Tag Archives: interior decorating

CREATING A FUN (AND FUNCTIONAL!) ENTRYWAY

Well, I most definitely have not been a good blogger…but I have been a good designer! I’ve pulled in my first e-design clients ya’ll, and so far it’s been so much fun and quite a success. It began as a small project – a 6×6 project, to be exact. I was asked to liven up a very empty entryway into a semi-open concept, California home. After reading through the client’s completed questionnaire, I quickly realized how well-matched our vision and design style was. I probably couldn’t have hand-picked better clients myself! So I hit the ground running, full of ideas and excitement.

Entryways can be a little tricky though, for two reasons: 1. they’re kind of like the windows to the soul. It’s that important first impression – you want to let your personality shine, but you don’t want to tell your entire life story in one breath (entire life story = way too much clutter for a miniscule space!), and 2. storage. Yep, kind of boring, but totally necessary. You have to make your entryway functional. As much as you may want a pristine cowhide rug, a marbled console, and an oversized vase filled with cherry blossoms, that just ain’t gonna work if you have two dogs, a kid, and a husband that doesn’t understand the concept of style.

So you have to start with the basics. Review your lifestyle and the ensuing wear and tear your entryway will receive, and go from there. If you throw off your shoes the moment you walk into the house, designate a space for said shoes, and a small bench or stool to put them back on as you leave. If you’re always giving yourself a final onceover before heading out the door, hang a mirror above a console and gather a few lip glosses in a decorative bowl to have at the ready. If you have a big family, a lot of coats, and very little closet space, you just may want to throw in a coat rack and a few organizational, catch-all pieces. Catch my drift? Once you have your basics covered, you can start piecing in the fun, quirky stuff.

Hi Sugarplum | Layers of an Entrance Hall

(Over-sized mirror + console with catch-all bowl + personal touches and greenery = quirky elegance via Hi Sugarplum)

Loft Living Room Makeover vintagerevivals.com-23

(Customized vintage storage + family organization + major greenery and quirky pendant light = major “modage” boho via Vintage Revivals)

So that’s what we did. They knew they wanted some kind of streamlined, modern storage. They have one, well-behaved dog so they knew they needed a place to hang the leash, and they knew they wanted a catch-all basket and some greenery. With that in mind, I pulled together this initial draft moodboard to make sure we were on the same page…

eDesign: Entryway Moodboard

Simple, yet colorful and eclectic. The dash wallpaper you see above is actually a light, cotton fabric that will be applied to the ceiling (the rest of the walls will be white). On a side note, I’m omitting the full design concept / layout to give my clients a little privacy, but luckily they loved  it! They were a little unsure about the semi-floating shelf, however, so I went with a variation on the design to give them a new perspective:

E Striebel Draft #2 Moodboard

Not a huge difference, eh? I swapped the hanging drawers with some floating, open shelving – perfect for draping some greenery! – but in order to better balance the open shelving, I went with a simple, DIY coat rack on the opposite wall for small accessories (totes, hats, scarves, leashes…).

In the end, we went with a lovely, modern floating console (just fyi: in the design layout, decorative hooks are included for the leash and other small accessories!) and I, and more importantly, my clients couldn’t be happier! Here is the final product board…

E Striebel Final Product Mood Board

Not too busy but still functional, fun, and full of personality! What do you think? Would you have gone with the floating console or the aluminum open shelving (totally a personal preference – I love both options, obviously)?

Like I said, I really think I got the Golden Goose of a first client, and I’m looking forward to future design projects. With our styles and communication so aligned, next in line will be their great room, dining room, and kitchen – so stay tuned!

If you’re interested in my e-design services, feel free to head on over to my shop on Etsy or just shoot me a message and I’ll be happy to help you as best I can!

LOFT LIVING: A NEW eDESIGN

Phew! That last post was a bit of a doozey so I’m going to keep it simple this time around.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned my slight obsession with Mandi over at Vintage Revivals. A genius that woman is! Most recently, she morphed what was already a pretty awesome space into something TOTALLY different. I mean, it doesn’t even look like the same space, right?

Living Room Makeover @ Vintage Revivals-2-2

Loft Living Room Makeover vintagerevivals.com

I actually love living in the country (I actually live near downtown Charlottesville, but coming from DC, it feels like the country!), but oh how I long for that urban getaway! Feeling a bit inspired by Mandi’s glorious transformation, and after daydreaming for longer than I care to admit, I decided to create a new Loft Living eDesign…
Loft Living
  1.  Leather sofa – I love how it’s already distressed, but it’s a bit pricey – HERE is a cheaper option that I have no doubt your butt will naturally distress!
  2. Balloons over Manhattan – This photo is fantastic and it adds a little color and whimsy to the space. I would suggest ordering the largest size possible, or requesting a custom size.
  3. Wool rug – I think this rug is beautiful and absolutely perfect for the space…if you have the cash to spare. BUT, very unfortunately, most of us don’t so you can find some cheaper options HERE and HERE.
  4. Rattan chairs – LOVE these chairs. They are so simple yet so versatile and stylish.
  5. Arm chair – Gotta love Jonathan Adler!
  6. Leather pouf – some cheaper options HERE, HERE, and HERE
  7. Side table – Currently unavailable, but THIS is a good option. Or THIS.
  8. Coffee table – Threshold is killing it these days!
  9. Lateral file cabinet – A dual-purpose piece is always a YES in my book, particularly for small-space living. This streamlined filing system can serve as a console table while keeping all the paper clutter at bay!
  10. Herb pot / Cactus garden / Ceramic hedgehog planter / Himmeli hanging planter – A little dose of happiness. There is nothing like plant life to make a space feel more alive.
  11. Trio pendant lighting – the naked bulbs keeps the space open and airy while still providing enough light.
  12. Tripod floor lamp – sold out at Ethan Allen, but here are a few more options: 1, 2, 3, 4
  13. Bookcase – This provides the necessary shelving without looking too heavy. It also adds another dose of whimsy.
  14. Throw pillows – no longer available, but here are a couple of pairings: 1/2, 1/2, 1/2
  15. Faux brick wallpaper – The character that brick can add to a space is second to none and, if done in moderation, instantly reads “loft.” I’m partial to the whitewash, but the distressed red can work just as well!

Are you daydreaming yet?

If you would like to see more of my eDesigns, please head on over to my Etsy shop!

LIVING ROOM UPDATE (PART 2)

I’ve been going through the very slow process of transforming my home into something that works a little better for this family. Something that fits the stage of life we are in – toddler proof, dog proof, STRESS PROOF (is that possible?!) – but still feels good, you know? I really want it to feel light, fun, but still “put together.” And amazingly, I’m actually starting to think it’s coming together quite nicely! It feels comfortable, which makes me stress far less about the constant state of mess that it’s in. It will always be a work in progress, of course, and there are rooms upstairs that go mostly ignored (ahem, the master and guest bedrooms…), but heck, I’ll take what I can get!

Living Room Updated 6 (1 of 1)

If you recall, the living room looked a little something like this

Living Room Angle 2014

Living Room Rugs 2014 edited

Overall, not a whole lot has changed, eh? But that coffee table makes a world of a difference. It brightens up the whole room and gives it a better balance. To be honest, I initially wasn’t the biggest fan – something just seemed…off. But adding that pouf was a great move in so many ways (if I do say so myself!). It creates much more of an equilibrium with the oversized coffee table, provides extra seating, and excellent entertainment/climbing practice for the kid. He even rolls it across the house Cross Fit style so yeah, totally worth the investment (found ON SALE at West Elm! Unfortunately, it’s no longer available, but they do have other great choices).

Living Room Updated 3 FINAL

The coffee table, by the way, was a $50 flea market find that I painted in Annie Sloan’s “Old White,” lightly distressed, and sealed with a beeswax. I originally refinished it with the intention to sell…a huge problem I have, actually. I only find and refurbish pieces that I would choose to have in my own home, and more often than I am willing to admit, this is exactly what happens – they end up in my own home. First world problem, I know.

Living Room Updated 5 (1 of 1) copy

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As much of a “problem” that it is – I love that my home is full of pieces I’ve created. Is it perfect? NO. Sometimes these pieces are picked and painted to fill a void until something better comes along or goes on sale (hello Anthropologie, I’m talking to you…), but it makes my home mine and I know there is no other out there like it. It really is my happy place (framed picture courtesy of A Beautiful Mess after I pre-ordered their book). And I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really tired of seeing the same products and style in what seems like EVERY HOME in the blogosphere. I love the midcentury, but come on guys, give it a break and switch it up every once in a while!

Speaking of midcentury and quickly getting off of my high horse…I do plan on adding a little midcent style to my own home in the form of a 1960’s vintage record player cabinet courtesy of the hubby’s parents (meaning FREE!). It’s something they owned for longer than needed, and knowing my love for all things vintage, they drove it down from NYC and passed it on to very willing hands. And now it sits in my studio, waiting for a little hemp oil and muscle (aka The Husband) to get it home. Guess where it’s going to end up? Yep, that’s right – the living room!

Part 3 coming soon…

SCENERY + GREENERY

I hate to admit it, but there is something refreshing about Winter – the bundling up and the hunkering down, the movie nights on the couch, the mornings spent enveloped in the warmth of the bed or the plushness of a robe, and the cold, dark, starkness of the outdoors, gazed at through frosted windows. I suppose we wouldn’t appreciate the budding warmth of Spring if not for Winter; as we create our comforting isolation in these bitter cold months, we long for the freedom and collectiveness of Summer.

I can’t tell you that Spring is right around the corner – we still have the toughest months ahead of us – but I can tell you that a touch of Spring can be infused into your home no matter the month. A little color and a lot of greenery can lift the spirits like nothing else (well, except sunshine, of course!). And if you’re able to put aside your aversion to the cold, you just may find beauty in the season.

So here’s to some scenery and greenery…

Winter-Interior 1

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Winter-Interior 2

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Winter-Interior 5

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May you make it through these winter months with as much joy as possible!

LIVING ROOM UPDATES

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a redecorating addict. If I had my choice and a little extra time on my hands, I would rearrange my entire house every other month. Unfortunately, my husband is the complete opposite and tends to loathe change. So in order to have some semblance of compromise, I try my best to tweak my patience and he lets me sneak in changes here and there until over the course of a year….voila! An updated room. Oh, the things we do for love.

Anyhow, I thought I’d share with you the updates I have made to my  living room to make it feel a little more, well, livable! But first, here is the BEFORE:

Living Room 2013_edited-1

Not terrible, but a little “college student meets Pottery Barn.” Yep. I bought that IKEA couch and chair for my first “adult apartment,” intending to keep them for a couple of years until I could afford something divine, and somehow got stuck with them going on seven years. SEVEN! Those suckers had been dragged through 3 apartments, my very first home, way too many boyfriends, a cat, a dog, a husband, and another dog. I think it’s safe to say that they led a very good life and were more than ready to retire.

Living Room Angle 2014

Needless to say, the new couch was the biggest and most necessary change. And the oversized chair was easily replaced with a piece I already had in storage (found for $40 at a hole in the wall vintage store!) topped with a Pier 1 cushion and throw pillows I already had from Arhaus.

The next thing on my list of things to go was that rug. That poor Pottery Barn rug had been through the ringer. It actually stayed in good condition until we decided to get a ridiculously large puppy. Let’s just say that two adults that happen to enjoy the occasional glass or two of wine and an oversized, gangly dog with a tail that has a mind of its own is definitely a recipe for rug disaster! And frankly, my tastes have changed drastically over the course of the year and that rug just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. So I simply did a quick little switcheroo and threw the floral rug into the library/newly converted play room, and brought out our larger, more neutral silk rug. And to keep those wine stains at bay, I purchased an inexpensive throw rug from Urban Outfitters to fit under the coffee table. $80 well spent, I must say!

Living Room Rugs 2014 edited

Oversized dog tore through the room right before this picture was taken, hence the off-kilter rug. Just a little bit of reality for you 🙂

I would love to have more greenery in the room, but it simply doesn’t get enough sunshine. That gorgeous fiddle leaf fig you see in the BEFORE pic? Gone. Death by starvation. It is my one biggest regrets. Sigh.

Bookshelf Styling

Living Room Straight On 2014

The pie safe, “NY” signage, milk jug, and most of the pieces on the shelves were all vintage finds – the Lucketts fair near Leesburg, VA and Class and Trash in Richmond, VA are musts for the vintage collector!

Next on my list of to-go’s…that coffee table and ladder shelf. I’d love to go for more white, and that coffee table just isn’t the right shape for the room. I have a piece that I recently refinished sitting in my studio as we speak that just *may* work. Perhaps you’ll be seeing another update soon!

What do you think? Is it an improvement? What have been some quick and easy tweaks you have made to your home?

FINDING MYSELF IN EVERY DIRECTION

Finding myself: I’ve discussed this topic before, but this is something that I have struggled with on a daily basis.In a world where, well, the world is at your fingertips, it is so hard not to get pulled in every direction. And to compare. Dear Lord, the comparison – it’s enough to drive any human absolutely and utterly insane.

I think Pinterest is the most terrible and wonderful technical creation since the invention of the computer. Truly, how would I know how to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie, or wear the perfect top-knot bun, or apply the perfect bronzer, or find that perfect 15-minute buns of steel workout, if not for Pinterest? But somewhere along the line, this bombardment of inspiration becomes a visual overload and I have a meltdown. A serious, what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-myself-why-can’t-I-bake-that-golden-delicious-stonefruit-pie-and-pull-together-that-Martha-Stewart-lookalike-tablescape-with-perfectly-bloomed-flowers-and-gorgeous-hostess-hair kind of meltdown. I turn green with envy and right in that very moment I decide that THAT is what I want to do. Whatever it is, IT is the new thing. THAT is how I want to decorate. THAT is how I want to look. IT is who I am. But what I so often fail to realize is that while I may find something visually beautiful, it doesn’t make it fitting or necessary for my reality.

 

Gregory and Jenny's Relaxed Hippie Bungalow House Tour | Apartment Therapy

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A prime example: a few years ago I fell into a “I want my house to look like a page from the Pottery Barn catalogue” obsession. And it just so happened that I was getting married and purchasing a home in the same short span of time. So, very conveniently, I had my wedding registry with Pottery Barn.

Needless to say, my home now looks like a page from Pottery Barn. And I hate it. Not because it isn’t beautiful, but because it isn’t ME. I fell into one style and came out regretting it. Not because I hate Pottery Barn, but because I was trying to emulate something in its entirety without taking my personality into consideration.

What I am finally beginning to recognize is that there isn’t – or shouldn’t be – just one style or image that is “you.” You can’t fit your life into a box, nor should you want to.

 

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Don’t get me wrong, I love Pinterest. I read a few dozen blogs in any given week. I browse through hundreds of images on any given day. And every single day I am pulled in every direction. But instead of feeling the rise of that little green monster, I take it all with a grain of salt. Instead of narrowing in on any specific image, I look at them all as a whole and ask myself, “why am I drawn to these images?” Is it the serenity? The splash of color? The confidence? The sense of freedom?

 

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By keeping an open mind and allowing myself to be pulled in every direction, without zeroing in on any one style or image, I have been able to better define myself and what it is I actually desire: a more carefree, laid-back, “unbuttoned” home (which is anything but Pottery Barn!).

 

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(I’ve also learned that I really, REALLY need to transform my black thumb into a green one because all the images I am drawn to have some form of alive and well plant life.)

Kind of like psychotherapy, huh?! What styles are you drawn to and how has this helped you define your wants or end goal?