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Springing Forward

11 Mar

New England is once again having a spring identity crisis.  The birds are chirping and it’s supposed to be in the mid 50’s…. Too bad everything’s still covered in a foot of snow from Friday!  I’ll take what I can get, though- I LOVE spring!

Not that I’m wishing the time away (because I certainly need every second I have to get Clark the flip house ready to be sold!), but for the past 6 months I’ve been counting the days until March 18th- next monday!  It’s a trivial reason, I’ll 100% admit it.  It’s the day I can upgrade to an iphone 5 without having to pay an arm and a leg!  I’ve been living through the worst cell phone on the planet (true story) for almost 2 years now, I’m surprised I haven’t thrown it out the window!

In sheer excitement for my future phone, I started looking at cases yesterday.  I’ve bought prints from Society6 in the past, but I had forgotten that they offer most of their prints in iphone cases as well- a design geek’s dream!

They have some seriously amazing iphone cases with art prints and typography:

society6 iphone cases1

but I’m so drawn to these simpler, yet still graphic ones:

society6 iphone cases2

Although I loooooove the look of these cases, I’m torn about needing a beefier case to protect the phone.  I haven’t ruled out buying a beefier case then adding some pizazz to it myself, but until then, I’ll ogle over these. So many options, what’s a girl to do?!

cases via Society6: 1/2/3/4/5/6

Overdue Kitchen ‘Reveal’

5 Feb

I’ve shown you almost every room in my house over the past few years- even my embarrassing basement, but this is the first time I’ve actually taken real pictures of the kitchen.

I showed you the kitchen way back when we moved in and installed the dishwasher, then 2 years later (hangs head in shame) when we got more new appliances.  Well, with the addition of a chevron rug, the room’s actually feeling welcoming.  Not yet done, but very welcoming.  I’m even almost tempted to cook!  Almost.

Kitchen progress

It’s shocking how much of a change 2 new appliances can have.

Flashing back to when we moved in, the kitchen was feeling a little cramped and dated.

kitchen start

We moved the fridge to a more logical nook across the room, added a dishwasher & extended the counter, and now the new appliances.

kitchen appliances after

kitchen rug

I bought the rug on a whim ($20 from HomeGoods) and it feels like it was made for that spot.  It’s indoor-outdoor so it can stand up to kitchen messes.

Kitchen seating

The To Do list for the kitchen still includes

  • Replace cabinets- although these look nice, they’re barely functional
  • Replace lighting and broken fan
  • Paint- this color came with the house.  I like it, but want to tweak it a little and make it a bit mint-ier
  • Install stainless vent hood
  • Roman shade (or faux roman shade) on windows

That list doesn’t seem that intimidating since it’s pretty short, however replacing the cabinets will be no small feat- especially with our house’s lack of level floors.  I’m itching for new cabinets (if you couldn’t tell), but it’ll have to wait at least until we sell our first flip house.  The flip kitchen can be my trial run for cabinet installation.  I’m itching to get started on that too- closing in a week and a half!!

Anyway, back to this kitchen.  What do you think??  I love how you can transform a room without major alterations.

2-Toning

24 Jan

I’ve got kitchens on the brain, have you noticed?

Our propane tank is getting delivered TODAY and we’ll be able to use our gas stove!

Even though we won’t be doing anything about the cabinets for a while, a girl can dream, right?  And I am.  The issues I have with the current cabinets are:

  • Poor quality-  falling apart drawers and cabinet boxes
  • Useless soffit wasting 8″ of usable space above the cabinets (covered with beautiful laminate)
  • Dated door style on uppers (at least more traditional than my taste)
  • Not a wood tone I would ever pick
  • Inconsistent finishes- wood doors, veneer sides, & laminate boxes.  Makes perfect sense, no?

New appliances

Hubby and I actually are partial to dark wood cabinets like this kitchen.  LOVE everything about this kitchen.

dark kitchen

But our kitchen isn’t spacious enough to pull it off sadly, and we aren’t white kitchen people.  I love looking at pretty white kitchens, but it doesn’t really fit us.  I’ve been drawn to beautiful 2 tone kitchens lately- dark on the bottom, but white on the top to brighten up the space.  I love this one so much, I pinned it twice apparently.

two tone kitchen

So I decided to have a bit of fun with photoshop and test out the theory on our kitchen.  I also tested a lone vent hood vs. cabinet with vent.

Kitchen 1 range hood

kitchen 2 vent

The lone vent hood doesn’t float my boat as much as I thought it would.  Being that the stove is tucked in the corner, the room feels a little off balance without the cabinets.  It definitely makes a difference to have the cabinets reach all the way to the ceiling, though.  Any added storage in a small house is a definite plus.  I do like the 2-tone a lot, but again, Hubby’s not convinced.  Silly boy, when will he decide to actually trust his designer wife?  Oh well, its a non-issue until we decide to do the cabinets.  I’m pulling for them this year, we’ll see how good my convincing skills are.

What’s your vote on the kitchen?

images: 1/2

Evolving in a Week

7 Nov

When last we saw the “guest room,” Mom had taken up residence to be near her new job while awaiting the closing of their new house.

Well, I am pleased to say my parents are now officially residents of Massachusetts and, as of last week, our extra bedroom was back to being a blank slate.

empty room

I’m beyond embarrassed to admit, this is how this room has sat for the past 2 years (there was a large purple chair and a half in here prior to Mom’s stay, but it went to a better home with a friend).  I know this may come as a HUGE shock, but zero design went into this space.  Not an ounce.  Not even a drop of paint.

empty room

The challenge of this room is it’s variety of functions:

…and all this needs to work in around 100sf of space.  Recently, a lighbulb went off and I finally knew exactly what to do in the space and over the weekend, I got to work.

I flipped the way we previously used the space and somehow, with adding storage, made the room feel much larger.  (The following pics are in progress and there was no styling involved.)

office progress 1

office progress 2

I still have a good deal of finishing to do for it to feel complete (mounting the tv on the wall, fixing the secretary desk, accessorizing/styling…)

office progress 3

This is the first time since living here that this room has felt like part of this house and not just the forgotten space.  It makes me happy.  Very Happy.  I can’t wait to really polish it up and let it shine!

(5 points to anyone who finds Charlie, the orange cat, in the progress pictures!  It’s like a furry Where’s Waldo)

Design on Wheels

10 Oct

I’m a secret car geek.  Not in the ‘muscle cars, vroom vroom’ kinda way, but in the ‘I appreciate good design in all forms’ kind of way.  Vintage cars are a work of art.  I fully intend on owning a Corvette Stingray (late 60s, early 70s) and a ’57 Chevy Bel Aire at some point in my life.  I was raised going to car shows with my parents who would show off their ’46 Plymouth Special Deluxe or whichever car my dad was tinkering with at the time.

For almost as long as I’ve been living in the Boston area, Dad’s been talking about going to a local car museum, but the timing just never worked out.  It’s been years since I went to a car show or a cruise night, but the local museum, The Larz Anderson Auto Museum, was having a VW event on their grounds in addition to their usual exhibits.  My parent’s and I used this as an excuse to make the time.

I got FAR more than I bargained for.  In fact, I didn’t even bring my good camera (even though Dad suggested it), because I didn’t realize the amazing design I was going to see. (WARNING: lots of pics ahead)

larz anderson vintage vw

The museum is the amazing stone structure in the background.  The property this is on was originally the estate of the Anderson family & the museum is in the carriage house.  Yes, I said carriage house.  Doesn’t your carriage house have doors like this?  What, you don’t have a carriage house?!

larz anderson door

larz museum design

In the feature exhibit World War II and the British Automobile in America, they paired period outfits with each car.  How cool is that?  Leopard luggage and amazing cars.

anderson museum

larz museum

larz museum

The Anderson family’s personal collection is a part of the permanent exhibit.

Meet the Andersons

They bought a new car almost every year for 32 years starting their collection in 1899.  Totally typical.  Especially for that era, right?  14 of their original 32 are still in the collection, making this the oldest auto collection.

carriage car

Why yes, that is a car in the library.  How else would you have a library dedicated to automobile history?

car library

As I mentioned, the VW event was our excuse for the visit.  There were all sorts, from perfectly restored to perfectly rusty and everything in between.

punch buggy

vw bus row

Camp in style in a VW bus

vw camper

Of course, people watching is always so entertaining at public events.  How’s that for a baby carriage?

You Know You’re a Designer When…

31 Aug

….you can’t shop in certain stores because of poor design.

I actually wasn’t planning to blog today, but the mall decided otherwise.

Have you ever heard of the store Love Culture?  Me neither, but apparently one recently opened at the mall by me.  I was intrigued and wanted to check it out- until I took two steps in.

The design was promising.  The entry portal was an amazing patterned mirror/glass glowing element. (Although it took me a minute to find the name of the store on the entrance… not the best branding).  Please excuse the poor cell phone pictures, but I just had to share/vent.

Lit Entry

Your computer does not deceive you- that store is BLUE.  I first thought it was glass tinted for effect.

Blue Store

Nope!  This store is the WORST example of LED lighting I have EVER seen.  The overall design of the store wasn’t bad- it was your standard young/hip store.  If you changed the sign it could be Forever 21 or Wet Seal or (insert generic “hip” store here)  But WOW, the lighting.  Being in that store hurt my eyes and my design sensibilities.  If I was a lighting designer, I’d be crying right now.

LED lighting is the current thing in lighting and can be completely and totally amazing when done right.

Blue LEDs

This. is. not. right.  Your store should not be blue.

Yes, LEDs are naturally blue, however modern technology allows you to get them in any color- including crisp white… even colors to mimic incandescent light.

Love Culture, you have now joined Hollister on the list of stores this design snob will not step foot in.  Congratulations.

Art Musical Chairs

16 Aug

There is finally one room in my house that has all the desired art on the walls and has NO empty frames.  Huzzah!!

After getting the new living room rug, I started rearranging the art a bit, leaving it rather unbalanced.

For the past year, this print and it’s brother have been flanking the tv waiting to be a completed composition.

Flashback to a year ago:

With the new rug, the “brother” print ended up at the end of the couch.

I’ve been drawn to images on pinterest that draw attention away from a tv with a gallery wall.  Since we have our enormous gallery wall in the office, I decided a mini one was in order here.  There was a bit of trial and error.  My initial plan for the wall looked kind of awesome as composition itself, but when I looked at it with the whole room it got a little nutso busy.  I don’t want the tv wall competing with my plate wall, afterall!

I was planning to paint all the frames white or silver to unify them, but after living with it this way for 2 days, it just didn’t feel right in the room.  That actually makes me sad, because looking back at these pictures, the wall itself is really successful.  I really like it, a lot, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my other design elements to make this the feature.  The whole room was starting to look crazy overdesigned.  Not good.

Luckily I used 3M picture hangers instead of nailing everything into the wall, so I was able to very very carefully pull off the adhesive and move all the art.  (I’m currently having a love affair with the 3M picture hanging strips.  That’s what we used in the cutest nephew ever’s nursery, and they’re awesome and easy and they should totally sponsor my blog.  hint hint.)

So I simplified.

It’s not as dynamic on its own, but it makes so much more sense with the rest of the room.

Did you also notice the other art switcheroo?

The repro map of our town from the 1800s (that I got at a tag sale for $2) earned a place of honor after a spray paint make-over.

I am also pleased to report that the dining room is painted and I’ve started cutting the picture rail pieces.  I can’t wait to see this room come together like the living room has!!