styling

Living room redesigned

Kandy was my first experience working with a designer, and it was such a positive one! She is fun, friendly, open, responsive, and very talented and creative! She worked with me to assess my style, my priorities, and really helped get creative to stay within my budget. Not only do I love the spaces she helped me create, but I also feel like she introduced me to valuable resources and design skills that I have used on my own since. I highly recommend her!
— Amy

Amy had a lovely sunny living room, art and accessories from her family and her travels, but she was suffering from long narrow living room syndrome, which is a common Chicago apartment problem. 

She willingly wanted to get rid of her furniture and love seat, which were a little bit too big for the space. They were pieces she had bought used years ago and they never were quite what she wanted. Normally, I try to work with the pieces that owners already have but in this case replacing the oversized sofa was a good call. 

One of her concerns was to make sure that she had enough seating since she was getting rid of the love seat. The love seat was replaced with a chair and she had an additional chair she could pull in from the desk next to the sofa when needed. 

My design plan was to create two zones. One would be centered around the fireplace and be for conversation and people watching, while the other would be for her desk and a reading nook. 

Sometimes you have to play with layouts. The first one I sketched up used the couch to really delineate the space. Unfortunately it just wasn't a very good flow for the apartment. When I did this initial sketch the cable was on the side of the wall by the window, which is why the tv is located there. Ultimately we ran the cable around the room to the other side. 

This is the option that we ended up going with. The couch under the windows and the chair at an angle. It provided enough space to move through the room and get to the door which lead to her bedroom. In this instance it is the rug that helps define the space. 

RoomSketcher Snapshot.jpg

This was definitely a collaborative effort. Amy needed help with layout and ideas for furniture but we worked together to pick items for her space. She was the one who found this fabulous rug which really added color and life to the space. Amy was kind enough to snap a photo on her iphone and send it my way. I'm not always able to get the fancy pictures, but this really gives an idea of how much the flow was improved and a bit of life breathed back into the room. Plus kitty agrees! 

If your space could use a little design help then fill out this form today for an initial complementary fifteen minute consultation to discuss your design needs. 

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How to Style a Retro Industrial Mantel

Here is what I've learned from styling- keep playing with it. As you can see from the GIF below it took a couple of tries before I got the right feel. 

I started with this diagram about design by Charles Eames. Once I got the pulley in  place (available in the shop) the other side just needed a little tweaking. 

I love the end result that is a mixture of industrial, modern and a bit twee. The pitcher with flowers helps add some height. The mid-century modern vase plays off nicely with the Eames print. The sweet deer (which unfortunately has already sold) makes the whole thing not seem too serious. 

To recap-

  • First start with something large and bold that will have an impact. 
  • Next start layering items that complement your centerpiece. In this styling I had a theme and all of the items fit within that theme. 
  • You will notice that there is a certain symmetry to this styling, but it isn't perfect. Our eye is drawn to symmetry, but I think when it is too equal then it starts too feel too formal and staid. 
  • Use books to add height to items
  • Add things to your mantel that you love and want to display
  • Play with it. It some times takes me days of moving stuff around to finally decide I'm done. 

If by any chance you missed the past stylings here is Romantic Traditional and Nostalgic, which is my favorite because it is what my mantel looks like day to day!

If something caught your eye, most of the items seen pictured, except for the Eames print, are available in the shop. Please buy it so I don't keep it and add it to the collection on my mantel! 

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How to style a traditional romantic mantel

The look I was going for with this fireplace mantel was traditional romantic. I think I hit the traditional note by bringing in the vintage German clock along with the silver pitcher full of flowers. Below is a time lapse of the process. 

We always see these picture perfect images in magazines, but styling something takes a little bit of time and, well, futzing around. 

First I grabbed the piece that I knew I wanted to be the centerpiece of this mantel design. You want something that is a bit bold and has some height and weight to it. That was this stunning Rolf Armstrong print titled thinking of you from 1929. It's available here in the shop if you are interested. 

Next I paired it with this really cool hand made butterfly tray on silk fabric. I added a silver pitcher filled with flowers. 

IMG_0804.JPG

The tray felt a little like it was competing with the Rolf Armstrong print so I moved that and substituted it with this stunning reverse painted vintage mirror

Since the right hand side was looking a little empty, I added this fabulous silver plated candelabra (it's not just a candle holder, it's fancy- hence a candelabra!). I also put a small lotus candle holder. Which looks a bit twee against the ornate candelabra. 

Since I wasn't sold on the candelabra, I switched it out for this amazing German clock. At this point I kind of like how it looks, but I am still not at 100%. 

Same items, but swapped around, and still not there. 

The clock needed height to combat with the height of the flowers and so I put it on top of some of my favorite books. I love the balance and composition but I felt like the lotus flower candle holder was getting a little lost because the color tone was so similar to the color of the mat of the painting.

Et voila! I switched out the candle holder for this beautiful hand made Tibetan prayer wheel

  • First start with something large and bold that will have an impact. 
  • Next start layering items that complement your centerpiece. In this styling I had a theme and all of the items fit within that theme. 
  • You will notice that there is a certain symmetry to this styling, but it isn't perfect. Our eye is drawn to symmetry, but I think when it is too equal then it starts too feel too formal and staid. 
  • Use books to add height to items
  • Add things to your mantel that you love and want to display
  • Play with it. It some times takes me days of moving stuff around to finally decide I'm done. 

If you are looking for more styling inspiration take a look here

P.S. Everything that is hyper linked is available in the shop

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Going to the dark side

I need to repaint my office. Let me rephrase that- I've needed to repaint my office for almost a year now. I even have a can of paint just sitting there waiting to be used. It is white with a tint of grey. 

My office is painted this horrendous shade of beige with way too much yellow in it. In fact my whole house is this horrid shade of beige. The room also gets no natural light. I've decided to embrace the darkness and make the room cozy instead of bleh. 

I've decided that I will willingly paint the room back to beige but I can't live with it like this anymore. Plus there are holes from the previous tenant that were never patched and I added even more holes to the wall. 

The function of this room is shifting. It is going to be a combo office, guest bedroom, and tv watching room. I decided to be bold and I'm going to paint the space dark grey almost black. 

I turned to the interwebs for further inspiration/confirmation of my insane idea. There is a Benjamin Moore paint store around the corner from my house so that's where I am heading to get my paint. Therefore I focused my search on Benjamin Moore. 

Whale Grey via  Remodelista

Whale Grey via Remodelista

Caviar via  Ramsey Interiors

Caviar via Ramsey Interiors

Soot via  Design*Sponge

Soot via Design*Sponge

Deep Space via  Design*Sponge

Deep Space via Design*Sponge

Graphite via  Life In Grace

Graphite via Life In Grace

Gravel Grey via s fgirlbybay

Gravel Grey via sfgirlbybay

I kind of want them all, but I need to narrow it down. I've gone to the paint store to get samples so I'll keep you posted. 

Have you painted a room dark? 

 

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Alternative Room Designs

What would your home look like if it did not have a television? I have joined the gym again (yeah me!) but in order to afford it I need to cut my cable. I think the only thing I am going to miss is HGTV and DIY Network. 

I started thinking that since my computer resides in my other room and it has a great monitor and sound system, why don't I just use that space for watching television. 

That then opened up a whole realm of possibilities. The television is where it is because that is where the cable wiring is. The whole room is built around it, but now I can move everything around. I feel like the space is going to be so much more conducive to hanging out with friends. 

I decided to go and look for rooms that did not have the television as their primary focal point and they were surprising difficult to find. Here are some spaces that may make you want to ditch the tv!

You don't even need a couch, just a play area to set up your fort. In the image below the focus then is on the fireplace. It makes it feel like a great place to hang out and chat. 

This room is a little bit formal for my taste, but it is a great example of how to bring in additional types of seating.

Another peaceful room without a television. That couch is just begging me to curl up with a book and a cup of tea. 

Have you ever thought of getting rid of your television? 

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