Monday, April 30, 2012

Thinking About...Being Thankful and Working Hard

When I started this blog, I had no idea what would come of it almost a year later. To think that I've started my own decorating business since that time and taken that plunge is so rewarding. I can't say that I could've done it without working so hard and also having the support of my family, friends, and fellow bloggers.

I started to draft another post today, but these thoughts have really been running through my mind so much lately.

Remember my e-design client, Julie? She found me by stumbling upon my tween room design board post. I had so much fun with this board.

I'm so grateful that Julie found me, my post, my blog. It's been a great experience and it's a lesson in you never know who's reading your posts. And to think that I wasn't even going to offer e-design when I started. It's been really interesting and very different from an in-home consultation, but in a good way. Being able to work with a client in Florida is really amazing.

So the meaning of my post today is to put it all out there. Go for it. Follow that dream that you've had since your youth. Take a chance. My Mom can probably confirm this but, when I started thinking about applying to colleges I thought about trying to go to FIT. At the time it seemed scary and intimidating, but looking back on that I almost knew that I was meant to be doing something creative in my life (at some point).

And I'll leave you with a photo of this little turkey that I took this morning (or maybe I should say ham) - Sheila cracks me up all the time. I turned around and saw that she had put her new shades on - so cute! I can't believe we're only a few months away from her 2nd birthday.

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed your weekend.  Tonight I have a local blogger meet-up that I'm looking forward to - maybe I'll even have a few photos to share with you.  Have a great Monday!

Friday, April 27, 2012

TGIFiles - Happy Weekend!

Well this week flew right by of course...I know I've been off of my "normal" posting schedule. I'd like to get back to my 3 days per week posting, but we'll see.

~Guess what?? I won something! The ever so kind, generous, and talented Traci Zeller was giving away a copy of Celerie Kemble's "Black and White (and a Bit in Between)" and I won!! I was completed beside myself when Traci announced the winner. So I get to add this to my collection...and because I've been so busy I haven't even had a chance to start browsing. Ok, maybe I browsed a little bit as soon as I tore it out of the package but I really want to relax and read page by page.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

So a big, big thank you to Traci - and did you know that Traci was also chosen as a Style Spotter at High Point Market? She has a Pinterest board specifically for her High Point Style Spotter finds. A few of my favorites are this pretty chair by CR Laine. 

And this light fixture by Visual Comfort.

For more goodies that Traci found see her High Point Style Spotters board here. Part of the fun of the Style Spotters duty is a contest - 2 points for a repin and 1 point for a like - so pin away to support Traci if you see anything that catches your eye.

Did you also know that Traci is the Mom to adorable 6-year-old twin boys? She's always got great design tips for families on her blog and on her Twitter feed too.

~I'm making some progress on the window treatments in our bedroom. Are you curious on what fabric I decided on? I'll have to keep you hanging a little while longer but I will tell you that none of the options that I showed you previously were the winner. 

Hope you have a great weekend - what's on tap for you in this last weekend in April?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Project Updates

This afternoon I had the best surprise in my inbox. I had gotten a few update photos from my e-design client, Julie.

To bring you up to speed, here is a photo of the room when Julie and I first started working together. The plan was to bring in new bedding in the form of custom quilts, pillows, window treatments, a new light fixture, shelving for the purple wall, and then a work area with a drop-leaf table to left of the window. Julie already had plans to make the most of that back corner by building a cabinet (you can see a sample mock-up in this photo below). All of that is still happening but a few plans have changed.

Here was our initial plan...

As much as Julie was really looking forward to having the quilts made for the girls (and it was going to be a major element for the room), she was having second thoughts. She knew it just wouldn't be as easy to transition in the future. And I have to say, I agreed with her 100%.

So our plan changed, and I proposed this new variation of the plan...

The white ruffled quilts are so pretty and perfect for the girls. We brought in each of the girls favorite colors in the pillows, and then that fabric at the bottom right will be the fabric for the window panels that we are having made. The fabric will bring in the purple, green, and blue.

Today, Julie sent me a few photos of their work in progress and I was beside myself at how great it looked! They had gotten a chance to install the new chandelier in the room (previously there was a ceiling fan here which you can see a little bit in the first photo). They also installed the shelving on the purple wall (they painted the side details white), and the quilts got delivered too.

I'm amazed at how great the room already looks with the new chandelier and the new quilts. Julie has done such a great job. A friend of hers made that piece of artwork on the top shelf too. It's a fun piece of art that makes this room special for the girls. Well, that's the update and I'll be sure to keep you posted with more updates.

It is such a great feeling to see my designs/ideas/thoughts come to life in this room. I've really enjoyed working with Julie and I'm thrilled to be able to share the progress with all of you.

I've got another project that I'm engrossed in so I may be posting lighter, but I'll be sure to check in when I have something good to share.  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

TGIFiles - 20 April 2012

Blogger is different. Those of you on Blogger, have you adjusted? And holy moly, I'm coming up on my year anniversary in May. I can't even believe it. I'll save more of my thoughts on blogging for when that time comes.

This week has flown right by and I'm quite excited that it's Friday. I've got a client meeting tomorrow morning that I'm very excited about and my e-design project is coming along really well, but we've had a few changes to the plan and I'll give you an update next week.

A few fun clips from the week for you...

~ Set your DVR for Design Wars today (Friday) at 1pm EST on HGTV. My friend Lori is going to be on. Go Lori! I'm so excited to see Lori on TV and to see what she comes up with for the show. You may remember Lori as my first guest that I invited over for my Tools of the Trade series.

~ The colors in this print are so pretty. I've featured a few of Mai Autumn's pieces here before, but this one always catches my eye when I'm looking through my Etsy favorites.

~ And my homegirl Cathy has done real good. I haven't been able to get these built-ins out of my head all week. But you have to go over to see the before photo and the sketch that Cathy brought to life. If this were my house I would never leave this room. I might just stick this into the "someday" files for me.

Photo courtesy of Room RX

I've got magazines piling up so hoping to get some reading in this weekend. We also have a reservation with a group of friends for Talula's Table, which according to my hubby is the toughest reservation in America. You have to call a year in advance to make the reservation. It's one large table in the entire place and all part of the farm to table movement. I'll try to snap a few photos to show you next week. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pattern Play - What Direction Would You Go?

Ok, I'm mixing it up again with my Pattern Play post this week. I like to keep things fun around here whenever possible.

What if you had a client, or friend, or family member who enlisted your help with their living room and their only stipulation was that this piece of artwork had to stay in the room because it is near and dear to them...

Photo courtesy of Gemini Studio 

(How could I not choose the Philadelphia neighborhoods?) Ok, so how would you use this print in your room design? Here are two directions that I started to go with...

It's like choose your own adventure! Remember those? 

I would consider the art print to be a neutral, so the possibilities are endless - it all depends upon the look and feel that you want for your room. 

I've learned that flexibility is key when working on design plans. And let's say your client or friend decides, "I think I want the room to remain neutral but also want some doses of color here and there as well". Then you could take that green floral pillow and mix it with the geometric fabric on the left - that would work too! Fun how fabrics and pattern can work like that, isn't it?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Look What Arrived

I ordered a new abstract print from Ashley G on Etsy.

I loved all of the colors, shapes, and lines that Ashley uses. She's got a wide variety of pieces available (and some originals too if you're interested).

And she also included this as a little extra...a fun postcard. How nice!

I've had such wonderful experiences with all of my Etsy purchases. I feel good about supporting an independent artisan and I like that they take extra care in packaging the materials and making sure that their patrons are pleased with the purchase. 

I've got two places where this abstract print might go - I'll show you once I've got it framed.

I have not been compensated for this post. I just wanted to share a great Etsy seller with my readers.

Thinking About...Just Creating

Sometimes I just like to create, draft, design.

Have you ever done a free write? It's where you just write for an increment of time with no editing - just writing. We had done this exercise in one of my PSMM workshops and it was so interesting to see what gets put down on paper.

That's what I wanted to do here - just create. Just design. And see what gets put down on "paper".

I hope you had a great weekend! It got up to 80 degrees here - crazy for April.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

E-Design Project Update and a Pattern Play

Last week I had given a preview of the layout for the e-design project that I'm working on. It's a shared room for two tween girls. I'm so excited about how this project is coming along.

I just got this photo of the table that my client, Julie, made for the girls room. This is a great example of maximizing your space. Julie built this table to fit between the two beds in this shared room.

She did such a great job with the table. It will get a few coats of paint and will also get a board to back the table as well. Above the table will be a few shelves for the girls to place knick knacks and artwork.

This is the initial design board that I drafted up for Julie and her girls.

The girls love color so this is a really bright, cheery space. The older of the two girls loves bright greens and blues and her younger sister loves purple, so we're combining those loves together. Prior to Julie contacting me, she had purchased the new beds for the girls and the room had been freshly painted. Julie needed help bringing the whole look together. 

I proposed a few pieces of fun artwork and some pretty pillows for the girls in their color preferences. They are a family of artisans, so there is going to be lots of fun artwork in the room. A window treatment, seating, and additional shelving are also going to be added to the space. A must-have for the girls was some sparkle, so we brought in the sparkle with that pretty chandelier which should fit the space nicely (finding the right sized fixture for a room can take some searching but is well worth the hunt).

You will also notice there are a few fabric samples included in each of the girls color preference.  Julie is having quilts made for the girls so those are going to be a key element for the room and I'm really excited about them.  My suggestion for Julie was to have one main fabric chosen to set the stage for the color palette, and then to find coordinating patterns in complementary colors for each of the girls. Here is a preview of the fabrics up close in my best quilting pattern example:

We're still doing some research and pricing on these, but Julie is delightful and very motivated so things are moving along quite nicely. 

The key to a shared space such as this is unifying the differences (does that make sense?). Accommodating the preferences of each person that lives in the room but also finding common ground to unify the space as well.

I'll be keeping you posted as things progress.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Thinking About...Window Treatments for the Bedroom

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have gotten a quick laugh when you read my tweet last night about needing a bucket of water to get me up this morning. I just knew, I knew, it was going to be so hard getting back into the swing of things after a long holiday weekend. But a great weekend it was and now back to the grind...

If you remember some time ago, I've been gradually working on our master bedroom. We basically have a color palette of yellow, navy, and grey. I switched up the pillows...

And I had drafted a few options for window treatments, but nothing was really doing it for me. I do know that I want to keep the draperies light. I contemplated some white panels from IKEA, and that is still an option, but I'm always looking for other potential fabrics.

Both of these fabrics are from the Eileen Kathryn Boyd line for Duralee. They are a cotton/poly blend which I think would be fine for our bedroom.

My goal is to have something selected and ordered (if necessary) by the end of the month. Let's see if it happens.

Has anyone seen this fabric in person? I'd be curious to hear your feedback on it.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, April 6, 2012

TGIFiles - Happy Weekend!

We've got a fun family day/weekend planned, so I thought I'd share a few things before we head out...

~ This is a great article from the New York Times on the founders of Houzz. I enjoy getting background and behind-the-scenes info - gives you a little bit of mental image as to how it all works and how it all began.

~ Check out how my blog friend Sarah styled her shelf for spring - she's so creative (and she drew that botanical on the chalkboard too!)

Sarah does such a nice job of mixing textures, adding in the meaningful pieces to her family, and coordinating colors and shapes. 

Photos courtesy of Pewter+Sage

And I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! We're off to the zoo today!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Around Here

Signs of spring are everywhere in the Philly burbs...and not only that but my little Sheila is getting so big and 20 months old (20 months??!! that is more than half way to 2!!)

She loves to eat at her little table that we got her and loves her food.  She housed a container of guacamole the other day - maybe not the whole container but a lot of it.  She's just like her Mommy - salty over sweet.

And outside it's been fun to see color popping up in the yard...

No roses yet but lots and lots of blooms. This rose bush that I photographed above is our healthiest of the bunch. It's a really pretty red-orange when it blooms. 

Lots of tulips - although I love the flower my favorite are the leaves. They're the prettiest shade of green.

And a touch of Easter inside too...

My mother-in-law got me that ceramic bunny a few years ago. And I got the flowers from Whole Foods last Saturday and they still look good as new!

I'm off to Barnes & Noble to relax with some coffee and a magazine before picking up Sheila... 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Layout and Elevations for E-Design Client

I'm postponing my usual Wednesday "Pattern Play" post to show you something I've been working on.

If you remember last week I wrote a little bit about an e-design project that I'm working on. It's a shared room for two young girls. My client, Julie, has some really great ideas, one of which is a storage table that will fit in between the two twin beds. You can see my mock up below of the layout for the girls room.

And yes, I draw everything by hand, which is probably crazy with the technology that we have these days and the programs that are available (especially after what Michelle wrote about yesterday with the software that she uses as well) but I really enjoy this part and especially the math involved with drawing and measuring to scale.

Anyway, there are three major zones as you can see. Sleep zone for A, sleep zone for R, and then a work/craft/game area that you can see at the top.

This photo (eek the lighting is horrible) shows you my elevation mock-up that I did for the obtuse wall that you see in the layout. This is the wall where the storage cabinet will go between the beds, and then there is going to be some shelving to display artwork and other Tchochkes.

Lastly, this an elevation of the window wall that I proposed. 

There is one window in the girls room and I'd like to soften it by adding a single panel that could swag to the right. To the left of the window will be the work/craft/game zone. I think a drop leaf table would be great here but it's a matter of finding one that will fit the space nicely.  Shelves hung above the table will allow the girls to store their craft supplies, games, and books, but it will also give them an area to display additional art and accessories.

Fun stuff but still more work to do.  One of the major design components for the room are quilts that are going to be custom made for the girls - more on that soon. I'll continue to share updates with you as things progress.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tools of the Trade: Michelle from Ispirato Design

Continuing with my Tools of the Trade series, today I've invited over Michelle from Ispirato Design.

I'm glued to my computer screen when Michelle has a post about her kitchen facelift (which you'll read about below) and I also love Michelle's post about her piano room. She is really talented and I'm so glad to have her here today...

When you start a project whether it's for your own home or a client, what do you turn to for inspiration initially?

The short answer is pictures. I have quite a collection of books and way too many magazines. I haven't been renewing my subscriptions though, and little by little I'm getting rid of all of the back issues. With the internet and programs like Pinterest there's no need. It seems like a such a waste of space to have them hanging around. Pinterest- is an awesome tool! One thing I don't like about it though is that you can't have private boards so for some jobs I'll use Microsoft's One Note to clip pics from online and keep them organized. That's a useful program as well.  

pamplemousse design
If I had this space- I may still have those magazine subscriptions because sitting at the computer will never compare to flipping through a good magazine with a good cup of tea!

As a designer, what items can't you live without?

My laptop and my 3D CAD software- Chief Architect! As much as I love drafting by hand, with Chief Architect, drafting is so much quicker and it's invaluable to the client to be able to convert a plan into a 3D drawing where they can actually see the space- even for things as simple as a color consult. 

Would the client prefer the darker color below the chair rail...

...or would they like it above the chair rail?

You are in the process of a major kitchen renovation, tell us a little bit about that and the story behind your renovation.

I woke up one morning to the sound of pouring rain- unfortunately, what I was hearing was coming from my kitchen! A pipe had burst in the ceiling, seemingly at the moment that we went to bed because so much water had accumulated that the entire ceiling, wallboard, wall cabinets, and some base cabinets all had to be removed. It was a mess. 
The kitchen reno is the silver lining

Here is the stripped down kitchen. I wouldn't call it a major renovation- we are replacing the countertops, some of the base cabinets and adding new lighting (the bottles hanging from the ceiling were me trying to see if I would like pendant lights over that area). We are keeping the footprint as we had all ready changed that a few years ago. You can see the old plan HERE. The new plan is a little further down.

Breakfast and coffee bar  Photo By:  Jack Gardner Photography  Designed By: Braulio Casas, Architect

Here is one of the inspiration photos that I have been referring to. 

Give us three tips that you have for a successful kitchen renovation.

Oh my gosh, only three is hard!
The obvious is choosing a kitchen designer/ contractor with experience and integrity. They will be able to keep the project rolling- IE.'ve got to figure out that floor plan, custom cabinets have at least a four week lead time and the countertops can't be templated until the base cabinets are in, but the wall cabinets should go in first but they have interior lighting and where is the electrician and so on- there is a lot of organizing of schedules that go into a kitchen remodel.

The new plan

Have a good plan with good space design/traffic flow- The triangle works! Don't reinvent the wheel. Also, define areas for certain tasks like the morning routine, baking, cooking, clean-up, etc.

This old German Baking cupboard is an integral part of the morning routine- it holds the coffee!
The morning is a busy time in the kitchen! By having the coffee, mugs, cereal, bowls, silverware all in this area someone else can be at the stove making eggs and someone else at the counter making lunches and nobody gets hurt!

 When you're on a budget, be real about what's important to you and your family. How do you live in your kitchen. I mean really live in your kitchen. Prioritize- what are the must haves and what are you willing to concede. Everyone wants that pot filler by the stove top but an under counter fridge for all those juice boxes would sure be convenient. The kitchen is the one room that function rules over form- although, with a good designer you should be able to have both (had to say it!).

How has your blog, Ispirato Design, had an influence on you and your business?

I have a love hate relationship with my blog. Maybe I'm not supposed to admit that but I really don't like having open ended tasks hanging over my head. I never have that sense of completion. What outweighs that though, are the relationships that you make and the sense of community. I'm not just saying that either. I really think that if I was traveling through PA, I could email Holly and invite her to lunch. I want to meet so many of Ispirato Design's followers! As far as business goes, it has been an asset. When you don't have an actual brick and mortar, you have to have a way to get the word out. A blog is much more dynamic than a website and even though I used to hate, and by hate I mean loath English class (my first essay in English 101 was about how I didn't think English should be required for Architecture majors!) I have found that I enjoy writing. Weird, huh?

You also have an Etsy shop too. Tell us a little bit about that.

Oh Holly, you are a dear. Why yes, I do have an Etsy shop.

My Etsy shop is where I sell my Home and Pet portraits as well as some home decor items I create.

Custom Pet Portrait in Pencil 8 x 10
I Design Marketplace

I Design Marketplace

In addition to your kitchen renovation, what other projects are on your radar for 2012?

Hmm, How much time do you have? Well, here are a couple-

I'd like my foyer to look more like this:

wall panels

...and I'm still planning on painting the piano this color:

Miles Redd
This was a lot of fun. Thank you so much Holly for including me in this series. Good luck to you in your new design pursuits- you're on your way!

You were a hit, Michelle, thank you so much for stopping by! 
I love Michelle's honesty about her blog. I think we can all admit to having a love/hate relationship at times with our blogs, don't you think? Blogging is hard. Ok and how about Michelle's German cupboard - I love that. And her creative way of simulating pendant fixtures with soda bottles - you're good Michelle. And I can't wait to see your kitchen project come together.

Have a good day everyone!