Monday, July 13, 2009

Sneak Peek: My New Office

Here is my new office! I wanted to give everyone a sneak peek, for now. The only thing left to do before I'm 'finished' is install the ceiling lighting I've purchased. Stay tuned for details of this project, including a breakdown of all the costs associated with the new room!

This was my office, before the makeover. So, what do you think? Feel free to share your comments. Thanks!

Painting Furniture 101

One of the key features of my new home office was the use of modern black furniture, instead of the original cherry wood furniture I've had for years. I decided to re-purpose the same furniture by re-painting it in black. This was not as easy as it sounds, but in the end it was still worth it!
At first, we thought spray paint would be the best option, but we soon learned that spraying the furniture black (even after sanding and priming it) did not result in the best finish. We started with the desk, and as you can see below the paint went on blotchy and did not look so great.
A quick trip to Home Depot to return the many cans of spray paint ended up in purchasing interior paint in a Satin finish to complete the project. I had to sand down the desk again, to remove the spray paint, and then applied two coats of paint with a small paint roller. The result: Success! As you can see below, the finish was even and had a nice sheen to it, and best of all, it was QUICK!

Here are pictures of the rest of the furniture, in various stages of repainting.



I hope this inspires you to re-purpose some pieces you have, and save some big bucks buying new furniture. In today's economy, we all need money-saving ideas that keep our house beautiful.
The cost of this project was under $50, including the can of paint and the painting supplies.
{A big thank you to my husband, Victor, for moving the furniture in and out of the office, as well as helping me tape and touch up the tedious corners and drawers of the furniture!}

Friday, July 10, 2009

Do Sweat the Small Stuff: Light Fixtures

When I bought my new home five years ago, I upgraded as much as possible to make sure I could have a home that was beautiful and elegant. However, the upgrades the home builder offered for lighting were still nothing but dull and dreary. I hope the pictures I share with you of the true upgrades I've made in my home inspire you.
In the dining area, I inherited an inverted half-sphere, which was standard but not very appealing. I quickly went out shopping looking for something more dramatic, and found these beautiful pendant lamps to hang over my dining room table. I bought three of them, and set them on a dimmer for mood lighting. I cannot stop receiving compliments on this quick update, which did not cost more than $200.

For the master bedroom, I found this beautiful capiz shell pendant that echoed the light colors of my decor and complements a romantic, airy style. I found this at Cost Plus World Market for under $100, and also put it on a dimmer to up the romance factor in the bedroom.

Every new home comes with these awful Vegas-style dressing room bulbs. I was also quick to replace those in the master bathroom. It really made a world of difference. See for yourself the touch of elegance it brought to the bathroom. These I found at Home Depot, and am sure I did not spend more than $100 on them.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Style

Now that the hot weather is here, it's always amusing to see how it affects people differently. I can just spend a whole afternoon people-watching, and admire those who really know how to pull off a great summer outfit, while wondering why others simply don't have a clue. Here are some practical tips I wanted to share with everyone, to help you be one of those admired...

  • Keep it light. Light, airy fabrics are made for summer. Great pieces are made of cotton, linen, and (for ladies) sheer chiffon.
  • Wear comfortable clothing. There is nothing less sexy than a woman hiking up her strapless every two minutes, just because she thought it looked cute.
  • Lighten up your wardrobe. This is the time to wear playful, colorful clothes. Ditch the grays and dark browns for now, and bust out the soft blues and pinks (yes, even for men). The only exception to this rule is our universal black -- that never ceases to look chic!
  • Wear summer shoes. Sneakers are made for running, not for shorts. Men - Do invest in a nice pair of sandals you can wear with slacks or shorts. Leather ones are optimal, for a nice night out. Ladies - Flaunt your summer pedicure with metallic and stylish flat sandals, and if you want to wear heels, keep them strappy.
  • Overexpose. Keep the bare skin to a minimum; please leave something to the imagination, ladies. Fellas - this is not the time to bare your gut, unless you are blessed with abs of steel!
  • Roast. A summer tan is still very sexy, but the lobster look is not. Please be responsible when tanning, and don't forget the sunscreen.
  • Lose yourself in accessories. This is the time to be easy, breezy, nice and easy--and that means less is more. Don't pile on the accessories now. Keep the focus on simplicity, and live with the fact than one great pair of hoop earrings is sometimes all you need.
  • Dehydrate yourself. Even when you're out at a pool party, don't forget the importance of hydration. Drink lots of water when you're out by the pool or golfing. Not only will this help you party longer, it also helps your skin look a lot nicer.
  • Here are some summer looks that are perfect this season. Find these at one of my favorite stores - Banana Republic. Have a great summer!

Inspiration: Citrus

Here are some thoughts around a design scheme based on a citrus theme. The design is for an adjacent living and kitchen area I'm working on. The palette is neutral, with creams and light furniture, accented by yellows and greens -- inspired by citrus fruit! There is also a fireplace in the area that would be beautiful whitewashed, as the one shown in the photos.

It's funny how once you start looking for a certain color palette, it seems to be everywhere. Most of these photos are from Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel, but you can find bright, sunny items just about anywhere these days. I hope this color palette brightens up your day!

Wanted: Glamorous and Chic Office

I have been working on a new design scheme for my new home office, to better suit my style and personality, so that it becomes more inviting and fun to be in. My inspiration is taken from Domino's Book of Decorating (shown above). It is very feminine and glamorous, and I love the black and white balanced with the soft blue.

Right now, my office is painted a soft yellow and my desk and filing cabinets are a dark cherry red wood, while my large bookshelf is black. I am going to repaint my desk and cabinet black, to modernize the look, and plan to rearrange the furniture again to open up the room a bit. Once I've moved the furniture around I should have plenty of room to create a small seating area, which will also make it more inviting for others. This could also be a small reading corner for me on the days when I just want to relax. Here are some seating ideas I have, from Ikea and Target, respectively. Have not yet decided whether I'll want two small chairs or one small sofa...

Another item I want to bring is is a large mirror, so I can hang it over my desk when it's facing the wall, to give the room depth and to give me a bit more peace of mind by still being able to see the door behind me. I like these structured mirrors I found, from Martha Stewart and Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams.Once I've made these changes, I will bring in some chic white and acrylic accessories to lighten the room up some more. I'm still looking for a great light fixture as well -- preferably a nice pendant or chandelier lamp.

Here is a picture of my office, as it looks now. Hopefully, it won't be long before you can come back and see how I've transformed DRAB into GLAM!