Cleaning Out The Prop Closet…

There comes a time in every designer’s life when you simply have too much stuff.  Actually I used the other “s” word to describe my predicament.  Between keeping a ready supply of goodies for client installs and styling shoots for clients, I found myself with a storage unit full of lamps, accessories and odds-and-ends that simply were not being used.  I am as much a hoarder as the next person, but sitting on these beauties seemed foolish and honestly a tad selfish.

Being the giving person I am, I partnered up with a fab local company called Previously Owned By a Gay Man or as I like to call them POBAGM to sell my little treasures.  While the company has a funny name, it has an awesome concept; work with local designers and taste makers to cull their closets/storage units and curate collections of gently used home decor and accessories to sell to the general public at fair prices.  When the owners approached me for a sale, I initially shuttered at the idea of saying goodbye to any of my pieces.  However, I had to remind myself that it does no good having a beautiful things in boxes on a shelf…..they are meant to be shared, appreciated and make friends jealous of your superior decorating skills (wink).  So I am parting ways with all these great things and more …..

POBAGM Slide 1


1) Vintage Leather Trunk:  I am second-guessing selling this piece because it’s so beautiful.  The leather is perfectly aged and would make a great coffee table or a piece at a foot of a bed….

2) Thai Sundial:  I love things on a stand or pedestal – they instantly have presence.  I have used this piece repeatedly in shoots to fill console tables or shelving.  It’s the perfect object d’art …..

3) Tortoise Shell Floor Lamp:  This sucker is heavy and crazy beautiful when lit.  Tucked into a corner, it provides the perfect ambient glow for reading or pipe smoking….

4) Mirror w/ Nailhead Trim:  Masculine and oh so cool, I loved this mirror and used it in a shoot in a gentleman’s bedroom.  Hang by your front door to give yourself the once over before heading out……

5) Megaphone Pendants:  I was so bummed the client opted not to use these in their kitchen.  I loved their simplicity and geometric quality.

POBAGM Slide 2


6) Octagon Mirror:  It’s a big geometric beauty that I wish fit in my home.  Faceted mirror on all sides and angles that reflect light beautifully.  I am tempted to redesign our master bath just to keep this…

7) Persian Rug:  It’s a slightly larger than 5×8 wool antique Persian rug for cheaper than what you can get a synthetic bath mat.  I was smitten with the purples and red in the piece – dark, mood and dramatic….

8) Vintage Boy Portrait:  I like portraits.  Blame Emily Henderson…or thank her.  Regardless, I used his brother as inspiration for Christmas but couldn’t find a home for him.  So don’t let him be an orphan this holiday season.

9) Trio of Brass Cage Pendants:  Sometimes you buy stuff and think about it later.  Well it’s now later.  I bought these on a whim thinking that the right client would emerge.  They never did to my chagrin.  Brass plated with red wire and brass ceiling mount, these would rock on a bathroom or as bedside lighting for the more adventurous.  Can be purchased individually as well.

10) Pair of Silver Lamps:  Art Deco in feel but with a jute/linen shade….it’s like the Beverly Hillbillies!  These were used as desk & bedside table lamps and now they can serve you!

POBAGM Slide 311//12//13//14//15//16

11) White Shield Mirror:  I love this mirror – it a class shape and the white makes it so fresh.  It wanted to use this in a bedroom but got nixed.  Sadly it never found a home after that…..

12) Brass Urn Lamp:  I call this lamp Earl.  I don’t know why but when I found it at an estate auction, I was instantly smitten with its massive side and grandeur.  This could look “hotel-y” in the wrong room, but i would center it on a console in a hallway and flanked with piles of books, everyone would call you the Earl of Cool….

13) Jonathan Adler Sconce:  Funny story about this sconce….actually not that funny because I bought the wrong thing for a client.  Somehow I bought the sconce when we needed the pendant.  So my stupid mistake is your gain.

14) Tripod Floor Lamp:  So this lived in my home for many years and eventually it found itself in the garage along with numerous other lamp casualties.  It’s a great lamp with a telescoping base but as with all things in life, my style changed and the lamp needs a new home…

15) Seascape Painting:  I initially bought this piece for the frame but the oil painting grew on me.  This would be great as part of a larger gallery wall or simply hung by itself.  The frame gives this piece such presence as I could see it as part of a simple but striking vignette with the brass urn lamp….

16)  Silver Urn:  This has been an umbrella stand, end table and planter in different photo shoots.  Translation – this little guy is versatile!  

I am adding more items as things sell, so check back to see what other goodies I weed out.  I wonder if doing all this sharing can get me off Santa’s naughty list because y’all know I need all the help I can get!  Now quit reading and start shopping!

[photo credit: michele hofherr]

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Design Is All About Space Planning……

You will hear time and time again that in design, the devil is in the details and that is true.  However, I think the sin in design is not planning properly.  Yes, it’s great to goo buy that table you have been coveting for months but it also kinda blows when said table can’t fit up your staircase or overpowers the space that it was meant to occupy.  This is why designers rely heavily on floor and furniture plans when creating a space.  I believe in them so much that I dedicated my July column to the whole idea of space planning ……..

DOUGLASS STREET Furniture Plan_Option 1 EDITED

In this month’s column, I show how the same room can look completely different using the same furniture but adjusting the furniture layout.  In addition, I give some simple tips to help guide your furniture placement and ensure you don’t make some costly mistakes when purchasing furniture for your home.

And I have some really sweet room sketches I am sharing also …. I think this is my favorite post to date so far, so check it out!  You can also check out other columns for here.


Okay, time to entertain my parents who are visiting from out of town along with my little brother.  Putting on my tour guide hat now…….and if you notice to your left……

Check me out on PinterestFacebookTwitter and Insta.gram for more musings on design, food and just plain randomness.  You can also find me at my online shop for Joy & Revelry.

And We Are Off….

High Point

And I am off on a plane to High Point Market, one of the largest furniture and home accessory trade shows in the US.  I went last year and was amazed, overwhelmed and giddy all at the same time.  I was also tired, hungry and had a sore shoulder from carry those damn catalogs (rookie mistake).

So next week my posts may be spotty but if you want to keep up on all the awesome things I am seeing, doing and experiencing while at High Point, I strongly suggest you follow me on FacebookTwitter or Insta.gram – it’s going to be where I will be posting all the amazing things I am sure I will be seeing.

However, I do have one special post next week — I get to finally reveal my “tweaked” patio that I worked on with Home Depot!  Until then, be safe, know you are loved and try to have a great weekend amid this crazy time in our country.

Peace and love.

New Series: “Breathing Room” With Kelly…..

Space planning is essential when it comes to creating an inviting space.  However, I think many people are thwarted when it comes to furniture placement.  Awkward layouts thanks to lack of walls, window placement or the odd angle can make creating the perfect space challenging if not frustrating.  It’s one of the top things I know clients ask of most designers, so I thought it would be fun to bring in my friend and fellow designer, Kelly,  on a monthly basis to answer questions and give her take on the perfect layout of rooms to giving you the breathing space you desire…….

I’m Kelly Finley, an interior design/owner of Joy Street Design and the author of Joy of Design blog.  I’m very excited that Courtney has invited me over to discuss how to properly plan a space. One of my favorite parts of any interior design project is designing the furniture layout and planning the space.  I believe that space planning is the most important part of any project and should always be done before purchasing any furniture or making any final decisions on the layout of the space. 



So what exactly do I mean when I say space planning.  In a formal sense, space planning is the act of creating a layout of furnishings and items in response to and coordinated with the physical space of a structure while performing an analysis of design and spatial requirements for the occupants.  In normal words, space planning is the exercise of ensuring that the required furniture and other elements in a room are properly scaled and positioned to ensure a proper flow for the occupants.  This process is critical at the beginning of a project to ensure that future purchases will work in the space. A well-designed space provides comfort and harmony to a room.

Before studying interior design, I don’t think I ever specifically thought about space planning in the traditional sense.  When setting up the rooms in my house, like most homeowners, I didn’t think about the proper amount of space between the chair and the table or the proper height of a side table.  I saw furniture that I liked and “eyeballed” it to determine if I thought it would look good in the space. We’ve all been there – we order a piece of furniture and then we get it into the house and it’s entirely too big or too small.  It looked perfect in the store but now it’s completely useless or overbearing in the space that we need.  (The idea that the item won’t fit into the space through the entry door is an entirely different post about planning for the space but, unfortunately, I’ve been in that situation too. )

Joy Street Room

However, the more I think about this, the more I realize that this attitude that I didn’t previously think about space planning may be simplifying it too much.  When buying any furniture, we all clearly think about the distance between the furniture and whether the table is entirely too small for the sofa chair.  Indeed, I believe that every time you walk into a room, you are judging whether the space was planned correctly even if it’s not by official space planning terms. 

Floorplan 2

The difference between a professional and an amateur is taking the time to officially put the space plan down on paper ensuring that you make more informed decisions and hopefully fewer mistakes when shopping in the store.   This process of creating a space plan also provides you with new options that you hadn’t previously considered or solidifying that your initial plan is the proper one.  Through future posts, I’ll provide different methods of planning a space along with examples and actual projects to show the process in action.  Hopefully this series will provide you with a few tricks and tips to make your space planning much more effective and useful when you don’t have a professional to help. 

Thanks Courtney for inviting me over!

I am excited to have Kelly on board the team and am looking forward to fielding questions you all on the topic.  If you  have a question that you think Kelly can answer about space planning, send your question and pictures to lifeoutloud[at]!

[photo credit: Joy Street Design]

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Well Furnished …

Necessity is the mother of invention….

Or at least they say.  Frankly, I am too lazy to invent alot of stuff.  However, I did win my 6th grade science fair for inventing a way to control fungus in closed environments using slugs and snails.  (yes I was a huge dork and spent alot of time in the library…)  Recently  I was introduced by a mutual friend to  Tapan Bhat, the Founder  of Well Furnished.  When Tapan was remodeling his own Northern California home,  he was overwhelmed at the sheer amount of furniture choices out there — in particular the sheer amount of BAD choices there were out there.  So Tapan created Well Furnished …..

Think of it as distillery of all the best features of your favorite social media sites but exclusively for home furnishings.  You can search across over 50 of the top retail sites and build out collections and inspiration boards for your reference.  In addition, Tapan and his crew have been hard at work connecting with a multitude of designers, like myself, to build our own collections so you can browse top picks from designers and see what is new and emerging in the market place.

Lastly, Well Furnished has a fun blog which I recently contributed to about the power of pillows.  If you know anything about me and my designs, you know that I love a good pillow – from Target to Kravet …. a pillow can pull a room together.  Aside from french fries with garlic aioli, pillows rank pretty high on my love list.

So in any case, I digressed.  I love browsing Well Furnished as it allows me a one-stop place to see what my fellow designers are doing as well as take a quick pulse on items that are trending.  I love it and think you will too….

But you know what else I love…..Mondays!  I ADORE them….seriously, there is nothing better…….

(I am totally lying.)

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Loving Out Loud: Organic Modernism Texas Dining Table …

Happy Columbus Day!

I know some of you are enjoying a day off, but some of us (me) are prepping for a long day of work.  This week has me thinking about knots – in particular all the ones in my neck and back but also about tables.  I am currently beguiled by sculptural furniture  – those pieces that not only serve a purpose but also can stand on their own as graceful works for art.  I think it is like getting a “twofer” (insert 30 Rock joke…).  I think I may have found the perfect option for my needs in the Texas Dining Table from Organic Modernism….

Hand forged in brass, the Texas table is dynamic but still organic.  I can see my young client hosting plenty of dinners around this table and it moving effortlessly through the multiple stages of their lives.  My stomach is in a knot waiting for them to reply whether it is a go to purchase or not….

So as I sit and wait, tell me what you did for your weekend or if you are enjoying your one additional day of freedom.

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The Furniture Equivalent of the Hawaiian Shirt….

Make a declaration.

Say it loud.  Say it proud.

Say it with a graphic case good…

Clockwise: 1/2/3

I know that furniture is an investment, but I think there needs to be a few pieces in your life that should be purely fun.  Think of them as the equivalent of the “Hawaiian shirt” in your home.  These furniture pieces are going to be pieces that you will love and continue to find ways to work into your space time and time again.  They may be odd,  they may be quirky, but they will always beloved.

For example, take the Fauna Buffet from Oly Studio.  It has a horse and a chihuahua on the doors.  When I saw it in the store, I laughed out loud and thought it was a little far-fetched.  But then it grew on me.  The subject matter is bound to be the start of endless conversations.  Like all of Oly’s pieces, the construction is flawless. It shows a level of confidence on the part of the owner.  Come on now, they have an equine and a canine in your dining or living room.  They are in on the joke and enjoy it.

It grew on me so much that  I am pitching it to a client for his condo.  It is more “design forward” then I think he was looking to go, but I think it will be the perfect foil to the other more sedate styles in the space.  Design is all about mixing the expected with the unexpected.  The loud with the quiet.  And the occasion Hawaiian shirt with your khakis.

So tell me, is there one item in your home that is the “odd man out”?  The piece that everyone says “…okay I wanna know the story behind that?”  Share your thoughts, comments and pictures with me on Facebook Pinterest Twitter and now Instagram (@CourtneyOutLoud).