Friday, November 18, 2011

Holiday Dinnerware

I cant help it, each year I have new ideas for a fun and different winter holiday table setting. If it were up to me, I would have hundreds of dinner sets to choose from in my cabinets each year. Unfortunately, the financial ramifications of such a dream are absurd. Not to mention the storage would be impossible! This is what makes our job so wonderful. I can live vicariously through all our clients. We are currently preparing a few different tablescapes and below are some of my favorite holiday dinnerware sets! For those of you like myself who cannot buy new plates each winter, I highly recommend the Anthropologie Monochrome Mosaic Dinnerware. You can use these every year but completely change the look of your table by the accessories you use. From top to bottom: Sacred Bird Dinnerware, Ralph Lauren Kilgour Plates, Monochrome Mosaic Dinnerware, Iittala's Taika featured in My Barn Owl Blog

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book Review: Katie Ridder, Rooms

After having this book in my possession, I can’t imagine that my design library would ever be complete without Katie Ridder’s Rooms, sitting on my shelf.

Since bringing this beauty home I have been engulfed in the design euphoria it provides and finding inspiration on every page. Heather Smith MacIsaac wonderfully explains Katie’s methods and design theories through her writing, and Eric Piasecki’s photographs are just as beautiful as the designs he captures. As you read through you feel like you are in each of these gorgeous rooms and speaking with the talented designer herself.

"Dining rooms typically come to life in the evening, when the lights are low ... During the day, they are rooms we mostly pass by or glimpse from another. For that very reason they can handle color-and lots of it."

"Family rooms should invite gathering and stand up to the accumulations that come with an active life."

Katie Ridder Interior Design and Decoration opened its doors in 1995 and has been creating rooms that are full of color, glamour, and real life ever since. Being a mom of three herself, Katie is focused on making rooms that are practical, sophisticated, and full of life. “No matter how lavish a project, no matter its style and degree of sophistication, it remains accessible, family friendly, absolutely inviting, and subtly practical.”

"Color begets color in Katie's studies and family rooms. For furnishings to hold their own against a backdrop of a strong hue, they must have strength in form, boldness of pattern, or some other mark of distinction."

"From cozy and colorful to spacious and bright, Katie's studies and family rooms are inviting yet always hard working spaces."

Before providing us all with the gift of her designs, Katie Ridder worked as an editor at House & Garden and House Beautiful. Her work as an editor must have helped her learn and explore her own design talents because she came out creating designs that are addictive to the eye. There are layers to each of Katie’s designs. The lively color and patterns, the blend of styles, and unique craftsmanship and details are all combined beautifully to create “rooms that are not only pretty and welcoming, they are comfortable and thoughtful.”

"... a bedroom should feel like a sanctuary, consistently comfortable and pleasurably restful. That doesn't mean that it should slip into design somnolence."

"A successful living room beckons you to explore, then invites you to stay awhile."

"Powder rooms, because they are stand-alone spaces hidden behind a door, are places to be a little extravagant, with decoration or material or both."

The book Rooms is not only inspiring and aesthetically pleasing, it is informative as well! Katie’s tidbits such as “Anatomy of a Full-Length Curtain,” “The Ideal Dining Chair,” and "What Every Entry Needs" are very helpful as are her chapters on details. It’s these pieces of advice and guidance that Katie Ridder provides that show off what a pro she really is.

"As much as color distinguishes Katie's work, it is the attention she lavishes on details that elevates her interiors to the level of couture."

Thank you, Katie Ridder, for inspiring me with everything you do! And everyone, I recommend you buy this book right away!

Until next time,


Friday, October 28, 2011

Turn an Outfit Into a Room: Urban Chic

All the designers on last night's Project Runway Season 9 finale did an amazing job. Each of the designer's collections were thoughtfully designed and amazingly constructed, making for a huge impact coming down the the runway!
While there were pieces from each collection that I wanted hanging in my closet right away, Kimberly Goldson's elevated urban girl collection won me over completely. From piece to piece I was in awe. I thought it was a 'ready to wear' collection and I was ready to wear it! I loved the rich colors, the fine fabrics, and the sophisticated yet sexy silhouettes.

If this collection were turned into a room, I bet it would look something like this...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Turn An Outfit Into a Room: Sexy Sophisticate

Once again, Viktor's design on Project Runway Season 9 last night wowed me! It was sleek, modern, and glamorous. I thought it looked great coming down the runway and I thought it would look even better as a room!

Black is a fantastic neutral in that it always glamorous and in style (ahem, the little black dress). The mirrored accents of the top and fine tailoring also help to keep this look super glam. The black is a perfect combination with the futuristic pants. I love the organic and random pattern on the completely tailored, and clean line of the pants. The feminine aubergine and sleek shape of the pieces creates a sophisticated sexy look.

This aesthetic was the perfect inspiration for a parlor room. Clean lines, fine materials, and a bit of bling accents created a glamorous and modern room that I'd love to have in my home!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Turn An Outfit Into a Room: Seriously Structured

In an attempt to earn herself the chance to design a collection to walk the runway at New York's fashion week, Kimberly took a risk with color in her design in last night's Project Runway (season 9). The judges were not a fan of the color combo, but rewarded her the chance of a lifetime based on her overall design concepts and abilities. The looks she created were seriously structured but kept youthful and playful through the use of materials and colors.

Apart from bold color, Kimberly's designs are kept interesting by structure and asymmetry. These concepts will always capture and hold the eyes of a viewer. Kimberly's mix of these, along with with color and glamorous details made for a winning design in my opinion.

This design concept can be translated into a living room setting by using structured, tailored furniture with clean lines and detailing such us button tufting and fine stitching. To keep it glam and modern use materials such as sleek leather, silk, and velvet. Items with a higher sheen are more modern. Mix these different materials in the same color tone so that you can add one good punch of color such as the tangerine that Kimberly used.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Turn An Outfit Into a Room: Soft and Feathery

Viktor's cockatoo-inspired gown may not have pulled out a win on last night's Project Runway, season 9, but it did win on my inspiration list. This gown was soft, flowing and romantic. And while it was adorned with feathers, I thought Viktor did an excellent job of strategically placing them so as not to detract from the design but to enhance it.
Restraint in design is one of the most difficult things to accomplish. Design, whether it be in fashion or interiors, should look effortless and not at all overworked. The gown above accomplished this with the organic draping of material and just the right amount of color and details to keep the design interesting.
The room below uses the same ideas to create a soft, feminine bedroom with just the right amount of visual interest. This is created with a single pop of bold color against soft neutrals. To keep the monochromatic background from becoming boring, a mix of textures rather than patterns was used so as not to fight with such a bold color accent. The resulting bedroom looks effortless and beautiful.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Turn An Outfit Into a Room: Modern Throwback

Last night on Project Runway season 9, the judges were not a fan of Laura Kathleen's 70's inspired look. And while it may not have been a hit on the runway I thought it would make a spectacular room design!

The bold graphic of the black and white top is iconic of the 70s, and personally I liked it paired with the colorful print of the skirt. I believe that these two prints can work together because one is so strong, linear, and large in scale while the other is more soft, organic, and has a tighter or smaller scale. Maybe my opinion is in the minority, but let me know what you think of this outfit turned into a room...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Turn an Outfit Into a Room: Masculine Edge

Viktor pulled out another victory last night on Project Runway (season 9)! This time the challenge was to create a new look for one of the members of an up and coming band. Viktor created a look that was masculine and a bit bohemian... normal enough for the average man but with enough edge for a rockstar!
The distressed denim and leather jacket are staples of masculine wardrobe. However the tailoring of the jeans and incredible detail in the jacket are what make these so much more than simple clothing staples. These masculine materials balance the softness found in the floral shirt. Its these extra details and juxtaposition of materials that create the edge of the design while still using comfortable and recognizable pieces.

The same juxtaposition can be applied to the design of a room. Natural, raw materials countered by tailoring and fine details create a comfortable, masculine aesthetic.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Turn an Outfit Into a Room: Youthful Sophisticate

This look by Viktor Luna was one of the top designs on last night's Project Runway (season 9), and while it did not win I thought it would make a beautiful room.
The vintage look of this outfit is modernized by the colors used.
These pops of youthful color and sheerness of the top make this outfit a bit playful, while the sophistication of the outfit is created through the selection of the materials, the length of the skirt, and the overall shape created for the woman.

This "geek chic" concept can be translated into the design of a Living Room by using these same guidelines. The use of the materials, the lines of the furniture, and strategic pops of color will create a similar aesthetic full of youthful sophistication.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Please don't...

This is my personal plea to everyone out there... please don't karate chop your pillows.

Seriously, it does not make them look better.

Pillows by nature should be soft and comfortable, why would you want to make them look stiff and overly styled?

Please stop. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

DIY Storage Boxes: Decorative and Functional!

Here's an easy craft that puts the FUN back into functional: Decorative storage boxes! Fact: we all need storage... and we all have things that we need to keep accessible but that we don't necessarily want visible.
For me, this is receipts. In our budget conscious time, my husband and I save our receipts so that we can go through them at the end of the month to make sure we didn't go off track. Rather than keeping a messy stack of receipts or hiding them somewhere that was inconvenient (meaning that my husband's receipts would never make it there), I decided that I needed to create an easy and accessible place to put them when we come in the door.
Spending money on something to camouflage my messy reciepts seemed counter-productive, so I decided to create something from what I had at home! Follow these steps and you too can have pretty little boxes to hide your mess...

1. Find a box to use that will be large enough for whatever your need to hide. I always save old gift boxes for wrapping presents later, so I raided my gift box storage and found a great box with a gold lid. Perfect!
2. Gather your other supplies:
  • Material to cover your box (this could be paper or fabric... in my case I used fabric so these instructions will refer to this material),
  • Glue that is appropriate for your material (paper glue for paper, or fabric glue for fabric...)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge (If you are using fabric to cover your box you'll need this craft glue because it dries clear and smooth... super for sealing things like fabric edges to keep them from fraying!)
  • Brush for applying the above
3. Measure the height of your box. Add 2" to that amount so that you'll have enough to wrap inside the top and over the bottom.
4. Measure the lengths of all 4 sides of your box and add those amounts together. Add at least 1" more to make sure you have enough to wrap around all the sides of the box.
5. Use your measurements above to measure and cut a long strip of fabric that will cover your box. Hold an edge of the fabric up to a corner of the box and wrap it all the way around the sides to make sure you cut enough. Now you're ready to go!

6. Cover one side of the box with your glue and smooth your fabric over the side. Be sure to keep it straight if you are working with a pattern!
*TIP* In my case I used tacky glue, and a little trick about tacky glue is that it is best if you apply it first and then let it sit for about a minute before adhering the other material to it. It actually does get tacky and will hold better if you do this!

7. Continue around each side until you reach the corner you started with. Now your box's sides are all covered!
... Try to line up the pattern of the fabric if you can and cut off the excess fabric, then glue down that edge.

8. Cut slits in your fabric where it sticks up at the box's corners. These slits make it easy for you to fold the fabric over the top edge of the box.
... Glue the fabric down along each of the sides on the inside of the box.

9. Turn the box over and again cut slits in the fabric at each corner so that you can fold the fabric flat along the bottom of the box.
*TIP* The folded fabric can make the bottom corners of the box bulky which can make the finished box sit cockeyed. To avoid this, you can cut the edges of the fabric at an angle to remove excess fabric and make the finished box sit evenly.

10. Brush on your Mod Podge (or another clear drying glue) along the fabric edges on the inside of the box, the fabric edges at the bottom of the box, and the fabric edge along corner of the box where your fabric met itself. This glue will seal the edges of the fabric to keep them from fraying.

Ta-da! A beautiful place to stash my receipts...

Now it's you're turn. Happy crafting!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mix and Match: Suzanis and Stripes!

Want to know how you can successfully use a suzani pattern in your home? Pair it with a stripe! Geometrics are best to pair with a more organic pattern such as suzanis because the hard lines of the geometric will accent the more fluid lines of the other pattern. In this case, opposites really do attract! Stripes, zig zags, or even a geometric lattice patterns all work great with suzanis because of this. Take a look at these fabulous interiors where suzanis were paired with stripes and other geometrics in the space...

Usually when pairing patterns scale is an important thing to keep in mind. If you have a large or open pattern, whether it be floral or geometric, you want to pair it with a smaller or tighter pattern. However with suzanis and stripes, scale can be forgotten! Both small scale stripes and larger scale stripes will work with a suzani. So pick what you love!

Another great thing about picking a pair for your suzani is that you don't have to worry about the color of your stripe! You can pick something coordinating, neutral, or go for a stand out color to be a bit more daring.

With suzanis representing something old worldly and vintage, you don't have to worry about matching the colors exactly. Piece together the colors that you love and you'll come up with a perfectly "mis-matched" look.

However if you prefer a more put together look, the multiple colors found in suzanis can provide you with enough colors to coordinate with.

And of course, neutral stripes are always an option to pair with your suzani.

Now its time to pick your pair... Until next time,

Monday, August 22, 2011

Feeling Squirrely

My dog can't stand them, but I'm going nuts for squirrels these days! Maybe its because lately there have been some fantastic home accessories featuring these little furry creatures. I think if you are a dog owner, you absolutely must put something squirrely in your home... just for fun with your pup. If you're not a dog owner, you should still invite a squirrel into your home with at least one of these accessories. 

Don't think that you don't have to be a squirrel nut to use one of these accessories. You could even be on your dog's side and despise them... but by adding one unexpected piece in a room, you add a bit of fun and whimsy to the space. You catch your guests a little off guard giving them a quick smile. Have fun with your space, and your guests will too! 

Are you wondering where to place your squirrels? Let them peek out from a bookshelf with a vintage print propped up, or use something squirrely as a bookend. The little planters above would look great in a kitchen, and the pillow would be fantastic on an accent chair in your living room or guest bedroom. Framing a few prints and hanging them in your guest bath or kitchen would also be fun! Place these little guys where they are sure to be seen but not right in your face... you don't want to make a squirrel shrine! Let people discover them as they spend time in your home and you'll work with their playfulness.

Throw a squirrel in your room with this CB2 Squirrely Pillow

Jonathan Adler loves squirrels too! He's created some
adorable Squirrel Ring Box and Squirrel Candle Holders!

These cute little planters created Plylones USA let you know when they
need to be watered by the little squirrel that pops up.
When the squirrel is hiding, time for watering! Available at 
Berkley Illustration has a great array of squirrel
prints. I just love the Black Squirrel... so dapper!

Squirrel away your little treasures with this
vintage trinket box from Fruit Fly Pie on Etsy

Vintage Squirrel Bookplate from My Sunshine Vintage on Etsy
Share some love for the little guys!
Squirrel Needlepoint by Kattuna on Etsy.

In this blog what else could S possibly stand for?!
S is for Squirrel Alphabet Print by Holli on Etsy.
Carved Wood Squirrel from Penorus on Etsy would
be a great little accent to add to your shelves.
This is a beautiful and playful shot of a squirrel
titled "Peek" by By The Winter on Etsy

 Until next time!