June 8, 2017

New renovation! A tropical spa area

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I love taking spaces that seem to be of no use and turn them in to something special. Every home has areas indoors as well as outdoors that just feels like wasted square footage.

Clients tell me all the time about hallways, corners, nooks that they simply never use and have a millions of reason why. The only reason why someone never uses an area is 1) because its not designed or 2) It’s not designed right. When a space is fun or welcoming and has a use, people will go there.

At the far corner of our ranch house against the hill there is a just such a space. It’s a small terrace area with a storage cabinet, a fence and an ugly air vent. It is however right off the master bedroom so my boyfriend suggested one day….why not add a hot tub? The hot tub mention inspired me to create a little California surfer paradise spa area.

Here is where we started….

We decided to start by adding a ficus hedge long the side of the space to create privacy.

As you can see on the picture the neighbors on the street below can see straight up, so the corner will get tall banana leaf plants and a ficus hedge will go from the corner of the yard all the way up to the master bedroom.

First step was  removing the storage bin and chain link fence.

Besides a mid century sofa I envisioned a cool space with a hanging chair.  I found a bunch of cool affordable hanging chairs at Pier 1. World market had the other items I needed for the sanctuary.

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There is also an exterior bathroom on this side which will be spruced up. It will  need lights etc.

Ficus hedge has now been planted.

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Facing this direction up the hill (picture below)  I will try to reuse some iron fencing that will be removed from the garage renovations.

The air vent outdoors I thought I would cover with an Artificial ficus hedge.

I have never tried it but I’ll give it a try. Have you?

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Hot tub arrival!

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Here it is so far – not too exciting, but it will be.

I’m planning on using these vintage retro surfboards you can get on Etsy to cover the wall.

Here are the sources for the spa items I purchased.

Lucky you if you like them because now they are already 50% off!

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Can;t wait to see how this will turn out!

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May 3, 2017

Renovations again! DAY 1 & 2 – The Guest house

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Yesterday we started the final renovation project on our house. The Guest House.

Turning the garage in to a guest house was supposed to be the first thing we did when we bought it. I would get a great office downstairs and Luke would get a big teen room upstairs.

Well, it didn’t happen that way.

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When you live off of Mulholland Drive in LA which is one of the most scenic mountain routes you have to get a permit from the Mulholland Scenic society to make sure nothing that you do alters the beautiful view.

This is the view from the hill at the top of our yard.

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Well fast forward a year and a half.

We got the permit, the plans are done and we got started yesterday.

These are some of the architectural drawings. The back of it will have terrace and the view from there is insane.

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Yesterday we had to empty the garage in to a rented pod.

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The tiled roof was swiftly removed and stored so we can put it back again.

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Here are some of the things we will do downstairs.

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Today it looked like this….

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And this….

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The outdoors will be white stucco with black accents like the house.

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With lots of bougainvillea, flower boxes, and shutters. I’ll share some of the plans and inspiration in the next blog!

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March 18, 2017

House updates – outdoor living space

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If you’re living on the east coast or in Sweden I know this time of the year you can’t wait for spring to arrive, so I thought I would share some updates to our outdoor living space.  Since we are so blessed with incredible weather in southern California making the outdoors space livable is key.

The deck we added outside the master suite really extended the terrace and has become a favorite spot to hang out. It now has hanging electrical wicker lanterns which add a romantic light at night. (I’ll share a roundup post for best lanterns in another post).

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When we moved in it was nothing there just a bunch of scraggly trees and it looked like this…

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If you followed along then you might remember I was really hesitant about removing the scraggly trees and plant a wall of banana leafs instead.

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But the trees came down and the wall of banana leaf plants created the perfect vibe.  Now we can also really see and enjoy the pretty olive tree outside the bedroom door.

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This has become a favorite work spot of mine and a nice extension of the bedroom. Small changes that you think might be nothing can often have a large impact.

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When I tested out a bunch of lanterns for the olive trees I came upon this solar powered JC Penny lantern that I now have scattered about around the back yard. They light up the garden around the pool at night.

I now see this looking out my bedroom window.

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The banana leaf plants are now taller than the fence. Behind it is a magnificent mountain view.

We planted a yew hedge along the edge of the pool on Terry’s Landscape designs suggestion.

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It has grown and has added a nice framing to the pool and some protection while still allowing for a great view above at a 5′ height.

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Thankfully we kept the red hibiscus hedge that adds a little tropical vibe.

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The loungers are from CB2 and cushions from Martha Stewart.

Outside the kitchen window next to the pergola it looked like this…

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I designed iron brackets and added a foot of the quartzite stone top we used in the kitchen to create a great little drink and serving area outside the kitchen window.

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I added four Parisian bar stools.

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This sits next to the pergola which is awaiting a new carpet before I can photograph it. Here is a snapshot from this morning, I’ll share better pictures of this area in a later post.

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Next to the kitchen by the end of the terrace is the best view and when we bought the house it was just an empty space with an odd fountain. Screen shot 2016-01-05 at 9.34.31 PM

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I decided to use this area for a BBQ and outdoor kitchen.

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Now it looks like this.

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A simple cement top with white stucco so it just blends in with the house.

We still have work to do but this is basically where we spend our time when we are home. I hope this gave you a little California sunshine to survive the rest of the winter.

Hope you have a great weekend!

For daily updated you can follow along on INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSEN.COM

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February 15, 2017

House updates – kitchen & eat in dining area

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Our LA house is slowly taking shape. I haven’t had the house professionally photographed yet but a number of you have e-mailed and asked  that I share pictures, so here are just a few snapshots of  our dining area in the kitchen.

The house has received a lot of updates since I last posted about it….most involving reusing or re-purposing exiting items. The Jill Sorensen Lifestyle Tropical bamboo wall coverings in Canary on the kitchen and dinning area walls has definitely been a good choice.

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I wish I had more wall space in this open floor plan for some more yellow happiness.

Even though the design plan for this house was casual and cool mid century my old Swedish mirror found a home in the breakfast room.

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The gold recovered Milo Baughman bar stools glam up the otherwise very casual and relaxed space.

Here you can see the kitchen from the other direction…you can see through the house from the front yard all the way through to the terrace.

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Loads of mid century gold fixtures and quartzite stone tops. When we bought the house the kitchen wall was right behind where you see the bar stools and the kitchen ceiling was lowered 18″.

Now all is open.

Last week I my custom Clad Home bench with Mary Mc Donald fabric with black trim arrived.

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The perfect perch to check out visitors in the front yard.

If you followed my blog during the renovations you know that I went back and forth about whether to make the TV room fireplace double sided for not.  With the cool LA mornings and evenings it’s the best decision by far  to be able to eat on the dining bench next to a warm fire.

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I added a reclaimed modern wood bench as dining bench with a sheepskin hide to maximize dining guests. This pictures it looking through to the front driveway where there was a wall and a corridor before.

The carpet is from my line ARROW carpet in Natural.

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I had a dresser from Virginia that has been serving as extra storage in the dining area.

However the color just was not exciting…

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Yesterday we painted it Habanero Pepper by Benjamin Moore.

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It’s actually more red than the picture.

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Trying to add a little fifties red/coral to spice up the corner and to match the red flowers right outside the glass window.

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I’ll share some exterior updates next week.

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December 25, 2016

Kitchen renovations just in time for Christmas.

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Happy Holidays!

As this crazy busy year is coming to an end I’m finally sitting down to write a blog post.  I hope 2016 has treated you well and that you have tons of great things in store for 2017.  We arrived in dark Sweden a week ago to celebrate Christmas with our family and to rest up.

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Or so I thought..

…there was a twist.

When we arrived we still didn’t have a kitchen. When we left the in august kitchen that was ruined along with many rooms in the house looked like this.

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We had plans to reuse the bottom cabinets this inter but they could not be installed as they had rotted a bit with the water damage.

These are the times when you really appreciate IKEA.

I spent so many hours at my local IKEA I even know what shelves things are on.  I’m finally surrendering to an Ikea kitchen and all kinds of simple clean and affordable Ikea items.

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Hans the contractor worked round the clock to install a kitchen so we could have the extended family move in. I found base cabinets to match the existing top cabinets.

All hardware is now black.

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I’m in love with my Tarkett plastic flooring in grey and white.

All the windows will get original old casing styles. Walls will be bold yellow, counter top will be in thick bright birch. Very Swedish.

Can’t wait to see it all done.

This will be the style for the new simple kitchen.

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We also have a mudroom now hat is almost done. More clean stuff.

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Simple bead board with black hooks from who else…IKEA.

The laundry room is big and clean and white (that is until I wallpaper it next summer…)

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Love this black lamp from Ikea with retro cord.

The bathroom is now almost twice as big, but the neutral stuff ends here.

I still needed to have some color.

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Next up mirrors, sconces and shower curtain.  The orange faucets and toilets are fun.

This space will be finished from LA.

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Until then, thanks for stopping by.

Hope you enjoy the holidays!

You can reach me dally on INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSEN.COM.

or my brand at INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSENLIFESTYLE.COM

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September 18, 2016

My house tour in Malibu Westlake magazine

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Unless you live in Los Angeles you’ll miss my mini home tour in Malibu Westlake magazine which is out on the newsstands now. Its always fun to see how your home looks in magazines so thought I would share a few peeks here on the blog.   You can read the full interview with pictures and story here www.wmlifestyle.com.

I’ve included a few behind the scenes pictures as well.

I’m definitely happy I painted that front door blue…

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This is the current terrace awaiting a new coffee tables and carpet.

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Bedroom with my new (and favorite)  TAKES TWO bedding and ARCHES wallpaper for Jill Sorensen Lifestyle.

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And here it Behind-the-scenes with photographer Joe Hill shooting.

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The carpet is my GREEK KEY SHAG from Jill Sorensen Lifestyle.

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My new little master bedroom terrace made it in.

Behind the scenes pic….

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Waiting for those banana leafs to grow in.

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In the living room with Katherine Rally drapery fabric.

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Big thank You to Diana at Malibu Westlake magazine for coming to visit.

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August 16, 2016

Renovation plans created in one afternoon

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We left our summer house in Sweden in slightly better shape than we found it in…

In case you missed the disaster I’ve dealt with you can check it out here.

You can see what the house looked like when we came home in June and I burst in to tears here.

The renovations are in full swing and I’ll handle it from the other side of the earth via images, e-mails and Face time. I’m really looking forward to restoring our beautiful house to even better shape than before the water damage.

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The new wood beams went in the last couple of days we were there and it was amazing how fancy it felt to get rid of the dirt floor!

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All the crazy items shoes, pots etc. from the 1800’s that we found below the original beams were collected and stored in the attic.

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I can’t help bu wonder if this old leather boot from the 1800’s that we found below the bathroom floor belonged to any of these people?

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The first owners of our home sometime in the late 1800’s.

When the plywood floor was installed we really felt we were living in luxury after a summer with the dirt floors.

Imagine that….to have a floor! We were seriously all smiles.

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Hans a contractor and friend of my brother’s since grade school has taken on the job. He did the first round of renovations when we first bought the house 13 years ago so he knows it well.

Now, how do you come up with renovation plans in one afternoon?

I visited two home stores with tile, faucet, flooring selections, a paint store and grabbed paint chips, then I grabbed a pen and paper and paid down on the foyer floor.  When you have no free time and under time pressure things can happen fast. Aaahh the luxury of doing it for yourself…old school style.

First off the Bathroom.

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The marigold seventies toilets that I bought from my brother’s recycling center set the tone.

The happy & fun toilets and sinks served as inspiration for the bathroom. I felt depressed when I forst arrived and saw all tha damage so the toilets put a smile on my face, why not orange toilets?

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Orange sinks?

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I drew layouts directly on the floors and walls. Moved walls for better space function and left instructions handwritten.

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At the local store I found the only cement tile they had and went for it.

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I found faucets that would bridge the gape between classic and modern and fit the sinks.

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Black and white subway tile for the shower cabin. White with two black stripes.

Next step will be to hunt down two old mirrors and wall sconces for the wall, and of course a shower curtain.

Now on to the kitchen…

Having the beams installed in the kitchen was the most luxurious of all. We could now walk in there and get to items in the top cupboards. The lower cabinets were salvaged and stored in the barn and will be put back in as well.

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How incredible to have a floor!

Try living without a floor for a while and you’ll come to appreciate the simple things in life!

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The kitchen needs:

–New flooring

— New Paint

–New tile  back splash

—New Light fixture

I picked them out in a flash at Stuvbutiken, Colorama and IKEA.

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I decided on plastic flooring for easy to clean surfaces. They have really great vinyl flooring options here and the actual plastic tile squares are not easy to clean.

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I have never installed a vinyl floor before, but this one looks refreshing.

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Tarkett from Stuvbutiken.

I would prefer to paint a wood floor like this below, but we have no floor at all so this is an easy and affordable solution.

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I’ll share pictures when its done and you can be the judge.

Have you ever used it?

The 80’s lamp above the kitchen table that I’ve been too lazy to change for so many years, will be replaced by this modern one from Ikea.

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I hope that mixing in some retro vibe with all the old school stuff will be good.

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I’ll be renovating from afar, with picture updates every Friday from the contractor.  The big project in Virginia is going ahead full speed and the guest house renovation back here in LA is beckoning.

For daily updates and design adventures you can follow me on INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSEN.COM

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July 6, 2016

My DISASTROUS kitchen pictures & the coolest toilets ever

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There are makeovers and then there are M-A-K-E-O-V-E-R-S. Seems the most challenging projects just keep lining up.

We arrived home to our summer house in Sweden, except what house??  If you follow this blog you know we had bad water damage this spring. Turned out it was BAD.

This is our kitchen now…Want to come over for dinner?

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Yep down to the dirt floor. As I’m looking at this I realize a lot of my projects look like bombs detonated in them.

All the floor beams were damaged and had to go. The cabinets could be rescued.

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New tile is needed, minor detail in this room indeed.

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I guess we will not be doing any cooking in here!!

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Turns out there is a covered up dirt cellar below the kitchen floor!  The house was built in the 1830’s, burnt down 1870 and rebuilt so this stuff is 150 years old.

And the bathroom and laundry room by the entrance….

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I giant hole, no walls or anything.

When they tore out the floor they came upon shoes and boots from the 1800’s and old pots used as bathrooms.

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To be hinest Ive been very upset as you might imagine, no rest for the weary. However Luke’s summer job at my brother’s new recycling center could not have come in more handy….

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Peter my very entreprenurial obsessed reclcer brother has started a genius business. He made a deal with out city here to be able to get  all the stuff headed fro landfills landfills, then fix them and sell them.

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I felt instantly happier when I made this happy marigold toilet purchase!

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And two marigold sinks to with it. If the old bathroom is gone, a new one will have to be awesome.

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Can you believe these were headed for landfills?

(You can check out a few items that are for sale online at  www.aterbruket.se.

Follow along on INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSEN for more updates.

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May 2, 2016

What a difference a year makes.

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Sometimes you have to look back to realize how far you’ve come.

Although I feel like nothing ever gets done around here and feeling frustrated about it, I changed my tune when I looked at pictures from a little more than a year ago. Walls had just been ripped out, there was no floor and the wall of glass doors had not been moved.

It wasn’t exactly a fun place to live…

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Even though I don’t have the final pieces in the living room, it’s a far more happy place to live in…

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A year ago it looked like this.  The doors had been moved to make place for an extra room.

Bare bones.

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The other morning it looked like this.

Although not completed yet, it’s definitely a much happier space to live in.

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The back wall is getting a piano and I’m hunting down some cool Milo Baughman chairs, waiting for yellow lamps for the credenza etc. etc. the list goes on.

I can only imagine what it will look like in a year.

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April 20, 2016

One Room Challenge – Week #3

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We are working hard to get this room done in time.

When design has to be done on a strict deadline you have to go with the flow. This week we found out a number of items I had wanted would not be here in time, so a new plan had to be put in place. It’s like solving an ever changing puzzle.

The painters were here this week and the room is slowly getting an “Empire” backdrop.

The room now has black door and window casings everywhere. Two walls are two toned beige and two walls are still waiting for wallpaper.

This vibe is going on now….

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Inspired by this…a rap moguls home in Chicago from the show Empire.

Yes, inspiration is everywhere…

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The most exciting part of the week was the arrival of my new Jill Sorensen Lifestyle carpets.(@JILLSORENSENLIFESTYLE on Instagram)  The Geo Shag for the living room and this Greek Key Shag for the bedroom. These are the first samples, and I’m super happy with them.

This Greek Key shag combines the bohemian element of a Moroccan Beni Ourain with a more clean modern feeling which is what I wanted. And it’s sooooo soft!

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The bedroom became a whole new room with this in it.

It’s suddenly cozy and warm and inviting even without being finished.

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The dogs are particularly happy because it’s like one giant dog bed!

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These bedside table I bought last month so they are already in the room.

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I needed lamps and worked with super talented Jana Bek who is also doing a makeover for One Room Challenge as well. She has a line of beautiful brush stoke lamps that I wish I could use in the room.  She was able to do a custom lamp color for me in gold with black on top.

Jana sent a picture today and it looks amazing!!

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Can’t wait for them to arrive, they will look so good in the room.

The Ander Wall mirror from Basset Mirror company arrived and it didn’t disappoint either. This will be hung as soon as the wall gets wallpapered.

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I’m excited to see this come together and grateful to Linda for doing the ORC to give me a reason to finally finish my own home.

The view out the bedroom is improving as well. It used to be a scraggly garden with some old trees, now it’s a banana tree lined little deck by the pool awaiting cushions and potted plants.

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Three more weeks to go….

Check out and see how the rest of the group is doing.

TM by CIH
You can also follow along on INSTAGRAM@JILLSORENSEN.COM

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