Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Discreet Shoe Cabinet


I must admit I love it when I walk into a space and see obvious solutions to problems. This client lives in a one bedroom and wanted me to help her get her closets in better order (as the rest of her space was pretty good when I arrived). The first thing I suggested was my favorite, the high gloss white Besta cabinet (which at the moment isn't on the Ikea website...) to get her shoes out of her tight bedroom closet. 

It fills the space seamlessly and holds all her shoes and a few evening handbags. She's very happy that it fits perfectly under her existing shelves as am I.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Making of a Bachelor Pad

Wanted to give you guys a peak of an apartment I'm not only organizing but designing as well. Coming into this space with only the sofa and a bed/bed frame we're slowing piecing the rest together. We're very happy with the rug we scored for a steal from the apartmenttherapy.com classifieds. Perfectly worn in faded, I love the contrast against the Ikea Besta high gloss white cabinets. More to come, stay tuned!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Chic Sophisticated Yet Fun Playroom

This client's new apartment has this room just off the living space which they've designated the playroom. Their goal was to create a fun and inspiring space for their 2 kids to play but to also keep it clean, organized, and as stylish and chic as the rest of their space. 

The chest of drawers, baskets, and toys are all from their previous apartment. We installed floating shelves for displaying toys and small picture ledges in lieu of a bookcase. The 2 smaller picture ledges are for a few beautiful and delicate books. She's shopping for a floor lamp to sit in the corner, just right of the chest of drawers, otherwise the room is just about perfect...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hanging Pots + Pans Storage

I'm helping this young family settle into their new apt by reusing what they have including these simple Grundtal rails, one of my favorite products from Ikea.

Before installing them we were concerned that having the pots and pans on this wall would make this corner feel cramped so we held it up to make sure and it wasn't a problem. They're both tall so we placed the top bar as high up so things are out of the way yet still easy to access. We placed the deeper pots on top with the pans below so nothing is in the way when you're at the stove.  

This simple idea has made them both really happy to be able to easily access and store everything without taking up precious cabinet space and they love the way it looks. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What I Did Today: Shoe Cabinet + Elfa Closet



The first day with this new client we did a much needed edit and rearrangement of her clothes closet.  

The original shoe shelves were killing her nice little walk-in closet making it a pain to access the back left hanging area. I personally think these hanging shoe shelves are the worst. Shoes always fall off, you can't put low heal or flats on them and they come out so far from the wall. I designated the freestanding cabinet (that may or may not be switched out for a larger unit), for shoes and jewelry. Both the cabinet and the closet are sooo much nicer now, in looks and in functionality.

On the left wall we're going to hang an oversized bulletin board for inspiration pics, notes and her many many beautiful necklaces.

These are progress shots. I'll keep you posted as we go....

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Weekend House: Beach Chic


down pipe

cloud white

picnic basket

barely there

This is the final paint colors for the house. The client's didn't want to do one color throughout, they wanted each room to be different while making sure each had the same overall feeling which we're calling beach chic.

Before we met they showed me the colors they were leaning towards and from there we worked out exactly which color would work best. Slight variations make a huge difference and can only be truly seen in the space you're painting; what looks best at the paint store isn't always best. I simplified the colors (they had about 8 different colors throughout) and recommended painting the ceilings the same colors as the walls in most of the rooms instead of using a standard Ceiling White. The open living/dining area has tall sloped ceilings which means they have a very large surface and I wanted to make sure that line wasn't broken making the space feel smaller.

Here's the plan:
- living/dining area walls and ceiling Benjamin Moore Metropolitan AF-690
- living area accent wall Farrow + Ball Downpipe #26
- bedroom walls and ceiling Benjamin Moore Cloud White OC-130
- bedroom door and trim Farrow + Ball Downpipe
- kitchen ceiling and walls Benjamin Moore Barely There
- guest room ceiling (shared ceiling w/kitchen) Benjamin Moore Barely There
- guest room walls Benjamin Moore Picnic Basket

I always recommend matte or flat finish for walls and ceiling, eggshell or satin for trim and/doors. Most walls aren't that perfect and eggshell just highlights every imperfection, but with a matte/flat finish, the walls recede and give a cleaner look.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Time For The Closet Switch

It's time to switch out the spring/summer wardrobe for the fall/winter. For most of us, 60% of our wardrobe is considered all year round and don't need to be put away, but there's no reason for your white linen skirts and thin cotton sweaters to sit in your closet untouched for the next 8 months.

Reasons to do the switch are most importantly:
- clearing room so your clothes aren't stuffed in the closet making it
     impossible to see what you have 
- clean your clothes and the closet itself (wiping down the shelves, cleaning the floor, vacuuming the baseboards and molding) to keep moths away
- to re-acquaint yourself with the clothes you have 

Someone recently said she'd rather spend time with her kids than spending the hour or two switching out her closet. While I understand the sentiment (I hear it often), I think it's important to take the time to set up your things, whether it's your clothes or your kitchen, so the experience of doing everyday things is as easy and enjoyable as possible. Not only for your own sanity, but to show your children that taking care of your things is important. 

It's a lesson I remember my father teaching me, and though I'm not terribly sentimental, I still have the shoe shine box he used to show me how to polish my shoes when I was young. Though I will say thank goodness that not every parent teaches their kids to do this or I wouldn't have a job ;O)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Reader's Questions: Open Closet = Moths?

Danielle asks: " I used to store my garments on a rack, which was beautiful and very convenient, but then I started to find holes in my clothes! I've been told these were definitely caused by silverfish or moths (my home is very clean! I just like fresh air and keep my windows open most of the time). From that point on, I stored my clothes in cheap wardrobes and it's quite ugly. My question is how do you cope with moths and such? I would be too afraid to ever store my garments outside of the closet without closed doors..."

First, are they holes or tears? Natural fibers tend to break, to tell, grip the fabric to try to 'close' the hole by bringing the fabric together. If there's a piece missing that's a hole and you may have moths, but you may not. I have tears in several of my pieces but I've never had moths. Clothing moths usually create several holes next to each other and you'll see the cocoons or dead moths that look like sawdust near the holes. Did you see any dead moths or casings on your clothes?

Clothing moths are not like other moths that are attracted to light; they like dark, closed, humid spaces and are attracted to what we leave behind on natural fiber clothing such as our oils, hairs, and skin cells. They love it when we wear something once or twice then put it back in the closet or drawer not to be touched for a while. 

Do you have wall to wall carpet? I had a client who's home was also very clean but had moths living in the carpet. They tend to be near the baseboards where you don't spend too much time really vacuuming (corner of closets, behind furniture). Another client has a reoccurring problem and we suspect someone in a nearby apartment is infested and they're coming into her space.

The point is that having your clothes out is not the problem. Keeping your space and clothes clean is the only solution. If you really think you have clothes moths you need to have ALL your clothes cleaned; dry cleaned or laundered as needed. I'm assuming you didn't clean ALL your clothes when you suspected you had moths. I assume this because most people don't because it's annoying and expensive but it's the only way.

Edit out the pieces you don't love and wear and make sure you regularly clean the clothes you do have. For most I generally don't recommend cleaning clothes after every wear, but definitely at the end of the season even if you've only worn it once. But for those who have had moths in the past, regular cleaning is a must. 

But you may not have moths. People see a hole and they immediately think it's moths (silverfish leave stains not necessarily holes). Not sure what clothes you have but that can make a difference. My wool and cashmere get tears because I don't have a lot of clothes so things get worn a lot. Vintage clothing can tear because over time fibers break down. And if you tend towards fast-fashion (like from H&M, Target, Forever 21) the inexpensive synthetic clothing breaks down much faster, usually after a few wearings. 

Let me know what you think Danielle, I hope this helps!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Weekend House: Floor Plan

After studying the pictures, and thinking about their needs, here's the proposed floor plan. Working with this and the budget, I sourced pieces, some temporary (dining table, sofa, living area rug) while others are hoped to be kept long term (dining chairs , dining area rug). The budget is nice but modest so the goal is to make it look, feel, and function nicely as soon as we can so they can really start enjoying the space. 

They sent me the progress shots (shown). The next step is to finalize choices of the pieces we're missing and figuring out new solutions for those pieces in the proposed floor plan that didn't work once they measured things out in the actual space (which you MUST do before buying anything) like the desk in the back room and the dresser in the bedroom. 

The next post will show you the paint colors we selected. From there, then we can talk about the details like pillows, window treatments, etc. Oh! they tossed a sheet over the bay window in the dining area since it looks directly into their neighbors house. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Dream (mine anyway): The Weekend House

living area

 view to front door from dining area
 dining area

I was so happy when former clients, a married couple, called to say they purchased a small weekend house in Jersey and wanted my help getting the place together. 

The showed me pictures of the home (with the former owner's furniture, shown) along with about 100 images on pinterest they gathered for inspiration. We discussed budget, how they wanted to 'live' there, and the overall feeling they wanted to space to have. We decided 'beach chic' summed it all up and took it from there.

After giving me a floor plan with dimensions, I created a furniture plan to figure out what pieces they needed and what sizes would actually fit the space which you'll see it in the next post!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fantastic Sale at Serena & Lily

hammered metal tray:
 woven paper bowl:
 beckett desk:
 crochet edge towels:
 gumdrop pendant:

The hammered metal tray from Serena & Lily is now $69.99. I love this on top of a boring little table to give it new life, to serve food and drinks to guests, on the floor near a chair or a bed for magazines, or in the center of a dining table (on a lazy susan) for condiments when eating and by itself when not. 

The woven paper bowl comes in two sizes and two colors: black or blue. They're now $28.99 - 38.99. Sit on the floor to hold paperbacks, on the counter for fruit, the small one on a dresser for belts or chunky jewelry, the large one in the bathroom for small towels or toilet paper....

The beckett desk is perfect for small spaces at 47"W and only 23 1/2"D. It's down to $629.99 made from solid wood, it's a great deal. I can see in an entry, great for dropping your mail and keeping things near the door you need; keys, wallet, camera, gift cards, dog lease... the small things you need to grab when going out.

The crochet edge towels come in a set of 3 are now $24.99. They come in a few colors including navy (shown). I've always loved these....

The pink gumdrop pendant is perfect for a child's room, especially if they have a little walk-in closet. And they come in blue. At $29.99 each, you can get multiples.  Note they're hardwired, not plug-ins...

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Inspiration Board

I had a cancellation the other day so I spent the morning changing up my inspiration board. I switched out a few images I was bored with and added some new ones. Lots of these are pulled from magazines but there are also images pulled from the web that I printed on photo paper. The pink drawing in the last image is a my nephew's signature penguin.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Beautiful Hampers You Can Live With

Hampers are the worst. Most people, especially those with limited space, keep them in their bedroom and there's seriously nothing less sexy than an open bin of dirty clothes.  If it must be out, I suggest a beautiful lidded version, one that is seamless with your decor. 

The senegalese storage baskets from Serena & Lily are fantastic and come in a few different color options (not shown). The Seagrass Hamper from BrookFarm General Store is subtle and lovely.

The large woven sedona hamper from Crate and Barrel is a long time favorite. And last but not least, this small zipped soft box (which I have) from Muji. Small enough to fit practically anywhere, I have it hidden under my desk.

And don't limit these to just laundry. They're great for storing linens, towels, or even children's toys....

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reader's Questions: Reasonably Priced Picture Frames

ikea frames, image unknown:
 image courtesy of pottery barn:
 image courtesy of west elm:
 image courtesy of west elm:

Kimberly asks: " Where do you suggest shopping for sturdy but reasonably priced frames?"

The thing is, framing can be pretty expensive. I know clients who spend more on the frames than their art. But there are well priced options out there.

I love the Ribba series from Ikea. They're inexpensive and I think they look great, but you get what you pay for. My art installer and friends with art collections don't especially like their quality.

Pottery Barn and West Elm have great mid-priced quality frames in various sizes and finishes and they go on sale from time to time making them even more affordable.

Americanframe.com is a great online resource. My art installer highly recommends them. There's a nice selection of finishes and sizes to create a custom frame without the high cost of a store front custom framer. They have ready made frames too.

If you have something special, try a local framing store for a wide selection of custom sizes, styles and finishes. Remember, they're more expensive because you're paying for the advice. They can help you pick a frame that goes best with the art you have as well as matting, whether to use glass or plexi to preserve the art.

Hope this helps Kimberly!