Friday, May 30, 2008

the coat rack rundown

My coat rack works hard. And I don't consider it just a coat rack. It acts as an organizer of all things I might need on my way out the door. It had been neglected and needed some attention.

In the process of repainting my office, I took everything off the rack, and started over, considering all of the things that I really needed this area to do.

On top, a basket holds books and movies to be returned to the library. I can also deposit oversize packages that need to get taken to the post office in the basket, or items to be returned at the mall.

The hooks, of course, keep our coats organized. I try to rotate the jackets in or out storage seasonally, so that the rack doesn't get too overwhelmed. Obviously, this is an ongoing thing to keep up with, and I had not done it in a while. With the bulky coats of winter put away, I can also hang guests' coats here as they come in the door. Now there is more room to keep my umbrella and purse here as well.

The basket on the floor under the coat rack is sort of a catchall. It is the perfect spot to stash my reusable grocery bags, the tote I take on consultations, and seasonal purses. When its cold out, hats and scarves find their home here too.

If you think that a similar system might work for you, here are a couple of good looking products:

Restoration Hardware's Bistro Train rack could definitely be put to use outside the bathroom.

Create your own system using mismatched brackets, shelving, and hooks:
Anthroplogie's Vineyard Brackets and Lava Flower Hook Rack with Ikea's Tryggve wood shelf.

Or go ultra-simple with the Container Store's Platinum elfa basket and hook system.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

blog confessionals

What a treat to meet up with fellow design bloggers. As my interest in blogging morphs into an obsession, it's nice to find out that I'm not alone. Last night at Seattle's gorgeous, happy and modern Velocity Art and Design showroom, four design savvy bloggers shared their wisdom. I was as giddy as a school girl, and hung on their every word, and left (at 8pm on the dot to catch the ferry back to Bremerton), wanting to know more! I was such a geek about it, I even dutifully took notes in my Real Simple padfolio.

The top four nuggets of knowledge I took away from last night's talk:
1. Blog everyday. (I promise I will from now on.)
2. Invite your readers and fellow bloggers to become part of your blog. Encourage and engage in constant conversation.
3. Find your blogging voice, develop it and stick to it!
4. Bacon is apparently a hot blogging topic and I should work it into more of my postings to maximize my readership.

All in all the event was incredibly motivating and enlightening. This was the second in a new series of monthly design/creative meet ups started and hosted by Velocity Art and Design. I missed the first one, which featured artist Matte Stephens and his pleasantly retro- modern artwork. I am sorry I was not there, but I have the next two events already in my planner! Thanks so much to John Tusher of Velocity Art and Design for creating these incredible, local opportunities! Hooray, I am hooked.

The four bloggers that indulged us in blogging banter were: Paola of Mirror Mirror, Elaine of Decorno, Mary of Shelterrific, and Megan of not martha.

Please take a few minutes to check out their sites! If you are curious about "The Lab" meet ups and upcoming topics, get more info at Velocity Art and Design.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

office redesign

The desk before the redo.

My office was in need of a new pallet. We had previously been using it as the den, so the red and deep khaki color scheme worked to create a cozy lair. Now that it is functioning full time as a home office for both Chris and I, the time to change has come.

I wanted it to feel fresher and more calming. I wanted the desk to face the window so that I might inadvertently absorb some vitamin D while staring at the computer screen. I wanted the colors to flow with the rest of the house. Most of all, we needed it to be more functional.

In April, I was enthralled with Domino's feature on Drew Barrymore's Flower Films production company offices. Designer Ruthie Sommers injected high style in a touchable and personal manner. I just loved the outcome. The look is charming and welcoming without being kitschy. This blending of function and design is what I based my office redecorating on.

Before: The red curtains made the room nice and dark while we were screening a movie, but did not provide enough light for office functions.

After: With the desk in position to receive lots of natural light, I decided to change out the curtains (an old pair from an old apartment) to a golden yellow.

Before: There was only one chair for a guest, cat, client or spouse to sit in.

After: Now one of us can lounge with a cat or two while the other works on the computer.

The bookcase to the left of the desk holds all of my design books and favorite design magazines. My bulletin board cluster hangs above.

The command center sits to the right of the desk and keeps my everyday references at arms' reach.

Plus, now Basie can sit and watch Old Blue the stellar jay pick through our gutter for nest materials.

Monday, May 26, 2008

a desire to simplify, add modern design

I am ready to uncomplicate my surroundings to achieve a more serene space.
Image from Jeff Andrews Design on Metropolitan Home's website.

Lately, I have been on a second-hand store bender. And, while I truly love and value the concept of giving old things a new context in my home, I feel that my surroundings are quickly becoming too "precious". Scrolly legs on tables, pretty floral fabrics, and accessories that look well-loved or old fashioned dominate my home. All of a sudden, it feels cutesy, not casual... the look seems too contrived and pulled together.

I have recently acquired the desire to simplify and add some subtle, more modern elements. How in the world can I do this for NO money?
Can I copy some contemporary ideas with the pieces that I already have?
What if I just purge and declutter?
If any of you have any thoughts on this matter, I would really like to hear them.

The "no budget" concept is going to be a hard one to get around. I'll let you know what I come up with. So for now, here are some images of rooms that inspire me.

Betsy Burnham Design, based in L.A. beautifully blends classic with contemporary. This serene and simple bath is a pleasant example of that aesthetic.

The clean lines and stark contrast of this dining area found on Metropolitan Home's website appeal to me. It is refined without feeling cold.

This living room has a cozy, but sophisticated vibe. The squareness of the upholstered pieces lends a modern feel while the rich espresso brown tones warm the space. Also based in L.A., Jeff Andrews Design combines a modern sensibility with old fashioned comfort.

The light and contemporary elements in this photo are complements of West Elm. The cut glass lamp,simple rectangular desk, and large bands of color on the curtains draw me in.

Some recurring elements to take note of: modern light fixtures, color pallets that create high contrast, crisp white, lots of textural elements, and well-placed bold pops of color. So, again, how am I to accomplish this mission with no financial investment? Heaven help me...