Monday, August 29, 2011

It's Football Time in the Bluegrass!

College football season kicks off this week and I couldn’t be more excited as I head to Nashville for a UK game.  Well……let me back up for just a minute, because those who know me will call “shenanigans” on my last statement.  It is not really the game of football that I am excited about (this becomes painfully obvious when I am spotted reading US Weekly during the first quarter of the game or using my binoculars to spot my friends on the other side of the stadium throughout the second half).  It is the weekly appointment for tailgating that gets my heart racing!  My husband and I have our season football tickets, our parking pass and a group of friends that we gather with each week during the season.  We have affectionately started calling ourselves The Liftgaters because none of us has a truck with a tailgate, instead we all drive SUVs with hatches that lift upward. 

In the South tailgating is a big deal and these products that I’ve recently spotted are sure to enhance any tailgate situation! 

Melamine plates & platters.  I devoted an entire blog post to melamine dishes earlier this year and I still adore them!  Just last night I was at Target swooning over a blue & white Ikat pattern.  Who needs porcelain and ceramic dishes that can break or chip when you have durable, practical and most of all beautiful melamine dishware!  There are a few companies who offer these products with collegiate logos for those die-hard fans.

Chandelier.  I was flipping through the pages of my Southern Living magazine when I first layed eyes on this.  Love at first sight (minus the color scheme).  I suddenly felt inspired to help hubby find an old school bus to convert into a tailgate bus on the condition that I could have this fixture gracing the ceiling!

UK Plaid.  I have also focused a past blog post on this product line.  I feel compelled to support this student-driven project at the University of Kentucky, not only because it stems from my major but also because the products are so darn cute!  I know I am biased since I chair the advisory committee but take a look at them yourself.  I bet when I walk past your tailgate tent this Fall, it will be adorned with the tablecloth, a crowd of koozies, tote bags, a grill mit and apron. 

Happy tailgating!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Nostalgia, interest and sometimes greed feed into our desire to collect things.  Some people collect baseball cards, others collect old movie posters.  As child, I collected porcelain clown figurines.  I now have hundreds of these delicate, handpainted pieces stored away in boxes.  To be honest, I have no idea what to do with them.  How many of us are like that?  We buy and collect all these things we want, but then we just end up storing them away in the basement of attic because we don’t know how to use them.  

Watching an episode of Design Star earlier this week provided great inspiration.  A couple collected old records.  The designer decided to showcase those records as art.  Square wooden blocks were attached to the wall arranged in a grid formation to create a platform.  Then one record was screwed into each platform.  What a fantastic way to fill a wall with a unique art piece!  Additionally, it made the room more personal to the homeowners AND cleared out boxes of records that would otherwise collect dust. 

It can be challenging to think outside the box but when we do we can usually come up with awesome ways to re-purpose the things we love!  I’m tempted to (cover your ears, Mom) take all my porcelain figurines and bust them into pieces that I can use in a mosaic.  I could create a mirror frame or a back-splash out of the pieces instead of letting them age in the cardboard walls of a moving box.  What will you do with your collector’s items?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Houndstooth Heaven

Bear Bryant & Alabama got it right.  At least when it came to houndstooth!  A classic pattern that looks stunning in a simple black & white color scheme, or when jazzed up in brighter hues.  I am a huge fan of this design in home d├ęcor as well as fashion.  It’s a perfect accent for solid colors and shouldn’t be overdone.  I have seen more and more of it lately in furniture stores when out shopping.  Here are some of the coolest pieces I ran across:

Comfy side chair in stylish shades of green.

Chic ottoman in the tried & true black and white.

Throw pillows are also widely popular for this pattern.

Whatever your fancy, happy houndstoothing!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Make Way for Gray

I will admit that in the past when I thought of gray a lot of drab, dreary and prison-like images came to mind.  Most ladies tend to freak out when someone utters that color name because we dread the day when it will take up residence on our hair follicles.  But I have been converted to become a big fan of this color (for decorating, not on my hair).  Shades of gray are popping up in rooms all over and people are loving it.  No longer is the shade only a cool and institutional color.  It has warmth, it can neutralize, and it can offer gorgeous contrast to other colors.  Everyone can find a gray that suits their style- from silvery shades to deep charcoal tones.  If you want to see what this color can do, check out some of my favorite gray paints from Sherwin Williams:
Cityscape 7067
Dovetail 7018
Mineral Deposit 7652
Pavestone 7642

There are thousands more beyond what I listed, but these are some of my personal favorites that will compliment almost any design plan. If painting the walls are not an option, consider adding throw pillows in a deep slate.  Or how about a gunmetal gray side chair with a colorful throw draped off the back??  You can really go wild with this color.

So go ahead....I dare you to go gray!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A tisket, a tasket...

..I’m obsessed with baskets!  As a child my mom called me “the bag lady”.  I collected purses and totes and even grocery bags.  I would stash them in my closet and every bag would have at least one thing in it.  While I am less of a pack-rat today, I still love great storage!  Baskets and bins are my favorites when it comes to office and home organization.  I use them to hold magazines on my bookshelf, spare blankets near the sofa, and extra knick knacks in the office. Here are a few of my favorite pieces right now:

Wire Baskets, Ballard Designs
A little rustic in feel and very functional!  Mount as many as you would like to the wall to keep clutter off your desktop.  Another great use is a mudroom.  Children’s folders or homework can be neatly stowed until the next school day.

Napa Valley CD Crates
The fact that these are now considered vintage is disturbing to me.  Nevertheless, they make great catch-alls for a bookcase. 

Fabric Lined Baskets
These baskets can serve as a collection bin for spare hangers.  Just place on top of the dryer and you will always have hangers awaiting your fresh clothes.  For bathrooms short on storage, place one of these on the floor to house extra toilet paper rolls.  It will add a bit of fancy flair to your restroom. 

Whether wood, metal or woven, baskets are our friend when it comes to de-cluttering a space.  If you are looking for a deal on your baskets, check out your local Home Goods store. 

Happy basket shopping!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Campus Life Revived

Colleges are gearing up to get back in session.  Sororities & fraternities are abuzz with recruitment right around the corner.  I am thrilled to unveil a refreshed and enhanced sorority house on the University of Kentucky campus to you!! When this project began, we had a house with good bones but a major need some enhancing.  A group of great advisers recognized that areas of the house were outdated and wanted to change that for the women who live in the house.  A mere 5 weeks later, the finished product was a dramatic difference.  Here are a few photos to show you the contrast and a few tips you can apply yourself. (Photos to the above left are before; below right are after).

Living room: Large spaces can accommodate multiple seat groupings instead of spreading furniture out throughout the room.  This makes the space feel more welcoming and gives it greater purpose.  

 For a custom look without the custom price, use two short drapery rods in lieu of one long one above doorways or large windows.  This avoids a rod looking minimal in comparison to the window.


Foyer: An open space that is predominantly used as a pass-through can be revved up with a nice light fixture and a furniture grouping.  The room is still large enough to walk through and now the traffic pattern is more clearly defined.

TV Room: Goodbye boxy big screen and hello sleek flat screen.  This room is where all the girls gather to watch their favorite shows.  Additional seating with a bit of whimsy makes the room more lively.  Removing and rearranging some of the composites on the wall allows the space to feel more open, as well.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Create Your Own

When I’m in line at Qdoba, I can "craft" my own meal, at Panera I can pick and choose different items to create my lunch, too.  A cute little boutique down the road called Caught Ya Lookin let's me take any of their fabrics and they will create one of their bag styles for me.  Call me spoiled, but I love being able to customize things to better suit me.  That’s why I am absolutely in love with the option to create my own fabric design.  I read about it in a newsletter from a fabric vendor and it peaked my interest.  A few weeks later I saw an article about it in a Sherwin Williams publication.  That hooked me, I had to check out this Spoonflower site. 

You can upload your own photo and then play around with the layout to end up with a unique piece that no one else can duplicate.  After exploring the site and creating my own look, I held my breath when it came time for the price tag.  I was pleasantly surprised that the cost was under $40/yard.  You can be hard-pressed to find mass-produced fabrics at that price.  I see a flurry of fabric designing in my near future!  Hope you will try it, too!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tv is Tv, not real life

I am not usually a watcher of design shows.  They tend to frustrate me more than inspire, but that is another topic for another day.  The point I am trying to get to is that in spite of myself, I am an avid Design Star fan.  This show is a competition for interior designers aired on HGTV.  It's become a guilty pleasure of mine each Monday night.

A couple episodes back, David Bromstad, one of the show's hosts and an HGTV designer himself, said something that I LOVED!  As the designer's prepared their assigned rooms for that week's challenge, a few of them were struggling.  David reminded them that designing for TV is different than designing for real life.  FINALLY! Someone expressed on national television what so many viewers needed to hear.  When you design for a camera, you have a whole different set of needs than when you design for someone's personal space.  Bromstad, reminded them that the camera reads bold colors, solid fabrics and sharp contrast very well. 

When people see these bold and electric rooms on TV and try to mimic them at home, the result is bad news.  When in a space like this you can feel anxious, antsy & uncomfortable.  At the very least, you'll probably get a headache.  Also consider that sharp contrasts don't appeal to everyone.  Don't misunderstand what I am saying.  These shows can be great inspiration to many and show others what possibilities are out there in the world of decor.  I am simply trying to remind people that not everything on TV can be transferred over into real life with great success.  Maybe the network should put a "Don't try this at home" disclaimer on the screen.  Just a thought...