Thursday, March 31, 2011

Office Makeover Part 3: Chair Before & During

Finally started working on the office chair.  I didn't want anything that screamed work space, so I decided to reuse an old chair that was originally in the bathroom.

The chair wasn't quite so hideous when I bought it, but a rash decision to wash the slipcover in the washing machine sealed its fate.  It's kinda looking very grannyfied, definitely not the look I'm going for, but it is super comfortable, and not at all bad looking when you remove the cover.

I probably could have left it like that and maybe painted zigzags on it, but I'm not sure about the look of painted fabric.  So with pliers in hand, I removed the padded leg covers and discovered this lovely layered wood.  It did look kind of interesting and cool and for a little while I considered just polyurethaning the legs instead of painting them, but the wood was badly nicked and rough, so out came the paint can.

Next step, cut fabric to size and staple, staple, staple.  I chose to use yellow zippy fabric from Premier Fabrics for the seat and front, and Thomaspaul aviary fabric for the back.

 I was almost done, and then I came up with the bright idea of using some bias piping on the back.  I already had some in orange, but thought it might also look good in yellow, white or even blue.  So instead of having the chair finished, I now have to traipse off to JoAnns to get some more piping.  Hope I'm able to make a decision soon.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Interesting Names of Famous Interior Designers

Not only am I a serial decorator, I'm also a serial procrastinator.  I'm supposed to be reupholstering the office chair, but instead I'm lying here browsing my favourite design blogs.  And as I become more familiar with designers and their work, I've noticed an interesting fact: the more famous the designer, the more unusual their name.  Not only are their names different, they're also gender ambiguous and often sound like a partnership, not one person.  Umm, if I want to be come a designer, I may just have to come up with a more interesting moniker.

Windsor Smith from here

Windsor Smith from here

Palmer Weiss from here

Tobi Fairley from here

Celerie Kemble from here

Ruthie Chapman Sommers from here

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New at West Elm

Just popped over to the West Elm website to see what yellow accessories they have for the home office.  If you haven't checked West Elm out recently, you may be pleasantly surprised.  They're introducing more colour, more whimsy and less boxy items.  Out of the new items, these are my favourites:

A pillow that reminds me of a traffic light or lollypops, and Orla Kiely inspired tulip bedding.

 Anthropologie-esque mugs and bowls, and delightfully designed sushi platters.

Melamine bird plates (of course), and cute as a button, bird bottle opener.  Go here to read more about my bird obsession.

And finally, a weird glass grasshopper.  Cool or creepy?  You be the judge.

All images from West Elm.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Office Makeover Part 2: Design Board

My aim is to create a space that is light and fresh.  I've always been partial to white trim and built-ins.  Unfortunately my home has dark stained trim and an abundance of it.  I'm trying to minimize the dark look by incorporating bright colours, fun fabrics and white bookcases.  I don't think the hubby would let me paint the trim, besides not many 100+ year old houses still have their original stained trim.  So I work with what we have. 

Originally the colours for the room were going to be grey, white and turquoise.  Yellow wasn't even on the radar.  Funny how things change.  I'm still a big fan of the chevron print, and want to incorporate that in the room somewhere.  To mix things up, I'm going to be using two different sizes of chevron.  I'm also pairing the larger chevron print with a bird print.  I think this will create a nice contrast between the crisp graphic look of the zig zag and the flowing, nature inspired look of the birds.

To save money, I'm reusing some of the original furniture and accessories.  The most prominent piece is the huge pine desk.  Unfortunately, I can't justify replacing it with something sleeker and smaller as it still serves its purpose, and with a little facelift should be OK.  So instead, the office is going to be built around this.  The size of the desk dictates how big the bookcases can be on either side.  To make the piece look built in, or intentional, I'm going to be hanging drapes wider than the windows to hide the wallspace.  This will also have the effect of making the windows look wider.  The drapes were originally in my living room.  I had intentions of painting zig zags on them or stripes, or god knows what (sometimes my mind goes into pattern overdrive) but because of all the other prints in the room, I've decided to leave these plain. 

I've been reading a lot about how important lighting is to the overall design of a room:  A unique lamp can add some pizazz to a room like a great pair of shoes can to a plain outfit; pendants and chandeliers add a certain sparkle (figuratively or literally) and are sometimes referred to as the jewelry of the room; well placed task lighting is key to creating an overall atmosphere or mood and for comfort.  I really didn't know any of this when we bought the house.  All I knew was that the track lighting had to go and the most popular thing to do was use canned lighting.  Fast forward 13 years.  I'm now trying to bring hanging lights back into the home.  Luckily, there is a product that you can plug into your recessed cans that will convert them to a pendant.  Yay!  I'm able to undo the mistakes that were made early on without having to rewire or drywall anything.  So I've bought a plain drumshade pendant can converter from Ballard Designs to hang in the middle of the room.  I plan to cover it in the same bird fabric that will be on the back of the office chair. 

The yellow was a happy accident and just makes me smile when I see it.  It's the main accessory colour in the room.  I may tone it down with some pops of turquoise and black here and there.  So far the plan is to have the seating yellow; the lighting yellow; the back of the bookcases yellow; and the odd yellow office accessory.

Dingley Residence: Home Office

Home Office
  From left to right:
  1. tolix 18 inch stool.
  2. pendant adaptor to convert a recessed light to a pendant.  Fabric for shade: thomas paul aviary maize.
  3. premier zig zag fabric to line back of bookcases.
  4. besta bookshelves from Ikea.
  5. grey striped rug. diy.
  6. storage bench in thomas paul aviary maize fabric.
  7. parsons chair (existing) to be recovered in premier zippy fabric on seat and aviary maize fabric on back.
  8. thomas paul aviary maize fabric from Calico Corners.
  9. peyton drapes from Pottery Barn (existing).
  10. premier zippy fabric.
  11. large desk with drawers (existing, not actual one pictured) repainted white with grey top.
  12. west elm task lamp.
  13. knobs from Anthropologie for desk.
  14. silver frames for accessories.
  15. west elm laquered office accessories.
I apologize for the amateurish looking design board.  Unfortunately I don't have Photoshop so I had to use Paint, and Paint isn't the most sophisticated tool to use.

To see before pictures go here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Office Makeover Part 1: Before

Yesterday we celebrated Saint Patricks Day.  I can honestly say that I don't have a drop of Irish blood in me, but since moving to the States, this day has been a fun one to celebrate.  However, since having kids the day has taken on a whole new meaning.  Gone are the days of downing Guiness in the local Irish pub while dancing the gig.  We now instead get visits from little green creatures that create havoc in our normally calm and tidy home (well some of the time).  Those Irish Leprechauns are pesky little beepers!  Look what they did to my living room.

Ok, who am I kidding?  Unfortunately can't blame this mess on Leprechauns.  It's the result of finally deciding to makeover our home office.  Funny how such a small room can have such a huge impact on the rest of the house.

Below are pictures of our lovely office before.  Please excuse the mess.  I would love to be able to tell you that it's not usually this disorganized and chaotic, but truth be told, it's looked like this for a long time.  I think I tidy it once a year when it's time to do the taxes.  Hopefully, that will change once the new space is finished.

Notice the lovely faux orange walls, the mismatched furniture and the appalling filing system.

A lot of the furniture is now scattered throughout the rest of the house, including the kitchen.  Arghh!

It's seriously about time this project was finished.  Unfortunately there was a major hiccup.  Remember the paint that I won for winning the Room for Color Contest on Apartment Therapy?  Well, if you recall, I had to choose the paint colours rather quickly.  And silly me, I just went and got a bunch of paint swatches from Home Depot and held them up to the wall.  How could I make a mistake?  Grey is grey right?  Wrong!  What I thought was grey is actually a lovely baby blue, great if you're decorating a nursery, not so great if you're trying to emulate a cool, modern work space.  So, after two coats of the stuff, and many days of waiting and praying that the colour would miraculously morph in to the colour I wanted (it didn't, except under a certain light, which is that 10 minutes a day between sunset and night), I decided that I needed to repaint.  The lovely boys in the Home Depot paint department took my tin of paint and added some black and brown to it to get it to be more grey.  Two new coats later, voila, lilac!  Aaghh! 

Meanwhile, the boys are having much more success with their remodelling/building projects.

Come back soon for the reveal of my first ever design board.  You design blog junkies will know what that is.