Wood Dilemma: Part 1

A few months back I shared with you guys the biggest design dilemma we encountered during our house remodel (read part 1 here)- “what to do with all of the original wood detailing.” We went back and forth, and then back and forth again, trying to decide what to keep, what to remove, what to refinish, and what to paint. I think I mapped out every possible scenario of wood/paint combinations and I would be lying if I said I didn’t lose sleep over it. But alas, we made it through and couldn’t be happier with how things turned out. Here’s the before and after!



For the living room we ended up painting all of the built-ins (bench, shelving to left of fireplace, mantle) the same bright white as the walls. The color is “Simply White” by Benjamin Moore – probably my favorite white. To make the room feel a bit taller, we removed the wood crown moulding that bordered the ceiling but you will see that we left it in the entryway because I liked the more “regal” feeling of it in there. We both loved the look of those wood pillars and knew we didn’t have it in our hearts to paint those so ended up refinishing and staining them to match everything else.

Next up is the dining room which felt almost cave-like because dark wood covered all four walls and most of the ceiling. We ended up painting the built-in the same “Simply White” as well as that beautiful detailed moulding on all walls except for the one that we knocked down leading into that bright sea-foam green monstrosity of a kitchen.



Both of the beams in the after shots were actually not the originals. The original beams were so beat up and funky that it would have cost us more to try and salvage them then to just replace completely. I think when all was said and done these beams only cost an additional $200-$300 which is nothing considering the amount of impact they bring to the space. Lastly, those glass pane doors, I had envisioned those doors in the dining room being a crisp black from the second I walked into the house and think the black adds the perfect bit of contrast and modern feel. The doors are painted in “Onyx” by Benjamin Moore.

So there you have it. One of the toughest design dilemma’s to work through but we came out on the other end just fine.

Brett Foken is the owner of Decorotation, a full service residential interior design firm in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in refined, natural + minimal spaces. Her work has been seen on Apartment Therapy, Today, The Everygirl, Curbed + more. To work with her, click here.

Brett Foken
The Perfect Personalized Gift

Tis’ the season for giving and countless gift guide round-ups all over the web. Since you’ve probably already sifted through your fair share of gift guides from your favorite brands and bloggers, I thought I would skip pulling together a gift round-up this year and just focus on my number one personalized gift idea for this holiday season – a custom framed piece from FramebridgeFramebridge has been my go-to brand for the last few years when it comes to all things custom framing and I am happy to say that almost every single art piece in our home has been framed by them. This company has transformed the slightly intimidating and expensive service of custom framing into something that is completely user friendly, personalized, and fairly priced for the superior quality. So naturally, I was super excited when Framebridge agreed to partner with me on this post to extend a little holiday loving to all of you! Keep reading for more details 😉

There’s two options when it comes to sending your pieces to Framebridge for framing: 1. You mail in art/prints/anything physical (packaging and shipping is free) 2. You upload digital files or Instagram photos and they do the printing for you (at no additional charge). All of the pieces in my own home are sentimental photos which I was able to upload directly to the Framebridge site, select the sizes I wanted printed and picked from the 40+ gorgeous frame options for each. If choosing frames overwhelms you then there is also an option to have one of the Framebridge designers choose some frame options for you.

When it comes to personalized gifts, I don’t think you can get much more personal than a custom framed photo or art piece that holds meaning. There is something very special about framing happy memories and/or meaningful art pieces making this a gift idea that I find myself coming back to time and time again.



And now a gift for all of you so you can keep on giving. Here’s a special code to save 15% on your FIRST Framebridge purchase: DECOROTATION15

Happy gifting! And special thanks to Framebridge for partnering with me on this post!


*Photos by Hamee Ha

Brett Foken
2 Kitchen Combinations, 1 Kitchen – Which is Your Favorite?

hile we await our fate in getting permits for the Canning house, I’ve been busy over here Pinning design inspo and putting together some different concepts for each space. Construction over at the Canning house is moving pretty fast which means design decisions need to be made STAT so we can start ordering all of our materials. I always like to design the kitchen first because it’s usually the most important room in the house with the most decisions that need to be made.

From the outside, the Canning house has a Spanish/Craftsman look (check out some before photos here) so I would like to remain somewhat true to that style on the inside but also modernize the place. When it comes to an investment property, you never know who your buyer is going to be or what their style is so it’s important to design the home in a way that appeals to a broader group of buyers vs. a home that is designed in a very specific style that might appeal to a smaller group that only likes that particular style. With this in mind, I always take into account the style of the home itself and then figure out what I can do to preserve that original style while also modernizing the home and making it appeal to a wide pool of target buyers.

With that said, let me tell you a little more about this kitchen. When you walk in the front door, you immediately see the open concept dining area and kitchen so it’s absolutely a focal point of the home. I want things to feel clean and breathable but also drop dead GORGEOUS.  I came up with two different concepts and while I think I know which one I am leaning towards, I wanted to see what you guys think.

This first combo has kind of a California/modern/organic feel which I think would really compliment the home as well as fit in with other things I’m seeing in the area.

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This second combo is slightly more “on-trend” with that patterned tile on the back of the peninsula and gray cabinets.

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What do you guys think? Comment below and let me know!

Brett Foken