Saturday, March 27, 2010

Outdoor Space for Entertaining

We're leaving for a vacation in California next week and I can't wait for sun, warm weather, and blue skies! While looking at HGTV's Rate My Space, I found this great garden/entertaining space by Casa Smith Designs. You'll have to check our her website HERE. Below are some photos of her home and the backyard. It's a great space for entertaining!

(all images by Casa Smith Designs)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Going Vegan

I grew up as a vegetarian but swayed over to the meat eating side for the last 20 years. As much as I like a good filet mignon, I didn't feel good about what I was eating. So after watching Alicia Silverstone on Oprah, my husband and I decided to become vegetarian. I'll still eat eggs, cheese, and some milk but I'm avoiding meat. It's been 3 months now and we both lost some weight as a result of our diet change and we both feel better...kind of a lighter feel to things (I'm not sure how to explain it).

My biggest challenge has been eating out. I usually have to pre-plan by looking at the online menus, but have discovered very few restaurants cater to vegetarians. Except for one great restaurant in the Madison Valley neighborhood of Seattle called Cafe Flora.

I'm tired of veggie burgers and tofu items, so I need to learn other ways to prepare food and take a little more time with dinner. We're eating there tonight with friends and I'm going to pick up their cookbook and it can be purchased directly at the restaurant or at HERE.

Have any of you tried their recipes?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tracy Porter's Mantel "How To"

This video is a quick tutorial on decorating your mantel (same idea can be applied to console tables and bookcases).

Mix & Match

Since my husband and I own a 122 year old home, I've heard the argument that we should keep to the exterior style and age of the home and decorate it with Victorian furniture. I disagree. As I feel the interior of a home should enhance the style of the exterior of the home, they by no means need to mimic each other. I found this homeowner on HGTV's Rate My Space and love how they easily married old with new. Some people had some mixed reactions to their design aesthetic, but I absolutely loved it! Their entire home can be viewed HERE.

Exterior Shot of Home. Notice the detailed woodwork on the second floor and I love the simplicity of a white painted exterior with picket fence and ferns hanging from the porch!

Love the original stained glass transom window! The mirrored dresser is a nice touch to the entry as it adds sparkle and glamour to an otherwise boring entryway.

The formal parlour is long and narrow but they kept their furnishings small in scale leaving guests room to navigate around the furniture.

They opened up the back of the home on the first floor to allow entertaining in today's "open concept" idea. The kitchen is large but opens up to the family room allowing guests and family to interact with each other while cooking. They also refurbished a stove/oven and painted it a bold color red.

Notice the mix of an old table with the classic, modern Navy side chair. Also the red chandelier keeps the eye moving around the room.

Another view of the kitchen/family room.

Now on to formal dining. They mixed traditional wainscoting, crown molding, and a very elegant dining room set with a modern print of a bicycle. Completely unexpected, but the bold artistic quality of the prints balances the formality of the room.

Upstairs is an open concept master suite. They had an unusual ceiling dilemma as it follows the eaves of the home. They decided to highlight the feature by adding wide plank boards to the ceiling.

They even had space for a reading nook.

The m. suite is open to the bathroom but the transition is smooth as they used furniture-like pieces for the vanity and storage.

And what I liked most? The stackable washer/dryer in the m. closet! Sigh.

Quick shot of their son's bedroom. Very cute with vibrant wall color and reusing old furniture for toy storage.

Now on the garden level family room. This space is the perfect opportunity to use bold colors in furniture. They kept the walls a light grey color to act as a neutral backdrop to the color scheme of orange, black, dark wood, and shiny stainless steel.

They also added a kitchenette in dark wood tones.

These homeowners very cleverly married antique furnishings with iconic furniture pieces. I'm glad they took the risk of mixing old with new!

(all images from HGTV's Rate My Space)

Keep Calm and Carry On

I've been seeing this quote lately in home design magazines as framed posters and pillows.

The quote has an interesting history.

I'm entering a contest at Marley & Lockyer for her pillow covers and clay tags. I love her pillows for their clean, classic designs and my personal favorite is a pillow with the quote "Keep Calm and Carry On".

You can enter this contest too by clicking HERE!

Good luck!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patricks Day!

I couldn't resist a mix of The Corrs and Jimi Hendrix for St. Patrick's Day.

Project Number Seven

Tomorrow I turn in my final project for Intro. to Interior Design class and I'm finally done! It's been fun and a little stressful but it's nice to see it all come together at the end. For a quick recap, my "client" was my co-worker and friend, Michelle. She wanted a contemporary but comfortable space where she could entertain friends. She hates pastel colors and florals, and wanted warm colors like muted red, olive green, and earthy brown. She and her husband Tony love to play games and watch TV, so comfort was a must and space to seat at least 6 people comfortably. They also are learning to cook and are experimenting with different wines, so they wanted a dining room that had warm colors and a more intimate feel.

I felt a L-shaped sectional sofa would meet their needs for seating, and hardwood floors was a must as they have a Yorkie Poo, Chloe, who is still in the potty training days. Leather is very durable and will hide any scratches her little nails might make on the sofa. They wanted space for a computer so I added a desk behind the sofa with my favorite Louis Ghost Chair. Whoever is at the desk, can still participate in the conversation and see their 60" TV. The sofa is at the desired distance of 8-10 feet so they won't be too far or too near the TV.

The dining room gets a little punch of drama and feminity with a gorgeous red leather wallpaper. It's faux, but very hard to tell and feels soft to the touch, much like leather. I also found a cool metal wine rack that can be mounted on the wall and display their wine collection, plus there is a sense of intimacy as the chandelier is candles (electrical, that is). Above the buffet is a framed chalkboard where they can write their menu or any fun statement for the evening.

So here it is along with some photos of what I would suggest for furniture selections and fabric/casegoods.

Suggestions for Furniture in the Living Room

Candice Olson Chair in a Charcoal Velvet

Furniture Suggestions for Dining Room

Chalkboard above the Buffet (but in different frame color)

Images also from Restoration Hardware, Candice Olson Furniture, Pottery Barn, and Ballard Designs

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bainbridge Island Home

For those of you not familiar with the Seattle area, we are lucky enough to be surrounded by the mountains and Puget Sound. If you ever come to visit Seattle, you need to spend a day in Bainbridge Island. The ferry from Seattle is a short 30 minute ride and you can't beat the view of the Seattle sky line and the mountains in the background! My husband and I talk about retiring on this island as there are some wonderful little stores, restaurants, and homes dotting the island. And there is no traffic! Well, at least no traffic until the ferry unloads the cars and passengers :-) This home is for sale currently on Bainbridge Island and you can view the listing here. Again, out of my price range, but I got some great ideas and absolutely enjoyed the exterior and interior design!

All images from Windermere Real Estate