Oh JoyOh Joy

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.)

to all the homes i've loved before...

Oh Joy! Living Room - Photo by Monica Wang

As we get ready to move into our new home in a few weeks (yay!), I'm getting nostalgic about the home we've spent the last 10 years in. We started our life in Los Angeles here, started a family here, and really grew to love Los Angeles here. So, while I'm looking back..here's a look back at all the place I've lived in my adult life starting with my very first solo apartment in Brooklyn Heights after college...

Oh Joy Brooklyn Apt

Oh Joy Brooklyn Apt

Oh Joy Brooklyn Apt

Oh Joy Brooklyn Apt

From 2001-2005, I live in this 400 sq. ft. studio apartment in Brooklyn Heights, New York. This was my first solo apartment as an adult after living with roommates for four years prior. I was in my early 20's and working at my first couple design jobs out of college while living here. Brooklyn wasn't yet the cool spot that it is now but it was totally on it's way, and I loved it SO much. This apartment was on the 3rd floor of some giant house that looked like a haunted mansion from the outside, but it had such character and the best creeky, carpeted steps in the hallway that I will never forget.

I found someone on Craig's List to make me these stacking, modular boxes that I used as a bookshelf and divider area for my bed. (By the way, I was an early user of Craig's List and my friends thought I was crazy to find a stranger through a website!). This tiny studio apartment was $1270-1390 per month back in 2001-2005 (which still sounds SO expensive to me for such a tiny space), and I remember being SO broke because it took more than half my pay check each month. But I was young, had no responsibilities, and it was just the place I needed to be at that time in my life.

Oh Joy! Philly Apt

Oh Joy! Philly Apt

Oh Joy! Philly Apt

Oh Joy! Philly Apt

From 2005-2009, we lived in this one bedroom apartment in Philly. I had moved back to Philly (where I'm from) and left New York to live closer to my then-boyfriend, Bob, who had just started a long-term residency in Philly. We had been dating long-distance for 9 years and were ready to live in the same city. This is the apartment we lived in when we got engaged, got married, and had some of our biggest early married couple fights. This is the apartment where I started Oh Joy! back in September 2005. It was about 900 sq. ft. and the perfect size for a newlywed couple and our three cats. This was the apartment where my personal style started to bloom, and I really began to express it more through my slightly expanded use of color! In true Joy form, I found someone on Craig's List to sew these custom curtains for all these windows we had. Ha!

Oh Joy! San Diego

From 2009-2010, we lived temporarily for a year in Coronado (a tiny island off San Diego) while Bob was doing his last year of training in San Diego for the year. I had Oh Joy! but it was just me, so I worked out of a bedroom in a 3-bedroom duplex we rented for the year. I have no photos of it cause it was completely temporary and we used the owners furniture (so it never really felt like home). So here's a photo of me outside of it with the Mini Cooper I had at that time!

Oh Joy! Living Room, Photo by Monica Wang

Oh Joy! Kids' Bedroom / Photo by Sasha Guilish for Land of Nod

Oh Joy! Photo by Katherine Rose

From 2010-present (almost 10 years!), we have lived in this duplex (top floor of a house) in Los Angeles. When we rented this apartment back in 2010, we didn't look at schools or intend to raise our family here. We thought it would be temporary to get our feet wet as new residents of LA. 10 years later, we've started our family here and raised two amazing kids, met and grew some of our forever friendships here, had many Friendsgivings here, and really made Los Angeles our home here. Emily Henderson was a huge part of helping us to design our living room, dining room, and Coco's nursery (before she shared a room with Ruby). This is the home where my personal style really came to life, and it's fun to see how much my adult homes have evolved over the last 20 years!

I can't wait to show you what's next in our very first home that we'll actually own. If you want to catch up on everything I've shared over the past couple years on our progress, you can see it all right here!

(Professional photos above by: Monica Wang, Sasha Gulish, Katherine Rose)

oh joy builds a house: a lighting update!

oh joy builds a house: a lighting update! / via oh joy!

We got electricity this week! Which means the lights that have been installed will finally to come to life as we near the end of our project. Building a house from scratch meant thinking about a ton of different types of lights (pendants, sconces, recessed cans) all at once. I love lighting so much and have never been able to make use of it at our rental apartment over the last decade. So here's a little peek at some of the lighting we're using...

oh joy builds a house: a lighting update! / via oh joy!

To keep things consistent, I stuck with two lighting brands for the whole house—Lamps Plus (for their wide range of options and price points) and Cedar & Moss for their beautiful, high-quality pieces (and I love supporting a female-owned small business!). In the kitchen, we've installed two of these fun pendants from Lamps Plus over our kitchen island. I love that they feel both chic and playful!

oh joy builds a house: a lighting update! / via oh joy!

These Cedar and Moss pendants line the hallway leading into the living room. I love the subtle texture that it adds while lighting the way.

oh joy builds a house: a lighting update! / via oh joy!

Mitzi pendant lights in the guest bathroom make for a fun detail which surround the sink on both sides.

oh joy builds a house: a lighting update! / via oh joy!

We have three of these Lamps Plus sconces in Master Bathroom that go between and around the two mirrors.

oh joy builds a house: a lighting update! / via oh joy!

To light the way up the stairs, I love these Lamps Plus brass sconces which allow you to angle the direction of the light either up or down.

oh joy builds a house: a lighting update! / via oh joy!

In the girls' bedroom, we've installed these Cedar & Moss lights by their bunk beds (hence one high and one low) as reading lights for them in the evening.

oh joy builds a house: a lighting update! / via oh joy!

And, finally, here's a peek at this Lamps Plus chandelier in the dining room which has yet to be fully assembled but is already looking very fun!

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

dreaming of spring with my outdoor makeover!

dreaming of spring with my outdoor makeover! / via oh joy!

As we put the finishing touches on Oh Joy! Builds A House, it's been so fun to start getting the outdoor areas ready for Spring! I'm so excited to finally have an outdoor area to invite all my family and friends over that I couldn't wait to get a jump start on these spaces. So today, in partnership with Target, I'm sharing a peek at our deck area for the whole family and a balcony space for the kids! Come take a look...

dreaming of spring with my outdoor makeover! / via oh joy!

I can't tell you how much it means to me to finally have an outdoor space to entertain. When designing our house, there was a big emphasis on outdoor areas where we could have friends over, host summer barbecues, have spontaneous dance parties, and a place to sit back and relax on any given day. We're lucky that the weather in Los Angeles is pretty temperate all year round, so our patio space is really an extension of our kitchen, dining, and living rooms. We divided the large deck into two main areas—a lounge space for sitting and relaxing and an outdoor dining area for meals of all kinds. In order to provide lots of seating in this larger deck area, I combined a mix of love seats, individual lounge chairs, and an epic egg chair.

dreaming of spring with my outdoor makeover! / via oh joy!

dreaming of spring with my outdoor makeover! / via oh joy!

dreaming of spring with my outdoor makeover! / via oh joy!

Since the deck is separate from the house, it feels like a super casual and cozy place to entertain that'll always be prepped and ready for spontaneous get-togethers. It was really important to us that the space be inviting and cozy, so we piled pillows on every seating area, threw in a fun egg chair that is so comfortable I could curl up there all day long, and packed in the faux plants to help remind us spring is near. Faux plants have never looked better (seriously, several people asked me if this banana leaf tree was real as I walked to checkout in Target!). Faux plants are great for adding texture, life, and color to any space—indoor or out—without having to worry about constant watering and upkeep. 

dreaming of spring with my outdoor makeover! / via oh joy!

Here, we have an outdoor dining area that seats 6-10 people (the table extends!) which is perfect for having other families over for dinner or when we want to entertain friends at our house. I also love that it easily flows to the lounge space for when you're having a party, and the dining table serves as food or snack central for people to hang around. When we're not actively entertaining, some items to always keep here include outdoor lanterns to light up those spring and summer evenings as well as plants (even faux!) to keep the area looking alive and inviting.

Sources shown: Love seatsEgg chairGold side tablesCoffee tableClub chairsFloral lumbar pillowsYellow pillowsStriped rugDining tableDining chairsUmbrellaUmbrella baseGold lanternsWhite lanternsFaux fiddle leaf figFaux bird of paradiseFaux grassAqua gray rugMetal side tablesFloral square pillowsAqua dots pillowsBlue lumbar pillowsBlue square pillowsBlack pillowsFaux banana leaf treeFaux billy ball plantsmall faux succulentFaux string of pearls succulentFaux cactusFaux rosemary.

dreaming of spring with my outdoor makeover! / via oh joy!

In addition to our deck patio, our kids will have their own small balcony space off of their rooms. It's an enclosed area where they can hang out and read, chill, and just get outside. I'm always happy for them to have space to do a wide variety of activities outside to help limit their screen time. Since their rooms aren't big, we think of it as an extension to their space where they can have a mini retreat away from mom and dad ;).

dreaming of spring with my outdoor makeover! / via oh joy!

dreaming of spring with my outdoor makeover! / via oh joy!

dreaming of spring with my outdoor makeover! / via oh joy!

Since we wanted this space to feel like their own little oasis, we brought in tons of pillows and faux plants. Their balcony is a relatively small space, but just the perfect size for a love seat, coffee table, a side table with plenty of room on the floor to play. Since my kids LOVE hanging around on the floor, we added a durable rug and lots of floor pillows to make their lounging extra comfy. I love imagining them coloring, reading, chatting, and hanging out with their friends here! Really giving yourself a functional and playful balcony is such a fun way to extend living space even in apartments or other urban spaces where the balcony may be the only outdoor area.

dreaming of spring with my outdoor makeover! / via oh joy!

Sources shown: Love seat & coffee table setrugside tableLED fairy lightsParty floral round floor cushionYellow pillowsWhite lanternsDotty round floor cushionParty floral lumbar pillowCoral round floor cushion.

Spring is calling my name already!

*This post is in collaboration with Target. All words are my own.

{Photos by Lily Glass. Design and Concept by Joy Cho, Production/Styling by Julia Wester, Production and Styling Assistance by Jess Hong. Written by Joy Cho and Traci Michael.}

oh joy builds a house: a lush guest bathroom...

oh joy builds a house: a lush guest bathroom... / via oh joy!

As we finish up construction on my house this month, I'm excited to share the last of our sneak peeks over the next few weeks! Our guest bathroom sits near our living room and will be the bathroom that our family uses most during the daytime. It does have a shower in there (which isn't standard for a downstairs guest bath), but we wanted to have an extra shower for any guests visiting, since all the other full bathrooms sit within one of the bedrooms. Take a look below...

oh joy builds a house: a lush guest bathroom... / via oh joy!

Green is for sure a color that goes throughout the house in various shades. So for this bathroom, I worked with Cleo Murnane at Project M+ to create this sultry and lush space. The dark green tile really makes such a statement here and gives this room a rich and chic vibe that I am loving so much! We pulled in other shades of green throughout including small green accents in the floor and green in the wall paint and wallpaper.

Sources: 1. Clare Paint in Make Waves, 2. Schaub & Co. knobs, 3. Oak wood and brass vanity (custom) 4. Concrete Collaborative terrazzo tile, 5. Fireclay Tile in Evergreen.

 

oh joy builds a house: a lush guest bathroom... / via oh joy!

I wanted to tie in the beautiful green tile with a graphic and statement wallpaper that you would see as soon as you walk in. Which wallpaper do you like best? A, B, or C? I love them all for different reasons!

Sources: A. Rebecca Atwood marble wallpaper, B. Wall & Deco Espirit wallpaper, C. Minted Otonio wall mural. Others: Kohler toilet with brass handle, Kohler undermount sink, Caesarstone Calacutta Nuvo countertop and backsplash, Newport Brass faucet in Satin Brass, round mirror from Wayfair.

P.S. You can see all past posts about my home build right here!

{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*.} 

oh joy builds a house: construction update #4!

oh joy builds a house: construction update #4!

It's been a crazy and hard year for me working on this house project on top of having a full-time job, business, and maintaining my life as a mom, wife, boss, and friend. I am SO ready to be done—not only to get back to some semblance of normal for my life but also so I can move in to our new house, decorate it, and show you the final reveals! I know there is a light at the end of this VERY LONG tunnel, and I can't wait for it! We have a bunch more peeks to show you after the holidays (and maybe a surprise or two)...

But, in the meantime, here's a video update with a peek of how things are coming together! There have been lots of little delays as we near the finish line (which is so normal with these projects), but we're hoping to be moved in early next year...fingers crossed! If you have any comments or questions, let me know!

{Photo by Lily Glass. Video by Jenner Brown. Construction by Boswell Construction, Architecture by Project M+, Interiors in collaboration with Cleo Murnane at Project M+.

oh joy builds a house update: cabinets!

oh joy builds a house update: cabinets!

I have never had to think about cabinets in my entire life in the same way that I have had to think about them over the past year. Building a house from scratch meant thinking about a ton of different types of cabinets (bathrooms, kitchen, bookshelves, closets) all at once. It some ways, it was completely overwhelming. And in other ways—with the help of Project M+—I was able to look at all the rooms of our house like a family...each member of the family could be different but were also united in some way.

oh joy builds a house update: cabinets!

When we first looked at all of the options we had for cabinets, I went for two opposite ends of the spectrum. We got bids for building everything custom to the exact size for each space. And, we looked at what was already pre-made and could be plopped right in. I thought maybe I could swap out hardware of existing pieces and save a lot that way! But it turns out that the completely pre-made options were really hard to make fit in this blank new space. Pieces were just a tad too small or too big. On the flip side, doing everything custom was completely out of budget. So we ended up doing a mix of a few different things...

oh joy builds a house update: cabinets!

We decided to go semi-custom for a bunch of areas using Reform cabinets. Reform offers modern options for cabinet fronts that get installed onto Ikea bases. So you have the convenience and great pricing of working with all the sizing options that Ikea offers. But you have more options for panels and fronts. We used them here to do a custom color in the laundry room shown above...

oh joy builds a house update: cabinets!

...and used Reform Degree here in a bright white in our kitchen! As well as the Chelsea in another (yet to be revealed) area in the very first photo.

oh joy builds a house update: cabinets!

oh joy builds a house update: cabinets!

For the major closets in the house (master, kids' rooms, and entryway closet), storage was essential to make the most of each space as possible. For these major areas, we worked with California Closets to design and maximize the use of each of these spaces.

oh joy builds a house update: cabinets!

oh joy builds a house update: cabinets!

Finally, for a handful of areas where a semi-custom option would not fit or would not offer the exact type of storage needed, we did have some custom pieces built. We saved the custom pieces mostly for bathroom vanities and this built-in storage/desk area in our living room. Custom pieces made sense for areas with a unique size and in rooms that will be used very often whereas semi-custom solutions worked really well mostly everywhere else!

What have you worked with in the past? Pre-made, semi-custom, totally custom? Tell me yours pro's and con's! Or, any questions you have!

{Photos by Lily Glass. 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 update: floors!

oh joy builds a house update: floors!

For the last 9 years, I've lived in an apartment with wall-to-wall carpet. I grew up with carpet in my parent's house so there's a certain coziness to it that reminds me of childhood. And, since we don't wear shoes in our house, carpet actually feels pretty great underfoot. BUT, carpet does feel a bit dated to me, and it's so much harder to keep clean with kids and pets and life! I can't tell you how many times a week we bust out our mini carpet cleaning machine to try and get some sort of stain out.

oh joy builds a house update: floors!

So when we had the chance to start fresh for flooring for our house, hardwood floors were a must. I researched a lot of brands and price points, and going with full-on true hardwood floors was just too costly on top of all of our other costs to build this house. So we decided to go with engineered hardwood flooring meaning that it's constructed of layers of both hardwood and plywood instead of just hardwood the whole way through. We chose Mohawk's Coastal Allure collection from Wayfair which features longer, wider planks in light, neutral tones so that the wood doesn't darken the room and makes it feels bright and open. This hardwood was also engineered to resist dirt and dents, hide scratches, and look oil-finished without all the costly maintenance. While we are waiting till next year to give you all the full final reveals, here are some more peeks showing you the wooden floors and details going in....

oh joy builds a house update: floors!

oh joy builds a house update: floors!

In our living room, we have a special hardwood floor detail...on the ceiling! This room has high ceilings and is meant to be the center for our family, so our team at Project M+ suggested adding wood to the ceiling to add a cozy factor to this modern home. This was one of the first areas that the wood flooring was installed and it really started to make the house come together. We chose a slightly lighter shade of the same Mohawk flooring for the ceiling (called "white" but is just a tad lighter shade of the floor color).

oh joy builds a house update: floors!

We have these hardwood floors throughout the entire house except in areas where the floors are likely to get wet (kitchen and all bathrooms).

oh joy builds a house update: floors!

oh joy builds a house update: floors!

And, we also were able to incorporate the wood flooring and mix it with other materials like this terrazzo tile detail on area of stairs!

Have you had experience with hardwood floors vs. engineered hardwood floors before? What do you think?

{Photos by Lily Glass and Morgan Pansing. Construction by Boswell Construction, Architecture by Project M+, Interiors in collaboration with Cleo Murnane at Project M+. Written by Joy Cho. This post is in partnership with Wayfair.}