Tuesday, May 31, 2011

House Tour: Kitchen

I thought it was about time for me to show some photos of my house on my blog.  I know when I visit other blogs, after I've checked out a few posts and am still interested in seeing more, I next search for house photos.  Do you think that's nosy or voyeuristic?  Eh, I think it's important for people who blog about home design to share what their own homes look like.  After all, you wouldn't trust someone's fashion advice if that person looked like a frumpy slob, would you?

First up is my kitchen.  The photos are a mix of current and when we first moved into the house.  I haven't exactly done any redecorating in here in the three years since we built the house -- no need to.  Oh, and I'm not the best photo stylist, so you won't see carefully put-together vignettes and lots of fresh flowers.  This is just what my kitchen looks like every day.  Well, every day that it's cleaned up, anyway!

Left side of the kitchen
Right side of the kitchen
I love my super-deep, single-bowl undermount sink!

The utensil crock keeps things close at hand during cooking and baking

Bermioli Rocco Fido glass canning jars used as canisters for baking ingredients

1920s-style cupboard latches

When the cake stand isn't holding a delectable treat, it becomes a decorative object on the counter
Up-close drawer and cabinet shot
I think it's important for the fixed features of a house to be appropriate to the house's style.  We designed our kitchen to look like it came from a Craftsman bungalow from the 1920s era, which is the style of our house.  Everything from the shaker-style, inset door cabinets to the cabinet hardware, subway tiles, lighting and countertops are inspired by bungalows from the 1920s.  Of course, we worked in the modern conveniences that allow us to do the cooking and baking that we enjoy, too.

Sources and Info:
I hope you enjoyed the first stop on my house tour.  More to come soon!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fun finds: Eduardo Garza on Gilt Groupe

Today's fun finds are from Gilt Groupe, one of the many flash sale sites out there on the web.  (More on those at the end of the post.)  One of the today's featured Gilt sales is from artist Eduardo Garza.  He takes natural items and maxes them very luxe!

Giant Cup Coral on 23 Karat Gold - Reg. $2,900, Gilt Price $1,740

Yeah, that's not $29.00 and $17.40.  That's $2,900 and $1,740!  I've got a couple pieces on order, but I couldn't afford any more than that.  Just kidding.  (I mean about having a couple on order, not about "I couldn't afford any more than that.")

Garza has been recognized in many shelter magazines like Elle Decor, House Beautiful and Vogue Living.  After all, most shelter mags are not necessarily meant to provide all of us with lists of products we could run out and purchase for our own homes, but to inspire us with elegant spaces infused with alluring elements.

Garza usually sells exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman and on his website, but today a select few of his products are featured by Gilt Groupe for 60% off.  What a sale!  (I'm being facetious, because 60% off really is a great deal, but there still aren't many of us who can afford to spend that much on a home accessory.)

Blue Coral on 24 Karat Gold - Reg. $1,600, Gilt Price $960
Coral Sculpture - Reg. $1,100, Gilt Price $640
Amethyst Ring and White Gold Leaf Mounted on Hand Made White Gold Gilt Base - $2,400

Rose Quartz Bookends on Hand Made 24kt Gilt Base - $2,400

Large Malachite Drawer Pull Dipped in 24kt Gold or Nickel - $875

Eduardo's pieces are are unattainable by 99% of the population, but it's marvelous to be inspired by magnificence nonetheless!  I've always been a fan of coral, geodes and other natural objects, so I'm drooling right now.  Alas, I'll have to live with my "normal people" coral purchased from shops like Z Gallerie, Home Goods, Pottery Barn and Kohl's instead.  But mine's not sitting on a base of 24 Karat gold.  How embarrasing.  ;)

By the way, if you're interested in checking out Gilt Groupe, they have designer home decor items for up to 70% off.  Some of it is still tres-expensivo, like the accessories above, but sometimes you can find a great deal on something you need or want!  Gilt has everything from clothing to shoes to rugs to cookware to artwork to vacation deals.  Most merchandise is new, but sometimes they have vintage or antique pieces as well.  Gilt sends you an email each day listing what the sale categories are for the day, and the daily sales start at 12pm EST.  Quantities are limited, so the most popular and/or best priced stuff goes very quickly.  To sign up, use this link. 

There are a bunch of other daily flash sale sites too.  Some focus on clothes and wearable items exclusively or home furnishings exclusively, and some have a mix of both, and even throw in pet accessories or edible treats.  Here are links to invites for each site that I use:
The Foundary - mostly home items
One Kings Lane - mostly home items
Ideeli - mostly clothing, shoes and accessories
Rue La La - mostly clothing, shoes and accessories
Joss & Main - mix of everything
Haute Look - mix of everything

Please let me know if you sign up for any of these, and especially if you end up buying something!  I'd love to know about a great deal!  (By the way, I'll get a credit if you purchase an item from some of the sites, but that's not why I'm sharing the invites.  I was happy to hear about them from another blog a few months ago, and I want to share the wealth with you!)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Creative and chic IKEA hacks

IKEA is known for their inexpensive, assembly-required home furnishings.  You can use their products as-is, of course, but many people who are much more creative than me have come up with awesome ways to transform the simple IKEA merchandise into something amazing.  It's called an  IKEA "hack."  There's even a website dedicated to the results. 

Here's my favorite non-decor hack -- a hamster cage made from an IKEA Expedit bookcase.  What a lucky hamster!

But back to decorating.  We all have those products that we crush on but know we'll never be able to afford.  Jenny at Little Green Notebook thinks the iconic and very expensive (think thousands of dollars) Sputnik chandelier is quite dreamy.

She knew an actual vintage Sputnik wasn't in the cards, so she came up with her own idea.  Enter the IKEA Maskros Pendant Lamp.

The Maskros is made up of many spokes, and many paper flowers that attach to the end of the spokes.  Jenny cut down the diameter of each flower, and painted them gold.  She then glued a little plastic bowl to the outer side of each flower.  She also painted the rest of the Maskros parts gold.

When it was finished, her creation looked like this:

Amazing and so chic!  Check out the rest of the pics and the step-by-step process at the Little Green Notebook, which is one of my favorite blogs.

Our next hack comes from Cristi at Charm Home.  She wanted a graphic rug for her son's nursery but after just going through a house move (while 8 months pregnant, no less), she realized her dream rug was not going to fit into the budget.  Instead, she bought the plain, flat-weave IKEA Erslev Rug for only $40, and some contact paper (the kind you line drawers with).  She cut a repeated pattern into the contact paper and stuck it in rows to the rug to use as a stencil.  Here it is mid-process.

And here's the nursery with the completed rug:

Visit Charm Home for more photos and DIY instructions.  Cristi is a talented designer, and her blog always inspires me.

My last hack example comes from across the pond, via Signed by Tina.  By the way, be sure to visit her site and check out her home tour.  Her black/white/gray/silver color scheme is very glam!  (FYI -- Tina is Swedish, I believe, but she has a translator tool on the right-hand column so that people all over the world can read her posts.)

Tina used IKEA's Besta cabinets in a glossy white finish.  After lightly tracing a pattern on the doors of her cabinet, she nailed upholstery tacks into the doors to create these glamorous pieces for her living room and bathroom.

I am in love with nailheads, so I am so impressed!  Someday I will come up with my own nailhead hack.  In the mean time, here's Tina's tutorial.

What do you think of all these ingenius designs?  Impressed?  If you've got your own ideas, do share!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hanging a Full-Length Mirror in the Bathroom

I've been needing to hang a full-length mirror in our bathroom/closet area for the three years that we've lived here.  Can you see the problem with leaning the mirror in front of these shelves at Jason's end of the closet?  Yep, there always seemed to be a pair of his jeans hanging down in the way of me seeing whether or not I looked presentable.

It should have been a quick, simple process to hang the mirror somewhere else, but there were some obstacles:

1.  There were no empty walls in the closet on which to hang the mirror, and the closet has a pocket door, so the mirror couldn't be mounted there.  I also didn't want the mirror on a visible wall in the bathroom.
2.  The back of the bathroom door would be a good location as far as the mirror being hidden, but the door panel isn't flat and therefore we couldn't use the normal mirror hanging hardware.
3.  I procrastinate when the solution is not simple.

I looooove the doors in our house.  We built a custom Craftsman bungalow home, and I insisted on having authentic, solid-wood doors like Craftsman homes built in the 1920s would have.  Our builder didn't even know where to find them, but I tracked them down online and special ordered them from a small company several hours away.  He was worried because he didn't know anything about the company's quality, and apparently door hanging can be tricky business.  But the doors wowed him on the construction front, and wowed me on the design front.

The only negative about the doors?  The three recessed panels (1 square on top and two vertical rectangles on bottom) are where mirror hanging hardware should go.  Not only would a nail punch through to the other side of the door, but the mirror would only touch the door in the recesses.

Finally I read last week about someone using the 3M mounting strips to hang artwork in her house, rather than nails, and I had a eureka moment.  As long as I could mount the strips down the middle and across, the rest of the mirror could hang free.  It was a little risky because the mounting strips would not be spread all around the back of the mirror, but I decided to do it.

I also used a different mirror, one that's beveled and without a frame, because it looks better than the one with the unfinished cheapy-looking frame.  (Not that everyone is peeking at the mirror on the back side of the mirror in my master bathroom.  But when I actually get around to doing something, I like to do it right.  Well, except cleaning the handprints and streaks off the mirror before taking a photo.  Oops.)

Okay, this may be the lamest blog post ever.  But I was excited to finally have this project off my list after three years, and I'm even happier about finally being able to return 5 different sets of hanging hardware that I didn't think would work but kept around, lying out in my bedroom, as a reminder to figure out what to do about hanging the mirror.

So there.  I accomplished something.  Yay me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The best HGTV show you may not be watching: Secrets From a Stylist

Have you been watching Secrets From a Stylist on HGTV?  I don't know how I missed the premiere in late August, but I've been catching up lately.  It's my new favorite HGTV show.

HGTV Design Star fans should remember Emily Henderson, the winner of season 5.  She was the almost-annoyingly perky one who had a unique vintage boho-chic style of dressing.  I thought her design sense wasn't too bad in general, but wasn't so sure about her hosting abilities.  She landed in the bottom two after the first challenge, but bounced back and ended up winning the show with her eclectic design showcased in the final challenge.

Emily's background is in professional prop styling for magazines and catalogs.   On Secrets From a Stylist she artfully combines two design styles into one look that the homeowners will love.  At the beginning of the show, she conducts a "style diagnostic" with the couple to find out what each of their preferred design styles are.  Emily then comes up with quirky names for each style, such as "Mad Men Chic" or "Modern Artsy Nouveau."

Here's the "before" photo from my favorite episode:

The next step is to build layer 1, which is the first of the two styles, in the room.  When layer 1 is complete, one spouse may be very happy or they might both be a little put-off.  The first layer for this home was referred to as "Mad Men Chic," which was based on the husband, who preferred masculine, but stylish mid-century furnishings.

The second layer was to bring the wife's style in.  She's an artist, and preferred a more bohemian look.  Their combined style was called "Mad Men Bohemian."  There are still a lot of basic modern pieces, with some artsy accents layered in, as well as the wallpapered accent wall.

view from the back of the room

view from the front of the room

I loved this space.  Perhaps all the blue tones had something to do with it.  I am a lover of almost all shades of blue, as is Emily Henderson, so maybe that's why I like her show so much.

Here's another before.  It's not horrible, but it's not pulled-together.

Now for layer 1, called "modern artsy nouveau," which is the wife's style.  It was waaay girly.  Not only was there a lot of pink, but the seating had feminine lines as did the tables.

For layer 2, Emily added in the husband's style which she labeled "single malt minimalism."  Their blended style is called "single malt nouveau."  You can see that both feminine and masculine touches were included.

Here are some styling tips from Emily:

  • Group items in odd numbers, preferably in threes.  If you have three items, overlap one in front of the other to create depth, then set the third to the side on its own.  The third item should be of substantial size.  Together, the three items should look asymmetrical but balanced.
  • You can combine very different pieces as long as they have something in common, like the color, shape or pattern.
  • It's okay to mix gold and silver in a room, as long as you have an equal amount of each.  For instance, don't have a room full of brass and then only one chrome piece, because the chrome then looks like a mistake.
  • Coffee tables should generally be about 2/3 the length of the sofa.
  • Combine masculine and femine to balance out a room.  Squared-off lines are more masculine, whereas curved lines are more feminine.  She also suggested that it's a good idea to purchase masculine furniture and use feminine accessories.
  • In general, styling is all about balance.  Be sure to mix gloss with texture, hard with soft, dark with light.

from Emily Henderson's portfolio
 The first season of Secrets From a Stylist is now over, but you can catch up with past episodes on HGTV, usually shown on Wedesdays at 1:00pm and Saturdays at 3:30pm.

Here's a link to Emily's 10 secrets for shopping at antique malls, flea markets and thrift stores, to help you create a "vintage collected look, without all the junk."  The looks on the show include both new items as well as used items that she has found.

Another Secrets From a Stylist after, labeled "Modern Urban Beach"

You can catch Emily at her blog titled Style by Emily Henderson.  I've enjoyed reading her behind-the-scenes comments about each Secrets From a Stylist episode.

If you're a Secrets From a Stylist fan, let me know.  If you watched the show but didn't like it, I'm curious what you thought about it too.

Oh, and season six of HGTV Design Star premieres July 11.  Genevieve, Candice and Vern return as judges.  Unfortunately Clive is not coming back as host (I missed him last year -- didn't you?).  The new host is Tanika Ray, who is also the host of the new show HGTV'd, which debuts June 6.  (FYI -- Emily will be one of the designers on HGTV'd.)  And David Bromstad, the first Design Star, will be a mentor to the contestants.

Note:  I have not been paid for these HGTV endorsements.  (I wish!!)  Just wanted to share my new HGTV inspiration show.  Move over, Candice Olson! 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bedroom update: Replacing the furniture "suite"

One thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that those in the decorating “know” frown on matching furniture sets.  Well, I wish they would have told me that when I was a little younger!

We were so proud of our brand-spankin’-new bedroom suite when we bought our first house.  After all, we spent a chunk of change on it, even by our current standards, 13 years later.  Now, we're trying to replace each of the matchy-matchy pieces one by one, by purchasing vintage finds.  I guess it's our rite of passage into official adulthood.  Back then I thought most vintage or antique items were musty and dated-looking.  And I certainly would not have known how to transform older pieces that were in need of some TLC into something I would appreciate.

The first piece of the old bedroom suite that got replaced was our old bed frame.  Here's the old one, in a photo from just after we moved into our newly built house.

My cats Noodles and Domino modeling our old bed - January 2008 just after we moved into our newly built house

And here's our new upholstered headboard and bed frame, as I showed you three weeks ago in this post and also this one.  I really need to take a better photo, but that requires actually making my bed, plus putting away all the stuff that has accumulated on our nightstands.  Maybe next week.  (Did you catch my procrastination there?)

Our new bed, as it looks when it's actually made and the decorative pillows aren't in a pile in the corner of our room

Oops.  I also still owe a play-by-play on putting up the set of 6 mirrors above the bed.  Again, procrastinating.  I haven't even wiped all the fingerprints off them yet!

Next out the door will be our dresser.  It has served us well, but it's time for our bedroom to evolve.  Here's the current dresser, which seems to be a glorified TV stand.  (Boy would The Mr. like to replace that tube TV with a flat-screen.  I've given him the okay, but he's just too tight with our money.  Thank goodness somebody is.)

And here's the new (to us) dresser I purchased off Craigslist that I'm in the middle of transforming.  It's been in our garage since last fall and I finally got the courage to work on it last week.  The process is taking a little longer than I expected (because I'm a novice ... and a procrastinator), but I hope to show it off here next week.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fun finds: HomeGoods

This week I finally made it over to the brand new HomeGoods in our area, three weeks after the grand opening. I had been dying to get there, but it's not exactly on my regular route, and I just hadn't made the special trip.  There was a HomeGoods store in Cincinnati near where I went to college (Xavier University, if you're curious), but it took almost 20 years to get one here.  For a mid-size city, Louisville seems to be the last to get decent national chain stores.  Should I start a petition for Anthropologie and West Elm?  (Side note:  I am now feeling old.)

Capiz shell round mirror - $49.99
Faux bamboo gold tray tables - $49.99 each
Coral sculptures ... my kryptonite - $29.99

I am stoked about having a HomeGoods near me.  It's a home decor bargain shopper's dream. The only way I could be happier is if it just down the road. But The Mr., as well as our bank account, is lucky that it's a little farther away and not somewhere I pass by without making an intentional stop.

Striped bathroom rug in spa-like colors - $12.99
Cute little saucers and plates - $3.99 and $4.99, respectively
Silver cup that's intended as a bathroom accessory, but would make a great vase for a small flower arrangement, or could be used as a chic pencil cup on a desk - $2.99

Speaking of The Mr., here's his comment to me a couple nights ago: "Our credit card is cutting some time later this week, so if you have any returns, you might want to do them early this week because they might take a couple days to post."  He says this because he knows I always have a plethora of items I bought as a maybe or a I-think-this-will-work-but-need-to-see-it-in-the-space or a just-in-case-I-need-it-for-a-particular-project-because-I-hate-to-stop-in-the-middle-and-buy-more-supplies. Who, me?  Perhaps he knows me VERY well.

Capiz bathroom accessories including this box, which could be used in any room of the house - $14.99
Cheerful pair of modern floral paintings - $49.99
2-Drawer Console - $139.99 (?)

So yesterday morning I rounded up all my returns and the corresponding receipts. There might have been several items that have been sitting around here for several months that either no longer have a receipt or would not be accepted anyway with the receipt because the 30-day or 90-day time limit is up. No worries -- these aren't large items, just small ones like 3M hanging hooks or a duo of eye shadows that I bought when I discovered my favorite color duo is not made any longer. But I digress.
Lots of classic white serving pieces
Reminds me of my sweet Aunt Rhea, in saying and style - $9.99
Lamp with coral motif - $49.99

I planned out my route to do all my returns plus get to the grocery so that I could be home in time to make a nice dinner. It was the perfect excuse to meander over to HomeGoods, seeing as though I'd be half-way there anyway. Of course, I could already predict what The Mr.'s reaction would be if I came home with purchases for the day, instead of just return receipts. I considered putting off the venture until later this week, after the credit card cuts. But I just couldn't help myself. It had already been three weeks since the grand opening and I couldn't hold out any longer.

Jute/sisal (?) framed art - $39.99
Two silver sculptures that reminded me of life at the bottom of the ocean
Tablecloth with classic, yet modern, design - $16.99

So I went. And I was in my happy place. And I might have had a cart so overflowing with framed artwork that I had to peek around said artwork as I was going down aisles and around corners, to make sure I didn't run into anyone/thing. There were so many more things I wanted to buy, but I had to restrain myself and tell myself that when I came back to return something (which I inevitably will do, per my comments above), I could buy something else. And of course I'll be back again after that!

Sailboat painting with colors that I LOVE - $59.99 (first thing in my cart)

There are 4 different versions of this, all of which I picked up for my mom - $12.99 each
Lamp with bluish stripes, that had a subtle coastal feel - $59.99 (I bought this but decided out of spending remorse to return it

I came home with 12 items from my HomeGoods expedition.  Four of them are for my mom.  Surprisingly The Mr. did not freak out about the rest.  I'm pretty sure he has not added up everything yet (either number of items or total cost).  And, as expected, I already have a HomeGoods return pile.  Guess I better take those back ASAP ... before the credit card cuts, ya know?

If you live in the Louisville metro, have you been to the new HomeGoods yet?  If you live outside the area, is there a HomeGoods near you? Oh, and would you sign my petition for an Anthropologie and West Elm in Louisville?  (haha)

Oh, and if you are a HomeGoods shopper, what has been your favorite find there?
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