All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy

My client base is pretty diverse, running the gamut from singletons to young families to a set of grandparents. But last week I finished a project that turned out to be a Retrograde first: a nursery for a baby boy.

The deadline got moved up because, well, we wanted to finish before the baby was born. (In fact, he's due any day now!) My client and her husband had just renovated their basement into a kicka** master suite and wanted to turn their old bedroom into the nursery for their son. (Yes, they knew ahead of time that they were getting a boy ;-)

What made these clients interesting was how in tune they were with my own style. The mom-to-be frequents the same thrift stores and antique shops around the Mission as religiously as I do. They shared my attitude about reusing and upcycling materials, turning them into great custom pieces. Needless to say, this made my work really easy, since the mom-to-be had done so much work already. I felt like I came to this project as a consultant or sounding board, giving her another opinion or verifying the great decisions she had already made.

Taking the fabrics and pieces she had already acquired, I worked up a treatment for the nursery, including some different floor plans:

In the end, some of the placement of furniture changed for the better (or the more practical.) She also decided against using her vintage Saarinen tulip side table in the nursery (wise decision--this will turn into a rambunctious toddler's room soon enough!) She also enlisted the help of her incredibly skilled mother to make custom pillows, a daybed cover, and to paint the vintage dresser into a great changing table.

I wish all my clients had mothers like that!

I brought over a few finishing pieces (including the homemade Keith Haring "Night Owl" nightlight, which I gave them as a gift) and took some photos.

Here are the before-and-afters showing the transformation from master bedroom to nursery:

  (Before - with fabrics and crib tucked in a corner)

  (After - a daybed for lounging or nursing)

Yes, there's a lot of blue in there, but I was really glad to see my client wasn't afraid of getting other colors in there too, like orange and green. With the daybed and vintage dresser in place, it could easily be turned into a guest room or a sitting room if the baby ends up in another part of the house.

I'm just glad I got to take a few pictures before the little guy's arrival! Here's a little video dedicated to him and his awesome family:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

And when you smile for the camera, I know they're gonna love it!

So my Facebook peeps are usually kept up to date on everything that happens on this blog, but I realized that the flow of information doesn't go both ways (is "non-vice-versa" a term?)

A few weeks ago on Facebook I posted a link to this great article where I was interviewed by IIDA, the International Interior Design Association. It's all about the power to reinvent oneself and they interviewed several people who had entered the field of interior design after having had other careers (I was in graphics for nearly 10 years. I was also--and still consider myself to be, occasionally, an actor, too.) It felt good to get some exposure and talk about my new day job in interior design.

Then, on Monday, one of the contributors to Apartment Therapy contacted me and asked if he could have permission to feature some of my before-and-after Retrograde projects on their site. I nearly flipped out--one of my favorite websites (and one of my big inspirations to go back to school for interior design) was contacting me.

Of course I said "yes!" Check it out--it ran on Tuesday (talk about fast turnaround!)

July's been a good month, I must say.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I can upgrade you, show you how to use nice things with nice flavors...

Jen F. has a loft that's a work in progress. Because she's invested so much into her newly renovated downtown Oakland loft, we've had to get inventive with furnishings and accesories. Lots of thrift store finds have given me the chance to get crafty with my blue tape and a can of spray paint. I recently found a pair of tarnished lamps for cheeeeeaaaap and painted them.


After (check it out, they're on the re-painted nightstands!):

It's coming along...I think we'll be done in a couple of months.

It's poppin'!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Like A Rolling Stone...

So this week I'm concentrating on "renter style", and making quick changes that have big visual (and not structural) impact. It's something that's always on my mind because, as most of you know, I'm a "responsible renter" (meaning I try to make quick fixes and repairs around the house whenever I can instead of bothering my landlords upstairs when something goes wrong.) And also, in the beginning my designs originally catered to folks who couldn't or didn't want to make huge structural changes to their homes. (Of course that's changed now too, with several new Retrograde clients who are great hands-on homeowners.)

Since several of my projects are currently at various stages of near-completion, I can't show you any photos of other people's homes, so I'll go back to my own--it's really my mad scientist's laboratory, where I can try out new tricks. I guess it's also fun to show you how I live ;-)

Take my bedroom, for instance. For a while, we've had a couple of console tables as nightstands. Yes, they took up a lot of room on either side of the bed, but we really got used to the extra space they provided for piles of books and things.

This is how my partner's side of the bed looked about four years ago when we first moved in:

And this is how it's looked for a while with a drop-leaf console table (currently up for grabs!):

I found a great mini Parsons desk in a bright color at one of West Elm's sales and got a  new shiny steel frame for the original German Querelle poster (which we scored at a garage sale around the corner several years ago.) Here's how it looks now:

These new additions really brightened up that corner and inspired me to add punches of color to the rest of the room, including my side:

Even little things like switching around the lampshades made a difference and kept a nice contrast between the two sides of the bed--dark and light, angular and curvy, modern and traditional...

I decided to refinish and sell the other console table on my side to a client and picked up this great bargain from Ikea. I love the color and it's actually kind of huge--tons of storage inside!

So there you have it--that's how my bedroom keep changing and evolving. Don't be afraid to try to something new, especially if you're a renter like me.

If you need help, drop me a line!