Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Entryway Art Collage

Hello World!  Hope you're all doing fantastic.  I've been wanting to post about photo gallery collages for a while now.  They are oh so trendy, and I see them everywhere.  I feel like every home has a space that would be perfect for one of these.  I created one in my entryway and I've been tweaking it since we moved in.  After 2 years it's finally feeling balanced and correct.  The photos below were taken before we painted and I haven't had time to reshoot (please forgive me).  But, before I show you those, I wanted to show you a few of the images I came across online that inspired me.

I love the use of the frame ledge in this one.

This one came from one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love.  I love how they've taken advantage of the entire wall.

I love all the colors of this collage.

The transom line of this one is such a great way to organize these frames.  I also love how all the photos are black and white.

I like how this one is formed around the furniture.  

In my opinion, the best parts of the photo gallery are the variety.  I love putting photos next to canvases next to fun objects.  You have to be ok with a little asymmetry, which I know is tough for some people (ehm, my husband).  If you're thinking about creating one of these in your house, I have a few recommendations.

My Photo Gallery Rules:
  1. Use the same color frames.   It creates a more uniform look and allows the art to pop.
  2. Use balance instead of symmetry.  Forget about making each piece symmetrical with another, just go for a balanced look.  If one side has 2 small frames, put 1 large one on the other side.
  3. Include objects or sculpture.  Add a 3D object here and there, just a few, you dont want to go crazy, but it will help break up all the frames and create a more dynamic collage.
  4. Frame meaningful art or photos.  Frame things that are important to you, like your first house key or card someone gave you.  They're interesting and guests in your house will be curious about them and ask questions.  
  5. Tweak often!  There is no right or wrong way to do this, so if you hang stuff and hate it, move it around and change it.  Add things as you get them.  This is the fun of these galleries, they just keep growing and growing.
Ok, so now on to the photos of my collage.  Its a small area, much smaller than all the photos I've shown you.  But I plan to add to it over the years.  I started with the mirror, because I always need to take a peak at myself before walking out the door.  I used that as my center point and worked out from there.  

I love the man and woman flower vases.  Those were a gift from my brother.  We have so little framed photos of ourselves in our house, but I love this one.  It was from a photobooth at a festival we went to last fall.  And of course I had to represent the furry member of our household.

This side has the woman vase and next to that is my framed Suzanne Tick Art that I put together.  And below that is one of my favorite things - our key hooks.  We got this from an art vendor at the Eastern Market.  There is a photo of people taking photos of the cherry blossoms, which i think is perfect irony.  Plus its finished with an old radiator grate.  Its super fun and kitchy.

I would encourage everyone to find a place for one of these in your house.  They're so fun and meaningful.  You'll be happy you did!


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Friday, April 20, 2012


Hi everyone!  I'm just returning from a quick trip to (not so) Sunny Florida.  I got so wrapped up in my trip, that I'm a bit delayed in posting about the Spring Exchange.  Forgive me for my tardiness, but here I am now with all the details!  

So what is the Spring Exchange you ask?  It's a little blogger gift exchange that was crafted up by Lisha @ One House, One Couple and Meagan @ Local at Last.  We were asked to send our partner $15 of our favorite spring goodies.  

My partner was the one and only Lisha at One House, One Couple (I know you've been seeing her name on here a lot these days!).  She sent me the greatest little grab bag of stuff:  Nail Polish, Sunglasses, Lip Balm, Sun block, Earrings and a reversible tote bag made by Lisha herself! 

I just love all my new spring time goodies!  And I had so much fun participating in this great event.  Happy Spring!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'd like to thank the Academy....

I am soooo excited to accept the Versatile Blogger Award!  Lisha over at One House, One Couple tagged me in her recent blog list (Thanks Chica!).  So now I get to share the blog love to some of my favorite ladies on the web.  

Here are the rules of award acceptance once you’re nominated:
  • Thank the person who gave you the award.  (Check)
  • Include a link to their blog. (Check)
  • Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.  (Check)
  • Nominate those 15 for the Versatile Blogger Award.  (Check)
  • Finally, share 7 things about yourself.  (Check)
  • In the same post include this set of rules.  (Check)
  • Inform each nominee with a comment on their blog.
My 15 Nominations:
  1. Curated & Collected
  2. Flourish Design & Style
  3. Two Thirty Five Designs
  4. Our Delicious Life
  5. 733 Blog
  6. Framed Frosting
  7. Sneaky Momma
  8. The Small Things
  9. After Nine to Five
  10. Cara Lee Cupcakes & Cake
  11. J and J Home
  12. The Domesticated Me
  13. Sew Chatty
  14. Licorice and Olives
  15. Me and My Brightsides
7 Things About Me:
  1. I don't have a car, I use my own two legs to get everywhere.  
  2. I love running and cycling.
  3. My husband and I will be married 5 years this year and together for 10.  
  4. I'm a licensed interior designer, and I practice mostly commercial work.
  5. I have a really hard time making decisions.
  6. I hate taking out the trash, but I love doing laundry.
  7. I love sugary candy, I could live on it.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Choosing Paint Colors

An amazing thing happened in the last week - we decided on paint colors for the entire house, hired a painter and now the entire house is painted.  Seriously in a weeks time all these things happened and I had been putting it off for the entire two years we have lived here.  Why you ask.  Well because I had the hardest time picking out paint colors.  I know, I'm a designer this should have been the simplest thing in the world.  Well that is where you are wrong.  I unfortunately suffer from 'having too many resources'.  I get overwhelmed with all the ideas and trends out there that I can't decide on one.  Usually, I change my mind about 10 times before I come to a decision.  And then, I spend the next few weeks (or months) convincing my husband its the best solution.  This can sometimes set me back a much longer than anticipated because he doesn't always agree with me.  Shocking, I know.

I'll get some photographs posted of the new digs shortly.  But first I wanted to walk you through my color selection process.  Below is a little color chart I put together of the colors I picked.  Our house is very vertical, and all the floors kind of flow into one another, so I choose a light neutral base color that I used in all the stairwells and hallways (Benjamin Moore, Ashen Tan 996).  I wanted a light color so it didn't make the house feel darker, but I wanted it to have some contrast with the white trim.  This color works well for many reasons - it ties together all the other colors in the house, it works with well with bold accents, and it can work with warm and cool tones.  

I'll fill you in on more of the details of the accent selections in my next post when I can refer to the photos.  For now, take a look at the rest of the palette.

Choosing paint colors can be a daunting task, so I thought I'd give you a few tips that I've learned along the way.  

10 Paint Selection Tips:
1.  Think Big Picture.  When choosing colors for your house think about all the rooms as a whole.  Make sure the colors flow from one room to the next.  Even if you can't paint everything at the same time, have a painting plan in mind from the beginning.  Think about all the colors as one composition.  Design Seeds is a great website to check out for some color palette inspiration.  Below is one of the palettes I used for inspiration.

2.  Consider Your Finishes.  Think about the permanent finishes in your house - your flooring, your countertops, your cabinets.  We have dark floors, so it was important to me to pick light paint colors because I didn't want to the house to feel darker.  Ask yourself 'how does the paint look next to your cabinet color?'  What about your favorite art piece - does the color emphasize the art or does it detract the beauty of the piece.
3.  Samples, Samples & More Samples.  I cannot emphasize this enough.  Get your hands on as many samples as you can.  I like to start with alot and narrow down.  Hang up all your samples for a few days.  Look at them at different times of day.  How do they look in daylight vs. at night with a lamp on?  Colors will look different in a store with overhead fluorescent lighting vs. at home with incandescent table lamps.  It's very important to look at colors in there finished environment to get a true feel for the tone.
4.  Create a Mood.  Think about the type of mood you're trying to create.  Do you want the kitchen to be lively and active or formal?  Do your want your bedroom to be soothing or eclectic?  These are all questions to consider when selecting colors.  There are countless studies on the psychology of color.  If you're interested in more information on the topic, here is a fun link to check out.
5.  Use Accent Walls!  If you like a color but are afraid to paint the entire room for fear of going overboard, try one focal wall instead.  Its a great way to use bold color without overpowering the space.  We did this with a Orangey-Red tone on our top floor and we love it!
6.  Always Use White Trim.  Paint your trim and baseboards a crisp white.  This allows for a clean contrast between your paint colors, which really makes them pop.  White is harder to keep clean, so you'll have to touch it up yearly to keep it looking fresh.  But a little white paint goes a long way.
 7.  Explore color trends.  Believe it or not, there are many people and companies out there who study color trends.  Interior color trends usually take cues from fashion.  Flooring trends usually break into the market first and wall coverings and paints follow.  Don't ask me why, its just a pattern I've noticed over the years.  Pantone just released there new color trends for 2012, as did Sherwin Williams.  These are a fun read!  

8.  Finish is Important.  Don't make the mistake of choosing matte paint for walls.  This should only be used on ceilings.  A matte finish will show every last bump and scrape on your walls.  It's also impossible to clean.  I always go with an eggshell finish for walls, and semi-gloss for trim.  
9.  Try Green Paint.  I highly recommend using a low VOC formula.  This type of paint doesn't offgas, which means no paint fumes.  And its also good for the planet, which is always a bonus in my book.
 10.  And remember, its just paint.  You can paint over it if you hate it!


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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Custom Fabric Tackable Panels, Part 2

I have a super cute project to share with you guys!  I've been planning on putting this together for, um, 5-6 months now.....but some things came up, i guess.  The Part 1 of this process happened about 5 months ago....I guess you could say I'm a bit of a procrastinator.  The main reason I've been putting this off is that I just wasn't quite sure how to engineer this sucker.  But I finally figured out a simple method that actually worked!

Let me show ya:

Step 1:
I purchased four packs of cork tiles from Staples, in two different sizes - 12"x12" & 6"x6".  You can find these tiles in lots of places.  They're not very expensive and they're also very easy to cut into custom sizes.  The tiles are not very thick, only about an 1/8" of an inch, so i decided to laminate two tiles together with glue for a thicker, more sturdy substrate.  I let these dry overnight under a heavy stack of books.

Step 2:
Using the tile sizes I purchased, I did a quick sketch of how I wanted to lay these out.  Actually, I did this part in my head, but I created this little sketch so you can follow me.

Step 3:
I gathered up a bunch of different fabrics that looked good in my kitchen, where I am planning to hang this.  Fortunately, I have access to tons of samples at my office so I just grabbed a few of my favorites (Thanks you Maharam and Luna).  You can read more about how I selected these fabrics here. 

Step 4:
I took two of the four 12"x12" tiles and taped them together to create one 24"x 12" section.  I did this with all four of the pieces, so I was left with two long pieces.  If you refer back to the sketch above, I just created the long sections labeled 'Fabric A' and 'Fabric B'.

Step 5:
Next, I started stapling the fabric to the cork tiles.  Some fabrics are harder than others to wrap and secure in place, but mainly you just try to get the fabric straight and the edges tight.  The good news is, you can always rip the staples out and start over if its not sitting right.

Step 6:
After all the tiles were wrapped in fabric, I turned them over and taped them together with duct tape.  I also stapled the seams together to make them extra secure.  I used a quite a bit of tape!  I just wanted to make sure it would stay together well. 

Step 7:
Create a hanger.  I made mine out of staples and wire.  I just wrapped the wire around a few times and knotted to ensure it would hold.  The good part about using the cork tiles, is they are nice and light the finished product is pretty easy to hang.

Step 8:
Now you're ready to hang.  But first, lets see how pretty it looks.  Ooooh, aaaaah.  I knew you'd like it!

This is the before photo of our sad little overfilled cork board. 

And this is the after!  I love how this fills out the wall.  It actually gives me lots of space to hang all my pictures, cards and invitations.  Now I don't have to clutter up the sides of my refrigerator trying to find space for all this stuff. 

And here it is with all my stuff on it.  It looks kind of busy in the photo, but i can assure that its not.  It makes me feel much calmer now every time I look at it.

Hope you like it!


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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sponsor Love: Kate Lee Interior Design Services LLC

I'm so excited to announce my very first sponsor!  She's a talented designer and one of my dear friends.  You can find a link to her website on the sponsor section of my page.  It looks like this:

Below is a message from Kate:
Hey everyone, my name is Kate Lee. I am a new mom and recently I also became a small business owner. Two very new ventures - haha!  My family and I live in Bucks County, PA.  I am an interior designer and I also do home staging.  My specialty is allowing my clients to use the pieces they already have and incorporating a fresh spin on the house without breaking the bank.  I love shopping for high end designer pieces however, it's more exciting to incorporate fun and restored vintage store items.  I usually find them anywhere from $20-$150. Not bad!! 
Other than my work, I am a proud mom of a beautiful baby girl and of course our little french bulldog, who most of the time is good :).  At the end of the day I try to make my work and everything around it as much fun as I can.
Please check out my website and please remember Interior Design is NOT serious, it's FUN!

If you're looking for design help in the Philadelphia area, Kate is definitely the girl for you.  She's gauranteed to put a smile on your face.  Having fun is definitely her specialty!  Honestly, if we lived in the same city, we'd proabably open a company together.  Call her, you won't be disappointed!

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