Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas At My Place & 5 Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas

I'm really getting into the spirit.

Not the Christmas spirit, I mean I am, who isn't? With all the hype starting the day after Halloween you'd have to live under a rock with scrooge not to feel a little bit jolly this time of year. But I'm talking about the decorating spirit!

My design itch has been virtually non-existent since Teddy came along. Which is to be expected with a new baby but I was starting to wonder if it'd return. Good news is I found Christmas to be a great mini design exercise to get the creative juices flowing again. So here's a look around our home for the holidays.
Here's a closer look at five easy Christmas decorating details I incorporated into the space using stuff I already had.

1. Let It Snow(Inside)
2. Put a Cozy "Sweater" on the Sofa
3. Ornaments All Around
4. Wood Bead Garland on Evergreen Branches in a vase
5. Wreath on a Rope
It feels good to be filled with the spirit (of decorating) again!

-Griffin
Linking up at On Display Thursday check out all the great projects and recipes!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DIY: Great Building Garland and a Name That Building Quiz!

When it comes to my Christmas tree trimmings don't try and tie me down to the the usual cast of Christmas characters. Sure, you'll find your shiny glass orbs. You'll find Santa Clause and an angel. You'll find ornaments made of popsicle sticks and glitter by Frances. And you'll find gold ribbon and twinkling lights, but you will also find a certain 1980s basketball star by the name of Larry Bird.
Why Larry Bird? Honestly, you'd have to ask my basketball loving Dad, as Mr. Bird made his first appearance on my parent's tree long before I could walk. All I know is, it ain't Christmas without Larry. Friends and family who visit my parents during the holidays always look for Larry and newcomers often ask that same question, "Why Larry Bird?" Again, they'd have to ask my Dad. But Larry's presence on my parent's tree (and now also on my family's tree as well) brings with him conversation, quirk, and for my family holiday sentiment. 

As far as I am concerned there's no mistaking it's Christmas when you have a dead pine tree residing in your living room so you're allowed to decorate a bit outside the traditional Christmas box if it might add some fun, sentiment, and conversation to the holidays.

So with that in mind, this year I decided to add a little of my own a-traditional Christmas decor to our tree with a garland composed of architectural masterpieces. I like to think of it as sort of a play on the quaint christmas village, although these buildings are much more beautiful as they are all renowned works of architecture. Plus, they inherently have fabulous form that adds a wonderful graphic element to the tree's decor. 
This was a pretty easy project that took all of nap time to complete.
Supplies include stiff felt sheets in a variety of colors, sturdy gold thread, scissors, more thread to match each of the felt sheets, and a sewing needle.

I'll use LeCorbusier's Villa Savoye in Poissy, France to show you how I made each building:
I decided to use only the profile of the buildings to keep things simple and graphic I also like my Christmas tree decor to be colorful so I selected an array of colors for the felt.  [1] I searched the web and my stash of architecture books for images of buildings that had the most recognizable profiles. I sketched the buildings profiles on the back of the felt making sure each building stayed within a roughly 3"x3" area so the size of each of the buildings would be consistent. [2] Lucky for me, my mom was in town and not only did she give us a hand with the kids, allow The Man and I to enjoy a rare date night, and cook us dinner, she also gave me a hand with this project, her cutting skills are much more precise than mine. [3&4] Finally, to attach the buildings to the gold thread in order to create the garland I used thread that matched the felt and sewed the building to my gold thread.

Of course, I could have made it a whole lot easier on myself by finding images of the buildings online and simply printing them out, cutting out their profiles, and then tracing them onto my felt, but I enjoyed the challenge.

Now tell me, how did I do? A better indicator of my success might be to ask, how many of these buildings do you recognize?
You'll find the answers at the bottom of the post. Unfortunately, the only prize I have for participating is a virtual pat on the back. Lucky you!

Anyways, I am pleased with the end result, the garland is colorful and graphic just as I hoped and I've had fun showing Frances images of the buildings and then having her find them on the tree.  And it was fun to get crafty with my mom, living so far a part we don't get do this kind of thing together as much as we'd like.
So tell me, what kind of quirky, a-traditional decor resides on your Christmas tree?

I'll be back Thursday to share the rest of my home's Christmas decor.
-Griffin

Name That Building Answers: 1. Big Ben London, England 2. Notre Dame Paris 3.Eifel Tower Paris, France and The Space Needle Seattle, WA 4. Willis Tower (of course it will always be the Sears Tower to me) Chicago, IL 5. Taj Mahal Agra, India 6. White House Washington DC  7. Notre Du Haut Ronchamp, France 8. Chrysler Building New York City 9. Farnsworth House Plano, IL 10. Sony Tower New York City 11. Sydney Opera House 12. Arc Du Triumph Paris, France 


Linking up at On Display Thursday check out all the great projects and recipes!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Suspended Repetition

I love suspended objects. There is a whimsy in hanging things from the ceiling in a fashion that is a bit unexpected or against the inherent nature of that object. The built world relies on a connection to the earth and a strong foundation so when we see things in the built environment that defy this notion, it's exciting.

I love repetition. I love seeing a simple object, shape, or form repeated again and again. That simple form when repeated creates a pattern, it creates a rhythm, and it becomes part of a larger composition making it so much more complex than the singular object.  

Having declared my love for suspended objects and repetition you can understand why these spaces thrill me.
1. My Photo / 2.  Petite Passport/ 3. The Stinky Rose / 4. CJ WHO / 5. Archi Tonic
Whether it's dog tags, ceramic pots, garlic bulbs, sheets of paper (or so it appears), or simple circles when suspended from the ceiling and repeated they energize your typical plain, flat, white ceiling. Now to figure out how on earth I can apply this idea to home decor!

-Griffin

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What I've Been Up To (It's Thrilling) and Trees, Glorious Trees!

Just popping in to say The Design Itch is still alive and kicking, despite the fact that I temporarily moved to Sick City (it's a real place, but I don't recommend visiting). Francie is currently battling a persistent and nasty fever, we are now on day four of Fever Watch 2014 and I enjoyed a nice bout of Thanksgiving Eve food poisoning. YUM!

I know what you are thinking, "Oooh Griffin, please tell us more about that!"

Well, I'll spare you the details and just say I'm so grateful for The Man I live with, he's an exceptional husband, father, and care giver. I like to give him a hard time here on the blog, tease him about his love of Chicago Bears inspired decor and how he always seems to operate the circular saw sans shoes and protective eyewear, but the fact is my kids and I are ridiculously lucky (and so is he, he still has all his toes!).
He prefers the real thing, but was Teddy was quite accommodating in letting his sister feed him his first bottle.
Good news is, Teddy is three months tomorrow! Which means we are enjoying tons of smiles and coos, although in the case of our boy it's more like loud (and adorable) grunts and gurgles,all while teasing us with his precious left cheek dimple.
Two hands taste better than one!
It also means the haze of life with a newborn is lifting and I am starting to feel like a human again. With a bit more sleep in my life and a body that feels more like it did pre-ten-pounder, I'm hoping we can begin bringing Theodore's Vintage Camping Inspired room to life and I can also bring more DIY projects in general to the blog. BUT, I'm setting no timelines and making no hard promises, as I am learning again and again with this mothering gig, kids do NOT follow anyone's timeline and you just gotta take things as they come.  So in the meantime, I'll keep bringing you the design details that inspire me, I hope that will hold you over till I get things together.

Today that inspiration is trees. I think it was all that log cabin living I did as a kid, I just can't get enough trees in my decor and I'll take 'em anyway I can get 'em.
EuropaConcorsi / Interior DesignBolig / Design Droops
Trees are exquisitely designed structures from their foliage right down to their root systems. Their leaves and bark contain exquisite color, pattern, and texture and their overall branching asymmetrical form makes trees some of the most elegant of sculptures mother nature has to offer. Even in a rather barren state, trees in decor bring life to a space!

See you Thursday! Unless of course our stay in Sick City gets extended.
-Griffin

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Autumn Color Inspiration: The Art of Gustav Klimt

In need of some color scheme inspiration? Art is your answer! 

If you are loving the gold and bronze trend that has taken over the design world and soaking up what's left of autumn before the polar vortex and Santa Clause totally take over, then you probably also love (or should love) the art work of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt (1862-1918). Klimt's art just feels autumnal as it is warm and saturated with various shades of gold and bronze and complimented with pops of red, orange, and olive green, making his work the perfect pallet to inspire your decor. I love the way he uses tiny geometric shapes to create his figures, they give his work an intense visual texture and reminds me of an intricate mosaic. 

All paint swatches shown are Sherwin-Williams. Enjoy!
art source
art source
And for my family and friends up North who have already had to break out the snow boots here's a Klimt-inspired pallet to remind you of Spring!
art source
Have a great Tuesday!
-Griffin

Thursday, November 20, 2014

FAN-Tastic! Choosing a Stylish Ceiling Fan for Our Bonus Room

Tuesday, I left you with a cliffhanger. A real nail biter. 

To recap, I had the opportunity to partner with online retailer Del Mar Fans and Lighting to select a ceiling fan for our bonus room. I'd whittled my choices down to three, from the more than 3,000 fans available on their site.  The InnesClarity and Inlet made the final cut, each had a 52" blade span, a low profile, and sleek design. But to be quite honest, the final choice was obvious.

Of course, before I share my final selection I think it's important to have a closer look at a more traditional ceiling fan because you can't truly appreciate the beauty of the fan I chose, until you've compared it to your run-of-the-mill ceiling fan. Plus, I've learned from reality TV that you've got to wait until your audience is really good and irritated with your obnoxious build-up before you make the final reveal. It's a formula for success.

So WITH further ado, I present to you...
My living room fan. 

It's a builder-grade beauty. A jumble of brushed nickle, wood, and glass.  Sure, it does a bang-up job of keeping us cool and circulating air but with roughly 21 separate components colliding to make up this fan (yeah, I counted), it's anything but sleek. 

Now compare that to…
Oh the Monte Carlo Clarity. 

It's everything my builder-grade fan is not. It's a singular unit. Visually speaking, it's made up of just four components: three fan blades and a cylindrical light, all fluidly working together, instead of a jumbled mess of different parts and materials.

I love how the crisp, squared fan blades wrap around the cylindrical light, elegantly combining the functions of light fixture and fan. 
Its design is sturdy, able to withstand rambunctious play sure to happen in our bonus room, but it's not bulky or clunky.
I have come to believe that really good design is obvious. You look at a product or space that is well designed and think to yourself "Why didn't I think of that?" Because the solution is not complex it's concise and to-the-point, it just makes sense.  And in that simplicity, in that clarity of design, is beauty. This fan embodies that.

It's true, this fan is no Chicago Bears fan, but even The Man is pleased. And as our onsite handyman he was even more pleased with how easy it was to install. It took him just under two hours to install. Had he had some previous fan installation experience and not had a certain little helper "helping" it probably would have taken even less time.
With the fan it place, it inspired us to finally get some trim up around the windows and door, paint the ceiling, touch up the walls, and install the blinds. Now all that's left is to make some mini closet doors and a whole lot of decor (check out my plans here). You can see my latest furniture finds, some thrifted cane and metal tube chairs, for our table desk.
The white fan enhances the airy open feel of the space and plays up the white trim and table. Here's another look at the fan in action. I love how the blades disappear and all you are left with is the cylindrical light fixture.
This fan proves that it is possible for ceiling fan to balance function and beauty, its even up to the job of focal point, typically only reserved for decorative light fixtures.

My experience with Del Mar was FAN-tastic (what can I say? That pun was inevitable). They had plenty of fans to choose from, their site had a wealth of information to aid making an educated decision on the best fan for our space, and the ease of shopping online and having a fan show up on your doorstep just a few days, later can't be beat!

As for the threats I mentioned Tuesday, The Man has moved on to the art. If I don't hang it, he will. 

So, you can find me hanging art this weekend.

-Griffin

DISCLAIMER: Del Mar Fans provided the fan, ALL opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Fan Ultimatum

The Man has been threatening me.

No, I promise this post is not a cry for help, for THAT would be no joke. But his threats have lacked humor none-the-less as they sound a little something like this:

"If you don't pick a ceiling fan for the Bonus Room, I will."

Imagine my horror, particularly if you had heard some of his decorative ideas for the space. They involved a strictly orange and navy blue color scheme (for our oh-so-disappointing Chicago Bears) and an overstuffed recliner that looked a little like this. I can only imagine the type of fan he'd choose...
Despite how frightening this threat was (particularly considering the type of season the team is having), he was justified in making it, as I'd been dragging my feet in the matter.  Last November The Man and his buddy made major progress in the Bonus Room leaving just a few items left to finish and I'd started making plans for its decor. Unfortunately, the prospect of selecting a fan left me a bit uninspired thus things in the space were at a bit of a standstill.
While I love an opportunity to enhance our home's decor one might say that ceiling fans are the red-headed step child of the decor world and should be exchanged whenever possible for the visually more appealing decorative light fixture. But living in the South, I feel pretty adamant about having a fan in a large room like this to help combat the excessive heat, "my God the HEAT!" (channeling some Elaine Benes here).  Plus, our bonus room runs a few degrees hotter in the summer and a few degrees cooler in the winter than the rest of our house so the added circulation provided by a fan is essential. Clearly, the functional benefits of having a fan in this room outweigh the fact that it can be hard to find a fan that can hold its own as a design element.

Thank goodness the online retailer Del Mar Fans and Lighting came to my rescue just as the frequency of The Man's threats were increasing. They approached me for a potential collaboration and I jumped at the opportunity. I proposed we make our Bonus Room ceiling fan happen.

Del Mar not only has a wide selection of ceiling fans but their website also has a wealth of information to help me choose the right fan for our bonus room.

Here's a round up of fun facts that I learned from their Bright Ideas Blog regarding the economic, comfort, and environmental benefits of having a ceiling fan:

1. Ceiling Fans consume 97% less energy than air conditioner units and can potentially result in as much as a $500/year savings. [1]
2. A counter clockwise running fan in the summer promotes cooling [2].
3. A clockwise running fan in the winter promotes heating as heat rises so the fan pushes that hot air down to us occupants, just call me Mrs. Science.[2]
4. Fans don't cool rooms, they cool people, so they only need to be operated when people are in the room [2].

I knew fans kept me comfortable but now I had the facts (and science) to back me up.

The site also helped me select the right type of fan for our space. Room size, blade span, and fan profile were the key ingredients. Our room is just over 300 square feet and has a rather low eight foot ceiling so a fan with a 52" blade span and a low profile that hugs the ceiling is ideal. We would also need a fan with a light and it had to have a sturdy design as there is bound to be rough housing and rambunctious play in the space.

As I mentioned, Del Mar has a huge selection of fans (more than three thousand!) so where I was once uninspired at the thought of selecting a fan from the limited options on display at my local big box hardware store, I was now armed with knowledge AND had a plethora of fabulous options to peruse at my leisure from home.

I narrowed three thousand fans down to three that met our functional needs and more importantly, they looked good doing it.
Inlet, Clarity, Ines
Since everyone loves a good cliff hanger, comeback Thursday to find out which ceiling fan I selected for our bonus room and if The Man's threats have ceased.

Any guesses on which fan made the cut?

-Griffin

DISCLAIMER: Del Mar Fans provided the fan, ALL opinions are my own.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...