The Call of the Ikat…..

The master bedroom I am working on is coming along with a beautiful upholstered headboard in linen, a coordinating chair and limed wood side tables. I am now on the hunt for a fabric to off-set the fairly monochromatic color palette. In a design like that gets most of its “oomph” from texture rather than color, the use of a pattern to give the eye a rest I think is essential. It is in times like this, that I turn to ikat.

I know that ikat has been used extensively in design as of late….but that is why it is a classic pattern. It’s been around a couple of thousand years, so I think it is pretty safe to assume it won’t be going anywhere in the next 5-10 years. I am not sure which of these (or any I will use) but at the moment, the visual interest that a beautiful ikat print can add to a room is luring me in……


Source: Calico Corner


Source: Lewis & Sharon Textile Co.


Source: Ballard Design


Source: Lewis & Sharon Textile Co.


Source: Calico Corner


I am partial to the ikat print from Ballard Design.  Wouldn’t that look amazing as a set of drapes and an adorable bolster pillow for the bed?  As you can see, I am beyond excited over this room and can’t wait to officially start purchasing pieces!  However, on a sad note, I am a bit jealous that  I  will not be the one sleeping in it every night.  Do other designers feel this way when putting together a room for a client?  Inqiring minds want to know……

Fabrics a Supermodel Would Love….

 This second block for school, did not come any easier than the first.  It was still filled with the same angst and frustrations as my first three weeks of class, but its over and I did well in my classes (well at least the best of my knowledge).  Much to my delight, we were given Friday off, so I hightailed it home on Thursday afternoon for some quality time with The Partner.  It was so nice to be home and not worry about homework, but simply relax, basking in the wonderment which is my fantastic boyfriend.

This morning I decided to treat myself to a bit of shopping.  In days of yore, that would have meant grabbing my Saks card and heading to the Saks Men Store for some quality one-on-one time with the 4th Floor.  Instead, I dragged The Partner out to Pleasanton, CA for a mid-morning trip to Calico Corners.  I have heard stories about Calico Corners from decorator friends and have seen blog postings on the net, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the store lived up to its reputation of having a variety of decorating grade fabrics at decent price points.  I did not find one “Holly Hobby” or “Granny Gingham” in the lot of fabrics.  What I did find was a nicely organized store with a variety of fabrics (cottons, jacquards, wovens, silks, synthetics) in a multitude of styles.  Perfect!After weeks of limiting myself to Discount Fabrics and Joann’s in search of deals, it was nice to find myself surrounded by styles that I have seen in Sunset Magazine, Elle Decor and House Beautiful; beautiful fabrics that were on-trend but still budget friendly. 

Well let me qualify those last two words — budget friendly.  I know for many people, “budget friendly” can mean many things, so I qualify that for me, I was looking for fabrics that were under $50/yard since I only needed two yards maximum for the K-Mart x-bench project (click here to see the benches).  I know that $100 bucks for two yards of fabric is not necessarily frugal, but I figured that I spent less than $100 on the two benches, I could splurge on a mid-priced fabric.  In my head, I convinced myself that I was SAVING money since I did not purchase the Ballard Design x-benches at over $250 a pop with the fabric I wanted, ergo for less than the price of ONE Ballard Design bench, I was getting two upholstered benches.  So it was really like I was saving over $300 by spending $200.  Twisted logic right?  But it works in my own little warped mind……Any case, The Partner and I found several suitable fabric  candidates for the benches but decided to purchase fabric from Iman’s new line of home decorating fabrics.  I know…I know….celebrity endorsed products are rarely actually any good.  In fact, they are normally pretty awful for the most part, but honestly, I swear the line of fabrics from Iman are beautiful.  I mean, after all, she was a supermodel and has consistently been on multiple international best dressed lists for the last 20 years, so that says something for her tastes right? 

From ikats to floral prints, the line covers the gamut from traditional to modern…however, almost all of them have a slant towards a refreshing twist on classic motifs.  So here were some of the candidates from Iman’s fabric line: 


Java Moon


Alexandria Scroll


Deauville Dance


Assyrian Vine




After a bit of debate with The Partner, we decided to go with the Assyrian Vine but in a slightly different color combination: 


Assyrian Vine (Brown)


You can’t really tell in the pictures, but the blue version of the Assyrian Vine fabric is actually turquoise, aqua, navy with a tiny bit of orange-red in the leaves.  It is a beautiful fabric and would have coördinated with our current bedding perfectly.  But in its ability to match also lays the fabrics greatest weakness; the fabric would have clashed when the two other sets of bedding we use throughout the year.  So we opted for the brown/gold version of the Assyrian Vine which has golds, turquoise and hits of navy blue in the embroidery.  This was a much better option as it does not match but merely coördinates with all three sets of sheets/duvets.  Plus it provides a much-needed hit of lightness and color to our otherwise dark/muted bedroom (that will be changed very soon). 

So the decision was made and the fabric purchased.  Unfortunately, it has to be ordered from a central warehouse, and the design is currently on back-order through 10/8 which isn’t that bad.  However, they will be shopping it directly to my home free of charge, so its nice I don’t need to make the 30 minute commute back to Pleasanton to pick up the fabric. The fabric retails for $49.99/yard normally, but we received an additional 15% off because the store was having a sale which ends tomorrow (10/2).  If you miss the sale, click here to find a coupon for $20 off $100.  So now the waiting …fortunately I have the selecting of a paint for the main floor bathroom to occupy me until the fabric arrives.

More on paint selection tomorrow…..

Chair Unveil: What a Difference 4.5 Months Make

It’s here.

Thank you Baby Jesus.

I have not felt this giddy since I received my acceptance letter from Stanford or the Culinary Institute of America.

My chair has returned from the upholstery shop.  It’s beautiful.  I stared at her for a good 20 minutes when she came home.  I am so happy with the results that I may even forgive that it took from the end of March through the middle of August to get her back from the upholstery guy.  I may forgive that I had to call on a weekly basis to get the upholstery guy to move on the project.  I may even forgive having to go by his place of work at least twice to “mad dog” him into putting the project into gear.  She is home now and I love her.

To do a quick stroll down memory lane, I found her sitting alone at Urban Ore in Oakland, CA in March.  She had a bit of distress and a crack in her leg, but there was no denying that this Grande Dame had major appeal.

Great lines but a little worse for the wear...but that didn't deter me

She was giving me the cold shoulder ....turned her back to me

But she was a lady with secrets....she was damaged goods...

She a tough dame with the battle scars to prove it....

The Grande Dame was not in good shape, but that just made the discovery all that exciting, especially since she only cost me $14.  However, the years had not been kind to her, so I needed to find someone to restore her to her former beauty.  I scouted around and found the upholstery workshop I ended up with through word of mouth.  He in turn recommended a wood restoring company ( Acorn Restoration) who did the wood work on the chair to repair the damage.  The guys at Acorn were awesome!  A week of tender loving care and the old lady was back at the upholstery guy to await her transformation.  And wait she did….for over 4 months….but they finally got to work on her last month:

The Upholstery Guy cutting the fabric....

The Grand Dame giving us a little exposed back....

Giving his a little profile action....

And I am happy to introduce a new and improved Grande Dame (drum roll please)……

Ain’t she pretty?  The upholstery guy thinks she was made in the 1950s since there was horsehair and tacks used to put her together.  As for the frame, it’s solid wood and why she has stood the test of time so well. For a 60 year old broad, she looks awesome in the music room against the freshly painted walls.  Part of me wants to name her “Helen Grande Dame Mirrin” but I am afraid I might get sued.  But nonetheless I think she is the bell of the room for a grand total a little over $400 including fabric, wood restoration and reupholstery.  For those of you who are wondering, the fabric is Thomas Paul by Duralee  (Tangerine Aviary) available at Sal Bressi in San Francisco, CA.  I also  know the fabric is available at select Calico Corner stores and online.

Speaking of painting and the music room, I will share with you tomorrow how I have developed a new-found dislike and potentially hatred of blue painter’s tape.  On a more positive note, the music room is really coming along and I am pleased with how everything is coming together.   The last piece of furniture arrives next Friday and I can do the big room reveal then.  However, I have a fun project that I am starting on tomorrow to make some “modern art” for the room …..stay tuned for all this good stuff and more!


PS:  One and a half weeks before I start school — it’s not real yet!

PSS: To see the rest of the room that the Grande Dame resides in, click here