Monday, March 31, 2008

My Obsession of the Week: Graphic Wallpaper

Bold. Bright. Graphic...who knew wallpaper could be so much fun!? Far from dull and traditional, these prints can really "make" a room! Whether they're used in a small space to add interest, on a bed wall, in a foyer, on a ceiling - the patterns and colors can almost act as art and create a memorable focal point in any space. This cheerful wide stripe looks great with the white furniture and black and white fabric accents. Tip: Vertical stripes make a room look taller so think about this next time you are designing a room with a lower ceiling. Visit Domino Magazine for more great room scenes for with wallpaper ideas!
Although this space is somewhat cluttered, the graphic wallpaper and crisp white mirror give it a cleaner look. The shape of the mirror echoes the geometric shape in the wallpaper. Image from Domino Magazine.
All from Romo, clockwise from top left 1)Lasari Flock Wallcovering - this bold pattern looks great behind the pewter console table, 2) Rubani Collection - this high contrast stripe would be fun to use in a craft/hobby room mixed with painted white lacquer furniture pieces, 3) Caruso Stripe - love the wide horizontal stripe mixed with the small vertical striped fabric on the chair, 4) Arturo pattern - love it - especially accented with the bright red vases.

Designer's Guild Bergamasque wallpaper in Duck Egg. This looks fantastic above the crisp white wainscoting and the cut velvet striped sofa pairs nicely with the bold pattern on the wall.

The zebra pattern is a fun and an unexpected way to accent a transition between rooms. Because of the simplicity of the other room, the busy wallpaper doesn't feel overwhelming.

From Nina Campbell, Fleur de Lys Court wallpaper - an excellent choice for a dramatic foyer or niche. Large patterns like this one look best in small doses.

Lulu and the Bee

A fantastic custom calligraphy service...I'd like to introduce a fabulous new website that was launched by Dianna Andrade called Lulu and the Bee. Her company offers services such as Handwritten Calligraphy, Lettering, Monogram Design, and Custom Artwork for every occasion. Dianna has been creating handwritten calligraphy, custom lettering, and artwork for over 10 years. She is truly talented and has a unique and elegant style that's unlike any other custom calligraphy service out there! Please visit her website for more information. She also has a fantastic blog called Seams of Thought. A sample of the many different custom calligraphy fonts she offers.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Add a Little Sass to Your Kitchen!

I love to cook, bake, entertain, eat - whether it's trying out new recipes or creating ones of my own, I love being in the kitchen! It's another creative outlet for me. So why not look cute while I'm at it? I found these adorable aprons on Etsy by Boojiboo...they had so many fantastic aprons to choose from, I wanted to show them all! Here are my top picks, in addition to some fun accessories to add a little sass to your kitchen!Vintage Inspired Cupcake Apron - how sweet it this apron?! I'm loving it and wanting one for myself!
Vintage Inspired Red Cherries on Blue Checks Half Apron. I'd wear this adorable apron while baking a hot apple pie and might be tempted to wear it with some fun red heels...
The CHLOE Vintage Inspired Birdseed Full Apron . This apron is so happy and fresh - I'd be instantly cheerful the moment I put it on!
Pop a little color on to your stove with this Martha Stewart Red Enamel Tea Kettle! Use it for tea or just as a decorative accessory.

Spice up your kitchen with some of these fun accessories! Clockwise from top left: 1) Citrus Dish Towel Set, 2) Classic Tin Salt & Pepper Set - add a little vintage flair to your table, 3) The A La Menthe Tea Towel - oh la la! Such a fancy lady, 4) Retro Kitchen Mitts - such fun colors!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cool + Random+ Funky Finds

Goldfinch Green Tote Bag by Thomas Paul - I need this bag to carry around all my design junk while I'm out and about! Super cute and simple - right up my ally!

Address File Box from Ugly Kitty - Each address file box is made from half of a wooden recipe card organizer and lots of recycled paper. After collecting hundreds of magazine subscription cards (the annoying ones that fall out all over the place when you get a new mag) and other found papers, they are all cut into 2” x 3.5” cards and rounded at the corner, keeping the address information intact. Throw in a few heavy stock dividers (26 to be exact) and you’re on your way to upcycled organization. Over $1,800 has been donated through the Ugly Kitty Etsy Shop to the Cool Cat's Rescue Center. Reuse, recycle and help kitties from being put to sleep...sounds like a great deal to me!
Reusable Silk Gift Wrapping - save a tree and wrap your next gift in one of these lovely silk $15 a pop, it's much more expensive than your average roll of wrapping paper but a portion of proceeds go toward the World Wildlife Fund and the person your're giving the gift to, gets a bonus scarf to keep. (Love the concept but don't think I could afford this when it comes to Christmas wrapping...)

ART? by Vincent Abbey. it? My husband (who happens to be an artist) says, "Yes, it's art! Anything creative is art!" And you know what, I think he's right...
Nautilus Eco-friendly Flat-Pack Hanging Lamp designed by Rebecca Asquith of the sustainability-driven New Zealand outlet Unless. I want one of these! They're so delicate looking.

Toxic Free Dishes - Part 1

Recently my Aunt brought up the topic of toxic lead in dishes. She's a big advocate for creating a healthy home and decided to purchase new "lead-free" dishes. To her disappointment, the only dishes she found that contained zero lead were from Fiesta Ware, which only come in super vibrant solid colors. However, she said she'd rather choose semi-attractive toxic free dishes over beautiful contaminated ones. I decided to explore this topic a little further. What dishes fall into the toxic lead category? How dangerous is lead? And better yet, where can you find lead free dishes that are also aesthetically pleasing? Here's what I found:

Lead is a naturally occurring bluish-gray metal found in small amounts in the earth's crust. Lead poisoning is the leading environmentally induced illness in children. At greatest risk are children under the age of six because they are undergoing rapid neurological and physical development. Lead and cadmium are still used in some ceramic dishes and while levels are regulated by the FDA and, more strictly, by California, you can't be assured your tableware is lead- and cadmium-free even if it meets California's Proposition 65 standards. However, most tableware doesn't pose a serious health risk.

Choose glass, stoneware, or ceramic dishware. Ceramic dishware labeled as meeting California’s Proposition 65 requirements leach less lead than those approved by the FDA and are preferable. Plain white dishes rarely contain lead.

Avoid old, handmade, or imported ceramic dishware, which may leach more lead than permitted by the FDA. Any ceramic items that show chalky gray residue after washing should not be used, and leaded crystalware should also be avoided. Also avoid tableware that's colorfully glazed on the surfaces that touch food—an external glaze on, say, a pitcher shouldn't be a problem. Avoid decorations over glazes, as they're more likely to rub off than those underneath. Heavy metals are more likely to leach when ceramics are heated, and when acidic food or drink is what's being stored.

Click here to order home test kits by mail (scroll down to the very bottom of the page). For more information visit the green guide or

Toxic Free Dishes - Part 2

Who knew that when I set out to find lead-free dishes, it would take up half my day?! To be honest, I'm pretty frustrated with what little I found out there. I've been searching for hours and cannot believe more companies don't offer lead-free dishware. However, the few manufacturers I did find, have some pretty cool dishes and they are all 100% lead free.
Above: rimmed bowl from Alex Marshall Studios; dinnerware plates in chocolate brown; a lovely table setting complete with their white dinnerware and linens.
aqua dinnerware from Alex Marshall Studios - love the color and the organic, natural shapes of her dishes.

Alex Marshall square dinner set in buttercream. For more great product from Alex Marshall, click here.
sengWare 36 oz. Teapot with Infuser - Tangerina - so cute and cheerful :) Available in other colors through Target online.

sengware 16 Piece Classic Round Dish Set - available in more colors, but I like the rich chocolate brown paired with the soft blue and green.
Hopefully I'll come across more manufacturers of lead-free dishware. As soon as I do, I'll continue this post. And please let me know of any other fab toxic free dish resources! Thanks :)

Ann Saks

I've been a little busy this week and have semi-neglected my blog! I'm so happy to have Fridays off now so I can really take the time to focus on certain topics and resources to share with you. Today, I bring you Ann Saks. AS is a company that carries fine tile and stone products that are absolutely exquisite! I've never had the opportunity to use their product in a project but oh how I dream of that day! Check out the yummy glass mosaic tile accents designed by Erin Adams.
1) moroccan in sunset 113, red clay 114 and fire 123 -my heart nearly popped out of my chest when I saw this one!
2) circles in medium beige 11, sunset 113, pearl 117 and dawn 118 - so lovely and whimsical!
3) vine with birds in light beige 8 and mottled green 15 - love it, love it, love it! Who knew I could feel so passionate about a mosaic tile?

4) quilt small squares in 19 - all of these mosaics come mesh mounted so you can use them as a full height back splash in your kitchen or cut strips and use as accents and borders.

5) large stone set in medium beige 11, dark brown 14, dark beige 12 and m-8

6) small zen weave in bright green 18 and green swirl 17 - how stunning would it be if you tiled a wall in your powder bath with this?!!
3) offset mirror mosaic in M-01 - puts a new twist to "mirror, mirror, on the wall."

4) kilim in off white 1, sage green 19 and dark brown 14

5) quilt medium squares in 17 and 18 - t's more than just tile - it's art! This pattern comes in numerous colors as well.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Finding Your Calling

Over at blog decor8, writer Holly Becker covered a topic that really hit home for me and a lot of other readers...she was asked the question (by fellow blogger Nathalie): "Do you have any suggestions on how to find your calling in the design world? Is there anyone out there that feels the same way? What are we supposed to do when we don't know?". I am a true believer in following your passion but it can be a real challenge to actually find your "niche" and on top of that, make a good living out of it. So, how do you find your calling? This isn't an easy one to answer! However, a few things that can help guide you in the right direction are: 1) take a risk and get a job (part-time even) that is related to what you're most interested in or take that night class you've been considering! 2) learn as much as you can about what it is you'd like to pursue; 3) patience, patience, patience! It may take months or even years before you finally discover your true calling! 4) be willing to take a risk - big or small - you'll never know unless you give it a try.

I first started as an assistant in high end residential and after 2 years, decided residential design was not my cup of tea! Shortly after I shifted over to model home design , I fell in love and quickly went from design assistant to project manager in about 2 years. I had no idea I'd end up where I am today and wouldn't be where I am had I not taken risks and tried new things. You can't over think things to much - sometimes you need to take a leap of faith and just go for it! Everyone starts somewhere - even the most successful people started out with little experience and had to work their way to the top. I'm anxious hear Holly explore the topic more this week!

What are your thoughts on finding your true calling? What do you believe it takes to find your niche in the design world? Please share any thoughts or insight! I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Time To Get Inspired!

All from Pottery Barn, these rooms scenes are great for ideas and inspiration for your own home. Spring is here and what better time to give your stale bedroom a face-lift or spruce up your boring beige living room? Want to see more ideas? Click here!

New From Pottery Barn !

I love Pottery Barn and was thrilled to see all of the new and exciting patterns and colors they've come out with for Spring! The Brooks Armless Chair in Maxine print fabric . The large pattern and vibrant colors give this floral print an updated and fresh look. The bold colors and patterns look wonderful against the crisp white sofa. What a refreshing contrast. This is a photo of my fantasy beach bungalow! Tres magnifique!

Shown here: Moorish Tile Rug; Ikat Pillow Cover; Madera Coffee Table Bench; Grosgrain Stripe Pillow Cover.

The colorful Stella Bedside Table Lamp - what great mix of textures with the high-gloss lamp base and jute covered drum shade. And the ultra chic Paperweight Clock is the perfect accent for your desk - multi-functional and hip!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pop Ink: Doo The Dishes

You can't go wrong with these fabulous melamine plates! Pop Ink plates prove you can have your art and eat off of it too! P.S. - these are dedicated to you Dianna :)

Tres Belle Trays

How beautiful are these trays from iBride? Designed by 3 members of a French family, 'ibride' itself is a play on words in French meaning 'hybrid.' Many of the pieces combine several forms and several functions. Use them as serving trays or as wall art!
To see more of these lovelies, click here.

Matte Stephens

I discovered these super cool pieces of art from Velocity Art And Design by artist Matte Stephens. These are just a few of the wide variety he offers. I love the silly titles and the simplicity of each piece. Titled All I Wanted Was A Sandwich (materials: gouache on birch plywood)
This little guy is called Owl 2 (materials: gouache on birch plywood)

This one is titled Suburban Hazzard #3 (gouache on birch plywood)

This chic lady is titled Beehive. Love her! (gouache on birch plywood) Bird Diggity - I totally dig it! (limited edition lithograph print)