Monday, March 31, 2008

Before & After: A Family Room Redesign

Here's a fun redesign I did recently. This space is a daylight basement that is used as a family room, game room, and TV-watching space. These before pictures are actually "Step 2" in the process. When I first came to this client's house, there was very little furniture, one tiny sectional and a few other cast-offs - but the client was ready for a major change. (In fact, she had already put a lot of work into removing wallpaper and repainting before I even arrived.) I consulted on and recommended new furniture purchases. She went out and bought furniture she liked that fit the recommendations I had given her, and then had me back to put the final touches on the room and pull it all together. It's a highly personal space that celebrates the client's favorite college sports teams, but still manages to be warm and stylish - not too "themey". The college team's colors are orange and black - not easy to decorate with - so you'll notice just a few subtle touches of color placed around the room, which keeps it from going overboard on the theme and still looking elegant.

a blank slate

we left room to add family pictures as the family grows...the house plant adds warmth and softness to the wall

a messy built-in bookshelf that was definitely not being used to its full potential

we removed a couple of shelves and created a display for all the client's baseball memorablia and keepesakes. Removing shelves in bookcases creates a custom look as well as creates space that didn't exist before for framed or other large art.

an old chair, random throw pillows, nothing on the walls...

removed the old chair, added pillows and throws, clock and wall art...





Tomorrow I'll share some of the little details that added warmth and personality into the space...details that translate into any environment and you can easily use in your own home.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday's Fabulous Finds - More Chair Love

I'm just not done! I've found too many talented artists and too much gorgeous chair artwork not to revisit the subject once more this week! (Not to mention that chairs are just one of my favorite subjects anyway!) If you missed last week's fabulous finds, you might want to read up, because that one was about chairs too. Just wanted to make sure you check out all the following artists' work. Too fun.

*Edited to add: After working long and hard on this post, in spite of Blogger giving me MUCH TECHINCAL DIFFICULTY, I posted it, only to discover that the photo links do not work. However, the links to the Etsy artists do work, so you'll have to go to their shop and then select the piece of art you're interested in viewing more closely. I'm sorry for the extra step - I'm going to be doing more research and troubleshooting today and see if I can fix this.

red chairs noteset (5 cards)

small notebook

Here's a very chic designer that clearly loves chairs as much as I do. Cricicis Design offers lots of sophisticated stationary and paper goods, including several items that feature modern and iconic chairs, and all at very reasonable prices.

"Olivia" original collage

"Zoey" original collage

Another designer who is paying tribute to the noble chair. Aren't these collages by CourtneyP. just sooo charming? These are original collages on wood frames and are extremely affordable. We're talking original artwork for under $20, people! Don't all flood her shop at once. :-) (And these are not the only chair collages she offers - be sure to check out the complete selection.)

"Tribute to the Hans Wegner wishbone chair"

I love this idea because it's very unique. This original piece by nquinn is sewn by hand on upholstery grade fabric that is an angora micro-weave, then framed in a vintage frame. She has several pieces that pay homage to mid-century iconic designs like this one...but they are done in such a charming, handmade way.

antique copper riveted chair charms

I think these sweet charms by Epoch Beads are for making jewelry, but I don't really know, and it doesn't really matter, because on their own, they are so tiny and cute and different. You could put them in a shadowbox...or create a sweet tablescape...or wear one on a bracelet or necklace chain...the possibilities are endless and one-of-a-kind. Too cute.

*Edited to add: check out this bracelet by Epoch Beads - she just wrote and let me know she's got this gorgeous jewelry that if you look closely, you'll see the tiny gold chairs, like the ones above, in amidst the beads. I love this! Thanks for the heads-up, Tracie!

Designer Chairs Cocktail Napkins (Set 1)

Designer Chairs Cocktail Napkins (Set 2)

I'm feeling a little more sophisticated just looking at these cocktail napkins...imagine how sophisticated I would be if I actually owned them. (Actually, if these are all it takes to make me sophisticated, then sign me up!) Anyway, designer Avril Loreti has fashioned these gorgeous napkin sets, along with other napkin and coaster designs, that are a perfect gift for the design-savvy hostess or friend. Be sure to check out all her fun designs.

"Chair No.5" original painting

"Garden Room" original painting

"Blue Chandelier" original painting

"Triple Fern" original painting

Hey, how did the sofas sneak in? This is a post about chairs! Ah, well, I think they got in because they are so darn cute that I just had to let them in. Besides, they are all by the same talented artist and I had a hard time editing it down to just one or two paintings. Flying Rhymes is yet another very talented artist who not only creates fun and whimsical paintings, but then offers her original works at very affordable prices. This combination always warms my heart. Check out her complete shop - it's so fun.

Well, that's my fabulous finds for this week, folks. It's snowing here in Portland, Oregon, which is extremely confusing for us, mostly because A) it almost never snows here and B) when it does, it's in the dead of winter, not a week into SPRING! My tulips all have very confused looks on their faces at the moment. (Yes, tulips do have faces.) Anyway, have a wonderful weekend and I'll be back Monday with before & after photos from another fabulous redesign! This time it's a family basement/rec room/game room. For now, Happy Weekend to you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Very Good Day

Today was a good day. *sigh* A very good day. I just returned from a morning of much-needed retail therapy. I spent part of my morning at Crate & Barrel where I bought several plates from this set, which I first spotted on the Hostess With the Mostess blog...

image via Hostess With the Mostess

...and three cute little Lucy vases...all of which are inspiring the theme for a little brunch I'm planning for a few friends around Mother's Day. So needless to say, I was already having a great day...

Then, I discovered - quite to my surprise and delight - that one of my favorite blogs in the whole world did a feature on one of my parties!! Yep, that's right - Hostess With the Mostess - which is a daily read for me - and helped inspire this morning's retail therapy - included pics from the party I threw for my daughter's 3rd birthday in her feature about parties for kids. Remember the one with the Elmo theme, which I posted about here? See her cute photo collage of my pics above, and check out her article! Thanks so much for the shout-out, HWTM! I am so honored!!

Nest Cupcakes

Just one more note from Easter. I had to show you these adorable cupcakes I made that actually taste even better than they look! I think I was inpsired by reading about these nest cupcakes and these coconut cupcakes by Tracey at A Cottage Industry, and decided to combine the ideas to make nest cupcakes of my own. I used a shortcut, however: these are just a white cake mix, homemade buttercream frosting, and toasted coconut on top to form the "nest". In a few of them, as an experiment, I actually injected whip cream and made filled cupcakes. That experiment was a success, let me tell you!
I've decided cupcakes are one of my favorite desserts now; the portions are just right, and they're so fun to decorate and look so cute on a buffet table. I didn't use my cupcake stand this time, because it holds 24 and by the time Easter Sunday came around, I only had about 14 (no comment). So I used this antique silver 3-tier stand instead, with pastel jelly beans to fill in, and was very pleased with myself.

The cupcakes were a hit with my daughter, too - pictured here in her Easter finery.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Before & After: a dramatic master bedroom redesign

Here are some photos from a recent redesign I did in another master bedroom. I love doing bedrooms, especially for other young, busy moms like myself, because our bedrooms (which should be our sanctuaries) are almost always the most neglected room of our house. This redesign was especially fun because it was so dramatic. The number one issue in the room was improper furniture placement; once we moved a bunch of furniture around, it made a world of difference. This homeowner had gorgeous pieces of furniture, wonderful artwork, accessories, and framed photos to work with. When we started the day, the room looked - well - neglected. When it was finished about 3 1/2 hours later, it looked like a model home (without spending a dime) and I wanted to move in! (But that would have been awkward.) So I'm living vicariously through them and these photos. Enjoy!

master bedroom BEFORE...

The bed is blocking the window. Two unused dressers are blocking the entrance to the closet (so the client would enter the closet through the bathroom). The client's professional supplies were stored in amongst bedroom fixtures and in corners.

master bedroom AFTER...

We placed the bed on a diagonal so the headboard wouldn't block the window. The room is very large and can handle the bed in the corner like this. Moved the two dressers (one out of the room completely) to open up access to the closet door. Removed all of the client's professional equipment to another room in the house (encouraging sleep and relaxation ONLY in this room.)


In addition to being used for sleeping, the bedroom was also used for storing various professional equipment. We got that stuff out of the bedroom and stored it in their home office.

Ah...a calming retreat now.


These two extra dressers were not being used, and were blocking the closet door. Even though the client can access the closet from the bathroom too, NEVER block a doorway (especially when the other half of the room is empty, as you'll see below.) We removed one from the room altogether and moved the other one to the other half of the room.


Now the client can access the closet door.


Yikes! a little claustrophobic...

Much better!

A totally under-utilized corner of the room...completely empty, in fact. I'll fix that...

We moved an extra chair from the living room into this unused corner of the bedroom, and created a cozy reading nook. This is where we moved the one dresser that we kept in the room, and also moved artwork either from storage or other places in the house to accessorize. A stool from Ikea is repurposed into an end table, and cushions from the family room couch are used as throw pillows, both on the chair and on the bed.
I left the client with a "wishlist" of a few things she might want to consider purchasing: two new lamps (matching) for the bedside tables, a few new throw pillows in blue to incorporate the wall color into the linens and for the reading chair; I also recommended we move an extra set of curtains off the French doors and onto the window behind the bed (which was naked for some reason.). But the makeover you see was accomplished for no money...just using the great things she already owned.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

He's not here...

He's not here...

or here...

not here...

...or here...

He's risen!!! He is risen indeed!

photo credits (all from Flickr):
1. "The Cross" by noe_carrillo
2. "The Cross at Sunrise" by s7t7e7f7a7n
3. "Sunrise Easter Cross" by mumbleyJoe
4. "The Cross" by Jacksen

Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday's Fabulous Finds - Chair Art

Sorry for posting Friday's Finds so late in the day! I did a big redesign this morning - can't wait to show you photos! But for now, I bring you fabulous finds that have been a long time coming. Many of you know my love for (some would say, obsession with) chairs. And if you've been watching my Etsy Favorites sidebar for a while you may have noticed artwork with chairs popping up there quite frequently. I've been just dying to do at least one week that focused on chair art and so I'm excited to present these finds to you. (I had enough favorites that I just may have to feature chairs again next week - we'll see.) Be sure to peruse the other great items in these artist's shops as well.

How cute is this? I love artist Karen Miller's use of wood that is "found, recycled, reused, reclaimed, repossessed, reconstituted...on the rebound". Her quirky wooden collages are basically portraits of chairs, individually or in multiples, and no two pieces are alike.

orange chair collage

aqua chair collage

retro iron gothic chair print

aqua curves chair print

One of my favorite artists is Anne Harwell (whose sellername on Etsy is Annechovie - cute). She has lots of paintings of chairs and interiors in general that I really like. I especially like her original paper collages (the top two pictured are collages) that are colorful & graphic. The colorful and simple way she represents traditional furniture pieces makes them appear really fun & modern at the same time.

This pillow by Decorative Instincts appeals to me in a similar way to some of Anne Harwell's works; a traditional Louis XV-style chair (is that right? sometimes I get my Louis's mixed up!) is presented in a bold and graphic color as a silhouette, making it seem young and hip again. They've got this pillow in a couple of color options, too.

I think this is a great idea. I'm totally smitten with anything letterpressed right now, and this artwork by Paper Stories Letterpress has it all. It features a cool mid-century classic lounge/interior which is then letterpressed onto a paint chip! So many of my favorite things combined into one! I'm digging it. Right now they offer pink and purple but I'm secretly hoping for one in aqua, red, orange, or lime as well. You have to check out the other gorgeous paper products in this shop too.

This stationery by Paper Nosh is just yummy. It features this fabulously ornate chair and is customizable - you can get your own name or wording placed on each card in this set of four. (Some of my other favorites featured chandeliers and birds wearing crowns.)

And last, but not least, this charming letterpressed card from The Paper Peony. This card features an adirondack chair that was hand-printed onto white cardstock using a vintage printing press. Ah, letterpress again...what can I say? Paper love. Check out all her other fabulous cards and custom designs too...they're gorgeous.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend, my friends!