Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pattern Play - With a Rug

I really like changing up these Pattern Play posts and bringing a little variation here and there. A few weeks ago I was inspired by a living room I had found on Houzz. Last week was a variation of a fabric I had used in my loft space design board. This week I found a few few different fabrics that I thought would be great together, and then I grounded the patterns with a great rug that we actually have in our living room.


I came across the zig zag fabric and thought you could do a lot with the colors, and then as I was browsing around Robert Allen, I found the two different medallion fabrics. And I rounded it out with some small scale patterns. The small scale pattern at the top is a houndstooth but it doesn't really read that well on the screen and then of course one of my favorites Betwixt which comes in so many pretty colors.

What are your thoughts on these fabrics? Are you still loving a good zig zag or ready for something new? I go back and forth but I thought this one was great.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Coming Soon...New Guest Series: Tools of the Trade

One of the goals I made for my blog this year was to start a guest series. I wanted to be able to invite some friends to share their talent with all of you, and I am so excited to get this series started!

I went back and forth with a few different ideas, but I kept returning to the "Tools of the Trade" idea. Not only am I always on the quest to learn more as a decorator but I truly believe that experience and learning from experience are key to success.

The series will highlight a fellow blogger who I have invited over to share any tips, tools, thoughts, advice and guidance on their experience in the world of decorating, design, and renovations.

Since I'm just getting my feet wet with a decorating business, I thought I'd share a few things I thought were important to get me started.


- A business card. Once I had decided on West Pear Interiors, I knew I wanted to get some business cards made that I could keep with me. You never know when you're going to stumble upon a potential business opportunity. I keep them in my everyday bag as well as my weekend bag. I've also had the opportunity to hand them out to fellow bloggers as well in the PSMM group.

- A grown-up measuring device, the Fat Max. I can remember one of the first pieces of advice my instructor gave our Layout & Design class was - get yourself a serious measuring tool because you will want to measure with confidence - and that is so true. I carry a small measuring tape in my everyday bag in case I come across something that I need to measure, but the Fat Max is the real deal and a great tool for anyone to have. When I go into a client's home, I want to make sure that I get the proper measurements I'll need to draw out a floor plan, measure for window treatments, etc.

- Lastly, the mighty paint deck. Such a great tool to have for quick reference, to view undertones and color families. Big nerd alert: when I see a post or article in which a person references a paint color that I really like,  I'll pull out the deck to take a look at the color.

I wonder how my ideas will change as I get going with this venture...you'll be the first to hear my experiences!

And with that, I've got a wonderful guest blogger and friend lined up to join us next week to share some great tips with us.

Thanks as always for reading and I hope you enjoy the new series!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Thinking About...the Windsor bench

Do you have a bench anywhere in your home? Our Windsor bench is probably my favorite piece of furniture in our house. It's versatile, durable, surprisingly comfortable, but I'm back to thinking about painting it once the weather gets a little nicer. I know whenever we move that this bench may serve a different purpose, but I think painting it black would be a win/win decision.

Here is what it looks like now. You can see it's got sort of a chestnut color stain.


Here's another photo - notice anything in the background? I just got new white draperies to add to the dining room to replace the green drapes that were there previously. The white gives such a crisper, fresher look and really makes the green drapes look dirty.


I think painting the bench black would give it a cleaner look too. What do you think? I've also got some fabric on the way that will be used to make another pillow for the bench. I love mixing classic pieces such as Windsor seating with up-to-date fabrics and accessories.

This photo below from Traditional Home magazine is some good inspiration for going with black paint on the bench.

Photo courtesy of Traditional Home

I've got several painting projects on my list for the spring including the dresser in our bedroom that I really want to get done. Hopefully spring is right around the corner with the way our weather has been here. What paint projects do you have on your list?

Friday, February 24, 2012

TGIFiles

Ah, Friday! Here are a few thoughts from the week...

~Today I'm excited to report that Sarah has released the latest Mood Board Monday activity and this time around the inspiration is Etsy art and photography. The idea behind Mood Board Monday is to create a design board using one of the pieces of inspiration (this time it's artwork) for your board. Here are the options Sarah has given:

Carl Christensen (a Philadelphia area photographer!)

"Live Colorfully" by Jon and Camila Pavone


It's really so much fun, so I encourage you all to join in. It's really cool to see how each person creates a completely different vision and design using similar inspirations. I've learned so much through participating in these - not only about putting together a board but also being part of this awesome community we call the blogosphere.

Now I need to start thinking about which one I'm going to use for my inspiration and what type of room I'm going to do...decisions, decisions...I'll keep you updated.

~ I'm very pleased to report that the services page for West Pear Interiors has been updated. And it feels SO good! Thank you to everyone for your overwhelming support. I'll be sure to keep you updated on the process of starting my own decorating business.

~ And the post wouldn't be complete without a shout out for my little sweetie pie. Sheila is going to be 18 months old on Sunday! And I simply can't believe it. What a cutie batootie and half. I'll share a few photos with you soon.

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Contributing at Main Line Parent!

My exciting news that I've been referencing here and there is now live and I can officially talk about it and share with all of you!

I had the wonderful opportunity to be chosen to contribute to the Main Line Parent blog and I couldn't be more excited about it. My article is featured in the Lifestyle section tab and discusses functional furniture choices for the home. And that's a photo of my living room in the article too!



I would love for you to check out Main Line Parent and learn more about the group. I feel so fortunate to be able to contribute to such a wonderful, supportive organization and I do hope to have reached a few people with the information I provided.

And this is a testament to "going for it" too. One of the editors of Main Line Parent had reached out to the Philly Social Media Moms group on Facebook to see if anyone was interested in contributing. I jumped at the opportunity and sent one of the editors a pitch. I got a response a few days later that I was on board to do an article.

I'm so grateful for this opportunity and I enjoy being able to share with all of you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pattern Play - Seeing Stripes

If you've been reading for a little while, you may remember my loft space design board that I put together for my Layout & Design class. I used this Christopher Farr Cloth fabric as inspiration.


And then I came across the same fabric in the ecru color way.



How pretty are the blues, grey, minty green, and khaki all put together - I think it's so fresh. Does it make you think nautical? It made me think beachy, so I put together two different looks...


I tried to pull in some texture in both looks. I love the vibrancy of the punchy look, but there is something so pretty and soothing about that minty green color. I really went out on a limb mixing that Kelly Wearstler fabric with a buffalo check but I think the mix is kind of fun. (PS - the buffalo check fabric is on sale at Calico Corners for $15.99/yard!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blogging: Do You Have an About Me Page?

Do you have an About Me or Welcome page on your blog? I'm not an expert by any means, but I knew at some point I needed to get around to writing an introduction about Me. I entitled my page "Welcome" because I like to welcome readers and make them feel at home here at West Pear Avenue. I've also always struggled with talking about ME.

Here is where help comes in for me...Philly Social Media Moms. This group has by far changed the way I see blogging and I am so thankful for the support and talent that exists throughout the group. I attended a workshop not too long ago where Cecily Kellogg was the guest speaker and spoke about writing. Cecily lead us in a few different writing exercises and the final exercise was to write our bio (yikes!).

Writing a bio is really difficult...especially for me because I don't like to talk about me. But, because we read our bios out loud (there were about 15 of us) I got instant feedback on what I wrote. And I can't even tell you how helpful but at the same time difficult that exercise was for me.

What did I learn from the exercise and from the other women in the group?
- Immediately out of the starting gate write about what you are there for (for me: decorating/design). Don't beat around the bush - why am I reading your blog and who are you?
- I am awesome and I need to write about the things that make me awesome.
- You are awesome and you need to write about the things that make you awesome.

It has taken me a few weeks to update my Welcome page, but I was excited and I was motivated to get it done. The great thing about an introduction page is that it is a work in progress and can be updated at any time, but it should always be strong.

If you don't have an intro to who you are, draft one up and get a start on it.

And remember that YOU are AWESOME.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thinking About...Sheets

Do you have a preference in what type of sheets you put on the beds in your home? I suppose there are two general components when choosing sheets: the preferred material and the design/look of the sheet.

I recently picked up a pair of Thomas O'Brien sheets from Target for our master and I'm really happy with them. They are a really nice quality and the thin stripe that I chose looks great with the rest of the fabrics and bedding that I've chosen for our bed. I couldn't find our exact pattern on the Target website. The image below is a Thomas O'Brien sheet set in diamond pattern.

I pinned this image the other night because not only was I admiring the mix of solids that they used for the bedding and headboard paired with that striped bolster fabric, but there's nothing quite like a crisp white bed sheet.










There are so many options available now for white sheets with subtle hints of trim that can bring in a touch of your color palette. Take for instance the image below and the pretty gray pin stripe on the edge of the pillow case. This still would have been a beautiful bedding vignette without the stripe, but that stripe just gives the extra touch of pretty detail to bring the entire look together.















Does anyone know the original source of this image? I had a hard time finding it. Please comment or send me an e-mail if you know as I'd like to give proper credit for this beautiful room.

And this pretty image was part of the Lonny Mag sneak peek...




The print sham with the coordinating blue trim and the white euro sham is really pretty - especially with that killer headboard in the mix as well. This is a nice coordination of color palette that includes a classic white sheet.

I'd love to hear your feedback on your favorite sheets and any tips that you have for coordinating your sheets with your other bedding and pillows - or are you classic white sheets all the way? Do tell...

********

I hope you had a great weekend. We had a family party and spent some time outside yesterday which was so nice (and the days are getting longer - hooray!) I've cut back a little bit on my blogging which has worked out really well, and I do hope to have a few fun announcements for you soon.  Have a great day and if you're "off" for the day - enjoy!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

TGIFiles - Q&A Sessions

Today I'm doing a Q&A about me. Two fellow bloggers and friends tagged me in a Q&A game, so I thought my Friday TGIFiles was a perfect time to follow through with the fun.

Carol from The Design Pages was a blogger that I met early on when I started my blog. I believe Carol was my first Canadian blog friend too. Carol and her family recently moved into a new home and she's been putting the Carol touch on it. Carol also scored a nice lot of fabric remnants from Etsy recently and made some great pillows and art. I love Carol's fearless use of color evidenced by her choice of blue for this wall of art and punchy framed fabrics. Love that blue!

Photo courtesy of The Design Pages

And Pam from Simple Details also sent some questions my way as well. Pam has only been blogging for 5 months if you can believe that. She's whipped out more projects in 5 months than I've done in the past 3 years - true story. She is one motivated gal and I'm so glad we crossed paths this year as she is a true delight. Check out this pretty pillow Pam made recently - it's a mix of two fabrics on the front and then backed by a burlap coffee sack she picked up for FREE a while ago and it just happened to have pink writing on it - how fun!

Photo courtesy of Simple Details

Ok, so here we go with the Q&A session. 
Carol's questions to me:

What did you do last Friday night? 
Ate pizza (from Tony A's) it's a family Friday tradition

What is your specialty in the kitchen?
Does coffee count? If I had to choose a food, I'd say any casserole. I love casseroles.
What is your favourite nail polish colour?
Ballet Slippers or Brownie Points both by Essie

Dogs or cats?
Dogs
What is your favourite computer or phone app?
Mmmm...I've really been enjoying Houzz lately but I also love Etsy.

Who inspires you the most?
All of my family. They are loving and amazingly supportive.

If you and I were going to spend a weekend together what would you plan for us?
I know Carol and I would have so much fun. We'd start with coffee and brunch and then hit some antique stores. And then we'll probably need another coffee break. After that we'll go to a fabric store or three. Then maybe a cocktail or two and then a nice dinner with all of our blog friends.
What was the best book you read last year?
Where Is Elmo's Blanket or Domino
What's your biggest accomplishment of 2012?
Staying mentally strong during an extremely challenging time at my office job

Do you like to dance?
Do I like to dance?! I LOVE to dance in fact sometimes I dance to workout. Does anyone do Zumba? I did a Latin Impact class before I got married and it was so much fun. I love to dance to oldies music, Justin Timberlake, that song Rihanna sang at the Grammy's, I love to dance.

Which is your favourite, must read blog?  
That's tough because there are so many that I love. There is one that I visit every day at work for a little break and I really enjoy that 5 minute visit with Nicole from Making It Lovely.

And now for Pam's questions...

What would be the career of your dreams?
Creative Director at House Beautiful

I would eat Top Ramen noodles for a month in order to save up for ___________! Or, I wouldn't eat Top Ramen for anything!
I don't think I'd eat Top Ramen for anything - too many late nights with Top Ramen in college.

Which would you choose for a date with your husband: Candlelight dinner at a nice restaurant or day of hiking in the mountains?
Hiking in the mountains because it's not something we'd normally do.

In which sport or athletic activity would you most like to participate?
volleyball or soccer
What do you wish you were more knowledgeable about?
Computers or politics
Pretend one of your online blogging friends is coming to visit for the weekend, what one thing would you do to your home before she arrived?
Finish the curtains in the dining room and master bedroom
What kind of driver are you (speed demon, rule follower, tickets, fender benders, easy going)?
My husband says I'm a conscientious driver. I also appreciate when other drivers are courteous and thank me when I let them go in front of me or let them make that difficult left. 

It's hard for me to_____________.
Be a passenger (unless I have a book or magazine)
What are your nicknames?
Some people call me by my maiden name (Schlotterbeck) but no other nicknames really.
What is your best quality?
My sense of humor and to make people smile but my humor can come off as sarcastic at times too.

What is your best piece of advice for raising children?
It's going to be hard, but it's also going to be the best thing you've ever done. 

That's a wrap for my Q&A. Thanks again to Carol and Pam for sending these questions my way.

Instead of sending this along to others, I'd like to send a question out to all of you...

If you could repaint any room in your house right now, what room would you repaint and what paint color would you use?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pattern Play - Inspired by this Room

Today I wanted to give you a pattern play based on this living room I came across on Houzz. Check out the rug!

Living Room, Upper East Side Apartment, New York City traditional living room

Overall, the room is bright and appears to be getting some natural light flooding in to the right. It's a functional space featuring built-in bookshelves, two coffee tables, a club chair, and a sofa. The cat appears to be real and staring right at the camera, but let's ignore that aspect. The rug is the shining star in this room and really could do all the talking, but let's add in a few pillows and window treatments (we'll pretend there are windows over to the right that need some dressing up).


While I really love the pattern and colors throughout the rug, what I really wanted to do was pull out that steely blue color and use that to continue to soften the room. Both curtain fabrics at the top are sheer fabrics from Robert Allen to keep that light coming into the room. And then I paired a few pillows with each for different looks. The throw I added in for some additional pattern and texture. I actually just bought this throw for our house and I love it and an affordable option I might add as well.

What do you like about this room?

Sources: kazak plaid in dove, floral pillow cover, ziggurat pillow cover, blanket, solid pillow cover with trim, beige ikat pillow cover, quiet squares in cider

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thinking About...Coffee Storage

If you're a coffee drinker, is your coffee maker out on the counter or is it tucked away in a little nook or cabinet somewhere? If you had your choice, would you store it away? If I had the counter space and had a machine like this one below, I think I'd have to have out in the open.


We have a coffee system similar to this at my office, but it's built into the cabinetry like this photo below.
Aquidneck Properties contemporary kitchen

Here is another look at a small coffee/espresso machine that sits nicely out on the counter.

Beverage Center eclectic kitchen
Houzz

 If I had to guess, the image above is the wet bar and the island is here at the front of the photo and all of the prep area is not seen. I just did a few more clicks and confirmed my theory. What a beautiful kitchen!

San Francisco Kitchen modern kitchen
Houzz

The kitchen above was designed by Andre Rothblatt Architecture that I found on Houzz.

I also really like the idea of utilizing a small table to serve as a coffee station. This wouldn't work in our household with a little one running around, but in about 10 years maybe this could work.
Dreamy Whites eclectic dining room
Houzz

 An important thought to keep in mind for your kitchen if you are a coffee drinker. What is your coffee set-up? And what would be your ideal set-up? I know I'd love to have one of those built-in coffee/espresso numbers someday. Now I'm ready for more coffee after this.

Hope you had a great weekend!
 

Friday, February 10, 2012

TGIFiles

These Friday's are whipping around the corner so quickly. Today I've got some favorites, a recipe, and some housekeeping - so let's get to it.

~ I put together a few favorite things on my radar this week...


--The purple glass jug pendant is fun. 
--I've had my eye on the PKaufmann fabric for a while - hope to use it at some point.
--I used the storage bins and beige geometric fabric in a design board this week and hope to show you that soon.
--Did you know IKEA has a children's POANG chair? I didn't. Sheila and I took a trip to IKEA yesterday and I spied the children's version of this popular chair and only $29.99. 
--And the sweet bird painting is so pretty - I've had my eye on purple lately if you couldn't tell.

~ I know this is not a food or recipe blog but I had to share this recipe with you. I found it on Pinterest a few months ago through my friend Jill...it's a chicken and wild rice casserole.

Photo courtesy of Picky Palate

I tried this recipe a few months ago for the first time and it's quickly become a favorite in our household. AND the best part is that there is no cream of anything in it. This is not a quick, whip-it-up in 20 minutes recipe - it'll take a little while to prep everything - but it's delicious and a crowd pleaser (meaning that all three of us like it).

~ Lastly, you may have noticed a few changes on the blog this week. Yep, it was time for an update. I've added a few social media buttons to the right side bar - Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest - feel free to follow along. 

I also added a new tagline, "decorating your home with enthusiasm", as well as a new Services and Portfolio tab on the navigation bar - I'll have more updates for you on those soon. Needless to say, I've been busy. And a big thank you to Elizabeth from The Mustard Ceiling Designs for helping me out again with the updated look.


Have a great weekend and thanks as always for reading!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pattern Play - Cranberry, Jamberry

My pattern play posts have quickly become one of my favorite posts of the week to draft up. I just sort of run with my imagination and post it up. It's fun to let the creativity juices flow.

I've had mauves, cranberries, these rich colors on the mind lately. A little bit of that came out in my children's book illustrations post from the other day showing Jamberry. I remembered that I had this art print in my Etsy favorites and thought it was perfect as my cranberry/Jamberry inspiration.

Etsy seller Tabitha Brown

Where might this geometric print be hanging? Where would you hang this piece of artwork? I thought it would be great in an office or entryway. It's quite bold so I went with the idea of taking a serious approach (read: in a library/study or reading room) or a sassy approach (read: fun, playful, female loft living).

And here is my interpretation for today's pattern play...
Do you see where I was going with this? Two very different looks, aren't they? I guess that's part of the fun for me is picking an inspiration piece and then coming up with two very different looks to satisfy different tastes and personalities. 

Hope you enjoyed this one and let me know what you like about it (it's okay not to like something too. I always appreciate constructive feedback and opinions).

Sources: Greek key pillow, striped fabric, crimson fabric, floral fabric, geometric fabric, ikat pillow (my current crush thank you Kelly Wearstler). Paint color: Sherwin Williams SW6007 Smart White

PS - I attempted to make cupcakes using an egg substitute (Sprite) and it was a total fail (insert sad face). Guess I'll be making a quick stop at Whole Foods on the way to school today. Sheila's class is doing cupcakes for a birthday and Sheila can't have eggs so the teachers were nice enough to let me know so I could provide an alternative for her. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Thinking About...Illustrations in Children's Books

We've got books all over our house (book storage for another post). The pages get flipped so quickly these days, but that doesn't mean that the images don't stick with me for a while. Do you have books from your childhood where you can still envision the illustrations in your mind? I have a few that are still quite vivid, but the illustrations below are a few of my favorites in our current inventory.

The Little Red Caboose





I think it would be fun to frame a few of these for a vintage vibe in a nursery. I remember my Mom saying that Golden Books used to be a quarter or something like that, and now they're up to about $3.00. It's still a fairly inexpensive way to personalize your nursery or playroom. Pick a few of your favorites as a child and you've got quick and easy artwork.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar




You can find TVHC bedding and accessories at Pottery Barn Kids. I don't know that I'd go so literal in a child's room, but the artwork still has so many fun colors to play around with. Eric Carle is a favorite in our house and I'm always so impressed by the way he layers to create texture in his illustrations.

The Very Quiet Cricket


I love this bumblebee and flower. This book is on Sheila's favorite list right now.

Jamberry



I can't get enough Jamberry. I love the colors and the cute illustrations.

What types of books do you go to for color inspiration? 

Friday, February 3, 2012

TGIFiles

It's been a challenging week, so I have a few things to share with you and then I'll be back next week hopefully a bit more rejuvenated. Thanks for your feedback last week on naming these Friday posts. I've decided to use TGIFiles.

~ I came across this home in the New York Times the other day. If I ever had a city home, I would want it to look and feel as pretty as this home looks. It was designed by Nightwood out of Brooklyn. If you have a chance, take a few minutes to check out the site for Nightwood. They specialize in furniture, textiles, and interiors. Check out their custom furniture...I love this cabinet below.

Photo courtesy of Nightwood



~ I think these vintage looking posters from Anderson Design Group are so much fun. They could be used in a variety of spaces - family rooms, play room, a child's room.




Have a great weekend and see you back here next week!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pattern Play - Draperies for the Master

Today's pattern play is inspired by the colors and fabrics that are going on in our bedroom.

Yesterday I showed you a preview of how I changed it up a bit from my original scheme.


The fabric on the floral pillow in the back is Robert Allen Etruscan in smoke. I think my photo above gives a better sense of the true color in person. The image below from the Robert Allen website is pretty dark. I think it's more of a navy than it is a deep grey.


I ordered two 18" square pillow covers from Pillow Flight PDX on Etsy. She has some great inventory too if you're looking for some new pillow covers. As soon as I put my inserts into these covers I knew these pretty pillows needed a friend, which is where the paisley pillow came into play. I'll have to take another picture, but I had gotten the paisley pillow at Home Goods a few years ago for a steal. It's been in our guest bedroom but I knew it could be a nice addition to our bedroom and I'm really loving the look.

So back to our pattern play for today, which is inspired by these fabrics. And I'm hoping to use one of the other fabrics show for draperies.

The two fabrics in the middle are existing in the room (I found the paisley fabric and thought it was a good stand-in for the Home Goods purchase). I've been debating about both of the fabrics on the left as I think they could both work well. I think I'm sort of leaning toward the option at the top just as a nice contrast to the bold floral, the paisley, and the small floral on our coverlet.

But then I also thought I could do inexpensive white panels from IKEA and dress them up with some trim which are the two options on the right.

Decisions, decisions. As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Paint Color which is in our bedroom is SW6143-Basket Beige