I’m back from an amazing getaway with my two cousins Kelsey and Meredith over the weekend. We went to Napa and did it up right–I need to detox after all the good food and wine. If you follow me on Instagram you saw the pictures of our trip but I’ll do a post soon to share more details. It was special for us for just having a girls getaway but also more than that as it was a very special place for Kelsey and James so we enjoyed toasting him and remembering the good times with him.
Onto other things for tonight though. I hope everyone had a good Passover or Easter or beginning of spring and if you are home with your kids on spring break–I feel ya. We had a rainy start to our vacation week and I was pulling out every craft I could think of this morning. The rain stopped after lunch and tomorrow should be nice so we are getting out of the house for sure. I may be posting less this week because I really do want to spend some time with these guys while they are home.
Last week I mentioned I was working on stuff for the upcoming flea market. I will have a much smaller inventory than usual but I did find these two mid century side tables:
For some reason I only photographed one but there are two. I hated the finish on them and the veneer was in pretty bad shape on one side but I loved the lines, the brass feet, and the drawer. I thought I could refinish them to more of a walnut color but the veneer was really thin and wouldn’t take any sanding. So plan B was paint them. I don’t usually like painted mid century pieces–especially when they are painted to try to turn them into something they aren’t–so instead of my usual ASCP I decided on a high gloss black, but only on the outside:
I think it really brings out the brass and the detail on the drawer. These could be so cool in the right space. I’ll have them for sale this weekend barring the rain that’s been forecast.
How was your weekend?Pin It
I’ve been trying to come up with things to sell at the flea market next weekend that can be set out on tables, etc. The crafting bug hit again the other day and after finding some inspiration on Pinterest, I came up with these.
I had some river rocks already from a previous floral arrangement and several bottles of acrylic paint. I painted these little birds onto the flattest rocks I could find in the bunch and then glued them into shadow boxes from IKEA.
I think they would be a sweet addition to a nursery with a natural vibe going on. A really fun, easy and inexpensive craft that would be fun for kids too. Just painting rocks different colors or designs and setting them out in bowls would be a nice way for the kids to contribute to the accessories in the house.
And I’m signing off for the weekend now as my two female cousins are in town and we’re headed up to Napa for the weekend for some wine and girl talk. Hope you have a great weekend! Follow me on twitter or instagram for photos of our weekend getaway.
Last week I mentioned that John and I were going to an auction party for the boys’ elementary school. It was Saturday night and it helps raise funds for the PTA budget. Although there are many kooky and annoying things about Berzerkley (as well as many wonderful ones), one of the best things about it is the public school system–especially at the elementary school level. I won’t get into it in this post, but we really are blessed with the public school system here, and in particular I am incredibly happy with our school and the parents and teachers of our community. All of these things make events like the school auction a lot of fun and something we are excited to support.
So long story short, at the auction the other night, one of the things up for silent auction was a reproduction carousel horse. When I saw it I knew I was bidding on it, and after a few drinks I wasn’t going to let anyone outbid me for that thing. A few intimidating stares and some close calls later and it was mine:
So now it is sitting on our landing on our stairs with a few other antique items. I haven’t quite figured out this vignette yet:
But what I do like is that you can see the horse from the bottom of the stairs or when you first walk in the front door. I think I will turn that antique frame into a cork board or something. I also have a photo project for the stair well that has been brewing for about 3 years. Maybe it’s time I got busy on that.
And by the way, that horse is not the only thing I won Saturday night; I also won the costume contest. I think maybe it helped me win the horse because really, would you want to mess with this crazy B and her new wave boyfriend circa 1981?:
It was a painful 30 minutes combing out that frizz the next day. My skirt was borrowed from my daughter’s daycare. Yes, I am wearing a three year old’s tutu. I did it all for the kids.
I mentioned yesterday that Camille, Wendy and I are selling at the Alameda Antiques Faire again next month–It’s actually 2 weeks away and I am so unprepared! Usually at this point I have several large projects like dressers and buffets waiting to be sold but right now, I’m pretty cleaned out. I have several little things but no large furniture pieces.
Part of that is by design. I’ve gotten a little tired of moving all of those large pieces and nothing is more depressing than having to put unsold large items back on the truck at the end of the day.
But, I do want to have some fun, functional pieces to sell so the other day I found this well made, solid vintage cabinet at a salvage yard:
I had some green glass knobs left over from another project so I decided to use those and set them off with ASCP Graphite:
And I decided to go with something bright and summery as a surprise for the inside:
I used ASCP Florence and Antibes Green inside. It’s a departure for me and really plays off the knobs. I would love to see this cabinet over a buffet or in a kitchen setting off someone’s collection of ironware or white porcelain. It would also make a nice hutch sitting on a desk for extra storage.
And the little parrot pitcher will be for sale too! Couldn’t pass him up.
I hope to get to some other projects this weekend and next week and show them to you as I can. I have a table to strip and repaint which I hope to get done this weekend.
And tomorrow John and I are going to an 80s themed fundraiser at the boys’ school. I am borrowing some tutus from Becky’s daycare and wearing some black leggings and going with a Cyndi Lauper themed interpretation. I went to get accessories today at H&M and could not believe how everything in the store was 80s: neon, ripped t-shirts, shoulder pads, zippered jeans, etc. I truly thought most of that style would never come back, but what do I know!
Have a great weekend!!!Pin It
Yesterday I went to Home Goods to buy lamps for a client. I didn’t find any lamps I wanted but I did not leave empty-handed. I walked out with a new awesome vegetable knife, some tongs, and a basket–this water hyacinth basket for magazines:
I’m a sucker for a good basket and a good deal and this one was on sale for $10 at our local Home Goods. My magazines are starting to take over our bedroom so this will help with that.
And I have been on a mission lately to buy more accessories for our house because I have noticed that I pretty much use the same ones over and over again every time I do a photo shoot in the house. I was going to look for something while at Home Goods but I realized I have a hard time buying little knick knacks unless they are functional, vintage or really personal. One exception however, would be this little vase I bought recently at Target:
I love how smooth and chalky it is. I need to put a little flower in it now that the garden is about to start blooming.
Also, the other day while out scavenging for the flea market (did I mention Camille and I are selling at the flea market again in, gulp, 2 weeks! I am so not ready…) I bought this vintage urn at an antique store. It is so heavy! I’m kind of liking the rusty patina too.
Also back on February 26th I ordered this bag, below, from West Elm and am dying to get it. I desperately needed something cute and durable for samples and supplies and I’m really hoping this will do the trick. I’ll let you know when it arrives–why does it have to take so long? I have been so frustrated with West Elm’s shipping lately. The fabric I ordered from them for the wingback took six weeks! It’s great fabric though. Here’s a pick of the bag:
What about you? Made any good purchases lately?
I don’t know if all interior designers struggle with this question, but I do and always have. In my quiet moments when I sit and think about how much time and energy I devote to creating a home for my family that is beautiful and functional to us as well as the amount of time I spend thinking about interior design–researching it, driving around looking at fabrics and furniture, honing my skills at it, etc.–if I let myself, I can start to feel frivolous and silly. Especially in the context of the world we live in with so much sadness and tragedy.
I remember having these feelings after 9/11. So many good people gave their lives that day helping others and I suddenly felt like I needed to learn a “real” skill–something that mattered. Then, I watched Denyce Graves, a very talented and world famous mezzo soprano, perform America the Beautiful at the first 9/11 memorial service and the hope and emotional release she provided to everyone who saw her transcended words and touched millions. That was beauty at its highest level doing what it is meant to do.
And really, all humans know, even just in our subconscious, that there is something spiritual in an artistic expression that moves us, whether it’s a painting, poem, aria, play, etc. What could be more affecting than having a little bit of that visual beauty around us in our daily lives? I know whenever I walk into a room that I am happy with–one that has the right color to play off its light, the right furniture placement to make it feel warm and inviting, the right mix of beautiful and personal items, I feel really good.
And if I carry that good feeling into my interaction with my kids or my husband it can start to make our family happier. And maybe they carry that emotion out into the world with them or create a lasting memory from it. Yes, at the end of the day interior design is just “stuff,” but “things” really do matter. I saw this quote from Nate Berkus’ book The Things That Matter on Maria Killam’s blog the other day and it made so much sense:
“Each object tells a story and each story connects us to one another and to the world. The truth is, things matter. They have to. They’re what we live with and touch each and every day. They represent who we’ve seen, who we’ve loved, and where we hope to go next. They remind us of the good times and the rough patches, and everything in between that’s made us who we are.” Nate Berkus.
When I was young I didn’t think things like this mattered–experiences felt more important, real and worthwhile. But maybe the older we get and the farther we’ve traveled, the more we want to be surrounded by objects that tell our story and relate our experiences. We want things that hold our memories for us and will help our children not only understand who we are but create a context for their own lives. The presentation of ourselves and the stories of our lives in a way that is orderly without feeling prescribed and thoughtful without being contrived is what good design really is. There is beauty in order and there is life-affirmation in beauty.
So that is how I justify whiling away the hours doing what I do. Beyond feeling a need and a desire to do it, as well as wanting to contribute to my family in a way that feels fulfilling to me, deep down I really do feel like there is a human necessity to beauty, on whatever scale. Creating that in our own homes seems like the most basic, accessible and logical way to begin.
And sometimes I encounter people (honestly, mostly men ) who feel ashamed to care very much about the state of the home in which they live. Clean and even organized is seen as a virtue, but an investment in making it an expression of who they and their family are seems excessive. Even if the investment is minimal there is a prevailing feeling of squeamishness when approaching the subject of putting effort into “designing” a home–and honestly, a blog post like this with an esoteric discussion about the lofty importance of design is not going to do me any favors with them! Luckily though, I feel like the explosion of design blogs and DIY culture has made interior design more accessible to everyone. The real “truth” behind it will be our little secret…;)
ps-Is anyone else having trouble imbedding images from pinterest today? Forgive the awkwardness of the source listings…
I’ve had this seller on Etsy as one of my favorites for years but just recommended some of her work to a client and thought a feature was in order. I love the wistful quality of these prints and think they would be equally beautiful in a child’s room or in a main living space.
I love that they seem almost like memories of growing up and there are just suggestions of facial features. I also probably like them because the yellow bathing suit girl has the exact same haircut as my little one.
My oldest is just starting to improve from that stomach flu that hit him on Monday. So far 3 out of 5 of us have gotten it but I think we may be coming out of the woods. So ready for warmer weather and no more germs! We are supposed to be hitting 70 this weekend so hopefully we will get a break.
Do you have any favorite Etsy artists? Please share!
Just wanted to say a quick hello this Monday. My oldest is turning eight today and the poor birthday boy woke up with a stomach bug and had to stay home from school. He’s feeling a little better but I don’t think we will be having birthday cake tonight.
We had a slumber party for him on Saturday. He got to invite three friends and my five year old got to invite one so we had six boys and Becky–our two year old girl. She did a great job keeping up with the boys though! They were a great crew and had fun but didn’t get much sleep…
So today I am home with a sick boy and when I went to take some photos of a little craft project I did, I realized I left my battery and battery charger in Nevada City on our trip last weekend! So I’m instead changing gears and I’ll leave you with some beautiful bathroom images I’ve seen on Pinterest.
PS–Just looking over this post again and realizing something. A few weeks ago I saw the most amazing antique butcher’s table at a salvage yard and snapped a pic of it. I would have bought it myself except someone else had beaten me to it:
When I realized a few years ago that interior design was more for me than just a hobby/addiction but was something I was meant to be doing for others, it was exciting but a bit scary too. I had had a creative career that I left to be with my kids more and I wasn’t sure how to go about starting my own business much less what my identity or brand would be. At the urging of an incredibly supportive husband, I started a blog to test the waters.
I loved blogging right away. First I liked that I created my own schedule and could post when I felt inspired. And it was so fun to share my projects and even though the only people reading it were John and my mom in the beginning, I could sense I was moving into a new community. I had no idea how supportive, kind and generous all the bloggers out there would be. I was slow, but I discovered so many other blogs that not only inspired me but helped me find my own design voice. (More on discovering a design voice or identity on another post–I’m definitely thinking about this one too).
During this process, I realized there are basically three categories of design blogs:
1. Bloggers who curate amazing images and projects to inspire others
2. DIY bloggers who share their own wisdom and skill at creating their own space
3. Designers who blog
There is definitely some overlap here but that’s a general rundown. Of these three categories, the first two have blogging as their main blog-business focus. The goal is usually to increase blog traffic and SEO performance so the nuts and bolts of the business, besides the design aspect and blog writing, is to study up on technical ways to increase blog traffic. Honestly, we all want more blog traffic, right? But designers who blog are focusing most of their energy on their design clients and projects and then sharing them on their blog. The exception to this are those designers who really do all three things well.
So as my blog, business and client base has evolved I have been thinking about which one of these categories I want to fall into so I will know how to focus my energies and how to go about clarifying my identity and brand. I think I knew all along I was/wanted to be a designer–the blog was almost incidental–but the more I blogged the more I liked blogging. Even though I plan to continue to do all three categories to the best of my ability, my identity and brand is as a designer who blogs. And the more my client base grows, the more obvious that becomes to me and those who read the blog.
So this has led me to some other more specific questions about my website and how to refine and improve it: Do I want to keep the blog as my homepage or have a landing page with choices? What about creating portfolio pages as my finished projects grow? As a designer who blogs, do I still want to focus much of my time trying to increase blog traffic? Should I start ads to begin to have revenue from something that legitimately takes up a good portion of my working hours?
So to all you bloggers out there who’s business is evolving, what is your approach? Do you have it all figured out or are you answering some of these questions too? Feel free to use the comment section to hash this out. I bet we can help each other!
PS-I’ve been meaning to thank Janice who left a comment on my post about indoor houseplants that are hard to kill solving the mystery about the one on the landing of my stairs. It’s called Pepperomia and it looks like there are many different varieties. Thanks so much Janice!
We are back from a lovely trip to Nevada City over the weekend. It’s a cute little old mining town from the 1850s and during its heyday was the third largest city in CA. Now it’s a really quaint tourist destination in the Sierra foothills. It’s almost totally preserved and the town center is all architecture from this era with Victorian neighborhoods surrounding it. It has a mix of cute shops, touristy shops, antique stores, and new age-y stuff. The food was excellent.
The white building is one of two original firehouses:
Love this brick wall with the faded paint:
There were a couple of WPA era art deco buildings including the courthouse:
I loved this barn that had been converted to shops:
And here is the little house we stayed in called the Two Room Inn. I didn’t actually take an exterior picture but you can see images of its interior if you follow me on Instagram (@urbanorchardint). Here’s one I found:
We had the whole cottage to ourselves and it was right on the main street in town. Very cute!
So I have to admit, John and I had a hard time getting into the swing of things being totally by ourselves for 3 days. It was the first time in years and perhaps the last time for a while we had been anywhere without the kids so maybe it was just too much pressure? I think we had these grand ideas about how much fun it would be and all the great conversations we were going to catch up on and it was hard to live up to it. Not to mention we were both a bit under the weather and not totally energized. When we have date nights, it’s always great–fun easy conversation just like always–but I think that’s because it’s not a big deal. Don’t get me wrong it was great, but not what we were hoping for–there was so much pressure to make every second count.
How do you couples with kids reconnect when you get away? Just in case we go away together again before the kids go to college…
I live in Berkeley, CA with my husband and three children. A desire to share a lifetime love of creating beautiful spaces led to this blog where I display my home renovation, client projects, and inspirations.
If you would like a home that makes you happy to come home to, contact me for a consultation.
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