DIY and How-to

Five on Friday - DIY Fall Decor

I'm finally giving in to the fact that fall is here, and summer is gone. =( So, to boost my spirits about that, and hopefully yours too, today's Five on Friday is do-it-yourself fall decor ideas that you can do relatively easily and inexpensively!

5 DIY Fall Decor Ideas!

  1. Mason Jar Lid Pumpkin. This sweet little DIY pumpkin is made simply of mason jar lids tied together to form a ring.. with a few cinnamon sticks as a stem and cut burlap as leaves. I love the subtle natural color variation in the lids. Super easy and super chic!


  1. Leaf Bowl. This little project may be a tad bit less than simple, but the lovely bright autumn colors of this decorative bowl really bring fall into your space and make this DIY project worth it! And the organic shape that the leaves give the bowl's edge is both delicate and beautiful.


  1. Burlap Table Runner. Now this DIY project is super simple, and a great way to dress up your fall feasts. Pretty much all you need is a couple yards of burlap and some sort of decorative accent. The tasseled edge is a really simple and totally cute detail here, but I've also seen other accents like monograms, lace, etc. In my opinion, burlap is just the perfect rustic fall texture!


  1. Painted Patterned Pumpkins. If you're not very skilled at carving a pumpkin, or a fan of the mess involved, try this simple alternative. These particular pumpkins are super trendy with their chevron pattern, but you could paint any pattern (or even a simple solid color). Either way, half the fun of this DIY project is doing it, since the pumpkin won't last past the season. So, go for it.. get creative!


  1. Acorn Filled Votives. And one last really easy DIY decor idea - votive candle holders with fall-inspired filler. Personally, I love the acorns, but obviously you could use corn kernels, mini pumpkin pods, etc. as shown. The simplicity of this project is two fold. It's super easy to do and looks super stylish too.

Well, there you go - just a few simple DIY Fall decor ideas for you. If you aren't busy this weekend picking pumpkins or raking leaves, give one of these DIY projects a try!

Happy Fall Weekend everybody!

Color of the Year!

With the announcement of Pantone's Color of the Year 2014, I decided to create a little inspirational post with a collection of images showing how to bring this beautiful color into your home this year - whether it be through paint, fabrics, furniture, decor, accessories, etc. This first collage of images shows a sampling of the home design and decor ideas explored in more detail below, but I included it specifically because it nicely illustrates the color story!


Radiant Orchid gallery of images.


But before we delve in, let's discuss the selected color - Radiant Orchid.. which is sorta just a fancy name for pinkish purple, hehe. But, its name really does express how this color is vibrant, feminine and beautiful!


Radiant Orchid


Pantone describes it like this: "Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple — one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health."

So, what do you think? Do you love the color?

I am not usually necessarily a huge fan of "girly" colors, or very bright colors for that matter, but I do have an appreciation for this hue and actually love it paired with darker purples and greys!

So, let's explore some ideas of how you can use this color in your home! Well, an easy way (if you aren't shy) is to use it boldly as paint on the walls!


Radiant orchid painted wall.


Radiant orchid bedroom.


But, if you'd rather introduce the color into your space in a more subtle way, here are varying shades of the daring color used in lighting.. no pun intended!


Glass lamp in radiant orchid.


Desk lamp in radiant orchid.


Gourd lamp in radiant orchid.


Of course, fabrics are a great way to bring this color into a space too! The first image below shows a beautiful color palette blending the Radiant Orchid color with darker, richer purple hues and a warm neutral hue, like grey.


Fabrics in radiant orchid colors.


Patterned fabric in orchid.


Floral fabric in orchid.


Duvet in orchid.


What about the furniture in the space? This color could create the perfect accent piece - one that will most likely also be a conversation piece!


Chair in orchid color.


Painted orchid dresser.


Club chair in orchid pattern.


This color even looks great outdoors against a lush green backdrop!


Garden furniture in orchid.


If brightly painted walls or boldly colored furniture isn't your thing, an easy way to bring in the Color of the Year is in your decor and accessories. These are the items in a space that can be changed out easily seasonally or yearly (you know, when next year's Color of the Year is announced, hehe). Simply mix in a little color with flowers, candles, toss pillows, etc.


Flowers in orchid color.


Glass candle in ombre orchid colors.


Pillow in orchid.


Votive candle in orchid color.


Toss pillow in a variety of orchid colors.


Flowers in radiant orchid.


And, if you actually like the idea of this vibrant color on your walls, but maybe you're not brave enough to paint a whole wall, then how about hanging up some bold modern abstract artwork representing the color!


Abstract art in radiant orchid color.


Abstract art in orchid and vibrant blue


Or, you could ground the space and make a statement with a large scaled area rug in this bold hue!


Trellis patterned rug in orchid.


Herringbone rug in orchid color.


Or, lastly, if you're really diggin' the Radiant Orchid Color of the Year, try designing a whole space around this vibrant color!


Interior space using radiant orchid color.


Well, what do you think? How might you use Radiant Orchid in your home this coming year?


Paint lids showing radiant orchid color palette.

Four(teen) Years Later

Today, September 19, 2013, marks our 4th wedding anniversary! And, as the title of this post suggests, four years of marriage also means that we've been together for fourteen years, and that's something we're very proud of. So, to reflect and reminisce, I thought I'd share this little gem. Aren't we cute? Logan and Valerie on their wedding day.

If you read my previous Thankful Thursday post, it'll come as no surprise to you that I feel that the life Valerie and I share is pretty awesome. We have a lot to be thankful for, and our love is definitely at the top of the list, which is why we tend to make a big-ish deal out of our anniversaries.. though plans for celebrating this year haven't been completely hashed out just yet. I guess that's what happens when a certain baby is keeping us both pretty busy :)

Anyway, as you can imagine, planning our wedding (and all details involved) provided the perfect opportunity for Valerie and I to use our creativity to make our special day.. well, special. It was designed to be down-to-earth, yet sophisticated, with a mix of rustic, vintage, and do-it-yourself elements, and to us, it was perfect!

From the weather to the beautiful outdoor ceremony location, from the self-made bride's dress to the DIY bouquets and boutonnieres, from the guest photo shoot area to the bride and groom choreographed first dance, every detail helped to pull together and create our wedding - the day we chose to honor and celebrate our love. So, with that said, we invite you to celebrate with us and check out more pictures from our DIY Wedding!

Skeleton keys around the floral centerpiece.

Happy 4th Anniversary to my one.. and here's to many more!

Basement to Back Yard

We recently decided that it was time to get organized and clear out some of our belongings in the basement. And, since a good chunk of the items stored in the basement are for the yard or garden, we thought, "Why not start there?" Add this to the fact that if I can find an excuse to purchase a new home improvement toy of some kind, I will, and... voila! Next thing you know, we're installing a new little shed in our little back yard. So, we thought we'd share with you our newest addition and show you a few snapshots along the way of the (relatively) easy installation.

The small brick patio for the shed to sit on.

A close up of the brick patio.

The black base of the shed.

The assembly of the shed.

Hayes enjoying the back yard!

The finished shed.

Anybody else have a recent update to their outdoor space? We'd love to hear about your projects too, so feel free to share in the comments!

More Powder to You!

It has been oh so long since we have updated our readers on the progress of any projects around our house. With busy summer schedules (and the pregnancy) unfortunately we hadn't been tackling too many of our own projects. However, lately we've been taking some time to focus on some of our ongoing design projects around the house. Personally, I think it's a little bit of the "nesting" bug that is starting to hit us, hehe! So anyway, we wanted to share with you the progress of our tiny powder room design. With the first few layers complete.. including the flooring, the paint color, and our DIY paneling project, it was finally on to some fun fixtures, accessories and art projects. In today's post, we'll share a few of the tasks we tackled in the design of our powder room and, of course, show off the final result!

Our Powder Room Reveal

Powder room left side

Powder room sink and accessories below

Final powder room shot.

Since it's a super small space, it's hard to get a good overall shot! So, below are some detail shots!

As you scroll down, you'll notice that for this space we DIYed some projects, accessorized with a few new decorative accents (that we picked up at some of our favorite local stores) and, of course, added some personality with some of our already owned decorative items. Check 'em out!

A fun, and functional, step stool!

Milk stool

While painting a portion of our wall in our design studio with chalkboard paint to create a handy and cute daily to-do list area, we got inspired to try another creative project with the fun, and super simple, chalkboard paint. So, here in the powder room, we decided to take a boring old milk stool (that we envision our child using someday to wash their hands.. how cute?) and give it a fun and functional finish.

"Wash your hands"


A small floor basket for much needed storage!

Toiletries basket


A cute, and personal, decorative wooden accent!

Powder room right side.

A mini wooden cityscape of NYC sits atop the paneling ledge to the right of our mirror. This little vignette serves as a nod to our first place in NYC and the time we spent there. It will always hold a special place in our hearts, and well, now in the powder room!

Wooden cityscape.


A custom wall art installation!

The yarn bird art installation.

We'd been meaning to create a custom art piece somewhere in our home, and what a more unique place than the powder room, right? Haha. So, with some miniature flat-head nails and a ball of yarn, we created a few flying birds as a whimsical yet modern art installation. We like it, do you?

Yarn ball close up.


Some added architectural detail!

Yarn bird and crown molding.

After the paneling project, we still wanted to add one more layer of architectural detail, which was the crown molding. It was a simple upgrade that made the space feel larger and more sophisticated, and tied together the paneling!


Personalized, and changeable, artwork!

Elephant mosaic.

This ledge over the toilet serves as an art ledge! So, instead of hanging art on the wall, we can simply prop a piece of art here and change it out whenever we want. I know, I know.. the elephant with the birds don't quite mesh, but both are personal and meaningful and that's what matters most in any space!


A necessary accessory, yet in a unique style!

Waste basket.


A space saving switcheroo!

Powder room pedestal sink.

Before we started designing the powder room, the space was pretty blah! And the faucet fixture was pretty run-of-the-mill! So, we knew we wanted to switch it out, and with a tiny space like this, we need all the space we can get! So, we replaced the old faucet with a single handle faucet to allow more room on the pedestal sink!

Faucet.


Bringing in some texture, some quirk and some vintage!

Towel holder

The vintage hat hook was found lying in one of my mom's old dressers, and it was just dying for a front row seat somewhere. And again, what better place then the powder room! I mean, let's face it, everyone who enters our home will likely visit this space, right?

Hat hook close up.

Oh, and since it's a bathroom, and it must be functional, we of course added the mustard yellow hand towels and grey-blue bath rug that you may have seen in the shots above!

And in addition to some of what is shown in these photos, we also tackled a few DIY projects like giving the old light fixture a new life with a fresh coat of paint! We may still replace it at some point, but for now (without spending more than a few dollars) we've made it work in the space!

Well, there you have it - a long overdue update on our tiny powder room. I suppose we'll call it complete.. for now! You know how these things go - I may feel the need to change something out in the near future, but it is good to feel like a space is complete.

The good news is that it is a world different from the powder room that you see below (from when we first moved in)!

The before shot.

Final powder room shot.

Hope you enjoyed the tour of our new space! Let us know your thoughts.

The Difference Between LIGHT and Wrong

Working with a client this afternoon on light fixture selections for the first floor of their home, I got to thinking that this is one area where clients often get lost. Now, I'm not saying that these particular clients are lost; in fact, they have actually been doing their homework on all the many things to consider when choosing, purchasing and installing light fixtures. But, because light fixtures can be such a difficult thing, I thought I'd share some designer insights that might be beneficial. So here they are!

Top 5 Things to Consider with Lighting

  1. Fixture Type/Usage First thing's first, what type of light fixture does your space call for? A ceiling pendant, table lamp, recessed light, wall sconce, floor lamp, or a combination thereof. And, what do you intend to use this space for and, therefore, how will you use the light fixture? For reading, cooking, putting on makeup, mood lighting, overall room lighting, or just for added decoration. With this first consideration, you'll need to answer the above questions and also think about how often you'll use the fixture, at what time of day, etc. This will make the following considerations easier.

Photo showing multiple types of light fixtures.

  1. Light Quantity and Quality Next thing to do is, based on the usage determined first, decide how much light you'll need and what feel you want that light to produce. Do you want lots of bright light? Or, do you want soft diffused lighting? This where you'll consider wattage, number of bulbs, incandescent of fluorescent, desired mood, soft or hard lighting, direct or indirect lighting, etc.

Photo showing low lighting for a mood effect.

  1. Scale and Proportion Once you have decided what kind of fixture and what kind of light you need, it's time to determine the appropriate size of that fixture. The first question to ask regarding scale and proportion is - How big is the intended space? You can only choose a light fixture that will actually fit in your space. However, that isn't the only size consideration you have. There is a real design decision to be made here. What impact do you want this light fixture to have? Is this a statement (or focal) piece? Or, is this a more functional piece that you want to meld into the rest of the design of the room? Playing with scale is a great tool designers use to add interest and drama to a space.

Photo showing scale with light fixtures.

  1. Style After you've tackled all the major requirements, you get to the fun part! What style is the light fixture going to be? Again, you'll have to remember its usage and its scale, and whether it's decorative or functional (or hopefully both); but, ultimately, it could be any style you wish, from a really clean, modern, simple fixture to a very traditional and overly decorative fixture. This will be dictated by your style, of course, and the style of your space! Make it work seamlessly with the rest of the design. Also, when choosing the style, you will also have other choices regarding the look of the fixture like color, finish, shade style, etc.

Photo showing the awesome style of an entry light fixture.

  1. Placement And, before you can call it done, you must think about the final perfect placement of your fixture. This consideration is really taken into account early on as well, but it's key in the installation process. Exactly where should your fixture be hung, mounted or placed? At what angle or position, and at what height or width apart? It's best to think about lines of sight and any specific axis used in the space. You know, consider if it should be centered on a window, in line with another fixture, at the appropriate standing or seated height, etc.

Photo showing placement of light fixtures.

So, next time you are thinking about switching out a light fixture or adding a new one, first think about these Top 5 Things. There are, of course, several other things to consider with any design element, such as budget, timeline, etc. But this list should get you started and hopefully have you selecting the LIGHT choice, and not the wrong choice!

Images from today's post can be found on DecorPad.

Let's get our paneling on..

and by on, I mean, on the wall! Hehe. We are moving along with the progress of our powder room project, and since we've taken care of the first step, we are ready to add the next layer. In a previous post, we had mentioned a paneling project with a modern twist and that's what we've got in store. So, here's the design concept - a classic crisp white paneling on the lower portion of the powder room walls, but instead of a traditional panel design or a typical bead board design, we have designed a more modern style horizontal plank paneling. You know, how I love a good horizontal design.

As you also know, I'm a huge DIY fan and love the sense of adventure and accomplishment (hopefully) that every DIY project brings. Not to mention that I also have the maybe-a-little-overconfident belief that I can do anything I set my mind to! So, from the beginning, this project was something Logan and I were definitely gonna tackle ourselves. But (yep, here's where the 'but' comes in), I have to be honest and say that I am also a fan of hiring a professional to get a job done, and to get it done right. I've seen too many clients with a "whoops, guess I shoulda called a professional" mistake and, by the time they called me it was too late. So, as a little disclaimer, before you tackle this project, please know that it has some difficult steps, requires some special tools and takes a good amount of time and hard work. However, if you're up for the challenge.. the result is worth it!

But, before we show you the results, lets go back to where it all began!

To get started with this DIY paneling project, we headed to our local home improvement store to pick up some supplies. Fortunately, all we really needed to purchase was the wood, because our already acquired arsenal of DIY supplies will take care of the rest. But, so you can plan accordingly, here's a list of what you'll need.

Supplies:

  • paper and pencil (to plan out your design)
  • a tape measure
  • wood (specific to your panel design)
  • a saw (we used a jig saw, but a circular saw would probably be best)
  • laser level
  • nails, nail gun and compressor
  • wood putty or spackle
  • sand paper
  • drop cloth
  • painter's tape
  • paint
  • paint brushes

With all of these supplies on hand, follow these how-to instructions to create your own unique paneling for any space in your home.

DIY Wall Paneling How-to

  1. Determine Paneling Design. Decide on the look and feel you want and sketch it out. This will help you in the following steps. As you know, we decided on a horizontal wood paneling design. Our design incorporated wood planks of varying widths and depths for added texture. In this step, we determined the plank dimensions that were the most aesthetically pleasing and in what pattern they would look best - see our elevation drawings below. (Side note: I happen to love drafting and using AutoCAD, so don't mind me.. instead you could just as easily use pencil and paper, which I did first anyway).

AutoCad drawing showing paneling design.

  1. Measure and Plan. Determine the measurements and calculations of your paneling design and how it will fit in your space. This will include height, spacing, proportions, size, etc. Therefore, this is also when you'll determine how much material to buy. In this step, we determined the appropriate height of the paneling on the wall for our space, and also took the perimeter measurements of the space to determine how many of each plank size we would need to implement our design. You'll notice that we utilize the wall surface, as part of the panel design, to save on material.
  2. Cut the Wood. After (and only after) you have measured and checked your measurements, you can start to cut your pieces of wood. I suggest doing this step in combination with the next step - cutting each piece, then hanging it, before moving on to cutting the next. It is a lot less confusing than having 20 pieces of precisely cut wood, but not remembering which piece goes where. Not to mention, sometimes measurements change as you go, even just a tad - your saw blade can eat away about 1/8" of your wood as you cut, so remember to allow for that.

First stage of the paneling project.

  1. Hang the Paneling. Again, do this in combination with cutting, as you'll want to double check your measurements between each cut to ensure a perfect fit. Oh and by the way, in our case, this step was easiest when done with two people. One person to hold the laser level (to ensure that the horizontal plank was actually horizontal), while the other person lines up the wood plank on the wall. Then, the first person grabs the nail gun and nails the plank in, while the other person is holding the plank firmly against the wall (careful not to nail any fingers). And, if you get to choose which job is yours - I think the nail gun is the fun job. I love that thing! I do love a power tool every once and awhile. =)

Another progress shot.

  1. Putty and Sand. Once the boards are all attached to the wall, and your paneling design looks complete, it's time to add a painted finish. But, like any painted finish, you want to prepare the surface. In this case, this includes puttying the nail gun holes and the seams where any wood planks meet. Once the putty dries (typically about 24 hours) go to town with some sandpaper to create a beautifully smooth finish. This process took us a few days with the drying time and my perfectionism. So, depending on your project this part may take the longest.

Puttying.

Valerie sanding the putty.

A close up of the top paneling trim.

  1. Paint and Enjoy. Lastly, you want to paint the paneling in whatever color you choose. We went with a warm crisp white in a semi-gloss finish. But first, make sure to use painters tape to trim out and protect any edges you do not want painted. In our case, we taped the blue-grey wall so that when we painted the top of the paneling we wouldn't damage the freshly painted wall. Then, we went ahead and painted the entire paneling area with a brush to ensure that every nook and cranny got covered.

Paneling with the first coat of paint.

So, that's it! Simple, right? Follow this how-to and you can add a personalized architectural feature to any of your spaces.

Below are a few photos of our finished DIY paneling project result. Check it out and let us know what you think!

The finished panel design!

Paneling behind toilet

Paneling from another angle.

A close up of the paneling texture.

The mirror layered over the paneling.

So there you have it - another step completed in our powder room project. But even with the paneling complete, this space is still a blank canvas, so we will, of course, be adding the next layer in the near future. Check back soon for progress!

Powder Room Progress

It's been a little while since we introduced you to our plans for the design of our tiny powder room. Since then, we have made some progress on the space! So, let me fill you in. First things first, we had to nail down the color palette and determine where those colors would be found in the space. We stuck with the plan and knew we wanted to go with a palette of grey blues, light browns, deep oil-rubbed bronze, fresh white and yellow ochre.

Fun little side note: Our inspiration for this palette actually came from this book cover!

Photo of inspiration book.

Our color palette.

To jump start the project, we decided to get some color on those blank walls! We chose the subtle greyish-blue color as the backdrop for the rest of the palette and off we were to find the perfect grey-blue for the walls of our space.

As you know, finding the perfect color can sometimes be a fun difficult task. Well, for me it is fun, but I know that it can be overwhelming for many people, and I've experienced this first hand with some of my clients.

So, before I share with you the specific color we've chosen, here's how we got there. Listed below are a few quick and helpful tips (that we always use), when choosing the perfect paint color for your space.

    Top 5 Tips for Selecting Paint Colors:

  1. Gather swatches/samples together. Pull together all the intended (or existing) materials and finishes for the space, and create a color and texture palette, to see how they all work together. You'll want a healthy mix of color, patterns, contrast, etc. The flooring material may make the wall color look very different than it does on the swatch alone.
  2. Analyze the color. Are there undertones of another color in your paint swatch? Does the color evoke a mood or feeling? These are things you want to be aware of before the paint goes on the wall. Your soft green may make you sick to your stomach, or your neutral beige may end up reading peach when it's on a large wall.. eek!
  3. Think about lighting. View the paint swatch in the light of your space at multiple times a day. Swatches can look very different in different spaces and in different light. Make sure you are happy with the look and feel of the color in your space from the bright morning light to the evening low light!
  4. Pay attention to the plane. Hold the swatch on the same plane as where you plan to paint - vertical for wall surfaces, horizontal for floor/ceiling, etc. You'll see that it really does change how you view the value of the color! I even suggest purchasing a sample paint pot and painting a test area directly on the surface, to be really sure.
  5. Take your time. I find myself explaining this to clients often. Good design takes time. It should not take forever, but the word design itself denotes planning and well thought out decisions. So, be patient and take the time to think about and explore all facets of the color before purchasing and painting.

Well, we followed our own advice and pulled together the few finishes that were already selected for the space - the ceramic tile floor (which we decided we are not changing), the bathroom fixtures (toilet and sink) and the book cover we were inspired by. And, narrowed it down to a few options.

Test swatches on the wall.

And after following the rest of the tips, we eventually decided on the color "Morning Fog" by Sherwin Williams.

Paint fan swatch.

Paint color blocks.

Anyway, after we purchased the paint, we got started late one evening. And here are a few shots of the progress.

Left side of space.

Right side of space.

Ruckus in the painted space.

Oh and yep, we only painted the upper portion of the wall. Wondering why? Remember the paneling idea we mentioned in a previous post. You'll have to wait and see what we have in store!

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?

Stairwall Stripes

It's been quite some time since we've published a blog post. But, it's because we've been really busy (which, in business, is always good news), so we don't feel too bad! =) Anyway, it's also been quite some time since we've brought you one of our DIY projects (like this one) that we've tackled for our own home. So, although we actually completed this project a little while ago, we haven't gotten to share it with you.. until now!

This one is a painting project, which is arguably one of the easiest and least expensive DIY projects anyone can do, whether it's freshening up a room with new wall paint, giving a tired old dresser a new life with a fresh splash of color or using paint to create inexpensive artwork! I love paint for that very reason. It's a great way to add interest, color and style to practically anything! But back to the project in today's post - of course, this wasn't just your average painting project. Nope.

We have this stair wall (as many people do), that was big, boring and blank! Check out our the before photo.

Blank stair wall

Anyway, so, it was time to get a little creative and find a solution. Our ideas ranged from a framed art wall to installing reclaimed brick veneer. But ultimately, we went with a less expensive idea and one we could do relatively simply! We decided on a painted wall treatment of horizontal stripes with subtle variation in each stripes width, color and finish. Here's a sneak peak at the result!

Close up of painted stripes.

Overall shot of painted stripes.

And, since we are busy, that's all you get for now! We'll have to save the how-to instructions for a post in the near future, so you too can turn your boring stair wall (or any other wall, or anything really) into something beautiful. Check back soon for our step-by-step guide!

Brochures, Pamphlets?

Brochure is kinda an ugly word! If you know me at all, you probably know that words (and names) are a big thing for me. Some are nice, pretty words, while others are, well, not so much. Some sound good rolling off the tongue and look nice when written, and some even taste good (if you can understand that), but then there are others that are really quite ugly. These words don't sound good, don't look good, and don't taste good and, therefore, make it really hard to say. Therefore, I try to find alternatives. Of course, this is all subjective, and most people have no problems with words! Unfortunately I 'suffer' from this problem, hehe! The funny part is that apparently it's contagious, because Logan has only developed this in the past few years - oops! Anyway, to me, brochure is one of those words. So, in thinking of an alternative word to use, I came up with pamphlet - which I can only say is a smidge better. It still has its issues, with the somewhat awkward spelling and the short cut pronunciation in speaking (ie. pan-flet), ugggh! So, I'm looking for an even better word. Anyone have suggestions?

Well, I admit I'm a bit quirky, but nonetheless, I'm only talking about these words because we've got good news! StudioVB has designed and printed new brochures, pamphlets, or whatever you want to call them, for our home staging services! It's spring time and it's that time of year when lots of people put their homes on the market, and lots more go house hunting. So, we are reaching out to realtors and homeowners both to offer our services. If you, or anyone you know, is thinking of putting their home on the market, call us first!

Anyway, thought we'd share a few pics of the new tri-fold informational advertisement (aka brochure).

Close-up of front of brochure

The front side of the brochure - unfolded.

Front of brochure

Inside back of the brochure.

View of the benefits of home staging

Imgae of me folding the brochures by hand

The final product.

DIY Window Cornice

Our last post showed the beginnings of a window cornice DIY project, but we hadn’t showed you the how-to or the result. So, that’s what we are blogging about today. If you’ve got a window that needs a little love, a quick and easy project, that will add some dynamic interest to your space, is just what the design doctor ordered. Okay, that was cheesy, I know!

Anyway, to get started on the project, first you need supplies, right? So, here is a list of what you need (what we used), most of which you probably have lying around the house somewhere.

Supplies:

  • a lovely fabric (we only used a yard and a half, bonus!)
  • batting (same length)
  • a few pieces of wood (you can even use scrap wood, we did!)
  • a tape measure
  • pencil
  • saw (we used a jig saw)
  • drill
  • screws
  • scissors
  • spray adhesive
  • staple gun and staples (light duty works fine)
  • and L-brackets

Once you have all the supplies, follow the simple steps below to cornice creation!

Upholstered Window Cornice How-to

  1. Determine the dimensions. This is a personal design choice and is totally up to you. But, here are a few tips! The cornice should be slightly wider than the window casing, as it will need to fit around it. It can be as tall as you’d like it to be, but just remember to conceal the unsightly window treatment mechanisms (after all, that’s the true purpose of a window cornice). And I would make the depth of the cornice at least 4 inches; again, it will need to allow room for the window casing and any window treatment mechanisms such as the brackets, blinds, rod, etc.

Diagram showing the size of the cornice.

  1. Construct the cornice frame. This is where you'll use the wood, tape measure, pencil, saw, drill and screws. Measure out the dimensions you’ve determined onto the wood and use an accurate saw to cut into four pieces – the face of the cornice (the biggest piece), two side pieces, and a top piece.

The constructed frame for the cornice.

Image showing that the constructed cornice fits into place.

  1. Cut and wrap the batting. Once you have the cornice constructed, lay out the batting and cut the appropriate amount to cover all three visible sides of the cornice.

Image showing cut batting.

Then, wrap it pretty snug the whole way around. The batting really only needs spray adhesive to attach it to the wood, but you can always use the staple gun just to be sure.

Image showing cornice frame wrapped in batting.

Image showing batting step finished.

  1. Upholster the cornice. Now that the frame and batting are ready, you can start the upholstery part. Yay! Measure twice and cut once the appropriate amount of fabric to cover all three visible sides of the cornice, just like you did with the batting. Quick tip – if your fabric has a pattern (like ours did), make sure you line up the fabric on the cornice to ensure that the finished product will show the portion of pattern you really want. And if it’s striped, you really need to pay attention to aligning it so that the stripes are straight!

Image showing the fabric being cut for the cornice.

Now, it's time for the best, and hardest, part. Start in the center of the cornice. Wrap the fabric and staple one staple on each side, pulling the fabric pretty tight. Work your way outward from there, alternating sides to ensure the face of the cornice is evenly smooth. Do this for the entire cornice. As you come to the sides of the cornice, you may want to cut some of the excess fabric as needed.

Image showing the upholstering of the cornice.

Detail shot of the rolled under edges and the staples.

Here's how it should look when you complete this step!

The finished cornice.

The face of the finished cornice.

  1. Attach L-brackets to the wall. While you are marveling at the beauty of the cornice you’ve just created, prepare the wall for it to be hung. About ¼ of the way in from the outsides of the window casing, screw in two L-brackets that your cornice will rest on.

Logan screwing in the L-brackets.

Image showing the L-bracket placement.

  1. Attach the top frame piece. The top board of the cornice does not need to be upholstered since it will not be visible when hung. Slide the top piece in about ¾ inch down from the top. Make sure you know which is top and bottom, you don’t want to end up hanging the cornice upside-down. Once the top piece is in place, attach it to the upholstered cornice with very small screws (that won’t reach through to the pretty face of the cornice) with small L-brackets (we actually used the same size ones we attached to the wall to hang the cornice).

Logan screwing in the L-brackets on the top piece of the cornice.

Image showing the attached top piece of the cornice.

The finished cornice, before it is hung on the wall.

  1. Hang the cornice, and voila! Slide the cornice into place above the window and reach up under the cornice (it will probably be a tight squeeze) to screw in small screws through the L-brackets that are on the wall, into the top piece of the cornice. That's it!

The finished product hung on the wall.

Image showing the cornice in the space.

So, what do you think? Let us know your thoughts on this project. Does it seem easy enough? Did it improve the look and style of the window?

Well, what really matters is that we love it. And we do! It added that extra layer that was missing. Now, we only have to add a few (or more.. haha) layers - we're thinking backsplash, lighting, etc. We'll be bringing you more DIY projects soon!

Layered Spaces

As an interior designer, I tell people that a well-designed space should have many layers, and it’s the layers that really make a space feel dynamic, aesthetically pleasing and complete. But as a busy business owner, wife and homeowner, it’s the layers that I just haven’t found the time (or the right items) to add to my own spaces. Shame on me! However, this past weekend I was out and about, and since I always have my eyes open for any great design finds to add to our home (or for client projects, of course), I happened to stumble across a beautiful fabric that, as soon as I saw it, I knew would be perfect for a certain DIY project for our home and I just had to have it!

But, before I tell you any more about that, I thought I should clarify what I mean when I say ‘layers’ when referring to designing spaces. This post is for those of you with spaces that you’re pretty happy with, yet still feel there is just something missing – it’s probably in the layers!

Just like any art form, the design of an interior space involves layering.

With oil painting, the first layer might be the ground (surface coating), then the underdrawing/sketch, then the underpainting, then the overpainting, and finally a glaze/varnish to complete the work of art.

In sculpture, the first layer might be an armature, then an overlay of clay, then adding specific textures, and ultimately finishing it with a glaze or a coating.

And, even in music there are layers, starting perhaps with the drum beat, adding in the guitar and other instruments, then layering in the vocals, and maybe even finishing it off with some effects.

Okay, so I’m probably going overboard with the examples of layering - I think you get it! But in interior spaces, it works the same way. Check out my visual explanation below on how I layer a space (I apologize for not including color in these quick sketches - because color does play a huge part in the layering process – but I think you’ll still get the idea!)

Most often the first layer is the 6 planes that create a space – in most cases that’s 4 walls, a ceiling and a floor. So this layer would include the flooring material, the wall color/texture, the ceiling color/material, etc.

Sketch of walls, ceiling and floor.

The next layer often involves adding textiles and surfaces that soften that 6 sided box - things like rugs and window treatments. In these two layers you are setting the stage (or the backdrop) for the space.

Sketch showing walls, ceiling, floor with window treatments and rug.

Now, the next layer usually includes the large furnishings of the room. This might be a sofa, coffee table, desk, etc.

Sketch showing room with sofa and coffee table.

Many times people stop here, with this layer, and that can be why those spaces are leaving something to be desired. But these next two layers are where the space comes alive!

The next layer should include decorative items such as lighting, artwork and design accents like toss pillows, occasional tables, etc.

Sketch of a room with sofa, coffee table, lighting and artwork.

And lastly, all spaces need a little bit of life and personality, and this comes by way of additional décor and accessories.

Sketch of a fully layered room with furnishings, decor and accessories.

So, there you have it! Each new layer builds upon the last and each layer should bring in, and balance, different colors, textures, patterns, etc. resulting in a dynamic, aesthetically pleasing and finished looking space! Hopefully you will find this helpful when pulling together your space.

For now, I’ve run outta time, so check back soon and I’ll be sure to let you in on my great design find (that I mentioned at the beginning of the post) and find out what DIY project we created to add a little layering to one of our rooms! Stay tuned…

Versatile Veggies

Like many of you, I’m sure, Valerie and I attended a Super Bowl get together on Sunday. We went to my mom and stepdad’s house where we enjoyed good food and good company, emphasis on the food, of course.. haha : ) As with most of our family shindigs we all pitch in and bring something to share. This time, Valerie and I were assigned veggies. So, instead of just bringing your normal veggie tray (which we did for those who don’t like change), we also stole a delicious idea from one of our friends and made this:

Football shaped dinner rolls with dip and vegetables on top.


You might recall seeing something similar from our previous post about our potluck just before the holidays. We used the same recipe (available at pillsbury.com) as our friends did, however, we just changed the shape of the rolls to look like a football. It was as delicious as I remember it and quite a crowd pleaser!

See our process below:

Chopped vegetables on cutting board.

Baked dinner rolls in the shape of a football.

Mixing bowl of spreadable vegetable dip.

Dinner rolls with vegetable dip on top.

Vegetables placed on dinner rolls to look like a football.

Football shaped dinner rolls with vegetables on top.

Football shaped dinner rolls with dip and vegetables on top.

Close up of veggies.

So, as you can see, this is an easy and fun way to mix things up, and can be created for any event by simply changing the shape. For example, with Valentine’s Day coming up, you lovebirds who want to show your sweetie how you really feel, try making this in the shape of a heart!

Let’s hear about some of the tasty foods you shared at your Super Bowl parties!

And, for those Packers fans out there, congrats! For the Steelers fans, good try and good game! And, for the fans of any other teams, well, better luck next year : )

Un-decorating for the Holidays

Over the past month, we have decorated everything from the tree to table tops and even sugar cookies. Look below to see some of the creative and artful projects we’ve done here at our home. Christmas tablescape with peppermint bowls

Close-up of Christmas centerpiece.

Stockings hanging by the tree

Close-up of name tag on Logan's stocking

Close-up of ornaments on the Christmas tree

Decorated sugar cookies

But after all that fun and beautiful holiday décor, it’s now the first week of January and the holiday season is pretty much over. Therefore, it’s time to un-decorate. I thought I’d post a few tips for this often not-so-fun task that (for us) make the process simpler, practical and fun.

    Un-decorating Tips!

  • Break the un-decorating process into two stages – Instead of spending a whole day tearing down the entire house, after the holidays, first remove and put away only the holiday specific décor. Other winter related décor can remain up throughout the season and be enjoyed for another few weeks!
  • Donate old or unused décor items – Less is often more, and we are always up for cleaning out and simplifying. There is no need to store décor that you never use or don’t intend to use next year. But, don’t simply throw it away! Donate it or reinvent a new purpose for it – think art project!
  • Get organized – Perhaps when you unboxed all the decorations this year, you found that last year they had been tossed in boxes, tangled together and maybe even broken. Well, take the extra couple seconds this year to organize like items together, carefully wrap and box décor items and, of course, (if you know me at all) label, label, label. This will make both the decorating and un-decorating process a piece of cake for years to come.
  • Redesign your space – At Christmas, we often move aside furnishings and other décor to make room for the Christmas tree and all the other holiday décor! Well, when it’s time to put it all back, don’t just go back to the old layout, put your creativity hat on and change things up a bit. This will also give your home a fresh look for the New Year!
  • Bring in Spring – While the warmer weather is still many weeks away, get excited about the new season and lightening and brightening your space for spring! I don’t know about you, but winter weather puts a damper on my productivity and creativity, among other things. So, here is my opportunity to fight back! Design shops everywhere are launching their spring goods – go out and get inspired… maybe even snag a great find!

Well, I promise I won’t be posting anymore on the topic of Christmas, but we hope that our little look back over the holiday season, that we didn’t get to share while we were busy finalizing the launch of this blog, has perhaps inspired some ideas and Christmas cheer for next year! Now it’s back to work on a few client projects, and as always, more design and DIY fun here at our own home and studio!

Sending Handmade (and eco-friendly)

It’s been several days since Christmas, but here on our blog, we’re still catching you up on all the pre-holiday fun we had. Another staple of the holidays are the Christmas wishes sent to family and friends; whether it be an email, a mailed card, a family update letter, or what have you, many people dig out their address book (or iPhone in our case) and gather a list of all those they hope to wish season’s greetings to. I must admit, I do love the idea of shooting someone a little note to say hello or simply that you’re thinking of them, but sending Christmas cards can often be overwhelming, and for us, this year was no different! Logan and I were feeling crafty one night in December and he says to me, “Why don’t we make our Christmas cards?” which, I should mention, is not unusual as we have done this several times before, and so, I happily agree. But, I’m not sure we knew what we were getting into this time.

As an artist, I had recently been interested in mosaics, having been inspired by my aunt who has been creating beautiful credit card mosaics for the past several years. Anyway, I had been saving all cardboard packaging from products we buy at the grocery store (cereal boxes, tissue boxes, etc.) in hopes of cutting them into tiny squares and reusing them as my medium to create recycled mosaic artwork. So, with the huge stack of these broken down boxes staring us in the face, Logan suggests this method for creating our Christmas cards. So, off we began and let the holiday spirit inspire us! Check out some of the results and our easy instructions below.

How-to: Recycled Mosaic Cards

  1. Gather supplies - card stock, scissors, craft glue and post-consumer cardboard packaging.

Post-consumer recycled cardboard packaging

  1. Cut and fold card stock to desired size and orientation to create the actual card.
  2. Cut lots of small shapes (squares, triangles, etc.) from the cardboard packages - these are the mosaic pieces.

Handmade recycled mosaic present card in progress

  1. Organize the mosaic pieces into colors and patterns for ease of creative flow. =)
  2. Layout mosaic pieces to form simple seasonal imagery (presents, snowmen, Christmas trees, wreaths, etc.)

Handmade recycled mosaic snowman card in progress

  1. After you're happy with your design - glue the mosaic pieces down. We use scrapbooking tweezers, which help this go smoothly!
  2. Write your message inside the card and sign, seal and send! That's it!

Handmade recycled mosaic Christmas tree card

Now, as I write this, I must be clear – this DIY project is really super simple, inexpensive and a lot of fun, and for many great reasons (recycling materials, being crafty, and giving handmade gifts – just to name a few), I hugely encourage you to create your own greeting cards. But, on the other hand (the logical one), at the volume of nearly 50 cards, you can imagine the huge undertaking this became and the smidge of regret we had for taking on such a project. =) But on the bright side, Logan and I got to spend a good deal of quality “craft time” together and when all was said and done, they turned out very sweet and the best part is the lovely and very complimentary feedback we’ve received from our recipients; making it all well worth it! And before you say, “well, thanks for the idea, but Christmas is over.” This handmade recycled mosaic card project works for any occasion… so get crafty!