Archive for the ‘Decorating’ Category

Create an Art Wall

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Creating an art wall in your home is a great way to display multiple pieces in a group…and it’s not as hard as you might think.  Here are some step-by-step tips and photos to get you started.

Step 1:

Pick a wall for displaying your art and look through layout ideas on Pintrest.

Step 2:

Select a theme and stick with it.  Art walls work best when you decide on a central theme.  Here are some examples:

  • travel photos (see above photo)
  • kids art
  • family photos

Once you’ve selected the theme, pull out all options for the wall and narrow down to what’s important.  Select your favorites and make them larger if possible.  I prefer art/photos in different sizes because it moves the eye around the entire wall.  However, they could all be the same size if you are running them down a hallway and want it uniform.

 

Step 3:

Pick your frame style.  There are a few ways of doing this.  They could all be black or white if the art is all different or use different frames if the art relates to one another well.  Just keep something uniform throughout the wall.  So if you have all black and white photos, you could easily have many styles of frames or just use one color.  Here’s a beautiful shot from Christiane Lemieux (photo from Dwell Studio)…. showing different frames.  This works well because the art relates to each other.  The two pieces on the right both have red in them and all have some element of black and white.  Beautiful!

 

Step 4:

Print and layout all photos in their frames on the floor first.  This will allow you to easily arrange them many times before poking holes in your lovely walls.  If you can’t complete the hanging in one day or can’t decide on layout, take a picture of the layout options and see if you like it over the next hour or day.  Don’t worry too much about spacing.  In fact, if you don’t make it uniform, it will be much easier to hang!  Or you can fill the larger gaps with found objects (old keys, metal letters, etc).

 

Step 5:

Start hanging.  This can be tricky but I’ve found a few things that make it easier.  Purchase the sticky putty (you know, that stuff you used to hang posters as a kid).  Put it on the frame hook and press the frame onto the wall where you want it.  Then pull lightly, leaving the putty and the frame hook mark on the wall.  Now just position your nail where the hook mark is on the putty and nail through the putty.  Once nail is in, simply remove the putty and repeat.  I’ve also tried the Velcro strips.  These work well for smaller, lighter projects.  I personally wouldn’t use them above a bed on a heavy piece of art though.

Here are some other good resources:

Advice and pictures from Apartment Therapy.

No art?  Check out this site for ideas!

 

An Office-Nursery Combination

Friday, January 25th, 2013

In NYC, you make do with what you have and honestly, I love finding creative ways to make small spaces work.  Most people would never combine an office and nursery but if it’s properly executed, it can be done.  Our nursery and office combo are finally complete, in time to relax a bit before the baby arrives.  Here’s the progress and how it all came to life.

First the before shots.  We had a large desk that both my husband and I tried sharing (might I say that it is a very bad idea to share a desk with a creative person).  It was far too deep and just taking up space that could be utilized better.   The office was also very dark because it only had ONE recessed can light, which is why you see that lovely hanging bulb.

To the right of the old desk was a catch-all space for my design “stuff” (inspiration boards, drafting and office supplies, files etc) housed on the wall and in cheap plastic containers.

Behind the door is a funky little space that I filled with old wine crates to use as book shelves.

The only window in the room.  The apartment had come with these dark grayish-purple heavy cotton drapes.  I had the fun remnant piece of fabric so created a little window seat with hanging candles because it worked; not because I loved it.

And here’s the transformation!  Overall the room is eclectic and whimsical without screaming baby.  I used gold, white and pops of red against the soothing gray backdrop.  Several items are custom made by myself for the space including the desks on the right, storage unit on back wall and mobile above the crib.  The focal point of the room is the art wall that consists of some purchased art, framed art paper and paintings that my husband and I made.   The custom storage piece on the back wall hides office supplies, files, baby clothing & bedding and a changing area.  A rug from West Elm help soften all the wood and brighten the space.

 

Those wine crates behind the door served their purpose but they had to go.  I was tired of the temporary college furniture feel and it would not be safe for a child’s room.  We instead replaced it with a red lacquered book shelf that could be secured to the wall.  This holds both baby and our books, a nightlight and art.  I disliked the heaviness of the drapery so replaced it with a light, airy sheer.  To add a pop of red in that area, I added a pom pom trim to the leading edge.  This helped lighten the space further.  I changed the cushion to a solid gray eliminating a pattern that did not relate to the room.

Below is the “office side” of the room with the custom desks.  I actually enjoy working in here now that we have light.  This is probably the cleanest my desk will ever be and I’m sure eventually the right wall will slowly become filled with more inspirational photos but for now, I’m enjoying the cleanliness of this area.  I just need to find a great piece of art for above the desks.

 

 

A Kitchen Conundrum

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Having a love for cooking can test all our limits if we don’t have space to chop away.  One of my readers asked what could be done with her small London kitchen.   I have a few ideas so hopefully it will come to life one day.

 

The biggest problem in all smallish kitchens comes down to storage.  In this example, the valuable work space is being over-taken by ingredients required to prepare a great meal.  Additionally, the wall to the left is angled, preventing the easy install of some store bought shelves.  Here are some recommendations that will work in this kitchen and so many others.

Solution:

  • Add shelving as sketched in the photo.  Although you’d never find shelves to fit this space, it would be worth every penny to have a couple custom shelves made to fit perfectly in the niche.  They could be free floating and slide on and off the bracket if the need ever arises to access the instant hot water unit on the right.
  • Decide what you want to showcase visually.  In this case, I’d move the glass jars that are too big for the shelves on the right to the new lower shelf on the back wall.  I would add smaller jars (replacing all the little bags under the right cabinet), following the angled wall.  Opening up the existing shelves on the right will allow for less visually appealing storage such as canned goods, etc that are better hidden.
  • Cookbooks work nicely in corners when you position the spine in the corner versus the face of the book against the wall.  If you have too many, just showcase your favorites and find a new home for the less used ones.  If you have any large appliances, they usually tuck nicely in corners too!
  • Cereal boxes could go on the top shelf on the back wall and continue to fill the smaller, angled space with either more jars or serving dishes.
  • On the counter, leaving a fruit bowl and a serving piece or two would work under the new shelves.

 

Other suggestions:

  • If you need to free up a drawer for cabinet, consider installing a peg board that you can hang pots, pans or utensils from.  
  • Add some very shallow shelves (with a lip) to an open wall to showcase your serving pieces.  The one below is very well done but it doesn’t need to be this ornate or built-in.

 

If you have any other clever ideas that you’ve created over the years, let us know.  We love hearing about your smart solutions.  Happy kitchen organizing!

Celebrate Independence Day with Style

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Here are some fun, classy ideas that I found online while looking for 4th of July ideas.

 

This is from Twig & Thistle blog.  They’ve done a great job keeping it elegant and simple by using a common motif and color.  Click on the link to see more ideas from this creative team.

 

A 4th of July picnic or Bar-B-Que is all about mobility and easy to eat foods.  Organize & Decorate Everything takes you step-by-step on how to make these simple food cones.

 

Another do it yourself project from Women’s Day.  I like this because you could add your own motif to it and reuse it every year.  Use it for silverware, condiments, etc.

 

I’m all about using items found around the house.  Try this cute idea reusing tin cans that have been pierced and painted.

 

And we can’t forget food!  I’m not sure what the drink is but you could easily make this with champagne and blueberries.

A nicely done Rice Crispy bar!

 

One of my favorite summer drinks is a watermelon slushy.  It’s super easy so thought I’d share it with you.  Just cut up large chunks of watermelon and throw in a blender; blend until smooth.  Add ice and fresh mint and enjoy a refreshing drink.  You can also add sparkling water or alcohol of your choice.  Cheers to a safe holiday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denver Home Update!

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

We have been in our new home a little over two months and are beginning to get settled .  We still have a LONG way to go, but here is a little peek at some of the spaces as they progress little by little.

Our living room is livable at the moment. There are three things I would like to do in this space: get a new sofa, reupholster the arm chair, and reupholster the ottoman.

As previously mentioned, storage is our biggest issue.  I invested in a reasonably presentable door rack to hold spices and baking supplies.  On the other wall (not pictured) is a stainless steel shelf unit that holds all of our dishes.  We painted the walls a very soft gray but have yet to decide on a color for the kitchen nook – I am thinking about something bold like stripes but I am not sure Tobey will go for that.

 

Our bedroom is still in the organizational process (the walls aren’t as yellow as they look!!).  The patterned curtains are covering my closet since we had to remove the doors.  I am looking for a fun grey and white stripe fabric to make into panels. I would also like to mount the TV to the wall.

This is my office/storage room at the moment.  It is home to everything that I haven’t had time to hang, get rid of, or find a home for – pretty much a big mess. I have high hopes of tackling this room over the weekend!!

That’s all for now.  I will have a more finished product to show you in another few weeks!!!

 

Summer on the Water

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

The hot summer sun makes playing on and in the water a treat.  Here are some beautiful vessels that allow you to enjoy “water” in true splendor.

I love the red/white combo! It feels nautical yet classic.

The detail and craftsmanship is stunning.

I like the idea of this boat “floor plan” – I want a spot in the back!!

The wood flooring is a beautiful option instead of carpet.

This is floating elegance.

A great use of space!

Hats Off to You – Kentucky Derby Style

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

The Kentucky Derby takes place this Saturday and in honor of it we are bringing you some of the most creative, interesting, and beautiful hats from years past.  From home-made to couture, there is a style for everyone.  Take note of the amazing color palettes and textures.  Each one is a miniature masterpiece full of design inspiration…well maybe not this first photo but I couldn’t resist!  Stop by our facebook page next week to see how my outfit came together for the big event and post pictures of your own creations.  We can’t wait to see them.  And they’re off!!

 

I give this couple props for creating their own pony hats.

This hat is stunning, I love the color contrast between the magenta, cream and black.

The fabric on this hat has an interesting texture and I like the way it filters light, giving its owner an angelic glow.

This woman was obviously a show stopper in her matching hat and dress.

Simple and elegant – a testament to “less is more”.

Now this is a doozy for a hat! I would love to see how it frames her face from the front, but the back is a true work of art.

This is a great example of a DIY hat.  The ruffle on the edge is fun and I love that her earrings match the sash on the hat.

Peacock inspired – loving the bright colors!

I want this hat.  It is a summer classic.

I want this chic fascinator too!

I can’t resist the crisp chocolate brown and cream combo.

Bigger isn’t always better – but I think she pulls off this outrageous topper quite well.

A First Home in Denver

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

I had hoped to be ready to post some “preliminary” shots of our new house, but didn’t want you all to think we are total slobs.  We have been in the new house for just over a week.  Step one was getting things out of boxes and into piles.  We have succeeded at that, but the next step of finding everything a home has been a bit trickier, so here are some photos to give you a feel for the space, but none of the belongings in the pictures are ours. Hence, my personal disclaimer:  I am going to cheat a bit with the first photos of our new home today.  These are the photos taken by the realtor and whoever staged our home prior to us buying it, so none of the furniture it ours – also, please note they used a wide angle lens so the spaces feel slightly larger than they really are.

I love this picture – our new place has tons of windows and light.  As you can see the space is long and fairly narrow – I can’t wait to paint and get some really fun carpet on the stairs.

Once in the door, this is your view directly to the right.  I am thinking this will be where our TV has to go and maybe a small chair in the corner by the window.

This is your view to the left of the door, essentially our living space.  It looks clean and simple with this furniture, but our pieces are slightly larger so I am going to have to play with it a bit.  A bold patterned rug is something I am looking for and a new light fixture or fan – I am undecided if we actually want a fan in this space or not.

This rectangular table fits nicely in the space, but ours is round.  It will be interesting to see how it fits.  We also have a large armoire that we want in this area to serve as a pantry since there isn’t one in the kitchen.

I love the island in the kitchen and the huge sink!  Our biggest issue is the limited number of cabinets and drawers.  We only have eight cabinets and five drawers.  Storage solutions will be my initial focus in this space.

The half bath downstairs is enormous and a poor use of space.  Down the road I would love to reconfigure it and add a pantry and coat closet.

The master bedroom has doors or windows on every wall, which makes using the space a bit more challenging.  I am hoping to get a dresser, two small night stands, and a little vanity table in here.

I will post another update in the next few weeks once our belongings are settled.  We are in the process of picking paint colors so I will keep you posted on that progress.  Until then…

 

A New Home in NYC

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

As some of you may know, my husband and I have recently moved into a new place in New York City.  We are thrilled to have an updated, warm and quiet space.  I wanted to share  pictures of it in progress and then I’ll post the afters as they happen.  I’ve found that it’s WAY HARDER to do my own space.  I know too many great vendors and want to use them all!

A bit of background on the place.  It was built in 1910 and the last owners updated the kitchen & dining area before moving.  It is a duplex, which in NY means the unit is two floors, not side-by-side.  It has a great layout for entertaining our friends and family.  The first floor consists of the kitchen, dining, living, main bath and a great little patio out the back door.  Down a tight, little  spiral staircase is the basement consisting of two bedrooms and a half bath.

Giang and I live very casual lives.  We love being home and entertaining which means lots of cooking.  We tend to use what we have until it falls apart.  We don’t like having lots of tchotchkes around and prefer a pretty low maintence home.

The kitchen is small, but we have a Wolf!  It beats our last stove that was so uneven that we had to prop up the burners with aluminum foil “pads” so that the pans would be level.  I probably won’t be doing much with this room but it needs a rug and a shade to for the window by the dishwasher.

The dining room is one of my favorite rooms.  It’s large and comfortable.  I love that they hide the refrigerator in the wall of cabinetry (far left).  The center of the cabinetry was this strange, large cabinet.  We didn’t want a TV so we made it into a bar.  I painted the inside red and built the small bank of drawers to store more utensils and charge our iPad.  The dining table was built by yours truly out of reclaimed NYC water tower wood and I found the legs locally.  The last bit to do here is find art for the wall.  We painted the core color a pale yellow you see pictured.

 

 

 

The living room is probably one of the few rooms that came together quickly.  Our furniture came with us from Denver and we added the coffee table by Palo Samko.  We plan on relocating and hiding the TV in a wall at a later time.  The wall of photos were taken by Giang and I on our travels around the world.  We selected pictures that are serene yet graphic.  Some of the shots are recognizable, some are not.

 

The main bath will become more of a powder room (without removing the shower) once we finish the basement bath.  The basement bath will add much needed storage for all our toiletries so we can remove them from the main bath that everyone sees.  I plan to put carrara mosaic on the floor, install an interesting vanity with some storage, add better lighting and replace the mirror and toilet.

Our little staircase to the lower level.

This is where it happens!  The dreaded office.  It’s only dreaded because it is the room I spend the most time in and will likely be the last to be complete.   I thought about doing a large built-in but they realized I wanted the space to function differently so the plan is:  I want to make this room come to life.  It’s DARK!  There isn’t much natural light so color and accessories are where it will happen.  I’m currently making a long desk to replace the existing one we have.  This will split my husbands space from mine and not protrude so far into the room.  I’ll also be making new storage pieces to replace the plastic ones.  Also on the drafting board is a plan for a large magnetic chalk board with a high gloss white frame so that I can post even more inspiration pictures.  And let’s not forget, we need wallpaper or paint!  Behind the door is a little temporary book case made out of wine boxes.  I recycled a shoe storage rack on the back of the door for storing fabric samples, samples and paint decks.

 

 

The master bedroom is also a work in progress.  We have two bikes that are currently residing in here and I need to find them a better home.  Art above the bed is a must!  Another project is building nice night stands…but, as we all know, all in time!

Basement bath as is.  The cabinet is being made and I’m selecting the top today.  This should be done within the next few weeks.  Yippeee!

It’s patio season.  We are working to finish the patio in the next couple of weeks as well.  We’ve found some dining chairs, have all our pots, have a rug ordered so now it’s just a matter of planting all the greenery.  I’ll post pictures on Facebook and Twitter as these projects come to life.

 

April Showers…

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

The perfect topic for a gloomy day – these umbrella stands are sure to put a smile on your face when you step out of the rain and into your home.  From playful to traditional, there is sure to be one that fits your personality and style!  The fact that most of them are under $100 is just a bonus.  So go play in the rain and enjoy!