Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lamp Tramp

Thank God for knock offs.  I realize this may rankle the feathers of purists - and I do apologize for that. I want artists and designers to make money and be credited for their work.  But I also want beauty to be available to the masses - so I was thrilled when I saw that Target has a knock off of one of my favorite lamps.
The Bourgie lamp designed by Ferruccio Laviani is one of my favorite lamps of all time!  I love a piece that looks traditional, made in a non-traditional material.

Here is the knock off by Target.  Not bad and a whole lot cheaper.  I'd love to use this in a hot pink room for a teenage girl.

I just couldn't help myself. I had to do a mood board with the lamp. At Target's price, you could afford two of the lamps for less than you can get it from Kartell.  The lamps look fabulous with this gorgeous yellow sofa and acrylic coffee table. They make a statement, like a pair of earrings for your room! Image via mekula.com

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mood Board No. 2 and 3: A Girl Cave Two Ways

I love experimenting with color in my apartment.  No matter what color scheme I opt for, pink and white are always a big part of it.  Creating mood boards is fun, costs no money and helps you discover your style. Unfortunately I seem to be all over the place with my style!  After I prepared the mood board for my friend in the post below - as well as posting about abstract paintings below - I just couldn't stop!  I prepared two mood boards for my apartment.  Hmm.  Now which direction am I going to take?

Here's a pic of my living room in a color scheme I adore. Hot pink, pale pink, white, gray and black. I often think of going darker and more mysterious in my apartment. I adore this painting by Cristina B, so decided to experiment with how it might look in my apartment. Added to this mood board are beautiful Tira and Bolo glass vases from Target online.  These vases are tempting me greatly.

Here is another mock up just for fun. Another color scheme I enjoy is hot pink, pale pink, yellow, turquoise with a small pop of black.  I am totally and utterly obsessed with Jaime Derringer's painting, which I wrote about below. Not only am I jealous of this painting (wish I'd created it), but I am jealous of her website. You just gotta check it out.  It's comprehensive, austere and completely addicting. The best thing is that Jaime makes me want to put a brush to canvas again.  Jaime, thanks for always being an inspiration!

Also added to this scheme is this Murano long neck lamp in lipstick pink from 1stdibs, and turquoise glass pendant lamp from Pier One (yes, I am really a lamp tramp).  Oh gosh, this pendant lamp is really tempting me.  It's on sale and very reasonably priced, I imagine it will sell out quickly.

I love making mood boards for my apartment.  I don't have to move anything around, or spend any money. Even though some of the items above are tempting me, I probably won't buy any of them. Truth be told, I feel a little ashamed of my greed for material objects and am trying to keep them to a minimum.  I fear I am becoming a maximalist - oh no!  But humans sure do make beautiful things, don't they? I think I need a furry white rug and a mod white vinyl ottoman.  Oh gosh, it never ends! How decadent to think of myself during a holiday season.

Experimenting with color in my apartment brings me great joy. Drop me a line if you have a decorating dilemma. I can help with decorating from scratch on the cheap, clearing the clutter, color selection and art selection. No matter how modest, you should love your home. It's your special place to rest, rejuvenate and feel loved.  Discovering your unique style is fun!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mood Board No. 1: Adding Edge to a Fussy Room

A good friend of mine recently moved in with her grandmother due to economic circumstances. Her grandmother's living room is quite fussy, with busy wallpaper and a large pink sofa.  Grandma told my friend she could modernize the room a little, but the sofa and the wallpaper had to stay.  My friend wants to add some black and some edge, but has very little money.

Grandma didn't want me to photograph the room for the world to see, so I'm using this room for the sake of discussion.  Sorry - source unknown.  Please contact me if you know the original source of this room.

Let's start by dissecting this room. Nothing is more groovy than a big, comfy, traditional sofa in pink. I got very excited when my friend told me the sofa is pink!  The wallpaper in this photo is about as fussy as grandma's. Let's face it - yuk. Sorry, but yuk. And that ornate mirror on top of that fussy wallpaper - double yuk. Now before you get mad at me, remember that's just my humble opinion. I don't like wallpaper (or mirrors). I know wallpaper's enjoying a resurgence, but I'm not sold. Take my word for it, if you cover your walls in something this busy you will get bored quickly. And if you ever have to rip wallpaper, you will be totally over it. I've had that particular joy. If you see a pattern you are in love with, a panel of wallpaper can be kinda cool framed, and a lot less permanent. Suffice it to say, wallpaper is not for those who like to change up their rooms often, you're better off painting an accent wall. Sadly, girlfriend doesn't have those amazing acrylic tables to work with.

So, my friend has little money and doesn't even know where to start. Luckily, I know where to start, and that's why she called me. Step one - clean the room.  Often when you are bored with a room, or if it is too fussy, it's because it has too much clutter. Fortunately, girlfriend's grandma is cool with clearing clutter. Once that's done, it's time for my simple equation, 3P + L.  That is, when changing or decorating a room, just add the three P's:  a pillow, a painting, a piece of pottery.  Then add a groovy and unexpected lamp. Simple. This formula can be applied if you are bored and want to change your room, or if you are decorating your room from scratch. If you're not into pottery, you can add a piece of sculpture. Almost any object you find intriguing can function as sculpture, but keep it to a minimum. Clutter just won't do.

Here's an example. Of course when preparing a mood board, money is no object. She wants to add edge, to make the room look more modern.  She like to add black, and a little masculinity and strength to balance the room that is currently too sweet. Love the pillows here. Adding a metallic pillow and a hot pink pillow is a perfect idea.  Bring edge to the room with art, by adding brutalist, or industrial, abstract art. Go big with your art. Opt for one large piece rather than a grouping of smaller pieces. A grouping of smaller pieces can make a fussy room look even fussier.  Painting by Ella Carty, lamp from Absolute Luxury Furniture, bitchin' head sculpture from Kelly Wearstler.

Now, of course these items are all too expensive, but act as a guide. We will be scouring the thrift shops. And don't forget, you can do wonders with paint.  Can't find a black lamp?  Buy a cheapy at the Goodwill and spray paint it. Can't afford large art?  Buy a canvas at the craft store and splatter paint on it. It's okay that it's not perfect, in fact imperfection should be embraced.  And it's fun to hang something in your home that you made.

I couldn't help myself.  I wanted to prove the point that this room would look so much better painted than with wallpaper.  You know I love me a gray accent wall.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Square Peg, Your Curator: Abstract Paintings

I'm Square Peg, Your Curator. Today I have a special treat for visitors of my online gallery.  We are going to examine abstract paintings.  I dearly love abstracts, it is fascinating to see what the human spirit is compelled to create.  For me there is no greater joy than putting paint on a canvas. I'm currently unable to paint due to allergies.  But back in the day I'd turn the music up, go into a trance state and let the canvas speak to me. Time would stand still.  But just because I can't paint at the moment, doesn't mean I can't admire art.  I've chosen a few beautiful abstracts to share.  Each one visionary in its own way.  They are poetry, even meditational.  I could sit and contemplate the forms, colors and strokes for hours.  Hope you enjoy.

I dearly love this painting.  Though the shapes are a bit brutal, the painting comes across soft. Quite an accomplishment, not as easy as it looks.  And look at the way the artist coaxes the light out of the canvas.  Amazing.  I'd love to have this work in my collection.

Belinda Marshall via LEIF.

I love the softness of this one.  And those colors.  Divine.

Above three paintings by Jaime Derringer 

Jaime is one of the writers of the popular blog, Design Milk.  I've followed Design Milk for a long time, and I am astounded how Jaime's artistic talent has grown.  I'm especially jealous of the painting with the large amount of yellow.  Wish I'd painted that.  Again, it might look simple, but it's not easy.  Try to paint with the innocence of a child, it's not easy.  It amazes me when an artist can capture that childlike innocence.

Above two paintings by Laura Letchinger

I love the organic shapes in these two works.

Any of these pieces would work well in an industrial loft.  I dream of an all white loft and large paintings.

Above two paintings by Cristina B Studio

It fascinates me how Christina was able to produce a light painting, and then almost its antithesis in the dark painting.  In both of these works she has successfully captured that childlike quality I described above.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mini Reveal

As promised, here is a mini reveal of my apartment with its new items.  The lamp is such a surprise, but I love it!  Such a great shape, and according to Feng Shui, every room should have something red in it for luck.  I also adore the houndstooth pillow.

The tweed ottoman is a bit surprising for me as well.  It's a bit masculine, but I think a little masculinity is needed for balance.  Especially with hot pink.  I love a feminine room, but I always like a little edge too.  I've been telling you forever that I want to do a gray accent wall, and here it is:

Ta da!  Talk about edge!  Here's a quick reveal of the accent wall I painted in my kitchen!  I love it!  Such a vast improvement over the super-high-gloss-muddy-puke color it was.  I don't know why landlords paint walls such awful colors, they must get a huge discount on the paint they buy.  I will be in big trouble if my landlord sees this, but I don't really know what the big deal is.  They paint every time someone moves out. And I actually did them a favor.  The walls were in terrible shape.  I sanded and smoothed the walls, and corrected a lot of the mistakes and sloppiness of the "professional" painters.  Flat paint is a much better choice than high gloss when the walls are in bad shape, it doesn't show the imperfections as much.  Of course, now that I am done with this wall, there are no imperfections.

This wall really needed a new life since the kitchen is open.  When I am lounging on the sofa I am no longer staring at an ugly wall, but a beautiful one!  I think this kitchen would be so fab if I painted the cupboards a pale gray, but I won't do that.  At least the cupboards are simple.  Now I am on the hunt for a screen to hide my refrigerator.

A Surprising New Outfit for My Apartment

I admit it, I have design ADD.  I suppose that's obvious, you have to have a little OCD to be a blogger. My new incarnation of my apartment was an act of sublimation. I recently went clothes shopping - which I hate! Honestly, clothes shopping - which should be fun - just makes me feel ugly.  But this time was different, I was feeling optimistic since I recently lost a few pounds.  I wanted a pair of jeans I could dress up for a party. It was not to be. I was exhausted after trying on about a zillion pairs.  Instead of getting upset, I decided to check out a few local shops and came home - by accident - with a new outfit for my apartment. I am selective about what I bring into my home, and I only bring items in after I've made some room by donating some things I no longer use.  I love beautiful objects, but not clutter!  The best part is that whatever I buy for my apartment always fits - because I can make it fit!

Here are my new - and rather surprising - items from The Bomb Shelter and J. Paris Designs (see posts below about these fab shops).

I think it's a little crazy and selfish to buy things for me at the holiday season.  But, honestly I always feel a little guilty when I buy something for myself.  Maybe that's why I'm so cheap!  (Hmm, I need to examine this, maybe I think I don't deserve nice things, surely that's not the case.  Maybe I'll examine this in a subsequent post.)

Most surprising is that I went crazy with pattern.  Perhaps it's because I had just read the new Domino magazine (review of this magazine coming in a future post).  Or perhaps it's because I read Emily Henderson's blog too much.  I love Emily, her blog and her show, but not her style so much.  It always looks to OTT for me, but I do find it interesting, charming and always happy.  It's just not for me.  Too much clutter and pattern makes me anxious.

In fact, I was telling Jessica of J Paris Designs that I never use pattern in my decor.  Then I promptly bought a houndstooth pillow.  Actually, houndstooth is kinda of a neutral, right?  In any event, it has always been my favorite pattern.  (See previous apartment where I experimented with houndstooth fabric.)  I was asking Jessica to watch for an over sized lamp for me.  I've been wanting one forever.  Then I turned to leave and saw this lamp.  I am sure I gasped audibly.  Okay, it's red.  A color I never use.  Okay, the shade is an Ikat pattern.  But just look at that genie shape.  And it's tall so it will look oversized.  I had to have it.  Now I had bought two patterns, not just one.  Talk about stepping out of your comfort zone.  As I drove home, I wondered if I had gone crazy. Could I really layer this much pattern in my place?  Yes, since I don't have wallpaper, clutter or chevron.

Here's a breakdown of my new items: (1)  Lamp from J Paris Designs, $45.00!  What a deal!  Ya'll know how expensive lamps can get, and this one is most likely vintage and unique.  Also, shades can cost more than lamps.  Jessica actually handmade this shade!  A handmade shade and a vintage lamp for $45! Unheard of.  Score!  (2)  Tall faux cement vase in simple shape - Goodwill $4.00.  (3) Teal flower pot - Home Depot $6.99. Been craving teal and turquoise lately.  (4) I shouldn't have done it - but I walked past the paint section at Home Depot.  Very dangerous for me.  I've been telling you forever that I want to paint a gray accent wall - I finally did it!  I'll be showing it to you in my next post.  I chose Behr 780-F5, Anonymous, in a flat finish.  A quart of paint cost $8.99.  (5)  So excited about my new vintage marquee letter!  I've been wanting one for a long time!  And I found one in hot pink - hot damn!  $12.00 from the Bomb Shelter.  (6) Handmade houndstooth pillow from J Paris Designs made by an artist named Kristin, the owner of Pillowtalkk.

For approximately $80.00 I have a new surprising look in my apartment. It takes a long while for a new place to feel like home.  I feel like my humble little apartment has finally found its voice, and that it finally has some Akron flavor. Stay tuned, I will do a reveal in my next post.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Shop Local, Part II

My second stop on Black Friday was the new location of J. Paris Designs in Cuyahoga Falls. This was a particularly gratifying experience. Just what shopping should be. I had been to J. Paris Designs' previous location, so it was exciting to see the store grow. The lovely owner, Jessica, and I chatted it up. We talked about repurposing, art, decor, color, etc. It was great fun! Everything that Jessica puts her hand to turns to gold. Not only is she a great artist, but she is a great businesswoman. So exciting to see a young woman know herself so well, and to be so brave. Jessica is a great example of following your dream.  She's doing what she loves and making it happen. Jessica, you go girl! There were so many beautiful things in the store, I was there for a while. I should have taken more photos, but don't worry, there are photos on J. Paris' website, and I plan to go there again soon!

Look at this dresser!  Swoon! I hemmed and hawed about buying it. It perfectly fits my modern aesthetic, my love of gray and would look great in my bedroom. The price was reasonable too. I am totally in love with Jessica's take on ombre.  The drawers are done in a light to dark ombre.  The handles are the exact opposite, done in a dark to light ombre. Genius!  I never would have thought of that. I agonized over my desire for the dresser and my desire not to spend money (what am I doing shopping?). I measured the dresser, discussed layaway and delivery terms with Jessica. Walked around the store and seriously debated the dresser in my mind. I may be moving (yes, again) and am trying to hold off on buying anything big. I knew full well the dresser wouldn't last. I didn't buy, and it sold that night.  Ah c'est la vie. It makes me happy to know that someone is loving it.

This piece also caught my eye.  It's a bit ornate for my taste, but I am so digging that deep turquoise color and the skillful application of paint. Jessica and I had fun arranging these gorgeous pillows on the chair. This piece didn't last either. In fact, a customer who came in just a few minutes after me bought it.

This lovely gray cabinet is done by one of the vendors of the store. Even though I'm not really into the washed look of shabby chic any more (this was a look I did for a long time), it's a great piece. I found myself fantasizing about arranging my tea pots and pottery collection on it.

Now here is something more my style, and I dearly love it.  Love the retro look and the simplicity of this desk. There was so much I wanted in this store, including some of her fab fixtures which I neglected to photograph - oh well next time.  I did buy a couple of unexpected items for my apartment.  So, of course, this prompted another rearranging of my apartment.  Stay tuned, I will show you my new stuff in an upcoming post.

Shop Local, Part I

I'm not really participating in the holidays this year, I decided to give myself a break from all the stress. I had no intention of shopping on Black Friday, but I found myself wanting to go out.  So I made a very wise decision, and shopped local.  I think we should all make more of an effort to support the small business owners in our community, not just during the holidays, but all year long.  In fact, I've been making more of an effort to support artisans and local business owners in decorating my apartment.  Believe me, once you start shopping local, you lose your taste for mass produced items. They look too common, and cost too much.

I had the pleasure of discovering The Bomb Shelter on Black Friday.  This place is totally fun, and you can find something completely unexpected for your place, at a reasonable price.

I can't believe this is in East Akron!  It's a cool neighborhood after all.  The place is huge!  15,000 square feet.  I was so fascinated, I did my best to see everything.

When I walked in the door, I was greeted by a large neon letter, a bitching car and an alien wearing a Christmas ribbon.  Far out.

There are interesting objects everywhere.  The place is big, and there's a lot of stuff, but it's well organized.

My brother and his family need this light for their mantel.  It might appear under their Christmas tree, but shhh...don't tell them.


Fabulous one-of-a-kind propeller table and lamp created by Damon Drummond, one of the proprietors of the shop. If you're into found objects, there are many industrial remnants that would work perfectly as sculpture.

I kept wishing I had a loft to decorate.  This flood lamp would be perfect in an industrial loft, and is reasonably priced.  I have to go back and get some photos of coffee tables.  If you are in the market for a new coffee table - this is the place for you!  There are many interesting and unique coffee tables and at reasonable prices.

For some reason I fell in love with these cement planters.  I'd love to have one for my balcony.  Kinda heavy, though, not sure how I'd get it upstairs.

There are tons of vintage marquee letters!

And vintage stereos!

The vintage TV section is amazing!  My nephews would love this place, I hope to take them here on their break from school.  I can't wait to go back!  I did buy a little something, stay tuned to see what it is.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Rug Dilemma

Hello dear readers!  I hope you had a good holiday.  I'm not much in the holiday spirit this year, I'm not sad or lonely (thank goodness), just don't want to participate for many reasons.  This will be the subject of a future post, and it's not a sad one - it's a hopeful one.  A claiming of power.  Sorry...I digress...for the next few days we're going to have some fun with my favorite obsession - decor!

Let's start with talking about my favorite topic.  My apartment.  Remember my post below showing you its recent incarnation?  Well it doesn't look like that any more!  As you know, I have design ADD.  My apartment has taken some surprising turns, and I'll be giving you the scoop.  I love the way the light pink sofa cover looked, but I was unhappy about my rug situation.  Even though I have carpet, I feel like I need a rug to anchor the space. Blogger friend (and constant source of inspiration) Kim of Desire to Inspire confirmed this fact when she mentioned that I need a rug.  If Kim says it, I know it's true.

So this is a dilemma I need to solve - without spending money. Tricky, as you know, rugs can get very pricey.

I've shown this room from the CB2 catalog before.  I dearly love that rug.  I don't think it's available any longer, but it doesn't matter, it wasn't in the budget.  But dig that color scheme.  Love hot pink orange and gray.

Here's a couple other rugs I dearly love.  So gorgeous.  Like paintings for your floor.    These would look so great in a large loft with white floors.  But alas, until I win the lottery, not to be.  So, I made the very wise decision to shop in my trusty closet. I a big proponent of use what you have. Sometimes using something you already own in a different way helps you rediscover why you loved it in the first place. Rugs from left to right:  Leif and Inmod.  For more gorgeous rug inspiration, see my pinterest board.

I've shown you this arrangement before.  Cute rug.  But too small and too busy.  I dismantled this arrangement as soon as I photographed it.

Perhaps the problem wasn't the rug but the turquoise pillows?  And maybe the hot pink is too dark, although I do want my apartment to be cave like for Winter.

Again to my trusty closet, and a lighter pink for the sofa cover. Hmm.  Love it, but still need a rug.

I pulled this furry rug from my closet. I had a larger one, but it got damaged in the laundry. I'm tempted to buy another at Target, but trying not to spend money. Not easy.  Again, this is just too small. I tried to trick the eye by placing the ottoman assemetrically, but it didn't work.  As I often do when I have a decorating dilemma, I decided to take a break and peruse blogs.  Kim's page at Desire to Inspire is always at the top of my list, and it never fails to inspire.


There it was - the answer!  This gorgeous room has carpet.  And rugs!  The room is quite large, and the rug has unexpectedly been placed on an angle. I haven't been a fan of rugs or furniture on an angle, but this room may have changed my mind.  The rug anchors the space, but does so by emphasizing the triangle created by the furniture, rather than the square I usually go for.  P.S. I adore the use of color against the neutral brown and the white walls!  Image jj LOCATIONS via Kim's page at Desire to Inspire.

I have a cute chenille rug that I got on the cheap from Urban Outfitters several years ago.  If I place it on an angle, it just might do the trick.  By not placing it squarely in front of the sofa, perhaps the eye will be tricked and not notice that it is not the right scale.

Ta da!  I love it!  When entering the room, it feels very welcoming.  Like a red carpet! Indeed, I am the star of this environment.  Ahem, sorry for that horrible pun.

I decided a need a couple of pops of black, so added the pillow and moved Kim's lamp from the bedroom. This is how the apartment looked last weekend. It was a beautiful, lazy day in Ohio, and my apartment is the perfect place for lounging.


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