Tuesday, April 1, 2014


My investor project in Sandy, UT is coming right along! Every time I go to the house I am both thrilled with the progress and sometimes surprised with the mistakes, but all-in-all it's going pretty well.

The master bathroom is going to be my favorite room in the home with this v-groove paneling and Farrow & Ball Downpipe painted vanity.

For those of you in the business or remodeling you will feel my pain on this one - they installed the hardware without even asking anyone on the project if this is what we wanted!! I was hoping to do a brass and lucite hardware but now that the holes are drilled and the size is impossible to find, I am stuck with this hardware. Very disappointing, although this hardware is just fine. When I have a vision in my head and it doesn't get realized, it is disappointing. 

They also started to install a faux marble on the floor when we had specified Carrara marble, so once that was pulled up, we laid the Carrara and it's looking very nice. 

I opted for a simple banister to go with the v-groove and "farmhouse" feel of the home. The light wood floor was being installed on my last visit, so I will take a picture and show you as soon as it is finished - it is going to look so fresh in the home when it is all done!

I love the scale and size of the fireplace in the room. I was hoping for a slab surround on the fireplace, but we needed something ready and in-stock for project timing and deadline so I opted for this 2" Carrara Hexagon from Container's Direct. Once it's grouted and all of the edges finished, I think it's going to look even better. I am hoping to stage this home - it will be stunning with the right furnishings.

This is a quick snapshot of the upstairs hall bath shower. On the top I chose to do a simple border below the chair rail. I think it will be a nice little pop of color and detail that will always be showing behind the shower curtain.

And here is a picture of the Carrara marble countertop in the same bathroom with a large scratch on it! Aagh! Luckily it can be buffed out and refinished, but it's the little things like this that frustrate me. Obviously someone did not observe the very large sign that was taped to the countertop that said "DO NOT PLACE ANY OBJECTS ON THE COUNTERTOPS!"

The lighting in this home is also a favorite, and I can't wait to share the pictures once it all gets installed. My patience has definitely been tried on this project, but even though my design preferences aren't always being realized, at least the work is good and they make sure to make what they can right. We always make sure we are selling a high-quality home, and that really is the most important. So I can't have my lucite and brass knobs - I will live :)

My Lighting Choices for this home:

Visual Comfort Classic Ring Chandelier
For the entry I chose this Classic Ring Chandelier from Visual Comfort, available here. The finish I chose is polished nickel, so use your imagination :) We needed a big light to fill the space in the vaulted ceiling entry and even though this light pushed my lighting budget over, it is going to be worth it. The first impression needs to be the best, right?!

Visual Comfort Bryant Sconce
The ever wonderful and classic go-to sconce, the Bryant Sconce! Three of these sconces will be flanking the walls of the master bathroom. You can find these lights here.

Visual Comfort Boston 2 Arm Sconce
Two of these fantastic library sconces are going in the kitchen. We didn't have the ceiling height we needed for pendants, so I opted for these lights over the sink and window seat in the kitchen. I can't wait to see these installed. This is another go-to light and I highly recommend all three of these lights for any project. High quality, great style, and timeless. Find this light here.

And I was super excited about this pivoting mirror and the price. Two of these will be in the master bathroom and if you are looking for bathroom mirrors, look no further! Now, I haven't seen these in person yet, but the reviews are good and the price even better.

Gatco Jeweled Pivoting Mirror
You can purchase this mirror for only $86.31 via Wayfair. Super happy about this find! 

This project is slated to be finished in a month. Keep in touch to see the finished product, and if you know anyone looking for a nice family home in a great neighborhood in Salt Lake County don't hesitate to contact me for more information! I would love to have this home go to a cute family with great taste :)

Monday, March 17, 2014


I was at my Dad's house tonight and we were going through some old photos. "Do you want to see pictures of our house when you were a baby?" Um, yes!!

And that's when I saw these gems. My home looked almost exactly the same until I was 17 years old. That's right - we had a mirror wall, rock accent wall, and brass fireplace with the metal mesh on it until the year 2000. Way too long, and yet I love the antique vibe in my home and seeing these pictures reminded me why I have a thing for Asian pottery, brass, and grasscloth wallpaper.

The only interior photos he had were of our living/dining room. I wish he had more! But enjoy these retro beauties:)

I broke that lamp on the side table - my parents bought it in China. It's safe to say my Mom was pretty devastated about the loss of that lamp and I was grounded because of it. The pillows on the sofa were beautiful embroidered pillows also from China. (My parents went to China for 3 weeks when I was 6 months old - a trip for work that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them.)

Call me crazy, but I kind of love the fireplace design even though it's really retro. And look at the lines on both of the sofas - so great! I wish I had the foresight to ask for those sofas when they were giving them away!

This picture must have been taken on a day they were having a party at the house. We only put chairs like that out on the patio when we were having family or friends over. Loving the wicker chairs on the patio and the bamboo chair in the corner.

I never liked that triangular window. But I'm guessing it was a cool design back then because I have torn quite a few of these windows out of homes we remodel - more than I wish ever existed. But the Asian screen could be very cool even today, right?! My sister gave it to someone and I'm kicking myself I didn't ask for it. It was hand painted and quite pretty.

I'm so grateful to have these pictures. Even though it seems a bit trivial, everyone should take pictures of their home. These pictures bring back more memories than other photos of specific events because they remind me of my everyday life in my home. They remind me of the details of my childhood. How I would sometimes sleep on the yellow sofa and how I told my sister on that sofa about my first kiss. Or how I hit the corner of the rock wall and got stitches. And how every Christmas morning we would come get our stockings that were hanging over this fireplace at 4 am because we were too excited to sleep. Looking at these photos has also helped me understand where my design influence has come from. As a designer, I really appreciate that.

If you don't have photos of your home for your kids, do it now. They will definitely appreciate it one day. There are so many details we forget!

Thursday, March 6, 2014


683 K Street, SLC UT
If you follow me regularly you know that I help some home builders/investors design the homes they flip. This project was a full remodel, but pretty low-key and we kept it simple and classic. It was a quick project, but the home has a great feel to it and it's on the market in a great neighborhood and everything is brand new. It would make a very happy home for the right buyer!

Address: 683 K Street in Salt Lake City
Price: $349,000
Square Feet: 1511
Bedrooms/Bathrooms: 3 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms
Originally Built: 1916
Listed By: Darrel Thomas, Select Group Realty - 801-641-4862

Can I tell you how much I want to stage these homes?! The bones are there but imagine a cute striped curtain on the shower and a blue and white soap dish on the counter of the bathroom. Or a flokati rug in front of the fireplace with a leather ottoman and two chairs with an arching modern floor lamp and antique accessories.

I am trying to convince the investors to put up some money to have me stage the homes. What do you think? Worth the investment? When you are buying a home do you prefer it to be furnished and do you think it increases the value when it's furnished well? Or do you think an empty home is just as great and leaves room for the imagination? Would love to hear your comments!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I am so fortunate to be able to work with such a great real estate team that invests in making homes better by renovating them and taking the care to hire a designer to make sure it gets done better than your average flip.

I love doing these projects because they challenge me with their budget restrictions and need to be "safe" for the unknown buyer, while also being stylish and beautiful. But as you might suspect, it is very fun for me to be able to design the space exactly as I would like to (given my sometimes very strict budget restrictions).

My latest project I was hired to help with is in Sandy, Utah on a street called Willow Wick. It is going to be a wonderful family home when we are finished, but it started out as a very strange home with a difficult exterior renovation needed.

Here are my plans for the home with the BEFORE pics.

Thinking of blueish-gray exterior color with white pillars to make this strange home exterior into a fresh, cape-inspired exterior.

Benjamin Moore Glacier White tongue and groove accent wall will give it a casual, cape/farmhouse look I'm thinking of for this home. Considering marble for the fireplace, or even a limestone or slate.

We will be adding glass doors to the opening to create a definitive separation between the formal dining and the kitchen.

The ceilings are too low for pendants over the new island, so to add some lighting (besides the cans we are putting in) I am doing two overhead sconces to add character and directed light. The room next to the kitchen is going to be turned into a mud-room and pantry.

I wish I had more pics of the house to show you more of my plans, but I will share some of my inspiration photos instead and watch for updates of the home as we go! (BTW, my Insta account (mariannebrown12) is the best way to keep updated on projects if you are interested!)

Images via my Pinterest board:


tongue + groove for the accent wall

sconces in the kitchen
master shower set-up

love the tongue + groove and lantern lighting for the master bathroom
kids bath inspiration
dark wood flooring to add depth
vertical tongue + groove could be cool?! Loving the simple fireplace.
I have big plans for this house! Excited to get working on this one...by the way remember my B Street project? Guess what, we still haven't even progressed past dry-wall! Aagh! Hopefully we will move that one in a couple of months as well...

Monday, December 23, 2013


entry @ wander ln. - circa lighting chandelier
As the year ends, so have a lot of my projects! My Wander Lane project was one where I was hired to help with the building of the home. The Fox Group was the contractor on the project, and had started building the home as a spec home but sold it to my client before many of the finishes had been chosen...and that's where I came in. The layout, wainscot and floors were done, (not painted or stained) and my client and I designed and chose the rest as we collaborated with The Fox Group. 

Because I didn't help with the furnishing of the home, I can only show a handful of the photos that aren't furnished. I hope you can get a feel for the home with these few photos, and I hope to get a few more photos to show you. All photography is done by the talented Scott Davis.

kitchen w/handmade tile backsplash, visual comfort lanterns, honed black granite countertops
wainscoting and west elm pendants lead to the master bath
visual comfort sconces, client's mirrors, limestone countertop, custom cabinetry, benjamin moore gray owl paint, thassos marble tile wainscot
visual comfort sconces, gray wainscot room, herringbone floors, carrara marble fireplace surround
More photos to come soon!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Opportunities present themselves in the funniest ways, and co-designing this hotel with Connie Woods of IDI Colorado was a very lucky happenstance. Connie and her husband recently moved to Salt Lake City from Aspen, Colorado (where they still work) and bought the N Street home I designed for an investor. Connie, who is a double-threat, Architect + Interior Designer needed some help designing and sourcing furnishings for The Hotel Durant, she and her husband were hired to design/construct (her husband is a contractor and did the work on the hotel). And because she liked her home she purchased, she called me!

This project has been in the works for almost a year, and it finished just in time for the high-season in Aspen, Colorado.

I have to tell you, designing a hotel is a dream come true and I definitely have the bug for designing commercial spaces. These photos are not professional (those will come later), but I was too excited to share the finished project with you to wait.

In order to understand how far we came with the hotel, I have to show you the before photos. And if you would like to see our (Jamie Richards and I) inspiration for the hotel, check out this post and our Pinterest board for sources.











- All of the beds, desks, closets, and kitchen cabinets are done by the super talented team at Calls Design in Salt Lake City. They are constructed out of walnut and even more beautiful in person. 

- The dining banquette frames and lobby desk are made by Maison Bleu Designs, in SLC.

- The dining banquettes are custom upholstered by Rocky Mountain Design, in SLC. 

- The wood + metal cubes were custom made by CG Sparks in SLC. 

More photos will be posted in the future, but I hope these photos inspired you to book your trip to Aspen this winter and stay at the Hotel Durant! (tell them White + Gold Design sent you!)

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