Entry - Board and Batten

My house is seriously lacking architectural detail, with the exception of the standard builder grade baseboards and window and door moldings. I love the character and feel that millwork, from simple crown molding and thick baseboards, to more elaborate board and batten and wainscotting, add to a space. I think including these elements in a considered way gives a home personality, in a simply beautiful way.

A good starting place for me to add an architectural element is in my very plain entry way.  Specifically, installing board and batten will add some much needed architectural interest and really enhance the area in a noticeable, uncluttered way. 

Have a look at some inspiration photos:
Beautiful! I like the symmetry with the two different size boxes of this board and batten. I think it adds even more depth and interest to the space.

I like this picture because it shows how to handle board and batten on the different size areas in an entry way, such as by the door and window and a long wall.

(unknown source)
This picture shows that the board and batten is only in the entry way, it does not go up the stairs. While I love this look, for my house, I think the vertical rectangle boxes (as seen in the first two pictures), opposed to the more square boxes in this picture, would help to elongate the entry area (I have 8 ft. ceilings). 

So, based on my review of several different board and batten pictures and tutorials, such as Rambling RenovatorsDecor Chick and Ana White, (there are a lot more!) I would like my entry way board and batten to have the following characteristics:
  1. I want it to cover the entire wall, floor to ceiling, instead of just going half way or three quarters of the way up the wall. I think doing the entire wall will be a "cleaner" more sophisticated look. 
  2. I want the board and batten to have different size "boxes" as this will add dimension and interest to the space.
  3. I want the spacing of the board and batten to be on the wider side, opposed to narrow.
  4. I want to have the board and batten only in the entry way, and not carry it up the stairs.

Decisions, decisions. I will keep you posted on my progress! Has anyone else installed board and batten in their house? I'd love to hear about your experience.


A view from my window - Provence, France

Inspiration can come from just about anywhere! Today's featured picture was taken looking out my window, while I was in Provence, France. I love the subtle variety of pink tones in the roses, and the juxtaposition of the delicate flowers against the hard surfaces of the metal gate and concrete wall. I also like the vibrant green leaves with the sunlight filtering through.

Have a great weekend!

Provence, France

My guest bathroom - before and after

When we moved into our house the bathrooms (and kitchen) needed to be updated. These renovations have been occurring over time, and I am thrilled to share with you our renovated guest bathroom, before and after.

Some before (we moved in) pictures, yes, that is a green, puffy toilet seat and the shower floor is just scary - yikes!

Progress pictures, everything out!


Because this is the guest bathroom, I thought it would be fun to do things a bit dramatic. The color scheme is charcoal gray, navy blue and citrine, with the main bathroom components crisp white. I like the contrast of the dark colors with the white elements, and I like a little splash of color to liven things up! I selected a pedestal sink and a low toilet, because they make the small bathroom look and feel more spacious. Also, I chose a large, mirrored medicine cabinet so that our guests would have a concealed place to put their toiletries. 

If you are interested, I am happy to provide the sources.


Kara Mann

Today I want to share with you some amazing rooms that I find inspiring, by the designer, Kara Mann.

Kara Mann is based in New York and Chicago, opened the design firm, Kara Mann Design (KMD), in 2005, launched a collection of leathers in 2011, KARA MANN for MOORE & GILES, and has received numerous accolades.

Her designs are stunning! She adeptly uses contrast such as, light with dark, modern with vintage, organic with inorganic, rustic with sophisticated and monochromatic with a vibrant pop of color, that make her rooms look warm, livable, refined and polished. She truly creates rooms that are simply beautiful.

Have a look at some of my favorite Kara Mann rooms...

Michigan Avenue Residence

Residential Project

Ocean Front Villa

Lake Forest Showhouse

Lake Shore Drive Penthouse

Lake Forest Estate

Lake Shore Estate

Desert Retreat

O'verlays - decorative fretwork panels for Ikea furniture and other things

Do you know about O'verlays, the product and company created by Cheryle Rhuda of The Whole Nine Yards and Danika Herrick, of Gorgeous Shiny Things?
O'verlays are white, decorative fretwork panels, made out of flexible, light weight PVC foam composite. They are paintable, can be cut with a utility knife and can be applied to most surfaces including, glass, mirror and solid surfaces. The panels are made to fit Ikea furniture, but also come in custom sizes. The idea behind O'verlays is to help people create custom, high-end looking furniture for relatively low cost. This product sounds amazing, right? 

Here are three transformations of the Ikea Malm Dresser using O'verlays:
 Here are two transformations of the Ikea Rast Dresser using O'verlays:
I think the updated dressers all look amazing! My new favorite O'verlays panel is the XANDRA (the one with the gold X's in the Malm picture above). I love the clean lines and classic look.

Below are a few examples of ways to use O'verlays other than on Ikea furniture:

In all three of the above table examples, by adding just a little detail from the O'verlays panels, the piece goes from ordinary to custom. 

The picture above shows a great way to use O'verlays (and paint) to modernize an old credenza.

The O'verlays on the stairs are subtle, yet impactful.

I am not sure if the panels in the above picture are actually "O'verlays," however, what a great idea to use them as decorative wall panels, it provides architectural detail and interest to a plain wall. Might be something to considering especially if you are currently a renter.

The above picture is not "O'verlays" but it looks like an easy architectural detail that can be created using "O'verlays."

Did you find any inspiration here? Are you thinking of things you own that could use an O'verlays update? I'm thinking about my Ikea Billy Bookcases, stay tuned! 

You can get more information and order O'verlays here: Shop


(Note all O'verlays images are from Cheryle Rhuda and/or Danika Herrick and their various websites and facebook page, unless otherwise noted.)

A client's guest room

A client asked me to spruce up her guest room. In her words, her room is a hodge-podge of things, and wants it to look fresh and put together.

Here is an idea "mood" board I put together for her:

My starting off point was using the color navy blue, which was inspired by the deep blue color of the ocean that can been seen looking out the windows of this room and then I added a little citrine and turquoise to provide that fresh feel my client wants. I also wanted to have contrast in the room, white with navy blue, and natural with shiny gold/brass items, both of which give a nod to the ocean/beachy theme without being too literal. In addition, I wanted the main elements of the room, like wall color, bed, and night stands, to be neutral, so that if she ever wants a different look, she could change the accent items, like the decorative pillows and blanket, for a quick, relatively inexpensive fix.


A view from my window

Design inspiration can come from just about anywhere. I am starting a feature on Fridays called, "A view from my window," whereby I will take a picture of a view from my window, or please feel free to send me a picture of a view from your window (simplybeautifulhouseblog@gmail.com), and I will find or create a design inspired by that view.

First up is a picture from Amelia Island, FL, where I was recently on vacation, it is a view from my (car) window...

Have a great weekend!


Neutral room with a splash of color

I love a neutral room. A neutral room illustrates my simply beautiful design philosophy, it can be calming, relaxing, inviting, yet polished and feels effortlessly put together.

However, that said, there's also a side of me that loves color, which I think can also be simply beautiful.  I've been thinking about how to have both, perhaps a neutral room, with a splash of color? I am currently loving the color hot pink. So, how about it, could you, would you, add a little hot pink to your life?