Saturday, January 8, 2011

For The Love of Mackensie-Childs

Mackensie-Childs has been a evolutionary designer for 20+ years bringing fun one-of-a-kind furnishings to a large marketplace. Her collections are recognized for their French flare and bursts of color that make you feel like a child in a fairy-tale. Although her items do cost a pretty penny you'll find that some of them are worth the splurge!

Youthful yet sophisticated a tea set that makes me want to visit the Mad Hatter and follow a white rabbit...oh the possibilities!

These canisters are great for a neutral traditional look! place them on a kitchen counter or a baker's wrack for storage with a flare.

Mackensie Childs Spring 2010 collection: hand painted details make each piece unique! The checkerboard pattern around the lip of the lid allows the spring colors to sing with protest to the harshness of the winter.

These plates hypnotize me with their beauty! Is it just me or is the room spinning!

This photo makes me happy to be a woman! The bright pink flowers adorned in a Mackensie Childs pastel vase is so feminine. If this was my vanity I'd be more than happy to tackle my morning routine... again and again and again.
 New Spring 2011 collection! French, flirty and colorful pieces that will liven up any table! I love the cake dish it's so elegant with the crystal knob and checkered base. This women must have an angel for a muse!

Chic Distress

In an apartment it is very important to use your space effectively. Reccently, the design world has given rise to glamourous mirrored accessories and furniture, a great tool to amplify your space.  Lately, I have been infatuated with these acidic wonders, after seeing these beautiful images I'm sure you will be too. Each item will surely be a sparkling gem in any room!
 Notice that the image above and below have the same furniture but they've created a dramatic difference by simply changing the paint color, altering a few bed linens and rearranging easy fix any DIY girl can do! 
Source: Crate and Barrel; These distressed mirrors look wonderous on any wall and even better showcased in a gallery setting.  Because these mirrors continue into the frame they create more angles for reflection!
 Source: Anthropologie; This delicious orange cream scented candle is elegantly encased by this dazzling canister...very chic!
Look at all the wonderful angles in this piece...

Source: for vanity and dinning table--Pier1 (Hayworth Collection)
Source: Z-Gallerie; Mercury glass candle sticks...I MUST have them :)

Displaying the Unexpected

Why break the bank buying a piece of art when you can get the same effect by hanging color coordinated plates, pots, utensils or even gaassp cake pans. 
Hanging plates on a wall in a gallery setting adds a splash of juvenility without looking childish. Plates range in prices allowing you to pick and choose which saucer best fits your needs and tastes. 
Source:; The above picture is a perfect placement of subtle shades and artful bouquets that seem to branch outward into a mind boggling show case. When guests enter your space and see china displayed in a gallery setting they will wonder how you came up will such a fun and inspirational idea all on your own. 
Source:; Plates are no longer your grandmothers accessory. They have become more modernized and youthful over the years allowing for inspirational color palates. In the photo above, the plates add an interchangeable variation of hues. By highlighting those colors with other removable objects such as a lamp and pillows the space can be easily transitioned depending on your mood.
Hanging pots and pans is creative and a great organization help. It allows you to easily grab what you're looking for without the clanky heavy lifting and searching that would otherwise be necessary if looking through a cabinet.
Bundt cake pans...not what you expected I'm sure but now that you see how fun and retro they can look I bet you'll think twice before you think of hanging ordinary wall embellishments.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Adding Subtle Lighting to a Small Space

There are infinite possibilities of lighting accents that can be applied to small spaces without taking up volatile floor space.  In the bedroom sconces can be a bedside accent proving very useful if you enjoy reading before bed. The sconces pictured below are very fitting for an apartment because you don't need an electrician to install them, they plug into the wall just like a regular lamp. Sconces with plugs have been popping up all over the place because people no longer have the time or money to install a sconce, they can be found at trendy places like Crate and Barrel, Z-Gallerie and I.O. Metro. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative Target has started to carry a few as well.

Lighting can also be a very affective medium when you're trying to set a mood in your space. In a sitting area lamps can be used in the evening to create a subtle glow without the expense of dimmers. I also like the idea of adding candle sconces next to a work of art so the natural candle line can beam across it allowing the eye to see the piece in a "new light."
Source: The Designer Insider; Above are some very fun varieties of candle sconces. If you're buying on a budget I recommend looking at Hobby Lobby, they have a great selection of home decor for great prices, especially candle accessories. Hobby Lobby also has great 50% off sales that are updated weekly. There is always a section in their news letters that can be found online at; giving a detailed list of the sale items. It has become one of my favorite places for purchasing home goods.
Source:; When decorating a small space I also recommend using lamps with clear bases. They allow light to escape through them and they look like they are floating, allowing you to reap the benefits of lighting without the cluster effect of a large solid lamp base.
Source:; If you are searching for overhead lighting and don't won't the hassle of installing a fixture an ark lamp is a great alternative. Ark lamps are very versatile, they can be used as dinning room lighting or next to a small sectional as pictured above.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Matching Finishes are Overated

When you're on a tight budget you take what you can get. Before it might have seemed overwhelming, all the mismatched nick-knacks you've come to collect over the years piling up in your closet. Whether they've come into your possession via your friend's garage or your parents' storage unit those unwanted treasures are now tools you can use to create a vintage work of art.  The clustering of similar objects such as mirrors can be used to create a collage that amplifies your space. Mirrors are also great because they make the room appear larger. Combining finishes can allow for a more comforting feng shui within your abode. In my apartment I recently paired a round oak table with antique bronzed chairs. I don't like to buy any furniture in sets, it's too matchy and overbearing, in my opinion it resembles a room within a furniture catalogue, staged and cold. You'll find an amble amount of creative possibilities when using accessories around your home as long as the look is not over done and the objects are carefully placed in a way that's appealing to the eye, the possibilities are endless.

Source:; In this image the designer mixed antique rustic finishes with vibrant new ones to create a gallery that is pleasing to the eye. The mixture of small and large items furthers the minds interest in to a continuous array of eye pleasing art.

The Versatility of Stripes

Paint is the cheapest way to transform a space, at $30 a gallon its the go to facelift application for any space. As for techniques, stripes can transform a small room into a seemingly endless optical illusion. A great for any small space such as a loft or an apartment.
Credit:; These narrow stripes allows for a variety of color, each shade chosen picks up from the vase of chic flowers spreading the presence of nature across the room. The touches of blue allow the mind to stay grounded amongst the subtle hues. 
The image above uses stripes as a bold yet soft statement within this design.  The timely backdrop allows the furniture to pop.
 To make your walls look elongated paint vertical stripes.  To give the appearance of length paint horizontal stripes. Bold stripes can add an art deco appeal such as those in the image pictured above. Subtle stripes that are painted in monochromatic hues can create a sultry touch of elegance.  Stripes can be wide, narrow, diagonal, done in stencil or even wall papered. You'll be amazed at how promising a small change such as painting a wall can make within your home.  
I love the metallic stripes against the French blue.

As pictured in Better Homes and Gardens: The stripes in this room add a fun flare of youth without making the space over baringly busy. The white furniture allows the walls to be the star in this bedroom creation.

The First Step To Making Your Space Feel Like a Home

Many people are lost when it comes to making a space feel personable. Each persons space is defined by certain quirks that defines themselves whether it be a stacks of hard back books on the coffee table or mis-matched cutlery. The brilliant part about making your space yours is that it isn't always intentional.  When you are residing in your specified place of comfort it should be just that comfortable. I find that in order to successfully manage and create a humble abode one must think of what they plan to use each area for. For instance, if you like to read in the living room I suggest making a designated area dedicated to enjoying your literature. I would begin with a nice comfortable chair with a throw draped over the back with a charming side table perched next to it. Then I would begin to add other fitting items such as a small stack of books, a bright lamp, a vase of lime hydrangeas and a vintage tea cup and saucer.   Many people get lost in the streamline whirl of matching every detail; I know everyone is familiar with the infamous "streamlinest:" the person who has a designated place for each decorative pillow on their sofa and a place setting on their table on a regular basis. I myself used to be a victim of this harsh way of living until one day I suddenly realised that beauty does not span from perfectly placed objects and color coordinations, although they do play a small role; beauty is what you perceive it to be. That is what is so wonderful about creating your own space, it may no be fitting for someone else but it feels warm and inviting to you when you walk through the door after a long day of work.  Design is customizable to fit whatever needs you have, the first step is grasping your need and allowing it to seamlessly meld into a cozy environment.
Drawing inspired by Blog; Artist: Ashley Lauren