Design ideas from Schoolhouse Electric

Posted by Lauran

Have you seen the new Schoolhouse Electric catalog? It is so well done, folks. I thought I’d highlight some of the best ideas shown throughout (and while these ideas may not be new, they are certainly well illustrated here).

The beauty of moveable shelving. I love this Foundry Cart, shown here acting as a bookshelf, media stand, and plant holder in the living room. It could just as easily act as a freestanding pantry in a kitchen or a paint/brush/canvas/glitter holder in an art room. The possibilities are endless.


A couple of other units-on-wheels for you to consider:


Go-Cart Rolling Bookcase from CB2


Colin bookcase from AllModern

One-of-a-kind storage makes the room. I’m in love with this unusual shelving unit shown to the left of the bed. I’m assuming it’s vintage. You wouldn’t expect to see something like this in a kid’s room, which makes it all the more memorable.


To find your own piece, scan sites like eBay, craigslist and etsy. Here are a few I found:


from ScoutandForge on etsy


from BeeHavenHome on etsy


from OurVintageBungalow on etsy

Mix up your art in every way possible. Check out this photo—the art is framed, not framed, leaning, hanging, standing, taped on the wall . . . paintings are mixed with prints, newspaper clippings . . . and it all works. That’s because there are no rules when it comes to displaying your artwork, just as there are no rules about what constitutes “artwork.” If you love it, put it up! Schoolhouse has just announced its own store for one-of-a-kind art; Serena & Lily has a similar shop. Also check out zatista and minted and of course etsy for affordable art options.


Cute hooks work as well as towel bars. In tiny bathrooms there often isn’t room for a full-length towel bar. Using a well-designed multi-hook is a great solution. This is the Mollie Hook from Schoolhouse; I also love their Roswell Hook (both come in an array of fun colors).


Try a bedside shelf instead of a table. A nice little shelf can hold your water glass, a book, your readers and even a plant (and better yet, won’t allow you to stack up piles of stuff like a regular table will!). Shown is the Brake Angle Shelf (in brass) from Schoolhouse—it’s like jewelry for the room.


A couple of other options:


Acrylic Wall Shelf from CB2


Brooklyn Bridge shelving from West Elm


Cool desks for back-to-school—and ideas for where to put them

Posted by Lauran

Whether you’re looking at third grade, 12th grade or the last year of college, let’s face it: homework is just around the corner. Before you know it there will be books, folders and laptops all around your home. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a cool spot designated just for studying? Even if you don’t have a separate home office or library per se (and many of us don’t), you can still set up desk space in a corner of a dining room, family room or bedroom. Here’s some inspiration for you.


A desk tucked into a bedroom corner, via DIY Playbook

closet office

Make a small homework station inside of a closet! via beneathmyheart

desk in LR

A homework station fits perfectly on the side of a fireplace in this living room; via Apartment Therapy, via Rebecca Hayes on Houzz

desk teen room

In this teen’s room, the desk sits right in front of a window; via Meme Hill

office in LR2

The corner of the living room is also a homework space! via Apartment Therapy

Once you find the perfect spot, you’ll need a cool desk on the smaller side to fit just right. We’ve rounded up some of the best small desks out there, in a broad range of prices. And hurry–because most of them are on sale right now!


target storage shelf desk

Room Essentials Storage Shelf desk, $62.99 on sale

TARGET porter desk

Porter Mid-Century Modern Writing Desk, $161.49 on sale

target desk

Writing Desk by Techni Mobili, $142.49 on sale

Land of Nod


New School Table with Bench, $249.97 on sale


Modern Schoolhouse Desk, $249.97 on sale


Metalwork Desk, $299.97 on sale

Pottery Barn Teen

PBT locker-desk-

Locker Desk, $719 on sale

PBT dover-desk-o

Kelly Slater Dover desk, $639 on sale



Lillasen desk, $149


Lisabo desk, $149


Kullaberg desk, $139

OK, what are you waiting for? Ready, set, go sharpen those pencils!

New sources for modern furniture

Posted by Lauran

We are always on the lookout for great places to buy modern furniture. DWR is the top choice if you are looking for authentic, iconic mid-century pieces. But if you’re searching for modern furniture that reflects today’s trends, it can be tricky to find unique items. Here are three sources to try.

First up: Blu Dot. Although Blu Dot is not exactly new on the design scene, they have greatly increased their product assortment to include beds, accessories and lighting.

Blu Dot color

Blu Dot is known for simple lines, cool colors and interesting shapes.

Blu Dot sectional

Their Cleon Sectional Sofa can be situated in many ways so it can change as your needs change.

Blu Dot sofa

Blu Dot is famous for their metal Hot Mesh collection , but they also offer beautiful solid wood pieces, such as the Turn Coffee Table and Turn Low Side table, shown above.

Next: Modify Furniture, a new product line of powder-coated aluminum-frame pieces.

mod cabinets 1

Modify’s furniture features removable sliding panel doors that are offered in any combination of colors that are easily swappable. They can even produce a custom piece for you using your own original artwork.

modify 2

I could see this piece being used as an entertainment console in a living room or a cool credenza in a dining room. They also make a desk and small storage carts. For more information about Modify, check out their site.

And, if you live in the Bay Area, I encourage you to check out the new store SOBU in Rockridge.

sobu front

The Oakland-based designers and owners of SOBU dreamed of designing “modern, heirloom-quality furniture and accessories with personality and warmth”.

sobu bookshelves

A recent visit showed us that they are doing just that. We loved the pillows and accessories, as well as the cool original furniture.

sobu credenza

sobu shelves

If you’re not in the Bay Area, don’t fret! You can shop Sobu online too! Check out the Reclaimed Teak Rocker and the Indio Lounge and Ottoman—two of my personal favorites.

Where do you like to buy furniture? Leave a comment and let us know.

Speed decorating: beach house edition

Posted by Lauran

A couple of months ago we got a call from one of our favorite clients. We’ve worked with him twice before (on his SF home and his office lounge) and we couldn’t wait to hear about his latest project. Turns out he purchased a home in Malibu, and was in the process of renovating every room in the house. He planned to use it as a vacation home and an airbnb rental. It would be ready in a month . . . could we have it decorated in time for a family party one week later?

That meant sourcing, installing and styling all the big stuff (furniture, accessories, artwork) and the small stuff (towels, sheets, kitchenware, etc.) in a matter of five weeks. Without seeing the place (working from photos, videos and drawings). And finding items that were in stock and ready to ship—and that fit within the client’s budget. And then Jill and Lauren spending Memorial Day weekend in Malibu to install and style. A challenge for sure, but nothing we couldn’t handle.

Our client told us he wanted “a comfortable California modern feel, with colors inspired by the beach.” We (and the client!) are pretty darn happy with how it turned out . . .

The palette of white, navy, and aqua combined with citrus brights and natural wood sets a relaxed, beachy vibe.

IMG_3498 copy

IMG_3503 copy

White leather on the generous sofa (a floor sample from Ana Furniture in SF) and Eames-inspired chair is surprisingly easy to clean. Lauren highly recommends this Transit Bench from Gus Modern—”it is beautiful and very easy to put together!”


The Pines indoor/outdoor rug from CB2 picks up the gray in the kitchen cabinets and is simple to maintain.


The dining room features the Vines Wool rug from West Elm, the Boerum table and bench from West Elm, and Modway Flare chairs from AllModern.



The pattern on the rug and chair backs give the illusion of flowing water, like the nearby ocean. Artist amiguel (a Visual Jill favorite) hit it out of the park with the commissioned pieces he painted for the house.

malibu mirror

Touches of driftwood (like on this amazing Seaside mirror from AllModern) were a natural fit.

The color palette carried through into the master, the guest, and the bunkbed room.




Upon arriving to style the house, Jill and Lauren’s first priorities were to assemble the beds so they had somewhere to sleep that night! The bunkbed from Amazon sleeps three (a twin on top and double on the bottom)—ideal for a vacation rental.

Sure, there were a few snafus along the way . . . items that didn’t ship on time, bed slats that didn’t arrive (thanks to our client’s construction crew for helping us with that one!) . . . but in the end it all came together.


Flexible furniture: modern puzzle pieces

Posted by Lauran

This week Jill and Lauren visited the Arkitektura showroom in San Francisco, and were struck by the many examples of flexible, modular furniture pieces.

mod 2

These pieces blur the lines between tables and seating, and sofas and lounges.

mod 4

The large flat ottoman shown here can be used alone as a table, or it can be tucked under the smaller metal table to offer different levels and textures. And the sectional itself is completely flexible—the pieces can be taken apart and put back together to form just the right configuration for each use or space.

mod 5

Here again, a smaller ottoman is partnered with a round glass table. The ottoman can be pulled up to the table as extra seating, or moved closer to the sofa for a footrest (and the two together just look cool!). Note also the different levels of side tables next to the sectional.

mod 1

Another example of the ottoman/table combo, with a small, moveable and useful side table perfect for holding a snack or a laptop!

Most of the items shown here are from European designers, but I’ve noticed this trend of multi-functional furniture from US retailers as well.


The new SAIC Deep Dish Table from CB2 also comes with two cushions that fit under the table. It’s a coffee table, extra seating, and a stand-alone casual dining set all in one!


Lovesac offers what they call “sactionals”, made up of base pieces and side pieces that can be combined into hundreds of different configurations. Not only are they flexible, but convenient—easy to move up stairs or around tight corners, and they require no tools to assemble!

We like this trend of furniture that can change as your life changes, or even as your week changes! What do you think?