Saturday, January 29, 2011

Find of the week is here!

So the next time I tell you that Blogger is being difficult and preventing me from posting, remind me to sign in correctly and all will be resolved.  Duh.

Have you ever gone to GreenFront Interiors on Yonkers Rd. in Raleigh?  Good place to poke around.  Big place, lots of interesting items to consider.  A whole room of rugs!  Most of them are a traditional oriental sort of style, but not all.  These two caught my attention;
And here's another one:

These hooked rugs are both 5'x7' and cost....$99!  Nice way to put a little spice in a space on the cheap.  While I'm not into florals personally, I do love a large graphic statement.  This is the sort of rug that can be used in many kinds of interiors. They're playful.  Fun.  $99. 


Find of the week is coming!

Something is going on with Blogger, and it's preventing me from putting up pictures.  I hope they get their act together this weekend because I have a find to show you!  Check back soon!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Find of the week!

Readers tell me they love the "Find of the Week" feature that I've done a couple of times, so of course  I completely let it slide.  It's a good thing I'm self-employed, that's all I can say.  But I've got something for you this week.

A couple of weeks ago I spent some time checking out local thrift shops.  Oh, what fun I had!  First stop was the Habitat ReStore in Durham/Chapel Hill (on 15/501).  SUCH a great place.  You never know what you're going to find, but there's plenty of great salvaged building materials there to feed your creative spirit.  This is what I bought:

It's a lovely luan, hollow core door, untouched by human hands.  No hinges, no doorknob holes, no paint.  Measures 24 x 80, your typical inside door measurement.  It cost $2.00.  $2.00 (bears repeating).  What am I going to do with it?  You'll just have to wait and see.  But when it's done, you'll agree that it's easily the Find of the Week.  Until that time, here's another little find from the Habitat ReStore in Pittsboro (there's one in Raleigh, too--they're all over the place);

The lamp base is a very creamy ivory and it cost $12.50.  It is the kind of lamp that can be used many places in a home.  I would put a shorter harp in it (the piece that holds the shade), but that's just me. The shade (which still has the plastic wrap on it but you can tell how cute it is) was also priced at $12.50.  It's a lined lampshade in brown, cream, palest yellow and soft gray.  They had all kind of shades that day--drums, solids, patterns.  Christine put the shade on the base. She cannot stop herself from staging an area, it's a compulsion of hers and it makes me laugh so hard I often make a scene.  The ReStore people weren't that amused--they put the shade back in the pile, which made me laugh even harder. 

So the lamp and shade are my finds of the week, pictorially speaking.  But the real find is the Habitat ReStore.  It's just an amazing place with loads of creative potential in every aisle.  And it supports Habitat, what more could you want?  More?  Ok, it's very "green" design--recycle, reuse, restore.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Something new for the kitchen

Just wanted to share a few pictures that sent me today about some new kitchen products we can drool over ponder.
Here's a splashy little number--a glass countertop.  Oh, that blue is divine.  Comes in other colors and you can even put LED lighting in it (don't ask me how, it's by ThinkGlass, ask them).  What will happen when I drop a bowl on it?  The same thing that will happen when I drop a french fry on my Dior Couture silk skirt silly.

Another cool sink.  This one is called The Entertainer and it's by Lenova.  It has inserts that transform it from a regular working sink to a wine cooler, chopping block or condiment bar.  I'm assuming that your talented kitchen designer will be sure to have a cabinet nearby to hold the inserts when not in use.

And lastly, here's the Farmhouse sink by Herbeau Creations.  They say that in Provence, those old farmhouse sinks aren't all white or stainless steel.  They say that the color will transport you to the lavendar fields.  Oky doky. This is a very pretty, rich color, that's for sure.  Look at that graphite wall behind the sink.  Oh baby, that's a nice look.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Kitchen and Bath Galleries Remodeling Expo

Thanks to the fabulous Regina Tobin of Wallscapers, I went to the Remodeling Expo at Kitchen and Bath Galleries on Glenwood in Raleigh today (because she told me about it on FB).  So many wonderful ideas and products!  I think I touched every kind of backsplash  they sell.  I love the selection of finishes--glass, marble, granite, stainless, etc.  They also have beautiful flooring products, appliances, tv and audio systems--and just everything you need for your kitchen and bathroom updates.  Loads of pulls and knobs too, which can really add a personal touch, even if your budget isn't ready for the big time.

wouldn't this be a wonderful butler's pantry?
Kitchen and Bath Galleries

Even more importantly, I met some really nice people who can design and install all of the amazing products that I saw today.  We all know how hard it is to find the right people to do the job when we're ready to roll.  Let me give you a few names (if you click on them, it will bring you to their sites or emails--I'm very technologically advanced--ha!).

The Marengi's of California Closets are a delightful couple who obviously enjoy helping people organize their spaces.  Gotta love that!

clean lines, a place for everything
California Closets

Scott Frey of Freys Building & Remodeling put on a seminar entitled "remodeling your bath" and really connected with the crowd because of his easy manner and experience in the subject.

love the colors and finishes

Jay Beaman is a home builder and remodeling specialist with a large and varied portfolio and he's easy to talk to.  Beautiful details.
This may not be your personal style, but the workmanship tells you that this guy can do anything!

Mark Masters of "neuwave" can help you pull together your technology in every room of your house, right down to the remote control blinds in your Home Theatre space (but also in your kitchen, bedroom, etc.)  He has an office at Kitchen and Bath Galleries, so it's super easy to incorporate his services right into your project.

Mark showed me the Sonos wireless music system--the sound is SO good!

And just one more plug for Wallscapers, because Regina is so much fun to be around. You would not believe what they can do with your old cabinets, your dingy walls and your dated bookshelves!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Checking out the Ballard Designs catalog

Oh dear, another snow day here in Alaska North Carolina.  The up side is that it gives me time to check out the latest catalogs littering my house.  Pottery Barn is always good for a look--plenty of great staging ideas and I like a couple of their ready-made drapery panels.

The catalog that I really enjoyed this morning was Ballard Designs.  I've pulled out some favorites to show you on this icy day:
This is the Eldridge chandlier.  It's 40" x 14".  Very handsome.  As lightbulb technology continues to change, you might get some crazy shapes to put in there (as long as they're dimmable), furthering the ability to make it your own.

Garden district mirrors.  There are so many places these could go!  They're sold in pairs and, of course, could be hung horizontally or vertically.  They add interest to a wall, reflect light and views and add sparkle to a space.

These are indoor/outdoor rugs that would give a great graphic punch to any area.  Today I'm loving the orange (near a green, blue or brown wall--wow!), but all the colors are excellent, and they wash off with a hose!

The Celine rug is an easy way to get an animal print into a room without much commitment.  It's subtle (I'd choose the darker color), reasonably priced and soft.  I'd get a big one to place in front of the living room sofa, then put the big cofee table on top, so it's just peeking out.

Here's a picture from the catalog that's just for a laugh--

Book bundles.  They take old paperback books, rip the covers off and tie them together with twine--then sell them to us!  Thank you, Ballard Designs, for a good laugh.  Oh!  You think they're serious?  Oh dear.

Mr. and Mrs. pillows.  These would make me smile every day.  They're made of trendy burlap and the letters are just stenciled on.  Yes, you can do that yourself in any number of ways.  All catalogs are filled with ideas for things that you can do yourself.  I saw some throw pillows on the HGTV site for their Dream Home (I'll do a post of that fabulous place that I'm going to win another day) that had words like "hike" and "bike."  Fun!

Ballard Designs is an excellent source for inexpensive, ready-made curtains.  Here are their burlap drapes.  They're unlined (which works with burlap) and come in great lengths.  I would leave off the fringed valance, not my cup of tea. These are cheap, but look great.

Confession time; these are my all-time favorite ready-made drapes.  Small check, ribbon trim, attached valance, lined.  They come in nice long lengths and they're VERY reasonably priced.  They even come with drapery pins!  There are several colors, but I want the black. The above picture shows the brown and it's looking pretty darn gracious in that room.  I'm originally from New England. so the small check is in my genetic code.  I don't think of it as a "country" style, but as a classic, warm, you-are-home style that would mix well.  I have just the window for these drapes, but the room is currently being used for trains (as in Thomas and GeoTrax), so I'm waiting. 

Lastly, I liked this piece of art.  Hey, we can do this!  While I think the artist did a great job on this, it's also a wonderful example of  an idea that many of us could use as a jumping off point for a project of our very own.  How about making dog profiles, tree shapes or houses and framing them?  The list of possibilities is long.  See how the artist used black and white newspaper as well as yellowed paper, and also added some solid accents?  Remember those little details. 

Has the ice melted yet?  If not, I'm going to be forced to make some cookies.  I know I'm going to regret it!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

I like this room makeover!

House Beautiful, February, 2011

I just finished reading the new issue of House Beautiful and found this great "One-Day Makeover" in it's pages.  It's got lots of good ideas.  Above you see the "before" room.  Large but narrow space, good light coming in.  What the homeowner was doing was using 2 sofas, back to back.  So we're looking at the blue sofa, but there's a white one right behind it.  It makes for difficult conversation and narrow aisles on each side of the room.  Poor use of space.  Kind of boring.

Room by Healing & Barsanti

So here's the "after" shot.  Love the new floor plan. Not sure if you can tell, but there's a dining table and chairs at the far end of the room.  Great use of space.  Love the vibrant artwork on the left wall and the purple lamp.  I like how the white coffee table gives the eye a place to rest amid all the color.  Not sure I'd have chosen those drapes, but I'm quibbling.  They pulled blue and purple throughout the room and that's one of my all time favorite color combinations.  That tie dye rug is delicious and all the furniture looks useful and comfortable.

It's not a boring room anymore!  Very liveable and attractive.  This is a room that would make me smile!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fads and finishes that I need a break from

I like fads--they're fun, fresh and often inexpensive ways to brighten up a room temporarily. Notice I said "temporarily." Fads have a shelf life and it can be hard to tell when the expiration date has come and gone. It's the new year; a great time to take a hard look around the room to see what fads you've participated in and decide if perhaps they've done their job and need to be removed. You don't have to throw anything away. Old fads can definitely be repurposed at a later date.

1. "Keep calm and carry on." Nice little slogan that one. Inspirational, catchy. Done to death. So if you haven't already bought a pillow, framed print, apron, tray, card or T shirt with this emblazoned on it by now, I suggest you write it on a Post-It, stick it on your bulletin board and move on. I swear every magazine in the past year has featured at least one room with this on the wall. Enough!

2. Fake plants of any kind. Still have faux greenery on top of your kitchen cabinets? Please take it down today. You'll feel better (after you faint at the sight of all the dust that's on every leaf), or at least you'll breathe better. If you want one or two small, discreet little fake plants in your house, tuck them in a corner or some small place, don't make them the star. They don't have star power.  Try some real plants in your home(but probably not over the cabinets). A peace lily is very easy to grow. It just needs light, not sun. There are lots of options actually like that one. And you don't have to water most of them very often. In fact, a nurseryman recently told me that overwatering is the leading cause of death in houseplants. He says a little neglect works just fine.

3. Old furniture painted white. There are other colors out there that can spiff up an old ratty bureau or cool retro end table besides bright white! First of all, please think hard before you cover up the old wood finish. Sometimes just cleaning the piece up with a mild solvent and changing out the knobs or pulls can resolve the aesthetic issues. But if it needs to be painted, or you just want a painted finish, consider some other lovely colors. Great neutrals include creams and grays and my favorite finish is still a soft gloss. I think flatter finishes look cheaper. Poppin' fresh colors like reds, blues, greens, etc. are always welcome. Maine Cottage sells spray paint in great hues.  But let's give bright white a little rest.
4. Satin nickel finishes. While I like satin nickel finishes, it's becoming the brass of our time. The bronzes and black are just so pretty, warm and easy to maintain. My friend and fellow designer, Christine, just built a house with black doorknobs on all interior doors. It's fabulous. Really, really fabulous. Remember you can mix your metals now--that old style of all brass or nickel throughout the house is long dead.

5. Shiny granite. I love granite countertops, but dare I say that we've polished enough of it? I'd like to see more honed finishes on granite. It's soft and warm and doesn't cast a glare when the lights are on. Mixing polished finishes with honed ones is a nice look.

No offense to the talented artist, just to the mass marketing
6. Mass produced artwork. I'm talking the super duper mass produced stuff. There's so much great art in the world; tons of original artwork, lots of things you can do yourself, and lovely prints, giclees, etc. by both known and lesser known artists at every imaginable price point. Why would anyone choose to put the same picture on their walls that they see at the dentists office, their friend's home and anywhere else they might look? Once in a while I'll see a great piece of art (not original, but beautifully done and framed) at a big box store. But it never fails that a few months later, the same piece will suddenly show up at yet another big box, then another, then I'll see it in the catalogs. I've learned to step away!

I know, I'm opinionated and bossy.  I hope I haven't offended anyone.  Just think about trying something new with your future purchases.  Nothing shown here is ugly or tacky.  Just maybe overused and could use a break.  Trust me, it will all be back in time!


Monday, January 3, 2011

My favorite gift from Santa

Ahhhh, it's over.  Lovely holiday.  It was wonderful.  Our family austerity program totally enhanced Christmas.  While there was still lots to do and plan and shop for, it was on a smaller scale.  That really took the edge off for me.  We had to be more creative with our gifts to keep the costs down.  That meant we had to listen more carefully to each other to know what we really wanted.  There were no technological wonders on the list--things that actually tether us more closely to work and make precious time fly by more quickly.  We got books and tools and warm sweaters in fresh colors, stuff like that.  Of course, Grandboy got all the things on his wacky list (except for a Wii, he's 5, too young and we're not encouraging more time in front of a TV, no matter what's on it).

Here's my favorite gift.  You're going to think I'm nuts, but here goes;

It's a Yankee Screwdriver!

Actually an Eazypower Isomax Contractor Push Pull Screwdriver.  I've wanted one forever!   SO MUCH easier than using a power drill for all kinds of small jobs.  Hey, interior designers have a constant need for screwdrivers and drills (at least this one does, so maybe it's just me)!  It's the size of a regular large screwdriver and comes with several different kinds of bits (the end that goes into the screws or wall or toy or hinge or many, many other things).  Then you just pump the handle and it turns the screw! It's a power tool without the need for any power.  A little switch on the side allows you to go forward or backward.  No batteries, no bulky thing to try to finangle into tight spaces and no muscles necessary.  I LOVE THIS THING!  Hub got it at Burke's Hardware in Raleigh.

You're thinking that this is not a properly romantic gift for a husband to give his wife?  Au contraire mes amis.  It means he really listened to me and didn't pass judgements on my odd love of proper tools (which are things that make my life easier and allow me to do more things that I want to do).  I think that's very romantic.  I've already used my new screwdriver once and Hub has used it too.  Now he's a convert to it's magic.