SHOP TALK & A LITTLE ENCOURAGEMENT

So let’s talk shop for a minute.

If you’ve read the few blog posts I’ve had over the years, you will quickly notice the shift that has occurred. I began this blog with a passion for DIY. Not the crafty DIY, but the get your hands dirty, pull out the sander and paint cans kind of DIY. I loved scouring the flea markets and junk shops, repurposing furniture, and breathing new life into old pieces. And I had an Etsy shop full of these finds. But as business picked up, passion began to wane. With my lack of photography skills, photographing and editing the product became overwhelming, packaging and shipping the product became a job in itself, and storing the product became too costly. As a one-man show, I simply couldn’t keep up with it all. So I decided to shut down my Etsy shop and go local. I found a space at an antique shop and with a thousand ideas in my head, dove into my niche.

And heck, it was fun! I loved the satisfaction of knowing that something I created, something that I designed and painted with my own hands (and sometimes blood, sweat, and tears…) was getting used and loved and cherished on a daily basis. That’s an awesome feeling guys.

However, when I got pregnant, working with paints and stains and spirits somehow became a little less appealing. So after about 9 months of sales, I closed up shop once again and hunkered down with baby. Over the next year, I would still collect ideas and work on products, but what I found myself more and more drawn to was the design rather than the process. I loved imagining the end product. I loved picturing it in a home, and then I would imagine how I would decorate around it.

I always loved decorating. Even as a little girl, I would spend hours styling and restyling a single bookshelf. When I purchased my first home, it became my canvas (and half of my product went into my home instead of my shop. Not usually the best way to run a business…) and as friends and family came through, I began to build a reputation. They would come to me for advice, ask me to decorate a room, and ever so slowly I realized this is it. This is what I want to do. I want to help people live in a more comfortable and happy environment.

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A little piece of my own happy environment!

So again, with a dream and a more intentional goal, I took the plunge and opened up my eDesign shop.

I didn’t really know what to expect. I expected very little actually, but it just felt right, and I got my first client within the month. Things took off from there. With each new client and each new room, I gained more confidence, but with no formal training, I still had that doubt in my head – who do you think you are? Do you really think you can get away with playing the decorator?

It wasn’t until I went to sell my home that I gained that boost I really needed. Within the week, without going on the market, the house sold. The agents involved spoke highly of the décor and I finally felt like it was time to give myself a little pat on the back. It felt good. And it gave me the courage to market myself locally. Which is how I now find myself designing a spa.

Halo Salt Spa 1

Halo Salt Spa 2

And a sneak peak into my most recent project…

I say all of this to you 1.) to inform you in a very long and round-about way that going forward, this blog is going to focus much more on design than DIY (although there will be DIY thrown in there!), and 2.) to give YOU the confidence and the encouragement to find your passion and follow your own dream. Taking the plunge doesn’t have to be all or nothing, but it can be the stepping stone that leads to bigger and bigger things. I’m standing on that stepping stone as we speak (and frankly, it scares the hell out of me) and while I will probably wobble a bit and take my time moving on to the next one, I can see the outline of it ahead of me, and that is pretty amazing. So be scared, my friends, but do make that jump onto the first stone. And feel free to follow along as I embark on my own wobbly path!

LIFE LATELY (4.26.16)

You guys. It has been a LONG time. I know, I have been terrible but Life came at me quickly and I couldn’t quite keep my head above water. Not that I currently have my head above water, but I have so, so much to share that I just couldn’t stay away any longer!

First, if you are reading this – thank you for sticking with me. Things are about to change big time on this lil’ ole blog, and life in general, so hopefully you will stick around a little longer to see what’s happening.

Second…these guys:

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Yeah, that one is a bit of a doozy – TWINS! And words I never, EVER expected to come out of my mouth. I mean, it was never a thought in my head until I saw that second little blip on the sonogram. And since then, life has been a whirlwind. We bought a new car (a minivan…), we sold a house, bought a new one, moved, and somehow decided to birth two babies somewhere along the way.

2016-04-05 12.03.44 1-01(I must mention – I would never recommend or even wish on my worst enemy moving with a toddler in tow while (very) pregnant with twins. Throw in there a husband with a broken arm and you just may find yourself in complete meltdown mode. I’m just saying, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.)

Needless to say, my life has been a bit chaotic the last few months, and I’m tired, so very tired, but it has all been worth it. During particularly trying days (and there are many…), I have to remind myself of this, but then I get to snuggle these two little bugs and realize just how lucky I am.

IMG_20160408_112629-01 (1)Anyhow, I’ve also been focusing on the design business as much as possible in what free time I do have. I am still hashing out some e-designs and in other big news, I have picked up a local project designing a salt spa soon to open on the Downtown Mall here in Charlottesville, VA. Once their website goes live, I’ll definitely get into more detail, but I can’t wait to share more with you! So business has been going really, really well and I can only hope to maintain some kind of reasonable pace – not an easy feat with 3 kids under 3…

So in a nutshell, that’s life lately!

Despite the craziness that is and will be my life for a long time, I hope to bring some of that craziness to the blog and plan to post much more frequently. How frequently? To be honest, I’m not quite sure yet. With the arrival of the twins, I’m not sure what to expect (I’ve set my expectations pretty low, actually), but I know in order to keep my sanity, I will need an outlet and I would like that outlet to be here, in this space, with you. So bare with while I find my footing and stay tuned for a lot of design, a bit of baby talk, some fashion and fitness chatter (as I try to find my way back to fitting into my clothes!), and general lifestyle meanderings.

And again, thanks for checking in!

CREATING A FUN (AND FUNCTIONAL!) ENTRYWAY

Well, I most definitely have not been a good blogger…but I have been a good designer! I’ve pulled in my first e-design clients ya’ll, and so far it’s been so much fun and quite a success. It began as a small project – a 6×6 project, to be exact. I was asked to liven up a very empty entryway into a semi-open concept, California home. After reading through the client’s completed questionnaire, I quickly realized how well-matched our vision and design style was. I probably couldn’t have hand-picked better clients myself! So I hit the ground running, full of ideas and excitement.

Entryways can be a little tricky though, for two reasons: 1. they’re kind of like the windows to the soul. It’s that important first impression – you want to let your personality shine, but you don’t want to tell your entire life story in one breath (entire life story = way too much clutter for a miniscule space!), and 2. storage. Yep, kind of boring, but totally necessary. You have to make your entryway functional. As much as you may want a pristine cowhide rug, a marbled console, and an oversized vase filled with cherry blossoms, that just ain’t gonna work if you have two dogs, a kid, and a husband that doesn’t understand the concept of style.

So you have to start with the basics. Review your lifestyle and the ensuing wear and tear your entryway will receive, and go from there. If you throw off your shoes the moment you walk into the house, designate a space for said shoes, and a small bench or stool to put them back on as you leave. If you’re always giving yourself a final onceover before heading out the door, hang a mirror above a console and gather a few lip glosses in a decorative bowl to have at the ready. If you have a big family, a lot of coats, and very little closet space, you just may want to throw in a coat rack and a few organizational, catch-all pieces. Catch my drift? Once you have your basics covered, you can start piecing in the fun, quirky stuff.

Hi Sugarplum | Layers of an Entrance Hall

(Over-sized mirror + console with catch-all bowl + personal touches and greenery = quirky elegance via Hi Sugarplum)

Loft Living Room Makeover vintagerevivals.com-23

(Customized vintage storage + family organization + major greenery and quirky pendant light = major “modage” boho via Vintage Revivals)

So that’s what we did. They knew they wanted some kind of streamlined, modern storage. They have one, well-behaved dog so they knew they needed a place to hang the leash, and they knew they wanted a catch-all basket and some greenery. With that in mind, I pulled together this initial draft moodboard to make sure we were on the same page…

eDesign: Entryway Moodboard

Simple, yet colorful and eclectic. The dash wallpaper you see above is actually a light, cotton fabric that will be applied to the ceiling (the rest of the walls will be white). On a side note, I’m omitting the full design concept / layout to give my clients a little privacy, but luckily they loved  it! They were a little unsure about the semi-floating shelf, however, so I went with a variation on the design to give them a new perspective:

E Striebel Draft #2 Moodboard

Not a huge difference, eh? I swapped the hanging drawers with some floating, open shelving – perfect for draping some greenery! – but in order to better balance the open shelving, I went with a simple, DIY coat rack on the opposite wall for small accessories (totes, hats, scarves, leashes…).

In the end, we went with a lovely, modern floating console (just fyi: in the design layout, decorative hooks are included for the leash and other small accessories!) and I, and more importantly, my clients couldn’t be happier! Here is the final product board…

E Striebel Final Product Mood Board

Not too busy but still functional, fun, and full of personality! What do you think? Would you have gone with the floating console or the aluminum open shelving (totally a personal preference – I love both options, obviously)?

Like I said, I really think I got the Golden Goose of a first client, and I’m looking forward to future design projects. With our styles and communication so aligned, next in line will be their great room, dining room, and kitchen – so stay tuned!

If you’re interested in my e-design services, feel free to head on over to my shop on Etsy or just shoot me a message and I’ll be happy to help you as best I can!

TODDLER INTERIORS: THE PLAYROOM (and keeping toys to a minimum)

It’s hard to believe that a short 17 months ago, Greyson was – in so many words – a baby blob. I’ve been warned how quickly they grow up, and it is so true! The kid is now a walking, talking,little man. Its pretty incredible, actually, but the evidence is in all the STUFF spread across the house. Cars, trucks, trains, balls, bristle blocks…by the end of the day it looks like a tornado tore through the house and left behind nothing but toys. Where did they all come from?!

Corner of Playroom FINAL

Pre-baby, I promised myself that we would be toy minimalists. What does a kid need so many toys for anyhow? They only have two hands and are what…30+ inches or so? Boy was I wrong! Between grandparents and my own occasional shopping sprees (kid stuff is just so darn cute!), we now have ourselves a nice collection. Unfortunately though, our house didn’t get any bigger while making this collection so I’m beginning to feel a bit more like a hoarder and less like a over-excited mother. So, back to this whole minimalist thing…

I’ve been trying to figure out what to keep vs. what to donate, and it is so much harder than I thought it would be! I mean, everything can be considered an “educational toy” in some sense, right? I’ve considered keeping only the classic wood toys while tossing the rest, except for books, of course. One can never have too many books. And a reading nook as a must. And Elmo, the kid LOVES Elmo. And balls. And blocks. You can’t go wrong with balls and blocks. And puzzles. Because puzzles are important for gross development. You see the problem here?

TeePee FINAL

So, in an attempt to keep myself in line, I’ve been pinning some nice, MINIMALIST play areas that are colorful, fun, functionable, and appealing to the Bigs and the Littles alike. Here’s what I found so far:

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Dreamy kids room

via

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Kids room - adorable and bright colors.

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the color!!!!

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Now to put thought into action! Hopefully an update is coming soon 🙂

How do you keep your toddler toys minimized and organized?

LIVING ROOM UPDATE (PART 2)

I’ve been going through the very slow process of transforming my home into something that works a little better for this family. Something that fits the stage of life we are in – toddler proof, dog proof, STRESS PROOF (is that possible?!) – but still feels good, you know? I really want it to feel light, fun, but still “put together.” And amazingly, I’m actually starting to think it’s coming together quite nicely! It feels comfortable, which makes me stress far less about the constant state of mess that it’s in. It will always be a work in progress, of course, and there are rooms upstairs that go mostly ignored (ahem, the master and guest bedrooms…), but heck, I’ll take what I can get!

Living Room Updated 6 (1 of 1)

If you recall, the living room looked a little something like this

Living Room Angle 2014

Living Room Rugs 2014 edited

Overall, not a whole lot has changed, eh? But that coffee table makes a world of a difference. It brightens up the whole room and gives it a better balance. To be honest, I initially wasn’t the biggest fan – something just seemed…off. But adding that pouf was a great move in so many ways (if I do say so myself!). It creates much more of an equilibrium with the oversized coffee table, provides extra seating, and excellent entertainment/climbing practice for the kid. He even rolls it across the house Cross Fit style so yeah, totally worth the investment (found ON SALE at West Elm! Unfortunately, it’s no longer available, but they do have other great choices).

Living Room Updated 3 FINAL

The coffee table, by the way, was a $50 flea market find that I painted in Annie Sloan’s “Old White,” lightly distressed, and sealed with a beeswax. I originally refinished it with the intention to sell…a huge problem I have, actually. I only find and refurbish pieces that I would choose to have in my own home, and more often than I am willing to admit, this is exactly what happens – they end up in my own home. First world problem, I know.

Living Room Updated 5 (1 of 1) copy

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As much of a “problem” that it is – I love that my home is full of pieces I’ve created. Is it perfect? NO. Sometimes these pieces are picked and painted to fill a void until something better comes along or goes on sale (hello Anthropologie, I’m talking to you…), but it makes my home mine and I know there is no other out there like it. It really is my happy place (framed picture courtesy of A Beautiful Mess after I pre-ordered their book). And I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really tired of seeing the same products and style in what seems like EVERY HOME in the blogosphere. I love the midcentury, but come on guys, give it a break and switch it up every once in a while!

Speaking of midcentury and quickly getting off of my high horse…I do plan on adding a little midcent style to my own home in the form of a 1960’s vintage record player cabinet courtesy of the hubby’s parents (meaning FREE!). It’s something they owned for longer than needed, and knowing my love for all things vintage, they drove it down from NYC and passed it on to very willing hands. And now it sits in my studio, waiting for a little hemp oil and muscle (aka The Husband) to get it home. Guess where it’s going to end up? Yep, that’s right – the living room!

Part 3 coming soon…

Living in Motherhood: Part 1

For those of you that have followed me for a while, you’re well aware that I’m a bit of an interior design aficionado. Seriously, I could oogle Pinterest images for hours (and actually have when baby has fallen asleep on me!). There are a lot of images that speak to me though, and I have yet to completely define my style.

What I have learned, however, is to go with my gut and not let any one style limit me. And to be realistic. I would love an all white interior, or at least mostly white, but with 2 dogs, a cat, a baby, and a husband that doesn’t often take off his shoes when home…not possible.

Living Room

image via I Suwanee

I love the girly glamorous, but getting my husband to agree to crystal chandeliers, gold trim, any shade of pink, or faux fur…not possible.

via First Home on Tumbler

I love the fresh cottage, Pottery Barn-like style…but I have also discovered that it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

Vintage-style living room

via House to Home

What I hope to create is an eclectic style of all of these things, a style that is cozy and comfortable and fitting for my newfound lifestyle. Most of all, I want a style that makes me smile – and looks good messy. Because let’s face it, who has time to clean with a baby on the move?!

Boho chic living room | Living room decorating | Ideal Home | Housetohome.co.uk

via House to Home (UK)

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via Oh Joy!

Now on to the baby-proofing…any tips and suggestions?

Feeling the Bohemian Vibe + Gift Ideas

Perhaps it’s my desire to adopt a more carefree attitude, or my need to relinquish a little more control (it’s so hard!), but I have recently found myself drawn to that laid-back, bohemian vibe.

Gypsy Lolita - www.gypsylolita.com/ #boho #bohemian #hippie #gypsy

I know that I will never be that true free spirit – I simply care too much about the judgments of others and I’m way, WAY too uptight to fully let that part of myself go. But as you may have read, I have been attempting to let go to the best of my ability and insert bits and pieces of this spirit into my daily life.

With that said, of course it only makes sense to insert some of that bohemian vibe into the one room I spend most of my time in…

Bohemian Living Room - A vintage bamboo couch covered with a fur throw and green pillows

A livable, plush living room with a bohemian flair via Lonny

Bohemian Living Room - A living room with an oversized velvet sofa, mixed throw pillows and a rough-hewn coffee table

Currently, my living room is a bit too Pottery Barn-ish with a neutral, natural color scheme. But, since I can’t disregard the furniture I already have, I am going with a vintage, cottage-y, bohemian style…

Bohemian Living Room - A gold starburst mirror framed by white curtains

Bohemian Living Room - A black-and-white striped rug in sitting area

Yes, I definitely need a little more panache in my life! And for me, adding this flair makes it more inviting and child-friendly. So with credit card and wish list in hand, I went ahead and did a little Christmas shopping for myself…

Playful triangles Throw PillowMINIMAL COMPLEXITY Throw PillowWatercolor Swiss Cross (White) Throw PillowDiamond Throw PillowTriangle pattern Throw PillowBLACK & WHITE ARROWS Throw Pillow

All throw pillow via Society6

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Throw blanket and rug via Ikea

Colorful World Map - Art Print - Watercolor Painting

You can find the prints here and here.

I must add, all of these accessories are $30 and under and would make the perfect holiday gift for those in your life that may need a little pick me up! Tis the season, my friends (one for you, one for me…).

Looking forward to sharing my mini-makeover with you once I get all these goodies in hand!

A Very Modage Nursery.

With the due date looming (only 1.5 months to go!), I am happy to say that the nursery I’ve been pecking away at for the last couple of months is finally complete!

And it all started with this picture…

Geolo_JDV_129Via Project Nursery

I just loved the peaceful neutrality of it all. I particularly fell in love with the grey striped walls and as the idea quickly became stuck in my head, I went to work creating my own. Amazingly, I was thrilled with the outcome – if you’ve ever owned an old home, you’ll quickly realize how crooked the walls and ceilings are and how impossible it is to achieve a straight line!

So, armed with a neutral-based jute rug, a newly striped wall, a crib, and an upcycled turquoise dresser, a theme began taking shape…

Of course, you can’t deny a girl her pop of color so I had to take that turquoise and run with it! I wanted to resist the urge to create an entirely boyish nursery and turquoise gave me the perfect opportunity to add a bit of flair without going overboard…

Nursery Update 1w watermark

Nursery Update 4 w watermark

Nursery Update 3 w watermark

Nursery Update 5 w watermark

Don’t you just love Dr. Suess? This quote was also read at my wedding. I love how I can bring such a personal touch to Greyson’s room: not only is it a momento to my marriage, but a reminder of all the things baby Greyson will soon be capable of. Oh, the places he will go!

Nursery Update 6 w watermark

The nursery is actually quite tiny, so I had to remove the closet doors to create just enough space for the glider. But I love how it opened up the room and gave me the perfect view of all the itty bitty baby clothes! How can you not smile when faced with dozens of onesies?

With the vintage touches, the discreet boyish charm, and that pop of my favorite color…I think I might be able to find peace in this room. Now all we need to add is a peaceful baby!

Left My Heart in Washington State…

Ahh. There is something so incredibly refreshing about the crisp, cool, foggy mornings of Washington State. I was lucky enough to visit at a time in which the weather was absolutely and utterly perfect. Low 60’s in the mornings with a dreamy fog that would break around 10:30 every morning, sunny 70’s in the early afternoon, a non-humid 80’s in the late afternoon, and right back down to the low 70’s in the evening.

Washington 2 w Watermark

Washington 3 w Watermark

Four generations of family (one just happens to be in my belly…)!

And the constant smell of the sea hanging in the air – glorious. What I loved most of all though, was the backdrop of the mountains against the blues of the sky. As soon as that morning fog began to thin, you could see the beauty of Mt. Rainier breaking through, bright and clear and dominant.

Washington w Watermark

I love Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley that I am lucky enough to live in, but there is something so invigorating and mysterious about the Northwest. And with the beloved family that I get to see so rarely now thousands of miles away, I think a big piece of my heart remains in Washington.

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With the picturesque landscape and sweeping sea still in my mind, I thought I’d throw together a space inspired by nautical living…

Nautical Living
 
 
 
…and crisp neutrals, natural textures, and pops of blues and corals give this space just the right touch!

The Masculine Shabby Chic.

I can’t deny that I’m a huge fan of the shabby chic décor. There’s something so refreshing and airy about it! It’s like living in a pillow: white, soft, and oh-so-soothing. It feels muddled and actually lived in. But as much as I love the fluffy, feminine touch of the shabby chic we all know and love, there’s something to be said about the warm tones and textures of masculine décor.

browndresswithwhitedots:</p><br /> <p>Hans Blomquist<br /><br />

although it too dark for my taste, i can't stop admiring it. love the trunk! -dorel

Oh yes. The distressed leather. The haphazard throw blanket and pillows. The rustic touches and vintage goodness. It’s the perfect mixture of hard and soft, warm and cold, and it feels like home.

vintage scenarios

the color and distress of that leather kills me (also really love the cluster of frames and objects on the wall)

This is what I like to call the masculine shabby chic. It’s a little Restoration Hardware meets Rachel Ashwell: 1 part rustic, 1 part vintage, a dash of industrial, and all man!

In fact, if these rooms were a man, they would be Ryan Gossling or Aidan from Sex and the City; they ooze masculinity but maintain that mysterious, sensitive side…

https://i2.wp.com/media-cache-ec3.pinimg.com/originals/d8/7c/3b/d87c3b435fee3e993a9c17a249376aaf.jpg

Ok, this guy isn’t too bad either…

Want to add a little masculinity and mystery to your own home? Here’s a good start:

Masculine Shabby Chic

Lancaster Leather Sleeper Sofa, Vintage Cage Light / Faux Fur Throw / Vintage Grain sack Pillows, Vintage Yellow Books, Vintage French Paperback / Anton Coffee Table / Vintage Tulu Rug / Baru Yellow Round Stool / Beach babe Surf Art, Steampunk Fox Art Print, Vintage Framed Postcard, Little Boxes Wall Shelf / Vintage Brass Accent Table, Whisky Stones