Inspiration: Red!

The color inspiration posts I occasionally put up are among my favorites, if only because they give me a valid excuse to sit at my computer browsing through photos of awesome interiors. Even if, say, pink isn’t your thing, how it’s used can still give you some insight into how you use colors in your own home. Right now, I’m loving red. If you’ve been reading long enough, you’ll know that my now disused home office is a deep cherry red that was hard as hell to apply (tinted primer is your friend, use it), so really, I’ve never not loved red. Some people, though, are a little afraid of red because it’s such a powerful, influential, and sometimes overwhelming color.

But I’m here to tell you, don’t be afraid. Red is awesome. See what I mean?


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How to Clean House for a Party

It should be so simple… How do you clean a house for a party? You just, I don’t know, clean it?

But then why does party prep send so many folk into spirals of the kind of procrastination where instead of doing what you ought to be doing, you end up doing something you want to do even less? It’s just one of those things. And frankly, too many articles that purport to show the reader how to clean house for a party are too involved, too boring, and assume that everyone just loves to clean and probably also doesn’t have a job or children.

So with that in mind, here is a quickie guide to the busy person’s party prep cleanup that will get you through your upcoming event with the least amount of stress and the maximum amount of returns.

Make a Plan, Man
This is where you identify “problem areas.” Is your sink perpetually full of dishes? Is your bathroom totally gnarly at the moment? Has your couch disappeared under a layer of dog hair? Imagine that you are a first-time visitor to your house – what messy, dirty thing would you notice first? That’s the thing you want to clean first. Once that’s done, it will be (mentally, and possibly physically) a lot easier to clean everything else. Making a list can help you stay focused, but at the very least clean one room or area all the way before starting another.

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Tasty Trivets of Toast

Is there a toast lover in your life? Toast lovers are an interesting breed – if you think there’s not much one can say about what is essentially re-heated bread, I am here to tell you that thousands of people would love to prove you wrong. There are blogs devoted to toast (Dr. Toast loves two things: music and toast)… lists of ways to enjoy it… and heated debates concerned with how to properly toast bread and which toasters will rock your socks off.

Now that you know about toast lovers, here’s a little something that they might just love:

Namely, these Toast It trivets designed by Patricia Naves for Design Studio OITI. Cute, no? It just kind of works out so perfectly that the cork most trivets are made from happens to be a nice toasty brown!

Ghost Books!

Does anyone else have this problem? I just cannot seem to go looking for creative, innovative bookshelf designs without getting totally sucked in. I end up finding curvaceous bookshelves and slanted bookshelves and bookshelves that are nestled into staircases. Even if you’re not a big reader or prefer to return books when you’re done reading them, an awesome bookshelf can still be a thing of beauty. (After all, you can put wine on a bookshelf.)

It was in some bookshelf-induced Internet wanderings that I discovered this gem designed by Josefin Hellstrom-Olsson of Beckmans College of Design. While not strictly useful, I do kind of like how there is space in all of the “books” for one or two slightly smaller books. And I think creating this in anything other than plain white would lessen its impact – as it is, it makes me think of ghost books.

Like it?

Clawfoot Tubs With Rooms of Their Own

I loved looooooved the old clawfoot tub I had once upon a time in an apartment I lived in before getting married. I think it was the thing I missed most, bathroom wise at least, when we bought our little Cape. Even if that tub was kind of old and dingy and rusty all the time because the finish had rubbed off the cast iron in so many places. It was basically impossible to clean, so I hardly did bathe in it.

Besides, my bathroom wasn’t romantic or dreamy enough to make the whole clawfoot tub experience worthwhile.

Of course, I’d happily give up romantic and dreamy to get huge, fireplace-y, and wall mounted TV-y like the loft bathroom at Beachnest. A clawfoot tub with its own room, maybe even its own floor? *swoon* If I had all the space in the world, maybe just maybe I’d have someone whip me up a bathroom that was just a room for the bath. Would you? Or are you more of a high-tech ultrashower kind of person?

A Rainbow In Leather

“Who doesn’t love a comfy, distressed, brown leather sofa?” is a question I saw once in a magazine, and the answer is me. I love comfy leather and I love distressed leather, but brown? *yawn* If your home is decked out in an amazing brown palette, that’s one thing. But why not get a little more colorful? Before I begin, I have to say that this post is for Kai Jones, who said: I would love to see a variety of options in leather furniture. Due to allergies I am supposed to only have plain wood or metal, or leather-upholstered furniture. Your wish is my command! (Variety? Yeah, I can do that.)

The benefits of leather furniture go beyond not absorbing dander and mites and such – leather furniture can be wiped clean with a damp sponge instead of needed a full shampoo, Aniline leather in particular can be deliciously soft, leather warms to your body temp on chilly days, and leather furniture is really, really durable. It’s not entirely maintenance free, of course, but what in this life is? I certainly wouldn’t kick a sweet red leather sofa out of bed.

Leather furniture can be traditional and classic and awesome, which I think is the main source of leather’s long lasting charm. How nice would it be, do you think, to curl up with a good book in this orange leather chair? Just keep in mind that all leathers are not created equal – after Aniline, there’s the sturdier but less soft semi-Aniline and then the extremely durable coated leather, which could be softer. (via)

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Poll: Does Finished Really Mean Finished?

I have a good friend who moved into her house (which is a lot like mine in terms of size and shape except for a few additions and swapped doorways) way before I did but has way more bare walls and surfaces not being used to display stuff. My impression was always that her decor choices were entirely intentional. While I can’t seem to see a bare wall or buffet top without immediately thinking of something that would just be perfect there, I also like the clean, uncluttered look that many people prefer. As it turns out, however, my friend’s decor style actually isn’t her style!

She admitted to me one day that there are all kinds of things she wants to do to her house to make it her own. But she doesn’t actually want to do any of them until she can do all of them because she doesn’t like that ‘in transition’ feeling. She’s much more interested in achieving what I call a finished-finished look, i.e., a decor scheme that is put in place and then remains unaltered until it’s time for a complete overhaul. I, on the other hand, am one of those people who is always shopping her own house for things that would fit better in other rooms. I don’t know quite how I want everything to look, but I know it when I see it, enabling me to take advantage of things like $1 signs at the thrift shop.

My friend has a concrete idea for her home. My dream house is always evolving, which is why I’m still making inspiration boards for my daughter’s room when her room is, in the eyes of everyone we know, done for now. Finished-finished, in other words.

But if my living room and bedroom (currently non-existant, but whatevs) and my kitchen will never be finished-finished, why should my daughter’s room be considered done? I like an evolving house – besides the fact that little touches keep things fresh, I will probably never have to do a complete room overhaul. Something, I hasten to add, I doubt I’ll ever be able to afford. But that’s just my way of keeping a home. As outlined above, it’s certainly not the only way, which is why I want to hear about YOUR way. Do you wait until you can whip up a whole perfect room or do you decorate and then redecorate in bits and pieces?

(Images via: Little Crown Interiors, Zachary Dickory Dock, Sproutstyle, Sugabee Lane, Modern Pea Pod, Cookie Dough Designs, and Sweet Retreat Kids)

Show Them You’re Colorful From the Start

Boring fences are so boring, right? But maybe a colorful fence isn’t for you because it’s just too ho hum. Now we’re getting into themed fence territory, and have I got just the thing for you. It’s the pencil fence, and not just any pencil fence. It’s the colored pencil fence!

If it happens that your fence isn’t made up of rounded posts shaped like pencils, you can either replace the boring old thing or create a trompe l’oeil colored pencil fence. Options, options! Need inspiration? No prob, people. There are more totally sweet, must-see colored pencil fences under the cut, promise.

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