Thursday, May 21, 2015

My Favorites

So every job I work on is a completely different experience with different needs. When I start a project I try to take on that persons style and find pieces that speak directly to who they are. Having said that, there are pieces that no matter the space, will always work. These pieces are also not expensive at all (now I have your attention) They are pieces that anyone can buy and use in their homes to add some style. I decided to share my very sacred list of 'favorites' because I'm a genuinely nice person.

Here are some of my favorite items from Target and IKEA; 
(My frequency to Target is so beyond embarrassing that it's actually made a 360 and now I'm comfortable with it.)

The Colby Cowhide $199    Stockholm Rug $199

Dining Table $199      RIBBA Frames $14.99

Threshold Tufted Bench $59         Mid Century Modern Bench $149

Nate Berkus Side Table $79.99       Vaughn Upholstered Chair $189

The reason a lot of these work is because they're classic in shape while still feeling fresh. The mid century bench from Target for example, has beautiful lines that will work anywhere and mixed with the dark gray upholstery it feels very modern.
Every piece here will invite intrigue and a little chic into any space they call home.

My Favorite Go-to Paint Colors;
These grays are always going to work. They're all soft and strong, making a perfect backdrop almost anywhere. They've all been tried and they've all succeeded.  

These are all paint colors from Benjamin Moore. 
I need to make an entire separate post for my Sherwin williams picks- so many options.

Enjoy and happy shopping!
You're welcome :)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What I've been up to

I'm proud to say what has kept me from blogging this past year has been my work and family and work...

I've had some great jobs over the year and every job has taught me something valuable. They have taught me that the most important part of doing good work is believing in yourself. Your vision is your expression, some people will relate to it and some people wont and that's OK. 
As long as every time you produce work that relates to you 100% of the time, the clients will be happy. 

The last year has also given me some perspective when it comes to couples and their homes. It's important to listen to both parties and create a space with both of their needs in mind. Women are usually more vocal with what they want; "I want it to feel modern but not cold, like a warm modern; I want it to be sophisticated but also inviting; I want a serene space but not boring; I love color but I also love the neutral look; I need this home to function for my kids but I also don't want it to be a kids' space." Men usually tell me to go easy on their card. 

I've also learnt that handymen come from another planet that is not Earth. They come from a place where up is down, 9am is never and men know that socks belong in the hamper. I have no idea how these handymen are making it over here but it's very deceiving.

I've really loved all my jobs this past year and feel truly honored to all those who have welcomed me into their homes to help create a space that is true to them.

Here are some of my highlight moments..

This is the 'before' space of a Bal Harbor home. The space was really open and and light it just needed some TLC, which meant warm paint colors and some layering.

The paint color I went with in the end:
Benjamin Moore; Big Bend Biege

Some of the layering that was done:

This project taught me how important it is to layer texture and color to create a home. So many people ask me how to get that 'finished' look. It's really about finding pieces that work together and compliment each other. Don't be afraid to play with shapes and sizes; big with small, tall with short. That's what's going to give your home depth- that 'finished' look.

Then there was this master bedroom that I loved for many reasons but mostly because I was given the opportunity to bring life to this room right before the arrival of their new baby. Knowing this space would be used to love and nurture a baby really made me happy. The room also turned out beautiful so there was that part that made me really happy. Here's the little area that was created in the bedroom for some special mommy and baby time.

Being involved in this next Miami Beach home 
was so enjoyable for me. I loved transforming it into a home that felt more youthful.
This is the living space before;

Here it is after;

This was a little nook in the kitchen area that needed a lot more attention than it was getting;

This is after;

This job taught me that when you have a client who is realllllly good at scouring out items on Craig's List, you end up with perfect yellow kitchen tables like this one. It also taught me that I need to be better at it.

I think the most transformative job I did over this past year was this office. It meant a little more to me because I knew it was an area my husband would spend most of his days, so I wanted him to have happy thoughts. It was also a commercial space rather than a residential so it pushed me to think outside the box which was hard because I love boxes.

Here are some before pictures of the entrance; 

Turned it into this;

Receptionist desk;


The conference room before;


This is how a small office was being used before; 

This is the space after;


The world map that was on the wall before was painted over when the office was re painted. I was feeling bad about it because the person working there had specifically chosen it for the office. So I reinvented it in a way that doesn't make me sad as a designer and a person in general.

This project taught me that deep down all men want to be surrounded by pretty things, I don't know why they bother to fight it.

And then there was the biggest change of all which was my new baby boy who melts my heart. I've learnt that besides sleepless nights, non stop diaper changing and the 75 pounds of baby gear that's useless because it's not you, babies are the most beautiful beings and watching them grow is a treasure.

Having said that, there are some things I've taken away from being a mommy of two. For example, car seats have gotten a lot heavier since I had my daughter. I think they weigh like 40 pounds now, pre-baby, which is great for those of you who don't have time to work out. All you need to do is carry your baby around in a car seat that hangs off your forearm awkwardly until you want to cry. 

I've learnt that there are certain words that don't exist anymore when you have more than one child, like the word "effortless" I said good bye to that word with my first baby. "Sleep" is a word that has been replaced with "snooze" or "nap." The words "fun" and "family day" don't exist together either. Instead "fun" usually stays home to binge watch Netflix and sends along words like "stressful" and "overwhelmed." Of course this lesson didn't come to me early on. I did a lot of family days before I realized that "fun" never joins in.

I've learnt that most events in my 3 year old daughters life will take place by the car. We'll be coming out of the car when suddenly she realizes she needs her hello kitty sticker from last week and let's face it we all know I threw that sucker out before it even came into the car (oops). And for some reason all cheerios MUST be picked up from the floor of the car immediately although that same urgency doesn't exist when it comes to cheerios on the kitchen floor. The important thing to take away from this is light layers and sunscreen for those of us in Miami. For those in colder climates, bundle up, because I think it takes less time for elderly people to exit a car than toddlers.

The biggest lesson I've taken away from this past year is that not blogging for so long is not fair to all my readers out there and for that I apologize.

Monday, December 30, 2013

My Always Evolving Project; The First Bedroom

Remember when I wrote the apartment post and then promised to do write a bedroom edition? Whoever started losing faith, shame on you. 
Welcome to the bedroom edition, I'm starting with the baby's bedroom/ playroom/ guest room. This was a more challenging room to pull together because it is so multi-functional. Its my daughters bedroom, its a guestroom whenever we have people over and its a play room with too many toys. I kept coming back to the same question: How do I make this an enjoyable, kid friendly room and keep it clean and stylish for guests. For a while all my answers were terrible design solutions. I don't know why I'm comfortable to share all these mistakes with you, but I am so take advantage and put on your learning caps.

The start of the process;

This was taken a few weeks after we moved into the apartment so this wasn't part of a plan. Things were just placed down and left there til further notice. I hope you can all appreciate the vulnerability of this picture.

Another view of the beautiful room. You know it takes a true designer to show the public their mistakes (or a total idiot who is shooting themselves in the foot.) Either way, it's happening and there's no turning back.

This was one of my first attempts to bring some life into the room. I put up some pin boards and plastered pictures all over it, then added mirrored butterflies. The concept? A fun and collective way to bring in some color and life. The result? Something that is unattractive to the eye. 

Attempt number 2, I went for something slightly more ethereal with the branch and was a nice vignette for a picture but didn't last much longer than that.

The lights were put up,which are still there and still look good. The curtains I made because I wanted the room to feel more feminine but I wanted the color palette to stay neutral- so you see I started off with good intentions. 

This picture is very dark but looking back I'm happy because it only gets worse in the light of day. There are a lot of windows in this room so choosing curtains like this was more like painting a flower mural on the walls- something I should of put more thought into. 

We installed these two shelves to display dolls and other cute things. It's a nice idea but  when executed like in the above picture it leaves a room feeling lost of direction. The shelves are displaying black vases, a gold over sized 'E', vintage cabbage patch dolls, a white porcelain bird... there is too much going on. There is a better way to display, for example;

The reason why this works is because it's a mixture of prints, books and toys all in the same color family. It's also edited really well to feel deliberate and thought out instead of over excited and over crowded. 

The inspiration for this make over were pictures my sister in law took of my daughter. Check her out on Facebook and Instagram @themodreport; prepare to be blown away. Once those pictures were taken I found my color palette and never looked back. The room before was lost and now it had been found. The palette was soft but not feminine.

A close up of the pictures.

I chose sheer curtains that were very close to the wall color to make the room seem bigger, the curtains are seamless with the walls and because they're sheer all the light comes into the room really nicely.

Switching out the curtains brought a lot of serenity to the room and gave the room a soft backdrop that adds and doesn't distract.

Some bedside table styling tips; try to have fresh flowers. It always adds a good pick me up. Another thing to always try to have is a tray. It's good for when you have guests or without guests because suddenly miscellaneous objects have a place to call home. Miscellaneous objects without a place to call home start to look like junk.

This print is by Clinton Friedman, a south African photographer who is perfect at capturing the essence of nature. Check out his work here. I wanted something unexpected and raw for the room.

Looking at this picture it's hard to see past all the pink and sparkle. Does the pink and sparkle compliment my color palette? Not exactly, but do I have warm feelings towards my daughter and ultimately want her to be happy? Yes, and lucky for me that mega blocks table can be folded up and put away when not being used.

The table and chairs are from IKEA, the whole set is $20 and gives kids a good space to play. The table and chairs helped transform the room into more of a playroom.

Copper leather floor pillows may seem unconventional to some but to me there shouldn't be any other kind. They are beautiful, durable and easy to clean.

Nothing tells a guest 'we're happy to have you' like flowers and a candle. Just make sure not to leave a drink or snacks because then you will have to quietly pack up your guests bags, put them by the front door and hope they understand the message you are sending. If they don't understand then it's time for you to find new house guests and a new home address.

Stay tuned for Part Two of the Bedroom Edition.