Friday, May 25th, 2012
Perhaps you’ve seen the preview photos of the mural we created for the Gift Wrapping & Sewing Room at this year’s ASID Showcase Home. If not, check out this past post.
Inspired by that design I decided to paint a similar design in my own nursery.
My original color palette was going to be a medium deep red, navy and jade green with perhaps a crisp white accent to tie into the trim and furniture color. But my husband, John, thought it would be too sophisticated after he saw all the patterns and prints at Babies R Us for kids blankets, clothes, and crib sets. Normally he doesn’t care strongly about my color selections (especially since I do all the painting), but since he had an opinion I decided to tweak the plan for his sake.
I was originally going to have the stripes wrap around the two left walls above, but he asked me to carry them around the short wall on the right to die behind the large bookshelf that will go back against that wall. The image above shows how the stripes would have died into the ceiling originally, so I needed to tweak the tape placement for the wrap around to work.
Here is the adjusted overall layout.
The next step is to determine how many colors you want to use, and then subdivide each wall section using your painters tape. Keep in mind that the color will go in between the tape lines for the outside stripes, but the inside stripes are only illustrative of the width you want. You’ll have to go back and retape those areas once the outside lines have been painted with multiple coats.
You can certainly keep your stripes a consistent width the whole way, but I think it would actually be trickier to eyeball, and I like the dynamic motion the changing widths creates. Don’t forget to press your tape down thoroughly! They’ll be less touch up later if you do this now. Pay special attention to inside corners as paint especially loves to drip there.
I think this was after 1 or 2 coats of the first round of paint colors had been applied. Certain colors are more transparent and will need more coats to reach your ideal finished color. Reds and oranges are definitely in this category.
After 3 coats of each color had dried I was able to peel off all that tape and see what I had. Love it! I decided to use the base wall color as a stripe between the orange and green. I simply used a wider piece of Frog Tape to mask off that area, giving me a nice width line without effort.
Now those stripes look great from across the room, but up close you can see there was a fair amount of fine bleed through along each stripe. But don’t let that scare you! All you need is a tiny paint brush and your wall color to fix that. You can see at either end of the orange stripe above that the line is wavy instead of crisp. The middle section is sharp because I’d just gone over that area with my base wall color and my little paint brush.
When I say “little brush” I mean it. My brush is probably the equivalent of the smallest brush on the right side below. This is a set from Dick Blick.
The key is to rest your hand against the wall for stability, and to work in small sections. The 3 coats of your stripe color you painted will have created a small ridge at the edge where you had the tape. The brush will glide along this edge the same way you cut into a ceiling line. Start by putting your paint brush down just a little ways away from the ridge and glide down to the ridge to paint over the color bleed through areas. It may sound like a daunting task, but I find it addictive (“Just one more section before I go to bed…”), and I don’t think it really takes that long.
Before I started working on cleaning up the edges of the completed stripes I masked off my last color. If you place your tape right up against the ridge created by the adjacent paint stripes and press FIRMLY along the entire length of the tape, you might not have to do ANY edge clean up on the last color. This is because that ridge helps block any paint that wants to sneak under your tape.
I did 3 coats of the blue as well since it wasn’t coming out quite like the paint sample and I wanted to make sure to give it enough coats to reach it’s full potential. While that dried between coats I was able to work on my touch ups around the red, orange and green stripes.
And here is the completed mural! It may seem like this took a lot of work, but the whole project only took 7 hours over 4 days. For a large impact like this, that seems really quick! Especially since the mural at the Showcase Home took us closer to 30 combined hours. Painting over the paneling and trim at the Showcase made it much trickier, plus all the extra trips back and forth. When it’s your own house you can take a break between coats of paint and come back an hour later. The amount of paint you need for each color is minimal. I probably used about an inch or so of paint from each quart paint can, so you might even be able to achieve this using only the sample size pots of paint they now offer. Or you could reuse existing paints from other projects.
I’ll show the completed room down the line, but the hardwood floors need to be refinished before I can move anything back into that room, so it’ll be a little while.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Even though the weather in Minnesota can’t seem to make up it’s mind if it should be a cool Spring or an early Summer, the itch to get outside is hard to resist this time of year.
Since the lilac trees are beginning to bloom (meaning the morel mushrooms will be popping up soon!), I’m going to start planning my summer outdoor decor now and remain optimistic that the warm weather will soon be here to stay.
So what items have caught my eye lately?
First I received this email from Crate and Barrel that heavily features this year’s accent color, Tangerine Tango.
Of course I’m digging the orange watering can and wishing for some orange cushions to liven up my standard stacking outdoor chairs we got at Target years ago. I also love the rustic style of the Driftwood Birdhouse as a foil for the modern boldness of the orange accents.
We already have 2 Emmet Lounge Chairs in green from Room and Board we got from a friend when he moved to San Francisco last summer. They’ve held up beautifully without any covers this winter, and they’ve been a great punch of color out the windows in the middle of the bleak winter. So how do I tie the orange and green together? Here are my inspiration boards showing the current state of the deck (it really doesn’t look like anything special in this photo) and my goal end results.
First off, what does this deck look like now? Well, the top left picture shows it in action the FIRST WEEKEND after we moved in. Our friend, Tom, was visiting for business so we had no time to wait before playing hosts. So what do you do? Send the guys off to golf, set up the patio furniture, grill a giant platter of veggies (foreground) and some steaks, open that giant bottle of Heineken beer you got as a gift, and enjoy the company of friends.
Now it’s a year later (almost) and our plans for the deck are pretty settled in our minds.
Step 1: Strip the red stain off the deck and flip/repair any damaged boards.
Step 2: Remove the existing railing.
Step 3: Remove the slanting and shallow depth steps to the yard. (They are tricky for kids and in the winter)
Step 4: Install longer, deeper steps in one location.
Step 5: Install new square posts along the perimeter.
Step 6: Stain the deck, posts and steps a warm gray color.
Step 7: Install a cable rail system around the deck for a more open and modern aesthetic.
Ok, you have that visual in mind now? Now here is how I’ll furnish the deck, utilizing the existing wood slat table and chairs (seen above).
First, I’ll use our existing umbrella that looks similar to the example above, though it’s in more of a narrow two tone gray stripe pattern.
Then pull the punch of orange I’m craving together with our green Emmet Lounge Chairs by mixing in throw pillows with large botanical prints in orange and green.
Though I’d love to buy the Layered Side Table in orange, it makes more sense in white when placed between the green chairs. I like that the width of this piece easily allows for both loungers to have a spot for their drink AND snacks.
The gray dining chairs will get a punch of orange with the striped throw pillows that pull together the gray colors of the house, deck and umbrella.
The deck, front entry, and garden will all get accessories of their own in the form of large gray planters, a new doormat (it’s a Fox!), stone lanterns along the paths for mood lighting, and sculptural pieces to tuck in amongst the plantings.
Finally, a deep orange watering can will inspire me to help with the gardening duties, which is key since my husband is planting a huge vegetable garden for the first time this year. I can’t wait for all that kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh herbs to take over my kitchen!
Since the Fox doormat is sold out, I’ll be recreating this with the plain coir doormat I already have, a stencil and some paint. Easy peasy!
I can’t wait to get started on all these great projects (after I finish the nursery I’m working on now, of course.)
Ad from Crate & Barrel
Photo of my deck taken by me
13. Fox Doormat (no longer available)
Tags: cable railing, color palette, Crate & Barrel, deck, gray, orange, patio, pillows, planters, Room and Board, table, VivaTerra, West Elm
Posted in Design & Home Living Tips, Inspiration Boards | 2 Comments »
Thursday, April 12th, 2012
Do you ever find yourself uttering that classic phrase “I have nothing to wear!” when you stare into your jumbled closet? Perhaps the real problem is that you can’t FIND what you have and love amongst the chaos. Since I’ve probably read just about every column/ article/ book I’ve ever come across on the topic, let me share the top tips here and save you some time. Hopefully this will inspire you to get over your fear of the time commitment and effort to finally tackle the project. Remember the final reward: happiness when you look in your closest and drawers!
Have a good objective friend come over to help you in the purging decision making process.
We all make excuses why that top from 2006 could come back in style or will fit again after a more dedicated exercise routine. You need someone who can look you in the eye and objectively tell you to let it go because it will never come back in style in the exact same design. If it doesn’t fit NOW, why take up valuable real estate with wishes?
Divide clothes into these piles: Donate, Repair/Rework, Trash, and Makes Me Look Fabulous So It Stays.
Because really, why hold onto ANY clothes that don’t make us look fabulous?! My husband always preaches the value of a first impression as the reason you should always look put together because you never know who you are about to meet/ run into. (Though somehow trips to the hardware store on Saturdays seems to be the exemption to this rule in his mind.) I’m not the greatest at following through on this as “comfy” seems to be my first instinct when putting together an outfit, but I’m always trying to keep it in mind.
There will be some pieces that need a little tailoring repair or could fairly easily be reworked into a current and appropriate piece. Having a good tailor in your list of resources is key for this. I love NE Tailor on 22nd St & Johnson St in Northeast Minneapolis. I trusted him to tweak a Herve Leger dress, need I say more?
Oh, and get those Trash and Donation piles out of the house ASAP to prevent any second guessing.
Organize clothes and accessories by type and then by color.
Here you can see how a random assortment of clothing and accessories topples out of control on the left without structure. On the right, all clutch purses are grouped together (by type) then by color (wow, she has a whole shelf of gold clutches!). I like this solution for the always growing stacks of tote bags. Stacking them folded flat so that part of the design is easily visible and by stacking them this way you don’t have to try to keep them from flopping over as they would if stacked upright.
This is the key tip/rule as you start putting your clothes and accessories back into your closet after the big purge. It will make it easier to look at all your blouses and pick ONE and then look at your skirts all together and pick ONE. Now go to the Shapeware box or drawer and pick the appropriate piece for this outfit. Go to your jewelry area and pick a bracelet or two (depending on the look) and then earrings and a necklace from their zones. See how this sounds much less stressful?
But how do you organize all those pieces? Here are a few favorite organization examples for accessories to inspire you.
Let’s start with handbags. Here you can see how handbags that can stand on their own can sit on a shelf. Clutches are best stacked together since they are slim and when one is removed the rest won’t fall over much.
The larger handbags with unstructured bottoms do well hung from hooks. Don’t try to double up on hooks. It gets clunky when you try to grab one and inevitably both sets of handles won’t fit comfortably on the hook.
For my clutches I use a Real Simple Purse Organizer to take advantage of hanging space in my closet.
Since they are narrower than handbags they don’t get smooshed under the elastic bands and I can group a few similar clutches together in one section.
Depending upon the size of your jewelry collection and your organizational style (do you like to have everything out and visible at a glance or do you prefer it tucked away with easy access?) there are a number of different solutions.
You could hang necklaces from hooks on the wall and keep earrings and bracelets in an assortment of small bowls and dishes on the top of your dresser (top image). If you tend to wear a few pieces day after day, keeping them out with a few beautiful items might be sufficient (middle image). Or you could create a system of organized compartments in your drawers for each type of jewelry so they are organized and still accessible without sitting out and looking cluttered (which is how the first arrangement style would look to some people).
Here is an example of a vanity with clear organizers in the drawers to separate jewelry by type and style.
You can also see this style of organization in Gayle’s revamped closet design above. Notice that all her workout gear is grouped together (top right image) apart from general t-shirts and pants.
What do I use?
I like a mix of organization style 1 & 3. Key items out and visible, less frequently pieces organized in a closed drawer.
My favorite necklaces are out and visible (and organized by type) on this jewelry stand by Umbra.
My earrings are organized by type (studs, fancy long earrings for parties, hoops, blue earrings, brown earrings, etc.) in small bowls on top of my dresser for quick access in the morning. If I put the fancier items in a drawer I’d probably wear them less frequently. Seeing them out reminds me to wear something a little more punchy day to day.
The rest of my jewelry is either hanging on hooks on the inside of a door or in an assortment of small boxes and cutlery trays in a dresser drawer that was suddenly empty after a purge when we moved into our new house last year. I could eventually upgrade to prettier organization pieces, but they are pricey, and these work just fine. I like having the 2 cutlery trays stacked because I get more function out of the drawer depth.
Above: the drawer of necklaces, bracelets, pins and rings. Very special occasion pieces are kept in closed boxes.
Above: the lower cutlery tray of necklaces and bracelets.
If you collect shoes as works of art, perhaps displaying them in a case like this would allow you to appreciate their beauty even when you aren’t wearing them.
Is space limited? Utilize wall space by hanging them on the wall.
Is your collection substantial? Organize them by type in standardized boxes with photos on the front.
Do you store your shoes by the front door so you aren’t tracking dirt into the house? I loved this tradition in Japan, and since space is at a premium there, I frequently saw this style of shoe storage there. You can find these at the Container Store.
There are a million different styles of organization tools out there to suit your habits. The key is to purge to what you love and looks good on you first. Don’t buy any organization bins, etc until you’ve completed the purge and know what you REALLY have left. Be creative with what you already have and live with those solutions for a bit to see how they work before investing in more.
I hope this has helped demystify the process for you! And if you need help, don’t be afraid to email or call me!
1 & 2 & 7 – Oprah 3-12,
3, 5, 12 & 13 – Lucky 3-12
4 – Bed, Bath & Beyond
6 – Unknown
9, 10 & 11 – Fox Interiors
8 & 14 – Container Store
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
This afternoon I was reading an article in Sherwin-Williams magazine, Stir, by Jackie Jordan, their director of Color Marketing, when I was struck by a couple of comments she made. Having discovered a photography book of homes of designers from the mid-century era, she was struck by:
“a distinct commonality among the various homes: They were lived-in, unpretentious and unassuming, yet still beautifully crafted, detailed and personally curated. A visitor would feel very much at ease in any of them. … As designers and architects, I’m sure you occasionally get the comment from your clients, “Your house must be amazing!” And I’m sure it is — but perhaps in a very unexpected way, just like the homes of these famous design icons.”
I do indeed hear that reaction from people I meet when they hear what is my profession/ passion. The challenge of course for so many designers is that we are constantly discovering new products and therefore it can be difficult to select a piece for your own home when you know there are so many other options out there and you may have not found “THE RIGHT” piece yet. Not quite the same as a plumber’s wife with a leaky sink, but you get the idea.
Somehow it’s so much easier to see a client’s taste and determine the best products for their home in part because there is a limited time window we are working in. Our own homes are constantly evolving and the layering process is never ending. So where does that leave me? With a dining room table surrounded by folding chairs.
Why? Because having moved recently we finally have enough space to comfortably fit a dining room table that can fit a crowd. In our old home we had to set up the table and chairs, and then pack them up at the end of a dinner party to fit at the back of a closet.
We’ve selected a beautiful dining room table we can both agree upon, but now I can’t find the perfect chair! Mind you I’ve been thinking about this for YEARS. Of course, the new house impacted the selection somewhat because of the space and style of the home. The biggest challenge is that I don’t want anything expected or overdone. It shouldn’t look like any typical dining room in Dwell magazine just because it’s a mid-century home. It shouldn’t be obviously mid-century or too classic Danish design because that room already has three Danish teak pieces and it would be overkill. I want comfortable chairs (I mean really, why WOULDN’T you want comfortable dining room chairs?!). And they need to be easy to clean since kids spill and cats scratch.
If the IKEA chairs above were still available in orange we would have gladly used those for our dining room. Alas, no longer available.
But I think we might have a winner, or at least a top two.
Here is the table, for your reference. Reclaimed wood plank top with cast metal base. Slightly industrial but with clean lines and a little ornamentation. The chairs above were all considered at one point or another. Some were too expensive, some too plain, some didn’t feel right with the table base. For all I know I might go back to one of these or mix them in with another selection.
It’s funny how something catches your attention but you didn’t realize it until the third or fourth time. I snapped a picture of these chairs at the Hickory Chair showroom last month when I was there for a book signing. I’ve always liked them, but hadn’t given them a lot of thought before.
The next week I spotted these chairs on designer Linda Engler’s website and thought “Oh, those could work for our dining room!” Didn’t realize it was the same chair yet.
Then reading the latest issue of House Beautiful last week (about a week after the second sighting) I flipped to this picture:
I quickly pulled out my phone, snapped a picture, noting the manufacturer and made a note to research it when I got home. Oddly enough, I spotted this right before Jackie Jordan, from Sherwin-Williams (see above), gave her annual presentation on color trends for next year. Wacky!
Looking at the website it all suddenly came together. It has a unique shape that doesn’t look like any retail products. It is comfortable, easy to clean (with the right material choice), and not a full upholstered back (another wish list item). The price is high, but it might just be worth it.
Unless this chair wins me over. It might be too classic Danish, and reupholstering is a must (the cushion is shot), but the curved back is so comfortable and allows you to crook your arm over the top in a delightful way (perfect for long intellectual or silly conversations after dinner). I found this when I went in to buy a different dining room chair set and it halted the decision process.
Now neither of these are cheap options, but for pieces like this I’d rather save up for investment pieces I love and will use for the rest of my life. These can be reupholstered in 20 years when there are no more kids to spill on them (but I’ll have to plan for grandchildren’s spills). Remember my mantra:
Buy the best and you’ll only cry once. - Miles Redd
So what will I choose? Goodness knows, but that’s the fun of it. I love the pursuit, the visualization exercise of figuring out what looks best together. I love doing it for clients and I love doing it for myself. Think of all the chairs I’ve looked at to narrow it down to those options. Now you can see why it’s faster for me to find great chair options for clients – I have so many already in my brain, on my computer and in my reference library. Let me spare you the same fate. Let me pick your dining room chairs and table for you and you can spend your time doing what YOU love.
1. Sideboard by Knoll, design by Christofi?
4. Chairs by IKEA, design by Pam Hill
5. Composition by Fox Interiors
6. Fox Interiors
7. Engler Studio Interior Design
8. Photo by Victoria Pearson, design by Parrish Chilcoat & Joe Lucas, House Beautiful, November 2011.
9. it’s a secret (I don’t want you stealing my chairs!)
Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Back in September last year I shared my favorite images from the September 2010 issue of House Beautiful. http://www.colleenfoxinteriors.com/2010/08/hot-off-the-press-house-beautiful-september-2010/
Kathy, one of my readers, fell for the marbleized wallpaper in the powder room in that post and contacted me to find out what I knew about it.
I happily grabbed my copy off the shelf and flipped to the handy-dandy resource section at the back (which unfortunately some magazines are moving away from and shifting all that information to their websites.) The resource listed was a dealer that no longer listed the product in their line when I checked online, but I was able to use the manufacturer’s name to find a basic home page for them with only a phone number listed. Very surprising in this digital day and age! So I passed all those details on to Kathy hoping it would have a happy ending.
I never heard how it worked out for Kathy, but 10 months later I received an email from Cheryl, another reader who saw the exchange in my comments section on the wallcovering and she was interesting in tracking down the product too. She used the contact information I had provided to reach the manufacturer and she placed an order without any problems.
Twigs @ the 800 number below are the real thing – the Pheasant in Maine wallpaper arrived quickly, in less than a week, and the clerk was most helpful on the phone. LOVE this wallpaper; I lined the back of my kitchen cabs which have glass fronts. Used a staple gun, easy peasy. And I have some leftover for lining a tray and/or kitchen drawers. Wanted you to know what my experience turned out to be. Best, Cheryl
I love when a little detail in a magazine like that sparks excitement and leads to a project for a homeowner. I’m so glad I was able to help out and make that project a reality. Cheryl has been very kind to share her finished project photos as I’m sure I’m not the only one who will enjoy seeing them.
Here you can see the Pheasant wallcovering by Twigs lining the back of her cabinet.
And the cabinets with the glass doors closed, the beautiful wallpaper adding drama and such a great punch of color to that corner of her kitchen.
Thanks Cheryl, great job!
Do you have a similar story?
Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
Summer may be nearly over in most of the country, (Minnesota is cruel – I’m actually wearing slippers and the thermostat says 45 degrees!) so it must be time to find that product that would have been great for enjoying the summer sun. Isn’t that always the case?
I don’t really ever sit in the sun on a beach, but if I did, this would be a product I’d enjoy. I love that this is compact (rolls up to the size of a yoga mat), has a convenient carrying case, offers UV protection (which recreating this with a standard piece of fabric wouldn’t offer), and comes in such cute colors and patterns. All that for a decent price considering you could get years of use out of it? I say go for it and you can use it to build a fort in your living room during the winter and play make believe that you’re sitting on a beach reading a magazine. By the time NEXT summer rolls around you’ll be an expert at setting it up. (Just don’t forget where you put it away over the winter.)
Ready to order? Check out their website. It looks like a feature in the NY Times has boosted their business…the Moroccan blue style is on backorder. But you’d still have it in time for your winter getaway to Jamaica.
Photo credit: Image and article via the New York Times