FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP

Brooklyn based lifestyle blog by Lauren L Caron

SPACES

SPACES | Cottage Or Bungalow

SPACESLauren Caron4 Comments
A sketch of our little house that I did this week when I couldn't be productive doing other work. 

A sketch of our little house that I did this week when I couldn't be productive doing other work. 

One thing I really enjoy about living in an old house is the history behind it. Even when most often much of the history is left undiscovered with stories left untold, I still enjoy the hunt and any information I can gather from researching. I especially am curious about our little house in Seattle, knowing that I'll never have the full story, I am interested in learning as much as I can. One minor detail that has me going back and forth on is whether to call it a bungalow or cottage. Initially I started calling it a cottage, and that's perhaps because I'm a New Englander at heart and the architecture although craftsman-like, reminds me of Greek revival (though the column is not completely of Greek order). I can't really imagine any Greek revival style house being called a bungalow. 

Example of a modern Greek Revival style home | Dream House Plan from Southern Living | I pulled an ad out of  a magazine back in the 90s for this house, and I still want it!

Example of a modern Greek Revival style home | Dream House Plan from Southern Living | I pulled an ad out of  a magazine back in the 90s for this house, and I still want it!

A Greek Revival Cape - most likely located  in the Northeast.

A Greek Revival Cape - most likely located  in the Northeast.

Not wanting to sound completely ignorant I decided to do a little research on bungalows and cottages and what sets them apart. I also have started looking a little further into our neighborhood's history trying to find any additional information about our house that I can. This may all seem like a bore to you, but I'd be curious to find out what you believe after reading about what I've uncovered. Here's what I learned:

COTTAGES

Cottages have been around for hundreds of years, in the UK. Modern cottages have the comforts of a modern home, with electricity and indoor plumbing. Typically the major difference between a cottage and a house, today is the size of the cottage. Traditionally they were known to be only one room dwellings, but more recently their floorplan is usually one large main room with a kitchen, bathroom and one or two bedrooms. There is a little debate about whether those bedrooms must be located in the upper floor or on the main floor for it to be considered a true cottage. Often cottages have a high pitched roof, traditionally thatched. The high roof provides a large attic space, which is often turned into the sleeping quarters with many cottages having this be the second or third bedroom. When the attics have been adjusted these cottages can be marketed as 'two-story cottages'. 

English Cottage from Decorandstyle.com

English Cottage from Decorandstyle.com

Many people see cottages to be vacation homes, which I believe is a term that sprang up only in the 20th century, as middle class families were able to purchase or rent, additional may it be humble, properties outside of the city. Typically vacation or rental cottages are  located around lakes, in the woods or near beaches. 

Because cottages originated in the UK their traditional architecture supports that of the landscape in which they came. Thick walls, small windows and lower ceilings is the more common style of an English cottage. They were made to be warm and cozy and to keep out the cool damp air. Bringing in sunlight wasn't a top priority. 

Jeffrey Bilhuber's Nantucket Cottage from Architectural Digest

Jeffrey Bilhuber's Nantucket Cottage from Architectural Digest

Hampton's Cottage from Martha Stewart

Hampton's Cottage from Martha Stewart

BUNGALOWS  

Apparently, there is some debate as to whether a bungalow is or is not a type of cottage. The word 'bungalow' is an Anglo-derived term for a Bengali house. Bungalows originated in India and Bengal, with the architecture although similar in size and floorplan to a cottage, were adjusted to suit the region. Because the climate of southeast Asia is very different from that of the UK, traditional cottages do not work. Thick cottage walls only trapped hot, humid air inside the home, while being built directly on the ground meant that the house flooded during monsoon season. The bungalows are raised up from the ground level, about 3 feet or more, they also have larger windows, with wide hallways to help distribute the air throughout the home. A major distinction in style is that bungalows have steps that lead up to the front door, with a large veranda surrounding the exterior of the home so that the inhabitants can sit on the porch to catch the tropical breeze. Traditional bungalows are only single storied dwellings. 

1920s Craftsman Bungalow plans from antiquehomestyle.com

1920s Craftsman Bungalow plans from antiquehomestyle.com

Craftsman Bungalow from Arciform.com

Craftsman Bungalow from Arciform.com

After reading about these two definitions and the subtle difference between I still believe that our house blurs the lines of a cottage or bungalow. If we are going to agree that a bungalow is a style of cottage than I'm correct to call it a cottage. But if we must distinguish, there are some subtle details that make me think that it is still a close call. Here are the traits that our house has within each category.  

COTtage

  1. It has a high pitched roof 
  2. There is one large main living room, that is open to the dining room.
  3. 2 bedrooms total 
  4. I looks more English in style to me - and I really see the Greek Revival plan with the left sided door and the column holding up the front entry porch. 
  5. There is a porch, but I would not consider it a veranda, there isn't any room to sit. 

bungalow

  1. Raised off the ground by 2 feet
  2. Steps to the front door
  3. Large windows
  4. Single story building 
  5. Location - it's in Seattle, a temperate climate, never really hot but definitely humid, moist and wet!

After polling my husband and family, they've told me to call it a bungalow.  But honestly, I'm still not completely convinced...

Upon further discovery, when I was reading through my Historic Seattle pamphlet on Capital Hill, I found under the Significant Buildings list, there are 50 Decorated cottages from circa 1890. Only 10 years before our cottage was built. They also look very similar to our little home and I'm really curios to find out where they are in the neighborhood (the location is unfortunately not specified). Also typical in Capital Hill, are the "1900 Classic Box" houses which were popular between 1900 and 1920 for their ample interior space and conservative appearance. Two more traits that our house has, ample interior space (considering the overall square footage) and a conservative appearance. Unlike many of the craftsman homes in the area, it doesn't have a ton of decoration. 

One other home I found while combing the internet was this home below. A design company had recently refinished it in San Antonio, Texas. They describe this to be a craftsman bungalow, although I would attest to the bungalow title... but the porch detailing, column, and frame look very similar to our little house.

Craftsman Cottage from Tomtarrant.com

Craftsman Cottage from Tomtarrant.com

I guess what I take away from this is that there are cottages in Seattle, so not all single story buildings in the west are considered bungalows and not all bungalows nowadays are a single story. Also, that there is a lot more than just Craftsman architecture in Seattle.  In fact there are a number of Colonial style homes, and just down the street a significant building from 1916 (formally the Christian Science Church) is a truly Greek Revival in design.  My final answer, it's a COTTAGE and I believe it to be mostly in the style of a CRAFTSMAN (because of the slight details in the siding, and the molding frames) with Greek Revival influence (which probably is due to the period in which it was built).... so I'm going to have to call it what my gut wanted to call it from the start.. a Craftsman Cottage. Which means on Instagram, I'm going to freely use the hashtag #ourseattlecottage.  I am curious if anyone disagrees with me, and if so why. I'd love to your feedback!

The drawing pre-color | Lauren L Caron © 2016

The drawing pre-color | Lauren L Caron © 2016

A photograph of our home that I took the first day we moved in!

SPACES | Homepolish Featured Our Apartment!

SPACES, VINTAGE, LIFELauren CaronComment
The built-ins were built by Jack / the porter chair is my favorite seat in the home. 

The built-ins were built by Jack / the porter chair is my favorite seat in the home. 

Back in October I had my apartment photographed by Homepolish's talented photographer Claire Esparros. She spent several hours in my home capturing every nook and cranny, because there are quite a few! We munched on donuts and bonded over being vegetarians. I was excited because this is something I've been working towards for such a long time. I've taken pictures of our home but never had it professionally photographed until now. 

After 4 years of working on the apartment and documenting it here along the way, I can finally say, it feels 'done'. Which is great because we're now in the midst of moving to Seattle. In less than 3 months the entire home will be packed up a shipped and across the country. It's bittersweet, but I'm very happy to have had the opportunity to properly document it. 

my favorite gallery wall in the home that holds my favorite prints / that sofa doubles as a guest bed.

my favorite gallery wall in the home that holds my favorite prints / that sofa doubles as a guest bed.

The Doxie print was a find at Housing Works

The Doxie print was a find at Housing Works

Old New York. It's a style just as much as it is a feeling. Every once in a while, when walking into a Manhattan space, one is overwhelmed with the sense of history. Dark oak-paneled walls, cheetah-print plush carpets, saturated drapery, and antiqued mirrors. All things bright and beautiful from brass to gold are the accents. It's a sense best captured by those ladies who lived through the 60s and 70s, Upper East Side Mad Women. But half a century later and a borough away in Brooklyn, Homepolish designer Lauren Caron has brought that eclectic mix to her 1-bedroom apartment. 

Reading the that intro written by Homepolish's senior editor Matt Powell, gives me chills. It's funny that I didn't intend to have my apartment feel like Old New York, yet it's definitely a compliment considering I'm in love with all the above mentioned.... My goals for the space were for it to be the perfect mix of old and new, collected and curated, and of course to be a reflection of us. 

I think back to my interviews with Bergdorf's when who was soon to be my VP asked, "If you could have your dream home in New York, where would it be and what would it look like?" My answer: An apartment that you might find on Park Avenue, filled with treasures, collections and glamour but set in Brooklyn, so it's not too serious. For this home, I think I've accomplished a hint of that, I'd definitely take one or two more bedrooms and perhaps a dining room, though for the most part it's the perfect mix of what I was dreaming of and what was possible. 

These sorts of projects don't have a start and an end date. Lauren and her husband Jack have lived in the space for four years. Over time, they have amassed a collection of heirlooms and vintage items to fill what was once an empty, blank room. The step back in time begins right upon entry with a wall covered in prancing gilded zebras and arrows. An Indian heritage rug leads you inside to the living room with brass-framed mirrors and a cheetah-upholstered chair. In the kitchen, copper cookware glints a la Julia Child, and farther in the bedroom, a Chinese screen evokes Coco Chanel. It is a perfect reflection of Lauren and Jack, and perhaps of New York life in general. 
The Scalamandre Zebra wallpaper was so worth it! 

The Scalamandre Zebra wallpaper was so worth it! 

Max's favorite hang out spot, especially when he know's Jack is on his way home. 

Max's favorite hang out spot, especially when he know's Jack is on his way home. 

I originally upholstered this chair in a mod floral print, then I went for the Leopard and never turned back. 

I originally upholstered this chair in a mod floral print, then I went for the Leopard and never turned back. 

I recently wrote about how our little table was a late edition. It's the perfect breakfast nook and work space for when my desk is too cluttered. 

I recently wrote about how our little table was a late edition. It's the perfect breakfast nook and work space for when my desk is too cluttered. 

Finding that sideboard has added so much storage to once was a useless bar. 

Finding that sideboard has added so much storage to once was a useless bar. 

A little bit of country influence in the kitchen, and apparently it has a flair of Julia Childs. What a compliment!

A little bit of country influence in the kitchen, and apparently it has a flair of Julia Childs. What a compliment!

It'll be a year in March that I've joined the Homepolish team as a contract designer. It's been a fun ride, taking on a couple dozen clients, remote and local, and have had the opportunity to work with some of the most wonderful people! If you have any questions about Homepolish please feel free to ask! If you'd like to read the whole Homepolish feature about our apartment you can [here].

All photographs were taken by Claire Esparros of Homepolish | Interior design by: Lauren L Caron

SPACES | Project Seattle Cottage, Phase 1: Desaturate

SPACESLauren Caron3 Comments
Seattle Living Room | with Light Pewter Walls

Seattle Living Room | with Light Pewter Walls

In our darling new cottage I'm planning to highlight the good old bones of the architecture and design details. In order to do so I have to wash away all of the saturated mayonnaise and lemon pudding paint colors that our landlords chose. I understand that gloss is easier to clean but when it's a yellow white, on walls with layers of old paint and wallpaper, the end result is just terrible. Since it's a rental I can't put the time, energy, or funds into sanding and skim coating the walls, but I will do the next best thing, which is to add yet another layer of paint, but this time in a matte finish. 

 Within the first three days of moving to Seattle, I purchased 4 gallons of my old standby colors, all light, neutral grays and off whites. For the bedrooms I chose Benjamin Moore China White on the walls. It's the color of old porcelain or china (hence the name) with a slight hint of gray, not cream. I love it. In the living room I chose BM Light Pewter for the walls and in the dining room, BM Classic Gray. All moldings are going to BM White Dove. All paint finishes for the walls are matte. The moldings, Pearl. 

My go-to paint colors.

My go-to paint colors.

Immediately I changed out the paint colors in the two bedrooms. They were the worst offenders. The before an after of the rooms has to be enough of an example to convince anyone to invest in a little paint. I went from one white to another, and the difference is night and day. 

One detail of note: the house is small with only a footprint of 1,000 sq ft, but the ceilings are just 2" shy of 10'. The ceiling height gives the rooms the feeling of more space and the tiniest bit of grandeur. I really want to emphasize this wonderful detail through the home. One easy way to do so, is by painting the entire wall above, below and including the picture moldings. Keeping the color consistent from floor to ceiling will visually lengthen the height of the ceilings. Often when there are picture moldings like those that are in this house, we'll paint above them a different color, usually the ceiling or trim color. In my kitchen back in NY I chose to do just that, with a white that is the match to the cabinets and trim color. In the pictures below, you can see how that little change in what I've painted extends the eye upwards.

'Master' Bedroom | Before Paint

'Master' Bedroom | Before Paint

'Master' Bedroom | After Paint - China White

'Master' Bedroom | After Paint - China White

Guest Room/Office | Before Picture 

Guest Room/Office | Before Picture 

Guest Room/Office | After Paint - China White

Guest Room/Office | After Paint - China White

Guest Room/Office | After Paint - China White

Guest Room/Office | After Paint - China White

I also painted the living room walls (top photo) but I haven't had a chance to get to the moldings yet. I was surprised to discover how cool my go to warm light gray, Light Pewter looks in this space. I think so much of it has to do with the light as well as the yellowish moldings. They're creating a lot of contrast. I know, I should have put up test swatches, but I was impatient and didn't really think it would matter too much since I've used this color in a number of spaces from bright to dim lighting. 

That room really shows off the ceiling height, especially since I also chose to hang the curtains 8" from the ceiling. The long vertical lines they create really extend the ceiling height. I have the same plans for curtains in the dining room, but these will be painfully expense since I'm choosing a custom Schumacher fabric for them (more on that coming soon.)

This check in feels a little short and not too exciting, but I have more coming. I'm trying to tackle only a few things at once. Splitting my time between coasts is definitely taking a toll on my timeline. 

SPACES | The Ultimate Lady Cave aka Ladies Salon

SPACESLauren Caron1 Comment
The Ultimate Ladies Salon Essentials

The Ultimate Ladies Salon Essentials

I was recently asked by Chairish to create a post that would reflect my style if I were to create a Lady Cave or as I'd like to consider it, a ladies salon (pronounced as the French would, Sah/lohn). What would the essentials be to design a space specifically for myself and perhaps my girlfriends to spend time, chat, relax and drink in... Such a fun project and concept, considering I'm now in the midst of designing our new home in Seattle. I have been canvasing both Chairish and other sites discovering my favorite items that I'd love to scoop up if all the money were available to make it happen. 

Coco Chanel's Apartment | Photo by Brittany Abridge | Domino Magazine 

Coco Chanel's Apartment | Photo by Brittany Abridge | Domino Magazine 

My personal style is quite ecclectic and I tend to border the line of horder with the amount of layers I like add in. I do love that push and pull of masculine and feminine by layering textures, finishes and materials. Also pairing both soft and hard with darks and lights. An inspiration would come from the salon of Coco Chanel. That room with it's layers of gold, chinoiserie elements and deep handsome hues is assuredly a room where I could find myself and my ladies enjoying a few drinks. To make it my own, I would add some of the elements found in Chanel's salon, however I would love to give it a touch more of a modern edge. Here's how...

First I would anchor the salon with these chic yet handsome bar stools. They are an iron rebar structure is hard and their leather upholstery is masculine. However, pairing them with this French style settee below, in a dusty, Wedgwood blue says, I have edge yet I'm also a sophisticated lady. 

The next big item I'd like to bring in would be the lucite and brass bar cart to store all my favorite liqueur, glasses, bar utensils and books. A cart with at least two tiers is more functional, allowing for more storage.

For glasses I would layer a mix of dark, light and color. I love the combination of the wine glasses next to the gold striped high ball glasses and the rich cobalt blue tumblers.

Cobalt Tumblers

Cobalt Tumblers

I chose this shaker because it's handle reflects the silhouette of the sofa and also has a nod to chinoiserie. Plus I'm a fan of the pop of red bakelite in the handle. Bar tools are essential and this vintage chrome set with a marble stand references once again handsome with the hard, heavy material. 

Other items to add to the bar cart would have to be my favorite printed cocktail napkins in red from Scalamandre, and my go-to cocktail books, because I don't consider myself the best mixologist. 

Items not included in my board, but would be added layers to tie the whole room together; throw pillows covered in the Schumacher Chiang Mai Dragon Alabaster print, a counter height round bar table for two, in walnut wood and brass, and lastly, a gilt French style mirror as an homage to Coco herself. 

Round Bar Table

Round Bar Table

So, with all that, who's coming over to my salon of or a drink? Anything that you'd add to the mix? 

SPACES | Designing Our New Little Home in Seattle

SPACES, LIFELauren Caron4 Comments
floorplan.jpg

It's so much to think about, decorating a home that is completely on the other side of the country. Also, with the knowledge that we'll have to wait to move everything in a few months is adding an extra layer of complication to the project. I have a floorplan designed, which I based on the one they provided online. It's mostly accurate, although a few rooms few very different after being in the spaces. The dining room especially - feels longer than the one in the floor plan, and after remeasuring, both of the bedrooms are the exact same size, aside from one having a closet. Highlighted in gray are the "new" items we have to purchase and the rest will be shipped out from NY and CT. 

The best elements to this home other than that it's a freestanding, adorable house in a convenient, great neighborhood, are the additional rooms and spaces. 

The home has only about 300 more square feet than our current apartment - so the rooms are small. But it has the following additional rooms:

  • Dining Room
  • Guest Bedroom
  • Mudroom
  • Laundry room

It also has a garage and driveway. Which means that Jack can finally have his own man space for working on his motorcycles and building furniture and possibly a little weight room area. That additional outbuilding is what entirely sold us on the home. 

Dining Room Inspiration | Interior Design -   Ali Cayne |   Domino Mag | Photos -   Brittany Ambridge

Dining Room Inspiration | Interior Design - Ali Cayne | Domino Mag | Photos - Brittany Ambridge

I'm really excited about the office/guest room. It is going to be a little tight, because we are planning to relocate Jack's giant desk and also keep a bed in the room. Sadly, it will only be a full sized bed - sorry tall friends... you know who you are. But at least it will be a real bed in a separate room - not the sofa bed like what we've had in our apartment in NY. 

Office Wall Inspiration | Interior Design - Ali Cayne | Domino Mag | Photos - Brittany Ambridge

Office Wall Inspiration | Interior Design - Ali Cayne | Domino Mag | Photos - Brittany Ambridge

I have thought a lot about how to navigate the design of a home that could potentially only be ours for one year and for the most part I'm planning to invest in the elements that aren't bolted down. I'm not going to customize any curtains or doing any permanent wall coverings. I really want to paint out the walls to neutral grays and off-whites and bring in furniture and accessories with a pop of color. I'm also planning to focus the color palette around classic colors, like navy blues, emerald greens with soft mustardy yellows, blacks and whites. I want to have blue and white china that can work in both formal and informal occasions. The vibe is going to be eclectic because that's my innate style. There will be a lot of mixing modern light fixtures and accessories with more traditional textiles and furnishings. 

Living Room - Secretary Desk Inspiration | Interior Design - Kim Bachmann | One Kings Lane | Photos - Nicole LaMotte

Living Room - Secretary Desk Inspiration | Interior Design - Kim Bachmann | One Kings Lane | Photos - Nicole LaMotte

I'm finding that a lot of my inspiration is pulled from Ali Cayne's home that was featured in Domino. Since that feature, I've loved every image of her home. It's understated, elegant and collected. The colors are classic and there is a great mix of new and old elements, keeping it from looking overly designed or too trendy. Another home I'm taking queues from is the apartment of Jessika Goranson's that was featured in Lonny. She lived in a rental for a few years and made the home feel so personal. She did wallpaper some spaces, but for the most part it was all of her own pieces that filled the space and made it feel special. You can follow along on her Instagram account now and see where each piece fits back into her home in Massachusetts. It's kind of a favorite thing of mine, like where's waldo, but finding how she's mixed those elements back into a completely different space.  

Foyer Inspiration | Interior Design - Jessika Goranson | Lonny Mag | Photos - Patrick Cline

Foyer Inspiration | Interior Design - Jessika Goranson | Lonny Mag | Photos - Patrick Cline

Regarding the look of the bedrooms and the living room, most of my same furniture will be in those spaces, so they'll have a very similar feel. We're planning to forgo the large built in bookshelves for a long low mid-century style console unit that Jack is going to build. I'm doing another gallery wall - but these one will feel a little more modern with abstract paintings and photographs we've taken. Although, I'm looking for one of those large gilt french mirrors to place within the mix, because I just love them so much!

More updates with specifics coming soon!