Sunday, October 27, 2013

Twelve Timeless Kitchen Looks

Here are some kitchen decorating ideas that will probably continue to be in style, even years from now. They are classic looks, yet not stuffy.

1. Stainless Steel Appliances
Photo is from the article "Home Features" by Dee Marie Fischer

2. The Combination of Blue and White - from antique transferware to contemporary designs
Photo is Wedgewood Dinnerware from Bloomingdales

3. Ironstone Pitchers - you could use one as a vase for flowers or to hold utensils
Photo is a pitcher for sale by Seaside Rose Creations on Etsy

4. Marble Counters - although they stain, the look has been popular for ages and they're heat-resistant and chip-resistant
Photo is from an article called "The Benefits of Marble Countertops" by Rodican Home Design
See also - Robinson Builders' Marble Pros and Cons

5. Subway Tile - currently white subway tiles with dark grout is a popular look, but the tiles themselves have been popular for years
Photo is Taupe Grout with White Subway Tile by Homemaker Remodeled Blog

6. Herb Gardens - basil, rosemary, and mint are particularly easy to grow and to use in your cooking
Photo is an Herb Garden for sale by YLiving

7. Dove White Paint - use it on walls or cabinets; Designer Thomas Pheasant is fan of using it "for brightening spaces"
Photo is Benjamin Moore White Dove seen on The Cow Spot Blog

8. Cast Iron Cookware - think of Lodge frying pans and Le Creuset dutch ovens
Photo is Le Creuset Dutch Oven on the Why Research website

9. Orchids - they require surprisingly little maintenance yet make a big impact
Photo is by Zinnia Floral Design

10. Breakfast Nooks - preferably with built-in seating in the form of a banquette
Photo is from Decoist's Ideas for Breakfast Nooks
See Also - Pretty Little House Things' Eight Breakfast Nook Ideas

11. Oil Still Life Paintings - this is particularly true for paintings of food (lemons, oranges, apples, etc.)
Photo is of Yellow Lemons Painting by Hobson Fine Art on Etsy

12. Recessed Lighting
Photo is Recessed Lights by MacEwan Electrician

To see some of these looks together see this kitchen from Marianne Simon Design. It incorporates ideas #1, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 12.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Home Cleaning Checklist

Clean Windows
Clean Sliding Glass Doors
Clean Lamps and Light Fixtures

Clean / Disinfect Countertops
Clean Microwave
Clean Stove and Burners
Clean the Exterior of All Appliances
Scrub Sink
Wipe the Exterior of All Cabinets
Vacuum and Mop Floor
Clear the Kitchen Table
Remove Trash and Recycling

Dust and Wipe Things on Countertops
Disinfect Countertops
Clean Tub and Shower
Clean Toilet and Sink
Clean Mirror
Wipe Baseboards and Door
Polish Cabinets
Remove Trash

Dust and Polish Furniture
Dust Pictures and Frames
Clean Ceiling Fan and Vents
Remove Cobwebs
Change Sheets
Make Beds
Dust and Wipe Blinds
Vacuum Floor or Carpet
Wipe Baseboards and Doors

Dust Electronics
Empty Paper Shredder
Remove Trash

Clean Baseboards and Doors
Dust and Polish Furniture
Clean Ceiling Fans and Vents
Vacuum and Mop Floor Area
Treat Carpet Stains
Vacuum Carpeted Areas
Clean Front Door Glass
Dust Pictures and Frames
Remove Cobwebs

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Autumn Home Decorating Using Honey Tones

In my previous post, Autumn Decorating Using Warm Colors, I gave an example using an entryway decorated in a traditional style. Here is another example that is a bit more playful and fun. It uses honey-toned yellow as a backdrop.

Items Shown

Other Ideas
Besides the items above, you could add warm fall color with any of the following items: a wreath, a seasonal table runner, baskets, a throw blanket, paintings or other artwork, or natural elements such as pumpkins and gourds.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Autumn Decorating Using Warm Colors

When it is fall, usually people prefer a bit more warmth in their homes. This can be achieved by adding candles (such as vanilla or spice scented ones), or by incorporating warmer colors (oranges, reds, or gold), earth tones (yellows and browns), or warmer metals (like bronze or copper) into their rooms. People also crave practicality - you will want a space to sit down and take off your boots. Here is one example using a traditional entryway.

Products Shown

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Color Sensitivity Test

Did you know that 1 in 10,000 people is yellow-blue colorblind? Red-green colorblindness is more common. For more on colorblindness, visit this National Institutes of Health (NIH) vision deficiency page.

But, how astute are ordinary people like you or I at perceiving the differences between colors? It turns out there is a free quiz for that - you can take this free Online Color Challenge and find out!

My score was a 31, which was a little disappointing since I wanted a lower score (lower scores mean you are more sensitive to color). I took the test again and this time, I turned the brightness of my computer monitor up to maximum. I got a much better score this time, an 8, although I still had trouble with the blue part of the spectrum.

Take the Munsell Hue Test - I bet you can beat my score!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Twelve Home Basics

Inspired by this post series, "The New Basics: The 12 Home Items I Can't Live Without" on Design*, I created this list. The idea is simple - complete this exercise by looking around your home and assessing which items have stayed with you or will definitely be with you for the next few years. Below are my answers.
  • 1. My blue IKEA Hemnes dresser, because I love its color and functionality
  • 2. My found-by-the-side-of-the-road bureau which holds my art supplies
  • 3. A handmade toy box I've had since I was a child
  • 4. A tribal beige rug, because it goes with everything
  • 5. My mattress (practical) and my tulips vintage pillowcase from Etsy
  • 6. My giant blue poppies print from Target (no longer available)
  • 7. A handmade quilt from my aunt for our baby
  • 8. 9. & 10. Our pets (all three of them)
  • 11. Our collection of decoy ducks
  • 12. An abstract self-portrait I painted in college
Now you tell me, what are your own 12 basics?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Amanda's Nursery, Look 4

Look 4 above is the same as Look 3 except:

Amanda's Nursery, Look 3

Blush Pink Nursery with Revised Goals (Look 3)
The title of this mood board might be deceiving since the goals haven't really changed - however, certain things needed to be changed. For example, the glider chair from Look 1 is actually going in the living room, not the nursery. As another example, the room is carpeted and not hardwood as shown in Look 1.

Products / Features Shown:
The crib, armoire and knobs, baby feet artwork, and wall treatment are as listed in Look 1 in my earlier post. The crochet mobile, love print, bunny alphabet art print, nursing pillow, hearts banner, and elephants artwork are as listed in Look 2 in my earlier post. Additionally:

*Other options for window treatments:

**Other options for dressers from CraigsList that could be refinished as desired: this one, this one, this one, and this one.

Inspiration: The same as in Looks 1 & 2, except with more appreciation for the room's small size.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mood Board - Amanda's Nursery Two Different Ways

Blush Pink Baby Girl's Nursery - Look 1
Products / Features Shown:

Coral and Pink Baby Girl's Nursery - Look 2
Products / Features Shown are the same as in Look 1 above except as noted below:

Inspiration: My friend is expected a baby girl! She was interested in using a white crib, the colors blush pink and/or coral, and in avoiding overly busy patterns. She is very crafty, and I expect she could DIY a lot of the items shown above herself!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Olioboard Round 2: Green, Silver and Wood Tablescape

I wanted to continue to experiment with Olioboard, a free mood board tool. You can see my first attempt to use Olioboard here, in a modern seating area with red accents.

Products: All products shown above (the tray, cabinet, table, chair, pillow, dinner plate, bread plate, napkin and placemat, silverware, tumbler, wine glass, pitcher, and vase) can be found on my Olioboard for this room.

Inspiration: I wanted to create a dinnertime tablescape that would suit a casual meal served either inside in a dining room or outside on a veranda (obviously, the cabinet would stay inside). I wanted to use soft, subdued colors. However, if you added some pops of orange or yellow, this arrangement could easily work for you in the fall.

Olioboard Mood Board - Modern White Room with Red and Black Accents

I created the mood board above using, a site which lets users create mood boards for free! While there are some drawbacks, Olioboard is a decent option if you don't have Photoshop software (either Elements or the full version of Photoshop) and you don't want to use MS PowerPoint (which let's face it, who does?).

  • The main drawbacks I found were: 1) Olioboard only lets you add products via their site so you don't have as many furnishing options as you would if you did it yourself (such as via Photoshop); 2) sometimes white products do not display properly and are semi-transparent; and 3) some of the products Olioboard suggests are no longer available so you can't buy them after you create your dream mood board.
  • The main positives I found were: 1) it is free; 2) it is relatively easy to use; and 3) it's easy to share your creations via social media (e.g. Pinterest, Twitter, etc.).

Products: All products shown in this mood board are visible on the Olioboard site for this creation.

Inspiration: Olioboard lets you choose a background image, so I chose the polar opposite of my real home in order to have some fun. The image I chose was of a very modern home with a very open floor plan. Although I usually do not decorate with the color red in my own home, with colder temperatures and winter creeping in, I felt inspired to add some warmth to this room via the color red.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Household Command Center How-To

With back-to-school season in full swing, home organization is at the top of many people's priority lists. Below is a helpful infographic as well as detailed tips.

  1. Have a true outbox by having a container for outward bound items that actually goes outside your home on a regular basis. Try carrying a backup such as the Herschel Supply Co. Retreat Backpack from Urban Outfitters, even if you're a non-student. Just place your forms, letters, etc., inside. You could also use a tote bag, large purse, or anything else that works for you.
  2. Keep your last three months' worth of receipts in an organizer such as the C-Line 13-Pocket Expanding File in Coupon Size from Amazon with tabs for each month. After three months, most stores won't take back the item. If it's a particularly expensive or important item, move its receipt to your easy-access records area (tip #8) once the three months are up.
  3. Sometimes we still receive paper cards such as invitations, holiday cards, and thank-you cards. For invitations, you could input the information immediately into your electronic calendar (tip #5). However, if you're like me and enjoy saving the paper cards too, use magnets such as Magnutz Super Strong Magnets from The Container Store to stick the card to your fridge, thus keeping all your cards together. This is especially handy for bulky invitations that include additional information, for example a paper map, as well as for cards that include photos you want to share with visitors to your home. After the event (for invitations), or a period of three months (for other cards), discard the item or place it in your mementos storage area (tip #8).
  4. For items you consistently need, such as medical records and pet sitter notes, create an easy-access records area. The specific kind you choose is a matter of personal preference. I like to use a two-drawer metal file cabinet with hanging file folders, which could be personalized in a variety of ways, such as with DIY Spray-Paint as Dollar Store Crafts has done. You may prefer using one or more of the following systems instead: a cloud-based digital file storage system (such as Google Drive), a removable electronic hard drive (more reliable than your laptop), a regular three-ring binder, or a scanner and your desktop home computer.
  5. Use a digital calendar that you can access from both your cell phone and your computer. I like to use Google Calendar, which has many features including: the ability to create recurring events, the ability to create multiple calendars, the ability to create shared calendars, and the ability to invite someone to an event.
  6. Have a system in place to make gift-giving simple. First, consider creating an electronic wish list that you can send to family and friends. You can also create electronic wish lists for your children and even your pets. I like Amazon's wish list because it is an ongoing list (it never expires) and because, with the Amazon Wish List Button, you can add items from non-Amazon sites to your list too. These lists are especially good for forgetful people. Second, add important birthdays to your digital calendar as yearly recurring events (tip #5). And third, schedule designated shopping days on your calendar. For example, if you know you have three birthdays to celebrate in the same month, designate a day at the beginning of the month to buy all three gifts.
  7. Keep a to-do list, and preferably make it an electronically-accessible to-do list that you can see on your cell phone. How many times have you lost a paper to-do list? One example of such an app is the "Do" App by SalesForce on iTunes. However, there are many other options to choose from - just search for "to-do list" or look under the "productivity" category in your app store. Other kinds of list apps (such as for grocery and/or shopping lists) may also be useful to you.
  8. Act to file mementos immediately. If it's important, save it and pack it up as soon as possible, such as in an IKEA KVARNVIK Box with Lid, a plastic bin with a lid, or an archival storage container. If it's not important, toss it. Filing mementos as soon as possible decreases the changes that they will be lost or accidentally damaged.
  9. Keep a small desk calendar nearby so you can see the big picture at a glance while taking up minimal space. This useful National Wildlife Federation Calendar Magnet benefits charity as well.
  10. And finally, store school and office supplies in one location. There is no reason why you need a pen cup in every room of your house. Having multiple locations for these supplies increases the odds that you will over-buy some items and/or run out of others because you don't get to see everything you have at a glance. For pens and other desk suppplies, one option is the Acrylic Drawer Organizer Set from The Container Store.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Green and Gray Video Game Playing Room

Products shown:

The homeowner saw my previous mood board, Black and White Woodland Den Mood Board, but requested some changes. Most notably, he wanted more color and more of an emphasis on video game playing and TV-watching, not studying. He also wanted a room that looked more comfortable, less formal, and less graphic.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Black and White Woodland Den Mood Board

Products, listed by room area:
Fireplace Area
Electric Fireplace from Wayfair
Fireplace paint color is Requisite Gray by Serwin Williams (cool neutrals - SW 7023)
Ivory Antique Hand-Painted Duck Decoy on Ebay
Brown Vintage Hand-Painted Duck Decoy on Ebay
Enchante Quatrefoil Mirror by Kohls, already owned by homeowner
On the Walls
Wall paint color is Sherwin Williams Marshmallow (warm white - SW 7001)
Bamboo Roman Shades by JCP
Risor Screen by IKEA, which will conceal an awkward pipe
American Flag on Distressed Wood by MangoSeed on Etsy
Drum Shade Ceiling Light in Cream and Spa colors by Shades of Light
Desk Area
Leksvik Desk by IKEA
Malkolm Desk Chair by IKEA, already owned by homeowner
Rustic Arc Table Lamp by Shades of Light
Bookcase Area
Anna 2-Shelf Bookcase by Home Decorators
Document Storage Boxes Set by Home Decorators
Black Vintage Wood Hand-Painted Decoy on Ebay
Books, homeowner's own
Couch Area
Klippan Sofa in Skinnarp White by IKEA, already owned by homeowner
Couch Feet by Thirteen Colonies on Etsy in natural finish
Stockholm Leaf Pillows by IKEA
Rochelle Plus Heated Throw Blanket by JCP
Coffee Table
Origami Coffee Table by West Elm
Accent Chair Area
Sandby Chair in Blekinge White by IKEA
Blue 18x18" Pillow Cover by Blossom Pillow Co. on Etsy
Lack End Table in Birch by IKEA, already owned by homeowner
Oriental Weavers Caspian Framed Rug by Kohls

Inspiration: This is for a room that does not get a lot of light - the bright colors and white will help to expand the perception of space. The homeowner already owned the white sofa, the black-and-white leaf pattern pillows, and the black desk chair, so the black and white color scheme was an obvious choice. However, pops of light blue were added for visual interest.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Implementation Rendering of Chris' Bedroom

Chris liked Look 1: Aqua and Brown Bedroom. To go the extra mile, here is what the room would look like with the changes incorporated.

The plants, tray, candle lighting feature, paint color, and furniture shown above are the same as those listed in Look 1 in my earlier post. However, this post features a new striped Logan and Mason Villa Blue Aqua Duvet, a pair of IKEA Alang sconces that are mounted closer to the bed (less far apart) than in the before photo, and a new CB2 Jester Vase.

For reference, this is what the room looks like before any changes.

Simple Changes: Break up the space with a few more sculptural and vertical elements, add color to the walls, and use real plants instead of artificial ones.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mood Board - Chris' Bedroom Two Different Ways

Aqua and Brown Bedroom - Look 1
  Bed Linens
  Wall Decor
Above the bed artwork - homeowner's own
Candle Holder - CB2 Beam Wall Candle Holder
  Wall Paint
Sherwin-Williams Fall/Winter 2013 Color Palette - "Rain" color
  Tall Items (to break up the space)
Floor Plant - Yucca Plant
Dresser Plant - Snake Plant
  Dresser-top Decor
  Bedside Table Accessories
Nightstand - IKEA Malm Nightstand
Dresser - IKEA Malm Dresser

Slate, Copper and Brown Bedroom - Look 2
Products: Same as above except as noted below.
  Bed Linens
  Wall Paint
Sherwin-Williams Fall/Winter 2013 Color Palette - "Cobble Brown" color
  Tall Items (to break up the space)
  Bedside Table Accessories
Inspiration: My friend is redecorating. He already has his furniture, so the next step is to accessorize and choose accent colors. Because he already had some artwork he liked (close up shown below), I chose the colors from there.

Which Paint Color?

Chris' bedroom with Sherwin Williams paint in "Rain".

Chris' bedroom with Sherwin Williams paint in "Interesting Aqua" (slightly darker and more gray than "Rain").

Chris' bedroom with Sherwin Williams paint in "Cobble Brown".

Chris' bedroom with Sherwin Williams paint in "Rain" but only on one accent wall.

Chris' bedroom, before photo (shown with standard apartment white). Which color do you like best?

Color swapping was made possible using Adobe Photoshop software. Specifically, the Eyedropper Tool (to match colors to the Sherwin Williams swatches), the Pen Tool (to create a path where I wanted the color to go which I then selected), and the Fill tool.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Twelve Design Trends that We Can Do Without

How is that for a dramatic banner? Before I begin, let me stress that if you like it, then it is not a trend to you, and please continue using it throughout your home! Trends fade but your personal style is forever. Do not feel pressure to do something, or not to do it, just because of what other people say. The trends I am commenting on below are things that appear again, and again, and again on Pinterest. Not everyone who claims to love these things can - if there is no way for ten people to agree on pizza toppings, then there is no way that all ten of them like chevrons ;).

1. Chevrons - It's a zig-zag, let's move on
2. Ombre - I liked it too, once, before it was everywhere
3. White ceramic animals - Especially true if they're in bust form
4. Branches - Both faux and real, e.g. metal hooks and tiebacks shaped like twigs
5. Bad or ambiguous grammar - i.e. the For Like Ever poster and its variants
6. Owls - I still like these and I'll admit it
7. Mason jars - I like these, but there is no way that any item has 1,000 uses, despite Pinterest claims to the contrary
8. Pallet furniture - Pallet wood is extremely low quality, and who likes getting splinters?
9. Ikat pattern - Not bad on its own, only the trendiness makes it so
10.Origami tattoos - These are only slightly better than YOLO tattoos, although if I had to get one I'd want the one shown above
11.DIY Spray-Painted Chandeliers - It's a messy project with hit-or-miss results
12.Chinese Garden Stools - Because you can't fit anything on top of them

Products shown above and photo credits: Chevron Pillow (by Zazzle), Ombre Curtains (by Target), Gazelle Bust (by ZGallerie), Tree Branch Jewelry Wall Hanger (by Urban Outfitters), For Like Ever Print (this version is by Plum Prints), Owl Cookie Jar (by, Mason Jar (Ball Jar as sold by Ace Hardware), Pallet Coffee Table (by Dohler Designs, available on Etsy), Ikat Rug (by Burke Decor), Origami Crane Tattoo (by Mewlitt on Deviant Art), White Chandelier (Apartment Therapy, DC Edition), and Chinese Garden Stool in Sage (by Bronson Design).

What didn't I have the heard to put on the list? Brass finishes, chalkboard paint, not to be confused with the equally ubiquitous chalk paint, distressed paint finishes, emerald or Machalite-colored anything, quatrefoil shapes, and white Saarinen tables... There are a ton of all of those things on the Internet right now too, but I either felt like I wasn't sick of them yet, or that they might stand the test of time.

The above items were presented in no particular order. And let me stress again that if you like it, then you should keep enjoying it. Once it stops being a trend for the masses, it can become even more of a signature element in your personal style.

Mood Board - Chris' Den Two Different Ways

Red, Black and Gray Office - Look 1
Products: Star Wars Poster (homeowner's own), Building Poser on left (homeowner's own), NY Building Poster middle top (, Penn Station Clock Poster middle bottom (, Sherwin-Williams Wall Paint in Pediment color, Serendipity Luna Multi Rug (Rugs USA), Red Fleur de Lis Wall Mirrors (Bombay Co.), Black Corner Desk (homeowner's own), Vilgot Desk Chair in Red (homeowner's own from IKEA), Nyfors Desk Lamp (IKEA), City Skyline Pencil Holder (CB2), Vakis White Desk Clock (IKEA), Spare Tire Bowl to use for keys (APT2B), Storage Bench in Charcoal to use as guest seating (Kirkland's), New Orleans Saints' Football (Dick's), New Orleans Saints' Football Poster (homeowner's own), Black and Silver Globe (Amazon), Bladis Storage Boxes in Black (IKEA), Hemnes Bookcase (homeowner's own from IKEA), and use books about New Orleans and/or architecture as items of interest in bookcase such as this Guide to Orleans Architecture (Amazon).

Red, Black and Gray Office - Look 2
Products: Same as above except for Sherwin-Williams Wall Paint in Morning Fog color, Globe Wall Mirrors (APT2B), Desk-sized Bladis Set (IKEA), Infinity Red Clock (, and Nils Stool with Red Stripe (IKEA).

Inspiration: My buddy is looking to repaint his den. He already owned the black desk and bookcase as well as the red desk chair, so choosing the color scheme was easy.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mood Board - Dining Room Using Only IKEA Products

Organic White and Green Dining Room
Products by IKEA:
ps maskros pendant light fixture, overens bowlsikea 365+ platesdiod glasswareljuda placematssmycka flowersensidig vasedocksta / ikea ps 2012 dining setliatorp side tableofelia bad cushions for chairs, stockholm ruglerkil art, and emmie blinds.

DIY  modifications: I colored in a few of the buds in the lerkil artwork with colors found in the rug for an added touch - this could be accomplished using watercolor paints.

Inspiration: I got to thinking about this because the 2014 IKEA catalog just arrived in the mail!

Friday, August 2, 2013

What This Blog Is About

I want this blog to include the hodgepodge of things that are important to me and run through my mind on a day-to-day basis. Examples of topics I plan to include are: design ideas, my artwork and writing, home projects, and the pursuit of simple living. Product, website and book reviews may be included. Mood boards may also be included because I love decorating.

My cat, Froylan, is skeptical of my abilities to be successful with this blog...

Main difficulties I anticipate:
- Photos: Is there a better way to upload photos to the internet than Google+? There must be, because it's gotten so difficult! I'm also not a great photographer. If I can't snap it with my iPhone, I'll probably be too lazy to take the picture and/or to upload it.
- Organization: For some as interested in simple living as I am, it is certainly difficult to be disciplined enough to stay on track, and I think being better organized could help me.
- Shyness: There, I said it. I am a shy person. I'm not sure I'll be able to find a comfortable balance between sharing my ideas and also trying to remain relatively anonymous.