Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It's The Thought That Counts...

I agree. 
I even take it one step further.
I think the "thought" should be wrapped around the entire gift giving experience.
Right down to the color of ribbon.

Exhausting, aren't I??
I can barely keep up with my own demands!!

Why does Christmas have to be red and green if you know the person's favorite color is pink or yellow??

I like to use craft paper with colored ribbon and cute tags no matter the season because I don't want to worry about storing 308 different types of wrapping paper under my bed.

That's just silly.

AND It may sound quite harsh, but if I'm not feeling it, I just don't do it.
I HATE when people stress out, rush around, and inevitably turn into monsters, only to give thoughtless gifts that are haphazardly thrown into a bag. 

Most times, this particular kind of thoughtless gifting offender will not even bother putting your name on your gift. I mean, for all you know, you were probably given the "emergency" gift that was stuffed under the tree for an unexpected guest.

Please. If that's you, for the love of Christmas, just don't bother. 
You can look like a thoughtless ass or you can just be honest and say, "Sorry....(insert your current life story) so.... uhhhh.....hang tight...Christmas could be in January..or February....not really sure..."

There isn't anything wrong with that, and if your friends and family have a problem with your reality, I strongly advise that you declare yourself a misfit and move yourself to the island of misfit toys.

(That's me in the middle.)

The thing about brutally honest people is that you can rarely be mad at them for simply stating the truth. 
In fact, most times, those very honest people are admired for their confidence and more importantly, in their confidence in you, and the fact that you WON'T hold their lack of obligatory gift giving against them. 

So, in this season of giving, I encourage a deeper look into your giving style and your expectations of other people's giving. 

Are your expectations in line with the spirit of giving or the spirit of receiving? 

Is it too much to take the time to really think about a person before you buy something for them?
If it is, maybe try again later.
No one really wants another flashlight or pocket knife or a Packers stocking that bad. 
(unless it was quite seriously on their list)

Maybe you know someone who LOVES old hardware...

What is going on in your giftees life?
 Maybe they need $$ to get through school or gas $$ to get from A to B. 
Are they having a tough time? Maybe paying medical bills?
Are they short on time and need help with an oil change or fixing their dryer ?

Are they usually alone doing puzzles and might just want someone to do a puzzle with?

Are they a couple of very opinionated designers/engineers who are currently building a house??

I don't know any of those people.

Thoughtfulness is key.

Collect your thoughts all year round and then gift giving isn't so stressful or so hard on the wallet come this time of year. It really makes it so much easier and basically gives you permission to shop any time of year!

Like I need one!?!?

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and receive the most thoughtful of gifts!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Feature: Small Space Decorating Magazine!!!

We are so excited to share our 10 page spread in Small Space Decorating!!

The magazine is chalk full of beautiful spaces and brilliant ideas!
If you're like me and have a crack-like addiction to high-gloss pages filled with smart interiors, you might want to get a copy!

Here is a peak of our feature...

We have been waiting to share this feature that was photographed by Anne and Gary of
Gridley & Graves since August of 2013!

Let me summarize what prepping for a photo shoot is like:
Throw all that crap in the closet!! Put your underwear away! People don't want to see that!! Were you raised in a freaking barn?!?!"

I went a wee bit crazy with cleaning and styling.
Wee. bit.
Only to find out that Anne and Gary mean SERIOUS business and they do all the styling themselves.
If I knew that, I would have slept for more than 54 minutes the night before!
Especially since they did a WAY BETTER job than me!
Despite my lack of sleep and running on pure adrenaline for a week, it was such a fun experience.
Watching pros work with their kick-ass equipment is pretty awesome.

I loved sitting back and eating baked goods while they worked their magic!

See that little pic of Bailey's closet???

IF a photo shoot ever happens at your house, don't think for a second that you're gonna hide all your clutter in the closet where they won't see it, because they WILL.
There are NO secrets.
 If there is a possible photo op in the closet, they will clean it out, rearrange it, make it pretty again, and then take photos of it.
As well they should.
It's why they are Gridley +Graves.

My Audrey room.....I miss it so :(

I miss styling those shelves for the different seasons....

...and cooking in my little white kitchen.

I'm not crying. I just have allergies.

I hope you can enjoy your own copy of this glossy, magazine version of crack. that Anne and Gary so expertly and artfully created!!

to Small Space Decorating for featuring our home!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Natural Beauty

A master bedroom inspired by photos taken at Jackson Hole.....

STUNNING images taken with the client's iphone!

We were so excited when this client came home with such amazing images to share!!

We were even more excited to find out that she was expecting another baby and that we needed to get the master bedroom done before the baby arrived!

Well, the baby arrived TODAY and we just put on the finishing touches!
We are so excited that when she comes home from the hospital she will come home to her new, beautiful bedroom that will hopefully remind her of their latest vacation.

This client likes things simple and clean, so we kept the pillows to a minimum.

The paint color behind the bed is Dark Knight by Sherwin Williams. 
The smokey blue and purples of the pillows were pulled right out of the mountain image. 

We worked with the existing duvet cover and just added some wildflower print sheets. 
A great way to balance the decor budget is to work with what you already have and just add in some highs and lows. The highs here are the custom throw pillows and the lows are the reasonable, but high performance sheets from Target and discounted headboard from Macys.

We accomplished a subtle rustic/outdoors-y feel with an overall classy/traditional look.

We didn't even coordinate the paint color with the patina of the lanterns! 
Perfect coincidence!

Look at the blue water in the bottom of the image and how that blue travels out of the image and down onto the blue leather box. The acrylic tray, glass vase and ring holder are all inspired by the water.

Mixing vintage accessories with clean, modern accessories is always on our to-do list!

The vintage leather box is a cool find from Ruby Lane and serves as the perfect hiding spot for the husband's wallet and watch. 

The frames have a rustic wood look and a hint of elegance with the champagne details.
Wood + Champagne = my kind of rustic!

A cozy reading corner was also in order....
 for when this Mom wants to escape and put her feet up...

Just for her...

The old door just happened to add some warm wood tones to the space.

The only thing that I would still like to add to this corner is a bell that she can ring for service!

IF you are about to have a baby and want to come home from the hospital to a fresh new room, you should give us a call! 

I mean, why do the babies get all the loot?? They won't even remember any of it!

Know what I'm sayin?

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Parlor

 I was at J.Crew last week and saw this necklace ....

...and then, all of THIS...

...happened in my head.

Just like that.

Parlor design = done.

The gray color of the large rectangle jewels on the bottom are the wall color. The amethyst and blush pink round stones are the accent colors for pillows, flowers, and artwork. The aged gold translates into the fixtures and hardware, or wherever a little bling is needed. The black tear drops are the accent pieces of furniture that help anchor the space. For example, a Duncan Phyfe pedestal table, or black, tufted ottomans with brass studs.

Do you see how dangerous a necklace can be? 
Nothing sparkly and vintage-like is safe.

Then, I was going about my day, taking care of a few things for a client at a local lamp shop, Le Esthers, and I spotted this...

.....a glass sunburst light fixture from the 1920's!
It also just happened to be a cool little piece of Kenosha history!

It was one of the original Art Deco light fixtures of the Manor House located on 3rd Avenue.

I SO want to go back in time and see this light fixture in action!
I can only imagine all the Art Deco glamour that went on inside this gorgeous estate.
I am so honored to have a piece of it to put in our new home.

I was thinking that instead of installing it in the ceiling that I would turn it into a sconce.

It would look kinda like this:

With an Edison Bulb sticking out of the center making it both feminine AND masculine.
And people say I ignore my husband when it comes to our home decor.


BUT he chooses his battles wisely :)

Next time you are out shopping, keep an eye out for inspiring accessories.
They might just be the perfect inspiration for your home decor.
I personally give you permission to ignore that silly thought about what your husband might think.
No one asked him anyway!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bringing Up The Rear!

It just occurred to me that rear foyers are too often ignored or relegated to strict functionality.
That just isn't right.
It's time to bring up the rear!
If the rear foyer is the first thing you see upon entering your home, shouldn't it rise up to greet you?
Why do guests who come through the front get all of the pomp and circumstance??
YOU pay the bills!
I hereby declare that rear foyers should be just as spectacular as front foyers.
I plan on having an old fashioned closet and a separate dump zone in our rear foyer.
The new house plans have a blank area next to a closet that I want to fill with a pretty piece of furniture. Then, a mirror, and some hooks for hats and scarves.
I recently found an Antique Victorian Eastlake dresser that will fit into the new dump zone:

This baby is from the late 1800's-early 1900's. It needs some love, but once it is all cleaned up and has it's marble top, it will look similar to this:
I better get to work!
A dresser with drawers in an entry is perfect for storing hats and scarves, 900 crumpled receipts and post-it notes from my husband, AND my secret stash of snickers bars.
Another good idea is to store a few extras of the things that you ALWAYS forget to grab or put on and then have to run all the way back upstairs to get.
Like socks and deodorant.
Maybe even stash an emergency kit for those
"I'm running late and EVERYONE annoys me!"
sort of mornings...
A cute Kate Spade makeup bag perhaps??
Filled with emergency breakfast, instant coffee, bottled water, extra makeup, and gum.
It's hard to be annoyed while running late when you are so fabulously prepared!
At least the first time you are prepared with your kit.
The second time....if that kit isn't replenished...or put back where it belongs....watch out!
The top of the dresser is the perfect area to charge phones, dump change, throw keys, and plop down bags. My hope is that having pretty bowls and containers out on the dresser will encourage those loose things to land inside of them.
I have high hopes.
the bottom line: It is important to identify our habits, good or bad, and try our best to accommodate them. Since people rarely change, it is easiest to accept ourselves as we are, and make our surroundings work with us.
Functionally and Fabulously.
Because how you feel as you walk into your home every day is more important than how visitors feel when they walk in the front door every once in awhile.
***If creating fabulous rear foyers suddenly becomes the latest interior design craze.....you saw it here first!***

Monday, October 20, 2014

Preppy Plaids

We finished up a guest bedroom for a client recently and I must say, this project has made me fall for plaid all over again. Hard.

We started with some gray drapes from Pottery Barn and a plaid pillow and this is what happened....plaids mixed with classic black and white pieces and pops of red...

Dark blue/gray walls called Volcanic Ash by Valspar.

If you feel like your wood trim might be on the verge of being outdated, a simple way to modernize is to add contrast. Some classic black and white can make anything look more modern. 
Dark, sophisticated, and moody tones for the walls will help the wood look more sophisticated and rich.

The bedding is from Serena & Lily and the accent pillows were custom made by Momma O with fabrics we sourced online.

The Pièce de résistance is a custom watercolor created by yours truly.....

and expertly framed by ArtWorks Kenosha.

This piece is proof that you can have original artwork and custom framing at a very reasonable price.
Imagine having a custom watercolor and custom framing for under $300.
There is no need to stand in that very long line at Hobby Lobby!!
Don't get me wrong. 
There are appropriate situations for mass produced artwork, but I do my best to make those situations as scarce as possible. 

There is too much local talent not to and the results are guaranteed to be unique!

We have hints of plaid throughout the space.

This chair is the perfect example of decorating with highs and lows.

When you fall for bedding and accessories that might break the bank, it's ok to source great pieces from a place like Target. It is a beautiful herringbone and we got it on sale for less than $200. That left room in the budget for custom pillows and great bedding from Serena & Lily.

The drapery panels are from Pottery Barn and we had Momma O add some black grosgrain ribbon to the edge to dress them up a bit.

A plaid ice bucket adds another fun pop of plaid!

Let's not forget to say hi to Betsy......the owners adorable Westie, whose presence in the decor is an absolute must!

We had a few options for styling the tray.

For this one we wanted to incorporate some fancy soaps for the guests....

An apothecary jar filled with fancy hotel soaps is sure to make any guest feel pampered.

If you have an obsession with plaid and live in the Milwaukee area you should make a trip to Brimfield Chicago on Clark. It's our latest addiction!

I think I might move in!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Vintage Inspired Accessories....

....a beautiful bath does make!

Can you see it?? 

The clutch may inspire the wall color. I always try to go a little lighter than the inspiration item:
 Valspar Sweet Leaf 7005-19

The sparkles are the lighting and pretty little accessories on display, which should be clean and not too over the top...maybe even with an Art Deco feel...I mean, we do have to think about the fabulous flappers embroidered on the towel!

This smoke crystal color is even reminding me of the tortoise shell in the necklace...

A very clean lined, elegant, but approachable vanity.
The Odeon perhaps?

with this tile for the floor...

How about instead of a towel bar or ring.......maybe some fabulous brass hands??

When it comes to the hardware finishes throughout a home most people are match-y match-y because they think they have to be.

You don't.

Why should a girl have to decide between two fabulous things??

Have both.

So, how can I add some real or faux tortoise shell as seen in the necklace in a functional way for a bathroom?? 

Boxes can hold tissues, q-tips, cotton balls, you name it!

Such a fashionable classic and therefore it should be incorporated into all decor. 
Like, always!

Another way is leaving out some fabulous tortoise shell brushes...

Lemme get my hands on some of those!

You can easily get your hands on some really pretty, vintage or antique Tortoise boxes at 1st dibs.....I would suggest a good looking faux to save a few dollars, or if you MUST have the real thing, try local antique shops that are having sales. Otherwise, be prepared to make an investment in an heirloom accessory.

Speaking of heirloom accessories....I am VERY OBSESSED with acrylic purses from the 60's....

I have my eye on this one at an antique shop and I can't stop thinking about it...

...it costs $290!! 
It is in pristine condition.
It is probably better for me to leave it at the antique store and let it live with someone who doesn't have a horrible track record of ruining perfectly kept vintage items within five minutes of ownership.

Besides, I have two already that I didn't spend that much on ...

...this one sits in my office and holds jelly beans.

The other one was in the guest bedroom before we sold our house...

...I really miss having my own house :(

Putting together inspiration boards is how I am getting through this freaking Goundhogs Day, getting no where fast, very irritating, patience consuming, time.

Did I tell you that we have to take our old builder to court in order to get our money back?
We also have to start over on our home plans because we are being denied access to them.
The worst part is that I shared my favorite baked goods, from Linnea Bakery with the guy. 

Like he was family. 
Then he betrayed me. 
I don't take the sharing of Linnea Bakery goods lightly. 
I am tempted to put that in the complaint as a matter of principle. 

So, the moral of this little blog story today is:
1. Our decor should probably look like our favorite accessories that we wear and use all the time. It's one of the only ways to be sure that our decor matches our true sense of style. Also, if we use our favorite accessories as part of our decor then we aren't spending money on both. 
If that isn't good justification to go accessory shopping then I don't know what is!


2. We shouldn't just share our favorite baked goods with people all willy nilly. 
That stuff has to be earned.
I'm not tossing around Kanelbulle like they are stupid box-made pancake frisbees anymore! 
nuh. uh.

Now I am certainly NOT on my way to the antique mall to see if that purse is still there.