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getting the basics right

20 Mar

They look innocent enough.  But they’re intent on destroying your carefully-designed, thoughtfully-appointed, simple but beautiful baby nursery.

Because guess what?  That adorable DS or DD (or, bless you, combination of s’s and d’s) – whether you’re ready to admit it or not – has outgrown ‘baby’ mode and is now firmly putting his or her foot down into young kid territory.  And with the changing table, so goes the crib, the pom poms, the bedding you spent hours agonizing over and coordinating with paint colors, and virtually anything else that’s too delicate to have lasted this long.

And as you may find, a daytime dalliance with Geo and Milly might just morph into a super-obsession.  Then Grandma finds out.  And a couple of days later, you find yourself with officially-licensed character sheets and a new bedspread straight from China to you.   What to do?  Console yourself with a super heaping of the basics.

As Miss Sarah Brown says, “follow the fold and stray no more.”

You know the room is going to be taken over by Super Shapes.  You know Wubzy is yellow, and everything’s painted a lovely shade of pink.  Here are some tips for making the new toddler room a sea of calm amidst all the stuff your modern-furniture-loving-self is starting to get twitchy around.  Remember the power of simplicity and knowing what you can control.   At the end of the day, everyone wants to be happy.

1.  Shapes – make sure your new furniture is bold and graphic, but not too delicate or serif-y.

2. Colors – keep them neutral, save for a pop or two of brights.

3. Density – everything needs to be climb-tested.  Twice.

(Click image to view larger)

To put these rules to the test, I wanted to see what I could do with items from one retailer only.  Curious to see what was going on at the re-styled JC Penney, I checked out the new website – which is full of offerings only available to online shoppers.   And I was more than pleasantly surprised by what I found.  For anyone who’s gone one round (or ten rounds, as it seemed) with the Ikea/WalMart/Target furniture the first time around, this stuff will seem a little more on the expensive side.  But it should also last a LOT longer and feel a lot more sturdy.

1. Colors Kids dresser and mirror $400 + $150

So the room here starts with white and neutrals, and pops into red and turquoise for some flash.  This dresser/mirror combo is the perfect shape and size for bedrooms of any size.

2. Hollie tufted headboard $300

It comes in a million colors.  Jonathan Adler would be proud.

3. Colors Kids nightstand $200

The companion piece to the dresser, but in RED.  How cool is that.

4. Cameron storage tower $190

I doubted whether to include this one; it doesn’t look like it would pass the #3 (density) test.  But you get the idea.

5. Flush-mount ceiling lamp $50

Score. I love this piece. It lends a vintage-y feeling to the design without being old fashioned.

6. Champagne washable shag rug 5×8 $250

A washable shag area rug. What will they think of next?!

7. York circular frames $25

To finish off the theme and to remind the kid of the folks who really matter.

If you’ve found any great decor for your toddler lately, let me know- I’d love to see it and hear it.


inspiration board: girly girl meets mod mom

8 Feb

So you’ve got a modern home.  And you’ve got a little girl who’s grown out of her crib, conversion kit to toddler bed, and those cute monkey wall graphics you bought while in the ‘nesting’ phase of your pregnancy.   What’s more, she’s decided she loves pink.  LOVES pink.  Oh, and Mom, she’s also really loves princesses.  And tutus.  And anything shiny, glittery, or reflective.

At RFYO, we’re here for you.  So let’s take a deep breath.  And let’s start with a wonderful compromise. . . a vintage bed frame.

I discovered this  reupholstered set of french ‘shabby chic’ bed frames at an Etsy shop called Antique2Chic, based out of Birmingham, Michigan.   The beds are $600 each – I agree, a bit steep – but consider them the centerpiece of the room.  The fabric is a beautiful blush-toned linen, perfect for you to play with your pinks and also to be a bit brave with the rest of your decor.  And the nice thing is that once you have the bed in place, you’re now free to use super-new and modern pieces to offset the vintage feel of the piece.

So, Mod Mom, what’s next?

How about going black and white and really BOLD with your graphics?  I think butterflies would be a pretty good bet too.  Here’s my suggestions, including a mix of Kartell, George Nelson, IKEA with some Target thrown in for good measure.  Click here (girly chic) to enlarge the PDF.

1.  French hand-painted mahogany twin beds with linen upholstery, $600, Antique2Chic, Etsy

2. Flannel brocade hook rug, $473 (large size), Layla Grace

3. Set of beautiful 5×5 photo prints, $8.50 each, Lola’s Room, Etsy

4. Circus stripe black and white curtain panels (shown – $180 each at Rosenberry Rooms), similar fabric available for $6.98/yard on Amazon

5. George nelson Ball Clock, $385, Velocity Art & Design (an excellent shop)

6. “Princess” paint color swatch, Benjamin Moore

7. Xhilaration Pixelated Butterfly bed in a bag, $64.99, Target

8.  Edland dresser, $299, IKEA 299

9. Crystorama (!!!) Angelina blush mini chandelier, $229.91, Lamps Plus (A great find, and small enough to look cute)

10.  Kartell Optic storage cube in clear, $283, Design Public

momeni rugs this weekend!

17 Jul

If you’re shopping for a rug for the little one’s room, you MUST stop by the Momeni sale at One Kings Lane this weekend.  The prices are crazy good for these sweet, sophisticated, and colorful rugs.  Here are my two favorites:

Lil Mo Mod Paisley rug at One Kings Lane

This “Lil Mo Mod” rug is available in all kinds of sizes.   The 5’x7′ is a great deal for $199, reduced from $409.

Lil Mo Robot rug at One Kings Lane

At the same price, you can get this “Lil Mo Robot” rug for the robot lover in your life (Personally, I know some grown-ups who might be very interested in this one).

And as always, if you need a referral code or an invite (although I think you can sign up by yourself now), please email me at .

painted wood floors

28 May

Solar system floor mural, Pottery Barn Kids catalog

Who wants a weekend project? If you’ve got wood floors, you’re in luck!  Personally, I don’t know anyone who can (logistically) do this.  But the painted wood floor seems to be making a comeback, in real life as well as in staged catalog shoots (see the awesome Pottery Barn floor, above).  But I can imagine if you live in an old home where the floors are destined for either linoleum, carpeting, or refinishing, this could be a fun way to liven up a room without much in the way of cost or effort.

Below, here are a few of my favorites:

Painted wood detail, home of Miami City Ballet director

Rather than painting the entire floor, this homeowner chose to add visual interest by following both the wood grain and the style of his furnishings.   If you have a prominent visual theme in your room, it may make sense to follow the design to the floor.  Sort of reminds me of car detailing, though, with lines and basic shapes.

Nautical stripes, Coastal Living magazine

An interesting take on the striped nautical trend.  Furniture and walls remain white or neutral, and all color comes from the doors and floors. (This is usually the role of an area rug in a rental apartment…)

Source unknown for above two photos

I’m not sure if the top image is paint or a veneer inlay, but I really like the idea of outlining the edges of a room to define the space.

From Living Etc.

Here’s a great article on painting your floors white.  But if you’ve got kids, and you think you can keep the floors clean, more power to ya.

And, lastly, HGTV shows you how to go whole-hog on the painted floor trend.

Only trouble with floor painting?  It’s just like getting a tattoo.  You’re making a huge commitment.  So I recommend starting out small, and in an inconspicuous location. . .
Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

a new flor rug

14 Feb

flor favorite jeansFLOR Favorite Jeans (‘faded black’) in Fionn’s room

Last week’s post on FLOR patterns inspired me to replace our old area rug with a new design made of modular tiles. Spotted a new style called Favorite Jeans and called off the search. (Don’t you love it when that happens? It makes for terrible viewing on Say Yes to the Dress, but it’s terrifically satisfying in real life.) As you can see in the snapshot above, the dark gray color (with orange accents) fits perfectly in our room (with light gray walls and orange accents).

Top row: black label, overdyed, denim blue, faded black.
Bottom row: vintage, green jeans, khaki.

The tile is available in seven colors (above), which all feature a clever orange “selvage” stitch at one end. Interestingly, not all tiles come with this detail:

Favorite Jeans features slightly washed-out colors with the familiar deep orange-yellow of denim stitching at irregular intervals. . . the orange “selvage” stitch is random and is not present on every tile.

Faded Jeans in ‘overdyed’

I ordered 15 tiles, which, when arranged in a 3 x 5 formation, created a 5′ x 8′ area rug (give or take a few inches). At $9/tile, the rug cost about $135 plus shipping, which sounds reasonable to me, especially considering the very real possibility of a dog- or child-related tile switch out. Cleaning or replacing area rugs can become quite costly in the long run. . .

As the image above suggests, I anticipated receiving a majority of non-selvage tiles, with a few selvage tiles thrown in. What I got were twice as many stripey ones as plain ones. And as the catalog (website) recommends installing Favorite Jeans in a parquet style, planning the pattern became a bit of a challenge.

Xes mark plain tiles, arrows show pile direction. Very technical.

A few variables nonwithstanding, assembly of my new FLOR rug was super-easy and incredibly satisfying. It was certainly more effort to move the furniture than it was to install the carpet.

flor favorite jeansAnd voila.

discovered: giraffe print FLOR tiles*

6 Feb

*sorry, not available in the US.

Unfortunately, this is how I learned that the FLOR inventory differs between the US and the UK, where the carpet tiles are sold as “FLOR by Heuga.” And it’s a shame, because I really love this giraffe print.

It’s part of the Animals & Minerals line, which also includes Zebra, Leopard, Cow, Pebbles and a pattern called Water World (maybe Kevin Costner gets royalties?)

Mod Zebra, FLOR, $12.99/tile

Stampede, FLOR, $12.99/tile

There are comparable versions of Zebra and Cow on the US site. In fact, I prefer these versions to their European counterparts, especially the brown-and-white cowhide pattern. But there’s something about a giraffe print that’s fresher and more clever than the traditional hides. It’s also bright without being cloying, either as an area rug in a nursery or as wall-to-wall carpet in a play room.

If anyone out there’s interested, I’ll do some research and get back to you. But I have a feeling it’s not the exchange rate that’ll get ya. Have you picked one up at CB2 recently? They’re HEAVY, and shipping from the UK is spendy.

And as we’re in the market for a new rug for Fionn’s room, I’ll check out the US catalog and post my findings shortly.

flyover territory

1 Feb

Flyover Rug, Land of Nod, $199-$299

First off, I want this rug. Don’t have anywhere to put it, but that doesn’t really matter. Discovered it on the Land of Nod website, which to me is pretty hit-or-miss. Actually, I’m surprised this didn’t land in the CB2 catalog instead (Crate & Barrel being their parent company) because it seems to fit much better in theme and playfulness with the hopscotch rug most recently covered all over the internets (also see here, and here) than their more traditional ABCs floor coverings.

Remember the first time you went on an airplane and you saw the world from up high? For me, an East Coaster, I can remember pressing my young face to the porthole window as we flew under the clouds and over the cornfields and farms. And like some cubist painting in greens and golds, it’s one of my cherished memories of flying to school in scenic Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. (I also recall the roar of the Dash 7 rubber-band engines and the sandbags they used in place of delinquent passengers. I was definitely braver back then.)

I’ve been asked my opinion on theme rooms before. And as this rug practically begs for aviation-related company, now seems like a good time to comment.

All you have to bring is your love of everything.

First off, I really dislike the term “theme room,” because it connotes over-the-topness, like Elvis’s Jungle Room or a heart-shaped hot tub (via Mount Airy Lodge video, above). But as with anything you’re passionate about, a measure of restraint can go a long way. So when the passion fades, the ‘theme’ pieces can be easily switched out or painted over. Basically, it’s best to assume that your kids will be as fickle with their rooms as they are with their toys.

Hot Air Balloon clothing hooks, My Pilot Store, $55 for set of six

Say your child loves aviation. Start with the rug. Then add a few other pieces, like these clothing hooks, above.

Four blade propeller, My Pilot Store, $169

Instead of a poster or painting, use a propeller. This one, a reproduction of a WWI four-blader, may even inspire some desktop research, or at least, Snoopy cartoon watching. If you’re so inclined, paint the walls a sky-blue color, add some airplane stencils and you’re good to go. I especially like these peel-and-stick stencils from Wallnutz – their mural kits are fully customizable, so you can add as many or as few rocketships and hot air balloons as you like.

Transportation Fascination kit, Wallnutz, $100

But, whatever you do, definitely get the rug.