Livin’ Large in a Harlem Brownstone — Architectural Digest Goes Inside the Home of Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka

Happy Friday y’all!!!  Okay, if you don’t know this already I’ve always had a huge crush on New York City!!!  I was born in Queens (but moved to NJ, when I was like 3).  I always say I’m a New Yorker and the only time I feel like I’m from Jersey is when Bruce sings Jersey Girl. ;)  I also have a thing for brownstones.  Kevin and I originally talked about doing the brownstone thing and raising our kids in the city, but the suburbs came calling with it’s promise of a driveway and a backyard…  We always talk about retiring in the city…hopefully one day…

So I love when I hear about Hollywood Royalty heading back from California to New York.  So Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka are back and have renovated a gorgeous brownstone in Harlem!  It’s been published in March’s Architectural Digest and I might need to pick myself up a hardcopy of this baby, so I can dissect it further.  But here is a look:

See Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Renovated (and Amazing!) Harlem Townhouse (PHOTOS)| New York, Kids and Family, David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris

The ceiling height and that woodwork!!  I also like the stairwell gallery wall in a tight arrangement.

See Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Renovated (and Amazing!) Harlem Townhouse (PHOTOS)| New York, Kids and Family, David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris

Okay, I love this room!  The sunlight from those gigantic windows and you know I have a thing for chaises, but that artwork is killer!  I have to read up on the artist, Annie Lapin.

A Jonathan Adler light fixture crowns the living room, where Room & Board sofas are grouped with a high-back chair designed by Powell & Bonnell for Dennis Miller Assoc., Arteriors nesting tables, and a bespoke Trace Lehnhoff cocktail table; the blanket is by Hermès. An artwork by Brian Wills is mounted over the mantel, the small orange painting between the windows is by Noah Davis, and the seascape on the wall at right is by Annie Lapin; the rug is by ABC Carpet & Home.

Love the bright modern feeling of this room!  I love Jonathan Adler chandeliers and this one is no exception.  I can see they have had better luck than I had at keeping their fiddle leaf tree alive and there is Annie Lapin’s work again on the right.  I love the pops of orange in the room including the small Noah Davis artwork that draws your eye to the back wall.  While it’s not my favorite piece in the room, the piece over the mantle was created by Brian Willis, who creates artwork out of wrapping brightly colored thread around thin wood and mounting them. (Fascinating and I know for a fact that I would go out of my mind!!)

I love the furniture placement in this room and the white walls are perfection!

Holly Hunt pendant lights are suspended above the Caesarstone-top island in the kitchen, which is equipped with a Wolf range and hood.

They have 4-year old twins, so there is no way the floors are always that shiny in the kitchen…I’m just sayin’.  I love me a waterfall countertop and that Wolf range is amazing!

See Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Renovated (and Amazing!) Harlem Townhouse (PHOTOS)| New York, Kids and Family, David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris

Okay that chair is adorable and can be yours in multiple colors.  My son would love that Flash Gordon lithograph…I mean what boy wouldn’t?

See Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Renovated (and Amazing!) Harlem Townhouse (PHOTOS)| New York, Kids and Family, David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris

This is quite a cozy family room and office.  Neil is very into magic and they both claim to love odd artwork and taxidermy.  I think my kids would be terrified to hang out with a weird rat-squirrel-thing-with-wings on the bookshelf, but hey, to each his own.  I do love the RH Chesterfield couch and the colorful circus artwork.

I love that Architecural Digest also has a video of Neil and David talking about their home and parenting (they are hysterical).  It also features the architect and designer.  I found it fascinating to hear the architect talk about the challenges of renovating a brownstone because back in the day people lived in many different rooms.  But that you have to be careful opening it up.  While you want it to be more open, you have to make conscious breaks or it can look like a long bowling alley.  True dat!  They talk about working with the clients’ aesthetics to make things like a secret door to a magical office or designing a piece of furniture at the front door with hidden drawers to hold treats for people.  I need to get this publication because the quick peek the video gives you of the master and master bath looks awesome!

You can see that  video here:
Video: Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka’s Harlem Home

So a welcome back to one cool family to the coolest city ever!

Hopefully this family will tire of their brownstone and the cold winters right at the perfect time of my retirement so Kevin and I can move right in.  I’ll probably need to put in an elevator, if there isn’t one already (the one downside of aging in a brownstone).

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for stopping by!  – kate

PS  I hope you’e all been entering every day…and don’t forget about the deal we made!


The Motherload of Vacation Homes–The HGTV 2015 Dream Home

It goes against my better judgement, but I feel I must tell you this…

Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.  Go directly to HGTV and enter to win their 2015 Dream Home in Martha’s Vineyard!  This house is pretty much everything I love about beach houses wrapped up one beautiful package (oh, and it also comes with a GMC Acadia Denali and $250,000…umm okay).

Seriously!!!!!?  I love everything about this house.  I love the circular gravel entrance that leads you to what looks like a small Cape Cod-style cottage that’s been added to over time.  I love the shutters, portico and painted clapboard in the middle portion, but my favorite beach homes are the ones that feature the white cedar shingles you see on the side additions.  I love when they change to a soft gray overtime to give that quintessential New England vibe.  I also really like the stone chimmneys and the architectural railings up top (they add a little twist with a chippendale-style feel).  So it comes with the car, but I didn’t notice any mention of the bikes.  I hope I get the bikes…

Shall we head inside?  First, here’s a lay of the land:

The Great Room and Kitchen:

The architects and designers nailed it in here.  The attention to detail is gorgeous.  And of course you cannot go wrong with a blue and white and sand color scheme in a New England beach house.  I love the recessed paneling everywhere and the timber beams show off the high ceilings.  Check out all the details, such as the built-ins with dark backs, the fireplace, and all the great accessories and furniture and fabric choices!!

Master Bedroom:

Now we are getting into more a sea-glass color in the master areas (yea, Kevin and I get a whole wing).  And yes there is another fireplace.  I love the chandelier and fabric trim.

Master Bathroom:

And my bathroom! Nice job on the curved ceiling and fixtures and marble choices!

Master Closet, Dressing Room and Private Patio:


Guest Bedroom, Bathroom and Patio:

Okay, I’m definitely partial to navy and orange (check out Kevie’s room) and it works perfect in this guest space.  Love the anchor and again the fabrics are killing me!  I also love that floor lamp!

Kids’ Bedroom, Bathroom and Patio:

Okay this is very cute, but once I move in I’m going to have figure this room out.  I’ve only got one little lady and a giant family (I mean what’s the point of a beach house if you can’t invite tons of family and friends up to enjoy it??  I can just picture the giant Lobster Bake going on on the back patio!)  I’m going to need a lot of bunks in here and there are a decent amount of walls with darn windows…hmmm, maybe I can work on a loft space with a ladder up to more beds.  I’ll start working on that… ;)

Powder Room and Laundry:

Love the neutrals here.

Now, welcome to my back yard!!!!!!

Back Patio:

Keep in mind the teak furniture is going to gray over time, just like the shingles.  I love everything about this, but I’ll probably have to add an outdoor fireplace/kitchen area as well.  Okay, now the doghouse is adorable!  Maybe I’ll even get a dog!?  (On second thought, who am I kidding?  I’m not getting a dog…I’ve got enough things to keep alive.  That settles it, the doghouse is going on eBay.  Let me know if you are interested.)

So there you have it.  What do you think?  It’s probably going to be mine, but you’ve got to be in it to win it, so you might as well give it a shot.  Enter HERE.

PS  If you do win, could I please have 2 weeks every summer?  I mean, I did share…

– kate


Let it Snow and Cozy on Up to the Fire–Some of My Favorite Fireplaces and Mantles

hedgerow7Laura Ashley

I love a good snow day!  And we escaped this one with only a couple of inches here in New Jersey!

Our fireplace will be roaring for the majority of the day and I thought I would use this snow day to exclaim my love of fireplaces.

I love traditional fireplaces,

Color/Fireplace/Bookshelves source

Westbrook Interiors

eclectic ones,

Step Inside an Interior Designer's Greenwich Village Town House • Ariel Ashe via @SavvyHomeAriel Ashe/Domino/photography by Brittany Ambridge


 and rustic ones.

Fireplace. Buffalo check.

Traditional Home


I’d love one in the bathroom,

100 Beautiful Bathrooms With A Copper Tub.  In my dreams!  Can you just imagine what the rest of this house must look like? source

 or in the bedroom.

Stephen Willrich Design

Alpine_Dancing-Hearts-5.jpg source

 I love them in the dining room,

One of the coziest dining rooms I've seen of late. Love the fireplace, the layering of the pictures above it, the windsor chairs in black and those luscious floors (why cover them with a rug?). Windsor Smith/House Beautiful

 the library,

erin gates design portfolio living roomErin Gates Design

 and the kitchen!

The Ultimate Cozy: Kitchen Fireplaces I'd love a fireplace in the kitchen, meat roasting on a spit!
Oz Architects

Sasha Seymour/House&Home

Sure, I’ll also take one in my awesome lighthouse wine cellar!!!!??

S.R. Gambrel

Have I mentioned I love fireplaces? :)

Stay warm!  I’ve got to go make some hot cocoa for the troops…

- kate

There’s a Storm A-Brewin’!

If you are on the east coast you’ve probably got your milk and eggs and wine already.

I keep reminding myself that I love living with 4 seasons…I mean come on, how boring is San Diego with it’s beautiful weather every single day?

We got this Jersey!

Now I’ve got 3 hours to get everything I need done for the next 2-3 days.  Ready, set, go!

Be safe. – kate

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Blog If I Want To!

Okay epic fail this holiday season if the goal was to blog!!  But it was a score if the goal was to spend so much time with family you couldn’t wait till they all headed to school and work! ;)

I had such high hopes for the New Year…and it’s already the 22nd!!!  So we are going to make believe that today is New Year’s Day and all my resolutions start NOW!  Technically, it is the first day of the year…at least for me.  Because it’s my Birthday!!!!

I do have high hopes for all aspects of my life as I settle into the 40’s for awhile.  I’m thinking along the lines of these goals:

Be kind work hard stay humble smile often stay loyal keep honest

I have one more class to take in the spring to get my Interior Design Certification, we are talking about some fun travel plans for the summer, I am mentally preparing myself to be a high school mom next year (!!!!) and I’m figuring out ways to expand my business in interior design and staging, while also having fun writing about stuff that excites me on this blog.  And that’s just a few of the things on my mind right now…

I’m trying to conscious about being more present at home (that’s also why you’ve seen me less here…) because I’m pretty sure the quote below isn’t referring to the internet. ;)


So I will keep trucking along here and thanks for trucking along with me.  Now if I could just figure out how to achieve this:

Happy New Year!!!!!  – kate

My Friday Christmas Brain

I hope your season is going well.  All is good here, just in crazy mode and having to remind myself of the reason for the season. :)

Here are some things I’ve been thinging about:

Carrie, from Cosy Carolina, asked me to participate in her dream virtual stocking series and it was so much fun!!!  Come on, you all know it’s kinda fun to dream big when there’s no budget involved!  Here are some of my more sane ideas:


Check out the whole post over at Cosy Carolina to see how BIG I dream!  What’s on your dream list?

And thank you Carrie…I love all the sweet friends I have met throughout the country from blogging!!

So are you all decorated for the holidays?  We had a crazy Thanksgiving weekend where in addition to spending time with family, we went to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade…

photo (8)

We continued our family tradition of cutting down our tree (with a thermos of hot chocolate)…

photo (9)

And of course we watched Elf!!!!

We also decorated the house and had friends over for a tree trimming party.

One of my favorite scenes is the dining room where I took an angel I’ve had for years but displayed her with blue and white goodness I collected from throughout the house.



I also ordered preserved boxwood wreaths from Ballard for the dining room and kitchen windows.

DSC_0040 DSC_0043

I love them and hope they last a couple of years!  (I just looked them up for you guys, but I think they must be out of the 12″ones, so here is the link for the 24″ version.)

I hope to get more photos from around the house before December 16th because I would love to link up HERE:

I can’t wait to see tons of decorating ideas from all these talented ladies!

Okay off to get a little shopping done before all hell break loose at 3 pm…I mean before my angels breeze through the doorway. :)

In the meantime here are two things that I thought you might like… The first is an awesome list of every Christmas special/movie airing from now until Christmas and what channel and time to record!  Hallelujah!!

 Holiday TV Guide 2014 | 97.1 WASH-FMHoliday TV Guide 2014 | 97.1 WASH-FM

And the second, I’ll leave you with a good cry this morning, since that’s what my friend Pete gave me when he posted this on Facebook.

Keeps it all in perspective.  Peace out and thanks for stopping by! – kate


Nap-Worthy Recliners on Thanksgiving

I can’t believe tomorrow is Thanksgiving!  Time just keeps racing on and wow do I have so much to be thankful for!!

So I was thinking about gorgeous tablescapes, but thankfully I’m not hosting…all I have to do is show up with The Pioneer Woman’s Pecan Pie :) …..

thanksgiving-willow-interiorsMartha Stewart

…but then got sidetracked by thinking about how you feel after Thanksgiving dinner!

National Nap Day

After the turkey takes it’s effect and the football is on…it’s all about the Nap!!  Now I’m usually not a big endorser of the recliner, but they have come a long way.  Here are some of my favorites:

Nap-Worthy Recliners- willow-interiors

1. Ethan Allen Randall Leather Recliner; 2. Crate and Barrel McAllister Leather Recliner; 3. Ethan Allen Paloma Recliner; 4. West Elm Sedgwick Recliner; 5. Arhaus Easton Upholstered Recliner

What do you think?  Do you like recliners?  Which is your favorite?  Feel free to pin these for a Christmas gift idea for your favorite man.

In addition to recliners, I was looking for the this fun Thanksgiving Banner that I had made last year.

how to make a thanksgiving banner/willow-interiors

You can see how to make this easy gift for yourself or others HERE.

So have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope you like the recliners.  Personally, I’d prefer to curl up into one of these:

velvet chaise/willow-interiors


Thanks for stopping by! – kate