Friday, May 23, 2008

show stoppin' sofa

I have always maintained that updating the pillows on your sofa is one of the quickest, most economical ways to change the look of your living room. I like to do it every four months or so to create a look and feel for each season. Places like TJ Maxx and Cost Plus World Market have a super variety at affordable prices. If you are handy at the sewing machine, and could spend a little time making new covers, then your options for personalizing your sofa are infinite! This is a crash course in mixing prints and textures to create an inviting place to sit everyday.

Start with a blank slate, so you can vizualize the look you want to create. I am happy to have a very neutral sofa so I can bring in texture and pattern through the fabric on the throw pillows.

The first pair of matching pillows creates a feeling of symmetry and provides a fabric design that repeats the color scheme of the room. If your sofa itself is covered in a patterend fabric, I would suggest that you start with two solid colored pillows, and introduce prints in the next step. This way you won't overwhelm your sofa.

The next pillow should add a new texture and pick up one of the colors from the first set. I chose the apricot silk pillow which coordinates with my accent wall color.

A fourth pillow might bring in a new shape like round or lumbar, for variety. This pillow might also introduce a new type of pattern. For example, if you started with a small stripe, maybe this pillow has an oversized, off-center, single flower on it.

Lastly, I like to drape a solid colored throw over one end of the sofa. Even in the summer,I get chilly when sitting and reading here. To me, a soft throw makes the sofa feel more inviting and less formal. If you don't like the draped look, fold it neatly and center it on the back of the sofa or tidily drape it over one arm.

A well dressed sofa can be the focal point of the room if your space is lacking a physical one, such as a fireplace or an ocean view. Give this formula a try in your own home, and email your photos to me at!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

vintage is fun again

Shopping for vintage accessories at antique malls is nothing new. It is exciting, however, when you discover a fantastic establishement in your own backyard. Recently, I have been frequenting downtown Bremerton's Simply Renewed. In search of unique gifts for my mom and mother-in-law for mother's day , I wandered in and found myself poking around for over an hour. I picked out a couple of sweet mismatched china tea cups and saucers for Laura and a set of beautifully embroidered linen napkins for my mom, Jan. I also stumbled upon the PERFECT gifts for my two brothers-in-law for their upcoming birthdays.

Along the way, I discovered several items I would love to purchase, including a wall hung lamp that would look amazing(and provide necessary lighting) above the sofa in my home office. There were scores of vintage lamps, great furniture pieces, and lots and lots of artwork. The pricing was very fair; reasonable enough to be tempting if I was not on a budget!

Peggy Nord, owner of Simply Renewed, runs the outfit on her own most of the time, and boy is she busy! Peggy also organizes The Annual 4th Street Market, which takes place each summer, right around the corner from the store. The street is closed off and merchants and artisits sell their wares. This year, she'll host it three times: June 14th, July 12th, and August 9th. Admission is free of charge and the market opens at 9:00am and closes at 4:00pm. For complete information on the event and how to secure a vendor space please visit her website at Sounds like a great excuse to get outside, enjoy a cup of coffee from Fraiche Cup and search for that special vintage accesory you've been looking for!

Monday, May 19, 2008

command center

My office has been working hard lately, as my husband works from home once a week and I have been increasingly working on my own business development. We have made some great changes to get things more orderly and rearranged the furniture to help the room function better for our needs. One of the changes I implemented was to consolidate my books onto one of the existing shelves, and to use the other as a "command center". This idea could easily be applied to your own home office, or to a bookcase at some central location in your home.

Let's dissect each level, starting on the top surface of the bookcase: Zone One.
Here I have created a little bill paying center. My bill sorter contains a slot for each day of the month and a drawer for stamps, envelopes and address labels. (Yes, I am still somewhat old school and mail some bills with checks in stamped envelopes.)
The calendar hangs above it, for handy reference. My phone and Rolodex are also on this tier. There is a notepad and pencil in the drawer of the bill sorter for taking messages.

Moving on to Zone Two: reference central. This shelf is home to all daily reference materials: dictionary, thesaurus, phone books, address book, even my bird guide. In a three tiered paper sorter I keep several types of computer paper stocked as well as copies of the most current home decor catalogs. (When the new ones arrive, I recycle the outdated ones). My pad folio, personal decorating binder, home owner's reference manual, and a couple of extra notebooks also hang out here. A little red tool box containing picture hanging gear rounds out this tier.

The bottom bookshelf contains my design essentials: Zone Three. The expanding file where I organize my design inspiration tear outs (as discussed in an earlier entry) sits here for easy access. Another file box dedicated solely to my business related files shares the shelf. On top of it rests my C2 paint color kit, which I am constantly referring to at home or using on consultations.

You can use this formula to create your own personalized zones for items that you and your family refer to on a daily basis. Those common items that you and your loved ones so often use will always be found in the same spot. You may never find yourself answering the question" Honey, where's the phonebook?" again!