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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How to pet-proof your home.

There are many solutions and deterrents for keeping Fifi off your fancy couches. If you're anything like me, though, you might actually WANT Fifi on your couch (or Rico, Margot, Ari...).

We purchased a couch from Ikea for our house knowing good and well a cat or future dog will, sooner or later, hop up on it and have some sort of accident. All of our pets are very well-house trained, but they don't have access to baby wipes, if you get my drift. We also keep blankets on the couch when we aren't expecting company. That way, when company comes over, all we have to do is whip the blankets off, and voila, clean couch (mostly). I would suggest this for anyone with a beige/light couch anyway, even if you don't have pets or kids.

I recently reupholstered some chairs and made sure to choose indoor/outdoor fabric. It's not waxed cloth or vinyl, you can't tell offhand that it's indoor/outdoor fabric, but it's more durable for cat claws, cat butts, and whatever else you can think of. I believe more fabric manufacturers are producing this kind of fabric more for indoor use for the pet/child reason.

(Aforementioned chair with indoor/outdoor fabric).

I also highly suggest dark or patterned rugs if you have cats. Cats sooner or later will yack/hack on your rug. Contrary to my earlier post, it's not because they hate your chevron rug. It's thought that they are looking for someplace stable while they are yacking so they won't fall over or slide around while they are doing their barf business. Fun, right? When it's darker, obviously, you can't see the messes as well.

Yackproof rug.

If you allow your pets to sleep in your bed, I wouldn't be picky about/married to a fancy white duvet with your monograms, etc. Save those for pillowcases. I have a somewhat old duvet I got on clearance years ago, and I haven't bought a new one yet because, of course, my dog has yacked on said bedspread when she was nervous and had overnight guests. You may want to have patterned sheets, too, depending on where your pet sleeps.

One last suggestion. I have a cat tree, for my cats, obviously (horrors of horrors, yes, they are pretty darn ugly) and a crate for my dog. I think it's important to provide a little area that is specifically for them, that way if they ever feel threatened by your guests or the mailman or whatever, they always have a little retreat that is specifically theirs.

You can and should be able to enjoy man's best friend (or cat or iguana or whatever) AND your beige couch. It's just about having some prior planning ahead of time.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tree, part 2.

So here is our (not completely) finished tree. I added a sheer gold ribbon, bow from the same material to the top, and some gold wacky wooden things to the top of the tree to balance it out a little. I added gold, white, and some patterned ornaments, and a burlap fabric tree skirt.

I didn't add garland, because I think it's sorta tacky, even the nice, expensive thick kind. (Note, if you like garland, or any other tacky Christmas things, I will not judge you, as most Christmas decorations are endearing when they are tacky).

I DEFINITELY did not add tinsel. We had an incident with one of the cats where it came out the other end not so shiny. I added unbreakable ornaments to the bottom, even though I also think those are cheesy, to make it more pet friendly. All the glass ornaments on the top are wire-wrapped around the branches, so they are very unlikely to fall off. 

Most ornaments I have are vintage or used, so I don't feel bad if they break. I find a lot at flea markets, and I particularly like vintage Shiny-Brite ornaments still in the box. I like to match my decor with my tree, and since I've painted for foyer gray, instead of the blue that it was, I have changed up the Christmas tree to match (of course). It goes without saying that I really dislike red and green as holiday colors in my house. It doesn't match anything. 

I will add more things to the tree. I'm a little indecisive about it this year for some reason.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tree, part one.

I'm trying out a slightly different decorating method with the tree this year... I want to go a little overboard in regards to EVERYTHING. Feathers, ornaments, lights, you name it. So here's step 1. I tried the Martha Stewart method of tree lighting™—that means wrapping every branch with lights. Every branch that can handle it, at least.

This method is illustrated in detail above. As you can imagine, it drains the blood out of your arms. But it's totally worth it! See?

It guarantees your tree will look like the one in Rockefeller center. As far as color goes, I really prefer a solid color, like white, and traditional, non-LED lights. Coming from a former theatrical lighting designer (a.k.a. ME), the solid lights will allow your eyes to focus on the big picture of your tree and then put more emphasis on things like your ornaments. Also, LED lighting is much less warmer, and a bit less classier in my opinion, (and thought to be more headache inducing), than traditional lighting. Unless, again, you are art collectors and you want some crazy tinsel alien tree. Then have at it.

Our next installment with go over bows and ribbons... and why I hate garland and tinsel! (Hint, it involves pets and pet rear ends!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

These are a few of my favorite TIRED things...

There's a few things I've seen a little too much of in the past year. I can't say I hate these things or anything, (hate is a strong word, no?) but when paired with a bunch of similar things, I get a little overwhelmed visually. Let's run down a few things.

1. Chevron. You know something's old when there is chevron at big box stores. It's getting to be a little last Tuesday. Now chevron is everywhere. Chevron overload rooms. Chevron overload bedrooms for children with future vertigo issues. I have a black and white chevron rug that I bought within the past 6 months, mainly because it was cheap and durable, but I had to wash it and put it up because my cats kept barfing on it. Maybe they were telling me something. When they start making these in chevron, it may be time to reconsider.

2. Gray done wrong. I am in love with some gray lately. Medium gray is something I personally enjoy wearing but with some interesting color or accessory. I see a lot of rooms online that are gray ONLY (you could substitute beige here), and they are completely monochromatic. WHERE IS THE COLOR. YAWN. I think people are afraid to use color. I'm not talking about a lone, ceramic animal in a wacky color in a gray room. I am talking about a couch with a color or patterns. Curtains. Pillows. Chairs. Et cetera. Guess what? If you make a mistake with any of these cheaper items (pillow covers, curtains) you can pretty quickly and cheaply change it out with something else.

It's your life, not a museum. Unless you are an art dealer? Then sure. But even they got it right—the Rothkos! The backwards Phillipe Starck ghost chair! The leaning post, silly!

3. Starburst mirrors. Over last weekend, I saw an antique mall owner get haggled by a customer over an overpriced (and resin, if my ears didn't deceive me when the owner was knocking on it and telling her it was hand-carved... right...) starburst mirror. I had to REALLY fight the urge to say,  "NO. Step away from the played-out mirror (and get some real pants instead of those goofy capris)!"

4. Stuff that isn't YOU. Yeah, you've seen that sleek ceramic _______ on a million blogs, and it's at your local HomeCraps store for $14.99! Wow, what luck. But you're scared of actual _____?  Or you have a million pets or a small child that will eventually break said ceramic doodad? Maybe you didn't even really like it in the first place. Whatever the reason, quit buying stuff just because Pinterest, some blog, whatever, is making you fall in love with it. And that's the sole reason why you like it. I've had to really reign this stuff in during the past few years. It will help you to develop your own unique style and add meaning to your home.

5. "Keep Calm and..." I just make a tard cat face at any of these things. ANY. Although I did at one point enjoy the typography and look of the original "Keep Calm and Carry On" print. Those days are long, long gone though.

My point overall is not to have things just because you see them in a million different magazines, it's because you truly love them. Because they're you and your style. Your items in your home are carefully chosen things, reflect places you've been or special moments. Or hell, you just got that little weird Spanish doll just because you like it and it reminds you of something your grandma had. Maybe you love one of these things on this list because it really is you. Not because you're trying to predict the next hot thang.

Who knows, maybe that chevron rug of mine might make it out of storage...

Need help picking out that paint color? Need help arranging your furniture or deciding a purpose for an area in your home? Arranging your funky collections in a chic, organized way? Holla at your girl.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My first redesign board, part 2.

Here is what they sent me for the opposite side of the room. I freakin' LOVED the pug painting, but I wasn't nuts about whatever was on the other wall. I thought a buffet table would be fantastic, with two buffet lamps (of course) flanking the newly moved painting of (presumably) their pug. I love the idea of either laying it on the buffet table or putting it up on the wall above it. Never a bad idea to have a dog guarding your booze, vegan mac and cheese, et cetera.

The lamps will also add some much needed lighting for that area. I recently added some vintage lucite lamps to the buffet table in my living/dining area, and I don't know how we ever lived without it. You never realize how dark a room is until you add some low wattage lamps around everywhere.

I will go ahead an assume there is some kind of fixture in that area, perhaps a flush mount, and they probably want something a little sexier for parties or something. I ALWAYS suggest adding a dimmer to ANYTHING... that way, it can be task lighting when you need it to be, or it can be romantic when you want sassy times.

Okay, so here is the pic broken down:

1. Burlap Fabric for Doorway—Instead of what is currently there. Matches the earthiness in the bamboo shades in both color and content.

2. Paint Color— Benjamin Moore. An option if you hated the beige walls. And this would go well with the light green rug and chairs in the other room. And the green velvet couch (not pictured). Just don't hang up any Jaguars FatHeads. ;-)

Contrary to popular belief, dark colors do NOT make a place look small... it's a lot of contrast that makes things look small.

3. Chandelier— Um, I want this for myself. Just sayin'.

4. Frames—These could also easily be done with some garage sale/thrift store/frames you have lying around. Just paint them all the same color to look cohesive.

5. Dining Buffet— This is a cheapie, but probably a goodie, from Tar-Jay. If you could find a nice used hardwood one from a consignment shop or thrift store, it would probably be the same diff. It adds storage for stuff like candles, decorations, serving ware, dog toys, whatever you want.

6. Buffet Lamps—Tall, skinny, nice. AND there's a plug on that wall already.

One other thing I would suggest is to maybe get a table with removable leaves that sits about 4-6, if you have the room for it.

Thanks again for sending in your pics! Want one done for yourself for free? Email me with the subject line "Reader Redesign." Be sure to include your general budget, colors you would like to incorporate, and any other information.