it completed would mean that we could have peace of mind about our water and we’d have all the documents to apply for our building permit.

planning for drilling

Little did we know how scary the process of drilling would be. I mean, we knew, but we didn’t REALLY know how anxiety-ridden we’d be for a solid three days. Our property is an area of a lot of dry wells and low-producing wells (2-4 gallons per minute). There is one neighbor with a decent well (12 gpm) that gave us some hope though. We did a lot of research and preparation before drilling.

We started by studying the well logs in our area, which to be honest, felt about as helpful as closing your eyes and pointing your finger on the map to pick a spot. And with 11 acres, that leaves a lot of space up for grabs. Our land dictated a lot though due to it’s topography. Most of the property has rolling hills, so there’s only one spot that makes sense for us to build. To keep costs low, that meant we would want our well close by to the structure. So we focused on that part of the property for potential well sites.

witching what?

Our next step was to look into well witching. It’s a pretty interesting subject and there is a lot of skepticism around it — both in understanding how it works as well as the accuracy. We were at a loss on how to pick a drilling location though so we figured we’d give it a shot. In one round, we used metal coat hangers and stripped the rubber coating off. We straightened them out and then bent into L-shapes. The idea is that you walk the land and when the metal rods cross, there is a possibility for water below you. So with orange flags in hand, we marked the spots. And marked. And marked. After a few hours of walking every inch of our flat section of property, we had a lot of flags and no idea how to narrow it down.

I can’t describe the feeling I got the first time the rods started moving. I had no idea what to expect with all of this, but it was fascinating! The rods would start moving towards each other like the feeling of a magnet and then they’d finally cross so far over each other they’d come back and hit me on the shoulders. When Connor walked the same path as me and had the same results, there was no explanation left!

drilling a well
try it again

In round two, we decided to go with heavier rods. We bought a few feet of 1/4″ diameter copper from the hardware store. Our thought was that maybe these rods would be less sensitive due to their weight and help reduce the number of flagged areas. It may have helped a bit, but we still had a lot of possible locations marked.

So then we researched some more. We looked for patterns in the flags, large groupings of marked locations, etc. We eliminated any that didn’t fit within these certain parameters. Unfortunately, every marked flag had the same equal amount of “pull,” so there was no way to tell by strength. However, I read that certain people will not have the ability to get results. So we decided to try it out with a few others!

Each time someone came for a site visit or construction meeting, they laughed at all the flags, so I would have them try it out. Some people, like my dad, got nothing. One of the contractors got some results, but at various levels of pull. I knew he’d be helpful — we walked to all the locations marked with flags and if he got little to no response, I’d eliminate them. If he got a medium to high response, I left the flag. And then we compared between them. We eventually narrowed it down to about 5-6 flags which happened to be all in one general area. It was time to meet with the well driller.

drilling begins

The driller confirmed what Connor and I discussed when we were researching well drilling and analyzing the patterns. The lines of the flag were in a bit of a diagonal row so we thought maybe that was some sort of fracture in the ground that allowed water to flow through it. He helped us narrow our possible locations down to 2-3 flags that were within a few feet of each other. Then we basically picked a spot while crossing our fingers. And boy did I do a little rain dance and send all the good water vibes to that stake in the ground.

Drilling day came and it was hard. It took most of the morning to set up the rigs and get all the equipment prepared. They told me they would call the second they hit water. They also told me their average depth drilled per hour (you pay per foot for the depth of the well) and I was literally calculating it to the minute while I waited for a phone call. By the end of the day, there was no water.

Day two came and I was feeling hopeful. Just before lunch I got a phone call with good news. They hit a fracture at about 340 feet, and there was some water coming out! Only 1 GPM but they were going to take a lunch break then drill a bit further to see if they could get more water. They were hoping they were hitting just the top of the water and that it would start pouring out soon.

sand from drilling a well
false hope

Hours passed with no more phone calls. Again, I’m calculating time ticking and how much deeper they must have drilled. I had to go to a meeting at this point so I headed out, but kept my phone on, just waiting for some news. Finally, at the end of the day, it rang. No more water came out from the original fracture, so after drilling much more — to 440 feet, water started gushing out and was calculated at over 60 GPM! I couldn’t believe it. This is an extremely high producing well, not just in our neighborhood, but in general as far as wells go. All I could imagine was that our little hilltop was floating on a lake. Hah! All the anxiety finally melted away.

The next morning they finished up their process and capped it off. We eventually got back up to the property to check it all out. It was getting cold outside and had snowed a few times so as we pulled up to the property we thought there was a large bank of snow. It was sand! You can see in the last photo the sand but most of the larger mounds were covered by the well rigs so I wasn’t really expecting it. As the water blew out of the drill, with it came tons of sand that carved through the land. It’s so soft and Finley is absolutely loving playing in it. If the texture stays good once the weather gets warm again, I think we will be making a sandbox for her!

Next steps

The next step was getting a four hour pump test done along with water samples for the county to ensure the water is absent of nitrates and bacteria. These water results would allow us to get our building permits if all went well. We decided to do a full water sample test versus just the minimum for a few reasons. Our neighbor’s well tested very high for uranium (which is common areas with granite) and it was recommended they get a reverse osmosis system. Since uranium can be hit and miss, we decided to do the test as well to see if a RO system was something we should plan for. Sure enough, our uranium levels came in high. Everything else was good though and we have that peace of mind!

Next we will be assembling the drawing package with all of our floor plans and submitting those with the well and septic design. I’ll be sharing the plans with you all soon — and guess what — I spent my holiday vacation tweaking them quite a bit since I last shared them on my stories over on Instagram. So it should be a surprise for everyone!

Pittsburg Residence: “Before”

galley kitchen renovation
galley kitchen renovation

Sprawling ranchers make for some of my favorite projects, and this one is no exception! Square footage is usually plentiful in these homes but often times they are so compartmentalized, it feels unusable. With strategic changes to the floor plan — opening walls and closing others, a flowing, functional footprint can be achieved. By the end of the project, it’s sometimes hard to remember how the house was ever any other way! If you’ve been following on Instagram, you will have seen the structural and spatial changes we’ve made for this home. It’s now time to give a proper tour of what this house looked like when it was first placed in our hands!

The Kitchen

The kitchen was probably the most updated space compared to the rest of the house. White cabinets with a pretty simple door style and those little polished brass knobs are not the worst thing. Even the flooring appeared to be updated! But as a whole, still pretty dated. For the longest time I thought it had wallpaper, until I looked a bit closer one day and realized the walls are all hand painted with the floral motifs! The window treatments throughout the house were very heavy, causing a lot of natural light to be lost.

spokane kitchen renovation before and after

My biggest issue with the kitchen was how closed off it was to the rest of the home. Families want to be able to cook and entertain and not feel isolated from their company. Thankfully this home was set up perfectly to allow for that with the removal of the main wall, but this would required structural adjustments.

outdated kitchen before renovation
Mudroom / laundry room

I was pretty excited about this space because it has a large footprint and it was perfectly located between the garage, powder room, and kitchen. You can’t really ask for better than that! We have exciting plans for laundry cabinets on one side, and more of a mudroom set up on the other.

The Den

Like the laundry room, this space really just needs cosmetic updates. The footprint is great and it has large windows! But I was very happy to see the paneling come off. It felt like a heavy weight was lifted from the room! The one tricky part about this room is a large opening to the dining room on the wall opposite of the fireplace. It created an interesting circulation path and restricted furniture placement.

living room with wood paneling

After a lot of back and forth, I presented the option of closing in the large opening. There was a second opening on the side wall near the laundry room and kitchen. Since this was going to be a more private family space, it didn’t feel like a loss when we closed up the doorway. In fact, once this was done, it made both the den and the dining room feel so much better!

wood paneling on walls
Dining & Living Room

The dining room and living room were initially separate spaces. The dining room had openings from three entry points on three separate walls, which made it feel more like a large hall. The plan was to remove the wall that separated it from the living room. This would provide a stronger connection to the living room as well as the kitchen.

formal dining room

The living room was a long space that despite a whole wall of windows, felt very boxed in. Even with a standard ceiling height, the ceiling felt low, especially with a tall client! At the end of the living room was a full brick wall with a fireplace. I liked that wall as a focal point, but the scale was all wrong. The height of the fireplace felt strange as well as all of the negative space on the wall. It definitely needed a change!

living room with wall of windows
living room with original fireplace
entry & hall

Again, the entry had the perfect amount of square footage. It was closed off just enough to create a nice feel! The photo below is a great shot, as the wall on the right is now completely gone and behind it is the kitchen. There was also a small opening from the entry into the kitchen which we closed up to better utilize wall space for the new kitchen layout.

main bath

The main bathroom off the hall is near all the bedrooms and had a whole lot of funk! I sort of loved this wallpaper! It was pretty damaged though and once we got through the design concept, we realized it just wasn’t going to work out.

BEDROOMS AND POWDER ROOM

All of the bedrooms had a different color of carpet. Every room had a different wallpaper. But each one had coordinated the colors so exact, like this green bedroom! The powder room is actually over by the laundry and kitchen, but was another example of the wallpaper selections matching cabinetry, tile, and more.

The bedroom below is the closest to the master suite. After working through the floor plans, the clients decided to take the leap into a larger master closet. So this bedroom will soon be a gorgeous walk-in closet with plenty of storage!

bedroom with paneling and wallpaper
outdated bedroom with wallpaper
the master suite

Last stop in the tour is the master suite! Another day, another carpet. The bedroom is huge and the bathroom is as well! However, the bathroom was very choppy with the existing closets. Adding to this jumble was the vaulted ceiling in the bathroom, but the walls only being a partial height. This creates a lot of visual clutter especially when multiplied by all the walls in this space. This bathroom gets a ton of natural light though, so between that feature and the ceiling height, I was excited to get to work!

master bedroom renovation
moving forward

This project has been under construction for a few months already and there is progress to share soon. I’m also planning to start sharing more of my design plans and concept work to the blog so you can watch these projects transform! If there is anything you’d like to know about the design process, let us know so we can be sure to include them in upcoming posts!

If you have a project you’d like to discuss, feel free to contact me or book an appointment! I’d love to chat and see how I can help!

Holiday Gift Guides from Pacific Design Co.

holiday gift guide
holiday gift guide

It’s the most wonderful time of the year where searching for the perfect gift can become so stressful! Then you draw a blank on their interests or have a hard time finding something unique. Don’t worry — we have you covered! We’ve created some personality-themed collections with our favorite goodies, and in different price ranges! To top it all off, we’re offering free shipping for the remainder of the month. You can find it all over at the Pacific Design Co. shop!

Items shown: Faux Wood Cachepots | Canvas Grocery Bag | Watering Can | Oversized Market Basket | Botanical Art | Aldridge Bowl

Shop the Full Holiday Gift Guide for The Gardener Here


Items shown: Bone & Olive Wood Spoon | Stoneware Canisters | Ticking Stripe Napkins | Marble Salt Cellar | Copper Measuring Cups | Mango Wood Serving Bowls

Shop the Full Holiday Gift Guide for The Chef Here


Items shown: Urchin Pots | Sandcast Beads | Isla Cotton Pillow | Cane Baskets | Faux Thyme Topiaries | Organic Wool Knotted Pillow

Shop the Full Holiday Gift Guide for The Homebody Here

How To Find the Perfect Piece of Land

This title is pretty hilarious considering some of the things we experienced both during our search for land as well as the hardships we faced after purchasing. We are over the moon about the land that we purchased and can’t wait to enjoy it every day once our home is built. However, there have been some major issues throughout the process as well, and having a bit of extra knowledge could have prevented some of them. But, we live and we learn so I guess that makes me somewhat qualified to share some insight on the topic of finding and purchasing property to build on.

OUR SEARCHING PROCESS

We’ve gone through this process (at least partially) two times now in our lives. The first time we started searching was about five years ago, when we planned to move my childhood home to some acreage and then renovate. It never happened, but we searched for land for several months and had a good idea on what we were looking for. On this second round of searching, we did many of the same things to find the right lot. We spent every week scouring the internet for new listings and planning our route. Every weekend we then drove for hours crossing them off or spending some extra time discussing the features of our favorite ones. This became much more difficult with a kid in tow, which meant the number of properties we could look at each week was very limited unless we had a babysitter. We often drove on our own until we found some we really liked. At that time we would notify our realtor to get more information. Doing it this way allowed us to cover a lot of ground but occasionally we ran into some issues of getting lost and dealing with safety issues, like when we accidentally trespassed on a lot that Google inaccurately took us to. Raw land can be tricky to find so you have to be very careful about how you find it.

PRICE

Prices were so much different five years ago when we looked for land — we could easily find 10 acres of raw land for 30-50k. Getting over the fact that land at this time has doubled if not tripled in price, was a little hard. But it’s never a good idea to beat yourself up over the “would have, could have, should haves” as my sweet mom says. So this time around, we found ourselves expecting and prepared for a much larger price, but our goal of a minimum of 10 acres was still set in stone. Of course we would have been happier with more acreage as well, but that typically meant a longer commute to find something within our budget.

LOCATION

Commute times and general location are always a key factor in purchasing land (or a home). A good location to us had to fit within the following guidelines: no more than 40 minutes from downtown (where we work), good schools (even though we might consider homeschooling, this is still important in case that doesn’t work out for us), and 10-20 minutes from basic amenities like grocery shopping, etc. Beyond that, we didn’t have a preference between north, south, east, or west of our city, so we still had a lot of areas to choose from. The property we purchased exceeded these expectations by far… we ended up 30 minutes from downtown, 3 minutes from town with our favorite stores, and in one of the best ranked school districts. The location still feels rural and private, with 10 acre parcels all around us as well.

ACREAGE & SHAPE

You may ask why the 10 acres was an important number for us. We determined pretty quickly that we are not people who enjoy living in neighborhoods. We like our space, our privacy, and peace and quiet. We want land that we can do as we please, with no expectations or judgment about when we choose to mow our lawn, what we choose to do with our land, and no eavesdropping ears when relaxing in our backyard. We looked at lots with a few acres, we looked at lots with 5 acres, and neither were enough. Many of these parcels were awkwardly shapes – long skinny rectangles that once you build on, you find yourself right next to your neighbors despite all your acreage. This is true even on larger parcels, and with 10 acres, we still had to look for something that was a wider rectangle versus a skinny strip of land. You always have to keep in mind the possibility of new future neighbors building on undeveloped land around you. It’s the risk you take, so there is a benefit in having the adjacent properties already being developed so you know who sits where.

UTILITIES

The property we purchased is raw land, which means no water, sewer, or electrical have been set up. These will all be completed as part of our construction loan. Not having completed this part of the process, I can’t speak to too much of it yet. We’ve received estimates on all of them though and knew what to expect based on previous research of costs, so it came as no surprise that a large portion of our budget would be set aside for this. One thing to keep in mind is the further your property is from the road, the higher some costs will be. Electrical and gas are all priced per linear foot. Our property is far from the road which provides a lot of privacy, but higher expenses up front for getting settled in with utilities and a road. Wells and septic systems will vary in price depending on location. Septic system pricing all depends on your soil type, and the price of wells depend on how deep you need to drill (priced per foot), so it’s good to know what other wells are like in the area you are looking. Some rural areas do have access to city water, but there can be hefty fees for hooking up to it. It can be nice knowing that you always have water accessible and no chance of your well drying up in the future. Costs of land jump dramatically when utilities are already available, but there is certainly peace of mind in having these ready to go.

USABILITY & MISC. FEATURES

Is the land covered in trees that may require some clearing? It is flat or steep or somewhere in between? Is it rocky? Is there water, ponds, wetlands, or streams causing potential flood zones (think of insurance)? We looked at a variety of land types in our search and were quickly able to eliminate parcels based on their usability. We found properties as steep as a mountain, covered in water, or totally inaccessible by road. You also have to consider their accessibility and use in different seasons. Some roads were hardly developed and while we made it to the final destination, we had to consider that during winter, we probably wouldn’t be able to get in or out. The land we chose was open with minimal trees, some flat areas for easy building, and some rolling hills which lends itself to a beautiful view. My dream was to have water nearby, whether a pond or stream or really anything for outdoor play for our daughter. I was sure we’d never find something within our budget with this, but we did! Our property has a little stream running through it which was a huge selling point for us. However, with this amazing feature comes a few things to consider – the responsibility of maintaining a bridge, safety issues with having children (thankfully the stream is very far from the majority of our property), and we will have to provide proper paperwork that our home is not anywhere near the flood zone in order to eliminate the need for flood insurance.

RESTRICTIONS

Depending on how you plan to use your land, it’s important to know what kind of restrictions might be in your area. How many buildings you can put on each parcel, what kind of buildings (manufactured vs. stick frame), agricultural restrictions (some places don’t allow roosters and/or limit the number of animals), and more. As another example, we have CCR’s that say trailers and motorhomes cannot be parked on the property unless placed within a shop. We know many people who live in an RV on their property while a home is being built, so this could be a huge issue for those unless they are prepared for the expense of building a large enough shop/garage to contain it.

EASEMENTS

Easements can restrict your property use as well and it’s important to know if you have easement access or if others have easements through your property. On our property, we have one of each type. Unfortunately, what we didn’t know is that in one of these agreements, a construction agreement was buried into it which would require more than basic maintenance of the road. The previous owners had agreed to paving or chip sealing the road by a certain date, failed to do so, and decided not to share this information with us as we went through the purchasing process. We are now responsible for completing this.

PROPERTY LINES & ENCROACHMENTS

It’s important to be sure that the property you are purchasing is surveyed, or to complete one so you know exactly where the boundary lines are. Looking for encroachments onto your potential property or items on the property that might encroach on someone else’s property can save you from some serious headaches down the road. We experienced this in a strange way as well. While we were under escrow with the property, the neighboring parcel put in a road that crossed the property lines substantially. It tore up a large portion of the land, and we didn’t find out until after we signed closing papers. We paid for a survey right away and was able to prove that the new road was now encroaching on the land. Unfortunately, we also had to pay to fix this both in the survey costs as well as labor/equipment costs of removing the road on our part of the land. These costs could have been disputed in court, but sometimes you have to pick your battles.

Again, we couldn’t be more thrilled about the land we ultimately chose. I’m happy to be able to learn from our mistakes and share them with you. We are excited to move forward on our dream home and break ground in the near future. I look forward to continuing to share the process and our experiences on this journey. If there’s something in particular you’d like to know about the process, be sure to let me know so I can include them in future posts!

Finding Home: The Story of Our Journey to Here

All images in this post are by the talented Jade Averill Photography

Have you heard the news on Instagram? After waiting over five years for the “right” time, our family has finally purchased land as the first step in the journey of building our own home. It’s been a long ride and today I’m finally feeling ready to share more about this part of our lives. I know many people are always curious about the homes of interior designers. I’m often asked to share photos of our home, but quite frankly, I never share this because I’ve never really had a true home of my own. A designer’s nightmare, right?! So today I’m going to share way too many details about our history of “homes” and just why this project means so much for us moving forward.

MY FIRST APARTMENT

I lived with my parents through college. I attended a local community college for three years before transferring to the university. Before moving, my husband and I were married. So as newlyweds, we drove off to our first “home” and rented an apartment while I completed my final year of school. Our small, very brown (brown carpet, brown paneling, brown cabinets!) apartment was our first home together. After about six months, we found ourselves very sick from black mold toxicity and all of our personal belongings and new home gifts from our wedding destroyed. So we started from square one. We were transferred to another apartment for our remaining few months of our lease. After those couple of months were over and I was done with school, we packed up so fast and left town!

POINT YOUR FINGER SOMEWHERE ON A MAP…

We weren’t sure where we wanted to go next. We stayed with my parents for about a month and then I landed a few interviews over on the west coast. For a few days, we dreamed of living on that side of the state. Nothing came of it though, and we sat staring at each other in the hotel room wondering where we were going to live. At the time, going back home to Spokane seemed like the worst possible choice. We wanted change and adventure. We started throwing out names of cities to live in, and I offered up Denver, as one of my best friends and her family lived there and I had visited a few times. Connor agreed, so we went home, packed a suitcase, and off we drove.

MOVING THERE, THEN HERE AGAIN

We made arrangements to live with my friend’s family for a few months so we could explore the city to see if it was right for us, get jobs and find housing. After about four months of living out of a suitcase and a storage unit, we purchased a townhouse and moved in. It was very nice and we felt pretty proud of it. It was in a little suburban neighborhood with nice shopping, good schools, and yet our mortgage was cheaper than any apartment we could have rented there. We lived there for about six months and then it happened…the homesickness kicked in.

We missed our families, the lakes, and holidays together. Despite having incredible jobs and a few friends, we were so lonely. I think it was on Easter, another holiday alone, that we took a bike ride and one of us brought up the conversation neither of us wanted to confess. We started asking ourselves, “what was so bad about Spokane?” And within a ten minute conversation, it was decided upon. We were moving back home. We called our parents right then and it was like a whirlwind of emotions. Excitement to return to Spokane, but total disappointment of leaving our jobs and city life. We moved back home within a month.

NEW PLANS TO BE MADE

We literally had no plan from there. We moved in with Connor’s parents. After a few months, it was time to get jobs and find our own place again. We started renting from my grandma at her vacant house. We thought it would be just a while before we would buy a house and renovate. Shortly after, we found out my childhood home was literally listed for free if someone spent the money to move it off the lot (yes, you CAN move houses!).

We started dreaming! How amazing would it be to buy some land and set my childhood home on it? After moving every few months, it felt like the perfect symbolism of growing roots and finding home. We started planning. We talked to the banks, we drove for hours looking at land every weekend, and I started on the floor plans for phasing out renovations and even a plan for an addition we could add on some day. I spent months working on all of the logistics and then…things changed.

AN OUT-OF-REACH DREAM

The banks were nervous about funding a house move. Connor decided he wanted to go back to school for nursing. I found out I was pregnant with our first child. All at once, the doors closed and this journey had come to an end. We switched gears and started house hunting instead. Nothing seemed to stand out and nothing came close to the dream we had almost created. I didn’t want to put a dime towards a home we weren’t excited about. So we decided to stay at the rental and make it home for a while. We would settle in for a few years.

I started nesting and we painted the house and set up a garden. There was only so much we could do with a rental so instead we invested in some new furniture pieces, curtains, etc. We ended up living there for about two years, which was the longest we had lived anywhere for the last 4-5 years. We had planned on staying longer, at least until Connor was done with school, but then another wrench got thrown in the plan.

THE SWITCH-UP

My grandma needed to sell the house. At this point, we were knee deep in parenthood, school, and financially just looking to save every penny to prepare for buying a house. My parents decided to buy my grandma’s house in hopes that we could continue to rent from them, but the banks said that wasn’t an option. So then, it was decided that my parents would move to that house, and we would move to their house to rent. A little switcharoo! So in the middle of winter, we were literally swapping places.

We’ve been renting from my parents for the last year and a half and while we are once more close to reaching a two year mark of living in the same place, we also once more prepare for another move. At this point, things are looking up. We’ve been working hard and saving money to acquire that dream of living on acreage. However, with the real estate market being quite insane, it no longer makes sense for us to renovate. Our plans now point to a new construction home, which will hopefully begin after Connor completes school later this summer. My parents recently sold the other house and have moved back into the home we are renting from them, and Connor and I are back to determining our next temporary house while our true home gets built.

FINDING HOME

Nowhere in my adult life has ever felt like home. I’m turning 28 this year and at this point I’ve never felt the feeling of home since I was 18. We’ve managed to settle in to each place we’ve lived, but it’s never truly been “home.” When we were younger, the constant change felt adventurous. It felt like that was what we should be doing as young adults, newlyweds, etc.

But as we got older, and especially after having our daughter, each move was a heartbreak. It was pulling up her roots again and again, and that’s what made me ache. Although those houses were never my home, they were hers. It was all she knew as home in her life this far. The pain made me work harder and harder. I couldn’t stop and it made me sacrifice just about everything to get to the point of claiming a forever home for us. For her.

MAKING CHANGES

Last month, we took the first step toward that home I’ve dreamed of for our family. After a pretty short period of searching for land, we got our dream property. It checks all the boxes on our wish list and more! It feels so surreal that after so many years of waiting, the time has come. The timeline for our construction has yet to be determined, but one step has been taken. And that’s all that matters in this moment.

I can’t wait to share more about the property and our plans for design and construction. But tonight, I just felt the need to share this story. It’s probably way too in depth and most people will care only about the future posts of sharing plans for the home. But I know some of you have been listening to my story. You are curious about what has led up to this new chapter of our lives. And I wanted to share quite honestly that the process of getting to this point has not come easily.

LITTLE STEPS & BIG SACRIFICES

It has never been our ideal situation to live with our parents for periods of time, say “no” to occasions of going out with friends, and certainly not to keep using one of our cars that is literally destroyed from when it was stolen from us, totaled, and then returned. But we’ve happily, and sometimes not so happily, made these sacrifices because they never compared to what we were working toward for our family. I’m so thrilled to put this all behind us now. And I seriously can’t wait to share the process of this journey!

I’d also love to hear from you…

What would you like us to share on our journey? What would you like to learn about the planning, design, or construction process?



Post Street Residence: Styling Round Up

I’m so excited to be adding a new type of post for our project reveals…styling round ups! It’s been something on my “to-do” list for quite some time, particularly after the launch of our shop Pacific Design Co. I love staging our projects with our merchandise and showcasing it to you! Clients enjoy it as well. Sometimes a fresh perspective on decor can be exciting for our clients to see in their own homes! Now, I get to share some of our best products with you. Win-win!

THE LIVING ROOM

With the Post Street Residence, I wanted to start in the living room. It includes some of the most fun combinations of pillows and decor! I loved the variety of textures and patterns, but most of all, the earthy colors. All in all, they paired with the wood tones in the home so beautifully! Many of the shop’s pillows are organic or vintage fibers. The detail in each one can is thanks to craftsmen that make each of them by hand.

With all the white in the living room, I wanted to bring in decor that felt extra natural. Wood trays, wood vases, and brass accents brought the warm tones that offset the white walls nicely. In addition, texture and pattern prevented the room from feeling bland.

SHOP THE LIVING ROOM

THE KITCHEN

Moving on to the kitchen, we kept the decor pretty simple. I loved the dishes that were already displayed on the open shelves! We added a few accents on the top shelves (which you can’t see too well). The shelves are so versatile, but I tried to pair functionality with some fun decor pieces as well.

Next, I’m all about clean counters, so keeping them clear let the backsplash and gorgeous quartz take center stage. A few items that once more spoke to kitchen functionality was all the space needed!

Finally, you will find the perfect bench by the back door. This space is used constantly as little ones come inside from outdoor play. Baskets to contain little shoes or hats will keep the area from getting cluttered. And last, a cozy pillow invites someone to take a seat and keep company in the kitchen!

SHOP THE KITCHEN

If you’d like to see the other blogs featuring the Post Street Residence, you can find them here: before, progress update, and final reveals part one and part two. Enjoy, and happy shopping!

Post Street Residence: Final Reveal Part 2

Part two is here! After starting the first blog post, I felt like there was so much good stuff to share! I didn’t want to get too lengthy before getting to another amazing part of the house…the entry! So here’s part two, which reveals the Post Street Residence living room and entry space.

UPDATES THROUGHOUT

When first meeting these clients, we were primarily focused on the kitchen renovation. However a few things were going to be freshened up throughout the main floor, which included new hardwood flooring and a fresh coat of paint. We did a skim coat on the walls to make them smooth, and stuck with a pure white paint. They actually had this white on the walls before which I totally loved and knew it was still the right choice for their space. But we didn’t realize until we had started painting that some things had really yellowed over time, like the trim. So we painted everything! It feels soft and airy…their home has so much natural light and their new white oak flooring enhanced that even more. Just these two changes brightened up their entire living room and entry. It felt great before, but even better after!

FRESHENED UP FIREPLACE

We ended up doing a fresh coat of white paint on the fireplace brick, and we replaced the original tile hearth with a fun white chevron tile. It looked gorgeous with the transition to the white oak flooring! We went with a dark grout because this is a wood burning fireplace that the clients used often. It will still require some occasional cleaning, but the tile is a high gloss which will make this task a bit easier.

The other slight adjustment we did in the living room was add a few sconces to the piano wall. I loved these sconces from Rejuvenation because they kept with the brass finish we were using throughout, but the white shade helped them disappear a bit!

a custom pick for the floors

The shot below is also a great angle of the white oak flooring. Originally the clients had imagined a medium color stain. Once the unfinished white oak got installed, I just couldn’t get past it! It was incredible in their space. We went back and forth quite a bit on this, including lots of stain samples and lots of head spinning! The other stains were really pretty, too and still coordinated really well with the kitchen accents of natural white oak. But ultimately, I’m so very happy for the uniform choice! We ended up doing a custom stain by adding a touch of white to the finish because just using a sealer still pulled the orange from the oak. And we found the perfect way to use the darker stain we really liked by applying it to the new front door (revealed later in the post!).

the perfect entry

In that living room photo, you get a little glimpse of a cheerful little spot of the home…the front entry! Just about everyone goes back and forth on this and says how awesome the kitchen is. But this little entry…it’s just so special and memorable! This was an “add-on” to the original proposed project, but gosh this entry might be the thing that makes the home! On the right side there used to be a closet that went right up to the trim of the window. It really encroached on the floor space and the storage inside was less than functional. We decided to tear it out! I designed a custom built-in that would have a variety of storage options while still making the room feel bigger. Pulling the built-in back a bit also gave the unique window some “breathing room,” allowing it to take center stage!

P.S. here’s a good shot of the door with that gorgeous stain color!

whimsical wallpaper

Can we just take a moment to appreciate that wallpaper? Again, totally enhancing the shape of the window. It also was mostly neutral with a few pastel color pops. I showed the clients a few wallpaper options, all whimsical and with a bit of color. I was pretty excited with all of the options, but this one is just so fun! They loved it so much they decided to install some more in the playroom at the top of the stairs!

I loved the combination of the wallpaper with the bead board backing of the built-in. It was playful yet classic and was a great way to bring some fun into a charming older home. We added some classic hooks and brass knobs that matched the kitchen hardware to tie it all together with the rest of the home. And of course, a natural white oak bench to bring in that warmth and help pull things together as well.

the front door

In part one of this reveal, I talked about how we saw the home’s original character and found ways to tie into an updated renovation. Well, the front door hardware was one of those details that I ran across something that was perfect. Brass of course to match the rest of the finishes. But the combination of the detail on the back plate with egg shape door knob felt like the right amount of “traditional” vibes but used in a fresh way.

By this point of selecting details, everything was just coming so easily. The clients were seeing the vision come together seamlessly and they were able to start trusting me even more to make decisions with less oversight. We were all in the groove and knew what was going to be the right choices. Such a good flow! The clients also did some shopping on their own and found the cutest white rope baskets with leather accents. They were so perfect and I fell in love too, I had to go buy some for myself! Score!

lessons for your renovation

I’m so in love with this entry, but really, the whole home is a perfect example of what occurs when a few important things happen in a renovation:

1. Trust / Value — I felt so thankful for clients who valued my opinion, trusted my expertise, and wanted to utilize that to the maximum extent. Having that trust allowed my creativity to flow so freely and they totally benefited from it!

2. Willingness to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone — When investing a ton of money into a renovation, it can be so easy to slip into a pattern of thinking small and safe. These clients had incredible style but just needed the reassurance that they weren’t totally messing up by going bold. We played a game quite often that (I hope) allowed them to start trusting their intuition. I would take the two difficult choices of any given decision and put one in each hand (on paper or as a mental note when paper wasn’t accessible). They would select a hand, and if the choice that was made for them felt like a letdown, then they had their answer of what the right choice was to ultimately go forward with.

3. Have Fun — This one comes pretty easily when I’ve got the right clients. I’m a down to earth, casual person, and I love what I do! I have fun on the job site and when I can have a relationship with a client that allows me to do silly games like the one previously mentioned or crack an occasional joke, it makes a stressful process such as a renovation become more enjoyable for everyone! When clients have faith that myself and the contractors will take care of everything, there is nothing left to worry about!

CHECK OUT THE REST!

If you didn’t get a chance to see part one, be sure to go back and read that! Make sure to also check out the before images as well as the progress…it’s always fun to see that transformation! As always, if you like what you see and have a project of your own that you would like to discuss, we’d love to hear from you! Check out our services and let’s chat!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. We hope by sourcing some of our favorite products, we provide value to you and your projects!

SHOP THIS PROJECT

Post Street Residence: Final Reveal Part 1

I was anxiously awaiting the return of the photographs from what could possibly be one of my favorite projects to date! But how can you really choose when each one is so different and all of your clients are kind of the best!? So hard!). It was just such a fun project where so many of my FAVORITE elements were combined into one space! I would get butterflies every time the next piece of the puzzle was installed. So without further ado, I present to you the final reveal of the Post Street Residence!

PICKING FAVORITES

I can’t even begin to pick a favorite space from this renovation! We’re just going to start in the kitchen, because that’s how this project started out. But guys, we just couldn’t stop there! So yes, let’s just start in the kitchen…because honestly, this reveal is going to need two parts. It’s just too good to cram into one blog post.

A MODERN YET TRADITIONAL STYLE

So basically, right here ^^^ is where the wall was. It separated the kitchen from the rest of the house, closing off opportunity to socialize, and for a young family — keep an eye on your kids in the next room. The original kitchen was actually in decent condition, “updated,” but in a very dark, traditional style. This client wanted something bright, fun, and a bit more modern while still keeping with the style and character of the home, which was built in 1936. We achieved this in a few ways. Our favorite being the inset style of cabinetry, in a muted green on-trend color, and modern brass hardware. It’s a rare (maybe even never before seen? I looked everywhere for an example!) combination to see inset cabinets with the minimal finger pull hardware, as the hardware is usually applied to the door and drawer fronts. But, I LOVED it!

KITCHEN FIXTURES

We also kept the faucet and light fixtures more modern, and all in the brass finish. It added the edginess we needed for the design, but also warmth which really played off the white oak flooring. And how sleek they looked with that white stacked tile backsplash!

THE BACKSPLASH

The backsplash was a fun element for this kitchen! With an open concept and open shelves, there was a large area that would be covered with tile. We knew white subway style was the direction we needed to keep things bright and neutral, but I’m just soooo over subway tile. This tile by Bedrosians is one I’ve been loving on for a while. When the client was describing the imperfections and even color variations they’d hope to see in their tile, I knew this would be the perfect match. This tile comes in a few different shapes, sizes, and colors, but this stacked look has to be my favorite. It brings that modern detail we needed versus a traditional offset installation. And it picked up the veining in the quartz counters beautifully! The whole finish palette for the kitchen is just a winning combination.

GREEN WITH ENVY

So, let’s talk about the green. The “trendy” green. Because this is always a discussion that we have to have with clients. And full disclosure, I’m in love with the green trend. I could tell my clients were, too. The trick was to get it to a muted enough version that it actually works as a neutral. This color is incredibly versatile and works with anything. It walks the line of working with modern or traditional styles, which was the underlying concept of this entire design.

BRINGING IN WOOD TONES

By going with a trendy color such as green, we needed to strike a balance with some timeless pieces. When working on the design, I envisioned having wood accents play a role in more than just the floating shelves. I expanded on that by including a floating bench at the end of the cabinetry. I also designed a custom pantry built-in around the refrigerator. All of these pieces would be made in the same natural white oak as the flooring to bring in a warm, classic look. It felt like a good minimalist approach but complemented their walnut furniture pieces so well!

APPLIANCES

Last, we can’t forget to mention trying out the GE Cafe appliance line! Particularly this double oven which still fit into their 30″ space!. I was so excited when the clients told me they had been researching this line. The white/gold combo would be perfect for their kitchen! I knew we needed to create the perfect hood for them to go with the white appliances. We started out thinking we would go with a white metal hood, but after some complications, we switched gears and I suggested plaster. I had never tried a plaster hood and I’ve been falling in love with them on Pinterest for some time. The idea was quickly approved, and we got to move forward on this stunning piece.

OPENING THE STAIRCASE

This last view is the perfect place to transition to the other adjustment we later made: the stairs and the laundry room. Because we were painting the walls and replacing the flooring throughout the main level, the choice needed to be made if the stairs would be painted as well and the treads replaced to match the oak. The choice was yes! But then we realized, if they are going to look so beautiful, shouldn’t we open them up to the rest of the home? They currently hid behind a door, and because of the age of the home, the stairs were very steep, making you hit your head on the top of the door frame as you come down the stairs. So we decided to open it all up from the front, and again, it was a choice that enhanced the rest of the home!

THE LAUNDRY ROOM

Next was the laundry room, which was a small space to begin with, but got a bit smaller when we reworked the kitchen. The original kitchen left a lot of floor space unused. When we took over an extra foot of the laundry room, we reclaimed a lot of that unused space in the kitchen. We were able to move the refrigerator down by the french doors, move the range to the left wall, and leave the sink and dishwasher where they were. It was the slightest adjustment but made an incredible difference. We were a little nervous about how much it would impact the laundry room, but we decided that it was going to be worth it to have the kitchen they desperately wanted. And in the end? The laundry room was hardly impacted and it still turned out dang gorgeous!

So that wraps up part one of the Post Street Reveal! If you thought that was good, you will be stunned when you see the rest of the house! In part two, I’ll be sharing the living room and my other favorite…the entry!

Make sure to check out the before images here as well as the progress…it’s always fun to see that transformation! As always, if you like what you see and have a project of your own that you would like to discuss, we’d love to hear from you! Check out our services and let’s chat!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. We hope by sourcing some of our favorite products, we provide value to you and your projects!

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Post Street Residence: Progress Update

The Post Street Residence is just waiting for its final touches and only weeks away from photography! So it’s overdue for us to share the progress of the project and all the transitions it went through over the last few months. If you haven’t seen the “before” photos or need a little reminder, you can find those here. These progress updates are always a great way to see things start to take shape, but even the most recent photos shared will look so different from the final photoshoot!

This project has been such a fun opportunity, and I’ve been so grateful to have clients that not only have incredible taste and so in sync with each other, but also are willing to try some things a little outside of their comfort zone (and reap the benefits of it, too, because ummm it’s looking stunning around here). I’m sad to see this one coming to a close! Time to walk down memory lane!

DEMOLITION & CLEANING UP

We started the whole project with a clean up of the walls, skim coating and painting, which took some time. Once we finally were able to get our hands dirty, the walls came down to open up the compartmentalized kitchen to the rest of the living spaces. I knew from the minute the renderings were complete that this project was going to be a winner, but seeing the first wall come down never fails to excite me.

Next was the flooring. Yes, we ripped out hardwood flooring. It was necessary. We also had to tear out several layers of tile, and linoleum, and plywood as these floors were installed one on top of another over time. Don’t worry, we replaced it with something so beautiful, it might be one of my favorite parts of the project. I haven’t decided!

This little entry nook pictured below was an add-on to the project, but I was so excited about it! There was a closet here which was great, but it was actually pretty restrictive in how the storage was used and the congestion it caused in the entry. Tearing out the closet enhanced this little window so much, and the custom built-ins designed to better serve the family’s storage needs is so cute (wait for the photos later in this post!).

NEW FLOORING ARRIVES

Here’s what we chose for the floors though…

Gorgeous white oak! The clients originally planned on a medium stain color, so we tried several samples and REALLY went back and forth on it. It was a tough choice, but ultimately, we settled on a natural finish (my personal favorite, so light and airy!). We did have to add a bit of a custom stain option using white to keep it feeling bright versus turning orange with the sealer.

From this point, things moved fast. It always feels like the first half of the project is demolition. Waiting for plumbing, electrical, walls to get closed back up…it’s time consuming. And then in a matter of weeks, everything starts flowing in and your space is nearly complete. Don’t be fooled though, the final details takes a good chunk of time, too!

THE KITCHEN COMES TOGETHER

Cabinets and counters got installed pretty quickly and I had been waiting for this moment forever! The dark green inset cabinets were absolutely perfect, paired with several white oak details…a custom pantry/refrigerator surround, floating shelves and a bench (some which won’t be revealed until the final photos!).

HARDWARE & COUNTERS

Cabinet hardware started getting installed right away and I’m kind of impressed with myself here. Have you ever seen inset cabinets paired with a modern finger pull? I haven’t and in one moment, I panicked and questioned if this was a good idea. It was SUCH a good idea. I absolutely love this combination that pairs the charm of inset cabinets with a modern, sleek, brass finger pull. You saw it here first, OKAY!? (And if not, just roll with it).

And a little sneak peek at the quartz counters but it doesn’t even begin to reveal the beauty hidden under the protective covers. Scroll on down to see it!

Is that quartz beautiful or what? This gorgeous selection has a crisp white color to it, but the veining has grey and even a little brown on the edge. It makes it versatile for so many palettes! The plaster hood was a fun new thing for me to try, and I absolutely love how it turned out. I see more of these in my future!

LITTLE DETAILS & TILE

Below are two spaces I haven’t shown much of, but are turning out so great! The first photo is at the end of one side of the kitchen and next to the back door. It will have a floating white oak bench, which will be great for removing shoes when entering from the back door! The next is the new tile hearth, which looks so stunning next to the white oak floors. I love this detail!

A NEW ENTRY

Last but not least, coming back to the entry nook…

This piece will always hold a special place in my heart. I love custom built-ins. I love designing them! This little space got a huge facelift and once it’s done, it’s going to be such a highlight of the home! This is the result of designer + contractor team talent. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, but I cherish my contractor for building the most beautiful things. Whatever I come up with, he makes it work. Incredible craftsmanship.

Just a few weeks left and I’ll be sharing the final reveal of this home! Let me know what you are most excited to see, and if there’s anything you are dying to know about this project!

If you have a Spring or Summer project on your mind, be sure to contact me here! It’s time to start planning your design and booking with a contractor to meet that timeline! You can contact me or book online here.

Post Street Residence: “Before”

We are getting so close to wrapping up the Post Street Residence but I’m so behind on sharing the behind the scenes of the whole project! So I am going to do some catching up around here and that all starts with the “before” photos of the space! This project started with a kitchen remodel but ended up expanding into a few other areas of the home due to the finishes we were planning to update (such as flooring and paint). The primary goal, however, was to open up the kitchen to the rest of the home and update it to something that was more in line with the client’s style.

A DARK, OUTDATED BEGINNING

The photos above were taken from the back entry of the house looking toward the kitchen. It also shows the wall that divides the kitchen from the dining room, living room, and front entry. The compartmentalized spaces made it difficult for gatherings with their friends and keeping an eye on their little ones. As a mom myself, I totally get how hard it can be to cook dinner in a completely different room from where your kid is playing! While this kitchen was a nice size and had a pretty functional layout, there was still room for improvement. But it needed some major changes to bring this family’s style into their home.

The little space at the end of the cabinets (in the photo below) was awkward. The window sits too low to continue the counter and it was right next to the back door. So we were really just looking for an opportunity to add a bench and some storage here. We designed one to match some of the new cabinetry and I can’t wait to see it installed!

SEPARATION OF SPACES

In the photo above, you can now see the division created by the wall between the dining room and kitchen. The living room sits behind the dining room, partially blocked by yet another wall. You can see how the long, divided space makes you feel disconnected to anyone in the other rooms. The photos below show the view from either side of the wall. Once demolition started and this wall was gone, this house felt like it was full of natural light and airiness. You could breathe!

INCORPORATING SURROUNDING AREAS

The other areas that were included in the renovation was the fireplace in the living room and the entry. We planned on painting and changing the flooring throughout, so we included these details that needed an update as well. The fireplace hearth was outdated and clashed with the painted white brick. I’m so excited for the new tile we found for this spot…just wait!

AN ENTRY WITH IMPACT

The entry felt a little tight when guests arrived. The person opening the door would have to quickly move out of the way in order for guests to enter. And despite the closet, the clients were still lacking functional storage space. We decided to remove the closet to visually open things up. We would replace it with a custom built-in that would suit their storage needs more efficiently. Check out these changes in the progress updates blog post!

This is one project where for the small size, demolition and the prep work still seemed to take a lifetime! Even in the smallest of jobs, the behind-the-scenes of demo, plumbing, electrical, etc. can take some time. But coming within the next week or so will be all the details of this process, so stay tuned!

If you have a project on your mind, be sure to contact me here! It’s time to start planning your design and booking with a contractor to meet that timeline! You can contact me or book online here.