Friday, 31 May 2013

Pretty Little Fridays... The Classic Blue Ball Jar at My House

I looooove Springtime!!!  One of my favorite things to do is to bring in things from my yard and put flower arrangements around my house.  (Yeah, I know it's 2013, but I still love it.)  I like things to look simple & relaxed so one of my staples has always been the classic Ball jar.  Whenever I see them for a great price at a thrift store or flea  market, I pick them up.  

{Chive blooms from my mom...  I love them in the bright blue jar in my bathroom which I can't WAIT to show you more pics of!!}

I was contacted recently by someone from the Ball Jar brand about their just released 100th Anniversary "heritage" collection jars...  and was thrilled when they offered to send me a set of 6 to blog about!!!  (You can find them from different sources online, but here's one I found: BALL JARS}

As you can see from these pics, the Heritage Collection Ball Jars are a bit more intense of a blue than the older jars, which I love!!!  They're really vibrant & cheerful looking.  

{Surprise Sunflowers from my guys}

I've been using them all over the house and the boys have even been drinking out of them.  Although I appreciate a good craft or an extremely-effortful-pretty-something, (my brain is tired and I can't think of the real word for that, so let's pretend effortful's a word. ;)  I rarely do that kind of thing...  BUT... after perusing the Ball jar pinterest page, I got a little inspired and tried a little something fun with the Ball jars for a Friday afternoon happy hour at the office:

(Ciders!  And if you hang out with me, you know these are Woodchucks ;) ;)

We've got lots to be thankful for so we are celebrating!!  Have a great weekend!!

And if you need some real Ball jar eye candy, check out their pinterest page here.

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Good Read

My Sister-In-Law sent me this article this morning, perfect timing.  Getting out the door every morning running no less than 10 minutes behind is a small victory every day. This morning that feat proved to be even harder with a cranky, cranky, colored ALL over the wall toddler.  Good thing I have pictures like this saved on my phone that make me instantly forget I aged 5 years in 1 hour.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

If One Space Is Good, Two Is Better.....Right?

For the time being I have decided to take on a second space in conjunction with my current space (#15) in Interiors and Antiques.  Another title for this post could be, "The One Where She Lost Her Mind".  Craziness, a whole other level of craziness.  The second space is in Interiors @ Pepper Place.  I am still getting moved in but so far, so good.  I am not sure I will be able to keep both places up but I am excited to give it a try, at least for 6 months.  
If you are in Pepper Place, especially for the Farmer's Market please come by!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Dining Room Before & After

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that I love before & afters.  (And if you're new to it, I love before & afters.)  There's something so satisfying about them with their instant gratification.  You get to see the meh "before" and then scroll down a little and the room is finished.  



In my mind when I'm planning rooms, one way I look at them is by thinking about each wall and each view or "elevation."  I think about how it will look from the camera's eye.  When I'm finishing up a room or accessorizing it, I often take photos myself of rooms to make sure I'm happy with how the space is looking.  The camera helps me be more objective & more critical.  

The dining room I'm sharing pictures of today was the type of room that I can see with pretty much crystal clarity in my mindseye as I'm creating the plan.  It was easy for me to envision because it was a fairly square room and had an important focal wall that is seen right when you walk into the house.  I worked with my clients throughout the first floor of their home (It was their family room I showed above, and you can view the full family room here) but the dining room was actually the first room we did, because it was empty. My client wanted a relaxed yet elegant dining room that made her go "ahhh." (And that's a sigh, not a yell ;)  Like I mentioned in my previous post about this client, she & her family love to spend time on the water and she loves nature.  

We started with this blank slate:

And ended up with this:

I was so excited about this plan when I presented it to my client.  I typically work with my clients throughout almost their entire homes so the first presentation meeting for the first room or set of rooms is really important in setting the tone for the home  and for determining how we're going to work together.  As much as I love designing a home in its entirety, I also love for clients to get the chance to experience a room entirely through from conception to completion because after that, the trust between us is incredibly strong as we go through the rest of the home.  Decorating a house can be worrisome for lots of people and so having this trust is key.

When I started working on the plans for this room, I knew I wanted to do a painted blue sideboard and a wood-topped table.  I love a mix of painted and wood furnishings in a room and thought blue would be perfect for my client's coastal leanings.  All of my client's inspiration rooms seemed to have slipcovered parsons chairs so we decided to go with those and I had them made with simple linen slips that didn't reach the floor, to keep things casual.  I thought adding a casual striped dhurrie would bring the formality down another notch and relax everything a bit.   The branch chandelier was one of the most important elements in the room to me & when I presented it to my client (at our first presentation meeting) I really wasn't sure that she would go for it.  (I'll be honest, most clients wouldn't go for it.)  I think I probably hugged her when she said "yes" to it like it was really no big deal.  (Thanks Colleen!!! :)

{Custom Side board & Windsor Chairs by Furniture from the Barn

For the artwork, we found these big black herb prints to go above the blue sideboard that would really create a dramatic focal point.  We've used black accents throughout the room and I liked the idea of doing a big jolt of black in the middle of the room.  We flanked the artwork with some gorgeous sconces by Julie Neil.  We had curtains made in my "Live Paisley" in a custom brown colorway to bring a little bit more organic movement into the room.  

 And, although it doesn't look like it, we did repaint this room.  The color we chose (my favorite go-to ivory, Benjamin Moore's "seashell" just had the slightest bit of glow to it that the original paint was missing.  It's something that doesn't necessarily show in photos, but when you get the right light neutral up on a wall, it makes a room sing.  It was that trust I mentioned that really made this project so special and such a pleasure to work on.  The Bamboo Windsor Chairs initially made my client a bit nervous because she thought they might feel a bit too traditional, and so we held off on them. Once the room was installed without them though, my client was ready for them.  They're one of my favorite elements in the room and that little addition of warm wood was just what it needed.

I'm off for an installation in DC, but hope you enjoyed!! I'll be sharing our clients' foyer soon too. And thank you, especially, to my client, for being so open-minded about everything.  (She's the one who is an artist and doesn't know it yet.  See here.  She's said she's open to doing more paintings, so if you're interested, send me an email.)  Have a great day!!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

*All after photos taken by my insanely talented friend, Helen Norman

Monday, 27 May 2013

It's Here

Summer is here.  This weekend was the official start of longer days, heat to great you when you walk outside, the pool, cookouts, flip flops...watermelon.  I am a summer baby.  I am as happy in the water and scorching heat as any other place and time of year.    While unfortunately summer does not bring with it a summer break I am going to take additional time off to be with Henry.  I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  I especially want to say thank you to those men and women who have and are bravely serving our country.  You deserve more than I could ever write here.

Friday, 24 May 2013

more FAQs

Yay for Friday!!  I've got another round of most frequently asked questions for you...  Like I mentioned before, I'm really not able to keep up with emails & questions these days, (due to work, family & life in general)  so I'll be doing FAQ Roundups to hopefully answer as much as I can. I appreciate your patience!! Thank you!!

Here we go: 

Q: Hello. Love your table. Can you share how the lucite holds up to scratches. if it scratches can they be removed? Special cleaner needed etc? 

A: My lucite table has gotten a beat-down at our house.  Our boys have scratched it to death with toys and it looks pretty terrible after three or four years of abuse.  I have to admit, after I saw that it was getting so badly scratched, I sort of gave up and figured that we'd replace it later.  I keep magazines or a tray and books on the coffee table anyway so it's mostly hidden.  I've also watched my kids fall on it more than once without crying, which is what's kept it in the house for so long.  They also love playing under it and around it because of the clearness.  (Nothing's funnier than watching a newly crawling baby ram his face into it ;) ;)  However, I recently purchased a lucite buffer/ polishing kit (by Novus) and one of these days am going to give it a try.  I'll definitely post to let you know how it goes.  Lucite should be cleaned with a super-soft cloth (never paper towels) and hot soapy water.  Don't ever use a cleaning product like Windex or anything else in a spray bottle that isn't specifically for lucite.  

{Our client's custom porch swing}

Q:  Where did you get the porch swing?

A: We had our client's custom porch swing made by Vintage Porch Swings , who did a beautiful job.

Q: I JUST read your post about not having time to answer all questions, so I get that you might not get to this and no hard feelings! Anyway, I've admired this room for awhile. I'm looking for the right paint color for my room and I'm struggling. I want a cream or white, and then noticed the curtains in this room. Are those the Pottery Barn Velvet in Ivory?

A:  Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you!  The walls in this room are seashell by Benjamin Moore and the curtain panels are custom and made of oyster-colored linen.  

{Our kitchen, when the island was still in-progress}

Q: What type of floors do you have in your home?

A: We used unfinished random width (4"-8") wide plank white oak and had it finished with  gray Woca oil.  We got our floors from Mountain Lumber Co. (specifically, Janel Conforti) who couldn't have been more helpful.  Woca Oil "contains primarily cold pressed vegetable oils and aromatic hardening oils that penetrate into the surface of the wood floor and, as they cure, harden to form a very protective surface that becomes part of the wood floor. This means that normal wear and tear, such as small scratches and indentations, do not show up as much as on a floor with a urethane finish.  The oil finish will also let the wood floor breathe through its surface.." (taken from their website)  I loooove the finish on our floors as it's matte and very natural-looking.  Oils do leave marks on the the floor and it's already started to develop a patina, which is what we're after.  

Anyway, I'm off for the day & have amazing Memorial Day weekend!!!  To check out my last round of FAQs, (including questions about my wall mural on my dining room wall) go here.


If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Hello Friday

 Hello Friday, so good to see you.  It has been on wild and crazy week.  I am beginning to feel like I say that every week but this week I mean it.  I am a planner.  A logistics queen.  I start each day with the schedule down to the last detail- perfectly planned out.  It seems though that each and every day the world has something else planned.  But I survived and today starts four days off with my boys.  I think I am actually going to delete my work e-mail off my phone until Tuesday to help my mini stay-cation.  
 (Henry discovered a new FAVORITE toy- fabric books, go figure)

Don't worry though, not everyone in our household has had such a hard week.
I hope you have a wonderful, safe and peaceful weekend.

*not sure why these pictures are stretching but like I mentioned above-nothing ever goes as planned.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Garden Progress

Our kitchen garden isn't quite finished, but I couldn't resist sharing a few progress pics with you!!  Like I mentioned in my last post about the garden, I'm working with a good childhood friend of mine Danylo Kosovych, who owns Organic Edible Gardens in Arlingon, Virginia, and specializes in creating edible landscaping.

I wanted a space with lots of paths and separate beds so we could really enjoy being in the space and walking through it.  And here's how it's looking so far:

Next week, Danylo will be adding more black compost to the tops of the beds for a more finished look (and because it's good for the plants too ;)  and they'll be cutting all of the bamboo poles (which are for tomatoes) to the same height.

Here's a view of the whole garden and you can see I haven't moved in my second pot yet as I'm debating what to actually put in the pots in the centers of the paths.

The one pot pictured here holds my hydrangea but it needs to go back to my patio so I'll either get more of these or do fruit trees if possible.  (I'd love to do lemons but I'm really terrible with keeping things alive indoors throughout the winter so I'd rather something that can stay out in the winter...  I did see some pretty appletrees yesterday but don't know if they'll outgrow their pots too quickly... guess I should talk to my garden designer ;) ;)

(Ashby girl enjoys a morning jaunt  ;) ;)

I added delphinium yesterday throughout the gardens because I had to get my flower fix and am impatiently awaiting for my veggies to get tall!!  The beds are edged in boxwood (which of course need to grow in) and I've put a bunch of boxwood basil between them to fill them out a bit for this season.  

I'll go over everything that's in there when I can get some better pics next week but I hope you enjoyed this little peek!!  Have a great day!!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Happy 1st Birthday to Lou!

One year ago today, this little guy arrived:

He's one of the loves of my life and is just such a happy kid.

This is really what it's all about for me.  (yes, sleeping too ;) ;)

I love my wild little thing!!

Happy Birthday to Luke (Louie/ Lou/ Lulu) 
We love  you.

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Monday, 20 May 2013

A Different Kind Of Art

A while back a client asked me to do something with a collection of antique barn hinges her father had given her.  She was speaking my language.  The original thought was to make a collage on the wall itself but I was drawn to the idea of placing them on a single piece- mostly for the wall's sake.  
 I will tell y'all this was a LABOR.of.LOVE.  As I said on Instagram, emphasis on LOVE.  I will say, it has been a while since something has kept me up at night but this did.  The sheer weight of the hinges gave me fits.  If you were to turn this board around you would be astonished by the supports.  
I have to thank my installer who I called on multiple occasions to ask him if he was sure this crazy concoction  could be hung.  He reminded me we had hung much heavier....and crazier in the past.  
Along the way- board created, now onto the order and how to attach.

He was right but still, there was something about this piece that had really gotten to me.  I think it was a.) I love anything old and interesting- hinges?!?!?! yes please.  b.) It is sentimental and I am sap. c.) I have the utmost respect for this client and appreciate her faith in my creative process.
There was one more piece that was too large to fit so it is on another wall.  The rest of the space is looking good as well, including the floor.  Pictures day.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Quiet Time

Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
    do not trust your own cleverness.
 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
    for they will surely sprout wings
    and fly off to the sky like an eagle. Proverbs 23: 4-5

A verse that came to me this week and stuck as I strive to find the work/Motherhood balance that works for me and our family.  It is not so much that I am trying to "get rich", it is that success is very rewarding and drives you for more.  Not necessarily a bad thing but right now my priority is family and the balance is a struggle.  I am so thankful for the blessings God has placed on my business but I want to make sure I always keep that in check with what is true and important.

This week this verse speaks to me regarding my career but in other weeks I will have to remember it when "stuff", material possessions, gain to much importance to me.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Progress Photos of a Client's Cool House

A very sweet client of ours lives in a home that overlooks the most beautiful stretch of woods near the Potomac...  Her builder (many years ago & has since stopped building) designed her incredible home to fit right in with the land.  The views are seriously breathtaking.  

{we recently had the red walls painted a soft cream and replaced recessed lights in the foyer with overscale glass orbs.  The front hallway acts as a gallery where our client displays special pieces they've collected over the years.}

Behind the house is a steep forested hill overlooking a stream.  The first time I saw it was in the Winter and you could see forever into the woods.  It was incredible!!! As you can see from the photos, now it's like being up in a treehouse surrounded by lush green everywhere you look.  We added a cozy little hangout area on the stair landing so our client and her family/friends could enjoy the view:

{Some of the wood in the home including the interior doors was a pink pickled oak while the floors were a red hardwood.  They really clashed and changing the floors wasn't an option so we decided to stain the wood black and paint the trim cream to unify everything.}

Throughout the home we also had all of the window mullions and doors painted black to frame the views and it's made such a difference!!

I love this quiet little writing nook off of the living room... A chair for the desk is being made now:

The photo of her mother is so beautiful...

Anyway, I'm off for the weekend but hope you enjoyed these little peeks into our client's home!!  

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Garden Plans!!

I  mentioned a while back that I'm working with one of my good childhood friends, Danylo Kosovych, to put a vegetable garden onto our property.   (Kindergarten photo below: Danylo is the blonde boy under the   1987-1988 writing and I'm to the left of the writing with the awesome mushroom cut.  ---Thanks for that Mom! :/   )

Danylo owns Organic Edible Gardens and specializes in organic edible landscaping in Northern Virginia.

I love the designs that he & his designer John have come up with.  John's drawings are gorgeous!!

Our house is a cedar contemporary but I tend to like more classical gardens and have always loved the idea of a "garden with paths" so the design was a bit of a challenge.

{We've been working on relaxing all of the heavily pruned shrubs a bit so they look more natural...  This was the real estate photo from when the house was on the market.}

Here's another picture of our house before we bought it & added the patio:

The garden will be going to the right of the house along the fence and it will be as deep as the house.  This was a tough decision for us to make because it will reduce the size of our "playing field" and we're constantly playing soccer or football or something else out there:

...But we decided to give it a go because the yard is still going to be large enough to play football or soccer even with the garden.

Besides where we were going to put the garden, we also had a bunch of other decisions to make: raised beds or in-ground beds?  What should the paths be made out of?  Should we go symmetrical/classical or more casual/ meandering like the rest of the landscaping at our place?  My biggest fear was (and is!) that the type of garden I really love doesn't exactly "go" with the style of my home.

I collected a bunch of images on pinterest of gardens that I loved and of course, I was drawn to the more classic gardens.  Many had brick paths...


...or gravel ones:

All had a series of paths because I want us to be able to enjoy actually being "in" the garden vs. just being beside it.

{My friends' Brooke & Steve Giannetti's kitchen garden in the front yard of their previous house...  When we visited them, the first thing I remember noticing was the smell of lavendar as we walked up to their front door!!! Heaven!!}

I love the use of focal points in gardens.  In Brooke's garden, above, your eye is drawn down the path to the garden table, which looks like the perfect spot for working and relaxing, making the garden feel more like a "room."

I also  really love the look of gardens with gravel paths...

...But I'm a barefoot kind of person and I don't like walking barefoot on gravel so we've decided to try grass paths this year and see how they work out.

When deciding between raised beds or in-ground beds, I reviewed my inspiration gardens and realized that I was drawn to gardens that were edged in a plant or shrub, like this classical boxwood hedge:

I want my garden to feel a little bit wilder so we are going with boxwoods, but they won't be pruned into a square hedge like in the photo above.

When I saw this Country Living Garden (below) I really fell for it's structure yet relaxed look.  It's more rustic than many of the classical ones I've fallen for but it still has that symmetry that I love:

 Seeing a garden like this made me think that we could maybe try to combine the more classical gardens with  country ones and maybe make it work with my rustic-modern home.  Can we get away with it???  And the grass paths are just what we'll be doing. which I think really relaxes the look and will blend it better with our house.

And of course, one of my favorite local places to visit is Mount Vernon:

{One of the Kitchen Gardens at Mount Vernon}

Aaaaaaah!!! I love everything about it!!!!  It's so classic yet definitely more primitive and relaxed then some of the more formal European gardens.  I love how the grass paths look here.  

So...  after talking Danylo's ears off (I MIGHT possibly be the worst client ever!! hahaha) we came up with this:

The round spots in the center will be for potted trees because I wanted some sort of focal points in the garden... Right now I have some hydrangea trees but hopefully one day we can try fruit trees of some sort.  

The guys are building a teepee for the boys near their favorite climbing tree:

{This tee pee is insanity and I can't wait to have one!!!}

Here's a picture of the fence where the garden's going:

It's going in now so I'll be sure to post pictures once it's all planted!!!  I can't wait!!!  And of course, thanks so much to Danylo and his team for everything!!!  They were so patient with my craziness and are incredibly creative and know their stuff.   If you're in the DC-VA area and are looking for a kitchen garden or eco-friendly landscape in general, definitely check out the Organic Edible Gardens website & get in touch.  They're amazing!!!


If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.