Happy New Year!!!

I’ve so missed Design Palate and interacting with fellow interior design enthusiasts! Hope to be here more this…


– From Homedit


Backsplash Tiles Finalized!

Yay! We’ve finally picked the backsplash for our kitchen. A couple of months ago, we found three potentials (see here)…but I had to re-consider after doing a mock layout on Photoshop. (Thanks to those who voted, by the way. I was leaning on “B.”)

This was option “B,” Butter Cream Mosaic from Mosaic Tiles. I know I’ve said I wanted to have a grey-ish kitchen to brighten up the space, but this seemed to make it too grey and didn’t really mesh well with the Ivory Fantasy granite that we already purchased. So, it was back to the drawing board. I was over at Young House Love visiting with the Petersiks and noticed a link to The Tile Shop on their site, so I clicked (apparently blogvertising works with me) and found my backsplash choice.


It is $24.99 per square feet…much cheaper than Option B above. See how well it goes with our granite selection?? Now to select the type of “grey” for the cabinets! Seriously, I’m starting to get decisioned-out….Here’s another mock-up of our kitchen scheme.

Do you think it would be too crazy to paint the ceiling a muted, mustard-ish yellow? I’m really LOVING the idea at the moment. Hubby, on the other hand, is already making a face. Maybe he’ll warm up to it.

Fabrics: Zig-zags, Chevrons, Ikats…

And other geometric shapes or solids? Yes, I’m still at it! (Read my post here to catch up). Just when you think you know what you’re going for, it doesn’t quite turn out the way you had expected.

My fabric samples from Spoonflower (Etsy-equivalent for fabrics) came in the other day. Spoonflower, by the way, allows you to print your own fabric designs. It’s such a great startup concept.

Anyhoo – here they are:

This is the Chevron fabric by Ravynka. It really is a funky pattern, isn’t it!

This is the Zig Zag by Brownpaperpackages.
I’m torn because I do love the pattern. The background of the fabric is just too white, I think for the look I was imagining. I planned to paint the wood frame on the sofa with an antique white finish, which would not match the white background on either of these fabrics. I suppose one alternative would be to paint the wood frame a blue or even yellow?? But I don’t think I want to go too much on that funky route. So, what are the other options?

Country Cabin in Bluebell by Robert Allen.

Sultana Lattice in Luna by Iman.

Kalah in Blue.

Or I could go with solids. Like this Sunbrella fabric in Baltic color. I could just spice it up with pillows and accessories.

Or Endow Saffire.

Or another Sunbrella in Navy.

I was told by the fabric expert at Calico Corners that Sunbrella may be a good option for constantly used furniture. It should last a long time and deal well with everyday wear. Has anyone used Sunbrella for interior upholstery?

I think, I’m leaning toward the Country Cabin in Bluebell by Robert Allen. But not completely sure. What do you guys think?

Fabricly Lost and Confused

Craigslist Couch Swap

I traded in this couch…

My Couch

For this lovely French provincial sofa…

French Provincial Sofa

The hubby thinks I’ve gone a little cuckoo–trading in his favorite, uber comfortable couch for a traditional, what-may-seem-as-stiff-BUT-ISNT! sofa. I just told him, “trust me, honey! It’s gonna be great.” Reluctantly, he concurred. But I already bought the piece anyway. Can’t let a great deal like that go–$75 Craigslist bucks! Yep, that’s all she took, which leaves me more to work with for the fabric and re-upholstering.

I’m not really sure what fabric I want to re-upholster her with yet. But, I may have had an epiphany while at the gym yesterday (something about running releases my design creativity!). Let’s just say the inspiration is a Kate and an Erdem.

Tasty Decor: More Clifton Options

A couple of additional moodboard options for my dear friends, Amber and Martin.  (See last post).

Moodboard One

Moodboard One is all about pattern and colors. I tried to bring in more energy into the room through the different patterns..florals, spirals, linear lines, ethnic patterns as well as a mix of blues, yellows, greens — which I think Amber, certainly, tends to lean toward.  This moodboard will definitely brighten their space and bring a lot of life to the space.  They recently purchased a dining table with matching chairs (hooray!), which is has a reddish-wood color.  Now for the goody-links on Moodboard One.

  1. Ajara Foyer Table
  2. Couch – Pauline Sofa
  3. Couch Pillows (2 of same) – Bull’s Eye Silk Pillow Cover
  4. Addition option: Dandelion Pillow Cover (for chair)
  5. Occasional Living Area Chair
  6. Coffee Table/Ottoman – Plank Cocktail Table:
  7. Living Area Rug – Jaipur Printed Dhurrie Rug Size: 5×8
  8. Window Drapes – Spiral Vine Curtain 84 inches
  9. Accessories – Aquamarine Vase (for foyer table or coffee table)

Moodboard Two

Moodboard Two is taken down a notch, but still has a good bit of pattern and texture — as reflected by the occasional chair, the jute green rug and the throw pillows.  The couch seems inexpensive (it’s on sale actually at Macy’s) and looks super comfy – I was thinking of a comment Amber made in one of her emails about envisioning the two of them lounging on the couch watching a Friday night movie, and I think the ottoman provides a good alternate for functioning both as coffee table and for putting Martin’s feet on to relax! (Also there’s storage)…The blend of colors also will work well when viewed along with a purple-ish wall that runs parallel to their living area and the length of their apartment.  I put in some purple shades throughout the moodboard so as to draw in the wall color with accessories.  I imagine the bookshelf against the purple wall.  This particular shade of wood will work well against the purple color they have now and will contrast well with the black-specked countertop on their island.  Now for the goodies:

  1. Ajara Foyer Table
  2. CouchMartha Stewart Kent Sofa
  3. Throw Pillows – Bloom Pillow – Aubergine
  4. Coffee Table/Ottoman – Alfresco Bench in Oatmeal with Storage
  5. Occasional Chair (Can double as Dining Table Chair)
  6. Mitchell Armless Chair (get 2)
    Pattern Option 1 or Pattern Option 2
  7. Living Area Rug – Green Diamond Weave Jute Rug (5×7)
  8. Bookcase – Expedit
  9. Accessories

Tasty Decor: Clifton NW

And they keep on coming!  A super fun college friend and her husband, Amber and Martin, moved into town early this year and recently closed on their new home.  Of course, eager for more design fun, I volunteered to help them hunt for furnishings and think of design concepts for their two-bedroom spot in the U Street area of DC.  This is a creative dream since they are essentially working with a blank canvas.  Sure, they have some existing pieces, but minimal.  They primarily have the bedroom set. Other than than, all’s fair in loving design.  So first, thing’s first.  A dining table.

The criteria:  a table to seat at least 6. Amber’s sisters also live in town, and they often get together for Sunday dinners.  One of the challenges with finding the right table is that Martin and Amber have a living, kitchen, dining combo space…with not much room for many pieces of furniture.  So, we have to find options that can be compact when dining for two and expanded when needed for six.  Below are some finds from good ole Craigslist (which, btw, has many deal steals!).

Table Options to Seat At Least 6

Next order of business….Living Area.  A few moodboards showcasing different sofa options.  Amber loves color and pattern and texture and just “life” in her space.  Martin, on the other hand, prefers serene, contemporary, more muted colors.  Though, frankly, he just wants to be comfortable and is happy to make his wife happy, too.  So, I went with colors…but kept in some contemporary styling in the moodboards below.

MoodBoard 1 with Karlstad Sofa

MoodBoard 2 with Sage Morgan Sofa

MoodBoard 3 with Pierre Sofa

We shall see, which one they will end up with. Could be none!  Then, back to the drawing board.


Tasty Decor: On Winter Pine…New Home, New Look!

After a long hiatus from all things interior design, you can imagine my excitement when I was asked by my hubby’s cousin and his wife to help them think through the design/decor features for their first owned home. Matt and Mandy recently moved from their 2 bedroom Crystal City apartment into a wonderful 3 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom, over 1,500 square feet townhome that is within walking distance to a metro and has a huge extended backyard. Quite a rare find in the Washington, DC-area at an affordable price!  They had a number of furniture pieces that they were bringing over from their apartment to their new home, most of which were transitional.  Their primary challenge was identifying the design scheme that can incorporate their existing furnishings with new purchases and add in colors to blend in their transitional, contemporary-leaning taste.  So I came up with a few moodboards to help them visualize the potential!

Living Room
They had a sage-green sofa and loveseat as well as matching dark-chocolate side tables and coffee table.  But they wanted to bring in color into the space.  So what did I come up with?  GREY!  Yes, grey.  Well, a silver-grey anyway.  It just fit their contemporary leaning style and a great backdrop to an infusion of other colors, like golds and fuschia, in the space as well as a great tie into the other wall colors in the other rooms.
1. West Elm Tiled Capiz Table Lamp.  What better item to juxtapose against a silver-grey wall than a metallic-gold capiz-base lamp?

2. Pier1 Sand Striped Window Panel or Pottery Barn Dupioni Silk Grommet Drape. And of course, to add warmth to the room, muted golden window panels.  Also a great tie-in to the sage-green sofa, loveseat and the chocolate tables.

3.  Handmade Soho Blue Burst New Zealand Wool Rug (5′ x 8′).  Loving this.  The burst of gold, bronze and texture will make your room (and your feet)  happy!

Dining Room
For their dining space, Matt and Mandy already had the dining table and chairs in the above moodboard.  The dining room is horizontally adjacent to the living room, with silver-grey wall against golden capiz lamps and gold window panels… I thought why not a mustard-ish yellow wall?  From gloss to muted yellow.  The dark brown leather chairs and the reddish-brown table legs would fit well.  To tie it all together, I found some tasty goodies below.

  1. West Elm Round Metal Chandelier
  2. West Elm Shelving Brackets
  3. West Elm Sweater Rug

Reading Room
Immediately next to their kitchen is an open space that may have been an informal sitting area, which Matt and Mandy are turning into their reading room/first floor office.  Mandy fell in love with this Santorini blue, which worked perfectly in the flow of my silver-grey and mustard-yellow wall schemes.  Some goodies for their reading room on the moodboard above.

  1. West Elm Round Coco Mirror.  for over fireplace?
  2. Andalusia Rug

Master Bedroom
And for one of the most important rooms in the house, a comfortable, serene space.  They already had most of the furniture, so all I had to do was find the right wall color and options for their lighting scheme and some additional accessories.  For the wall color, I suggested a light, grey-blue…which worked perfectly with their chocolate-colored bedroom set.  Other fun items, I found:

  1. West Elm Flat Stock Lighting Collection: Single Sconce
  2. Pier1 Pearl Silk Window Panel

Hopefully they’ll love these ideas and will be on their way to making an already happy home even happier!

A Little Something Tweet

When I was a little girl, we had about 10 or so differently colored lovebirds. Okay – that may be exaggerating…though it seemed like we had a lot. I was only about 5 years old, but I remember how I loved watching them in their cage just hanging out, mostly. I still remember the cage. It was a white, palatial-like cage…beautiful with all the colorful lovebirds in it. I haven’t thought about that for a long time. My mother loved loves birds! She often has a bird feeder out on her porch, deck, by the kitchen window (she moves around a lot). Wherever she is, she’s got one. I’m not sure that I’m a bird-pet person. But I do enjoy listening to them chirping outside of my window signaling spring time.

Maybe it’s my childhood lovebird memories or my mom’s love for birds having influenced me, but I’ve somehow found a way to bring them into my home–well, bird prints anyway (one step at a time, you know!). And I never thought I’d develop a taste for bird prints. But I somehow find myself absolutely adoring them.  There’s just something very peaceful and soothing about them for me.  I’d put up as many as I could, if the Hubby would let me! Well, maybe not that much….and he did allow for a few….

not so much a bird print, but i though i'd share this bird ornament with you anyway!

gracing my upstairs hallway. beautiful, isn't it? i got two!

my most recent additions -- from the national gallery of art. had the three prints custom framed. a delight in my home office.

So what sparked all this?  Well, I stumbled upon a lovely Etsy shop owner, Geninne, who had a number of lovely bird prints that were just too sweet not to share with you!  Here are a few of my favorites….

Lotus by Geninne

White Flowers by Geninne

Bird No. 32 by Geninne

Five Sparrows by Geninne

Three Little Birds by Geninne

Tasty Decor: Cleveland Park Studio Updo

A couple of weeks back, I mentioned that a good friend of mine was moving into her first ever solo studio apartment in lovely Cleveland Park in the NW quad of DC.  She asked for ideas from yours truly for a”very urban, very playful” look.  Now, I haven’t actually seen the space (yet).  But she did give me some places to start.  She’s got a 500 square foot space to work with and wanted to paint one wall hot pink.  I don’t know why, but I immediately thought of Dorothy Draper — the boldest, most amazing interior designer in history (okay — my history, but who could argue with that??)!  Unable to contain my excitement for this fantastic project, I went straight to work and gathered some design inspirations, which I talked about here and here.

Earlier today, my friend showed me a Picasso that she absolutely adored and couldn’t wait to put up in the entryway of her studio.  Now, I had something to start with.  I used the Picasso as the foci of my decor research, and while channeling the Dorothy Draper Effect came up with these (below) set of items for her to consider:  (Now, keep in mind, I haven’t seen the space!)

To put it all together:

1. The Dream, by Pablo Picasso — the room’s primary inspiration. I would suggest pairing it with a black contemporary frame.

2. Since she wants to paint one small wall a hot pink shade (and I would suggest on the redder side of hot pink…perhaps a bolder fuschia to balance the Picasso), I would suggest complementing that wall by putting this gorgeous grey/white wallpaper on an adjacent wall or the wall that defines the living space. The grey/white combination will balance the black/white mix of the furniture and rug. And this exudes a little Dorothy Draper for its natural elements print and the visual texture it gives to the room.

3 and 4. To define the living space, I found a this love seat and chair that give out an urban, contemporary feel. I would paint the love seat legs a chrome silver color to match the chair legs.  Actually, I think you can get a silver/chrome colored leg for the love seat selected!  Thanks IKEA!

5. To further define the living space, add bolder visual element to the room, and for just a little funkiness, I suggest placing a textured rug like this one with a black and white striped pattern. The pattern isn’t perfectly linear, which gives it a little edge…and would blend well with the “Little Leaves” wallpaper.

6. To maintain continuity in the rug and have an open feel to the living space, I suggest an acrylic coffee table like the one above.

7. A plant like CHRYSALIDOCARPUS LUTESCENS from Ikea will give an urban, contemporary room a natural, warm feel without distracting away from the primary design theme. (And it’s a Dorothy Draper design element!)

8. Pillows for a pop of color break up the purely black/white color scheme, bring greater relevance to the Picasso into the rest of the space, and adds a bit of playfulness to the space. (She did say, “very playful” was one of the design-desire descriptors.) I selected a turquoise floor pillow (for added seating), hot pink throw pillow (need 2), and printed grey damask accent (need 2) to tie it all in. I’m thinking she could print a silhouette of two of her fave bands on the hot pink throw pillow. That would be really cool!

9.When in a small space, you’ve got limited counter space and storage, so you really gotta maximize the furniture you select.  This glass and metal side table would be perfect for the living space (by the side of the love seat) or in the bedroom area of the studio.  The shelving is great for storing (and showcasing) your latest reads or whatever else you wanna put in there.  You also could ditch the acrylic coffee table and get two of these side tables, put them together side-by-side to make a more modular coffee table.  It wouldn’t mess up the continuity of the rug too much, since it’s a glass top…and you could move it around for a living room dance party or seance, or whatever suits your fancy!

10. My friend did tell me that she had a large kitchen countertop that she planned on using as a prep area, dining area, and office desk. Since she’ll be spending time eating and working on this countertop, I made it my mission to find her a couple of counter chairs that would fit well with her space, but also be comfortable. I think I may have achieved success!?! This counter chair/bar stool has a spacious seat (that will be more than enough for her cheeks) and a supportive back. Gotta love it when furniture fits both form and function criteria!

11. Finally, for a little bit of dramatic effect, that striking detail Dorothy-Draper-element, I found this very chic, yet glam black-jeweled chandelier. Depending on how her bed is positioned in the room, I would suggest hanging this over the bed for added lighting, and of course, visual effect. Oh, it would be cool if the hot pink wall was where her headboard would be propped against. The chandelier would definitely give that space a playful feel. Alternatively, she could hang it over the center of her kitchen counter to add some interest and horizontally define the space. An alternative to the chandelier, for the kitchen, would be to get two of this very stylish, mini pendant light or something similar.

Well, there you have it folks!  My take on a very urban, very playful, Dorothy Draper inspired, with a hot pink wall space.  I hope she likes it…. we may do a Tasty Decor redo on this!  But I hope I haven’t missed the mark by too too much.  Readers, what do you think?