Monday, April 27, 2009

Creating SPACE without leaving home

Goldie is looking at possibilities - she is close to the AHA moment.
Since the Sun is shining and it feels like summer is getting closer,
now is the time to tackle that outdoor space

Case Study : Real Back yard Dilemma

We turned a tired cement patio area into a charming, relaxing outdoor room, giving our client a bright and sunny additional living space:

Our client Jasmine had outdoor space that desperately needed some design help.
The question that often stops people in their tracks is "How can I fix this ?"

What : The area was a nice size but lacked charm.
Conditions:Budget was a key element.
Already owned:
Positives: white metal patio set that she had inherited
couple of striped pillows and two red Andirock chairs, a garden set, on sale, on hold at a local box store. A couple of pots, and existing built in awning.
Negatives: An ugly shed and a few redwood furniture items that had seen better days.
A mix of cement and aggregate floor not in great shape.

What did Jasmine want?

A patio to enjoy the good weather, a place to expand her living space & a lovely french feel.
Without spending a lot of money.

First item on the list - more comfortable and practical seating.
The set Jasmine had found was versatile and fabulous. Deep bronze with blue cushions.
We told Jasmine to go for it.
The patio set was serviceable and attractive. Our solution was to paint the set to match the new patio lounge set, and tie it in using color.

The shed dilemma was easily solved. We loved the shape and suggested some yummy green and blues, with gray for details.

To hide the utilitarian look of the windows we had our clients add shutters.

We gave Jasmine a shopping list and a chore list.

The family worked hard, cleaning up painting and shopping.

The revitalized patio set looks slick

and Voila - hard work and focus is rewarded!

I just adore how the shed suddenly becomes a destination and how the shutters finish of the windows. The outdoor rug anchors the patio set on the concrete, breaking up the cracked grey surface. The metal lanterns await hanging, and add a European flair.
A space transformed

We created this cozy spot to read and enjoy the outdoors. It's a great idea to create a few seating areas, to enhance the use and charm of the space. Perfect for one or two. Lemons from the tree with leaves wrapped around the basket handle, add a rustic touch.

A real find for us was this old table stand. It had been stored in the shed, waiting to be tossed.
Now it makes a elegant plant holder, and the wrought iron curls match the awning legs.
Find some fun elements at discount box stores, your local garage sale or the neighborhood Goodwill store, like we did below. Get the color moving around the area. Create distinct groupings.

The versatile patio seating looks inviting and makes entertaining a breeze.
We used what Jasmine had, including a galvanized bin. Upside down, it becomes a plant stand.

I love the new patio, and how it integrates the outdoor areas, and so did our clients.
The biggest reward for Jasmine?

She was grateful to have us keep her on track, to achieve her backyard dream.

Jasmine penned this note :
"I absolutely love what you did with my backyard, especially the addition of the bright color. It's now one of my favorite places to sit with a cup of coffee and return phone calls."

the reward of a job well done is to sit in the sun!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Outdoor ROOM

Summer seems to be here - the heat is rising !

Suddenly all the heavy clothes and dark and cluttered rooms are unbearable.

I was lucky enough to spend a couple days in Chicago. I am on the Board of IRIS -The largest and only non profit organization for International Redesigners and Stagers.
We have an incredible group of dedicated, passionate women who sit on the board, and it is a privilege to share this experience.
In between meetings and meals, and lots of decisions, we had time to be inspired by an amazing town, and friendly people.

And just like Goldie demonstrates above - when the heat rises inside its time to head out to those outdoor spaces.
Art, Color and function all play a role. The sky, ground and trees create the walls, floors and ceilings. What can be more delicious than a carpet of cool ground cover under foot?

A space is transformed by the placement, form and color. To create impact think outdoor art - The joy of coaxing a smile of surprise, from those that wander in.

Breathe deep and enjoy the magic smells and tastes that dazzle the eye - below I have assembled a couple of shots, from the many to make you think of how to add Drama to your simple or magnificent plot of land! Its not in the flick of the wrist, rather in the bold move of creating your own or buying a clever piece or two. And rustic junk can gain you points as you charm your acquaintances with your stylish wit and clever hands!
That old ugly piece, sitting discarded, is begging to be recreated into a conversation piece.

Chicago is a city with planning, somehow the air flows around the buildings and outdoor space and art rises with joy and variety! Space that allows room to move and to enjoy are key elements to a successful room outdoors. Sweet smells, comfortable seating, and shade are desirable too.

So start putting your elements together, to make the most of living out doors, without leaving your home.

More pictures and ideas to come.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Necessary belongings

Transitioning from old to bold

What happens when you think about Moving? Is it all too much or is it an adventure beyond compare.

Finally you have the chance to shake off the dust of Unwanted collectibles like this frothy Dresden lace porcelain piece Dolores, from the Irish Green Lace Collection selling on Ebay

Are there memories you can lose ? Like this 19th century collectors print below.
perhaps its gathering dust in your boudoir? Would you rather not recall those nights or do you wish it had pride of place in your entrance hall.
Maybe you need to think about framing or adding more prints to your collection

the pale and soothing tones of blue and green to help remember why
you let it gather dust.

can you convert some item to cold green cash?
Is there a way to enhance the way you want to live?

Perhaps improving the view from the window like my friend who has this to look at from her kitchen window would be your way of moving.

who would not be delighted ?
senses reeling from color & composition
and places to find peace and tranquility.

Is it time to dump the old tea trolley or is this the perfect time to turn it in to a wonderful drink and snack station?
Does this Briarwood tea cart bring back sweet memories?
It certainly reminds me of when my mom would pile on Royal Albert cups and saucers with golden spoons, and matching cake plates and dainty napkins
An array of delicious and tasty cakes and biscuits that made it hard to choose which cake to bite into.
and the silver tea service that was brought out for guests with a giant sugar bowl.
I remember the colored sugar grains large and oh so pretty that somehow made the tea taste funny.
the memories long gone, but the tea trolley lingers on.
Now I would paint it a bright color and stack on the glasses and bottles, for a fun cocktail hour or family fruit mix.
Little cheese straws or thin crackers and toppings
Ice and tongs


How about adding this fabulous ice bucket to the mix ? As seen in Lamp Lust.
and who can resist the name ? The Chiller - rechargeable color changing wine chiller.
Every home needs one of those (Not for the faint at heart)

Mood Object - Chiller

Moving in up or down - or hanging around with less, is a challenge that requires thought and time.

Time to sift through memory and space, separating the necessary from the desired, the loved from the practical. The beautiful piece that sings from the items that screech.

I had the chance to visit a different version of the home I grew up in - the house is different, but the furniture and ornaments are the same. Every time I wonder around gazing at all the memories in glass, porcelain and dust, wondering, if I could choose, which items would I take to my dessert(sweet sweet place) island - the place where I would bring only what I love & cherish.
The true sweet dessert of what matters.
This piece below is one of my all time favorites. I love the glaze on the ceramic and the exquisite work of the piece. I would be happy to take this memory from my mother's house - if I had enough wrapping bubble and room in my overflowing suitcase......

Friday, April 3, 2009

Transitions: Creating the home you love with his stuff

The wedding bells have rung and the honeymoon is done
Now you need to transition your life with his,
to create a blended house hold.
Goldie is ready to hang her hat!

The man cave is moving. That mountain of inherited comfy couch, that has taken your beloved's shape, is big. So big that it fills the room and renders you speechless.

couch found at Kijiji
Kijiji: 3 Piece Living Room Set

Perhaps he has holdovers from a past marriage, or relics from hanging out at the local watering hole, or visiting Hawaii.

found at Hawaiian Gifts

Perhaps she is awash in doilies & a collection of porcelain pieces.
check out this cool doily from Best Doilies Shop
Crocheted Doily Moose Doily Made in Montana by Best Doilies and Crafts

You did say for better or worse, and suddenly your place is looking a whole lot worse.

How can you find a meeting place.
A way to meld the good(your stuff) the bad (his stuff) and the ugly (definitely his stuff)?

There is a way, and it need not mean starting over with all new furniture and knicknacks.

First determine the use of your room.
What are you planning on doing in there ?

Check out the dance cards at BettysShopORama's Shop

Learn To Square Dance and Call The Foster Way Vintage 1941

this dancing couple found at Kitschandcurious's Shop

Next figure out what items of furniture you need
Then the fun begins.

What sofa will work in the space ?
Perhaps you can take turns to pick items.

That way you both get to choose and loose.

Transitioning well involves displine and a sense of humor.
Remember this is only furniture.

The most important items to consider are size, color & function.

If the table is ugly but the right size perhaps paint will be your friend.

check out these fun painted pieces from Bradshaw Kirchofer

Accessories do not only make the woman, they also make the room.
check out BeeLine Mid Century

Below, a fabulous interior in home of Barbo Grandelius (Antiquarian and Decoratrice)
and her husband Göran Peterson. taken from the blog
Euroantique Market

amazing stuff

Be focused and brutal in weeding out things you hate.
Art work placement and choice is key

Janey Garnet Collage from her Etsy Shop

Mapping the Human Heart No. 2- original collage

Make sure you can achieve all your objectives.

remember to leave room to walk

and let the room reflect the best of both of you.

If all else fails, hire a Redesigner to do it for you - it takes away the stress!

call me - I would love to help you set the stage for your new life and love.

Happy creating in your new home.

May all the furniture and decorative bits be pieces you both love.

below french couple from Noodle and Lou fun and colorful artwork with heart.


Celebrate your marriage by co-mingling with style.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

RED shines bright

Goldie looks on and sees RED

Riotous Reds Charm BraceletSlate Blue Red Post Earrings
red can bracelet, and earings above love this stuff from adaptivereUse
and below incredible fabric from Volksfaden

Buttoned Up Pomegranate

Red is the color of LOVE and Anger
Happiness and energy.

It makes you laugh, it brings words to the fore
There is merriment in red

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Explosions of color

Inspired by all the rioting color of Bright week, I want to add to the air merriment
so here are some colorings picked up on my travels with Camera: ORANGE influence
Even Goldie is feeling energy with bright orange lobster.

Fireworks at Montreal Fireworks competition, Beaded & entranced at the bead store Bauman's Biscuit Factory, Doorway in Paris, Lunch at the Olympia Cafe Kalk Bay, Cushions at Modern art Gallery Kalk Bay, Peppers at Rangis, Paris, Chihuly Glass art exhibit, San Francisco

Check it out at ConcreteandHoney - you will be dazzled.