I am so excited to give you a tour of my latest design project, Venice Cottage, with my good friend and fellow director Lacey Uhlemeyer. Lacey and I first met via FaceTime as her husband had to break his way into The Kitchy Cabin—my vacation rental in Big Bear- because of a misplaced lock box. Once they made it inside, Lacey loved that I wasn’t afraid to play with color and how it created this whimsical and fun aesthetic. When thinking of translating that to the Venice Cottage, the inspiration stemmed from Lacey’s travels around the world as well as the property itself.
When I first went over to see the guest house at Lacey’s home in Venice, I was struck by the beautiful ceiling and roofline and just all of the potential in the space. Lacey’s main house is this beautiful 1927 cottage that has all of these charming original touches without being a full-blown storybook house, so we wanted to bring that same feel from the main house into what we call the guest suite—a hotel-like retreat for guests to stay.
Immediately, a few things came to mind—the first being the wainscotting. We knew we wanted something like this to create a bit of structure and also break up the amount of wall there is due to the super high ceiling line, which, if left blank, can make you feel like you’re in a cavernous white studio, but if painted all one color could be overwhelming.
We wanted something bold to bring some liveliness into the blank slate. We sifted through a bunch of swatches and finally landed on San Miguel Blue from Dunn Edwards—an absolutely perfect blue, which was really hard to find. We loved the tone so much; it became the hero color of the cottage featured in virtually every space. In the bedroom, we even painted Lacey’s old dresser, which completely modernized it and became part of the architecture. What’s so cool about Dunn Edwards isn’t just that they have an incredible assortment of colors but introduced an app where you can take a photo of something like wallpaper and it will pull out different paint colors, they make so you can perfectly coordinate everything with something as simple, yet impactful as paint.
That Dunn Edwards blue paint color travels throughout the home including the kitchen. What makes the kitchen so special is that we actually had the beautiful Semihandmade fronts painted in the same color to add continuity in the home. It’s also so gorgeous and dramatic against the stunning copper backsplash and apron-front sink paired with a matching Signature Hardware Royden Kitchen Faucet to blend in seamlessly. What I love about copper is that it wears so well and really looks better over time. It also just looks so beautiful with all of the other colors and accents.
Just beside the kitchen is the music room. Lacey’s husband, Rendell, loves music and plays multiple instruments, so we really wanted to celebrate that. He spent months finding the perfect piano to act as the centerpiece. We then enchanted the room with this beautifully ornate Lewis & Wood wallpaper called Alhambra and added bronze Hudson Valley Lighting fixtures to create more warmth in the room.
To fill a vacant space between the kitchen and music room, I brought in a beautiful cognac leather easy chair that ended up being way too large for the space, so we had to think of an alternative. Lacey came up with the brilliant and charming idea of a bistro set so I scored a vintage table from Rejuvenation and paired it with their Bentwood Bistro Chairs. The whole area takes you back in time and into a speakeasy where Lacey can enjoy a cocktail while Rendell plays at the piano, which makes for such a moment.
To break up all of the rich and ornate colors and details throughout the home, we opted for flooring that would pack a stunning punch but wouldn’t detract from the rest of the exciting things happening in the guest home. I love the flooring here because it looks Old World European, but it’s actually from Duchateau’s new like called Guild. We went with Riley— a beautiful engineered wide plank wood that’s actually real wood, so it has that rustic DNA but with a refined touch. What’s even better is the wood’s thick enough to refinish, so you’ll be able to sustain that aesthetic after years of wear.
For the bedroom I kept going back to this image of a 1920s world traveler and their cabinet of curiosities. Lacey has all of these amazing heirlooms from her travels around the globe and we really wanted to showcase those treasures for added character. Another example is the really awesome surfboard we have hanging on the wall. Initially, I wanted to score a really beautifully designed board, but they were way out of my price range, so I opted for a bit of a DIY approach by ordering a blank wood surfboard as a canvas. Lacey lent a personal touch by commissioning her good friend Priscilla Witte, who’s an amazing artist, to hand paint a beautiful motif that came out so incredible even Priscilla’s husband wanted to keep it for themselves!
There are so many other amazing details in the room too. Lacey introduced me to Folk Project, which works with indigenous women sourcing different fabrics and creating beautiful pieces out of them. Lacey had this luxe leather headboard that she really wanted to make special and entirely unique to her, so we worked with Folk Project to have these beautiful hand-embroidered pieces upholstered. It really allowed us to customize the space in an artistic way.
When looking for the right lighting, I turned to Hudson Valley Lighting and their sister brand Troy Lighting. I wanted to really commit to the 1927 cottage vibe we were pursuing, so in the bedroom I installed these amazing Exeter sconces on each side of the bed. I added Jasper lamps in Old Bronze to coordinate with the other brass accents seen throughout the home. They’re a subtle statement that really speaks to the room proving it’s all in the details.
One of my favorite part about this whole project is the bathroom. The whole bathroom was a real journey because we had all of these ideas that required modification and long discussions. It was really great to have the open flow of communication I did with Lacey because we were really able to workshop concepts and, in that find, the best fit for her. When it came to the bathroom, we weren’t sure if a tub-shower was going to be conducive to Lacey’s lifestyle, so through talking it out, we envisioned the bathroom as more of a wet room with a standalone shower next to the tub, which really created an ensuite bathroom feel.
Because it is a fairly small space, we made sure to keep it light and airy, which allowed for some standout details like the gorgeous Signature Hardware fixtures in polished brass, which shines so beautiful against all of the whites and muted tones. Another one of my favorite features, as well as Lacey’s, is the really beautiful Fireclay tiling on the floor. I’m incredibly inspired by old photos and clippings, and so the floor tile pattern was pulled from a photo of a 1930s Art Deco bathroom, which I thought would be such a great touch.
Thanks so much for joining my tour with Lacey Uhlemeyer and stay tuned for more from Venice Cottage!
Paint: Dunn Edwards
Cabinet fronts: Semihandmade
Plumbing fixtures: Signature Hardware
Wallpaper: Lewis and Wood
Lighting: Hudson Valley Lighting
Bistro set: Rejuvenation
Upholstery: Folk Porject