Monday, March 23, 2015

Our First Home

Happy Monday hunnies!  Thank you so much for sharing all your support on our engagement!  It was an outpouring of love on FB/IG/Blog as le fiancé and I could not be more excited for this next phase in our lives.  We’ve known each other for over 17 years, been dating for over 10, broken up probably 20 times+, lived together for 7 years and finally getting out of our 900sf studio to grow into our 1921sf first home together!  These numbers may seem insignificant but it really just shows how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go!

Without further ado, here’s introducing our humble little abode (Before)…

{The Backstory}
 We have been looking at homes for over 6 months now.  I’ve been feeling pretty defeated, restless, yet completely drained by all the demands of my interior design projects.  Month after month of previewing lackluster homes, finding a gem but having it fall through, loving a property but far out of our budget, it just seemed dismal to say the least. 

One fine day in my usual morning routine, I scouted Redfin for listings and this modest mid-century ranch style home popped up into my feed.  It was out of location range from where we initially targeted our search, but something told me to expand our options a few miles north just to see what may come up.  

This little dime piece with its wall-to-wall windows and super cute one-story floor plan was enough to make the trek all the way out yonder a whole 8.5 miles away from where we currently live, lol.  I know 8miles is pretty paltry in comparison to peeps who drive 3 hours in traffic every day to get to/from work (i.e. le fiancé, poor thing), but I grew up in Little Saigon Orange County so leaving the familiarities of close family and friends, our go-to Vietnamese restaurants, even my favorite running path at Mile Square Park made me apprehensive to say the least.

That particular Sunday shopping schedule had us visiting a dozen open houses with this mid-century home seen during the first half of the day.  Mind you, we had another 10 houses to go, so it was in/out within a matter of minutes.

What I realized during this entire house shopping ordeal was that there is no such thing as the “perfect” house.  You’ll get old run down fixer-uppers with the most amazing backyard or teeny tiny outdoor space with a huge interior, there’s a price to be paid for premium square footage and beggars can’t be choosers my loves.  But you need to wholly trust your gut and the house where you can imagine building a life is surely the one to beat.

So after a long, hard day of searching we came home that Sunday evening and put in an offer right away.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

The wheels have been spinning, renovations in the works, I am DYING to show y’all the method behind the madness of designing our new home together!

So FRIGGIN excited I can barely contain myself!  Be sure to follow along as I detail all my shopping secrets, Design 101 posts, TONS of how to’s with a sprinkling of DIY in the mix!

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Proposal

Even though I’ve been writing this online diary for almost 5 years now (anniversary’s in April yikes!!) I consider myself a pretty private person.  Detailing my sartorial journey along with interior design-related inspiration is one thing, but sharing anything personal about my relationship is another.  You will hardly find any pictures of me and le fiancé on social media and it’s a rarity that he’d turn up on Haute Khuuture save for some special occasion shout-outs like his birthday or mine.  I share such a huge portion of my life on the blog/FB/IG that my relationship felt too sacred to disclose on any level.  Like it’s our little secret hidden behind the lens, safe from prying eyes (and mouths for that matter).

But all that’s about to change y’all.  Now that we’re ready to take on the world together, here’s introducing the soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Bui

Yup, that’s us!  In all our post-engagement, pre-first home move-in day glory.  He had just proposed, I had just screamed YES, and we just got the keys to our brand new house together.  

{The Proposal}

I was led to believe we wouldn’t close escrow until next week, so we had to wait just a little longer to get the keys.  Le fiancé was trying to keep the entire ordeal a secret until he could appropriately set the scene to propose and present the keys all in one shot.  My boo is VERY sentimental to say the least, lol.

He told me that we had an appointment with a roofer and although we didn’t have the keys yet, we could do a walk-through of the exterior and get an estimate to prepare for renovationsMind you, this was only my third time seeing OUR house (still can’t believe it’s ALL ours!) so I wanted to take my time, shoot some really good pictures, and savor the moment before walking the property.

Next thing I knew, I was rushed into our courtyard where he had set up a bar table with a bottle of champagne and a little black box just waiting to be revealed.  

In that moment I knew what this sneaky little sucker was up to and immediately threw my arms around him thrilled at anticipating the moments to follow.  

For all you married (or enfianced) gals out there, you know what I’m talking about.  Months of planning and prepping and you finally get your boo back!  He’d been one hot mess for the past few weeks, nervous and anxious knowing a proposal was well in the works. 

After wiping a mountain of sweat and tears from his eyes, he stammered a string of Iloveyous and we quietly embraced for what seemed like hours on end.  Out ran Roy hidden behind the glass wall snapping away as he captured this tender treasured moment.  (Little did I know le fiancé had called Roy to surprise me weeks in advance)

He finally reached out to open the little black box and uncovered a monkey house key, one for me to match the one he’d made for himself.  
(Fun fact: We are both monkeys in the Chinese zodiac, hoping to complete our monkey trifecta with a little one in 2016, hehe ;D)

I was already over the moon with my new monkey key as he fell to one knee and asked me, the love of his life, the mother of his furries, to finally be his wife, with famous last words…
Will you marry me?...Cue the awwwwssssss, lol.

We even got to stage a mini-photo shoot in our new house together, courtesy of Roy, my friend, and easily one of THE.MOST.talented photo journalists I've ever come across.  And I come from a family of professional photographers so that's saying a LOT y'all.  

If you live in the Southern California area, you MUST book Roy and his team!!! Seriously, I whore them out every chance I get because his images are raw, artistic, and magically seem to capture everything you're feeling in the moment without having to say anything at all...

Now here we are, happily enfianced and elated to start this new life together.  In our new home, with our fur babies, planning a wedding, renovating, and oh yeah, documenting it ALL along the way!

Check out his website HERE and his Facebook page HERE
Please tell him I sent ya!

Hope you’ll stay tuned guys, Haute Khuuture’s about to get a new facelift for all the fresh content I’ve got in the works!  

Cheers to new beginnings!!! <3


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

We're Engaged!!!

Yup, you read that right!  Le BF has turned into Le Fiancé!  

I really CAN’T wait to sit down and complete a proper post on all the craziness that has happened over these past few days.  But here’s a sneak peek for all you sentimental luvahs out there…

Captured by the incredible Roy Iswanto of Roy Iswanto Photography.

Check back tomorrow for the complete lowdown y’all! 


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Trendspotting: Weathered Walls

Having grown up in West Coast suburbia all my life, I’ve been surrounded by one cookie-cutter housing development after another.  Don’t get me wrong, new homes are great for the average consumer who prefers turnkey properties without the added stress of month, sometimes year-long renovations; but for this designer, the thrill of a new home has everything to do with how much time and effort you put into really making it yours.

 1/ 2/ 3

I love old neighborhoods rich in history, charming row homes with lots of character, a dilapidated interior or two never scared me off.  In fact, I’m yearning to find that diamond in the rough… Weathered walls, peeling paper, and maybe even some original hardwood hidden underneath atrocious pink carpet that I can buff up and make brilliant once again.

Old bones may be the dream, but an old soul is really what I’m after...


What about you?  Which do you prefer?  
New homes or old???


Monday, March 9, 2015

Studio Inspiration: Office Space

Happy Monday my loves!!

Sorry for the radio silence last week on the blog, it’s been crazy over here to say the least.  Currently going through some MAJOR life and work transitions and numero uno on my list?  The redesign of my JKID studio.

Been looking to incorporate some new elements like a shared worktop where I can lay out all my projects while going over the little deets with my team.  It’s been difficult to maneuver between commercial and residential projects without being completely obliterated by mountains of paperwork piling high without a designated space for it all.


Love the idea of floor-to-ceiling shelving where I can store miscellaneous samples and a makeshift project moodboard.


Baskets with marked labeling for ease of identifying and retrieval…

And of course we can’t neglect the practicality of a partner’s desk where brainstorming sessions are quite the necessity.

1/ 2

Will slave away looking for more ideas but in the meantime, hope your week’s off to the most productive start sweets!

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