Progress………

The rental remodel I am helping with is coming along quite well.  The demo is done and the crew has put up the kitchen cabinets…..

The client was very adamant that he wanted to stick with these cabinets even though I thought a simpler door and a darker stain would have longevity.  However, in the end, the client wanted all the units in the building to have a uniform look and feel.  But with a quick change of the color scheme for the room and the adjacent dining room, I am confident the new cabinets will look just as modern as the plan I envisioned.

The painters should finish this week and the floor guys should be in next week to stain the wood floors.  If all goes well, this project will be wrapped up by the end of the month.

Speaking of the end being near, today is the last day to enter the May Give Away!  It comes at midnight, so don’t miss your chance to win a tea set.

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…..

And Baby Makes Three…..My First Design Gig

To squash any rumors The Partner & I are not adopting a cute baby from some far off land and subjecting them to our odd combination of Asian “Tiger” Mothering and Southern “Tough Love” parenting styles.  However, a college friend and her husband did ask me to assist them with preparing a nursery for their baby who is arriving in less than 3 weeks!  Yuppers, I snagged my first design gig to start building up my portfolio.  I met with Kenton & Seraphina last week to look at the room and discuss how they envisioned the final outcome.  Right off the bat, they insisted that the room be “bright” and “colorful” without being childish or cutesy.  They wanted a room that felt light and airy without relying on “cute” stuff especially in light that they are having a girl.  No piles of stuffed animals, Hello Kitty vignettes and no baby pink.  They wanted cool, child appropriate with a bit of a thrift-chic edge.

The intended nursery is fairly small, about 9ft x 10ft with only one window.  One wall is taken up by the closet and the floor is covered in dark grey carpet which we cannot change since they are currently renting.  In addition, there isn’t much room in the budget for new furniture, so we are breathing new life into their existing bureau, crib, rocking chair, shelves and futon. It’s a design and a DIY challenge, but it’s the perfect opportunity to experiment with all the great projects I have amassed from hours of reading design blogs and magazines.

Taking all of their wants  into consideration, I created three inspiration boards for them to choose from to set the tone for the redesign:

Option 1: Cheery Flower Power: This is the most feminine of the three options and while it didn’t follow their design mandates, it provided all the elements the new-to-be parents requested.  I threw this one in just to confirm that they were dead set again floral patterns and soft colors.  I just wanted to be sure that they were dead set again it…….

Option 2: Rise & Shine: Bold and bright was the name of game when I pulled together this color scheme.  Note the use of a two-tone color treatment for the walls and ceiling as well as the use of a modern floral print as an accent fabric.  Crisp white furniture would have popped against the sunny yellow walls.

Option 3: Turquoise Dream: Bright turquoise walls and graphic black and white woven rug anchor this color scheme.  Pops of yellow, orange and navy appear throughout the room in the form of furniture, accessories and accent trims/fabrics.  It is the most grown-up of the rooms and can easily grown with their baby girl from infant to toddler.  I have some ideas for fun graphic artwork and how to jazz up the ceiling fixture……

In the end, they choose Option 3: Turquoise Dream because they loved the vibrancy of the wall color, the pops of color and how the graphic black and white rug adds a dimension that they weren’t expecting to find in a baby’s room.

So we now have a game plan and a design roadmap.  This week, I go back to the house to confirm measurements because I am pretty positive we can go bigger with the rugs but I want to be 100% sure before ordering.  Fortunately, since we are reusing their existing furniture, I have the luxury of arranging the furniture in the room now to confirm placement which also means I can also map out art for the walls.

This is my first time trying to map out a design vision for someone else and I find it scary but exhilarating.  I am looking forward to seeing how the actual room plays out against the design inspiration board and sharing the process on the blog.  So here is to the start of my first design gig.  May it turn out as awesome as I envision!

Recap: Bright & Light New Year’s Day Brunch Table Setting

During the winter months, I crave brightness.  Some people call it seasonal affective disorder or some other fancy name, but I just know that by the end of December, I want bright, light and cheery.  This need has manifested itself in different ways throughout my life ranging from an inherit need to dress in bright patterns during the winter months to turning on every light in the house come dusk.  Fortunately for my electric bill, this year manifested in a need to create a bold and lively table setting for our anticipated New Year’s Day brunch.

Since most of our friends are parents of infants, a night of partying isn’t in the cards anymore. Instead, this year we have opted for a low-key New Year’s Day brunch.  The gathering is low-key, informal social gathering where we all wear jeans, the wee ones are fed and placed to play on the shag rug and the occasional tiny dog or two a sneaked a treat of breakfast sausage under the table.  The brunch is my idealized concept of effortless perfection and  I wanted the table to reflect this mellow vibe.   Think mellow but still fun as it’s still a party (even if sparkling cider is subbed for champagne for some members of the group).  After all, it is the first “official” social gathering of our friends, so we have to set the tone for the remainder of the year!

To achieve this feeling, I opted to go with a  non-traditional color palette – colors you would not typically find on a holiday table.  Don’t get me wrong – I am a dude who loves all things shiny and silver.  But when I tried it out a color scheme like that, it felt too stuffy for a brunch.  So I opted for a palette that was zippy and straight out of a Technicolor dream: turquoise, purple and orange.  This color scheme allowed me to do two things: (1) fulfill my innate  need for punchy colors and (2) mix pieces from my collection that don’t necessarily “match”.

What I ended up with was a super-saturated table setting that let me run a bit wild.  It’s fun,  bright and I think I may have my first table setting “crush”…….

Here is a breakdown of the items used:

Tablecloth: 90in round cotton Crate & Barrel
Napkins: Pier One
Dishes: Plate and salad plate are from Anthropologie
Champagne Flutes: Clearance pieces from Ross Dress For Less
Juice Glasses: Pressed antique glass
Silverware: A combination of antique mother of pearl pieces & every day stainless steel flatware
Flower vases: Ikea drinking glasses
Centerpiece: Dollar Store, found branches and holiday ornaments & keepsakes
Mercury Candle Holders: Michael’s Craft
Tea lights: Ikea

Tomorrow, I will highlight the “big sister” version of this table setting……

PS: You can get a sneak peek of the Big Sister version if you visit the lovely ladies over at Living Livelier!