Home & Garden

Leonia Organic Garden Tour

LeoniaOrganicGardenTour

You are invited to the Leonia Organic Garden Tour on Sunday… please come and visit us in our own backyard!

Our garden is one of 8 organic gardens open to the public.  All participating gardeners practice environmentally-friendly methods (without use of harmful chemicals) to make our plants thrive.  In return, our gardens help us to thrive!

We designed our garden, stone stairs, pond, terraces and special spaces to integrate with the home.  Over time, we have transformed our backyard into a private zen oasis.

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In the beginning, it was less zen (and more of a zero).

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But in it, we saw great potential…

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and with well-planted design ideas, our garden grew.

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It holds secret places a few steps away from the house…

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that are yours to discover this Sunday, June 11th from 12:00 -3:00PM.

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Contact Dan and John Life to bring your garden dreams to life.

P.S. John will be on hand to share his foraging know-how and point out some of his favorite wild edibles.

live. enjoy. repeat.

Farmhouse Kitchen – with a dash of red

Kitchen designed by Dan and John Life in South Orange, NJ.

To create this “urban farmhouse” style kitchen in South Orange, NJ, Dan and John Life envisioned a new layout that would optimize the former kitchen space for their clients.

The old kitchen had lost its charm (when cabinet doors and drawers refused to close, and tiles popped off the countertops).

In the redesign, counter space would be gained, and the range would no longer be jammed into the corner.  Instead the range would become the focal point, centered at the end of the space.

Kitchen and Living Room designed by Dan and John Life in South Orange, NJ.From the initial sketch, clients Michele and John loved the new design vision.

Kitchen Sketch SquareAnd they became very excited when we asked if they could picture the range in a bold accent color — instead of stainless steel.

Kitchen and Living Room designed by Dan and John Life in South Orange, NJ.Michele and John enthusiastically said “Red!”  And so, the Bertazzoni stove was the first appliance (and red the first color) our clients chose for their project.

The old kitchen cabinetry would be removed…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAto make room for new gray base cabinets and white upper cabinets (with white small brick subway tiles on the backsplash wall in between).

Kitchen and Living Room designed by Dan and John Life in South Orange, NJ.And the formerly tiled floor got a warm makeover with wide wood planks.

The quirky area under the stair…

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Kitchen and Living Room designed by Dan and John Life in South Orange, NJ. We guided Michele and John through all design decisions on their project, tailoring choices to our client’s preferences while maintaining the design vision.

The cluster of mason jar pendants is a perfectly styled lighting solution above their island (selected by Michele from Pottery Barn).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore design details are shown in the gallery below (hover over the thumbnail images to read captions).

We are our clients saying? … we “LOVE our new kitchen!”

Click here to read Michele’s review of Dan and John Life.

live.  enjoy.  repeat.

Photo credit and thanks to: James Leynse Photography for the great ‘after’ photos (excluding detail shots)

Jack Sews a Duvet Cover

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When the Waverly fabric for our new custom duvet cover arrived, Jack did not seem surprised by how much there was.

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He had already calculated it would take about 15 yards of fabric to make a king sized duvet cover (to fit his favorite bed).

However, when he realized that we were serious about him having to sew the duvet cover himself, Jack seemed a little worried.

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John reminded Jack of the agreement — Dan and John would buy the fabric of his choice, if he would make it into a duvet cover… remember?

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After his attempts to renegotiate failed, Jack was prepared to get started (he actually couldn’t wait to get his paws on the project).

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Taking pride in his work, the duvet cover was completed in no time.

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The end result is very satisfying…

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and quite snooze-inducing…

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especially on April Fool’s day.

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(Jack would like to add that he had some help from a seamstress we sourced on Etsy)

live. enjoy. repeat.

 

First Day of Spring Snowfall

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There was a beautiful snowfall today — the first day of Spring!  It inspired me to post these photos taken on March 5th (of the snowfall that we thought was going to be the last of the season).

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I experienced the same thing today that I did with the last snowfall.

I looked out every window…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand each view was as beautiful as the one before.

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By the time John and I got out to shovel,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwe had forgotten that we were ready for Spring and tired of snow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe just enjoyed being outside and part of it all.

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live. enjoy. repeat.

Stephanie’s Kitchen – Time for Change

We are delighted to see one of our recent design projects, Stephanie’s Kitchen, featured on Apartment Therapy !!!

Check out additional project photos in the gallery below.  Check out our Design Services here.

Unhappy with the feel and function of the kitchen in her cozy apartment, Stephanie was eager to make changes.  After we showed her how her space could be improved (see our Design Vision sketch below), we quickly got to work together implementing the ideas:

  • Relocated the clock outside!  Now the timepiece hangs in the window well, and the space feels like it has been extended 3 feet!
  • Increased counter space and storage by replacing two little cabinets with one BIG IKEA unit (fixing Stephanie’s biggest frustration — lack of counterspace)
  • Extended the wall cabinets with a custom open shelf unit – so wall storage is now as long as the new IKEA base unit below (a painted wood trim crown integrates the new shelving and old cabinets)
  • Concealed unsightly utility boxes and wires by adding open shelves for frequently used items like glassware and plates (and Gin)
  • Installed undercabinet lighting and painted the backsplash wall area a taupe color (similar to the color of adjacent wall tile above the range)
  • Painted blue accent wall with Benjamin Moore ‘chalkboard’ paint (Stephanie can get creative and refresh the look whenever she is inspired)
  • Inspired by our Spice Drawer design, Stephanie did her own version
  • We loved Stephanie’s idea to add the deer (named Everett) and a bit of whimsy
  • And she loved our idea to cut a hole in the back of her decorative birdhouse to cover an electrical receptacle (so she no longer sees the pendant light plug sticking out of the wall when sitting at her kitchen table)

 

 

Bedroom Suite

(Click on the photos to view larger)

Inspired by our clients love of the Southwest, we transformed this bedroom suite with a new color palette and textures, giving a fresh look to photographs and artwork collected over the years (plus one new piece, see Wake Up to a Beautiful View).

A formerly lopsided condition due to a masonry mass in the corner to the right of the bed (see before photo) was balanced by building out a bit of wall on the left side – turning a room with a lump in one corner into a room with an alcove.

Balance was further enhanced in the bed alcove with paired furnishings including mission-style wall lanterns and side tables, and two cloth art pieces that are actually different sizes, but with custom mats are now contained in matching frames.

Please see the comment below posted by our client Lynn Baum.

Dwell Magazine Features Dan and John’s Kitchen

Check out the article “Jersey Fresh” in Dwell magazine featuring a great Dan and John Life project — their own home renovation and kitchen design.

Photos from the article are shown in the gallery below.  The black and white images are “Before” photos.  The beautiful color images were taken by photographer Brian W. Ferry.

 

Dwell Is Here!

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Jack alerted us as soon as the mailman dropped the November issue of Dwell through our letter box today,

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and then he proceeded to hog the magazine.

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He loves page 68… with his photo.

Get your own copy (available any day now) at Barnes & Noble, Whole Foods, and fine newsstands throughout the US!

live. enjoy. repeat.

Countdown to Dwell!

Jack thought of Dwell FB

The writer at Dwell magazine has told us the November issue — with a feature on our kitchen — will be available at stores and newsstands on October 14th (Dan’s birthday)!

Needless to say, Dan, Jack, and I can’t stop thinking about it…

live. enjoy. repeat.

Time for a Little Color

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When John and I finished a design session with Emily and Yiannis recently, we all ended up in the kitchen.  They had just moved into their first apartment together in Brooklyn and sought our guidance.

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It was in the kitchen, after a glass of wine, that we cooked up the idea to make their place our temporary home.

Having unpacked only some of their boxes, Emily and Yiannis were going away, with no time to set up house.  So, while they went traveling to Portugal and Greece (Yiannis’ home country), John, Jack, and I occupied their place for a few days to check out the Brooklyn scene, and implement some of our design ideas.

The kitchen is one of three rooms we tackled.  It is large by NYC standards and has good natural light,


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but it also has some design challenges:

  • the finishes in the room are old and the space looks a little tired — the walls are tiled and painted white, with some black tile accents, cabinets and furniture are wood-toned, and so is the floor (the room lacks color)
  • a large built-in hutch is awkward to access (due to the location of a big refrigerator) and has open shelving (with potential to be unsightly if items are not thoughtfully displayed)
  • it’s a rental apartment, and the improvement budget is very limited

We soon got creative and came up with some low cost solutions.

John organized the hutch, moving pantry items into closed storage, and displaying dish ware and glassware on the open shelves.


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Next to the stove, he installed a wall caddy to hold cooking oils and spices within easy reach.


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The caddy is designed to hang in a shower, but when I saw it in a local store, I knew it would be a great solution for the narrow space between the stove and sink.

OK, it’s time for a little COLOR!

To keep on budget, we had to add color accents strategically.  I bought a quart of Benjamin Moore “Cool Blue” in a high gloss finish.


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John painted two of the kitchen chairs…


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the round frame of a wall clock…


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and a picture frame.


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Then we took a refreshment break while waiting for the paint to dry.


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During our break, John saw decorative potential in the extra leaves for the kitchen table that were leaning against the fridge (and in the way).


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Relocated to a ledge above the fridge and stove,


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the slatted panels look great and provide visual balance to the wood cupboards located further along the wall.

We used the freshly painted frame for a photo of an olive merchant that Yiannis had in the apartment.


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The framed photo introduces the blue accent color and adds another layer of interest to this wall.

And in this view, the blue painted clock, a table runner and paper napkins, all from IKEA, compliment the two painted chairs.


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We considered getting a blue accent collar for Jack, but thought we had better tally our expenditure first.

$20  Paint
8  Frame
11  Clock
18 Wall Caddy
7 Table Runner
2 Paper Napkins

$66 TOTAL

We decided not to splurge on the collar (sorry Jack) and instead turned our attention to an ironing board found in a back room; it was already blue at no charge.  We knew the perfect spot for it in the kitchen.


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Jack thinks we added just the right amount of color for Emily and Yiannis.  It transformed the kitchen they left behind…

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into one that would be a welcomed sight for a couple traveling home from the Greek islands.

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live. enjoy. repeat.