Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sun. Burst.

Amber over at Amber Interior Design has a fun blog series called Trends I Aint Mad At.  I put sunbursts squarely in that category.  Yes, they are "trending now," but they are so classic, and for good reason.  They are available in all shapes, sizes, styles, and price points (or you can make your own), work in any room of the house, and bring an often much-needed round shape to a room that can easily get filled with rectangles.



Living Spaces:


House Beautiful


Jamie Meares

Eating spaces:


And entryways!

Design Dump

I rest my case.
All hail the might sunburst!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dunzo. Teeny tiny sunburst mirrors.

I shared a sneak peek of a bedroom lo these many years ago.

Since then, the draperies were installed (dusty lavender silk dupioni!)  and the custom throw pillows were made (Schumacher makes everything better!), but it was still missing just one little thing.

To balance the high ceilings and the wish-it-were-slightly-bigger painting over the bed, I wanted a pair of small gilded sunbursts on either side, but I didn't want to pay a mint.

Ask, and HomeGoods shall deliver.

Someday I will photograph the whole room, with a real camera.

More proof that sunbursts belong anywhere!

Here are a couple of other spaces with tiny sunbursts:

Get your tiny sunbursts here.  Or if you're cheap like me, here.
Don't ask me why they all come in sets of three!

Monday, February 24, 2014

A surprising source is killing it

Do you know Grandin Road?

It's one of those random home catalogs that shows up without you asking and seems to come every other week.  You always page through it, maybe fold down a page or two, but never order a thing.


Check out these little chests (all here)!

Dahlia Chest, $349, also in Indigo

Harper Chest, $379

Kira Chest, $349

Medeira Chest, $399, also comes in bright yellow and kelly green

Marco Chest, $399

Olivia Chest, $699

I'm a big fan of using small-scale bachelor chests in place of nightstands to balance the scale of the bed and add storage to a bedroom.  These could be great options for that use, and are priced like a nightstand.  (Of course, the quality of chests at this price point is in question--don't expect them to last the rest of your life.)

Now...which one should I put in a design board, just for fun?

Friday, February 21, 2014


I always love getting photos from far off friends (or strangers!) who have been inspired in some small way by this here blog.

Amy sent me some progress shots of her basement, where a fireplace went dark and the stairs got some ombre.  (Yes, those links are to the inspiration posts.)

Thanks to the crazy weather of 2013, these guys had a flood in their Colorado basement.  Here's the waterlogged before:

And the lovely after!

Detail of the stairs:

I love how the same technique has such a different feeling in a different context.  This one is so much moodier than the bright and airy inspiration.

Amy is an artist who is always adding her special touch to her home.

Making it ours: isn't that the fun of it?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Know Thyself: Living with kids, pets, and your own personality

One thing that has really struck me the more I work with people on their homes is the idiosynchratic nature of our wants, needs, and pet peeves.  It makes me think about furnishings a little differently:

Will the high back of this sofa keep the boys from jumping over it?
Are the flourishes in this chandelier going to be hard to clean?
Is this coffee table sturdy enough for two children to use it as a stage?
What will happen to this rug when a cat throws up on it?

These questions may not apply to you (lord knows I didn't think about dusting when I bought a chandelier made of 200 paper flowers!), but you surely have your own special needs when it comes to your home.

I was chatting with a showroom rep yesterday, and he told me about a wing chair of his grandmother's that he kept sentimentally and made over in super expensive fabric.  Every time he looks at it, it makes him happy, but he knows some people would look at it and just think about how much they paid for the fabric.

Sometimes, people don't even know what is important to them (or what they don't like) until I show them something that won't work for them, like the client who didn't know she hated white leather until I suggested it for her dining room.   Same goes for price point.  Even if money is no object (ha!), its possible you just can't abide spending that much on that item--custom sheets, high end fabric, what have you.  I can take pets and kids and climate and budget into consideration, but only you can know that you just can't deal with vintage upholstery, or that you are not going to stop eating in front of the TV, so your family room set up better hide crumbs.

I always tell my clients there is nothing wrong with any of these choices.  You run into a problem when you try to pretend, in decorating your home, that you are different than you are.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Spotted: "My" Indian Artwork

Remember when I took a wee step back to re-imagine my dining room?  (The accidental rug arrives this week, by the way, and I am afraid I will hate it.)  The clear favorite of the artwork options in those new dining room boards was a pair of large-scale Indian figures, themselves re-imagined from tiny paintings.

Last week I was looking through some inspiration images with a new client, and I spotted the prints!

Traditional Home, House of Windsor

Layered over my very favorite--leopard print--no less.  And with trimmed out walls.


And who is the genius behind this room?  Peter Dunham, of course, my other style idol (as witnessed here, here, and here!)

At first this made me want the prints more.  But then it made me want them....less?

What do you think?  Are you okay with prints, or do you only want originals around you?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Teenage Dream

I've been working with a client for a while, and often if her teenage daughter is home, we will go chat about her room a bit.  The last time I was there, I suggested that I put together some complete looks for her.  (Teenage girl room = FUN.)

She already has silver walls, a glass bubble light fixture, a simple black dresser, and banded drapes we chose to go with the existing bedding.  She needed a new headboard, side tables and lamps, and we agreed the big pieces should work in a guest room down the road, but the bedding and accessories could be all girl.

My keywords: "fierce" and "badass."  Her inspiration: The Kardashians.

Could you live the fierce life?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Every once in a while, I get the tiniest burst of motivation and I complete a small project around the house.  (I have major bursts of inspiration, it's just the motivation to DO THE WORK that is lacking.)

Loooong ago, I planned to paint pink stripes in my girls' bathroom.

(In hindsight, I'm so glad I chose to photograph that with the toilet seat up.)  I'll tell you what.  When it came down to it I was simply too lazy to measure and tape out all those stripes, and too cheap to pay someone else to do it.

Meanwhile.  Loooong ago I learned the hard way that you can't return opened bedding to Ikea, and planned to make a duvet cover into a pair of bedskirts for my girls.  But you know what?


This weekend I found the path of least resistance when I took the pink and white striped duvet and turned it into a couple of sinks for the girls' bathroom.

I got the stripes in there, I used the fabric, and the project took all of 1/2 an hour.

Lazy AND satisfied.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

Round up: Trunks!

Yesterday I launched a new series, "8 Ways" and showed you 8 different ways to use an old trunk.

Today I wound up some of the best, readily-available trunks on the market.

Rustic, wicker and steamer:

Sources, here.

Cube, Plaid, and Asian-inspired

Sources, here.

Of course, the best trunks are vintage, antique, or one of a kind.  I've spotted plenty of those around lately, too.  Here are three favorites:

(top two: H&B Gallery; bottom, Wabi Sabi Shop)

Are you convinced?

Do you like this new feature?

Happy, happy weekend!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

8 Ways with Trunks

New Feature!

Picture this: you make an impulse purchase at a flea market on something cool you simply can't live without.  Or a relative downsizes and you inherit something ah-mazing.  But: where do you put it?

This new series will offer you inspiration for those one-of-a-kind pieces that may seem better at flashing their personality than serving any real practical purpose.

Without further ado: trunks!  Here's the thing about an old trunk.  While it is full of mystery, it i actually just a good sized, sturdy rectangle, which makes it easy to find its multiple uses.

End of Bed
In my house, we were the lucky recipients of my husband's grandmother's cedar chest.  This piece has floated around a bit until settling into a fairly permanent home at the end of our bed, where it holds infrequently used blankets (and my kids baby quilts), while hosting a collection of design books and warm throws on top.

The great thing about trunks is that they come in every style, which means you can use them in any decor.  Some additional examples at the end of a bed:

Before we leave the bedroom, let's take a look at trunks as nightstands.

Coffee Table
Probably the next most obvious use is as a coffee table.  In fact, I just saw this use in a floor display at Pottery Barn.

Side table
And in a similar vein, smaller trunks make lovely side tables.

Entry bench
With a little cushion on top, trunks can make a great entry bench (how about storing sports equipment or out of season gear inside?)

Or how about using one as a bar?

Okay, that's six.  The great thing about a trunk is that you can always use it as a layering piece.

Layered under a coffee table (or kitchen island)

Layered under a console table

Okay, I may have cheated a little with that last one....but you get the idea.

So tell me: is this too many images?  Or do you like all that inspiration?

I know you're just dying for a trunk now.  In case you don't have one, I'll round some up tomorrow.

See you then,



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