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bright side tables, colorful bedrooms

15 Aug

Krista Ewart design, House Beautiful

Like many people, I use magazines two ways;  flipping through them here and there, and diving into them, after waiting patiently for the long train journey or stretched-out second nap.  A feature in the recent (July/August) issue of House Beautiful caught my eye both times.   The issue, subtitled “Is Small the New  Big?” showcases a 1200 square foot California bungalow designed by Krista Ewart.  Overall, it’s a bit too Lilly Pulitzer/Palm Springs for me (granted, it’s a beach house), but taken piece by piece, there’s some AMAZING design in this house. (You can see all the photos here).

room by Krista Ewart, House Beautiful magazine

The room at top has a gorgeous ‘whale print’ wallpaper from Walnut Wallpaper, which I’d love to use in a child’s room somewhere.  The second image, directly above, is the inspiration for this post.  When I read that the side table (called the ‘Bubble Up’) is available for sale at PB Teen for $199, I put down the magazine and hopped online.

Bubble Up bedside table, PB Teen

Unfortunately, the turquoise is no longer available, but as shown in situ, the hot pink side table adds a needed pop of color to a room furnished in turquoise and white.   As Erin (from House of Turquoise) knows, pink and red are fantastic complements to the sea blue color.

courtesy Procrastination Mama

One of her featured rooms, decorated beautifully by Tracey of the Procrastination Mama blog, is also one of the nicest shared rooms I’ve ever seen.  With two kids (a toddler girl and an infant boy), she uses turquoise paint as the backdrop for one wall, then accessorizes with bright yellows, pinks and greens.  Each kid’s space gets a few personal touches to add character and interest.  And check out the little hot pink chair next to the girl’s bed!

Adding a high-gloss or brightly-colored side table to your child’s room is a great way to ‘decorate’ without redecorating… think of side tables as the throw pillows of the bedroom.  So, in addition to the PB table above, here are some great options – the glossier and brighter the better.

Offi Tiki stool, Target

1. Tiki stool by Offi at Target $69.99. Offi is more well-known for animal lamps like the yellow dachshund featured in Fionn’s room, but also offers great kid-sized plastic chairs and tables too.

Slick Cube table, St Louis Style

2. Slick Cube table available at St. Louis LoftStyle for $125.  It comes in black and white as well, but the colors are my favorite.

Jolly table by Kartell, Unica Home

3. Jolly side table by Kartell at Unica Home for $166 each.  As mentioned in my previous post on acrylic furniture, we have a pair of these in our bedroom in the clear (untinted) color, but as you can see above, they come in tons of shades and are just really adorable.

Curvee table, Serena & Lily

4. GORGEOUS and on sale at Serena & Lily, the Curvee shelf table in melon has been reduced from$369 to $258.30.  This piece is definitely a keeper- I could see it transitioning from a toddler room to a young adult’s room with no problem.

See any more brightly-colored side tables? Snap some photos for me, and I’ll post them here.

pink walls and "room for children"

7 May

Room for Children by Susanna Salk, Amazon.com
 I can’t remember having been this excited about getting a new book since the Wilco biography came out in the early 2000s.  True, Room for Children often feels like a compilation of now-well-known designs from now-well-known designers (Kelly Wearstler/Jenna Lyons/Amanda Nisbet), but I Don’t Care.  Although I love the interweb and all the versatility it offers, there’s something really satisfying about having photos at your fingertips, and being able to flip through pages and pages of inspirational images.  The accompanying text by Susanna Salk is equally inspirational and succinctly written – I think I agree with everything she’s said about kids’ design and why it’s so much fun.
So plan on seeing me return to this book, over and over in the next few weeks, to share my discoveries. 

For now, however, I’ve got a special task at hand.   My mom & dad have wonderful neighbors, who are in the midst of lots of change.  As they’re renovating their home from top to bottom, Mom is due (next month) to give birth to her second girl.  She mentioned that they’re starting to look for paint for the girls’ rooms; it can be any shade, as long as it’s pink. 

So, onto the book for inspiration (caveat: some of these images are internet-based (and higher-res) alternatives to the dark snapshots I took on my iPhone.)

Ruthie Sommer’s daughter’s bedroom, from her website

Right now, this shade of pink is my favorite – it’s got a blue tone to it, making it almost lilac but not as purple.   I find it soothing and sophisticated – and as you can see from the image, you can go mauvey with the accessories or move towards a fuschia, like on the canopy.

Girl’s room by Sixx Design

Now, this is some PINK.  Not exactly my style, but it seems to work here.  I guess if you’re going to do it, you might as well throw yourself in.   (BTW, I haven’t seen 9 By Design – perhaps I should? My understanding is that Sixx Design is the same couple from that show.  The Novogratzes also have their own book which also looks pretty cool.)  

Allison Tick Interiors

Another purpley-lavender-tinted pink, which I love.  As you can see, the accessories really make the space, from the candy-pink silk curtains to the white chair and table, to the West Elm Parsons desk at left.

Photographer Tim Street-Porter

This pink is a very light, delicate shade – I assume it becomes more pink as the room loses sunlight towards the evening.  The color picks up intensity through the accessories (like a clever canopy made from fabric suspended from the ceiling) and striped bedding.

Eve Robinson interior

Or, you can forgo color almost entirely on the walls, using your bedspread and headboard as the true focal points to your room.  You can see the contrast against the white window sills and door, but here you’re really staying as close to white as you can.

Incidentally, the Mythic paint company (home of zero-smell and low-VOC paints) has partnered with the Land of Nod on a paint collection of their own.  Of course, as with other paint companies, you can create virtually any color you fancy, but I find this a clever and well-thought-out shortcut.

Here are some examples of beautiful pinks (similar to those shown above) in the Mythic paint collection for Land of Nod:

 Petal-icious reminds me of the color used in the Allison Tick room (above).

  Tippy Toes is a beautiful girly pink – a little like the ‘ballet slippers’ color of countless manicures…

And here are some more delicate pinks from their regular collection.

Do you have a pink-walled room?  Send me a photo!

navy and gold, cub scouts, and vintage-look dresses

27 Apr

Have you ever noticed something, then couldn’t *stop* noticing it for about a week afterwards?
Perhaps it started on the day trip we made to East Hampton, with its endless strip of Ralph Lauren retail opportunities.

Or maybe it was inspired by the tales regaled by my husband of his time as a Cub, which were, in turn, inspired by my longing for Girl Scout cookies.

Vintage Cub Scout ephemera, TIAS.com

Or perhaps the mere fact of being in Greenport, having eaten my weight in steamers by the seaside, then returning to Brooklyn to find custom-designed totes by Wm. J. Mills for our local (Brooklyn) designer shop, Epaulet:

 Steamer Canvas Bag, Epaulet, $175

Regardless, I’ve been noticing a trend, and I’m sure you’ve noticed it too…

Shopbop email ad, 4/26/10

Nautical-themed or not, navy, gold & white feel really fresh right now, both in fashion and interiors.   I’m so in love with the idea of painting stripes on a wall somewhere – whether single-color (alternating gloss and matte, ala HGTV makeover shows), lines of equal weights, or to just add some visual contrast to a room.

Below, some variations on this color combo that I’ve spotted lately.  Enjoy.

Eclipse skirt, Brooklyn Industries, $68 (I’ve already bought it)

Awesome vintage-style twinset from Little Malaika, approx $30 USD

Monogram Jack & Lulu wall art, $50 (includes frame)

Fantastic striped room (Traditional Home  via Nursery Notations)- thanks Andrika!

Another nautical-inspired room (source unknown)

BHG website with tutorial on stripe-painting here.

A vertical take on the navy/white combo via Flickr

I think these rooms could be both masculine or feminine; it’s really about the accent colors and the accessories that makes it gender-specific. 

And, lastly, proof of the zeitgeist-worthiness of navy and gold… Brian Williams.  This is my best website find in a while, better than Sexy Executives.

This past Friday, here’s what Brian wore:

Brian works the Navy-and-Gold Palette like nobody’s business. Tonight’s striped version of it is a bit more elegant, however, because the blue leans violet and the gold is a pale and subtle shade. This tie is a drinks-after-work date, the jacket unbuttoned as he leans across the table to share a smile and a joke. Her glass of oaked Chardonnay sparkles in the light, and with a subtle and quick gesture, she silences her cellphone and smiles back.

UPDATE: Here are some more vertical stripes and great inspiration from The Peak of Chic blog.  

yay! chalkboard paint!

23 Jan



Chalkboard paint tips, Martha Stewart Online

There are way too many posts out on the internets these days about chalkboard paint, but I’d be remiss to not include a smattering of the great project ideas out there. The great thing about adding chalkboard texture to a wall is how quickly it inspires creativity. Versatile and tactile, it just begs for ‘legal’ scribbling, which feels just naughty enough to be really fun.

At top is one of my favorites – found on the Martha Stewart website (of course). They’ve divided the room horizontally with chair-rail molding. On the top, they’ve applied cork board to display art work and papers. On the bottom, they’ve used chalkboard paint – at what I think is the perfect height for little ones. It also makes me feel better (in my uptight way) that the chalk chaos can be controlled in a way, without getting EVERYWHERE like it would in the below image.


Chalkboard wall, courtesy Ohdeedoh

Another way of controlling the chaos is with something called a “Chalkal.” How trendy is this? A combination of the ever-popular wall decals and chalkboard paint, Chalkals come in assorted shapes (UFOs, drum kits, gorillas!) and are easy to affix and quick to play with.


Chalkals, Modern Dose $30-$65

But as the wonderful folks at Little Birdie Secrets have discovered, a little creativity can go a long way. In this post, they recommend a DIY approach to chalkboard decals with something called chalkboard contact paper (see link at top right). Sold at Amazon for $35 a roll, design your own shape or image, cut it out, and affix it to the wall.

Or for even greater flexibility, create your own chalkboard surface in whatever color you fancy. The trick is in the tile grout – once you get that gritty texture into the paint you’re good to go. The Martha Stewart link at top contains a recipe, as does this one, lifted from Cottage Living.


A tone-on-tone approach is a great, subtle way to add visual interest to your wall while making it useable and functional. (Everything I’ve read recommends against adding a magnetizing element to the paint, as on view above, but this is another option as well).

Let me know if anyone out there has chalkboarded a wall, a flowerpot, a dresser or any other piece of housewares. Would love to hear how it went.

Update: Just discovered a company called Wallnutz – they have some great, simple wall decals like these square ones. Take a look for even more ideas.

painting on the ceiling

20 Jan


Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that people now consider a fifth wall – their ceiling – when painting their rooms. Chalk this up on the list of ‘things I never thought about before.’ Back when I was a kid, you’d do one of two things when decorating ceilings: either you’d go nuts with those glow-in-the-dark stars (or bleach, if you had a black light and very permissive parents), or you’d try (and fail) to paint a beautiful sky – which, more often than not, turned out less like Michaelangelo and more like the Simpsons.

Domino: The Book of Decorating

Last night, I was reminded, and heartened, by the new approach being taken with regards to nursery ceilings. It makes sense – given that young ones do spend much of their time staring upwards – although a simple mobile often suffices. Despite the early demise of Domino magazine, the corresponding book is still a strong guide and look book for interior spaces. Here’s where I found the above picture. Knowing that the black wall at right is actually chalkboard paint makes the room feel more whimsical. The striped ceiling is a curious, but interesting, way to add visual interest.

Ohdeedoh: Small Kids Big Color entry 2009

And, wow. I’m not sure if I like this, but it’s certainly worth mentioning. To me, it’s a bit theme-y, having carried the bee motif to the nth degree, but a sign of incredible hard work and dedication on the part of these parents-to-be. Apparently, they spent 40 hours creating and attaching the black honeycomb shapes out of wood molding.

Better Homes & Gardens: Modern Designs for Baby

For a modern alternative to the aformentioned mobiles, I like this suggestion from Better Homes & Gardens magazine. I don’t know how anyone could replicate it without a personal jig saw, but it’s a clever suggestion – all you need to do is drill holes, then mount these plywood shapes with thin chains or cords. This could work in a rental apartment if you don’t want to actually paint the ceiling itself.


But this, by far, takes the cake. I can’t remember where I found the image, but will continue to search for the source. My first instinct is – HOW COOL IS THAT!!! – despite my aversion to rooms that feel like theme park rides. I just fear the day when that little boy grows up and asks his mom for his room to be plain and simple again. It would break my heart to paint over such a valiant effort, which looks like it took hours and hours to create. If it were a decal, however, I wouldn’t feel so bad.