FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP

Brooklyn based lifestyle blog by Lauren L Caron

LIFE

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!

LIFE | Exciting News From Our Little Corner Of the World

LIFELauren Caron5 Comments

I have some exciting news that I'm finally feeling is right to share. We are moving to the west coast. In particular, the Pacific Northwest in Seattle!

Jack accepted a job offer for an opportunity he could not refuse. His start date is in January, which means next week he will be moving across the country. Only Jack to start, because my plans are to live bicoastal for a while. I have a few contracts here that I have to be available for within New York at least until May. Which is bittersweet. I am not excited about living apart from my husband for months at a time but I am also not entirely ready to leave NYC. So if we're being optimistic, its the best of both worlds, right?

Being able to keep one foot in New York, also makes everything a little more complicated. It's scary and daunting, imagining everything that has to happen. We probably will not be moving most of our furniture out until the spring, so I have to prioritize what items to purchase to make his life (and mine when I'm there) more comfortable, without wasting a ton of money. We also have to sort out where the dogs are going to live until I'm full time in Seattle and what we will do with our apartment next year. The plan is to NOT sell it, and I most likely will not rent it this year. We want to be flexible for the year, just in case we completely hate it out there. We also have to figure out the best way how, and when to get our car out there. 

Our little dream cottage

Our little dream cottage

The living room - look at those moldings!

The living room - look at those moldings!

One major item checked off the list is where we'll be living in Seattle for the next year. I found a home online and put down a deposit on it, sight unseen. A little wild, but a very kind family friend looked at it for us and advised us to go for it. I'm super excited about the possibility of living in a house. It's a real house. An itty bitty one, but real. And beautiful, built in 1901, a craftsman cottage, complete with a garage, off street parking, two bedrooms, a dining room and a white picket fence (they just put the fence up last week for us)! I mean, what a little dream come true. It even has the original moldings and a front porch and foyer. I'm dying to get myself out there to see it, (yes I haven't seen it in person yet!) and hug it! Or the front porch column at the very least. 

As for the business, we're planning to take that bicoastal as well. I have no idea what and who the clients in Seattle will be, but I'm imagining my work will be heavier on the residential projects and lighter on commercial. Although, maybe a company from New York with an extensive portfolio in creative and visual merchandising might be exactly what the city needs? 

In the coming weeks I'm planning to transition the blog as well. I'll have new content to start posting about, mostly regarding the design and decorating challenges I'll be experiencing as we transition our lives from an apartment in New York, to a house in Seattle. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to keep the title of Fourth Floor Walk Up, considering that we will not be living in a walk up or on the fourth floor any longer. As a matter of fact, our new home will only have a first floor. Since some blogs are so personal, they too change as our lives change, so I don't see that to be the worst thing imaginable. I have followed other blogs over the years that have changed their name and the transition was mostly seamless.

I hope you all can be as excited as we are about this crazy endeavor. I know I'm personally looking forward to new challenges and house projects. I'm already keeping myself up at night thinking about how I'm going to tackle the guest bedroom/office situation... more on that to come. 

If anyone has suggestions or recommendations for moving companies, car shippers, or anything pertaining to moving us to Seattle, that would be wonderful. Also, if anyone has any tips on stores, things to do, places to go, people to meet or whatever in the PNW, please send them my way. I'm all ears! And definitely looking to network!

LIFE | THANKFUL

LIFELauren CaronComment
Thanksgiving Table | Photo by: Lauren L Caron © 2015

Thanksgiving Table | Photo by: Lauren L Caron © 2015

Thanksgiving is just behind us, marking it the time of year when we consider our lives and the loved ones within them. Hopefully everyone had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with someone close to them, whether that be family or friends. 

This year, I am looking back at the changes I made to my career, which like dominos effected almost every part of my life. I am greatly connected to my work, so it tends to make its way into other areas of my life. This blog for example, although it's a means of expression and personal, it's also very much related to what I do for a living. I can hardly believe it but, it's now been one year since I made the jump from a full time employee to a full time entrepreneur, starting a small design business.

Not to sound too deep or profound, I think I can now look back at my last day on the job being a turning point in my young adult life. It was one week before Thanksgiving, I had just completed a marathon week, doing 5 straight overnights, setting up the holiday decorations and installations in the store. I was exhausted.

At first it was a really scary concept, a feeling similar those seconds before you jump off a dock into a dark lake. You know the jump won't physically hurt you (as long as you can swim), but the unknown is still impressively unnerving and almost enough to hold you back. Dipping your toes won't really give you the answers you're looking for in order to know if it'll be fine. It's just having faith in the fact that there are others who have done it before you and they have either swam or perhaps struggled at first only to be saved from the support of friends or family, or through their own endurance. With the backing of my husband, friends, family and advice from other entrepreneurs, I decided to take the leap and see what could happen. 

At first it was enlightening, feeling like I was finally set free to do what I wanted and to breath a little. Then came thoughts of insecurity and the daunting question of oh sh*t, what did I do? But over time I continued to network and when I didn't have enough paid work, I created other work to keep myself busy. Pretty soon I was working full time hours on a consistent basis and had built a healthy list of clients. 

I learned the true meaning of feast or famine and also how to work my way through that. I've also learned about myself as an individual and how I most thrive. I am a product of the ADHD generation, having to do too many things at once in order to remain focused and interested in whatever it is that I'm doing. Which is why I enjoyed my role at Bergdorfs greatly, but being able to expand my reach into interiors, styling and events has been wonderful for my psyche and creative soul.  

Now I can see that I'm extremely happy I made those changes and am so grateful for the courage I had to do that. Above all, I'm most grateful for my support system. It means the world to have such a wonderful network of people who are encouraging and honest (sometimes to a fault). That can be so important in keeping you grounded, while still pushing forward. 

This following year will be just as important as the last, as I now have to adjust my strategies and realign goals with the reality that has been set in front of me. I actually feel more pressure to be successful in this year than I may have in the last. I'm sure some thought I was was crazy and perhaps it's partially been luck, but will really make or break my plan will be how this upcoming year goes. If it's more successful than the last financially than we'll know it wasn't a fluke, but that I'm meant to make it on my own. 

Cobble Hill Mantel | Photo by: Lauren L Caron © 2015

Cobble Hill Mantel | Photo by: Lauren L Caron © 2015

Lastly, I want to thank all of you who follow along and read the blog. Many of you may be silent supporters, but I believe your there,  and I truly appreciate having a network of readers who also garner support in various ways. 

Here's to finishing off 2015 with positive vibes and good wishes for the next year, that's just around the corner!

Thanks for reading!

CREATE | UNION ADORN - Big News!

LIFE, CREATELauren Caron1 Comment

For those who don't know, I somewhat recently moved on from my visual manager position at Bergdorf Goodman. I have dropped hints over the last few months and my close friends and family have known my plans, but it wasn't right until now that it truly seemed the right time to formally announce my next endeavor. This spring, I launched a design company called Union Adorn. We specialize in interior design, retail design for visual merchandising and creative services, event design, and styling. 

Using the skills I've gained over the years at Bergdorfs, Tiffany's, and my earlier years freelancing at Ralph Lauren, Macy's, Brooks Brothers. I wanted to build a boutique design company that is strongly focused on representing exceptional taste while remaining grounded in the fundamentals of refined design, particularly catered to each client. While our main clientele is smaller independent brands and personal clients, we have also been collaborating with larger brands on special projects. 

There are plans to grow the business into a design collective, with hopes to bring on at least two more lead designers in addition to my silent partner. We will be working towards building a brand that will capitalize on each other's taste, diverse skills sets and styles. I've always had a strong affinity to beauty and anything that I create has to maintain a sense of elegance, so it was only natural that the company's mission is to respect beauty and everything it envelops. Together we are united in beauty. 

Please feel free to introduce yourself to the brand via our website [www.unionadorn.com] and social media platforms [Twitter, Instagram + Pinterest - @unionadorn] where we plan to document current and upcoming projects. 

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I'm truly excited about the work that I've been doing under this brand, and am so excited to be able to eventually share these projects in depth A few projects that I can only hint to have dealings with hotel design, residential design, major renovation of an incredible store, presentation upgrades for a boutique jewelry company, and an opening of a sought-after tattoo artist's shop. So please stay tuned for more eye candy. I hope you can follow along on this endeavor and be there as we grow, through the gains and pains of small business!

Any questions or further interest please feel free to contact us at hello@unionadorn.com


LIFE | The Hotels We Loved and The Ones We Wish We Could Have Experienced

LIFE, SPACESLauren CaronComment
Jack sleeping in at the Hotel du Cloître | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Jack sleeping in at the Hotel du Cloître | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

For the first installment of our mini travel series, I wanted to write about the hotels that we both stayed and did not stay in. There are so many wonderful places to go and sleep in Europe but I wanted to give a shout out to the few that we felt were worth noting. For part of the trip we stayed in two none discript hotels, that I would only note for their cleanliness, very reasonable rates, centralized location and safety (I'll list those at the end of this post for your reference). The hotels I'm most excited to write about are for the ones we stayed in: The Hotel du Clîotre and Idéal Séjour, as well as those that we didn't book with - L'Hôtel Particulier, the Grand Hôtel Nord-Pinus and Hôtel Jules Cesar (all three of these were in Arles, France). 

Our favorite hotel of the trip was the Hotel du Clîotre, designed by India Mahdavi, a recently renovated boutique hotel, located in the historic district of Arles, Provence. Outside it looks as though the building were a privately owned Provençal home. Inside the interiors are modern with a strong midcentury vibe. The color palette is playful with bright pops of yellow, turquoise blues and lime greens. What is especially unique is the use of tiles throughout the hotel, creating a mosaic-like pattern on the floors that trails itself up the walls in the bathrooms. Our room, was one of the smaller floor plans, but comfortable in comparison to NYC sized rooms and it only set us back about 110 euros per night. The staff was very friendly and the small restaurant/bar on the terrace open only some of the days (we couldn't really figure out which days though) had a wonderful atmosphere and charm. I took a ton of photos of the space because, quite frankly, I couldn't get enough!

The Entrance Door Knocker | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

The Entrance Door Knocker | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

The second place we stayed in that we really enjoyed was a hotel that if it weren't for a last minute, necessary booking, we would have never experienced. The Hôtel Idéal Séjour, was very charming and surprisingly well designed. It is a bit kitchy, but the gracious host (who we believe was also the owner) made it a wonderful experience. The design concept of the Hôtel Idéal Séjour reflects inspiration gathered from famous books, stories and films. Each room design is unique to a particular theme. In some rooms, there are characters that actually emerge from the walls. Our room was the L'Instant Poetique, where a mural of Armond Renaud was painted on the wall. Overall the hotel is cozy and the rooms are on the slightly smaller side, but the garden where we had breakfast each morning and the obvious care and passion that went into creating this hotel, makes for it a very special place to stay. 

The library in the Hotel Ideal Sejour | Photograph by: Lauren L Caron  2015

The library in the Hotel Ideal Sejour | Photograph by: Lauren L Caron  2015

We found it humorous that my husband looked strikingly similar to Renaud | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

We found it humorous that my husband looked strikingly similar to Renaud | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

The continental breakfast spread | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

The continental breakfast spread | Photograph by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Lastly, there are a few hotels on our list to visit or stay in for next time. The definite front runner is the L'Hôtel Particulier in Arles. A highend boutique hotel, that oozes luxury. We passed by one evening hoping to have a drink in the bar, however it didn't seem such an opportunity was possible. 

The other two are ones also noted for their elegance and luxury are The Grand Hôtel Nord-Pinus. I find it interesting for it's history.  Apparently has been featured as a backdrop in a lot of fashion photoshoots. It's location is directly across from the cafe that Van Gogh painted, so a great location if you're trying to find something central. The Hôtel Jules Cesar was designed by Christian Lacroix. The interiors are lush and colorful, nothing short of what you would expect from Lacroix. The building is very old dating back to the 17th century. It also seems more like a getaway hotel, as there is a spa and large pool on location. 


The other places we stayed that were safe, convenient and clean:

The Duran Hotel & Restaurant - once a place where Dalí would frequent located in Figures Spain. Address: Carrer Lasauca, 5 Figueres Girona 17600 Spain

The Hotel Barcelona Universal - Easy access to the subway and there's a pool! Address: Del Paral.lel, Del 76-78 Barcelona Barcelona 08001 Spain