Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Add a Plant

I've been wanting to add a bigger dose of plant life into our home for some time now. I had gotten a few small plants a few years ago. One did not last very long at all (I think I over-watered and it wasn't getting enough light), but the other one is still going strong and I actually just replanted it into a bigger pot. Lighting in our house is really tricky since we're in a twin, so I had to keep that in mind.

The other thing holding me back was our little toddler who is mighty curious about everything these days. But I have to say it's really a good lesson in plant care for little ones and lots of "you can look but don't pull off the leaves please"!

And it's an inexpensive way to add a great dose of color and texture to the home.

I gave it a try with a peace lily. Do you have any experience with them? It's pretty and the perfect size for our dining area.

Care requirements are low light, which I know it looks fairly bright in this photo but most of the day we have the drapes closed so I think it should be okay here. It also needs a warmer, more humid climate and some water once a week or so. Sounds pretty easy, right?  (Side note: I love the color of our dining room in this photo - BM Camouflage. I've debated bringing that color into the living room too but I know it'll take me forever to decide).

Here it is at another angle - this is the view from the kitchen/breakfast bar into the dining area - my favorite bench there to the right.

I love that I can look at this plant all the time - especially while two of my favorite people are having their breakfast. They are breakfast cereal buddies that's for sure.

Ok, so to recap - if you are thinking about bringing a good ol' plant home to add to your household, make sure you check for: temperature, light, and water requirements.

If you're not sold yet - check out a few of these rooms for some more inspiration:

What experiences do you have with plants in your home if any? I'd love to add another one, but I'm going to see how this one does before I go out for a second.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Our Weekend

Weekends like these just shouldn't end. Long weekends are the best. And we really didn't do much at all as far as leaving the house. We did the usual errands to the grocery store, Target, hardware/nursery, but that was pretty much it.  The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out, relaxing, chasing after our little one, grilling and just enjoying the weekend.

We did a ton of yard work. I did some container planting...

These planters are stationed on our front porch. This year I wanted to do more green with a pop of another color, so I chose the red verbena as the pop. I was going for texture, some cascade action, and a hint of red. 

I got both containers at a local nursery/garden shop last year. I unified the planters by doing the same grass and verbena, but chose different cascading vines. My goal for this year was very low maintenance, and all I'll need to do with these is water them.

We also did lots of swimming...

And just enjoyed ourselves.

Life is good. 

I hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend!

Friday, May 25, 2012

TGIFiles - Good Reads

In the words of Elmo...Everybody, Everybody! Thank you so much for your comments the other day on my state of the union post. I've been able to catch up on some things at home - one of which was my ever-growing stack of magazines and newspapers that were piling up.

I've got some GREAT articles for you...I'm behind on my reading so a few of these articles are from last week.

~Must read:  How to Tell if You're Overpropped from the New York Times last week. Please go read it and let me know what you think. I don't want to comment too much here before you get a chance to read the article.

 The article will really make you think about your personal style and style philosophy (if you have one - it's okay not to have one defined but I'm sure you gravitate towards certain elements). I've never been the type of person to follow trends quickly - clothing, home decor, technology - I've just never hopped on board quickly or passionately. I'm sure I'm the owner of things that would be considered trendy but overall I choose and select things for me, for my home, and for my family.

Here is a recent image that I pinned - it's a bedroom designed by Tom Scheerer who I've posted about here before and I really admire his work and his eye for design. His work blends classic elements and fresh color palettes - there is always a feeling of comfort to his designs. You could picture yourself living in his rooms.

~ The Kips Bay Decorator Show House is going on right now in New York City. Here is another article from the NY Times about the house this year. The venue is a little different this year than in past years so it was interesting to read the designers takes on the new location and the challenges of the space.

~ I was following some of the BlogFest Twitter feeds the past few days, and it seemed like it was a wonderful event with discussion panels, a tour of Kravet, a tour of the Kips Bay house, and so much more. I can't wait to read the take aways from some of the attendees that were there.

~ If you're ever in Philadelphia, in addition to shopping or having lunch with me, a must see is the new Barnes Foundation building. It is brand new and rather controversial opening to the masterpiece art collection of the late Albert C. Barnes. I haven't gotten a chance to read anything from the Inquirer yet but the Wall Street Journal had two excellent articles yesterday:  Saving Dr. Barnes Vision and The New Barnes Shouldn't Work-But Does.

I don't think I've had that many articles for you in a while. Enjoy!
3-day holiday weekend - woo hoo!! Hope you have a great weekend whatever you have planned!

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's All Good in the Hood

That's's all good. That's what I tell myself when things are crazy - when I find myself trying to do too much at once, "it's all good". And there's a lot going on with us. I'm going to be taking a step back from the blog - I'm not going away at all but posting will be a lot lighter. I'll post when I have project updates or other fun news to share with all of you.

Here's what's going on with us...

~ This little munchkin is just cuter than ever. Every day is a new adventure. And here she is just last night enjoying one of life's simple summer pleasures...corn on the cob.

Sheila loves doing her ABC puzzle and puzzles in general. Her favorite show is Fu's Su's (aka Blue's Clue's) and Fresh Beat Band and of course ELMO! She loves being outside, going to the park, watering the flowers. She talks about her friends and calls them by name, and she has opinions about her clothing already (how is that possible?!). She's an absolute joy.

~ My husband got the official word that his office will be moving to Jersey City effective September 1st. What does that mean for us? We're not sure yet. We're still trying to figure out the details and the logistics, so another reason I will be taking a step back.

~ I also have been trying to devote some time to tackling a few projects of our own at our house - in an effort to get organized and for an eventual move and placing our house on the market. This includes finishing up our bedroom, organizing our basement, and lots of other small jobs (you know the ones that build up over time that eventually need to get tackled at some point).

~ I've been fortunate to have picked up some wonderful clients since starting my business, and I've really been devoting my time to those projects and my family. But, I'm also still working full-time at my financial services job. So time is precious to me - especially as we have a lot of important decisions to make in the upcoming months. Speaking of clients, here is a sneak peek at one project I'm working on...

This was not a project that my clients anticipated at all. They had an issue with their septic recently, so their family room literally got turned upside down. They had to vacate this room and get new flooring. Since they had to remove the floors, they decided to paint the walls, replace the built-ins, and freshen up the space a bit. I'll share more details on this project with you soon.

~ Last but not least, I passed my year of blogging milestone a few weeks ago. I've been drafting and redrafting a post about the past year and everything I've learned. It's certainly a lot to take in and to reflect upon, but one of these days I'll get that post up. Thank you for reading and for your constant feedback. Sometimes I can't believe how much this little blog has grown and evolved over the past year.

~ Oh, and I can't end this post without a big shout out to my friend Sarah for keeping Mood Board Monday alive. Our next mood board extravaganza is inspired by chairs - how fun! Check out more about Mood Board Monday over at Pewter + Sage. I hope you'll join us for the fun. 

I hope the weekend treated you all well. We went to the zoo. I checked out a not so exciting flea market with my Mom but the plus side was spending time with my Mom. We also met up with some friends for lunch down in Northern Liberties. All in all a fabulous weekend with friends, family, and good weather. I posted a photo on Twitter this morning of a coffee cup with the word Monday crossed out on it - Monday's aren't so bad after all it's just getting back into the weekday routine again after great weekends.

What's going on with all of you? I know I say it over and over, but thank you for your support!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Something New

When I start a project, a lot of times I'll just put a few things together on a board. You've gotta start somewhere, right? So when I'm brainstorming either for myself or for a client, I just start pulling some items that I think might be good for the space or items that will make the space personal. Pieces of the puzzle if you will...

So I don't know if this is the start of a regular type of post, but I thought I'd entitle this board "The Start of Something..." and today it's nautical. Summer is around the corner and people are starting to flock to the shore here in southeastern PA.

Oh, and I've been playing around with PicMonkey if you can't tell by the looks of my board...have you tried it out yet?

This board started with that great whale artwork. I found this on Stampa by artist Britt Browne. Really cool stuff by Britt that you can hop over and check out. What I love about the whale, it could go in a family room, office, child's room - it's fun. The rest of the board came together as pieces of a living room or family room.

Where do you start with your projects? Have you ever checked out Stampa? I love finding new-to-me artists and artwork.

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

I have not been compensated by Stampa or any of the above vendors for this post. I just like to share cool new things that I find that I think my readers would enjoy.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thinking About...Found: Shams

My projects around our house are always a work in progress and such is the case with our master bedroom. I had been searching for shams for our bed. I never purchased the matching shams for the coverlet from Target, so ever since I've been looking for something to coordinate.

Our bedroom has come a long way from how it looked when we purchased the house, so I'm happy with even the smallest of updates when they happen.

You can see the new sham peeking out there at the top. I only ordered one because I wanted to see it first before ordering a match, but safe to say I'll be ordering a second.

I ordered the shams from Lands End. It was my first bedding purchase from there and I am really pleased. They have a nice selection of bedding and sheets. The best part is I was able to get free shipping (because I purchased with another item), and I had a coupon to knock off some more $$, and if I wasn't happy with the product I can either return it easily or head over to our local Sears to return it.

So that's the new layer. I've still got more to do in our room - including finding a nightstand for my side, a rug for the end of the bed (we have hardwood floors throughout and it's amazing the difference rugs make for sound and comfort), painting the dresser, etc.  By the time I get it all done, we'll probably be ready to list our house. 

Have you had any pleasant surprises with online ordering recently that you'd like to share?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Real Life Pattern Play

This week's pattern play is a real life example that I'm working on for a client. I thought I'd use the living room project fabrics for this week's post. This photo accurately portrays (for the most part) the colors in the fabrics that were chosen for the room.

The floral pattern to the left really shows the entire color palette for the room. I took a small risk proposing this particular fabric because my client said "no florals" but I thought this was a nice compromise and what I like to call a handsome botanical. This handsome botanical will be lumbar pillows on the chairs.

That large check fabric at the top right is going to be on the sofa. It reads tan in this photo but it's more of a cream color. It's hard to tell from the photo, but that solid blue fabric is a herringbone and it's a stunner in person. That will be used on the two armchairs.

And then the other two fabrics will also be used for pillows.

So my question for you is...what type of fabrics and patterns do you gravitate toward? If you got to choose any pillow to start a design concept board, what would that fabric look like? It's a tough decision but I think your preference gives a hint toward your design style.

Monday, May 7, 2012

New Living Room Project

Hi there! I've been busy with a few projects and I wanted to share more of a living room project that I've been working on with you. I gave a sneak peek of the project last week in my TGIFiles post.

This rug will be staying in the living room. It's got a lot of great colors and I knew I wanted to bring in some of that blue in the rug.  

The client I'm working with on this project knows me very well.  We've worked together for a while and when she found out I had started my own decorating venture she was ready to have me come help her out with a room that her and her husband have been wanting to do something with for a long time. 

They'd done a lot to their home since they moved in, but this living room never really got much attention. The goal for this room is to make it a cozy space that they can read and relax but also serve as a space to entertain a few friends when they come over as well.

Key items for this space:  new sofa, chairs, lighting, pillows, coffee table/ottoman, refreshing the built-ins, and maybe a few other fun surprises.

Here is the design concept board that I drafted for my client:

The chairs are most likely going to be a solid light blue fabric - similar to the blue you see at the right there on the board.  The sofa is going to be an off white fabric. The pillows are going to be fun - a mix of the botanical print, the geometric, and the small scale fabric.

Here's another look at the fabrics and elements I've proposed for the room. You'll notice that I really wanted to play with textures here. The ottoman is most likely going to be leather, but a different color than what I have shown below. Bringing some plants and natural materials will really bring this room to life. 

My client was really pleased with the board and excited to get started. That moment where the look in their eye shows a "YES" after presenting is a great great feeling.  

I hope to share more updates with you on this soon.

We had a really great weekend of relaxing and hanging out with family. My two nephews both play soccer so we had the chance to see both of their games on Sunday which was so much fun. Hope your weekend was a good one!

Friday, May 4, 2012

TGIFiles - First Week of May 2012

Wild that it's May already. I've had a wonderful week here and I have a mish mash of updates for you today so try to stick with me here....

~ Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to join my fellow PSMM members over at Free Reign Boutique which is a newer boutique about 5 minutes down the road from my home. The inventory that they have at the store is really great and they pride themselves on carrying products made in the USA - not to mention the store is also connected to their lighting showroom. It was a great outing and a great way to connect with local bloggers. I got to meet Denise from The Painted Home for the first time and caught up with Carrie from Making Lemonade. Great to see you ladies! And I don't know that I've ever posted a photo of myself on the blog, but here I am from the other night! Hi everyone!

~ Ok, I'm going to introduce you to a new blog friend that I've made over the past few months or so. I don't even remember how I came across her blog, but I'm always so impressed by the work of Kristen from Cottage Modern. Kristen is a kitchen and bath designer out of Minnesota. Her posts are always really thorough and well written - not to mention I learn a ton when I read her posts. Check out a few of her recent projects...

Photo courtesy of Cottage Modern

Kristen has convinced me that I want darker wood cabinets in our next home. I've had that feeling for a little while now, but this kitchen sold me on that. Those light fixtures? That island? But it's in the details and Kristen is so good about explaining the why and the how in her posts. 

This is another recent kitchen project that she collaborated with another designer on...

Photo courtesy of Cottage Modern

Now go ahead over and say hi to Kristen - but first...a quick sneak peek of a project that I'm working on.

This rug is part of a living room project that I'm working on. There are a few existing elements in the room that I'm working with and one of which is this rug. The walls were also freshly painted not that long ago. I plan on working some of the colors from the rug into the plan for the room. Stay tuned!

Have a wonderful weekend - do you plan on celebrating Cinco de Mayo? I've gathered a few recipes that I might try. I LOVE Mexican food so all recipes look yummy to me.  Have a great one and see you back here next week!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pattern Play - Mixing It Up

Today I thought I'd mix it up again and show you an ottoman two ways (you know like they say in Top Chef - scallops two ways or a potato two ways - options are always good in my book!) I came across this ottoman the other day and really liked the look and of course the functionality. I really like the look of the drawers.

The ottoman paired with a solid or a stripe chair is such a classic combination, so in order to shake things up a bit I chose some fun pillows to give the look a little boost. The large floral is a lot of fun but I'm head over heels for that windowpane check pillow (and it comes in so many fun colors - I'm itching to use this one in a project).

Sources: Ottoman-Safavieh Home, grey chair-Room & Board, striped chair-Arhaus, floral pillow-Etsy seller Woodyliana, purple windowpane pillow-Company C

What combo do you favor?