Saturday, August 9, 2008

to decorate an office

I recently acquired a fantastic new job, which I am really thrilled with. My coworkers are great and have warmly welcomed me aboard. I have my own office and it has a city/ shipyard view. The windows are nice and big, so I get a lot of natural light. Being a sort of corporate looking office though, it lacks character. Since I will be spending forty hours a week here, I want it to be a reflection of me. My challenge is to try and warm it up, and make it into a space that feels organized, welcoming, and if possible, soothing.

This is what I have to work with:
The walls are painted a nice, rich khaki. The desk chair and two visitor's chairs are a medium shade of evergreen. The desk and bookcase are a warm, mid-toned cherry color. My large lateral file cabinet is putty, and the trim for the doors and windows is the standard black metal, typical of contemporary office buildings.

I am considering two different color palettes.
The first includes the forest green, with reds and golds. I have a floral painting that includes all of those colors to hang on the wall. I also have a red wall clock and a black and white table lamp that would work with it. For picture frames, I would probably try to stick with all white or black.

The other palette also uses the forest green, but incorporates light blues and accents of brown. In this scenario I would hang a world map, use a white and brown lamp and white picture frames. I might hang a bulletin board covered in a fabric that has all of the colors.

In both cases, I want to use mismatched china or small flower pots to hold my pens, paper clips, post-it notes and business cards on my desk. I envision baskets on some of the shelves to store and sort envelopes and paper. Maybe some fabric covered magazine holders would be a good to keep catalogs and phone books from looking like clutter.

I don't have any photos to show you now, but I wanted to hear your opinions and ideas. Do any of you have a workspace that you have converted from sterile to homey but functional? This is my first "real" office, and the decorator in me is really excited. It needs to remain professional looking too though. Any of your thoughts would be appreciated!

Friday, August 8, 2008

making do with mustard

Poor Carrie. Starting out a new adventure: a fantastic new job in a new city, should be exciting. It should be something to get you inspired, make new goals, and rethink all of the great aspects of your life. Unfortunately, Carrie's new apartment in Nashville has a bad, bad bath and an unsightly kitchen and she's got to figure out how to deal with it.

Not updated since the 70's Carrie's new pad features a mustard yellow bathroom and kitchen. Here is her description of it:

"Our new apartment is fine, and it meets our needs, and it has a dishwasher (which I've not had since moving out of my parent's house and am sooo excited for) BUT the kitchen and bathroom are both a 1970's dirty mustard yellow color (cabinets, sink, toilet, the works). Any tips for how to handle this without throwing up on a daily basis? " (Nice visual Carrie!)

Well Carrie, your only option is to embrace it. My suggestion would be to pair it with neutrals. In the bathroom: use greys and white. For the kitchen, black and white. Try to keep the decor simple and fresh, possibly with a retro modern approach. Here are some items I found online that might get you moving in the right direction.

Try a graphic but neutral shower curtain such as this really simple classic from West Elm:

Or something more funky and fun like this white one with grey dots from Ikea:

As far as linens are concerned, stick with bright white. These Hydrocotton towels from Pottery Barn look amazingly soft:

Keep your accessories understated and clean looking. I found these on West Elm's site as well:

In the kitchen, go for bold.

I am loving Ikea's Seveje rug. This would look great in front of the sink.

This lacquer tray from CB2, kept on the kitchen counter, would provide a sassy looking gathering spot for bar essentials.

Also from CB2 these black and white plates would look amazing hung on the wall:

A set of black canisters from Linens and Things would look smart on the counter top as well.

Good luck Carrie! And please, please send us before and after pictures. Do any of you have suggestions for Carrie's decorating dilemma? We would love your ideas.