Personal Basement Project: The Plan and Before Pics

By | personal, projects | One Comment

Now that it’s cooling off, we’re focusing our attention on inside projects. And by we, I mean I’ve been obsessively thinking about finishing the basement so I can have a bigger office and a non-creepy laundry room! Ryan talks about it here and there, but he doesn’t understand how happy this project will make me. When looking for houses, a basement with high ceilings that didn’t get water was a priority for us because we knew eventually I’d need a bigger office. The previous owner installed french drains right before we closed (woo-hoo!) and we’ve lived here a year and thankfully haven’t gotten any water. We wanted to live here a bit, during a few big storms to test the system out.

We live in a center hall colonial, so our basement is broken up into 3 rooms: the laundry room/utility room, the main space, and a small storage room. Here’s the plan:

Proposed Plan (6)


My Office:
This space is pretty big and has pretty high ceilings for a basement. We’re going to remove the fluorescent lighting and install recessed lighting, and we’ll have to have a minor soffit around the perimeter for pipes. It’s an old house and we don’t want to mess with the plumbing. We have baseboard heat down there too which is a bonus!

I want to have a long desk along the back wall, with pin boards above. I can use this to create fabric schemes, instead of having inspiring fabrics get lost in the shuffle. I’m working on a desk design now, but it will be simple: lateral file storage below and shelving on each far side.
I need a huge table to lay out papers, especially for presentations. I’m a very visual person so I need to have things laid out to ensure everything stays organized and completed on time.

DSC_2143This picture is looking towards “closed sample storage” on the plan.

IMG_3895This picture is looking towards the laundry room entrance.

IMG_3894This picture was from when we first moved in so it is not as clean. The fancy bar from the previous owners has since been removed and replaced with several boxes of samples for projects. This view is looking towards by soon-to-be desk. We’re hoping to frame and close in the crawlspace access since we don’t need it.


The creepy, dungeon-like laundry room:
I hate this room so much. The layout doesn’t make sense, most of the lights don’t work, and the slop sink was broken. We removed that last month finally and it was extremely heavy to haul up the stairs. (Thankfully I didn’t have to do it. :) I’ve always dreamed of having a bright, clean laundry room that was organized and a happy place to do chores. This room will probably be phase 2 of the basement project, but I wanted to have the plans in place.

Looking towards the laundry area. Boo.

Utility area when we first moved in. The boiler was a BEAST. This picture doesn’t do it justice because it was about as tall as I am and so heavy. It took a year to finally get a guy who was willing to remove it. Thankfully, our basement now looks like this below:

IMG_1432Ryan works for an HVAC supplier, so we got this fancy equipment for an awesome price. I don’t know what any of it does, but every man that comes into our basement is impressed by it. Wait, that sounds weird… it’s not like I have lots of men hang out in my creepy basement. Anyway… How bout that fancy interior designer cat litter box?! haha.

IMG_1431This is area will hopefully eventually be our laundry area. We have plumbing on that side and it’s room enough to have a large hanging bar for drying clothes. I hardly dry anything so I’d love to have a space to hang clothes.

I’ll do a separate post with the inspiration images and furniture I hope to use since this post is getting wordy and my son is waking up from his nap… gotta’ love cold season and sick days…

The Intern, Jules' house, Brooklyn NY  (Warner Bros.)

The Intern

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Last week I went to the movies with my girlfriends to see the The Intern and it was exactly what I needed. I haven’t see a feel-good chick-flick in a long time, and this one hit home for a lot of different reasons. It made me laugh and cry, and I fell in love with Robert Deniro’s character and especially Anne Hathaway (again). Did you know she’s a Jersey girl, and grew up in Short Hills? Her career started at the Papermill Playhouse. That’s my fun fact for the day. :)

Anyway… aside from the adorable story line, and Jules’ wardrobe, I loved the incredible set design by Director Nancy Meyers. It’s no wonder why I loved it so much because she also directed The Holiday, a movie I confessed my love for here, here and here, and Somethings Gotta Give, a movie which inspired my career in interior design.

In The Intern, I loved the dark gray cabinets and old wood floors that made the house seem so warm and family friendly. The dark, masculine bedroom is also a room that I could definitely see myself living in… my friend even whispered that to me as soon as the room came on screen. :) I really loved this movie and recommend you see it, if you haven’t already!

Photos are from House Beautiful, where you can also read more about the design process.

The Intern, Jules' house, Brooklyn NY  (Warner Bros.)

The Intern, Jules’ house, Brooklyn NY (Warner Bros.)


The Intern, Jules' house, Brooklyn NY  (Warner Bros.)

The Intern, Jules’ house, Brooklyn NY (Warner Bros.)


This modern, industrial space is so gorgeous with a hint of femininity. I am gearing up to finish my basement to make that my office and I got a ton of inspiration from their space!

Phone Addict

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This article made me laugh. I am on my phone way too often… it’s the first thing I look at in bed, and the last thing I look at in bed. I check my emails because I need to make sure all clients are happy and I hate having red numbers notifying me that people are waiting for responses to texts.  I didn’t realize how bad it was until my son recently started mimicking me. Every morning, he walks around with my phone in one hand and my chapstick (I’m addicted) in the other. It’s actually really adorable but made me realize how he sees me. I know there are apps that tell you how many times you actually look at your phone, but I’m too embarrassed to know the actual number. What would happen if you didn’t actually take your phone out? These made me laugh out loud.

  • “Someone will post a photo of a brunch sandwich—like, a really great brunch sandwich, one with bacon and avocado—and I won’t get to comment, “omg where.”
  • “Someone will send me an e-mail marked “URGENT” and it will, for once, actually be quite urgent (probably about free food), and I won’t see it until it’s too late (all the free food is gone).”
  • “I will get bangs without consulting everyone I know on the Internet, and they will be a mistake, as bangs ALWAYS ARE.”
  • “I will have to spend at least one second of my life not agonizing over how everyone else’s life seems better. (How are you always at a cottage? Who drove you there? You don’t have a car and I don’t understand.)
  • “I will make eye contact with someone.”
  • “I won’t be able to post photos of my boyfriend and me being in love, so people will just have to assume we’re in love without photographic proof, which is basically the same as announcing our separation.”
  • “Ignoring texts that I don’t want to answer will suddenly become unintentional and therefore meaningless.”
  • “My mother will leave a voice mail saying, “Hey, it’s me, your mom, just checking in,” and my phone will buzz for weeks until I finally get around to deleting it.”
  • “It will be literally impossible to know what the weather is. Is it raining? Is it hot? WHAT DO I DO IF IT IS HOT?”


Hope it made you smile as much as I did. xo

Via A Cup of Jo.

Get The Look!

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Dining Room

One of the most important rooms of the home is the dining room, so give it some style!

Whether you’re entertaining friends or just enjoying a weekday meal with the family, you should design the space so that it’s somewhere people want to stick around. Whenever Ryan and I have dinner parties (though, it’s been a while since having the babe), we always end up sitting around the table for hours drinking wine instead of cozying up on the sofa.

This space in the inspiration photo is spot on. While it features glam elements, it’s still comfortable and spacious. The dark wood-tones keep it grounded, while the monochrome palette creates a classic aesthetic.

Get this look:

1. Chandelier via Lamps Plus
2. Decanter via Crate & Barrel
3. Decanter via Crate & Barrel
4. Tray via ZGallerie
5. Dining Table via Zinc Door
6. Sconce via Lamps Plus
7. Dining Chair via Zinc Door
8. Mirror via ZGallerie
9. Sideboard via Wayfair
Inspiration image via Mix & Chic


By | design, personal | No Comments

I belong to a group in Cranford called “The Newcomer’s Club” that is basically a social club in town for women to get to know each other, drink wine, have play dates and discuss events going on in town. I joined last September and was really excited to feel like I’m part of a community. Shortly after my sister died, I received an email about adopting a room at a local women’s shelter and it literally brought me to tears. They asked if they could dedicate the room to my sister and I was so touched. Several women from the group donated items to decorate the space. It looks like one person picked out all of the accessories but it all just worked together. The furniture is provided by the shelter, so I painted the room along with two other amazing women. We chatted over the course of two days and really got to know each other. The entire process was very therapeutic for me… knowing that this one room would help a woman and her young baby so she has a safe place to live.

We recently received an email from the director saying that a woman and her little one moved in the week after we completed the room, and the little boy walks around everywhere with this little stuffed dog from the crib. That made my heart smile. This is just a little reminder that even when you’re experiencing your own grief, you can be a healer for others.


IMG_0806 IMG_0807 IMG_1692

Pendant Inspiration

Lighting Effects

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Just a normal day, perusing Pinterest while I ate my second breakfast. :) I usually eat a small breakfast with Cole in the morning, but then get distracted and have to eat something small after I drop him off at daycare… when I finally get a chance to breathe. This was one of those fun mornings, drinking coffee for the first time in what felt like ages, where I was finding a clear pattern with each scroll…

Pendant Inspiration
I found so many rooms with perfect lighting! It’s amazing what a huge impact one pendant can have on a room. Just take a look at these four very different spaces above. No matter which room of the house, lighting is so important, for both style and function. Naturally, I had to do some on-line window shopping and here’s what I found.

1. Ulysses Pendant via Dwell Studio
2. Canopy 1 Lighting Pendant via AllModern
3. Mirror Ball Pendant via YLighting
4. Dewdrop Chandelier via Anthropologie
5. Heracleum II Small Pendant via YLighting
6. Cosmo Pendant Light via Crate & Barrel
7. Marcello Penant via Zinc Door
8. Glass Jar Pendant via West Elm
9. Skygarden Pendant via Hive
10. Factory Satellite 2 Pendant via Schoolhouse Electric
11. Etch Pendant via AllModern