Archive for the ‘Lighting’ Category

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.



ICFF 2012

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Not having a lot of time to lollygag at ICFF, I noticed a few trends to share with you.  There were numerous woodworkers who all had beautiful products.  The one thing I kept noticing was that they love drawers in multiple sizes and configurations.  Here are some of my favorites.

Above is a cabinet with drawers from Portuguese design company Wewood.  Like the shelf detail at the base.

A similar cabinet from Richard Watson.  The pulls looked like thumbtacks; nice unusual detail.

Cabinet with beaded detailing on top and on the drawer reveals by Sami Hayek of Espacio.


Booth installations are always fun to admire.  I wonder how long it takes to set up some of these.  Two manufacturers, Hellman Chang (furniture) and Lindsay Adelman (lighting), had a piece of their actual workshop demonstrating work in progress; brilliant idea.  Anyone who wonders how things get made as much as I do must have loved this.  I bet next year we’ll see even more of this.  I was clearly so engrossed that I forgot to photograph BOTH of them!  Sigh…

Above is a tree that was made out of rope strung though a mesh “ceiling.”

Installation with a bench and shaded cover made from a somewhat translucent fabric called Xorel.  This was created by a collaboration of students.  It felt good to be under; almost like shade from a tree.

A photo from Amuneal Manufacturing‘s booth.  I’ve seen them before at ICFF and I always get “lost” in their booth.  It’s a beautiful, wonderland of the imagination.  They manufacturer displays and components for stores and have a very craftsman look that sucks me in.  Above is a wall of woodworking tools beautifully displayed.   Inspiration for storing my tools!

The picture above is small but these innovative light switches/organization helpers are from Upwell.  This was one of those products that I looked at and wondered, “Why hasn’t this been created before?”  These switch additions add a little organization right where we need them, by the front door.  I spoke with the creator and he’s looking for a manufacture to produce them…someone find this guy a manufacturer!

I always love lights that create a pattern on the wall or ceiling.  Above is a light from Absolut in Germany.  The bulb is in the middle (covered) and reflects through an etched pattern on the glass around the outside.

This fixture is from Lightexture (as is the picture).  The piece expands and contracts (like a metal veggie steamer) to project light up or down casting beautiful reflections on the surrounding surfaces.

Porcelain tiles from Kowa Collection caught my eye for the large format and texture they create.  They can be installed in numerous patterns on walls or glass.  This is more of an architectural element than a bath or kitchen backsplash tile.

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.


And the Winner Is…..

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Drum roll please…Congratulations to Rosa, the winner of our room re-do contest! 

Here is what Rosa had to say about her living room: I generally like our living room but I’m curious as to ways to improve it. Is the furniture clashing? Do we have too many trinkets? Can we do something different with the paintings on the walls? What kind of curtains can we add? Although our ceiling is high, the eye seems to go low. And there’s not enough light in the evenings. How can we add lighting that doesn’t cost too much and goes with our antique motif?

Rosa, this room has an abundance of potential! You have some beautiful, unique pieces and we can’t wait to help you get the most out of your space – both visually and functionally.  Stay tuned to see the before and after shots…

Room Re-do Contest!!!

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Post pictures of or write about your LEAST favorite room in your home on our Facebook page for a chance to win a room re-do between now and February 20th!  Leave a brief description about what you dislike and why. Encourage friends to “like” your post.  The person with the most “likes” will win. The winner will be announced Monday, February 27th. Details are below!

5 Easy Steps:

1. Log into your Facebook account.

2. Find us on Facebook at:  

3. Click on “Photo” which is write next to “Post”.

 4. Select Upload a Photo

5. Click “Choose File” to select the image you want to upload

Contest Details:

- Submit photos of one room – post via your computer or phone to Facebook.

- Encourage friends and family to like your post and picture.  The person with the most “likes” will win.

- There are no restrictions on the location of the property.

*Winner will receive a room re-do. We start by rearranging your existing pieces of furniture to make the space more functional and visually appealing.  Next we can help you select paint colors, accessorize, and fall back in the love with your home!

- Winner will be announced February 27th via Facebook and our website/blog.  Pictures of the before and after will be posted on our blog upon completion.





How to Spice Up Your Bathroom

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

There are two spaces in a home that people want to remodel most: the kitchen and the bathroom.  Unless your home is a new-build, it is highly unlikely that you love every nook and cranny of your bathroom.  For most of us in older homes, condo’s and apartments, there are a number of things in this space we would like to change, but don’t have the budget or ability to follow through on.  Before you decide to blow up your bathroom and start from scratch, take a look at some of the beautiful abodes we found and our tips to take your bathroom from ho-hum to your personal sanctuary.

Warm and cozy, the collection of unique mirrors in this bathroom are tied together through a simple coat of paint.  Try finding a few mirrors that have interesting frames at garage sales or thrift stores, spray paint the frames to match, and voila, your own wall-feature is complete.

Mirrors also help small spaces feel larger and reflect the colors of their surroundings so there is less need for artwork.  The use of reclaimed wood, likely from a wood shop table in this case, offers a touch of nostalgia.

A chandelier can completely change the feel of a space.  I love this wire one, it adds dimension and a touch of the whimsical to the already soft color palette.

Are you a bookworm?  Then bring some of that love for literature into your bathroom.  These backlit shelves give a very simple room color and personality.  Accessorize the shelves with a few objects that pull out the brightest color in the space.

This look is clean and fresh.  The vintage wall-mounted mirror offers some open storage, as the pedestal sink and subway tile create a balance between matte and glossy finishes.

Love the use of an antique armoire and bold colored claw foot tub.  To get a little extra spice, try adding a cool printed paper, wallpaper, or fabric as the insert panel in your storage unit.  The one shown was likely a china cabinet with glass panels.  Try painting the outside of your old claw-foot tub.  Both are easy weekend DIY projects that could transform you bath quickly.

Yay storage!!  To the women reading this, show off your shoes and handbags!  They are works of art in their own right.  This will give you a place to store them and admire them.  I also love how this bathroom makes use of the vertical space, and who doesn’t love a charming ladder.

A very easy way to change the feel of your bathroom is with a fun new shower curtain and a floor length mirror.  The chunky frame on this mirror is the perfect opposition to the ethereal shower curtain and playful tub.


This was too clever not to show.  What a great way to reuse an old bike and give a pedestal sink a little bit of storage for hand towels or other necessities in the bike’s basket. It feels funky and retro.


A great use of color and asymmetry.  This is a great idea for a small space.  You get a full length mirror, sink with vanity mirror, little bit of counter space, and 2 drawers all in one wall-mounted piece (gotta love the one leg!).

 An organic or sleek ledge is a beautiful, easy accent to add to a bathroom.  Put it on the longest wall to help elongate the space.

Storage is key in most bathrooms.  Pick a wall and turn it into a sort of apothecary cabinet.  Keep colors the same and hide unruly items like hair dryers, etc in boxes or baskets.

Ladders can be an great addition to any bath.  Simple and easy management for towels or magazines.

Uplift Collection Robern bathroom cabinet

If you have very little space, one of the best things you could do is add a recessed Robern cabinet.  They come in many configurations and depths.  I used to have one with interior electrical outlets in our old home.  This is brilliant because it can hide razors and toothbrushes while charging so they don’t clutter the bathroom counter.  They also have a mirror defogger which is great when you are in a hurry and can’t see your mirror.

Holiday Cheer

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

December has arrived and with it comes the Holidays.   It doesn’t matter what you celebrate or how big or small your budget, bringing the holidays into your home feels good this time of year.  In many families a Christmas tree has become an important part of holiday tradition.  This year we worked hard to find some less traditional options that take on a variety of shapes and forms.  We also scoured the web to bring you the most stunning and creative holiday decor that is fit to adorn your foyer, table, mantle, or wherever you deem worthy.  Begin a new holiday tradition with your family and design something together!  Cheers!

Vintage wood slats offer color and texture while heart appliques give it a personal touch.  A great idea for small spaces and people who love DIY projects.


I absolutely love this idea!  It is an excellent space saver or just a fun twist on your mundane book cases.


An old school shiny tinsel tree adds a touch of glamour to a simple room.  Try this is silver, white, or a bright hue like fuschia for a pop of color.  Wrap your packages in a shade of that color and dress with a contrasting ribbon to complete the look.


A playful take on a tree and a great idea if you don’t have a chandelier over your table.  All you need is a branch, ornaments, and fishing line.


Gather friends at your holiday party and ask them to each write down something they are thankful for and find a place for it on your “paper tree”.


Go natural with fruits and berries that have a rich color and interesting texture.


Give leftover ornaments, candies, or accessories a home!  Fill a glass vase with the colorful baubles.  It makes a beautiful table center piece.


ms dreidelcards


Put your old cupcake tower to good use.  Combine household accents with a few holiday accessories for a festive homemade display.

Christmas-Tiered serving platters - tablescape - table holiday Christmas Fall decor via WOman's Day

Make a statement by grouping together candle holders and vases.  Try varying heights to give your display visual interest.  Add an organic element such as faux berry branches for contrast.



Embrace simplicity.  These tables are elegant because they aren’t overdone.




Entice your senses by incorporating potpourri, cinnamon sticks, or scented candles.


Select a color palette and use it for your indoor and outdoor decorations.



Construct your own wall focal point that can be saved for next year.


Who said stockings have to be hung from a mantle?  Utilize the surfaces you have efficiently and creatively.  This piano is a perfect example!

Fall Holiday Christmas tree garland piano decor stockings

Try combining fresh greens, votive candles, a colorful fruit, and simple ornaments to create your table runner.  Add height with vases, candelabras, or family heirlooms.



Soften a whimsical wintery white palette with cozy fabrics and interesting textures.

Christmas Fall Holiday Decor - bedroom decor and design - christmas stockings and garland

Design your own Menorah with family or invest in one that expresses your style.





Work to build a “theme” for your holiday decor.  Select mantle decorations that can easily be mimicked on your table.

crate and barrel



Our Holiday Gift Guide

Friday, November 25th, 2011

For the Home

1.  Add some great pillows to refresh your rooms.   This Hermes accent pillow offers a pop of color and a touch of class, available in multiple colors.

Picture 8

Or this beautiful digitally printed pillow from ABC Home.

digitally printed silk florine pillow

2.  Light up a personal photograph with this freestanding picture light from Visual Comfort.


3.   Add a cloche to a window sill or side table for year around green.  This one is from Arteriors.

arteriors vase

4.  Add a dash of color and an abundance of warmth with a beautiful throw like this one from Designers Guild.

Layout 1

Or this one from Missoni.


For the Ladies

1.  Express your love on custom notecards from a printer that can do letterpress.


2.  Beat the chilly air with an infinity scarf.  Many styles exist so check out Etsy for your favorite.  The one below is from deroucheau.


3.  An exquisite piece of jewelry offers the perfect amount of holiday sparkle.  I love the modern elegance of David Yurman pieces found at

david-yurman-2Picture 2

The Merrakesh Necklace below from Stella&Dot offers holiday glitter at a delightful price.

Picture 4

4.  The accessory on every woman’s arm, a hand bag.  Here are a few beauties that I couldn’t resist.

A daytime purse that can hold everything you need, from a brand that is renowned for its quality.  Find it in stores or online at Coach.


Shiny and bright, this raspberry patent leather Kate Spade bag is a steal.

Picture 7

Or this great evening clutch from Sondra Roberts; find at Nordstrom.


5.  Who said that plaid was just for the boys?  This Burberry jacket is a chic version of an age old classic.

Picture 9

For the Men

1.  Whisky Rocks to keep the spirts cold without dilution.  The natural soapstone is reusable after a quick rinse and a little freezer time.


2.  Lululemon Vent Tech Shirt for all manly activities…keep ’em dry and smell free.  An added bonus is the fun little note on the hem.


3.  A Paradigm gift certificate to spruce up the bachelor pad.

4.  Liquid Image HD Snow Goggles let you record your action on the slopes with the push of a button.  Those silly cameras head cams are a thing of the past.

snow-goggles5.  A personal beer holster keeps you hands free whether on a hike or in the backyard for a barbecue. Available at


For the Foodie

1.  Custom Knife from either Cut Brooklyn or Middleton Knives Handmade in the USA and they are stunning…order in advance as they take time to craft.


2.  Le Cruset in a fabulous color (cassis)  like this one below.  Available at muliple locations.

le cruset cassis

3.  Cooking classes to hone or learn a new skill.  Try Escoffier in Boulder or French Culinary Institute in NYC.

cooking class

For the Kids

1.  Makerbot – Let the kids design their own toy and then watch their creation come to life with this 3-D printer.  You’ll be as impressed as they are…and you can make things to use as well (note the spatula on the website).


2.   Paint a wall with chalkboard paint or white marker paint so they can paint on the walls without getting into trouble.

chalkboard paint

3.  A Downhill Toboggan…because snow is a coming and memories last a lifetime, just ask my brother.


4.  Start a tradition of buying them a themed ornament each year depicting what they are interested in at that time.  Let them open it before Christmas so they can hang it on the tree.  This is a tradition started by my Colorado “Grandparents” and I looked forward to it every year as a child.  An added bonus is they will have a tree full of ornaments once they start their own families.


For the Bookworm

1.  Interesting or beautiful books for their coffee table.

f in exams

2.  The Kindle Fire – because it’s now in color and there is nothing better than being able to turn a page with one hand!


For the Oenophile

1.  Corkcicle – a reusable, nontoxic gel that freezes in a BPA free plastic icecicle shape to keep your wine cold without the large, messy bucket of ice.


2.  A classic waiter’s corkscrew from Chateau Laguiole.   Most connoisseurs prefer less gadgety items when it comes to serving a nice bottle of wine.  Featured is the oak barrel handle but for those inclined, they offer bone designs as well.

Waiters frient

3.  Wine Bottle Tags for organizing their cellar.  Available at multiple sources.

wine tags

For the Pet Lover

1.  This has to be the most stylish modern pet bed I’ve seen.  It’s from Vurv and it’s handmade in Canada.  They have other great products as well.

dog pod

2.  A trendy feeding bowl for your pooch from These Creatures.

dog bowl

Fall Porches

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

First impressions are everything…so dress up your entry before hosting your next fall gathering.  Have fun with it – grab some leaves and make a garland or wreath for a pop of color, add some lanterns for a warm welcoming glow or use straw bails if you have access to them. 

porch lanterns and pumpkins

We love the scattered lanterns on the above porch and the oranges against the white facade. 

porch tans

Dislike orange?  Keep it neutral with cream candles, beige straw, and dark gourds.

porch scrip pumpkin

Like the script letter on the white pumpkin…so easy but elegant.


Keep it simple and just add a great wreath to your door.  These are from William Sonoma and Etsy.