Three Things I’m Loving

August 1st, 2013

We are all inundated with images and products over and over every day. So I’m trying to learn to distill all of that down to a few key pieces that REALLY stick with me beyond the initial impression. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them too.

As I put this together I realized how much Pattern and Color seem to be speaking to me lately.

LR - dwell sofa

First up: this patterned sofa from Dwell Studio.  It adds such a fun balance of pattern vs. white space to the overall room.

Just like a well designed page in a magazine where you need the white space to let the images and text speak clearly, the white space/negative space allows this room to breathe and the pattern to speak without overpowering the rest.

Did you notice how the vases on the dresser in the next room (left side of photo) continue the color story into the adjacent room? Nice touch.

And if you’re loving that mushroom side table, Patina gift shop (in the Twin Cities) carries them!

calico corners ad 6-13

I don’t usually save sale postcards from stores, but for some reason the mix of the curtain fabric and the Josef Frank inspired fabric on the settee with the modern dining table and chair keeps speaking to me.

I looked the curtain fabric up on their website and it didn’t look as good in the little digital sample, so this really highlights the importance of seeing a large piece of these patterns to get a true sense of their design and impact. The large scale of their patterns would be lost on smaller pieces, so skip the throw pillows and go big and bold!

abstract art composite

Ok, so this looks like 3 things in of itself, but what I’m really trying to show is my fixation on modern, colorful, abstract art.  Bold colors, movement, and (shocking to me) pink seem to be common denominators. But there are lots of options in every color palette, so don’t let my pink fixation scare you off! I think that’s the influence of having a 1 year old daughter whose wardrobe of hand me downs has a lot of hot pink in it.

Um, did I say ONE year old? Wow, when did THAT happen? Well, technically Tuesday. I just mean where did that year go?!

What are YOUR current obsessions? Does all this pattern scare you or does it inspire you? 



Sources for last 3 photos:

1 – Martha Stewart Living April 2012

2 - Emily Henderson bedroom makeover with Land of Nod (art by Michelle Armas, my personal favorite!)

3 - Serena & Lily art collection 


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Sports Graphics for Kids’ Rooms

July 15th, 2013

Do you remember this bedroom I designed for the ASID Showcase Home back in 2010?

Showcase Bedroom After


Showcase Bedroom After


It’s  a really popular project on my Houzz profile (, and I get a lot of questions about those wall graphics.

Fortunately, the company I purchased them through still stocks them. But some people might want the look at a smaller scale.

So I’m so excited to share what I found in the Land of Nod catalog I received in the mail yesterday:


These wall graphics are peel and stick and removable, just like the originals. But at 28″ x 35″ they are smaller and have a punch of color and pattern with the built in background.


Basketball fans have an option, and so do baseball fans.

And I’m glad there’s a soccer (or should I say football?) option too. It seems like it sometimes gets left out.



At $39 each, it’s a great pick me up for a kids’ room that won’t break the bank!


What do you think? Would you put these in your kids’ rooms? A hang out space for the kids? In the garage above the sports equipment organizer?

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The Joys of New Flooring

June 27th, 2013

New flooring is a very good thing. New flooring that fits your personality and lifestyle is even better.

I promised you an follow up on the new flooring we installed last summer, right before Eleanor was born. (see that progress post HERE.)

I will say I don’t recommend refinishing hardwood floors in the high heat of the summer. Airing out your house for a week in 90 degree + weather is not for the faint of heart. Or anyone with a nose who prefers to not sweat 24 hours a day. Or a pregnant lady. Don’t worry, I decamped to my parents’ spare bedroom for 10+ days away from the heat and fumes. I’m just saying.

With that said, here are the glorious before and after photos.

Kitchen Floors – Before (hello photo bombing cats, Maddie and Boo)

Kitchen floor - before

Kitchen Floors – During

Kitchen floor - during

Kitchen Floor – After! (and photo bombing Eleanor!)

Kitchen floor - after 

Woo Hoo! We love how easy it is to clean these tiles and the level surface we now have. It makes it so nice to not have tiles wobbling under your feet, stubbing a toe on a tile edge, or worried how a little girl learning to walk will handle the uneven flooring. Plus, they are our aesthetic, so the house suddenly felt much more OURS when the floors were done.

Now for the hardwood floors. There was maroon carpet in the dining room, hallway, master bedroom and nursery when we moved in. We knew the previous owners had started to refinish the wood floors underneath but stopped and put down the carpet instead. They had two big dogs, so the thought of the dogs scratching up the floors led to that decision. Again, perfectly good product, and we lived with it for a year (even though it clashed with our furniture). But we knew we wanted the hardwood floors underneath, so we made the leap.

The process: We had the floors sanded twice (2 different grits), filled with a stainable product that helped fill pockmarks and gaps between boards, stained, 2 coats of poly.

First time we saw the wood floors in a corner of the bedroom closet. So exciting!


Dining Room to Kitchen Transition – Before (previous owners’ furniture from walk-thru)

Dining Room before

Dining Room to Kitchen Transition – During


Dining Room to Kitchen Transition – After

Kitchen Transition - After


Yes, I realize those stools are bar counter height, not counter height. We brought them over from our condo and I’ve been meaning to chop of the legs and dip dye them (like this), but since the legs flare out at an angle the cuts are tricky. And we never need to sit there, so the project is low on the list. I’ll probably find other stools I love before then. But it’s a good short-term $$ saving solution. Once I actually do it.


We chose to remove the carpet, pad, tack strips and staples ourselves. It was a cost savings, a bit of work, and satisfying to accomplish. We were able to break the project up over a couple of weeks since we didn’t have a deadline, which made it easier to not get burnt out pulling staples.

Since we couldn’t get a bid on the refinishing until the carpet was up, there were a few weeks of raw exposed floors to live with. There were a bit rough on our feet, but nothing major. Most people wouldn’t have to deal with this because the underlying floor would still be finished under the carpet. But ours had been sanded already. Though we did need to have it completely sanded again ultimately.

Dining Room – Before & During (you can see the maroon carpet on the left side of the photo)


Dining Room – After

Dining Room - After


Dining Room After Overall


Hallway – Before 


Hallway – After


With the carpet removed, the transition to wood from tile required a transition strip. There is a height difference between the 2 materials, but we don’t notice it really. Eleanor pauses to step carefully at each one now that she’s walking, but in a couple of weeks she’ll be running over them without hesitation.

We did have to add a quarter round along the baseboard, but John did that himself! He even “had” to buy some new tools to do it, but I didn’t mind since I didn’t have to do the work. =)


See, remodeling projects can (and SHOULD) have a happy ending!  We even got all the work done with time to spare before the baby arrived.

All in all, we’re so happy with our beautiful updated floors. I’d love to help you have the same feeling every time you walk through your home. I can’t recommend it enough.

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Ta Da, I’m Back!

May 9th, 2013

No, I didn’t fall down a rabbit hole or get buried alive by the giant piles of snow that fell this winter spring in Minnesota.

I realize it’s been a while since I posted. Ok, I guess that’s an understatement as I see my last post was last June, before we had finished updating our floors. But I have a really good excuse, I swear. Wanna see it? You will forgive me instantly, I promise.

Eleanor Day 1


This is Eleanor Mieko Slack. Born July 30, 2012.

I’ve been working over the past 9 months, but with the little bit of free time I have, I’ve chosen to spend it with this amazing little girl rather than creating new blog posts.  The time has flown by, and we are having a blast. But I also want to reconnect with my readers and share all the new design inspiration and products that I’ve discovered recently.

So here is my quick version of Eleanor’s first 9 months, to get it out of my system, and then we’ll get back to design. Though I’ll probably have to post an occasional cute kiddo photo because I can’t resist. And I’m a new mom, so what do you expect?


How quickly they grow! She’s only 7 weeks old here but look at all that hair! It was cool to see how soon her personality started shining through.


Eleanor site visit

3 months old and already visiting a job site to help me during a window treatment installation. She was so happy to be my design assistant for the day.


Standing proudly

She was sitting up by herself at 5 months, and then wanted to get back to practicing standing as much as possible once she’d mastered sitting. Here she is at 6 months showing off her balance skills and love of bright colors. (We dubbed this hoodie her baby camo, since it went with every bright piece of clothing.)



I don’t think you can read the shirt in this photo, but it says “My Mom is a Fox.”  When I was a toddler I had a t-shirt that read “Foxy Baby.” This is her version of that, though I think my mom saved that t-shirt so we can put Eleanor in it too.  She’s 8 1/2 months old and so happy to be cruising and walking around (with our hands, of course.)


Two front teeth

Yesterday she flashed those new 2 front teeth at me, and you can see what a happy kid we scored.


Insider tip: if you get a chance to meet her, she’ll think you are awesome if you do Patty Cake, Itsy Bitsy Spider or Wheels on the Bus. You’re welcome.


Aren’t you impressed how few photos I included? My folder of favorite photos has 242 images right now, so be glad we aren’t in the era when people invited you over to watch a slide show on their dining room wall. Would that take 4 carousels or more? Do you even remember those?


Alright, thanks for indulging me.  Next, an update on those floors from last summer. They look fabulous and have been a great improvement, just as we hoped. And I’ll make sure Eleanor photo bombs at least one picture.


What kinds of posts would you like to see from me moving forward?  I have some new ideas, but I’d love to know what kind of information you enjoy the most. New posts coming this year: 3 things I’m loving, behind the scenes project photos, innovative products, etc.


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Designers Live Through Construction Too

June 13th, 2012

I thought my clients might enjoy seeing that I have to live through construction mess and chaos too.

Here is the before view into our kitchen with the previous owners’ furniture.   The maroon carpet was hiding beautiful original wood floors, and unfortunately the slate tile in the kitchen was a DIY project by others that was already failing by the time we moved in (I believe the kitchen was updated within 2 years of our purchase of the house.)  Loose tiles, significant tile height variation (toe kickers), and grout chipping out were the key issues, plus the floor sloped in a multiple different directions.

Here is Flooring Day 2 before the tile setters arrived to demo the slate. Flooring Day 1 was having a plumber come over the day before to disconnect the plumbing and gas lines to the appliances so we could move them out of the kitchen.  You can see the raw wood floors that were hiding under the maroon carpet. We removed the carpet a few weeks back.  Refinishing of the wood will happen after the tile floors are done (proper order of construction projects is a key!)

Flooring Day 2 – Mid-morning. The guys made quick work of ripping out the slate and the underlayment.  Unfortunately I didn’t have shoes handy when I came upstairs from my basement office and I got to walk across the whole kitchen worth of rubble to get out. My bad.

Then when they got to the entry the discovered two additional layers of tile under the slate. Here the poor guys are debating how best to jackhammer out the top layer. Have fun!

By the next time I came upstairs to check on progress they’d cleared out all of the debris and the floor was ready for the self-leveling base to be poured.

Here you can see that the entry/ hallway area originally had both wood flooring and tile under it.

After the self-leveling base was poured and cured for a day we have this lovely starting point for Flooring Day 4. (Day 3 was drying time.)

At the end of Flooring Day 4: The majority of the tile has been installed and we just have to be patient as the thinset sets up. It’ll look even better once the tiles are cleaned off and grouted, but I’m soo happy with this new modern look that’s finally level!

Next week I’ll show you the finished product. Then we just have to refinish the hardwood floors and then we can put our whole house back together. (The large dining room and two bedrooms are being refinished, which necessitated moved the majority of our furniture, clothes, books, etc. to the basement where they’ve been for weeks.)  It’ll be great to get the nursery set up before the baby arrives; let’s hope she’s on time and not early!




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Things I’m Loving

June 8th, 2012

Happy Friday!  I’m headed over to the ASID Showcase Home for the last weekend of tours. I can’t believe how the past month has flown by!  I really appreciate everyone who has taken the time to tour the house and support our organization as well as the charities that benefit from this event.

I wanted to start your Friday off right with some beautiful things that have caught my eye recently.

First, I watched a marathon of Kitchen Cousins on HGTV recently(one of the few shows on that network I can stand because they do real construction with real budgets and show their problem solving in action. Though I don’t understand clients letting them pick the backsplash with no input.)  I’m impressed with their building knowledge, creative reuse of historic building materials, and well designed kitchens.

I like this kitchen they did for one of the designer’s parents.  They completely flipped the layout of the kitchen, opened up the traffic flow, and utilized a lovely mix of materials. The tobacco stained upper cabinets are lovely.  Mixed with the white lacquer lower cabinets and a handmade Moroccan backsplash, it’s a modern yet eclectic mix. My husband dug the wall graphic on the far wall.

The fact that they do the majority of their work in Hoboken,  NJ (just across the river from Manhattan) makes the show extra special to me since my aunt lived there for decades and I’d spend my breaks during college hanging out with her there. (I went to Vassar College, which is 1.5 hrs north of the city, up the Hudson River.)

These orange accessories would fit in lovely with the concept I developed for my deck (see the post here).  And the nautical hook, blanket and basket seem so perfect for a Cape Cod retreat I can dream of having (though the commute there is rough on summer weekends – round-about anyone?)

This kitchen has a lovely mix of classic white cabinetry and well worn vintage details and an abundance of natural light. The designer really played with scale (the etageres on the back counter, the chandelier) in a unique way that really takes this room beyond the typical.

The color palette, fabric selections, paneling, wall color and high ceilings in this room are so different than anything I’ve seen in a while, and that’s so refreshing!  Look how the designers mixed mid-century armchairs with a Jansen style daybed, French iron side tables and Murano glass lamps with a bone inlay table. What an inviting solarium (though I think any solarium would be lovely with all that light spilling in)!  The rest of this D.C. town house is equally well designed, so check it out if you have access to a copy of the May issue of House Beautiful. Or just click through to the article on HB’s website. The kitchen backsplash is amazingly transformative.

Finally, as promised a few weeks ago, here is the page featuring Fox Interiors in the new Mercury Mosaics catalog!  For more about this local company, see this blog post and their website.

That’s all for this week, or this post would be a mile long.  Next week I’ll share a soon-to-be completed bathroom project that’s ALMOST done and looking fabulous.



1. – Brunelleschi Construction

2, 3, 4. House Beautiful May 2012

5. Mercury Mosaics 2012 catalog





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Fox Interiors Chair