Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I know I said I'd be back yesterday with a real post but I'm pretty backed up right now with work & trying to figure out the childcare situation, so I need a little break.  We toured a couple of daycare/ preschools  yesterday and I'm feeling pretty good about 1 so we'll see how it goes.  For now I'll just leave you with an image I got from one of my favorite reads, Head Over Heels.    It's perfect for the beginning of Fall and I cannot get over that velvet.  So sumptuous & beautifully aged!!  (I'm not sure I've actually used "sumptuous" in a sentence before but could think of no other word!)

And some news/ details about the new store:  The Loudon Design Center plans to open a new trade-only showroom in historic Leesburg, Virginia and I'll have an office at the showroom.  On the weekends, the store will open to the public as Pure Style and we will offer a line of furniture and fabrics I'm currently designing, along with one-of-a-kind pieces and trade-only fabrics & furnishings.    The owner, Elise Seidita, is finishing up negotiations and if all goes as planned, we will open for business in October.  (keep your fingers crossed!!) 

The showroom will need to be totally redone and I'll definitely take you along in the process of designing the new space.  I am so excited to start this new venture!!  As you probably remember, I love shopping at the Old Lucketts Store & On a Whim Antiques (both in nearby Lucketts, VA) and other shops in Leeseburg, so I'm so excited to be nearby and become a part of the growing design community there. 


Monday, August 30, 2010

Taking the Plunge

We're off today to check out a part-time daycare/ preschool for our little guys.  I'm sort of mixed about it, but mostly excited.  It will be 3 days a week and my mom will be watching them on a 4th day.   I'm attempting tp take the 5th day off so we'll see how it goes.  Christian's three years old and is dying for "friends" and loves classes and that sort of thing so I think it'll be great for him.  I worry a little bit about Justin (8 months) but I'm sure he'll be okay too.

We're really hoping that with me moving my office out of the house (and opening a store in Leesburg-  more news on that soon!!)   and with almost full-time daycare, that we'll be able to get a bit more of a separation of work & home.  I hope my expectations aren't too high but I really feel right now that "something's gotta give."  If anyone has any insight out there about all of this, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

I'll be back today later with a real post!!

  xoxo, Lauren

Friday, August 27, 2010

America Apartment Interior Design

This bedroom apartment with 39m² of livable space is composed of a hall, living room with a balcony, equipped kitchen and a bedroom with a mural wall cupboard and a luxury en-suite marble shower room. The Bathroom is independent. The apartment faces north/south and has been renovated and decorated with much taste and character and includes high ceilings giving a sense of space. The bedroom with its marble ensuite shower room means that this apartment approaches a bit of luxury. The balcony is large enough for meals which is a great extra to have.

Corolla & "my" Beach House

We're finishing up our week here in Corolla, North Carolina and I DO NOT WANT TO LEAVE.  I love this place.  we've been coming here for summer vacations ever since I was a kid and I even spent a summer working here with one of my best friends, Alissa, at the local sports bar, Sundogs.   

Here's a picture of Sundogs and its appearance is deceiving.  It's so much fun!!!  (If you ever come here, it's in the front of the Food Lion Shopping Center and gets going late night.  There's a huge tiki bar inside.)

During the 4 months that I worked at Sundogs (a college summer) I made some amazing friends who we get to come back & see every year...

It was a late night...  Nat Hall (on my left) & Jerry Cooper (on my right) used to bartend at Sundogs and play music all over the Outer Banks.  (Jerry's since moved & is now living with his wife in SC)...  I worked there 8 years ago and I've never looked at Corolla the same since.  It was interesting to get the "local" perspective after vacationing there for so long.  Honestly, I'd recommend having kids work at least a summer at their vacation spot because you really just do get a whole different flavor for it.  You respect it in a different way.  You see all that goes on behind the scenes and you appreciate it more.  (And, you always having friends to come back to!)

...The only types of pics Dave & I usually get together are the hand-holding the camera kind:

So, as I was saying, I do not want to leave this place:

Here's our beach house this year:

I'm not going to show you the inside BUT I'll show you what I wish it was:
Check out the lower level entry:

{Image via House of Turquoise)

And the dining area:

{Image via Head over Heels}

And the living room- oh my goodness!!!

{Design by SR Gambrel}

And "my" bathroom:

I LOVE this hammock which sits on the deck:  (really)

The bunk room:

{image unknown}

And my bedroom:

{Design by SR Gambrel}

Here's the walk up to the beach:  (Now back to reality ;)

Christian's having the best time.  He & my grandmother built this fortress:

Dave & my little sister Morgan (13 years old) enjoying the surf:

And Justin relaxing in his stroller:

I could literally dedicate an entire post to my son's thighs.  I CANNOT get over them.  They are so insanely squeezable and kissable and...  I'm going to spare you but it's hard for me to stop ;)

So anyway, have an amazing weekend and we will be enjoying the rest of ours right here:

xoxo, Lauren

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Interior Design Style Apartment in a Beautiful Contemporary Flat

This beautiful apartment is located in Sweden and is capturing the style of the interior design of North-European. The flat has two separate bedrooms and living room that connects to the hallway and kitchen. It features no less than six windows that provide a large amount of natural light throughout the day. The living room also houses the dining table, sofa and coffee table.
This feature of not less than six windows that provide a large amount of natural light throughout the day. A home theater system installed in a separate room.

Interior Design Ideas in Small Houses from Poliform

If you are building a new small house or renovation and remodeling of the small old house, you need to consider how to design a small house with care. Italian furniture manufacturer Poliform has created an inspirational interior housing project called “My Life in the 80m ²” to indicate that the quality of living space does not depend on the size
The size of a house is not a barrier to making the interior of your home look beautiful and elegant. It’s nice to see some space really practical and well designed by adjusting the placement of furniture according to the situation at home.

Modern Creative Fireplaces Design Ideas Cool Furniture Styles

If you are have some ideas to put fireplace in your dining room, living room, or bedroom interior decorating design, here it is best sample of modern, minimalist, and contemporary fireplace furniture design images gallery. It can be suite with any modern, luxury and contemporary house interior design ideas. Take some inspiration from this fireplace....

Comfortable Modern Work Studio Interior

Nowdays, many modern home design ideas using simple and functional decor concept with colorful and stylish design. So, this is one of the perfect inspirations for us to create comfortable and glamorous home office interior decorating design. We presented best sample pictures gallery of modern work studio and house office design by Nathalie Wolberg

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

crazy christmas trees

crazy christmas trees
This is it – turn the tree upside down and there’s more room for gifts! So little seems to me perverse, but this is at least okrasena very cool.
I do not like malls, but that Hong Kong people obviously have ideas. The next picture is the tree that were invented – is made of plates showing the objects in it.
After Christmas tree is for parents who have little girls and grown as Barbier them or have them boys and grown as zhenchovtsi. But still pretty beautiful christmas tree.
These two are already in straight and very attractive, especially to children and friends. Because one is chocolate balls, the other plush toys. I wonder if there are attempts at theft from them.
Blue below is located in front of Rockefeller Center and don a tree. But to me such my like, so it proclaims to Blue Light Christmas tree! Actually a luminous waterfall or why do not you call svetopad lightfall / 10.5 meters in height and diameter of 9 meters.
It is made of 3,390 and 527 meters LED neon tubes … enchanting tree-turns, I think, no need for comment.

Decorative Memories in our Core

I often think about patterns from my childhood... Fabrics, tile, wallpapers, even linoleum patterns.  Many of them have really stayed with me over the years and I remember them fairly clearly.  For the ones that are no longer around... I wish I could just have a piece...  A yard or a square foot to look at and remember perfectly. 

The sofa in the photo below was upholstered in a beautiful chinoiserie floral in orangey-pinks, cream and green and was in my grandparents' living room in Honolulu many years ago.  I've seen the photo below of my grandfather & me over the years (and I'm not sure at what point I started consciously thinking of the fabric) but it's just sort of always been one of those fabrics filed away in my mind that I think of every so often and love. 

{My "Geedaddy" & me}

Below is another photo of me in my muumuu on the beloved sofa fabric.

My mom and I moved in with my grandparents to McLean, Virginia (just outside of Washington, DC) when I was 4 years old.  My grandmother has an amazing sense of style and we lived with them for 6 years before moving only a few minutes away. 

{My grandmother whom I called "Beautiful Grandmother" (she told me that was her name ;) and me...  Again, the blue & white Hawaiian print that I'm wearing...  that's one of those fabrics that's so ingrained in my memory that it just feels good to look at.  If I ever had a little girl and found an outfit just like that one, I'd be in Heaven.}

When I find things that remind me of pieces  my grandmother's had over the years, I often buy them on the spot.  They just give me this good feeling. It's almost that feeling you get when you first wake up and you can't quite remember a dream but then you do and it just feels so good.  Does that make sense?

{I bought this Chinoiserie ginger jar flea market lamp the second I saw it because it reminded me of my grandmother's lamps}

It's what it would be like if you could actually grasp a cloud.  (I remember being little and scraping the inside out of an oreo and just holding the white part...  It was strangely satisfying in that same weird way.)  It's the intangibles in life.  And when you finally have them clear in your memory or physically in your hands, its's so oddly satisfying.  I feel this way about prints...

Another one is this vintage blue peacock flower fabric on my Grandma Maestranzi's (my Grandmother on my dad's side) dining room chairs in Antioch, Illinois:

Lucky for me she was a little old Italian grandma who protected everything under oh-so-chic PLASTIC.  It's still perfectly preserved to this day.  (Thanks Grandma!!) 

I'll never forget the cloud wallpaper in my nursery or the pale green vine fabric on my first big girl bed - a canopy bed- at my dad's house.    I remember picking it out at the store. (My parents divorced when I was really young and so I had a bedroom at my mom's and a bedroom at my dad's.)

My mom had this vintage butterfly quilt in cream and earthtones...  I wonder if it's still around?  My Aunt Josephine had these beautiful japanese gardens with stone pagodas that I'll never forget...  My grandmother has a beautiful blue and gold floral throw blanket made by my great grandmother (I think?)...  Terrible linoleum in the kitchen (not picked out by her I don't think) that I used to love & stare at...  It was fun finding shapes in the linoleum and I'd always show people the "two dinosaurs" I'd found throughout the pattern. It's since been replaced and looks so good, but I can't help but miss that pattern.  

...Anyway, I could go on & on (and seriously it's so satisfying recounting the patterns) but I guess what I'm getting at is that these patterns are so ingrained in my mind.  These choices made by my grandmothers & my mom and the people who decorated & accessorized the homes I spent time in really did affect me.  Even at that age, I recogized beautiful & interesting things.  (Some of them were even plastic flowers so I'm not saying they're necessarily beautiful today...  but to me they are.)   I loved looking at them.  The same goes for a lot of the artwork and accessories around the house- things my grandparents had picked up on their extensive travels, knickknacks and china my Grandma Maestranzi collected...  I remember going from tabletop to tabletop in both houses playing with the accessories... 


I was an only child for 15 years (my little sister, Morgan, was born 15 years after me when my mom married my stepdad, Tom) so I guess before that, I spent a lot of time alone, exploring the houses, observing everything in them.  To this day I like looking through my grandmother's linen closet at her sheet sets and still get a twinge of excitement when I see the vintage leafy green printed futon being pulled down from the garage.  (This happened when my closest cousins came to visit us and - just like a memory-inducing smell- the sight of that futon still gives me a childish excitement.)

Even as I write, I'm struck by the flood of memories & feeling that seeing or remembering patterns and objects from my past elicits in me.  I am so happy when Christian asks to be lifted up to see something on a shelf- like the little froggy limoge box that sits on our bookshelves.  He gets to hold it and play with it for a little bit before we put it back, just like I used to be allowed to do. 

What we put in our homes today affects our  not only our present, but is also the backdrop for our future memories. If you have kids around noticing the things, you just might be helping to develop their taste, style.  The fabrics and patterns from my past are so ingrained in my memory that I know they've influence my design aesthetic.  As I work on fabrics for the my upcoming fabric line, I'm amazed by how many of my ideas spring directly from the patterns of my past.

To some people, picking the fabric for a throw pillow may be as easy as running to Target and choosing a color that works with their rug...  to me, it's way more than that...  (although the pillow could be from Target! ;)  It has to elicit an emotional response from me or my client.  A fabric I choose is typically somehow tied to the past, memories or a feeling -although I (or they) might not even know it at first...   Designing a home's a big deal to me and those little choices are all a part of the equation.  Your thoughts??

xoxo, Lauren

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Design Ideas for a Small Living Room

Living with a Small Room: Small Space Interior Design Ideas
Apartments and condos and small spaces… oh my! If you have small spaces in your home, you may be longing for a little more elbowroom. But are larger rooms really necessary? With a few of these decorating tips, we can help you work with what you have to turn your cramped quarters into a comfortable, lovely complement to your style.

I. Go From Claustrophobic to Cozy with Darker Hues and the Right Lighting
Dramatic Uplights Expand a Room You've probably heard the common decorating tip that you should never use dark colors in a small room. Although this is sound advice, it is not always the case. The right lighting can make a darker-hued wall color open a space up like never before.

When grouped with dramatic lighting and soft upholstery, dark colors can turn a tight space into a cozy, welcoming nook. Dramatic wall lighting is perfect for small spaces because it creates a distinctive lighting effect, visually expanding the room with ambient light. Try a wall sconce with a light colored glass, or another wall fixture that sheds light upwards for the same effect.
II. The Right Furniture Makes All the Difference in a Small Room
You've probably also heard that the eye travels more quickly through a small space, so it is important to interrupt its movement as little as possible. To achieve this, eliminate obstacles in the room. Go for larger, fewer pieces of furniture instead of many small pieces that might cause a cluttered effect. The farther the eye can see into the room, the better.

Our armless accent chairs, low benches and ottomans are ideal for opening up a small space. Choose double-duty pieces of furniture like our storage benches whenever possible. They not only look stylish, but are great for tucking away items.

Decorating a Small Living Space Avoid blocking windows and doors when arranging furniture and try to open up areas of the floor. Opt for light, airy colors and fabrics for your furniture pieces, which will appear to push walls back. Think butter yellows, soothing tone-on-tones, and pale greens and blues.

When Choosing your floor covering, look for an area rug in either a solid color or with a pattern that is not too busy. Also, be sure that the rug is small enough to be a fair distance away from each wall. The space between the edge of the rug and the edge of your floor will make the room appear larger to the eye.

When searching for custom framed art for a small space, one large print is better than many smaller prints. Another great piece of wall decor is a large wall mirror. Mirrors reflect more natural light and appear to enlarge the room.
Avoid Clutter at All Costs
Decorating Ideas for a Small Room We all have it – stuff. But we can't just get rid of our stuff to accommodate a small room – can we? The answer is to find great storage solutions.
Small Living Room
Take a look around the room that has you feeling cornered and ask yourself one question: what makes sense in the room? The first step to tackling clutter is tucking away items that just don't make sense. Are extra throws and pillows taking over the formal living room instead of the family room? Try hiding them during the warmer months inside our stylish storage ottomans.

Let us not forget about the items that do make sense for the room. Instead of carrying your mail and keys across the home to the kitchen table, try incorporating one of our writing desks right into the entryway. It makes a great surface for writing down your grocery list or paying the bills.

The most important lesson when decorating a small living space is to visualize what works best for your home. While your room can be beautiful, make sure it is just as functional, too. One of the great things about decorating a small room is that it is a challenge. It's the perfect chance for you to delve into your creativity and try out new ideas.

The best laid plans & the disadvantage of berry bushes

Justin's 'cruising' now so I temporaily switched out our lucite cocktail table in the living room with an ikea slipcovered ottoman from our family room.  It'll stay in here until he can walk & I don't have to worry about him breaking his face on the table.   The look is a bit cuter than I like for my living room, but since it's temporary, I can deal.  Whatever's there always seems to be toy central and here's a quick pic now: 

{I tried to get Justin in the picture but he got away}

The beauty of slipcovers is that you can wash them whenever you need to.  The not-so-beautiful part is that with my little guys and Justin's tendency to spit-up, that'll be fairly often. 

Well, as expected, we had our first major spit-up on the ottoman so I took off the top slipcover & washed it.  Everything came out fine and I laid it out to dry in the backyard.  That evening, as Dave & I were having a drink before dinner, I looked out the window and saw this:

Seriously???  Dave went down for confirmation as I took these pics from the living room... (ever-helpful am I ;)

{Yup.  Berry bird poop.  On the ottoman.}

We will now be attempting the "you can always bleach white slipcovers" thing. 

xoxo, Lauren