Hosting Guests For the Holidays….

I am lucky enough to have a guest room to host out of town guests.  It’s a luxury I don’t take for granted having myself spent many a night on a blow-up mattress or a pull-out couch.  However, with real estate prices skyrocketing and new construction being slim on square footage, the “guest bedroom” is a quickly going the way of the dodo bird.  So for my column, I show how you can give a room dual purpose with a few simple items and a little forethought……

Dual Use Room

The room may look familiar because it is what we use to call the “Music Room” at the house.  Well it now subs as the “headquarters” for the growing business and an overnight guest if we happen to have two guests staying at the same time which oddly we have on more than one occasion!

More changes coming to the house and to the business that I can’t wait to fill you in on.  But until then, check out how to make the most out of the space you have when guests are in town!

[photo credit:  photo by adza//styling: courtney lake]

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“Operation: Master Bedroom” Is On ……

My master bedroom reminds me of the nerdy teen heroine in a bad 80s comedy.  We all know that behind that big glasses, bad hair and braces, the heroine is a stunner and that all she needs to do is put a little effort into her appearance to take  her from nerd to prom queen.

That is how I feel about my master bedroom.  It has all the natural traits of a prom queen but is currently suffering from lack of effort on my part.  The room is on the 3rd floor of our home in what would have been attic space.  It is flooded with natural light thanks to 4 (yup FOUR) skylights, beautiful floors and is blessed with some interesting architecture.  However, that is where it ends right….pretty much everything else is…hmmm what’s the word…oh BLAH.

This is what I am imagining……

Some of these items have already been done such as replacing the lamps and finding display cases for the bedroom.  However, the majority of the items are still waiting for be started (and funded).  So this is my summer project …. fingers crossed that I can get my bedroom listed as “Best Dressed” rather than “Class Clown” in the proverbial design year book.

What projects do you have on the horizon for summer?  I am off to do some accounting and sketch pillows.  Have a good one!!!

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Master Bedroom Update: Display Shelving

So I am gonna keep it real.  I have a lot of sh*t.

Yeah.  I went there. 

Honestly, I love collecting stuff and have accumulated a vast assortment of odds and ends from my travels across the US and abroad.  Between masks, dolls, textiles, carvings and pottery I have a nice array of artifacts that I had nowhere to display.  Redecorating the master bedroom gave me the perfect opportunity to put many of these wares on display, especially since one side of my bedroom was bare (there was a reason I only shot the room from one angle!).

I wanted a set of brass shelves and searched high and low for an either one long console or two shelving units that could span between 60-70 inches.  Everything I found was either out of my price range or simply ugly (imagine shiny 80s tubular brass).  So I waited and figured I had time on my side with this scenario, but then Nate Berkus and his crew called and I had to accelerate my timeline in getting the room to at least a presentable point. 

Panicked, I literally was scouring the internet, Craigslist and all the junk shops in a 50 mile radius looking for something to fill the space.  Surprisingly, I found my savior at Ikea in the form of two display cases they were liquidating.  They had the frames only on sale for $9 each, and when two were combined, they were the perfect length at 65 inches.  The only caveat was that they were white and came with no glass or shelf inserts.  However, that didn’t deter me as I had a plan.

Enter Phase 1 of the plan…spray paint…

This is the frames with one coat of metallic bronze spray paint.  You can see the original white color on one of the legs still. 

After three coats of spray paint, the frames are looking okay but it would eventually take 5 thin coats of paint (about 3 cans) to get the final look I wanted.

Enter Phase 2 –  I replaced the shelf inserts with glass I had recut from existing panes I found at the junk yard.  Here is a helpful tip that I recently discovered – many glass shops can recut existing glass panes to fit your new projects for less than what it costs to get a new pane cut.  As I mentioned, I found the glass I used as a junk shop for $5 a pane, so for about $30 plus another $40 to have the glass recut, I was able out my shelves.  To get new glass cut, I would have spent $40 per pane or over $240 for this project– score one for  me!  Just be sure that the glass is the proper thickness and has no defects, otherwise your glass shop may decline your request.

However, even with the snazzy paint job and new glass, there was still something bothering me about the shelving.  There were these random sets of holes in the cross beams that instantly drew my attention and I hated……

I desperately wanted to plug those suckers up and frantically brainstormed how to make the holes “disappear”.  Fortunately, inspiration came from the nailhead trim I used for my bedside tables

Through some wine induced brainstorm/haze, I realized that by hot glueing a brass nailhead to a drywall anchor, I could create the perfect plug for those random holes.  Why I thought of this combo, I don’t know but surprisingly, it worked!  The drywall anchors fit perfectly into the holes and the nail heads were the exact shade of brass as my spray paint, so it was clearly meant to be!

So for under $100, I was able to get over 5 feet of display space for my collectables and perfectly fill what had previously been unused spaced in my master bedroom.  I just now have to decide on a wall treatment, art and bedding and the room will be “complete”. 

(Complete.  Yeah right…like that is ever an option to someone who loves design.)

The one caveat is that the addition of the shelving with all my collectables has moved the room from modern trad to more global traditional — not a bad thing per say but it does impact the art I intended to use for the room.  But alas, change is always the constant in design.

So have you found any awesome furniture deals?

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I Got Nailed: Nailhead Trim Nightstand

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to put a quasi-dirty lead as my post title. For those of you who are offended, you should never come to one of my dinner parties as double entendres flow like the wine. But in any case, I finally got around to doing something about my master bedroom nightstands.

I bought them from Ikea over 6 years ago for $10 each and they have served their purpose well. If I remember correctly they were part of the Expedit line but have since been discontinued. In any case, for $20, they have been dutiful servants in supplying beside storage and a flat place to rest my evening tea.

While functional, they weren’t fun. I was positive there was a happy medium where the two could meet. I toyed with a variety of ideas ranging from painting them to covering them in wallpaper. However, I finally bit the bullet and decided to go with a simple nailhead treatment on the front for two reasons. First being that it was quick and inexpensive – these are not my “forever” nightstands so I wanted something that could jazz them up without forcing me to dip into my future furniture budget (what….you don’t have one?). Second, I figured if I screwed up and it turned out horrible, I could simply turn them around and no one would be none the wiser.

I initially started off buying 10 packs of individual nails and quickly found out that (a) it was going to take a really long time to do the project, (b) I can’t nail in a straight line even with the assistance of several other nifty upholstery tools and (c) it was going to take a CRAPLOAD of nails to do the simple design which translates into $$$. So like any good DIYer, I shoved the mess in the corner and let it sit for a week. Then I caved in and bought a roll of brass nailhead trim…

I was able to score an entire roll off eBay for $5.99 plus shipping. Doing the individual nail route would have cost me well over $25. Once the roll arrived, I got to work and finished both tables in less than an hour.

Do I love it? I really like it but would have preferred the look of the individual nail heads but at a grand cost of $8 for supplies, I can’t complain especially since it completely changed the look of the tables.

While not dramatic, it’s just enough to get me through until I find the perfect bed side tables. So tell me…..what piece of furniture in your house are you itching to replace?

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Bedding Evolution

An astute reader pointed out I have changed my master bedroom bedding three times in less than a year.  They are absolutely correct and  here is the pictorial proof:

August 2010

Euro Shams for the Master Bedroom

December 2010


March 2011

I don’t deny my “bedding infidelity” and will explain why.  I think bedding can make or break a bedroom.  The wrong bedding can completely throw off a room’s design and send it in the wrong direction.  The first two looks were attempts to introduce color into the space.  In both cases, I was not 100% pleased with the results.  The navy blue didn’t work with the headboard and absorbed alot of light making the bedroom appear dark, not “moody” as I had hoped.  The aqua and brown bedding was okay but was dull in my opinion.  The colors were fun but not did not have  the right saturations to give the room “oomph” and life.  This final bedding from Ikea, while not colorful, I think provides an adundance of light and color to the room even through it is neutral.  I like the varying tonal stripes and think it goes really well with the new fabrics I will be using to finish off the room.

So yes, I am a bedding trollop and will probably commit “adultry” against my current set of linens in a few months.  Or maybe I won’t.  Who knows where my wandering eye will lead me but until some sassy duvet with a thread count made for action and a price point for sin comes along, I think I am content. 

Do you have a “wandering eye” for a particular design accessory in your house?  Do bed linens send you into a tizzy like they for me? Or does a plush bath towel make you quiver?  Perhaps it’s dishes and glassware?  Share what accessories make you commit “design adultery” by leaving a comment or sending me a tweet.  I promise not to judge…….well I won’t judge much!

Have a good one!

I Actually Like Ikea Bedding…..

No really.

I REALLY do like Ikea’s new 300-thread count bedding.  I am not sure if it is available in all their stores since I can’t find it on their website but their G-Spa sheets are sateen cotton, 300-thread count and an absolute wonder to sleep on.  The flat and fitted sheets will cost you $14 each, but for under $30, they are a steal in my opinion.  There is something completely delicious about slipping between 100% cotton sheets; their coolness and softness are the perfect embrace after a long day.  Honestly, I have had a variety of sheets on my bed, all of which that claim to be luxury and have the price tags to prove it, but these are the real deal and am happy to place my “seal of approval” on them.

They come in a limited range of colors but  I found the pewter brown set to be perfect for my needs.  They have a subtle sheen and go great with my brown headboard picking up the metallic undertones in the upholstery:

Since I was at Ikea already, I also decided to splurge and get a new duvet cover and again, I am really  happy with its quality.  You have to understand that the last time I bought Ikea bedding was when I had just graduated college and it was like sleeping on sandpaper.   So you have to understand my shock that I am really digging the bed linens at the moment.  I opted to go for the Andrea duvet which comes with two matching pillow shams – both in a brushed sateen finish. 

If you remember my posting from yesterday, I told you that the new fabrics I selected for the master bedroom pick up on the bedding.  The duvet has gold, black, grey and white stripes, which coordinates wonderfully with all the colors in the master bedroom and really pulls everything together:

Did I mention that the Andrea duvet set for a queen is only $29.99? Score one for style and frugality!

Okay – one final view of the new bedding…..

A few more things and I will be ready to kick the master bedroom redesign into full gear! 

Do you have a favorite Ikea “surprise” or other hidden gem from a big-box store?  Share them on my Facebook page or leave a comment!

Monochromatic Does Not Mean Monotone…….

I know that beige gets a bum rap.  People find it safe. People find it boring. People find it bleh.  However, if done correctly, beige can be the canvas upon which a designer pulls together a beautiful room.  I believe the key to a beige or any monochromatic room is tonality and texture.  A beige room doesn’t mean a room full of the same color.  Nor does it mean a room lacking in pattern.  Case in point is the master bedroom that I am working on for a client.

I pulled together three different inspiration scenarios for the client to review:

After reviewing the options, she went with the “Monochromatic Tranquility” inspiration board which did not surprise me.  The board was the closet to her original idea for the redesign and featured several elements (upholstered headboard and coordinating chair) she mentioned during our initial meeting.  However, what did surprise me was her acknowledgement that she enjoyed the play of patterns and tones the accent fabrics and curtains offered to the overall design of the room.

I think she initially she thought a room with  color would not be the relaxing oasis she envisioned. I find that there is this cult of thinking where you have to bathe a room in beige for it to be soothing.  I am here to say that pattern and color are not the enemy of a peaceful bedroom.  You just need to find the right mix, scale and proportion for color and pattern to reside happily in a bedroom.  Too  much of one or the other and you get a hot mess. 

My goal for this make over is to really work with the client to be a bit more adventurous in her design decisions, mix in some glam and Hollywood regency into the design and I am going to push the envelope on pattern. I want to show that beige comes in a variety of tones and the occasional deviation from the palette is what makes a room interesting, layered and well-designed. 

We officially kick off the design on Friday with paint samples, bed selection and fabric swatches.  This is a 180 degree swing from the bright and poppy nursery I just completed, which by the way, I hope to have pictures from shortly.  I received word today that the custom futon cover and curtains will be delivered on Wednesday afternoon of this week.  All that means is a quick installation and some final staging and the room will be complete!!! 

So what are your opinions on a monochromatic color scheme?  I would love to hear your thoughts…..