thanks for visiting! As this is my first EVER blog, I think some info on my background is important. My name is Nicole, I am a mother of 2, wife of 9 years and interior designer. My life as a designer has been interesting thus far. I have worked for a large builder (who shall remain nameless ;-) designing model homes as well as an interior designer for Drexel Heritage in Colorado Springs. I have always worked for someone else and am ready to try this thing out on my own. As I find myself currently unemployed (urg) I dont see a better time than now to start the ball rolling on my passion for design. You can expect me to provide tips, tricks, answer questions and share with you the many wonderful design finds I come across. So please please if there is something you are interested in knowing, let me know. and here we go......

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Soak it All in

Ok friends, I was thinking to myself the other day, as I took my doggies Vixen and Poppy for a spa day, wait, I want a spa day. This inspired my blog all about the home spa, and how I really really wish I had one of these fantastical bathrooms, but, since most of us dont, here are some tips on how to create your own spa style retreat:

Tip 1: Declutter. Aww, nothing says spa like a countertop full of makeup, hairspray, curling irons, tampons and shaving foam right? Put it away people.  Invest in some pretty baskets or canvas bins to hide items away.

Tip 2: Accessorize with the things you use anyway. Ok, yes, I'm telling you to show it off now, where I just told you to hide it away. Some things are pretty (or simple) enough to have a place in your space that is visible. Get a few glass containers to put cotton balls, Q-tips, bath beads or salts, or pretty soaps in. Make sure the containers you choose are the same shape and size for continuity.

Tip 3: Add some green. This is one of my favorite things. Living in Colorado, we have some pretty hardy plants that are quite happy here.  However, I crave the color and structure of some of the tropical plants that you just cant find in a desert region.  The bathroom is a humid enough place most of the time that makes it the perfect environment for one of these beauties. Add an orchid or bromeliad to your space for some lovely color and a gorgeous natural element.

Tip 4: Ladies this one is for you. When choosing paint colors make sure you go with a color that has the same undertone as your skin. We all have one of these either Yellow, Pink or Blue undertones. If you have pink undertones, dont choose a hue with a blue undertone. You'll thank me when applying your makeup. All you have to do when selecting a paint color is hold it against your skin. We're not looking for a "match" here, just something that complements your skin. A color that is contrasting to your skin tone will reflect off of your face and make makeup application a bit trickier.

Tip 5: Choose soft lighting. Halogens are great for this kind of space as they have a wide color spectrum and allow the true colors of elements in the space to glow, rather than being masked by a yellow artificial glow.  Candles are also a great way to make a room romantic and inviting; and if you're gonna buy them USE THEM. Why worry about not lighting them just so they are pretty. Just make sure you protect the surface underneath them.You can also replace that ugly globe fixture with a chandelier or a pretty pendant, and get rid of those hollywood lights, I dont think there is a spa in the world that has those.

Tip 6: Skip the hardwoods. Honestly, if you want to use something like a laminate instead of natural hardwoods, go for it, but natural wood will expand and contract with the changes in humidity and it will be a nightmare to maintain. Try bamboo flooring (bamboo is technically a grass not a wood so there are no issues with expanding/contracting.) or go with cork, cork comes in tons of colors, is soft underfoot, absorbs sounds and is a renewable material.

Tip 7: Add something upholstered. Ok, I know this is tough if you have a tiny bathroom, but if you've got the space, an upholstered piece is a perfect way to make this space more "livable" rather than just "functional." It doesn't have to be big, upholster a pretty bench, or a vanity seat in a fabric that works with your decor. Heres a tip within the tip though, dont use leather in your bathroom, leather + moisture is a no go.

Tip 8: Dont skimp on the finishes. If you have those ugly builder grade acrylic knobs in your bathroom please please please replace them. They are quite possibly the most hideous home decor items ever designed. It is not too expensive to replace your fixtures with something softer, like nickle or (if you have a bit more to spend) a rubbed bronze. Keep all of these finishes the same, this is not the time to go mixing your metals.  While you're at it, invest in a large shower head (think the rain heads) these are so spa-esque and can be purchased rather inexpensively.

Tip 9: Buy some good towels. Do NOT buy those 3$ sale towels you saw in the k-mart circular this weekend. NO NO NO. These have no absorbancy and will just make you irritated when you try to dry off with them; not to mention they are somewhat rough on the skin. Buy some really fluffy towels (which you can also find on sale, just not for 3 bucks) or a bath sheet. Towels are another great way to accessorize your bath. Roll them up, tie off with a pretty ribbon or a piece of rattan and stack them in a basket or on a tray next to your tub.

Tip 10: Add some sounds. Find a place to hide a sound machine in your bath. Most can be battery powered so you dont have to display them next to an outlet. Put them in a pretty wooden box or tuck away in a canvas bin. Play a calming cd, think babbling brook or waterfall the next time you take a dip in the tub.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Great Small Spaces

Storage solutions are an issue for just about everyone.  There are tons of great ways to make the most of every inch of space you have at your disposal.  Take a look at some of these ideas:

Turn a closet space into an office space

Utilize the space under the stairs

Or under the bed

Put your furniture to work use a drop leaf table (like the one shown), storage ottomans, nesting tables, etc.

Get a room in a box ( I LOVE these craft "rooms") the armoirs even have a drop down work surface, if you dont have room for a full size armoir you can use the smaller workbox available here
Take advantage of the wall space

Put it on display, use pretty glass containers to house your toiletries, or kitchen items like pastas, rice, and dried beans

Turn one room into two rooms with a pretty room divider with storage shelving like this one from west elm


Friday, February 19, 2010

Closet Envy

So Mr. Big says "We're getting married, should we get you a diamond?" to which Carrie replys "no, no, just get me a really big closet."

Ok, so, my closet isn't terrible. I have to share with my husband, but hes fantastic about realizing that girls just have more stuff than guys, well, most guys. So I get the lions share of the closet, and it is a good size.... buuuut.... its nothing like these closets that have me drooling. The closet has transformed from a non-existent space, to a teeny tiny 2'x5' area, to a walk in to a full on room with shelving, drawers, cedar lining, wooden hangers, floor to ceiling mirrors, lingerie storage, handbag display, shoe shelving, ottomans, tie racks, jewelry counters, I could go on and on, fact is I'm totally jealous. Take a peek at some delicious closets...

this one belongs to mariah carey

and my personal favorite


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Turquoise Montage

Pantone has named turquoise the IT color for 2010. 

Heres some turquoise eye candy for you on this lovely Wednesday.

turquoise chandelier kennethbrowndesign.com

turquoise chair www.lpfurniture.net
sofa www.simplyseleta.typepad.com
vases www.southernstudio.com
rug www.therugs.com
door shutters belleslettriste.blogspot.com

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Design Myth # 3: Are You Afraid of the Dark???

While it is true that dark paint colors tend to make a space feel smaller, it is more of an optical illusion than  anything else. Using a bit of logic rather than following this silly rule (that seems to be a major deciding factor for many people when selecting paint colors) will help you create a space that is dynamic.
You should always consider the other elements in the space. Is the ceiling low? Do you have dark wood moulding? Is your furniture and fabric selection dark? Are the floors dark?  Are there windows? How much light do these windows allow in? What kind of lighting are you using in the room?

Now, how you answered these questions will help you decide how to paint your space whether the room is decidedly small or not; if you have some good natural lighting, lighter finishes, and cooler lighting a darker color will definately help to cozy the space up a bit. Here are some excellent uses of darker paint colors:

Here are a few other tips to keep you from feeling boxed in with your brave choice of paint color:

Keep the ceiling white or two shades lighter than the walls. yes, many designers think this is a no no, well my friends, they're wrong. If you paint a room a rich espresso color, and you paint the ceiling that color too, you will definately be feeling like the room is caving in around you. While it does help to bridge the gap with a crown moulding to help ease the transition, I recommend adding some crown to a space if your ceiling is low.

Take the bright to another surface. Use a white rug (another brave choice) to even out the dark quotient, this is handy especially if you have a dark wood floor.

why paint? who says it has to be painted? Use a dark wallpaper, tile, or stain

still scared to cover the entire wall in a daring color? Go halvseys, take it 1/3 - 1/2 up the wall and do the rest in a lighter color, or use wainscot on the bottom portion and paint the upper half darker.

Following these tips will make it tons easier for you to make bold choices in wall color.  Dont be scared, if it looks wrong, it is so easy to change the paint on a wall.  Be brave, and the pay off can be great.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Its Presidents Day..

In honor of presidents day, I thought I would showcase some photos of the white house. This is the most famous house in America! Like a living history museum.  Each time a new first family moves into the home the first lady works with the white house curator and a designer of their choice to add her own special touches to the home; but heres the thing, how personal can the first lady get when the home is so historically important? In honor of the history of the United States, it is important to keep the homes interior in keeping with its historical significance. Take a peak at some of the images of this ultra traditional home.

the green room

Jacquiline Kennedy's dressing room

the queens bedroom

The Lincoln Bedroom