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.


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

CB2 x GQ

Have you guys seen the CB2 x GQ collab yet? I love all the oak and leather and small accents of black. Everything would look right at home in our new office. Eh hmmm just saying. It has the masculine vibes but in the best way possible that are also super versatile where the pieces could live in any kind of space. I have my eye on the lamps, and that gorgeous oak coffee table but all of these are my picks.

Shop my faves:
Ripley Lamp // Marble Paperweight / Catchall // Oak Dining Table // Kotka Chair // Justice Oak Coffee Table //

sss new studio!

While I have just started diving deeper into our home renovation on here, we are already looking ahead and simultaneously working on an exciting project that hopefully means a better work/life balance and maybe even a boost in productivity. If you missed out on some of my Instagram stories… we are building me a new office/studio (turns out the separation of working downstairs wasn’t quite enough)! It will be on the same property as our house, which is what I have missed so much from our LA set up. While my babies are so small, I still want to spend as much time with them as I can, and be able to pop in and keep an eye on things throughout the day, so working from home is ideal. However, hearing every single thing and having Archie and/or Clover bust in on conference calls is not. It is a give and take. haha. For me, having a separate working studio on the same property is the best-case scenario. It has the shortest commute, my work messes are separate from the house (marriage saver), and I am still there for everything.

Now when it came to designing myself a dream modern shed/studio outpost I knew that #1 I wanted it to be black to match what we painted the main house and #2 that I wanted a wall of glass… floor to ceiling, let the outside inside, modern, streamlined glass. So I was really excited when I found out about Marvin’s brand new Modern line of windows and doors. They have slim frames which means larger expanses of glass and a built-in drywall return so no window casing trim is needed for a super clean modern finish. And my favorite part is that they have a multi-slide door so I can get that full wall of glass I was dreaming of (and one that will be able to stand up to Michigan winters). I ended up designing the entire structure around the doors and windows.

I rounded up a few inspo spaces so you can get the idea of the vibe I am going for.

These all have flat or slanted roofs but in the climate this is going in (hello snow) I didn’t want to battle a flat roof and even though I love the slanted roof on the Muji hut, I also liked the idea of doing a minimal take on a traditional single gabled roof. Essentially stripping down the quintessential house shape you first learn to draw as a kid and making it my own.

The section of the property that the shed is going to sit on is long and narrow with the property line on one side and a hill on the other. The best view from inside will be on the short side of the building, looking down a large wooded ravine so that is right where I wanted to have the wall of glass with Marvin’s Modern Multi-Slide door, which will also be the main entrance. The path to get out to the office will be a short walk through the woods revealing first the solid wall with no windows. I planned it this way to maximize the site views and minimize the views you don’t want to see (window placement is like photo cropping IRL) but also so that you first arrive at a bunkerlike structure and as your walk all the way around it to the front there is a big reveal of the wall of glass and the light and bright interior. We also did a huge direct glaze 12’ window on the wall opposite of the one you first encounter, that will sit right at desk height. I plan to build in the desk so that it sits flush with the base of the window. These kinds of details can be easily overlooked but in modern architecture they make the design.

In contrast to the dark stoic exterior, the inside will be bright, light, and warm. Give me alllll the light. In a designer’s workspace there may not be much more important than natural light, which is why the windows and doors are so crucial. You might remember my previous office at the top of this photo bank, oof do I miss all that natural Cali light. Here is hoping that since the windows and doors going into this new space are way bigger, I will be able to get some of that light in Michigan and maybe even one-up my old creative space.

Now for a peek into some of the finishes and fixtures…

For me an ideal workspace is essentially a blank slate. I work with a lot of color, a variety of materials, patterns and finishes and I want to be able to let my work (and my eye) breathe. So minimal lines, nothing extra, and plenty of open space. Having the large walls of glass with the Marvin doors and windows also bring the outdoors in, which gives my brain, that tends to work overtime, some respite. Being able to look out into the woods with nothing else on the horizon is the ultimate visual palette cleanser.

This is the first freestanding structure we have built from the ground up so wish us luck! If you are curious about the process and where we are or how you might tackle this kind of thing I have outlined our path below. Local codes, zoning and all that fun stuff will be totally different based on location so I am just outlining our process. This doesn’t mean it will work for everyone!

  1. Find out your local code requirements and get a professional survey. (I had envisioned the studio/shed about 20 feet to the right of where it will go but turns out we have to adhere to a 40′ easement. So I had to scale back the size a bit and move it on over).
  2. Get the plans drawn up and apply for permits. Ideally you would probably work with an architect but I knew what I wanted to do so I sketched up my own drawings. I am such a newbie to Michigan though, I was clueless as to what the city needs were and materials/practices that I am used to doing in California don’t all translate to this type of climate etc. So I worked with my friends at KLH custom homes who then formally drafted the plans for me and for our contractor (they also sent in the surveyor they work with). I have been able to lean on them to know what has worked for them material wise, to figure out “the how” to build my vision and what paperwork was needed and where to take it. Spoiler… there is a lot that of paperwork for the permitting process.
  3. Clear the trees and prepare the site. We only had to take down a couple trees, including one that was already dead and now we have to get an excavator in to level out the land.
  4. Find a good contractor. Always hard! Word of mouth is the best way but also interviewing and getting bids from multiples. I find that the GC’s that ask a lot of questions and really comb through the project are the most promising. It shows they have attention to detail and you want that in a GC. I am working with Ayers Construction who I happen to know from high school! So, I think that is me being lucky or cheating. ha

5. Foundation! Next they built the forms for the footings and brought in a cement truck. A Very exciting day for the kids. Construction is a hit. 

6. We got our footing inspection approved, first one down! And next came the framing. The framing is the most satisfying because BOOM suddenly there is a structure. Bryon and his guys knocked out the framing in a day and a half. Woop! 

That is as far as we are right now… hoping for a smooth and timely construction period and you know I will keep you updated over on IG!

SHOP THE LOOK: Marvin Modern Multi Slide Doors // Marvin Modern Casement Windows // Marvin Modern Direct Glaze Windows // Pendant // Office Chair // Desk // Rug // Floating Shelves

Master Bedroom Update & Design

Who’s ready for a #samuelfamilyfixer mini recap? I feel like it has been so long I forgot where we left off. Turns out moving across the country after having a second child and then doing a gut renovation is A LOT. ha Pile on a ton of work and a new lack of childcare and you’ve got yourself a tornado of change. If you haven’t been around here or following on IG, this is where we are at. A little over a year ago we bought a house off the internet… knowing it was a fixer and loving the bones we made the leap and moved to Michigan with our newly expanded family of 4. We moved into the fixer pre-renovations for 5 months, then we moved to a rental house for the heavy construction for 5 months. When we moved back into the fixer it was about 70% finished. To save money and get the most renovation bang for our buck we opted to do most all of the finish work ourselves. So in any of our free time (between work and kids and a lot of help ) while I could have been choosing furniture and lighting and art I was installing kitchen cabinets, shelving, trim etc. So, here we are 5 more months after we moved back in (that is 15 months all together if you are keeping track) I have finally started to get to furnishing this place!

I posted the photo above on IG a couple weeks back and I am so happy you guys were loving the dresser as much as me. If you’ve read the blog a time or two You know that I turn to Wayfair V often, at this point I feel like I am a professional Wayfair scout especially when I find pieces like this.

You might notice that the base is slightly different (many of you asked about this in my stories) I simply opted not to add the legs that came with it. I loved it sitting lower to the ground and you know I am a serial furniture hacker so I couldn’t help it.

The rest of the room has yet to get pulled together IRL but here are some more things I snagged from Wayfair, including linen bedding in the prettiest blush from their Elder & Ivory line. They have curtains and pillows and throw blankets as well, it is their own line of curated premium linens.

I’ve basically designed the entire house around the original wood ceiling and the bedroom was no exception. I wanted the space to still be light and bright so outside of the wood ceiling it is all various shades of white with a little bit of blush. We even did white tile floors. The key to a mostly white room… bring in allll the soft layers to cozy it up. I can’t wait to get everything installed and finish this space off soon!

Shop the Look: Dresser // Full Length Mirror // Vase // Sweatpants, sweatshirt // Lumbar Pillows // Blush Linen Duvet Cover set // Bed // Side Table (using as a nightstand) // Wall Hanging // Lamp // Throw Blanket (it comes in other pretty colors too) // Curtains // Blush Linen Sheet Set