Sep 30, 2013

Inspired By...A London Cafe Design

I snapped this photo years ago in London while on a little pre-child jaunt to Europe.  At the time, I wasn't certain why I loved the design of this little British cafe, but I knew I had to have a picture to use as future inspiration.

After reflecting a bit on why I loved this place, I now realize it was the overall feel of the space - warm, inviting, and classic but modern (thank you stainless steel).

A few specifics that make it ever so pretty:
1) Mixed metals - bronze, stainless silver, antique brass, gold
2) Mixed textures - woven fibers, wood, metal, glass, etc.
3) Mixed art - mostly posters, with a few other items (like the Esso flag) thrown in
4) Neutral paint colors + thick original crown molding
5) Bright flowers!

So, I hunted around a wee bit to find kitchen fixtures, finishes, and decor that reminded me of this snap-shot.  Here's what I came up with for a timelessly classic kitchen inspired by this London cafe:

source links: gray paint for walls - Balboa Mist (BM) // blue paint for cabinets or trim - Newburg Green (BM) // pendant light // moon poster // picture sconce // basket // mixed fabric art // feather print // New York poster // stainless glass-front fridge // Balloons Over Paris framed print // antique brass knob for cabinets // antique brass pull for drawers // bougainvillea // faucet // carrera marble look-alike Corian countertop (it's super durable!)

What do you think of my little slice of British heaven?  Wouldn't it be so pretty with some floors just like these?  

Oh, how I wish I had taken a photo of the floors in the cafe...I think they simply must have looked like that.  And, if not, they should!

Sep 27, 2013

Gift Wrap Paper Pumpkins

Since we're on a gift wrap roll (see my previous post below...), I thought I'd try a little pumpkin craft with some cute gift wrap paper that I had on hand.  Ok, in full disclosure, Emily Henderson's paper pumpkins inspired me a bit too - don't mind her creepy floating head in the picture below...

In comparison, my gift wrap pumpkins didn't turn out too shabby looking.  Plus, I didn't have an intern to do it for me (wink! I'm just jealous, Emily).

Here's what you'll need to create your own darling little gift wrap pumpkins...

Mini pumpkins (or VERY smooth-surfaced larger pumpkins)*
Paper cut into thin 1/2" strips (pick a porous paper that will absorb the Mod Podge, paper with a laminated/shiny finish doesn't work)
Mod Podge 
Paint brush
Small bowl
Wax paper to work on

* Note: In full honesty and for the sake of your sanity, this would be a super tedious project with large pumpkins...the curvature of a pumpkin mixed with the ribbed texture on most pumpkins make it very difficult to create a smooth, some-what seamless paper surface on a pumpkin.   Just FYI...

1. Pour your Mod Podge in a bowl.  Brush the Mod Podge on a small portion of the pumpkin's surface (I did about a quarter of the pumpkin at a time) and layer your paper strips over the "glue", making sure the strips overlap.  Then brush a thin layer of Mod Podge over the strips.

2. Repeat until the entire pumpkin is covered.  Place a small square of matching paper under the pumpkin as it dries...the pumpkin will stick to the paper instead of the wax paper.  Let dry completely.

3. After the first layer of Mod Podge is completely dry, brush another layer of Mod Podge on.  This step can be repeated as many times as you like.  Let dry.

4. Enjoy!

Pretty darn cute, huh?  I'm wishing I had done this on faux pumpkins so I could keep them for next and learn.

Have you seen any other new pumpkin decorating ideas this year?  Do share!

Sep 25, 2013

Ombre Gift Wrap Wallpaper

I recently spotted this amazing wallpaper treatment in the Oct 2013 Canadian House & Home magazine.  Isn't it divine?

I thought this must be some expensive to-the-trade only wallpaper, but sure enough it was an affordable DIY project using sheets of gift wrap from Rifle Paper Co. (see below) and 3M adhesive strips!

Each gift wrap sheet is 27" x 19.5" and you get 3 for $8.50.  In a small foyer or powder bath you could do a lot with a less than $100 budget.  Simply measure, stick the 3M adhesive strips on the wall, and hang away.

Brilliant, temporary, affordable, and beautiful!  Can't beat that for wallpaper, huh?

Sep 23, 2013

A Global-Inspired Design for a City Space

Hi friends!!  I've been out of pocket the last two weeks doing some work down in Washington D.C.  While I was there a dear family friend asked if I would help her decorate her new apartment, and I not-so-hesitantly said..."YES!"

Here's what we started with - some good furniture bones plus lovely REAL Persian rugs and many accessories from her world-wide travels.  

My friend travels all over for work - she just got back from a 10-country Africa trip - and even lived several years in Afghanistan.  She has travel souvenirs oozing from every nook.

I took her large area rug as my color inspiration, and ran with it!

And, here's what we came up with in the end with a $500 budget...

The Living Room

The Dining Space

The Breakfast Bar

The Kitchen

And, of course, the detail shots...

Isn't this white quartz, gray cabinet, stainless hardware, marble floor combo gorgeous??

I love this vignette atop an enclosed liquor cabinet with the city lights sparkling in the background.  So sexy in the city!

A wall of travel finds to get the conversation started.  My friend has so many amazing stories to tell!

Have an old office chair with ripped seat?  Upholster only the ripped portion!

What's a good design without fabulously luxurious pillows?  Hello velvet and decorative embellishments!

Well, what do you think of our work?  Quite a change in the space, huh?  Tell me what your favorite piece or part of the re-design is.  I'd love to hear your feedback!

Sep 19, 2013

Brilliant or Crazy? A Drinking Fountain in Your Home

So...the other day I had a revelation.  This revelation hit me as I rinsed and placed the 100th cup in the dishwasher for the day.  Why don't we install drinking fountains in kitchens?

I mean, we have every other appliance under the sun in our kitchens, so why not have the convenience of a drinking fountain?  We'd all likely drink more water, wash far fewer cups, and save time filling up sippy cups for the wee ones.  It would be a total convenience.  Any one else on my bandwagon? 

Where's Waldo time...Can you spot the drinking fountains in these kitchens?  

From my perspective, these homeowners are brilliant!  What do you think of the idea?  Crazy or cool?

Here are a few small and streamlined drinking fountains that could easily be incorporated into a well-designed kitchen.

sources: Vintage  |  Classic  |  Modern

Is this something you would go for in your kitchen?  And, if not in your kitchen, maybe your garage, backyard, or mudroom?  

Again, brilliant!  I'm totally in on this...once I have my own home.

Sep 17, 2013

An Etsy Furniture Find - A Turkish Delight

I was trolling Etsy the other day and stumbled upon the most beautiful upholstered furniture crafted in Turkey by Name Design Studio.  What shocked me the most was how affordable the pieces seemed to be for a small-batch artisan retailer.  Still pricey but definitely with-in reach, as opposed to similar unique furniture finds on sites such as Anthropologie.

Isn't the tufting alone on this loveseat simply amazing?

I love the shape of this armchair, and adore the color burst of the fabric even more.  Oh, if it could be mine!

Damask sofa with fuchsia velvet and contrasting piping, oh my!

Give me six of these bistro chairs for my dining area and I'd be one happy (and colorful) camper.

I can't help but adore the yellow base on this otherwise neutral sofa.

Anything Suzani is so IN right now.  This loveseat would rock any room - to the moon and back.

This pillow is calling my name...guess why.

This pillow too.  Because hot pink is just so pretty sometimes.

The bummer of a catch is - shipping from afar is very expensive.  That said, I'm ready to hop on a plane and visit Turkey if this is the sort of wares you can find there.  You'd find nothing of the sort stateside, especially in the same price range.  Too cool for school!

Sep 12, 2013

Splurge vs. Save Fashion Edition! Fall Rain Boots

It's almost Fall!  And, with Fall, comes least in Boston.  We've had more rain over the last few days, than we've had in months.  Ugh!  The best (ok...only good) part about rain, you ask?  Cute rain boots, of course!  Here are two very similar options that are almost identical in looks yet far from identical in price.

              splurge  |  save

Which boot do you prefer?  The quintessential preppy Hunter Boot (splurge) or the near-identical Kamik Boot (save)?

I honestly prefer the more affordable Kamik boot's look because of the crest detail and black soles.  That's a win for looks and a win for the pocket!  (I own them, and can vouch that they're great boots...I even shovel snow in them)

Sep 10, 2013

White Wood Floors

Practical? Not really...  Beautiful? Mmm Hmm, Yep!

I'm always drawn to painted white wood floors because of how they make everything look bright, airy, and etherial.  They make the furnishings of a room seem to float in the most magical way.  And, when paired with white walls, they can make any style of space look updated and modern.


Two things to keep in mind with white floors:

1) You must have some amazing art or architectural focal points to showcase, or use splashes of color in accessories to ground the space and keep it from looking like you live in a two-deminsional world.

2) Don't have a black dog.  White wood floors are probably a hassle and a half to keep clean.  I can envision myself trailing around after people wiping black shoe marks off the floor.

What do you think of white floors?  Are they a "do" or a "don't"?
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