Thursday, July 17, 2014

One-of-a-Kind Home Decor Source: shopSCAD

Yesterday, I got an email from the SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design, if you aren't familiar) alumni association encouraging me to donate, donate, donate! That's cute SCAD, one day your stay-at-home mom, online teaching, recreational design blogging alumni will donate the big bucks. But at the moment I hate to break it to ya, but you'll have to look to your other M.A. in interior design grads, cause this one isn't on the donate-to-your-alma mater financial path just yet.

With that said, I loved my almost two years at SCAD. OK, at the time it was a lot of hard work, little sleep, and a lot of time away from family and friends. But looking back, the education I received really transformed how I approached design. Between the education, unique city of Savannah, and being surrounded by so many creative individuals it was an extremely inspiring experience that made a designer out of me.

With SCAD on my mind I'd thought I'd share some of my favorite items for sale at SCAD's, shopSCAD. It's a great alternative to Etsy for gifts, fashion items, fine art, and home decor. All products sold are original work created by SCAD artists, most of whom are students, from a wide range of degrees from fibers (yep, only at an art school) and industrial design to painting and illustration.  Here's some of my favorites currently in the shop and being sold online for under $80:
Carolina Collection: Corrugated plastic side tables by Carolina Amu Truillo (BFA, industrial design) are  weather resistant, stain resistant, available in black, white, yellow or orange, collapsable for easy storage and cost under $50!

Nani Collection Vases are fun wall-mounted bud vases, available as a single vase or trio by Nani Cabada (BFA industrial design, 2010). It is made of curved birch plywood with zebra wood exterior.

The Savannah Toile Collection: Kitchen Towel Set by Morena Guzman (MFA, fibers and industrial design), are a fun take on the classic fabric pattern depicting the city of Savannah with it's historic squares and spanish moss.

PlaceMates by Gregor Turk are a collection of 8"or 11" plates that show how the pictograms of men and women used as universally understood signage have been translated across the globe to varying sizes and widths, which Turk depicts on his plates, these plates are fun conversation starters.

One day SCAD we'll dedicate the state-of-the-art Griffin Gymnasium, in the mean time, I'll support the school by supporting its fabulous artists and designers.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Trend Spotting: Multi-Color Geometrics

Geometrics have been hot for a while now but it's multi-color geometrics that have caught my eye as of late. Composed of precise geometric shapes, the variety of color given to each shape creates a blending effect that tricks the eye into seeing something more. Often we rely on pattern to create complexity and bring visual interest to a design, yet these patterns are simple, composed of a single repetitive shape, it's the color that gives them complexity. Multi-color geometrics are an intriguing mix between the pixilation of the digital world and Cubism. Here's four fabulous examples:

Perfect for a neutral colored room or one that lacks much pattern, they bring the party!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Art to Interior: Johannes Vermeer

Today I'm excited to bring you a new series on the blog called, Art to Interior. Here's how it works: I take the work of a renowned artist (mostly painters) and translate them into an interior,  a living room to be precise.  I figure we all might enjoy this, as art is such a fabulous source of interior design inspiration. Paintings come with a built in color palette and have the potential to inspire the textures, patterns, shapes, forms, and even light we use in our spaces.

First up, JohannesVermeer!

This 17th Century Dutch artist is one of my favorites. I love his entire body of work which only consists of 35 paintings (there's a possible 36th painting out there).  I love the realism in his work, for a lover of Mid-Century Modern interiors I find myself more drawn to paintings that depict life-like details, as opposed to more abstract works common in the MCM era. Oh and of course the colors and how he depicts natural light in space, lovely! And finally, the symbolism, there is always so much more going on than what meets the eye in a Vermeer painting.

Before we dive into the details, here's a peak at some of the Artist's work and the living room design it inspired:
Let's break it down…

A closer look at the symbology in Vermeer's painting and you might think, "This guy is a bit judgey" as most of Vermeer's paintings depict woman in interiors being tempted by men or conflicted by virtue and vice. This was a common genre of Dutch painting in Vermeer's time, art being used to teach viewers of the pitfalls of a life that's less than virtuous. Here are just a few of those symbols and other notable details worth applying to our interior.
1. Woman with a Water Jug, 1664-65
2. The Milkmaid, 1658-60
3. Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665

4. Art of Painting,1666-1673
5. The Procuress, 1656
6. Women and Two Men1659-60

Below we see Vermeer's work is alive in a 21st Century living room.
Since women are the focus of so may of Vermeer's paintings they drive the color scheme for this living room design, which include a deep blue and golden yellow found in their dresses and I spice it up with a pop of red.  Just like in Vermeer's interior's, walls in this living room will be a soft white, it's the contrast of bold color and neutral backdrop that I personally love.  Because Vermeer's paintings are so realistic and depict such lovely interiors this was a pretty easy exercise. I was able to simply pull out those details that could be translated into a living room and play up all those symbols that help make his work so iconic. 

1. The golden yellow drapes play up the color scheme and speak to the massive dresses of the women in Vermeer's paintings, seriously how about those dresses! If you take a closer look, the curtains are trimmed in nail heads which we see as a common detail in the seating of Vermeer's era.
2. Natural light enter's Vermeer's interiors through stained and leaded glass windows and as we know he loved exploring the perils of vanity so why not include mirrors that have a leaded glass look.
3. You just can't ignore the pearl in a Vermeer inspired interior and this chandelier is dripping with what looks like those vanity-inducing pearls.
4. Maps, a symbol of wealth and education in Vermeer's day and seen in so many of his paintings, are easily incorporated into a 21st Century interior.
5. Instead of a brass chandler, I went with a brass floor lamp that has a similar feel to the fixture seen in The Art of Painting (painting #4 above).
6. A black and white marble floor is essential to any Vermeer-inspired interior.
7 & 8. I went with a matching tufted blue velvet sofa and chair to emphasize the soft form of the women in Vermeer's paintings and work in our color scheme. Also note, the nail head trim again and turned wood legs, common details found in the furniture in Vermeer's interiors.
9. This coffee table plays up the wood furniture with turned legs common in Vermeer's paintings. To further speak to Vermeer's work I might drape it with a tapestry.
10. I had a little fun with this piece and why not?! It's an easel media stand. Considering this space is based on the works of a great painter and even more specifically it speaks to the easel seen in his Art of Painting (painting #4 above) it fits the space perfectly.
11. This rug plays up the heavy tapestry vibe we see in Vermeer's work, adds that essential pop of red, all while softening that hard marble floor.
12. We see wine pitchers served on silver platters in Vermeers work, so we do it up in this space.
13. And you can't leave out the porcelain wine pitchers themselves, they are referenced here with four white pitchers. The pitcher and platter would be a fun accent on the coffee table.
14. Finally, a woven basket adds some texture to the space plus they were a common in Vermeer's paintings.

Do you see Vermeer's work reflected in this interior? Any details you might add?

I'd love for you to leave a comment or send me an email with your favorite artist to feature in future Art to Interior posts!


Sources: Essential Vermeer 2.0 and Vermeer the Complete Paintings by Norbert Schneider.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Details that Inspire: Vol. 7

Given America's Birthday last week, I didn't find the world wide web to be as robust with inspiration, And that's OK! It's good to get away from our screens once in a while. But do not fear, there were still details that inspired, there always are (it's just a bit light). It was the WALL that caught my eye this week. A simple unadorned white wall just won't do  I'd much prefer any of these striking alternatives.
via Remodilista
Is it a wall? A railing? A shelf? A window? It's all four! I love how the light passes into this loft space through this quadruple purpose partition and creates a rhythmic pattern on the ceiling and floor. I just can't get enough of multi-functional architectural elements.
via Architectural Record
Studio Gang Architects out of Chicago is using cordwood masonry walls for their latest project, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership in Michigan. Cordwood Masonry is a construction technique used by early settlers. Walls are typically 12 to 24 inches deep (your typical exterior wall is usually only 6 inches thick) and pieces of wood protrude from the mortar about one inch. So exciting to see an old world technique being applied to a very contemporary building.
Napa Tile and Crate and Barrel 
I'm not talking about kitchen backsplash or bathroom kind of tiles, these are decorative tiles to be used to adorn a feature wall or used as wall art. I love the angles and materials, the image on the left is leather and the image on the right is wood. They would add depth and dimension to any surface plus, hey have DIY potential as well!

Enjoy your weekend!


P.S. More details that Inspire Vol. 1 | Vol. 2 | Vol.3 | Vol. 4 Vol. 5 | Vol 6 !

Thursday, July 10, 2014

4 Strategies to Incorporate Kids Without Compromising Design

Kids and their stuff can take over a home and begin to overwhelm a once grown-up space, making parents wonder what their home even looked like before they had kids. Now the kid take over is perfectly fine (and welcome!) but considering these tiny roommates of ours don't pay rent and are totally indifferent to decor, I think it's acceptable for parents to be the ones dictating how kids and their stuff are woven into a home's existing decor. Here are four strategies that I've used to incorporate my kid, her stuff, and her needs into our home without compromising design. Now, these tips are particularly relevant to shared family spaces like the living room, kitchen, and dining room. 

1. Provide Strategic Storage
Probably the most important thing we can do to avoid a kid takeover in our homes is provide adequate storage for their toys in our shared living spaces. I think the best storage hides kids toys so they are out of sight when not in play (you know, those few sacred hours called nap time and bedtime). With that said, this storage should be within reach of children so they can easily access their toys and easily help put them away.

The floating cubby buffet in our dining room houses all of Francie's downstairs toys. If it doesn't fit in the cubbies it's not downstairs. And with 12 baskets there is plenty of  room for variety in the toy department. When the toys are picked up and baskets put away you'd never know we've got a three-year-old roaming the premises.
As backup I have a cabinet in our kitchen with some puzzles and other games that are best used at her table in the kitchen.  They aren't totally hidden away but they have a home and Francie knows where they are and where to return them.
Book shelves with a couple baskets, a media cabinet, even a hutch are all opportunities to store kids toys instead of just letting them pile up in plain sight. Giving toys a proper home (out of sight) is an easy way to reclaim your space.

Below Emily Henderson (we can always count on her for creative solutions) uses a hutch packed with mason jars and baskets to conceal kid toy and craft storage.
Design: Emily Henderson. Photo Credit: Victoria Pearson and Bethany Nauru
2. Designate Kid Zones
While virtually every square inch of our first floor has been used as play space for Frances, including the entry hallway. I have two specific areas designated for her to play and this tends to keep the rest of our space somewhat grown-up friendly.

One zone is on a rug in our living room, a great spot to play on the floor and spread out.
The other spot is a vintage red metal folding table in our kitchen. 
She tends to gravitate to these two areas. While I don't shoe her away from other areas, having these spots generally keeps her messes controlled to certain areas and gives her some claim to the space we all share.

3. Make the Space Accessible to Them
Homes really aren't designed for folks under 4 feet tall. This is unfortunate because kids, toddlers in particular, so desparately crave a bit of access and control in their little lives. Giving kids some control over and access to their environment (instead of it always towering over them and only accessible to them through us) gives children more ownership and pride in their (OUR) space.

Step stools are obvious, but make all the difference for kids. The key with step stools is not feeling like they have to be a plastic monstrosities. Find a cute vintage or wooden step stool that will blend or even pop with the rest of your decor and NOT act as an eye sore.

I recently found two wood step stools for $20 at a local thrift store.  I spray painted white them and they now live in our first floor powder room (a shared family space) and our Second Bathroom (mostly used by Frances but also our guests).
I also created some rustic chic woodland creature wall hooks for our second bathroom to replace an out of reach towel ring. The hooks are well within Francie's reach and she gets a kick out of taking and returning the towels to the squirrels.
These little steps not only make a kid's surrounding more accessible to them but it makes life easier for us grown-ups, as we are teaching our kids independence and giving them the opportunity to help themselves.

4. Buy or Make(over) Well-Designed Toys
As I noted above, toys and objects intended for kids can be plastic eye sores (I think I used the term monstrosity, a bit harsh) and usually only available in primary colors or pink and purple (how's a girl to know a toy's intended for her?). It's worth considering the design and make of the toys since they do inevitably invade our shared space. Now this most definitely DOES NOT apply to all toys (Francie has her fair share of plastic monstrosities that she and I love), just those that might be staples of the main living space and maybe can't be easily stored out of sight like play kitchens, tables, and doll houses. Kids are imaginative and will likely still have a blast playing with a toy that is not pink and plastic. Consider wooden toys or those that come in more neutral color schemes.

I love this dining room featured on Decor8, a simple wooden doll house sits center stage in the room, mother and child can equally love this both for play and decor.
via Decor8. Photos by Holly Marder
The other option is to give those large toys a makeover so they can be customized to blend perfectly with your space. We painted Francie's play kitchen white so that it blended in with our kitchen. It's still obviously a toy but instead of standing out like a sore thumb it blends in.  This toy gets a ton of use and was well worth investing the time in its makeover. 
Kathy from Up to Date Interiors transforms a plastic Ikea kids table that was once in pre-school primary colors, it's now a set that blends seamlessly with her family's living room's decor.
via Up to Date Interiors
At the end of the day, these strategies aren't about hiding the fact that we share space with kids, it's about merging adult and kid needs into a shared space.  It can be easy to give in and give over our space to our children because they are our precious, sweet, and sometimes rather demanding little roommates. But with a little thought and consideration (i.e. design) their needs can be met and us parents can still stake claim over that other big investment in our life, our home.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Big Girl Room Closet Makeover

Closets are not typically on the top of my list when it comes to projects I want to tackle in our home. Mostly because they usually remain closed and thus are easy for me to forget about, I'm an out of sight out of mind kind of girl. However, Francie's big girl room is different, during her waking hours the doors remain flung open so she can access the toys we keep in her room. And after the effort we put into decorating the rest of her room it seems unfortunate to leave the closet out of the mix. So this weekend I gave her closet a makeover more suitable for her frilly, floral, feminine Big girl Room. Here's what I was working with:
I could have organized things a bit better for this Before photo but that makes for a less dramatic After shot and more importantly, toys and stuffed animals still would have overflowed from the baskets, dress up clothes, her absolute FAVORITE, would still be out of her reach, and the upper portion of her closet, filled with random Francie-related objects, would still be an eye-sore, so this is an honest look at a dysfunctional closet.

Now, I wasn't looking to spend much on the makeover (obviously, when do I ever!) I was trying to use a lot of things we had on hand to organize and pretty up the space. The few purchases I made included: paint, door knobs, 2 storage baskets, and some hooks.

Before I give you a look inside the closet I did make a little change to the outside, I replaced the builder-grade door knobs with some glass knobs or as Frances calls them "Diamonds".
 It was an easy swap, Lowes sells the glass knobs for $20 and since they are dummy knobs (no locking mechanism on them) I just unscrewed the existing knobs and screwed in the new ones. The glass ("diamonds") knobs play up the feminine vibe and the gold speaks to other gold elements in the space.
Now on to the interior of the closet, prepare your eyes for…

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Patriotic Decor: Made in America

Red, white, and blue decor has taken over my Pinterest feed these past few weeks as we near Independence Day.  I like it as much as the next girl but since I won't actually be making any of my own patriotic decor this year (my DIY energy will be dedicated to Baby Boy's room) I thought I might get more out of researching some American crafters and makers who are creating lovely products right here the U.S. of A. I think these folks embody America and what we stand for better than any DIY flag decor I could come up with, plus it's decor we are sure to sport year-round.

I wasn't really sure where to find great American made decor but I turned to three sources who know a thing or two about great design and they gave me a jump start on my search: Martha (duh!), Dwell, and Apartment Therapy. Then I hit up Etsy where I found most of these items. Really, where better than Etsy to find American made goods. A community of folks with a passion for creating and the skills and drive to produce them. Here's what I found:

1. The Green Vintage Style Pendant is one of many fabulous industrial style fixtures created by Olde Brick Lighting out of Lititz, PA. They are well-made and custom, but don't cost an arm and a leg.
2. I love Detroit Wall Paper Co.'s tagline: "Motor City Style…Assembled with soul." I love the Lath Cocktail Table and prove's the struggling city most definitely still has soul.
3. TeePee Play Tents are all the rage, I just love the patterns and colors available via B.E. Little You and Me out of Owensville, MO
4. This line of product is sort of out of my league ($$$), but New Yorker Lindsey Adelman's work is a bit like art and fashion that meets decor, it's just stunning.  She's an American maker worth admiring.
5. Cedar wood and solid metal house number signs, very Mod, and brought to you from Hartford, WI's Daddy's Simple Signs.
6. San Antonio, TX represented here with Ceramica Botanica. Love the bold colors and patterns with Mid-Century vibe of the various plates, trays and planters.
7. Strand's Modular Coatrack, simple and sleek, fabricated in Chicago and created by a husband and wife duo, Ted and Sharon Berdett.
8. A Nautical Trivet by Mystic Knots out of Mystic, CT. Love me some American Made Sailor knots.
9. The Object Enthusiast out of Omaha, NE does gold just the way I like it with their Speckled Cylander Vase with Gold Brush Stroke.

And if that's not enough, for my friends and family in Illinois, visit Norton USA in Barrington. My mom took me a couple years back, they only sell American Made goods, it's a really cute shop with a wide variety of product and a quaint corner store vibe.

Supporting American makers, manufacturers, and crafters is sure to leave feeling oh so Proud to be an American and a great way to spend the Fourth.

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