Thursday, February 28, 2013

4 Easy Steps to Picking A Paint Color

Picking paint for a room doesn't have to be difficult if you follow these easy steps. 

1.  Start by picking out the color on the bottom of the paint card.

The room I'm using as an example has these red curtains.  A little red goes a long way, so I don't want to paint the whole room red.  I'm just going to use that as my guide.  It looks like Exotic Red matches it pretty well.  So I start there, at Exotic Red.  What do I do next?

2.  Go all the way to the top.  Don't stop at that pretty third one, keep going, keep going.  Ok, that one.  The very lightest color.  That's the color you want.  On my paint card that is 50's Pink. 

Seem strange?  This gives you the best chance at getting the "right color" for your space.  If you don't like that bottom color, then move on to the next one. The bottom color is essentially the hue while the ones going up are that same color with white added to it.  If you don't like the bottom color, then you won't like the one at the top. 

Another good rule of thumb is to never allow a room to be dominated by the paint color.  Dark, heavy colors can work in small rooms or as accent colors, but in large doses all these saturated colors do is to create a feeling that you are in a "fill in the blank color" room.  I always like to think of the fact that people and furniture, art and accessories are color too, and all of those things are going in that space together.  It can really get crowded!

3.  Go and get actual samples of at least two colors.  Paint a large rectangle of each color on multiple walls in the room.   This is one of the most important steps in painting.  First of all, a color on a paint deck is an ink printed color.  A color mixed in your paint store is a resin.  Two very different mediums.  Second, the color in your room changes according to the light present in the room.  Daylight from sun or filtered from cloud cover can easily change how it looks.  A room with a large window will make the color appear one way and another way in a dark hallway.  So I highly suggest living with it.  Make sure that it makes you happy, that your comfortable with it in all lights.

4. Use only Benjamin Moore paints.  I can't say this enough.  You are getting a high quality paint and the truest color for a little bit more money. Sherwin William's can't even do this for you.  I know, HGTV recommends them, that is just clever marketing.  Benjamin Moore produces their very own resins, they don't buy them from other people.  They have complete control over the quality of their paint.  Therefore the color you are getting is true and will actually last longer. 

What if I can only afford the paint at Home Depot or Lowes?  I've been there, but what happens is that you end up having to buy two gallons of the cheap stuff when one gallon of Benjamin Moore would have done the job.  Don't waste your time or money.

So happy painting!  And if you still can't decide, then it's time to call on an expert, like me!




Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lost on the Coast

Can you imagine how small we really are?  These trees keep me in check. 

They are the giant redwood trees in Northern California.  I've been amongst them for the last week.

In fact, you could say I got lost while I was there.  There, on the Lost Coast of California.

Lost in kid land.  Lost in imagination and time spent just playing, talking, laughing.
Lost amongst the folds of my brain that are trying so hard to keep it all straight. 
And now I'm back.  Back to laundry, cleaning and life's regularly scheduled events.
Back to my writing, staying up way too late, squeezing every last ounce out of my days.
Back to creating, designing and generally loving this life I get to live every day. 
It's good to go away.  But it's good to be back.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Whoa! Where have I been?  I think I forgot about you dear readers.  I apologize for my forgetfulness, which is caused by a baby who needs me ALL OF THE TIME, leading to lack of sleep, meanwhile progressing into falling asleep at random times, then abruptly waking up to where am I, what time is it?  

I have found time to do this:

Choose paint colors for the office/guest room I'm decorating at our house right now.

Fix up this pair of matching vintage beds for that same room.  I didn't want to use the box spring, so I'm making some adjustments.

Finally, reupholster this pair of chairs for the office/guest room space.  They didn't sell, but it's ok, turns out they are super fun for my office space. 

I am on vacation this week, so some of these will have to wait until I get back to be finished.  I'm looking forward to some quality time with my sister and her family.  Maybe squeeze in some vintage/junk shopping too!  Stay tuned for pictures from my trip this week.  Like this one from tonight....

Turns out this is the best way to sit in this kind of chair.


Nicole B.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Love Day

I decided to wish you a Happy Valentine's Day I would give you this bouquet of flowers....

From me to you!
Happy Love Day,

Frida Kahlo's Wardrobe

Photo by Nickolas Muray as seen in Collectors Weekly

I simply can't get enough of this article,  "Uncovering Clues in Frida Kahlo's Private Wardrobe" in Collectors Weekly.  Frida Kahlo is an artist worth knowing about, if you don't already.  She suffered so much physical pain in her life, she loved a man who could not be faithful to her and she was not afraid to stand up and be herself.  That self-confidence, that ability to be who you are and then wear it, that is what I love most about Frida.  I have read it numerous times and just can't seem to get enough.  Did you know that Diego (her husband) locked up Frida's personal wardrobe after she died and it stayed locked up until 2004?  This amazes me.  We are getting a much more intimate view of her.  How wonderful it would be to go to the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico City and see her beautiful traditional Tehuana dress.  So much inspiration to be had, even to this day, she is still contemporary. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Pink Room!

I thought I would share this photograph of my "office" that I did while I was temporarily living with my mom and dad in 2010.  They had this room in their house that was not functioning very well for them, so they let me take it over.  I painted it that vibrant pink that I pulled from the dramatic fabric I found at Ikea and then added my vintage rattan furniture.  My uncle crafted the curtain rod out of bamboo.  It was tricky getting it to look finished with bamboo as the structure to hold it up.  But he figured it out.  Then I hung the new vintage swag light in the center.  A lot of the accessories have bubbles in them, including that swag light.  It was bubbles and mermaids, hula gals and seahorses.

I had so much fun putting together this room.  It has wonderful tall ceilings and beautiful architectural details.  I wish I could have taken better photographs of it.  These photographs are just terrible.  The worst part is, it's no longer there.  The minute I moved out my dad took down the bamboo rod, the light fixture and painted it a different color.  It was so cheerful just to be in it. 

Now I have been struggling in our house to find a comfortable place to work from.  I keep moving around, trying different things out.  I believe the solution just might be the color pink.  Good old fashioned girly pink.  Maybe it's all these boys I live with, maybe I'm just pink at heart.  After all, the very first bedroom that I decorated with my mom was wallpapered in little pink hearts and ice cream cones.  And with the season of pink upon us...I think a pink room is in my future. 



Friday, February 8, 2013

Vintage Catalina Island

In all of the chaos of moving things around I came across a small project that I've been meaning to get to.  Do you have any of those? 
A while ago when my grandmother was put into a home, a box of her photographs had landed at my parent's house.  Most of my cousin's had been through it and taken a lot of the really great photos.  But as I sifted through I began to notice these photographs with Catalina Island in them and these special borders around them.  SO CUTE!  So I gathered them all up not knowing what I'd do with them. 


My mom found the vintage Catalina Island Photo Book one day and gave it to me for these photos. As you can see, I've yet to put them inside. I am kind of glad I didn't because now I can share it with you.
In the photo above my grandfather is sitting on the railing with his arms around my grandmother  on the right and Irene on the left.  I never met him, but I imagine he was a very charming man.  Doesn't he look so Gene Kellyish with his hat? 
My grandmother worked at a nursery school for many years and they always called her Mother Goose.  In a few of the photos she is holding a goose or a duck.  I'm not sure if this is related somehow.  She is pictured above standing with her mother-in-law, Loretta on the island of Catalina.  Oh my goodness does she look young.  This was before she had her 8 children.  Yes, 8!
This one is my favorite.  My grandmother is seated in the middle with her jet black hair and the couples on either side are good friends of theirs, my grandfather is the photographer in this one. 
You can still take the ferry from Long Beach or Newport and go right to this harbor on Catalina Island and stand in that very spot.  It is still there.  So is the casino you see in the photos.  Only now, the casino is a museum.  I love that little island, it is packed with charm and I have so many good memories of visiting it. 

I'm still knee deep in chaos.  But my sewing project is coming together despite my many many distractions known as Hank.  The almost 9 month old who, according to Sam, cries over everything, but that's all he's got.  Plus it works!

I am learning so much just by putting forth the effort of writing this blog.  I did miss again yesterday, and that is three times now.  Each time I made the decision that I wasn't going to be able to write that day.  They were conscious decisions made in the spirit of "I'm not perfect" and "I'm giving myself a break".  If I didn't sit down and write or try to create visual stories then I wouldn't know where I was weak and where I was strong.  My sewing project is a bit of an experiment in that too.  I am seeing what I need to improve on and get more practice at doing.  I have noticed that not one professional blogger out there has a blog that was popular right away.  They worked at it.  And I am so excited to work at getting better at this every day.  I want so much to be able to communicate with you in a visual way.   Pretty graphics and fonts, professional photos, funny stories, interesting topics.  Those are my continued goals for this little spot on the Internet I'm going to call home for a while.  

P.S.  Did you notice that I changed the font?  The other font bothered me a wee bit.  I also went crazy the other night and downloaded a ton of fonts.  Now if I could only remember how to install them...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Today was a fun day of creating chaos in my environment.  I always create chaos when I want to change the look of a space in our house.  It's the storm before the calm. 

I believe this stresses my husband out.  Who can blame him?  He isn't inside of my head, he doesn't know the plans I have and he can never see my vision.  This is a whole other subject called communication.  Which we are still working on in our young marriage and probably will continue to work on,, ever. 

SO I took Hank on an adventure to Fabric Depot, off of Stark and 122 in Southeast Portland.  Have you been there?  This place is huge! It was the middle of the day on a Tuesday and it was crowded.  Packed with moms and crying babies, 30something women dressed in all black screaming in excitement over vinyl neon fabric and a woman who yelled across the entire store for her family member, just as if she was at home.  After tons of distractions from the people and all of the fabric choices I found what I came for.  Drapery linings in white.  Discounted.  Yessss.

I hope to get to my sewing project tomorrow.  It is for the room upstairs which will function as my office and a guest space.  There is a lot to be done and the design wheels are turning in my head now that I've started the deconstruction of the room.  I look forward to sharing it with you!



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mismatched Dining Rooms

Let's talk dining room chairs. 

Can they be different from each other and still work together?

You bet.  And if you're not fortunate enough to find a magnificent vintage danish modern table (or fill in the blank with whatever your dream vintage table is) with 4 to 6 matching chairs and a leaf in mint condition at an affordable price, well, then you have to get a little bit creative. 

Rule Number 1.  Buy something in the same shape and size as your dream table, in moderate vintage condition.  And buy just the table.  Don't worry about the matching chairs.  Chances are you will get a better "deal" on the table without the chairs.  I notice that we all tend to shy away from tables without chairs.  I believe this is due to the fact that we know it won't be easy to find the chairs and we love easy.  Easy is a thing for us these days.  i.e. the Staple's Easy Button.

Rule Number 2.  Look for chairs that have the general shape and feel that you are looking for. Not ones that match the table perfectly and here is an instance where I would suggest ignoring the details.  Always remember that chairs are far and away the easiest thing to alter.  They can be painted with spray paint and often times changing out the upholstery just means turning the chair over, unscrewing the seat from the chair and putting on new fabric. Easy peasy. 

Rule Number 3.  There are no rules.  Do what you want.  Have fun with it.  It's a place to eat and enjoy a little chit chat and time with your family and friends.  Relax people. 

I gathered a few of my favorite images for mismatched dining room chairs and tables. 

This works so well because the home owner choose 4 chairs from the same era as the dining room table.  Then she painted them and recovered them in a modern fabric.  I'm in love with this whole house, inside and out.  Check it out here.
This is Elsie's dining room from her blog called A Beautiful Mess.  She is quickly becoming one of my most favorite bloggers.  This is so creative.  Such a variety of chairs and she makes it all work by painting them the same color.  Love it. 

Another creative solution is to use stools, ottomans and/or benches as seats for your dining room. Image from House Doctor, seen on Decor8 here.


Here is a great example of just throwing out the rules and being artistic.  Victoria from SFGirlByBay uses color and texture to make this composition work.  It almost makes this virgo (me) uncomfortable, but it really does work.  She blends two types of woods, metal and mid-century modern molded plastic chairs into one cohesive space.  Great job Victoria!  Thanks for inspiring me. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Linen Made Modern

I wanted to share these with you.  They have a modern feel, which is created by the geometric prints but they exisit on this "old" fabric, linen.  I love how they have that vintage modern feel.  They have been created by a company out of Maine called South Street Linen.  Comprised of three women artists.  It's a small collection and these are my favorites. 

Citron Stripes
Red Stripes
Black Dots
Grey Dots


Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Little Inspiration

Photograph from Brooklyn Bride

I am currently sitting in some obsession over what to do with my fireplace.  I saw this image above on Apartment Therapy and it made me think...maybe I want to paint my fireplace a color? 

Then I remembered what Jen over at Little Green Notebook just did to her console table for her television.  She painted it a fantastic chartreuse color.  I have that color in my living room.  THAT is the COLOR I want to paint my fireplace.  Oh I'm so excited!

Photograph from Little Green Notebook


Friday, February 1, 2013

Vintage Polka Dot Dress Becomes a Room

I decided to put together a room inspired by this vintage dress from Living Threads Vintage...
Photograph and dress from Living Threads Vintage

I love this dress so much I thought why not create the interior of a room based on this dress? My imaginary room is a fun place, a part of a nursery or a kid's play room. The piece that really got the ball rolling on this one was the large letter A.  Doesn't it look like it has polka dots all over it?


A good rule of thumb is to start a room with the three largest elements.  In a living space this is typically the sofa and the area rug.  All the other elements or pieces of the room are layers on top of that.  Remember, the largest item of furniture in the room should be the first thing you see when you walk into the room.

I imagine this letter A marquee to be sitting on top of an architectural feature such as a fireplace.  My sofa is sitting in front of a charming window and the rug is something light and cozy under foot.  Right now I have a lot of red.  But I can remedy this. 

1. A Letter of Interest
2.  Anthropologie Settee
3.  Furry Rug Under Foot

Are you ready for more pops of color?  This large green floor lamp is so fantastic.  It looks like it bounces and jumps around.  Most of all, it makes quite a statement.  In front of my luxurious settee sits two accent tables.  Perfect for putting most anything on and moving from place to place.  To tie everything together is my dotted pillow.  It has all the colors in the room so it says they can all be together in this room and make sense.  Did you get that?  The pillow ties the story together.  But we're not done yet.

4. Statement Lamp
5.  Two Accent Tables
6.  Dotted Pillow

Don't forget to dress your windows!  A naked window or window with just blinds is like going outside with no shoes on.  These ruffled curtains are whimsical and soft.  They add just the right balance to the heavy red settee.  The polka dot frame is just cute.  My friend Kaci once told me that I'm going to "cute myself to death".  I believe she was right, but this room is imaginary.  Hehe!