What is Your Design Style? - The Votes Are In

So I am surprised that 37% of the voters said their design style is traditional with vintage/eclectic coming in at a distant second. I thought for sure that most people would vote for ultra modern or contemporary, but those two were the lowest vote getters - so I am glad I posed the question! My personal taste is transitional which pretty much means I can float either way. Thanks for voting and be sure to vote on the new question!!

Korres Skin Care: The Greeks Did it Again

Now that the sun is starting come to out (theoretically in Seattle anyway), it's time to hydrate that skin and give your gams a healthy glow. My husband and I are in to finding natural, chemical free products. We try to forgo the standard chemical laden products as much as we can so I am on the constant hunt for natural products that still deliver results - this is no easy task! We have found that even the ones that claim to be organic truly are not - ugh! Such liars!

At any rate, I came across this brand, Korres, at Whole Foods a while back and have been loving their body butters...and the bonus? You can actually read AND understand all of the ingredients!! I use the body butter as an every day hand lotion since I have pretty dry skin to begin with, and they make my skin feel so soft and delish!!. My favorite scents have been the Yogurt (I keep this one on my desk) and the Guava (I have this in a travel size for my purse). Be sure to read the ingredients on their other products however. Just because one product of a natural product line is free of the "bad stuff", this does not mean that their entire line is free of them. I have learned the hard way and dropped some cash thinking I was getting an organic product. A rule of thumb is: if you don't know what the ingredient is or can't pronounce it, it probably is a chemical of some sort.

You can find Korres at Sephora, Nordstrom and as I mentioned above, Whole Foods.

As a side note, when I brought the Korres lotion home, my husband gave the instant stamp of approval since he is greek to the nth degree and believes that the greeks pretty much invented...well everything ;)


Martha Stewart Furniture: Martha, Martha, Martha

I wasn't sure when I heard about the Martha Stewart line of Furniture by Bernhardt. I was skeptical of the quality and only paying for the name. Macy's carries pieces of her line so I went to check it out for myself. I was pleasantly surprised by the extra details that were considered in the designs. I wouldn't say it is the highest of quality, but in comparison to the rest of Macy's furniture and by taking advantage of the "One Day" sales that they have every day (never buy from Macy's if it's not on sale!!!), it can be a good deal for what you are getting.

I ended up purchasing the Lily Pond East Hampton side board for $1,500. It's a substantial piece of furniture with a built in silverware organizer, pullout extension shelves and a wine storage compartment in one of the cupboards. So for that - I say her furniture is definitely worth checking out!


Belloccio: Chalk One Up

How fun is this stuff? Chalkboard oil cloth you can write on from Belloccio! I can think of so many uses for this!! A table cloth for a wine and cheese tasting and write all the respective names beside the plate, a table cloth for a kids party and they can have fun drawing all over, gift tags as you see in the photo, or you can use it in a shadow box and write on it with snippets of your favorite memories placed inside. The possibilities are endless! Have fun!


India Rose: Black Tie BBQ

You can never have too many napkins in my opinion. They set the mood just right for any dinner party, not to mention your table setting. I adore these Tuxedo Napkins from India Rose. They can swing from a formal affair to a casual gathering with the subtle ruffled edge without a hitch...just be sure you aren't serving red wine or anything red!!!


Velocity Art & Design: Get into Character

I believe every home needs a twist of humor - something to keep people curious and surprised. My personal style tends to lean towards the serious side, but I like to throw in an element here or there that is unexpected and makes someone smile when they see it. How can you not smile when you look into a mirror with antlers?! When we get to furnishing our guest rooms, I am going to hang this silly Antler Self Portrait Mirror from Velocity Art and Design (much to my husband's dismay). If antler's aren't just your thing, they have a pearl necklace or a sweet little song bird perched on your shoulder.


Bistro Sets: Europe in Your Backyard

My sister-in-law said the other day she was looking for a bistro set for their back patio and so I went to the web to look for some reasonably priced bistro sets. These classic bistro sets make me want to go back to Paris and sit in the town square sipping on an espresso without a care in the world. But for now, we will have to settle and create a little Paris hideaway in our backyards with these adorable Louvre armchair and table sets from American Country Home Store. (something seems wrong with a store named "American Country" selling Parisian bistro sets doesn't it?).

Check out other styles on their site if this one isn't just your taste - they have many to choose from and lots of colors!

Bambu: Long Live the Spork!

Remember the spork from the school cafeteria and KFC? They have always been the butt of a joke, but I say they make a comeback, but not just any comeback, one with flare, and yes, one that's green! Here's the rundown of Bambu's sporkness:
- Certified Organic
- Made of 100% organically grown bamboo
- FDA approved food-safe - No bleaches or dyes
- After disposal, biodegrades in 4-6 months

I used these along with their small plates for a party and they were a big hit. How can you not have fun eating your food when you are using a spork?! They look stylish and you don't have to feel guilty about choosing convenience over doing the dishes. I have been able to find them more and more at places like Sur La Table and Amazon.com


Anthousa: Scent and Scentability

What's better than a beautiful accessory that is also functional? (Ok, maybe world peace, a low carbon footprint and finding the bargain of the century is higher on the list). Anthousa is a stunningly packaged home ambiance line of fragrances and is expanding into lotions, candles, and perfumes. The bottle designs are simply gorgeous and they can spice up any little corner both visually and for your sniffer. I have one in almost every room of our house…(mental count)…yep, I do! My personal favorites are the fig leaf and bitter almond and the white gardenia. You can find them online on the Anthousa site, Nordstrom, or many other department stores nation wide.


Terance Conran: Inspiring Ideas

So this weekend was absolutely HORRIBLE weather-wise! It's April 20th and it snowed...in Seattle!! Now I know we aren't known for blistering hot weather, but it's at least in the 60's - this is just ridiculous! I am still wearing my woolens and pulling on the boots instead of my cute sandals who are just dying to be taken for a stroll after a long winter's hibernation. So with weather like this, I decided it was a perfect afternoon to go hang out at the book store and browse the magazines and design books. I was in need of a serious reality escape!!

There are several interesting products/sites that I found in magazines this afternoon, but I haven't had a chance to look them up, but will soon and let you know if I find anything exciting. But I thought I should share a book that I have gained inspiration from for several years now. Small Spaces by Terence Conran is a beautiful and freshly photographed book with ideas on texture, color, use of space and organization. It is fairly modern in taste and written specifically for smaller spaces, but I find more inspiration from books geared towards small spaces than I do those grand exhibitions of designer homes, which never seem to be very realistic for the average home's square footage, or budget for that matter.

So when you are in need of inspiration on a dreary, cold, snowy, April Sunday (something isn't right about this description), take a trip to the book store and dream up your oasis. And check out Small Spaces too while you are at it!

- Amazon.com: Small Spaces by Terence Conrad


Bold and Beautiful

Who ever said jungle green in a bathroom would be too much? I surprised myself actually by picking this color, but I now couldn't imagine it any other way. This small powder room on our main floor has become one of my favorite rooms in the house. The green is paired with the neutral AND natural element of the dark brown, marble mosaic. I added a little sparkle and vintage to the room by adding these acorn shaped pendants which also in turn compliment the antique cabinet we turned in to a vanity. And to be sure the room didn't go too traditional, I chose the large white bowl sink and sleek faucet. The play of modern and classic are working well together here - just what I like!

If you tend to stay on the safe side of color like me, I challenge you to pick a smaller room that is more "managable" in a smalller dose and go for it - done the right way, you will be pleasantly surprised!

Lights Up! by Thomas Paul: Let There be Light

Along with our master bathroom we need to finish up, we also have our closet that is waiting in queue to be completed. The concept is in place and ready to be started, but there is the little teeny tiny issue of budget...in due time. So in the mean time, I have been looking for the perfect accessories to go along with the over all look we have decided on. The floor is a dark walnut and the shelving will be wood stained in a slate/blue-grey. I saw a picture in Domino magazine I fell in love with and inspired our soon-to-be closet.

Right now we have a pair of basic pendant glass dome lights hanging, and they look...well...you know what those lights look like!! Need I say more? So I have been scouting out some fabric shades to replace them. I have been admiring these smartly patterned Meridian pendants from Lights Up! at 2 Modern designed by Thomas Fernez and Thomas Paul (Check out his site - it's pretty cool! And I love his pillows!). I am debating between the kimono and black mum silk patterns. I may end up going with the plain linen, but I am at least trying to entertain the idea of a pattern. Props for that, no? Any thoughts on which way I should go?


Get a Step on it!

If I had to pick one piece of furniture that is most indispensable, it would have to be these stools. I have placed these gems in almost every room of the house in the last several places I have lived. From apartment to house, they have found a home as my coffee table, end tables, at the foot of the bed, and now they live in the entry as a place to put your shoes on. They also can be tucked away under a console table and be pulled out for extra seating when guests are gathered around the living room, which I am sure mine will fulfill their duty there too some day.

I found these at random years ago at Ross (discount store)of all places for $15 each - what a steal! Little did I know then how functional these "little stools-that-could" would be. I don't think you can find these exact ones, but if you come across some stools/ottomans that can multi-function (such as leather cubes, metal, or wood), grab a pair!! And I recommend a pair. They look better in two's and have more purpose working as a team. So get a step on it!


Koo de Kir: And I Quote

How cool are these?! Book ends as quotation marks to hold all your books...why didn't I think of that? These are from one of my favorite home stores online I love to browse, Koo de Kir. If there is one thing I hate is a disheveled and cluttered bookshelf, so "say goodbye" to the sloppies with these cleverly quoted book ends.

And just between you and me, I secretly want to cover all my books in matching white paper, but fear that I would have stepped over the designer edge and will never come back. So for now I am holding back and keeping my bookshelf real.


Bungalow 5: Write on!

If you haven't come across Bungalow 5 furniture, you should check out their website. They have a limited selection of furniture, but some truly unique pieces that could fit in to many decor styles.

I am particularly fond of this writing desk. It comes in many colors to suite any one's taste and is just the perfect size for a little nook or cranny that you need to fill in your home. I am trying to find the perfect spot for one of my own and am having trouble deciding if I go with a daring color or play it safe with a neutral (that's the usual path for me and I should just break free!).

If you see anything on their site that strikes your fancy, just let me know and I can get you pricing and availability.

Send A Little Note

I came across this stationary site just tonight and was taken by the fun and simple designs. Good on Paper has delightful little designs for any occassion. I may have to go scout out some for myself. You can order them directly from their site or locally in Seattle, at Sweet Pea Paperie or at Olivine. Happy writing!


Dream Bathroom...Almost!

As I have mentioned before, my husband and I are still working on finishing our house and one of the major things we need check off the list is our master bathroom. It is soooo close right now I can almost feel the first bath in our jacuzzi tub! The photo above is the open vanity with mirrors and light fixtures. You can also see in the reflection of the mirror, the chandelier above the bathtub - very decadent, but where else can you put a crystal chandelier and not be over the top I ask?!

Right now we are just waiting on the shower glass doors and then my husband and father-and-law are going to build an armiore that will be off to the left of this photo. Once complete, this will be my dream bathroom. I've never had a bathroom off of my room before, so this is a huge graduation for me! The bathtub is a heated jacuzzi tub for two with a marble counter and a walnut framed casing. The matching walnut vanity we chose to be open for pure aesthetics, but to compensate for the lack of storage, we will have the armoire I mentioned.

I can't wait to share more photos when it is complete. So far, the mix of neutral shades and scale of tiles in limestone, marble and porcelain has interplaid perfectly. And I think the addition of the Armoire and finishing touches of the bath mats will complete the look.


Beechers: More Cheese Please!

I think I have found heaven in a cheese. Granted this may not be hard to do because sometimes I wonder if heaven is cheese, but this one...simply YUM! I was eating at the Pomegranate in Redmond for lunch one day and veered off from my usual lunch order and got their mixed green salad to offset some of the other not-so-healthy choices that day. Thinking it might be like any other mixed green salad (usually good and dependable no matter what the restaurant), I took my first bite with a little bit of this and that on my fork and wow!!! This cheese was like nothing I'd had before, but was obviously a mild flavored goat cheese. It had a hint of honey with a velvety texture. An unusual pairing of sweet and savory, but with great success.

We asked our server what this amazing cheese was (something I rarely, if ever, do) and she said it was Beecher's Blank Slate Honey. So after lunch we headed directly over to Whole Foods to find some of our own. It's $6 for one container, but soooo worth the treat! To compliment the Blank Slate cheese, I got some rosemary, raisin and pecan crisp crackers and they are just the ticket. It's practically like having dessert, and who doesn't like dessert? I definitely recommend this cheese for a special treat for yourself or guests.


Bella Muse: Sweet Nothings

I have the glicee print you see above in my guest bathroom from Bella Muse. They sell mostly wonderfully fanciful and simple greeting cards. Also on their site, they have some screen and glicee prints for sale. Such a reasonable way to display artwork around the house. I personally am a lover of art, but hate to pay the price for good "original" art. I secretly think I can just paint it myself, but I know I have elevated my artist status in my head. With that mindset, I have a difficult time filling my walls. I don't believe you need to pay out the yahoo to decorate your home. So I try to find creative and economical alternatives.

I purchased the Bella Muse 8x10 print for $35 and then bought an off white frame from Pottery Barn for...I think another 20 or so dollars. Not too shabby! So sweet and in the now. And if it goes out of style or no longer fits my ever evolving style, I won't be regretting purchasing a several hundred or thousand dollar piece.

Mepra: Good Silver Without the Polish

I saw this silver while out at a restaurant several years back in downtown Seattle. After looking on the back of the fork, we found that they were made by Mepra in Italy. Well, if it's Italian it must be good design, right?! I had remembered it ever since and knew that I wanted it for my good silver when the time came.

We recently ordered a set of 12 of the Natura and their lines are just beautiful. The handles have a good weight and girth to them which is important when picking out silverware. You want something that feels good in your hand. Nothing wimpy or flimsy. And my favorite thing of all is they are stainless steel so you don't ever have to polish them! I remember my childhood days when my mom ordered (yes I say "ordered" - it wasn't voluntary for sure!) me to polish the silverware and I hated it! So as an adult, I have vowed never to polish silver...well, except for a few pieces handed down from my grandparents. But for nostalgia reasons, it's worth it.

Mepra carries a vast variety of styles to suite any one's tastes and you know they are going to stand the test of time. My personal favorite of course, is the Natura because of it's beautiful and simple lines. Oh how they sparkle under the light!


Oly Studios: Stylish and Comfortable - is it Possible?

My husband built our house and it has pretty much been a blank slate since we got married a year and a half ago. He did a more than amazing job and I am truly a lucky girl to have such a beautiful canvas to create a home for us. With that said, I have been slowly adding to our furniture collection (which is no small task) and the latest and greatest is our Oly Studio chairs that just arrived a week or so ago. I have admired Oly furniture for a while now and am excited that I have a few of their pieces.

If you are like me and have a harder time making a furniture decision for yourself than for others, then you know how long I mulled over finding a pair of chairs that are just right for our living room. I bit the bullet and went with the Oly Sienna chair as you see above. My only worry was that I was never able to see them or sit in them in person before ordering - eeck!! What if they weren't comfortable?! Well, 12 weeks and a fat bill later, they arrived for the big reveal. And I have to say I am absolutely thrilled with them. And the major bonus? They are VERY comfortable too! I was also worried about getting them in slate grey leather (not so conventional), but it proved to be a good choice with the grey stone of the hearth already in place. Phew! And I am so pleased how the yellow tone of the nailheads pulls out the yellow linen color of the sofa. Oh, and you may recognize the yellow pillow on the chair is the new Dwell for Target line. Such a great price!

Hopefully I will be able to write about other Oly products in the future. I just love almost everything they offer! If you are interested in getting any of their products, contact me and I can get you pricing and availability.


Fringe Studios: A Little Bit of Whimsy

These trays have been popping up in a multitude of boutique stores of late and there is an endless array of designs. They are by Fringe Studios and are pretty economical compared to some other similar ones out there. They are made of glass with a screen-print underneath and simply whimsical in design. I like things that can swing modern to traditional and these do just that.

I bought the long rectangular version of the tray you see above when visiting my sister-in-law in Fort Collins, CO. They are just the ticket to hold little trinkets on your nightstand or dresser. I have mine beside my bed and it holds a small bottle of perfume, earrings and some emergency chapstick. And they make great gifts too!

You can find them in many places in Seattle (Liberty 123, Kirkland) if you are a local, or there are just a few of the designs online at: http://store.heliotropehome.com/fringestudio.html.

CB2: Simplicity at a Great Price

I love a great looking glass that transcends all occasions. I bought these CB2 Marta glasses about a year ago and love them. They are delicate, classic and modern all in one. And the capper is that they are only $1.95 each (!!!) so if you break one - no sweat! So bring out your bestest looking glasses for a party without stressing about guests breaking them. I have yet to break one though...I may have just jinxed myself.

I currently have the Double Old-Fashioned, but I may order the Cooler as well. Drinks look fabulous in them no matter what the libation or festivity. Just be sure to have a coaster on hand. They tend to sweat with really cold drinks because they are so thin.


Inaugural Post: A Television Show About Design...Really

Coming up with your very first blog topic can be daunting. You want it to be relevant, cool and interesting. Well, I forgo any of that criteria and am sharing with you something that I just discovered and am not sure why it took me so long to do so.

I have long since given up on those home decorating shows. The shoddy craftsmanship and bizarre do-it-yourself design ideas on a seriously low budget had turned me away years ago. Until recently, I have simply channel-surfed-on-by all the said design shows. Last week I stumbled across a show that was actually about a real design firm and real design projects and with REAL designers! You may have already heard of this show on the Fine Living Network and I am just a late fan, but Design Inc. (http://www.designinc.ca/home/ ) is a show that has some actual design cred. It also doesn't hurt that the show is produced by my fellow people up north.

If you get a chance, check it out. It has some real design value. My only critique is that the show's mantra is that they view a project from start to finish along with the trials and tribulations a designer goes through during a project. It does do just that, but do to the constraints of TV time limitations, there is alot that is missed and is brushed over. But that's just television.


So I have been wanting to create a blog for several years now way before there was an over saturation of them. My only glitch has been waiting for my beyond tech savvy husband to create one for me (yeah right!). If you have any in-cling of tech in you, you should check his out at mavromatic.com. At any rate, I got tired of waiting for him to create a site for me and just decided to find my own way of going about it. And here I am.

To give you a little background on myself, I am an interior designer wanna be and hopefully some day I will become one. For now I am a graphic designer and simply lust after all things home and tinker with designing my own home with my husband. I am a nester at heart so if it has anything to do with home furnishings, home care, cooking and baking, or even beauty, I am a sucker. I wanted to share some of the things I find and think are cool and hopefully others will join in and share their ideas. I do have to confess that this will be a challenge for me being in Seattle. For some reason, Seattle is not the hub of cool home decor stores or resources. Ugh! I would love a good flee market here. So I rely on other blogs, magazines, word of mouth and the occasional success of blind web surfing. I hope what I have to share is interesting to you. And if anything, this will be a therapeutic journal for me to jot all my findings down.