Monday, February 28, 2011

Look for Less: Rustic Lantern Chandelier

I ran across this gorgeous lantern cluster in Pottery Barn’s newest catalog and thought it would make a great “Look for Less” subject:

Anytime something rustic and unusual can be used indoors, I get excited.  This dramatic vignette has potential to be used over top a dining table to give a formal space a down-to-earth feel.  I also envision this scene look fabulous in a gazebo.  You could hang the rope from the high beams and make an intimate setting for your next social gathering.  How precious would this be at an outdoor wedding or family reunion?!??!!   Okay enough blabbering, onto the “how to”…..
The rope is simple enough to get- simply go to a hardware store and pick it up.  The ladder options depend on your resources.  If (like me) you have access to a barn or old tool shed, you can dig out an old ratty ladder to use on this project.  Be sure to remove any flakes of paint or loose wood so nothing breaks off and falls onto the tablescape once it’s installed. Of course, if they ladder is too long, saw off the un-needed length to reach your desirable size.   Another choice is to purchase a ladder at Ace Hardware and rough it up a bit to look aged or you can buy this at for $60. 

Easy enough so far!  Onto the lanterns.  Again, we have some options:  You might have access to some old, beat up lanterns that with a little soap & water would fit the bill perfectly.  If not, I’ve seen some fun lanterns at Pier One, Florist shops and Ikea (pictured here; priced at $15).
Be sure to buy various sizes (ranging between 12 and 36 inches) to get that visual interest like the PB mag.  If you find a style of lantern you like, but not the right finish don’t be afraid to use a little spray paint to achieve a patina that compliments the rustic wood and rope.  

Once your lanterns are selected, you’re ready to hang everything.  You’ll need 4 sections of rope (one for each corner).  Tie one end of the ropes to the ladder first.  Then determine your placement on the ceiling or gazebo beams and secure the other end of your ropes to the hooks or beams.  Once your ladder is placed and secure, add the lanterns (using metal hooks or more rope).  The final touch is adding the pillar candles.  Voila!  You achieved the look for less!

Happy creating!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Trading Misery

I used to be an avid watcher of TLC’s “Trading Spaces” when it was on TV 10+ years ago.  I drew a lot of inspiration from those designers, but I was always disheartened when the homeowner would specify the ONE thing they did not want to see in the room and yet that was exactly what they received as the finished product.  Yes, I am aware that shock factor and TV ratings played into what was done on the show.  However, my opinion of the design profession is that they should remain true to the client’s needs, likes and wants.  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve chatted with who were scared to employ a designer because they feared she (or he) would not listen to them.  They were afraid their home would turn into the next outrageous magazine spread and no longer reflect who they are.  While that is discouraging to hear about some of my colleagues, I can say that not everyone works that way.  There are professionals who listen more than they speak; who spin a room around you, not themselves; and who desire no more accolades than the ones their client’s smiles provide.  Seek those people and you will love the results!

Friday, February 18, 2011

February Guest Blogger: Chris Hall, Organizational Maven

 Enjoy this great piece on organization, by Chris Hall:

"Liz asked me to talk about organization for her February BlogSpot. It is a bit funny because if you asked my mother she would tell you I have not always been neat or organized. During my teenage years she would just close the door to my room. Being organized is truly a skill I have obtained over the years. Is there a difference between being neat and being organized and if so what does it cost you NOT to be organized?

Most people can pull off being neat but being organized is a different animal all together. Admittedly at this point in my life I would consider myself to be fairly OCD but find this “skill”/affliction to be reassuring not to mention time and money saving for my clients and myself. I plan ahead and I know where everything is, saving both time and money. How much time and money does it cost you to not be organized? Most people would be shocked if they sat down and added up the amount of time and money that is lost per year in not being organized. Remember when you couldn’t find your car keys? How about the time you needed to reference a bill or receipt but couldn’t find it? Where did the scotch tape go?

Being organized is about systems and routine. I know it is not sexy or spontaneous but it saves running around in circles. When I talk to clients about the space we are organizing I like to ask questions that pertain to them in particular. How do you use this space? How do you want to use this space? What are the things you need access to regularly? 
Storage is often times an issue which perpetuates the problem. I try not to use large containers as smaller boxes are easier to pack and stack, especially for those papers or objects that you don’t need to get your hands on regularly. Banker boxes are great for this purpose as they don’t get too heavy and can be labeled. Making use of the inexpensive variety of stylish containers you can now get at Target, Office Depot and The Container Store help to organize all your “things”. If you want to find your keys every day then put them in the same place when you come in the door. It is the same thing for your office or space which is to say that everything has a place and a place that makes sense to you so you will continue to replace, put back or file after each use.

The biggest problem most people have is that they either don’t have a system or follow through regularly with the “system”. They put one thing down expecting to get back to it later. The next thing goes on top of that and so on and so on until the pile appears insurmountable. This is when it is helpful to have a third party come in. I find my clients are more likely to let go of papers/objects when I am physically there asking the question “Do you need to keep this?” This also tends to speed up the process as most individuals take weeks, on their own, to accomplish what should take a few hours. 

Once given a system most if not all of my clients are proud to say months later that the space is still as pristine as when I left. At the end of the day being organized saves time, money and stress. The extra time you have by being organized helps you to be more productive in your life, work and family. Take a deep breath and take back your life and GET ORGANIZED!"

Chris Hall owns and operates Bluegrass Go2Girl.  Beyond organizing, BGG2G offers a myriad of other tasks to help people get back their time.  Check out the website here 

Happy Organizing!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Going to the Dogs

There are a lot of factors to consider when redecorating a space.  Beyond the obvious color preferences and fabric options, variables like pets dictate what is used in a room.   Here are a few things to keep in mind before you buy:

1.       Pet’s Safety- Is that houseplant poisonous to your cat?  Will your dog’s nails get stuck in the chenille loops of the sofa fabric?  Are there harmful chemicals in your dining table that might harm your puppy when he chews on the leg?  Give some thought to your pets daily activities and behavior.  Paying attention to their habits will help you be aware of what is safe to bring into your home.  

2.       Functionality vs Aesthetic-  Those silk draperies puddle on the floor look fabulous with the tassels running down the edge!  But will Whiskers think the tassels are her new toy?  Does a black sofa really make sense when your Jack Russell sheds white hairs constantly??  Small details make a big difference when selecting the right pieces for your home.  You can have things that look great AND fit the lifestyle of your & your pet, it just requires some forethought.

3.       Durability- If you have a large breed animal, ask questions about the construction of the armchair before you buy it.  You certainly don’t want your gentle giant snuggled beside you when –CRACK- the frame gives way!  If you’re not familiar with fabrics, also ask questions about it’s durability.  Some fabrics can withstand a lot more wear and tear than others.  This factor is especially important when little claws need a scratching post. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Heads Up

I LOVE the endless possibilities for headboards that are available.  And I’m amazed that people aren’t aware of the options that are out there:  wood, upholstered, iron, patterns…the choices are limitless!  Here are some of my faves:
 Tufted Delight (West Elm)

Stately Nailhead (West Elm)

Old Hollywood Glamor (Arhaus)

Scrollwork Wonder (Arhaus)

Chippendale Bed (Stanley)

Circular Canopy (West Elm)