Tagged ‘interior decorating‘

Demolition Sales

Sounds like a monster truck event, doesn’t it? They can certainly feel like one if you’ve ever been. A demolition sale is a giant scavenger hunt to a decorator. It’s like an estate sale, but with one big difference: after an estate sale the house is usually left standing. Not so with a demo sale: the building is literally torn down after the sale. So don’t be late.

Demo sales are great resources for decorators and anyone who’s on a budget because you can literally find everything down to the kitchen sink. Currently I am looking for a stair railing/banister for a client. True, I could go to Home Depot and get something utilitarian. But I want something unique, something beautiful, something with character. This client doesn’t have the budget to have someone  custom make one, so we’re looking to repurpose an existing one and then I’ll have my contractor retro fit it for my client’s home.

How do you find demo sales? Simple. Just google “demolition sales” and find ones in your area. Most demo sales require you to pay in cash and take items with you immediately but read the fine print for the demo sale you’re interested in to see what they require.

Dress to get dirty and have fun!

Accent Walls

When should you paint or paper a wall different from other walls? The quick answer is: when you want that wall to stand out. Just make sure that you really want it to stand out. When a wall is a different color or texture from the other walls, your eyes will definitely jump to it. That isn’t a bad thing: in decorating, you want to give a room enough interest that your eyes travel around the room and rest for a few seconds on everything. But just make sure that it’s cohesive. Everything should flow together. If there is nothing else to tie the accent wall to the rest of the room, it will just look odd.

Reflections on a cup

I was in Bramble today and I came across these awesome hand painted cups from Nkuku. They are adorable and they come in several different designs and colors. I was actually looking for a nice metal cup to hold some of my work pencils, and these were the perfect size. I also thought about using them in the bathroom too. I see that they are out of stock on the website, but if you’re local, you should buy them at Bramble in Oak Park. Just be careful going in there, because you’ll probably want one of everything else that they have.Mmm, scarves….

Come on in!

I’ve been on the search lately for a new doormat. Doormats sometimes are an afterthought, right? And it’s hard to find ones that are both cute (if I can call a doormat cute) and effective. Below are several I really liked. The “Hi. I’m Mat.” is actually an old favorite of mine. I dragged ours from our last two apartments to our house before I finally had to say goodbye.

IKEA Trampa $14.99

Cost Plus Cherry Blossom $14.99

Bisou Boutique Pied a Terre $29.95

Amazon Hi.I'm Mat.$17.95

Anthropologie Welcome To Nantucket $42.00

Bambe Co Recycled Plastic Branch $35.00

Even decorators get the blues

Lately I’ve been working on a project of my own: updating our sun room. We’ve lived in the house for almost three years now, and with the exception of hanging some embarrassingly cheap window treatments, I’ve done zero in here.


The room faces east and gets amazing sunlight due to windows on three walls (hence the name). We use it mainly as our computer room, but because the back door is there, it also serves as our dumping ground for shoes, bags, etc.

Last weekend I finally had enough of the white walls and the hideously-old- and-terrifyingly-dirty berber carpet. We (the room and I) needed a change.  The rest of the house is fairly contemporary with lots of neutrals, so I decided it was time for color. It’s a small space and not seen from the rest of the house, so why not just go for it.

First, the design. Because the room has exposed rafters, a ceiling fan, and lots of light, I went with cottage. But I wanted a bold cottage, not a muted shabby chic kind of affair. I want Caribbean, or West Indies, or something hot and tropical. I wanted turquoise, to go with all my red accents (it’s my relationship corner, so the red accents had to stay. Well, the red is mostly in the adjoining bathroom, which is a terrible place for a relationship corner, but that’s another discussion. Sigh.) There isn’t a lot of wall space here, so I could use a big color without overwhelming the room. I chose Benjamin Moore’s Laguna Blue. This is a serious blue. This is an all out, better have your coffee before you enter, take no prisoners kinda blue.

On to the floor. Buh bye Berber. I think I pulled about 1,000,000 carpet staples out of my floor in the past two days. I mean, it was like the carpet installers thought that the carpet was going to suddenly take flight at night and run off, never to be seen again. This carpet was locked down. But after several hours of hammering, pliers and lots of internet radio, I finally said goodbye to the carpet and hello to…fake brick linoleum. Fake brick plastic floors. You know, I wasn’t holding out for wood floors per se, but this really threw me. I mean, fake brick.  Like, was brick in such hot commodity forty years ago that everyone was running out and getting imitation?  But whatever. It’s there and I have to deal with it.

My first choice was to cover the floor with a lovely seagrass carpet. The neutral tones and the texture would go so wonderful with the bright walls. But seagrass carpet wasn’t in the budget, so I went with my second choice: Flor carpet tiles in 2 of Hue Cream. It has the same color and texture as seagrass, as well as being as eco friendly, but it was way cheaper.

Before I can lay the tiles though, I need to address the giant gaps that now exist between my floor and the walls. The old carpet hid the gap somewhat, so now it’s gone I can really see the major difference. I first filled the gaps with some aerosol insulation but now I need to replace the wimpy baseboard with something more substantial (and prettier). I decided on 4 inch baseboards. They add some interest to the room as well as cover up those gaps.

While waiting to get the baseboards, I went ahead and reupholstered an old favorite chair of mine. A discount coral fabric was all this chair needed to make it into the new space. This chair is going to look awesome against the blue walls.

My budget was tiny and I used all the existing furniture. The only piece I bought new for the room was the fan. I really like the room now: it’s pretty and interesting and a nice place to sit and have coffee and check emails.

My new favorite find

I went looking for a chaise lounge for a client today and came across Treasure Hunt. This place is amazing. The website doesn’t do it justice: visiting the 10,000 square foot space is a must. I found a fabulous tufted chaise

Isn't this lovely?

and other beautifully kept vintage items, but nothing broke the bank.  Schaumburg isn’t someplace I normally shop because it’s a bit of a haul for me, but at these pieces and at this price, I don’t care. I’ll brave the traffic. That is if I ever get up from this chaise again.

Coolest space saver ever

While working with a client on a closet redesign, we came to that age old question: how do we organize and store all the shoes? She is a simple woman, with, oh, about 200 pairs. I used to be like this. But then I had a baby and somehow my shoe fund disappeared.

Some women like to keep their shoes nice and tidy in the original boxes. Others like to keep their shoes nice and neat in shoe trees or shoe shelves, or I guess, in a nice tidy little pile on the floor. With the exception of the shoe pile, these are great organizing ideas,  but not so great storage ideas. Boxes and trees and storage cubes just take up too much room in my opinion. Room that could be used for other things…like more shoes. (BTW, if you haven’t tried putting a size 10 1/2 in one of these organizers, don’t. They don’t fit. I swear most of those storage things were made by hobbits.)

So imagine how happy we were when we discovered the Rakku shoe wheel. Measuring just over a foot wide and two feet tall, this thing holds 30 pairs. Just slide the thing under your clothes: it’s got wheels on it so you move it anywhere. When you need a pair, just spin the wheel and slide them out. It’s like playing roulette every morning!  Oh, and it takes 10 1/2 sizes like a champ.

Marble, yes? Marvelous!

Okay, that wasn’t very clever but it’s late and I have been shopping for a client all day and I’m pooped. But I am so excited because I found a fabulous countertop solution for my client. The challenge was that she loves marble, and she was thinking about marble for the bathroom. She loves all things marble: its striations; its elegance; its inherent richness. I, as the responsible designer that I am, have to do my job and dissuade her: marble is soft and porous. It will stain. It will get damaged. It will not last the bathroom. No marble! Think of me, ala Joan Crawford, looking  all crazy eyed with the wire hangers…no more marble in the baaathroooom!

Sorry. I told you I was tired.

But I want my client to love her bathroom, so I kept shopping for marble like alternatives, and today I found two options that I hope she’ll love:

Bianco River by Silestone. The picture doesn’t do it justice. You have to see it in person. So lovely and veiny. And so practical for the bathroom! It’s non porous and antimicrobial. And because it’s quartz, it’s super durable too.

Cirrus White by Dupont Corian. This one is actually more veiny than the quartz even though you can’t tell from this picture. It’s also cheaper than quartz, and I know my client will like that. Again, very durable and perfect for the bathroom.

My client won’t get to see the samples until she gets home from her business trip, so I have to wait in anticipation for her response. Hopefully it’s a good one and she’ll love me and my choices and we’ll sing and dance together on her new countertops and drink champagne from each other’s shoes.

Whoa. Did I mention I was tired?

Fresh as a Daisy

Outdoor rugs are a great way to freshen up a patio and to bring your great interior decorating style outdoors. With all the overstock sources out there, you can get a great looking rug for not that much money. You can get synthetic, bamboo, hand-made, machine-made, etc. The possibilities, colors, sizes, styles are endless. Have fun shopping!

The one drawback to a rug left outdoors is…smell. Obviously if you leave your rug out there all day, every day, rain and shine, it’s gonna get wet. Wet breeds mildew. And therein lies the smell…er problem.

You can help stave off smells through regular vacuuming and occasional steam cleaning. Vacuuming and cleaning help remove the dirt and mildew that cause the odors. Anther quick tip is to hang your rug over a fence and let it completely dry in the sunlight after a rain. The quicker it dries the less chance of odor.

Enjoy your rug and hopefully the only smells come from the garden and the grill!

Let’s Go Alfresco!

I know it’s not officially summer yet but I’m calling it. This past weekend I pulled out my Orla Kiely Target melamine dishes and my patio cushions.  We may have to still use the fire pit to eat outside, but I don’t care. Summer’s here!

What dishes will you use this summer? If you’re still looking for some nice alternatives to  paper or (gasp) disposable plastic plates, here are a few of my favorites:

Bambu makes a set of disposable plates from bamboo. If you must use disposable, this is the way to go. They are more expensive than paper plates, but they are organic.

Bongenre melamine coral plates. My mother has been on a coral kick lately. She will love these. Bongenre offers melamine plates in many styles and colors. The only thing to remember with melamine is that it is NOT microwavable. You can throw it in the dishwasher though.

Corelle Bamboo Vitrelle glass plates. The best answer I’ve found to melamine. These plates are made from hearty glass, microwavable and dishwasher safe. Some say indestructible. I say they are just plain lovely.

So go forth and shop. But if you see Orla Kiely at Target again, you’d better tell me!