Friday, December 14, 2012

Advent Wreath

It's hard to believe Sunday is Gaudete Sunday, the third of advent! 

Each year, I've come to love advent more and more as we've tried to focus more on things geared towards reflection and less towards consumption. Of course our social commitments are in full holiday swing, but I like to keep our home stays simple until the third Sunday of advent. The advent wreath is one of the only things we put out, and it's pretty awesome to see our kids take an interest in it. I'm sure if it were buried in the rest of of Christmas gear, it wouldn't cause so much of a stir. 

The idea is that you light one candle for each week of advent....a purple (a color of solemnity and preparation) candle the first and second Sundays of advent, then a pink (color of joy and anticipation) candle the 3rd Sunday of advent, and then the final purple candle the fourth Sunday of Advent. Each year, we've done something slightly different for the actual wreath, but this year's is my favorite. We clipped boxwood and lavender from the backyard and attached them in bunches to a metal ring (which at one point had ben part of a lamp shade...) and then placed the advent candle holder inside. Boxwood and lavender dry nicely, so now, almost three weeks in, it;s drying out and looking lovely and a little wild, which I like. And it smells awesome. Advent candles are hard to find though. Stores often pack up the nice purple and pink candles in order to sell advent sets, which are rarely as nice. These Root candles are actually from last year, and they are the best I've found. I love how natural they look, and they burn forever. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Kitchen Design

Image: RUE (I'm using this slab wrap idea in our kitchen design---eeek, so beautiful!)

Today I'm being featured as part of Apartment Therapy & Kohler's Easy Kitchen Refresh interview series. It was a lot of know, sometimes you don't even realize your advice patterns until you have to spell them out. Which is why I'm grateful for my time with Apartment Therapy. All my articles there are advice driven, whereas here I just share.

I have several kitchen overhauls in the works right now, so they've been very much on my mind.

You can check out the link here. ....the intro sounds a little fancy. My life, however, is not so fancy these days, which I love. Because it involves this ridiculous character, who is so.freaking.full.of.trouble :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Before & After: Simple Paint Job Magic

Not too long ago I was asked to do a simple makeover for a corporate space. The lease agreement was such that the only thing that could be changed was the paint. That meant that all the features including the lighting that had been customized for the previous tenants (very traditional and somewhat over the top) had to be adjusted to accommodate my streamlined financial tech client solely with the use of color and a few accessories.

Their other offices are pretty modern, so this was a bit of a challenge. If we ignored all the existing traditional details and went super modern with the accessories, it would have looked weird especially because the whole rest of the building including the lobby is super ornate (think huge chandeliers and marbled wallpaper).  I think we found a happy balance. The transition from lobby to office isn't jarring, but we still managed to sneak in the clean vibe that we were after.

The pictures are completely un-styled and waiting on more art and greenery, but here's the switch...





Main walls are Benjamin Moore Gray Owl 2137-60 (my favorite strict light gray that doesn't change much with the light, and that never swings too blue, too beige, or too green like many other grays)

Accent wall is Duron Gulf Coast

Doors and reception desk are Benjamin Moore Storm AF 700

Wall baseboards are Benjamin Moore Simply White 

PS- Just got word that our home was one of Apartment Therapy's Readers Choice top 100 house tours of 2012. You can check out voting details for making the top 10 here. This thrills me and cracks me up because it took me 3 years to build up the confidence to post it. Our readers are not known for their gentle ways :), but it was very well received. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Since moving back to DC a few years ago, Thanksgiving has become the holiday I look look forward to most. We always combine forces with my sister and brother-in-law who live next door, and we invite  any other family members who want to jump in. This year was as close to perfect as I could have imagined. I'm grateful for so many things, especially the growing list of Thanksgiving traditions...

Like a nice long table in the living room....
full of family....
preceded by Thanksgiving mass, then a light soup lunch...

mixed in with a lot of kids and a bit of lounging....

in preparation for an epic soccer game (blue first-borns vs. red second-borns, with all the subsequents divided up....

Naturally seconds dominated! (with these stretching skills, how could we not?)....

Including special new guests (Johnny, you fit right in!)

followed by a post dinner talent show...
that sometimes gets out of hand...

followed by dessert....
and all pulled off by two awesome husbands who look pretty cute in aprons :)
God is so good!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A very blurry little peek into an in progress client project

If I weren't so excited about so many parts of this little project, I would totally wait to share any of these details until it's actually finished. But as it is, I couldn't contain my excitement, so I wanted to share a glimpse via a post with a lot of qualifiers in the title. Hopefully everything will be installed shortly, and I can share the full deal. But for now here's a glimpse...

It's a kitchen/dining room/tv lounge-y area in one of the cutest little places...with the cooolest floors. Look at them!
We'll be updating the counters, adding some art and plants and new lighting to make it look more like this (you can turn on your imagination and erase the photoshop hack lines :)...
This was the launching point:
Aside from the awesome floors, which I can take no credit for because they're about a gazillion years old, my favorite elements that we've added are the ticking stripe relaxed roman shades and the soon to be installed Hicks pendant. It was pretty much made for this cozy this spot. My client is a gem, and has been so good to work with...I can't wait until she has a finished spot to enjoy!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Art Update

Last week marked the apparent conclusion to my sister, Nicole's, project, AS-IS. It was fun to get a glimpse of the action on the news. Check it, check it out!

DC Breaking Local News Weather Sports FOX 5 WTTG I know it's all part of the experience, but my fierce sister instinct kind of hopes that biker got knocked off his bike :) booyah fool

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Traditional In Progress Client Sneak Peek

Remember client awesome who invited my family and me to her farm and totally spoiled us? Well, we are nearing the final stages of their bedroom, and although there are some missing pieces and some styling to be done, the progress is making me so happy.

Each project stretches me a bit, and this has definitely been an awesome experience with a bit of aesthetic stretching. My immediate instinct is to go casual and relaxed and rustic, but their style is more formal. And they really like symmetry.

Also, they wanted yellow...which in my opinion is the hardest wall color to work with. I like it in lots of things, but wall color is tough for me. Finding the right shade (one that looks just as good under artificial and natural lights) is super tricky. Thankfully, we got this right on the first shot. It's Farrow and Ball's "Hay 37." It's lovely, warm, and sophisticated. The ceiling is Farrow and Ball's "House White 2012" and the Trim is Farrow and Ball's "New White 59."

Next challenge was not being able to use drapes. Drapes instantly make everything softer, warmer, more inviting. And my fail-safe is to use linen. It always adds just the right amount of casual, relaxed, and natural. But they have major allergies, so any extra fabric, especially anything that couldn't be tossed into the laundry weekly, was out of the question. So no drapes and no fabric roman shades. Bummer. Thankfully, we found some easy to clean roman woven ones that do the trick.

They liked all their existing furniture, so we kept pretty much everything, and just focused on all the fixins. Plus we added some built-ins on the wall opposite the bed.

Here was the plan I came up with (We are still waiting on some elements like the rug and side table b/w the chairs):

So here's what it looked like BEFORE:

And here's how it is IN PROGRESS:


IN PROGRESS (aside from adding the built-ins and mirrors, we haven't gotten to styling this side yet, so that'll have to be a future post). The built-ins are by Econ-ize. and they are awesome:

The intaglios above my bed are my favorite part I think. They are a DIY, and I will be back with details at some point soon.

While we are very close to the end, I joke with them that that I really don't want to finish up...I just like the excuse of hanging out with them too much :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Using fabric on the walls

Going through my photos, I realized that I never showed you one of my favorite details from an old project. As I mentioned last, the project was much more traditional than I usually do, but it was so special.

Sometimes projects are all about making something pretty, but most of the time, they're about people, and trying to figure out the best way to serve them. I may have written off that notion years ago as waayyy cheesy if I found it in some shelter magazine, but working in design now, I realize everyday how much of "the human" is involved. It would be easy to go overboard and jump to the trite conclusion that a pretty home equals a pretty life....but I won't....because it doesn't. BUT sometimes even small decorative details do bring a certain simple joy. And that's what this post is all about....

These clients are in their nineties. They moved into (an attached in-law house) in a new house with one of their children, and it was beautiful to be a part of the process of making their new home comfortable. 

First a little background since it's been a long time since I posted on it....the clients really disliked the open floorplan. They wanted a formal space, a closed off kitchen, and a separate dining space. 


So we started by closing in the kitchen,  and then closed off and winterized a section of the long screened in porch so that it could become an all weather small breakfast's the room through the blinding light on the left :)


It's a pleasant little room, and one day after we put up the relaxed roman shades, the husband just lit up!  

He asked if we could continue the pattern (Braemore's fioretto sprout) somewhere else. It was really his first and only request after months and months of working with them. I was thrilllled! It's such a pretty pattern, but what really got me was that he took some delight in it. 

We decided to use it in the adjoining pass through to the main part of the house where his son lived. At first I thought about having a decorative painter recreate the pattern on the walls, but decided to look into using the actual fabric on the walls instead since linen has such a beautiful texture. I know there are all sorts of posts throughout blogland about hanging fabric with spray starch, but this wasn't really a project worth experimenting. Plus linen isn't most cooperative fabric...So we had Custom Laminations (great company, great prices) paper back the fabric. There are a few other companies that will turn fabric into wallpaper, but CL was the only one that I found that would do strict paper backing with no vinyl finish on the front. Since we wanted to preserve the texture, this was a must.  

Thankfully the very talented, Michael DiGuiseppe (DC's besssst paperhanger and a total pleasure to work with...and he was the one who directed me to Custom Laminations in the first place--rockstar!), agreed to take on the small job....

So the room went from this....

to this.....

to this....


And then we added some roman shades to the french doors to lend a bit more privacy when needed...

It's so pretty and lends so much to the tiny vestibule, but the beautiful part was really the human aspect...During the course of this little process, the husband passed away.  As you can imagine, it was very difficult. I felt so bad that the dust wasn't even completely settled yet, and he didn't even get to enjoy the one detail that he requested! However, one day his very gracious wife commented that this small little space brought her a lot of joy. And one of the children commented how happy it had made them all to see their father get excited about that small detail. 

 And all of that made me re-appreciate how small material things do have their place. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

not your usual flowers and chocolate

These days I rarely do any sort of photography, but not too long ago I styled and photographed a few pictures for my talented friend, James, who has a wonderful company, PaperLove. He's reworking his entire concept, so these are now completely irrelevant. BUT his flowers are so pretty and the pictures I took of them brightened my day when I saw them on my desktop this morning. For me, styling/photography is the equivalent of, I don't know, anything that's refreshing and interesting both at once.  It's such a perfect break from interior design because it's pretty and creative but doesn't have to be practical. I love when I have beautiful subjects and the time to spend with them. James has tooooonnnnssss of colors and varieties but I had so much fun with just a few of them....

and while I'm sharing these, I have to share a couple more style /photograph combos from months and months ago that I did for team Fleurir. I love the concept...chocolate seals, as in, sweets and old fashioned love letters...

and on that sweet note, have a lovely day!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...