Archive for the ‘Inspiration Boards’ Category

Visions of Etageres dance in my head

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

A common challenge for me is dreaming up the perfect piece (for an interior or my wardrobe), sometimes based on a sketchy memory of having seen something like it somewhere once upon a time, sometimes just completely invented.  Then I have to try to find it out in the real world.  I can drive myself bonkers with this search because of course now I know EXACTLY what I want and I don’t want to settle for less.

Recent case in point: I want an etagere (basically this is a bookcase with no side or back panels, often they taper towards the top) for an otherwise wasted odd corner of a room.  I see the ideal version with sides that curve on each tier, and I want it brightly colored.  I can draw a quick sketch to show someone, but finding an example image is much more effective.  The open shelves on an etagere are great for decorative displays of stacks of books, small boxes and little decorative items.

So I scrolled through my digital image library (I don’t have time to go through my stacks and stacks of magazines and piles of hard copies of design images) and managed to find one example!  Yeah!

See it in the back left corner?  The open shelf on the right side is an etagere too, but I don’t want that gold leaf finish and rectangular shape.

I was soo excited to find it along with sources for the items… but wait, it’s for SIMILAR items.


tall curvee shelf

Here is the Tall Curvee Shelf from House Eclectic that they recommend as a similar item.  It is only available in black or white, but even more of an issue is the fact that it’s only 38″ high. Grrr.

Another option would be this Lia shelf by Oly Studio . It’s close, but doesn’t come in any bright colors. But I could make the white version work.

Benton Large Etagere

Here’s an example in a good height (67.75″) with a tapered shape, but no curves. I could live with this, and the antique red or black options are nice. But I want deep orange or kelly green. I want to be playful. This is a little too traditional in this shade of red for the room I have in mind. It could skew Asian influence or cottage in other settings, which is great.

Grand Tour Etagere

Available in only black iron, this has a bit more whimsy with the top detail, but the black iron doesn’t feel right for my space.

This limited edition piece by Jonathan Adler has the fun punch of color and the mod styling is great. But the price is high for a piece that’s not supposed to be the star of the room, but the funny supporting character.


So, I’m still on the hunt. I’m sure I’ll find something that will work, but will it be the piece in my vision? Maybe not.  But will anyone else really know how it differs from that vision? No. Will it still be fabulous? Absolutely.

Of course, if it was an important piece in the room that I didn’t feel like compromising on, I can simply design the piece in my head and have one of my custom furniture guys make the perfect piece for me with the curves, dimensions and color just right for my project. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get the right piece that makes the whole room come to life.

And that’s the reality of what I do. It’s the vision I have for that great piece that’s going to take the room to the next level that the client would never have come up with on their own, and the ability to track down items that will bring that vision to life.

But I’m still searching for that short sleeve wrap dress I saw in a dream the other night…. =)


Photo source: Inspiration room by Catherine Brophy for Real Simple, October 2010.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Design & Home Living Tips, Inspiration Boards | No Comments »

Bright Bedroom inspiration board

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

After writing all about the new brights trend (see the post here), I couldn’t resist creating a bedroom concept to prove how doable this look is.  Remember how I compared an outfit to a room:

“Kelly green jeans and a turquoise t-shirt with a grey cardigan and a skinny belt in brown leather over it could be bright but still have the safe touches to make it feel comfortable. The room equivalent: a bedroom with a kelly green bed frame, turquoise sheets, multi-colored throw pillows, light gray walls and a leather slung chair.”

Well, here’s the room example, with 2 different bedding and throw pillow combinations to chose from.


Start with the Piper Bed in Green from Room & Board.  Paint the walls a soft gray, like Sherwin-Williams Argos (SW 7065).  Add a leather safari chair for a timeless worn-in element that grounds the bold elements you’ll add next.  1st Dibs is a good source for these vintage chairs.  A chunky cable rug in Charcoal from Room & Board adds texture and softness when getting out of bed or doing homework.

The room could start out with an updated preppy look. No turquoise, instead the blue is a crisp, classic navy. Key elements (clockwise from bedding):

Ronan Duvet from Serena & Lily

British Flag pillow from Jonathan Adler

Green and Natural Zebra needlepoint pillow from Jonathan Adler

Positano Helix pillow in Blue from Jonathan Adler

Amanda sheet set in Gray from Bliss Living


This could work for either gender, it’s really about personality!  The subtle pattern on the sheets in a soft gray adds some interest while tying in the wall and rug color.


Or take the room in a global chic direction (clockwise from bedding):

Shangri-La duvet from Bliss Living

Diamond Ikat Azure pillow from Dwell Studio

Samsara Multi throw pillow from Bliss Living



Bargello Jungle Road pillow from Jonathan Adler

Masala Citrone sheet set from Dwell Studio


The duvet cover has great pattern and lots of colors to work with for accent pillows. Adding in the Ikat pillow is a no-brainer for the global look, as is the Samsara pillow with a Suzani-esque print. Both are right on trend with the current movement to incorporate native ethnic prints from around the globe. What I love is adding in the Bargello Jungle Road pillow with the crazy zig-zag Italian company Missoni is known for. It’s unexpected but still very global and the colors work perfectly with the other pillows.  The Citrone sheets pull that color from the duvet cover and add a small scale pattern to the mix to balance all those large patterns.

Which would you go for? Preppy or global chic? Or would you rather have the bed in pink…red…yellow…orange…white?  So many color combinations, so little time!  Have fun creating your own layered look. I’d love to see what you would create!

On that note, check out West Elm’s new mix-and-match bedding interactive program where you can see how sheets, duvets, and shams from their collection will look together with your wall color. (They don’t have a ton of paint color options, but it’s nice that they included this element in a room.) It’s a fun way to spend your lunch break. =)








Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inspiration Boards | No Comments »

Moving – Start at the Front Door

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Sorry for the radio silence lately, but I’ve been in the midst of moving both my home and office (since I have a home office) and the packing, moving and unpacking leaves little time for fun blog posts. I’ve been thinking of things to say to you and share, just waiting for the time to post. So here is a post that’s been formulating in my head for weeks. 

Your home should create a great first impression, and a front door/entry that suits your home and your style is a great place to begin. Here are doors and entries I’m loving for their style, color and/or details.

Front door by Erin Loechner of design for mankind.  I love the cohesive modern styling of the hardware and house number. The color is fabulous. And the “Hello.” frosted on the bottom of the side panel? Genius. (This has been my computer backdrop for a few weeks – which is a long time for me.)

The letter (and photos) from the editor in the May 2011 issue of Dwell magazine made me happy because I do the same thing: use my camera to document the details of a city other people wouldn’t bother to photograph. I photographed doors all around Boston and Cambridge on a visit a few years ago and turned it into a composite that I loved. Too bad the file size was so enormous the photo lab couldn’t seem to print it. But I still plan on making it work one of these days! (It turned up in the move but I haven’t found it in the boxes yet.) The result is original art that tells a story about your trip in an unexpected way.  Plus look at all those great door knockers above. It’s so clear that they inject tons of personality into a small space.

Here are a few photos from a recent trip to Philly to prove my point.

Great door!

Love the mix of materials at this exterior structure on the Liberty Bell plaza.

Great woodworking details on the sides of the staircase at the Pennsylvania State House (aka. Independence Hall). Why photograph the room where they signed the Declaration of Independence when you can study the carvings on the stairs? (Though I did photograph the room because there was a great mix of Windsor chair styles.)

Pat even held up traffic so I could take this picture out the car window on our way to dinner at Pumpkin. (I’d change the wall color if I could and paint the stars over the entry is a slightly different shade to help them pop without becoming the focal point. Charcoal gray exterior and light-medium gray stars?)

Okay back to other facades I’m digging.

I love the rhythm of the facade of this house designed by Tina Manis and featured in the book “Brooklyn Modern.”  Slowly move you eyes up the facade and notice how the wood boards get closer and farther apart in a different wave motion on each section.  What a beautiful way to add interest using only one material.


The value of a face lift for the front of the house is clearly illustrated in this project above by interior designer Jessica Helgerson and her husband, architect Yianni Doulis, featured on Design*Sponge back in July 2009.  It’s so much more inviting and open with the planter replacing the tree. The horizontal lines of the house are carried through in the windows on the new front door and the wood on the planter. The light and house numbers fit the new look.

How great is that wood slat screen created by The Brick House? Adds so much personality to an otherwise plain white home. Note the consistent style of the house numbers, light fixture and planter.  Check out this post for details of her plans for the front yard to complete the look.

Do you get the gist of what I’m saying?

What inspired all this facade talk? Well, my new place has a similar mid-century vibe to some of the places above (it was built in 1953) and a front door with 3 horizontal windows. But the door has seen better days and I’m itching to paint it a bold color and repaint the cedar shakes on the exterior.  I’ll have to do some photoshop renderings and get your opinions, but I’d better get back to unpacking and leave that project for another day. 

Have a lovely weekend!

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Design & Home Living Tips, Inspiration Boards | 1 Comment »

Summer Fun

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Summer has begun in Minneapolis at last and it’s pretty hard to convince myself to work inside all day long with the sunshine calling to me like a siren.  You know what makes it even harder?  When I get emails with pictures like this:

Seriously Crate & Barrel, did you create a personalized ad for me based on a researcher’s discovery of my love of lemonade, macarons and glass beverage dispensers??  Dang it, now I want to bake some lemon macarons, whip up some infused summer drinks and invite some friends over to hang out on my patio. I only have one beverage dispenser though… what’s a girl to do??  Oh, I guess they answered that question by offering a link to their website in the email.

So if you need any of the above supplies in order to throw a cheerful kick-off to summer party, check out Crate & Barrel.

Photo source: Crate & Barrel, of course.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inspiration Boards | No Comments »

Bedding for Grown ups – Mix & Match

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Last week I featured the Octavia Headboard by Serena & Lily in a girl’s bedroom setting.  This week I want to highlight how that headboard could be used in an adult or teenager’s bedroom.  Depending on what style of bedding you select. a room can exude a playful personality or subtle sophistication.  It’s all about the mix and match.   

First option:  The classic Octavia headboard in Navy Linen with nickel nailhead trim is given a fresh, modern twist with graphic prints. Dwell Studio’s Labyrinth duvet set in Dove reminds me of a snake charmer, and their Masala sheets in Citrine provides a pop of unexpected color against the neutrals.

Option2: Here I played the greek key inspired detail in the nailhead design against a loosely drawn Greek Key duvet set by West Elm. I was feeling playful when I chose the Red Star sheets from Serena & Lily to complete the look.  It feels a little like the stars & stripes with all that navy, white and red. Or maybe it’s conjures up a bedroom that feels like you are in Greece and looking at the stars in the expansive sky over the ocean.  What feeling does it inspire in you?

Option 3:  This is a softer look than the 2 previous combinations, but the stripes keep it graphic.  The Pewter Linen Octavia headboard is not as bold as the navy version. I wanted to use Dwell Studio’s Draper Stripe sheet set in Poppy with a duvet cover that might be a bit of an unexpected pairing. So I first chose the Parachute Duvet set in White from West Elm (upper right corner). The ruching of this airy cotton creates a lot of volume and a relaxed feminine effect. White sheets with a colored edge or subtle dots would be a more obvious pairing. But I like how the poppy stripes anchors the floaty duvet and makes it more guy friendly.

I couldn’t resist including another version with West Elm’s Stripe Duvet set in white and feather gray.  The width of the stripes on the sheets in narrower, which allows the two stripes to work together.  Can you tell I like a pop of color against neutrals? 


Option 4:  The headboard remains in Pewter Linen but a new combination of bedding provides a very different look.  Here Dwell Studio’s Peacock Duvet set in Dove has a more traditional styling than previous selections, but the color palette and scale keep it modern in sensibility.   Pairing this duvet with Dwell Studio’s Gate sheet set in Azure has been a favorite combination of mine since they introduced it.  But I wanted an alternate option for sheets since it is always nice to be able to tweak the look of your bedding.  I selected the Dot Print sheet set in Mushroom from West Elm to pull out the soft browns in the duvet cover. Without seeing the two sets in person I’m not positive the colors are right together, but this is illustrative people, so don’t kill me if they don’t work, ok?!

Option 5: Finally, switching up the Octavia headboard to Antique Gold Burlap with Brass nailheads creates a more classic traditional style.  The Bativa Duvet set in Citrine by Dwell Studio is a modern update of the Ikat pattern that is so popular in interior design right now.  The soft color palette keeps the room from feeling too formal.  The coordinating  Masala sheet set in Citrine blends in here rather than serving as a pop of color as it did in Option 1.

I’m sure I could create an alternate option for the final headboard color option… but I ran out of energy.  So why don’t you create one and show it to me?

So which option would you choose? Or do you prefer something completely different?  Bedding shouldn’t be intimidating to select and it should definitely be washable. Beyond that, anything goes. A duvet cover is often the largest expanse of a pattern in your home. It can be switched seasonally or whenever the mood strikes, unlike a the upholstery on a sofa or chair (though slipcovers can serve the same purpose). So don’t be afraid to go for something bid, bold, unexpected or just a little out of your comfort zone.  

Photo sources: All product shots from each company’s website. See links for more information about each product.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Design & Home Living Tips, Inspiration Boards | No Comments »

Rooms to Put Spring in Your Step

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Spring is hinting at a return of all things bring and cheerful.  But until I see a week of 50 degree days I know not to get too hopeful.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have spring fever and start craving bright, sunny, and upbeat spaces that look filled with sunshine and warm air. Here are few favorites to help you through this transition season.

The light floors, walls and ceiling open up this living room and allow the bright colors room to breathe.  The open chandelier isn’t visually heavy so it doesn’t weigh down the space.

Spring and summer I start bringing bright colors and patterns back into my wardrobe in more frequent rotation. The same is true with interiors. Why not go for it with a mobile of paper lanterns? This works over a couch in a living room with high ceilings too. Add a fun border or wallpaper to add pattern to a otherwise simple room. Notice that the crib and couch both have black frames and white bedding/ cushions? The pops of colors come from the lights, curtains, border and throw pillows. The one olive green side table is a fun addition.

The green backsplash is the perfect fresh cut grass color to remind me of the grass finally breaking through the melting snow piles to reclaim their turf (literally).  So cheerful!

A few well placed accessories transform a home office nook into a springy destination. And the daffodils on the windowsill?  What better representation of spring is there?  I love buying the bunches of fresh daffodils during the American Cancer Society annual fundraising drive.

This is the way I want summer to feel. Sitting on a big veranda, lounging amongst the cushions, surrounded by greenery with interesting leaves, and a little cafe table where I can have a morning cup of iced tea and a scone. Oh gosh, I’m so ready for it… maybe this wasn’t a good idea.

But if I’m going to torture myself, let’s go for the full fantasy.

This shingled beach house says Cape Cod or the Hamptons in the height of summer to me. You can even see a bicycle leaning against the wall on the left, ready for me to peddle into town for a lobster roll from the best fresh seafood shack.

Or perhaps you’d prefer to escape to your rustic cabin with modern details. A modern sink and faucet are juxtapositioned against the raw wood planks and vintage mirror for an unfussy minimal aesthetic that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

In the end, the best part of summer is really the ability to hang out with friends outside, and the long nights which seem to never end and no one wants to go home. Get ready, because before we know it the warm weather will truly be here to stay!

What are you looking forward to in Spring?  How about summertime?

Photo credits: 1 – Living Room by David Jimenez. 2 – Nursery source unknown. 3 – Kitchen by Eve Robinson. 4 – Home office by i-can’t-remember-her-name. 5 – Porch by Suzanne Rheinstein.  6 – Beach house source unknown. 7 – Bathroom source unknown. 8 – Backyard source unknown.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Design & Home Living Tips, Inspiration Boards | No Comments »

Fox Interiors Chair