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A Beach Kind of Day

We just returned from a late summer beach vacation (Hayes' first!), and while others are getting ready for all things pumpkin, we're still holding onto the last days of summer and our fun get-a-way. So, to stay in the I-don't-want-cold-weather-to-come-too-soon mood, I created a rustic and sophisticated beach themed Etsy Treasury (a member-curated shopping gallery)! And, as usual, we're sharing it with you here on our blog!

Check out some of the details below, or visit the Treasury on Etsy! Here's a quick snapshot of it!

A beach themed Etsy Treasury.

Here are some close-ups of some of the Treasury items!

Rustic beach decor.

Aqua candlestick holders.

Tray with blue chevron pattern.

White beach decor.

Aqua printed pillow.

Blue mason jars.

Rustic anchor.

Well, there you have it! Whether you're holding on to summer or ready for pumpkin pie and scarves, here's hoping you got a little inspiration for some future design.

If you love any of these items, they can be found and purchased on Etsy! And, if you like what you see, don't be afraid to share our Treasuries!

An Earthy Fall Feel

It's hard to tell these days exactly what season we're in given the ever-changing weather, but I think it's safe to say that Fall is now well under way! So, to get in the spirit, I created an "Earthy Fall" themed Etsy Treasury (a member-curated shopping gallery)! And, as usual, we're sharing it with you here on our blog!

Check out some of the details below, or visit the Treasury on Etsy! Here's a quick snapshot of it!

Etsy Treasury Snapshot

Here are some close-ups of some of the Treasury items!

Rustic thankful sign.

Fall inspired pillow.

Yellow and grey yarn wreath.

Wood wall art.

Burlap table runner.

Felt pumpkins.

Well, there you go! Hopefully you're inspired to do a little Fall decorating just in time to enjoy Thanksgiving with your family and friends.

If you love any of these items, they can be found and purchased on Etsy! And, if you like what you see, don't be afraid to share our Treasuries!

A Rustic Garden Party

We are officially in the thick of springtime, with warm temps, rainy days and green growth everywhere! So, I'm day-dreaming of an beautiful outdoor shindig with friends and family. Rather than just dream, I was inspired to create a little "Rustic Garden Party" themed Etsy Treasury (a member-curated shopping gallery)! And, as usual, I'm sharing it with you here on our blog!

Check out what I've pulled together to create an inspiration board for a rustic garden party! I'm sure you'll get the idea by browsing my Treasury, but I envision a early spring afternoon soiree with family and friends in a beautiful, but slightly overgrown, lush garden with fun rustic touches. Hopefully you'll be inspired to host a springtime get together too!

Check out some of the details below, or visit the Treasury on Etsy! Here's a quick snapshot of it!

Etsy Treasury Snapshot

Here are some close-ups of some of the Treasury items!

Moss covered letters.

Outdoor pillows

Tree bark candles.

Watering can.

Garden markers.

Orchard basket.

Turtle.

Well, there you have it! Now, all I have to do is actually plan a party like this, right?

If you love any of these items, they can be found and purchased on Etsy! And, if you liked my Treasury, feel free to share it!

A Valentine Home

With only one week until Valentine's Day, I'm getting in the mood for some love! And, while I was managing our Etsy shop this week (which, I know, is terribly low on inventory, since we've been selling like crazy) I was inspired to create an Etsy Treasury featuring little touches to a sweet and LOVELY valentine feel at home. And, now I'm sharing it here on our blog with you!

Oh and don't you worry, we've got some great new Etsy items to list.. so check back soon!

Anyway, if you're not familiar with Etsy Treasuries, they are member-curated shopping galleries. As you browse Etsy, you can compile a group of items (usually related in some way) into a Treasury List and share them with other Etsy visitors. Mine is entitled A Valentine Home, and here's a snapshot of it on Etsy.

Treasury from Etsy.

Pin It

I've also included images of each of the items below. Check it out!

You know, Logan and I like to say we celebrate our love every day - versus just one day a year - so we don't usually make huge Valentine's Day plans. Instead, we'll usually just do a little something sweet together that day! We also don't usually decorate the house much for Valentine's Day, but right now I'm wishing we had some of these cute Etsy finds to help fill the house with love!

Heart framed art.

Be mine mug!

Striped party straws!

Luv ya wall words!

Burlap hearth wreat.

Coasters.

Framed LOVE print.

A heart mobile.

Heart coasters

Painted pink chair.

Nesting bowls

Berry wreath.

Love is kind banner.

Ikat pillow.

Teether.

Heart art.

If you love these items, like I do, they can be found on my Etsy Treasury! And, if you liked my Treasury, feel free to share it!

Oh and now you can follow my blog with Bloglovin!

Getting Some Exposure

Last week, I was contacted by the Patriot News, our local newspaper here in Harrisburg, for an interview on a story about Home Design Trends for the New Year. I, of course, was happy to help and therefore participated in a phone interview with a reporter from the Patriot. Well, today the article was published on the front page of the Life section of the newspaper! Yay! Check it out below. The images aren't the best, I know. I snapped them on my iphone (which is due for an upgrade)!

Front Page spread.

Close up of front page.

Second Page

Overall, I am really excited to be featured in such a big way and, of course, get some exposure for our design studio and hopefully reach out to people who may not know about us and our services. Unfortunately, I'm not 100% pleased with the article content, but that's just probably the perfectionist and control freak in me, ha. I think with the nature of interviews, and specifically phone interviews, things often get misunderstood, misquoted or taken out of context - which happened in this case. Bummer.

Nonetheless, I know it's an awesome opportunity, and I am grateful!

So, I've copied the article below (reformatted for the blog) for those of you who can't pick up the Patriot today. You'll also see that I've striked through the quotes that were misquoted or misunderstood.

This Year, Home Design is all About You!

Wondering what the hot home design trends will be for 2012? The answer, at least in some instances, is whatever you want it to be.

"2012 is going to be an eclectic mix. It's not going to be something that's very definable," said interior designer Valerie Betz of StudioVB, at 218 Verbeke St. in Harrisburg (studiovbdesign.com). "It's not going to be this style or this country a particular style or particular look. It's more about taking a deviation deviating from one particular style and being more eclectic."

Still, Betz did note a number of home trends appearing on the horizon.

Sustainable Design

Being green in the home was a big trend last year and will continue to stay popular in 2012 according to Betz.

"Green design crosses the entire gamut of products used in the home or in decorating your home," she said. "It's everything from how the flooring is laid out to how it's painted flooring to paint. It's huge, up and coming and hopefully will be here to stay."

Most green design involves using furniture or other products that produce less waste in the manufacturing process or use more rapidly renewable materials like bamboo or cork (instead of, say, mahogany, which doesn't grow back as quickly).

Part of this trend includes using "reclaimed" materials, such as wood from a salvage yard or an old building, which can then be incorporated into new furniture or accessories. "A lot of designers are making new furniture out of reclaimed wood to give their work a rustic charm," Betz said.

Cork flooring

Reclaimed Wood Headboard

Personalized Design

Instead of picking an item out of a catalog or buying factory made matching furniture set, more and more homeowners are selecting items that match their own unique personal tastes, Betz said.

"I think clients and homeowners are leaning toward wanting to express themselves and are less about what's hot right now or what's in the catalog," she said. "It's more, 'I like this unique piece' or 'I want to hang my own artwork' versus what's in stores."

That can take many different forms, from hand-painting a dresser or vase (a new coat of paint could revive an old piece of furniture) to making throw pillows out of fabric scraps.

Not everyone is going D.I.Y. though. Those less inclined to be crafty are simply purchasing handmade items that appeal to them on websites such as Etsy. It's more about finding a look that reflects your own individual tastes rather than being able to to make your own pottery. "It's about looking for that one of a kind thing piece," Betz said.

Painted Furniture

E-design

The continued growth of the Internet has expanded the reach of many designers, according to Betz, as they are now able to offer their services to clients that traditionally might not have been able to afford them felt that design services were available to them.

Using videoconferencing tools such as Skype, interior designers can provide concepts, plans and ideas to help homeowners get started on a project that they can then create on their own time and within their own budget. Because there's no travel involved and the designer isn't taking on the whole project, the cost for their services is much lower.

"It's making design more affordable and accessible," she said.

Sketch from E-Design Plan

Open Kitchens

Along with stainless steel appliances, open-area kitchens continue to be a trend, Betz said. More and more people are opening up their kitchens to the other areas of their house so they can visit and talk with their guests while cooking.

Open Kitchen

Gray is the New Beige

Beige was the big neutral color for a long time, but gray is starting to push it aside, particularly when it's paired with rich colors such as mustard, golden yellow, violet or turquoise. The idea is to use colors that pop out and provide a striking contrast when paired with gray.

Gray Color

New Seating Styles

Puffy, overstuffed, bulky chairs are out. In their place, Betz said, are lower and more streamlined or tailored seats. "It's more casual and comfortable clean lined and sophisticated," she said. (I'm sure I mentioned the casual and comfortable sentiment at some point, but it does not have a direct correlation to the seating style)

Streamlined Seating Styles

Wallpaper is Back

Decades of bad patterns have scared many homeowners away from it, but a wave of bold patterns and textures are pushing wallpaper back to the forefront. "It's taken awhile to convince clients, but definitely higher-end houses and designers are using wallpaper," Betz said.

Modern Graphic Wallpaper

Well, there you have it!

And, if you were inspired to update the design of your home utilizing some of the current design ideas and trends described in the article, feel free to contact us! Also, the article only included a handful of the design trends I discussed, so maybe I'll post about some others in the coming weeks.

Images from here and here.

Pinterest Please

If you haven't heard of Pinterest, you might be living under a rock, hehe. I'm just kidding. But if you really haven't, I'd love to be the one to introduce you to it. Pinterest Logo

So, meet Pinterest.com. It's essentially a virtual pin board, where you can "pin" images, products, websites, and whatever you like, to serve as a collection of inspiration. Not only that, but you can browse other peoples pin boards to gain further inspiration - I love that part!

Here is a look at some of my pin boards..

My Pinterest pin boards.

Anyway, for those of you who have known about Pinterest - two things: 1) Yay! Follow me and I'll follow you. 2) I know, I know, for you Pinterest is old news! Well, it's pretty old news for me too. I have been surfing Pinterest for a little under a year now, and actually pinning for about 6 months. So, why am I blogging about it today? Because I haven't yet.

While I had been pinning like crazy, and loving every minute of it, I have kept it as my personal inspiration space for quite some time. But as of this week, I have decided to share, hehe. So, as you'll notice on the right side bar, I've added Pinterest to my check-us-out-elsewhere buttons (it's red, you can't miss it)! I should mention too that while I do pin under the username StudioVB, the pins are actually specific to just me, not necessarily our design studio. So anyway, if you wanna know what I'm all about (if you haven't figured it out yet), check out my pin boards and you'll likely get an overall snapshot of me.

Here are just a little sampling of some of my pins and some of the things that inspired me to "Pin It"!

Recylced bottle chandelier.

Paint can colors.

Corrugated metal headboard.

Inspiration wires.

urban vintage interior

You know, I am confident in my design point of view and can easily describe my personal style. But, because I actually really like a lot of styles, colors, ideas, etc. and because I work in a variety of design styles depending on my clients, it's sometimes nice to come back to Pinterest, browse my own pins and really come back to a great sense of 'me' and what I'm most drawn to. I love that part of Pinterest too! And, guess what, it can help you do the same.

If you aren't quite sure of your design style. Pinterest can help! After you've pinned images you are drawn to, browse your own pin board and you'll start to see the common threads. I may start asking my clients to create virtual pin boards. I already ask them to gather imagery, ideas, etc. Hmm.. Pinterest as a tool for my studio.. I like it!

With Pinterest you can go from this..

A physical inspiration board.

To this..

My pins on Pinterest

So, as you can see, Pinterest is a great tool for gathering ideas and cataloging things that inspire you, whether you are designing your home, adding to your wardrobe, experimenting in the kitchen, having a baby, planning a trip, or planning an event or wedding (side note: oh how I wish I would have had Pinterest when I was planning my wedding.. instead I had, dare I say, hundreds of files, folders and even physical magazine cuttings of all the inspiring ideas I came across).

Oh, and just so you know, this post is not sponsored by Pinterest - I just love it that much! If someone would like a personal invite to Pinterest (yep, it's by invitation only, like some exclusive party, hehe), leave a comment below, I've still got a few invites!

Well, I'm off to pin..

Paint the Plugs - Part 2

A few posts ago, Valerie wrote about the Paint the Plugs contest that we, StudioVB, are sponsoring and that Valerie is participating in. Well, the period in which the artists had to paint their plugs has come to an end. Despite the rain that lasted for what seems like all of last week, Valerie was able to take advantage of a few sunny days and get out there to clean, scrape, prime and paint her assigned plug on Verbeke and Third.. and it turned out awesome!

Although her original design plan was to paint the hydrant to make it look like it was constructed of materials other than metal (specifically wood, fabric and rope), with her limited time due to the weather, she decided to focus simply on the wood aspect. I think it's brilliant and so did a few passers-by who stopped to talk to Valerie while she was out painting.

Here are a few shots of the progress as well as the finished product.

Valerie applying stripper.

Close up of the stripper gel on the cap

Hydrant with stripper corroding paint.

Scraping the paint off of hydrant.

Valerie sanding the hydrant.

The primed fire hydrant.

Fire hydrant painted brown and white.

Valerie painting fire hydrant.

Fire hydrant painted to look like wood.

A close-up of the painted fire hydrant.

Painted fire hydrant from an angle.

If you are local to the Harrisburg area or ever find yourself here, be sure to check out the various painted plugs. They can be found on Third Street between Forster Street and Maclay Street.

Don't forget to visit the Friends of Midtown website to see all of the artists' creations and vote for your favorite one. Hopefully, it's ours!

Voting lasts from today, September 16th to next Friday, September 23rd. We'll let you know how we make out!

Even if I Leave Empty Handed..

So, I wrote a blog post quite a while back on flea market finds.. but today's post is less about the finds and more about the journey. In talking with my aunt and uncle recently about flea marketing, I simply asked my uncle, "Well, what are you looking for at the flea market?" And his response, "I don't know yet". While my question was more curious of what his interests were, his answer quite simply explained the joy in flea marketing. My aunt went on to add to the answer, "Yea, I don't know what I'm looking for until I see it." I just love that statement, and I couldn't agree more!

Most flea market enthusiasts would answer the same way, because unlike shopping at the grocery store or the mall, you don't necessarily head to the flea market with a list or even an idea of what your looking to buy. Instead, you head there with the excitement that you never know what you might find and often leave with something you didn't know you needed, ha!

Male dress form at a flea market stand.

Garlic press bird.

Turquise owl necklace.

Anyway, though there are times I do head to the flea market with a "mission", as I like to call it, to find something I just haven't been able to locate, most often it's more about the journey - what will I come across today? who will I meet? what will I just have to buy? and sometimes even, what will I learn today? And, that's just one of the reasons I love stopping by the flea market, a yard sale or even thrift stores.

So, summer is coming to an end, and as the chilly weather begins, most flea markets start to dwindle. So, before that happens, I wanted to make sure I got out there. This time, I went to the Williams Grove Flea Market that I had mentioned in that old post, for a lovely day of "flea-ing" (that's a good term for it, right?) and also, finally took a few photos of the interesting old amusement park grounds to share with you.

Oh, and for the record, though some part of me really wanted each of the items in the above images, I didn't buy any of them.

Shot of the mid-way.

Shot of the wooden roller coaster.

The old basketball shooting game.

Shot of the old train tracks.

Showing the old bumper car pavilion.

The bingo building.

The old water slides..

Used furniture under the old concession stand.

Another thing of beauty at flea markets is the retail merchandising, or lack there of, hehe. I'm always a fan of collections (or piles) of items. Not sure why, but my eye always goes toward them, and so does my camera!

Collection of antique skeleton keys.

Collection of antique boxes.

At the end of the afternoon, though my belly was full with the yummy homemade soft pretzel stick you see in the photo below.. my hands were empty. I didn't buy one single thing, but I was still leaving with some new ideas, lots of inspiration, and of course, having had a nice journey!

Me with my soft pretzel stick!

Eating Local!

DISCLAIMER: Today's post has pretty much nothing to do with design, but I wanted to share it anyway =) View of the farm fields.

So, although we have known about the idea for quite awhile, this is our first year as a member of a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) thanks to my sister-in-law who asked us to become members and split a full share with their family. We are already about half way through the harvest season, but every time we get a new delivery (which is every week) it just makes me happy and that's why I wanted to blog about it today!

View of the Spiral Path Farm sign

So, first, I guess I should mention (specifically for any local readers) that the CSA we chose is Spiral Path Farm, a 255 acre family farm located in central PA. Spiral Path offers a "wide variety of certified organic vegetables, herbs and annual fruits", as they say on their website. And it's true, already this season we've gotten strawberries, sugar snap peas, radishes, spinach, green beans, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, yellow squash, and tons of lettuce and greens!

The neat thing about it is that you don't know exactly what you'll be getting that week, so it's always a fun surprise! And, even more awesome is that you get foods you may not typically eat or, if you are like us, possibly something you've never had. Which does present the issues of "well, how do I cook this?" or "what am I gonna make with this?" - but I think that's really the joy of it! One example of that for us was getting swiss chard. While I have seen and heard of swiss chard, I had never tried it or attempted to cook it. But Logan gave cooking it a whirl, and it was really pretty yummy!

Oh, and Spiral Path also includes several recipes for the specific food we get each week. Bonus!

Overall it's really a great opportunity to support a local family farm while getting extremely fresh organic produce delivered to you each week, and for a reasonable cost. How can you beat that? Plus, it shortens my time at the grocery store, which if you know me at all, is a huge plus!

A hand written strawberries sign.

The awesome thing about it too, is that they have Open Farm Days, which are, just as they sound, days when they open the farm up to their CSA members to come and have fun - you can pick your own fresh fruit, veggies and herbs straight from the plant, have the opportunity to see the fields where your organic produce is grown, buy other goodies from other local vendors (like meats, cheeses and breads), and of course experience a little taste of farm life. Not to mention, they also make it fun for the kids!

We, of course, went to an Open Farm day several weeks back with my sister and brother-in-law and our niece. Here's a bunch of photos from our day at the farm!

Isabella planting herbs.

Valerie and Isabella picking strawberries.

Ann Marie and Isabella with a full basket of strawberries!

Logan and Valerie with our basket of strawberries.

View of us walking by the sugar snap pea plants.

Close-up of the sugar snap peas.

Shot of the bread vendor.

Well, thanks for letting me share! And, if you aren't already, I would totally suggest becoming a CSA member! For a local CSA in your area check out www.localharvest.org!

DIY Striped Wall

So, a few posts ago we showed you a sneak peak at our third floor stair hall wall and the striped painted wall treatment we created to give it a little style. Well, as promised, today's post will show you exactly how we did it with easy to follow step-by-step instructions. However, before we get started, let me say that this project and technique can be modified to fit almost any project and the possibilities are endless - different colors, different finishes, different patterns, etc. So get inspired, be creative and go for it!

If you have a space that needs a little texture or interest, this is a pretty simple, though a tad time heavy (a few days), project that will do the trick.

As with any project, first you need supplies. So, here is a list of what you'll need (what we used)!

Supplies:

  • paint (we used three different variations of the same color - grey, with two different finishes - satin and semi-gloss)
  • paint brushes (one for each color, of course)
  • drop cloth (to protect whatever is below)
  • painters tape (and if your project is anything like ours - possibly a lot of it)
  • a tape measure or ruler
  • pencil
  • laser level (make's the project so easy!)
  • post-its (this is what we used to plan out the color pattern, you'll see below)
  • ladder or step stool (depending on the height of the space - in our case, there was even a point where I was on Logan's shoulders on the stairs to reach a place our ladder just couldn't - I apologize for not having photos of this, it was quite funny, but even so I really don't recommend it, haha!)

Once you have all the supplies, follow the simple steps below to create a happy horizontal wall pattern!

Painted Striped Wall How-to

  1. Determine and Design the Pattern. This can be any pattern you'd like - striped, zig-zag, etc. Here is how we designed the horizontal striped pattern that we decided on. We wanted varied width stripes (some 1", 3", 4", 6", 9", etc.) that we could paint varied colors. So, after a few sketches of how it would look, we started at the top corner of the wall and used our ruler and pencil to start marking the increments down the wall. We like to keep things casual, so we determined the stripe sizes as we went, going with whatever we thought looked best and balanced, making sure not to mark a bunch of narrow or wide stripes in a row.

Blank stair wall

Photo showing the pencil markings.

  1. Tape out the Pattern. This is where you'll use the laser level and painter's tape and probably the ladder. This step did take two people - so for those solo do-it-yourselfers out there, you'll have to find a DIY buddy! One of us held the laser level flush against the wall lined up with the markings, while the other applied the tape in line with the laser! Start at the top of the wall and work your way the entire way down. This is probably the most time consuming part of the process, but once it is done the rest is pretty simple.

Photo showing the pattern taped out on the wall.

  1. Determine the Color Pattern. Once you have the pattern taped out, you have to decide what colors you want to use. In our case, we decided to alternate the three colors randomly but thoughtfully. We did this by assigning a paint color to a post-it color and placing a coordinating post-it tab on each stripe as we planned out the color pattern. This way, we could step back, and see how the color pattern looked based on the colors of the post-its. Sorta silly, but worked well for us!

Showing our post-it pattern method.

  1. Start Painting. Once you've decided on the color pattern, it's go time! You'll obviously need all the painting supplies for this step. It went pretty quickly for us because Logan and I each took a different paint color and worked together. We are such a great team! Anyway, during this step you will most likely have to let the first couple painted stripes dry and come back to the project to continue. Some of the tape lines will be covering portions of the stripes you want to paint. So, you can either use the tape to your advantage and let the taped line be a stripe, or in our case, we let the first paint color dry, then removed the tape, and then taped that painted line in order to paint a new color adjacent to it.

Photo of the painted stripes

Logan painting the stripes.

  1. Pull the tape and voila! Once you've painted your pattern to your liking, let it dry, then go ahead and pull the tape to reveal your masterpiece. At this point, your wall painting project is complete.

The finished wall.

Another angle of the finished stripes.

We went a step further to add a bit of interest (and to add a sense of entry into our studio) by hanging varied size framed art up the stair hall. The artwork is framed photos of urban signage letters that spell out StudioVB, since this stair hall is the entry to our interior design studio!

Hanging the framed art.

Close up of framed art.

Valerie getting ready to hang the last frame.

The finished stair wall!

So, there it is! What do you think? Let us know your thoughts on this project. Do you have any painted pattern projects you'd like to share?