harrisburg

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.

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!

Paint the Plugs

So, if you follow us on twitter, you saw our latest tweet about picking up supplies for our Paint the Plugs entry. If you don't follow us, what are you waiting for? We tweet helpful design tips, inspirational design ideas and insights into the daily happenings of our studio. So, stop everything you are doing and go click the "follow" button now. We'll be here when you get back! Anyway, today we wanted to let you in on the details of the Paint the Plugs project and the design we came up with for our plug, aka. fire hydrant. I'm sure you've seen these community projects around here, or around your town, where artists from the community are called to submit designs for painting public objects like, well, fire hydrants - to bring some fun, personality and creative arts to the city streets.

Here are a few examples to clarify what I'm talking about.

Photo of me with a painted mario hydrant.

Zebra and pink hydrant

Photo of painted dalmation hydrant

Well, Friends of Midtown, our local community group (which we are, of course, members of) is hosting one of these events called Paint the Plugs and, as these events often are, it's a contest. We heard about the Paint the Plugs event a few months ago, but with our busy schedule we didn't consider submitting a design to participate as an artist. Instead we wanted to support the project as a sponsor. So we did! Then several weeks later, we ran into the Friends of Midtown leaders at the Pride Fest of Central PA, and they mentioned that they had very few artist submissions, so they kind of talked me into designing a submission!

Our design is entitled "Illusion".. we call it this because we plan to paint the plug to look as if it is constructed of something other than metal.. specifically wood, fabric and rope. Hopefully fooling your eye into actually believing it is.

So, check out our design concept images below!

Design concept for our hydrant.

Design concept for our hydrant.

Happily our submission was selected to be one of the contestants, so wish us luck on the execution of prep work and painting, and even more luck on hopefully winning the contest! When the time comes, voting will be online at the Friends of Midtown website, but not until September 16th!

As of now, here is what the plug looks like.. or as we're used to saying.. here's the before photos!

Before photo of our hydrant.

Second before photo of our hydrant.

Stay tuned for progress updates and the finished product!

Simple Serenity

As of a couple weeks ago, we've added a new project to our portfolio. So, take that as an excuse to go check out our portfolio if you haven't, or haven't lately! The new project is titled Simple Serenity and is a master bedroom in a city house here in midtown Harrisburg. This property was vacant and on the market for sale. And, as you know, vacant homes are not easily sold, since the potential of the spaces is difficult for buyers to visualize. So, that's where we came in. We took on this home staging project to give the potential buyers a great idea of how this home can look furnished and simply styled.

Since this home is here in the city, we focused on a urban sophisticated design concept, with a subtle color palette of grey and beige against the strong contrast of light walls and dark furnishings. Then, we added a few metallic accents mixed with natural accessories to give the space some drama but with a comfortable feeling of nature.

Here are a few photos from the portfolio - just to give you a snippet!

Overall shot of the space.

Dresser shown in a niche.

Accessories on the dresser.

Shot of the headboard and bedding.

Detail shot of the mirror.

And since you might be wondering.. This home SOLD just a little over a month after being staged. What a true testament to the effectiveness of home staging. I am always happy to help homeowners get their properties sold fast and for the highest price. So, if your planning to put your home on the market, give us a call first!

Flea Market Season

Between StudioVB work and projects around the house, I have been trying to get time to get out and enjoy the summer. I know I've said it many times before, but I am definitely a warm weather kinda girl. And, along with warm weather comes a ton of things that I just can't get enough of - the breeze through open windows (both in the car and at home), ice cream (yep, i'm a total sweet tooth), being outdoors (the park, the lake, the backyard, wherever), and one of my faves.. flea markets! Luckily, we have a few pretty good ones here in the Harrisburg area. Two of which are the Annual Shipoke Flea Market, where we went this past weekend, and the Williams Grove Flea Market that I am planning to pop by this coming weekend. The Williams Grove Flea Market is probably the largest and maybe one of the coolest. It's held at the old Williams Grove Amusement Park grounds, and the setting is totally cute and really quite cool. It has these great little shaded walkways strolling past some of the park's old buildings and old rides and attractions that remain, dilapidated but wonderfully aesthetic. It definitely shows the history of the place. Anyway, I will hopefully take some photos while I'm there to post in the near future.

But as for the Annual Shipoke Flea Market - it is very cute and nice as well. This flea market is set along the Susquehanna River in the quaint Shipoke neighborhood of Harrisburg and is only held once a year (hence the "annual" part). So, I always make sure to go because the people are nice, the setting is beautiful and the finds are often pretty good! This time, we went a little later in the day than I hoped, so you know some of the good stuff was already gone. Lots of stands had mostly glassware and ceramic chotchkies/tchotchke/chachka (I'm not sure I know how to spell that - I don't think I've ever written it out), and you know that stuff rarely sells! Anyway, here are a few photos from our day!

Shot of the flea market.

Another shot of the flea market.

Here are a few items we thought could be good finds!

A shot of a folding luggage rack and cute magazine holder.

A photo of a cool antique trunk.

A photo of Logan with an owl art print.

So, sidenote - here's the owl story! We had come to the Shipoke Flea Market last year, and had seen a piece of art with a really quirky little owl that we really liked, but we passed it up hoping on the way back through we could offer less than what it was marked! Well, that was a rookie mistake (even for these veteran flea marketers) because obviously someone else thought it was cool and snatched it up before we made it back through. We were so bummed - Logan especially, because of course it was my suggestion to wait it out. I can't help it, I guess I am too thrifty for our own good! But I learned that lesson well - if you are going to be heart broken if it's gone, bite the bullet and buy it when you see it! So anyway, as you can imagine, I haven't heard the end of it about the 'lost' owl print over the past year. So, when we came across this unique little print (I'm slightly convinced it's the same one), we snagged it right away! I hope I've redeemed myself. Now we just need to find a spot for it.

Back to our afternoon at the flea market! Well, of course, you always find some really strange or weird stuff at flea markets too, but that's part of the fun of it. So here are a few of those finds!

A photo of baskets full of barbies.

A shot of a van seat.

A photo of a motorcycle with toliet paper bungeed onto it.

Ahh.. nothing better than an afternoon at the flea market!

Our Happy Home

So, I’ve mentioned before that on our blog we hope to share with you our design ideas, projects, etc. Well, we will definitely be sharing what we can of our client projects, but we’re also happy to share the design journey of our own home. So, we thought we’d give you some background, or point of reference, on our happy little home before we would delve into any details in the future. So, here goes. Logan and I bought our first house here in midtown Harrisburg about a year and a half ago (wow, seems like just yesterday - time flies!). Like many house hunting stories, we saw the home listed for sale and called the seller to schedule a time to view it. We were told it was in mid-renovation, but we could definitely come check it out. Being the DIYers that we are, and knowing that we could see the potential in anything, we decided to go see the home. Here is what we walked into that day - an over 100 year old city home that had just begun a much needed renovation (forgive the picture quality, it was dusty and dark in some areas).

View of living room and front door during renovation

View of Valerie in kitchen with tape measure during renovation

View of 100 year old painted stairway during renovation

View of hallway during renovation

View of Logan pretending to wash his hands in our bathroom sink

View of office/studio during renovation

View of Logan and Valerie pretending to lay in their master bedroom during renovation

So, as you can see, we had to use our imaginations quite well to envision this as our home. But, we did, and the ideas were already swarming. I remember standing in what is now our master bedroom whispering to Logan, “I think this is the one!” After months of house hunting, and coming oh-so-close to deciding on another home, we were extremely excited about finding this place. It was in the perfect location, the perfect price and being a blank slate only made the deal more perfect. So we made an offer while there were only studs for walls, it was accepted and we bought the house! We were so excited to finally own our home and have the opportunity to make it ours.

So, over the following 2 months or so, we would travel back and forth from NYC to visit the house, make design decisions and see its renovation progress - so much fun! Eventually, we moved into the house, and began the seemingly never ending journey of designing the spaces, choosing color schemes, finding the right pieces, and working on projects to make this house our home. Well, I’m sad to say that we have unfortunately only made baby steps (in my opinion), okay maybe toddler steps, with so many other things going on and little time and budget allotted for our own home. But, I suppose since I claimed I hadn’t made a New Years resolution, focusing on finishing the design of our home would be a good one. We'll be sure to post any progress!