Thursday, August 28, 2014

Indoor Plants - the Olive Tree


If I could pick the number one thing that I have learned in the past several years while decorating our home, it would be that no matter how good your taste is... how much you accessorize a table, or bookshelf, or how lovely all your furniture is, a room never feels truly complete, or alive, or even as beautiful as it possibly could, without a plant.

Not even kidding.  As soon as I brought our first live plant home, and saw how the added greenery changed that room, I've made a conscious effort to bring more plants home.  Not cut flowers - which I do love - I'm talking about a live plant.

For the past several years, I've been ALL ABOUT the fiddle leaf fig.  Totally drank the cool-aid, and as much as I still do love them, I've been on the hunt for equally beautiful, dramatic indoor plants to bring home, and guess what my friends??  I think I've found it...

The Olive Tree.


I love that the dwarf olive tree is a little like a topiary with the round leafy top, and the tall spindly trunk.  The grey-green leaves are more subtle, and earthy, and I just love how they look in these clean, minimalist spaces.


The above picture is one of my favorite images of all time. It was the background on my phone to remind me to simplify, and to remind me how lovely a clean slate can look.

I really like how the rustic look of these mini trees are still elegant while being a little wild.


Can't you also imagine these flanking a fireplace, or being dolled up for the holidays?


I did a little research already, and apparently they can do well indoors in a pot - they can't sit in very wet soil, so be careful when potting originally to use a more arid soil that will drain... they also like to be rotated in direct sunlight, but overall, they seem like they could be a real contender for an indoor plant.


Anyone have any expertise on the subject here??  This notorious plant killer novice plant care-taker would love to know!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Curtained Bed

Happy Tuesday friends!  Wanted to pop in today to talk about bedrooms - most specifically about curtained beds.

Often, curtains surrounding a bed is associated with the old fashioned canopy bed of the 80's - oh what the eight-year-old version of myself would have given for a canopy bed... unfortunately, that's not quite what I'm referring to.  

I'm referring to the revamped version of the traditional canopy bed - the new version where the curtains meet the ceiling, and cocoon the bed while remaining fully detached from any bed frame.

Still not sure what I'm referring to??


See what I mean?  

The curtains are actually connected to a track or curtain rod that is attached to the ceiling, and these new curtained beds offer the softness and same cozy effect as the more traditional canopy bed, without the closed-in, borderline claustrophobic feeling that they sometimes give.


I'm 100% in love with our upholstered headboard, but I do really love the look of these - especially with the white or lighter shades in the curtains.  

So clean, and light feeling, and while a canopy bed can feel a little stuffy, and overly traditional, these actually feel quite modern.


What I love most, is that they seem relatively easy to install, and inexpensive.

They would be fabulous in a studio apartment, for separating the "bedroom" from common living spaces, or even in an open loft space, where it can be really tricky to carve out each "room" from a wide open floorplan.


The other thing about using curtains to flank a bed that I really love, is that you can save some serious money on the bed itself.  

Headboards and bed frames are really pricey, so this would be a really great option for those on a budget, who are looking to make a large impact in their bedroom without spending a fortune.


All you need are some sturdy curtain rods, curtains (or sheers even), and a standard bed-frame, box spring, and mattress.  

I'd also encourage the use of a dust ruffle to hide the less than attractive metal bed frame - something simple like the one in the photo above would be perfect.


On average, the cost of a queen size headboard or bed would range from $800 to upwards of several thousand dollars, whereas if you shop smart for the materials you'd need for a curtained off bed, you could pull off this project for less than $200 easily.  Depending on the hardware, you could even swing it for less than $150.  

What's great is that the curtains take the place of a headboard, footboard, and bed frame, and make it feel really grand, and expensive.  If I were to do this, I'd probably stick with lighter fabric for the curtains, but there are several different styles for this that I've seen and like.  The trick is to find curtain panels long enough to go from floor to ceiling - if the curtains are too short, it's a no-go.

Ikea is a fabulous source for curtains - some of my favorites are these curtains for the lighter linen look.  I actually have them hanging in our living room (white) and dining room (light grey), and I just love them.  They are thick without being too thick, they are quite long (98" which would accommodate an 8' ceiling - add curtain rings for extra length) and they have a really nice organic texture.  

This person actually used the Aina for this exact project (link here):
 **I think I might make the curtain rods just slightly longer so the curtains hang straight down... they look a bit short which is resulting in a bit of a "leaned" feel...

I also like these heavier velvet curtains for a deeper, cozier feel.... and hey, if they are good enough for Emily Henderson, they're good enough for the rest of us!


These curtains would be really fun in a child's bedroom flanking a bed... 


Aren't they just darling?

I'm also no expert, but I feel like they'd create a really peaceful place for nap time.  Heck, maybe I'll start adopting the daily nap if I got to sleep in a light and airy, curtained off bed.

What do you think? Would you ever try out a curtained bed?  

It seems like it would be so peaceful to be able to close the curtains, and for light sleepers who are easily bothered by light, this seems like an ideal solution to me!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dark Moody Rooms

Good morning friends!!  The last several posts I've had are mainly about progress on our own apartment, but I've been thinking a lot about dark moody rooms.
 Maybe it's because all the fall clothes have hit the stores and I'm waiting for the perfect opportunity to bust out my new faux fur vest.  Maybe it's because it's been foggy and cold in San Francisco, and the drippy, dreary days have me ready to hibernate and think about pumpkin spiced lattes, and cozy nights, and big glasses of red wine while the wind howls outside. Or maybe, these rooms are just so beautiful and I can't resist.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still craving warm weather and summer nights, but mentally I'm in the fall mindset.  Don't you think there is something so inviting about a dark moody room?  It is an invitation for dim light, candles and ambiance.

It's probably (definitely) not something I'll be trying out in our current apartment, mainly because our place is not super large, and because all the rooms are pretty open to one another, but I'm really into this look - dark walls, dark furniture.  IF (and that's a big IF) I were to test this in our current place, it would probably be in our bedroom since it's the most separate from the rest of the house, and because the dark walls, and dark furniture would feel really calm, cozy, and sleep inducing.

Normally, you'll find rooms with dark walls and lighter furniture, or lighter walls and dark furniture, but I'm loving the combination of dark with dark.

I'm also finding that the rooms I love best with this dark on dark use rather monochromatic hues - the first picture (and one of my favorite spaces in general) has the ink curtains next to the ink sofa, next to the dark grey window frames, and everything is on top of the inky purple rug.

In the photo above, everything is painted in the same dark taupe.  And below the walls, and rug are nearly the same shade of grey.

This next photo, the walls, columns and ceiling are the same shade of grey, and only the sofa and flowers bring color to the space.

What I find really interesting too about all of these spaces, is that they seem to work best with more traditional details.  The moldings, and more ornate mirrors.  Classically tailored sofas, chairs and ottomans, panel curtains, and a good dose of brass.  

I think that these traditional elements keep these spaces from feeling cold, even through there is so much dark, and drama going on.  They still feel inviting.  They say, come bring your cup of tea and tattered copy of Pride and Prejudice in here for the afternoon.

What do you think?

Would you ever experiment with a dark and moody room in your own home?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

DIY Art - Gold Arrow Copy Cat


Hey friends!!  Happy Wednesday :-)

Not sure if you remember, but a while back I'd posted about DIY art.  It all started with the inspiration photo above from House Tweaking.  Her post is great, but the comments... yowzers!!  Apparently people had some harsh opinions about her having painted over one UGLY piece of art that she didn't love.  I myself could not care less - especially since I LOVED how the arrow art came out.  Clearly.

Loved it so much in fact that I recreated it for our own house!

May I present to you, my own version of the inverted arrow art...


It's not the easiest to photograph, especially when it's hanging on a wall in a room that is currently being used as a catch all storage area for things like empty boxes, a loveseat that we just sold, and wood.  Lots and lots of wood that will soon become a planter for our deck.

I pushed some of the junk out of the way in an attempt to stage some pretty things around the art, and it was not my best effort... for sure... but you can totally see the paintings scale here.  Its quite large.


The canvas I used was actually re-purposed - my best friend left an old black and white stretched canvas print from Ikea when she moved across the country, and it made the perfect piece for me to experiment on. No one was going to miss that print.

So I painted over it.

Two coats of white got rolled on and after it dried, I went to work taping off my arrows.  I did some vague measurements, since eyeballing the middle of a 40" canvas is not as easy as you'd think, and taped the arrows out.

I got a mix of gold paints - including a bronze, and two different shades of gold from the Martha Stewart line. Not to diss Martha, but I was not impressed.  All the metallic shades were flat (not metallic really at all) and the gold looked mustard-y to me.

Back to Michael's I went in search of the magical Liquid Leaf.  It's nice and shiny, and I've used it on projects before so I knew it would work well.



You can see close up that I painted it on thicker in some areas for more dimension - sort of a 3-D gold effect, and it looks really pretty in different lights.

The gold leaf paint dries in minutes, so I peeled the tape off as soon as I finished, and that was that. Insta-art!


I'm certainly no artist, but it was fun to play the part one foggy afternoon a few weeks ago.  

And better yet, we now have a virtually free piece of art that is a nice focal point in our junk room office.

And even better still, we didn't have to throw out a perfectly good canvas even though we didn't like the art, so I like to think we're also saving the environment... even just a little...


So easy!  Happy Wednesday friends!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Kitchen Inspiration for Phase II Updates

Hello friends!!

Thanks for all the kind words on our little kitchen facelift that I'd posted about earlier in the week!

So far, the grout paint is holding up really well!  We've had it for about a month now, and so far so good - we cook / clean a lot, so we're not being gentle on these counter-tops by any means.  I'll keep you posted though on how it wears long term.

In my last post, I'd mentioned that this was "Phase I" of the kitchen update... part of me is still debating if we need a Phase II, but here's a little hint about what I've been dabbling with for a potential Phase II...





Don't you just love???

Obviously these kitchens are all so lovely, and I would just be making superficial updates to our dated kitchen from the '80's (we rent!) but there is a lot we could do to doll it up a bit...

I adore the look of dark lowers and light upper cabinets - it's like a tuxedo... but not.

The reason I've been toying with this is that our kitchen is feeling really "white" - this isn't a bad thing considering before the few updates I've made, it was feeling really "yellow", but with the white tile counters, the white cabinets, the white appliances and the white floor, I think dark lower cabinets would look really nice.

This is what things are looking like now:




Don't get me wrong, I think this is a great place to be considering where we started, but don't you think dark grey lower cabinets would look really good???

There are other things I want to work on before painting these lowers - like painting the bathroom which will be super challenging to cut in around the sink, the multiple windows and doors, and get in behind the toilet - but it's a thought.

Another idea I've been dabbling with for the kitchen... more grout paint... but this time on the floor.  Same situation - white tile (it's linoleum, but is made to look like marble) but with that hideous dark grout!  We have two large jute area rugs to mask all those gridlines (it makes you dizzy!) but I'd love for the floor grout to be white too.  If I am crazy enough to attempt this, then the kitchen really will be white on white on white, with more white, so the lowers will almost NEED to be painted.

Right??

Am I crazy to be thinking about this?  Possibly... but I somehow can't stop thinking about it!

Ok, so this is admittedly not my finest attempt at rendering something, but what do you think...


I'm thinking... me likey....