sss new studio first look!

Oh, hi! It’s me, just casually welcoming you into my brand-new built-from-scratch studio. (But really, someone pinch me; is this even real?!) This project went lightning-fast—especially since our home renovation is on 1.5 years and counting. Of course, a studio has a lot less going on than a house, and I got a real taste for myself the difference between renovating versus building from the ground up. Things tend to go more smoothly when everything is new and you aren’t discovering and fixing one problem after the other. Even though it was so much easier, my heart still lives for the renovation. Call me a glutton for punishment, but there is something so satisfying about taking a structure that is on the down-and-out and breathing new life into it to make it something beautiful and functional. However, an accessory building that complements an existing structure was pretty dang satisfying to create, as well. Now onto the tour!


Archie Finally got his Bunk Beds

A year and a half ago we pulled up to #samuelfamilyfixer for the very first time (having bought it sight unseen, it was already ours) and pop pop was there to greet us and record our first tour of the house. I shared it in my IG stories and it still is live in the highlights under  the first “SAMUEL FIXER” if you haven’t seen it yet. Archie, who was 3 at the time, was thrilled that the house was “already builded!” but when it came to checking out the bedrooms he was VERY distraught over the fact that there were no bunk beds (he also didn’t even have a bedroom at the time which I guess didn’t phase him as much). We had told him in LA that maybe in the new house we will build him some bunk beds and that boy does not forget A thing.  Well it took us a few months but we did build him a bedroom and we kept our promise on the bunk beds.

I’ll share more of his bedroom soon but for now here is how we made the bunks. I should preface this by saying we made this up as we went along so I wouldn’t swear by my instructions. Please use them as inspiration and check with a contractor if you are not a well versed DIY-er.


  • 14-by-8-feet 2×4 planks
  • 3-by-8-feet 1×12 planks
  • 3 sheets of 3/4-inch MDF
  • 2 sheets of 1/4-inch plywood
  • 3.5-inch construction screws
  • 1-inch steel pipe (or a curtain rod would work fine too)
  • Jigsaw
  • Table Saw
  • Chop Saw
  • Nail gun
  • Drill
  • Paint

Step 1: Create the curved arch
Lay down the two sheets of 3/4″ MDF and insert a nail at the center point from side to side and down from the top where you want the curve of the arch to stop. Measure a piece of string to be half the distance of the width of the arched opening. Tie a pencil to one end of the string, then tie the other end to the nail to create a compass. Pull the string tight as you draw a half-circle.

Step 2: cut out the shape.
Using a jigsaw, follow the pencil line to cut out the arch. Sand down any rough edges (bonus points if you have someone to hold a leaf blower to blow out the sawdust as you cut so you can keep clear sight of the line).

Step 3: build the base
Create a rectangular base for the bed using 2x4s; it should be only slightly larger than your mattress size. Attach the boards with 3.5-inch construction screws. Cut additional 2x4s to fit inside the box, laying one every 12 inches or so and securing them to the frame with screws to make a platform for the mattress. Top this with 1/4 inch of plywood for extra mattress support.

Step 4: frame the bed
Using more 2x4s, vertically this time, frame out the parameter of the bunks, securing everything to the wall studs and each other with 3.5″ construction screws.

Step 5:  Build a duplicate mattress base on the top level with 2x4s and secure to the wall and the 2×4 vertical posts with 3.5-inch construction screws. “Wrap” the 1x12s around the 2×4 bases (securing with screws) to create a box that the mattress will sit into.

Step 6:
Attach the arches to the front of the frame with the nail gun. Prime and paint the structure in your chosen hue.

We added the velvet curtains I found on Amazon and painted it the same color as the walls. “oakmoss” by Sherwin Williams.

Curtains // Rug by Justina Blakeney for Loloi // Bedding from H&M // Cloud Pillows by Oeuf // Shearling Chair from Lulu  & Georgia // Ceiling Light Fixture by Cedar & Moss // Giraffe from The Counting House // Posh Velvet Roman Blinds by The Shade Store  // Mattresses from Saatva  // Paint color is Oakmoss by Sherwin Williams 

UPDATE: I have had a lot of questions about the ladder and a guardrail. I will share more photos when I shoot the whole room but the ladder and the space to get up is on the short side of the bunk bed. We have a removable ladder right now as our fearless 2 year old would definitely be up there all the time. We don’t put it there unless we are in there using it. Archie does not sleep in the top bunk yet. We do story time on the top bunk every night but then he sleeps on the bottom. When he does want to sleep up there we will be putting up a guardrail but we and he thinks he is too young to sleep up there right now so this is what works for us!

Warmboard update & install

After toughing out last winter in a very old, VERY drafty rental house we moved back into our #samuelfamilyfixer post construction. Spring was already in full swing so we didn’t get a chance to feel the difference in our Warmboard radiant heated floors but do you want to know something I do not miss AT ALL?! (aside from the forced air heating in the rental house and all the dryness and runny noses and eczema and allergies we put up with All. Winter. Long.)… The baseboard heaters. They were really messing up my streamlined vision.

Let’s take a peek back with a little before and after of the corner of the living room because it is OH so satisfying. I already forgot the baseboard heaters existed.

Both are Iphone snaps of the same corner. Looking at the first one gives me the heebie jeebies for real. We had just landed about a week before from our cross country road trip and this was Clover’s make shift play corner, complete with our lawn chair furniture while we waited weeks more for our furniture to arrive.

Aside from the shelving change, the biggest difference is the absence of the baseboard heaters.

If you remember back to my first post on the flooring… after a lot of research on radiant heating systems (um michigan newbie over here) I found Warmboard and moved mountains to get them into our renovation. Ok not mountains but we did end up installing all the boards ourselves to get it to fit into our budget. First, I knew the winters in Michigan were going to be rough, so I wanted to make the inside of the house toasty warm or I wouldn’t make it so I researched radiant floor systems and Warmboard was the clear winner with all the different finished floor possibilities that work with it and the efficiency. I knew I wanted a combination of tile, carpet and wood or laminate and Warmboard works under all of them. And as you know, I wanted to ditch the baseboard heaters, they were killing my clean design vibes but didn’t want to switch to forced air for all the efficiency and cleaner air benefits of radiant heating.

The install process went smoothly with just a little bit of a learning curve. Warmboard designs the layout and you receive the plan and it’s basically a simple puzzle on a grand scale. The stand up electric screw gun which was indeed a life (and knee) saver. The first room is where we learned our first lesson, the walls are not square so we had to cut the last one on an angle every single time and things started to get a little tight to one wall as we finished the space, but it just worked out. On the rooms going forward we made sure to allow extra dead space on each end so the tubing didn’t get too close to the walls.

Despite Rupert scratching his head, the plans were very easy to follow.

Once all the panels were in place we had to do some custom routing which was all outlined in the plans as well.

Warmboard sends three templates which work for all the custom routing we needed to do around various corners and where all the tubing goes down below the floor to the boiler.

Pop Pop is screwing on the router template to make a channel for the tubing to connect from the boards in our master closet to our master bedroom. To use it you screw the template in place, follow the channel with the router and then unscrew it for the next spot.

Once we installed all the boards and finished the custom routing (which all in all took us about a week doing it ourselves between pop pop, Rupert, my brother-in-law and myself, juggling kids and work while we were at it) we called in the pros to install the tubing and the new boiler (we already had a boiler because of the baseboard heaters but ours was really old and we needed a new one).

Then it was time to roll out the carpet! Literally. Unlike many other radiant heated floors, Warmboard works with plush carpet and you just lay out the padding and carpet right on top of the panels (Using a low-r value padding).

In our living room the rust carpet had to go but I wanted to keep this room cozy. It is a very large room 18’ x 30’ and 20’ ceilings at the peak so any other flooring would feel pretty much like a gymnasium. The carpet keeps it soft and quiet and it has created a warm and inviting space you really don’t want to leave. It is SO nice to have a space for the kids to really tumble around in and play together on the floor but still be a grown up space that I also want to spend time in, inevitably also tumbling around on the floor. Despite any previous ick feelings on wall to wall carpet, I couldn’t be happier with it in this space. I chose a high quality carpet so it wasn’t a money saving venture, but an investment in our home and quality of life. The carpet is by Masland – Vero Beach collection, in “pillar”.

It took us a year and a half to get here but we are finally settling in, even if I have already changed up this corner 3 times and landed on a different layout entirely. That is the fun part, right?

The temperatures at night have been now dipping down into the 30s here and there so we have JUST started to reap the benefits of the heated floors. I wake up most mornings these days to warm tiles underfoot and the living room with the carpet could not get any cozier. I had many questions about whether or not this will be our only heating source and the answer is yes! I will keep you posted on how the winter goes, go ahead and say a little prayer for us. ;)

Artwork is called Two Sisters by Elliot Stokes from Minted // Stool from Lulu and Georgia // Coffee table is from Urban Outfitters // Chairs are vintage Albini // Carpet by Masland – Vero Beach – Color: Pillar



Doré Living Room(s) before, design, & after

I’m excited to share a more in depth look at our project for the writer, illustrator, style icon and founder of Doré…. Garance Doré, and we are starting with the living room. Garance had recently bought the modern developer-built house when we met at there for a walk through to discuss plans. At the top of the list was to build-in some character that still fit the modern aesthetic but felt more custom and considered.  We did this in many areas with actual build-ins like the double plaster sofas that flank the fireplace above. The second order of business was to brighten up the main living area. She didn’t move from New York to California to block out that California sun after all. The first thing to go was the wall with a double sided fireplace in order to let the flow of light through and unite the living areas. The room it created in the back had all the good light but it went unused and disconnected from the rest of the space.  So let’s take a look at the before photo…


Garance told me Lulu, her sweet pup, was the only one that went in the space, as shown in the photo above. So off to the drawing board. Moving the fireplace against the wall, designing the built-in the sofas, sourcing mostly all vintage furniture, and a couple cozy rugs all helped to bring the character as well as brighten it up. Below is the rendering with my design plan pre-construction. There were a few small changes in the end… we only installed one floating shelf and we used the mirror on the other side of the fireplace in the entry instead of here, but it is gratifying to see what we sketched up come to life.


The first two photos in the post were from the Domino feature shot by Jason Frank Rothenberg but I recently swung by with Jessie Webster to shoot some more angles and details because so many of you asked for more photos and better late than never… here they are.

The vintage Milo Baughman coffee table, hanging chair, and one of the Herman Miller “chiclet” chairs were all found on Chairish. The matching Herman Miller chair we got through Ebay. The upholstery was worn and the chairs were different colors so we had them reupholstered in “Bolden Fabric” from Fabricut. The built-in plaster sofa was finished with Portola Paints Roman Clay “shining” and the cushions were upholstered with “newport” fabric from Fabricut.

On the other side of the fireplace, are more vintage finds. The coffee table and the velvet chair were both found on Sotheby’s home. Both rugs are from Loloi.

Hanging Rattan Egg Chair and Burl Wood Cocktail Table by Milo Baughman Chairish //Vintage Chairs by Herman Miller in Bolden Fabric Fabricut // Hygge Rug Loloi Rugs // Custom Integrated Couch Sarah Sherman Samuel // Cushions and Pillows in Newport Fabric Fabricut // Photograph by Maria Del Rio Del Rio Photography, framed by Framebridge // Print by Caryn Owen from minted // Ceramic bowl and Candle Holders by Virginia Sin // Circle Line Block-Print Pillow  Kesslyr Dean // Vintage Japanese Wood Sculptures from Merchant Gallery // CSS-8-1 by Jen Garrido Jen Garrido // Ceramic O’Dear Bowl by Ben Medansky  Lawson Fenning // Half Black & White Stoneware by M Quan

And just for fun some side by side before, rendering, and afters shot from the same angle.






Top Photos by Jason Frank Rothenberg for Domino Magazine
All others by Jessie Webster 
Design by Sarah Sherman Samuel

Doré Residential Project

Oh Hi! I’m about a year-ish backlogged here on the blog and while I have been keeping up to date on IG, you know the blog essentially serves as the resource page for projects where I can get more in depth and I’ve been meaning to share all the goodness from my project for the lovely Garance Doré since the spring! It was the cover story for Domino and it came out while I was knee neck deep in our own renovations as well as working on a major commercial project (more on that soon!) and oh have I mentioned we moved across the country?…or right, ad nauseam got it. ha Anywho…the catch up starts now!

The main living space is essentially one large open concept. It was pretty open when Garance purchased the home but the kitchen had dark cabinetry and there was a tiny window in the kitchen that didn’t bring in much light. There was also a wall that divided one sitting room from another in an attempt to easily differentiate the space but what it did instead was cut the one living space off from the rest of the house as well as block the view to the outside from the other living space and kitchen area. The room simply went unused. So with the addition of a few strategic built-ins, moving of the fireplace, and tearing down the wall, the space was unified. I then used rugs and low seating to create designated conversation areas which divides up the space without blocking any of the views outside. In the kitchen I used my signature line of cabinet doors for SemiHandmade, Caesarstone countertops and Concrete Collaborative cement tile to create the all white kitchen where textures subtle patterns in each material bring the visual interest.

In the guest bedroom and the guest bathroom Garance wanted to go bold and I happily obliged. With pattern play and a statement color. We demoed out most of the bathroom but kept re-used the existing bathtub and toilet while giving it a major facelift with a new surround and tile work.

In the entry I commissioned a custom console table from Hedgehouse furniture based off of one of their cabinet designs which sits across the two Britt Merrick for H Merrick surf boards. The half moon shape of the mirror is repeated in my sss x park studio “half moon” hardware on the drawers.

In Garance’s master bedroom she wanted it as dark as possible for ultimate sleep, so dark we went… and monochromatic. The moody hue is perfect for her “sleeping den”. In the master bathroom the opposite was needed. It was already a dark cave and Garance wanted all the natural light so we busted down walls, opened up the space and breathed new life with white fireclay brick tile, a custom vanity, and a huge oversized mirror.

All of the stunning photos above were taken by Jason Frank Rothenberg for Domino Magazine and Styled by Rosy Fridman. I made a trip back to Garance’s to shoot more angles of the house and will be sharing those photos along with all the details and before & after’s in more posts later this week so see you back here soon! x

Photos by Jason Frank Rothenberg, for Domino
Design by Sarah Sherman Samuel
Story Produced by Kate Berry
Styled by Rosy Fridman

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