Oh JoyOh Joy

making a guest room feel like home...

2020_08_12_CalClosets_Guest_Room_GIF_blog600

Do you have a guest room in your home? If you do...raise your hand if it's an extra bedroom that's well-intended as a guest bedroom but often gets used as a storage room for our extra junk or doubles as a home office/guest bedroom. (I'm raising my hand!) Since we can't have friends and family over these days, I've been taking the time to prepare our guest bedroom in a way that would be suitable for our future guests once they can finally come visit us!

making a guest room feel like home

We started with the California Closets x Martha Stewart The Everyday System which offers a beautiful way to customize closets at a lower price point than traditional built-ins. I love the idea of using the closet as a way to offer extra fun amenities, and things that would make their stay comfortable and provide them with things that might come in handy during their visit. Almost like the perks you would get at a fun hotel!

making a guest room feel like home

A mix of closed boxes allows you to keep some things hidden with open storage for making some things easily accessible.

making a guest room feel like home-4-blog

making a guest room feel like home

Some of the items to include that come in handy and will make your guests feel special include:
- Extra towels, blankets, pillows, robes
- Books about the local area
- Tote bags for shopping or beach trips
- Umbrella, sun hats, sweaters to allow for changes in weather
- Extra toothbrushes and First Aid items
- Snacks

making a guest room feel like home

While you may not be able to leave a guest closet filled with only items for guests, you can make use of boxes or bins to store things that you need as well and can easily be tucked away when guests are in town!

(Photos by Lily Glass)

oh joy! builds a house: window coverings!

oh joy! builds a house: window coverings!-5-blog

Windows (and lots of them) were always a huge part of our home build design.  We love natural light, and sunny Los Angeles gives us some of the best and longest daily sunlight we could ask for! But we also knew, even as far back as our old apartment how important blinds were for sleeping through the night, keeping privacy, and controlling the amount of sunlight and heat in our house.

So we’re excited to partner again with Blinds.com to find the perfect window coverings for all the bedrooms in our home. While I can’t show you everything in our house just yet, I can show a couple of peeks at some options we choose.  And then I did some shopping for you, too!  Blinds.com has a large selection that can be daunting, so I picked some of my favorites for you to consider for your own home...

oh joy! builds a house: window coverings!

We chose Premier Roman Shades with the black-out option in mostly every bedroom in the home. I love that because you could have something like and bright (like the Gent Bisque linen shades at very top) or darker and more sultry (like the dark blue Luxe Velvet Lapis shades above).

oh joy! builds a house: window coverings!

I love these Flat Sheer Shades and Premier Flat Sheer Shades for rooms that get indirect light or rooms that don't require too much privacy, like a living rom or kitchen.

oh joy! builds a house: window coverings!

Also, ready-made curtains can be so hard to make work when you have extra high or wide windows, so I love that you can get them custom-made affordably here, too, like this Easy Rod Pocket Panel style.

Window coverings are one of those pieces that we don't often work into a design from the get-go, but it's important to make sure they work for you both functionally and aesthetically. One thing that is SO helpful to selecting window coverings is to chat with a professional that works with window coverings for a living. They have a great service and you can work directly with a designer to get just the right treatment for your home! 

I can't wait to show you how these shades work into our full room reveals!

(Top two photos by Lily Glass, Other photos by Blinds.com)

oh joy builds a house: paint!

oh joy builds a house: paint!

Now that we've lived in our new home for a few months, it's been fun seeing how all the things we picked and designed are settling in and working in real life use! I was thrilled to use Clare Paint in our entire house for every wall (minus the ones that are wallpapered!). Clare is not only WOC-owned but their paint is also zero VOC and Greenguard gold certified which made me fall in love with the brand when they launched a couple years ago. Without giving away the final rooms yet, here are a few of the colors we chose that I love all in different ways...

oh joy builds a house: paint!

First, let's start with the most classic color we used. While I wanted some areas to stay neutral and let the decor bring in the color, bright white was too much in this new and modern home. So instead, we opted for Classic—a very pale grey that looks white but with a little more weight to it. We use this color throughout the house in the common areas, hallways, and ceilings, and I love it so much! For the rooms where we needed a slightly crisper white, we used Snow Day which looks exactly how it sounds.

oh joy builds a house: paint!

Our Main Bath is a soothing and dreamy space where we chose Make Waves—a slate-like greenish blue that ebbs and flows with the sun. It's such a pretty color that it almost looks pearlescent when the sun shines on it.

oh joy builds a house: paint!

oh joy builds a house: paint!

In our Girl's Bath, we chose Wing It which is a soft peachy-pink on the walls and Pop (a soft coral) on the ceiling and goes well with their mod cotton-candy inspired shared bathroom. The finish on the paint is already what's considered "eggshell" within other paint lines which makes it easily wipeable. The other day Coco got toothpaste on the wall, and it come right off with damp towel!

oh joy builds a house: paint!

Finally, for the darkest of the colors we used—Deep Dive was the color I most questioned but love so, so much! This color covers an entire guest room and makes it feel warm, sultry, and cozy all at the same time.

oh joy builds a house: paint!

We made sure to keep at least one can of each color in the garage which came in handy during these first few months as we were settling in and accidentally dinged areas of the walls (oops!) during move-in or when furniture was delivered.

I can't wait for you to see how the paint comes together with everything else in the rooms, but I hope that this gives you come color inspiration for any decor projects you might be working on right now!

(Photos by Lily Glass. Construction by Boswell Construction, Architecture by Project M+, Interiors in collaboration with Project M+.)

everyday dining combos...

Outdoor Dining / Oh Joy!

When we moved into our house a few months ago, I did A LOT of purging. After 10 years in our apartment, I was ready to upgrade many of the things that were ready to go. One of the areas that felt so nice and fresh to pare down and then add back to was our everyday dining pieces. I had mixes of old plates I loved and couldn't let go of and a single newer set that was never really enough to feed everyone because I had never taken the time to invest in enough pieces. 

Now, we have enough pieces of a few different styles that all mix and match well together which feels so great and so grown-up. Keep in mind...getting dinner plates is not the wedding registry expensive stuff from decades ago. Now, it's all about modern pieces that work for everyday. And, they should feel nice enough that you can use when friends are over for casual gatherings, too. Also, since our kids are bigger now, I cleared through a ton of plastic kid plates, and we have the kids use the same plates and glasses that we use most of the time. Sounds crazy but it honestly simplifies things a ton.

Here are a few combinations I love if you're looking to streamline and update your everyday dining, too...

Everyday Dining / Oh Joy!

Summer Meadow. I love this versatile mix of mint with dark blue for a collection that feels fun but not overly feminine. By using pale green as a base and navy as accents, it offers a fun contrast and pops of color. Then add in a couple bright pieces as dessert plates!

(clockwise from top left) Urban Outfitters green speckle dinnerware set ($69 for 12 pieces), West Elm rose gold flatware (from $40), Ikea green glasses ($3 for 4), Year & Day midnight bowls ($44 for set of 4), Year and Day midnight mugs ($48 for set of 4), Articture Picasso plates (from $35), and Clare V for Anthro Oui side plate ($18).

Everyday Dining / Oh Joy!

Pretty in Pink. While I love all shades of pink, having JUST pink dinnerware might be too intense for some. So mix and match by having your base dinnerware in pink with accent pieces in white or speckles or vice versa! I currently have pale pink glasses which are the prettiest shade that makes even drinking water feel luxurious.

(clockwise from top left) Year & Day pink serving platter ($50), Tiny Badger ceramic cups ($35), Urban Outfitters white speckle dinnerware set ($69 for 12 pieces), Anthropologie grain bowl ($18), Bormioli Rocco peach glasses (6 for $20), Clare V for Anthro side plate with lips ($18), and West Elm gold flatware (from $40).

Everyday Dining / Oh Joy!

Summer Splash. As we head into the outdoor dining season, I love plates that feel durable for outdoors that could be used indoors, too. We use melamine or bamboo plates when dining outside, but they also make great option to use as kid-friendly plates year-round. I love mixing those with regular utensils and glasses so it still feels adult and doesn't require you to buy another full set of exclusively outdoor tabletop.

(clockwise from top left) Xenia Taler bamboo plates ($48 for set of 4), Articture utensils ($139 for set), luster coupe glasses from Anthropologie ($56 for set of 4), West Elm acrylic glasses (from $5.50), and West Elm confetti glasses ($42 for a set of 4).

(Top photo has Articture utensils, Xenia Taler bamboo plates, and Concrete Collaborative countertop)

my favorite online print shops!

my favorite online print shops / oh joy!

I'm currently working on finishing touches to our home like adding artwork to walls and other fun details! I'm not quite at the point of being able to afford all original art, so we have mostly prints in our home. In my research for print art, I've come across so many great sites (some introduced to me by Cleo from Project M+) and artists where you can buy prints for reasonable prices...some come framed and some don't. Since I typically like getting prints framed before they arrive to me, I'll often order and send them to Simply Framed, otherwise, I tend to have a pile of prints in rolls just sitting there forever. Here are some of my favorites right now...

For adult spaces (above): 1. Coneflower from Juniper Print Club (from $20), 2. Bored print by Marta Fromme for Fine Little Day from The Poster Club (from $63), 3. Sunset Vibes by LouLou Avenue from The Poster Club (from $49), 4. Hazel by Arielle Vey (from $20), 5. Lola Donahue print (from $120), Hayley Mitchell face print (from $30).

my favorite online print shops / oh joy!

For kids' spaces (or any space really): 7. Hotel Magique "Wake Up, No Thank You" print (from $20), 8. Simple Virtues by Erin Jang from House That Lars Built (from $20), 9. Carolyn Gavin hair print ($20), 10. Rainbow print by Samantha Hahn ($65), 11. Maggie Stephenson print from The Jungalow (from $40), 12. Cool Boyz Club by Max Machen from Print Club London (from $140).

when is the house tour coming?

Joy Cho Oh Joy Builds A House

I know you have all been patiently waiting for a house tour and final reveals! We're in a completely unknown time with our city half shut down and stay-at-home orders, so while my house is done and we are living in it, we are waiting until it's safe to get a photographer in there to capture the spaces in the way that they deserve to be captured and shown to you. So please know...we are working on it, and we will reveal as soon as we can while we wait for the world to start to return to normal!

However, in the meantime...I'm still sharing peeks here and there. I have two years of posts and process you can check out if you missed any of them! Here are a few places that contain all the house goodness:

Oh Joy Story Highlights

1) Instagram Story Highlights - Saved to my highlights are stories I've done all along the way.  There are four highlights currently (look for "House | 1" "House | 2" etc.)

#ohjoybuildsahouse

2) Instagram Posts - Search the hashtag #OhJoyBuildsAHouse and you'll see all my IG posts relating to the house.

Pinterest Board Oh Joy Builds A House

3) Pinterest - All of the products I am using in my house can be found on my board Oh Joy Builds A House.

Joy's House Oh Joy Blog

4) Oh Joy! Blog - Right here! You can see all the process posts (and someday soon all the final reveal posts) on the blog under the section Joy's House!

If you have any other comments or questions, please ask below!

some things I've learned after building a house...

Oh Joy! Builds a House | Things I've Learned

We finished our house right as quarantine was going into effect, so we feel so grateful we were able to be in our new home during this time. We have been spending our days safe at home unpacking, nesting, and settling in. It's been a light among all the unknown happening in the world right now.

While we're still finalizing the interiors, and I can't reveal rooms to you just yet (I know...I promise it WILL happen!), I do want to share some things I've learned from the process now that we are a few weeks into actually living in this house that took us six years to finally be in.

Now listen...I will admit, I feel slightly weird talking about a new house when the world is in unknown place and the economy is a mess. I am so grateful we finished before things got really bad or we may not have been able to finish. But I decided that I would keep sharing stuff with you guys because a lot of you have asked for the inspiration while you're home and getting more time to nest as well...and because you've been rooting for us along this journey to our first and forever home which truly means so much to me.

I know that now isn't really a time that people are starting massive projects like this. My hope is that something I've shared is helpful for any type of home project you're in the middle of or thinking about. Here are some questions you guys have asked. And, now that we're in, I can truly answer them!

1. How long did the house build take? We bought the land in summer of 2014 and started construction in fall of 2017. It took 1 year to design it, 2 years to get permits in Los Angeles, and about 2.5 years to build. That's on the longer side for most of the country, but Los Angeles is not an easy place to get permits quickly. Plus, our land was tricky to build on (which we didn't expect since we didn't really know what we were in for). While it took much longer than we expected, the plus side is that it allowed us to save more money before the build actually started. You can read why we decided to build in the first place right here.

 

2. How did you pay for the house? We paid for the land in actual money (it was our savings that we had for a down payment on a house) and then got a construction loan to pay for the actual build (which is the majority of the cost). You can read more about our construction loan process here.

 

3. Did you stick to your budget or your projected schedule? Nope! Every single person who starts a home project thinks they are going to be the one person to stay on budget and stay on schedule. It's nearly impossible because so many things are out of your control, especially the bigger the project is. Our change in budget wasn't because we wanted fancier things than we had originally planned. A lot of it was an increase in costs for materials and labor that happened to increase during the time our project spanned. Also, because our land is on a hill, there were unexpected issues that came up that caused additional unexpected costs.

 

4. What's the most stressful part of building a house? The finances of it. If anyone wanted to do it, I would recommend saving up and having extra money on hand in addition to your loan because there are often costs that arise that your loan my not cover (fees for your architect, engineers, permits, etc). I was very good at keeping track of every dollar spent though, so that I could see what we stayed on budget with and what we didn't.

 

5. If you were doing more of a home renovation and had the budget to update one area of a house, which one would be the ONE? The kitchen is one area that is totally worth prioritizing. Whether you need more storage, more space, better cabinets, better flow, more durability, etc. My cooking life and happiness with cooking has changed completely since having this new kitchen. Especially now that we are home and cooking three meals a day, it's been a life-changer.

 

6. Is there anything you wish you hadn't put in, installed, chosen? 

Yes!

Pocket doors...we don't love those. We have them mostly in rooms where there is a room inside another room (like our master closet or bathroom within our bedroom or our kids' bathroom connected to their bedroom), and we have had all kinds of problems with them in just the few weeks we have lived here. The kids slam the doors by accident, the locks are tricky since they are not standard, and they've just been annoying. While they save space, we wish we would have used regular doors in most of these areas instead.

Also, some things that people told me were nice details to add when you can...a pot filler faucet (didn't end up getting that), water filter at sink (got it), and a towel warmer (got it).They were things that I really didn't think we needed but took those suggestions when we had the chance to install them, and we really didn't need them at all. I regret spending money on those things that we never knew we needed, and we really didn't need. You know you and your family best, and go with your gut on details like that.

 

7. Do you hate your contractors like most people do after a home project? Ha! If you can believe it...this is the number one question I get asked from those who have done some sort of renovation or build. And my answer is no....I LOVE our contractors! Our team at Boswell Construction has truly been amazing...so thorough and on top of things even whenever we had hiccups along the way. We also loved our architecture and interiors team at Project M+ and their ability to be flexible throughout the process. Getting referrals when you choose an architect or contractor is definitely huge since a portfolio alone can't tell you what it's like to work with someone.

 

8. Would you decide to build vs. buy again if you could do it all over again? My answer to this has changed over the course of this project. If you asked me 6-12 months ago, the stress of the last year was so bad that I would have said that I wish we would have just bought a house instead. When we starting looking at houses back in 2014, we couldn't find anything in our budget that felt like a long-term home. But we could have waited 3-4 years more and had a better budget to get what we really wanted and would have still been in a house sooner than our now house would have been done.

BUT, now that we are here and in it, I am glad we did it. It was one of the top two most stressful experiences I have ever been through, but I'm so happy with how it turned out. I truly cannot wait to build a life of memories with my family here and (eventually) have our friends and family over for lots of dinners and get-togethers.

You can catch up on the past two years of progress on our home build right here, see more peeks over on Instagram under #OhJoyBuildsAHouse and in my stories under (House 1, House 2, House 3, House 4). If you have any other questions, feel free to ask in the comments!

(Photo by Lily Glass)

why I love semi-custom cabinets...

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

When I decided to tackle building a house six years ago, I honestly didn't think about all the millions of components that would go into it all at the same time. All of the decisions, all of the colors, all of the choices. I mean, I quickly got caught up on just how many decisions I would have to make, but it honestly felt VERY overwhelming. So, when it came time to designing kitchens and any other areas with storage with my architects and designers at Project M+, we looked at a few different options.

You would think that when you have a house designed from the ground up, it would make sense to build custom cabinets throughout to perfectly fit into the space. But that option (which we did get estimates for) would have cost much more than we had the budget for. I looked high and low for existing cabinets to fit these custom spaces, but that proved almost impossible. They were budget-friendly but nothing would fit correctly or look cohesive. So, low and behold...the magical solution that we turned to for a good amount of our cabinets...semi-custom! I am so excited to have partnered with Reform—a Danish company that specializes in semi-custom kitchens using Ikea box bases and their amazing, designer doors. Take a peek at what we've created together...

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

We were able to choose and create custom colors for various rooms that needed a pop of color. These were in areas like closets, laundry room, and other spaces where we could really play with color to fit with the rest of the space! I'm in LOVE with the color-blocked Basis style that I chose for my girl's closet. They're simple, yet so fun!

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

And then in other spaces (like our kitchen shown above), we went with a neutral color but focused on a design (like this one called Degree) that had architectural elements that fit and functioned with the rest of the space.

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

We were able to add in our countertop of choice (and used Caesarstone quartz throughout) to mix with the variety of cabinets doors.

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

Here are some older photos that show them being installed so the detailing around the cabinets and hardware/knobs had not been installed yet. But you can see how they all fit so well in these spaces.

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

why I love semi-custom cabinets / Oh Joy!

Here's a peek at one last set that I simply LOVE—the Chelsea—which is really the perfect mix of fun and glamour all mixed up into one!

Reform products are now available across the United States and the world...which is so exciting. I have always been a huge fan of Danish design, and love the modern and warm details these cabinets are adding to our home. They have two showrooms in the US (Brooklyn and coming soon to LA), which will be available for visits once we're all back open and operating fully. But in the meantime, they have a virtual showroom tour that you can take and see all their beautiful offerings and online design meetings to be able to still help you plan your dream cabinets from home and maintaining your social distancing! I love how they are doing everything they can to fight this virus while still being totally accessible to their customers.

It's exciting to look back at these progress photos because all these spaces (and the house) are done! We're just waiting for some logistics to be able to move in :)

{Photos by Lily Glass. Home construction by Boswell Construction, Architecture by Project M+, Interiors in collaboration with Project M+. All cabinets linked above. Written by Joy Cho.} 

oh joy builds a house: our kitchen layout and functional things we considered...

This post brought to you in partnership with KitchenAid.

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

After living in an apartment for almost 10 years, I'm excited to have a normal-sized kitchen (with an island!) to be able to cook with more space and have friends over for dinners-a-plenty! Today, I wanted to give you a peek into the process of designing the kitchen when we were in the early stages with Project M+. When you get to design a kitchen layout from scratch, it makes you really think about your needs and how you function on a daily basis.

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

Here's a look at an older rendering to get a sense of the space. Some details have changed since this was first drawn (like the exact appliances or the floor tile) but it's a good representation of where we started when we were planning out the layout of this kitchen.

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

Now, here's a current overhead look at the kitchen and where all the appliances are going. As you can see, it's a U-shaped kitchen with the island right in the center. Based on this, we wanted to keep all the cooking appliances near each other with easy access to the dishwasher and sink when clean-up is needed. We incorporated KitchenAid appliances into our Oh Joy! Office Kitchen a couple years ago when we renovated it - and were so pleased, so we're excited to work with them again for our house!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

Instead of a traditional oven/stovetop, we opted for the KitchenAid’s® Commercial-Style 6 Burner Gas Rangetop, which comes with dual-flame burners and a simmer/melt burner for both power and versatility. Getting this rangetop allows us to maximize the space underneath, and KitchenAid offers amazing  oven/microwave combos, so we were still covered from that perspective. We're also planning to add brass paneling around the 3-Speed Canopy Hood.

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

On the left side of the kitchen, we have the KitchenAid®  Combination Wall Oven with Even-Heat™ True Convection, which was designed to be both beautiful and functional. I love the idea of the oven being more at eye-level, and, we use our microwave a lot, so I wanted it to be in a spot that was easy to get to and not too low. For our fridge, we opted for a Built-In Side by Side Refrigerator, where the larger fridge is next to the smaller freezer. I also love that we're able to panel this piece to blend in nicely with the rest of the cabinets!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

On the right side, we have the beautiful 44bBA Dishwasher right by the sink for easy access when loading. We also added a smaller Undercounter Refrigerator, so it's super convenient and easy to grab drinks from outside and helps to free up space in the fridge for more food! Both the dishwasher and beverage fridge came in paneled options, which I love!

oh joy builds a house: kitchen!

I can't wait to show you the final reveal! Are there things about your kitchen layout you would change if you could? Or what parts of your layout have you loved?

{Photos by Lily Glass. Construction by Boswell Construction, Architecture by Project M+, Interiors in collaboration with Cleo Murnane at Project M+. Renderings by Project M+. All other layouts by Joy Cho. My boots are Red Wing Heritage*. Cabinets by Reform, floor by Concrete Collaborative. This post is in partnership with KitchenAid.} 

adding warmth to a modern home...

Oh Joy! Builds a House / Redwood Exterior

For the last two years, I have been tackling the project of a lifetime! We've been building our family's first and forever dream house here in Los Angeles. While it's been a long time in the making, we're just about finished, and I'm excited to give you a peek right now. I'm so thrilled to be partnering with Humboldt Redwood to share how we brought this amazing, natural material into our modern home. Take a look at this video below for a peek and all the details...

Oh Joy! Builds a House / Redwood Exterior

Thanks for joining me to take a peek at this beautiful, natural material and how we've used it in our home build project! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!

*This post is in partnership with Humboldt Redwood. All words are my own.

(Creative Direction: Joy Cho, Production: Julia Wester and Jess Hong, Video: Jenner Brown, Still Photos: Lily Glass, Music: "Milkshake" by Pleasant Pictures Music Club, Graphics: Angie Stalker, Special Thanks: Project M+ and Boswell Construction.)