Tips and Ideas

Tuesday Tip - Make the Most of Your Windows

Design tip header.

Tuesday Tip - Make the Most of Your Windows:


Let in more light, open up your space, and feature your windows with a few simple tricks. Try hanging your window treatments at full ceiling height or at least above the window frame. This will draw your eye up and add visual height to the room. Also try hanging them wider than the window frame, which will expand the window, making it seems larger than it really is.


Check out these images below for examples of how to make the windows a true feature in the space!

Ceiling height window treatments.

Open airy window treatments.

Window treatments in bedroom.

Images found here!

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!

Helpful Design Tips

Over the past many months, when we had a free moment here or there, we had been posting helpful design tips on our Facebook page or on Twitter. However, we recently got to thinking that our blog readers might find them helpful too! So, as of today, we will post our random StudioVB Design Tips on our blog as well! And, each time we post one, we'll enter it in our "tips and ideas" category, so if you want to check out all our helpful tips with one simple click - you can!

Design Tip Header

Well, as the banner above says, here's our first design tip (posted on our blog) to get the ball rolling.

Design Tip:


Lost on where to start the design for a room? Take an item you already love (ie: rug, pillow, artwork) and pull the color palette from that! It gives you something to work from and you get to incorporate a piece you love!

I hope today's tip provides a bit of inspiration for those of you who are ready to get started on making your space fit you and your style, but are feeling a bit stuck. Try our tip!

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?

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…

Staging Tips!

So, last post I talked about home staging and the incredible benefits homeowners get from taking just a few simple home staging steps. Well, I also mentioned that I might list some tips to get you DIYers started. So, that’s what I’ve got in store for you this post. Check it out below! A sold sign in front of a home

Key Tips to Staging your Home for Sale:

De-clutter – With a staged home, it’s likely to sell fast - so you might as well start packing early! Remove all items that are cluttering your spaces (even donate some to charity). Homebuyers want to see the house, not your things. In this case, as with many things, less is more.

De-personalize – Homebuyers want to envision themselves in your home, so let them do so by taking down personal photographs, personal religious icons, personal style décor, etc. You want any buyer that walks through your door to feel at home!

Make Repairs – You know that broken door hinge you’ve been meaning to fix – do it! And also fix any other tiny dents, dings and broken things around the house. These will be big distractions for homebuyers.

Update – Most homebuyers are looking to buy a new home that is move-in ready. But, they are not looking to buy your old carpet and lighting fixtures with it. So, go ahead and do the little bit of work to update any fixtures and finishes that are out-of-date. These outdated aspects of the home scream “lots of work to be done”. And don’t worry, you’ll definitely see a good return on this!

Clean – Wash, scrub and dust all parts of the home until it sparkles. Think about it, this might be the last time you have to. A super clean house makes a great impression, and tells buyers that the home was well kept!

Stage – Lastly, stage the home to be tasteful, beautiful, and appealing to almost anyone. Buyers want to see functionality and how they can use the space, so give them hints of that through-out. Here is where you’ll definitely need professional help. Stagers know what the trends are, what buyers are currently looking for, and what has been proven to show best. So, let us help. Contact us today!

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!