Wednesday, February 27, 2013

One Room Challenge: Week 4

Pinch me.  How is it already Week 4 of the ORC? Time flies when you have none.  Am I right?  Don't get me wrong, I thrive in the realm of crazy!  We'll make it.

Today my office gets an inspiration board!  I've needed one forever.  I dedicated a whole post to wanting one here, over a year ago.  And.... it never happened, until now! To create mine, I simply took a linen fabric I liked and wrapped it over a cork board, then staple-gunned it in to place.  I have to keep my DIY's simple.  Remember my X-bench tutorial?  You know I love my staple gun.


A fun mix of fabric swatches, paint colors, quotes, and pictures that inspire me, this board is both functional and aesthetically-pleasing to me.  All of those samples up are being spec'd for current projects, and I like staring at a mojito while working.  The quote in the center of the board is actually a greeting card that says "I recommend vodka."  The smaller quote says, "I find inspiration everywhere I look.  It often comes when I think I see something and realize it's something else. It can come from a building, a bridge, an object or even a shadow."  And finally, a personal favorite, "Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten," said by Gucci.

Remember last week when I said I wanted to create a happy mess of objects and books for my desk and console decor?  I am well on my way...

I hope you like!  Happy Wednesday!

See how the other One Room Challenge participants are up to: 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I'd Like A Garden, Please

I've always dreamed of having my own garden.  I'm not sure why, since I am certainly not an outdoorsy person.  However, having my own haven full of flowers and potted plants to escape to when I need some fresh air is enticing.  My fixation and fascination with the French countryside makes me dream of having a reclaimed antique French garden gate and lanterns at the entrance.  Something like this:

As Sam and I begin searching for a future place to call home here in Houston, I have been on the look out for a pretty yard.  Since the city is so populated, most of what is on the market is vertical: multi-floor town homes (what I live in right now) or condominiums.  The single-family homes with yards are usually more pricey.  Even so, I have this picture of a cute little cottage with a pretty yard I can landscape.

I'd also love to have a cute doorstep with window boxes full of flowers, like this one:

Garden seating would be nice and perfect for early morning coffee and magazine-perusing:

I'd love to plant several rose bushes....

Ah!  It would be a dream.  I guess for this dream to become a reality I'll need to learn to garden?  My only experience thus far was during my senior year of college. My roommates and I lived next door to a cute elderly lady who loved to have us over and talk to us about her "life lessons" while we did her gardening.  Although she repeated herself every day, none of us had the heart to stand her up!  She got a lot of free labor out of us that year.

So anyone want to volunteer to be my gardening mentor?! 

{all images via Lonny Magazine}

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Design Diaries: Meredith Heron Design

I am so thrilled about today's Design Diaries interview.  Meredith Heron, principal designer of Meredith Heron Design, is a confident, cheeky designer who manages to do much more than just create beautiful spaces.  Oddly enough (or maybe not so odd?) I first came across Mrs. Heron via Twitter, where her coveted tweets crack up thousands of followers daily.  One thing's for sure- she isn't afraid to speak her mind.  In an age of "political-correctness", I find her outspokenness refreshing.  And it seems she surely knows what she's doing: she's been a host to 3 HGTV shows, runs a successful business, manages her company's social media, pitches collaborations with brands and also is a mother and wife.

What are 5 words to describe your style?

This is the question I dread most.  I am pattern obsessed.  Quality and craftsmanship are important to me.  I am passionate about colour. Textiles are the language I use to communicate my visions with.  My designs tell the story of the people who own them.

I've been told that I have a strong feminine aesthetic.  It's not foofoo but there is definitely a feminine voice and she's confident and occasionally outspoken.  There's a controlled whimsy.  I love to be ironic.

What does your typical day look like?

I hate mornings.  I fight to stay in bed as long as possible.  I start the day with my iPhone in bed.  Sexy, huh?  I check email (it amazes me how many people email me through the night), my Twitter, my Facebook.  I am usually then greeted by a smiling, wild-haired almost 4-year-old boy who comes for a cuddle. My fabulous husband cooks us breakfast (I don't cook) as we race to get the little guy to nursery school (we are never on time), and then head in to the office.  My husband is my business partner. Sometimes we have to tag team the drop off because we each have client meeting or site visits. Our days are anything but routine.  I do prefer to start in the office and head out from there but you have to be flexible and go with the flow.  We try to eat lunch as a staff but even this is dependent on the level of crazy going on.  If we are on deadline, you'll find us all wolfing down food at our desks.  Installation days we're lucky to eat on the fly.

Studio days I return emails all day- my phone is practically surgically implanted in my hand.  My Morphie has to be recharged throughout the day to keep my phone at full charge. I meeet with suppliers, clients, prepare presentations- my staff tell me I'm the most hands-on designer they've ever worked for.  All the while I'm overseeing all of our social media, pitching collaborations with brands, designing my own lines of fabulous (can't say more than that at the moment!  Top secret.) As my husband says, I'm constantly working unless I'm sleeping.  The odd TV show can distract me for an hour.

How did you decide you wanted to become an interior designer?  When did you decide to start your own company?

I've had my company for almost 20 years now but it wasn't interior design when I began.  I made floral arrangements.  I am a colour savant and have been asked to pick colours and patterns for design projects since my teens.  I went through university and become an elementary school teacher but that pays next to nothing so I got a part time job working at Home Depot making paint.  People started to throw money at me to come to to their houses, so I went back to school for design. I did that part time while teaching and working in the Paint Department, and then eventually added clients on the side for consultations. That all came to a head 11 years ago when I left teaching and started my own firm full time.  I landed my first hosting position with HGTV 6 months later.  I've since hosted 3 shows that have aired in over 121 countries around the world.

What is your favorite part of your job, and what do you feel is the least glamorous?

I love putting a design together.  Telling the story of the client.  Installing that can be less than glamorous.  We are often glorified movers but it's worth it.  Quoting and negotiating suppliers is tedious as is time billing.  There's an entire business of design that people often forget about.  They just want to see the pretty. 

What is the best piece of advice you have gotten regarding your career?  Do you have any of your own advice for aspiring designers?

You need to go to school.  You don't need a fancy degree but you do need more schooling.  It sets you apart from the hobbyist.  Not everyone is cut out, however, for working for themselves.  Don't be afraid to work for & with a designer.  Find your strength and play to that.  Be flexible and open to opportunity- work in your zone of genius and delegate or share the rest.  If you are certain that you want to work for yourself find a mentor. You may have to hire them or pay to consult with them but it's worth it.  As you become more established, hire a coach to help you with the business side of design.It's absolutely worth the investment.  It's cheaper than therapy.

What are 3 items currently on your "bucket list"?

1.) Licensing.  I want my own fabric line, furniture, lighting- you name it!  I want it all.  I'm working on webisodes to be hosted on my website in 2013.  I think the world needs to see the cheeky side of design and Lord knows my rants are rather popular on my blog.

2.) My husband and I love to travel. Barcelona and Denmark are on our list in the next 18 months list. We are currently looking forward to Morocco and Turkey, Prague, and eating and drinking our way through Tuscany.

3.) We often travel with our son which is such a great gift.  I look forward to more of this as part of his life-long learning. 

Speaking of your adorable son....  How do you manage to balance your home life with your work life?

Luke is part of all we do. He spent his first two years in the studio with us.  We had a "Manny" with us there and then as he got bigger and needer more stimulation and routine we transitioned him into full time nursery school which he loves. We bring him to launches and trade events - he's very partial to the sliders which are often offered by the caterers. He comes to clients' homes they love him and he's very excited to know them. He prefers a hotel suite to a hotel room and if he can order orange juice at a restaurant he is in his glory.

A big "thank you" to Meredith for finding time to participate in this interview and sharing her story with us.  I learned so much and enjoyed hearing your take on the world of design!

{all images via Meredith Heron Design}

Friday, February 22, 2013

Design Crush: Neon Signs

Funny story- a few weeks ago my sweet, innocent mother and I were at an antique market.  We came across a booth with a neon sign in it that said, "GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!" My mom, without any hesitation, says, "How cute would that be in a baby girl's nursery?!"  I just looked at her in shock as I realized she had no idea that used to be the sign for a gentleman's club. For the rest of the day I couldn't stop laughing at the thought of the sign hanging above a newborn's crib.

Although I couldn't think of a reason to buy that sign, I have come across a few interiors that utilized neon signs and made me want to try it in my own house.  Mixing it in with fine art creates a funny, playful juxtaposition:

If I were going to purchase a neon sign for my current bachelorette pad, I'd have to go for some lips:

Or maybe this one would be more appropriate...?

I don't think neon signs are just for bachelor pads and man caves anymore- as long as it isn't a Budweiser or Hooters sign- in that case, it should definitely stay in the man cave.

{You can purchase your own custom neon sign here.}

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The View Through My Lens: 16

This past month has been a whirlwind with school starting back up, taking on a few more freelance design projects, and just managing the craziness of everyday life!  I think recapping some of the highlights of the past month are best done through pictures...

Sam and I enjoyed Valentine's Day dinner out at one of our favorite Houston restaurants- Ouisie's Table.  He tried chicken fried steak for the first time and loved it, although he was confused why there wasn't any chicken in it. Guess that isn't a big thing in Australia?

I spruced up my bedroom chairs with my favorite velvet leopard print pillow covers from Arianna Belle's shop:

I'm head over heels in love with these gorgeous 20th century French sconces I recently found for a client at one of my favorite antique stores, Watkins Culver:  

Finally won a blog giveaway (my 1st ever!) from Sacramento Street and scored a free pair of shoes from Shoemint.  Of course I chose a leopard heel!

Spent a pretty Saturday sitting on the Starbucks patio with this cutie:

I've been trying to savor those sweet moments in the midst of the craziness.
What have you been up to lately?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The One Room Challenge: Week 3

It's week 3 of The One Room Challenge and I am surprisingly ahead of schedule!
I cannot believe it.  Somehow I have found a happy balance with the big pieces in the room rather quickly.

As I shared last week, I purchased a distressed zinc desk because I really wanted to add an industrial feel to the space.  While the desk is pretty, it doesn't have any built-in storage- something I definitely need.  I decided to move the guest room console in to my office to serve as storage, at least for now- sorry guests!  It fits my printer/fax (yes- many vendors still require faxed invoices rather than emailed invoices- ummmmm, is it still 1980?) and a few fabric baskets.  The canvas above the console will be hung this week (a piece I found at Memorial Antiques and Interiors):

Although it looks very basic/clean now, I want to go a little crazy with accessories.  I want it to be a happy mess.  Something like this on the back console:

And something like this on my actual desk:

This image is my all-time favorite office.  The pagoda lamps, lacquered tray, touches of pink and JFK picture (wasn't he the hottest President ever?) make it delicious.  
I tend to be very OCD and freakishly organized (I have a "pretty organization" tab on my blog- come on!) so I think emulating a collected, stacked look will be a good exercise for me. 

Since I'm not making any structural changes to the room, this is really more of a "decorating" project than a "design" one for me.  Since I am ahead of schedule I am contemplating potential ways to up the ante.  Wallpaper? Change the paint color?  Add drapery? Hmmmmm....  let's hope I don't get too carried away here.  
I hope you like it so far! 

Go see how the other fabulous ORC bloggers are doing....

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Albertina Loves: A Touch of Gold

Hi lovelies!  Happy Tuesday.  The lovely Albertina of Mimosa Lane Blog and I are excited to bring you a collection of curated picks for your home and for your wardrobe every 2 weeks together.  I know we all love a good round-up, so we thought why not put our heads together and share one another's unique takes on different topics.  

Today we are focusing on "A Touch of Gold."  Here's Albertina's take:

Sam and I, Albertina, are so excited to bring this new series to you a couple of times a month where we will offer you a curated collection of lovelies for both your home and for you under a selected theme.  Today's theme to inaugurate this feature is 'A touch of gold'.  Gold symbolizes wealth, prosperity and wisdom, so who wouldn't want a bit of gold in their lives?

[ Home || plate , money sculpture , mirror ]
 [ You || clutch , necklace , sandals ]
[ interior , streetstyle ]

Monday, February 18, 2013

Rustic Glam Dining Room Update

Hi friends!  Happy President's Day!

Today I wanted to share a few small updates to the "Rustic Glam Dining Room" project I first shared here.  When this client first emailed me, she explained that they had purchased most of the furniture items for their dining room but needed help accessorizing it and adding the finishing touches.  She also felt it was "boring", and wanted help sprucing it up a bit:

Although there are many pretty elements in the room (I love the tufted chairs and contemporary light fixture), the neutral floor, walls, and soft color of the furnishings were all blending together.  Nothing in the room popped or created any sort of contrast.  I suggested painting the walls Sherwin Williams Black Fox, adding a rug to anchor the space, alter the window treatments to a dramatic silk dupioni or taffeta, and add in a few fun accessories:

The client loved the idea and wasted no time getting the walls painted!
I am thrilled with the new color. Black Fox is dramatic enough to make the chairs and chandelier stand out and get noticed and exudes massive glamour:

Next, we purchased the Bliss Studio console I highlighted in my inspiration board above, which will go against the back wall:

Once we add the drapery (I am picturing an off-white silk taffeta):

...and add a few accessories to the new console, like an abstract painting and matching lamps...

The room is going to feel even more glam glam (as Martyn Lawrence Bullard would say- LOL).  

A collective "yay" for subtle transformations!

Now... rug decisions.  Here are my top 3 contenders:

Which rug is your favorite?

Tomorrow the lovely Albertina and I will be collaborating on something fun- can't wait to share! Have a lovely week!  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Needing, Wanting, Loving: A Cozy Reading Nook

Since returning to school this past year, I've been spending many hours pouring over my books.  I alternate studying between my kitchen table and the Starbucks up the street, but I would looooove to have a cozy reading nook. 

A cute puppy to share the reading nook with would be nice, too!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
XO, Sam
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