Archive for August, 2008
When we heard Hilary’s cry for help with her spacious living room (complete with a to-die-for fireplace mantle flanked by built-in bookcases) we couldn’t wait to get our grubby mitts on her space. Here’s her letter:
HELP. My 1954 ranch home has a doozie of a living room. My main concern is the mantle/bookcase area. I’ve never been able to figure out what to do with it. I have even considered taking it out, although I do like the display area and it does serve a function. I would also love to figure out what to do with our giant newly purchased TV. For now the furniture and area rug (new) need to stay and the pictures in the living room area are fairly new and I like them. As you can see I love red, brown, and green and I hate pastels. I’d love to lighten up the space somehow and I’d like it to feel warm, cozy and inviting as well as whimsical and eclectic (I’d love for the room to have more personality). I also need window treatments (and have yet to find a solution that doesn’t cost a small fortune). I love art, painted ceramics, great whimsical pieces… and yes I will replace any and all of my silk flowers and plants (a no-no I know). Thanks so much! I can’t wait to see what you come up with. – Hilary
And here’s the handy dandy mood board we whipped up (with a bit of whimsy and a whole lotta warmth):
Here’s the mood board breakdown.
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When we shared John’s pathetic excuse for a bedroom yesterday (for some reason it was kinda cute at the time…) we received more than just a few requests to see my NYC casa as well. So we’re back to give the people what they want- but first here’s the one shot I was able to dig up of John’s Upper West Side apartment (where he actually got his own room, which was revolutionary at the time):
We actually painted a mural on the wall (not pictured) and had some extra paint leftover, so we snagged two cheap canvases and used some painter’s tape to make some stripes and then hung them side by side (it was John’s creative idea to stagger them a little). I wish we had a picture of the actual mural, but you can click here to watch an old video tour that we posted a while back of his entire NYC apartment. Oh and do you recognize that pillow? It’s a relic from Ikea, and we actually still have it in our den to this day.
But on to my place. Actually, it’s places to be exact. In my six years in the city, I lived everywhere from Chelsea to Queens and Brooklyn to Soho. Here’s a shot of my apartment in the village (right near NYU), where my style was a bit more metropolitan (bright bright bright!):
The orange backsplash was an attempt to spice up the stark white kitchen. And boy did it add some zing. I was living on a serious budget at the time, so Ikea was my best friend. The magnetic utensil rack, paper towel holder and even most of the glassware hailed from my favorite Swedish superstore. Oh and I remember being very proud of the square orange magnets on the fridge that I crafted from some thin flexible magnets that I cut into squares and covered with glossy orange paper from a magazine with a glue stick.
Here’s a shot into the tiny living room (on the left) and bedroom where I introduced some green and blue (colors that I still use in almost every room in my home four years later). It’s clear that my tastes skewed a lot more modern in those days (I assembled the artichoke-looking chandelier on the left from over 100 tiny plastic pieces) but I think industrial metropolitan spaces call for a little more drama and flair than a 50′s ranch in a quiet little neighborhood, which is much more of a sanctuary in the suburbs than a funky urban enclave. My theory: location changes may result in a bit of a style switcheroo.
Oh and here’s the silly little art piece I made in the bedroom. Oversized battery operated clock hands allowed me to create my own numbering system, so I printed a few neon sign numbers (3, 6, and 9) found on the internet while the 12-o-clock spot featured another neon sign that simply read “open late”. It was a cheeky way to personalize the space on a budget- which is pretty much still our main M.O. to this day.
After a pretty decent stint at that adorable apartment, the whole sixth floor walk-up thing was getting reeeeaaaallly old (especially with carting laundry and groceries on a weekly basis) so I made the move to a sweet little studio on the second floor- upgrade!- of an adorable building only a block away. Sure the broker fee for the place was over two grand and the monthly rent was $1200, but I had one whole 18 by 12 foot room to myself! And even though there wasn’t room for a couch, I was able to snag four super cool chairs on eBay for $40 (which we still have today, although we’ve painted ‘em white- surprise!). I ended up tucking two under a tiny table for two (not pictured) and stuck two against the wall for lounging and tv watching. It wasn’t overwhelmingly comfy, but they helped keep things open in such a tiny space. And compared to some of my friend’s even smaller/dirtier/louder/pest-ridden places, it was a bona fide luxury resort in my mind.
And I REALLY had fun painting that green stripe around the room (I just eyed it with blue painter’s tape and slapped paint on the walls in under 30 minutes (while waiting for company). By the time my friends arrived it was dry (and actually came out looking super straight). I can’t believe I had the guts to just go to town without a tape measure and a level (something I’d never do today) but it worked out and I was oh-so-proud of my fun little stripe around my teeny tiny abode. And those birds on the wall were inspired by some decals I saw in a store, but at $50 for five I knew I could do better. So I printed out some blue birds of my own (I had taken a digital picture of the decals and enlarged ‘em on the computer) and backed them with cardboard (manilla folders to be exact) to give them some heft. Then I just scotch taped ‘em to the wall. Hey, whatever works, right?
Here’s a shot of the bed (literally the only object that fit in the space save for the aforementioned tiny dining table and eBay chairs). You may recognize the green upholstered headboard from our current guest bedroom (I told you, they laaaast and laaaast) and I loved lining up my painted green wall stripe with the top of my DIY headboard. A subtle detail that really looked sleek when you entered the space. Oh and here’s another pillow that’s still around today. You may have noticed the cow pillow in our current living room on top of the sheepskin rug that you see on the floor in this picture, which is now draped over a slipper chair with the cow pillow on top.
Oh and why stop at a few pictures when you can take a riveting video tour. Click here for a little walk through of the ol’ NYC crashpad. And see why our teeny rancher feels like a veritable palace compared to our past places of residence.
We couldn’t be more excited to announce that we now offer custom color consultations for anyone who’s in desperate need of some crucial color advice. From kitchen cabinet and wall color questions to entire home color schemes, we’re whipping out our paint swatches and putting on our thinking caps to create some pretty foolproof color palettes. Take Cori for example, who wrote to us for help with the second floor addition that she popped on top of her one-story rambler (although we’re sure it was more complicated than we just made it sound). Here’s her letter:
I’ve got a giant white canvas of a new second floor that I need to choose paint colors for- help! The whole house has a light, bright craftsman feel to it. I’ve attached a photo of the new exterior. The first floor is mainly creams and tans, which sort of match the outside. I’d like the upstairs to feel light but still have some color. There are plenty of windows which should really help keep the airy feel without having to stick to just whites and creams. My one color must is Benjamin Moore’s ‘Caponata’. I’d like to use it running up the stairway wall so that it’s visible on both floors. Other than that, I’ve got nothing. I need paint colors for the following spaces: the family room downstairs that connects to the stairs, the staircase itself (which I’d love in Caponata), the sitting room upstairs off of the stairs, the office off of the sitting room, the master bedroom to the right of the staircase (pic attached), the hallway from the bedroom that leads to the bathroom (and eventually back to the office) and the bathroom itself. The bathroom is going to have light gray tile with gray-blue veins. I’m wondering how to pull the rooms together and still have some color. I keep heading toward blues or sea green, but that doesn’t work at all with the Caponata so I stop in my tracks. When our 9-year-old Lily saw the bedroom remake on your Decorating Advice page, she said, “OMG, that’s so awesomely cool now.” Can you do the same for us? Thanks! -Cori
What an accomplishment! A blank canvas to this caliber excites us like nobody’s business. So here’s the handy dandy paint chip palette that we whipped up for Cori’s light craftsman home with a bit of the color she craves:
Here’s the color scheme breakdown.
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