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Archive for October, 2010

Remember about 3 months ago when I started this swell little article about my experience working on the “House of Hy” project with the Pioneer Woman’s great friend Cyndi and said something like…”Be watching next week for part two.”?  Well, here it is, Part II!

Really the timing of this follow-up is very interesting for several reasons. First of all, exactly one year ago tomorrow I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Cyndi in person at PW’s first book signing and this exciting journey began.  Secondly, just yesterday the Pioneer Woman posted the final pictures of the completed room and gave me a wonderful shout-out on her website (be looking about 2/3 of the way down)! And thirdly, my husband asked if he could take the older kids with him to work for the day yesterday which gave me opportunity to finally write part two!  I just love how everything works out in just the right timing!

So when we left off last time, I shared how I had been emailing back and forth with Cyndi about her room, usually after a new update was posted. We had the most fun writing back and forth.  It really did not take long for me to understand why PW loves her friend so!  And then it happened!  I received this email…

“If you did want to trade some design work for a PW shout-out, I will
need to put stuff on the shelves next to the mantle, and I’d love your
input!”

Well, needless to say I was ecstatic and wrote back immediately. Talk about perfect timing, it really did come to play so many times during this adventure.  It just so happened that the very next week my kids would be heading to their grandma’s for a visit and Cyndi’s schedule was open and she was willing to get together.  I was headed to her house to decorate!  I couldn’t stop pinching myself.  I was so excited! J

Have you ever dreamed about something for a long time and then when it is about to actually become reality, start to get a little nervous? Well, that was me this fine June day as I headed to Cyndi’s.  Don’t get me wrong, I knew I had talents and abilities, but here was an opportunity that I am sure many decorators wanted to get their hands on and I just couldn’t believe that I was the one actually getting to do the work.

Cyndi is such a beautiful, fun-loving and kind person. She had me relaxed very quickly.  After all, it was time to quit being nervous and get to work!  But before I actually began to “decorate” it was important to me to visit with her a bit to find out exactly what she wanted her room to “feel” like when it was finished.  I asked her to describe her ideal finished room in 3 to 5 adjectives.  She used words like: non-traditional, bold, artistic, and uncluttered.  I am so glad I did not skip this step.  It actually surprised me a little because some of the proposed designs for the bookshelves throughout her room redo were completely different from the description she gave me. Although her style was different than mine, I knew I could give her exactly what she desired now that I had a clear picture of the direction to take.

She also toured me around a few rooms in her home and she showed me a collection of items that were available on the dining room table as well as a couple of closets. I’m so glad she waited to “buy” additional items.  She really had oodles of great stuff to work with!

So here is what the bookshelf area looked like the day I arrived…

Her plan was to purchase glass shelves as soon as she found out how many she would need. For the time being, she asked me to use the existing wooden shelves and then she planned to replace them.  We were about to install a shelf so that I could get started and then discovered that they didn’t fit!  Turns out, the thickness of the glass installed in the back of the shelf was just thick enough to make the original shelf too deep to reinstall.  No problem!  Cyndi just picked up the phone and called the local lumberyard and asked them to trim the shelves down.  While she was gone, I decided to start choosing the artwork we would highlight.

In the past, Cyndi had used many traditional baskets and books in her shelves. She really wanted to do something different this time.  She had always had a love for fine art.  She herself had taken some art classes as well as (if I remember correctly) having a brother who is an artist.  As I mentioned before, she had so many great pieces to work with.  Now it was my job to narrow the field down.

Several weeks before, she happened to pick up some round, black, metal message boards. As soon as I saw them, I knew they would make a great “backdrop” for the art pieces we chose to display.   To install them, we used heavy duty double-sided adhesive foam.  One thing I quickly learned when using this project, be certain of where you want your item to hang because it will hang tight!

By using the adhesive, we were able to create a wonderful arrangement using a limited number of shelves (only one per side).  As you might notice, the arrangement was simple but so striking! I just wish you could take a personal tour.  My pictures just don’t do the room justice.

I’m sorry this photo is so blurry, but I did want to point out a couple things. First of all, on this side we used the metal dot to hang a piece of artwork using magnets.  I loved how the painting brought a little “pop of red” (the accent color) across the room and I thought using the message board instead of a “traditional” frame was just the whimsical touch the piece needed.  On a side note, the artwork was originally “too white” for the arrangement especially since the painted woodwork was “cream” colored.  To tone it down a little, I had Cyndi water down some black acrylic paint and gently wash the gray color over the painting.  It was an easy and quick fix!

Secondly, I created an unexpected 3-dimensional frame by placing a metal planter on its side and placed a favorite sculpture inside.

After completing the shelves, I did have the opportunity to also assist with hanging artwork throughout the room and gave a few suggestions on the completion of the window treatments.  It truly was a phenomenal day with a new friend!  Thanks Cyndi for letting me tag along on the journey!  The finished room looks tremendous!  You really should take a moment to check it out!

And the moral of the story:  Don’t give up on your dream, it may just become reality!

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I love it when my clients succeed! It is so fun to see the things they are able to accomplish in their home.

This past summer I offered a consult special.  My good friend and client gave me a call.  She wanted to take advantage of the discount to update her husbands office (a.k.a. Man Cave).

I always look forward to working in this friend’s home. We have so much fun working together.  I just knew this time would be no different!

When I arrived, I found my good friend overwhelmed by a few life issues and she needed this project as a positive distraction.  Because she trusted me, she needed me to get her off on the right foot in this project.  Usually my client has a starting point or inspiration, but on this occasion, she simply knew it was time for a change.

We entered this room and took a seat on the floor to begin brainstorming.

Because this room is primarily used by her husband, we needed to make sure it reflected his likes. My friend shared with me that her husband was passionate about golf.  She definitely wanted to incorporate his ‘love of the game’ into the space.

Initially, my thoughts went to painting the room green and finding beautiful photos of famous golf courses. The photos I have seen always have such vibrant colors and this seemed like a good direction to go, but I am so glad I continued to visit with my friend.  (I had not shared my initial ideas yet). Now that I had a theme idea, I thought talking about room color would be a great next step.

You see, the last room I helped her with, we painted green. Although she absolutely loves her master bedroom, she really didn’t want to repeat that color.  Good thing I kept talking.  Guess my initial idea needed some tweeking!

After further discussion, she shared that she thought about using a dark brown in the space. This sounded great to me.  Now it was my job to figure out how to incorporate the golf theme.  Honestly, I was drawing a blank and thought about not charging her for my help because I didn’t seem to be providing much.

We continued to visit about life and then, all of the sudden, the ideas began to flow. This is when I thought of incorporating ‘vintage golf’ instead of current golf collectibles.   Once we discovered this new plan, the project came alive and so did my friend’s enthusiasm!  She quickly jotted down all of my suggestions regarding paint color, window treatments, furniture, accessories, etc.

Not long after my initial visit with my friend, a new baby came into my life and work as I knew it came to a sudden halt. My friend knew that I was pretty busy with the new baby and decided she would take the knowledge I gave her and put the room together on her own this time.  And let me tell you, she is a great student!  She did a fabulous job!*

*This fact is further confirmed by her husband’s approval! 🙂

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Anastasia turns 9!

It is so hard to believe that this sweet little girl who I met only 5 1/2 years ago is turning 9 today (October 19th)!

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!

I am so thankful God brought us together!

I am so very proud of you!

I love you Anastasia!

MOM

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A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I wanted to begin a series showcasing the stories that different furniture and accessories hold. With my upcoming 8th anniversary, I have found myself reviewing the archives of my wonderful experiences working in client friend’s homes and was reminded of this memorable story. 

Disclaimer:  Please be mindful that we are going way back…year 1 and 2 of my business, and I have become a much better decorator during the years.  I am seeing a few things I would do differently today! 🙂


Several years ago I had the opportunity to work in this home.  The mantle was an extremely challenging project for numerous reasons. First of all, the mantle itself was extremely narrow.  Secondly, the space above the mantle was enormous.  And to make it really tricky, an angle was thrown in!

The homeowner had no pieces of artwork large enough on their own to fill the space so I had to be creative. 🙂  I began to look around the home for items that related to each other by either color or subject matter to fill the space.

After a period of deep thought :), I came up with the decision to arrange several “whimsical” items. The homeowner had a fun personality and lived in a quirky house (the house alone, designed by a bachelor,  has quite a story) so it seemed like a great solution.  As you might notice, I hung the pieces of artwork over the mantle to follow the angled ceiling line.  By doing this, I created a small space under the “Lizard Mona Lisa” that needed just the right piece.  This was a tricky area to fill especially since the mantle was so narrow.  I simply began to collect items I thought might fit the space and tried them out until I found just the right one.

Do you see the small red suitcase by the blue arrow above? Well, this was one of the said items I thought I would try.  Honestly, when I put it up there I really wasn’t crazy about how it looked but before I could take it down the homeowner walked through the room.  Immediately she shared her approval and couldn’t wait to share with her daughters.  You see, this small suitcase belonged to her sweet daughter that died over 40 years earlier at the age of 8 or 9. It meant so much to her to have a special reminder of this child front in center in her living room.  As you probably have figured out, the suitcase stayed.  There was no way I would remove it once I heard the story.  In fact, I don’t think there could have been a more perfect finish to the arrangement!

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Simply Beautiful

A few weeks ago, I was able to participate in the most beautiful wedding. Now, I might be a little biased because family was getting married, but I can honestly say it was one of the most beautiful ceremonies I have ever attended.   What made it so wonderful you might ask?  Its simplicity!

The wedding took place in a storybook chapel in the middle of a ranch in northeast Texas. It is called Willowwood Ranch Chapel.

Isn’t it beautiful?! The location was so breathtaking on its own that the need for wedding decorations was minimal.  This was especially nice for everyone involved.  We were able to enjoy the occasion instead of being bombarded with responsibilities.

I was asked to play a small decorating role in this event. There were two planters on either side of the entrance of the reception hall that needed a little ‘sprucing up’!  I was given challenge…create a welcoming entrance – CHEAP! 🙂

Luckily, this is my strongest ability, due mostly to my own frugal decorating budget. I actually thrive (decoratingly speaking) on this type of challenge and gladly took it on!

The first order of business, figure out what could be used to add height to the planter. Since I had a tight budget in mind, I quickly remembered two topiaries which sit on either side of my television.  They would sit perfectly on top of the dirt filled planter and were just the height we needed.

Next I remembered how my soon-to-be sister-in-law wanted to incorporate his/her initials into the decor of the wedding. This is when I thought of my friend Larry of Beacon Stamp and Seal.     If you can envision it, he can probably reproduce it.  I knew I wanted 9 inch letters in a particular font.  All I had to do is call, and Larry quickly found the font I desired and sent the order to be cut for me on the spot.  It took longer for me to drive to Tulsa than it did for him to cut out the letters.  Because I initially thought I would be covering the letters in moss, he suggested that the letters be cut from foam.  If I were to do it again, I would probably ask for chipboard (lightweight wood) instead.  (This is only because I ended up painting the letters instead of covering them with fabric or moss.  Painting styrofoam** is slightly more difficult than painting wood.)

After I picked up the letters and made it to my in-laws, it was time to get busy painting!

I began by priming the letters.

Next I painted a couple coats of silver paint and then topped it off with a coat of silver glitter.

Here is how my little project turned out.  What do you think?

Simple and elegant, just like the wedding!

There was a little area around the base of the topiary that needed attention.  Just a couple yards of sheer silver fabric from Wal-mart’s clearance section did the trick!

And the extra letters I painted…

They beautifully filled the gap on the mantle in the reception hall. (Quick tip:  a little packing tape goes a long way to temporarily hang styrofoam from rock.)

**Painting stryofoam is more difficult simply because the paint must be brushed on instead of sprayed on.  This is due to the fact that spray paint contains elements that tend to ‘melt’ the foam and distort it.

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