Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Would this drive you crazy?

We have neighbors that we spend time with due to their proximity and girls the same age as my youngest. They are very nice and like many of us have photos and artwork on most of their walls. On the occasions that  we have done some pet sitting, my husband straightened each and every frame on their main floors. They were all crooked. I suspect he has trouble breathing in a house with so many lop-sided things.
The photo above would make him faint straight away.

I love gallery walls that are floor-to-ceiling, salon style but many people want a more homogenous look to their galleries.

What say you? Can you deal with things in different frames? What if they were haphazard and (gasp) crooked?

Monday, April 29, 2013

House tour-Master bedroom

As promised, I am going to let the world see my bedroom. I think of bedrooms a very private spaces and I rarely go into other adult's bedrooms.
I am going to show what I think is right with it and most of what is wrong with it.

My room is full of sentimental objects and photos. Here you see a wedding photo and some paper flowers my husband made me for Valentine's day. If you have young children you will get a chuckle out of knowing that he got directions from Nina and Star on Sprout.

I am not the type of person that has family photos in "public" areas of my house so the bedroom is the perfect place for baby pictures.

In taking these pictures I realized that I really do want white shams on my Euro square pillows. I just use the pillows for reclining to read or watch TV. My daughter aptly calls them "lay up" pillows. 

I chose to leave in the real stuff like the phone and alarm clock.
My bedroom is heading down matchy-matchy road a little bit. All of the furniture is dark wood but is mainly mismatched vintage and antique pieces.  The colors are pale blue, white and tan

My sheets and pillowcases are white...and always will be. My family thinks its funny that I will not sleep on anything but white sheets and will only use white towels.

Here you can better see the curtains that I had made of white cotton sateen lining material. I really wanted simple fabric as opposed to silk so that my room feels more casual. I will add trim when I find one I like.
The chair belonged to my great, great-grandmother in England and tumbled on down to me. I am not a fan of Victorian furniture but this is one of those things I could not part with for sentimental reasons. The upholstery fabric works nicely with the wall color, SW Wondrous blue.

The white fabric of my curtains is perfect with the changeable wall color. It is a pale blue that leans toward lavender and periwinkle and in some lights looks gray too.
I have yet purchase bamboo shades for the windows but they are a must.

The mahogany highboy was made by my grandfather. 

The flyback chair by the door is one that was never intended to be in this room but my choice of black velvet when I had it recovered is helpful in that it works in most rooms. This is the chair that was piled high with ironing waiting to be done. It feels so much better without all of that clutter.
Now here is a problem area...

I love the chest I bought at auction last year and it holds the device that is crucial for Downton Abbey watching. The problem is that stupid outlet is visible and if I were to slide the chest over the TV would be blocked by  the bedpost.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Happy weekend

I did not mean to bail on blogging this week. Sick kids, sick me and a sweet sixteen birthday hogged my time. It was actually the scrambling to plan the almost four year-old's party that really had me distracted.
She wants a princess party, my husband wants the party at home and I don't want want to run around leading party games for 15 four year-olds for two hours. In a flash of brilliance, I came up with a way to please us all. We have rented a princess castle bounce house which the 16 year-old will monitor and the adults will have copious amounts of food in relative peace. Oh and beer, I forgot beer too.
Mr. Design du Monde is off three Saturdays in a row... unheard of! I feel like normal people.

Have great weekend.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sneak peek for a cloudy day

I was hoping to get the last few shots of my bedroom this morning when the light is best but it is too cloudy and overcast. I snapped a few pictures yesterday and they are not too bad but I know me and I might just do the whole thing over again on a sunnier day.
I guess the entire bedroom post will have to wait for another day but here is a sneak peek.

I am crating and shipping two paintings I showed you here a week or so ago.

 I am actually oddly sad to see them go. I am used to spending more time with a painting before I pack them and send them to far off places.

What are you up to today?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Antiquing on eBay

I don't know what made me think of it, but I looked around and realized that a fair portion of my decor was found on eBay. 

The top five antique prints were from eBay
Almost every room in my house has something from eBay. I was an eBay junkie 15 years ago. I was amazed at how much people would spend to buy collectibles that I had had packed up for years. In turn, I began snapping up interesting Asian antique textiles.
It has been my go to choice for specific antiques ever since.
A few years ago I finally figured out that I could narrow my results by mileage from a zip code. That helped me with my first eBay furniture purchase, the end tables and coffee table in my living room.

I get so excited when I get a real bargain too. This Brunschwig "Le Lac" fabric was an eBay score along with the Brunschwig " Les plaisirs des Indochines" that is on my dining room chairs.
Buying furniture on eBay is not for the faint of heart. I recently bought my desk on eBay and picked it up locally which dodges some of the problems with buying online.
My desk a local eBay purchase

These chairs were an eBay nightmare. They were a little unusual and that is why I liked them but they were upholstered in a red fabric with huge dragonflies. The idea was to have them reupholstered but thanks to Greyhound shipping literally throwing the chairs, I had a bigger problem on my hands.

Luckily, I had just found a furniture repairer that was excellent. I have not had the nerve to try it again.

I have had better luck with antique lighting

and rugs
With the exception of one overseas,unscrupulous art dealer, I have had great luck with buying art on eBay too.

Over the years, eBay has become a safer place to buy but you still need to do your checking into seller ratings and trust your gut.
Do you eBay?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Making my family room suck less

After Monday's post on pillows and my family's comments on our mishmash of furniture, I decided it was time for a new coffee table. Ours was a temporary, who cares table that I was putting up with while my daughter was little and destructive. I figured I could risk it all on this one from CB2. Not pricey and a little bit of style.

The table does not fix all of the problems in the room like the lack of paint and wall-to- wall carpet that I hate but it did remove one of the eyesores. I am seriously on the hunt for the right mid-century dresser/buffet to replace this shameful, Holiday Inn- looking business that holds the TV.

After that it will be some time until the painting gets done and flooring replaced. The ceilings are 18 feet so its no easy task and the open concept floor plan means a lot hardwood has to be installed. sigh...

The silly part was that I spent a whopping two minutes ( Can't you tell?) styling this while my three-year old was asleep. I took alsmost everything off again after this shot and it now looks like this.

Keepin' it real, folks.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

In my dreams...

I have been meaning to show my bedroom here, nothing perfect but I quite like it. I thought a nice, sunny day like today provided the perfect opportunity. I knew there were a few items to pick and tidy but when I looked around it was so much messier than I realized. There were things out of place that had just become invisible to me. Does that happen to you? Do toss a sweater on a chair to be dealt with in a few minutes and a month later realize that its been there since Christmas. You never notice it even though you walk by it at least 10 times a day?
Here are a few spaces that inspired my not-ready-for-primetime-bedroom.

Kelley Proxmire

Suzanne Kasler

It is all about the calming palette for me. I see many bedrooms that are really awesome but, for me, too stimulating. I favor bold colors around my house but I'd be thinking "Damn, that's cute" instead of sleeping in a room like that.
Stay tuned for a peek into my room...after I hang up clothes.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

3 ways to cut down on cleaning time

Like you, I only get 24 hours in a day. Sometimes it is not enough and I feel super stressed about keeping up with household chores. This is not a paid endorsement, just a few products that help me keep my sanity...sort of.
I have 3 full baths and a million kids, OK just 4 out of 5 living here, but only the 3 year-old actually rinses the toothpaste out of the sink. Bathroom yuck happens and fast. I thought this product was stupid when I saw the commercial but my husband mentioned it so I grabbed one in a weak moment.

This Windex Touch-up has been a godsend. I like that I can get mirrors clean and sanitize sinks and other surfaces. The only minus is that it is highly fragranced and I think it is too much.

I am obsessed with having clean floors. You wouldn't know that walking into my house unless you overheard my incredulous grumbles about the incessant dirt that appears in a shoe free house. Even when my floors look clean this thing tells another story.
I have an older model Hoover Floormate and I love it. It is a wet/dry vac and floor scrubber. The best part is that when you scrub (lightly) it sucks up all of that dirty water and partially drys the floor. Its also rather light weight. It beats the hell out of hand scrubbing.

Can I tell you how desperately I rue the day I said, "Stainless is fine" when it would arrive 5 days sooner than the other dishwasher?

I was being my usual cheap self and not buying this Weiman Stainless Steel polish for months and getting annoyed by the unsightly drips and fingerprints down the front of my dishwasher just about every 10 minutes. I broke down and bought it only to find that it also works on my ugly black glass microwave oven combo. 
So much less yuck!
 I hope this leaves you with a few extra minutes for Pinterest, blog stalking or whatever other cool thing strikes your fancy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Using Pinterest to plan decorating projects

Hi friends, I have a guest post today that my kick your Pinterest boards into some organized shape! Its a great tutorial on taking the random images you have and putting them together in clear way to help a designer help you. Oh, and Rob is a hometown boy.  I went to High School in Springfield, Virginia.

For years homeowners have filled 3-ring binders, accordion file boxes and scrapbooks full of ideas collected from the pages of House Beautiful, Better Homes & Gardens and many other home design magazines. Designers – like Select Kitchen & Bath – would then be showered with the resulting mass of glossy photos – one that has the cornice she likes, a half-dozen unique backsplash ideas, a few faucets, layout ideas, a dozen cabinet colors and styles – and be expected to turn the patchwork quilt of ideas into the perfect room for their client. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

Technology has come to the rescue with Pinterest!


If you’re already using Pinterest, you know what a great tool it is for gathering and organizing your ideas. You can set up individual ‘boards’ to collect images to. You can ‘pin’ images from anywhere on the web using the ‘pin it’ browser tool. You can also ‘repin’ images you find on Pinterest itself.

No more ripping out magazine pages and filing them with hopes of remembering in the future which part of the photo caught your attention. Collecting and sorting digital images on Pinterest has taken the gathering of design ideas to the level of near perfection. 

Here are 5 ways to use Pinterest to create the perfect kitchen:

1. Divide and Conquer
Organization is the key to making sense of the kitchen ideas you collect. If you pin everything into one board called ‘kitchen ideas,’ for example, you can easily end up with an overwhelming collection of images that might actually confuse the process more than help. A better approach is to create separate boards for each aspect of your kitchen. You could consider these labels for your group of kitchen boards: countertops, sinks & faucets, appliances, lighting, islands, layout, eating bars, cabinet doors & styles, cabinet storage, pantries, hardware.

2. Search
Spend some time searching Pinterest for images that you like and repinning them to your boards. Pay close attention when you repin to make sure each image gets pinned to the appropriate board. If the image fits more than one category, simple! Just repin the image from one to another. Following our kitchen example, you might begin by simply searching ‘kitchen ideas’ and then become more specific such as a search for kitchen sinks or cabinet lighting to gain ideas for certain boards. Don’t forget to use the ‘pin it’ tool on your web browser for pinning ideas you find outside of Pinterest too.

3. Follow
When you do find an idea you particularly like, you may want to look at the Pinterest account it was originally pinned in for more ideas. If the image comes from a certain designer or brand you like, you may want to ‘follow’ their boards so that new pins from their boards come into your Pinterest feed automatically.

4. Add Notes
As you are pinning and repinning to your different boards, don’t forget to type in descriptions or short notes to remind yourself later what it was you liked about this image. Was it the faucet or the sink? Was it the stain color or the style of the cabinet doors? Having them sorted into different boards will help eliminate most of the confusion, but a little description will define things even more.

5. Create a Master Board
Once you feel you are ready to talk to a designer about putting all these ideas together and creating that perfect room, it’s time to create a new board that will capture only the best of all the images you collected. Go through each board and look through the images. Repin your favorites from each individual board into, for example, your ‘Perfect Kitchen’ board. Once you have that board filled with images from all your other boards, you’re ready to make your appointment with your designer. Take your laptop or iPad with you to provide the visuals from Pinterest as you discuss your ideas with the designer.

Technology has made so many things easier in our lives. When it comes to collecting and sorting home design ideas, Pinterest is the designer’s dream come true.

- Rob, Select Kitchen & Bath

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pillow talk

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. The weather was gorgeous here. My weekend was not bad, just oddly full of encounter's with random screaming crazy people and a very unfriendly dog in the drugstore. Yup, you read that right IN the drugstore. I was not happy about a dog trying to bite my child at the checkout at Walgreen's but I do find strangers screaming at me for no reason kinda funny.
On to the real reason we are here...pillows and fabric.

My pillows made from my Spoonflower fabric arrived last week.

I wasn't feeling just the pink and the black and so I added the pink and orange lumbar pillows from World Market. There are several heavily pink paintings around the room and my Brno chairs are orange velvet but there are also the mainly citrine curtains and the gray sofa.

You can see my" Escher Pagoda" design fabric on the first pillow. It is a 12 x 12 but it was suppossed to be a 16 inch square pillow, so I was a little disappointed.

I am not loving the black and white pillow in my room. I think I should have added a citrine "Escher pagoda". My family hates them all. Hrrumpf. They don't understand the mix of furniture. I think it is time to lose the temporary coffee table and find a better looking piece of furniture for the TV. Notice I am not showing you either. Just feeling a little self-conscious.
I am thinking the color story is a bit disjointed at the moment. Thoughts?

I also received the test swatches of my "Carolina coast" collection of Spoonflower fabrics.
Here are a few quick shots I took. You can see them all here.

As yo can see, the colors are mostly muted blues and beiges.
I often get questions about these fabrics that I thought I would try to answer here.
I own the copyright for the designs but I do not make or stock the fabric. I can't supply swatches but you can get them through Spoonflower. I am working with a person who would like help in reworking the layout of the "Escher pagoda" into a larger print for a headboard. In order to change any qualities of the fabric design on Spoonflower you must get the designer's permission.

Hope your Monday is A-OK !