Project Redecorate: Susan's Office

My friend Susan has always loomed larger than life in my head. She's a Leo and when I met her she had a platinum blonde mane and a sweet, feminine voice. She was like a lioness. Except cuter. With a hint of Marilyn Monroe sexiness. That's Susan. Or at least how she is in my head.
We were very close my freshman year of college. Both trying to navigate the theatre department and hoping we were making the right decisions. We had Acting 1 and costume construction and stagecraft together. The latter in which we discovered our uncanny ability to get away with a lot simply by being blonde at the same time.  No one expected much from us and we used it to our advantage. But in a cute way.

Susan has since received three(!) bachelor's degrees: Theatre, Art Education and Studio Art with an emphasis in ceramics. And she is now a super fancy Gallery Director!

But Susan has a problem. She needs help decorating her office. Her office which used to be a jail cell...
See the bars?

Susan's style is mid-century and India and bright gorgeous colors; a woman after my own heart! She is also a thrifter and has a good eye for vintage and antique pieces. So I decided to go bold and out there and let Susan be the one to pull it back. The design serves as inspiration for Susan to find her own great pieces and make the room her own. Although, I have a feeling if we could knock this out in a weekend, we'd be a lot happier. But creative people need to make it their own so...

When staring at the photos the first thing I wanted to do was paint the cabinetry on the back wall. But as I kept staring, I fell in love! And it became an inspiration for the room. The bookcase looks sort of mid-century and leans Danish Modern, so I started looking for authentic mid century color palettes.
Frank Lloyd Wright color palette?! Yes, please! Susan and I are both from Scottsdale, so Frank Lloyd Wright was an ever looming specter in our lives!
The inspiration is expanding!
From that impressive array of colors, I chose an olive and an aqua. Because I love them. But also because they are fresh and gorgeous and natural. Grass and Sky! Earth from above!

I wanted to paint the wall behind the bookcase the dark olive and the other three walls the aqua. This helps make the back display bookcase more of a focal point and let's the lighter walls serve as a backdrop for the incredible art a gallery director gets to hang on her walls.
And the beauty of aqua is that the back focal wall could be changed to a red-orange, or a rich yellow or a deep brown and still look great and fresh.
One of Susan's issues with her office is that there is too much furniture. Which is true. But also, all the furniture looks really heavy. Because everything is a giant blocky rectangle. To lighten up the space we could add a more open desk:
The beauty of this type of desk is that a dining table could serve the same purpose! Which are easy to find in thrift stores. And it's great for an artist to have a giant table to work on, if she needs it.
The other issue is the filing cabinet. It's sort of a necessary evil. But maybe a smaller one could be used and some of the files could be moved to cute file boxes that sit on a console table that runs perpendicular to the desk.
I did try to change the layout, but it puts Susan either looking into the hallway, which isn't very private, or it puts her back to the door, which isn't feng shui. So I kept the desk where it is with a console placed up against the wall creating an "L" shape with the desk.


Above the console, was an empty wall. It is most likely used for displaying art, but I wanted to give Susan an idea of how to incorporate her office life into her art life. (If that makes any sense).
I found these metal wall mount magazine holders, that could also hold files! And because they're metal, cute  magnets!
Mix these magazine files with some small square cork boards, and you have an office art piece! One could pin postcards or small drawings to the boards, or memos and phone numbers!
Now, onto chairs. This was a tough one, because, really it's a matter of personal preference. But, right now, I'm the boss and I picked these gorgeous Wishbone chairs from World Market as the guest chairs for the office. Curvy and interesting without being obvious about it.
And for Susan's desk chair? A classic Chinese Chippendale chair. That's somehow modern and vintage at the same time. Because we are mixing styles like a boss.
Under the chairs, to kind of pull the office together, I added a rug. It will warm up the space and make it homier. I found this one that could work, but really, any great rug will add the warmth that will make an office feel less office-ie. I liked the oranges and the olive in this rug.
(world market but now it's gone. bummer.)
For other wall accessories, I added another cute plant to her plant ledge. A succulent that hangs down, the green looking pretty against the blue. And a chalkboard.  I thought the chalkboard could hang next to the door so fellow artists could leave their marks.

On Susan's desk, a sweet yellow lamp adds a kick of color that contrasts nicely but still blends in. I love a lamp on a desk. The light is prettier and it feels less institutional.
Susan also asked for a mirror for her office. I thought hanging it either on the back of the door or behind the door would leave room for art work on the walls, but she'd still be able to make sure she looks her best. But the mirror could also hang on the wall beneath the bars. Bouncing light around and still in a great place to glance at yourself before you head out the door.
The only thing left to explain are the task lamps from the design. Here is a better picture of the placement.
I found a similar bookcase to show the paint color and the function of the lamps. I wanted to use them to light the display case and let their shape add some fun lines to the wall. Since this wall will house ceramics and art pieces, I thought it would be fun to make it more like a mini gallery in her office!
Here's the full design one more time:
I had the best time with this design! I hope it inspires Susan as much as she inspired me!

Project Decorate: April and Joe's Bathroom


My cousin April and I have never met in person. She's my cousin by marriage and we met on Pinterest, of all places. Our mutual love of beautiful things and home improvement brought us together and now we occasionally chat on Facebook.

April also has a house full of half finished rooms and five kids. Which means she needs some inspiration and a nap immediately!

Her master bath is even less than half finished! She sent over this pic for me:
While this bathroom is in limbo, the seven of them have been using one bathroom! I have four people sharing one bathroom and...just...I don't want to talk about it...
They have the floor and shower wall tile ready to go, a gray linoleum and a pinkish hued ceramic, respectively. April asked for help picking out a paint color as well as a vanity. She asked for clean modern lines and no yellow. No. Yellow.
To help me in my quest to design the perfect bath, I looked for inspiration. April recently got back from trips Hawaii and California and while I'm not sure if it was her favorite vacation ever, I do know that the opposite of an Alaska winter would be a Hawaiian summer.

Black sand beach and blue ocean and white foam were my inspiration. But not literally, of course. Let's keep it soft. A person often times is half asleep in their bathroom. No one wants to be jolted awake by a paint color!


All three of these paint colors would work well in the space. There are no windows in the room so it can get cave like. I really liked the pale blue because it looks incredible with the dark wood on the vanity.

Here are three examples I found of dark wood, modern bath vanities:


The last one is the only one under budget, the other two are a little more. But you could add some feet to the front to make it look more custom. And swap out the door and drawer handles. Ikea has some modern handles that might be perfect:
Since the vanity has a lot of good storage, April asked for open shelving above the toilet. I found this pic for her:

 Floating, open shelving made out of pallets!

And now, for my most favorite part, the shower curtain! Now, I know I'm out there sometimes, but I really thought this would look amazing in the bathroom! And April and Joe have really great senses of humor. So go with me on this trip, wouldja?
See? It's cool right? Fun and adventurous! And light and airy! Okay, fine. Get whatever shower curtain you want. I'll be over here.
Vanity 1: $349
Vanity 2: $419
Vanity 3: $279
Handles: $6/2
Shelves: DIY
Shower Curtain: $64

Project Redocorate: April and Matt's Office Bathroom


If you've never met a Disney Princess in real life, I imagine my friend April would be a pretty close representation. As in, I think cartoon birds braid her hair in the morning and even her facebook messages smile at you from the computer screen. She's an all around delight and she offered her husband's bathroom at his Chiropractic Practice to be redecorated.

And here it is:
With a bathroom like this, there's not much one can do. It's ADA compliant and adding a beaded curtain and twinkle lights would probably not comply. There needs to be enough space around the toilet and most of the items installed are there forever. Except for the Lack table and the tiny tree. I think they can go...

Since my friend is a Disney Princess, it wasn't hard to find inspiration. On the design questionnaire, she asked that the space be, "Elegant, clean, warm, tidy but inviting and classy." Which, for some reason made me think of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel:
That's the lobby. And it's gorgeous. And cartoon birds deliver your luggage. With that in mind I set to work finding the items to make the space more functional.

First, paint color. I love a good, rich green. And this one suits a craftsman style but it's a little more playful:
Jadite by Sherwin Williams.

Next I wanted to add some warm browns to the mix. And I found this shelf from the Threshold collection at Target.
It was designed to hold these Threshold baskets:
And I would only get three. Then the shelf has some open space so it doesn't loom over the toilet like a giant shelf monster. The baskets can hold the cleaning supplies and extra toilet paper..
To soften the very rectangular shelf up a bit, I added a table runner to the top. This one is a little too wide for the 14" deep shelf, but any fabric would work.
It's from World Market and it's 16" wide. I say cut off the sides and iron the edge under! Live dangerously!
Another function the bathroom needed was a place to hang purses or jackets whilst one avails himself or herself of the necessary. Sticking to my Disney/Craftsman/Nature/ inspiration, I found these amazing beetle and ant hooks at World Market:
Metal and a little rusted these will look great next to the wall color and bookcase.

Now the hard part of this design comes in. The artwork. What does one put in a bathroom that is both inoffensive and yet has some kind of link or meaning to the client? I think I solved it.

April and her husband lived in Northern California when we reconnected on facebook. They have since moved back to Arizona, (where I went to high school with April!). And I asked her where she went on her honeymoon...Monterey! Combine all these things, shake them in a jar and you get....Ansel Adams. I know. It does seem a little boring. BUT! He was an impeccable photographer! And he was from San Francisco. He was in the great earthquake of 1906! And the photos are both Zen and beautiful!
I selected three, for very specific reasons:
Oak Tree - It is gorgeous and representative of his work.
Birds on a Beach - taken in the Monterey Peninsula
Canyon de Chelly - Full circle, back to Arizona.
For the rest of the tchotchkes, keep your eyes peeled for things at Target. Maybe something air freshener-ie? Like those reed things or the jar of beads that smells good. (Time to get practical about bathrooms!) I chose a plant, a candle, a vase, a frame...but that's totally up to you!
Sherwin Williams - Jadite (Feel free to go darker or lighter. It's better to look at swatches in the space)
Poster Frames - $12-$30 each
April, I hope this is what you guys were looking for. And feel free to use this design as your own inspiration to help you figure out what you want! If I were there I would totally paint the wall for you and set everything up...but it's a long commute...
Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go pee...too much potty talk around here... 

Project Redecorate: Autumn's Dining Room

My friend Autumn is pretty awesome. I basically texted her this morning and forced her to send me a pic of her dining room so I could redecorate it just for fun/for the blog. And she did it! That's a good friend. Anyone who lets a crazy person redecorate a room, that you have already decorated, is pretty cool.

Here is Autumn's dining room right now:
She has a great dining table and the shelving units in the room totally work. Her paint color, a pretty, creamy candlelight, is perfect. And I know that it's one of her favorite things about this room.

It also has a lot of doors. There is the sliding glass door, a bedroom door and an opening into the kitchen. As well as the giant opening into the living room. I'm going to do something completely crazy and get rid of one of the doors. Since they rarely use the sliding glass door, I thought I'd put a sideboard right in front of it. This one, from Ikea:
There are two choices to make with the placement, we could center the sideboard and adjust the curtains to make the window look like it's in the center of the room. Or we could keep the asymmetry and add the sideboard centered on the window, keeping the wine storage tower where it is as a bar area.

Then behind it, we could add some drapery:

The color says midnight, but it's more of a pretty indigo.

For the floor, I found a cool texture in a neutral beige:
It's easy to clean and it can be installed in a checkerboard pattern.

For the lighting above the dining table, I found yet another natural fiber situation:
It's actually pretty big. Twenty-two inches in diameter. But it will be impressive and look great against either the window or the closed drapery.

Because the sideboard adds a ton of storage, this shelf can be used as simply an art station for Autumn's two delicious girls, as well as cookbook storage.
I had added a wire mesh shelving unit with red paper file holders from The Container Store, but I like her shelf better.  And the gorgeous Napoli poster can go on the wall  with the candle holder.

I also found this poster, that I love, and could also work for Autumn:
An Italian poster of To Catch a Thief!

Also, if you look at the pic above, you see another door. I got rid of one door by putting furniture in front of it. For this one, I think we can add that white mirror from the design board. It will make the door look like a French door and also make it look like it opens outside while also helping bounce light around and making the room look bigger! That's a hard working mirror!

For accents around the room, I think pretty vases and framed kids art will look perfect. Maybe a tray for the sideboard or a fantastic pitcher.

Mirror: $298 (yikes!)

So, aside from the one thing that I found at Olioboard, everything was pretty affordable! And I had fun trying to find the most perfect thing!

Now comes the part where we explain to everyone that they cannot use the sliding glass door anymore...

Edited to add this poster to the design as I just found out her family is from this region:

Autumn's Dining Room olioboard

De Colores


We are heading to Mexico soon, for a little vacation. In preparation I've been looking at rental houses and getting excited and inspired. I wish I could paint my walls hot pink and emerald green! It also makes me want to buy a house down there just so I can decorate it.
And it also forces me to ask the big questions:
How many serapes can I buy without looking crazy? Is my car big enough to hold all the talavera pottery I want to buy? How many shrimp tacos can I eat in one sitting?
Here are a few more pretty, Mexican spaces for your perusal:
I'm gonna marry that tile.