Thursday, March 31, 2011

Trad love

I'm in love with this library from Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles. It's pure heaven. From the AMAZING light fixture and bookcases to the incredible blue and camel rug. Good rugs are hard to come by and this one literally stopped me in my tracks.

Let's not even discuss the Lucite partners desk - HELLO. And the camel leather chairs. The perfect amount of warmth and masculinity for this room. I could do some damage (by way of Internet shopping) at this desk, and then retire to the zebra egg chair (the chair is not my favorite choice for this room but mama does love her zebra) for a little rest.

Could these architectural bookshelves be styled any better? The color pop is perfect.

And the mirror let's you enjoy the room from any angle. Hopefully you're looking good as well otherwise it's no fun to have to see yourself all day.

Now this is how modern traditional is done. Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Little Facelift

Oh Joan... A Cautionary Tale, but you crack me up on Fashion Police.

Yup, it was that time. I was starting to look a little sad and rough around the edges.

Hope you like the change to the blog and if you also have a second to "like" this little thing on facebook, I would so appreciate it. I'm not in to clogging any newsfeeds, so don't fret.

Here's to Wednesday, let's all take a breath and count down to that evening glass of wine.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good Finds: Merin Designs Totes

I think there are few better ways to describe me than the term "Bag Lady." Sadly it's not because of an impressive collection of fabulous purses, but more so because of the amount of stuff I'm always carrying with me: my purse, a shopping bag filled with newly acquired samples, another bag devoted to a client, another bag for the spill-over that wouldn't fit in the first bag... you get my drift.

Two things have recently improved my situation: My girlfriend, Kea, who made a great bag through her company Merin Designs. And a wonderful client who so generously gave me one of the bags for Christmas (I think, because I clearly always had so much stuff with me).

They are awesome-- HUGE with capital letters, but filled with just right pockets to keep everything organized. It is a bag designed by a mom, for moms, but the difference is that it makes it possible to not feel like you cashed in your style chips just because you have lot of stuff to haul.

Another bonus, the bottom is waterproof -- "Keep your bottom dry" is her slogan and it really does, so come summer it does double-duty at the pool and in every other season, it stays dry in parking lots while you fumble with groceries or corral kids. Medium sizes are also now available, as well as the cutest little Mini Merin. AND, you can visit them on Facebook for news about fun events and promotions :)

Featured in our local magazine 425 as an A-list item to have

One of 5 styles, all named after Seattle neighborhoods.

5 current colors

The Mini Merin

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Reluctant DIY-er

A few weeks ago, I mentioned a little painting project I had taken on because I was loving the paint I found. I'm usually pretty reluctant to take on projects where I don't hire out a professional, because I think it's important for clients to get the best product they can when they work with a designer, but in this case, we decided to put in a little elbow-grease and I think it paid off.

When we found these sconces, it was hard to know what exactly the beads were made of -- we were hoping they were wood and were a pretty cream, but we knew that there was a chance that things are never as they seem. And, at the amazing price, there was room for a re-do and it would be worth it to either have the beads re-strung and swapped, or have them painted. Fast-forward a few weeks and the beads turn out to be shiny plastic and very yellow. Not so great against the new white paint and waincotting in my client's house.

We also decided that it was something that could maybe be done without the aid of a pro, so hence, my manicure of silver and bronze that lasted for far longer than I anticipated.

Here is a detail of how the paint looks -- it's a mix of bronze hammered base and a light coat of silver hammered paint. I wanted to make sure the white plastic beads were covered, but I was worried about having TOO much silver -- I didn't want it to look cheap or DIY and it HAD to look like it came that way. So hence the base of bronze and more blue tape than you can imagine in order to get every nook and cranny covered.

We also decided to wrap the plastic candle sleeves. My first thought was to use these awesome Kaarskoker sleeves, but sigh, they are out of the pattern I wanted. So we got creative with faux grasscloth in a dark silver.

Another detail

The finished and installed sconce. I'm pretty pleased.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Revival Home and Garden + Sunset

Leah Ball-Steen at Revival Home and Garden was featured in this month's Sunset magazine! Congratulations to her! I've been waiting for the issue to come out because it's always so exciting when a local gal gets published and she's so darn nice too boot, so I thought I'd share it for anyone who hasn't seen her fun house. You should really read the article, because it's a great example of before and after in our inflated Seattle housing market. Great job, Leah -- so excited for you!

You know I'm a sucker for boxwoods and these make me swoon. Not the mention how they changed the entire look of the house. Leah has southern roots - can you tell?

Such a cute family :)

That's a great nook -- more banquet seating working hard for the money.

This picture looks like it could have been taken somewhere far more civilized than a backyard. I keep expecting a county club waiter to come out with ice teas because it's all so manicured and lovely. What an awesome backyard dining area.

This is her kitchen island, salvaged from a candy-making shop. I think it's gorgeous. And is that a Top Pot Feather Boa donut I spy? Yum!

Every home (or office) needs a bar. I love this chest -- something you would not find just any ol' place.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Her Love Affair with Jewelry

The morning news has been covering the passing of Dame Elizabeth Taylor -- Such a sad loss. What I always remember her for though (amongst her many humanitarian efforts) was her jewelry. I found a few of pieces from her extensive collection that I thought were beautiful. Also, there is a great article from the LA Times on her life as a style icon. Enjoy.

Her Book cover: "My Love Affair with Jewelry"

The 33.19-carat Krupp Diamond (Her ring from Richard Burton)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Life as a Designer is So Glam...

You know when you go to cocktail parties or those little mixers where people play the "And what do you do?" game? Well, it always happens that when I say "Interior Designer" I can practically see the mental imagery of my job in their heads as they imagine it. I think it's great, especially because I know that I chose to do something that a lot of people would dream to do, but more often than not, that mental picture of my job is SO different than what it actually is. Because more often than not, the real job is very different and a lot harder.

I submit, Article 1 into evidence:

And Article 2:

This is a picture I snapped right before I drove across the city (and 3 bridges) in the pouring rain with 4 feet of panel molding sticking out my front passenger window. Do you see that rain too? Hello, Seattle. The best thing about this is that in an effort to be a law-abiding citizen, I flagged the protruding wood with my son's orange football sock. I don't even want to repeat what it looked like, or rather, what my husband said it looked like, before he saw me pull away.

All in the job description, I just wish I could show those cocktail-ers a few pages from my scrapbook, because most would include dusty bags and shoes, hands covered in tile thin-set and bottoms that almost always have a big white ring from having sat in the wrong place on a job site.

Getting dirty is part of the fun, but it probably doesn't do much for my image :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

How 'Bout That Office...

Lonny is out (as if you didn't already know) and I have to put up Kelly Wearstler's office, if for no other reason than sheer awe and good juju. That woman is a force, a pure storm of mogul-power: design, bedding, accessories and now fashion. But her office is major, not like I would have expected less. This is the stuff designer dreams are made of because I think all of us go to bed at night with thoughts of something even an 1/8th (a 1/16th?) of what she has built.

I once read in Town & Country (I think?) what her favorite things were and in addition to glam bags and books, she was asked what she snacked on: "Seaweed and Fresh Fruit."

To this day it is a running joke on the job whenever the phrase "I want to be Kelly Wearstler" is muttered, because the answer is always the same: "We won't be. We will never reach for seaweed and fruit."

But I digress, her office is stellar and confirmed rumor has it she has been working on a large project on Mercer Islaaahhnd (as my brother-in-law pronounces it). Rumor also has it among the crew that she is a peach to work with and yes, I asked... she does bring her own snacks.

Friday, March 11, 2011

And the Award for Most Improved Male Goes to...

This picture is hysterical, they both look so miserable!

I have to share a story of progress this morning because it makes me laugh. I mention my sister on this blog once in a while because we spend many days together working on projects, as she is also a designer and, let's face it, it's way more fun to oogle over a fabric with someone rather than alone. But this morning she comes in to work laughing over a story that makes me want to hand out an award to her boyfriend as a gift for the male gender. Two things earned him this prestige:

1. He came home last night with flowers for her for no reason.

And more importantly:

2. While watching House Hunters (yes, but during the PAC-10 Tournament timeouts), he says "I don't know if I like wood kitchen cabinets anymore. They're just never the right color."

Cue my sister doing a standing ovation on the inside, but trying to keep it together enough not to scare him. I should paint a little more of a picture by saying that this guy is not a metro, artsy type -- he is a basketball playing, stock analyzing, guy's guy.

Who no longer appreciates wood cabinets, because as he says, the color is just never right :)

Update: Thanks to all for the comments! You made us laugh and gave some positive reinforcement to our young student :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Round-Up of Finds

I've been painting some sconces for a client, so as I sit down to get some desk work done my paint-covered hands keep catching my eye. But, it got me thinking that I have run across some great products lately that are worth knowing about and it also gets me thinking that there are some cute little internet finds out there that sure seem worth talking about for spring (if this Seattle rain EVER STOPS!!)

EmersonMade has been all over the bloggosphere lately because of her awesome house. And I'm becoming a fan of her stuff, so effortless and let's face it, she models all her clothing and she looks like a pro doing it -- she is super cute. But this sweater and dahlia combo makes me wish I went to my "ladies who lunch" functions looking like this.

I need to start packing myself a lunch (ugh) because somehow I always find myself inconveniently out and about when I get hungry, and conveniently, right near a Starbucks or fast food place. It's a wonder I haven't keeled over from unhealthy eating lately. If I packed it in a baggu, maybe it would make the sad sandwich inside seem more interesting.

It's currently on my fingernails, but has anyone ever tried this line from Rustoleum? It's in the Universal line and the can sprays like an honest-to-god sprayer with a sqeeze-grip. Plus, I used the hammer finish and it is really cool looking. I'm in shock!

The color for spring they keep saying: nude. So I've got my eye on some little Tory Burch nude flats. I'm not going to be the girl in pumps for day, I've faced that fact, so maybe some of these adorable ballet flats will fit the bill.

My sister was on a road trip this weekend with girlfriends and all of them were raving about "The Beam." She uses a clarisonic, but the girls were saying this little red/blue light machine has been the cure to pesky adult breakouts and also reverses the signs of aging. She volunteers with college-aged girls who were using it for problem areas, but the red light can be used alone to increase collagen and reduces the appearance of wrinkles and redness. I have to say, I'm intrigued... anything to stop that clock!

Lastly, it's random but it makes me happy: iPhone covers on ebay. I took the plunge and invested a whole $1.99 in a matte gold iPhone 4 case in December and it's still going strong. It makes me happy every day and for $1.99 I feel like I cheated the system. AND I can always tell which phone is mine in the sea of smartphones.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Closer Look: Banquette Seating

I've been taking longer looks at banquette seating lately for some projects, so I thought I'd share some of the images I've been percolating on.

I've always loved them and I think they are such a smart solution to so many casual eating areas. All at once they are functional and good looking and what I really love about them is the effortless transition they make from a place where your kid does homework at the kitchen table, to soft, cozy couch-like seating when I finally get to sit down and flip through a magazine with a glass of wine. I have hard chairs around my table and really, I don't want to sit in them. At. All. What I want are some pillows snuggled around me and a place to set my glass and glossy mag!

Another thing I've found is that both houses big and small have a use for banquettes. In small houses, usually the older ones that were built before the "great room" era, there isn't a place to have someone sit and chat with you while cooking. When my husband and I bought our first house in the city, we had a kitchen that was screaming for a banquette, but we weren't there long enough to do it -- it was on the bottom of a long list and then we moved. It was from 1911 and the kitchen was separate from everything else in the back of the house. How nice it would have been to create a little spot for people to hang out with the cook? In big homes, they have the ability to cozy up the joint -- counter-acting the hugeness of all our mega homes by adding in softness and the unexpected.

*All images on Decorpad or otherwise noted in the file name :)
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