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)

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(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!

LOFT LIVING: A NEW eDESIGN

Phew! That last post was a bit of a doozey so I’m going to keep it simple this time around.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned my slight obsession with Mandi over at Vintage Revivals. A genius that woman is! Most recently, she morphed what was already a pretty awesome space into something TOTALLY different. I mean, it doesn’t even look like the same space, right?

Living Room Makeover @ Vintage Revivals-2-2

Loft Living Room Makeover vintagerevivals.com

I actually love living in the country (I actually live near downtown Charlottesville, but coming from DC, it feels like the country!), but oh how I long for that urban getaway! Feeling a bit inspired by Mandi’s glorious transformation, and after daydreaming for longer than I care to admit, I decided to create a new Loft Living eDesign…
Loft Living
  1.  Leather sofa – I love how it’s already distressed, but it’s a bit pricey – HERE is a cheaper option that I have no doubt your butt will naturally distress!
  2. Balloons over Manhattan – This photo is fantastic and it adds a little color and whimsy to the space. I would suggest ordering the largest size possible, or requesting a custom size.
  3. Wool rug – I think this rug is beautiful and absolutely perfect for the space…if you have the cash to spare. BUT, very unfortunately, most of us don’t so you can find some cheaper options HERE and HERE.
  4. Rattan chairs – LOVE these chairs. They are so simple yet so versatile and stylish.
  5. Arm chair – Gotta love Jonathan Adler!
  6. Leather pouf – some cheaper options HERE, HERE, and HERE
  7. Side table – Currently unavailable, but THIS is a good option. Or THIS.
  8. Coffee table – Threshold is killing it these days!
  9. Lateral file cabinet – A dual-purpose piece is always a YES in my book, particularly for small-space living. This streamlined filing system can serve as a console table while keeping all the paper clutter at bay!
  10. Herb pot / Cactus garden / Ceramic hedgehog planter / Himmeli hanging planter – A little dose of happiness. There is nothing like plant life to make a space feel more alive.
  11. Trio pendant lighting – the naked bulbs keeps the space open and airy while still providing enough light.
  12. Tripod floor lamp – sold out at Ethan Allen, but here are a few more options: 1, 2, 3, 4
  13. Bookcase – This provides the necessary shelving without looking too heavy. It also adds another dose of whimsy.
  14. Throw pillows – no longer available, but here are a couple of pairings: 1/2, 1/2, 1/2
  15. Faux brick wallpaper – The character that brick can add to a space is second to none and, if done in moderation, instantly reads “loft.” I’m partial to the whitewash, but the distressed red can work just as well!

Are you daydreaming yet?

If you would like to see more of my eDesigns, please head on over to my Etsy shop!

LIFE LATELY…

Poor Kid 2

It’s been a doozy of a month folks. Between snow storms, leaking pipes, head colds, and the stomach flu, I’m not sure where the time has gone. I suppose that’s the reality of Winter, but man, I am so happy it’s March! It came in like a lion with this last snow/sleet/ice storm so I am going to be hopeful in saying that it will be going out like a lamb and I now have nothing but sunshine and rainbows to look forward to. Ahhh, how I love you Spring!

I suppose the one good thing that came out of my recent intimacies with the toilet, aka the stomach flu, was my total disregard of the time change. I mean, with the whole family taken down by this bug, I lost days so losing one measly hour didn’t phase me. And since little Grey was the first victim, his sleep routine was already a bit of a mess. So while I can’t say we “lucked out,” we are adjusting better than expected!

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Although, I say adjusting very lightly because really, the kid just doesn’t sleep. He’ll wake up a 2am happy as a clam and ready to party. It’ll take me an hour or more to convince him that really, THERE IS NO PARTY, in which case he’ll begrudgingly agree, fitfully drift off to sleep, and then wake up at 6am ready to party all over again. Where does the energy come from?! And how can I get some?!

Truth be told, I’ve been struggling to find time for myself these days. Not the relax in the tub with a glass of wine kind of time, although that does sound glorious, but the time to get creative and work towards my business ventures kind of time. I’ve tried to piece together tips and suggestions on how other working moms seem to do it all, but I haven’t quite figured it out yet, other than the consistent advice of carving time out in the mornings…do these people not have super early risers and/or non-sleepers?! SO, if you happen to have any tricks up your sleeve to get a kid to sleep in order to carve out this special morning me time, please do tell!

Ok, so now that I’ve vented some of the personal, I actually DO have a little business to share with you…I’ve decided to open a new Etsy shop offering online event and design service! This is a service that offers the best of both worlds: consultation, motivation, and the inspiration to create a space of your dreams, all on your time and budget.

Etsy Shop Screen

I’m still working out the kinks, and I’ll be adding my own furniture and accessory category to the mix soon, but if you are interested in taking a peek, please head on over to the Modage Cottage via Etsy or simply click on the e-Design or E-Event Service pages above. I would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and/or constructive criticism!