Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lost & Found

Are you guys like me in that sometimes you just need some time away from it all and just need to squeeze in some quiet time to clear the head? I did just that the other day during my lunch hour. I hopped over to Fort Washington State Park. Sometimes I just go to sit and watch - there is a bird watching deck, trails, picnic areas and lots and lots of lush greenery (as you can see below). Other times I go to catch up on some of my magazines or newspapers.

And then there are days when I crave some vintage shopping or just a stroll around one of my favorite neighborhoods tucked into the northwest corner of Philadelphia, Chestnut Hill. 

Just last week I finally found "the one"for my magazines and newspapers. Yes, this beauty was sitting all lonely on the floor of Phantastic Phinds and I knew she needed a happy home. I had seen this particular magazine rack there a few days prior and I was so glad it was still there (as I swooped it off the floor and onto the crook of my arm happy as a little lamb). I've debated about certain wooden magazine racks in the past but was never really over the moon with anything - well I am over the moon about this puppy. And wait until you see her dressed up with some of my favorite pieces of reading material.

I'm off for the day tomorrow with my little one, kicking off the long weekend early!

Have a great weekend and holy moly it's almost September.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Project Preview

I wanted to show you a few photos of a new project that I started working on. This the family room of a young family with two boys. They spend a lot of time in this room watching TV, relaxing, playing games, etc.

This room is to the right of the entry as you come in the front door so it is seen immediately. We plan on doing new paint color on the walls, new layout, new area rug, and new accessories/accents.

In the photo below, you can see the front door. This photo was taken from the playroom/den area, which is at the top left of the photo above. Preliminary plans are to mount the TV on the wall.

We also plan on scrapping the window treatments for an updated, cleaner look. I think updating paint color and the window treatments is going to make a world of difference in this room. 

And here's a quick shot of the hardwoods that are hiding underneath the carpet. I like to have photos of all existing elements in a room when planning. These are in pretty good shape but will need a clean up.

My client is really drawn to warmer colors, but we'll be bringing in some cooler tones to balance everything and give a fresh new look to this room.  I'll be sure to post more photos as things progress and show you some of the ideas I've proposed for the new look.

What's going on in your neck of the woods?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Eating Cake

Birthdays are meant for celebrating with family and friends and eating cake...


Oh yeah delicious...

I can't believe my little sweetie is are pure joy and happiness my sweet Sheila.

If I ever do a silouhette I'll be using this sweet photo above. Sheila was so tuckered out after her party but she had so much fun. I still can't believe she is 2.

Hope your weekend was filled with simple pleasures.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Details, Details on a Vintage Apron

I've been meaning to share this with you for a few weeks now. My Mom found this apron that had been at my grandmother's house. The details and colors are so pretty on this apron. You just don't see things like this made any more and that's why I think it's really something special to hold onto.

It's got attached straps that criss-cross in the back and beige stitching around the outside edge.

I love the peppy colors of bubble gum pink, lavender, marigold, and grass green with accents of off white and black.  Here's a closer look at the workmanship toward the bottom of the apron.

The top of the woman's umbrella is actually a small pocket...

More details...

Wouldn't it be such a fun accessory to hang in a shabby chic or vintage inspired kitchen? I've also thought about the possibility of having it framed (just like my scarf) and use as color inspiration for Sheila's next room. We'll see. I hate not to have it displayed somewhere but Sheila's room is really the only place I could envision it.

Have any of you used aprons in your decorating or in other projects? Or do you have any other ideas of how you would use an item like this?

Thanks so much for your feedback on our kitchen - I'm going to attempt to get better lighting and will post the rest of the kitchen tour for you. Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kitchen Timeline and Updates

I've been eager to show you the paint update in our kitchen. A few weeks ago we decided to have the entire first floor of our home repainted: living room, dining room, and kitchen. I want to start with the kitchen because it has the most dramatic change.

But first, here is where we started when we bought our house in November 2008:

Pretty sweet, huh? Laminate everywhere: cabinets, countertops, backsplash, and ceiling. This photo was actually taken on the day of settlement, so we hadn't done a thing at this point. What stayed: the floor (oak floors that had just been installed a year prior), the awesome Caloric stainless steel wall oven that you can see a tiny bit of in this photo to the very left, the stainless cooktop and hood to the right of this photo, and the fridge also to the right side of this photo. We were also going to be creating a half wall between the kitchen and dining area.

We started to do some of the easy demo ourselves, but left the rest of the job to the professionals. That wall above left is the one that would become a half wall with countertop and stepped up counter for eating. The electrical got fished up and around to the other side to accommodate the removal of this wall.

Oh my gosh, look how this opened it up. I was thrilled beyond belief the day this happened. I can remember just standing at the wall on the dining room side grinning from ear to ear. Progress.

Ok, now brace yourselves...and this is where we made a rookie mistake. When deciding what color to paint the walls, we didn't really consider much other than the new cabinets were going to be off white and we liked the color orange. Easy. Yikes is all I have to say.

But once the cabinets got installed, we really did love it. It was ours and we had a say in everything and that felt really good. And what a difference our new and improved kitchen:

Fast forward 3 years later, and I'm ready for a change. We love our kitchen but I was sick of the orange and I've learned a thing or two about color as well. Can you see how our wood floors in the kitchen have an orangey/red undertone? The color of the walls basically matched the floors and it was driving me crazy.

So a change we made...enter our new paint color, Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue (it's really tough to get good lighting since we're in a twin but you'll be able to see the big change this made):

I know lighting is tough but anyone know why these particular photos are so grainy? 

I love the new color - it looks great in our kitchen. It's a pretty blue/green and looks awesome with our cabinets and floors. And as you can see I had styled it in the hopes of being able to use these as part of the house tour I'm starting to get together for my portfolio, but I think I'm going to try again at a different time of day.

I was eager to give a sneak peek. And next time I'll photograph the rest of the kitchen too.

Have any of you made any paint mistakes and updates that have made a huge difference?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mood Board Monday - John Robshaw Fabrics

I decided to do a kitchen design board for Mood Board Monday.  I think kitchen design boards are the most time consuming because there are so many options as far as materials are concerned: backsplash, counters, furniture, lighting, appliances, faucets, cabinets - whew, I'm exhausted just thinking about.

So here is where I went using the John Robshaw cranberry fabrics (Algiers Lotus and Jajam Brinjal) as my jumping off point:

I would mix the cabinetry and incorporate the white cabinets for the perimeter upper and lower cabinets with the island being the darker wood color. I saw the glass pendants in last month's Elle Decor and thought two of those would be cool over the island. Built-in bench seating would also be a part of this space, and I've used a Perennials fabric for the bench cushions. Because the Robshaw fabrics that I chose were warmer cranberry and burnt orange tones, I knew I wanted to bring in some green to balance that all out. 

I feel like this would be a kitchen for a young couple embarking on their next steps. They spend their weekends lounging at home and entertain quite often but like to keep things casual. Often they do potluck dinners with friends and converse over several bottles of wine. This could also transition into a perfect space for a young family as well.

Here are my sources (clockwise from upper left):

Pendant light: Simon Pearce
Tile: Ann Sacks
Algiers Lotus Blockprint Linen Fabric: John Robshaw (I would use this as pillows on the two slipcovered chairs)
Jajam Brinjal fabric: John Robshaw (I'm thinking a valance or Roman shade over the window at the sink)
Chandelier: Ralph Lauren
Glass creamer:  CB2 (I love this and had to incorporate it!)
Slipcovered head chair: Ballard Designs
Reclaimed wood dining table:  Brooklyn Towest (you have to read Ariele's story - she's so talented)
Rattan dining chair:  Ballard Designs
Maple slab for island cabinetry:  KraftMaid
Recessed panel in Dove White for perimeter cabinets: KraftMaid
Bar stool: Jayson Home
Two handle faucet with spray in Venetian bronze: Brizo
Striped fabric: Perennials
Chelsea Square Fabric: Perennials (I love the pattern on this fabric)
I thought this was the perfect opportunity to incorporate the fig leaf fabric for pillows on the built-in bench seating area (Peter Dunham never disappoints).

In addition to the fabrics, I was also inspired by these two kitchens:

Michael DePerno featured in Elle Decor/June 2011

Source: via Holly on Pinterest

And the kitchen of Keri Russell and Shane Deary also featured in Elle Decor/June 2011 (if you have a chance to read the story about their house it's worth the read - Shane did most of the work himself on their home)

Source: via Holly on Pinterest

Thanks again to our hostess with the mostess, my buddy Sarah. Head on over to check out some more boards inspired by John Robshaw fabrics.

I hope to be back posting more this week - lots of updates to tell you about.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Oh my word, I have so much to share with you guys. I don't even know where to begin. I have the week off and have been enjoying lots of quality time with the family. We've been to the zoo and the Please Touch Museum. The week started after a visit to Big Pool, MD for a picnic at my cousin's house. Has anyone ever been out that way? It's beautiful and things are just a lot slower and so peaceful there.

My cousin has a beautiful piece of property. Sheila enjoyed looking at the horses that would hang out in the pasture below. 

My cousin has the biggest garden and does such a nice job with it...

I snapped a few close ups early in the morning. I love when the dew is still on the grass and plants.

And signs of fall - hooray!

Here's a photo of Sheila and her big cousin...and there's Lucky the dog in the background. The kids had so much fun playing in the pool. Sheila is fearless in the pool which makes this Mommy very nervous, but she's doing really well with her swimming.

And then we came home to updates around the house...I got the call that our painting job would be scheduled for this week. Hooray! (Oh, did I mention that we're having the first floor repainted? We are. I was ready for an update and will write more in another post).

Preview of window treatments that got installed in the master...

And preview of wall color that is happening in the living room...BM Camouflage. It looks SO good and really brightens up the room a lot. 

Hope you're having a great week - I'll be around soon to read your posts since I'm very behind in my reading. Oh and Monday is John Robshaw inspired design boards for Mood Board Monday - will be a fun way to kick off the week.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Color Palette

When I find a piece of artwork, a fabric, a photo, a flower, a cup of coffee, a yummy meal - I can't help but wonder about the color palette it could create in a space.

I've got a few fun items to show you in the next few days to inspire an interesting color palette. 

Today's item is a scarf that I had borrowed from my Mom some time ago. I can't even remember when I actually picked it up because I've had it in a box with some other scarves and socks for a while (remember storage is a problem for us - especially on our second floor).

My first thought when I see this is if I ever have a boy, this would be a great color palette for a room someday. But then I also think about what a statement piece it could be over a fireplace or in an entry (excuse the wrinkles by the way).

I see colors of nature - warm orange, emerald green, tree bark brown and then bringing in a powdery blue fall sky and can't forget one of my favorites a midnight blue - even if I don't have a boy someday I will need to use this somewhere or inspiration for someone else's project.

Have you seen photos of framed scarves? That could also be an option too.

Do you ever find your accessories that you wear to mimic colors in your home at all?

(Thanks Mom for the fun inspiration.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More Flower Power/Creating Vignettes

I told you I was loving these flowers. And I'm happy to report that they're still going strong too and even prettier now that they're open a little bit more. So keep your eye on Whole Foods for flower specials - and I also really think my WF flowers last longer too (anyone find that as well?).

After I snapped the photos with the flowers on the sink, I moved them over to the top of the toilet. Yes, the toilet - the top of the toilet can be pretty too (if you don't have a soon-to-be 2-year-old running around) so this is me just playing around a little bit.

There's a ton of great information out there in the blogosphere on creating vignettes and styling - I'll save some of my favorites for another post. But here are just a few tips that I recall from my Accessories class this past fall and just a few things that I've learned on my own.

My Tip: Important keys to creating a vignette are variation in size, shape, and texture as well as keeping in mind color. Although I do believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so these are just guidelines. Your eye is unique so play around until you are happy with the result.

As you can see in my photo above, the flowers and art print are the same height - varying shapes since the flowers bring a roundness - but same height so I knew I needed something a bit smaller to create that "V" effect for the eye. I brought in the white votive holder for my small object, and that also repeats the white from the print but also brings in some added texture.

Second look (side note: the walls really look grey in these photos which I like but they are really more of a bluer grey with full light - BM Feather Grey):

Ok, so a different look here - I still brought in a smaller object to create the "V" but different shape and color. I'm not digging this one as much as the first one, but I do like how the blue in the candle brings out the blue of the bird in the print. PS - the candle smells delightful and lasts forever. What do you think of this vignette?

And here is the last look that I created...

Bringing in this watering can really changes the shape and adds a different shine and texture that I really didn't have in the other two looks. I picked this watering can up at Phantastic Phinds a few months ago and I love it.

Which of these looks is your favorite? And remember, none of these are wrong, they're just options that  were pleasing to my eye. You guys should try this exercise when you have a few minutes - if you're anything like me you'll have fun with it.

(Art print by Etsy seller Mai Autumn)

I forgot to mention too that changing the color of the flowers out would also completely change the look - as well as changing the vase out for a different shape or texture. To be continued... :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Flower Power

Behold the power of fresh flowers...I picked these up at Whole Foods on Friday for $5.00. It was their Friday special. A dozen roses for $5 is a steal. And they had all different colors too. I really loved this light creamy pink color.

While Sheila was napping today, I started playing around a little bit with things around the house (you know just moving things here and there - you do that too right?). Well I wanted to play around with the roses - they're too pretty not to. I thought they would really spruce up the bathroom nicely. But in reality these would never be able to stay because Sheila is ALL over the place.

This is reality:

Soap and toothbrush holder on the small counter. 

And this is the impact the fresh flowers can make on the bathroom:

Added a candle into this photo below just for some extra color...

It's tough to get good lighting for a photo in this room, but as grainy as these photos are the flowers really up the pretty factor, don't they?

And to catch up on how far this bathroom has come - here is where we originally started back in November 2008:


You should treat yourself to some fresh flowers and place them somewhere unexpected to see how much you might love them in that new spot.  

If we were to survey stylists, I have a hunch that their #1 big impact item to use for a photo shoot would be fresh flowers or a plant - it's for the most part inexpensive and packs a huge punch.

Have you treated yourself to fresh flowers recently? Or have you been able to take some flowers from your garden to place in your home?


My hubby and I are doing so well on our new fitness and diet routine. I've been getting up at 5am to get to the gym by 5:10-5:15. It's early but it works for me. And then Steve's been going at night after Sheila goes to bed. We're eating many more fresh fruits and veggies. It feels really good. 

Hope you had a great weekend!