NYC Studio Design Challenge Part II

I threw together quickly the options for a 402 sf, NYC studio on Monday, but I would like to add a few more thoughts to it.  I do like a rug to make a space cozy, and I know they can be expensive.  I am not opposed to buying large Sicil carpets and throwing a small Oriental, Oushak, or matte sized natural fiber rug underneath.  It allows your style to shine through and highlights a special jewel of a piece atop a disparate material.  Wool, cotton, silk, or some combo of the same will do nicely.

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Bringing personality to a space.

I also don’t like to worry about stepping on my iPhone is my everything, even though I wish sometimes it was not.  I use it for my alarm clock as many do, and I need it nearby – so a bedside table is the natural thing to get for the solving of this issue.  Having said that – there is no room for side tables in 402 SF.  A shelf overhead will have to suffice.  I would do one of two things.  I would use a wonderful and inexpensive acrylic box that can be mounted to the wall, and decorative and useful items alike can sit on display.

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Acrylic Shelves keep the space clean and simple.

That’s the easy solution.  If you are feeling a little more ambitious, get a handy man to create a surround for the bed.  Tuck the headboard between two planks – at least a foot in width.  Create a shelving system above, affix some pretty fabric to hide the shelves et voila – you have yourself some invaluable storage.

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This is a brilliant design that creates closets on either side of the bed, while hiding shelving above, and building in shelves that serve as a bedside table.  Love. Love .

Metallic strips to hang knives from the wall in the kitchen are tremendously useful.  I am not a fan of displaying pots, pans, plates and the like – particularly in city apartments, when try as you might, dust and dirt seeps in from the streets.  Clutter is the other reason.  I’d rather it be hidden away, but that’s a personal choice.

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Schmidt Brothers . Acacia Magnetic Bar.

A final must have if the apartment were for me – a pretty bookshelf or etagere.

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PB Teen Etagere – why should teens have all the fun? $475.

Happy designing.

Setting the Table

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Turkish Oushak . RH Home . Woodstock . VT.

I have looked at so many chairs they are all starting to look alike.  I fell in love with two tables – a very reasonably priced Ballard Design Trestle table, and a mid-range Dovetail Campbell table, which I was surprised wasn’t more expensive.  Why you ask?  The answer is simple – I was born with silver spoon taste.  It’s legs are turned, and have a beautiful curve, it’s finish rustic.  The combination is refined without being prissy, coastal without being kitsch.

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Ballard Design . Tatum Trestle Table . $1099.

That’s the trick.  Being suggestive without being overt.  That’s why I have spent so much time looking, looking again, second guessing, and finally making my selections.  Trust me when I tell you – mistakes will still be made.  It’s the nature of the process.  Some will be easy fixes, some will cost a disgusting amount of money to fix.  Ouch.  Those, however, are the ones I will never make again.

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Dovetail . Campbell Dining Table . $1362.50

After all that searching, I landed on chairs from the most unlikely of places.  Will I consider them a mistake.  Time will tell.  I chose a version of the Windsor Chair in a dirty blue.  High backed – arm chairs that will sit at the head of the table.  Side chairs are going to be a simple Parsons curved back chair from IKEA.  Yup.   In the end, frame plus slip cover is just $129. a piece.  The will be used most frequently.  Everyone likes to sit in the “kitchen” – since the dining room is open to that tiny, but incredibly sweet, u-shaped kitchen, I know that is where people will hang out.

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Tick Tock . Perfect accent to play off the gray.

I am going with a Cirque Pendant by Louis Poulsen.  The colors are muted – not the bright primaries you would normally think of for a seaside seeing, but the strips scream nautical and French.  What more could I want?

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Cirque . Louis Poulsen . $314.15

I imagine a red and white ticking stripe napkin, with a gray matte, metallic charger, and a rough hune string, tied loosely around the cloth.  Maybe a sprig of thyme or rosemary tucked into it for effect.  At the center of the table I would have one of Jill Rosenwald’s vases or platters.  Her pottery is perfect.  I might even go for one of her leafier patterns.  Dare to go wild.

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Jill Rosenwald Pottery . South End 

Piece by piece.  Bit by bit.  It is beginning to come together.

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Jill Rosenwald Pottery . South End .

Happy weekend.

DO IT YOURSELF

Is something I say to others – as in “Do it yourself – I’m up to my eyeballs in my own projects.”  When it comes to doing it myself – well…I can haul things, drag things, move things, lift heavy things – but you are unlikely to come to me,  asking me to whip up a few  curtain panels or a couple of pillows for you, and while I’ve painted a time or two in a pinch, no one is complimenting me on a job artfully executed.

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Found at Bungalow. Chatham. MA for $195.

I’m more of a project manager than a DIY’er, and yet The Manse has forced me to resort to just that.  Attempting to furnish a home from top to bottom is EXPENSIVE.  But that is exactly what I am attempting to do.  The Manse had become The Land of Misfit Toys – in a manner of speaking.  In her rundown state, the bric-a-brac that had collected within her walls was fitting, but now that she’s the proud lady on the block, she’s demanding a whole new wardrobe.  People are coming for tea and she wants to be ready to receive them.

I’m doing my best on behalf of the old lady, but some things are indeed going to receive a light sanding and a coat or two of paint – in a coordinating color of course.  I feel like I’ve been on the hunt all over the northeast for tables of all sorts, side, bed, coffee, dining – for dressers, and bar carts and shelves  – for things that started out as one thing and will end up being something else entirely.

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The Caning feels very Cape Cod.

All this hunting and sleuthing has resulted in my very first DIY project.  Aided by a couple of 50 degree days, I singlehandedly dragged a desk out onto the deck, found one of my Father’s 4 – yes you heard me correctly – 4 sanders, I know not what makes one better than the other, but I am certain their is a reason to have that many.  Maybe they are like shoes?  If that IS the case, than I certainly cannot argue with having four – in fact I might ask – why not more?

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Ta Da!  What do you think?

At any rate.  I sanded and cleaned and painted, and repainted and low and behold, I did it.  I think it looks pretty good, and I hope you do too, because I have a set of $10. bedside tables that need to be done – a real find!  I have an old ice box that I am going to use as a linen closet, and a coffee table that would have been perfectly perfect, if it has only been gray.  It will be when I am done with it.  If you are worry, I would say that it may not be misplaced.  Fingers crossed.

Merry and Bright

I can’t believe it’s Christmas Eve.  It sneaks up on you when you are rushing round trying to get ready.  I thought I was in good shape, but then I went and left some essential details until the end.  The details are what matter to designers because it’s the je ne sais quais that turns the nice into the surprisingly cool….beautiful…or pulled together.  Everyone deserves a little “quais”  Non?

 

For me it was disguising the obvious gifts.  Some people want money – greenery I like to call it.  Also, unoriginal – but try as I might, they won’t be dissuaded.  Money is what they want, and so, who am I to judge.  Money they will receive, but not in any obvious way – surprise and delight it must be.  I thought about a cool box in which to house the treasure, I thought about a container with hidden compartments in which my loved ones would have to hunt for their prize.  I settled on none of that.

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we must use the tools we have…left over from holiday shipping.

My fascination with tiny houses led me to my cardboard creations.  First a log cabin, fire burning within, decorated for the holiday season, with the promise of special things, just beyond the door.  There is something very special in that cabin, indeed!

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Voila – something very special lies just beneath the roof.

 

The second is decidedly more Hundred Acre Wood.  A cylindrical tower of birch with its musical roof is a welcome respite from the cold, and the cash that it houses will certainly go a long way to warming the recipients heart – at least I hope it will.

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scouring the woods for window box riches

I was inspired by the ice laden trees that resulted from the freezing rainstorm that made for a miserable Christmas Eve . Eve.  The sun came out today and all glistened and sparkled as if it was Mother Nature’s intention all along.

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A stash of cash within the 100 Acre Wood Cabin.

 

Warmest Wishes to you and your family for a wonderful holiday.

Naming Your Style: Henderson writes the rules

em4The last few years I’ve been asked by many friends and acquaintances to name my style. Is it curiosity?  Is it a desire to determine their own style, figure out if they want me to help them with an upcoming project?  To be honest I hadn’t given it much thought.  When I first started this project of mine, I would have simply said my style was “French”. Later I might have clarified that it was Parisian French – not countryside.  After I completed No. 2 I had to admit that I had been bitten by the Mid-Century Modern bug, and began thinking of my style as Modern Glamour for it’s harmonious coupling of modern and mid-century furnishings, fresh takes on traditional prints with age old techniques and plenty of gold, silver, and chrome, from leaf to brackets, baubles and knobs, fancy frames and chandeliers, decorating with metals does indeed bring a little glamour to a space.

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Moder Glam

I can’t exactly remember how I came to know who Emily Henderson is in the first place.  Perhaps Instagram where I am introduced to so many amazing people and products it’s revolutionized my curatorial expeditions.  There in my feed, my world and my eyes – open wide.  It calms me when I am anxious and excites me when I am in need of inspiration.  So I may have found Em here or I might have spied her in a Target commercial, it matters not.  I think her style falls somewhere no the spectrum of Boho Vintage. Not mine at all, and yet I am attracted to all that she does, and after reading her book Styled:  Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves, I think I know why.

Creating Visual Interest.

Emily began her career as a prop stylist for residential photo shoots.  Looking to add the details, mini vignettes and touches that would create visual interest, and tell a story to the readers.  So while she doesn’t consider herself a decorator per se, she certainly brings a space to life.

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Rule of 3’s.

 

The book is very well written, funny, and real – making you feel as if you’d be fast friends with her if she didn’t live all the way across the country.  I love that she challenges you to NAME your style, first by taking a quiz and then by finding adjectives or words that appropriately evoke an image of that style.  I took the quiz just in case I had been getting my own style wrong all this time, but I nailed it.  I love getting A’s.  at 95 points I am considered:  Modern Glam.  While Mid-Century Modern isn’t considered complimentary on her style wheel – Zen is, I think the clean lines work well with the detailed style for which I associate most powerfully.  I think I’ll call it:  Marie Antoinette Goes to Hollywood.

The Holidays in Full Bloom

I love the holidays – the Martha Steward style holidays that is.  I like it to be pretty, and for all of my projects to turn out like her’s.  I think it goes without saying that – that never happens.  I have a track record that resembles more or less a miss, a miss, a miss and a couple of hits.  I try not to beat myself up over all the misses, and to celebrate the hits.

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Shawna Havenga of The Wild Dahlia demonstrating the intricacies of an arrangement.

Earlier in the week I attended a really fun event…DI-Wine where we were instructed on how to make a holiday centerpiece.  Shawna Havenga of The Wild Dahlia gave us some really smart tips on how to create something beautiful and organic looking.  Start with greenery, we used lemon leaves, fern, and eucalyptus.  Frame out the highest and widest points within your vase or base.  We used a floral foam to ensure the flowers and greenery would stay exactly where we intended them to be.  These two tips really set the stage. Shawna also recommended stripping the stem of the flowers and ferns to decorate the base and cover the foam – any additional bald spots can be covered in moss.  Perhaps my favorite new insight is to loosen the petals to open the roses, giving it a really natural, pretty look.

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Sylvie and Tiffany celebrating the season with me.

I am very proud of the arrangement I was able to make, though it is a little more structured than Shawna might approve of, and one of the benefits of having an unstructured arrangement is undoubtably the cost – a little less expensive than the arrangement I created.

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My creation.

This got me thinking what fun it would be to have party posies that I could bring as hostess gifts.  Flowers are always welcome, those that come in their own little vase, jelly jar, or tin, are an instant hit.  They require a little planning, you aren’t going to pull them out of a drawer and tie a ribbon around it and go, but its for this reason, that they will be appreciated that much more.

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A perfect posey in a little vase be the bell of the ball!

Happy Holidays.

Bright Lights: Big Christmas

I love Christmas.  I’ve already started to listen to holiday tunes.  They make me happy.  Make me feel optimistic.  We haven’t yet arrived at the holiday parties, and the family feuds that dull ones enthusiasm.  This time, before Thanksgiving is untarnished, and the world feels full of blushy innocence.

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Ben Moore might go ahead and introduce a new color for 2018.  Pantone has launched theirs – a bit hard to believe in my option – but there will be tried and true hues.  Those that inspire, offer a nod to elegance and innocence and possibility.

For me – they scream – Let them Eat Cake.  Those French pastels, accented by black and white that are the hard shell, that once bitten, gives way to a softness.  We need those contrasts in our home, in our work spaces, and of course in our natural environment whether that be a seaside local, a mountain range, a lazy river or a desert, they spring to life when you are subjected to the sharp contrasts.

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Marie Antoinette . Kirstin Dunst in all that sugary glory.

No. 4 is all about innocence so I am considering bringing the sophistication in a tree, and decorations that are all black, white, and gold.  A balance between decorative and organic.  Can I pull it off.  I have just a few days to figure it all out.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.