April 14, 2014
by Melanie Coddington

Moving into Modern: The Nursery

Dear Reader(s),

Here I am!  Thank you so much for sticking with me through my lackadaisical blogging.  While my love for design is as strong as ever, the latest addition to my life has a monopoly on my free time (hence the nursery post!).  I post more frequently on Facebook so be sure to catch up with us there.  If you are new to the blog, check out my post on my Girly Modern Cottage or my project for the Anchor Distillery Tasting Room to get a sense of things I love.




Moving into Modern: The Nursery

We are having a bit of a baby boom here at Coddington Design!  My senior designer in Los Angeles, Taylor Tanimoto, gave birth to her second little girl in February while I received my little bundle of baby joy, Theo, in December.  With babies everywhere, it seems fitting that we dive deep into the design of a modern day nursery.

With my plunge into the parenting pool, I now find myself involved in debates I didn’t even know I cared about like cloth vs disposable diapers or attachment parenting vs cry-it-out.   There is one hot topic that I can offer advice with certainty and that is how to decorate a nursery.  Should it be stimulating or relaxing?  Neutral or colorful?  Designed for the parents or for the kids? Is yellow gender neutral (not if you agree with the dad in Juno).  My take on parenting and designing is to RELAX.  Put your pregnant feet up, wipe the spittle off your shoulder, and take a deep breath.  I promise your child’s wall color is not going make or break whether he gets into an ivy league school or she becomes a professional athlete but the reward for a beautifully designed space for your kid does have definite benefits.

For Theo’s nursery, I wanted a colorful and stimulating room that allowed some longevity in design.  I wanted him to grow into the room.  I am having a pretty serious love affair with gray right now, so I started with this gray crib.


We painted his previously dark paneled walls a light neutral gray but really took some serious liberties in the traffic cone orange ceiling.  This mobile from the museum store floats gracefully with each little breeze (thanks Auntie Chelsea!).  We also decided on a geometrically designed light fixture to add a dash of modernity to the nursery.

MOMA mobile with ceiling color

light fixture

I spent endless hours searching for the perfect glider and I’m glad I did because I seem to spend a chunk of my life nestled in this piece of furniture.  I couldn’t find one that met all my needs so I told myself (and my wife) that I should design my own.  I decided to splurge on a custom vintage-inspired fully upholstered glider (it rocks and swivels).  It’s built to last and we plan to have it re-upholstered after the baby years for a more glamorous reincarnation.  For sanity’s sake and for functional design, it’s super comfy, hides spills, and lends great details to the room. I’ve become quite the expert on what makes the perfect glider.  The back needs to be high enough so that it catches your head when it drops back from sheer exhaustion and the arms need to be the right height to support your tired and weak baby-carrying arms. There are some beautiful ones out there and you can see some of my faves here.

custom glider


The window treatments are (gasp!) retail but a great value.  I dressed them up with custom hardware and mounted them so they just brushed the floor.  The Serena & Lilly etagere provides a ton of storage for bedtime books and toys (although Theo seems more interested in how books and toys taste at this stage of the game).  We also selected some seriously adorbs artwork from The Animal Print Shop.

serena and lily bookcase

The Animal Print Shop by Sharon Montrose

Buying rugs online is not for the faint of heart, but I was confident about this moustache rug purchase because of the many shades of orange.  It’s a seamless fit for the nursery’s orange ceiling and as a bonus it hides all kinds of spills.  Plus, my talented friend saw the rug and made this moustache themed quilt for Theo!

area rug 2

Photo Apr 10, 7 17 21 PM

One of the best features of a nursery’s design is all the creative and generous contributions our friends made.  Theo’s Native American auntie had her talented sister weave this traditional basket and his handy Aunty Jo sewed a hand crafted owl mobile from felt.  He loves to watch it when he’s on his changing table.

baby basket

Handmade mobile

We hope to have the room completed later this year and I can’t wait to share the finished photos!  Stay tuned peeps, I promise not to disappear for too long!

December 15, 2013
by Melanie Coddington

Moving Into Modern: How I Remodeled My Kitchen in Six Weeks





Ready for some radical honesty?  My remodel is taking longer than expected and costing more than I planned. Despite bringing my heavyweight design skills, my professionally developed bossy demeanor, and my blatant obsession for interiors, I was simply not prepared for the level of detail management, scheduling, planning and general sense of mid-level panic that accompanied this project.  This is quite typical and what everyone tells you to expect, but I kept telling myself certainly my remodel will be different.

Kitchens are the heart of a home and one of my favorite rooms to design.  I’ve written about the basics of good kitchen design here and here. This current and personal project is packed with meaning for me as it’s a time for true beginnings with this new home and our first baby on the way.  A few weeks ago I shared the before images and design plans for my kitchen.  This week, I’m excited to share my top five tips for a speedy kitchen remodel.

Tip 1:  Measure & Plan

Starting with a plan is de rigueur for interior designers.  Here is our final floor plan and detailed elevations for this kitchen remodel.  Even before the first original 1948 cabinet or the chipped tiles were removed, I had already planned and documented the exact height of the window sill, where every light switch would be located, and the future home of both the utensil and spice drawers.  A thorough design plan requires a lot of time upfront but saves you so much time during the renovation process.  As long as you hire a general contractor or sub-contractors who are willing and able to read your plans, then your time spent answering questions, running to the home supply store, and making important design decisions under the gun will be greatly reduced. Besides, it is much easier to move things around on paper than in real life.

Tip 2:  Make all finish selections at the same time

Once I had the floor plan and color scheme down for our kitchen (emerald green and copper), we set out trying to turn the vision in my head into a reality. To cut down on the guess work, you will want to get samples of all your tile, flooring and cabinetry decisions and carry them around with you when you are shopping.  If you’re like me, you’ll also carry them around with you when you’re not shopping because you never know when the perfect wallpaper might come waltzing into your life.  Your goal is to make sure everything has a sense of harmony and inclusiveness.  Most people tend to default to a white kitchen simply because they are afraid of making a mistake but color in a kitchen adds an amazing sense of energy and the finishes are a great place for a touch of color.  My finish decisions were made in the following order:

1. cabinetry style (white and modern)

2. backsplash (Ann Sacks bronze)

3. countertop (white quartz)

4. decorative lighting (copper pendants)

5. wallpaper (david hicks geometric)

6. flooring (porcelain tile laid straight)

7. sink (white farmhouse)

8. appliances

9. faucet

10. paint (always select this last because paint comes in every color while tile, backsplashes, and wallpaper have more limited palettes).

Tip 3: Purchase All Your Materials Well in Advance

You should have the appliances, backsplash, flooring, sink, even the faucet on site before demo if possible or, at least, scheduled to arrive shortly after construction begins.  Delays due to surprises during demo are inevitable but your schedule doesn’t have to be derailed by back-ordered items.  Also, open every box and inspect everything immediately when it arrives.  I painstakingly went through each backsplash tile and found a few damaged ones I was able to replace well before we needed them.

Tip 4: Edit, Edit, Edit

It’s tempting, I know, but don’t put everything you have ever liked into one room.  (This tip applies to all rooms, not just kitchens by the way.)

Tip 5:  Get Bids/Quotes Early

I was able to estimate most of my construction costs well in advance by getting early bids.  Unexpected costs are a given during a remodel but you can really minimize the damage and make smart choices by having a thorough understanding of the projected total cost.  Also consider the labor to install your materials.  Our flooring was relatively inexpensive porcelain tile (under $20 per square foot) but the labor to install it was probably just as much, if not more, per square foot.

Following these top five tips are sure to make any remodel a more organized and, dare I say, a more enjoyable experience. Prepare to spend portions of your day following up on the plan you’ve established. I had a checklist that I reviewed with my carpenter almost daily.  Be excessively clear in both your written and verbal expectations and let your contractors know right away if your expectations are not being met.  (Pro tip: being pregnant while remodeling makes this last step much easier.) Although our kitchen took longer than the four weeks I had budgeted, it was done before Thanksgiving and I am thrilled with the results.  Go forth, be brave, and use color!  You can do this.



During, Down to the Studs phase

During, Down-to-the-Studs phase

Drywall installed but no cabinets yet.

Drywall installed but no cabinets yet.


Cabinets and appliances are installed. No countertops yet

Cabinets and appliances are installed. No countertops yet

The calendar was our bible.

The calendar was our bible.


Wallpaper installed and new door.

Wallpaper installed and new door.


We have new countertops and backsplash.

We have new countertops and backsplash.







November 13, 2013
by Melanie Coddington
1 Comment

Moving Into Modern: The Kitchen

Remodeling is not for the faint of heart.  As I write this, I am 7.75 months pregnant waiting for my contractor, one of the three (!) plumbers, and the electrician to show up.  This kitchen must be done before Thanksgiving or else the world ends.  I mean, we take our food holidays seriously around here!  At Coddington Design, we have guided our clients through major remodels.  We always advise them to MOVE OUT OF THE HOUSE during a remodel, which they are happy to do.  Unfortunately I’m not in a position to follow my own advice so we have turned our dining room into a makeshift kitchen with a George Foreman grill, microwave and lots of pre-packaged food and compostable silverware.  So far it has been 14 days without a kitchen and a mere 3 more weeks to go…

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have recently purchased a house and am deep into the process of fixing it up before the baby comes in December.   Even before we closed escrow I had contractors, plumbers and various trades people coming through the house to give estimates on pricing and timelines for the kitchen remodel since its original state reminded me of a motel kitchenette but worse.

kitchen before photo

That’s right, linoleum flooring, missing countertops, electric stove, no dishwasher, not even a garbage disposal. This was going to be a total gut job.  The design process evolved as the bids came in.  Part of my vision had to be shelved, such as mini-brick green ceramic tile, since they could not be found quickly enough for our aggressive timeline.  I had to start sourcing items that were in stock and ready to ship in order to meet my deadline.

When I design a room I always start with the floor plan.  I’m sharing Option 1 and Option 2 (there were actually five under consideration).  We decided to forgo the eat-in kitchen–we can always dine on the terrace outside or in the dining room–but we really need storage and counter space.



I also made the controversial decision to remove one window allowing for a large fridge and pantry stack on that wall.   Once the floor plan is set, the fun really starts with color and finish selection.  Designers can sometimes get overwhelmed by all the choices when designing for ourselves, but in my case I am lucky enough to have a wife that has strong opinions about color schemes.  She had her own vision of a copper and emerald green kitchen with the possibility of adding patterned wallpaper.

kitchen colors shot

We went ultra-modern and sleek with the kitchen cabinets and flooring but since this room is the heart of a home, we wanted to make sure it had a sense of warmth and charm.  We added patinated tile, emerald green paint on the walls and some great David Hicks patterned wallpaper.  Of course, once we had finalized the design and ordered the tile, we saw this post.  Sigh.  A green and copper kitchen designed by decorating legend Kelly Wearstler for an A-list celebrity.  I swear we did not copy them!  Regardless, I am really looking forward to getting through this remodel.  Here is the current sad state of the room:

kitchen demo shot

 Meanwhile, I’m keeping my eye on the prize.

Kitchen 3D Rendering - Viewpoint 1


 Kitchen 3D Rendering - Viewpoint 2

exterior before photo

November 5, 2013
by Melanie Coddington

Moving into Modern: My New House

Since my last post I’ve been busy: buying a home, selling a home, cooking a baby (due in late Dec) and remodeling and redesigning the new house! My old house was an adorable Edwardian Cottage (cottage in real estate lingo = tiny) with quaint period details and tons of charm. My new house is mid-century, built in 1948 by a gentleman who enjoyed dark wood paneling and, according to my contractor, using LOTS of nails.

mid-century_paneled bedroom

We (meaning myself and my lovely wife) fell in love with the tree lined street, the friendly neighbors and the great schools. We LIKED the house, it fit our budget, and it hadn’t been fixed up, flipped, or otherwise tainted like many of the houses we saw. We beat out 10 other offers on the place and our dream house became ours. I personally envisioned a home with ridiculously high ceilings, a formal entry, perhaps a rambling old neglected charmer like this…


It took me a minute to become comfortable with the idea of buying a mid-century modern house, especially when it needed as much work as this one.

exterior before photo

But, once I saw this unfinished basement, I was on board!

basement before shot

An additional 1,300 square feet of pristine, untouched living space we could do anything with (see: Mariah Carey style closet)

mariah carey closet

So, time to look past the peeling paint, the wall to wall carpet, the dark paneling and start designing! In the next few months I will be tackling the living room, dining room, master bedroom and nursery. Up first, the kitchen, which will be done before Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to share photos.



Master Bedroom

August 6, 2013
by Melanie Coddington

Saying Goodbye to a Girly Modern Cottage

[Confidential to my readers: I’m constantly giving unsolicited advice to my assistant, Adrienne.  Little gems like “never get a dog. They ruin carpets, throw up, and make you shell out $800 so the vet can tell you your dog has a tummy ache.”   Similarly, I constantly tell anyone who will listen “never start a blog.”  Basically, you spend hours dispensing free advice, agonizing over the perfect photo or turn of phrase and as soon as you post, the blazing speed of the interwebs makes it a day late.  No one could say I post too often (or even regularly) but this last absence has been pretty appalling, even for me.  I’m sorry.  Please read on to hear my really good excuse. You can always check out our Facebook page for steady updates.]

In my daily life, I work hard to bring my clients’ aesthetic to life. The primary focus of my job is to translate a client’s vision into a tangible space. An important part of that process is staying open and objective, keeping my personal tastes in the background. I listen diligently and filter their needs, desires, hopes and fears about their space into a cohesive plan that ticks all the functionality boxes plus adds a little design magic.  If a client comes to me and they want industrial minimalism, I make sure that’s what I deliver.  So when it comes to my own home, it’s definitely an oasis of my own tastes and styles but it’s never a static haven.  I’m always half-joking about how everything in my house is for sale. The staples in my living room have been the sofa, the shades, and the wallpaper while the chairs, lamps, and tables get shifted constantly. I’m not afraid to send some of my favorite pieces out to pasture while I scoop up a new treasure that has been on my wishlist for years.  I believe design has to keep growing and what better place to practice that ideal than my own home.  My fiance has finally stopped the eye rolling.

"Living room as published on CH+D/Living room as it is today."

Living room as published in California Home + Design / Living room as it is today.

When I started this blog back in 2011, I made a commitment to being authentic in this space.  Girly Modern has been a place for me to indulge my feminine side, to unapologetically talk about everything girly and glam. It’s been a creative outlet that has infused my overall design vision and allowed me to explore new ideas. Designing my own home has been a valuable and passionate extension of this freedom.

Kitchen nook with cute seating that no one ever sat in / Kitchen nook with practical bar seating we actually use daily

Kitchen nook with cute seating that no one ever sat in / Kitchen nook with practical bar seating that we actually use daily

Two years after I started my own design firm, I was able to purchase my first home.  I immediately set about painting the walk-in closet two shades of pink, hanging crystal chandeliers liberally and generally making a two story girl cave.  My friends loved it, design magazines loved it, and I loved it. (Take a tour here!) Fast forward a few years and my girl cave feels a little…less me.

Dining room on a budget / Dining room with Italian horse chandelier and Baker table / Dining room as it is today

Dining room on a budget / Dining room with Italian horse chandelier and Baker table / Dining room as it is today

As a designer, I’m often invited into my client’s lives during a moment of transition: new marriage, (or divorce), new baby, new town, or new house. Each life event offers an opportunity to be present, embrace change, and start creating a new phase of life. Today I find myself in the same position as my clients. I am thrilled to share that I will be expecting my first child in December! My girlfriend and I, who have been domestic partners for years, will be getting officially married later this year.  We are putting our home on the market and searching for a new one. Needless to say, things are changing.

Master Bedroom

In addition to changes in my personal life, my design taste is also always exploring and evolving.  At Coddington Design, we are lucky enough to be exposed to some of the most innovative and inspiring design which, of course, makes me want to redecorate constantly.  So as we outgrow this house, we begin the hunt for the next home/design lab.  One of the reasons why I love my job so much is that I still get that nervous excitement when I start a new project, and my own home is no exception.  While I’m sad (really, really, really sad but honestly that feels kinda hormonal) to be leaving my girly modern cottage, I’m so excited for all of the wonderful adventures ahead for me and my family. I look forward to sharing my new home with you all!  Be on the lookout for before and after photos of the new place soon.



my version of a man cave

my version of a man cave



May 6, 2013
by Melanie Coddington
1 Comment

Girly Modern Guide to Kitchens: Part Two

Kitchens, there’s so much to say!  This week we take a look at ways to design your dream kitchen so that it fits into the rhythm of daily life.  We also have a few tips for bedazzling the room that often gets overlooked in the glam department.

First, let’s talk about the work triangle.  While it may sound technical and potentially boring, it’s actually an easy tool for getting a functional blueprint of your new kitchen.  The work triangle was formulated about 70 years ago when appliances started becoming more mainstream causing kitchens to undergo a major transformation in form and function.  The main concept of the work triangle is to design the sink, refrigerator, and stove in a triangle pattern that is spaced fairly close together (not too close!) for greater cooking efficiency and to streamline the space.


The specifics of the work triangle state that the invisible lines connecting the sink, fridge, and stove should be at least four feet and no more than nine feet.  If the triangle is too short, you’ll feel buried under the appliances and if it’s too big, you’ll be running back and forth just to boil water.  So when planning your dream kitchen or redesigning your existing one, grab a piece of paper or a use that cocktail napkin to sketch out a few ideas about how to:

  • position your sink, fridge, and stove so that they create a functional work triangle (don’t be afraid to bust out the tape measure)

  • design the cabinets so they don’t interfere with your work triangle in a major way

  • develop the seating and prep areas so that they steer clear of the triangle zone

If you’re thinking your kitchen space is too tiny to form a line nevermind a triangle, don’t throw in the dish towel just yet. There are a few design strategies for cramped quarters that can rescue small kitchens.  One way to maximize every inch of kitchen space is to splurge on custom cabinetry.  Custom doesn’t have to mean budget-kill, by sticking to standard sizes with custom cabinets you’ll be able to save some kitchen coin. Here’s a great example of a bright and compact kitchen by designer Miles Redd.

Miles Redd

Kitchen by Miles Redd

Another kitchen space saver is to design a full height appliance wall.  This will free up counter space and keep daily appliances neatly tucked away.  Take a peek at this appliance wall, it includes a refrigerator, microwave, oven, warming drawer, built-in espresso machine and a hidden appliance garage.  An appliance garage is a pull-out shelf to keep appliances like blenders and toasters plugged in but out of sight. Ingenious.


Coddington Design kitchen

If it’s not so much your kitchen that’s small but your design budget, focus on one fantastic feature like decorative tile behind the stove.  We built the color scheme for the kitchen around this hand painted tile.


Coddington Design kitchen

Sometimes kitchens just need an infusion of fun after all that planning around function. An easy way to add character in your kitchen is through accessories.  A bright, fun color can add spice to an otherwise bland kitchen and make it a welcoming meeting place for your family at the end of the day.



Stools from Matt Blatt | Photo by Jody D’Arcy | Home Beautiful

Another way to energize your kitchen is by using different materials for countertops and different paint colors on the cabinetry.  In this Coddington Design kitchen, we made the island a different color and used butcher block for the countertop.


Coddington Design kitchen

If you’ve got a ton of kitchen ideas and you want to bring a little cohesion to the entire room, consider adding a matching panel to your refrigerator.   That’s exactly what we did with this Coddington Design kitchen.  The large refrigerator blends in seamlessly with the rest of the cabinets and the appliance wall retains it’s polished and organized appearance.


Coddington Design kitchen

We could go on and on about kitchens but we would love to hear what you think!  Got a question about kitchen design?  Let us know!  We love to talk kitchen.


April 17, 2013
by Melanie Coddington

Girly Modern Guide to Kitchens: Part One

If you have ever spent weeks planning, prepping and cleaning your entire house for a party, only to have everyone pile into the kitchen for the whole night, you already know the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s the landing pad for families to come together, break bread and share stories. It’s where friends pour glasses of merlot, pull up a chair and get down with the latest gossip. And it’s ground zero for amateur chefs to embrace their passion with culinary masterpieces or – in my case – disasters.  Whether it’s the warm ovens, the sauteing garlic, or the quiet morning moments with a strong cup of coffee, there’s a magnetic pull to connect in the confines of the kitchen.  So when it comes to designing kitchens, it’s vital to have a good understanding of yourself and your family’s needs so you can create a beautiful and functional dream kitchen.


Kitchen by Coddington Design

Developing a plan for your dream kitchen can be daunting.  You want it be beautiful but you also need it to be streamlined and reality friendly.  Let’s face it, most of us are not going to clean, pack up, and store the toaster every morning.  To get the real deal on what would work best for your home, we’ve come up with a Girly Modern self-inventory survey to help create the clearest vision of your dream kitchen:

o How often do you cook?

o Is the kitchen a culinary haven or a place to microwave some grub and go?

o What appliances/features are must-haves? 2 dishwashers? A command center? Built in espresso machine?

o Do people gather in the kitchen often?

o Should we factor in seating at the island or counters?

o How does your kitchen play into your daily routine?

o Do you entertain formally? Should the kitchen be closed off to other rooms?

o Do you have small children? Should the appliances be out of reach of small, curious fingers?

o Is there a memorable kitchen that you just can’t get out of your head?

These questions will lead us to a solid understanding of what role this space will play in your life and how to integrate it with the larger design theme of your home.  Once we get a blueprint of ideas formulated, we can start getting detail specific. Since every kitchen tells a personal story, here are a few examples of customized ingredients used to make a dream kitchen come true.  We hope it lends a little inspiration!


Breakfast room by Coddington Design

Let’s keep it real about what you do in your kitchen.  If watching the news while you eat breakfast is part of your daily practice, let’s find a way to incorporate a tv into the design. Or maybe wine is your passion? Wine storage can be very easy and inexpensive with simple wine slots. This Coddington Design kitchen has a built in storage unit in the connecting breakfast room that integrates seamlessly into the overall design.


Kitchen by Steven Gambrel

If an open, airy feel is on your kitchen wishlist, look to the shelving for a solution. Removing cabinets and liberating their contents can really change the room’s landscape.  In this kitchen by designer Steven Gambrel, the open shelving gives a softer and more flexible feel to the kitchen and can be a perfect design move for smaller, cramped kitchens.  A word of warning though, open shelving requires pretty plates and an organized personality. If you lean toward the clutter-y side, you will want to keep those cabinets in place!


Breakfast room and custom fixture by Coddington Design

Lighting makes a room and the kitchen is no exception.  Kitchen lighting needs to be not only design minded but functional. With all the innovative new light fixtures out there, it is getting easier to find something special to add that extra “spark”. For those times when the perfect fixture can’t be found, I have them custom made, like the one in the breakfast room above that I designed for a client.


image from http://decorology.blogspot.com/ found on Pinterest

In part two of our series on creating your dream kitchen, we’ll tackle the golden rule of kitchen design – the work triangle! We’ll also show some beautiful examples of working with kitchen-friendly color and finishes.  Stay tuned!

Sagrada Família

March 19, 2013
by Melanie Coddington
1 Comment

Sagrada Família: Girly Modern Goes to…Church

Breaking up winter’s post-holiday dreariness with a trip to a design infused locale has become a seasonal ritual for me.  This year my partner and I snuck away for 9 days to Barcelona.  Two really important things happened to me during this trip: One, I broke up with United Airlines’ miles program and to quote Taylor Swift, we are never, never, ever, getting back together! Two, a dead architect brought me to tears.

Since this was my first trip to Spain, my senses were simply blown by a culture rich in beauty, detail, and inspiration.  We were lucky to be able to stay in my friend’s apartment in the Gracia, a neighborhood with a distinct Catalonian feel.  We indulged in a handful of touristy outings with our digital cameras snapping away, lounged over unbelievably delicious dinners, and even took a cooking class in an attempt to keep the epicurean dream alive upon our return to San Francisco.

Park Gruell by Gaudí

Park Gruell by Gaudí

I made this!

I made this!

After a particularly late night of Egyptian pizza (don’t ask) and too much Spanish wine, we overslept and had to cut out a sight or two from our last day. We raced from the Picasso Museum to the Sagrada Família where we were seriously bummed to see a line formed around the block. We begrudgingly took up our post at the back of the line at 2:59pm and at 3pm security guards stood directly behind us to officially close down the line. It seemed excessive until we saw how many people tried to sneak in behind us.

Sometimes procrastinating can pay off because once we entered the church we were rewarded with an almost eerie quiet and empty view. The moment I stepped into the Sagrada Família I cried, which I’m pretty sure I haven’t done since the final episode of Gossip Girl aired. I was immediately swept up in a palpable moment of serene beautiful and sudden peace.  It just took my breath away.

Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família

A little history on the extraordinariness of the church of Sagrada Família:  It began in 1882 with architect Antoni Gaudí at the helm.  It became the centerpiece of his career and he continued to work on it until his death in 1926.  After having devoted 43 years to the project and it was only 20% complete, Gaudí replied “My client is not in a hurry.”  The Sagrada Família remains a work in progress with Gaudí’s concepts intact as various architects continue to build his vision.

Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família

Gaudí was a deeply religious man who found his inspiration in nature. Using the shapes and geometry of the natural world, he created an interior that is amazingly otherworldly.  The patterns of honeycombs, seashells, and cypress cones can be seen throughout the church.  Even the large support columns, themselves a feat of engineering, were created as an enveloped forest with a dense canopy above.  For me, the Sagrada Família did the impossible.  It evoked that jaw dropping awe and unnameable connection I have only experienced in nature.

We took a zillion photos so here are a few of my favorites.  I hope you enjoy them!

Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família

Casa Milla by Gaudí

Casa Milla by Gaudí


that’s me never wanting to leave Barcelona




February 11, 2013
by Melanie Coddington

The Girly Modern Guide to Headboards

If sleep were a person, we’d all most likely be in couples counseling.  We are either not getting enough, the stuff we’re getting is embarrassingly shoddy, or we have to schedule date nights with our REM sleep.  I love sleeping, lounging under duvet covers, and slow moving mornings without alarm clocks.  While my busy design life tends to keep me from pressing snooze, it does keep me close to creating beautiful bedroom designs with one of my favorite decor pieces:  headboards.

Headboards are those things you didn’t have in your 20s but finally saw the light in your 30s.  They are the cornerstone of beds and sometimes the entire room.  If you’re new to the world of headboards, don’t be afraid.  For the novice, keep it simple.  A single color or simple striped pattern on a clean, linear design is your best bet.  Here’s a great example of a two-toned striped headboard in a straightforward rectangular design.

1Photo: Designed by Kerrisdale Design Inc.

Single toned headboards can also anchor a room that has a more complex design pattern.  This solid heather grey headboard for my client’s master bedroom adds a clean, modern grounding effect to a room with multiple colors and textures.

2Photo: David Livingston

For the more headboard savvy amongst us, it’s time to get down with some patterns! Patterned headboards have the power to compliment the overall design theme of your bedroom whether it’s calm, sophisticated, or girly modern.  Patterns also open up an entire new realm of creativity.  Colors, textures, and shapes are all up for grabs with patterned designs.  To avoid a frenetic palette, pair a subtle color with a more active, detailed headboard shape. Such as this single striped, rustic red pattern on an intricately designed, cutout headboard. Have fun with the shape but consult a professional if you are going this curvy!

Photo:Nursery Notions

Or the flip-side, pair a more detailed design with a gentle sloping shape.


Photo: David Livingston


Photo: Source

I love to use fabric in my Girly Modern designs but on a recent project for the Napa Showcase, I couldn’t decide between upholstered or wood for the headboard.  I went with the best of both worlds with this custom design of pale blue upholstery on a dark wood frame.

6Photo: David Livingston

If clocking in at the sleep factory means a bedroom filled with soft lines and muted tones, we think this Barbary Barry designed bed is inspirational.

7Photo: Source

It’s never too early to start teaching the next generation about the beauty of headboards. Here is a great example of a headboard I designed for a young client with black-accented cutouts for a custom look.

8Photo: David Livingston

And this is where I lay my head every night.  This simple, white headboard was designed to resemble a Chanel handbag. It’s a favorite spot for my shi tzu, Parker, who enjoys hiding under the custom designed bed skirt. Notice the layer of cream silk organza – super practical with two small dogs – not!

9Photo: Joe Fletcher


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November 7, 2012
by Melanie Coddington
1 Comment

Girly Modern Goes to Wine Country: Part II

If there’s one thing I love in this life more than decorating, it’s wine!  I was ecstatic when I received an invitation to design the guest suite at the Cardinale Winery for the first-ever Napa Valley Showhouse.  Cardinale is one of my favorite stops in wine country,  their cabernet sauvignon is delicious.  I mean, really, so so good.  Anyway, as you can tell by that professional and descriptive review, this is clearly not a wine blog.  Back to decorating…

Traditional Home invited me and 10 other talented designers to their inaugural Napa Valley showhouse event.  My mission was to design a room in Cardinale’s on-site guest house which includes a large living and dining area, kitchen/family room, a master bedroom, downstairs cocktail lounge and tons of outdoor space.  In my last post, I shared my design process and the inspirations I used to transform the master bedroom with attached bathroom and balcony.  And now for the finished product! The Traditional Home issue won’t hit the stands until next spring so here’s a sneak peek of my designs and the details.

I was immediately drawn to the view from the guesthouse.  A picturesque landscape of California realness, I knew this balcony, attached to the bedroom, had to be a welcoming and functional aspect to the design.  I used Lane Venture lounge chairs and side tables with Sunbrella yellow zebra fabric to keep the space inviting and unencumbered.

In the bedroom, I wanted to portray a girly modern elegance complete with luxurious fabrics.   The Icarus wing pendants by Tord Boontje in the corner added a sense of airy lightness to connect with the balcony view. Throughout the bedroom, I had specific ideas of the design and feel I wanted to convey so I created a lot of custom looks for this room. The following are custom designs by Coddington Design:

  • Wing chair upholstered in Lee Jofa fabric
  • Settee designed in silk mohair generously donated by Christopher Hyland
  • Glam and fun puzzle coffee table

The bedside table is actually a vintage writing desk from Empiric with an ebony finish and cream lacquer “boots” on the legs.  We custom-designed the platform bed and headboard with light button tufting and wood outer framing to complement the existing hardwood throughout the room.  The headboard’s fabric is by Romo and the tiffany-blue lamp is from Coddington Design.

The custom bed linens were sewn by Madina Aryeh including the pillowcase shams in bird fabric by LuluDK.  The double sided blanket is by Pindler and Pindler and the solid throw pillow is by Malabar.

I created the vintage feel in the attached bathroom with aqua and coral toned wallpaper by Thaibaut.  The asymmetrical gold mirror is by Monument and the Randolf gold leaf 2-arm sconce from Coddington Design completes the feeling of relaxed rustic charm.

The bathroom’s custom Roman Shade was handcrafted by Madina Aryeh of San Francisco.

It’s the official Coddington Design company belief that people who don’t like unicorns are against magic so we parked these stone beauties, on loan from Monument, as the design gatekeepers to keep this beautiful oasis full of good vibes.

It takes a village to design three rooms in six weeks!  Thanks to Madina Aryeh for making the gorgeous drapes, bedding, and bathroom shade, James Bacchi and Annette Shutz  from Arthaus, Seth Pariser from Christopher Hyland, Lisa Chadwick from Dolby Chadwick Gallery,  Paul Rattay and David Livingston for the beautiful photos.  The team at Coddington Design loved working on this project and we hope you enjoy it, too!

The showhouse is on view until the November 11th but If you can’t make it to Napa Valley in time, be sure to take a virtual stroll with this video tour.

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