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!



ORC Week 2 (Translation = Kate finally has a plan…now needs to act!)

Michael's Room/willow interiors
Hello all.  Want to see everything I’ve accomplished this week for Michael’s room?  Well, you’d have to get in my brain, because all I’ve got to show you are some plans that I need to start acting on pronto!  If you missed week 1, you can check it out HERE.
Here some components that I have decided on:
  • Paint choice is Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter (HC-172).
  • I am planning of building an industrial pipe bookshelf and desk (wish me luck!).
  • Hanging industrial cage lights in the “guitar corner”.
  • Artwork will include rock album covers and a cool vintage game fish map that I found years ago (it needs a lot of work to get it up on the wall).
  • I found that metal, wood and leather chest in Marshalls the other day and I’m hoping to use that as his nightstand.
  • If you are following along on Instagram, you saw I also found some scarves and shawls that I’m hoping to turn into soft pillows.
  • I’m trying to narrow down the perfect colors for plaid bedding.
So basically, I need to stay awake for the next 4 weeks if I have any hope in hell of getting this room up and running for Michael.
If you want to see people that actually have their act together check out all these amazing designers/bloggers HERE and HERE.
Thanks for stopping by! – kate

Table or Island? #537 on the First World Problems List

Scrolling through Facebook today I was reminded of a design favorite of mine:

willow interiors

If you were renovating, would you ever consider a large table instead of an island?  I love this look!  It has a very European feel.  Here are some of my favorites.

Beautiful Kitchens: Contrasting Cabinetssource

Wendi Young-lookalike kitchenWendi Young Design

Loi Thai, Tone on Tone

Bill Litchfield Designs

fabulous mixsource


Tim BarberTim Barber Ltd.

Open cabinetssource


white cabinets and black subway tile  benches and trellis table  black trim windows and doorssource

cool lightsource

white kitchen, marble counters, dark wood, lantern and tons of windows!source

table as islandsource

These were all in my Kitchen folder on Pinterest, so I guess I like this look.  Thanks for the reminder Traditional Home!  What do you think?

– kate

A Powder Room for the Birds

I made some changes to our half bathroom on the main level yesterday and then last night I had a dream and glanced into my future and saw this:

Bird Lady of Central Park

But I guess that’s better then ending up a cat lady:

You pet your lifeAnimal Hoarders

I’ve been hoarding birds, but thankfully only paper versions.  Now that I’ve collected enough of them I decided to add them to our main level powder room.

 powder room 1/willow interiors

This is a tight room to shoot, but it is a powder room off of our mudroom with a pocket door.

powder room2/willow interiors

Above the mirror, is my butterfly taxidermy (that freaks the kids out).  I found it while on a trip with my husband to Denver and the two birds over the mirror are from one of my local stores, Town Home and Garden, that I mentioned HERE.

powder room3/willow interiors

Over the toilet I was excited to hang my framed vintage birds.  I saw these in a consignment shop and left empty-handed.  I laid in bed that night picturing people going into the store and picking them off slowly by pairs or, horrifically, by ones!!  What a sad and lonely life for this family of birds!  So I had to go back and get them all! 🙂

powder room4/willow interiors

powder room5/willow interiors

The two long frames on either side of the sink are also consignment finds.

powder room7/willow interiors

powder room6/willow interiors

And I made the relaxed roman shade a couple of years ago with this fabric.

powder room8/willow interiors

The details in these prints are so pretty and the brass hanging rings shined up beautifully!

So, there’s my bird room.  Please be nice to me when I retire and spend my days on the park bench feeding and talking to my friends.

On a side note, we were recently telling the kids about this movie…imagine if we watched it!!  They would never use this bathroom again…hey, but then it wouldn’t get as dirty…hmmm. 🙂

The Birds (1963) Poster
Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds

Later, – kate

Combining Two Smaller Rugs–A Match Made in Heaven

combining two rugs/willow interiors

As my kids would say…”Epic Fail” in posting this week!

So let me show you a quick project I did a couple of months ago.  I’ve been holding off because there is so much more I want to do to our family room, but life isn’t perfect and neither is my family room.

We had this old rug from our condo days, it’s perfectly fine and it fit in the family room.  So that’s where it went…but it’s always bugged me.  I envision making our family room “funner” (sure that’s a word) than the rest of the more traditional 95-year old house we live in and this guy wasn’t cutting it…

willow interiorsSidenote: I know my fiddle leaf tree is dead.  My children tell me I have a black thumb (and that’s pretty accurate). 🙂  Meet Ralph… (his container now reads R.I.P. Ralph). 😦
RIP Ralph/willow interiors

So I had been on the hunt for a large “fun” rug.  I love Madeline Weinrib’s cotton, colorul rugs, but did not want to spend the money on something my kids literally eat ice cream on every Friday for Family Movie Night.  And then there’s the Something’s Gotta Give rug that I spied:

Something's Gotta Give in Architectural Dig/willow interiors

Y’all watch movies and freak out over the interiors, right?  That’s not weird or anything?  If not, rent this movie today or click here to see this entire beauty!  I could move in tomorrow and die happy. 🙂

So then started my obsession with dhurries (The Wikipedia gods will tell you that a dhurrie is a thick flat-woven rug or carpet used traditionally in India as floor-coverings.)

The brilliant people at Aspen Carpet Designs now sell their Beach House Striped Rug they say is inspired by the rug in that movie!!

9x12 Premium Dark/willow interiors

I was all set to order one and then walking through Home Goods. I saw these navy chevron rugs and fell in love!  But they weren’t large enough and then it hit me could I connect two…they were $50 each!!!  Worst case scenario, it was a $100 mistake…Sold!  I made sure the lines matched up right there in the store and headed home to figure it out.  I knew I wanted to tie blue and orange together because of the kids’ artwork that I had framed for the room.  I had also found a great large rustic orange tray for my ottoman so I was thinking orange.  Off to Michael’s for some orange yarn…

famroomrug/willow interiors

Here are the quick easy steps:

combining two rugs/willow interiors

Needed: yarn, large sewing needle, duct tape, ruler, sharpie and scissor

  • Flip the rugs over (making sure they are exactly how you want it to look) and duct tape them together.
  • Using a ruler, draw two straight lines an inch apart (so a half inch off the center).
  • Make hash-tags every inch down both lines.
  • Thread the yarn onto the large needle (I doubled threaded the yarn so it would be thicker).
  • Start one end, making a knot of the bottom side of the rug and then head up using whatever design you choose (i made x’s on the top side).  Knot securely at the end.
  • Voila!

So in the end my two 5×7 cotton dhurries got me a $100 10×7 rug that I can replace once it gets too much ice cream on it.

I forgot one tip…it can take awhile to sew so I recommend pairing the job with a nice Cabernet while enjoying above mentioned Friday Family Movie Night.

combining rugs/willow interiors

Thanks for stopping by! – kate

Traditional Decor and Contemporary Art — Perfect Together

Art is such a personal choice and it can also be a huge investment.  When thinking about what I gravitate towards, gallery walls filled with different art is definitely up there for me.  I’m currently finishing up a wall in our living room and I can’t wait to show you.  But recently I can’t get the idea of traditional decor paired with contemporary art, specifically one large piece.  Here’s what I mean:

trad decor + contemp art/willow interiorsKen Fulk

trad decor + contemp art/willow interiorsHamilton Design Associates

trad decor + contemp art/willow interiorsStephen Knollenberg

trad decor + contemp art/willow interiorssource unknown

trad decor + contemp art/willow interiorsDesigned by Tricia Roberts Design and seen HERE

trad decor + contemp art/willow interiorsSteven Sclaroff

 trad decor + contemp art/willow interiorssource unknown

trad decor + contemp art/willow interiorsMiles Redd

trad decor + contemp art/willow interiorsMiles Redd

trad decor + contemp art/willow interiorsArchitectural Digest/Alexa Hampton

trad decor + contemp art/willow interiorssource

Great, now I want to ditch the whole gallery wall and spend my kids’ college tuition on huge contemporary art!  So what do you think? Are you a fan of this look?

I also wanted to shout out a huge thank you to all my Facebook “likes” when I started my page the other day!!  Thank you!  And if you want to follow along, click HERE.  And if you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know that my family had a huge weekend…I’ve got another sister!!!  Welcome to the family Jessica and congratulations to Tommy and Jess!!!

wedding/willow interiors

Designer Crush — Palmer Weiss

I interrupt this ridiculously long summer break with a quick look at a designer I’ve been crushing on lately.  Palmer Weiss is based out of San Francisco and while she has nailed the west coast vibe in some of her designs, her southern, east coast roots shine through in all their beauty!  Most of her rooms are grounded in traditional lines, but are perked up with amazing color and juxtaposed with modern artwork.  Here are some of my favorites:

That runner, the dark staircase, lantern and large gilded mirror…gorgeous!

Those vintage bamboo chairs and that photo!  These people must love to entertain…instead of traditionally placing a large dining room table in the center of the room, these two tables are off to the side and the other side of the room has a huge bar!  You can reconfigure this room in many different ways based on the event…

Funky wallpaper and I love the lines, color and finishes of the bed and that nightstand!!

Just a really pretty room.

Adorable little girl’s nook!

Loving the lantern, fabric and wallpaper combo.

This is in a Lake Tahoe house…of course it is!!!!  I’m digging the spindled beds and bamboo nightstand coupled with the sleek side lamps.  Let’s not forget the little birdy prints (I have a thing for birds).

I’ve been dying to paint my current red door a dark blue, but I don’t think it will work because I also have black shutters on the upstairs windows.  This blue might work??

That mirror is awesome and I’m loving how these saturated colors loosen up this formal room.

Holy ceiling batman!  I read somewhere that she had 15 coats of glaze applied over the color.  Can you imagine the sheen at a cozy candlelit dinner party?  Navy velvet equals perfection in my book and I’m also loving the huge photo.

Love the grasscloth, velvet headboard, cool bench, traditional window treatments and mix of blues and greens.  And I’m also noticing that she always nails the lighting choices.

Love the Chippendale game table in the corner and the punch of color in the drapes.

Nailed the mid-century vibe with color, pattern and that photo!

This was a decorator showcase room for a teenage daughter.  Since Anna and I (finally) collaboratively finished her teenage room, I know the above room would make any teenager giddy and her mother thrilled (not an easy feat!).

all images from Palmer Weiss Portfolio

You can see more of her portfolio HERE and you can see her own home that was published in Lonny HERE (it has some of my favorite, more relaxed, looks from her).

Okay, this summer has been full steam ahead and we are finishing out with some more fun outings and a final trip to the beach.  Care to follow along?  It’s always around this time that I am craving a little structure so don’t tell my kids but I am kinda looking forward to (shhh!  in a whisper)…back to school!!!! 😉

See you on the flip side!  Thanks for stopping by!
– kate