Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Meet the team!!

When I started my little design business back in 2011, I never thought that my life dream could be more than a hobby, let alone become large enough to support an office and a full-time employee. 
I didn't even really dare to dream!
Well, as if my clients and the great projects that have come my way are not blessings enough, when I asked a local design school to send me an intern, the only applicant ended up being the perfect one!
Miss Megan, a.k.a. "MEGGGGGANNNN!!"
After she volunteered for 75 hours, I couldn't let her go!
What started as a couple days a week, turned into five days a week and she feels like part of the family now.

Look at that pretty face!! 
Sometimes, I yell at her for being so damn photogenic.
I mean, it isn't fair.
Anyway, I seriously don't know how I ran this biz without her and somehow stayed sane.
Having a partner in crime makes the most tedious work seem fun!
Even when hand painting a Moroccan inlay design on mirror frames....

dab. dab. dab.

dab a lot. Then dab a lot more...until this happens...

This was the one single project that I heard her complain about.
The girl has worked through strep throat and fevers and didn't complain. She's basically a saint.
Sometimes, I even have to yell at her for never complaining because it makes me look like a big whiny baby.
I can't have that.
I know. I'm an excellent boss. You don't have to tell me.

We always work with our safety gear.....

..... because OSHA. duh.

Even if having a real employee is more expensive than my bakery and boot addiction, it's completely worth it!  At the end of the month when all the leftover money goes towards taxes and workman's comp insurance, it's all worth it to know that it's for the sake of making both of our dreams come true.
Not that I'm not over here not-so-secretly wishing that I was a thug boss that didn't care about following stupid employer/employee rules or anything because I totally am. I'm just not thug enough to break the rules.
I guess that since I do follow the rules, I am less likely to end up wearing an orange jumpsuit and having to decorate a jail cell with toilet paper rolls. I'll just have to focus on that because I can't even tell you how sad and lonely I would be if I didn't have Megan along on antiquing and flea market adventures. They just wouldn't be the same without having to cram Megan into the front seat.... that. Barely able to see around her.
Now, this trip in particular was a great success!
We spent hours at the Restoration Hardware Outlet testing out comfy dining chairs and deciding if we could use them as desk chairs where we could "accidentally" fall asleep after taco Tuesdays.
Now, Megan would never do that. NEVER. She never even looks tired.
I, on the other hand, look tired every day except Saturday and I have, as a matter of fact, fallen asleep at the office.... but only once! I may have snored a little too. I can do that though, I'm the boss!

Anyway, you may see some guest posts and appearances from Megan from time to time so you should all know who she is and where in the world she came from.

In other news, we have an official KDI mascot....

Sir Francis Arnold Dame
Instead of getting crepe paper one day, I got a puppy.
I don't know what happened.

He will also be making guest spot appearances on the blog from time to time.
Mostly to share his take on the use of plaids and skulls in decor and fashion...

He also works pretty hard..... sleeping...

...and staying fresh as a daisy!

He loves taking baths so much that he will nearly tear down the shower curtain to get in.
He takes his freshness very seriously.

Coming up next is some progress on the house and a kitchen makeover we are finishing up this week!

In the meantime, what was the craziest thing you ever brought home when you were supposed to be out shopping for something completely different?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Renovation Isn't Complete.....

...until there is art on the walls!

And maybe a plank of wood or two.

For this project we had the pleasure of using several photographs taken by the client as well as incorporating the work of several local artists!  The photo above was taken on one of their vacations and now the memories are woven into the decor.

The walnut plank tray was made by the hubs out of a plank of wood that my fabulous assistant Megan  found at the Milwaukee Re-Store. It was such an amazing find! All we had to do was add in little stoppers to keep it from falling into the tub and some Teflon pads for easy gliding and scratch protection. The hubs is pretty genius with all that kind of stuff!

Among my favorite abstract artists is Helen Napier. 

 Helen Napier

The colors and the mood of the piece fit this project perfectly!

When we can support local artists, this girl is beyond happy!

Most people don't realize the significance in supporting local talent until they are the local talent wishing to be seen and appreciated. Next time you feel tempted to purchase a print at Hobby Lobby or Michaels, please consider looking at the talent around you and the difference you could make in an artists career. You can usually support a local photographer buy purchasing their prints for less than $20 and you could even get your hands on a beautiful, one of a kind painting for under $100. If you look, you won't believe what you'll find! The world is bigger and has more to offer you than what is on the shelves at Hobby Lobby.
Plus, I can't help but think that by exposing ourselves to more diverse creations and concepts of beauty, we might just help ourselves be more accepting of others and our own imperfect beauty.

The photo of the spotted orchid is by another favorite, Jan Marchuk.
Her close-up photographs of flowers are just stunning! 
I wish my photo was better to show you.

We're still waiting on one more piece to complete the wall arrangement....the other landscape image was another picture taken by the client while walking on this beautiful trail...

For more information on these local artists, please email me @

I am always telling my clients to bring their vacation home with them.
Pictures, souvenirs, trinkets, whatever you can grasp to hang onto the moments of being on vacation are the perfect moments to make part of your decor. 

Like seashells collected along the beach....

or jewelry purchased while on a fun day trip...

Anything that has a great memory attached to it is what should be part of your decor. 
In this sometimes ugly and absolutely cruel world, we need all the good stuff we can muster.

The hand bound journal you see on the stump is another special piece made by local artist, Lisa Bigalke. 
She hand makes the papers she uses for the covers and then binds each unique journal. I absolutely love incorporating her journals into our projects! You can see more of her work HERE. She has some really fun pieces for kids that make for great gifts! 

When we found this pretty ocean creation (we have no idea what it really is) among the clients shell collection.....

...we knew it was worthy of making an appearance on the walls... one of our favorite frames thanks to ArtWorks!

Last, but not least, don't forget a place to sit and dry off or a perch for applying lotion. 
If you have the space, a chair can make a space feel more inviting and that could equal spending more time in a space that you love!

You can also just sit and enjoy the view!

We hope you enjoyed seeing this bathroom renovation as much as we enjoyed being a part of it!

Next week you'll get to meet the latest members of the KDI crew!
Stay tuned!

Monday, October 5, 2015

With Love, 1996

1996 called and said it couldn't even...

The 90's basically thew up all over this bathroom.
I'm talking ivy and swags and bright, bright brass.
Our client couldn't wait to blow it up!

Even though it must have been completely awesome back in '96, we had to SMASH it!

There's nothing quite like a completely blank slate that you can do just about anything you want with.
Maybe not ANYTHING since there wasn't quite enough room for the massive unicorn statue, but close enough. Thankfully there is still an opportunity for unicorns in the main entry of the house.

The first thing I must say about this renovation is that it was fun, and basically stress free.
Yep. You read that right.
It was practically a dream and all because of our AMAZING contractor, Igor, and his peeps.
I considered kidnapping Igor and keeping him in my car so he is readily available at all times.
If only there weren't so many witnesses all the time!
 That may seem a little extreme, but have you experienced a renovation with a terrible contractor before???

In case you haven't, let me just tell you that most of them are only capable of telling you what you want to hear, quickly taking your money, and then disappearing on some extravagant and luxurious vacation until the entire project has been slowly and painfully completed by people you don't even know. And that, my dear readers, would be the best case scenario. So, trust me when I tell you that when you find a good contractor, you WILL contemplate abduction.

Enough of my ramblings!
Are you ready for the tour???

Did your eyeballs lock onto those door knobs?!?

These door knobs made us cry sweet tears of joy.
We thought we loved them when we saw them online......then they arrived and we wept.

Back to the tour!
The first stop to your left is the 103" long, custom, solid alder, vanity by our custom cabinet maker.

Did you know you can get a huge, custom-made, completely solid wood vanity, in whatever color you want, for less than $2,000???
Reason #749,465.4  it's a great idea to hire us for your remodel.
We get the hook-ups!

For this vanity, we wanted something sleek and modern with tons of storage and counter space.
We asked and our cabinet guy delivered!
There are outlets behind the drawers so that hair accessories and electronics can get charged and stashed away without dealing with cords.

What's that on the wall...??

A whole lot of herringbone!
When it comes to herringbone, there's no such thing as too much!

We think if you're going to make a statement you might as well go all the way.

Especially with light fixtures!!!

The lights and patterns that this baby casts on the walls are just insanely gorgeous......

The fixture, in case you are wondering, is the Diallo chandelier from Arteriors.
We were so excited to hear that our client loves it as much as we do!

Now this might blow your mind....the exact same spot as above used to look like THIS.....

Insane, right??
This is why I am so addicted to interior design.
You can completely change your world through your surroundings!

We wanted this space to be a relaxing oasis reminiscent of their best vacations.
Some photos of their favorite vacation spots inspired a serene color palette of  light blues, purples and whites. Like the subtle colors of a seashell or pearl.

The main tiles:

Pebble tiles for the area under the bathtub and 12" by 24" ceramic tiles for the main floor.
Do you see an abstract horizon in the large tile?
I knew this was the one the second I laid eyes on it!

We initially wanted to put the pebbles on the shower floor but my tile expert didn't like the lack of room for grout between so many of the tiles. It would have looked awesome, but when it comes to a questionable grout application, we like to take the less questionable and more dependable route.
I came up with a design for the shower floor using the 12 by 24" tiles that we already had and Igor was able to do this....

We are all thrilled with this last minute shower floor solution!
I love the areas where we could have the grain lines match up!

Remember when I said you can NEVER have too much herringbone????

How could we say no to a herringbone backdrop behind the shower heads???

OR behind the niche??

Igor hand cut and shaped each of those little tiles!

For the shower door, we opted for a height that would feel like one of those outdoor showers on the beach. It stops the water from splashing out of the shower without completely enclosing the space.
A win-win for the clients!

Our favorite part of a project is when we get to incorporate the little details and items that are special to the client. For this project, it was all about vacation photos, shells collected off the beach, and beautifully displayed essentials.

Here's a sneak peak at some of the little touches....

Makeup brushes are like adding feathers to your decor.
Another beautiful item that can be out and become a part of the decor instead of being stashed away.

Stay tuned for more details on this bathroom!

Do you have a horrifying renovation story to tell?
Please share!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Obsession: Cobalt


It isn't just electric, it's magical and really! 

Cobalt has a GREAT story!
Besides the boring part where I mention that it comes from mines in Persia-now Iran-and parts of Europe, turns out the European silver miners used to HATE it because they would often run into some cobalt when mining silver and while it is a decent metal on it's own, it attracts a nasty companion in the form of arsenic.
Nobody likes arsenic!
Especially not those Flowers In The Attic kids!

Cobalt's nasty little friend is actually how it got it's name. 
You see, in German folk legend, Kobald was the name of a vicious sprite, who lived in the earth and resented intruders. Kobald was an angry little gremlin.

Did you know that the miners hated Kobald so much that for centuries they would throw it away before it ate at their feet and attacked their lungs?? Yikes!
I guess I can understand why they named it after a vicious goblin!

BUT I'm not sure I want to imagine a life without that vicious little sprite.

via Tobi Fairley blog

What about cobalt blue skirts and coats?!?

That goblin makes for a pretty blouse!

The fact that cobalt got it's name from a gremlin, isn't the only reason it seems so mysterious and the 17th century some sneaky people discovered it's propensity to change color when heated and that lead to the magical discovery of invisible inks!! 

Kobald! You sneaky bastard!

When plain paper was held over a fire it would magically turn green where secret messages had been traced. 

I can't imagine the unfortunate circumstances that led to that discovery BUT...

I'm pretty sure some cobalt needs to make an appearance at the new house!

Maybe the front door?!?

Shut. Up!

Maybe an ENTIRE ROOM???

Windsor Smith pulled off cobalt in an entire kitchen.....

That takes some major Kobald gremlin balls, people.

Put it all over! 
Why play it safe? 
There are enough boring khaki wearers out there with boring beige walls. 

Thanks to this dude:

Louis-Jacques Thenard, a French chemist, who looks a little like Michael Landon (who, by the way, had gorgeous cobalt-blue eyes), we have the glorious pigment, "Thenard" blue, also known as cobalt. 
Get this...he was the same dude that discovered hydrogen peroxide! 
Was this guy a genius or what?!?

As if those accomplishments weren't enough, he became a baron in 1818 and a member of the Paris Chamber of Deputies in 1828.
Wellllll then. 
I guess we all just look pathetic now, don't we.

Don't even get me started on cobalt velvet or.....

......we'll all just keep procrastinating and never make important discoveries like hydrogen peroxide.

Before your brain is taken over with more random and useless facts about colors, you better go get yourself some cobalt! Make sure you  tell anyone that will listen about how the color is named after an arsenic carrying goblin.

You're welcome!