Sonya's lovely living room is a lot of things she likes. She prefers light colors, she likes the bigger pieces of furniture to be neutral and that the pops of color come in artwork, accessories, and fresh flowers. Everything she currently has is good quality, good condition, and was thoughtfully collected. Her art work reminds her of her travels and her children, and she really enjoys those memories. I hope to honor what she has in the room, add a few new items, and overall I want the room to feel well balanced and fresh. Lucky for me Sonya also lives in the Boston area and I was able to go to her home and she even allowed me to move a few pieces around. Look what I found hiding under a table cloth!
I was so happy that she pointed me towards this beautiful table underneath the cloth! I like the table sans cloth for a couple of reasons.
1. The room is mostly a light value, rooms generally feel more complete when there are light, medium, and dark colors present.
2. The furniture on that side of the room is visually very large. Light furniture will always look bigger than the same piece of furniture in a dark upholstery. In addition; furniture that is skirted, meaning you can't see the leg, also has a heavier presence than furniture with a visible leg .
Sonya was a real trooper the day I invaded her home. She also let me move around the pillar and a lamp. Here's a picture of the room after I traded the white pillar for the floor lamp. This lamp added some much needed light as well as height. I prefer this proportion of the lamp next to the sofa.
I wanted to show you all a console table and mirror Sonya has on the wall stage left. Both of these grand pieces will come in handy. The console table is located perfectly, but I would like to swap the mirror for the painting above the love seat. I think the mirror would act as an additional window and bring a lot of light to the wall opposite the windows. I also think that the two paintings, because they have similar frames and are roughly the same size, compete with each other. By moving the 2nd painting your eye can rest directly on one piece of art at a time.
I also want to address her fantastic and large windows, I'm sorry that I didn't get a picture of these two beauties. Her windows almost meet in the corner of the room; one on the sofa wall, one on the adjoining wall. They were beautifully adorned in drapes, sheers, swag, and jabots. Jabots are the lengths of fabric that hang on either side of the swag.
To update this window dressing you could remove the swag, sheers, and jabot and replace those items with a natural woven roller blind, something that would add a natural element to the room as well as texture and contrast.
The above pieces are things I would add to the room. I really wanted to draw the eye up the wall and bounce light around the room, I think these pieces do the trick. To learn more about these items click on the underlined subject:
x 2 - one on either side of the mirror
2. Picture Lamp
x 2- one above both paintings
3. Wallpaper by Graham and Brown
, to go on the walls behind both sofas
4. Black Lacquer Tray
- would really stand out on coffer table, also contain the bud vase and porcelain flowers
5. Poppy Pod Vase
6. Porcelain Flowers
7. Jan Showers coffee table
- light and airy, shiny and reflective, to help bounce light around the room
8. Trellis Rug
- adds a different texture and a natural component
9. Roller Shade
10. Treat Pedestals
- add height on the console table
It seems we hear the words, "the must have color for this season is..." all the time. Have you thought about why colors come and go with the season, and why all stores seem to carry the same color palates at the same time? I never thought about it until i was sitting in my color theory class in school. It was there that I learned about the Color Marketing Group
The CMG group consists of people in different industries (not just design-related) who get together to discuss and forecast what the upcoming color trends are going to be. There are multiple groups around the world (North America, Asia, Europe, and Latin America) who make up their own lists, and then they combine colors from each one to make the World Color Palette.
Here are the colors for the upcoming year that were just announced last week-
Apparently the hot color of the year is going to be boyz-n-berry
people. So keep an eye out for it!
Companies in major industries pay attention to what colors end up on these lists. Why? Because if certain colors are going to be popular, they want to make sure they have it included in their line up, whether it be the color of a blender, bed spread, car, cell phone, shirt, etc... you get the idea.
So where can you see color trends first? Here is a rough outline of how it cycles through different industries-
- Fashion from Paris/Milan/New York fashion weeks, which then appear at award shows.
- Women's fashion in department stores
- Home Goods
- Children's Fashion
- Men's Fashion
Although the CMG group meets every year to discuss color, they predict in advance what the popular colors are going to be, and it can take 3 to 5 years to go through the whole cycle. They forecast their color predictions typically 19 months (can be up to 3 years) in advance (only to its members...not the general public), who need the time to implement the colors into their production. Isn't this interesting? A group of people meeting to discuss what colors are going to be popular. Its so crazy to me.Pantone
, another source for all things color, came up with this list for 2011's fall fashion color trends, and since thats where we typically see new colors first, I'd thought I'd share it with you -
And since this is a list for popular fashion colors this season, I thought I'd mention the big trend I keep hearing about is called "color blocking". You can read a little about it and see some examples here
. I recently got new pillows in my living room (yay!) and based my choices for them from this fun new color blocking trend. Fyi- no I don't get new pillows for each season or trend (I don't like/give in to the "must have" phrase), I decided after living with pillows I didn't like for 5 years, I should get some new ones : ).
What are some of your favorite trends and colors for this fall?
Last weekend I said, "see ya soon!" to my kids and husband and headed off to meet a friend in Chicago. Lucky for me my friend is an art and architecture nerd like myself; and had a great time in this remarkable city. I'm going to list my favorite things we did, just in case you ever find yourself in Chicago and want to have a great time too.
1. Architecture Tour from the Chicago River - I've been waiting to do this tour for approximately 15 years, it was well worth the wait. My favorite part was probably seeing the Marina Towers and thinking about what it would be like to live in a high rise with your boat parked underneath your building. Or maybe it was hearing the story of the Chicago Fire while sitting on the very river that fire leapt over to burn the entire city to the ground. Possibly it was learning how they built skyscrapers on top of rail lines, but I also liked the fountain. It's hard to pick just one thing. The take home message for me was that Chicago really values it's ingenuity over antiquity.
Aqua - the 2nd building from the right has balconies that were constructed to look like water falling
Harry Weese's River Cottages -port hole inspired windows and all
Image from Link Bridge - taken from Wikipedia
The gold topped building in the middle back is the Carbide and Carbon Building. This building was built during Prohibition and was styled as a champagne bottle, clever eh?
2. Art Institute of Chicago- I loved standing in front of the painting, "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte". There is something about Ferris Bueller's Day Off and my childhood that will always be significant.
I teared up a bit in front of Chagall's America Windows. This is a must see.
3. Millenium Park - home of the bean and a cool art feature where a woman's face is the backdrop for a great fountain, also great sculpture garden and concert location
Amphitheatre build by Frank Gehry
Yvonne Domenge's Wind Waves
4. Chicago Public Library - I didn't get to go inside, but this gargoyle beckoned to me while I waited for a bus.
5. Hyde Park - Home of the University of Chicago, a couple Frank Lloyd Wright homes, an amazing neo-gothic chapel built by the Rockefellers, and a lovely walk along Lake Michigan.
Bye for now Chicago, I'll be back
Natalie just moved into a new home with her husband and 2 year old daughter. I can only imagine all the added costs that come with new home ownership, and because of this, everything in this guest bathroom needs to stay put. Luckily there are still plenty of ways to make this bathroom fun and beautiful without having to do any renovations and with keeping a low price tag in mind.
Because Natalie is pregnant with twin girls, and her design aesthetic is more on the traditional side, I decided to make this bathroom pretty and feminine, without being overly girly (for the husband's sake). I also wanted to create a feeling of earthy comfort because its always nice to feel relaxed in a bathroom. Now its time to talk color. Natalie painted the walls a soothing tan color (after this picture was taken). As you can see, the tub is blue, and there is also blue tile in the shower... so that decides color number one. Some other information I got from Natalie is that the hallway right outside of the bathroom is a pale yellow... so I wanted to bring some of that color into the bathroom too. Then I decided to add brown for that comfort feel, and green to add to the earthy feel.
Here's what I picked and why...
1. Shower curtain- To add that big, fun element to the room. You can keep your current shower sliding doors... this will just cover it up.
2. Bath mat- To go between the shower and the toilet. This will add interest, comfort, and goes with the nature theme, but not detailed enough to keep your eyes towards the floor to focus too much on the linoleum floor. I would line two (possibly three if it fits) side-by-side so it looks like a runner.
3. Fabric for valance- To save money, you can make your own valance for the window. Click here for a tutorial.
4. Bath rug- To go by the sink.
5. Basket- To decorate the sink and for extra storage.
6. Mirrored jewelry box- Decoration by the sink.
7. Glass canisters- To put cotton balls, q-tips, etc in for pretty organization.
8. Fern- Ferns grow really well in moisture, so it would work great in a bathroom
9. Tumbled natural tile- Line the mirror with it. Buy a 12x12 sheet, cut it up and glue it on for a border around the mirror. Click here for a tutorial. 10. Floral art- To go on the wall above the toilet paper, next to the hanging cupboards. Having this bright piece greet you as you walk in the door will help draw your eye up away from the toilet. 11. Wall mounted hook- Since I covered your glass doors with a curtain, which takes away the towel rod, this hook can go on a spare wall next to the shower. 12. Nickel knob- To replace the knobs on your vanity so they match all other finishes. 13. Towels- Fun pattern bring a little energy to the space. 14. Wicker 3-tiered bins- For added warmth and storage for books/magazines, toilet paper, towels, wash clothes, or any other bathroom essential.
Who loves a good deal? Who likes having unique pieces that really make a statement? I do! I do! I wanted to talk to you all about a day trip I made recently. I drove to the Brimfield Antique Show
a few weeks ago and I had a blast. This particular show is famous amongst antique dealers, collectors, designers, and New Englanders. There are three miles of vendors most with such amazing pieces, lovely people, and kettle corn. I unfortunately had very little time to really soak it all in; I had my two smallest children with me and I knew the popcorn would give me approximately an hour and a half. So I sped through about a mile and a half worth of stalls stalking the goods from a distance until I saw something that really caught my eye and then I would zoom in for the kill! There were such amazing pieces. I took a few pictures, but there was so much more. I'm going again next year, so if y'all want to come along I'll drive!
Fantastic and LARGE Vintage Sign
Wouldn't two of these brackets look amazing installed on either side of an open doorway?
Even my three year old caught her breath at this tent.
Sorely tempted, as you know I love blue.
Industrial pendant lovelies.
What to do if you can't come to Brimfield? Well I think some basic antiquing rules apply anywhere.
1. Take Cash.
Not only is cash king, as in you have more negotiating power.; but did you see those candlesticks? They would have come home with me had I not pulled out a very specific amount of cash at home when I was thinking more of my account balances and less of blue reflection. You can only spend what you have in hand if your working in cash.
2. Timing can be your best friend.
I went to the last show of Brimfield (there are three every summer) and I went on the third rainy day in a row. There were very few buyers out and the vendors were happy to get rid of their gear. I also know that thrift stores and other antique shows have cycles too. Ask a clerk when they'll be putting out the new inventory, ask if there are specific sale days etc. Do they have a winter sale? Bicycle sale? My Mother-In-Law is so tight with her local thrift store they let her in the back room.
3. Don't Forget Your Manners
It's always okay to ask, "Is this your best price?" It usually isn't.
4. Be Ready.
You have to be ready to walk away from a piece you can't afford. You also have to be ready to buy something unique, because if you think it's unique and lovely so will others.
Want to see my favorite score from the Brimfield Show? Check out the leg on her! Happy antiquing everybody!
I LOVE it when things look organized. Does that mean my house is always perfectly organized and clean? I wish... it is far from that. But there is great satisfaction when you open a cupboard or a drawer and see that its contents are organized and functioning well.
I have been having issues with our family's desk... from keeping the surface space uncluttered, trying to control my desire to shove things in random drawers when trying to clean up in a hurry, and my guilt with throwing things away that are still in good shape but that I never use (ahem, highlighters). So I'm going to break my desk down into small projects, which really is the best way to reorganize anyways, to get it whipped into shape. I already got started with organizing the cords underneath the computer.
I love it when things cost no money, don't you? I saw this idea on Pinterest and immediately thought it was brilliant and knew I wanted to apply this in my home. So over a couple weeks, I saved these bag closures from produce and bread I got from the grocery store. When I had my little collection I labeled them (I'd definitely recommend using a small tip sharpie, like shown in the picture, but I didn't have one so I just went for it anyways) based on what cords were plugged into my power cord surge protector. We had issues with needing to unplug things, but not being sure which cord we could pull out, which made us have to hunch underneath our desk pulling at different cords to figure it out. Now with the labeled bag closures, I figured out what cord was what, and put its new tag on it. I'm happy to say i wont have to spend any time underneath my desk anytime soon. (image
If you are having the same issue I was having with my cords, I'd definitely try this out. After all, it wont cost you any money! That being said, their are many more examples of how to get control of your cord situation that wont cost you much, or that you may already have lying around your house, so take a look and see if any of these ideas would work for you in your home.
This is the same concept from Martha Stewart
, but it uses cuter tags to label your cords that you can get at any craft or office supply store. They are definitely more attractive, but would slide around a lot more than the bread closures.
This idea comes from Real Simple
using file folder labels to identify cords.
is a great way to organize cords that you need to plug into your electronics often. With this method they will stay in place and you wont have to go searching for them.
Do you have a mess of cords going everywhere? This idea from Real Simple
uses a paper towel roll to help streamline the look of scattered cords. And hey, you can always dress up the roll with some cute scrap book or wrapping paper. You can also use twisty ties you get from the grocery store to help pull your cords together too. Just spread them out every 12 inches or so.
If you have fabric scraps around the house, you can find a no sew tutorial here
to cover cords that only takes five minutes (and double sided sticky tape)!
Don't you love how many options you have to organize or hide cords? If you have any other ideas for inexpensive ways to manage cords, or if you've tried any of these methods, share your thoughts in the comments!
Wood paneling is a common feature of many basements (especially here in New England!), some people love it, others not so much... This post is for the the lovers (for those interested in learning about the painting options check out this great post at Designed to the Nines
). We're going to proceed with the intention to face this lovely wood paneling head on, and not paint the wood. I would like to embrace the lodgy look and hopefully encourage a wonderful place to watch a movie or read by the fire. My plan is to add a bit of whimsy, some color, and give your eye a place to rest. One of my goals with this post is to encourage people to improve their spaces in little ways; sometimes a new rug is all you need to really infuse a space with a new personality.
In order to pull off a modern lodge feel I would want to juxtapose the wooden panels and green carpet with stark modern elements like the zebra rug and graphic patterns. I would like to see something like this
Barnett Newman art work - this piece makes a great DIY. I LOVE the papier-mache animal scuptures - they were Jenn's idea! I also love the idea of hanging 3 vintage botanical prints off centered on the fireplace wall in between the fireplace and the bookshelves, I'd especially like them if they were black and white like this
cover. I also think some of the navy paper source
japanese papers would look fantastic framed and hung on the wall in between the bookshelves. I think with so much wood work at different levels, ie; overheard cupboards, open shelving, glass front shelving, etc;, it is important to add some consistency to the elevation by keeping all of the displays in the bookshelves symmetrical. I would even consider organizing the books according to color or turning them around so that you only see the pages. I am envious of those cupboards, you have the best storage I have EVER seen. I think the styling of the bookshelves will be very important, possibly the most important element in the room. I would remove the chaise from the room as it seems further break up the room. I picked bright white elements to continue the modern juxtaposition, and I added the navy because I think it's neutral enough to play nice with the carpet, but also looks graphic next to the white accent and it is a really current color.
In the list below I've linked to all of the above product. In order to learn more about these items, including how to purchase them, all you need to do is click on the hyperlink.
2. vintage navy plaid throw
3. ikat table runner
- to go on the countertop
4. fireplace screen
- break up the dark tones along that wall
5. tall hive vase
6. navy cable knit pillow cover
7. chevron pillow
8. geometric patterned pillow
9. zebra rug
The idea of this post came to me when I was doing the dinner dishes. I was rinsing out an empty bottle of olive oil to put in recycling, but realized I liked the bottle, so instead I put it in the dishwasher and decided I would figure out what to do with it later. Then, a few days passed and I was going to put some flowers in the same vase I use every single week, and wanted to switch it up... in came the olive oil bottle.
I really like finding ways to reuse things. I don't know why, but I think its fun... especially with the added environmental bonus. So I started looking around my apartment at what things I've reused, and realized almost all of them came from my kitchen.
All these "vases" I'm currently using are from the kitchen. The first, is a picante sauce jar (and would look so cute with a ribbon tied around the skinny part of it), the second is my olive oil jar, and in the third picture we have a jam jar and a cup.
Not bad, right? I realized I also had these around....
Do you want to know what these containers originally held? The orange was from some sort of toddler snack (now for office supplies), the yellow was oatmeal (now for toys), the blue was baby formula (more toys), and the little guy in the front was a baby food jar (office supply: thumb tacs). With some help from modge podge
and scrap book paper (or a black sharpie and japanese tape for the baby food jar), they all got a good looking face lift. Again, these all originated in the kitchen.
So this isn't from the kitchen, but I remembered I used the top of two shoe boxes to help organize my son's socks (do you think he has enough socks? Yeah, me too.) and my husband and I each have a little shoe box of our own in our top drawers to help us keep things in their place as well. This is reusing things at its most basic state, but still a very useful, free way to organize!
So whats the point of this post? To add beauty and order to your home you don't have to spend a lot of money. You can find thousands of beautiful things in stores and online, but sometimes times they come with a hefty price tag. So go ahead and look in your fridge, and I bet you have glass jars/bottles that would make cute vases or containers for other things. Next time you go to the grocery store keep your eyes open for jars you can reuse for other things. I did that today and was shocked to see how many cute things I found. I know your kitchen is a weird place to go "shopping", but reusing things is both useful and cost effective!
I'd love to hear how you've reused items in your home to add order or beauty, so leave a comment and tell us about it!
Uzbek Ikat - the real deal
If you're looking to jazz up your room by adding just one thing, let me suggest ikat. This pattern is hot hot hot! What is ikat you ask? It is a fabric pattern made in a process that is similar to tie-dye in that you wrap bindings that resist color (like a rubber band) around threads being placed in dye. The threads are then woven as either the warp
(vertical thread) or the weft
(horizontal thread) to create beautiful patterns. There is even a double ikat that is made by using the dyed threads as both the warp and the weft. Currently you can find both fabrics that are woven using the traditional methods, and fabric that has the pattern of ikat printed on it. The fantastic thing about ikat is that even though it is incredibly trendy right now, it has been around for hundreds of years. It seems to be a method of weaving that was used all over the world; Indonesia, Spain, and Latin America all have stylized ikats in their textile history. I've included a few ikat pieces from Nieman Marcus' home goods site. I like them all. FYI, ikat is pronounced, ee-kot. Don't even ask how I pronounced it the first time. Do you have any ikat in your home?
Bohemian Pillow Group
Welcome to Sarah's bedroom! Her family is renting a house, which can come with plenty of frustrations that most of us have experience with. With rentals things are never how you'd ideally want them, but you have to work around the possible eye sores because you're not allowed to change anything. Luckily, Sarah's room doesn't have too many negative things to work around.
Sarah describes her style as modern/eclectic, and loves color...specifically aqua and yellow. Sarah is a woman of many talents, which she's showed with the pretty refinished chest in her room with added Anthropologie knobs. She wanted a little more storage space, and likes a balance of clutter free space with fun knick knacks.
The pieces I picked and the reasons why -
1. Headboard - to make the bed look more complete, a low rise headboard (to fit right under the window) would be great. Sarah is a great DIY'er so this is a project she can tackle herself.
2. Floral Rug - to sit partially underneath the base of the bed, and add more character to the room and dark floor.
3. Pillow - bold punch of modern color.
4. Pillow - fun, graphic, and modern.
5. Bedspread - Sarah said if she could paint the room any color it would be yellow, so I picked yellow for the bedspread since thats the next biggest opportunity for color. She wanted it pattern-free so she wouldn't get sick of a specific pattern, and as an added bonus, its reversible.
6. Ampersand art - to go next to the window above the bed. Since the bed has to be off-center from the window, this spark of bold color will help the wall feel more balanced.
7. Lamp- the dark colored metal anchors the side of the bed, and the patterned design adds a sense of old-world to Sarah's eclectic taste.
8. Nightstand - Sarah wanted some closed storage with her nightstands, and these are thin enough to fit on the sides of her bed.
9. Curtains - A big punch of color on the wall in a moroccan-style print to go on both sides of the sliding glass doors.
10. Tie-back - This gives a nature/organic element to the room, and will be needed on the left side of the door to keep the curtains out of the way of the high-traffic area where the door opens.
11. Flowers - Rooms always look better with a bundle of fresh, beautiful flowers.
12. Trinket dish - a place to drop coins/rings/keys, and add some fun.
13. Office chair - A new, crisp, updated look.
14. Art - Should be framed with a thick mat to add some fun on the wall above the office area.
15. Wall shelf - To go above the desk area (below the art) for added strorage opportunity.
16. Wall clock - To go next to the art above the desk to add a retro feel to the room.
17. Vase - To add some spark to the desk.
18. Mini trash can - To replace the existing trash bin... who doesn't love a great looking trash can?