Friday, December 23, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Enough Design...Lets Go For A Run (There's a gift at the end!)

I know I'm taking a few liberties here, this is a design blog after all, but between the mild weather in CNY and the hustle and bustle of the season- this has just been an A-MAZ-ING December! I want to show you where I do so much designing. The type of designing I call "thinkatecture".

I do feel so totally blessed to have this small lake and nature preserve within running distance from my home. Often, I am greeted by deer, roaming around, many times with fawns at their side. A sight that stops me dead in my tracks- their beauty is just overwhelming.

Believe it or not, even this foot bridge is special to me. My son built it for his Eagle Scout project over an area that typically floods in the spring, rendering the path unusable . Of course I can't run over it without thinking of him.

While running, I was thinking about my blog. I'm approaching my one year anniversary and I was thinking of what I've done, what I'd like to change and how I can improve.  

The last few months I've been inconsistent and I'm looking forward to getting back on track, adding some regular features and I'm also considering changing up the blogs look a bit.

I've been asked to write a post for My Life As A Blog a feature of Blogstar. It will be featured January 15. Writing that post will help me to really put this past year in perspective! I'm looking forward to sharing it with you, so much of it will be about you- all of the readers of Ispirato Design blog. 

I'm also looking forward to building more relationships this upcoming year, interacting more with readers and other bloggers. Now that the logistics of starting a blog are finished, that is definitely going to be my focus!

I'm excited to give a gift! 
Back in July, I offered a Pet Portrait Give Away to be given away when I reached 200 followers. Even though I'm not there yet, I want to play Santa and give one away today! 
I'll start another pet portrait give away in the new year.  

Now, I'll go to and generate a random number to see who the winner is- hold on, I'll be right back :)

Okay, I'm back... and the winner is: 

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Good Mood In Pictures

Greige Design
Hello friends- Happy Monday!
I have to tell you, I'm having one of those days that I'm feeling such an abundance of blessings. 
I think that I'm officially feeling the Christmas spirit :)

...let me share my mood in pictures.

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blue christmas candle Blue Christmas Decoration Ideas

Hope you are enjoying your day! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Two Makeovers: French and Brassy!

 "Things are changing so much around here!"  exclaimed my son.

I know I'm making the kids feel uneasy. I'm balancing trying to get things done quickly, like before the holidays (oops too late) but without completely turning too much upside down at once. When I moved the office out of our bedroom, it started a ball rolling. I repainted the room last week and decided to do a little furniture makeover.

I have these two bedside tables- they are in great condition (they've been sanded down here). The brown one is part of our bedroom set and the green one was in another room.
I wanted them to match and I decided to go french.

I sanded and primed the piece with gray flat primer. Then I started the process of painting on white and wiping it off with an old sock

There is no science to it- just paint and wipe off until it has the look you like. This works great on pieces with some detail.

After I got the white looking good, I sanded the edges and the detailed areas.

I thought it still needed a little something so I rubbed gold Rub-n-Buff onto some of the edges and details.

When I got it just right, I finished it off with a paste wax finish. 
One done, one more to go.

Earlier I was visiting Hazardous Design blog where Carrie was featuring a mini-makeover of her chandelier. She added black shades to a brass chandelier -such a simple change but what a difference it made. It prompted me to think of a little makeover that I did last week. I took before pics but they didn't come out very well so I wasn't going to post it, but after seeing Carrie's makeover I changed my mind. (Sorry about the dark pics!) You can check out Carries makeover HERE.

Do you have a brass lamp from the seventies that is just too brassy? 

True, brass is back, but personally, I'm not quite there yet! 
Problem: I needed a lamp and the only one that I had, that would work in the space that I needed it, 
was this one:

Back when we moved into our first house we had no light- there were no ceiling fixtures on the first level except for in the entrance area. My mother-in-law bought us this much needed lamp and it still makes me smile to think how my husband and I would carry it around from room to room. 

It's a classic ginger jar shape and it has a little bulb inside that casts a pretty, sparkly light in the evening but the brassy finish is what made me pack it up and sequester it to the basement storage area. With all of the changes we've been making around here it's back- I need it, I want to make it work!
Here's what I did:

I rubbed good ole Gold Rub-n-Buff onto the shiny brass part. It makes it look more honed, less shiny. 

I spray painted the inside of the shade gold.

...and painted the the outside of the shade with black latex paint.
Much better- a much more updated look!

What do you think about the resurgence of brass? 
What's your preferred finish- Shiny or honed?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dressers Painted- check!

Last week I posted about a Tobi Fairley for Hickory Chair dresser that I have been swooning over for many months and I showed you the candidate dresser that was going to get "the look". 

Yep, here it is in all at's glory. Hardware has been removed and it's had a good sanding.

Add a little dose of inspiration...

The inspiration photo.
Tobi Fairley for Hickory Chair
... and decide on a new hardware color.

Gold option on top, original on bottom.
Gold or...

Silver on top, original on the bottom.

When I put the question out to my readers, most of the input was in favor of the gold finish and ultimately that is what I chose. Here's why:  First, I really wanted to use the original hardware. Painted furniture with no patina or special finish sometimes can appear, um, how can I say Especially if it is void of detail. I think that by keeping the original hardware it not only maintains some of the integrity of the piece but it also gives it more of a quality look. After all, it's a well built, old dresser and I didn't want it to look like something that was just picked up at a big box store. 

The second factor that sealed the deal with the gold vs. silver debate were the lamps that I found at TJ Maxx this past weekend. I'm saving them until the big reveal but let me just say I was pretty excited and so was my client. Here's the room before:


Room painted- check
Dressers painted- check
Bedding- (use existing)
Lighting- check
Artwork- check

We just need to put it all together. Hopefully I'll have pics by the end of the week.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Since You're Probably Going Shopping...

Reverse Glass Painted Bee Tray

Yes, since you're probably doing some shopping I wanted to introduce you to I.Design Marketplace

Look familiar? I.Design Marketplace is my Etsy shop. I have shared my Home and Pet Portraits with you in the past and on my sidebar but I've been working on some home decor items and I just added them to my Etsy shop yesterday. This has been a process. My instinct is to want to have everything perfect before I share and there are so many more variations that I want to make and so much more that I want to offer, namely refurbished furniture and one of a kind vintage finds but I just had to take the leap and get what I have out there.

Reverse Painted Pet Silhouette Glass Plate

I tried a new art form that I had only ever heard of and I was intrigued by it. It's called Verre Églomisé or reverse painted glass. The challenge is that since you are painting on the back side and viewing from the front...

Reverse Painted Pet Silhouette Glass Plate

...highlights and details must be painted first- completely the opposite of typical painting. I've always loved monograms and silhouettes and was eager to come up with a design for these reverse painted glass plates.
{The monogram designs are not up on the shop yet but can be custom ordered}

Reverse Painted Pet Silhouette Glass Plate

I have lots of ideas for border designs and colors and I'm happy to work with customers to come up with a unique design and a silhouette that depicts a particular dog breed (or other pet!).

Reverse Painted Pet Silhouette Glass Plate

Now here is the kicker...I'm sending these off to Ballard Designs! 
What do you think? Do I have a chance? Wish me luck!!!

Single Bloom Cachepot

Many, many years ago a friend from Florida stayed with us, then sent a thank you gift similar to this single bloom cachepot shown above. I've always loved it and moved it around from my powder room to my bedside table to my desk, the bookcase and mantle. It always seems to be the perfect piece to complete which ever tabletop vignette I happen to be working on. 
I made my own variations.

Single Bloom Cachepot

I think they are a perfect hostess or thank you gift- 
especially when delivered in a coordinating gold gift box with gold tissue paper. 
{The gift boxes are not up on the shop yet but are available.}

18" Lazy Susan With French Natural Nailhead Trim

Well, I bet you all remember my Lazy Susan makeover. 
I loved it so much I decided to sell them on Etsy. 

16" Lazy Susan with French Natural Nailhead Trim

This distressed orange finished Lazy Susan was my first sell on Etsy. The customer wanted it to corral office supplies on her desk.

Reverse Glass Painted Wine Bottle Tray

This wood tray is another, very simple, example of reverse glass painting. The glass is inset over cork for a fun twist on the theme. 

Reverse Glass Painted Bee Tray

The classic Napoleonic Bee design is reverse painted on glass then inset over natural canvas.

Reverse Glass Painted Art Deco Tray

If you know me at all, you know I'm a freak over anything neoclassic and /or black and white. Black and white fish scale pattern ranks right up there with the Greek key pattern in my book. 

Reverse Glass Painted Art Deco Tray

The black and gold portion of the design is reverse painted onto the glass and the white wood tray is visible in the unpainted portion of the design. It gives it a very cool 3D effect.

Gold Embellished Candle Rings

Last but not least, a pair of gold embellished candle rings. Again, I received something very similar and because I know I've always loved them- I wanted to make some to sell. I can't wait to make more variations- I use them all of the time!

That's it for now.  I would love to have your input! I'm no hot house flower, you can be honest- tell me what you really think. If you follow the link to check out my shop I would like to hear what you think about my prices as well. 
I'm pretty much tapped out for pet portraits that can be done before Christmas but I do have gift certificates. 

It's been such an amazing year. Almost a year for the blog.
All of you have really helped to keep me focused as I ease back into working  after being a stay at home mommy for so many years. 
Thank you so, so much!

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