Friday, 28 May 2010

Go Figure.

We've worked so tirelessly to get the inside of our house feeling good and now all we want to do is go outside. 

Summer's here (ok, maybe not really, but it totally feels like it) and it's time to break out the sprinkler for the little guys to play in!!  I found this awesome vintage (I think) set of black iron outdoor patio furniture this week at Lucketts and I can't wait to bring it home in our truck today!!  It's really not at all like this one from High Society below (it has  much straighter lines)  but its' the first thing I thought of (and my husband too--  poor guy has an awesome memory & I've been filling his head with decorating!!) when I saw the set. 

It has kind of a modern retro-chic feeling that will work really well with the exterior of our {not-so-pretty}70s house.  Here's a photo of it when we first moved in last year. (below)  Enough good things haven't  been done to it yet to warrant an "after" picture.  (But we have moved the neon playset into a less conspicuous area until we can get the wooden one we're after, and the tree debris & drain pipe are gone.)

...The back and sides of our house are still beigey/ "nude" (I love to say that about our house...  it cracks me up) while the front is now a rich gray.  (Still??  Yes, still.)

{My little fern hanging on for dear life}

...  I know the neighbors much just love us...  but hopefully they won't think we're as worthless as we look once we paint the sides & back of the house as SOON as Dave off of work for the summer.  (High school English teacher :)  I can't wait!!  (Both for summer vacation and a fully-painted house.)  

Anyway, the patio set is kind of a combination of these (in black iron) but doesn't have pillows that we can use:

{vintage set}

{image from Maas Brothers recoating...  It has a simlar 'X' back but with a large "O" in the center which is almost exactly the same as the caged lantern in our front entry.  (see photo of entry a few pics up)}

{Crate & Barrel via Hooked on Houses...  It has similar straight, spare lines but it's black. }

I LOVE its size (a massive 3-seater sofa, a chair and a chaise!!) and it has awesome lines, but the paint is peeling off and of course we need to have cushions made.   I can't get the High Society cushions off of my mind but might  go with a solid fabric and do pillows.  (I wouldn't be going pink out there...  but possibly an enlarged "grandma" floral...  I'm also thinking about orange as I love it with the gray on the house...)

We've also got plans to work on the shed/ playhouse this weekend...

Below is a photo of the ceiling all primed & ready for paint...

I set up a Facebook Page for Pure Style Home last night & posted a couple more pics of the shed as it is now.  I'm not quite sure how to really work facebook yet but hopefully I'll get the hang of it.  I'm thinking I will post little updates & progress on projects there.  Not as exciting as "voila" before & afters but I know some of you like to see behind-the-scenes & "progress" pictures.

Hope you have a happy Memorial Day weekend & get a dip in a pool!!!  If you have some time, check out the new facebook page & send me some thought/tips/ideas!!  (I'm so slooooow with computers/ technology!!)  I'd love to know what you'd like to see on there.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

All around the mulberry bush

As you might remember, we moved into our house about a year ago...  One of the funny things about first moving into a house (especially in early Spring like us before the leaves are out) is that you don't necessarily know what kinds of plants & trees you have on your property.  This past year it's been so great to watch the place bloom around us & to find out what everything is.  One of our favorite "mystery trees" that we saw when we first moved in turned out to be a mulberry tree!


And we love to eat them!!  (Things just taste better outside & especially when they're from your own yard, don't they?)  It's so relaxing to head outside at the end of the day & pick mulberries.  I love that we don't have to do anything at all to keep them alive (because my thumb is the blackest of blacks.)

{Christian's getting so big -will be 3 yrs old in July- and can reach the lower branches}

{yum! yum!}

...After we pick them we head to the backyard to the adirondack chairs to relax & enjoy the mulberries ... and forget about how messy our house is, the work that needs to be done, and the craziness of daily life etc.

They're not the cleanest of foods...

{Mulberry-stained hands, feet and face}

...But they sure make us happy...

Chores, work, messes and "things" will always be there... 
Think of what you can do with the people you love to take a quick break from it all.
Savor all the little moments you can.
simple      happy      beautiful      living.


Monday, 24 May 2010

Washington Design Center Hall of Fame Gala

This past Thursday night was the opening Black Tie Gala for the Washington Design Center's 2010 Design House sponsored by Elle Decor Magazine.  Dave & I decided to go and were so excited... until I tried on my dress options 2 hours before we were supposed to leave.  eeeeeeeeeek  not good.  You would have thought I would have been a little more prepared but it's fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants-time at our house these days and it really just slipped my mind.  I also don't have a full-length mirror right now (it helps the post pregnancy self-esteem... no actually we just keep forgetting we need one ;) so I couldn't tell what I looked like in a dress and my mom snapped a picture to show me.  (A very diplomatic/ honest move.)  And when I saw the pic, I knew we had to high-tail it to Tyson's (our mall).  So to Tyson's we went with Dave in his tux, us sprinting around like lunatics with only 50 minutes to find a dress.  I went all over but eventually I found a dress- and the ppl at Nordstroms were so sweet as always.  (This is no joke-  ever since high school I have these nightmares every so often that I'm off to homecoming or prom and I am dress shopping and I don't have anything to wear and I'm late or miss the dance.  Well, this was my nightmare come to life and it was not really nightmarish at all...  just kind of ridiculous.)  I wore the dress out and people laughed at us as we sprinted through the mall- me in a floor-length gown with flip-flops...  ruinging any chance of a good hair day.  When we finally got there we saw lots of friendly faces & also met some new ones: 
{ Textile Designer Bryant Archie, me & my friend Michele Ginnerty of My Notting Hill

{New friend Nicole Qualls of Elle Decor.  We're kindred spirits- do you see how she loves the monkey?!}

{monkeys all over the showhouse!}

{Bryant, me, my husband, fellow-shelter-designer Raji Rhadhakrishnan and her husband}
photo by Michele Ginnerty via My Notting Hill

{Dave & superstar advertising director Matthew Talomie from Elle Decor  ...We love Elle Decor  and were so happy they came down to DC!!}

{ me with friend/designer Rachel James, and Kathleen Litchfield}

I was a very bad blogger (as usual at any events) and spent more time having fun than taking pictures, so I missed a lot of great new friends in the photos including Sherry from Elle Decor (Nicoles's mother- what an awesome family they are!!!) and  sweet/fun-local-designers Sally Steponkus, Heather Safferstone, Barbara Franceski, Andrea Hickman, and builder John Petro.

I did get this photo of Kelley Proxmire in her gorgeous turquoise accented foyer:

{She matched her room- how perfect?!}

{ Chandy with honeycomb beeswax shades..  LOVE}

{And of course I loved the accents in he garden room}
...But then the music got to us and dancing ensued and the camera was forgotten.  ah vell.
If you're interested in seeing all of the rooms, check out this article in The Washington Post or go to the Design Center to see them in person!  Thanks to the Design Center and Elle Decor for an amazing night!!


ps- we went out afterwards and people thought we'd just gotten married!! of course dave insisted it was true as he showed them photos of our 5 month old and 2 year old. 

Friday, 21 May 2010

Women's Shelter Makeover

Last week a group of local designers headed by Jill Sorensen finished up the makeover of a local women's shelter for victims of domestic violence.  To say it was an awesome experience is an understatement.  I partnered up with Rebecca Ilgenfritz of Acanthus and Acorn to do the living area/entry and a bedroom of the house.  Here's what the living area looked like the first time we visited:

The shelter is affiliated with a local thrift store so we were able to "shop" the thrift store for items for the shelter.  (SO much fun!!!)  Many of the items used were also generously donated by people through Knock-Out Abuse.  We kept the existing furniture & found more furniture, lamps, artwork & accessories at the thrift store/ donations haul.  We all met at the house for a big painting day and - with the help of a group of local volunteers- added color to the drab house & some of the furnishings.  Rebecca and I used fabric remnants to sew pillows, we painted lamps, Rebecca kindly stole her daughter's curtains, and we purchased new shades for all the lamps at Target.   Here's the space now:

{The "new" room}

We popped bright pink peacock feather Liberty of London shades on the existing lamps and used shots of pink throughout the room. 

We wanted to create a space that would encourage the women to hang out with each other & linger.  Of course it's all very "use-what-you-have" but I think the end result is fun & cheerful. 

The bedroom we redid currently belongs to a mom and her two small children. The rooms have to function for an entire family and hold all of their belongings.  Here's a close-up of the bed before:

And here it is now:

Here's a shot taken by Rebecca of the room before:

{Photo by Rebecca Ilgenfritz}

And here it is now:
{Photo by Rebecca Ilgenfritz}

Rebecca generously donated the beautiful antique iron twin bed and the new bunk bed was also donated.  We chose a pale aqua for the walls (that worked perfectly with our pillow fabric) to give the room a relaxed, restful feeling. 

Here's a photo of the lamp before:

And here it is now, piled atop thrift store books for some added height:

Here's the nail polish-stained dresser before:

And here is is now:

I love it!  All of the accessories were free from the thrift store and we added yet another Target shade to the painted urn lamp.  The green leaves in the little white vase are actually just "weeds" I picked from outside the house so they can very easily replace them with new ones.  The vintage weathered frame prints are insanely beautiful.  We spied them in the office at the thrift store and practically begged for them, keeping our fingers crossed that they weren't already spoken for.  They're not hung symmetrically as the dresser isn't perfectly centered on the wall & the visual weights of the twin bed and the bunk bed are so off, so a perfectly symmetrical grouping just didn't feel quite right. 

While taking the mattresses of the bed, we found that one of the mattresses had a beautiful vintage-floral pattern on it in the colors we were using.  We loved it!!  We decided to keep it under the bunk bed to be pulled out for a fun spot the kids could play on:

How much fun is the gold-and-cream rug?  (Thrift store again!)  It hides some stains on the carpet and is another soft spot for kids to play.  The bulletin board (below) was painted in the same aqua as the walls so it will simpy recede and we added a little tray with wooden back massagers on it.  Using a back massager is one of those things I used to love doing with my mom when I was little, so we thought the family might enjoy them and be able to do a little "massage train."  When the family was shown their new room, the kids immediately picked them up & started playing with them wondering what they were.  I love toys that spur interaction.

We used more leftover fabric to cover the box spring on the bed (this one had been with me since college & I'm so happy it's finally found a good home!!)  I love the little painting we found (another thrift donation!!) and hung next to the bed:

And one last picture (because you know I'm a picture nut):

I really can't thank all of the people involved enough for such a rewarding experience.  Cathy (the director of the shelter) is one special lady (& had to deal with our constant questions & emails) who cares so much about these women and helps improve their lives daily.  Jill Sorensen masterminded this whole thing and is the founder of Knock-Out Abuse.  She's such a upbeat, generous talented (and gorgeous!!) person.  Danielle, Ellen, Jennifer Sergent, the volunteer painters and the crew from Hardwood Artisans were such a huge help in getting our spaces finished in time and there's no way we could have done it without them. The other designers involved- Raji Radhakrishnan, Denise Willard and of course Jill Sorensen & Danielle Sigwalt are all just amazing people and I'm honored to have gotten the chance to work with them.  It's definitely a bonding experience and you really feel as if you're part of a team and I know I'll be seeing more of these new friends.  And last but not least, to Rebecca for putting up with my baby-child-smashed-rarely-any-free-days schedule, working so hard to make this project happen and for parterning up with me.  I'm so happy with how everything turned out.   

Here are some links to all of the people involved.  Check out all of the gorgeous before & afters of the other rooms!!

Rebecca Ilgenfritz: Acanthus and Acorn 
Hardwood Artisans - I highly recommend them for any built-in/ furniture work you need if you're in the area. 
Raji Radhakrishan: Design Dossier - mother's refuge
Denise Willard: Dream Design Live. - playroom
 Jill Sorensen Live.Like.You. -- go here for a wrap up post complete with videos

To check out the full article on the entire project by Jennifer Sergent, go to DC by Design.  You will not BELIEVE how amazing the other rooms are!!! 

Finally, if want to help, check out Knock-Out Abuse to find out how.  If you live in another area, consider contacting local shelters to start a project of your own.  It's one of the most rewarding experiences you'll ever have.  I'm going to cherish the memory of the mother & her two adorable children (a little boy & a little girl) walking into their new bedroom forever.  It was better than anything you can imagine.  I keep playing it in my head over and over.  She just kept saying, "It's beautiful," as she and the kids slowly took the room in.  The kids scooped up the back massagers and started touching & exploring everything and it's amazing to see that even 2-4 year olds appreciate something like this.  I didn't want to leave, but standing there staring at them through the doorway forever was probably not cool.  The mother was so thankful and I've never had a more deserving client.  This is really what it's all about.


Wednesday, 19 May 2010

One perfect picture & a hug from mom

{Windsor Smith's LA Home, photo by Victoria Pearson for House Beautiful}

I wanted to get a beautiful photo up to replace the house dropped on the Wicked Witch of the East from the previous post.  ;)   I'm pretty sure this space is one of the most incredible I've ever seen.  Windsor Smith is amazing.  I'm not going to go over all of the details, but in short, I think it's perfect.

Thanks everyone so much for the kind words yesterday & I know so many of you are in the exact same boat.  I hate to get all mushy, but I will because I realized something and I think it's worth mentioning,  My mom came over yesterday to help with the kids (like she does twice a week) and she could tell I was feeling overwhelmed.  She was sitting on the sofa and said, "Aw, come here" and I did and she just hugged me like a kid and I got a little teary and felt better.  I have to say I definitely thought I was past that "mom-makes-it-all-better-with-a-hug-thing," but I'm not.  It still works.

She helped clean the (terribly-messy/ trashed) house and stayed late to babysit the kids so I could take Dave out for his birthday dinner.  It's pretty amazing what moms can do and I'm so thankful for mine.  She swooped in and fixed me just when I needed her. 

{thanks mom}

And since I've already gone down the emo-road today, I have to mention that my husband does the all-better-with-a-hug-thing and it always seems to work too.


Monday, 17 May 2010

Me Right Now

{I feel a bit like her right now}
... but not dead, just a bit smothered/ smashed ;)

Things have been a little crazy lately & I'm having trouble keeping up with emails, requests, etc.  I apologize to anyone I haven't gotten back to (especially those who've asked me to check out their blogs & whom I haven't gotten back to)  and hope you can understand that I'm at a kind of busy point in life right now.  I have an insane amount of guilt about missing emails/ not having enough time to respond/ not reading all of the blogs I love & I hope you know it never comes from a place of thinking I'm important/ above anything or anyone...  I'm just running out of time.  As I type right now I hear my husband in the other room tucking in our two-year-old, reading him a story.

Every now & then I'll read a post on a blog that says how we (as bloggers) are supposed to act and what we're supposed to do.  I usually agree with them 100% in theory (comment on people's blogs who comment on yours, always thank people for the sweet emails, comments, etc) but am just not physically able to keep up and do what I should do.  There are so many amazing new blogs popping up and I sadly have to face the fact that I can't keep up.

I love blogging. I really do.  But if I followed all of the etiquette/ rules, I wouldn't be able to even write my blog anymore.  There simply aren't enough hours in the day.   So I apologize if I haven't responded to you or if you haven't seen my comments lately.  I really do care- I just have someone needing me almost every minute of the day here at home. 

Also, thanks so much to everyone pointing out that my name was misspelled on the new blog layout.  I had caught that too and since it was so confusing want to let you know that it's "Liess" (you can do the whole "I" before "E" thing to remember ;).  There are also still a bunch of kinks being worked out with the blog & the links & fonts, etc. and I'm hoping it gets resolved quickly and as soon as it does, I'll give you the real tour ;)

Hope everyone had a good weekend and big hug,

ps- am still slowly adding back my blogroll.  If you don't see yours on here, it's not because I'm removing you, it's simply because it's going to take a while to get it retyped.  I know how important our blogrolls are to each other & will get on it as soon as I can.  thanks for being patient! :)

And now off to read some bedtime stories!!

Friday, 14 May 2010

A New Look!!

Well the new Pure Style Home look is finally here!! wahoooo  Thanks so much to Jessica Nell Graves of the Front Porch Studio for creating the new site!!  There are still a few things to be changed, (have you noticed my blogroll is gone??  As Jessica told me it would, when you switch sites it disappears so I'll be typing it back by hand over the next couple of weeks or as long as it takes me.  oh joy ;) and we'll be getting to these things but this is pretty much it!!  I'll write more about it as soon as I can, but am off to get ready for a big day:

A couple of months ago, a group of interior designers headed by Jill Sorensen- local designer & founder of Knock-Out Abuse- got together to redecorate a local shelter for women who've suffered domestic violence.  The women move to the shelter- usually with their children- to get back on their feet.  They stay for a for as long as they need to stay and it's often a stay of 4-8 months.  Jennifer Sergent of DC by Design alerted us all of the need for designers & a few of us came together to get the job done:

{The Group!}

We got to shop the local thrift store for items to use (Heaven!!)  and we're using a bunch of donated items & of course got a little crafty.  A couple of weeks ago we painted the house and tomorrow is installation day!  I can't wait for the moms to see their new house!!  I met a couple of them on painting day & they're just so excited about it!!  One of the main reasons I love designing is because it makes people happy.  Being in a space that feels good is good for the soul & I really hope that we can help in some small measure. 

{A room before...  fyi the curtains had to stay!}

If you're interested in helping out, check out Knock-Out Abuse & to find out how.  There are at least 4 more shelters in need of help with this particular organization & I can imagine there are many more than that in the area.  Wish us luck!! 


ps-  Today I'm guest blogging for Camila over at High-Heeled Foot In the Door about 5 Deals Under $25 to Spruce up Your Home.    Check it out & have an awesome weekend!!!! xoxo

*Also, I found out that if you don't have cable, you can still watch 9 By Design online at Bravo!! YAY!!!