Thursday, December 20, 2012

Project Redesign

Hello, all. Obviously, I haven't blogged in over a week. I know everyone deals with things differently, but honestly I couldn't bring myself to talk about fabric in the face of such unspeakable tragedy. I was actually working on a very worthwhile project last Friday when I got the news, so I thought I would focus on sharing that with you today.

Project Redesign is a wonderful program in Nashville that provides room makeovers for low-income families and interior redesigns for community centers and other non-profit organizations. On Friday, I got the opportunity to work with an amazing group of volunteers to make one single mother's apartment a home. I'll let the photos do the talking . . .

Here is the living room before . . .
and after . . . 

The 6-year-old daughter's room before . . . 
And after . . . 
I mainly helped with the girl's room so I'm very fond of it. 

And, the little boy's room before . . . 
And after . . . 

It was such an amazing experience, and I'm so glad I got the chance to help and meet an extraordinary group of dedicated women who make it all possible. 
All photos courtesy of Suzanne Snyder, Project Redesign.

If you're interested in contributing to Project Redesign or would like more information, please visit their website.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Opinions, Please

Two posts in two days. Crazy. Anyway, I'm looking for a little input here. I've narrowed down my fabric choices for this stool that's going in my office . . .
Here's the loveseat and a new piece of art I made to go over the loveseat . . . 

There is a lot of blue in the sofa with hints of some raspberry/purple, so I pulled that into the painting. For the little stool, I would like to add the raspberry color to inject that into the room a bit more. Since the stool is tee-tiny, I found some designer fabric options that are a little pricey usually but for such a small piece are rather affordable.

First, David Hicks' La Fiorentina by Groundworks for Lee Jofa in the wine and magenta colorway:
I've always loved this fabric and wanted some in my home somewhere. I don't have a swatch of it, but think the color would work in the office really well. However, I'm not sure much of the design will show because the circular stool is only about 16 inches in diameter.

Next, Les Touches by Brunschwig & Fils in a new colorway of cherry over purple . . . 

I've always loved Les Touches in other colors and had not seen this one before. I think it would work as well and like its neutral background in case the stool moves to another room some day (which knowing me it will). Uggh, decisions. I'm actually leaning in one direction, but wanted to get some different opinions. I felt better about my indecisiveness when I watched Million Dollar Decorators and saw that Mary McDonald was struggling with decisions for her own home as well.

What do you think? Which would you choose?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Credenza: A Furniture Workhorse

Let's talk about credenzas, shall we? What? You think they're boring? Oh no, no, no. As I mention in the title, they are the workhorses of the furniture world. And can be so pretty as well as functional. So, what got me on this credenza kick? Well, specifically, I worked on a design board for a client recently who wanted some ideas for his law office in a beautiful new highrise in downtown Nashville. I suggested that one wall feature a credenza instead of the bookshelves he currently has and doesn't utilize. Observe:

Current set-up:
He currently uses the shelves as storage or to organize stacks of papers. A credenza would afford him hidden storage while giving him more surface area to lay out papers when needed. Plus, it's nice to look at . . . win-win.

One of the main things I love about credenzas is how versatile they are. Of course, they work in office spaces as noted above, but they're also great throughout the house. Looking for some cool piece of furniture to put your TV on? Credenza.

My own Mastercraft credenza in my basement . . .

Have storage needs and some extra space in your entryway? Credenza.

Need some place to serve food and store dishes in your dining room? Credenza (in this case, also called a sideboard or buffet. Whatever).
Need some storage anywhere? You get the point. Plus, it's just a fun word to say.

The newly painted credenza in my office . . . 

There are literally thousands of designs out there to suit every taste and budget. I tend to prefer the vintage or mid-century modern versions because of their clean lines and unique details.

Do you have a favorite credenza? Do tell . . .

Friday, December 7, 2012

DIY Faux Shagreen Tray

I know I mentioned sharing a DIY faux shagreen tray I made this week. Well, better late than never. The truth is I was still tweaking it until today, and while it's not perfect (still needs a little touching up), I'm pretty much happy with the look of it. Are you familiar with faux shagreen trays?

There are different versions around and some different price points, but usually you can't pick one up for south of $100. The ones from MadeGoods are $300 and up, I believe. So, they're a little pricey, but I've been lusting after them for quite some time.

So, what is shagreen anyway? Well, the real deal is rarely used anymore, but here's a little history on it from Maitland-Smith/La Barge:

"The word, shagreen, is based on the Mid-Eastern word, Shagri, describing a rough hide.  The art of shagreen was first used in Turkey during the 12th century.  At that time, the coarse, durable skins of sharks were inlaid on shields and used in battle.  Shagreen is usually made from the skins of small sharks and ray fish.  The texture is what makes this interesting and different from other materials."

Okay, so back to my DIY version. When I picked up this tray recently from a thrift store for about $4, I had no idea what I was going to do with it.
I mean, it was pretty fugly. However, it was in decent structural shape, so I thought surely I could do something with it. 

I got it home and my wheels started turning. I must tell you that I assumed I could take the back off and simply remove the doily art from under the glass. Um, well, no. Because the doily thing was painted on the glass! Seriously? Anyway, I forged on. I flirted with doing a faux malachite treatment as I'd done in the past on a box. Well, it didn't look too great. I think painting on glass was throwing me off. 

So, while walking around Michael's inspiration struck. I was thinking of covering it with something (faux snakeskin possibly?) when I spied some plastic-y (no other word for it) scrapbooking paper that's meant to look like the texture of a basketball. Or maybe, just maybe, faux shagreen?
So, I snatched up several sheets (they were $1 each, I think) and hatched my plan. 

I played around with the sheets on the tray itself (I had, by this point, painted the wood trim black and the handles gold). 
Next up was some boring stuff like measuring, cutting and modge-podging on the paper. Then, I just started playing around with paint/finishes. First, I painted it with some alabaster acrylic paint. Basically just dry brushed it on, rubbing off any excess. Once it was dry, I did the same with black. Eventually, after several permutations, I used Rub and Buff Antique Gold, then a layer of black on top for this effect . . . 
Here it is with some accessories just thrown on, not really styled (that's my real malachite box, by the way, not the faux one I did). I don't feel the rectangular tray really works on my rectangular coffee table (I would prefer a round one), but I haven't decided where it will live yet. 

So, does it look like faux shagreen exactly? Probably not, but it's close enough for me. And it went from looking like Grandma's house:
To something sleek and stylish:

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Serge Roche

Ever heard of Serge Roche? If you're as obsessed with interior design as most readers of this blog, surely you've run across his pieces in the blogosphere or in shelter publications. In the 1930's, Roche designed furniture and accessories in the Baroque (over-the-top) style out of stucco and mirror. Designers love him for his use of embellishment and ornament. Why am I bringing up Serge? Over the weekend, I found a vintage lamp that looks a lot like some of his celebrated designs . . .

Now, whether this is truly a Roche piece or simply "in the manner of,"  I'm not sure, but it bears a striking resemblance to pieces I've found on the internet that are attributed to him. Observe . . . 

Another interesting piece I found while doing my research bears a striking resemblance to a mirror I found for a client. Remember this piece?
The same mirror is available currently on Etsy for $1295. My client got hers for well under $200. Score!

Here's my client's mirror in her entry . . .
Its fluid, organic fronds and gilt finish really balance out some of her more angular, modern pieces. It's a great mix. 

Some more Serge Roche pieces . . .
Mirrored Serge Roche bed in Bunny Williams' bedroom.

Mirrored screen in Delphine Krakoff's apartment.

And of course, I had to include one of his dolphin tables!

So, what do you think? Are you a fan of Serge Roche?