Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Phone-A-Friend: Laura's Living Room

Welcome to the latest installment of Phone-A-Friend. Today we're traveling to another living room! We love living rooms and could talk about them all day long, but wanted to let you know that we have a great fashion accessories Phone-A-Friend coming up next! So worry not if you don't have a living room question, please feel free to Phone-A-Friend us with anything. "What should I have for lunch?" is acceptable!

On to the living room at hand. Laura is Blythe's wonderful sister-in-law who lives in Maryland with her husband, Scott. They have a beautiful home but are struggling a bit with the sitting room off the kitchen on their first floor. Here's Laura's email to us:

Hey Ladies,

I'm curious what you think about my idea for my living/family room. We have a space off our kitchen that isn't our main TV-watching/hang out space. We mostly use it when one person is cooking dinner.  As you can see, we haven't really done anything with the space. It's totally boring and not inviting. Old, bland furniture with no style. We did, however, buy the most expensive cat scratcher (look how Oliver destroyed the couch! I was never happy with the yellow color anyway).  We need something new, and we're thinking...a 4 arm-chair conversation area around a circular coffee table!  Is this crazy?  Is 4 chairs too many? Do they all need to be the same color/kind?  Have you seen this anywhere? I'm having trouble finding inspiration.  Our style is "transitional" (I learned this on HGTV, traditional meets contemporary), and I like eclectic style, but Scott is less adventurous, haha.

Tell me if I'm crazy!

And here are the pics of her space (now that is one active kitty!):

To Laura we say: Not crazy... genius! We think this is a great idea for this space! We picture that this type of set up will work very well for entertaining guests while you finish preparing a meal.  This is the perfect space for one of you to unwind while the other cooks dinner.  Or even better, it could be the perfect place for board games! A dedicated Bananagrams spot... now that's what we are talking about! 

In terms of whether or not the chairs match, this may sound really weird coming from us, but we think they should.  You know, our typical style is for nothing to exactly match,  but we think it might be hard to mix up the chair styles and fabrics and create a cohesive look if they don't match. Even though it pains us to say so! You can achieve personality and some fun and eclectic notes using throw pillows on each chair (they definitely shouldn't match!) and accessories.

Since you already have a dedicated couch/TV room for lounging, we think that this room could be sort of an extension of the kitchen. Almost like a sitting room in the kitchen (Blythe's dream set-up).  This can be accomplished by bringing kitchen-like home accessories into the space (think bar carts, wine storage, appetizer trays, etc). We have also found that this look (four chairs around a coffee table) can quickly turn onto preppy beach house road, so here are our suggestions to make the space more kitchen-like and make sure Laura and Scott's fun personalities shine through:

Here are the linky links:
  • Dishes for appetizers, etc: CB2. 
  • Chalkboard: Etsy. (but you could make one... we love that drawer pull chalk holder idea!) 
  • Chair: West Elm.  We chose this b/c this looks like a color used in other rooms on the same floor, so it was a way to pull the rooms together.  This is pricey, but its a classic shape that a lot of stores carry. 
  • Tray that doubles as coaster holder: Uncommon Goods.  
  • Round Coffee Table: Crate and Barrel.  This works because its less bulky than the chairs, a hard surface which is good for board games, and brings in another material (wood) to balance all that upholstery with the four chairs. 
  • Rug: West Elm.  We know you have carpeting in there, but this would be a great way to layer and to link the chairs and the table together as a sectioned off area. It also brings a pattern in.  
  • Pillows: Polaroid Pillow: Style Factory, Light Diagram: Etsy, Scrabble Pillow: Etsy,
Bonus Items:
  • Orange Table: CB2. This could be used as an occasional table...maybe for the corner next to the window (near the bookcase). We're thinking this could add a great pop of color and have a plethora of uses: as a bar area, to hold appetizers at a party, to hold a small lamp, etc! 
  • Console Table: Crate and Barrel.  This is a bonus table that could be used under the TV to anchor it a bit and provide more surfaces without adding any more weight to the room since its so airy! 
Hope this helps, Laura, and let us know how it all works out!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011



I can't believe you got that close to a hawk! Were you scared? I've never heard about Pale Male but now I'm obsessed. So cool.

Jeff and I had a great weekend pool-hopping, it was the only way to survive the heat! We're lucky we have good friends who don't mind when we invite ourselves over to their pool.

At the Englander's pool on Sunday, DH was telling me about this website I had never heard of called Copy Cat Chic. Want a gorgeous table from Restoration Hardware, but can't lay down $2,000? Reichel probably knows of a knockoff for much less. How about $1,000 off this RH bookcase? Is it perfect? No. But it's pretty good. So next time you're pinning after Crate & Barrel lamp, definitely check Copy Cat Chic first. Now that's some savings!

Speaking of knockoffs, Apartment Therapy is having a panel discussion tonight on the very topic called "Knockoffs: Flattery or Theft". I know this topic applies to the fashion industry as well and I think it's fascinating.

Do you have a strong opinion about knockoffs? I feel like my opinion is purely based on my current income...


Monday, July 25, 2011

Nature Hour

Hi Deweese,

How was your weekend? I hope that all of your pool visits kept you cool and refreshed. First and foremost, the wedding was a blast. Beautiful, happy and very romantic couple, incredible food and setting, and all around excellent times with some of my favorite people walking the planet. A pic of me in "the outfit" is coming soon!

So, I realize this might seem a bit "off topic" for the blog, but I just had to share. The other weekend Nick I were eating dinner in Central Park when I heard a weird bird noise... like "squwaaaah! squwaaaah"! It was louder and weirder than normal Central Park bird noises. I looked to my left and see a bunch of people gathering around a big tree.  That's all it took for Nick to grab his camera and run over. What he found were some VERY large, very not-concerned-with-humans hawks. Since we are both Pale Male fans, this was exciting! There were 2-3 hawks just doin' their thing!  Spectulation was that there was a baby hawk that couldn't fly back up to the nest and was calling for it's mother. I am no bird expert and could easily confuse my cockatoos with my parakeets, so I am not even going to try and analyze what was going on. I'm just gonna show you some cool pics of hawks:

Awesome, right?

Anyway, speaking of cockatoos, you gotta watch Snowball rock out. And yes, I referenced cockatoos on purpose in order to bring up Snowball. What? If you like what you see, here's more.

Ok, this concludes nature hour here at 75th + Sedgwick.  Hope you enjoyed the program!


PS: Just want to say RIP to a great singer. Back to Black, especially, is a beautifully sad song that I really love, so just wanted to pay respect!
Credit: Byan Adams, Source: Haper's Bazaar

Friday, July 22, 2011



It is actually too hot to blog. I didn't know that was possible either, but it's true. It's mostly just too hot to do anything other than sip iced tea.

Look at that yummy refrigerator ice.

Stay cool, Sista,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tablescape by the Master

Hi Deweese!

That house is gorgeous--wow! Talk about inspirational! I think my favorite part is how she framed illustrated book pages.  So creative when done right with a beautiful frame like those in that foyer... not ripped out and glued on construction paper like I did in my bedroom in high school!

I also want to take a minute to and say THANK YOU (so much) to everyone who voted on my "black tie optional" outfit! You really are a great bunch to humor me with this!  The vote to yes, wear the outfit I put together vs. a more traditional black tie dress was the clear winner so I am going to brave it. And you betta believe that I'll share the pics to prove it. GAH. I am just itching for some time with my "gogh" girls. It's been too long!

So on to something really pretty. The other evening my mom had some dear friends from her former job at a library over for their annual reunion dinner.  I can tell it's definitely one of her favorite nights of the year and she usually does something a little special.  This year she sent me a picture of the centerpiece she made and I just had to share it with you!

Elegant, natural, gorgeous and get this... made completely of stuff she found around the house*. No expensive trip to the florist for her! Here's the breakdown...
  • Candles from their "emergency power outage kit" (um, Mom, I hope you returned them to the kit) 
  • Greenery from the yard.   It is a mixture of hosta, lace hydrangea, magnolia leaves and mint. 
  • Vases she had lying around the house (*well, except for one vase from HomeGoods for $5.99! That she'll "definitely use again".) I love how the mismatched heights and shapes to keep it interesting but since they are all glass it still feels simple and modern.
  • She anchored the candles with items from the kitchen:  one vase has dried split peas, one has black beans and and the last one has sea salt. 
Isn't that great? Go Momma! 
My whole life my mom has been creating really beautiful tables for our holiday dinners and even our birthday dinners. Over the past couple of years I have earned the responsibility of dressing the table with her linens, etc, on Thanksgiving. The first couple of tries took me forever! I could never decide what to choose, but now I finally feel like I might be learning the ropes. We'll see how it goes this holiday season. You know I'll tell you all about it! 


PS: I want to see this movie (watch the trailer!).  Anyone wanna go with me?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ugly House?


Love the outfit. I think it will be perfect for a black tie optional wedding. I totally see what Melis is saying about work attire but as long as you dress it up enough that you don't feel like your at work, go for it. And as Jeff so aptly put it while he was doing the dishes last night: "It's not like anyone from work is going to be there." So true Jeff, so true.

Speaking of dressing something up... would you EVER buy this house? No? I wouldn't either, until I read the accompanying article.

The article is great, but you can see some really amazing photos and a home tour on her blog here.

I LOVE Lauren's taste and am beyond impressed with how she transformed this space. I would not have had the courage to take that house on. But now maybe I'll be a little more inspired to dig deep for the beauty in a seemingly charm-baren place.

So.... would you buy that house now???


PS... I added some new yumminess to our Diggin' page. Check it out! If you want to see the whole collection, click here.

PPS... I put The Pillars of the Earth down. I just couldn't get into it. Everyone told me to keep reading, but suffering through a book is not my style, so it's back on the shelf for now. I did just finish War by Sebastian Junger which is a fascinating read (especially because my brother is deployed in Afghanistan right now) and I recommend it. Really eye-opening. Now I'm on to Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. I don't usually do two non-fiction books in a row, so we'll see how it goes. I'm not gonna lie, I find carbon-dating totally confusing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Black Tie Optional

Hey D,

I CANT STAND IT! Those adorable blue eyes are telling me... I need to get myself a hug from lil' miss ASAP. Also, love, love, love the table.  Can't wait to see how the refinishing goes!

So this weekend I'm headed to a wedding in Boston!! Whoop! I can't wait to watch a dear old friend (and high school field hockey teammate) marry a great guy (and of course dance the night away with my girls from high school)! But I need help with my outfit. Shopping funds are a little tight right now, so I am trying to "work my closet". The wedding is "black tie optional". I have two long black dresses that I do love, but its gonna be 89 degrees this weekend and I just don't know if I can do it.  So I spent a little time this weekend in the old wardrobe and this is what I am came up with:

The dress is actually gray (looks kinda navy on my screen), made of silk, and is a little shiny, which I think helps. I feel that "black tie" is more about the material than the length... especially in the summer. The problem is, the dress is one that I frequently wear to work (with a cardigan and flats) and that I recently wore to a baby shower. Eh, so yeah.  I don't know if its "nighttime/urban/black tie optional wedding" enough to me. Also, not sure which clutch I'll go with, so I put both there. I've got simple geometric earrings there to balance out the flowers on the dress, and lots of bracelets as usual. I'll last about 5 minutes in those shoes, but whatever.

Having attended my fair share of weddings I have my own ideas, but for a second opinion I looked up "black tie optional" on Here's what it says:

"A tuxedo isn't required, but the wedding is formal enough for one to be appropriate. Go with a dark suit if it's a nighttime wedding, regardless.
Him: If not a tuxedo, a dark suit and tie.
Her: A long dress, a really dressy suit, or something cocktail-length (but still formal). Glamorous makeup and dramatic jewelry and hair are appropriate " 

I would agree with this -- what about you? I love me some dramatic jewelry, and I was definitely thinking of wearing my hair up (remember, 89 degrees)... maybe a soft bun like this. I think that it will work with the neckline. Anyways, what do you think? No, seriously, I'd like to ask all of you directly, so if you don't mind, please vote (don't worry individual votes are completely anonymous!): 

Is this outfit appropriate for a "black tie optional" wedding this weekend in Boston?

Weeeeeee! This is like having you all over for a fashion show! Thank you so much, everyone!


Monday, July 18, 2011



Jeff and I just got back from a lovely weekend in Boston with Jeff's parents. We drove up on Friday and stopped by Dukester and Sarge's for a quick visit and snuggle with Lil' Miss. I'm not even going to try to describe how cute she is. But she's gotten so big, is sitting, crawling and standing up. She's so advanced, she even knows how to take her bottle upside down! We had a great time, but Lil' Miss clearly missed you!

Jeff's parents just moved to the South Shore in a really beautiful community near the water. We had some amazing meals outside in the nice Boston summer weather (so much cooler than DC!). Then back in the car on Sunday for our trek home. Luckily we didn't run into any beach traffic along the way.

Joining us for the journey home was a lil' piece of furniture we picked up in Boston. I want to introduce you to the newest member of our apartment. Her name is Martha (obvi), and she's an antique Martha Washington Sewing Cabinet. Mrs. Quigley knew that I was on the hunt for a table like this, and her colleague was looking to get rid of one. Voila! She's ours! She'll need a little love, I think it will be a great first time re-finishing job for me. I can't wait to make her glow!

How was your weekend?


Friday, July 15, 2011

Phone-A-Friend: Kathmanduo's Digs

Phone-A-Friend has gone international this week. And you'll never guess where...

Our favorite bloggers in all of Nepal (okay, actually we refer to them as our blogging soul mates) asked us recently to help out with some suggestions for their new digs.

  • You can read about how they got to Kathmandu here.
  • You can read about their apartment here, here and here.
  • You can read their latest design query here, which ends with a Phone-A-Friend to us!

To summarize, the Kathmanduo (aka Brian and Claudine) are trying to figure out how to finish their main living area. Specifically, they’re still looking for a desk and dining room table/chairs.  We love the coffee table (keep it! and maybe add some nesting tables to the sides of the sofa?) and adore the chairs. Let's be honest, we think they've done an amazing job, especially considering they can't hop in the ole' SUV and run to Target.

Hope you don't mind that we used one of your gorgeous photos!

First of all, we LOVE the colors you’ve chosen. Any variation of blue and orange is the way to Deweese’s heart. Check out her new bedroom pillowcases.

Sorry, back to Brian and Claudine. We have to admit, the Kathmandu shopping scene is a little out of our realm of expertise, but then again, most things are. We were surprised to find out that wood items are much more expensive in Kathmandu, and that if you decide to have some pieces custom made, they will likely need to be metal. The living room is already nicely layered with wood/metal and round/straight lines equaling total bliss in our minds. We think you really can’t go wrong by adding in some custom-made metal pieces. 

For some ideas, we started with one of our faves, the go-cart desk from CB2. We love that it has wheels, so you can move it around and make it work for you in other areas of the house too. B+C What do you think? Could you double-time it and use it as a desk too? Maybe pull it in the kitchen for extra cookin’ space as needed. We love metal chairs too and there are tons out there to choose from/replicate. But maybe you can find several styles that you like and mix + match to get a more eclectic/collected vibe. You can throw some colorful seat cushions on to soften them up too. And we're dying over the blue painted metal table from Room + Board.

Here’s another thought… how do you feel about the “Industrial” look? We’re loving how many new collections these days are mixing metal and wood. Here are some examples.

Hope we’ve been helpful in some way. Keep updating us with gorgeous pics of your lovely apartment. We’re always talking about how we’re gonna come to Kathmandu for a 75th + Sedgwick field trip!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Who shot J.R.?


Funny story. A good family friend of the Qs is a roller-derbier in Boston. Her derby name is appropriately, Slam Chowdah. She had just made the team and was super psyched when Jeff and I were sending out wedding invitations so we decided to address hers with her roller derby name.

Turns out we got in a tif with our calligrapher because she refused to address the envelopes like we wanted them. She told us that she couldn't in good conscious address a woman as Ms. Jane Doe instead of Mrs. John Doe. Needless to say it was all quite ridiculous but I found it totally hysterical that said calligrapher had no problem using our friend's roller derby name. Just picture chartreuse envelopes with white swirly calligraphy spelling out Mrs. Slam Chowdah. Amazing. (She's a Ms. btw)

I gotta keep it quick, but I wanted to share this fantastic news in case you haven't heard already: Dallas is coming back to TV.

I've never actually seen the original Dallas before but it seems like it would be right up my alley. A prime-time soap about a dramatic wealthy family in the south. Check. Lucklily the new season doesn't start until next summer, so I have plenty of time to catch up on the 14 original seasons from netflix (if netflix is still in business after they shattered everyone's lives yesterday).

In other news, I'm so bummed that Posh and Becks named their baby girl Harper. It was a little-known fact that I have dreamed of naming my own daughter (oh wait, I don't have a daughter) Harper after Harper Lee. I mean, I had a dog named Scout and a cat named Atticus... In recent years the name has become more popular and I have backed off from it a bit, but now!? Would it be like naming my daughter Shiloh or Apple? Oye. Kelly and Doogie have daughters named Harper too.


 PS... Jeff and I are going to see Wicked tonight, a gift from the Qs for our anniversary. Yay!

PPS... I get to see Lil' Miss this weekend! And Dukester and Sarge and Fenway and Beckett too!

I mean honestly. Have you ever seen so much sugar on one adirondack chair? This picture is my current desktop background at work and gets me through the day. We'll miss you!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Roller Derby: Brooklyn vs. DC

Hey Deweese,

Yay! Your apt. How I miss it so.  I know that you think it is in need of some redecoration, and don't get me wrong, I'm psyched to see what you do, but I love the colors and brightness and happiness in your living room. So, so much. And you know how I feel about that rug. Pure amazingness.

So, I'm not sure if I mentioned this to you or not, but I went to see my VERY FIRST roller derby game on Saturday night. I loved it,  and I kinda want to join a roller derby league now. But I also want to become a ballerina every time I go to the ballet and a Broadway singer every time I see a play. So yeah, I'm not getting too worked up about it.  But, really, it looks like so much fun!

Let me backup. Emily and her husband invited me and Nick to go to the game and I was really excited. The most knowledge I had of the sport came from this movie, which I recommend to anyone who is in a non-cinephile/non-judgmental mood:

It was very fitting that this particular game was the first one I attend considering it was the Brooklyn Bombshells vs. the DC All-Stars! I decided to root for DC, since even though I'm currently geographically closer, I have never lived in Brooklyn. But um, DC lost big time.Whoops! All I can is, those Brooklyn women can roller derby. But even more impressive was the second game of the evening, which we stayed for, the Queens of Pain vs. the Philly Heavy Metal Hookers. Yup, you read that right. Here are some pics of Brooklyn vs. DC:

Here's my recap (apologies to those know all about roller derby, this is all super obvious I imagine!):
  • Nicknames/player names could be the most important thing about this game. Almost all of them are made up of a hilarious play on words. They definitely set the tone for the overall culture of the sport.  Ellen Page's nickname is "Babe Ruthless" in the movie above, and some of my favorites from Saturday night were, well, too risque to mention. Check out Brooklyn's whole roster here. Even the ref's and medics (yes, medics, this is ROUGH, Deweese!), have nicknames. (think "Refsputin" and "Andy Biotic") HA.
  • Roller derby is crazy popular. Hunter College was packed! And with tickets at $20 a pop, I was really impressed.
  • It is a really rough sport and takes a ton of athletic ability. I was so impressed with their skating skills and the fast paced nature of this game.  Talk about an awesomely fulfilling workout. The general concept of the game is easy to figure out so within 5 minutes you are SCREAMING for your team and the "lead jammer".
  • The players are having a blast, the refs are having a blast, the coaches, the fans, the cheerleaders, and the drag queens are having a blast. I want to go again. ASAP. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Living with our Living Room


I'm obsessed with the changes you've made. I really like the new layout and the curtains and blinds are dynamite. And you know I love those plants!

After your note yesterday I realized that I haven't shown you any updates from our own living room. Mainly, because there haven't been any. I'm desparate to redecorate. So I thought I would show you where we are now, so that we can track the progress.

By the way, I feel like I'm walking outside naked by posting photos of my living room on the world wide web for all to judge, but alas, here it is....

I'll follow up later with all of my ideas for this room. I'm still narrowing them down. This poor room really hasn't changed much since we moved in in 2007. That baby-boy-blue color on the walls KILLS me. I think it's a nice color, but it just feels so dated to me.

A quick tour of the room. The tall Billy bookcase from Ikea in the corner is from the 2003 apartment that we shared with Dukester. How it is still standing is beyond me. I've never had anything from Ikea last 8 years. Yes, that was 8 years ago. The rug is a hand-me-down from my parents and is one of my favorite posessions. It's getting really worn and I'd love to have it repaired. It has a marking on the corner that says "Madrid 1933". Amazing. The coffee table is a pre-Deweese piece that Jeff got from his parents. His Papou made it with two matching side tables. The white chair by the television is from Craig's List. The white cabinet that the television is on was found on the side of the road by Jeff's Mom and she painted it for us. (What's playin' on the TV? The Pandora Florence and the Machine Channel, I totally recommend).

What you can't see because my camera doesn't take great indoor photos is the fourth wall of the room which is all windows. We are lucky and get a ton of light.

Basically the only things that were actually purchased since we moved in were the sofas, the television, the white chair and the Orimono pillow.  The rest we just did the best we could with what we had. You can see why I'm anxious to re-decorate, I want to breath some fresh life into our main room and make it a little more 2011 Deweese and Jeff.

Needless to say, I'm super jelly of your living room and your gorgeous photos. Before I post my own ideas, do you have any thoughts for this room. I'm open to anything.

Desperate to decorate,

PS... To see my recent bedroom update, click here. To see my recent office update, click here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Since We're on the Topic of Living Rooms...


I realized I never updated you on the changes to our living room that Nick and I made in preparation for the shower!

For your reference, here was our original list:
  • Plants. The room is beggin' for them. I need help, though! How do I keep house plants alive?!
  • Curtains. I just ordered these. Now that my friend, is a good deal on curtains. Still working on the curtain rod, though.
  • Blinds. I want to switch out those lovely apartment standards for something warmer and more polished.
  • Artwork hung on either side of window (at least). I need the aforementioned curtains hung first to see what kind of wall space I'm workin' with.
  • Rug in the Eames/desk area. This is a bonus item, as I am not sure if budget will allow. It definitely needs to happen at some point, but maybe just not before the big event.

 And here are some pics of the space:

  ( Check out the new lamp on wicked sale at West Elm, so new that I forgot to take off the sticker)

As you can see, we got some things done (plants, curtains, blinds) and totally failed on other things (artwork, rug). Sigh. But I will say that the plants, curtains and blinds really do add this home-y and polished feel to the space.  Oh and we did hang one piece of artwork. The very 3D wire sculpture to the left of the daybed is from our trip to Hudson. We love it.

You'll also notice that we switched up the layout and moved the couch 90 degrees counterclockwise and removed the table behind it completely from the room.  We did this just for the party in order to make more space for the group, but we decided to live with it for a while to try something new.  The couch is now facing the TV, which I originally hated (I don't want the TV to be a focal point of the room, I want the windows to be), but actually I really like it so far! The room feels way bigger, and more like a real living room where I can sit on the floor and wrap presents or stretch after a run. What do you think?

So now here is our new list, of course with a few additions (aren't there always additions every time things get crossed off? is a living room ever done? maybe not, but I think that's a good thing! sorry, sorry I digress...):
  • Hang art over the couch (we're thinking huge Ribba frames framing blown up photography, like this)
  • Hang art around the desk (maybe a gallery wall?).
  • Purchase a new coffee table (we reeeeally don't like the clunky chunky trunk anymore, but aren't sure what's next).
  • Purchase bookshelf for next to the "Eames" Lounger (something low and not too big... hoping Housing Works will come through).
  • Purchase rug for under the "Eames" lounger (I gotta figure out proportion on this one, but overall  thinking patterned, like this) .
  • Purchase small end table next to the couch.  If we have end tables on either side of the couch, maybe we don't need a coffee table at all!
I'll keep you posted as we work our way through it!

Nick and I also made a new apartment to-do list, broken down by room. Not surprisingly (I'm a huuuge list maker, fyi), I highly recommend doing this. It is helping us stay focused on what we want to do and it feels great to have everything on there so we can cross off even the little things (I crossed off "buy a whisk" last week, since my mom brought me one of hers, hee hee). 

So D, tell me tell me, what is goin' on at your pad?


Friday, July 8, 2011

Phone-A-Friend: Amanda's Living Room


It's already time for another Phone-A-Friend!  But first, we just want to take a minuto to say THANKS to everyone who has "phoned" in.  It has been so fun to hear about all the stuff our readers are into... you are all so inspiring!!

So, Amanda, who is Blythe's friend from her very first job EVER and who probably taught her how to use Outlook, is looking for some 2nd opinions on her living room. Here is her email:

So here's the story.  Maybe it's because I'm 5 months pregnant and nesting and have this stuff on the brain.  Maybe it's because I don't know anything about patterns or colors or mixing, and so I'm just realizing that I've devoted my life to espresso colored furniture and neutral olive/gray/taupe microsuede.  Maybe it's because I basically have no personal style and I'm suddenly starting to notice the lack of it.  We've got some nice-ish pieces, and we can't afford a major overhaul, especially with a baby on the way.  I have dreams of refinishing furniture and antiquing and mirrored tables and distressed shabby whatevers, but basically as soon as I start to look at options, I get overwhelmed and buy something neutral instead.

The room that needs the most immediate rescuing is our combo dining/living room.  It's small, and it's the room you walk into right when you open the front door.  There's a small dining area on the right (if you're coming in the front door) with a round espresso table and four oversized taupe microsuede chairs with espresso legs.  There's also an espresso world market cabinet for wine glasses

The living room area is to the left, and has a too-large taupe microsuede couch (that we HATE-- it's next on our list of big purchases.  Seriously. I want to punch it in the face), a coffee table sitting on a too-small rug. There's also a crap espresso TV stand that we're getting rid of.

So here's what we're in the market for: 

1. 2 smallish accent chairs (Ive been looking at patterned/upholstered but am totally open), relatively low profile since they need to fit under our gigantic wall-mounted tv.  

2. A small 3-shelf cabinet of some kind, to put tv/game consoles on. I was looking at glass for a while, then veered back into espresso and gave up.  

3. Rugs-- can we have one under the dining table and one in the living space and have them be different patterns but still work?  It sounds like insanity to me, but maybe.  

4. And throws/accent pillows/decorative accents that will give the place some life.  Save me from myself before I buy some kind of brown vase with sticks in it!

I've been into oranges and yellows lately, but I TOTALLY defer to your genius on the matter.  A few ideas of what I've been looking at are on my pinterest page.

And here are the photos of her space:

To Amanda we say: This. Is. Awesome. You are basically working with a blank canvas in a great space (natural light, pretty molding... waaa-hoo!).  Let's go for it.  But first we want explain how we approached it: 

We thought it would be good to mix up the materials in your space a little more, it's what gives a room layers and makes it like no one else's living room. Here's what we mean:

Then we want to incorporate color and pattern in a not so rainbow crazy way.  This looked like a room you might like:

Both Emily Henderson. Duh. So, on to our actual suggestions. We decided to work with what you are leaning to these days and go with main colors of yellow and blue with tiny touches of coraly/orangey pops. Check it out!

To break it down, we'll go back to your list:

1. Accent Chairs.  We thought it might be better to get something neutral but with textural interest to mix it up, since pattern trends come and go so quickly.  But these chairs are begging for a bold pillow. We think that blue ones like that could be just right. If wicker isnt your thing, what about these ol' standbys?

2. TV Stand.  This is a little softer than the usual, but it is also a little boring. We think jazzing it up with some pretty yellow knobs would be cute! This one is a little pricey though, so this one from IKEA could also do the trick!

3. Rugs. We love the mix of a pattern and a jute rug in the same room/area. That particular jute has a smidge of blue in it so it could look really nice with accents.

4. Decorative Elements.  Quick break down: Blythe just added a bunch of plants to her living room and found it life-changing. We chose pillows from Etsy, but suggest buying the inserts from IKEA on the cheap.  The little bowls could go on the coffee table or the mantle. We thought that lamp was oh-so-cute with the blue cord and added a little more sleek/modern contrast to the wicker. The throw is basic but classic and the floor pillow is for when all the throngs of people come to "ooh and ahhh" once your little baby is born!

BONUS: Art. We chose prints of a similar color scheme to the room but that had some sentimetal value: (Amanda and her husband are actors and Pirates of Penzance was one of their first plays together, and the Paris one, well, we simply stole from Amanda's Pinterest page). We also think some big blown up photos from your wedding in Mexico could be perfect in there. Yummy blue ocean!

BONUS: Would you consider painting? We see you have one taupe-ish wall, so that leads us to believe you are open to it. Its the cheapest way to have  BIG impact. Since the rug is yellow, we thought a gray blue could look really nice. Maybe with some white curtains?

And finally, here's where we found all that stuff above (you didn't think we'd leave you hanging, did you?):

Phew. That's it for now! We hope you like it and can't wait to hear what you end up doing!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

LittleCollector On Gilt Groupe Today!


Those ideas are awesome! Promise me that once we have yards and/or garages that we will spray paint folding chairs together. I'm obsessed. And I'm with you, RealSimple definitely gives me the "REALLY?!" feeling every once in a while.

On to other obsessions. Yesterday Melissa (my cousin/life guru) informed me that her good friend's company, LittleCollector, is having a sale on the daily sale site Gilt Groupe starting today.  This is amazing news! First of all, I've been very excited about this company so I'm thrilled that they are featured on a popular daily sale website.  Second, I'm personally really jazzed about the sale itself!  But before I get ahead of myself, let me share some info on LittleCollector (the following taken from the Gilt website):

"As an art adviser and independent curator, Chrissy Crawford was accustomed to clients and friends asking her to find art for their children's rooms. When Crawford had a hard time finding a store or gallery with unique, affordable pieces, she decided to start her own. LittleCollector is a virtual gallery committed to inspiring the next generations of art lovers with contemporary, limited-edition art that looks just as stylish in the living room as it does in your toddler's bedroom. Each art print is made to last—printed to museum-quality standards, using archival pigments and acid-free paper—and comes ready to hang, framed and complete with a hanger and nail, as well as an authenticity card containing the artist's signature and the edition number mounted on the back."

Art. Little ones. Affordability.  Does it get any better?  And the blurb above is exactly right... you definitely don't have to be a kiddo to appreciate these works:
Cynthia Rowley, Elephant
I'd take any of those! All are available in various sizes and with the option to frame on the LittleCollector website.

Melissa's baby boy has this one over his crib and it is just one of the reasons why I think he's the coolest baby in NYC:
Matthew Carden, Mercury
If you don't feel like signing up for Gilt Groupe (which I totally get since I'm super overwhelmed by sale emails right now) just buy directly from the LittleCollector site!  I think that one of the most meaningful gifts you could give a child is the start to his/her lifelong art collection. I mean, really. It beats PillowPets any day.