Posts Tagged ‘rug’

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.



Quick Fixes for Your Home

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Bored with your home?  Looking for some easy, affordable ways to freshen things up?  Look no further!  Here are some quick fixes to update any room in your home.

Option 1: Paint

Get rid of the boring beige.  Below is a great example of how a little color on the walls can brighten up a space and make it feel larger.

 Work to find the right balance of light and dark.  This will prevent a room with dark walls from feeling small.  The light floors, cabinets, and ceiling are a beautiful contrast to the navy walls.

Don’t be afraid to try a bright color.

That said, neutrals can also make a statement when the right hue is used.  Notice how crisp this color looks with the white trim.

Try a pattern to make a bold statement in a small space.

Consider putting the pattern on the floor.  It is a great way to provide color and visual interest in any space.

Option 2: Revamp or upgrade a light fixture

This is a great example of how an old brass chandelier can have a new life if you have the time for a little DIY project.  Try a spray paint with a gloss finish.

I had to throw this in.  I made a wine glass chandelier to go with my thesis project back in college.  It took 36 wine glasses, fishing line, and a single light bulb.

I love using chandeliers in different spaces such as bedrooms, closets, or bathrooms.  They add a touch of nostalgia and intimacy to a room.

A funky grouping of fixtures can make a dynamic statement.

Option 3: Make your bed the throne of your bedroom

Reinvent your headboard.  Try a found material like the one below made of old plank floor boards.

Consider reupholstering an antique headboard with a bold color or pattern that draws the eye.

If you don’t have room or the budget for a headboard, consider a wall decal.  They are an inexpensive, fun way to give a room character.

Option 4: Reupholster or refinish

Find a piece of furniture that has good bones but is in sad shape.  Give it some TLC and the end product can be stunning.

This console has an old school finish, but a carefully applied coat of paint gives it a lovely new life.

Option 5: Invest

Invest in ONE “statement piece” of furniture per room.  It can be a piece that you lovingly refurbish or one that you choose to splurge on.  Whether a chair, desk, mirror, accent piece, table, or rug, the choice is up to you, but one thing is certain – it must steal the show.  What is your eye drawn to in the images below?


How to Buy a Quality Rug

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Have you ever wondered why a Persian rug costs an arm and a leg? Or what the difference is between a hand tufted versus hand knotted rug?  Here is some  information that we compiled to help you make an informed decision when buying a rug.  First off, there are three general types of rug construction:

Machine Made – done entirely by a machine called a power loom that is electrically automated.  Notice how uniform the loops are and how consistent the color is in the image below.  Another way to know if it’s machine made is by looking at the fringe.  If it is sewn or serged onto the rug (also seen below) it’s been machine made.  Hand knotted rugs use the warp threads that run through the entire rug to “create” the fringe.  Machine made is the least expensive of all rug construction types.

Hand Tufted – someone uses a “gun” that inserts the pile into a cloth foundation and therefore creates a loop pile or “knot”.  The back of a hand tufted rug (shown below) is usually covered with latex to hold the yarn in place then covered with a cloth backing.  It typically doesn’t have any fringe but can be sewn on.  See how they are  made.

Hand Knotted  or hand woven– someone ties each and every knot.  To be called a hand knotted oriental rug, it must be made of natural fibers (wools, cotton, silk), be woven entirely by hand, and of Asiatic origin such as Iran, India, Russia, China, Tibet, Nepal, Morocco etc.  Notice the slight changes in color and knot size in the image below.  The bit of white you see is the weft threads.  These will typically have fringe made from the cut warp threads.  Sometimes on more contemporary designs, the fringe has been “tucked” to make it more modern in appearance.


Value: A hand knotted 8×10 rug takes over six months to complete.  The quantity of time required to create the rug, the knot size, and pattern difficulty dictate the end cost of a rug. A rug in your home could have anywhere from 90 to 350 knots per square inch!  A well made, high quality hand knotted rug using fine wools, true color-fast dyes, and the most skillful hand-weaving techniques can last over four generations.  An oriental rug can be an investment that gains value over time.  After sixty years it is considered an antique oriental rug.

Differences between Persian and Turkish:  The main difference between Persian and Turkish rugs are the types of knots they use.  The knots used also define a broader region that uses that specific knot.  For example, Turkish rugs don’t come from just Turkey.  The knot that makes up the Turkish rugs are often used in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and more Eastern countries whereas the Persian knot is common in Pakistan, China, Nepal, Afghanistan, etc.  See this map (midway down) for more detail.

Content and why it matters (wear, style, etc). Silk, wool, nylon, etc.:  Silk is what gives oriental rugs that shimmer or sheen.  It is usually used in accent colors or intricate details in a rug.  A rug with high silk content will look shiny and should be used in a space with minimal traffic because silk is less durable than its wool and nylon counterparts.  For example, if you are doing a rug in an entry I’d avoid a rug with a high silk content.  Nylon is cheaper and will wear considerably well.  That being said, wool is used in higher-end rugs because it is extremely durable and a natural product.

If you want to really educate yourself, I recommend this site.  It’s from a rug company, Nejad, in Pennsylvania and is very thorough.  It has diagrams, stain tips and everything you could possibly need.  They did a great job of putting this info together, so enjoy!

Check out this fun picture we found on the Nejad site showing one of the largest looms – over 50 meters wide!  It is hard to fathom the size and complexity of weaving a rug of this size.

Small, Impersonal Space? No Problem!

Monday, January 24th, 2011

NYC has inspired me to find creative solutions using every last square inch.   When people think NY, they conjure up images of shoe-box sized apartments.  Those who live in them likely despise them but I LOVE them.  They present challenges yes, but I enjoy a good design challenge so, bring it on.    Oh and did I mention that having a small space can be good because you can do nicer things as opposed to trying to fill a whole house.  Two of the biggest questions I get are 1. How do I find more room/make it feel larger and 2. How do I personalize it if it’s not mine?  Here comes some creative answers…

Not enough space:  You rarely have too little space; just too many favorite things.

  • First, get organized.  This means everything needs a place.  If it doesn’t have a home, we all know it will likely lay out making the space cluttered and feeling all too small.  Hit the Container Store and find storage solutions for all those homeless items.  File away any paper goods or scan them to your computer for future reference.  Buy boxes and label them…because the insides don’t have to be pretty, just the outside.  Oh and don’t forget my new favorite gadget – the P-Touch for labeling everything.
  • If you can afford it, build-in custom shelving and storage.  This is the ideal solution because you can design it to fit your space and special items.  It will free up so much space you’ll be surprised.
  • If you think you are going to be in your apartment for awhile paint all the walls in a lacquer or high gloss.  This reflects and bounces the light around the room making it instantly feel larger. 
  • Or if you don’t want to paint, add mirrors to reflect light. 
  • Consider custom made furniture pieces that fit the room better than store bought ones.  Also if you customize it, you can make it multifunctional (think coffee table becomes dining table when you have guests). 


My space looks like a rental:  Only because it needs a little love and creative solutions.

  • Use removable wallpaper or decal patterns to create an overall pattern.  I’ve even heard of people using masking tape to create patterns. 
  • Paint the small rooms like a bathroom or entry.  These are less work to repaint when moving out. 
  • While you rent is definitely the time to start acquiring your ”forever furniture.”  Begin buying items that you can keep forever even if you have to save up for a year…it will be worth it in the long run.  These pieces should have character to liven up the room.
  • Add color or texture with a new area rug.
  • Art – start collecting pieces that inspire you.  Check out the local art league for shows.  You can pick up some great works from up-and-coming artists at reasonable prices.
  • Consider drapery because it finishes a space and adds that additional pop of color or pattern.  Even if you have to custom make it remember it can always be re-purposed into something else later if it doesn’t fit a new window.  Think:  pillows, duvet, window seat cover or even a shower curtain. 
  • The best places to bring in your personality is in fabrics, art and accessories while renting.  Plus they all move with you when you’re ready.