Friday, September 30, 2011

In the Kitchen: Fall Comfort Food

Happy Friday! I'm so ready for the weekend, how about you?! As the weather starts to cool down and the days begin to get shorter, it's been putting me in the in the mood to cook up some delicious homemade "comfort" food (diet? what diet?). I cook dinner just about every night for me and my husband to enjoy together. No matter how tired I am at the end of the day, I look forward to whipping up a delicious meal...sometimes I keep it simple (like grilled cheese & tomato soup), other nights I enjoy getting creative and trying out a new recipe. For me, cooking is another creative outlet and actually relaxes me after a busy work day. (I just hate the cleaning-up part, which my husband is pretty good about helping with ;). There are so many wonderful recipes for fall and I've rounded up a few I'd like to try out this season (my stomach is literally growling as I put this post together!). Enjoy and bon appetit! Have a great weekend. xoxo - Julie

"This fall salad balances earthy, tangy, sweet, and creamy flavors."

"Roasted sugar pumpkin is tossed with pasta and creamy cheese for a comforting main dish."

 [Fall Harvest Veggie Pizza]

"A Farmerie Fresh Dish for Fall."

[Roasted Fall Vegetables via Martha Stewart]
"With just salt, pepper, a bit of oil, and a hot oven, nearly every vegetable becomes sublime."

[Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup]

 [Cheddar-Cheese-and-Sage Biscuits via Martha Stewart]

[Hazelnut Creme Brulee Cupcakes]

[Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares]


Thursday, September 29, 2011

What's New: Fabulous Decorating Books

There are a plethora of fantastic home decor books that have recently been released, along with several publications that will be released in the coming months. While I haven't had that chance to personally review all of the books featured in today's post, I've selected the ones that look the most interesting and exciting to me. My apartment is filled with stacks of big, colorful art & design books, which I refer to quite often for inspiration. You can never have too many fabulous books, right?! Which book catches your eye in today's round-up? Any others that you'd like to share with us?

[A beautiful library designed by Windsor Smith. I love the way she arranged the books by color. Image found here]


[Design Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney]

[Martyn Lawrence-Bullard: Live, Love, and Decorate; I'll be reviewing my advanced copy over the weekend and will report back to you about it next week!]

 [The New French Interior by Penny Drue Baird]

 [Patina Style by Brooke Giannetti & Steve Giannetti]

[Preston Bailey Flowers: Centerpieces, Place Setting, Ceremonies, and Parties; I'll be sharing my personal review of this book in the coming weeks!]
 [Michael S. Smith Kitchens & Baths]

 [Be Your Own Decorator: Taking Inspiration and Cues from Today's Top Designers written by Susanna Salk]

 [Black and White (and a Bit in Between): Timeless Interiors, Dramatic Accents, and Stylish Collections written by Celerie Kemble; I can't WAIT to get my hands on this book!]

[The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well by Deborah Needleman]

 [Essentially Irish by Josephine Ryan]

[Katie Ridder Rooms written by Heather Smith MacIsaac]

[Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors written by Emmanuelle Gaillard]


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Inspiration Snapshot: Modern Glamor Vanity / Desk Area

I came across this fabulous vanity (or workspace - could go either way) via Rue magazine and love it for several reasons: the textured wallpaper creates a nice backdrop for the ornate mirror and sleek Lucite table. The black shades add a modern twist to the pretty crystal chandelier. I love the simple black leather chair - it's something I wouldn't have thought of using but totally works.  This vanity area is feminine and chic without being too "foofy" or girly. What do you think? Do you have a special little vanity area of your own? Hope you're enjoying your Tuesday :)


Monday, September 26, 2011

Quote of the Week

“I like to set people free. I give them a hint and encourage them to go with their imaginations. It is the only way that new things can come true.”

— Designer Muriel Brandolini


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Good Shepherd Charity Project: AFTER Photos of Room Makeover

Several of you have been asking me, "When are you going to post the AFTER pictures from the Good Shepherd project?!" Well, the wait is finally OVER and I'm so excited to be sharing with you the final results of the room I had the pleasure of re-designing back in June. Just to quickly re-cap on the project:  Earlier this year, project manager and organizers, Vanessa De Vargas and Vanessa Kogevinas, recruited 30 designers in the LA area to design and furnish 30 rooms at the Good Shepherd Center in Los Angeles, a center for homeless woman and children. The units we worked on serve as temporary housing to help single women of all ages get back on their feet, after facing financial hardship, addiction, abuse, or any other unfortunate circumstance that contributed to them becoming homeless. The project was 100% pro-bono and we all volunteered our time and resources to make it happen. We had 30 days to completely transform our individual room, however we saw fit. This was hands-down, the most rewarding design project I have ever been a part of. It was a pleasure to work at a women's center staffed with the sweetest group of women and nuns. I also enjoyed meeting and becoming friends with several of the other designers who participated in this project. So, without further adieu, here are the BEFORE & AFTER photos of the room I designed...Enjoy!



I replaced the existing bed (which was more like a brick mattress on a piece of plywood) with a brand new frame, mattress, and box spring. One of my upholstery vendors donated the custom headboard, which I had upholstered in a bright white mircrosuede fabric (daring choice to go white white, but I think it was worth it!)

I purchased this Bungalow 5 chest (which was one of several donated at a very discounted price) and had it re-painted in a high gloss white (was originally off-white). I changed out the hardware to petite crystal knobs, which I purchased from Target. The acrylic lamp is also from Target.

I replaced the existing ceiling light fixture (which was awful) with this beautiful round glass beaded chandelier. We added the ceiling medallion to dress things up, which made a huge difference! (only $20 from Lowes).

I thought this art print added the perfect touch of inspiration to the space. "Life is Beauty Full" by Sugarboo Designs, donated from my online shop.



When I first started designing this project, I selected the drapery fabric first, and built the rest of the room around it. The fabric I chose was Woven Jacquard Ikat Fret Raspberry by Robert Allen. I LOVE the way the drapery panels turned out! They totally "made" the entire space.

I started off with a pink, white and gray color scheme, then decided it needed a pop of yellow. I found this amazing chair from HomeGoods at the very last minute (literally, 2 days before the project deadline)! It was like it was made just for this room!

I hung a pair of white lacquered shelves from IKEA above the chair, to give the woman living in the room a place to store books, display picture frames, etc. Shelves are a great way to add storage to a small space (especially if there isn't enough room for a bookcase).




I wanted to create a small work space that felt separate from the rest of the room, so I placed the desk (which was a total steal from underneath a window that faced out to a nice view. I changed out the hardware with vintage style crystal knobs - they completely transformed the look. The (2) white cutout art prints were from HomeGoods.

The desk chair was donated by Bassman-Blaine and Associates one of my favorite sales agency/showrooms ever! (To-the-trade only).




To brighten up the vanity area, I painted the back wall a bold shade of pink called Couture by Valspar (available at Lowes). The existing light fixture was switched out for a sweet little crystal chandelier (also from Lowes). In lieu of a towel ring, I used adorable gold crown hooks, which can also be used to hang jewelry. The gorgeous mirror was donated by one of my FAVORITE vendors, Made Goods (the Sabine mirror, made of faux Shagreen).


I wanted to create a small entryway upon walking into the room, so I added this magenta chest, which had a distressed finish that gave it a vintage look. I hung a bulletin board above the chest so the woman living in this room can easily keep track of her appointments, reminders, etc. 

Me with my amazing husband Ryan, who I could NOT have done this project without. He was my handyman, painter, furniture assembler, and back-up designer when I needed another eye (he's the one who pushed me to do the bright white headboard). I love him more than words and am blessed to call him my husband and best friend :)

Posing with new friends (and the only other designers working on this project from "the OC", everyone else was from LA). On my left, Typhanie Peterson from Shoebox Decor & on my right, Jessica from Jessica Bennett Interiors.

That's a wrap! This was taken at the end of day 2 of the Open House weekend, just before I packed up and left room #110 for good. It's now being occupied by one blessed woman, who is fortunate to be a part of the Good Shepherd family. I wish her, and all of the women who stay in this room throughout the years, the very best in life and much success and happiness. xoxo - Julie 

A very special thanks to the following companies who contributed to my room design and made it possible for me to complete this project:

Also, a very special thanks to my family, friends and clients for their generous donations with time and/or money. I am forever grateful.