Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Decorating With Variety {Guest Post} Susi from Design Shuffle

I have a special treat for you today. Design Shuffle contacted me a while back about doing a guest post and I'll admit, at first, I got very protective of my little ole blog. After contemplating it for a few weeks I thought why not? Design Shuffle describes itself as Facebook for the design community. Designers can upload their portfolios and everyone else can look at image after image of amazing inspiration! 
So without further adieu- say hello to Susi!
Hi, I'm Susi, a writer for Design Shuffle, a fantastic place to find and share design ideas and inspiration with designers all over the world.  One of the best parts of being a guest blogger is seeing all the amazing (and cool) projects people are doing.  So I'm excited to be visiting Inspirato Design today to share some inspiration for decorating with variety.  Variety is so important to creating visual interest in interior designs.  I've pulled pics of eight rooms that I think do a great job using variety.  Hope you enjoy!

Patterned Living Room Design

Decorating with variety can mean so many things. This room has a variety of patterns on the chairs, credenza and carpet that all work together through color.

Boho Living Room Design

Boho style is all about variety, as if every piece was individually collected over years and travels abroad. This kind of variety might be too much for you, but it shows how well different styles can work together to create a very interesting room.

Textured Bedroom Design

Variety should be found in textures as well as colors, patterns and accessories. Love the thick cable knit of the throw against the quilted coverlet on this bed and the jute rug on the floor. What a gorgeous bedroom design.

Living Room Shaped Design

When adding variety to an interior design, think about shapes in the accessories. Love the mix of circles and squares in this living room.

Framed Decor

While all of the frames are painted the same color, the variety of the shapes is what gives them added interest in this stylish décor. Love the dark frames against the pale wallpaper.

White Accent Design

Love the variety of white accessories in this living room.  The white unifies the look of the eclectic group of objects.

Accented Bedroom Design

Love all the variety in this bedroom.  A colorful headboard is paired with patterned pillows, vintage artwork and a natural nightstand. Love the horse head too!

Wall Decor Design

Art and wall décor are great ways to add variety to living room designs.  Hang a variety of different types of art or a mix of frame styles for a lively gallery wall. [ Images 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 ]

This post was created by Design Shuffle, a social-media networking site that is dedicated to showcasing the talents of Los Angeles interior designers, New York interior designers and more!

I was thrilled when I actually saw this post. One of the rugs was just the inspiration I was looking for! I'll tell you more about it on Friday!
Thanks Susi!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Steamer Trunks & An Office Makeover Update


Just guess what I've been up to! You've got it -the home office makeover- painting, painting and more painting! Isn't it funny, I've had a nook in my bedroom that I've been using for twelve years- it's been a little crowded at times but it has worked. Now I have an 11x13 foot room, all to myself, and I can't figure out where everything is going to go. Before I show off the new shelving unit I made to help solve that problem, I want to show you some amazing old and new trunks. I love the vintage-y feel of old luggage and trunks. Even though they were originally meant for lugging around our belongings, they don't scream out - "Hey, I'm storage! when you use them as part of your decor. While they hang out in your room looking pretty, they can hold an enormous amount of stuff!

Ralph Lauren Home via



This last one is the one that has really inspired me. I love the wood tones with the white. If I was a really good blogger I would have thought to take a picture of my trunk when there was actually some natural light in our room. I'll spare you a bad pic- trust me, it's getting a makeover before it goes into the office. 
{I promise I'll remember to take a "before" pic.}

Speaking of the new office....

I have to tell you I could not sleep a few nights ago trying to figure out where everything is going to go and feeling frantic because the house has been turned upside down by this little project AND we are having one of those big family parties in two weeks! {My youngest was born on Halloween} I've always had stuff in about five different places in our house and when working on a project I would have to go upstairs, downstairs, in there, under there and so on but now...YEAH, it will be in one place! I hope! 

The bottom pieces are all painted and I added the few pieces of molding that were never added when I originally made them. Later this week I'll show you them from the back so you can see how simple they were to construct. I'd show you now but again with the bad blogger thing- no pic on hand ;)

The enormous wall section was put together on the floor using 1x12's and screws. We're not talking fine cabinetry here! That's what is nice about a "lower level" office! I just cut the pieces to size with a circular saw. The ends have a very simple curve at the bottom that I made using a jigsaw and a plate for a template. 

I had some storage boxes that I kept in mind when figuring out how to section it off. All of the wood we had on hand from other projects. I just screwed the pieces together with drywall screws. My husband mounted a couple of ledger boards onto the wall- making sure that they were level and securely fastened to the studs because, as you can imagine, this thing is heavy!

See all the shiny white furniture :) It's getting there!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Lower Level Office Inspiration

The one question that I've been contemplating since last weekend: How do you make a basement office not look like a basement office? I did some research and of course I searched several blogs for inspiration, gathering little tips and tricks as I went. While you have a look at a very successful basement bedroom remodel by Annie Selke I will share what I learned.

When designer Annie Selke is asked about her basement bedroom makeover she say's "No, no, no- it's the lower level!" 

Color: Choose a light color and when I say light, I really mean bright and/or vivid. Also, the color of the ceiling should be lighter than the walls. The contrast will help pull the eyes up.

Vertical Elements: Try to stay away from horizontal lines. Whether it be long stretches of shelving, stripes  or picture arrangements- Yes! Those stripes make your room look short :) Vertical elements draw the eye up and will make the ceiling feel higher.

Reflective Surfaces: Mirrors, metallics, glossy finishes- do it up!

Lighting, Lighting and more Lighting: Think about all kinds of lighting 
a.) general lighting- avoid large ceiling fixtures though- you want to draw the eye up but you don't want it fixated there! Recessed cans are a great option.
b.) try to use table lamps and/or floor lamps to light the space.
c.) task lighting
d.) wall sconces- brighten up those walls

* also, try to have the lights put on the same switch so that the entire space lights up at once.
If it's in the budget you could always have the ground outside of a small basement window excavated and a window well installed- that is not in my budget. 

The above room may be perfect for a seventeen year old but it's completely not my style! 

Check out the office below that I found on

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Now, sure, this is not a basement office but it has the feel I like!

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All the furniture is glossy white and guess what I did this weekend- painted all of my office furniture glossy white. 

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Last Friday, the husband asked me what I wanted to do. I said get a bottle of wine, listen to some music and paint all of the furniture glossy white- care to join me? He did not!

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The above rug reminded me that I have a flat weave rug that I could paint. 
Another tutorial in the making!

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That was one office that I found- Isn't it pretty and serene!?

Here's another that I also would like to draw inspiration from:

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The color on the wall is more similar to the color that I'm using and lots of white glossy furniture!

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Doesn't every designers office have to have an inspiration board?

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Entirely another office but this single pop of color is so awesome- it has me thinking!

Have you done a basement bedroom or office makeover?
What's your best advice?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Old English Biscuit Tins

I've always been inspired by this picture (above) that I saw in a Martha Stewart magazine. When I saw it, I had a tray with a Wedgwood Jasperware motif.

 I have collected a few through the years and then just last week I bought three more on Ebay. As you can see, I prefer the tins that replicate the Wedgwood Jasperware designs. They will make great storage pieces in my new space.

Biscuit tins were popular in the United Kingdom since that is where most were manufactured. They were made of tin plate and date back to the mid-eighteen hundreds. Tins were shaped like household objects like baskets and vases and were intended to be used well after the biscuits were eaten. Besides Wedgwood porcelain, they were decorated to replicate Chinese vases giving middle class homes a way to mimic styles found in grander homes.

Manufacturing of biscuit tins pretty much ended with WWI and even after the war, companies were reluctant to continue supplies. Knowing a bit of the history of collectibles always makes them more fun to have.

We did move some more furniture down into the new office space. Some of these pieces I custom made for the nook in our bedroom, where the office used to be. Most of it will be repainted.

Like the piano room, the plan here is to:
1.) Move all of the case goods in to see what will work- it's kind of like hardscaping a room.
2.) Re-paint everything that needs it- This is such a difficult step -I'm so eager to move everything else in.
3.) Move in the "stuff" 
4.) Add the "softscape to bring it all together. The finishing touches!

There will be tutorials and before & afters along the way!

Here's a piece I made that sat adjacent to my drafting board. I think I will deconstruct it a bit to better accommodate this space. Several of the pieces that we moved in, from the bedroom, are painted Benjamin Moore's Pelham Gray. They will all be painted white.

Even though all of my drafting is done on a computer now,  I still use my drafting table quite a bit and it definitely needs a spot. My dad made the bookcase and it was in my childhood room. It just needs a little trim and it will be very useful! I'm so happy to have a place for it :)

Is there a certain collectible 
that you like to look for when you are 
antiquing or rummaging through flea markets?

 BTW, The design journal that I was attempting this week lasted two days- not my best idea! In retrospect, it was really dumb to say that I have a busy week, I'll have little time to post, how about I post everyday! 
Suffice it to say, I've been busy working on the blueprints for the job I told you about in my last post.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Design Journal: Day 2

Hey, I'm doing it- two days in a row! (Check out yesterday's post if you don't know what I'm talking about) Today was one of those not so glamorous design days. 

*My latest design job is to draft blueprints for an addition in a nearby town. It was beautiful when I left my house- it was raining at their house. Woo hoo,  schlepping around in the rain, measuring a house!

I used to sketch the house on site when I was doing measurements of an existing structure but I've gotten smarter. I snap a few pictures at the initial meeting and print them. They are a handy tool for writing notes and dimensions on.

See the red splotches- I sliced my finger on a piece of torn siding. Awesome!

*On the way home I stopped at Joanne Fabrics big liquidation sale (they are moving to a new location) I found two bolts of fabric marked 50% off. A blue microsuede and a cream. Potential fabrics for the piano room settee and chair. Look at the ENORMOUS swatches that the woman cut for me to bring home:

I like the blue but not exactly what I was looking for.
The other one definitely not light enough.
Remember my inspiration photo:

Remember the chair and settee:

So I guess I will keep looking.

Back at home:

*Sat in front of my computer working up the blueprints most of the afternoon but did have time to put a second coat of spray paint on the metal cabinet. We put it in the room- it will be great. Perfect for big rolls of canvas and wrapping papers. I'm so psyched that everything is going to be in one space!

* We also put the old buffet from the dining room in the room. I'm going to paint it a lighter color. It has a lot of storage and the top drawer is a nice place to store large sheets of drawing paper and drawings that need to be laid flat.

I'm not sure if I'll sketch a picture with chalk or
actually use this blackboard for notes.
I made the blackboard by cutting a piece of luan plywood to fit an old frame that I had, and then I painted it with chalkboard paint. Before we move anymore furniture in, we need to finish up the base trim that was never installed but it seems to be moving right along.

I made my sister a nice little gift for her birthday- I'll show it to you tomorrow.
So, how was your day? :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dear Diary....

I'm going to try something a little different this work week and I will really, really try to not bail before the end of the week. This is going to be a busy week and as many of you know, writing posts and sourcing pictures is a time commitment, so instead, I'm going to post a journal of my projects, jobs and design related activities. I'll add pictures as I go and I hope it will be somewhat interesting (and perhaps will motivate me to get things done along the way). We shall find out! I know I have a few aspiring young designers following- come see how glamorous designing can be- haha!

So this morning I brushed my teeth and then...just kidding :)

Here we go:

* First thing this morning, I got an order for some painted pumpkins.

{I just have to laugh at myself, why am I painting pumpkins? I swear I'm cursed!}

* Visited the job site of an ongoing project to discuss exterior trim board and siding details as well as some interior design issues.
{"Very private people, No pictures please!"}

* Picked up cut wood from carpenter to make more lazy susans for my Etsy shop- Yay!

{Designs just waiting to happen- I think I'll do one "weathered " black.}

* Another meeting, this one at a business where I will be painting their logo behind their reception desk.

{Yup, that wall definitely needs something!}

* Came home armed with five cans of spray paint...and painted the chair for the piano room- Yay!

Time for a confession...I've been kicked out of the bedroom!
Seriously, My husband decided that our bedroom was no longer the place for... office!
Pretty much on a whim the mister started painting our son's basement bedroom (he's away at college and even when he's home he doesn't sleep in there anymore).

So I'm getting a new space. Below is a picture of the BEFORE.

Okay, don't judge!
I know I'm not the only one with a college kid who leaves their room looking like this!

Below is a picture that I took today:

{More design waiting to happen!}
The walls are painted Benjamin Moore's "Wetherburn's Tavern Bisque". It's a flat finish- I would have preferred an eggshell finish but we had a gallon of this from a previous project. It will do. 
I decided the ceiling should be painted- it was stained wood. The mister used our trim color, C2's "Coconut". It's a semi-gloss and it gives the room a little extra sheen- something it desperately needs with only one tiny window!

* I prepped, primed and painted an old metal cabinet that I'm going to use in my new space for storage. I'm glad to have a metal cabinet that I can use my fancy magnets on and the front is mirrors which will be great in this small space. It's getting a coat of black paint.

So that's it for this designer today. 
I really wasn't planning on doing an office/studio design but I'll be refurbishing furniture of course and I have a couple of storage ideas that I'm excited to share with you. Stay-tuned!
Now I must have a glass of wine and watch my Yankees, ahh life is good :)
Another busy day tomorrow!