Pink Fire Pointer Juni 2013

Minggu, 30 Juni 2013

The White Box Challenge

 A month or so ago, one of my super sweet & talented blog friends ("blog friend" is going to be added to the dictionary soon, I'm sure of it ;) Bryn of Bryn Alexandra of the popular blog Bryn Alexandra Interiors  invited me, along with a few other bloggers, to participate in her joy + revelry "white box challenge."  The idea was that we would all receive a surprise gift in the mail (who doesn't want that?!!) to style in our own way for photos we'd share on our blogs.  Even though we'd all be receiving the same gift, it would be fun to see how differently we all used it.  Our readers would then receive a 10% off coupon code to be used towards any purchases.  Joy + Revelry is a new online store where bloggers have set up "shops" selling carefully curated items in their shops.

Anyway, when my white box challenge gift arrived in the mail, I was surprised to see that it was actually a white box.  Too funny.

I'm using mine on the nightstand to as a little corral for my jewely & the hair bands that seem to accumulate there:

The white box's beautiful lucite lid keeps me from hoarding because I want to be able to clearly see what's inside:  

It's the perfect little modern touch for the rustic dresser we have beside our bed:

And, since I'm the procrastinating blogger, I'm also the last one to post, so I thought it would be fun to share snippets of the other bloggers' white box challenges with you.  (And I didn't peek at these until I was all done, promise!)

I love what Stephanie of A Brooklyn Limestone did.  It's the perfect place for the remotes!!!  (I may have to change uses now ;) ;)...

{To view Stephanie's full post, click here}

I also like Chassity of Look Linger & Love's white box photos.  I love how she's hung her art over the bookshelves with library lights!!! So pretty & fresh:

{To view Chassity's full post, click here}

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed our different takes on the same little white box.

What would you do with yours?

To check out Bryn's shop, click here.  She has some really great things you'll love!!!   To see out the actual white box, click here.   Thank you so much to Bryn for including me & congratulations on the new endeavor at joy =+ revelry!!!  And don't forget to use the coupon code for 10% off: BRYN_WHITEBOX_10

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Jumat, 28 Juni 2013

Pretty Little Friday

So... you remember my client who loves bright & bold color, right?  Well, we installed her new dressing room yesterday and I just had to share a pic I snapped of her incredible shoe collection.  If you follow me on instagram, you've probably already seen my pics, but for those who don't, here it is:

With the way the room is set up, the shoes now feel like art.  They sparkle from across the room and you immediately want to walk over there and start touching them.  (Especially me!! We wear the same size!!!)  And when I say "shoes" these are not just shoes... These are shoes.  

I fell in love with a few pairs (leopard @ bottom left and black lace heels two over from those)  but was blown away by a pair of pail pink feathered stilettos  (middle right) and I think the feathers would look like pretty little flames going up your ankles.  (In my daydream of wearing them, I'm also capable of walking in them ;)

I didn't even get the boot rows in this picture, which rival the heels in "Oh my, I want these"-ness.

We're now waiting on this beautiful Cole & Son wallpaper to arrive for the walls...

... and I cannot wait!!  I'm off for the day but thank you so much to my sweet client for letting me help put together her dream dressing room.  It's been so much fun!!!

Which pair of shoes is your favorite?

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Rabu, 26 Juni 2013

Clients' Master Bath Before & After

In the clients' home I shared with you last week, I also mentioned that we did their master bathroom.  I took some photos of it to show you the "before & after" of the construction.  We're in the process of adding towels & accessories & things to the walls so I'll be sure to share when it's truly finished. The original bathroom was large but my clients weren't loving its functionality (or lack or it) or the materials.  Here's what it looked like before: 

{The tub butted up to the side of the shower, which had a glass surround with a thick chrome frame.}

{My clients didn't need a sitting vanity area but preferred his and hers sinks.  We also saw that there was a big chunk of wasted space in the corner between the counter tops.  My favorite thing about the original bathroom was that the toilet was in its own room & we kept it that way.}

We decided upon a palette of pale blues & creams and worked with our friend Mike Carr of CarrMichael Construction to design the new cabinetry & layout. We settled on timeless fixtures and I was thrilled when our clients said "yes" to painted shiplap walls.

Anyway, here's the bathroom now:

The shiplap walls add so much warmth and texture to the bathroom.  It feels so much more substantial now and has that slight coastal eel that my clients love.  We had them painted the same color as the ceiling.  The pale blue floors are made up of 4x4 tiles which we had laid in a brick pattern.  

I'm a tad obsessed with their new soaking tub:

The polished nickel hardware is just so substantial and pretty in 'real life.'  (I took this photo before we hung the natural woven shades, which add a warm wood element to the room I love...  and more importantly, privacy ;) ;) 

The shower surround is now a frameless glass one (our clients selected clear glass) so it takes up so much less visual space in the room.  It was tough to get a good photo:

When I'd originally presented this design, we were planning in having a percentage of cream 4x4s mixed in with the pale blue ones.  I'd done something similar before & had loved it but when the tiles arrived and were laid out in the bathroom for approval, it just wasn't right because there was too much contrast between the creams & blues.  It looked a crazy person had designed it!! (Which I guess is true ;) ;)  We quickly ordered more blue tiles & of course the project was held up slightly because of it.  I felt really terrible but my clients were very understanding.

For metals, we used a combination of polished nickel & antiqued silver.  I like to mix metals so that rooms have a bit more interest & are a bit more relaxed feeling.  I think rooms with mixed metals just look a bit more effortless & stylish than ones where everything matches perfectly.  

I'm in the process of scheduling photographer (and good friend!!) Helen Norman to come & photograph my clients' home because she will do it so much more justice than I did!! :)  As soon as I have those pics, I'll be sure to share them so you can see the difference. But I hope you enjoyed what you did see!!  Have a great day & stay cool.   (AC broken here = really fun!! ... But honestly makes me feel very fortunate for being able to have AC.)

To view the rest of my clients' home, go here.  

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Senin, 24 Juni 2013

We're Really Moving In!!!

My eyes will barely open right now (honestly, the left one's kind of twitchy this morning too!)  but I am SO HAPPY because this weekend we got to truly unpack and move into our house!!!

{A pic of a part of the boys' section in the new library...  I doubt it will stay looking like this for long although right now I've been a bit of a psycho about it:  "Ok, Christian, you've finished with a little golden book.  See the books with the golden spines?  They all go here."  Poor child. }

The guys finished our bookcases in the upstairs loft this Saturday and we stayed up all night to unload all of our books.  (The shelves are packed but for the most part, everything fits with a little bit of room to grow our library.)  Buried in our garage amongst the books were the boys toys, things for our kitchen, clothes and tons of other random things we'd been missing.  Here's the fallout:

{Don't worry Mom, it's not going to the landfill}

Our books have never been so organized (My husband- a former English teacher- broke our books down into American lit, English lit, world, etc. and I had fun taking stock of all of my herb books, junky fiction and and design books.   The boys have their own - super-accessible- section and even Louie has baskets for his board books at the very bottom.   I had a little room to fit in some of my favorite natural things that we've collected over the years like a huge crystal geode we found at my favorite antique store, shells & coral we've collected on vacations, feathers, cool pieces of wood, etc.  Everything is right where we need it and it feels so good!!!)

We're at the point now where we're emptying out the garage and will be pulling the car in today!!!  ... And I'm staring at an island full of random stuff that I don't know what to do with but that I'm not sure I can get rid of.    That last pile takes the longest but I'm leaning towards getting rid of most of it just so we can breath again.  

This is so freeing.

Have a great Monday & I'll be back with more pics!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Kamis, 20 Juni 2013

Our Clients' Home: Before & After

This past winter, we began working with new clients, a retired couple who was in the process of moving and downsizing.   They heard about us from their daughter, who read my blog (Thank you soooo much Allison!!) and we started out by visiting their old home to take stock of their furnishings and to help them decide what they should keep and what they should give away.  We then visited their new home, which is in the perfect location and still has lots of room for their children and grandchildren to come & visit all the time.   Here's a quick tour of the house before my clients moved in:

{The Living Room, which is in the front of the house}

{The Dining Room, which is open to the Living Room}

{The Kitchen, which is just past the more formal areas - the living & dining rooms- in the back section of the house}

{The view of the Hearth Room from the kitchen}

{The Master Bathroom}

{The Master Bathroom}

The house had everything my clients needed, but they were really hoping to make it special.  They didn't love the kitchen & master bath and wanted their home a comfortable, fresh, relaxed vibe.  Almost everything in the furniture plan was new to my clients, and in the areas we redid, we kept only a few things that were important to them, including their family dining table.  They have a beach house and though they didn't really want to go "Coastal" with this house, they wanted their home to have a bit of the relaxed, effortless feel of a beach house without it feeling completely like one.  We brought in a few natural coastal things and mixed elements like pinch pleated curtains and wing chairs with sisal, seagrass and slipcovers to get just the right amount of casualness & formality, beach & town.  We made sure that there were lots of comfortable places for them to hang, read, eat and entertain family.

Anyway, I'm sure you're ready for pics.... so here's the living room before:

And here it is now:

We layered together natural tones and textures with blue & yellow accents to create a neutral backdrop with   bright colors used sparingly.  My clients wanted color but we decided it was best to bring in in through the furnishings & fabrics rather than on the walls.  (I often do color this way for a light & airy feeling in a home.)

I was beyond thrilled when my clients gave me the "ok" on the John Robshaw fabric for the sofa's slipcover!!!

I've dreamed about this sofa I love it so much.  It's just got such a relaxed cool look to it.  We used my "Fern Star" linen in yellow for the curtains (made by Paul David Design) and they're so soft & cheerful in there!!

The dining room is open to the living room and we went with a simple unframed oil painting for the wall:

We selected glass lamps to flank the sofa so that they would intrude less than typical opaque lamps would have and make the rooms feel more open to each other.  We used a small pair of slipper chairs in front of the window so that it would be easy to see past them.  Clients often get nervous when we put furniture in front of  windows, but even though it worried them a little, our clients trusted us & let the slipper chairs stay in the plan.  

As is often the case, not all of the furnishings arrived as planned yesterday  (so sad!!) and when the dining room sideboard came in, it has been painted the wrong color so we had to send it back to be exchanged, which is why it looks a little empty...  But I think you can still get the idea of where the room's going:

{ignore the tags still attached to the chairs please ;) ;)

Here's a close-up of my clients' parquet table:

To freshen it up, we mixed it with ticking chairs at the heads of the table and black ladder backs for side chairs.

Here's the kitchen before my clients moved in...

...And here it is now:

We worked with our good friend Mike Carr of CarrMichael Construction to have everything done in the house, including the reworking of the kitchen.  We kept all of the cabinetry and reworked it slightly before having it painted.  We had the two-tiered island  leveled out to a counter-height surface, something I almost always have done in kitchens because not only does it look simpler & prettier, it becomes so much more usable.  We liked the island's cabinetry and were lucky that the guys were able to salvage the panels and make them shorter so they could fit at the new height.  We added lighting, new countertops and a new refrigerator that was counter-depth so it didn't intrude into the walkway.

The countertops look very similar to soapstone but are actually a leathered granite called "Virginia Mist."  I'd never seen slabs like them before and had had my eye on them since last September (when I started my own countertop search) so I was so happy that they'd work for my clients' kitchen!!  The counters are a very deep solid black with a few heavy white veins, which we had placed prominently on the island to fit around the existing cooktop:

The kitchen has an eating area and we created a built-in desk & wall of cabinetry for for paying bills, using the computer and keeping the house in order.  The kitchen is also open to a small hearth room, which is where the TV is...

The back steps you see here lead to a guest suite.  Here's a close-up of the kitchen dining area & work station:

It's hard to see from the photo but the base of the table is a green-gray-blue milk paint, just a bit paler than the kitchen cabinets.  We had the table built by The Lorimer Workshop, who never cease to create the perfect pieces for our projects!  The back of the work station was painted with chalkboard paint & my client had the brilliant idea to do magnetic paint underneath the chalkboard paint, so now they can used it to hang things on too!!  We mounted the sconces right over it.

For the hearth room, we went with four cozy wing chairs.  We had the back of the chairs done in a simple plaid and the fronts in an oatmeal-colored linen.  Because the room is so small, I thought curtains that blended in with the walls would be best.  We had them hung at the ceiling and mounted natural woven roman shades at the ceiling too, to make the room feel taller.  The blue & white dhurrie wanted to jump in my car yesterday it was so pretty...  But I resisted...

We hung a massive John Muir Tree print on the open wall in the hearth room to create another focal point.  It's truly, MASSIVE.  My clients thought on it a while because but decided to go for it and again, it's another one of those things I probably did a little happy dance for when I got the OK.  ;) ;)  We placed an unobtrusive rolling bar cart in front of it that could be used as both a side table & for book storage.

There is something so incredibly inviting about an arrangement of four chairs in front of a fireplace.  The chairs just seem to call to you and you just want to snuggle in & put your feet up.

We had the powder room papered & added sconces and it was totally transformed from the bright red room it used to be:

I hope you've enjoyed what you've seen of the house so far but I've got to run for the day.  (I don't do this to tantalize- I promise- but I'm the type who only works on a blog post once and post it as it comes.  hahaha which is why you see so many spelling errors & typos!! No proofreading over here.  I've always told myself that one day I'd go through the entire blog & fix all of the errors but I think I've been lying to myself so that I can hit "publish.")  Anyway, I'll be back with the before & after of the master bedroom later!!  Thank you so much to our incredibly kind and trusting clients, who welcomed us into their home.  (And to their daughter who read this blog & made it all happen!! ;) ;)  Getting to know you all has been wonderful and we can't thank you enough!!

Have a great day!!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Selasa, 18 Juni 2013

Luxury at Home


n. pl. lux·u·ries

1. Something inessential but conducive to pleasure and comfort.
2. Something expensive or hard to obtain.
3. Sumptuous living or surroundings: lives in luxury.
Synonyms: luxury, extravagance, frill
[Middle English luxurielust, from Old French, from Latin luxuriaexcess, luxury, from luxus.]

{Simple Luxury: House Beautiful}
Luxury is a word that seems to get thrown around a lot. It seems someone's always asking, "What is luxury?" or telling us what's luxurious.  I think luxury has become something other than what it was once thought of...  It used to be more associated with money and expense rather than simplicity and comfort.  In the above definition, you can see its different meanings.  The first definition is the closest meaning to how I view it now, but reading further down the list, the definition goes back to money and "extravagance" and excess, all of which are typically viewed fairly negatively in our culture, even if it's what people really want.  (Meaning, if you're a billionaire and you don't spend a lot of money and live modestly, people commend you....   if you "waste" it and are a drunken sailor about it, or surround yourself with extravagance and "excess," it's not very respected.) 
These days, luxury seems to be more about small details and comfort and quality and time.  The phrase "the luxury of time" has been around a while so we have always put value on that but I think the idea that "luxury" can be simple and meaningful has really taken a hold of our society.  Also, I've noticed that when people are asked what "luxury" is to them, "luxury" seems to become more about what it is they want most...  the best part of their lives: the unexpected details and wonderful things that pop up & happen.  In an Australian Vogue article I was reading recently, one person interviewed said the best luxury was when a friend picked her up from the airport with a bouquet of fresh picked flowers.  It was an unexpected surprise, but really just one of life's simple pleasures that made her feel pampered and special.  
When asked what my "greatest luxury" is, my first answer is automatically "time with my family."  To me, it's something that I don't get enough of and it makes me happier than anything else.  
{Me with Justin, photo by Vy Koenig}
Along with having the time, part of what helps me enjoy being with my family is simple, good living.  An ease to daily life.  Not being surrounded by "stuff" and things that take my attention away from life and enjoy being with my family at home. A comfortable house.  Good simple food.  (Does Whole Foods count as a luxury??)   Just simply enjoying life with the people I love...  
See how "luxury" seems to become what it is a person wants most?  I'm not sure the definition of luxury includes "little things that make life feel special" but it really does seem like that's what it's becoming, or at least how I've started to view it: Clean Sheets on a newly made bed, open windows, fresh flowers on the nightstand, time with the people you love, an unexpected note on nice paper, space, al fresco dining, a place for everything, reading leisurely, an exceptionally comfortable sofa, a mudroom, a fire in the fireplace, a simple yet beautiful meal, candlelight, an organized closet, time, time & more time.
{Linens drying on a clothesline...  image via pinterest}
To me, a life with "luxury" would be a life where things are uncomplicated and simple yet exciting.  Special little somethings come into it and there's really just a general ease of life.  Waking up and feeling free and ready to go.  Rested.  Having the time to hang with the ones you love before the craziness of the day begins. Going into your closet and seeing everything at a glance and easily pulling together something that's already pressed and ready to go and looks perfect.  (Doesn't happen for me!! ;)  Leaving a clean house and getting into a clean car.  (My ride of choice these days is either a milk-encrusted minivan or a pick-up truck with over 300,000 miles on it and no AC!! That's luxury baby!!  ;) ;)  It really is the little things though.  Things that make you feel more comfortable, both physically & emotionally.  
Since my work is about home, I find myself thinking about how "home" can be luxurious, in the simple, comfortable context.  Redoing my home from the ground up has been eye opening.  I wouldn't have done what I did without having lived in my previous homes & having observed so much while we were there about how we lived.  A lot of what I do is "decorating" but in the past year or so, we've started taking on more & more projects that involve new homes, renovations and space planning.  When you get to really think through what's going to be where, you can plan a home so that it is exactly the way the people who live there need it to be for the easiest living, the most simple (or most "luxurious") living.  Things can be where they need to be and special little details can be incorporated that don't cost much but that make the home feel luxurious to the people who live there.  
In our home, we enclosed a small, unloved rocky area just outside of our master bedroom and created a private special little garden patio with an outdoor shower.  We shower outside every day and to me, it's one of those "luxuries" that isn't about money or frills, but just about enjoying something small but incredibly good.  I get to look up at the sky and just think while I'm showering in the morning.  In the evenings, I can rinse off before bed and really appreciate being outside in the night when it's quiet.  Outdoor towel hooks are just where we need them to be.  There's a pair of chairs out there where Dave & I can sit and talk.  The boys love showering out there too- even the baby.  It wasn't hard to do, but creating this little secret garden in our bedroom has made such a difference in our life.   
{Not our outdoor shower.. image via pinterest}
As I plan our home (and the homes of clients) I try to think about how to design & decorate a home so that it works for us...  So that things are where they need to be and there's just enough space to do what needs to be done... and I try to think about where unexpected little things or luxuries that can be added to make the house special: shelves for books, a window seat, a place to display collected treasures, a massive sofa outside...  For some people, it's an extra sink in the kitchen for washing garden vegetables, french doors that open to the outside in every room, curtains blowing in the breeze, a bathroom where everyone has enough room, a meaningful photograph displayed prominently, a large nightstand in the bedroom for storage, a porch swing, a place to hide the mess, a sentimental painting, a perfectly worn farmhouse table in the kitchen that doesn't need to be worried about, a soaking tub in their bathroom, a fabric that brings on the memories, an herb garden in the kitchen, the perfect reading chair, or a guest room large enough to fit a slew of grand kids.  It's different for everyone.  
{Bunk room via pinterest}
There are so many simple opportunities for us to inject a little luxury into our homes, even after they've already been built.  I'm finding that it's becoming one of my favorite aspects of my job: Figuring out what that little something in a home or room that makes the people who live there and visit there feel special & comfortable...   
A little bit of luxury. 
 The simple kind.
How can you add a little in your home?

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.
*Definition of luxury from
Get Paid To Promote, Get Paid To Popup, Get Paid Display Banner