Thursday, March 26, 2009

Advice Email Answered

There was an overwhelming email response to the post yesterday, which I loved but found quite shocking! Seems like many of you don't want the world to know that you have a crush on a certain DIY Network host, and that's ok - I'll let you lay under the radar!

I did, however get an email from Elena in Baltimore, who says she follows the blog daily. Elena writes:

I read your blog everyday, and I am constantly entertained by the descriptions of your DIY projects and your beautiful inspirational photos, including those photos of your home on the side bar and scattered throughout posts. I know it might be too much to ask, but when you have the time, I'd love it if you could give me some advice and also answer a few questions that might give me some insight ... "

Well - how about today, Elena?

1. Are there any designers or photos that you are holding onto as inspiration for your current projects? How do you find inspiration, and do you know how big of an inspiration you are through your blog?

I am holding onto some photos of Mary McDonald's back yard garden done completely in blue and white. I love the way the rooms feel like interior rooms - and with her living in California, there is the option of having something like that year round.

I love the color combinations of the cobalt blue and white against the variation of clay colors in the bricks and pots, and the myriad of greens in the plantings that McDonald has around the property. This sort of picture inspires me to think about more than just a room, I'm thinking about my first outdoor dinner party of 2009, plants, curtains - inside and out, and most importantly how desperately Abby needs a trip to the groomer!

McDonald has some wonderful furniture pieces in her outside spaces, and the eclectic mix of island style bamboo and rattan with the fluid and feminine lines of french antiques - both refinished and not, painted and not, gives me great ideas for the eclectic combinations to things from table settings to room arrangements.

I suppose though, that these pictures evoke a mood and feeling for me most importantly, that I'd like to have and share with my guests. My patio project is in the works, and won't be done too soon, but once it is - it would be my goal to have these pictures, inspire the mood of the space.

2. What is your one must have for any home under $200?

A Down Comforter 1 size larger than your mattress. So if you have a queen sized bed, buy a king.

3. What is your one must have for any home over $200?

Art! Whatever speaks to you. I think that Art, good art, can define a room and help fill it with personality that is uniquely you. No great room exists without art.

4. What is your biggest design pet peeve?

I'm not a peevish person, so I don't get annoyed easily by things that others do. I think my biggest advice though is to be yourself! Whether you're a designer, a blogger, or just getting inspiration for your own home, it's important that you learn who you are, and what you love. In 3-5 years, you'll want to love the room you've invested time and money in, and you won't if you aren't true to you when you start putting it together. The Gustavian, Swedish, and French looks are beautiful - they're everywhere - but if it's not your thing, then don't buy into it. Everyone is unique and different, and so should be their houses.

5. I have a room in my house that I want to keep semi-formal, but I want to use a lot of what I already have. Your living room is a huge inspiration to me for this, so what advice would you give me?

Well, I'd say that again it's important to be yourself and use the things that you love and have collected in the room. Furniture arrangement is going to be the key component to making the space feel formal, and the way you layer in your accessories and soft items will help with that informal/semi-formal look you're going for. Remember height play, and that conversational seating arrangements in clusters are key for that formal look you're going for.

Bring in the light, or let the light in with light roman shades and curtains, and use mirrors or art behind glass to reflect some of the light that you do get around the room. Lamps and pocket lighting are great, so make sure to buy some uplights and some dimming cords for those lamps. You'll be so happy you did!

This is a picture of a room that I saw, and loved, and used for inspiration when I started putting my room together:

This room is unique and tells a story about the owner. It's more than just a Restoration Hardware sofa and some World Market accessories - these are collections, items that mean something to someone, and in turn, make the room feel and look welcoming and friendly, while remaining beautiful, inspirational, and chic.

If you have questions or need some advice or possibly an inspirational picture to help with your project, drop me an email and I'll help the best I can! Thanks Elena, hope this helps - and keep reading!


  1. really wierd....i just started to review my own design library.

    and i don't remember where i was
    ( in blog world ) but someone had a posted some pics from a design mag, which got me to wondering.....someone should get the 'rights' to all the design mags that folded down this year, and archive them.

    sorry for the worlds longest sentence.

  2. I learn something from you every time I visit, Artie...Many, many thanks for helping us!
    xo bj

  3. Whoa, you put some major time into answering her questions! I loved the idea of buying your down comforter one size up!

    Oh, and that last room there? GORGEOUS!

    Justine :o )

  4. Great advice...and beautiful inspiration pictures as usual!

  5. Twin! You amaze me with your talent and unselfish sharing of your time and pearls of wisdom. True gem, you are!
    I love that inspiration picture.
    Sorry I've been so busy and haven't visited much this week!! There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, and I can see a glimpse of it! I feel that I'm on your chain gang in the post below LOL
    xoxoxo Isa