Monday, November 30, 2009

If You're in the NYC Area...

I've told you about my friend Ed and his amazing new stencil book. Why not join us this saturday in Dumbo Brooklyn, enjoy some champagne, chocolate from The Chocolate Bar and get your copy :O)

Living Better With Less... 'All or Nothing' Attitude

Being a realist, I've never understood the idea of 'all or nothing'. The thought that if you can't do something all the way or completely perfect (whatever happens to be your definition of perfect) that you wouldn't do anything at all seems a bit extreme and rather ridiculous. Now of course there may be exceptions to this rule (there always are), but here are a few examples of what I'm talking about:
  • living a more environmentally conscious life; instead of thinking you can't or won't completely change your lifestyle try just changing your lightbulbs to CFL, buy more locally grown food, switch to reusable bags, or whatever you know you can do and feel good about.
  • dieting; you couldn't resist a home made brownie at a party. This doesn't mean you have to throw your diet out the window. Just say oh well, enjoy the brownie and get right back to it.
  • home organizing/design; you know your home will never look like a page out of Real Simple magazine, but why not tackle one closet or one area of the home like your kitchen? Just having that one thing makes most people feel so much better...

Clever Wine Storage

If you only have a few bottles of wine and don't want them on display, don't have a wine cabinet or rack, and/or can't find a wine rack you like or fits your budget or space, try using a bookend. Pictured above is a simple L shaped metal one from Muji (can't find it online, but are available at Muji stores or the MoMA Store). I've also used a 6" acrylic riser laid like a U to hold bottles the same way. This solution also works in the fridge...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Living Better With Less... Shame


Many clients express some level of embarrassment or shame on how their space looks. Afraid of how others, even I, will judge them for the condition of their home. While I understand why someone would feel that way, the reality is I give all my clients serious props for reaching out and asking for help to make their homes and lives better.

Beyond that, one of the skills that allows me to do my job is that I don't see how things are, but rather how they could be. I see the potential, the way a client's things could be rearranged and repurposed to create a beautiful functional space that the client can enjoy. It's what get's me excited to dig in and get started!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Apartment Progress... Bookshelves

Just a quick post to show you some more shots of the third bookshelf. My sister-in-law is at the hospital now delivering my first niece so I need to keep it quick!

I'm so glad I got it, it looks so much better than just the two. The black candelabra is not going to stay there, in it's place I'm looking for either a sconce or table lamp. The empty center shelf is for new books. The boxes on the bottom hold misc papers. For more info and pics, visit my Flickr page :O)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Apartment Progress... Dressing Area Finished!

(the last time you saw it, with my summer wardrobe)

(now with my winter wardrobe and new drawers)

After living with the dressing area as it was (first pic), I decided I needed more storage. I thought about getting a dresser or small chest of drawers but wanting to keep with a (semi-)minimalist feel for the apartment, needed to keep all the clothes storage along this wall. I envisioned a line of drawers that would give me storage as well as second shelf for open storage.

I looked around quite a bit for the perfect drawers; ones that looked great, not super expensive, and are the right dimensions... Making sure the drawers would sit back a little and not line up with the front of the existing shelf was important to keep the area from looking too packed in.

I eventually settled on these from Muji, one of my favorite places! The drawers are the same translucent white plastic as the Make-Up Bins I've spoken about before and are stackable. They weren't cheap, between $10.95 (1/2 drawer) - $18.95 (double drawer) but considering how they fit the space perfectly, look great, and are a good quality, I think they're totally worth it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Apartment Progress... Kitchen

So here's my small open kitchen; nothing special but at least it's new. The broker told me the cabinets would be white which I would have liked a lot better, but oh well. I'm missing doors on one of the cabinets which the landlord says is on backorder, but after six months of waiting I'm starting to doubt his story... I was going to paint the back wall a color but I don't want to draw attention to it so I'm keeping it white for now. The boxes above the fridge hold household items; lightbulbs, vacuum bags, extension cords; ski clothes; and my paint kit.

UPDATE: check out some more recent pics here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stencil Love

(courtesy of design*sponge)

(courtesy of chronicle books)

I had the pleasure of meeting Ed Roth of Stencil 1 the other night and not only is he super nice and terribly cool (he also wears sol moscot frames), he's amazingly talented. He showed me his new book of reusable stencils, Stencil101 Decor, the perfect kit to help you create a patterned wallpaper effect which I can't wait to try! I'm thinking the wall to the right of the bookcases, or the back wall of the bathroom. I'll keep you posted :O)

His brooklyn apartment was recently a sneak peak on design*sponge and it's really inspiring me to get my place finished. Be sure to go here to see his other stencils and here for his blog to see his designs in action.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Living Better With Less... Getting to the Root of the Problem

Have you ever hated everything you own? That's how I've felt for the past few weeks, more like months, about my entire wardrobe. Holding back from going on a major shopping spree (well, my wallet's been holding me back more than sheer will power) allowed me time to think about what I'm really unhappy with, and I realized it's my glasses. I had a pair that broke a year ago that were my favorite pair ever. I wore them for five years and when they broke tried to replace them with a similar pair but never love LOVED them. The 2 pairs above are the ones I just got and am crazy about them! Having them, now my wardrobe doesn't look so bad after all...

The point is we all go through periods where we hate everything we own. The key is to step back and try to identify what the main problem is before taking any drastic measures. For example, maybe you just need to replace your coffee table instead of getting all new furniture. Have you ever had a similar experience?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Living Better With Less... Reinventing the Wheel

(stefano tonchi home office courtesy of the selby)

I often tell people when organizing a space, it's not necessary to reinvent the wheel for every area or thing you're organizing. I apply the same general guidelines to everything I do with a few minor changes.

For instance, in the bathroom keep your regularly used products in the medicine cabinet for easy access and extras (or oversized everyday products) and not so often used things in the lower vanity. Apply the same logic to your home office; there's no reason to keep 50 pens and pencils and four reams of paper on your desk (unless you seriously use that much). Depending on how much storage space you have and how you work, keep a small kit near you: extra pens, pencils, eraser, stapler, and whatever else you need to function on a day to day basis, with any extras somewhere else and replenish as needed. If you find you're constantly replenishing then store more in your easy access spot. Personally I keep my extras in the kitchen cabinet...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Making Decisions: The Editing Process

Having moved twice in the past year and a half, I've been going through everything I own again and again, editing and re-editing. Some may call me a minimalist, and while I don't consider myself one, at this point in my life I'm pushing to get as close to that as possible...

I follow these key points when editing:
  • don't force the decision on whether to keep something or not; this takes the pressure off and allows you to think freely and more honest on how you use or don't use things
  • make immediate decisions first (things you have no doubt what to do with)
  • don't box the things you're unsure of in closets, cabinets, and/or hide them behind furniture, allowing yourself to forget about it
  • keep all the things you're unsure of out in a designated area of your home so you have to look at it, if you have a lot, pull out a few things at a time so you're not overwhelmed
As I see these things everyday (remember I'm in a studio, I see ALL my things everyday!) I gain a new perspective on them and I've actually kept a few things I was close to getting rid of and donated a lot more than I thought I would; kept a large frame I haven't used for years (pic above - I'm now looking for a cool print to put in it and I still need to repaint the back wall) and donated a lot of clothes and books that no longer spoke to me. Since I'm allowing myself to take my time with the process, I'm very happy with all the decisions I've made, so far no regrets :O)