Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baby Love - Inspired By Food

I'm 18 weeks pregnant so naturally I think about food a lot :) But food has so many meanings, doesn't it? It's a source of comfort. It can bring back memories. It can mean tradition. It can mean decadence or it can also mean health. Regardless, food is personal.

A fun way to make your space personal is to bring in a favorite candy in a dish in the kitchen or entry, but you can also add a piece of art inspired by food to your living room, dining room, or kitchen. Remember I showed you how I added that pretzel and beer print I had gotten my husband to our living room. It's a great spot for it.

Feast your eyes on some more ideas...


A child's room is also a fun spot to bring in a piece of art inspired by food - maybe their favorite snack or treat. The popsicles are really fun too - reminds me of summer.

I have to tell you that this all started because I came across the Janet Hill art print at the top middle called "The Chocolate One with Sprinkles" - just say it to yourself. Doesn't  it make you want a nice fresh donut? I'm not a big donut person by any means but the donuts in that print were talking to me.

Yum.

Sources (clockwise from top left): Stone Crab Claw by Clair Hartmann, The Chocolate One with Sprinkles by Janet Hill, Popsicles by Joel Penkman, Le French Fries on Society 6, Une Poire print by Sycamore Street Press, Pizza Recipe by Lucile Prache, pancakes stack by Laura Row, Pike Place Market print on Art.com, sprinkle donut (no longer available) by Deidre Wicks.

Friday, January 25, 2013

How I Find New Etsy Favorites

I thought I'd show you my quick tip on how to find new Etsy favorites.

I may be browsing a vendor I've bought from in the past or I might go back to the same vendor in my Favorites over and over because I love their work, and when I want to discover perhaps a similar style product or a similar aesthetic I'll click on that vendor's "Favorites".

Here's an example...I had bought a beautiful vase from Taylor Ceramics before the holidays. I loved Cara's work so much that I wanted to browse to see what some of her favorites are (maybe something might spark my interest too).


All you need to do is go to the vendor's side bar and click on the "Favorites" link. Favorites may or may not be marked as private, but I find a lot of people to have their Favorites public so it's always worth a browse.

**One other tip, I always read feedback before making a purchase. I've never had a bad experience with any of my Etsy purchases (over 30 at this point), but I always like to read what others are saying as well and what products have been purchased. 

**And fantastic news, Etsy has added a search functionality to the user's favorite items list but I don't see one for favorite shops. But it's a great enhancement that I'm very happy about (especially since I save lots of pillows)

I'd love to hear your experience with Etsy and how you navigate the site.

Have a great weekend! We've got a busy one ahead.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A New Floor Lamp

I've been looking for a new floor lamp for our living room for a while now. I've never found just the right one that I liked and that I knew would be right for the room (and the right price). I had some time yesterday to swing over to one of the Home Goods near us and I found what I was hoping to be a lamp that would be a good fit. Check out the before and after...

I have had that white lamp for over 8 years I think. I had bought it when I moved into my first apartment and it was fine and served the purpose but the room was ready for a change. I love the shape of the new lamp and that it is adjustable - not to mention I was really happy that it was black too. The lamp is a matte black and the base is a brushed copper.

Here's another photo that I took...with the exception of the lamps, do you notice anything different between the photo below and the photos above? 


I also had time to hang some photos and art that I have been meaning to do for a while (can we say nesting?) In the photo above I added a print that I had gotten for my husband a few years ago. It's called Home Made Pretzels and a Brew by Etsy seller Working Woman. Aside from me and Sheila, those might be 2 of my husbands favorite things :)

Oh and the basket there at the bottom is new too - also from Home Goods. I got that to corral toys and stuffed animals but it also fit perfectly under the console for this photo.

I'm pleased with these small updates to our living area - it's the small changes sometimes that have big impact.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Color Correction - Our Bathroom

At the end of the summer, I had posted about the color correction that we made to our kitchen.

Today I'm keeping it real and telling you the tale of our bathroom - our only full bathroom.

When we bought our house, the bathroom looked like this...pink, pink, and more pink. And don't forget the wooden accordion door that you can see at the right of the photo below. Sweet!


We had someone come in and renovate the bathroom for us prior to moving in. We changed out everything but the tub: new floors, new toilet, rip down the tile and put up drywall and new lighting. We also replaced the sink with the cabinet and moved the pedestal sink above down to the half bath in the basement.

Here is where we were at the end of the renovation. 


Nice and clean, but we lacked storage and the blinds had seen better days.

I had picked up this shelf below with the intent of using it in the bathroom and it has worked for us. It's not too deep and it has multiple shelves for placing everyday items and a few colorful accessories.


But then I picked a fabric, that I thought would look okay as a valance to disguise the top of the old blinds. I'm here today to admit that this color combination does not work, and here is why:

For starters, if I had known then what I know now as far as having a plan for a room, I would have been in much better shape with this color palette (instead of just choosing things willy nilly).

What do I mean by that? It may be difficult to tell in this photo, but the yellow and greys found in the fabric on the valance are dirty compared to the paint color on the walls and the paint color on the shelf. If I had chosen the fabric first prior to doing the renovations, then my paint color that I chose should also have a green/yellow undertone to it to muddy it up a bit. Does that make sense?

Believe me when I say that my eye has come a loooooooong way when looking at color. It really takes practice and a lot of reading and analyzing to really train the eye. And believe me when I say I still have a lot to learn as well, but hopefully this small lesson will help someone.

So yes this is driving me crazy, and yes it has taken me this long to correct the problem. 

What you can't see is that we had some water damage that leaked into the bathroom ceiling and we need to have the bathroom repainted. Since we need to have the bathroom repainted, I'm taking this as an opportunity to redo things if you will.

Here is what we will be updating:
- paint color
- fabric for the valance
- new blinds

I'll share those decisions with you in a future post.

Now it's your turn, I'd love to hear any color correction tales that you may have from places you have lived.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Baby Love: Have Baby Will Travel

*I switched my series name to Baby Love instead of Oh Baby. Mostly because I love the song "Baby Love" by the Supremes and I thought it sounded a little better too.

You've probably done some traveling - even if it's not across the country or across the globe - you've ventured out of your hometown and have fond memories of certain trips. Or maybe a certain town captured your heart. It might even just be taking pride in your own city or state.

A fun way to personalize a nursery is to include artwork, prints, or photos from your travels that hold special memories.

I know I've mentioned it on the blog before, but I love New York. I love the quick pace, the high energy, the sights, the sounds - everything. I don't get up there nearly enough.

Look at all of the fun colors you could pull from this print...


I took both of these photos at the Atlantis about 5 years ago - both of these would be a nice addition to a nursery with the right frame.


Can you tell I like to think outside the box? I love the way the green netting pops against the sand and the lifeguard stand and how it's hanging effortlessly.

And the pop of pink and green in the tropical flowers below would be so pretty in a little girls room.

I'm thinking color palettes and using a piece of art or a photo to create a color palette, but also making the room personal.


I lucked out this weekend and got this national park poster calendar for $7.00 at Barnes & Noble on clearance. How about some emerald green in a little boys room?


Or some pink and purple in a girls room...


The other great thing about travel posters or photos is that hopefully they have some longevity in a youngster's room.

What are your thoughts on adding this type of element into a nursery?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Living Room Refresher

Sometimes a room just needs a freshening up - new pillows, a different layout arrangement, some new framed art - a few things to make the room feel updated.

Remember this client with the great pieces of furniture that she had gotten?


Because we were keeping the existing area rug, wood floors, and working with the wood tones found in her furnishings, the walls have already gotten painted (SW6182 Ethereal White that you can see in the photo below) and now we're in the process of making some decisions for reupholstery fabrics and pillows. She is going to get the chair above and the larger wingback chair that currently has the same yellow fabric reupholstered. I really like all of the warm tones in her existing rug, but I also wanted to bring out some of that blue that you can see in there as well.

I don't have a larger photo of her sofa, but this is a photo I had taken that will give you an idea.


The sofa is Bernhardt that she had gotten at HomeGoods for a steal a few years ago. It's got a nice shape and a really great neutral fabric, BUT it had too many big blah pillows. We had already removed a few of the pillows in the photo above and it made a world of difference - a FREE update! By removing some of the pillows, we created a sleeker profile of the sofa and now we're going to bring in some fun pattern. As you can see we already started playing around with some pattern.

We also saw this fabric at the Philly Magazine show house back in September that my client really liked as well, so we're including a smaller animal type fabric into the scheme.


And in addition to the update in fabrics, my client also was fortunate to pick up these really cool etching prints from a local printer that she works with. They are mostly all local scenes that were originally done my Salvatore Pinto, a well known local artist from the early to mid 20th century. This one below happens to be a New York scene with the Statue of Liberty there to the left, but you get the idea of how cool these are and how great they will look framed and hung gallery style in her living room.


And below is the fabric scheme I've proposed...


**Side note - I just started working in Power Point for doing my design boards and it is awesome. I learned some handy new shortcuts and really liking the ease and simplicity of it all. I'm also able to manipulate sizes and looks much easier than I was before in Olioboard. I see another post coming regarding design board construction.

The fabrics at the top left and top right are for each of the chairs. The top left is for the accent chair you saw at the very top of the post and the top right is for the wingback chair - this isn't the final fabric but it's a consideration.  

The fabrics below that are what I've proposed for the pillows on the sofa. My client really liked the idea of having bolsters at either end of the sofa, so we've repeated the accent chair fabric for the bolsters and then mixed in some more pattern for the other pillows. It's going to be quite fabulous.

Two posts already this week - woo hoo! It feels good to be back.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Oh Baby

Because there are way too many cute items to include in a nursery, I decided to start a weekly column to show you some of the items that I've found. And maybe I'll share a tip or two about building a nursery (see below ;)

Below is an art print I just found on Etsy...perfect for a gender neutral room. Something about a mommy or daddy elephant with their baby is way too cute, and I like the color palette going on here. It's not too cutesy but still bright and happy.

Etsy seller Malathip

TIP: If you're just getting started on planning a nursery and not sure where to start, take your favorite item that you've already purchased - a blanket, an outfit, a piece of art, a toy - and use that as inspiration for the color palette for the room. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

What's In Your Design Bag?

Yesterday a fellow PSMM member, Barb from A Life in Balance, had asked a question in our Facebook group about what type of work bag everyone has to keep them organized and still hold all of the essentials. I thought it would be a fun idea to post here and get some feedback from all of you.

I have and absolutely love the Thirty-One organizing utility tote. I had gotten this from my SIL last Christmas and had never even heard of Thirty-One until Karen gave me the bag (thanks Karen!). Here is the bag from the website:


And here is my bag below. It doesn't look like the black and white stripe is an option anymore, but they do have plenty of other pattern options available. I use this bag to pack all of my materials that I need for design jobs or appointments. It holds a ton of stuff and is extremely durable. The straps have not given way at all which I'm very impressed with, and I've thrown a lot of stuff in here (which you'll see below).


See all of the stuff thrown inside? It looks like this all the time.


Here is the breakdown of stuff:
1. A big guy tape measure is a must for getting measurements in a home or even if I'm out at a store and need to measure a piece of furniture. I also have a mini tape measure that I carry with me as well.

2. Color is important of course and paint decks are important because sometimes you need to reference a color chip or you want to reference a color quickly while on the computer. I'm very hands on so I like to have my deck with me whenever possible. Of course color specification requires much bigger samples, but that's a whole other post ;)

3. Notebook is also a must. I've got this marbled copybook like I used to use in grade school and then I have a tablet that I use as well.

4. I've been organizing materials for projects into giant Zip-Lock bags and I must say it's worked quite well. I can see everything (so I know whose project it is) and it's super easy just to throw certain materials into the specific bag and go.

5. File folder to hold all sorts of important papers or forms, etc.

6. This is actually a small cosmetic bag that I had gotten from Target a few years ago and I love it. It's perfect for holding all of the small essentials that I might need: pencil, pen, extra business cards, post-it notes, gum. It's perfect.

7. Masking tape has been floating in the bag because I found sometimes I want to see how big or small a piece of furniture or layout might look without actually having the pieces in the room yet.

And then there are several extra pockets on the sides and on either end of the bag. I throw keys, my wallet, my cell phone - all kinds of stuff in these pockets.

And these weren't actually in my bag, but I also throw in my laptop too and it still holds everything!


The laptop is the pinstripe case on the bottom, and the case above that is the iPad. I don't use the iPad at all really for design work - I'm attached to and love the laptop. I had gotten both of these cases from Etsy seller Bertie's Closet. They are nicely padded and she has a wide variety of patterns to choose from. I went neutral on both cases because I knew both me and my husband would be using them. He mostly uses the iPad.

So that's what's in my bag these days, I'd love to hear any types of bags or essentials that you like to have with you at all times. And doesn't need to be a bag for design - any type of work bag. Do tell!

Thanks so much for all of your well wishes on our big news. It's a very exciting time for us and I look forward to keeping you posted on everything. I will tell you one thing - we agree on our boy name but cannot agree really on a girl name at all - but plenty of time :)

We're also celebrating our 4 year anniversary tomorrow by touring The Barnes Foundation (EEEEK!!). If you're not familiar with The Barnes, please do take a look at the website and see why I'm very excited. And then we're going to a nice dinner afterward and enjoying each other and the city. I'll try to post some photos on Instagram (you can follow me at Hollygruszka on Instagram). I need to figure out my outfit stat!

**Oh and I was not compensated at all by Thirty-One or any of the other vendors listed in this post - just love the products and wanted to share.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

We're Expanding!

Our little family is expanding in 2013! As well as my belly I suppose...



I had created this artwork above for Sheila's nursery before she was born. We were team green for Sheila's arrival and will be the same for the second child. My due date is July 1st which right now doesn't seem that far away but I know I've got plenty of time before the big day (whatever day it might be - Sheila was 6 days late).

Overall I'm feeling really great, but I have to admit that part of my blog silence was due to extreme exhaustion in the beginning and a lack of energy. But once I hit that second trimester I was feeling so much more energetic. 

We've got lots to think about in the next couple of months and I'll keep you updated on nursery updates as much as I can. Since my goal with this blog is to be interior design focused, I probably won't share a ton of pregnancy type info but maybe a post here or there if I think it might help someone else or if I need help - ha! My mind is all over the place though so bear with me if my posts seem a bit sporadic in the next few weeks.

Thank you as always for your continued support!