The Tale of “The Emperor’s New Home, a Manly Palace”

Long Ago there lived a very Kind and Successful Emperor who ruled his kingdom of real estate and medical practices with the sharpest of wisdoms, the strongest of convictions and the biggest of hearts. His astute business mind was surpassed by none — as well, no one could top the Emperor’s own secret recipe for the world’s best seafood chowder!

His generous ways were known throughout the land and beyond, for he shared his wealth among those he loved and cared for, and as well was a sincere patron of the arts.

This kindly Emperor decided to leave his old palace and build a new one! He had no need for a moat or drawbridge, as he did not wish to keep his welcomed guests from entering his new home with ease, nor becoming an alligator’s lunch!

Searching far and wide, the Emperor found the Perfect downtown location and what he thought was the Perfect Builder to work on his architectural masterpiece. It was to be an exquisite creation to rival any wizard’s magic including Merlin! It was too be as strong and sturdy as the three little pig’s handy work, just in case a big bad wolf decided to huff and puff a little too close for comfort! It was to be…. well, it started out to be……..but then, went from bad to worse.

Now let us remember dear children, palaces are big budget, and the client, our kindly Emperor, should be respectfully regarded. The Builder didn’t think so. Deadlines were dismissed, information was skewed, missing, not the truth or became riddles to rival Rumplestilskin’s!

Our Emperor, unlike the one in the story who wore invisible clothes (very naked) down a public street so many years ago (no relation by the way!), was not about to have the invisible wool pulled over his eyes! Instead, he said the three magic words “help! Help! HELP!!!! And with a flash of blinding light, the Design Fairy Godmother appeared waving her magic wand, Ninja style. She was a friend and admirer of the kindly Emperor, and came swiftly upon his frantic call, ………………….to kick ass…….…up against the palace wall!

Now the Design Fairy Godmother loves a challenge—but this Builder reminded her of a peddler she once encountered in a marketplace in the tiny town of Sheisterville, who, a few hundred years ago, tried to sell her a monkey that would clean her garderobe (toilet), shine her fairy shoes, while at the same time entertain her by grinding an organ (um……the musical kind). She of course, dismissed him and his demon monkey, with a wave of her wand and choice words from her lovely fairy lips.

And back to our story – the palace foundation was finished, structure built, walls up, and then … the rest. Three stories of home plus finish basement, to design, including four washrooms, and a kitchen.

All the fixed design elements were to be found, designed, and chosen first. Flooring, tiles (many from CENTURA), cabinetry, lighting design, baseboards and trim, doors, windows, carpentry, stairway, etc. etc. A luscious Color Design for all four floors was prepared and executed brilliantly, using Benjamin Moore paints.

Frustration would have been the operative word for a mere mortal designer, where even the smallest of elements were difficult with this Builder – kind of like dealing with a trickster troll from the depths of Impossi-ville. But for our Design Fairy Godmother, armed with her powerful wand, design expertise, brilliant e-mails and sheer hutzpah, she was able to achieve with her dear kindly Emperor, his manly new home.

Without a tear shed, they finally bid the Builder adieu, The Design Fairy Godmother then began the magical interior design transformation of the Emperor’s new palace!

Blending the Emperors, collection of 1960’s teak furniture, vintage art deco furniture, and an amazing art collection, with new purchases, decorative pieces and fabulous new lighting, the palace became an extraordinary place filled with his personality, and fit for his lifestyle!

Vintage 1960’s teak bookshelves found at a cool Queen Street antique store, to hold some of his vast collection of 1960’s German pottery; vintage style lighting from Sescolite graced the ceilings; designer blinds from Dodds Interiors, dressed the windows; and many other earthly and fairylike details were purchased or conjured with delight.

The palace now complete, the kindly Emperor was thrilled to enjoy and share his new beautiful home.

He happily gave a celebration inviting all his dear family, friends, the goodly neighbors, of course his Design Fairy Godmother, the magical realm including the unicorns and other fair creatures (no monkeys–sorry.) and served among other delectable dishes………….you guessed it! ……his world’s best seafood chowder! Mmmmmmmm. Mmmmmmmm. Good!

THE END

© 2012 Andrea Carini

© 2013 Andrea Carini

AFTER photos by Claire Louise Foster
INTERIOR DESIGN by Andrea Carini for Your Sacred Space Interiors

HALLWAY/STAIRCASE

BEFORE: In construction

BEFORE: In construction

AFTER: Luxurious walnut, stained floors and staircase stained to match, with a color palette of complex neutrals in taupes & grays for a warm welcome and the perfect canvas for art display. Here featured, an art collection of vintage black and white portraits.

AFTER: Luxurious walnut, stained floors and staircase stained to match, with a color palette of complex neutrals in taupes & grays for a warm welcome and the perfect canvas for art display. Here featured, an art collection of vintage black and white portraits.

LIVING ROOM

BEFORE: This short wall makes no sense trying desperately to divide the front foyer from the living room space. Hard to believe that this will become a cool living room space fit for an Emperor!!!

BEFORE: This short wall makes no sense trying desperately to divide the front foyer from the living room space. Hard to believe that this will become a cool living room space fit for an Emperor!!!

AFTER: 1960’s Teak Furniture collection, more fabulous art and a clever custom wood shelf unit atop our short wall, holds a German Pottery collection, while now defining and harmonizing two spaces.

AFTER: 1960’s Teak Furniture collection, more fabulous art and a clever custom wood shelf unit atop our short wall, holds a German Pottery collection, while now defining and harmonizing two spaces.

AFTER: No matter what angle you perceive this space, it is inviting!  1960’s Teak Furniture, black leather vintage couch, vintage lamps and accessories, custom shades and of course art! Sexy, manly, delicious!

AFTER: No matter what angle you perceive this space, it is inviting! 1960’s Teak Furniture, black leather vintage couch, vintage lamps and accessories, custom shades and of course art! Sexy, manly, delicious!

KITCHEN/DINING ROOM

BEFORE: In construction…Kitchen and Dining Room…Oh my stars!!

BEFORE: In construction…Kitchen and Dining Room…Oh my stars!!

AFTER: A blend of Art Deco meets 1960’s meets contemporary kitchen! Eclectic & Enticing!

AFTER: A blend of Art Deco meets 1960’s meets contemporary kitchen! Eclectic & Enticing!

AFTER: Handsome & Elegant, like our Emperor (!), this kitchen is a marvel for any fine chef!

AFTER: Handsome & Elegant, like our Emperor (!), this kitchen is a marvel for any fine chef!

MAIN FLOOR WASHROOM

BEFORE: Um….Small enough for one of my Pixies! How to fit it all in!

BEFORE: Um….Small enough for one of my Pixies! How to fit it all in!

AFTER: Ahh now……fit for any royal guest! And a gorgeous vessel sink!

AFTER: Ahh now……fit for any royal guest! And a gorgeous vessel sink!

STAIRS/HALL, 2ND FLOOR

BEFORE: ConstructionLand through the eyes of spindles, balusters and dust – not the fairy kind…

BEFORE: ConstructionLand through the eyes of spindles, balusters and dust – not the fairy kind…

AFTER: Stairways and Halls …the veins of our home’s body! Here we have a strong yet graceful walnut stained staircase, where vintage art leads us from the main to the second floor. This serene hall space directs us to a home office, as well as bedrooms and a 4 piece bath. Art & 1960’s distinctive collectibles invite any guest to wander and explore.

AFTER: Stairways and Halls …the veins of our home’s body! Here we have a strong yet graceful walnut stained staircase, where vintage art leads us from the main to the second floor. This serene hall space directs us to a home office, as well as bedrooms and a 4 piece bath. Art & 1960’s distinctive collectibles invite any guest to wander and explore.

MASTER BATHROOM

BEFORE: Yes, Virginia……this will be a spa!!!

BEFORE: Yes, Virginia……this will be a spa!!!

AFTER: An incredible Master Ensuite space to Relax, Rejuvenate, and Reward!!!

AFTER: An incredible Master Ensuite space to Relax, Rejuvenate, and Reward!!!

AFTER: Glass tile inserts and trim in smoke, taupe and aquamarine accent the sand/gray tile for shower and bath.

AFTER: Glass tile inserts and trim in smoke, taupe and aquamarine accent the sand/gray tile for shower and bath.

3RD FLOOR HALLWAY/LANDING

BEFORE: A space in need of royal importance as it leads to a lovely private exterior deck and the Master Suite.

BEFORE: A space in need of royal importance as it leads to a lovely private exterior deck and the Master Suite.

AFTER: Vintage photographs from a private collection beckons us to the third floor landing of the Master Suite. A 1960’s teak bookshelf holds a collection of vintage German pottery, while the art on the wall from a distinguished downtown gallery, creates a playful yet chic ambiance.

AFTER: Vintage photographs from a private collection beckons us to the third floor landing of the Master Suite. A 1960’s teak bookshelf holds a collection of vintage German pottery, while the art on the wall from a distinguished downtown gallery, creates a playful yet chic ambiance.

AFTER: A happy Design Fairy Godmother, Andrea, takes a short rest after a job well done!!! Until the next Magical Tale!!!

AFTER: A happy Design Fairy Godmother, Andrea, takes a short rest after a job well done!!! Until the next Magical Tale!!!

ANDREA’S DESIGN PEARLS OF WISDOM

• Building a New Home is a PARTNERSHIP! Check out the Builder before signing any contract. Research his/her work, and reputation. Make sure he/she is a good communicator. Seek references. Does this Builder belong to a local Home Builder’s Association? You don’t want a trickster troll for a partner!
• What warranty does your Builder offer? Does he/she belong to a New Home warranty program?
• Make sure the Builder is completely familiar with the building site as well as your house plans, and plan changes, BEFORE the final price is quoted.
• Retain an attorney experienced in reviewing building contracts to thoroughly review your contract before you sign.
• Try to make selections as far in advance as possible to avoid unwanted delays. Give enough time for custom orders.
• Be clear about what you want and your expectations with your Builder.
• Any changes during construction can add to your cost. However, don’t be afraid to make them now, as you won’t want to be living in a construction site changing things again later.
• VISIT the SITE!! Check the progress frequently to catch any mistakes and quickly solve these issues in writing for your builder. Additionally, you may also be needed on site to answer any questions for the builder or his/hers subcontractors.
• Hire your own Interior Designer or Design Fairy Godmother to make your life easier, and act on your behalf with your Builder.
• Put all changes and corrections in WRITING! Include full details and costs when applicable. Do this even if you discuss changes with your nice Builder and he says agreeably, “No problem”. People forget.
• Make sure after the project is complete, you provide written notice of items requiring repair or corrections. And make sure it is taken care of before you pay your final bill.
• It’s a lot of work but GET EXCITED! This is YOUR NEW CUSTOM PALACE!!!

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The Tale of “The Peasant Hovel Turned Princess Dream Home Castle”

Patience my children, for this tale is long and limitless as is True Love.

There once was a handsome Prince who married his Princess, and wanted nothing more than to please her, as he loved her beyond the moon & stars, and his childhood hockey card collection.

His fancy downtown condo was simply not enough for this fair-haired maiden, and so he ventured out with his treasured Princess to find the perfect first time castle.

Alas, they came upon the Village of Roncesvalles, which was in sad need of a new ruling Prince & Princess, (as the last royal couple moved to a new faraway land too difficult to pronounce and somewhere in New Jersey).

The Princess, a true royal (as her mother-in-law, the Queen, discovered prior to the couple’s marriage, with 20 Mattresses and a single Pea —remember that story?), had impeccable taste- very French in fact, with a cutting edge sensibility, as did her fine Prince.

Their new castle had been previously renovated rather poorly by ignorant Peasants, without taste or regard for the lovely bones or details of this sacred space. In fact, these lowly rogues created havoc behind the castle walls, causing electrical & plumbing issues, which would have forced renowned knight, Sir Mike Holmes into a royal coronary. As well, the Peasant’s design crimes, resulted in butt ugly features, and I’m talking Boor butt, the worst kind.

As they feared, the Prince and Princess felt devoured by the Ugly Monster who resided throughout the MAIN FLOOR space. The royal couple did what they were compelled to do, and summoned forth their Design Fairy Godmother, Andrea. She listened intently to their design woes and their design dreams. “Ahhh! Yes!” said the Design Fairy Godmother with a twinkle in her eyes.

This peasant’s fiasco met with it’s reckoning, as she slew the Ugly Monster! And with a wave of her trusty wand, the merry men and women of artistic labor appeared and did the Magic One’s bidding.

With a new Interior Design, walls came down, ugly glass block removed from the living room entrance, partition walls went up, custom stairs were installed to match those original to the castle, new electrical and plumbing, a lovely lighting design plan implemented with gorgeous new fixtures, cool custom ceiling medallion in the living/dining room, added fixed architectural details, hall closet organization rebuild, demo-reconfigured- reno of main floor bathroom with cool custom accents and antique icebox vanity, old family room mantle replaced with a custom birch contemporary fireplace mantle – complete with limestone insert and black slate floor, custom shelves built to display the Princess’s collection of antique memorabilia, unique new furniture and decorative pieces added – with an Industrial Chic meets SteamPunk flavor. All rooms custom decorated in the Royal’s personal style, including the redesign (silver gilding and beautiful upholstery), of their precious antique dining room chairs, plus a new color design in 5 shades of sexy gray!

All technical problems found practical (and magical) solutions in the hands or uh…wand of the Magic One. PHEW! This would tire out any other Design Fairy Godmother, but not Andrea and her abundant supply of interior design magic!

The Prince and Princess were overjoyed, and the Village of Roncevalles had their new rulers. As well, the townsfolk were elated as their real estate values increased due to the royal couple’s new castle renovation. All rejoiced with wine and song!

What was once a peasant’s nightmare hovel, was now transformed into a Princess’s Dream Castle! And the royal couple lived happily ever after, later giving birth to a little prince…and that is another Designer’s Tale…………

THE END

© 2012 Andrea Carini

© 2012 Andrea Carini

AFTER photos by Claire Louise Foster
INTERIOR DESIGN by Andrea Carini for Your Sacred Space Interiors

The Royal Couple’s Main Floor Reno from Peasant Hovel to Princess Castle

BEFORE: A front hall disaster with someone else’s bad reno ideas. Authentic stair railings yanked out for trash, unnecessary new walls, an ugly door and meaningless glass block impose themselves creating this dark welcoming!

BEFORE: A front hall disaster with someone else’s bad reno ideas. Authentic stair railings yanked out for trash, unnecessary new walls, an ugly door and meaningless glass block impose themselves creating this dark welcoming!

AFTER: Now open, welcoming and very cool!

AFTER: Now open, welcoming and very cool!

BEFORE: An enclosed living/dining area feels ultra claustrophobic even with the glass block accents, which are ill placed. Original period details have been brutally stripped away and “bad contractor special” track lights, and two strangely placed pot lights are the only light sources.

BEFORE: An enclosed living/dining area feels ultra claustrophobic even with the glass block accents, which are ill placed. Original period details have been brutally stripped away and “bad contractor special” track lights, and two strangely placed pot lights are the only light sources.

AFTER: High drama when using 4 shades of gray for this sexy main floor space! An open concept space, with surprise added period and architectural details. Stair railings and post were replaced to match the original. New ceiling medallions were designed using ornamental tin and moldings to create a contemporary feel for this period detail. They were the perfect backdrop for our European lighting. A strategic mirror brings light and life into the space. 

AFTER: High drama when using 4 shades of gray for this sexy main floor space! An open concept space, with surprise added period and architectural details. Stair railings and post were replaced to match the original. New ceiling medallions were designed using ornamental tin and moldings to create a contemporary feel for this period detail. They were the perfect backdrop for our European lighting. A strategic mirror brings light and life into the space.

AFTER: An industrial chic side cabinet, originally a machine cabinet, is beautifully placed. The antique dining room chairs became art when silver leafed and reupholstered with a geometric design jaquard. A “bubble light” hangs in the living room throwing  the most unusual and lovely light shadows.

AFTER: An industrial chic side cabinet, originally a machine cabinet, is beautifully placed. The antique dining room chairs became art when silver leafed and reupholstered with a geometric design jaquard. A “bubble light” hangs in the living room throwing  the most unusual and lovely light shadows.

BEFORE: A lovely shade of contractor beige did nothing to feature the interesting lines in this lovely extension. A dated fireplace mantle, cheap shelves, no storage, and drum roll please ….a “clothesline” track lighting system!!!?

BEFORE: A lovely shade of contractor beige did nothing to feature the interesting lines in this lovely extension. A dated fireplace mantle, cheap shelves, no storage, and drum roll please ….a “clothesline” track lighting system!!!?

AFTER: High contrast gray tones create the illusion of a larger space and accentuates the “bones” of the structure. A new fireplace mantle is designed, with new insert and silver details grounded by the new black stone floor.

AFTER: High contrast gray tones create the illusion of a larger space and accentuates the “bones” of the structure. A new fireplace mantle is designed, with new insert and silver details grounded by the new black stone floor.

AFTER: A new shelf and coat hook is designed to showcase a collection of unusual antiques. New kitchen lighting that you can’t hang your laundry on!

AFTER: A new shelf and coat hook is designed to showcase a collection of unusual antiques. New kitchen lighting that you can’t hang your laundry on!

BEFORE: The door to the bathroom opened awkwardly cutting into the already small space. A shower monopolized the entire room, looking absolutely huge in comparison to the toilet and pedestal sink. And then here was the yellow sponging wall treatment.….

BEFORE: The door to the bathroom opened awkwardly cutting into the already small space. A shower monopolized the entire room, looking absolutely huge in comparison to the toilet and pedestal sink. And then here was the yellow sponging wall treatment.….

DURING: The client wanted an unusual vanity. Well, I found this antique Ice Box! My carpenter cut the top of it down, re-trimmed it, gut the original aluminum inside and finished it with two shelves. We then stained it to match the door and “wood” tile feature shower wall. Voile!

DURING: The client wanted an unusual vanity. Well, I found this antique Ice Box! My carpenter cut the top of it down, re-trimmed it, gut the original aluminum inside and finished it with two shelves. We then stained it to match the door and “wood” tile feature shower wall. Voile!

AFTER: Reconfigured, with contemporary elements meeting funky antiques. Looking spacious with a soaker tub, shower, toilet and new “ice box” vanity! We kept this glass block window as it brought in lots of light! A feature wall in the shower looks like wood plank. The gray floor/tub skirt tile  looks like aluminum.

AFTER: Reconfigured, with contemporary elements meeting funky antiques. Looking spacious with a soaker tub, shower, toilet and new “ice box” vanity! We kept this glass block window as it brought in lots of light! A feature wall in the shower looks like wood plank. The gray floor/tub skirt tile  looks like aluminum.

AFTER: Custom shelves made to “mirror” the square sink and other square elements. Antique lighting creates an expressive mood, while a sliding door on an exterior track gives tons of interior bathroom space. Functional and beautiful! 

AFTER: Custom shelves made to “mirror” the square sink and other square elements. Antique lighting creates an expressive mood, while a sliding door on an exterior track gives tons of interior bathroom space. Functional and beautiful!

AFTER: Gorgeous faucets and handles look amazing against the small white subway tile, which also accents our wood plank tile feature wall.

AFTER: Gorgeous faucets and handles look amazing against the small white subway tile, which also accents our wood plank tile feature wall.

ANDREA’S DESIGN PEARLS OF WISDOM:

  • Get yourself a great Design Fairy Godmother with her best Merry men & women!!!
  • When doing multiple types of renovation in your home, as in our royal couple’s main floor, seek out those professionals who are expert in very specialized areas. Remember, not all contractors do everything well! In the Prince and Princess’s case, one contractor was used for the bathroom as he was the best in the land, and another was used for the rest of the main floor reno, as he was a gifted in it’s specific needs for structural issues, bracing, rebuilding, expert carpentry and possessed his father -the Duke’s- wicked sense of humor. Ah……. Such Fun!!!!
  • It’s all in the Prep & Planning!!! Have an Engineer take a look at the walls BEFORE they come down!! If needed, have him/her (along with your architect– if you are using one—and your Design Fairy Godmother), prepare drawings for your contractor. Make sure your contractor is present if possible, in your meeting with the Engineer, as he/she will be better prepared by asking additional questions, and be made aware of any unique circumstances or particular materials/special orders to coordinate.
  • Each floor of your castle must flow in design and color, as should one room to the next including your transition walls and hallways . In the case of this main floor design, there was a “color story” prepared, along with a very specific design focus and style.
  • Look through magazines, books, art and even movies for what inspires you and the style you wish to live in. Start a design file for ideas and feeling.
  • Connect with things you possess that are meaningful and incorporate them into your design. Your design homework will help your design professional to realize your wishes. No one knows better how you wish to live than you!
  • Don’t be afraid to insist on your dream, as the “authentic” Design Fairy Godmother, (and the Merry men & women), will LISTEN, keep her/his ego elsewhere and offer their professional guidance. With their magic wand in hand, they will manifest YOUR VISION into your Dream Castle!!