You may recall a design I did for a local client a while back: it was for a young boy's room, and I posted the design board here, and it seems like that was a million years ago. Anyway, the little boy was really into maps and space, so I just kind of went for it with that in mind. Oh, and he wanted bunk beds BAD.

I convinced the kid's mom to go super-dark on the walls and ceiling, and we decided to design the room around a vintage map of India I found on Etsy (which would not only be a nod to the family's Indian heritage, but also be really cool, because vintage maps are really cool).


This room is one of a very few that I have done that somehow look exactly like their design boards. It's really extra-satisfying when that happens, because it means you've gotten exactly what you wanted, design-wise, and also that you are a brilliant genius. Just kidding.

The wall color is Farrow & Ball Plummett. The ceiling color is Farrow & Ball Down Pipe. The pendant light is a Nelson saucer lamp, and the orange chair is a Saarinen reproduction. The zebra rug, which is basically the only thing that was already in the room, is made of wool and is from Target from a long time ago. I wish it were still available. Bring back your wool zebra rug, Target! The map is vintage, from the adorably-named Midwest Splendor.

The bed is from Restoration Hardware. The bedding is from Pottery Barn. The striped wool blanket is from Hudson's Bay. The desk was custom-made from pine and lacquered to within an inch of its life. The desk chair is vintage, from my own plentiful collection of Eames desk chairs (my garage is full of them, please don't rob me in the night).

The globe, pencils, and bear erasers are the client's own, and are kind of my favorite part of the room. You erase with the bear's NOSE, y'all.

The London double-decker bus and Big Ben figure are from the child's collection (he is very into London things, also). The elephant print is of Hindu Lord Ganesha: Remover of Obstacles and Lord of Beginnings! I love him and that print is just gorgeous. The log side table is from Paul Michael. The curtains are white linen, from Gray Line Linen.

Wouldn't you love to wake up in this cozy bunk every morning? I would. I'm so happy to have gotten to decorate this room, and I hope the family loves it as much as I do. (What? I can be schmoopy too.)

Happy Friday, y'all!


All photos by the incomparable Ben Corda.

AuthorAB Chao
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Behold! My delightful friend and client Heather has posted about a million photos of her living room project. She also, I think, may have called me cheap. Which I totally am. Anyway, go here to see the results. I am very proud!

Photo by an Armstrong

Equally awesome is the nursery of my best Friendster and soon-to-be baby-haver Sarah. I basically did nothing in this project but send over an inspiration board; she and her husband Special Ed did all of the work!

Photo by Sarah

Go here to see the rest. Excellent nursery, my girl! Now hurry up and put a baby in it.

AuthorAB Chao
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Have you been wondering what I've been working on lately, besides online clients and my hair? Well, I will tell you: a fun room for a little boy. My client is the mother of the girl whose room I did here. We are installing everything in a couple of weeks, when you will be able to see the real thing. I'm so excited about this one, because it's fun and dark and modern and old and weird and full of space and maps.

The little boy himself is very into space and maps, but he also seems to be the kind of kid that would be into mid-century furniture and Kierkegaard, if 7-year-old kids were into that sort of thing. Kind of a modern professorial cabin type. He'd wear tweed blazers with elbow patches, is what I am saying. He is also Indian. So the vintage map of India was my jumping-off point, and everything kind of spiraled from there. If his parents weren't vegetarian, I would have really pushed for some squirrel taxidermy.

The zebra rug is the only existing thing in the entire room, so we're going stem-to-stern on this baby. I'm hoping to convince the mom that we should paint the entire shebang inky-gray, but if I can't, we'll go lighter on the walls and dark dark dark on the ceiling. So when this kid looks up at the Nelson lamp at night, it's like he's IN SPACE. And, you know, you can't go wrong with ticking stripes and a wool camp blanket. Nor can you go wrong with an astronomically correct planet mobile and a fabulous orange chair.

Stay tuned: photos of the actual room will be here before you know it.

PS. I'm sorry that I can't provide source info for any of this stuff yet, but, you know, that wouldn't be fair.

AuthorAB Chao
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I helped an online client with her bedroom recently (along with her living room, and I am waiting with BATED BREATH for the "after" pictures, damn, hurry up, Jen!), and she asked for some high and low options for each. We used a great picture as inspiration for her bedroom, this amazing design from Elizabeth Bauer's bedroom in Lonny:

Sigh. If only I could use Porthault linens in all of my designs. Anyway, I made my adorable client a high and low version of her bedroom. We ended up using totally different wallpaper and bed linens, but the end result is going to be just as gorgeous. And you could do way worse than starting with this for inspiration.

Here, for your viewing enjoyment, is the high/low version of this bedroom.

1. I'd actually recommend finding a vintage tufted headboard and having it recovered, but you can buy both of these online. (High/Low: Serena & Lily/West Elm)

2. Differently priced wallpapers, same great impact. Oh, how I want to wallpaper someone's ceiling. Any takers? (High/Low: Rose Cumming/Random internet wallpaper)

3. If you are going to buy a damn sconce with a cord/cord cover, it might as well be an affordable one. Add an inexpensive shade and you are a design hero. (High/Low: Circa Lighting/CSN; Shade: Laura Ashley)

4. Oh, Porthault. I love you almost as much as I love my beloved home-staters, Leontine Linens. However, some of us have to use substitutes for now. (High/Low: Porthault/Garnet Hill)

5. One of these is high, and one is low. Can you tell the difference? I thought not. (High/Low: Restoration/Overstock)

6. If you do not have a beautiful white tole chandelier available to you, then I suggest you find some bargain vintage light and spray paint the shit out of it. (High/Low: Both random internet searches)

I hope you have enjoyed this episode of High/Low. I certainly have. Bargain shoppers forever!

AuthorAB Chao
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The first thing I need to tell y'all is a pro tip, and it is this: Do not buy any plants for your house that are tiny. I mean it, Internet. Stop buying baby-ass plants where you're like, "It's so cute right now! It will get bigger!" No it won't. It won't get bigger, and you will just be watering the damn thing until it dies. Example:


Do you have one of these? I'm sorry, but I am going to have to ask you to get rid of it immediately. I know you think you have a green thumb, but this will never look good. Into the trash, please.

OK, that is not what I wanted to talk about in this entry, but I couldn't help myself. I just keep seeing terrible plants in gorgeous interiors, and it's making me sad.

What I wanted to do was to feature the kind of thing I am doing with my time now. Allow me to show you a super-exciting living room design that I'm working on.

This is a living room for people who have just moved into an actual house, and not a rental space. These clients are basically starting from scratch, and definitely have a budget in mind. They want modern, but not too $$$. So, I did a bunch of high/low for them to choose from, with both low-budget and vintage items, and a couple of splash-out type situations. Those amazing orange lamps are still available somewhere, so if you find them, don't buy them.

This is where I say that I can do this for you, too. And I can! See here.

PS. My clients also love cats.

PPS. The actual curtains will be pinch-pleated.

AuthorAB Chao
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