Category Archives: Spaces

And Over Here In Project Planning Land …

The first quarter of 2017 is such a blur.
But I gotta say, it was (and continues to be) a productive and rather focused season in the studio. We’re gearing up to release loads of new music with a bunch of fantastically talented artists – and we’re excited to share!!

Meanwhile, as Bobby’s been holed up at CatBeach – doing his thing, I’ve been in project planning mode (one of my favorite places to be). I’m still working on initial details on a bunch of plans, but I just can’t wait to get started…so, I thought I’d give a few sneaks…1) First up is this super fun shipping container retrofit that we’re installing on the side of our house, overlooking a huge canyon and the LA city lights. The container will be a multi-use space primarily focused as a writing room, complete with a set up to record vocals. Bobby and our friend Craig, of Rook and Render, dreamt up this whole thing last year. And I laughed. These two have LOT’S of ideas and this was just one that I figured would come and go. And then, I received this little mock-up. And I knew…this thing is happening. And now, here we are…fine-tuning some details and hopefully placing an order for a new shipping container this week!

 

2) Behind the scenes, I am working on a little re-branding of Catbeach Music. We love our hand drawings of Bobby and some of his gear, which is the mark in our logo, but we’re looking to freshen it up a bit with new lettering and color palette. And I’ve got a new website and catalog database in the works as well. I just love the way these little details can come together to launch our business to the next level.

 

3) If you’ve been following along here on Records, Rockets and Rosemary, you know that we’ve been working on a house remodel for a few years, which started with a dream to create an indoor-outdoor living space. This project got stuck in the city planning department, so we put it on hold for about a year. But our plans are back at the city, complete with a new drainage plan for the entire property. We’re hoping to break ground with a two-week demo schedule starting in May.

 

4) And lastly, I’m learning all about designing rooms for accessibility – making spaces comfortable and useable for everyone. “The Accessible Home” by Deborah Pierce is a great resource.  We’re looking at ways to make my brother-in-law’s home a better fit for his lifestyle. We just installed this elevator lift and we have plans to modernize his bathrooms and kitchen. So fun!!

I’m just getting started on all of these projects. I’ll post details along the way, so follow here and let me know if you have any questions about the planning, process, or vendors!



How Many People Does It Take To Hang A Light?

How many people does it take to hang a light?   Well, in our case 6. It took SIX people and four months to hang our new pendant lights.

So, I do realize that hanging pendant lights in a kitchen is a very normal and very easy project. Normal and easy that is, when the lights are normal…and easy. But not normal and easy when you are me, and this me picks out not normal and not easy pendant lights.

I, instead, picked out beautifully cast brass lights, which were handcrafted at Futagami, a brass foundry in Japan. When my lights arrived last summer, I could hardly hold back my glee. We hadn’t even started demo on our kitchen, but I would regularly take them out of their little resting box and picture them hanging over the island, offering a very kind and welcoming light.

What I did not know in all of my glee, was how difficult installing these lights would prove to be. There were a series of problems that we had to work through.  And it took a small army of people to find solutions. While I loved the idea that these gorgeous art pieces came all the way across the world from a distant land via an ancient practice…that, in fact, was also the source of most of our install issues.

1. To start, the lights were delivered without any electrical housing or wiring – as you can see from the pic above of the lights straight out of their delivery box. So I valiantly sat myself down in front of the computer and searched until I found the pieces that we needed from Vintage Wire and Supply. *Note: Person Number 1 (Me!). I chose a twisted wire with bronze antique housing and cord grips. Here’s a pic of the new wiring:

And, then we discovered a series of problems, all of which were beyond my excellent internet searching skills: 

To resolve the next few issues, Bobby and our contractor Craig, both searched high and low for non-standard mounting pipe sizes, metric threaded pipes, and just in case that didn’t work, alternate cross bar and junction box sizes. I’m pretty sure they went to every electrical store in Los Angeles. And they returned with lot’s of options. None of which worked. *sigh*
*For the record, that is Persons 2 and 3. And Person 4 was an electrician, who, in the meantime, cut the drywall holes for the junction boxes and pulled the wiring to the holes. 

And then, we were stuck.

And, as has happened many times in my life, it was Dad to the rescue. I was complaining about all of the barriers I was facing, and he asked me to bring all of the pieces up to his shop in Ventura. We did so. And then ran the other way…

A few week’s later, Bobby and I went to visit him and get an update. To our surprise, we didn’t just get an update, we got solutions!

To start, he fabricated these circular white plates from a metal sign he found by the side of the road. The plates would go in between the canopy and the drywall and would cover the junction box hole. Problem #2 solved!

Then, he showed us how he cut down a special crossbar that he found, which matched the thread on these special brass pipes that he also found. All that was left to do, was to re-thread the canopy so it would fit the pipe and the crossbar. Problems 3 and 4 – check! 

It was at this point that my Dad passed the baton to my oldest brother Dave, another problem solver and ultimate optimist. He tackled the last problem regarding the junction box hole and finished out the install.

Dave has this handy tool…a saw that shaves out a specific depth of wood. So he set the saw to a depth that would be sufficient to house the box and began shaving.  And me. I helped. I can hold a flashlight like nobody’s business.  Problem 5 – solved, check, done!

All that was left to do was to wire the lights, set the junction boxes and plates over the holes and set the lights to the right matching height. 

Here you can see how the plates blend right in to the ceiling. A little caulking will easily hide the shadow at the edge of the plate:

Moment of truth…go to closet, get some light bulbs…and yes…we have light!

I woke up the next morning, and found a return to the glee I had when I first set my eyes on these beauts.
4 months and 6 people later. It took a team of creative thinkers. People who didn’t require me to take the easy way out (as in – return these crazy lights and buy standard lights from Lamps Plus). That is how many people it takes. 6 creative and handy people. And I love them all so much (well, maybe not the electrician…).

Thanks for stopping by. Read more about this remodel here!



Soapstone Love

The best part of a remodel is, of course, picking out the finishes. We knew we wanted to focus on white oak for the cabinets, which would blend in beautifully with the lightened pine floors. But it took us a few go arounds to finally land on the material for the counters. We wanted to keep the kitchen rustic, with a modern touch. We liked the look of concrete, but felt like it was maybe a bit too hard. We wanted a natural stone rather than synthetic. We wanted something with a bit of movement in it’s finish, nothing too sleek. And we wanted the color palette to remain neutral.

We were introduced to the idea of soapstone, a natural metamorphic rock, that contains talc and magnesium. There are harvests of gray, gray-green and black colored stone, with beautiful lines of talc running through the slabs. We discovered that soapstone is an ancient stone that has been used in science labs for centuries due to it’s durability and it’s ability to withstand bacteria from raw foods and can handle great variances in temperature. AND the best part, it’s virtually maintenance free. Soap and water…that’s it!

I researched the few local distributors of soapstone, and found one in Ventura that grabbed my attention. Stone West has loads of different slabs and lot’s of the stone. And they also explained that you can either finish the stone with an oil, which makes it darker and sleeker, and hides grease stains, OR you can leave the stone at it’s natural finish.  I decided to take a drive up the coast and check out their stock. Here are some samples…you’ll notice that they range in color from lighter gray, to green-y gray and even black:
We ended up choosing a slab of Barroca soapstone, which comes from Brazil. Here’s our slab in the raw: 

And just a few weeks later, it was delivered to us, cut and honed, with a flat corner edge. Here are some pics of the install:  

And here is the final product. We love them so so much! If you are looking for a rustic alternative to concrete, granite or marble – check out some soapstone! 

Check out more info on our remodel…!



Stuck On These Cabinets

cabs5Welcome to my Writer’s Block. Or let’s call it my own personal War of Art. Or perhaps I will just start by simply saying, I’m stuck…I don’t know how to begin this post, and I don’t know exactly how to say what I want to say.

This post is about our new kitchen cabinets – the focal point and foundation of our kitchen remodel. And the truth is, I’ve been thinking about this particular post since I started blogging. And I haven’t posted anything in two weeks because I’ve been just thinking about this one post.

Without sounding too precious, I love these cabinets so much, and I feel immense pressure to honor them and the artisans who built them, by capturing all of their beautiful details in just the right way.  Ok…I know…that is slightly over the top. But, I don’t care. I love them. And my stuck-ness is because I love them. I am stuck on them. I am stuck on my kitchen cabinets.

So, here I am, sitting at my computer. Still stuck. And I need to just power through and write…just get on with it.  This is just a post about kitchen cabinets after all!  So here goes:

Our kitchen remod began, as all good remods do, with hours and hours on Pinterest. I was drawn to the rustic-nordic-modern designs, and found a number of beautiful bespoke cabinet designs that I loved…that were unfortunately built in England…like this beauty from Plain English Design:20_pe_osea_2-1-1145x763

Or this lovely from DeVol Kitchensdevol-shaker-1

We actually looked into working with these companies, but in the end, between labor + materials + shipping, it was above our price point. I’ve since heard that both of these companies are beginning to deal directly to the US, and I would highly recommend them!

After months of dreaming and pinning, we sat down with our contractor, Craig, to chat about this particular design direction. We had met with different local millworkers to discuss our project – but I kept getting cold feet. I really liked the rustic nature of bespoke shaker cabinets, but I was afraid that something would be lost in translation and that we would end up with cabinets that were more standard contemporary and not rustic. The lines were just too close for me. In the end, Bobby and Craig encouraged me to really go after what I wanted…not to settle. And that is what I did. I went back to the Pinterest/World Wide Web drawing board, and I found my ultimate design inspiration from an article about Rene Redzepi’s home kitchen. Rene is the chef of a restaurant in Denmark called Noma that we hope to visit someday. He enlisted Garde Hvalsoe to build his cabinets…and I just fell in love with their unique millwork and design. I hadn’t really seen anything like it before – and I could visualize the way it would come together in our home.  But once again, this company is based in Europe.  *hmph*

So, with Bobby and Craig’s encouragement sitting fresh in my mind, I drew up my own plans for white-oak cabinets with dovetail details, lot’s of drawers for my daily-use items, open shelves, and huge storage spaces inside the island and pantry.  Craig brought in a killer artisan millworker, Carlos Lopez, who completely understood what we were going for.  This guy is designing and building for some of the best new restaurant start-ups in L.A. And somehow, we were able to get his team in on our project and they were able to bring my dream kitchen into reality.

Finally, I’m so excited to share some pics of the cabinets and our almost complete kitchen!   I’ll start with the island – it’s the perfect place to congregate while we’re cooking…and I can’t even explain the vast amounts of storage space that it provides: cabs4

The other side of the island is my working triangle between the sink, refrigerator, and stovetop. It also has a new warming drawer, dishwasher and open shelves for cutting boards and cookbooks:
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The bank of cabinets along the wall is made up of all drawers on each side of the stove/oven combo. We found that the drawers actually make storage of daily items more accessible and organized. At the end of the wall is a beautiful pantry with pull-out drawers and shelves for things we want to keep out of the way, like the microwave:
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We added in this great little seating area next to the island, in front of the tri-fold doors, which now open to the patio – it’s the perfect spot for our morning coffee! You can also see a preview of our temporary redwood steps (new patio will be in remodel phase 2 – coming in 2017), and our new exterior paint color: cabs8cabs9cabs14Oh my gosh. It feels so good to finally share these cabinet details with y’all. If you want to read more about our kitchen remod, check out some of my other posts!  And some serious thanks to Craig and Carlos for their beautiful workmanship!!!



Refinishing Floors: Not Glamorous But High Impact.

floors1

About half way through demoing our living room and kitchen, our contractor mentioned that our floors were going to need some serious work…there were repairs to some of the planks and we needed to lace in new planks to fill areas previously covered by cabinets. That led us to address some serious concerns about the yellowed-out finish of the floors – how would that look with our new white oak cabinets? And…while we were at it, the ceiling beams needed to be sandblasted to bring out their natural color.

Welcome to Project Creep.

I should be honest here. The project manager in me was 100% against these ideas. We hadn’t budgeted or prepared for this costly and messy plan. I knew this would probably double the timeframe of the remodel and I was not happy about the last minute clearing of 3/4 of our furniture into the garage.

Thankfully, my husband, who naturally explores ideas with great creativity and freedom,  gently pushed me to see the importance of tackling the floors and the beams. He explained that in the end these would be the finishing touches that would pull our whole vision together. And that even though we didn’t plan for it, now was the perfect time to do it – we were already living like we were back in a dorm room…so let’s just go for it!

Our first step was to find more pieces of our existing wood floors – a Southern Yellow Pine. We were able to track down the company, Authentic Reclaimed Flooring, where the original planks came from. We needed about 200 sq. feet, which they were able to send out to us the next day.

What I didn’t know, was to make sure that the delivery included a pallet jack delivery all the way into our house. Instead, the driver pulled the pallets off the truck and dropped them in the driveway, leaving them for us to deal with. Rookie move. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, these gardening shears did not cut the metal ties… floors2Bobby to the rescue…tin snips…that’s how you cut metal ties… floors3 floors4 floors5While Bobby brought in the lumber, I secured some help to pack up the kitchen items. Those would be the same kitchen items that I had previously moved into the dining room. My great initial strategy to avoid packing everything up, turned into double the work. I only cussed once. Or twice.  floors14Next, time to move all of the furniture to the garage…thankful for friends…floors15And now, let the fun begin…
Our contractor, Craig, outlined the needed repairs with Francisco – perhaps the most diligent and hard working flooring specialist around. First step was to fill in all of the open sub-flooring areas, then replace any damaged planks with new: floors6 floors7 floors8This was the last we saw of our floors before we packed up our pups and hightailed it right on out of town. It’s ok, let the sand fly, we’ll be here for the next month (at my in-laws house!):floors13We received some photo updates along the way…new planks laced in to the old:floors16Bringing in new planks right up to the new cabinets:floors17Next Francisco began the refinishing, by first sanding off all of the old varnish:floors9After he sanded the floors a few times, he had to break for the ceiling sandblasting. We don’t have any pictures of the sandblast process, but basically, just picture sand being blasted at full speed and power, at the ceiling. No big deal.
Anyway, once that was all done, Francisco returned to add 2 coats of Bona’s Nordic Tone to create a whitewashed effect and to keep the floors from yellowing: floors18He finished with another two coats of polyurethane for some protection:
floors10 floors11And now…this is the part of the story, where I look up at the beautiful rustic beams, and I look down at the gorgeous whitewashed pine floors, and I acknowledge that my husband is a genius…I can’t even explain how much I love the results.
And yes, it was all worth it! floors12See the full progress on our house remodel here.



Window Splurge

One of the features that drew us to our home was the panoramic view from the main living space, kitchen and dining room. It’s something that we are extremely thankful for and appreciate every single day.

We have some pretty great picture windows to frame that view. But what can I say, we wanted more! So our kitchen remodel actually began with some new windows – which would not only increase our sight lines, but would also be the first step in creating an indoor-outdoor living space.
Here are the two main changes we set out to make: windows2 windows4

Our contractor, Craig Gore, brought out my favorite dynamic duo, Chase and Perkins, from Perkins Construction, to handle the window install. We picked out a beautiful tri-fold door from La Cantina and a Milgard picture window + awning  window unit.
We began with the La Cantina trifold.  First step: removing the wood siding and preparing to cut into the wall. Note: it was at about this moment that we found out about the subterranean termites who had been squatting inside the walls (Unforeseen Issue #1). Cut to me heading straight to the phone to secure termite treatment.
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After conferencing about the termites, the old window came out, and the guys cut the new hole. Next up, waterproofing the new opening with flashing: windows7

Due to the size, weight and movement of the tri-fold panel door system, we had to install an 8′ structural header: windows9

The guys laid out the frame for the tri-fold door before the final install. And Chase is just about ready to tear down the siding for the new Milgard window: windows10

Unfortunately, when they went to install the Milgard, Perkins discovered that the frame had been damaged during delivery. So, instead of the new window, we had a nice boarded up window until a Milgard rep could come take a look (Unforeseen Issue #2). Between the plywood and the trash pile, I’m sure the neighbors were beginning to mumble amongst themselves:windows14

About a week later, Milgard sent out a team to come look at the window frame. I showed them out to the garage, where the window was stored. I went back inside, and just about one minute later I heard a nice loud crash (Unforeseen Issue #3):windows21

I’m not exactly sure what happened there, but I’ll just leave it at that.
About 10 days later, the new window was delivered (Thanks Milgard!), and the plywood was gone:windows15 windows16

Thankfully, we didn’t run into any unforeseen issues with the La Cantina door. Here it is with it’s gorgeous bronze finish on the exterior. And the black flashing gave us a good idea of what this side of the house would look like if we painted it charcoal (eeee! dare we!?):
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Lyle and Phoebe were instant fans of the big huge opening that the doors provide…they don’t mind the two foot drop, but alas, stage 2 of this remodel will be pouring a new patio to be flush with the house.  windows13

Bobby is also a fan of the open indoor-outdoor feel. This was a calm moment before the final kitchen demo:
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And finally, here is the La Cantina after demo…looking all beautiful and happy.windows18

One thing to be sure of when you start a remodel, there will be unforeseen issues. So remember to just breathe…it’s not the end of the world…and choose to exercise grace and patience! This will carry you through to each moment, when your project starts coming together – and it’s even better than you thought it would be!

See all the progress on our house remodel here.



Rewiring Our Creativity

studiorewire3Earlier this year, we decided that it was time for a major overhaul in Bobby’s recording space, CatBeach Studio. He was running into issues with software upgrades and hardware compatibility, not to mention the wiring throughout the studio needed some love and care. Bobby spent months researching gear and thinking through the right workflow for this particular space and his recording and producing needs.

The first piece of gear that Bobby decided on was the Neve 5060 Centerpiece Desktop Mixer. It’s analog, class-A circuitry definitely ups the quality of the monitoring signal path in the studio and gives great flexibility for summing audio in the analog realm. Just running the source tracks through the tried and true Neve transformers makes everything sound bigger and better. The board has a nice transport control for Pro Tools and also, can we all just note how ridiculously cool it’s design is!? 5060-straight-tall-1024x722To work alongside the Neve, Bobby bought two Avid Artist Mixes, basically providing hands on control with Pro Tools. For many producers and mixers, including Bobby, it’s important to have a nice tactile surface for fader and pan controls, without using a standard mouse. We decided to install two of these, which work together to give 16 physical faders that can be banked, allowing access to the maximum number of PT channels that each session requires.

artistmix_stackedAfter picking out the main pieces, we decided that we wanted to have a custom desk built that would accommodate the modules while giving them a built-in look. We found this incredible millwork artisan, Brandon at Monkwood Studio. He was game to come up with a solution to fit these pieces in to a custom walnut desk. I dropped by his shop in Fullerton, CA to get a sneak peak and saw the beautiful maple slab that he formed into the main desk unit. He showed me his plans for the custom pieces and how they would fit onto the main desk. And…check out his shark-shaped tool wall. studiorewire9studiorewire8studiorewire7Brandon delivered the desk with two rackgear units that each have 6 rack spaces. Lot’s of room and flexibility to determine the best workflow, right at Bobby’s fingertips. studiorewire6After playing around with configuration options, here’s what we put in each rackgear unit on top of the desk: 1) For recording guitars, the signal flow includes: BAE 512A mic pre’s and Chandler TG2 mic pre’s;  2) For recording vocals, the signal flow includes: Vintech X73 mic pre into the vintage UREI 1176 (in wall rack), into an Inward Connections Brute limiter. Also, notice how the two Artist Mixes and the Neve console can easily be removed from the desktop if needed. Thanks Brandon! studiorewire4As we were determining workflow, we pulled up the flooring and pulled out all of the old wiring. We installed new patch bays and cable runs which allows for greater future flexibility and better overall work flow.  It’s amazing how much wiring we ran under the floor to accommodate new gear, and even just to reposition gear in the room.studiorewire5And finally, we made new cable runs from the racks on the desk to the new patch bays in the wall racks. The rack in the picture above features the Apogee Symphony – another new addition. This rack also features a mix of vintage units: Gates Sta-Level, old Telefunken EQ’s and pre’s, and an old Blackface 1176, with modern units: Manley Elop and Massive Passive,  and an Empirical Labs Distressor.studiorewire10studio2 studio3At the end of this project, we sat back and marveled at the craftsmanship and beauty of the studio and recognized that the creativity of other artisans could breed creativity in us, if we let it. Rather than shying away from the change, or staying stuck in our own workflow and systems, we chose to embrace, and even encouraged, a new way.
So, all of the work that went into creating each piece of gear and fitting it perfectly together, is now all working to breathe new life into Bobby’s songwriting, guitar-playing and producing. This guy is inspired with new sounds and stretched to investigate new ideas. We can’t wait to start sharing the sounds and songs coming out of the fresh and sparkly CatBeach Studio!

Check out more details on the CatBeach Studio Project.



Impatience Is A Virtue

impatience1I am not a patient person. It is perhaps the worst of my fatal flaws. Often times I make decisions simply because I want a decision to be made, not because I have taken time to think through the possible options.
I think my impatience stems from a serious hate of waiting. Waiting is the worst. The worst.  I remember having the biggest baddest tantrum of all time out in front of the public library when I was about 6 years old….because the library was not open…yet. I think my mom wanted to leave to take me to the movie theatre and was offering to bring me back to the library after the movie…but I was inconsolable. I had my heart set on going to the library and nothing else would do. My poor mom.

Somehow, I married the most patient man I’ve ever met. Bobby sails through life, without placing any pressure on people or situations. Through our various renovations, he is always a picture of calm…so whenever we get the inevitable, “it won’t be here for another week” notice, I look to him to set the tone in response and I try my best to copy his demeanor.

Now…without going so far as to brag about my ultimate character downfall, I have to say, there are times when my severe impatience works for me. It’s true, impatience can actually be a virtue – at least according to Jim Stone, PhD and Psychology Today. The good doctor says that impatience is “triggered under certain circumstances, which motivates specific kinds of decisive action.” That’s a good thing-right!? He also finds that impatience can motivate us to switch our goals, and can benefit us if we see that a project is going nowhere or is stuck, and we accept it, move on and start working on something else.

I found myself in this very circumstance earlier this year, when our outdoor landscape project was at an indefinite standstill.  Once we had decided to remove the infamous hedge, we hired an architect and ended up broadening the scope of the project to an entirely new patio, a garage-to-studio conversion, a new garage, new driveway and the landscape. The project was now stuck in the city’s plan check and neighborhood review, and I was beginning to lose my mind in all of the minutia and snail’s pace.  Bobby would hear me mumbling to myself on more than one or nine occasions: “All I freaking wanted was to get rid of that stupid hedge.”

I was at the end of my patience rope, and I marched out to the living room to declare to Bobby that we had to move on. I assured him that I would continue pushing our outside project down the line with the city, but that I was going to start a full kitchen remodel immediately. Within the week, we had a bid from our contractor and thus began our new project.

And 5 months later, here we are…DEMO days! impatience2 impatience3impatience5impatience6impatience7impatience8impatience9impatience10impatience11impatience12More to come on the planning and design. Stay tuned!
For more on this house remodel, check out:
Why Demo A Perfectly Good Kitchen
The Hedge



Why Demo A Perfectly Good Kitchen?

Kitchen-before-3For those of you following along, you’ll remember that whole story about the hedge. I’m going to come back to that in future posts, but today, I’m jumping ahead about 9 months and bringing us into the present.
We are in the middle of a kitchen – living room remodel. When we began the project, we interviewed a number of contractors and their various trades, and we would consistently get confused stares when they walked into our house.

‘You’re planning to demo this kitchen???  Why would you do that??’

Check out our kitchen and living room before pics and you may be asking yourself the same questions…Island-Before

Kitchen-Before-2Living-BeforeLiving-Room-BeforeI have to admit, this caused us to stop in our tracks and question our plans and motives. What exactly were we chasing? Was this a ridiculous waste of money? Were we trying to keep up with some imaginary family out there who seemingly had everything we always wanted?

We took time to sort through these questions which helped us to narrow down our goals and set a design direction that would prove to be key to the whole process.

First, we realized that our desire was to create a space that reflected ‘us’. While researching styles and finishes, we found that we could easily end up with the same exact kitchen…just a slightly updated version of it. Don’t get me wrong, along with you, I love a beautiful set of shaker cabinets, coupled with a marble countertop…but I’ve always had the desire to be slightly different than prevailing trends. So we got really excited when we freed ourselves up to fight for whimsical and unique finishes, complemented with modern, clean lines and honest textures and surfaces.

Second, we identified some major design and functionality issues that needed correction, the biggest of which was in the open floor plan. The kitchen overall and the spaces between counters were actually too wide, leaving a lot of open, unusable floor space, and creating a very inefficient work triangle. And the living room, though nice-sized was slightly too small…it was a little bit too big for what it was and a little bit too small for something more. We decided to rearrange the kitchen layout while also taking some space from it and adding it to the living room.
The next major issue was that cabinets lined every single wall in the kitchen and living room.  We didn’t have any wall space. Not a single wall. That may not seem like a big deal, but that means we would have to subscribe to the cabinets being our only sense of creativity or personality f.o.r.e.v.e.r. …No chance of changing things up with a new piece of art or interesting found objects.  The minute we began talking about removing the cabinets, I felt like I could breathe easier…it was like I could see the whole space becoming lighter. The cabinets, along with the hedge…goners!
And the last thing to be addressed were our double doors leading down and out to the patio. Patio-Steps-beforeI’m not sure how to describe the doors and the steps they led out to, other than to say that they were ill-conceived. One designer looked us right in the eye and declared that the whole step-door situation was ‘disturbing‘.  At first I was sort of offended, but then I understood…there was something about the layout that made the whole patio uninviting. We’ve had many dinner parties with the double doors wide open, but our guests remained inside each and every time. It was as if the steps held some sort of imaginary barrier keeping people locked away from the scary outdoors.  So, we decided to make a wider opening to the patio…and to raise the entire patio about 2-1/2 feet to meet the raised foundation level of the house – so eventually, it will be a true indoor-outdoor space…and now we’re talking a whole second stage to our project…and that’s a whole other story….I hope you join me for all of the fun and somewhat daunting tidbits!



The Power Of Fresh Paint

Studio-BeforeWe set plans in motion at the beginning of this year to upgrade Bobby’s recording space, CatBeach Studio.

After months of research, we purchased the new rig, new components, new wiring, and a few specialty items (details to come in a later post!). We spent weeks rendering the specifics of the workflow and how it would best be accomplished through the wall rack spaces and through potential new desk rack spaces.

After looking at a multitude of new studio desks, we decided to commission a local millworker to build a custom desk for the new rig.  And with the commission, came a wait time of a few months…to be expected for the custom order. So, there we were with all of the new gear and it’s wiring, sitting in the garage, just…waiting.

Anyone who knows me, knows that once I’ve instigated a project, I have a hard time waiting. I like to see progress. I like the movement and experience of the gradual change that comes with each step.  So, I decided to switch around the project schedule a bit, to grant me some much needed project satisfaction. I attacked the final interior design decisions, which definitely gave us the feeling of being in an entirely new space.

Check out the Before + During + Afters here:
Here is the CatBeach Studio control room before pic. As our loving studio-rat/bass-monkey/taste-maker, Jonathan Ahrens said, ‘something about the studio brought us all right back to the set of ‘Friends’, circa 1996.’ CatBeach-Studio-Before

Can’t you just picture Ross and Rachel now…?

Ok, so I addressed the couch first. The little 80’s heart-shaped love seat was actually ridiculously comfortable…so it was hard to say goodbye, but well, it was time…oh, and those arms – they took up half of the room! We replaced it with a 6′ leather sofa from RH…perfect for the space…this picture is a luxurious 8′, but you get the idea:
Sorensen Couch

The next major thing to address was the wall color in the control room and hallways. The walls were various shades of happy yellows and greens.  It was time to change the mood. I wanted to go with something more dramatic, that would bring out the beautiful wood grain in the wall racks and in the new desk. We deliberated over 3 potential shades:Studio paint Color

In the end, we went with the one in the middle – Benjamin Moore’s Baby Seal Black.
And then, the final detail for this step in the project, was to update the white registers on the wall. We decided on some hefty mission-style chrome registers from Signature Hardware. I forgot to order them in brushed stainless, which led to this little Saturday morning project:Studio-Register

We installed the registers in their newly painted walls…and that was all I needed to feel the rush of satisfaction and a sense that this Studio Remod was moving forward. Here’s a sneak peak of the studio to this point:
Studio-Couch

Studio-Paint

Our friend, Daena Jay, loves it and is soaking it all in while writing the next big hit. Yeow! DaenaJay StudioStay tuned for more updates on the CatBeach Studio Remod.