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!

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

OH EMERALD, HOW DO I LOVE THEE? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS…

I think it’s important that we all add a little sparkle to our lives and, other than spending a small fortune on shiny trinkets, there’s no easier way than by implementing Pantone’s 2013 color of the year – EMERALD!

PANTONE COLOR OF THE YEAR 2013 - Emerald 17-5641

Initially, I was a bit surprised at this announcement. Emerald is a gorgeous color, indeed, but it’s also quite a bold one. But after a little research, I am absolutely and utterly enamored:

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Emerald silk curtains just ooze lusciousness!

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Throw in an emerald (and velvet!) settee and I am in heaven.

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Adding that small pop of emerald to a neutral base is a great way to ease into the color (remember: accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!).

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But if you’d like to get a little more playful, consider mixing emerald with turquoise or teal…

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Or perhaps a little dash of plum…

richard goullet interior designer

richard goullet interior designer

Or if you’re feeling particularly bold…

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As for me, while I may not be so bold, I have certainly found my own inspiration:

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Oh yes, I can guarantee that a few of my furniture pieces will have that pop emerald!

However you choose to infuse emerald into your life, it’s bound to bring a little joy, and just in time for the holidays!

Oh emerald, how I love thee indeed. Smile

THE VERY MERRY GIFT GUIDE: FARMHOUSE STYLE

Well hello – I hope everyone survived the Thanksgiving festivities! Despite the very full house and the overabundance of cooking, I actually survived and had a fun time doing it. Amazingly, I only managed to stress out once by attempting to kick my husband’s very helpful hands out of the kitchen. And like the wonderful husband that he is, he completely ignored my ravings and went about helping with the cooking (I’m thankful for a husband that knows his way around the kitchen!).

But while I had a GREAT time with the family, I can now let out a little sigh of relief. Thanksgiving is over. I have the house back and time to myself. This is me doing a happy dance….

Yipeee!

Ok, now on to bigger and better things – Christmas! (I did warn you that as soon as Thanksgiving was over, I’d fall right into Christmas, didn’t I?).

I must admit, while I do love a good bargain, I am NOT a Black Friday shopper. The early morning, the crowds, the ensuing chaos of a sleep deprived crowd….nope, I choose to sleep in and have a long, leisurely brunch with family and friends.

But every year, despite my intentions to start shopping the week following Black Friday, I find myself procrastinating and pulling my hair out in a desperate attempt to find that perfect and very last minute gift. Anyone else feel this way?!

This year, I vow to break the cycle.

To help me – and all those that find themselves in the same boat, year after year – I’ve decided to create a gift guide to get my shopping juices flowing!

So let us begin!

Gift Guide: Stylish Farmhouse Living

1 /2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 /7 / 8 / 9 / 10

BRAINSTORMING: KITCHEN RENOVATION…

I’m sure I’ve mentioned on multiple occasions the love/hate relationship I have with my kitchen. It’s cute, but in an adorably dirty little kid kind of way. Yeah, it’s small, it’s in need of a new paint job and a good scrub, it desperately needs more cabinet and counter space, and frankly, it’s just a bit embarrassing.

I’m not kidding! Take a peek for yourself…

Kitchen 2012

Eek!

Obviously, per the upper right corner, we will be repainting very soon – as soon as my husband and I can actually agree on a color….(he actually loves the color the kitchen currently is, but considering that I spend far more time in it than he does, I put  my foot down and demanded something a little more mellow!).

Kitchen Window

This window is one of the rare things I love about the kitchen. It brings in so much natural light and manages to keep me fairly entertained while I cook.

Kitchen Pantry

But this is where things truly begin to go downhill – oh, the horror! I love open cabinets otherwise, and our kitchen has many of them, but this pantry needs to be behind closed doors, period.

Needless to say, a renovation is necessary, so over the last few months, I’ve been collecting ideas that we could incorporate into this less than ideal kitchen. Here are a few things that I found:

Kitchen Changes

Images via here and here.

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Images via here and here.

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Image via here.

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Image via here.

With this in mind, let’s go back to the current state of my kitchen with a few plans written in…

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With a roof to replace and a studio shed to build, we are probably going to renovate a little at a time, starting with the painting and the bead board, but I’m certain even that tiny bit will go a long way!

What do you think – good start? Any suggestions?

PHOTO INSPIRED: ROOM OF THE WEEK + A LINKY PARTY.

I’m back from the beach and despite the cold, windy, and rainy weather, I feel so much more relaxed!

I’m a true believer in taking the necessary time for oneself; to unclog the mind, liberate the soul, and rediscover a healthy and happy perspective. Whether this consists of a spontaneous drive to the beach, a brisk walk, or simply a 30 minute bath…however you’re able to manage, I think it’s important to, for a brief period, be purely within your own thoughts and feelings.

VA Beach Sunset

This is a picture I took the last evening I was at the beach and even now, it gives me a sense of serenity.

Of course, upon returning from my mini-vacation, I had much to catch up on and dove right into productivity. I had a house to clean, laundry to do, overnight guests to entertain the following day, a shed to organize, a blog and corresponding social media to attend, and all the little things in between.

Serenity now. Serenity now. Serenity now!

At the end of my fun-filled and productive weekend, I had the opportunity to sit back and do a little Pinterest browsing – the perfect Sunday evening activity, if you ask me (you can follow me here.)! During this browsing, I came across a room that immediately reminded of me of my last evening at the beach:

The pale blue against the natural wood, the pops of pink and yellow, the haze of light filtering through…it’s like a tangible sunrise! I love that despite the individual boldness of the colors, they all seem to meld together to form something peaceful, soft, and serene. I can imagine myself curled up on the couch, pink throw over my shoulders, good book in one hand, and cup of hot cocoa in the other. And that armoire…oh, be still my heart! I could only be so lucky to stumble upon something so gorgeous.

Needless to say, I am trying to maintain this sense of serenity and I am happy that Pinterest is cooperating with me! Another serene Pinterest find:

https://i2.wp.com/media-cache-ec5.pinterest.com/upload/89649848802516087_kEGtEKzW.jpg

*Sigh* Look at that sunrise!

These amazing rooms and the sense of serenity they offered inspired me to create my very first photo inspired linky party!

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Each Monday, I will attach an inspiring photo for you to interpret as you wish into your favorite room of the week. I will do my very best to visit, comment on, and/or follow every blog that links up – and I hope each of you will visit, follow, and comment on a few fellow blogs in return! The party will close on Sunday at 11:59PM and I will feature my three favorite photo inspired rooms the very next day (and for additional exposure, these featured rooms will also be included on my Featured Room of the Week Pinterest Board)!

And if you have an inspiring photo of your own, please feel free to email me (kekaylor@gmail.com) and I would be happy to use it for next week’s inspiring photo (and credit will be given where credit is due!).

Obviously, today’s inspiring photo is:

VA Beach Sunset

LINKY GUIDELINES:

  • Add a link to a room that imparts a similar feeling as the photo above.
  • Visit a few other links in the party and leave them a kind comment.
  • Check back and see if you were featured!

Link backs are always appreciated:

NOW LET’S GET THE PARTY STARTED! (Click on the link below)

Click here to enter your link and view other links.

ART: A BATTLE BETWEEN ID AND EGO

I don’t think I am the only one that feels completely bewildered and flabbergasted when faced with the prospect of choosing art for my home. It feels like such a momentous decision and a thousand questions pour into my mind: what kind of style, personality, and mood do I want to portray? What does this piece mean to me? Will it clash with the colors in my [insert room here]? Will it brighten or darken the room? Oh my GOD, what will people think?!

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The Rorschach Test: I see a battle between Id and Ego! Image via Out and About Africa.

It’s a constant battle between aesthetic and logic, the id and the ego, that goes something like this:

my id: I love it, I love it, I love it! What pretty colors! What perfect lines! What amazing serenity! It makes me smile, it makes me happy – I want it, I want it, I WANT it!

my ego: Just you wait a minute crazy id, don’t go getting ahead of yourself. Your happiness isn’t everything. Think if the cost factor – it’s way too expensive (for an oversized canvas print). And more importantly, think of the WEIRD factor. What will people REALLY think if you have a giant photograph of a horse head in your living room – you don’t even ride horses!

Black and White Horse Photograph, HUGS, equine art, 8x10

Image via Etsy.

my id: yeah, but…

my ego: Don’t give me any buts. Haven’t you heard of that thing called patience? It’s a virtue, you know. One day you’ll find something that fits ALL of  your criteria – the PERFECT painting. Kind of like the perfect man…

my id: but, um…

my ego: I don’t want to hear it anymore!

my id: *sigh*….Okay….(as it stomps away into the recesses of my mind)

And there you have it folks.

Art is indeed a very personal and intimate thing, and the art you have in your home should somehow reflect this. But finding that art shouldn’t be paralyzing, it should be fun, it should be playful, and sometimes, it actually shouldn’t make sense. If an artwork speaks to you, if it touches your soul in a deep and unexplainable way, that’s a good thing. Buy it and hang it with pride. Kind of like these folks:

Via Design Sponge.

https://i0.wp.com/www.lonnymag.com/images/decorate/living_rooms/jd195265-8-08.jpg

Via Lonny Mag.

thedecorista

Via Dust Jacket Attic.

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Via Pinterest.

I love how just a few pieces of art can create such bold and powerful focal point.

Next time I find myself gravitating towards an artwork, I’m not going to let my ego get the better of me!

MONDAY MUSING (AKA THE PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE): YOUR DESIGN STYLE

*As mentioned last week, I’ve decided to base my musings off of a certain Proust Questionnaire, Vanity Fair style.

What is your go-to design style?

Lately, I’ve been really trying to narrow down my design style. I think I now have so many contradicting thoughts and ideas in my head, my style is becoming a bit chaotic. When my husband and I moved into this house a year ago, I had a clear vision – I wanted the modern country farmhouse, the Pottery Barn look-alike…

Newberry Rectangular Coffee Table

(Yes, I actually have this coffee table!)

Of course, once I realized the hole Pottery Barn created in the wallet, my style shifted to a sort of rustic shabby chic – I was drawn to the chippy paint, the distressed woods, and the flea market (cheap!) finds.

Looking Up

(*Sigh*)

I even went so far as to fall head over heels for the full on shabby and dreamy whites…

…but quickly realized that with a dog, a cat, a husband, and the klutz that I am, myself, I would never be able to maintain the clean, crisp, whiteness of it all.

Obviously, I’m still drawn to all of these things, but recently, I also find myself taken in by the colorful, the bold, and the glamorous.

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Incorporating bits and pieces of all of these things, I’d like to define my style as “Modage Cottage” (for all you folks that may have been wondering about the title of my blog!) – a mix of modern vintage (“Modage”) with the light, breezy comfort of cottage living.

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Now if only I could get my own house to look like this!

So how about you? What is your design style – eclectic? Mid-century? Dark and dramatic? Pink and girly? Email me a picture of your favorite room that defines your style, give me a brief description why, and I will share my favorites next Monday (be sure to include a link to the source).

LIVIA REBECCHINI’S ROMAN PALAZZO APARTMENT…

Have you seen the August edition of Architectural Digest? If not, I suggest you make your way to the newsstand stat and get yourself a copy! Why, you may ask? And to that I say, Livia Rebecchini.

Yes, this interior designer brings a whole new meaning to patience…

Every single day, for almost a decade, Ms. Rebecchini made her way into the vibrant center of Rome, searching for the residence of her dreams: sun-filled rooms, high ceilings, spectacular views of church domes and tiled roofs, a large terrace, and a particularly rare amenity in downtown Rome – private parking. However, in 2008, her patience paid off. The top two floors of a 16th-century palazzo on Via di Monserrato (one of the city’s quieter and lovelier streets) became available – and within the building was a courtyard where tenants could park their cars amidst the shade of orange trees.

This two-story apartment was not without its drawbacks, however: the previous tenants had transformed the lower floor into a series of “pokey compartments.” Invasive action was needed and with that, walls came down and plaster ceiling came off. During this renovation, a network of original oak beams and joists were revealed, and these were to become the leading motif throughout the interior. Throughout the rooms she also laid handmade Umbrian tiles, “placed wrong side up so they look and feel rougher and more aged than they should” and coated the walls with “a thick lime plaster so highly textured that light lingers on them provocatively.”

Once the 18-month renovations were complete, she went to work on the décor….

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Oh, be still my heart! Rebecchini created the open staircase, the metal chair, and the sofa.

Spectacular view of church domes and tiled roofs….

So elegant and peaceful…

Ms. Rebecchini herself, with her children.

Unfortunately, the online version of Architectural Digest only shows a handful of photos, but the enormous bathtub, the winding staircase, and the amazing mix of historical and heirloom pieces with the contemporary art and design is simply stunning! You’re gonna have to trust me on this one.

In the end, Rebecchini’s philosohpy is this: “Making a home is my way of preserving all the good memories and also drawing the line on what I truly love and what makes me happy.”

A ogni uccello il suo nido è bello. (To every bird, his own nest is beautiful.) Or in other words, there’s no place like home.

*All photos, quotes and information came from Architectural Digest. To see the article, please pick up a copy from you local bookstore or newsstand, or you can view a portion of it here.