Category Archives: inspiration images

Now I’m walking again to the beat of a drum…*

*Lyrics from the Hey Now (Don’t Dream It’s Over) remake as sung by Lolo (aka: Lauren Pritchard). I heard this song in the movie I Give It A Year (the movie is NOT worth seeing, btw) and really liked the quality that her voice gave to this older song. I can’t find the song available for purchase, but it’s listenable on last fm. Her voice is really something special.

The office: a mix of chic accessories, industrial touches, modern amenities, and limited space.

The office: a mix of chic accessories, industrial touches, modern amenities, and limited space.

So, a short while ago, my sister’s non-profit company found some office space to rent. They had been without a dedicated space for much of the holiday season, and had been on a desperate hunt for a better situation. The move means shorter commute times for my sister, and a more centrally located spot for her and her boss, and it’s located in a more bustling area of the city. The only problem/challenge is that it’s a shared space, and their co-tentant is already in place.

Luckily, the co-tenant, an event planner, is very open to sharing (it’s a reality in NYC for many small businesses), and was very happy to have some input from someone (me) who might just have a few ideas on how to best meet everyone’s needs, while maintaining a stylish and affordable office. Easy, right?

Enter: IKEA. Seriously, despite all of the misses that they make, and the hassle/effort of having to build things yourself, this is one of the best resources for cheap, durable and attractive office furniture. (That is, if you’re willing to think about everything they make as office appropriate. Don’t overlook dining tables as desk spaces, bedroom armoires as storage units, and kitchenware as office supply caddies.) With an eye toward spending as little as possible — non-profit + self-employed small business owner = budget? what budget? — and with a nod to the things they already had (including plenty of chic accessories), I whipped up a little moodboard for them to get inspired by.

Inspiration via Pinterest (see board: dual office), and via IKEA, Target, and Overstock.

Inspiration via Pinterest (see board: dual office), and via IKEA, Target, and Overstock.

I also sketched up some potential floor plans (with some expert help from my computer savvy husband). Objectives: desk space for three; meeting space for clients for both the event/wedding planning AND volunteer training; seating area (existing) for clients or staff alike; and, visual harmony/limited clutter. While I know they would all love it if they had more money to spend, or more space to use, they’re all happy to make the best of bright, sunlit, clean office that even sports a herringbone floor.



This floor plan intended to save the most on the budget, and use the existing items to their best advantage.


This floor plan focuses on the need for chic meeting space, and creates a more open layout.

I included two options for them to mull over. Each plan tries to make the best use of the space they have, while allowing for things to serve as double-duty. Since meeting with non-staff/clients will be a minimal event (several times per month, but not necessarily daily), I focused on making sure they had space for their day-to-day items, while allowing them access to any files/paperwork they might need. And, since I know my sister pretty well, I tried to anticipate her need to have tidiness as an option. Everyone appreciates a clean work surface, so having spaces for messes (read: piles) to go is a must. And, I know the space will evolve with time, so I tried not to fill up the entire room with stuff. Air, and light is important which is why I fought for the seating area to stay (one of the three didn’t think it was necessary, and I’ll let you have one guess as to who it was {it might have been the only male who will be using the space}).

In the end, I think we have a solid plan. I hope to help them ‘install’ the space over the next few weeks, perhaps with a few runs to Target and HomeGoods to round out the accessories, lighting, and soft touches. Once we get a finished look, I’ll share the transformation.

My first real “job” in NYC, and it feels so good to start to make some connections. Woo hoo!


Oh how the ghost of you clings, clings, clings…*

*Lyrics from These Foolish Things as sung by Sam Cooke. I heard this song on my Pandora station (Ella Fitzgerald, et al) the other week while cooking, and jotted it down for the blog. When I went searching for a song for this post, this one matched what I was writing about regarding color palettes. Things happen, and they remind us of other things, and these (foolish) things can get permanently emotionally attached to colors. Well, anyway, read on, play on.

Our former home’s palette – smokey lavender, gray, sand, white, and marine blue – was inspired by the landscaping that we put in, and our desire to connect the interior to the ‘Nantucket’ style of the exterior architecture.

For many moons I’ve believed that the most beautiful and cohesive homes have a unified paint palette. Now, this is not to say that each room must match, or be party to a theme per say (ok, in fact, no themes at all, please – stick to moods), but that the spaces that open onto one another should have harmony, and should relate to one another in some way, so that when you move through the home you feel at ease. For me it’s easiest to approach this idea by beginning the design process by choosing a palette that is connected, and brings together the emotional feeling of the entire home – the people, the architecture, the furnishings, the mood that we want to evoke, the emotions that we have about colors (and saturation levels of colors) – and sticking to it.

read on…

You’re the only reason I keep on coming home…*

*Lyrics from Sweet Pea as sung by Amos Lee of his album called Supply and Demand. I recall hearing this at the end of a movie, but can’t find any proof that that actually happened (seriously, I looked – I might have imagined it). Either way, it’s a sweet little song for a sweet little moment in my blog’s life.

Inspiration point: the design I did for my niece's desk gave us a direction to go in for the website design.

Inspiration point: the design I did for my niece’s desk gave us a direction to go in for the website design.

So, this has been a long time coming. Like, we’ve been working on ideas for this since last last January. January of 2012. Perhaps even longer, I can’t really recall. (I’ve been pinning inspirations and ideas to my color pinboard for years.) In July, we actually set aside some time to work up some (more) designs, and to try out some (more) ideas (turns out I’m hard to please – go figure!). But, life, work, and family obligations took over, and well, it didn’t seem as important as all of that other stuff. Even if it was important.

Anywho, I have a designed site! With a husband who is a talented web designer/technology geek person (don’t ask me what he does, it involves things that look like words, but are color-coded, and arranged in sequential tab-like indentations – whatever, it’s computer stuff), it’s hard to believe that we both allowed my site to look as stock and boring as it did for so long. But, well, his company’s site – an actual business, and not just a hobby – took him and his business partner over a year to design and build (and they’re still fiddling with it), so I shouldn’t really complain. And that was really top priority. Along with the normal workload that keeps my business-owning husband busy most of the year. So, the old adage has been proven true: the cobbler’s children really don’t have any shoes. Unless they wait and save up and then they get the shoes they’ve been wanting for years (provided, of course, that they still have feet to put them on).

Changes: the site is prettier (obvs), the site should be better organized with sections for recipes, portfolio features, and the music quotes that I use as inspiration are now listed for you to explore and devour. (Note: I’m still working on cataloguing past posts, and sorting through years of content. Bear with me if sections aren’t quite ready yet – we wanted to launch the beauty as soon as we could!) Food, music, pretty stuff – what more could you want? Keep in mind that some of the content will take me a bit to wrangle and reorganize, but the basics are there, so hopefully it’ll be a nicer experience for everyone.

Do let me know if there are any issues/problems that you find. My husband may have made time to design and build this (sometimes working through the night while I lay sleeping by his side), but he may not have made time to QA (er, that’s quality assurance to you non-computer-lingo peeps) the entire site for every scenario. He saves that stuff for his paying clients. I hope this will make your reading experience more enjoyable, and hopefully it will entice me to blog more frequently.

Man, remember when blog was a noun, and not a verb?


People, get ready…*

*Lyrics from People Get Ready as sung by Eva Cassidy. I don’t think I need to explain why this song works here. Well, except that there is a double meaning this week – working on a blog redesign and some exciting new content. So, get ready. Twice.

Photo via instagram (afirepoleinthediningroom).

You don’t need no ticket, you just get on board. And, ok, so you need a TV, and possibly a cable subscription. But, tonight, Heather and Aaron of A Fire Pole in the Dining Room are going to be on HGTV’s House Hunters! Cool people, a drinking game, and a fun behind the scenes look at finding the perfect home on TV makes for a fun evening of entertainment. Or, at least a half hour’s worth.

Check it out, or just check out their blog. You know, if you like original thinkers, creative spaces, and mixing modern with vintage, and clean with character-laden craft.

Congratulations on your big debut, kids!


You can’t cross the line, but you can’t stop trying…*

*Lyrics from S.O.S. in Bel Air by Pheonix from their album Bankrupt!. Since we’re definitely still in summer-music-mode, and I’m looking for new exercise music, I poked around the recent releases and discovered that Phoenix had a new, very catchy album, perfect for summer ears, and running (ok, trotting) feet. And even though my clients moved into their house in late June, they needed some time to settle in before I could take proper pictures. You other homeowners know that it takes quite a bit of time after a move to feel at home, so I didn’t want to rush my clients into being ‘done’ before they were ready. Hoping to get some final after photos in the fall. Until then, more summer, please!

The original plan included salvaging the original cast iron tub, using an old dresser for a vanity, and putting a marble mosaic on the floor for luxury.

Every designer starts out with the best intentions: make something beautiful that functions really well, and keep it within a reasonable budget. Ok, I guess some people don’t have to worry about budgets, but I don’t know them, and I doubt I’d want to. We all have to work within realistic parameters, while keeping our eye on the big picture. Problem is, when those parameters are constantly changing, it’s harder to grab ahold of that vision and steer toward it. Sometimes, as with driving a car in a winter storm, you need to steer into the skid to keep from crashing, despite the fact that you won’t end up where you wanted in the first place.

Inevitably, due to situations outside of my control, I had to dramatically re-think a design concept for my clients on Project W. Despite my best intentions, and my rigorous adherence to my initial budget, my budget dollars were suddenly diverted toward other things, and I was left to scramble to come up with a new plan. Unpleasant, yes. Impossible, no. It’s how the cookie crumbles, and is a good exercise in adapting, going with the flow, and remaining fluid. I wrote about my first (and most painful) lesson in that here, and this was nowhere near that experience (thankfully), but not unrelated. There are times when someone will rip apart your idea, and your only course of action is to shift your perspective.

read on…

Electric ladies, will you sleep? Or will you preach?…*

*Lyrics from Janelle Monáe‘s latest single, Q.U.E.E.N., featuring Erykah Badu. I loved The ArchAndroid, and am very excited about her next album, The Electric Lady. She’s also singing about acceptance, equal rights, and religious hypocrisy – things that are perpetually on my mind, but especially since the local area just sponsored the annual Pride parade. Watch the video, and await with bated breath the next masterpiece by this gifted and unusual artist.


Above: this image inspired my initial plans for the master bathroom at Project W.

Things I’ve discovered: my House Beautiful subscription ended; Instagram is my preferred method of interacting with strangers; Pinterest is the most useful design tool I use.

After initial face-to-face meetings with my Project W clients, I started using Pinterest as a way of narrowing down my vision for their home, and as a way of discovering their style. Visual language, as it were, is tricky to decipher with only words – my use of ‘modern’ might mean clean and bright, while someone else’s might mean black leather and chrome – so Pinterest has been essential in determining what we all mean by what we say.


Above: when I say ‘modern English’ this is what I mean.

read on…

From the West side, to the East side…*

*Lyrics from Randy Newman’s I Love LA. Totally cheesy, totally appropriate, totally ’80s. Deal with it.

You know how, when you’re getting ready to go on vacation, you try to do everything you can to make your return home just as relaxing as you know your trip will be? You do all your laundry, make your bed, clean the house, do the dishes, mop the floors, clean the fridge, clean the bathrooms, deodorize the carpets, etc., etc. Yeah, well, we may think we can get it all done, but we never do, do we? (And, for the record, I got one bedroom clean, and the laundry washed, but not folded – that’s it.) One of the tasks I had set out to do before we left on a trip to the left coast to visit family and friends was to load my blog photos onto Jeff’s computer (since it was really a working trip for him – vacations are hard to plan when you  own your own business) so I could blog while we were away (huzzah for multi-tasking!). Forget the fact that I didn’t have time (or energy – we spent half the week adjusting to LA time) to spend hours pouring over pictures, editing images and thinking up quippy captions, and finding songs to accompany my riveting posts; in this case, I didn’t have the pictures either. I believe this is the time when you could stamp a huge ‘FAIL’ on my forehead.

read on…

And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people…*

*Lyrics from Five Years by David Bowie. I already used this song for the other master closet renovation, but thought that since this closet is really an extension of that one, well, it fit to use it twice. Plus, I mean, it’s Bowie. 

AFTER: I shot this looking into a full-length mirror we hung (which is why the bathroom is on the right and not the left). The stencil is in metallic silver (like I used in the family bath for the stripes).

Ok, so, closets. Who knew they were so important? Obviously having recently finished the last touches on our master closet renovation we’ve been eager to tidy our bedroom into a livable state. Of course then we took a mini-break to NYC and have had travel bags and suitcases strewn about the room looking for a home (previously stored in either the basement or the white room closet which is now our second master closet – confused? me, too). So it was time to finally tackle the other closet in the master bedroom.

read on…

Instead there was hot pink flashes in the sky…*

*Lyrics from Lemonade by CocoRosie. They’re a strange group, with a haunting sound and intriguing lyrics. Note to self: investigate them further. Note to readers: please do the same.

Beauty shot: orchid porn.

It has been said (by me) that there is nothing quite like a fresh coat of paint to improve one’s mood, one’s space, or one’s perspective on life (and I especially like it when people call that fresh coat of paint a ‘lick’ of paint – so English, so dreamy). Well, the same could be said for a new shade of blush. Now, I’m not a huge make-up wearer, and we’ve already established that I don’t often wear dry clean only, hang this up right away kind of clothing. But, I do wear make-up (I am a licensed hairdresser after all) frequently enough. Infrequently enough to have a spent tub of blush awaiting replacement for, oh, it’s gotta be at least 6 months. Maybe more.

read on…

Time has come for you to see where I’m coming from…*

*Lyrics from Texture of my Blood from Dillon. A strange little album, with a voice that reminds me of Lykke Li, and melodies that remind me of Fiona Apple and Feist. An interesting listen, and one that I’m still listening to.

Sunset at IKEA harbor. Kidding, it's not IKEA harbor. But we were at IKEA. And that was the view.

Last week my tiny, 4-month-old niece (oh, and her parents, too) moved to California. Boo. Hiss, hiss! Who but the cruelest of the cruel would force me to put ‘visiting California on the regular’ on my to-do list? I’m kidding, of course. Sort of. I lived in California for a brief bit of time during my late and not-so-great 20’s (yes or no the apostrophe here? I can never remember) and while it is undeniably beautiful it’s just not for me (plus, I really, really hate to fly). But, I suppose a visit now and then can’t hurt, right? Give me a few years and I’ll probably be thanking them for moving away (and giving me an excuse to visit warmer climes). But for now it’s just a drag.

read on…