Thursday, February 21, 2013

Garden Stools, A Trend I'll Definitely Keep!

There are so many trends that come and go in interior design and I don't love them all. Poufs, for example, are not my cup of tea. I don't like them and probably never will. Give me a more structured ottoman any day. Other trends I like, but will inevitably run their course. Typography is an example that comes to mind.

One trend I love and hope will endure is the garden stool. I like the versatility of being a stool/end table/nightstand and also being able to use them indoors as well as out. I have been looking for the right set of garden stools for the right price for a while now and I finally hit the jackpot. Two of my favorite places to drool over stools has been on the Gump's and Wisteria websites. A few weeks ago, while strolling the new Spring decor at my local Hobby Lobby, I spied the garden stool I have been eyeing at the previously mentioned websites for a fraction of the price.
 Gump's has this stool in this color for $255.00. Wisteria has this same stool in different colors for $219.00. I've also seen this at times on Overstock (usually sells out very quickly) for $109.99. This find was for $85.00 at Hobby Lobby. I wanted a pair, but I quickly bought the one and then found a second at another nearby Hobby Lobby. I couldn't be more thrilled that I bought a matching pair for less that I could have purchased one for one of the high end websites. Persistence and patience does pay off many times as this bargain buy proves!

If you're not willing to wait it out, check out a good selection of garden stools at Overstock. They have a stool for every taste from sleek and modern to traditional Asian to distinctly feminine! Here's a fish motif Asian stool.
Or check out this Safavieh Paradise Cloud White Ceramic Garden Stool at Overstock. I adore the floral design of this stool. Perhaps too feminine to make it into my home, except in a guest room.
Are garden stools a trend you love? I'd love to hear your thoughts on one of my favorite and hopefully enduring future classic home decor item.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Controlling Your Paper Clutter

Controlling the paper that comes in my home is half the battle when it comes to my disorganization. If you're like me and you get too much junk mail to begin with, you may want to look into the Direct Marketing Association's DMAchoice website. DMAchoice allows you to manage the mail that you or anyone in the household receives through a mail preference service account.

Another great way to control the paper is to set up a paperless filing system. I bought the NeatDesk and I love it! It's taken a little getting used to, but it is a great tool for those of you who are a little more computer savvy. I now have those papers accessible digitally without the bulky paper files. I can set up my files in folders that make sense for my family and it is great for organizing receipts for tax time.

Check out The Container Store to see some great options for desk top storage. Additionally, Staples has a Martha Stewart Home Office line of desktop storage solutions that are stylish and affordably priced. For important papers that you must keep in paper form, check out this guide to conquering your filing system. 

8 Steps to a Winning Filing System

Thursday, January 24, 2013

31 Days 2 Get Organized

I didn't make New Year's resolutions this year. Still, getting more organized is something that I struggle with. Recently I checked out the Facebook page of Peter Walsh, organizer extraordinaire, and saw that he had started a challenge to his followers called 31 Days 2 Get Organized. Since I missed the January start, I decided to make a task list to follow from his daily challenges on my Google calendar. It looks like the magazine challenge could be the biggest hurdle for me so far.
If your sock drawer is a mess like this (mine is) or if your Tupperware cabinet looks like this (mine doesn't thankfully), then maybe you want to join this challenge. I officially start February 1st, but will knock off some of the tasks and challenges early if I have extra time. Check out Peter Walsh's Facebook fan page and complete the challenges and hopefully your life will be more stress free after the 31 days are up. Let me know how it's going for you! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Phoenix Mid-Century Modern Masters: Ralph Haver

Phoenix is fortunate to have an active community of Mid-Century Modern enthusiasts and activists. One of the best known architects was Ralph Haver, who built homes around the Phoenix valley from 1945 through the mid 1980's. Low profile gently sloping roofs, floor to ceiling glazing, clerestories, masonry construction, and large bold chimneys were the hallmarks of a Haver home. Unfortunately over time, many of these homes have been "modernized" by homeowners who weren't concerned about the historic preservation of these homes. Here is a beautiful update to a 1952 Haver home currently for sale in Phoenix. The updates maintain the integrity of the original home. I love the stained beams and the stained concrete floors.
Home restoration is a labor of love. We are fortunate that many people in Phoenix are invested in reviving these homes and returning them to their former glory. Periodically I will blog about other historic architects and builders in Phoenix and the neighborhoods in which they reside. We may not have homes that are hundreds of years old like many communities, but Phoenix has some beautiful neighborhoods filled with homes worth loving and restoring.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Bedding for a Spring Update

I love bedding! Just love it! Maybe because my bedroom is now my happy place. I just feel cozy when curled up in bed with a book or catching up on television shows. About ten years or so ago, I bought my first set of 600+ thread count sheets and I was hooked. When I renovated my Master Bedroom Suite in the Fall of 2009, I got to redesign and redecorate what was previously a dated and really awkward space. We got rid of carpet and continued the whole house tile into the bedroom which is much more practical with our four legged children. Here is a view of the bedroom space before renovation. It's not a bad space, but it was time for a change and I decided to lighten it up and go for a different color palette. I choose a soft blue-grey for my new space but still kept some of the gold.
I loved designing this bedroom and bathroom and tried to cut the budget in some areas while indulging in others. I reused my dressers and repainted them and added new oil rubbed bronze hardware. My nightstands were purchased from a local hotel liquidator for $19.00 each which included a custom cut glass topper. The nightstands were sanded, small defects filled and then painted to match the dressers. The hardware was changed to a knob from a pull after painting. I'm pretty happy with them and they're much smaller than our previous nightstands. The smaller tables make the room feel much larger. We also decided to hard wire swivel wall lamps and add dimmers on the wall to free up space on the nightstands. It's proved to be a very wise decision and I love the clean lines of the wall lamps. 

My four foot bench is also from the hotel liquidator and I purchased it for around $60.00 about six years ago. It came out of a suite in Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. When I redecorated, I had the bench professionally upholstered in a teal and white stripe fabric from Stroheim and Romann. I love the bench, especially with the new striped fabric. I purchased a new semi-custom tufted gold micro suede headboard from Ballard Designs. I saved money by buying the linen curtains with studs on sale from West Elm. With my designer discount I saved even more and couldn't be happier with the look. Down the line, when dogs are not an issue, I'll add in a beautiful bedroom rug. The room was not without compromise. You can see I let my husband keep his recliner. He uses it all the time so I couldn't make him get rid of it just so that I had a more stylish chair in the room.

A splurge was the reversible custom bedding made for the room in blue, teal, tan and white, but with the weight of the fabric the bedding is more suitable for the cooler winter weather in Arizona. I have found quilts to be the perfect weight for bedding in this warmer climate. I can't stop buying bedding, but at least I am smart about it. I have solid quilts in white, gold and blue. I buy shams and bed skirts in prints that work back to all the solid quilts to mix it up a bit. This is a great solution for people who get bored easily and need to change up their space. I just bought a new quilt and shams from HomeGoods. It has several shades of blue, gold and white in an Indian inspired paisley floral. Here's my room with the new bedding. Looks nice!
I've been thinking about adding a stenciled wall detail on the headboard wall. I saw this photo below on Melanie Royal's Facebook page and thought that using a similar concept, I could create a great looking focal wall behind the headboard using the cane basketweave stencil I already own. I would paint the design in an off-white or possibly bronze color. I'd love to hear your feedback. Off-white or bronze?
Here's the cane basketweave stencil. Instead of the damask floral design in the photo above, I would fill the inside with the caning. I broke my toe a few weeks ago and as soon as it is healed and I can get up on a ladder, I will get going on this project. So which color should it be? Off-white or bronze against the blue? I'm leaning towards the bronze so maybe I'll do a sample board first.
I'll be sure to share as soon as the project is done!

Monday, December 31, 2012

My Wish For The New Year 2013

I think that the New Year is a blessing! We get the opportunity to start fresh each year if we are willing to let go of past baggage. It is much easier to say than to do, but still a great time to strive to do better. 

I've decided to not do resolutions this year. Often resolutions lead to an all or nothing mentality and can set us up for failure. Instead I will work on bettering myself in other ways over a lifetime. I will strive to be kinder to myself. I will cut myself the same slack that I allow others. Why is it that we as humans can beat ourselves up for the same things that we would forgive in others. I will strive to practice self forgiveness and hopefully shed shame and guilt over things in the past that I cannot change. This is the year to embrace the reality that I really do deserve all the goodness that I have been so blessed with instead of feeling guilty for my blessings.

I will honor myself more by surrounding myself with people and activities that bring joy and peace rather than stress and frustration. I will not accept other people's negativity as something I need to believe or embrace in my life. I will learn to say no to people and requests and not feel bad for doing so. I will allow myself more opportunities to tap into my creativity and give my creative being rewarding outlets. I think furniture refinishing and stenciling will be a high priority on my list of things to do this year. I bought a Silhouette Cameo and will explore using that tool as part of my creativity.

I will spend more time reading and less time watching television. I will spend time catching up on novels by favorite authors and hopefully discover a few new authors I will cherish in the future. I will honor my body by making better choices that will lead to me becoming a healthier and happier person. I am hoping to make peace with my imperfections and embrace the wisdom and body that comes with aging. I will resume blogging on interior design and other interests because it helps to feed my soul and creativity. 

One of the most important things I started recently and will continue in the new year is keeping a gratitude journal. I recently started reading "The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brene Brown. As a researcher who studies authenticity, shame, and courage, she states that people who keep gratitude journals are much happier than those who don't. I am still reading the book, but I am intrigued by what she calls wholehearted living. Brene Brown writes, “Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” 

To have that sense of peace is something that I have never known, but I will work to achieve this to what ever level I am capable of in my life. I want to have the peace and feeling that I am enough just as I am. This is my biggest wish to you too. I hope you have a sense of peace and feel that you are enough, imperfections and all, in the upcoming year!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Scottsdale and Phoenix Interior Designer Introduces You to Artist Cecilia Paredes

As an interior designer, I am always interested in creative minds at work. I adore this photographers playful sense of surprise and the way he hides her subject and yet leaves them exposed at the same time. Her work is displayed through the Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts Gallery in Miami, Florida.
This patchwork quilt photograph allows the subjects face to blend into the background beautifully.
I really like how the subject's eye grab your attention in the above photo.
I love these colors in this last photo! If you are intrigued and would like to learn more about Cecilia Paredes, you can check out her website to see what she is all about. She's had so many hits on her website that it has crashed, but I am sure that technical difficulty will be worked out soon. You can also check out some of Cecilia Paredes' images courtesy of the Diana Lowenstein Gallery at I'd love to hear what you think of these graphic and interesting images!