Monday, September 30, 2013

Hip List // 09.30.13

Fall always seems to usher in such goodness. I could really just run with all of it! But right now, I'm carefully editing down my own wish list down to a few carefully chosen items. I'm thinking ahead with calendars and day planners well before the New Year and even bookmarking early shopping picks for the holidays. The "Stay True" key tag would be a great little stocking stuffer wouldn't it? Oh and that dappled Nate Berkus vase has been on my mind for our bedroom. Wouldn't you know, it's even on clearance... oh happy day!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Confessions // A Floral Meets Garden Shop

For most of my twenties, I dreamed of opening a flower shop. I found myself in my first house, throwing parties, enthralled with my garden and honing my arrangement skills. That lead to catering and floral work for other people's parties and half baked plans to open my own storefront. I kicked around names, knew just what I'd offer my patrons and drew up plans for what the shop would look like inside. As years dragged on, I got into more serious floral design projects- weddings and events with 30-60 individual arrangements and elements per pop... almost exclusively created by myself.

Life took unexpected turns and my path lead me further away from my floral shop dreams. The heavy project work eventually lead to burn-out and ultimately I decided if that dream were ever to become a reality, the types of arrangements I'd offer would not be event-facing creations, but would aim to merge my love of gardening with my affection for freshly cut blooms. In the end, I'd focus on making the everyday more beautiful, not necessarily a 5 hour party.

Many of the types of floral studios that draw me to their doors these days look like these: rife with potted offerings, flush with multi-hued foliage and gift-ready herbs. I'm particularly fond of those urban storefronts and the way the lush offerings out front seem to contradict the concrete and metal facades that flank them. 

First impressions and front of the house displays are so important for setting the tone. The walk up to Mant in Copenhagen is my ideal version of a floral meets garden haven.

I surprised myself by how much I love these basket arrangements out in front of this Paris shop. Perhaps because there is uniformity in the type of basket and not a hodge-podge collection, this otherwise rustic set up still appeals to my more modern design tendencies.

Blomsterkuret in Copenhagen presents a welcoming array of baskets by the door as well- again, all uniform in color and style. The stained black building with white awning is right up my alley.

Perhaps this dream will eventually come to fruition through one of the twists and turns on my current path. I still do some floral work on the side and these days funnily enough, much of that has turned back to wedding work. It's funny how life plays out.  Mortgage, career, finances and eventual family planning will all play into if, when and how I might make it happen. For now, I like to think I still have one foot in this little dream of mine. It will be interesting to see how experiences between now and then will continue to shape it.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Road Trip

This past weekend we took a long road trip right up the center through California's farmland. If I'm being honest, a drive up North is probably one of the things I dread most because it means sitting captive... for hours on end in a car (oh the horror!). I consider myself to be up for any great adventure, but the kind seen through the passenger seat window is not usually my favorite. I'm an observer in many senses, but the kind of sightseeing I typically favor includes long walks and maybe a short subway ride. In the end though, the distance on the odometer would eventually take us to a family friend's wedding and to California's Bay Area, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on Earth. So the promise of all that at the end of the road, well- it made the trip up, all the more easier to accept.

But I have to tell you that the scenery on the way back down may have sealed the deal and actually have made me a road trip convert yet.

It's not quite Steinbeck country- that's technically a little closer to the coast. But the velveteen color of the hills was right and the shadows cast as the sun danced with the clouds was straight out of any one of his books. 

I realized that the coming of Fall, with its dreamy filtered light, made this the perfect occasion to take in California's heartland. Ironically though, one of the things I came to love most about our road trip adventure was the prospect of stepping back out of the car to snap photos like these.

California takes a lot of comedic punches (and ok, they are funny because they are mostly true). But I'm pretty certain that my home state is one of the most majestic places there is on this planet. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Weekend + Some Link Love

It's the weekend friends and the pace over the past couple of weeks makes me ever so grateful. This weekend, we'll make a very quick trip up to the Bay Area for a friend's wedding. I always look forward seeing one of my favorite California sights - the Golden Gate. 

Even during the busiest of weeks around here, there were a few things that had my attention.

- Even as a lover of Whole Foods, I got the biggest kick out of this Huffington Post Article
- I have no idea how she does it. I'm in awe of this woman's DIY skills.
- Sometimes its better to tackle it all at once. Check out the progress on these hip digs.
- I am anxiously waiting to see what our gal Erin has in store for us with Grandiflora
- We kicked off another project at Holtwood House (which launched a new series here on the blog). Any advice? 

Fall officially begins on Sunday. Are you as ready as I am?


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lighting Trend // The Swing Arm Sconce

I've been quick to notice this resurgence of swing arm wall lighting popping up nearly everywhere in design these days. I think it's popularity has as much to do with utility as it does style. Space-saving wall sconces with flexible arms that pivot or extend out over a table, sofa, bed or countertop offer a surprising focal point to a room. They don't compete with art on the walls and can play a supporting role to larger, more ornate overhead fixtures if needed. But I love them for their clean lines and simplicity most of all and the masculine edge they can infuse into an otherwise feminine space.

Swing arm sconces are so versatile, they work well in nearly every type of space - kitchen, bedroom and you know their use in that sunroom above is unexpectedly awesome. But for me, I think I favor them used in the bathroom. The application above hung right over the vanity mirror is pretty much perfect by my standards.  

Traditional to vintage to industrial... One of the best parts about this lighting style are the many options to choose from and I've noticed they seem to work best as a contradiction to other elements in a space.
Below, a few of my favorites to style up nearly any room. 

 Inspiration images found here: 
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Design Dilemma // Irregular Window Configuration

Every room presents some sort of a challenge the designer must tackle - odd configurations, structure, budget, the unattractive piece of furniture the homeowner absolutely can not part with. It always amazes me how two different designers can come at it from opposing angles and both find perfectly workable solutions. As with anything, I've also found the closer you are to a project, the harder it is sometimes to stand back and see that there is another way.

It's with that in mind that I thought I'd feature a new series here on the blog tackling some of these tricky design dilemmas we all have trouble navigating our way around. 

Today, I thought I'd kick it off a design dilemma I'm looking to conquer in my own home.

When we first toured our house - no let's even back it up further - when I first saw the MLS photos of our future home, I was both intrigued and turned off by the funky window arrangement in the main living area. In some respects, the angular windows up top struck me as a quirky nod to mid-century design (our home was built in '67) and I saw it as one of the most unique selling features. I also saw it as something I was not quite sure what I would to do with. Four years later and I'm still scratching my head a bit.

My first inclination was to keep it all bare and sort of adopt the bay window look - and for nearly the whole of the first year, we did just that. But eventually, we also saw the need for privacy and shade from the afternoon sun. Fishbowl living we found was not for us and these uncovered west facing windows were quick to heat up the house each day.
The windows themselves are old and quite frankly - ugly. That said, budget prohibits changing them out anytime soon. So, we did what any new homeowner on a budget does- we threw up some inexpensive "cut to fit" blinds from Home Depot to hold us off until we could make some decisions.

We've finally gotten around to finalizing living room design plans and lo' and behold if we aren't right back where we started while first staring at those MLS photos. I've thought about it quite a bit obviously and where we ended up is somewhere along the lines of this:

I had fought the idea of casing the windows because I thought it would take our home's design too traditional. But I think it will not only help us bridge the gap between the two windows, but it would also offer a more polished look for this high visibility room right off the front entrance. We're going for a "finished" look in this room and I've made the compromise with my minimalistic tendencies.

The blinds will unfortunately go back in for now as well. They hide the unattractive aluminum window frames better than any pull down shade could. Ideally, we end up with shutters someday when budget permits.  I'm hopeful that the drapery panels we'll install will dress them up a bit more.

We've also got a paint color on the walls that seemed like a good fit in the beginning. But after living with it for a while (and decorating in vain around it), we are taking it back to white to give us the crisp, clean look we are after in the house.

So this is the direction we are heading. But in the spirit of this series, we are also open to suggestions! What solutions are we not seeing? Do you agree with our plan?


Monday, September 16, 2013

Check Me Out

Sometimes seasonal trends don't resonate with what I happen to be feeling at the moment. Then there are other times when they really hit the mark. I'm pretty taken with everything in Zara's Fall Collection right now. The edgy designs in plaid, tartan, checked and houndstooth patterns all bring me back to a time in the past when I was naively confident in just about everything I attempted (in the special way only an 16 year old can be), thought I knew exactly what I wanted in life and had big, big plans for my future (as in I'm going to be the next Katie Couric kind of plans).  

I may not be looking for a career in broadcast journalism, but I find that these days, I am really looking to get back to my roots in some respects and recreate the kind of verve (and nerve) I once had. Fall to me is all about renewal and I say that there is no better time to shake it up and pull myself out of a rut.  I'm certainly gonna be sure I'm dressed for the part.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Houseplans // Pocket Doors

We have several areas in our home that I'd love to be able to close off sometimes. Visiting pets and kids, loud and competitive games of Scrabble, the Monday night game and a garlicky pasta dish are all occasions where we could really use a pocket door or two. There are at least two areas where a traditional swing door is just not in the works - one in which we actually have a door now that is constantly in the way. So I've been doing a little research into what I originally thought would be a no-brainer, easy decision. Turns out, there's a little more involved than I had originally bargained for. 

Do we keep it simple and opt for a non-decorative door? It should compliment the others in our house, but we're on the fence about what we will eventually do with those. To adorn or not to adorn? It's one one option we'll have to consider.

I love the look (and mostly the idea) of glass paned doors. It might not be a practical solution for our needs (wet dog noses and someday, sticky fingers). But in areas where natural lighting would be important, they really do a beautiful job of balancing privacy with little compromise.

 The target locations in our home would not allow for a double-door situation. But I sure love the drama that would result when pulling open the double doors to make an entrance into a room.

One of the areas we are considering is the split between the vanity and shower/toilet in our en suite bath. We currently have a swing door there that takes up most of the vanity area when open. The sleek discretion offered by a pocket door would allow us to close off that secondary portion of our bath when needed and help us preserve precious space near the vanity.

The other area would help us divide up the house between the kitchen and bedroom wing. Noise is not a huge factor at the moment, but thinking ahead, it'd be nice to be able to close off that area when we have a sleeping baby in the house.

Then there is the hardware to consider. We'll probably opt for something minimalistic in the end, but it's been fun to daydream about a more pronounced pull on the door. 

There are many more things to consider before we even get to that point though. We'll want to hang some wall coverings and a more permanent art installation on the dining room wall over the next couple of months. But before we do that, we will need to complete any installation of a pocket door, as it would require us to open up a portion of the wall. 

...Silly me. I thought we would simply cut into the doorframe to install. 

Images sourced here:
Plain Jane 1 / 2
Decked Out 1 / 2 
Glass Paned 1 / 2
Single Door 1 / 2
Double Door 1 /
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