Thursday, June 28, 2012

Original Artwork

Sorry, I still don't have photos of the artwork we picked up at the Arts Fest (promise to post them soon) but I did want to alert you to the new shop that Amber Alexander opened for her original artwork. It's called Shady Rill. Her work is really beautiful and it's obvious how inspired she is by nature and all of the beauty found throughout.


Either of these landscapes could be used as the start of a great color palette for a living room or office. They would also be really pretty in a master bathroom or a sunroom.

I like to look at pieces of art and think about how it makes me feel. Sometimes I select a piece of art first when doing a design board and allow that piece to tell the story.


This still life of the roses reminds me of our back yard. I try to snip some roses whenever I have a chance to have in our house and admire. 


All photos courtesy of Etsy seller Shady Rill

She's got talent that's for sure and her prices are extremely reasonable. I may just be adding another piece of artwork to our new collection.

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On another note, Sarah reminded me about the Etsy post I talked about writing up after all of your feedback. It is on my list of posts to draft, promise (again).

Ok, I'm off to do some reading (new House Beautiful arrived today - woo hoo - but now a long wait until August since it's the combined summer issue...boo hoo). 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Music To My Ears

I have a new favorite phrase:  "I never would have thought of that". That is music to my ears and makes me so happy. To be able to give a person options that they otherwise wouldn't have thought of - that's another reason to add to my list of "why I started my decorating business". I brainstorm every possible solution and provide the best ones (in my opinion) to the client.

I had a presentation meeting tonight for a new client who also happens to be a very good friend of mine. Christina started her own invitation and event planning business and it has really taken off. She recently acquired additional rental space which she uses as a reception area and to meet with clients.



This area functions well, are well organized, and gets some nice natural light. 

Christina asked for my help with that back office there that you see through the doorway. There are multiple mismatched desks, tables, and chairs in that work area and she wanted the space to be cohesive and organized. Budget is small and there are pieces that can certainly be repurposed if we need them to be. We are also not ruling out Craigs List for some great finds as well.

Here is the initial layout that I put together for Christina. I really enjoy doing the layout and learned to draw by hand so that is what you see below.


This plan has already changed a little bit, but at least you get the idea of where I'm headed with this space. My main goal was to not have Christina's back to the door. I wanted her to be able to see right through that doorway (the desks are actually going to be pushed back some and we are ditching those shelves that you see in blue next to the desks). I also wanted to be able to give her a good perspective of the room when she is sitting at her desk, so her desk will sit at the top right there (green rectangles are the desks and placement that I've proposed). This work zone at the top will be a "permanent" type zone meaning that those desks won't move at all. The other work zone is going to be modular or multi-functional - meaning that the desk can either move (and has wheels) or it can be cleared and used as a table for a meeting or lunch.

The music to my ears moment was when Christina saw the "permanent" desk layout I proposed and said "I never would have thought of that". She hadn't thought about having those two desks face each other and have them sit perpendicular to the wall. Because Christina is such a great friend, I know how she is and this girl thinks of every option imaginable no matter what the task may be, so hearing those words from her was such a compliment (thanks CC if you're reading).

And here is my initial design concept board with a few options.


The pink fabric at the top will be for bulletin boards, and the chairs at bottom will be used in a sitting area. Christina recovered the chairs last year to bring them up-to-date. We are most likely not going with the desks you see here but this gives the general idea for what will be used. She likes the idea of having the sitting area and a collapsible table that could expand for meetings or office events. The shelving unit also got nixed (but again giving options).

So there you have it for now - this project is really about making the layout and space function for Christina's office so it's been a good challenge and a great learning experience to really stretch the layout and math muscles more so than the accessories, details, and patterns that you all know that I love (but will bring a little of that in too).

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I hope to post the Arts Fest Part 2 later this week along with photos of the paintings we picked up.

Can you believe we're halfway through 2012? 

Have a great day.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Manayunk Arts Festival Recap - Part 1

We had such a great time at the Manayunk Arts Fest. The temperatures stayed in the 80s but the humidity had gone way down which is so nice - and with a nice breeze it was really enjoyable.

Festival poster by artist Charlie Barton


And the talent oozing from the tents was really awesome. I met so many incredibly talented artists. People who shared their story and their background - it was so interesting. I grabbed a ton of business cards. I always find it helpful to grab a card to reference when I get home and to bookmark their work if I am interested or if I think a client might be interested in their work in the future.

It's so hard to summarize all of the artists that made an impression on me, but I'll show you a few that really stood out. I was drawn to each of these artists for a different reason. This is a juried show so you must apply and get accepted in order to attend and showcase here.

Liz Williams is one of the first artists we checked out after coming off the train (Manayunk is just a few train stops for us so really easy to hop on the train and come back). This one is acrylic and oil on canvas. We ended up purchasing one of her works. The piece we got is oil and acrylic with paper and fiber. She said she layers and layers with paper and paint. I'll show your the piece that we got in another post.


Sandra Sedmak Engel had some really interesting pieces. At first glance these look like ceramics, but Sandra explained that this technique is called encaustic. Have you heard of this? It's the use of hot wax on wood or canvas and then the artist uses different tools to manipulate the wax.


Contact her if you are interested in these. These photos don't do these works justice. This type of artwork isn't usually my thang, but these are really amazing. And knowing the technique she used to accomplish such artwork is even more impressive. She's out of Baltimore, MD.

Then we made our first pit stop to recharge at Cafe Volo. They serve up La Colombe coffee.


Time for more browsing. Mendelson Art Glass was full of interesting pieces. She had glass vegetables, bowls, vases. This piece in particular really caught my attention. Jacqueline Mendelson is based out of Philadelphia.


I don't have a photo of these, but believe me when I say how interesting and how different these chimes are. They are Old Town Wind Bells. I want one of these for our next house. If you have an outdoor sitting area, garden, or just a special place where you want an interesting chime to enjoy - I would highly recommend these. This is the wall mount and the one I was interested in...

And I also really liked the standing heron...


These photos don't do these justice either, but again they are really nice and made of bronze. The same metal that the Liberty Bell is made of (I learned that yesterday in speaking with one of the artists from the shop). They ship too so check it out for a gift or for yourself if you are interested.


I'm going to split this into two posts because there are more artists I want to share with you. I'll also show you the pieces that we picked up as well.

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Thanks so much for all of your birthday wishes too. It was a great day and a great weekend. I even got a little time to start reading the new book my hubby got me for my birthday.


Coffee, an English muffin with butter and cinnamon sugar, and The Perfectly Imperfect Home by Deborah Needleman. This didn't last very long, but it was great while it lasted.

All information contained in this post is simply to support the artists. I have not been compensated in any way. Their work is outstanding and I wanted to share their talent with all of you.

Friday, June 22, 2012

TGIFiles - Torn Up, Some Matches, and Today

Good Morning! I've got the day off and wanted to do a quick post before I head out again.

Our front steps got torn up.


Nothing major - just tore up the steps and repaved the cement so they were even, up to code, and sturdy. The bottom step had been crumbling for a while - it looked like whoever had patched it last did a bum job so we just decided to get it done and out of the way (and make it safe for all).  I'll show you a photo once they are finished.

And I stopped into a local florist/gift shop the other day, Botanical Expressions. There is a Starbucks across the street which is where I'm at most days during lunch to do design stuff or to read. They had a 20% off sign out front so I popped in to see what I could find. 

They had a bowl full of these pretty matches and they were marked $3.75 (and I would get about 50 cents off with the 20% discount) a great small purchase.


And they look at the pretty color inside too:


$3.00! I'm tempted to go back for more. They are made by HomArt which appears to be a company out of California. Anyone heard of this company or their products before? They've gotten a lot of great press - I want to see more of their products in person.

Have you made any fun small purchases lately? A cozy latte, great magazine, new pack of gum? Little things like that make me quite happy.

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I plan on doing a lot of those things today as I celebrate another year in this world. If I'm lucky maybe I'll even get one of these -ooooh how I love a fresh croissant.

Etsy seller Laura Row

I'm headed over to Crate & Barrel and Anthropologie in a little while. I've got my birthday month Anthro coupon to use, so what better day to use it. And tomorrow we are headed out to the Manayunk Arts Fest which is a juried show. I love checking out all of the artists and vendors. I'll try to take some photos too. 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Gossip Bench

I love the idea of a gossip bench. A piece of furniture that was used in the past as a way to sit and communicate with friends and family on a rotary phone (gasp!). This type of thing speaks to me - pieces with a history, a story, a past that I can put my own spin on (mixing past and present is definitely part of my design philosophy).

I picked this up a few weeks ago at Phantastic Phinds, one of my favorite local furniture and home consignment shops in the area. I saw it and knew I wanted to take it home.

Off we went...


That's our stroller there on the right. It's always in the trunk (is that crazy?). We've found it to be quite convenient even though we don't use it much when we're out and about any more - just for long walks at a park or in the neighborhood. But I digress...


The top of the bench is a red corduroy that doesn't look so bad in this photo but needs to be changed, and there is a small bit of storage underneath which I was really excited about.

And here is a test run of where she might end up...as a nightstand on my side of the bed. I purchased a yard of a navy linen blend fabric to coordinate with the rest of our color scheme in our master (which you see there sitting on top of the seat just testing her out). I'm loving it and I'm debating about what to do for the painting/staining.


I've been enjoying having a place to throw my magazines, cell phone, or water when I'm ready to drift into dreamland. I had a storage bin here previously as a place holder. You know, just waiting for the right piece of furniture to come along. Do you have place holder furniture in your house? I think it's a practice in patience and it's a good thing. I knew at some point I'd find something and I think this is it.

I'm so glad I have this outlet to share my updates to my home that I get so excited about - I know all of you are on the same wavelength here as I am.

And now I'm off to dive into my latest House & Home issue. Do you read House & Home? It's one of my favorites.

Enjoy your day.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Summer Recipe


I'm back again! I wanted to let you know that I'm doing a guest post today over at Elegant Nest.



Laura is away with her family on vacation and asked me for a summer recipe to share with her readers. I was excited to share something different than the norm for me - rarely do I discuss food here but I do love love love food and love trying new recipes. Head over to check out a quick and yummy recipe I like to put together for summer parties and gatherings (or just for us to munch out throughout the week).

Laura and I both worked with Elizabeth from The Mustard Ceiling on our blog design, so Laura and I found each other that way. 

Let me know if you try my recipe and what you think - or if you make your own variation.

(The font variation is driving me crazy in Blogger - is anyone else having this problem? My draft looks like the same font throughout but the preview has 3 different font sizes. Time to consider Wordpress again.)

Have a good one.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Our Weekend and Some Updates

We were fortunate to be able to escape to the beach this past weekend. It was so nice to get away and enjoy some time with friends.


This was taken on my iPhone and then I added a filter through Instagram. Our friends have a house on an inlet, so all of the boats are lined up and docked along the waterway. It was nice to be able to sit and relax on their deck and enjoy the day and night.

We got some beach time too.


Instagram is so much fun. This is another photo of Sheila from the beach that I added a filter to in Instagram. Last time she was at the beach was last August right as she turned 1, so this was like a whole new experience for her which was really fun to watch. She loved the sand and playing with the other kids.


No filter...look at that sky! It was a beautiful beach day.

And now we're back to reality here at home. 

Last week furniture was ordered for Project Sunken Living Room which is very exciting.


The blue herringbone fabric at the top is going on two armchairs, and the large check at the bottom is going on a sofa. We decided on a brown leather ottoman (which is above the check), and then pillows will be added with the other two fabrics.

While we wait for the furniture (which won't arrive until early fall), my client is going to be having the lighting updated in the living room so the electrician will be coming out to work some magic. 

I also had the opportunity to order a second sham for our bedroom - here is a recent Instagram photo of how happy the bed looks now.


And last but certainly not least, I'm doing a guest post tomorrow over at Elegant Nest. Laura was kind enough to invite me over while her family enjoys a nice tropical vacation. Please stop by tomorrow to see what summer recipe I'm sharing as part of Laura's Summer Recipe series. I think it's such a fun idea for a series, and a nice change for me to share something a little different from my usual family and decor content.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Initial Family Room Design Board

I realized that I never got a chance to show you the initial design board for the family room that I'm working on. The homeowners were getting new hardwood floors, new paint throughout, and new built-in cabinetry as well as a makeover to their fireplace.




They hired me to help out with the layout and decorating details once the bigger projects are completed. Here is the initial design board I drafted for them...


This is a decent size family room, so they want to maximize the space as much as possible. They are a family of 5 and like to entertain frequently, so seating is really important. There will be a lot of decisions to make once more of the bigger updates have been done, but this is initially my thought for color palette and some of the zones that will be going on in this room. 

The walls will be SW Aleutian Blue. We are definitely going to incorporate red accents into the room as well. The idea for the color scheme came from those two watercolor paintings in the top left corner. They are paintings of Philadelphia that will work really nicely in this space - personal touches are always important in making a space yours. They are not in matching frames right now, but they will be once they are mounted on the wall.

This is round 1 for them and I'm sure it will evolve a bit from here. So far I've found that my clients want to change the pillows a bit or prefer one fabric to another, so I'm all ears when it comes to listening to their feedback and offering suggestions.  

It's been a great experience so far starting my own business - I've learned a ton in a short amount of time but I know that there is still a lot more to learn. One of these days I'll do a post on my experiences so you get an inside look to what really goes on behind the scenes.

**Also, head over to check out how Amber updated her dining room. Blogging can really open up the door to so many ideas, and I'm flattered that Amber took me up on an idea I had for her dining room (thank you Amber!). She's really done a great job with the room and put her own touch on it. 

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Quick (& Inexpensive) Fix

Quick and inexpensive? Yes please.

My scarves and necklaces are sort of thrown in a few spots in our bedroom. The scarves more than the necklaces, but I've been thinking about getting something to have them all hang in one spot.

(We have a serious lack of closet space in our home so we need to maximize every inch we can when it comes to storage. That means that large closets are on the top of my wish list for our next home.)

We were browsing a community yard sale a few weeks ago, and I spied a wicker wall organizer that I thought could work for my accessories. I asked the person running the table how much they wanted for it, and he said $1.00. SOLD.

Of course my husband asked what it was when he saw it. And of course I kindly responded what it was, how much it was, and where I intended on using it. I still don't think he got it.




Much better. And it brings me such satisfaction to have everything in one spot that I can see easily.

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

This Just Ordered...

My love for Etsy continues...I just ordered this print...



I've mentioned before how much I love coffee, so when I saw this print by Karen Faulkner I thought about and thought about and couldn't stop thinking about it so I ordered. I've been looking for a fun way to show our love for coffee and this is it. AND, Karen is from my hometown of Harleysville - so it was meant to be. She has some really pretty originals and prints available in her shop.

I've added a ton of new favorite items and sellers to my list.

Are you guys interested in my rundown of Etsy? I wrote a post and then thought it was sort of boring. I don't want to reinvent the wheel, but I do want to give tips that I've found to be helpful (and suggestions to the wonderful creators of Etsy on areas that I think could be improved).

Ok, night night, if I'm not back on again I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mood Board Monday - Seating That Inspires

Sarah picked a great point of inspiration this time around for Mood Board Monday...chairs! All of the chairs that Sarah chose are from Horchow.

I chose the Old Hickory Tannery green leather chair as inspiration for my board...the color, the curvy lines, and the leather were calling to me.


I knew I wanted to creating a seating area within a bedroom for my board. The seating area would act as a spot to read, sip coffee or tea in the mornings, and just an area of relaxation. I wanted the room in general to be very casual but yet romantic and pretty. My vision as a whole for the room is a Breezy Day, Romantic Retreat.

After I chose the chair, I also came across this Magnolia Vine wallpaper by York Wallcoverings. It's beautiful, it has the color palette I was going for, and I knew it would be perfect to define the wall of the seating area.



From there I chose the Marco canopy bed by Oly to mimic the height achieved by the papered seating area wall.

It's funny with these Mood Board Monday boards, I always have a pseudo "client" that I'm designing for but I also tend to lean toward something I'd want to live in myself. I take the main inspiration and find a few other key elements and roll from there. I've found some really wildly talented Etsy sellers recently, so be sure to check out the few that I've sourced below here for more goodies. I love Etsy - it's a great source for original, one-of-a-kind artwork. 

Here are the rest of my sources starting at the top left corner and working clockwise:

Fabric for drapes - John Robshaw for Duralee
Hardware - Overstock
Portrait - Etsy seller Janet Hill (love her work!)
Abstract - Etsy seller Karine Leger (a new-to-me seller who has great pieces of original art)
Oh Darling print - Etsy seller Lorraine Veronica
Basket - Terrain (thought this could be a catch all for colorful scarves, or clutches)
Wallpaper - York Wallcoverings
Side table - Serena & Lily
Chair - Horchow
Magazine rack - Etsy seller Pine & Main
French press (yum) - Zappos
Wardrobe - CB2
White quilt  - West Elm (white bedding is a great investment!)
Green velvet 20" pillow - Crate & Barrel
Fabric - Lee Jofa Groundworks confetti (used as bolster on bed)
Nightstand - Crate & Barrel
Sconce - Shades of Light
Rug - (sorry, need to check on this one)

If you have some time, please visit Pewter + Sage to check out the rest of the boards that have been drafted using chairs as inspiration. I love seeing what everyone has come up with and finding some new fun sources too. 

(Ever hit "publish" by mistake...that's what I just did...oops)

What do you think...could you enjoy a breezy day in this room?  What other words come to mind?