Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Living Room E-Design - Part 2

Yesterday I had shown you two different boards that I had proposed to an e-design client.

My client really loved the look of the first design board, so we started here:

And we worked our way to here:

Not a ton of changes but a few tweaks to push this look to a BAM. Julie definitely wanted a rug to layer on top of the wall-to-wall, but she really wanted something soft to the touch so I switched that up and went with a pile. I also really like how the color and pattern in the rug works with the rest of the vibe.

We also switched up the lighting. We went from the black pharmacy lamp to a swing-arm lamp. As much as I liked the look of the pharmacy lamp, you can never go wrong with the swing-arm style. Classic. You'll also see that we added in a mercury glass table lamp. I thought this room needed a touch of the smooth and shiny, and this lamp fit the bill.

And lastly, we switched out the stools. The new stools have exactly the look we were going for - black seats with a wooden frame (and no extra DIY work needed to be done - a big plus).

So there you have it - I'm excited to see the progress that Julie makes on this room. 

What do you think of the updates?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Living Room E-Design Project

One of the highest compliments has to be a return client. Someone who I have worked with in the past and requests my services again. I really enjoyed working with this client on her two daughters' shared bedroom earlier this year and I'm so appreciative she contacted me again.

I was asked to step in and help come up with some ideas for the living room in this family's new apartment they will be renting. My client sent me a photo of the living room as is seen on the leasing company's website.

This is a light-filled space with a nice size living area and a bar-top area with seating that faces into the kitchen to be used for quick meals, computer time, homework, etc. 

Existing elements include - the wall color, a sectional, coffee table, and side table that my client already picked up for the room.

This image below was one that my client was drawn to:

Image courtesy of Arhaus

My client wanted the space to include blues, reds, greens, and mix patterns to create a fun, luxurious look for the family. She was looking for a mix of pillows, drapery, lighting, bar stools, and a rug for layering on top of the wall-to-wall in the living area. 

I took the feedback that she gave me above and sent her two different design boards for review.

Here is the first look:

The fabric at the top represents the fabric that is on the sectional. It looks like a very small animal print, so I'm treating that as a neutral and added some fun with patterns in the pillows, different textures, and color. You'll see at the top left that I've proposed painting the stools black with the exception of the rush seat and the stretchers.

And here is the second look that I presented:

You can see I played with the color palette a little bit here. It's a much different look than the first board just with the switch in textiles on the pillow patterns and drapery.

I can tell you that she chose one of these boards already and we've made a few tweaks to it. We've added a few elements and switched a few things around, which I will follow-up with in my next post.


Everything is good here with us after Sandy paid us a visit. We had a lot of rain and high winds, but we never lost power so we are very fortunate. There are many areas without power and destruction and my thoughts are with all of you.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Local Exploring

Last Friday we were supposed to be going to Linvilla Orchard on our family fun day, but plans changed due to rain. So what did I do? Dropped Steve and Sheila off at a play arena and I went shopping at Terrain. 

Terrarium supplies were abundant...

I really wanted to come home with one of these wreaths. The smell was incredible. (what's the name of this again? the name is escaping me right now)

And then later that afternoon we went to the Brandywine River Museum, home of the Andrew Wyeth exhibition. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed inside the exhibits (bummer!), so you'll just have to visit yourself if you're ever in the Philadelphia area.

I was really taken with the work of Andrew Wyeth. There is a lot of emotion in his work.  Very personal, very powerful. 

Did you know Andrew's father, N.C. Wyeth, illustrated Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island? I didn't know that. 

There was also an exhibit on illustrations and works inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Not my thing at all, but very timely being near Halloween.

This is a view out the third floor of the museum building. To the left was the Andrew Wyeth exhibit. They suggested that we start on the third floor and make our way down (we got there around 3:30 and the museum closes at 5 so this was a beautiful late afternoon in Chadds Ford along the river).

They're also giving tours of the studio that Andrew Wyeth painted in up until 2008. The last tour leaves at 3:15 so we had just missed it. I would like to go back in the spring to take the tour. 

So just catching up on some things and wanted to give you the scoop on the BRM and a few Terrain photos. Have you ever been to Terrain? The styling and product displays are really nice. Anthropologie Inc. does a nice job with all of their brands.


I'm off today and Sheila's school is closed. As you know, we're bracing for Sandy here in PA and all along the east coast. I wasn't really that worried up until this morning. It's scary and I hope all friends and family take care and are safe during this time.

And now I'm going back to my reading and coffee because my little one is still asleep!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What Does Blue Do For You?

Hi everyone! Just thought I'd check in. I've got a few new design projects under way that are keeping me busy and that I hope to share with you soon. In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few fun fabrics on my radar.

Blue is such a classic. And with the election getting closer and closer, we're going to be seeing a lot of blue and red and white. It's Americana which I love. Blue skies, the ocean blue, denim - all things that get you thinking blue.

The fabric at the very bottom I've been admiring for a while. It's bold and deep and rich with a chocolate damask on navy background. I haven't used it in a project at all yet, but it would really be great on a wingback chair.  Source: Duralee

That dotted fabric never gets old to me. It's the perfect small scale - this is also Duralee.

That moody blue fabric at the very top is very on trend right now with faux bois being so popular.

And the Schumacher Adari ikat fabric combines a darker denim blue with a softer blue. This would be a perfect pop of pattern on a pillow mixed with a large floral fabric.


Sheila is really into letters, numbers, and colors right now.  We often have the conversation of: What is your favorite color Mommy? My favorite color is green. Sheila's is pink and Daddy's is blue.

Do you have a favorite color? Do you find a lot of your favorite color in your wardrobe and home?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Favorite Neutral Accessory

Plants are one of my favorite accessories to use in a room. There is a price point for everyone and they can transition easily from room to room depending upon size. Plants breathe life into a room - literally. Check out this article I found on the 6 house plants that improve air quality.

Plants can also be thought of as a neutral. I remember back to my color theory class where our instructor pointed out that green was a neutral. I had never really thought about green in terms of a neutral. I think most of us automatically think black or white, but green is a neutral too. Think about green in terms of can basically pair well with any color.

Below are a few of my favorite plant choices that I've added to our own home and one that I borrowed from my full-time workplace:

The air plant is a snazzy little thing. As you can see it can stand alone without having to be submerged in soil and just requires a spritz of water weekly or so. I credit Jenn and Sherry for turning me on to the air plant (how do you like your air plants ladies?). I got mine for $9.99 at a local nursery. Some may think that sounds like a lot for this, but this thing is going to last and you can move it anywhere you like. I've already moved it from standing alone to sitting in a glass container in our bedroom. The possibilities are endless.

The orchid is beautiful isn't it? There are orchids placed throughout the office at my full-time job. They are meticulously cared for as evidenced by this photo. An orchid like this one shown will cost you a pretty penny - think triple digits - but the impact is grand. This particular orchid is one of a pair that sit on a credenza in our main reception area. It's simply beautiful.

The other plant is a Fittonia which I picked up recently when I got the air plant. The Fittonia has white veining which make it really interesting. Right now it is a small plant that has some depth to it. Hopefully as it grows it will start to cascade. It requires medium light and moderate watering. It fits perfectly in a piece of milk glass my Mom had given me.

I have a few more plants that I'll post about soon.

How have you added plant life into your home?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Master Bedroom Update - The Dresser

I finally had a free afternoon to work on the big beast of a dresser that resides in our master bedroom. The dresser was left by the previous owners because it was that big and bulky. It's a beautiful piece of furniture - well made, sturdy, plenty of storage - and free. But it needed a little love (in my opinion in order to fit in with the design scheme going on in our bedroom).

This is the beast with lots of stuff thrown on top of it. I think this photo was taken over a year ago.

This is where we last stood with bedding and window treatments.

I've since removed the pillow closest to the camera (too much pattern and distraction - less is more) and moved the yellow polka shams behind the navy floral pillows (photo update soon).

And below you can catch a glimpse of the window treatments that were installed - more awesome pattern which led me to remove that pillow in the front.

Back to the dresser...I bought some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint from Phantastic Phinds (woo-hoo - took me forever to finally purchase but once PP starting stocking the paint I knew it was meant to be) because I knew it would be a huge time saver for me (no sanding or priming needed).

Pure White was the choice for paint colors - classic and neutral - and will transition well into another room or home.

Here are some Instagram photos that I took over the weekend:

Getting ready...

Details are starting to come alive...:)  This photo below is one coat. I ended up doing 2 coats. You see how some of the dark wood is stilling showing through? I like that and I'm embracing the look.

Line 'em up! (I might add it was a gorgeous fall day here in PA and perfect painting weather - although some nasty little gnats would occasionally stick to the paint).

And yes, I decided to leave the hardware as is...what do you think? I really didn't love it on the existing stained dresser, but I think it looks mighty pretty against the white - perfect patina.

I did 2 coats of Pure White and 1 coat of the clear wax. I'm still getting the hang of the wax but overall I'm thrilled with the result.

I also have the dark wax and contemplated trying it out but I like it just the way it is right now. Anyone who has tried ASCP - what do you think about trying the dark wax on this?

Reveal of the monster dresser hopefully to come is so tricky in our master bedroom that it's going to be a matter of finding the right time and light.

And I can't end this post without including this from our weekend...

Can you smell it? A new cheese steak place opened in our town and it was DELICIOUS. Cheesesteak, fried onions - that's Whiz on there too. Steve got American and also thoroughly enjoyed his. Oh and we also had a side of fries that were perfectly seasoned, and S had hot dog which she ate the entire thing - must have been good.

I hope you enjoyed your weekend and let's do this Monday thing.  :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall Favorites at A Home in the Making

I'm in weekend mode over here but I wanted to quickly let you know that I'm over at my friend Jenn's today, A Home in the Making. Jenn and her hubby are traveling overseas right now and she asked me and a bunch of other friends to stop by to talk about some fall favorites.

So if you have a few minutes, head on over and see what a few of my fall favorites are - there are too many to count but I managed to pick a few.

Jenn has got the eye. Check out this board she put together for a porch design inspired by John Robshaw fabrics. I love it.

Have a great weekend! And a big thanks to Jenn for inviting me over.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Morris Arboretum

I highly recommend a visit to the Morris Arboretum if you are ever in the Philadelphia area. And for my local friends I hope you have the opportunity to check out Morris sometime very soon if you haven't already had the opportunity. You just need to give yourself an hour or so of time to walk and explore and enjoy.

We're fortunate that we live only 10 minutes from the Arboretum, so we drove over this past Saturday to check out the Scarecrow Walk that started. I made the mistake of telling Sheila we were going to a "festival" and I think she may have been a little disappointed, but we had fun walking, playing, and exploring the gardens.

The gardens are fun for people of all ages. Sheila really enjoyed the fountains. I was mesmerized that gardens and land this beautiful exists in our back yard.

The photos don't really do this place justice at all. The point at which the gardens lie sits up fairly high and the view is incredible. 

The sun started to set and the way the light was coming through the gardens was so pretty.

And of course the best part about visiting the Arboretum was watching Sheila's senses ignite. We had visited about a year ago for the Garden Railway right after Thanksgiving but we haven't been back since, so this was like a brand new experience to her.

I think I'm going to get a few of these photos printed to frame because moments like these are priceless.

Monday, October 8, 2012

On My Wish List - A Breakfast Nook

I've always wished for a space carved out in the kitchen area for a breakfast nook. I think it's the perfect spot to be creative with architectural details, color, and pattern. It also makes for a convenient sitting area on a Saturday morning while someone is making breakfast and the other is relaxing with coffee and the paper.

I drooled a little when I came across this breakfast area on Houzz designed by Steven Miller Design Studio.

Simple. Bold. Practical. Color. What word comes to your mind when you see this area? 

I also really like how the entire kitchen appears to be neutral and then they reserved a bold statement for this eat-in nook area. How would your eat-in breakfast nook look?

I've been doing some homework for a client and I came across a few fabrics that got my attention - below are my current favorite selections for a dream breakfast nook area.

All of the fabrics are by Robert Allen. I've added in a round table for more interest (notice how the table in the home above has ornate legs - I like that). And then a blush pink pitcher because I've really been loving blush pink with black and you can't go wrong with a glass carafe either.

I am constantly coming back to windowpane fabrics. They are timeless and I think this particular fabric would be really nice on the banquette - pillows in the ikat and the plaid. SOLD.

Here are the exact sources:

Windowpane fabric - Robert Allen
Ikat - Robert Allen
Houndstooth - Robert Allen
Blush pink ceramic pitcher - Etsy seller Joanna Buyert (looks like this pitcher is no longer available)
Table - Jayson Home
Glass carafe - Crate & Barrel

What would you include in your dream breakfast nook?

We had a great weekend. Saturday was beautiful and included trips to a flea market with my Mom and the Morris Arboretum with the family - I hope to post about both later this week. The temps have gotten colder here though so the jackets, hats, and scarves have all come out. Hope you had a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Enjoying Redd's Wise Words

I love to create and be creative (as you know), so I've been struggling quite a bit in my full-time financial services job in that I'm not in a creative role. I continue to stay positive and read and educate myself as much as possible because one day I will be in a full-time creative role.

Imagine my delight as I was reading Sara Ruffin Costello's review of Miles Redd's "The Big Book of Chic"(available late October 2012) in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend. Not only did Costello give the book a glowing review, but she also shared some inspiring words from Redd...that she got via phone interview with Miles Redd at his request - no emails, texts, or tweets - love him even more.

How to Get Ahead, According to Redd

1. Align yourself with the best people and then absorb everything you can from them.
2. Accept criticism from those you respect - it will make you so much better.
3. Say yes when you're young and no when you're old.
4. Exercise, eat right and sleep.
5. Clothes make the man.
6. Return phone calls and show up.
7. Preserve great beauty with good sense.

I'm going to be cutting out this portion of the article and putting it somewhere I will see it each and every day. I think you can apply these no matter what type of business you are in, but for me reading these words from a successful decorator is even more motivation for me to push ahead. So thank you Sara and Miles for a great article this past weekend.

And I'll leave you with two of my favorite designs by Mr. Miles Redd as seen in Architectural Digest - July 2012. I specifically saved this issue because of this feature.

A thousand times yes, wouldn't you say?

I hope you enjoyed these words as much as I did. 

I've got a busy rest of the week planned that includes a visit to the Philly Magazine Design Home tomorrow night. If photos are allowed I'll try to take a few for you.

**I have not been compensated at all for this post.