Friday, July 5, 2013

(Seeing Red) Dining Rooms

Benjamin Moore Red Oxide
I've been hemming and hawing about painting our dining room red for a few years now. I've always loved the idea of having a dramatically-hued dining room, but my particular dining room presented some unique challenges -
  1. It is open to the kitchen, tv room, living room and staircase going upstairs, so the red wouldn't be so much an isolated accent, but a significant contribution to my overall home's vibe. 
  2. It is framed on three sides by Moorish-shaped arches, so I would have to figure out how to treat this transition space paint-wise. 
  3. It is very dark already, so I was afraid a dark shade would make this even worse. 
On the flip side, I saw some clear benefits about going red -
  1. I hate the fact that the dining room feels a bit like a hallway. Since you have to walk through it to get anywhere in the house, it doesn't feel "special" or "cozy." I figured by painting it it's own special shade, I could make it stand out as a separate space instead of just a pass-through area. 
  2. I read a decorating tip in House Beautiful Magazine saying to go dark in a small space, and figured if they were advocating for it I should give it a try! 
  3. It's only paint and I was tired of playing it safe. 
So, below is the result. I used Benjamin Moore's Red Oxide in an eggshell finish. The swatch is pictured about at left, so you can see how much darker it looks on my wall than in the sample. Just another reason to invest in a sample pot so you can see what it actually looks like in your room!
My recently-painted-red dining room!
Photo from Charlie Barnett & Associates project
Bottom line - I'm happy with the result, but I need some things to complete the design so make it really look awesome, such as an ivory banquette for the right hand corner (similar to the photo at right but with a channel tufted back instead of button tufts) and a slightly larger, more rustic table with a pedestal or trestle base, plus some chandelier shades, a rug and some pillows for the wing chairs...well, the list goes on.  I may repaint the Chippendale chairs ivory since I've already painted them myself once.

Sigh....Decorating is never done!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Vegan Dinner Los Angeles

My husband made reservations to a vegan pop up dinner several weeks ago, but neither of us gave it much thought until the day of. Not knowing what to expect, I was delighted to find that it was taking place at an old house in Hollywood, which is being reincarnated into some sort of night club called "No Vacancy." Normally we couldn't be persuaded to leave our house on the Westside of LA to go to Hollywood on a Sunday, but the lure of a visiting vegan chef and the design of the newly renovated space was hard to resist.

First, the space. Elegantly renovated, it made me long to get my paws on a historic house and restore it to its former glory. A little digging revealed that it is owned and was renovated by Houston Hospitality, a company owned by twins responsible for several other LA clubs. All I have to say is thank god I was experiencing this venue in the context of a sedate vegan dinner, because this girl does not do clubs. At all. Not in my twenties, and definitely not in my thirties. While I loved the feel of the space, and it has been meticulously restored and decorated, I can only imagine being crammed in there with 200 other people. Blech. But kudos to them for bringing life back into this old house. 
The first floor bar at No Vacancy LA
As for the dinner, it was amazing. We got to meet the chef, Makini Howell, who was so friendly and signed the cookbook we bought - Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle's Plum Bistro. We joked about how hard it was to find good vegan recipes that non-Vegans will actually enjoy.

I'm not much of a "foodie," so I won't give you a blow by blow description of everything we ate, but suffice it to say it was delicious, beautifully presented and paired with amazing wines from the Vegan Vine. If you want more food description, check out this entry about the event by Serious Eats. 

So, A+ on all fronts - the beautifully renovated No Vacancy, Makini Howell's cooking and the Vegan Vines' wines!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Everybody Loves Reupholstery

Transformation is such an exciting process. Whether it is a personal change, such as a new haircut, weight loss or a fashion makeover, or a design change, I seem to be drawn to marveling at all sorts of before and after photos. I know I'm not alone, as TV shows and magazine articles on this topic abound, so I thought I'd share some of my recent reupholstery projects.

This is a little stool that I found on Craigslist a while ago. I really liked the shape of the base and the brass feet, but between the ivory vinyl and shape of the top, it was a little lackluster. I initially was going to paint the wood, but on closer inspection it appeared to be walnut and had a great burl to it, so once I cleaned it up and applied some Restor-a-finish I decided to leave it be. I stared at the stool's top for a while, wondering how I could spice it up a bit, and then saw a photo online of a pleated and tufted stool that I loved. So I called the upholsterer...and....voila! The fabric is by ROMO, made in England,  and this cute little stool will hopefully be featured on the One Kings Lane Vintage & Market Finds site soon.

Project number two is a very groovy 1950s slipper chair. Coincidentally, it was also upholstered in ivory vinyl, like the stool, but they were purchased some time apart. (I guess those midcentury furniture manufacturers were all about practical upholstery!) I loved the shape of this chair and the petite size. For this piece I chose a Lacefield Designs (made in the USA!) cotton blend in a zig zag pattern, with a contrasting turquoise welt. While I really liked the nailhead detail on the original chair, I felt that it wouldn't work with such a busy pattern, and I wanted the contrast welt to define the unique shape of the chair.

On a philosophical level, I wonder why these before and after projects are so eye opening. Why can't we see these possibilities more clearly in our mind's eye? I'm not sure, but maybe it is because we get complacent looking at something or someone, stuck seeing that object or person in a certain way. Whatever the case, I think it is a good lesson to try and see the possibility for positive change in people, furniture or animals!

Monday, May 20, 2013

La Cienega Design Quarter Keynote: Buy New or Buy Vintage


A week or so ago, I had the pleasure of attending a panel discussion called "Integrity vs. Ingenuity: Buy New or By Vintage?" It was hosted by Beth Brenner of Traditional Home and featured three panelists: Thom Filicia, Molly Luetkemeyer and Oliver Furth.

My first thought was that the title was a bit off. I mean, an antique or vintage piece not only has integrity, but also ingenuity, and the same logic can be applied to certain new pieces as well. Confusing title aside, it was interesting to hear these designers speak of their love for vintage and antiques as well as how they incorporate them into their projects.

I thought the most interesting line of thought came when Molly said that homes should tell the story of the people that live there. I think this is something everyone should keep in mind, whether they hire a decorator or design themselves. It is the reason why I find visiting people's homes so interesting. You get to see a bit more of their personality, at least most of the time.

I like to think this is why it is taking me so long to decorate my own house. I don't like to buy things just to "fill a space," and I also don't like buying something cheap just because I need it right away. I'd rather wait for the right piece or the money to buy the right piece. This is why I still have the too-small dining table and chairs I bought ten years ago in my dining room. I know WHAT I want;  I just can't afford what I want right now. :)

This idea of keeping the interior true to the people that live in the house is huge design challenge. I  often see a final vision for clients that doesn't include the 1980s blond wood dining table the client's mother in law bought them, but sometimes these items are non-negotiable. (This is when refinishing or reupholstering comes in handy - "We're just going to "freshen this up" I say.")

The other, opposite end of the spectrum are those people who seem to only want "sets" of furniture that can be purchased as shown from a catalog or showroom. Luckily, with the advent of Pinterest, Etsy and the wide array of images now available for consumption on the internet, I think this way of thinking is going a bit by the wayside.

To summarize, I found this speech inspiring me once again to try and design from a place of true expression, and to help guide people to furniture and decor that really speaks to them and illustrates their tastes and lifestyle.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tiny Office Project - Space Planning Phase

Working with relatives and friends is something I normally just don't do. I'm fine offering an opinion or some resources, but I feel it is better to keep business separate. However, when my husband asked for help with his new work office, I couldn't exactly say "no." I tried. To start with, his ideas and mine for this space were radically different. Where he saw, "big sectional," I saw "tiny loveseat." Where he saw "$5,000 hydraulic stand up/sit down" desk, I saw "$500 vintage desk."

Needless to say, the project languished. Everyday he had to go into work and use random, leftover furniture that had been placed in his office just so he something in there. Finally he said the words every designer (and wife!) loves to hear - "Do whatever you want. I just want it done."

With that in mind, he did have a few requirements. He wanted the seating area to be as large as possible and either a stand up desk or a desk with a keyboard. I was also stuck with a giant flat screen TV affixed to one wall, and his ergonomic desk chair. One wall of the office is completely windows, which added another element of difficulty to this already challenging space. At left is a photo from the doorway of this challenging space.

With these factors in mind, I had to begin space planning. To give you a sense of scale, the office measures only 10' x 12', so finding small scale pieces was really important. The biggest challenge was the desk. Luckily I found a petite glass and steel number that was not only inexpensive, the perfect size AND had a keyboard tray, but it was also not hideously ugly! (Photo below.)

Now that the I knew the style and dimensions of the desk, I could get to work planning out the rest of the space. In the floor plan below I have a 5' loveseat, two small nesting tables and a 2' wide chair. I did manage to find these pieces, and I will write about them in my next blog post! 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I will live in the horse barn, please!

This month's Elle Decor has the most amazing article on Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi's ranch in Southern California. While the decor is very much the whole antique/deconstructed/industrial style that is trending right now, I think partially due to Restoration Hardware (who knew they would become such trendsetters when they first started out selling, well, reproduction hardware!), the barn is what had me absolutely drooling.

Light, bright and very rustic chic, I could actually see myself living in this barn with my horses. Eccentric, perhaps, but how awesome would that be!? As someone who has literally slept in a horse stall, albeit not one quite this nice, there's something to be said to having the sounds of horses as a backdrop to your life. In any case, this has given me some ideas for when we buy "the farm."

Monday, April 1, 2013

Glamour Goes Green on One Kings Lane

Exciting news! Glamour Goes Green has just been accepted as a vendor on the fabulous Home Decor website One Kings Lane. My pieces will be featured in the Vintage & Market Finds section of the site. Shopping for this new outlet is very exciting, and I have a few sneak peeks of products that will go on sale soon.

Above are a pair of vintage Ming style end tables in a soft butter yellow painted finish, shown at right. They reminded me of the Jacqui Table Collection from Bungalow 5, which I have loved since I first saw them a few years ago, so I had to buy them! They would work well in both a modern or traditional interior, and are perfect on either side of a sofa or as low bedside tables. Each table features a draw, perfect for stowing away a remote or your iPad.

At left are two beautiful mid century glazed ceramic lamps. They are predominately olive green, with hints of grey and mustard yellow. They have a really nice shape and are the perfect size for use as bedside lamps. The bases are painted a very pretty antique silver.

Finally, I found a pair of very mod mid century lamps with a fun wave pattern, shown at right. I loved the simplicity of the design and versatility of the gold/ivory color combination.

 I will also be updating the products section of my website to show all the items I have in inventory.