Monday, July 28, 2014

State of the Space: Baby Boy's Room {THE BEFORE}

I'll be honest, Baby Boy's room is in a pretty sad state right now, but you gotta start somewhere. So, today's post is the starting line and hopefully we'll get to the finish line say, before he cracks his first non-gas induced smile.

The good news is, all that early onset nesting I've been experiencing has allowed us to finally get to a place where we can actually start thinking about furnishing and decorating his space. And the other good news is that my partner in this parenting gig, The Man, isn't too worried about the fact that baby boys room won't be ready by his due date (because the fact is, it won't be). You see, he's convinced his son doesn't need all that baby stuff and most certainly doesn't need decor. Put up a Chicago Bears poster (apparently a poster is not considered decor, it's simply an essential part of life), give him a sheet to lie on, and his lad will be just fine. He must be confusing our baby for this one:
While I am convinced this is how my husband emerged from the womb, I am quite sure our boy will be just as needy and precious as every other newborn on earth. With that said, the little experience I do have with newborns tells me that I really don't need to have his actual bedroom completed on his Birth Day as he'll likely spend several weeks, maybe even months sleeping in this cradle. The same one Francie and I spent our first weeks in and that my Grandpa made {And please, try to keep it down, Giggle Girl is napping}.
Once I find a home for all those books we'll put the cradle in our bedroom and my dresser should make the perfect changing table for the time being.
This strategy should buy us a few weeks because here is a look at the current state of Baby Boy's actual bedroom.  Keeping things positive, we do have a crib, changing pad, and a diaper genie. Baby bedding is T.B.D. but our kind friends did give us some crib sheets to tie us over.
The room needs some curtains and I've got this sweet bentwood rocker and footstool.
I picked up the rocker for just $45 at Nearly New Thrift Shop in Fayetteville and the foot stool I got a while back in Cameron. I'd like to refinish the rocker but I am still debating weather to paint it a fun color or stain it to match the foot stool. Suggestions welcome!!
We have plenty of blank, builder-grade beige walls to go around. Of course that's nothing some paint won't fix.
And some art! I've already got some of that, as well as a large frame that will be great once I figure out what to put in it...
And check this out, I've got a branch! Clearly my baby preparation priorities are straight as I intend to turn it into faux antlers, something every infant needs.
Hey! I've even got Francie's old crib skirt that I can totally reuse with a little manly adjustment.
Let's not forget the closet as it is too has potential and a few pieces I can use in the room, like the red tear drop lamp and orange shelf.
I've got myself convinced we are in good shape, I mean I do have a branch! All we need to purchase is a dresser that can double as changing table, preferably something vintage,  some crib bedding,  and curtains and we will definitely be painting those walls!

Missing from all of this is the concept, which will pull the whole thing together. I blame all that nesting! It had my brain honed in on budgeting, taking stock, purging, and organizing and totally distracted from what's really important when preparing for a baby, THE DECORATING! Luckily, this is the fun part! Wednesday I *hope* to share Concept #1 for Baby Boy's room. I've already decided I want to come up with a few concepts since my deadline for the room's completion is November, he'll be almost 3 months old by then, likely outgrown the cradle, and ready to spread his wings in his own room.

In the meantime, I'm not gonna feel too guilty about the sad state of the nursery just 5 weeks before our Little Guy's expected arrival. I'll assume our son will be like most newborns, totally indifferent to decor and much more interested in milk, sleep, and clean diapers. Of course if by chance he emerges from the womb as his father predicts, then I'll scrap my plans all together, buy him some beef jerky (as he surely won't need milk), lay a sheet on the floor,  hang up that Chicago Bears poster, and call it a day.

See you Wednesday!
-Griffin

Friday, July 25, 2014

Details that Inspire: Vol. 8

It's Friday and I've got a fabulous round-up details for you this week! All this week's details use materials anyone can get their hands on, yet they are presented in really creative ways. Oh the DIY potential!
I'm loving these indoor plant walls. In an office tour featured on the Contemporist (left image) we see a whole new take on the stripe, created by wood flower boxes containing leafy plants on a backlit wall. This Barcelona Apartment by CaSA featured on Dezeen on the right contains greenery within an exposed 2x4 structure, the staggered height of the plants draws the eye up to the exposed ceiling.
Talk about an easy and affordable DIY headboard idea featured in SF Girl By Bay! Screw two 2x4s horizantally above a bed. Done. If that's too simple, take it up a notch with a particle board headboard featured in this month's issue of Inside Out Magazine (via Desire to Inspire), mounting it just off the wall and extending the board's length beyond the width of the bed is key to its success. And Interior Design Magazine gives us a glimpse inside the classy Istanbul restaurant, Gaspar, where plywood is stained various shades of brown to create a unique layered feature wall that gives this affordable material a high-end look.
Oh how Francie would love this white glove garland, I spotted on Elle Espana, all her favorite princesses wear gloves! But really, it's kinda quirky, cool, and feminine!
I love how dynamic and affordable this red yarn installation art is in Lauren Diane Svenstrup's Home, showcased in a recent Apartment Therapy Home Tour.
I'm really not drawn to soft colors like baby blue, I much prefer saturated, bold, and vibrant colors, but the color of these tiles featured in 79 Ideas and Desire to Inspire are so soothing and fresh. They add to the quaint charm of the cottage on the left while the blue tiles on the right really soften this modern and minimalist bathroom.

That's all I've got. What's your favorite?
Have a great weekend, see you Monday!
-Griffin

P.S. More details that Inspire: Vol. 1 | Vol. 2 | Vol.3 | Vol. 4 Vol. 5 Vol 6 | Vol 7 !

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Blog Updates, Early Onset Nesting & 7 Unique Storage Solutions

I just wanted to pop in to say that The Design Itch is still up and running, I however, am a bit distracted these days. Three-years-old is a whole new ball game for us and it seems that the most fun and exciting part of mothering a child at this age is also one of the most challenging, the Independence! We seem to be in uncharted territory and trying to figure out how to best navigate through it with our sanity, which has left my 35 week pregnant self a bit too drained at the end of the day to do what I really want, which is write about design!
On top of that, I seem to have an early onset case of nesting that has channeled all of my brain power and creativity into whipping our family budget into shape, taking stock of what we have from our pantry to our walk-in closet, purging stuff we don't use, and organizing our life before it is turned upside down in five weeks (in the best most-sleep-deprived kind of way of course!).  I've realized just how much we were consuming and wasting. This meant I had a pantry filled with food I was just overlooking as I galavanted around the Food Lion (our local grocer) bringing even more food into the home and letting stuff we didn't use and had no intention of using take up precious square footage. It has resulted in us trying to do a bit more with less and it feels really good!

So with all those excuses and still desperately wanting to write about design I've decided to return to a 3 day a week blogging schedule: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you hadn't noticed, I was attempting four days a week recently but really it just left me blogging on random days. So as long as I'm organizing our home, I may as well get this blogging thing back in order, at least for the time being. You will still find DIYs, vintage design finds, and interior design inspiration each week and I plan to alternate each Friday between my Art to Interior Series and Details that Inspire Series, so check back this Friday as I share some inspiring details I've been gathering, despite my distracted state.

Now, I didn't want to leave you today without at least sort of touching on design and since I'm in the midst of early-onset nesting why not share 7 unique storage solutions I'm using around the house to maintain a bit of order?! Nothing too ground-breaking here, but the key with all 7 solutions is that none of them are plastic bins or cardboard boxes but rather fun pieces I've collected, maybe even repurposed because storage, especially those solutions that aren't hidden away in closets, should be just as thoughtful as the decor.
1. Sea Shell Toothbrush Holder. We use this in Francie's bathroom and it works great. We all know how gross the bottom of your average toothbrush holder can get, we avoid the mess with this solution and it's super cute!
2. Vases for Toothbrush Holder. This does not avoid that grossness noted above but at least it looks good!
3. Vintage Hat Rack. The only thing unique about this is it's vintage and we use it for Francie's dress up clothes. It's one of a kind and helps keep some order to the mass of dress up clothes.
4. Plant hook for purse storage. I needed a spot to store all my bags and this was the perfect solution, just the right depth for my collection and I actually have it mounted near the ceiling so it's out of the way.
5. Quirky containers. We use this red metal container to store keys, sunglasses and The Man's wallet. It's our go to spot before we head out the door and when we return home. I'm not really sure if it is making an order to smokers: "Smokers, help prevent forest fires" or a statement of praise to smokers: "Smokers prevent forest fires." Ah but that's the fun!
6. Fruite Baskets for undergarments or accessories. I've had this vintage fruit basket for a while and wasn't sure how to use it, then Francie began potty training and there was my answer! For us grown ups it'd be the perfect spot to store belts and other larger accessories.
7. Animal hooks for jewelry and hand towels. I love animal hooks, so utilitarian yet look good when not in use!

Like I said, nothing ground-breaking but that's all my mind can muster for today. As you can see a lot of the storage that get's done around my house isn't found in the storage isle of your big box store it was found for cheap at my favorite vintage shops, which adds so much more personality to the space while still getting the job done.

See you Friday!!
-Griffin

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.

-Griffin

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!
-Griffin

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!

-Griffin

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!

-Griffin

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