To Gig or Not to Gig – that is the question?

I am currently reading, or listening via Audible, to The Gig Economy by Diane Mulcahy. I met Diane at dinner a few weeks ago. The invite list was carefully curated to include some seriously successful women – so serious that I thought for a second, what the heck am I doing here. Then I thought well wait a minute, I am going to be a published author of a book entitled: My Life in Sawdust: How to make a million in ten flips, and I have this awesome blog, and I have an incredible full-time job, and flip houses on the side. After that talk with myself it made total sense that I was included on the guest list. Obvi.

Having made Diane’s acquaintance – I learned that The Gig Economy isn’t her only book. She has two others, and she was writing and teaching about The Gig Economy practically before anyone else. Smart. I haven’t gotten to the part of the book yet – if in fact I ever will – where it defines someone like me. I like to think I am one of a kind, and naturally that’s true, but is it unique? I bet not. I bet there are others like me who have a full time job, and a side hack, and maybe do one or two other things that occasionally bring in extra income.

That is after all, what gigging is all about. Financial security through a diversified portfolio of jobs. While I flip on my own, for my own financial gain – the kind that a 401K is never going to give me, and since I don’t have a pension or an inheritance, another source of income is required. In addition to my full time job and the flipping, I periodically write promotional pieces for on-line companies. If I was a real “gigger” I wouldn’t have a full time job, but I like my full time job, and I am constantly working on building new skills. That’s most definitely “gig-like”.

So to Gig or not to Gig – that is the question. Maybe I could just be a “gig-lette”. After all, I do like being first.

Shine

As I wondered through the shops in Chatham today, with only a thinly veiled guise in toe, my hunt for thank you notes, I was struck by the number of people that so openly proclaim they can get this, or that, for so much cheaper at Home Goods. While it’s undeniably true, that many wonderful things can be purchased there, show some respect folks. It’s hard being a store owner, and think how genuinely nice it is to stroll local shops in town – any town.

So I bought my cards and picture frames, and a belated birthday gift for my little 3 year old friend who will forgive my tardiness. Isn’t that one of the very best things about being 3? Time is fluid. Forgiveness is given freely, and joy is unabashed. Oh I can’t wait for her to get her fairy garland.

Now that I have supported the local shops, I can tell you with an open conscience that Target has come out with another line of lighting that BEAUTIFUL. It trails behind another HGTV hit hostess and is so crazy affordable, I am tempted to buy far more than I need and squirrel it away for a rainy day. Leanne Ford and her Project 62 line will have those that lust over Serena & Lily, Rejuvenation, or even West Elm’s more economical lines – well lining up to load their shopping cart. And wait you better because Target says it’s a limited edition.

While most the Restored by one Ford Collection is pendants, and floor lamps, if you are in the market for table lamps, head to Home Goods this weekend. They are having an enormous sale on lamps, rugs, and more, and the stores are packed with product. This girl spotted a few John Adler knock-offs, a couple of mid-century modern globe lights, a couple of Ralph Lauren ginger jar blue and white beauties, and many more, you are sure to find a desk top, bedside, or sideboard or console table lamp to brighten your home.

Splish Splash . Back to the Bath

Scalamandre . Malin

Not the NYC bath, though it’s coming along beautifully. You’ll get to see the final completed project next week. Yes, it’s that fast.

Scalamandre . Mary Blues Antique French Verdure

This bath has has no bath at all, and lordy lord, I hope it won’t have any splishing and splashing. This unit has seen enough water damage. When I am done nipping it in the bud, it can feel free to die on the vine. I have nothing against vines of course, or flowers, I like them both. In fact I like them so much I have been day dreaming about them.

Cole & Sons . Singita

It had been such a long time since I went to yoga last. If you are wondering what yoga has to do with the bath, I’ll tell you. There I was in side angle, in that beautiful semi-conscious state that sometimes just opens itself to you, and all of a sudden I was on a porch, in the spring, and there naturally, was the wallpaper. What wallpaper you ask? Well I can’t be exactly sure, but it gave me the feeling of total relaxation – of serenity. That’s the feeling I am after in this dirtiest of dirty projects. I want nature and serenity, or maybe a little bit of the jungle, and a wallpaper jungle is so great. You never have to water it, and the birds and the monkeys are so quiet you can’t hear a thing. Perfect.

Schumacher . Exuberant Balloon

I’ve selected a few options that are an ode to the semi-conscious vision I had this morning. Do let me know your thoughts.

Cole & Sons . Florence Court

Solo Act: seeking solitude at the office

There’s been a big brew ha ha about open office layouts of late. Claims of lowered productivity, less collaboration, more distraction. The exact opposite of what the experts claimed would happen a few years back.

Cole and Sons . Woods and Stars wall covering. Just a little bit of calm.

I don’t mind an open office environment. My very first job at an architectural firm I sat in the wide open with all the other employees. I loved it. Between opening and reading the mail and listening to the conversations around the office, I might have been the second most well informed person in the company next to the Founder. Pretty good if you ask me.

Later, I had an office and then I didn’t. The rising cost of real estate forced the shift. Having gotten used to the private space I thought I would hate being on a floor with no walls and 250 people. I didn’t. I liked it quite a lot. I even found the weekly battles of the genre of music that would be played RATHER amusing. As far as my experience went – I did in fact collaborate more – and that was pretty cool. When the economy tanked and we had to give that floor back, I never felt so lonely as I did returning to a private office.

Wayfair . Wrought Studio Sease Lounge Chair $233.99

So hype or not, the cost of real estate is going to continue to rise, so finding ways to whittle down that SF is probably here to stay. One pretty great residual benefit of the open office is the specialty spaces that come along with them. A huddle room, how cozy. A phone booth, a Mother’s Room, a Meditation Space, a cafe with snacks, and wi-fi simply everywhere you can drag your device. As a writer I sometimes just need a change of scenery to spark the creativity, and our conference rooms are often booked, so I have been charged with designing a little space to take a call or a brief breather. Comfortable but not so comfortable you wouldn’t want to leave.

All Modern . Swan Swivel $339.99

I feel generally good about what’s been selected but am a little uncertain about the chair. The chair will make or break the space. Advice welcome.

All Modern . Alberto Swivel Wingback $349.99

Happy Sunday.

Bathroom Rehab

When you live in a city apartment and you have only one bathroom, taking on a renovation of that space can seem like an insurmountable challenge. Add to that a pre-war building (those were made out of concrete and require a special handyman to hang a picture). The picture, in case you are not clear, is that nothing in these types of buildings will be ripped out easily and replaced. Not without a wrecking crew, and if you are in fact planning on continuing to live there, well, you have a problem.

Me, I love a bathroom or I hate it. I want it to be a quiet sanctuary of sorts. I want to go in, close the door, block out the world, maybe turn on some nice music, having a steaming hot shower, dry off with a fluffy towel, and have the ability to turn around without hitting a towel rack, the back of the toilet or the door – you out there reading this, living in tiny places – you know what I am talking about.

While I cannot make my sister Mary Beth’s bathroom any bigger – we can make it feel like a tiny spa, and do it all without throwing the baby out with the bath water. Now some of you might balk at the thought of reglazing – this inexpensive fix will in fact transform your space. No painstaking effort to pry up the existing tile, I don’t even know how they’d get that tub out of the apartment without taking out the door, popping a window out, and have a crane take it down. If you were being bombed, this tub would be the only thing left standing, and you could happily say it served one good purpose. Reglazed – it will serve two.

Patch the tile, glaze the tub and then the tiles, add a new sink, toilet, vanity, and light fixture, and voila – you’ve performed a miracle – and it only cost you about $2500. It’s true. Take that. The last full bathroom renovation I did cost me $25,000. It was only 37sf That’s $675.67 a foot. You know what it feels like to stub your toe – that’s a huge toe stubbing cost.

Stay tuned for the after pictures. It’ll all take place over the course of a single long weekend away.

So many great options from Lumens.com Left: Saber $180. Top Right: Winton Bath Bar $219. Bottom Right: Rondelle Bath Bar $314.

Keeping Time: Customization in the 21st Century

If you knew me, and some of you do, you would know that I am not patient. It’s not a charming or cute quality. Oh I’m sure if I was played by some Hollywood starlet in a movie of my life, they could make you adore me and my foot tapping impatience, but taking a breath and thinking it out has its advantages. I suppose this is a cautionary tale of sorts in that regard.

I can’t be alone in wanting things to happen quickly, and to be customized to my liking. I cannot wait for the day that I can point my digitized magic wand toward an upholstered piece from one of my flips and change the color. You were blue, and now I wish for you to be white, or cream, or pale grey. The possibilities are endless and so is the trouble you could get into. We’re not quite there, but we are getting close.

OKL. Palette . Daphne Slipper Chair . $474.50

It’s pretty exciting to see generations old companies evolve, combining artisanal craftsmanship with technology. If speed to market is part of the new name game, another part is customization. So what else makes up this new world of commerce? Collaborations, you build the furniture, I’ll design the fabric and throw my back into it – or as the case may be, a name. Preferably one that is well known in the design world. Collabs are popping up all over the place. The EveryGirl, Clare Vivier, Peter Som, Joanna Gaines. X marks the collaboration and they are hot.

OKL . Palette . Pillow $64.50

I was pretty excited to see One King’s Lane jump into the X-Game with a new service called Palette. You choose from a selection of furnishings or pillows, pick your fabric, now for the colors – 15 are available, select the scale of the design – small, medium or large, and choose a finish – and a frill or two if the piece warrants it. Ta-da. You have a customized piece that will ship to you from Cloth & Company the name behind the X, from Chicago, in 3 weeks. That’s right. Customized for you and delivered in just 3 weeks.

The Inside X Clare V. Sardines Sette. Photograph copyright dan cutrona

OKL is savvy. You don’t necessarily have to invent everything. Sometimes you just need to pay close attention and connect the dots. Last year I came across a 4th Generation family owned company. It struggled and then reinvented itself. Tillett Textiles and the T4 Color Pad technology that allows you to choose from 180 patterns, 55 colors and 12 grounds – think of the possibilities of fabrics that you can have your custom pattern printed on – I need a mathematician to help me figure out just how many options , but suffice it to say – it’s a lot. Then I came across a company called The Inside. Between their collaborations, and inexpensive upholstered pieces that arrive at your doorstep – you guessed it – in 3 weeks, we are witnessing a response to a demand.

Tillett Textiles. My custom print on the bed! Photography copyright dan cutrona

OKL married the two concepts, and like I said in the beginning…it’s magic.

Finding Your Way to Calm

During these in between times I usually feel like an old teddy bear whose seams have given way and whose fluff can be found in small tufts, scattered about all the places I have visited. A pair of sparkly shoes left behind at a friends house, two socks – not of the matching variety, a pair of my nickers, folders full of important documents, and most definitively – pieces of my sanity. If I thought being knocked senseless would make room for some fresh insight, I just might let someone take a whack.

It was this bad attitude that I took with me to the hardware store to get another round of sample paints for the new place. The clock is ticking and my lack of inspiration isn’t helping. So when Susan announced herself as a color specialist that was willing to assist – I did something unprecedented for me…I said “I’d love your help”. And I meant it. And even better – she did help.

Sometimes I get to thinking that I know enough about something to just go it alone, and that under the circumstances, the circumstances being, in case you’ve forgotten, are that all that fluff is falling out of my head – how could I possibly expect to wedge anything new in there and make it stick. Them, those, that.

Bill Nye said: “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” It’s both scary and reassuring all at the same time, and Susan knew something I did not. She knew what all the designers were trending toward for the new year. She had a whole file full of greys. Can you imagine. It made me swoon with happiness. She had a tiny little piece of paper that had a diamond cut out of its middle. It was pure white and she ran it across colors to show me how they were reading. She talked about cool and warm, and how the very best designers balance the two in any space. She told me I picked colors that looked expensive and that it was a sure sign that i had gotten it right.

The beauty of a renovation: we can fix that.

Maybe all that fluff has been falling out to make room for Susan’s wisdom. My palette may have looked expensive, but it cost just the same amount it always does, and as I sit looking at the enormous sample sheets that magically appeared from her folder, I feel calm. Just like one of the paint colors we selected together.

Happy Saturday.