Monthly Archives

July 2008

Reader Questions, Rooms

Reader Q: Office Help Needed!

July 24, 2008

Reader Kimberly wrote in looking for some help with her office space. Here’s the room needing a little love…

Reader Q: Office Help Needed!
Kimberly recently installed gorgeous new hardwood floors, repainted the walls, and replaced all the trim in the home they purchased last year. As a successful >wedding photographer, she needs an office space that is more inviting to her clients. “I don’t have a ton of room, but I want something where they can come, sit down, peruse my sample work, watch a slideshow on my computer, and chat about their wedding day with me,” she says. Here are some current photos showing the space as it is today.

Reader Q: Office Help Needed!Reader Q: Office Help Needed! Currently seating area for clients with her portfolio on the small table.

Reader Q: Office Help Needed!Reader Q: Office Help Needed!

Style: Her office is currently gray, red, and turquoise, all colors that she really enjoys so these colors are staying. She loves vintage and thrift store finds, mixing old with new, and loves anything mid-century.

Notes: The room has four closets, one holds photography equipment, another is a dedicated craft supply space, the third is random storage of office and business supplies, and the last is a clothes closet.

I’ve asked Vanessa De Vargas from Turquoise in LA, who recently launched her e-decorating service, to visit us today and share her decorating ideas with Kimberly. Here are some tips and products that Vanessa suggests for the space…

“First, remove your current client seating area — both of the little chairs and mini table near the door. Replace with two more (or just one) comfortable chairs with matching upholstery. Place all storage currently under the white shelf into a closet. Wallpaper closet doors and place two upholstered chairs in front of them. You could also do a L shaped desk so clients can sit at the L to look at the monitor. If you go this route, instead of chairs already mentioned, find cute matching chairs to fit your taste and upholster the seats. Move red lamp to the lucite side table and install some art work on the wall where the chairs were (or your own photography, it’s suggested you have your work on display somewhere in the room) and incorporate on small shelves in between some of your vintage cameras. To keep this budget-friendly, I’ve gone a little overboard with Urban Outfitters items but here are a few product suggestions along with a few examples of displaying photography that I’ve pulled together for you.” – Vanessa De Vargas

Reader Q: Office Help Needed!
Vanessa’s suggestions: Chandelier in white $36, 2 chairs from overstock to reupholster in a fun print if you do not opt for the l-shaped desk idea $269 each, lucite table $88, pillows for the chairs if you do not reupholster them, floor rug $68, wallpaper for closet, a desk chair in white in case she wants something more comfortable,

Reader Q: Office Help Needed! Vanessa’s framing ideas.

And to add some of my own advice (me, Holly). Kimberly: I also suggest an L shaped desk, in fact I like the idea more than two chairs near the double closet because clients should be seated at your desk to view your portfolio on your screen. For the desk my only suggestion is to avoid wood tones and/or glass (fingerprints!) and go with something light and airy vs. a solid heavy piece. You may want to check where you purchased your current desk to see if they sell additional pieces to create the L using your current desk. Another advantage in having this set up is that you can install a pendant light that hangs directly above the desk so you don’t have to worry about anyone bumping their heads! I like Vanessa’s overhead pendant suggestion, but also think a simple FADO globe from IKEA would be a nice look. You are currently limited so you use overhead lighting that is flush against the ceiling. I suggest keeping the wall paint as is, it is so lovely, and if you want to wallpaper on the closets as Vanessa suggested I would go with something crisp and graphic, like Ferm Living’s Berry Black, Birdweed, or Kingflower. Another idea for your double closet is that you can turn both doors into a giant chalkboard with simple chalkboard paint. If you buy magnetic paint to coat the doors before the chalkboard paint, you can use the doors to organize your work and since they are not the focal point as clients enter the room, they are in the perfect spot. I think a rug below the L-shaped desk is important to avoid scuffing the floors, you may even want to look into FLOR carpet tiles. I’d go for some texture in the room, perhaps a jute boucle rug in platinum from West Elm. I think your current desk chair is fine, I’d just add a pretty cushion to the seat or slip the top of it to coordinate with your guest chairs. Also look for armless chairs for clients for extra space, and try to find chairs on wheels. Sew some pretty chair covers to spruce them up or seat cushions. If you opt for guest chairs and no L shaped desk, I would try to locate some armless, slim slip chairs because they will take up less room. Crisp white would be lovely. The IKEA Stockholm chairs may work. Add a pretty pillow on each chair, a bolster or rectangular one would be good, but square is also okay. Since you photograph mostly people, this K Studio pillow in black with white stitch is darling and fits the look of the room nicely. You can add your red and turquoise accents in the form of your current desk lamp, a new red leather portfolio (vs. current black one), and red frames on your shelf or a turquoise vase filled with fresh flowers on your desk. Flowers are an absolute must when clients visit, puts them in total wedding mood, just keep them out of the way of arms in case of accidental spills. And of course… specialty candy or fresh baked cookies (or cupcakes, again think wedding) never hurts. All the TLC you can give a client meeting in your home to make you and your work stand out, the better! If your work has received press attention, you may want to show that off in a single frame or post it neatly on the chalkboard. And by all means, show you work on the walls. Dedicate a space to showcasing your best photography. Whether it’s near the door as Vanessa suggested, creatively displayed on the chalkboard (you could frame them using vinyl frame decals in white), or displayed in frames on the current long shelf you have, your work truly needs to be out and in view. Also, when it comes to lighting, you need some behind where your client will sit, so consider a floor lamp like the Adjustable Enamel light for $68 at Urbans. Or try to locate an industrial accordion style light (since you love vintage) with a clamp and attach it to the long shelf to provide some illumination in that area of the room. Here’s a visual to give you some help…

Reader Q: Office Help Needed! Items shown here are linked in above paragraph.

If anyone reading would like to also chime in with suggestions, please do! I’m sure she’d would love to hear from everyone — the more the merrier!

(images from kimberly hurst)

Arts + Crafts, Events + Markets, Shopping + Products, Travel

Samantha Brown Visits New Hampshire

July 24, 2008

Quick bite for you today… If you want to know a little about the state where I currently live, Samantha Brown visits New Hampshire tonight on the Travel Channel. I heard Nahcotta may be part of the show as Sam stopped there during her travels. I’ve long been a fan of her show, so it will be exciting to see NH in the spotlight. Did you know she was raised here? I’m not from NH, you can say I’m just passing through and plan to relocate, but it’s very pretty and restful and if you love nature there is plenty of it as I’m guessing 80% of the state is green. So lush. And the coastal town of Portsmouth, which will be in tonight’s show, is simply lovely. It’s like a mini version of Portland, Maine. So typical New England. Very quaint.

Samantha Brown Visits New Hampshire Samantha Brown with Deb from Nahcotta pictured in front of the
collage art of Michelle Caplan from the winter Tiny Art Show.

I’ve blogged about Nahcotta before, a lovely (and popular!) art gallery and design + gift store in Portsmouth. They’re hosting another Tiny Art Show in September if you are interested in attending, and their winter show will be in February 2009 — for that show submissions are now being reviewed so please contact Deb for more information: gallery {at} nahcotta {dot} com if you are an artist looking to be part of a great show. Their opening night receptions are consistently packed and my artists friends who took part in the show were pleased with how well work sold, so go for it if you are interested!

So! If you are curious to catch of glimpse of what NH life is like, tune in to the Travel Channel tonight. In this area, the show airs at 10:30 PM EST but please check your local listings for the exact time.

Thanks Deb for this wonderful photo!

(image from deb at nahcotta)

Events + Markets, Small Business, Travel

Tonight: LA – Designers Networking Event

July 23, 2008

The fabulous Vanessa just informed me that the next Designer Networking and Social Event in Los Angeles will be held at Craig Olsen?s showroom* tonight at 7pm. The showroom is located at 130 N. La Brea (near Beverly Blvd). Please make it on time (7pm) so that there is enough time for introductions. And bring a friend – or two! You may invite other designers, product designers and showroom reps and owners. It’s a great opportunity to network so don’t forget to bring your portfolios and/or press information to share with everyone. These events always attract a terrific crowd of some of LA’s hottest up-and-coming and established designers so be there if you’d like to do a little meet and greet!

Tonight: LA - Designers Networking Event

* Parking is available behind Olsen’s showroom. There is also parking available after 7pm on La Brea. You may contact Vanessa directly to RSVP or ask any questions. turquoise.la {at} gmail.com

(image from craig olsen)

Ramblings

Magic Markers on Muslin: Your Thoughts?

July 23, 2008

I had huge reservations on posting this, I feared the home owner would contact me and tell me to either bite it or she’d do a drive by and take out all of my windows. But then I thought that if you have a living room that looks like this and you allowed the The New York Times to feature it then you must not really care about the opinions of others. And that’s pretty cool.

Magic Markers on Muslin: Your Thoughts?
I’d love to get your thoughts on this NYC apartment that AT calls the Kidcentric Townhouse in the East Village. Homeowner Pamela Bell is one of the four original partners in the Kate Spade brand. In celebration of 15 years of hard work, this 42-year-old single mum has decided to take time off and dedicated her home to her three children. You can read the article When Perfect Is Not The Goal and view the slideshow here.

My opinion: It’s hard to judge how another person wants to live. Period. It’s Ms. Bell’s decision ultimately. Truth be told, I’m jealous that she has a $4.3 million townhouse. I could easily split time between there and Germany, I’d gladly trade that life in exchange for my New Hampshire home at any time. And another thing that I respect is that her home is painted in colors chosen by the children. Brilliant! The fact that the whole family was involved in the color selection is quite thoughtful.

I look at that sofa, marked up by her daughter and her classmates, and think it looks pretty cool. But then the practical side of me kicks in and that side isn’t too keen on marker art scribbled all over a very expensive sofa. And chair. But it isn’t mine, so who really cares. She likes it and good for her. My only wish is that she had offered the sofa pre-markers to me first and I could have given her my Room & Board one. (Sorry R&B, but John Derian wins in this case).

Magic Markers on Muslin: Your Thoughts?
I’m not sure if their are other pieces in the home where she has allowed marker art… Perhaps the sofa and chairs are it and if that’s the case perhaps she views them as works of art and if so, fine. Go for it. But if the children have free reign over the walls and floors and anything else, I wouldn’t allow it personally because some of the designer pieces in my own home are like books, I cherish them and would never do anything to harm them. I wouldn’t draw in my favorite books nor will I allow my future children to mark them up. But who cares what I would do. This is Ms. Bell’s home. But back to the book thing, if I do have a book that isn’t quite a treasured piece (a 1969 cookbook that is already in poor condition) then I may decide to alter it in some way. Same goes for a dresser or chair that I no longer like. I give myself permission to alter it anytime I please – new fabric, new paint, etc. I think this may be the approach that she has taken here and so part of me totally gets it.

Now to make a sweeping could-be-controversial statement having to do with money. Another paragraph I dread writing but here I go…

I think it may also be a money thing. Clearly if you have millions to spend on a home then money is viewed differently than say, how I look at it. I will never own a home worth 4.3 million dollars. I have accepted this truth as most of us have. Big deal, I live large in other ways. I have lived on all income levels actually, from poor single girl to married woman with a crash pad in Germany. So I have saved a little cash and my bank account is okay. Just not million dollar okay. But I’m happy with what I have, but my mother was raised on a huge farm in Rhode Island and my dad was born in Kentucky to a working class family. Though I was raised slightly different, their roots influenced me. They were always quick to remind me of the sacrifices that they made as kids whenever I would play the “only child” card to get my way. They didn’t buy it, I wasn’t allowed to be the cherished only kid, I was to respect them, others, and our family property. I had my creative play space yes, but it wasn’t on the family sofa with my trusty set of smelly markers (cherry was my favorite). I recall when I was 4-years-old my mother gave me an original Shirley Temple doll, one that she was given for Christmas as a little girl. I took permanent markers to the porcelain face and to this day I still remember watching her cry. She wasn’t angry, she was deeply hurt. Years later she told me it was her fault to give it to a child in the first place, she should have waited until I was older and understood the value of things. It meant something to her and seeing her sadness impacted me so greatly that I looked at material possessions differently after that.

A cherished doll and a John Derian sofa are very different things so it could be that Ms. Bell does not attach herself to items in her home enough to really care what the kids do to them. If that is the case, I applaud her. Sometimes I wish I could detach from worry and not care about staining the rug.

What is YOUR opinion? How much decorating direction from the children do you allow in your own home (or would you allow)?

(images from the new york times)

Round-ups

West Elm Love

July 23, 2008

Have you received the latest West Elm catalog? I’ve pulled together a few of my favorite products and apparently so has Domino magazine. It’s all right here blogged today at Real Simple.

West Elm LoveI’m feeling a total Bleu Nature vibe from this driftwood mirror!

Did you spot any, how do I put this delicately, items at West Elm that remind you of something or someone else’s work out there? Nothing stood out to me this time around except for the driftwood mirror… I always play this little ‘spot it’ game when my West Elm catalog arrives and I find at least a few things that look like something else I’ve seen out there. I guess this is to be expected, we’re all influenced by so many of the same things.

(images from west elm)

Bloggers

Free Design Blog

July 22, 2008

I’m in love with this new blog called Free Design authored by Summer Allen-Gibson, the same lady behind Design Is Mine and who co-authors Bread & Honey alongside pal Alicia Carrier. Design Freebies is a brilliant idea for a blog, I’m loving some of the more focused blogs out there because now I know exactly where to go for really nice free stuff on the web.

Free Design Blog

Summer, with her impeccable eye for beautiful things, scours the web and posts lovely freebies that I know I’ll like and I bet you will too. She found out that the The Small Object has free downloads on her site and she even discovered Amelie wallpapers. Big smiles for all!

Free Design Blog
In addition to her three blogs, Summer just launched her own collection of t-shirts that read, “Be kind, design” for $19 over on Etsy. How fab is this lady, huh? She wears so many hats, each one as pretty and special as the next.

(images from small object)

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