Unit 101: The built-ins

By Sara

Since the whole 'move to Chicago' thing, I've become incredibly nostalgic about my South Boston home.  It's the first place my husband and I ever owned, the home where we brought both our kids home from the hospital,  and the first place I ever really got to design as my own.   When I first moved to Boston in 2006, I shared a one-bathroom Cambridge apartment with 3 women and 2 cats.  Cozy.  Fleeing that situation, my boyfriend (now husband) and I moved into an apartment in the Back Bay about a year later. That apartment was wonderful - bright and sunny, fantastic location, our honeymoon pad - also a total lead-filled death trap for children. Hence the purchase of our South Boston condo 4 years ago. We moved when I was 9 months pregnant with our daughter and I gave birth 3 weeks later. Impeccable timing.    

This will be the first in a series of posts about our South Boston home, beloved unit 101.  

The condo is a 2009 rehab of an old spice factory in what was once a very industrial part of South Boston (think 'The Departed').  The place is solid concrete and has the original concrete pillars. I love these details and it is one of the reasons that we bought the place.

When you move in a hurry like we did there are compromises. Ours was definitely storage.  The only closets in the whole home are in the bedrooms.  So while you could hang your clothes, we couldn't so much as hang a coat when you walk through the door or store extra light bulbs.

The other major compromise in the home was lack of walls.  This sounds strange so let me explain.  The condo is a corner unit with HUGE floor to ceiling windows.  That means that all outside walls are window walls.  Also, both the bedrooms have double doors and as lovely as they are, they take up an entire interior partition wall.  After all the windows and doors are taken into account, we basically had 2 walls in the entire home to work with.  Since design, like marriage, is about compromise one wall went to my husband for the TV and the other wall was TBD.

Last year we finally decided.  I worked with an incredible carpenter and designed what I think was the best use of space for my family.  Floor to ceiling, wall to wall built-in cabinetry with two desks - one for grownups, one for kids, tons of closed storage for the ugly stuff, a bar, and open storage for books and styling.

This is one of the initial sketches.  The final product ended up a bit different, but luckily my carpenter was completely comfortable working with someone who changed her mind all the time and it all came together perfectly.  To top it all off, I even scored a vintage Pollock desk chair on craigslist and a toddler ghost chair for the littles.  

 The "ugly stuff" hidden behind closed doors.  As you can see I am in love with my label maker.

The "ugly stuff" hidden behind closed doors.  As you can see I am in love with my label maker.

 Ms. P drawing in her super hero cape.  

Ms. P drawing in her super hero cape.  

I should say the project was not cheap, but a truly worthwhile investment in our home that changed the way we used the space. The concept and execution didn't come quick but some things are well worth the wait!

MIXING METALS: A BATHROOM UPDATE

Posted by Sara

By now you've read my post about bathroom metals (hi, mom).  As I mentioned there, designers will typically tell you to pick a finish and stick to it throughout a bathroom.  It's easier that way. But here at Gild & Wit we are bad-to-the-bone rule breakers and I wanted my room to be a mix of pieces that I loved, not just pieces that matched.  

So what metal finish did I choose? Drum roll, please...

All of them.

The mirrors in my master bath are brushed nickel.  Faucets are brushed nickel as well.  Medicine cabinet is a mirrored chrome.  Sconces are bronze and brass.  And my accessories are a mix of brass, chrome, wood, and marble. I went crazy.

I love it.  It screams "I'm a rebel!" as much as a bathroom possibly can.   

 

Here are a few of my other favorite spaces with mixed metals.

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Special thanks to Surabhi at Third Eye Chic for taking the photos.  And keep an eye out, I'll be posting more pictures of my South Boston home soon!

Bathroom Finishes

Posted by Sara

Last year I was on maternity leave.  Not being able to sit still and yet not move terrible quickly, I took the opportunity to re-do the bathrooms in my home.  Bathrooms are pretty easy to do if you're just looking for a quick update on a tight budget.  The spaces themselves were fine and functional, I didn't need to tear down any walls or even replace any tiles or permanent fixtures like toilets or cabinets, all of which were clean and made the best use of space.  But, the faucets, lighting fixtures, and mirrors were all "developer grade" (i.e. the cheapest stuff from from your local big box hardware store).  

When doing a bathroom there is a lot of metal to be considered.  Faucets, framed mirrors, showers, sconces - all have a metal finish.  But what to choose, what to choose...

I love brass in a bathroom.  It is instantly glamorous and special looking even when surrounded by simple tile and fixtures, but especially when done with a fabulous patterned tile.  

 

Chrome is clean and timeless and cool (literally, it has cool undertones).  It will never look dated and as an added bonus it stays clean looking longer and doesn't show fingerprints or water spots as much as nickel.

 

Nickel is beautiful and modern.  Brushed nickel has a matte finish that is sleek looking, but much harder to keep clean than chrome and shows finger prints and water spots.  That being said, it is still used all the time because it immediately makes a room look modern with it's lovely warm undertones.

 

Bronze is an underused gem.  When it does make an appearance it immediately adds graphic pop to a room.  It is a great contrast to white that you often see in bathrooms.

 

So what did I choose for my bathrooms?  Stay tuned for the big bathroom reveal!

 

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact us about our design services.

 

Gild & Wit East

Posted by Sara

As we all know from the BIG announcement on the blog a few months ago, Gild & Wit East is closing it's doors and moving to Chicago.   Before this happens (in a few short weeks) I wanted to write a little ditty about my amazing space in Boston.  Now I didn't always have a studio space here.  For a while this was a "home office" operation, but after the apocalyptic winter we had this past year, I needed a space to go to with less children and more quiet.  I was remarkably lucky to find a studio within walking distance of my house in the Boston Seaport neighborhood.  The studio is actually a sublease within the studio of the amazing Jill Rosenwald & Lawrence McRae.  A husband and wife ceramics team who I cannot say enough awesome things about.  Jill is a 'mama' figure - ironic because she looks about 25 - to many young artists, bloggers, designers, photographers, etc. in the Boston area. She offered Gild & Wit home and became my mentor.  Without being too mushy, let me just say that she is awesome personified and I can't imagine this past year without her.  She is also incredibly talented, check out her website.

Anyway, back to the studio.  I share my space with a photographer named Surabhi, who like me, is just getting started in the 'biz'.  I am so grateful that she offered to take pictures of my first ever studio space.  Pictures on my iphone can only show so much and this lady is super talented. Check Surabhi out, too.

So here it is folks.  A loft-ish space above a brewery that smells strongly of hops; my home for the past 4 months.  It's not a garage in the valley, but we've all got to start somewhere :)

For starters, there is a lot of white in there.  A perfect palate for my mood boards and reviewing fabric samples.  The original plan was to have multiple pinboards behind my desk on the wall, but as soon as I realized that the move was going to happen, I opted not to put holes in the wall.  Also, please ignore the wires.  This post is a little like 'stars without their makeup', raw and sans photoshop.

I love my wallpaper collage.  It changes often depending on what's fallen down the night before and my mood.

ugh.  I have a black thumb but I just can't stop buying plants

When I left my last job to start Gild & Wit, one of the physicians I worked with (and also my first paying design client) gave me that card.  "May you be happy always".  Indeed.

Those colorful boxes are filled with fabrics, wallpapers, finish samples, tiles, etc.  As you can see I am having trouble keeping the lids on them.  May be time to expand to some more colors...

Besides my computer this is the second most used object in the studio.  My pencil sharpener.  It's like 1986 in grade school at my desk.  I am all about the #2 pencil. 

A little message on my way out.

Thank you Boston for being an incredible place to start this adventure!

News!

By Sara

First of all, a thousand apologies for the long break.  We promise there was A LOT going on behind the scenes.  A few months ago Gild & Wit East moved into a new studio in the Boston Seaport.  Then there was all the personal stuff that comes up in the summer time--little sisters getting married abroad, taking babies to the beach, etc, etc--but the BIG NEWS is that my family and I are moving back to Chicago in the fall.  

It has been a long time coming really.  Amy and I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. My husband Alan did too.  Our parents are still there.  Really, this was a decision to move "home".  As an added bonus, Amy and I get to be together and Gild & Wit will be full force in Chicago.  

As excited as I am to move back to my favorite city, I am incredibly sad to leave Boston. It's been home since 2006.  It is the longest I have ever lived anywhere outside of my parents' house.  In these 9 years I have made incredible friendships, gotten engaged, gotten married, started a family, started a career, changed careers, started a business, and bought my first home.   I love Boston and plan to visit a lot. (You can't get rid of me so easily :).  

Where business in Boston is concerned, Gild & Wit is winding down it's services.  I will continue to be available for in-home consults until the move in September (read more about those here) but can't take on any more major design projects or renovations.   As always, Gild & Wit will be available for online collaborations which have no geographical boundaries.

 For the incredible design community here that has welcomed me with open arms (special shout out to Jill Rosenwald Studios and Twelve Chairs Boston for being incredible mentors), to my awesome clients who have let me into their homes, and to my amazing friends here, I cannot thank you enough.  Last, but certainly not least,  I want to say thank you to the city of Boston for being my home for these past years.  I will miss you all terribly.

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
Sweet Caroline,
I believe they never could...

 

 

Now Chicago, HERE WE COME!

Friday Finds: Happy Passover/Easter!

By Sara & Amy

This is a quick one folks.  Just wanted to say Happy Passover/Easter/Spring from our family to yours.  It felt unfair that half of our audience couldn't partake in the Boston Friday Finds last week, so this week we did it all online :)  Here are a few finds to make your holidays pop (and shine :).

 

round vase.jpg

Such a simple and pretty vase.  Has the whole round/circle of life/spring thing to it.  Would be beautiful as the centerpiece on any holiday table.  Glass Bubble Vase (on sale!) $19.99

Hello adorable cookie jar, love your gold ears.   Threshold Bunny Jar $19.99

Classic and simple but with that gold we love so much.  Pickard Seder Plate $249

This one works for both holidays!  Threshold Egg Platter $9.99

Because you're supposed to 'recline on pillows' at a passover seder.  Why not recline on a fabulous one! Luminous Dots Pillow $58

Friday Finds!

by Sara

I'm trying something new here.  We'll see if it sticks.  If so, then this is the first rendition of Gild & Wit's Friday Finds!  A post where I get to show some of loot from recent shopping adventures for clients.  This week's adventure takes us on a trip to Homegoods (in reality, multiple Homegoods). For those of you not familiar with said store, it is TJMaxx's home store and it is AWESOME.  Like TJMaxx it is hit or miss, but some of their hits are absolute grand slams.   When I am in the finishing stages of a project for a client I always take a few trips to the store for great styling pieces.  Here are a few things that I found this week.  Enjoy my amateur iPhone photog skills.

Peacock mirror.  At Homegoods for $129, a similar one is available for full price here.  Would love to see it in an entryway or hallway as below (but without the doll)...

Blue leather Moroccan pouf.  $69 at Homegoods.  You can buy a similar one here.  I love these guys.  They belong everywhere but especially in living rooms and nurseries.

This hide was on clearance for $69.  Probably because he has a scar, but that just goes to show these are the real deal, folks.  You can get hides lot of places right now, but I loved this ones color.  His organic shape is perfect for an awkward space, like a tiny city apartment's dining area for instance. 

These barstools were $69 each.  Such a steal.  You can find the pricey version here.  I love the idea of them warming up a super stark, industrial kitchen. 

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I'm really into chinoiserie decor right now.   This baby was $29.99 and he came home with me.  You can find a similar one here.  I am going style this on a bookshelf or use it as a vase.  

vase.jpg

Anyone need an 8 foot tall giraffe?  My kiddos would loooove this.  If we ever leave our city condo, this will be in their playroom.

This rug was so colorful and fun I had to include it in this post.   It would be such a great foundation for an otherwise neutral/white space. 6x9 for $199.

IMG_3026.jpg

And then there was this guy.  Real leather, walnut, and steel.  The original retail price on the tag was $9000.  The original HOMEGOODS price on the tag was $5000.  I couldn't leave this one behind.  He came home with me (actually, he will be delivered by people with a bigger car and stronger biceps in a few days time).  I have no idea where he will live yet as I have absolutely no room for him. Amy suggested I simply remove my entire kitchen in order to properly showcase the deal of the century. That is why she’s my design and business partner – brains of the operation.




G&W Needs A Vacation

By Amy

As many of you know, Sara and I reside in two different yet equally glamorous cities: respectively, Boston and Chicago. The climates in these cities can only be described as paradisical. I’ve heard this from several tourists hailing from Duluth, Minnesota and Barrow, Alaska. What's up, Arctic Circle?

Boston is having a record ski and sledding season. Having already received 55” of snow this winter, mostly in the past 3 weeks, the skies are now vomiting another 18” – 24” on Boston. Sara is undeniably thrilled. Trapped in her 2 bedroom apartment with a 3 year old and an 11 month old that is currently learning to walk/play with knives, her productivity is going through the roof. She is coping primarily by drinking and crying.

Chicago is faring much better. Here we merely dabble in sub-zero temperatures and have only had one major blizzard. I am currently being punched in the face with handfuls of gravel by a sinus infection and am chasing a 10 month old who is very possibly on methamphetamines. Oh, to have his energy. Also, who is dealing drugs to my 10 month old and why does he not share in the bounty?

What I’m getting at in my usual long-winded-not-dramatic-at-all way is this: GILD & WIT NEEDS A VACATION. But we’re not getting one. So instead we’re going to dream about vacation. This will not be a long weekend at the Ft. Lauderdale Comfort Inn. Our dream involves a lengthy plane ride, clearly in first class. There will be champagne. And then, when we arrive at our exotic tropical destination, at which we will will stay for a minimum of one week, there will be inviting lounge chairs alongside multiple water features. Gorgeous flowers everywhere and no mosquitos. There will be SPF 70 and people whose job it is to spritz you with misters, give you massages and tell you that you look even more beautiful without makeup. This vacation is going to be amazing.

Would you like to come with us? It’s completely free. Make-believe vacations are among the many complementary services offered by Gild & Wit. Come dream and weep with us.

  Villa Orpheus, Mykonos

Villa Orpheus, Mykonos

  Del Mango Estate, Bali

Del Mango Estate, Bali

                    Seychelles Safari Retreat

                  Seychelles Safari Retreat

                   Naka, Phuket

                 Naka, Phuket

  Coco Prive Kuda Hithi Island, Maldives

Coco Prive Kuda Hithi Island, Maldives

                                 Amanyara, Turks & Caicos

                               Amanyara, Turks & Caicos

  Calangute Goa, India

Calangute Goa, India

                    Dusit Thani Maldives

                  Dusit Thani Maldives

               Amanzo'e, Greece

             Amanzo'e, Greece

               Shoal Bay, Anguilla

             Shoal Bay, Anguilla