Friday, January 29, 2010

Home Office Redesign - The Feature Wall

A collection of photographs and artwork will be hung above this cabinet in the Home Office Redesign. I've wanted the wall behind the artwork to have an interesting treatment, and have considered many options.

The various ideas have been to paint it a strong color, upholster it with the Turkestan drapery fabric, or hang a wallpaper with a lot of texture in bronzes and gold. I had decided the wallpaper would be an excellent choice, but then the chair issue arose. Now there needed to be a solution that I am not only am excited about, but one that is CHEAP!

Look what I've decided on, a fourth idea. This chalkboard, which had been leaning against a wall in the laundry room since moving in, gave me an idea. First, I thought this chalkboard would look great hung among the the art and photos on the feature wall. But once I put it in the room next to the other pieces, waiting to be hung, it hit me. Why couldn't the entire wall be painted with chalkboard paint?

My husband is on board with the idea (I did ask, it is his room afterall!) and I finally found the supplies I need at Benjamin Moore, after several stops at other paint stores. Next time I'm calling around first!

The wall will be quite a dark element, in an already dark room. However, much of it will be covered with art and the room has a moody edge to it, so why not just run with it. Once I paint the wall, the art will be hung and I'm looking for a few empty frames to hang as well, with the chalkboard wall showing through. We'll see how that works.

Before I start driving all over in my search for frames, do you have any great tips where I should be looking?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Design Is In The Details, Change Of Plans Part 2

This is the Chair I have in mind, a streamlined Wing Back...

In this Fabric...

For this Spot...

Design is in the details.
Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from great designers
who knew what they were talking about!

“The details are not the details. They make the design.”
Charles Eames

“God is in the details.”
Mies van der Rohe

It is kind of amusing to me that I quote the designer of the chair
I am considering removing from the room!
I wonder what he would think!


A Change Of Plans

The Home Office Redesign is a project that is utilizing, for the most part, a collection of items already owned. However, I've encountered a problem and now need to rethink two major aspects of the design. (It's a small room, small changes are major!)

The Barcelona Chair and Ottoman looked great in the room, with the new paint.

Then the furniture was moved out of the room to hang the drapes. Up they went and these looked great in the room.

Once the furniture was returned to the corner, I stepped back expecting to be delighted. Surprise. Instead I felt disappointment.

Something was off. Hum. I walked away knowing it would come to me later.

Then it did. Initially, when the chair was adjacent to the lighter window trim in the room, the white worked. Once a good portion of the trim was covered by the darker drapery panels the white chair became a very stark element in the room. The effect is even more pronounced with the ottoman in place. Yes, I'm being particular, but this room is for my husband! (Would you make a change or just go with the original plan?)

At first I wasn't sure what to do, then I pulled out some fabrics from Van Gogh Designs, a furniture line I sell to some of my clients. The fabric below mixes wonderfully with the wall color, trim, carpet and drapes. A chair made up in this fabric would bring in just the right amount of contrast. am I going to make this work? From a budget point of view. I hadn't planned on purchasing a new chair.

To bring in a new piece of furniture I'll need to cut costs elsewhere. Where? (There aren't many places to look!)

On the accent wall. I've come up with a new plan for this part of the design that costs virtually nothing compared to my initial ideas. More on that tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Look Who's Wishing Me All The Best

Well Life Is Grand...
when someone as talented as Kenneth Brown is wishing you
all the best.

Any guesses as to how this greeting came my way?
A clue is on this blog in an earlier post.
I have a little surprise for the first person who answers correctly!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Living Room Redesign - Finally Done

The Living Room Redesign was a room of creams, tans and black with the exception of a large orange lamp shade. The plan was to bring in a touch of color and pattern through pillows. Prior to shopping for fabrics I drew my color inspiration from this San Francisco print hanging in the adjacent entry.

Three beautiful fabrics were found. First the Como, a cotton velvet in a rusty orange. The second was the Carlisle, a print with a touch of orange alongside the pink. The orange in this brocade helps the pink work in the room and coordinates perfectly with the orange lamp shade. The final fabric I selected was a geometric, the Baxley in flannel. The print is masculine, balancing the other fabrics, while giving a nod to the "wallpaper" design above the fireplace.

The Baxley and Como fabrics arrived within a week, while the Carlisle took three months to appear on my doorstep. Patience is required when working on a design! Finally the last of the fabrics was delivered and the final pillows made this past weekend. It was worth the wait.

Monday, January 25, 2010

If The Drapery Panel Tutorial Scared You, Try Pillows

Recently a client wanted just the right pillow for a new chair and commented, "You must have something that would work, in that growing pile of pillows at your house."

Yes, I have made quite a few lately. This time around I made sure to take a lot of photos and here is a brief tutorial, in comparison to the drapery panel instructions! If you think drapes are beyond your ability, try making a pillow. It's a much easier and quicker project. It is also a great way to use up a small remnant or left over bit of fabric from another project. And really, can you ever have too many pillows?

These pillows are made from the Carlisle brocade and a cotton velvet, Como in Rust, both from Calico Corners. For the inserts I picked up two 18 inch Soft n' Crafty Pillows from JoAnn Fabrics. FYI: Currently on sale for 50% off!

To make the 18 inch pillows, I cut 19 inch squares of fabric to allow for the 1/2 inch seam allowances. To make the cutting easy, I used a 19 inch square paper pattern.

The hardest part of the project was to decide the placement of the pattern on the pillows. I ordered such a small amount of the Carlisle print I was barely able to place the pillow center where I wanted. The bottom of the pattern lined up with the bottom of the fabric, and then I had to ensure that I could cut another identical square out of the fabric to the right. It was just possible...I did get lucky with this one. If you are using a solid fabric, obviously this attention to placement is not necessary.

To line up the pattern I found the center point of the 19 inch square. The pencil tip indicates the center point. The paper is folded to find the center point of the pattern. A pin is pushed through the pattern center...

and pinned to the fabric center point. The pattern is then lined up with the grain of the fabric.

The corners are pinned as well to hold the pattern in place while cutting.

The first pillow front is cut. The process is repeated to cut the second identical pillow front.

The fabric showed signs of fraying, so a stay stitch is sewn around the edges of both pillow fronts.

Then the Carlisle pillow fronts are pinned to the Como pillow backs. I used the endless amount of pins because sewing velvet is a complete pain. It always shifts while sewing, whether sewing two layers of velvet together or sewing a layer of velvet to another fabric type. (The layers could also be basted together prior to sewing on the machine.)

The two layers are sewn together, making sure to get the fabrics sewn together as they were pinned. It felt like I was fighting with the fabric! It is the nap of the velvet, it just pushes the fabric forward or backwards, depending on which direction the nap is running compared to the direction it is being sewn.

I run a stitch around the edges of the two fabrics twice...just to make sure the seams hold up to use and also to straighten up the stitch lines. During the fight to sew the fabrics together the stitch is not always that straight.

I also sew the pillow corners with a curved line. It helps create nice clean corners when the pillow is turned.

The bottoms of the pillows are left open to allow for the pillow to be filled with the insert.

Sometimes I use fill for smaller pillows, but inserts are best for a nicer result. Using fill can make for a lumpy pillow, not the best look. Obviously I removed the plastic from the insert...just left it on here for the photo!

The first is filled...

followed by the second.

With the pillows filled, the final step is to stitch closed the opening at the bottom of the pillows. I use a simple slip stitch. Of course a zipper would be great here, but I'm too lazy to sew one in. If I ever need to clean the pillow or insert I can just cut the stitches, restitching the opening closed afterwards. It's easy to do, I stitched these up while checking my email.

Tomorrow, photos of the finished pillows in the Living Room Redesign. Do you have any fabric laying around that would make a great pillow or two?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Drapes - Done & Loving Them!

Here they are.
It wasn't exactly a short road to get here...but I love the result!

On Monday, making pillows.
And then it is back to more projects scheduled for the
Home Office Redesign.

Refinishing this piece is on the to do list.
I have to admit, I'm trying to figure out how to delay
the start of this job.
Let's see what I find to occupy myself while I procrastinate.

Are there projects you are currently avoiding?