FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP

Brooklyn based lifestyle blog by Lauren L Caron

LIFE | End Of An Era

LIFELauren Caron2 Comments
Our apartment in Brooklyn, shot by Claire Esparros of Homepolish,  just months before we moved. 

Our apartment in Brooklyn, shot by Claire Esparros of Homepolish,  just months before we moved. 

Before our move I wrote about how I was planning to keep the blog going but wasn't quite sure if I would be changing the name. It's now been a few months and we finally made the move across the country. While I've been working on both homes trying to make them livable and comfortable, I've also been doing a lot of thinking. This move has forced me to change a lot of aspects of my life, resulting in new beginnings and bittersweet endings. After over 10 years of living New York, I can't really call it my home any longer. Even though we're still planning to keep the apartment as a secondary residence I realize that I have to develop my life in Seattle and push myself to make it more of a home than New York is now. Because of that realization, I've also decided that I have to close out this blog.  

Fourth Floor Walk Up has been a written account of my life in New York since 2009. It was with me through my twenties, my college years, our rental walk ups on the upper east side, our first (owned) apartment in Brooklyn, our relationship from bf + gf to husband + wife, and even my career growth and new business. It's been a great stretch as a personal project that has produced rewarding opportunities, both as a channel for professional and personal growth, and for that I am grateful. Yet as I partake in this new journey west, writing in Fourth Floor Walk Up no longer seems relevant. Not only am I going to shift the majority of my life out of New York, I am also moving into rental cottage that is only one floor.

On a very personal level, moving out of New York is really difficult for me and my identity as a designer and creative. I love New York, I love the inspiration and the drive it has given me over the years. It's a challenging place to live but it has also made developing my career in a sense, feel easy (or at least that's how I perceive it to be). I have had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people and to learn from so many wonderful experiences. Being able to have the chance to edit out things to do and events to partake in is definitely a luxury that I understand not many cities can offer. 

My move to Seattle will be a challenge for me in the sense that I'm going to have to learn the lansdscape of the city, in regards to industry and personality. Which means, I will need to be open and present for this new home. Also, I believe in order to move forward I would have to lay the platform that is so centered around my life in New York, to rest. 

So here is it: A Layered Life, a new place to discuss and document my soon to be very complicated life. Complicated I say, because not only am I planning to build a life in the city of Seattle, but I'm also developing a business in both cities on both coasts. Union Adorn is my passion project that allows me to build a career on the work that I love. This new blog, will be a side project also driven by my passions, yet it's going to be a place where the pressure is removed. A method of practice, where I can commit to working on it daily or weekly, or perhaps monthly. Not perfect or print ready, yet it will hopefully as with everything I intend to do, be good. 

A Layered Life Logo - from my personal script. 

A Layered Life Logo - from my personal script. 

The name came about from a play on my style and design aesthetic, which has been characterized as being layered and eclectic. I am not a minimalist. I enjoy pairing contemporary and vintage pieces. I value both the modern ideas and classical school of thought and I can never leave a surface unset or vignette unstyled. 

In a blog it means categories that touch on decor, fashion, travel, shopping, and life's experiences. A format very similar to Fourth Floor Walk Up, just set for the most part, outside of New York City. With this new development I hope you'll follow me as I partake in a new chapter, era, whatever we should call it,  A Layered Life.

Thank you to those who have followed along over the years. I've always enjoyed your comments, feedback and the connections we have made.  It's been really special. 

www.alayeredlife.com

* Quick note: I'm still working out some of the kinks with the new site, so bear with me there may be some minor tweaks and changes that you may notice. And if you want to come back to Fourth Floor Walk Up, it will be here. I'm not planning to dissolve the site or let it completely. 

SPACES | Plug-in Sconces For Under $300

SPACESLauren CaronComment
Bedroom Sconces | Image: Claire Esparros of Homepolish

Bedroom Sconces | Image: Claire Esparros of Homepolish

In deciding what to pack for our move I went back and forth on the wall sconces. In the end though, I decided I'd keep them in Brooklyn. None of the ones I own are very expensive and they're still useful in that space. This does mean that I'd have to find some for the Seattle house. My greatest requirement just after how they look, is that they have to be under $300 each in order to be considered. Even better if they're under $200, since sconces are needed in pairs most often. Also, plug-in is a requirement, since I'm not hiring an electrician to adjust wiring. To save you some time researching, I've tallied up for a list of my favorite plug-in sconces for under $300. 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

Have any more to add, comment and let us know!

SPACES | Our Pied à Terre in Brooklyn

SPACES, LIFELauren CaronComment
Image Source: Abkasha.com

Image Source: Abkasha.com

Last week we finally made the big 'move'  by packing up and moving 75% of our furniture and accessories into a POD, which is currently on it's way to Seattle and fingers crossed, everything arrives safe and secured. I have so much anxiety that we're going to open the POD and it'll be a mess of crumbled furniture, glass and boxes or that the door will have been opened and stuff will have been stolen. There's really nothing too valuable, we just have a lot of antiques that we really care about, and basically everything is fragile.

What's left in New York is for my pied à terre (or the apartment). I like thinking we are fancy now and have a second home in the city. We technically do, but realistically I'm going to be using it as a home base for my NY projects, and we're splitting it with my parents. We are going to wait until next year to decide if the current situation is working for us financially, or if we should rent it. 

Image Source: ABKasha.com

Image Source: ABKasha.com

Image Source: ABKasha.com

Image Source: ABKasha.com

For the time being, I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to redesign the space into a relaxing, yet productive space. I'm greatly inspired by real Parisian Haussmann pied à terres, where the decor is about less furniture, more wall space, no strict direction.  It seems to be very...  je ne sais quoi, let's call it laissez faire in style. You know, very French.  Removing the giant desk Jack built from the living room created a major domino effect, allowing me to test out different layouts and furniture placements (which I don't think is very French - except that I did it IRL not on a computer within CAD). It's so interesting how different you can make one space look by just moving around furniture. I'm breaking my own rules and doing things that I said I would never do. It's fun and it reminds me that you really can't take design too seriously. If you're intrigued to see more of my inspirations, you can find them [here]. So here are the planned ch-ch-ch-changes along with a few images of those that I've already accomplished.....

DINING TABLE

Image: LaurenLCaron Instagram

Image: LaurenLCaron Instagram

First up, we brought in an official dining table. It's for 4 people, I would love to find an extension table or one with a leaf that isn't expensive. For now though, this little french country style table is kind of perfect. We also had these neoclassical empire dining chairs that my mom has had for years, recently reupholstered in a Schumacher leopard print. I'm completely swooning over how they turned out. The table is set where the desk was and fills that space nicely. Also, when I'm not feeling the desk, I can sit here and work, it gives me a change of scenery - even if it's only a few feet away.

FURNITURE PLACEMENT

Next big change, is where the sofa is placed. The room is basically a box shape and is almost as wide as it is long, it's also the space that you pass through to get to the bedroom, so it can present some layout challenges. I always had the sofa set on the back wall opposite the built-ins and placed a coffee table in front with the two accent chairs near the bookcases. This made the seating area wider than the usual, but left room for a walk way. Now I'm trying to break the rules I set, and have moved the sofa several feet closer to the bookshelves. The seating area becomes more intimate. The walk way is yes, a little tighter but when it's just me who will be there most of the time, I don't really care. Behind the sofa I've moved the entry cabinet - which doubles as a desk to the back wall. For nights that I have guests, I can set it up as a dry bar and hide all of the desky things within. I don't have a great photo of the sofa yet, but I will share soon when I have all the elements well set and styled. 

ARTWORK

Image: LaurenLCaron Instagram

Image: LaurenLCaron Instagram

I love my artwork and gallery walls, but for this new design, I want to keep the artwork to a minimum. I think having the walls a little more clear and open feeling will add to the relaxing mood. With that said, my mom is lending a few beautiful pieces for the apartment. We set this gorgeous Chinese silk tapestry on the back wall above the bar to be the major statement piece. It is the perfect place for this piece too, since it can't be in direct sunlight and that wall, never gets the sun. Other artwork we brought in are some lithographs of Roman ruins for the dining area and two mirrors. We may bring a few other small pieces, but that's about it. 

PAINT

Image: Lauren L Caron

Image: Lauren L Caron

I'm slightly adjusting the paint in one place to tie together the colors. We've decided to draw a color from the silk tapestry to paint within the book shelves. I love the dark interior shelves but I'm now thinking since we have 4 black dining chairs, and a rug with black in it, there's too much black for the space. So a muted yet airy gray green will look really nice as a backdrop, the color I chose is by Ben Moore it's called Paris Rain (how appropriate). 

BEDROOM

Image: Lauren L Caron | Union Adorn © 2016

Image: Lauren L Caron | Union Adorn © 2016

Image Source: Paris Perfect

Image Source: Paris Perfect

For the bedroom I was greatly inspired by the image above and wanted to evoke the same mood as closely as I could. The window and room layout are similar, although slightly smaller. Originally I moved my dresser to the wall opposite the bed, but it felt too tight so I ended up moving it back to the wall it was on for the past 5 years. I plan to have a table cloth made to cover the Saarinen table, I haven't figured out what textile yet, something with a pattern would be nice. 

Image: Lauren L Caron | Union Adorn © 2016

Image: Lauren L Caron | Union Adorn © 2016

Image: Lauren L Caron | Union Adorn © 2016

Image: Lauren L Caron | Union Adorn © 2016

reflection_ffwu

We purchased a new bed frame (a very inexpensive one for $59 from Amazon, I'll link it at the bottom) and this gorgeous headboard that I've had my eyes on for quite some time from Urban Outfitters. We brought in a few French-y accents like the sunburst for over the headboard and this gorgeous gilt frame mirror. Last but not least, I plan to add some decorative pillows to make the bed feel more finished. 

Image Source: Rue Mag

Image Source: Rue Mag

Margaux Headboard - Urban Outfitters

Sunburst Mirror (similar) - Wisteria

 

Bedframe - Amazon

Bedroom Wall Sconces (similar) - Lamps Plus

 

Thank you to those of you who have been sending us well wishes about our move. It's been long winded to say the least, and I'm sure some of you are sick of hearing about this 'move' which doesn't seem like it will ever end. Believe me, I feel you! Check in soon for more updates because things are actually moving forward.  I plan to photograph the living room soon of the apartment updates, and in the next few weeks I'll be in Seattle, where I plan to accomplish a lot of decorating in that home. I'm excited to see how all of our stuff will look in the new place!

SPACES | SPRUNG FOR A NEW SOFA

SPACES, LIFELauren Caron4 Comments
Seattle Livingroom Design Board

Seattle Livingroom Design Board

In a recent conversation with my mother, we discussed the future of our apartment in New York and the topic of what's staying and what's going was the main focus. For the time being our plans are to keep the apartment in New York, at least for the remainder of 2016 for both myself and my parents to use as a pied-à-terre. I still have contracts in New York, and am continuing to accept more. Sometimes it's hard to say no to work, especially when it's fun! What all of this means though, is we will still have to keep some furniture in New York. Luckily, my parents has more furniture than they can fit in their home, so we will be able to bring pieces down from there for the apartment.

That is a whole other topic up for discussion... What pieces will we use to decorate the place with and quite frankly, I'm so curious about how it will look when my very traditional and eclectic mother gets her hands on it. The use will be changing slightly, so I'm looking forward to giving the space a real dining room moment, instead of our monstrous desk.

My current sleeper sofa | Photograph by: Claire Esparros for Homepolish © 2016

My current sleeper sofa | Photograph by: Claire Esparros for Homepolish © 2016

Back to this topic... We did decide that the sofa bed would be most useful if it remained in New York. That in turn gave me the excuse to buy a new sofa for my Seattle cottage. Days before this conversation, Anthropologie came out with their new furniture for 2016. The sofa I found and fell in love with was the Leonnelle Sofa. It's a softened version of a tuxedo style and the length is absolutely perfect for the cottage. It's still classic in silhouette but just different enough from our existing sofa that I won't have to worry about them competing if I were to ever pair them together in the same room someday - perchance I have a large enough home. It's not a sleeper, which is fine because we have a guest room in the house, but it is long enough for if someone needed to sleep on it for the evening.

Leonelle Sofa in Creme | Anthropologie

Leonelle Sofa in Creme | Anthropologie

Leonelle Sofa in Light Grey | Anthropologie

Leonelle Sofa in Light Grey | Anthropologie

Leonelle in Creme | Anthropologie

Leonelle in Creme | Anthropologie

Leonelle in Light Grey | Anthropologie

Leonelle in Light Grey | Anthropologie

I bounced back and forth between the creme color (which to me looks more like a light camel) and the light grey. In the end I went with my more conservative gut feeling and bought the light gray. I feel although both are neutrals, gray is slightly more modern and I think it will coordinate in more rooms than the camel. Also, I'm not entirely sure, based on only being able to see it online what the color actually looks like in creme. One thing Anthro could do (if you're reading....) is provide swatches to designers or at least the entire collection to stores for potential clients to view. I will admit, buying anything that big (in size and price tag) makes me a little squeamish, I'm especially a little nervous about buying a sofa and not having seen it in person first. 

It's not due to arrive at the house until early April, which is fine since I'm not going to even be there until mid to late April. It'll have be my welcome home gift for when I arrive! 

SPACES | A Custom Console For The Cottage

SPACESLauren CaronComment
Jack built the desk and built-ins for our Brooklyn apartment | Photograph by Claire Esparros of Homepolish.com

Jack built the desk and built-ins for our Brooklyn apartment | Photograph by Claire Esparros of Homepolish.com

Before my husband began his career in 3D animation and virtual reality, he was building in reality as a carpenter. When we first moved to New York, he took his first job in Brooklyn doing demo in Greenpoint. That job led to another, then finally to a studio in Chelsea where he was for over 4 years, working his rank up to be the lead carpenter at the shop. He enjoyed carpentry but always new this wasn't his end goal or a long term career. He much more prefers keeping it as side passion or hobby. He built several furniture items for our apartment in Brooklyn, including the built-ins, the large desk and the entry console, all of which you can see in the pictures Homepolish took.

On to the present, in Seattle... The house comes with a garage that has basically been split in half with the right side being storage for the apartment building nextdoor (also owned by our landlords) and the other side is for us. It's kitted out as tool shed with a workman's bench and electricity. We were really excited about this additional space for Jack to use as his workshop. The first week here he found a 1970s combo saw on Craigslist, called a Shop Smith. With that, among other tools he's accumulating, he's going to build us some custom furniture.

A panoramic of our backyard with the shed

A panoramic of our backyard with the shed

The Shop Smith Saw with the original safety goggles.

The Shop Smith Saw with the original safety goggles.

The first and most major piece is going to be our console for the living room. There's a wall in the living room that is 118" long that we're planning to position the television on. We're also planning to make this be our major gallery wall since the sofa is going to live opposite it, in front of the windows. To highlight and anchor that expansive space we decided that a lengthy console would be quite beautiful. Also knowing that we will not always have such a long wall to accommodate this design, we've planned for it to be divided into 3 pieces that go together. The central unit will be the average 60" length console, while we're adding two matching end tables that are 18" square and will coordinate with the console, set  alone, near a sofa, or as bedside tables. 

Drawing Plan of Unit

Drawing Plan of Unit

My husband's taste leans more modern than mine, and he typically likes midcentury furniture designs. I enjoy a mix so we've agreed on this unit being in that style.  The whole look will be loosely inspired by Joanna Goddard's living room that Emily Henderson designed. We love watching TV and we're not trying to hide that, but we also don't want it to be the major focus of the wall. Something similar to this set up below with a gallery wall of mixed art, the television set in front of some of it, along with a midcentury console is what we're going for. 

Joanna Goddard's living room designed by Emily Henderson

Joanna Goddard's living room designed by Emily Henderson

For the wood we went to Crosscuts in Seattle, a warehouse sized shop that has a great inventory of domestic and exotic hardwoods. We discussed possibly using walnut for this design or to go with teak again (he built our desk in teak and rosewood), but when we were there we ended up falling in love with Brazilian Cherry wood called Jatoba. It's warm and slightly more red than walnut, but also lighter and closer in tone to teak. We chose the least red pieces since I'm not typically a huge fan of red toned woods. There's just something about the grain and overall color of this wood that made both of us really excited about it (I know, total nerds). He's going to work on this on weekends so I'm pretty sure it won't be finished for some time, but I'm really looking forward to seeing it all come together! I'll probably post the updates on instagram, since I will most likely be in New York until it's finished. So keep your eyes peeled for the updates over there. 

"Plywood Heaven" | Photograph by Jack Caron © 2016 

"Plywood Heaven" | Photograph by Jack Caron © 2016 

Jatoba | Photograph by Jack Caron © 2016

Jatoba | Photograph by Jack Caron © 2016

Taken just after we cut down the plywood sheets | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2016

Taken just after we cut down the plywood sheets | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2016