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coffee + cre8tive {sept 5 ’06}

Here’s a creative idea to start off your week! It’s always fun to find new and exciting ways to display things, right? Traditional methods can become quite boring after awhile, but with a dash of creativity, finding an alternative way to show off your things can transform your space into a visually stimulating and appealing place to hang out.
By creating inspirational focal points in your home, guests will linger, conversation will fill the air, and friends will return home with a new eye for their own space. Most importantly, displaying your favorite things (vs. tucking them into drawers or displaying them somewhat incorrectly) makes you feel happier at home, more stimulated, too. Don’t you want your home to sing your song? Your space should tell your story, your home = your life. All of the things you’ve collected and cherished throughout the years deserve a place, whether grouped together on a shelf or dresser top, displayed on a transparent wall mounted shelf or carefully congregated on the fireplace mantle, all deserve a place to shine and be seen.


If you haven’t picked up the September issue of Living Etc (UK) magazine yet, grab it and turn to page 41. There’s this great tip called “Off The Peg” which suggests using a clothes line in your kitchen to display your favorite dish towels. That idea didn’t interest me much, but the thought of using a retractable clothes line did give me ideas for other spaces in the home – over the bed, over the sofa, down a long narrow hallway… I encourage use of this clothes line technique to any room in your home, going far beyond dish towels, to include posters, photography, fabric, even strips of gorgeous wallpaper. Install a clothes line over your sofa, for instance, and clip on 3 bold prints from the International Poster Gallery in Boston (or online). Viola! Art you can rotate without purchasing poster frames.


Living Etc. suggests using a clothes line with metal wall mounts, which I stand behind as well since the look is more contemporary than rope, wood pins, and eye hooks. I would like to see the clothes line extrended across an entire wall, rotating your favorites as the seasons change. How fun! This clothes line and these funky black birds clothes pins are hip and functional, as well as affordable. Gotta love that!

Have you experimented with this display technique in your own home? Do you like this idea?

(images from living etc, international poster gallery, where did you buy that, and
vendio)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, diy, shopping, tips, travel, walls on September 05, 2006

ask decor8: Stencil Resources?

After reading my post yesterday about wallpaper and the DIY squiggle idea, decor8 reader Christina Sachtleben wrote in to share a photo of her very own DIY wallpaper project – just add paint and a good stencil and viola! fauxpaper, as I call it (see below photo). I think Christina did a great job, and of course, she gave me permission to post her work for all of you to enjoy and to hopefully become inspired by! Maybe there’s a space in your home where you can create your own fauxpaper?


Christina is looking to take on another DIY project in her home, so she’s wildly combing the web for more stencil resources, this time, plaster stencils. I tried to do some digging for her, and I found the following stencil and/or plaster stencil resources. Some of these places are great, I am really surprised at how easy it is to dress up your walls on a budget. When I think of stencils, visions of apples and chicken borders race through my head. Time to think OUTSIDE of that very small box. Stenciling goes way beyond farmhouse folk art and shaker styles…

Stencil 1 – Sheesh, this place is total coolness. Scroll down the entire page, so many fun designs, I really love the sparrows (see top photo). Deers, skulls, stars, great stencils for gals and guys.

Modello Desgin – Classy place for gorgeous stencils. These people embrace ceilings as being the fifth wall and glam them up to the max. (They even sell kits to create antique mirror effects.)

Stencil Planet – Lots of everything. I really like this idea, only I’d add glass to the top to dress it up a bit more.

Victoria Larsen
– Plaster stencils + more!

Stencil Library – Great source for stencils from Japan to Art Deco and Modern Design.

Henry Donovan Motif – UK based, super selection, unique designs. Isn’t the water chrysanthemum stencil beautiful?

My Stencils
– These folks tend to carry more of the folksy stencils, but the damask stencils they have are gorgeous – so check them out!

Royal Design Studio – Another great site with lots of stencil designs to choose from. I really like the Swedish Florals. After I emailed Christina last night with these resources, she is going with the Swedish Florals as her next DIY project. Hopefully she’ll send in some more photos…

If you have a quick design question, need help finding that special something, or if you’re looking to share photos from a project you’ve completed, please send me an email.

Christina’s DIY Fauxpaper Project – Good job!


(images: Top: Stencil Planet, Stencil 1, and My Stencils. bottom: Christina Sachtleben)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, diy, reader questions, tips, walls on August 17, 2006

Mixing Modern with Baroque

The term “baroque” is from the Portuguese noun barocco meaning imperfect pearl, not round but of unpredictable and elaborate shape, reflecting the style’s use of exquisite materials and composition of asymmetrical parts. In informal usage, the word baroque can simply mean that something is “elaborate,” with many details, without reference to the Baroque styles of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.


The latest baroque revival, some call it the ‘new’ romantic design trend, others refer to it as “baroque ‘n roll”, is a real treat for the eyes, mixing modern lines with 17th century baroque charm. I’m attracted to modern simplicity anyway, a classy clean sofa (room + board’s delancy is nice, especially in dagmar dove) paired with crystal urn lamps, sumptuous textiles (damasks, linens…), an ornate mirror (that was once gilded gold, now is white), and a dressy baroque wallpaper on the walls.

This month, Australian Home Beautiful (August), does a nice job spotlighting this trend with clever examples of how to mix modern pieces with baroque-inspired elements in the most pleasing way. I love how damask softens the lines of modern stark furniture, bringing a bit of personality into the space and uncovering perhaps a little bit of an adventurous streak in the homeowner.

Looking to create the look in your own home? The look works best if you keep in mind how to build it. Here’s how:

1. Start with black, grey and white as your foundation colors. You build from there.

2. Incorporate metallics (either silver or gold, not both) and/or mirrored surfaces, crystal, or acrylic. This step must be done tastefully. Be careful not to overdo it.

3. Now, you’re ready to add bursts of color. Remember, no more than two colors should be added. Stick to romantic hues. For romance, try lavenders and pinks, or blues. For bold, use red, purple, teal, navy blue… I prefer the softer hues myself, I would opt for a soft blue with pink. You can even keep the look very understated by mixing in various shades of grey, beige, white, bits of black, and a touch of pale blue or a bit of chocolate.

4. Furnishings – invest in pieces that glam up the space. An ornate mirror, headboard, chair. You can find such items in antique stores, auctions, estate sales… Even inexpensive reproductions can be easily found (and won’t leave you baroque, errr broke). Paint these statement pieces in high gloss black, or for a softer vibe, white. Upholster soft furnishings with damask, for instance. (If your home is pet-free, opt for sexy blue velvet.)

5. Avoid going over the top, unless you want your home to resemble Windsor Castle. You don’t need 5 statement pieces in a single room. Sometimes, just a few pieces that are carefully placed will give the room that “it” factor you seek. Think of a focal point piece, and then, as I like to do, a “surprise” piece. For instance, when you walk into the room, the focal point may be your amazing sofa. However, once the guests are seated on that sofa, you can have a surprise piece that they wouldn’t see unless they were seated on that sofa (or standing on that side of the room). It can be a beautiful mirror over a sleek buffet, a wall of wallpaper, a sassy chair, a great lamp, etc.

6. Home Beautiful magazine gave a great tip on how to give the space a contemporary spin: Mix patterned fabric with bold striped wallpaper in similar colors. Vertical stripes are classic but pick up the clean lines of modern furniture, giving the room height and creating a sense of spaciousness.

7. This trend works best if you use small prints, monochromatic ones, on large pieces of furniture (keep the prints in a single shade).

8. Most of all, have fun and invite a friend over with a good eye, someone who may already have this style going on at home and can offer you some great tips. Order thai, uncork the vino, put on some tunes, and decorate!


(images from home beautiful and restoration hardware)

Posted in diy, tips, trends on August 17, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {may 23 ’06}

Did you see Cally’s collection of buttons on her blog? You’ll just love them. For a quick mini project, I decided to look for glass jars with metal lids. I found some at target in clear glass with metal screw top lids that are absolute perfection. My plan is to display them on the shelf above my desk… Filling them with pretty + colorful things that make me happy.


The first jar will contain buttons. Old, new, all shapes and sizes. The second, vintage spools of thread, you know the kind on the off-white thin spools that you can tell have been used? And the third, maybe used stamps that I’ve collected from Europe dated between the 30s and the 60s. I’ve also thought about filling it with torn samples of my favorite wallpaper patterns or little rolls of my favorite fabric samples tied like scrolls with a thin ribbon around each.

What would you fill your jars with?

(image from the super ms. cally)

Posted in blogs, diy, tips on May 23, 2006

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

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