Archive for the ‘Every day life’ Category

Hello, It’s Been a Long Time…

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Things have been busy over the past few months; it’s been hard finding the time to write.  So what’s been happening at Paradigm?  Here’s a briefing to bring you up to speed…

  • We are growing!  Well, my family that is.  My husband and I are expecting our first child in February.  We are super excited and will be sharing the transformation of the office/baby’s room as it progresses.  The space is small and challenging but I’m excited to share the results and ideas on making small spaces multi-functional.
  • I have started a furniture company, Artistory, to develop furniture designs that I’ve sketched over the years, up-cycle great market finds into a new life and create custom, one-of-a-kind pieces for my design clients.  It is a slow progress but the website will be up soon.  Until then, you can get a quick snippet of my first pieces on Pintrest.
  • We are now on Pintrest (Dawn Chau)!  I have started posting all great finds from magazines on Pintrest to share with you (instead of adding to my forever expanding binders in the office).  This helps me stay organized and will also be a place for you to see what inspires me.
  • I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey and the South of France at the end of September.  I was so inspired by the mosques and amazing people of Turkey.  I’ll be posting some pictures next Monday.

I hope that summer treated you well and you are beginning to nest for the fall.  Cheers!

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!!!

 

Gift Ideas for the Man of the House

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

I don’t know about you but shopping for my father is one of the biggest challenges I have.  He doesn’t golf like so many Hallmark cards think Dad’s do, he doesn’t have a time sucking hobby (although he does like several) nor does he need any grilling gadgetry (either you know how to make a mean steak or you don’t; tools won’t help).  Often times I try to get inspiration from doing a search online which always leaves me cringing because the ideas are often so cheesy.  So I compiled a few gifts that I think my Dad, along with others,  would enjoy.

  • Create a basket of local goodies or unique spices.  Add in a special utensil or gadget that will get lots of use.
  • A classic shave from a local barber.
  • A fly-fishing lesson or deep sea fishing trip.
  • A photo or piece of art that you’ve created.
  • A watches or new wallet seem to be necessary every so often.
  • Fine wine or whiskey.
  • A hammock for a lazy day in the yard.
  • A nice dinner out; because time together is often more important than gifts.

Hope you all have a wonderful day with your Dad’s.

 

 

NYC Patio Completion

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Our patio is complete, just in time to share it with friends on this lovely Friday.  The first three photos are of the patio before we started.

 

 

We created a little dining area with a rug, table and chairs.  We planted a new Japenese maple tree (very small at this point) but the red leaves glow brightly under the sun and it’s perfect.  The umbrella brings in a pop of color until everything blooms and I combined stripes and the graphic patterned rug for visual interest.

In the corner we planted lettuce, herbs, beets, carrots and tomatos.  The large black pots include garden sage, honeysuckle and some red nancy.   They are all pretty small at this point so I look forward to them growing and blooming.

We used wine crates for the beets, lettuce and carrots since we did not have any actual ground to plant in.

Lettuce just popping up.  Can’t wait to have a fresh salad from our garden!

This is our “gnome” Bella.  She will keep the birds away but unfortunately she loves lettuce and carrots so we’ll see who gets the first taste of summer.

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.

Repetition & Pattern

Friday, April 27th, 2012

I am often inspired by repetitive textures I find while traveling.  There is so much to see when we are in-tune with our senses and take the time to observe our surroundings.  The simplest natural or man-made structure can create a beautiful pattern.  It may be a set of stairs, a unique shadow, a reflection in water, or the way light filters through a window pane.  I try to incorporate some sort of repetition into all of my projects because our eyes find repetition & pattern calming.  Below are several photos that I’ve taken while traveling. Enjoy…

Nature and man-made objects provide a wide range of repetition.

 Fence in Cape Cod

 Slate in UK Countryside

 Grain Silos in Longmont, CO

 Fountain in London’s Mayfair Neighborhood

 Row of Trees at Versailles, France

Stairs are one of the best places to find repetition.

Stairs Inside the Arc de Triumph, Paris

 Stairs at Alhambra in Granada, Spain

Stairs in Santorini, Greece

Markets are a sure bet too, especially first thing in the morning when all the vendors products are neatly stacked.

Cauliflower in Montreal, Canada

Spices in France

Star Anise in France

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…

 

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!