Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Look for Less

I love getting your Look For Less requests. If you've sent one and I haven't covered it (there are a few I'm working on) don't worry - I will get to it! About a month ago I was sent this image by long time reader Renee. She asked: "Artie, do you know anything more about this picture? Any other views? Who decorated it? Any thoughts about how to do it on a budget?"

Here's what I know! 

That photo is from the architecture website of William T. Baker. The house was commissioned by the family and they then hired interior designer James Michael Howard (husband of designer Phoebe Howard) to decorate the Buckhead mansion for a prominent Atlanta doctors and their family. The house was actually featured in Veranda back in 2012, but with a bit of a different furniture layout:

It appears as though the family still lives there, no sales of the property have occurred since they built the house. And while the photography of the space occurred after it was decorated in 2010-2011, it still looks relevant and fresh - so I doubt they've changed it much. So, how can you grab the look for less? Here we go:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A Picture is Worth ...

The other day I was leaving to head out for the day, and I turned the corner from the bedroom into the living room and thought this was a prime photo opportunity, my cleverly cropped "real" life.

Someone asked me via email if I could provide them with some Amazon links of things I would buy to recreate my own living room, and I thought - why? For as long as I've been blogging, and even after all of the nice things I've heard, I still find it hard to believe that anyone would want to recreate my look.

After all, I can't even consider this to be truly MY look. This is a mix of things, purchased without any real plan that happened to be pulled together and not look terrible. But, just because I love ya and I didn't have anything better to blog about - here you go, my tips and links for decorating in MY current look, on a budget:

1. Flooring

I highly suggest that you go ahead and spend the money on a good, quality seagrass rug as large as you room can take without going custom. Custom rugs cost a fortune, and the reality is, you can often find sizes that are close enough that have been bound for the mass market. Safavieh has a good quality seagrass, and they offer a few different patterns, including herringbone.

I personally would say away from jute because of the shedding and difficulty in keeping wear patterns from showing, and I would also tell you that from my experience that while no natural rug is "comfortable" to lounge on, you'll find the lease comfort from sisal. So stick with seagrass

You can also layer over natural area rugs with things like cowhides and zebra hides, antique oriental rugs, and cotton flatweave dhurrie

2. Windows

I live in an apartment that requires that the miniblinds they provide to each apartment stay in every window so that there is continuity from the street. BUT, I can't live with white miniblinds y'all. No offense to those of you who have them, they're just not for me. 

So I have covered over all of mine with either bamboo roman shades or matchstick roller shades (because the windows are too long for bamboo roman shades). This helps to elevate the look of the window more than to provide privacy - anyone who knows me knows that I live in a fishbowl

After I've dressed the window with something natural (and P.S., I do this nearly all the time, in ANY room) I will 99.9% of the time opt for a curtain. I like light curtains, nothing heavy or overly dressed. I don't think there's much reason to put a ton of money into trims and notions on your curtains. If you're going to buy custom, just invest in a lead edge fabric that is nicely coordiated to the body, and get them made full enough to really fill the window. I don't think I own any curtains that aren't either doubled up (if they're from a store) or made to double width or at the very least one and half times width. 

If you're going to buy premade - and you can definitely find some amazing premade curtains out there, I will suggest to you HPD on Amazon.You can also go to their website directly, but nearly everything they sell is available on Amazon and you get it faster and cheaper than ordering from them directly. Here are some of my favorites: 

These are sewn to be able to hang a variety of ways, including rod pocket, back tab, and on curtain rings with hooks. 

Lately, I've been really fond of curtain rods with no finial, like the above that just round back into the mounting bracket on the wall. They offer full black out potential, and you don't end up getting tired of seeing whatever you had chosen months ago thinking it was going to be a good choice, but now no longer care for. 

3. Lighting

I like a variety of lighting, floor lamps, table lamps, chandeliers - all on dimmers if you can swing it.

I personally chose brass pharmacy lamps and an antique urn turned gigantic table lamp for my living room, but the above options are super similar and much less expensive. 

4. Furniture

I'm not gonna lie to you guys - I often shop for pieces on sites like EBTH and eBay, and I make really good use of my local options, too! I siphon through Facebook Marketplace like hourly, and while I've not been so good about it lately, I'm on Craigslist quite a bit too. Some of the best things in the apartment I've actually found there, so it's hard to find something similar because frankly, I wouldn't have the first clue on where to look for these things if I ever wanted to replace them. BUT, here are some options for what you see in this picture: 

I've had a few sofas and I have to say that without a doubt, my slipcovered sofas have always brought me the most piece of mind. I loved my tufted silk sofa with the velvet cushion, but it was impractical for my space and the way I live. It photographed beautifully, but was never something that anyone was excited to plop down on. My sofa is by Klaussner, so if you're looking for it, check there. 

My coffee table is antique, very heavy bronze and glass. It's faux bamboo, which is why I linked the faux bamboo option up there. But, I would say that you need to know two things about glass coffee tables: 1. They're gonna need daily cleaning and 2. They are GOING to NEED daily cleaning! So, if you're ok with that - hop to it! 

Oh, and last thing - when I do clean, and it's more often than you'd think ... I am a big big fan of these: 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

My Favorite Things

That's right y'all! It isn't just for Oprah. Anybody can have a favorite things list, and I figure since my birthday is on Friday - what better time than now to list all the things I love (and want) and maybe entice a few of you to jump on the bandwagon with me and start using all this awesome stuff, too!

On Friday, I turn 37. THIRTY-SEVEN! I can't even believe it. It feels like only yesterday I was complaining about turning 25. When I look back on the last 37 years, I see a lot of change. There are times that I fondly miss, times I am eternally grateful are behind me, and a few times I think that the door of opportunity was open to me and I failed to commit and walk through. I guess we all have those, don't we?

Thirty-seven years has been long enough to bring me some great joys, and experiences that have changed me for the better. I'm thankful for that, and hope that the years that follow are as good as these last few have been.

Now, onto the good stuff. Ready? 

I've blogged about this before, and of course it had to be on my list. The Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day basil scented hand soap, is far and away the most wonderful smelling hand soap at that price point I've ever used. I constantly keep this in either the kitchen or the bathroom, and can't count the number of people who have asked me where I bought it. It's fresh and clean, and perfectly scented. It's not feminine, it's not masculine - it has managed to rest perfectly in that suitable in between and remain wholly affordable. You won't be disappointed, and P.S., it's cheaper here than anywhere else.

The Fruits and Passions brand Coriander and Olive Oil products are also perfectly scented, and part of my daily routine. They have a hand soap, dish soap, all the same products you'll find in the Mrs. Meyer's collection. I personally have switched over to using their hand butter all the time. If you've ever used a butter as lotion before and felt like your hands were left more oily than soft, I am totally with you! But then I found this, and haven't looked back. My hands feel soft and not at all greasy for hours. And a small tube, like the one above, can last you for a month or more. 

Rosehip Seed Oil has been a wonderful find. The older I got, the more I started to care about my skin. I wish I had the forethought to be more mindful of the sun and moisturize more consistently in my youth, but live and let live, right? I've been very lucky my whole life to not have too many skin issues, but still - I needed an easy and inexpensive product that could be a part of my daily routine to help moisturize. I took to Rosehip Seed Oil after doing a lot of research, and I couldn't be happier. I love the Kate Blanc linked above. I put it on with this brush.

From the moment I smelled this burning at an Anthropologie in Austin, Texas - I knew that I had to have it at my house. I've been burning the scent for years, and it's a constant staple at our house. I love the fresh, clean, almost citrus fragrance, and the clean burn. So many candles leave you with soot and unused wax, You definitely get the most from the Capri Blue candles, and without a doubt, Volcano is my favorite scent. If you're not a candle burner, they also have wax melts and reed diffusers

New York State recently passed a ban against plastic bags, which I couldn't be happier about frankly. We don't need those pesky plastics. I've been using this market bag for the last couple of years as my grocery bag, and I LOVE it! Definitely worth the money. Super beautiful and sturdy, plus so useful for trips and storage in your home.

I got this little portable speaker from Tyler's mom for Christmas, and I can't think of a day since that I haven't used it! The sound quality is perfect, and it's small enough to really fit anywhere. It wirelessly syncs to your phone or music storage device, and I've been told that it floats. I haven't tried the floating thing out, FYI! Right now I've got it in the Cross Bottle Guy studio, playing Sara Bareilles' new album, Amidst the Chaos. Oh - so so so so good! 

You know I love design books, right? 

This is still a wonderful book filled with glorious inspiration for projects, even though the first printing of the book was way back in 2016. If you don't already own a copy - give it a look! 

This is the only thing I've asked for for my birthday. The new Jeffrey Bilhuber book, Everyday Decorating. Fingers crossed somebody grabbed it for me. 

I've been using these for a while now, but since I got back from Hawaii, I've been buying them left and right to give as gifts. Everyone in my office now uses stainless steel straws, as well as my friends and family. 

If you don't already have one of these, I'm about to make your life a lot easier and healthier folks. What feels like forever ago now, I had an Italian "pasta" dish from a local restaurant that had no pasta at all. I finished the entire thing thinking I had just eaten the most perfectly cooked noodles but no. I had just eaten the most perfectly cooked spiralized zucchini. I immediately ran out and bought some expensive machine which broke about a year later. Then I found this, and it's been a staple in my kitchen. I love it, you will too - I promise!

These things are the most fun wine markers I've ever seen! Friends of ours have them, and when we were at their Super Bowl party these little guys hugged the wine glasses of those who chose wine. I bought them before we even left that night, and thanks to Prime shipping, got them the next day! I've been using them ever since. 

Alright y'all - that's it! My favorites! Take a look and see if they tickle your fancy, too!