Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Taken any leaps lately? Perhaps today is the day?





here via here



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Contrast back

Have you noticed the interesting trend towards patchwork these days?  It feels like I'm seeing a lot of upholstery where every little part is a different fabric or color.  Bohemian, I suppose, but a little much for my taste.

But two fabrics on one piece?  That can be perfection.  Looking around for some inspiration images for a client, I notice that Katie Ridder is the master of the two-tone dining chair.  Check it out:

A detail of the contrast welt (you know I will never argue with raspberry, cobalt, and chartreuse.  No, not ever.)

 And this pair is fun--same room, different styling.  Even the lighting makes a difference, with the top image looking much more contrasty.

What do you think?  Would you pair a contrast fabric on the back of your dining chairs?


Monday, February 27, 2012

I feel like Emily Von Henderson

Because we just got a pair of these vintage Dunbar chairs (from craigslist!) back from the upholsterer

And now they look like this

(Emily Henderson is excellent at finding cool old furniture and updating it with pretty grey fabric.)  

This fabric is SO pretty--grey with flecks of teal and rust, and a hint of shimmer.  Love the way the cooler color makes the wood base pop.  While I do believe golden corduroy upholstery has its place, this silvery re-do is oh so sophisticated.

(Can I also mention how ashamed I am that my client's photo, the top one, taken with her iphone, is SO much better than my photography, and I was using a Nikon D70?  Yeah.)

And hey, new followers, welcome!  I'm so glad you're here.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Small Measures: chalkboard wallpaper

Chalkboard paint in an unexpected room. Simple patterns, like wallpaper. The freedom to change it up. Brilliant.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Vintage Shopping Tip

I wrote a long post a long time ago chock full of tips on vintage shopping, which you can check out here if you are so inclined.

I have something to add, especially for online and long distance shopping.  Ready?


It seems obvious, and yet sellers make it real hard.  Have you noticed how often craigslist sellers fail to include measurements in their descriptions?  Vintage sellers, you know what would be an awesome added bonus (in addition to listing measurements)?  Photographing your items in context of other items that can give a sense of scale.

To wit.

I recently found this amazing set of 8 vintage '70s Danish dining chairs for a client.

Love at first sight.

But guess what?  No measurements.  And when we got them from the seller, it turned out these gorgeous chairs are practically child-sized.  If they had been photographed with a dining table, we would have known from the get-go that they are barely the height of a table.  And the seats are only 2 inches wider than a set of child chairs I have from Ikea.

I'm curious: have you ever purchased something from photos and been surprised by the scale when it arrives?  It can happen!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Genius product!

Want the elegance of cloth napkins with the convenience of paper?

Look no further.

I had a little happy hour at the fabulous downtown pad of a new friend last night, and he introduced me to these ingenious rolls of reusable cocktail napkins.

They're perforated, so they roll out and tear off just like a paper towel, but they have all the panache of linen.  I will add to my little user review that they feel great and have a nice hand to them.

At $25 for a roll of 50, that's just 50 cents a square.

My friend (an artist) got them from the Walker Art Center's gift shop, so this is also a great moment to make a little plug for your neighborhood museum store.  I'm lucky to live in a city with several world-class art institutions, but I've noticed that even much smaller museums (like the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, where we used to go as part of our farmer's market outings) have excellent and unique offerings.  Plus your purchases support the arts.  Win/win, I say.

Go forth and buy arty stuff in a house of art near you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Creative Photo Display from a surprising source

I'm a huge fan of the extensive gallery wall for family photos (among other things).  I know, big surprise.  I did it here and here and here and here.  And here.  I have my methods, but it is interesting to see the kits popping up around the big box shops.

Well, Urban Outfitters is getting in on the action.  They offer this gallery wall collection of 10 frames for just $39. (Also comes in gold(!) or white.)

But they also offer a ton of other options.  These are pretty casual for me, but super fun, very inexpensive, and feel like they fit right in to that sort of "undecorated" vibe that's big these days.

Picture Window, 2 for $25

Cable Photo Holder, $8 or 2 for $10

Mobile Spider Frame, sale $10 (regular $12)

Picture Window Wide, $15 or 2 for $25

Fun, right?  Where would you use one of these?  would you group the photos by theme?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tag, you're it!

There's a little game going around blogland right now.  

Project: about me.  

A way for bloggers to interview other bloggers, crossed with a chain letter.  Fun, right?  I was tagged by Inspire me Heather, who tagged eleven bloggers named Heather.  Clever!

1. You must post the rules!
2. Answer the 11 questions the tagger posted for you , and then create 
11 new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

Why did you start your blog?
Long before I had this design blog, I had a mom blog.  We lived in New York at the time, far from most of our family and old friends, and the blog was a way to gather photos and baby updates in one place.  When we moved into our current house in Minneapolis, I was posting a ton of decorating content instead of kid updates, and when I mentioned the idea of a design blog, one reader said "but isn't your blog already a design blog?"  It was obviously time to separate the content.  I wrote down my ideas, and seeing I had enough content for my first month's worth of daily posts, I made the plunge.

What has been your most popular post?
My Reader Design Dilemmas have been the most popular, with What do Do with a Brick Planter (that you don't want to remove) topping out the numbers for page views.  Funny--lots of people must have these in their homes?  

You can see the whole series here. (Send me your dilemmas!  I love tackling them).

What would be the best piece of advice on blogging you could give?
Manage expectations.  Do your best to keep to a schedule, but give yourself a break, too, just communicate it in advance.  If you begin to resent your blog, your readers will feel it and stop reading.

What was the best piece of advice on blogging you have received?
Do you blog in the morning, in the afternoon, or at night?
The best writing advice I've been given also applies to blogs: write what you know (and love.)

I usually write posts at night and schedule them for the following morning.  But I try to plan out about a week in advance to be sure each week has a good balance of inspiration, DIY, specific ideas, and shared resources.  This feels a bit like lifting the curtain: I've had so many readers tell me they're impressed that I'm already done blogging at breakfast!

What is your favorite blog to read?
Little Green Notebook is really the blog that brought me into this whole world of design bloggers, and it is still one of my first stops each day.  I love the mix of personal projects, genius DIY, great resources, and a bit of Jenny herself.  It's a mix I strive for (though I'm no Jenny Komenda where DIY is concerned!)  I also love Sherry Hart's Design Indulgence for her ever-amusing take on the world of design.

If your blog design could look like someone elses, who's would it look like?
I wouldn't want my blog design to look like someones else's--I want it to look like me!  That said, I find that I really love a clean and simple design with room for really big pictures.  Sketch42 Blog, Door 16, Manhattan Nest, The Brick House, Bright Bazaar, Small Shop Studio, Mimi + Meg....these guys all do this really really well, and it allows their content to shine.  I'm not really a minimalist, though, and in the details, the blog I find myself most tempted to copy is Design*sponge.  Those velvet ribbons?  Perfection. 

How would you describe your decor style?
Global eclectic on a traditional backbone.  Check out my About Me page on my website  for the list of design elements that make my heart go pitter pat. Or my pinterest page--the Dream Home board has some favorites.  (And go ahead and follow me while you'e there!)

What decor trend are you just not liking and why?
Generally speaking, I see a lot of spaces these days that all look the same.  Let your personality shine, people!

To choose one specific trend that I just don't get?  How about The Union Jack in decor.  Unless you are British or of British Heritage, or using it in a themed space, it makes no sense to me.  It's a symbol divorced from meaning.

What is your next DIY project?
Stripes in my girls' bathroom.  I painted test swatches ages ago, but painting in the winter in Minnesota is tricky--you don't really want the windows open--so it may wait until spring!  Here are the sample boards taped up for perusal.  And my post about stripe styles.

What was your favorite DIY project?
It's hard to choose!  I generally DIY because I want a certain look but can't really afford it.  In general, I want my projects to look like I did not do it myself at all.  I'm proud of spaces like my guest room, where I did all the work but (I hope) you would never guess.  Curtains, paint, headboard, pink pillows, and wall sconces, all by me.

Whew.  That was a lot of information about myself.

Now it's my turn.  

I'm tagging eleven of my regular reads.  These are all ladies whose daily musings I follow, and now I get to learn a bit more about them.

And here are my 11 questions (A twist on many classics):

1.  Do you blog for business or pleasure?  Tell us more.

2. What's your favorite post (on your own blog), and why?

3.  You're stranded on a desert island.  What five items washed ashore with you to decorate your newfound home?

4.  If your blog had a soundtrack, what would it be?

5.  If you could have dinner with any designer or blogger (living or dead), who would it be?

6.  What is the first major design decision you made?  (Mine: orange walls, age 5.  Thanks mom!)

7.  What is the craziest color you ever painted anything?

8.   Do you remember paint color (or nail polish, lipstick, etc.) names?  Share one off the top of your head, and what kind of color it was.  Or let us guess.

9. What is your biggest design or DIY fail?

10.  What is the coolest opportunity that has come your way because of your blog?

11.  If you were invited to write a decorating book, what would it include and/or what would the title be?

Okay, hope this is fun ladies.
Let's all check out these lovely blogs!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sometimes my job is crazy

Yesterday, I hung a giant taxidermy marlin in a dining room.

And it is awesome.

I was working with a friend/client to put some of the finishing touches on her home (following a drawn-out renovation), and as we gathered artwork from around the house, there it was, an 8-foot fish, hanging from a bunch of chains in the basement.  (Chains as mounting mechanism = men are weird sometimes.)  My client's husband caught it deep sea fishing on a trip to Mexico, and the pre-set deal had been that any catch over 8 feet could come home with them.  (of course, when this deal was made the assumption was that there would NOT be a catch of that size.)

The only wall in the whole house that was really big enough to handle this guy was in the dining room.  With a somewhat open floor plan, you see him from the entryway, the living room, the kitchen, the mudroom--and, of course, from the dining room table.

I'm so curious to hear from my client how her husband reacted when he came home.

And of course, in the marlin's honor, some favorite interiors that manage to incorporate a giant fish, chic as can be.

This is the room I was picturing in my head all day:

From Domino.  So snazzy on a simple white fireplace with some broken-in leather.
And then there are these:


Fun-loving Style
Coastal Living

Poolside Paradise
Coastal Living

My Home Ideas

Coastal Living

Apparently, these things work in all styles and in all rooms, including--ahem--the bathroom.  How's that for a showermate?

via LA Times

And finally, if the real thing is just not for you, how about this?

white marlin sculpture in nautical dining room

That's right, a marlin sculpture, in glam white, on a yacht, thanks to Kelly Wearstler.

What do you think: would you hang a giant fish in your home?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lucy's Room

I mentioned last week that my best friend in NY just had her second child, a little girl.  For months and months, I have been almost grabbing a memo for this gorgeous linen fabric with velvety dots (kind of like pom-poms sliced in half).  Well, I finally get to work it into her room, as a crib skirt.

Lucy Look 1

Walls will likely be Benjamin moore "Peace and Happiness."

(Yes, I'm on of those people who is influenced by the name when picking my nail polish).  But really, what could be better for your baby's room?

Some details will surely change, but can't wait for it to come together.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A little love


Happy Valentine's Day!  Lots of love (and pillows.)  
Sources Here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

New(ish) product

Kind of loving the Genevieve Gorder rugs.  Have you seen them?  Especially perfect with kids rooms on the brain.  Not that you couldn't use these in grown up spaces, too.

Kind of loving that green and white number in the third row down.

What do you think?  Are you more (or less) likely to go for one of these because they have Genevieve's name on them?  Or are you more like, Genevieve Gorder, who is THAT?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Small Measures: bisected door

In an otherwise minimalist home, even a straight-up paint job on a single door would offer a jolt.  Color block on the diagonal?  Electrifying.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Online design boards

Did I forget to show you this?

I think I may have.

A client in New Jersey had the foundation pieces for her living room--a great couch, chair, and ottoman from Crate and Barrel, a transitional Pottery Barn rug--and needed help pulling together the rest.  I find it sort of restful to do eclectic traditional, and had fun pulling together two looks for her.  Both offer more seating, new occasional and coffee tables, additional lighting, and the warmth/softness of drapery panels and soft goods.

Look 1:

Lisa Living Room look 2 variation

Look 2:

Lisa Living Room
And the tweaked final version:

Lisa Living Room
I have to say, I love the mix!

Happy Weekend, everyone.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Have you seen this?

Editor's note: I should clarify: This is NOT my content.  This is an excerpt from a tumblr started by someone else.  My sense is that the "f---" is an insult in some cases, and sort of a jealous comment in others, and in both cases is the personal opinion of the person behind the site.  While I can see it being problematic to use actual people's photos (just not nice), at the same time it seems like a tongue in cheek way to express a feeling towards trends.  But I'm curious what you all think!

Have you seen this tumblr?

An example:

Fuck your thing that says EAT in your kitchen.
Fuck your thing that says EAT in your kitchen

Fuck your ornamental vintage typewriter.
Fuck your ornamental vintage typewriter

As readers (and writers) or design blogs, I ask you: offended?  Or amused?

I'm amused.  Here, I'll add on of my own.

Fuck your bunting.

There. that kind of felt good.

There are definitely trends I don't get out there, and I don't always feel at ease mentioning them.  This tumblr--so simple--is a brilliant way to take them on.

Is there a big trend out there that makes your eyes roll?

Do tell.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fun Finds

I made a mad dash through Target yesterday and spotted some good finds.
You know that one aisle of home goods that is separate from the rest of 'em, in order to be on the big side aisle?  (Have you notice this?  Am I the only one who thinks about the layout of the store and random merchandising?)  Anyway, THAT aisle often has the best stuff.

Right about now:

Cute, small scale embroidered poufs.

Throw pillows: large-scale zig zag (in pale blue as well) and yellow felted flower.

Great aqua lamps (Both West Elm and Ballard Designs are making a big deal about aqua right now), striped and yellow trellis print lamp shades

West Elm style (via Serena and Lily style) african-inspired baskets

Trendy foo dogs in trendy grey

Excellent color block vases.  (I would buy these if they were a little more raspberry or rust.)

I love hitting even the big box stores for clients--even when rushing through, I see things differently.

Any great finds lately?


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