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Cookie + Modern Seed

Have you flipped through Cookie magazine yet? I’m totally addicted to it, and I’m not even a parent. Targeted at young urban-minded couples with kids who favor modern design and an active lifestyle, Cookie is packed with excellent parenting tips, recipes, home accessories, gifts, and my favorite – the road trip, which takes you on a journey to destinations, last issue was Stockholm, this time around it’s central Oregon. I highly suggest it to parents and non-parents alike, especially since we all have friends with kids and it’s never a bad thing to educate yourself a little about their lifestyle.

In the May/June issue, there’s a really cute interview on page 96 with Keegan Pfeiffer. She’s the daughter of Melissa and Eric over at Modern Seed. Cookie was talking to her about her bedroom and when asked, “Do any of your friends have rooms you like better than yours?”, she replied a confident, “No, my room is awesome!” The confidence of children is great, isn’t it? As adults, we all need to work on our confidence; we should be so absolutely certain about our own space, just like Keegan.

How many times have your shoulders slumped when you saw a teriffic room in a magazine, wishing your home looked like that? True, it’s never okay to be satisfied with a space that is poorly designed and not being utilized to its fullest – it cannot accommodate your storage needs, color is impacting you negatively, access or egress routes are blocked, structural problems… When I hear clients express how much they hate their style, I know it’s time for me to tread carefully because if I don’t figure out why and what style they do like, a well-designed space may result, but not something that they necessarily like. You see this a lot on design shows, clients meet with people to “fix” a poorly designed room and the outcome is an amazing space with everything the client stated they wanted, shelving, new bathroom fixtures, etc. but it’s not really them and you can see it on their face. You sense that as soon as the camera crew is gone, those homeowners are ripping down that floral wallpaper and painting the walls beige again because it’s all they know, and god knows that they detest vinyl walls.

The key is to get into your own head, figure out “what” it is about your style that you do not like, create lists on paper to keep your thoughts flowing and in front of you at all times. Don’t question your gut. Don’t design based on a trend. If you truly detest wallpaper, don’t add it to your space because it’s “in” at the moment. It may not grow on you, maybe you’ll never enjoy seeing patterns on your walls from floor to ceiling. Perhaps adding some simple peel-and-stick wall decals will do the trick without hard labor. If your eye adjusts to the decals and you decide you want more pattern on the walls, then consider wallpaper, but don’t jump into something that costs time and money if you are uncertain about it. Your mother said to follow your gut about men. Apply this to your design sense, too.

List everything that you dislike about your current style, in detail, and when you are finished, try to focus on each point individually and develop ideas that could transform the negative into a positive.

For instance, you dislike your wall color, but cannot paint (you rent) and cannot move out (financially strapped). Think about what it is that you dislike about it. Could it be that you need a focal point in the room to detract the eye from the walls? Or maybe the colors you have in the space are not complementing your wall color. Maybe the art is clashing. Could be the lighting, maybe you need a few more lamps. Check your light bulbs, incandescent bulbs can change the look of your space since they are available in a variety of colors from soft white to clear or even a soft blue or pink. I recently swapped out the bulbs in my living room from soft to clear and it truly does make a difference.

Ultimately, trust your judgement and make it your goal to love your space and when asked, you’ll be able to say, “My room is awesome!”.

Posted in inspiration, Rooms, tips on April 27, 2006

Where Does Your Garden Grow?

From dressy boxwoods to perfect peonies, there are so many ways to add a touch of green (and pink, and lilac and…) to your lawn, patio, or even that eeny weeny balcony attached to your urban nest.

No outdoor space to plant?

Try a window box or add some fresh flowers to your living room in a sunny pot, like the ones I spotted over at Anthropologie. They also sell this great pot with basins around it called the Strawberry Pot. It’s perfect for indoors because you can plant something pretty in the center and plant herbs and vines in the basins.

Another way to enjoy an indoor garden is to find something to display your garden on the wall, like this rouen plant holder (I love it in sage). Pretty and simple!

Helpful websites:

Windowbox – Great selection of windowboxes and other garden items.
Grandin Road – Lots of pretty coir mats and Savannah planters (above).
Ballard Designs – Their plaques are beautiful to mount over a door. I love the monogrammed palais plaque (shown above) don’t you? Their garden haute couture gloves and clogs (below) are another favorite.

(images from grandin road, ballard designs and anthropologie)

Posted in outdoors, round-ups, tips on April 20, 2006

How To Measure For Custom Blinds

Gina from Atlanta wrote in asking for advice on how to measure for custom blinds. I’ve pulled together a few easy steps below that may help you based on my own personal experience measuring for for clients.

“I am hoping that you can give me some help me on a small project that my husband and I are about to embark on this weekend. We are renovating part of our new condo and plan to install blinds in two rooms. My question is, how the heck do you measure for these things? I don’t want to order custom blinds and have them arrive not fitting properly. Any quick advice? Oh and do you know of places online that I can check out blinds and maybe even order them?” -Gina

Sure Gina. Here’s a little guide I’ve written just for you!

How to Measure for Custom Blinds

1) First of all, look at the type of window casing you have and also notice the architectural details that surround that window. This may dictate whether or not you want to mount the blinds on the inside or on the outside of the frame. You wouldn’t want to hide arch details with a shade. In this case, I’m guessing your windows are pretty basic since it’s a condo…

2) If you plan to mount on the inside, measure the width of the window from one edge to the other (outside of the casing). It’s a good idea to measure the top part of the window, the middle, and then towards the bottom since some windows (especially in older homes) are not always uniform in width. To measure the height of the window, start at the top inside edge of the window and extend the measuring tape all the way to the top of your window sill.

3) If you’ve decided to mount your blinds on the outside, measure the width from one side of the outer most edge of the window casing to the other side. You may want to add 1/2″ on each side of this measurement because if you don’t, you may have gaps which certainly won’t allow for much privacy! Next step is to measure the height. Start at the top edge of the casing and measure to the lowest point that you’d like to see the blinds cover. Keep in mind that most blind manufacturers already compensate for all the various window lengths out there by adding extra materials (like wood) or fabric into the design of the blinds at either the top or the bottom.

In addition, here are a few places online that I suggest shopping for blinds:

American Blinds + Wallpaper

Just Blinds

Smith + Noble– my favorite, although in some cases, a little more expensive but worth it if you want something different. They also send you lots of free samples and offer beautiful shades and blinds trimmed in modern fabrics. They also have the best fashion solar roman shades out there.

Thanks for writing in, Lisa!

If anyone else would like some quick design advice, please send me an email at decor8blog[at]yahoo[dot]com.

(images from smith + noble)

Posted in Objects, reader questions, tips on April 14, 2006

Pushing Past your Design Comfort Zone

This is an Oprah moment. Pause for a second and think this over, especially useful if you’re stuck in a design rut due to your lack of risk taking.

Grab a pen. If you type as much as I do in a day, you may have forgotten what one looks like. You can find them in some random cup on your desk in blue and black. Grab one. We all do it at times. Some way more than others. We wake up and do the same things, over and over again. Bagel and coffee. Toast and tea. Same applies to decorating your space. Key here is to push past your comfort zone, break the mold, and challenge yourself.

Write down 5 small things that you may not usually lean towards pulling off in your space. Maybe you’ve wanted to wallpaper ONE wall, but you’re scared. Get crackin’ fraidy cat! Maybe your entire space is too neutral. Blah. Boring. Yawn. You have to change that!

Whatever the case, you can and you will make positive changes in your space if you start your top 5 list. Pick one and commit to doing it THIS WEEK. Once you’ve completed that task, proceed to the next and keep working your way down the list until you’ve shed your design fears and your space is fresh and really reflects who you are and not some template of what it could be if you only would add an amazing orange pendant light or that bright fuschia wall.

You can even write your list here, under the comments link below. Sometimes voicing your design fears in public can motivate you to get started. You’ll find that the more you work your way down your list and break the mold, the more daring you’ll get when it comes to design.

What do you think?

(photo from mushroom girls virus. I just thought it was pretty.)

Posted in inspiration, tips on February 16, 2006


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