Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Taking a Little Break

Hello friends!

I will be taking a little vacation from blogging just to smell the flowers.  I hope you all are enjoying the Seasons.  I won't be gone for long -- and probably won't be able to stay away from some of your blogs.  :)

See you all in a couple of weeks.

Hugs and kisses!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Welcome Will from Bright Bazaar

Help me welcome to The Shiny Pebble Designer Challenge Living Room Edition, the super handsome and stylish Will, from Bright Bazaar.  I first ran into the blog of this English vibrant writer a few weeks back while he was reviewing one of the bazillion shelter magazines he covers.  What a treat, let me tell ya.  The energy of his blog keeps me coming back asking for more.  I am so happy to present a guy’s vision for my room.  Enjoy!


My background
Well, to start with, I certainly can't take credit for being a real life proper designer! I'm a young guy in my twenties who has a serious love of good, colourful design. I studied Journalism at university and have since been working in the corporate world in the UK, but let my creativity surface in a number of ways...Firstly, I write a daily blog on all things colourful in the world of interiors, and then I write freelance on interiors on an ad hoc basis. I'm an advocate of making rooms fun, personal and unique - often through colour (and bright hues at that!). I have met so many wonderfully creative, talented and inspiring people through blogging and I'm delighted to have the opportunity to be here creating a fictional space for Catherine's living room!

How do you define style?
Style for me is all about letting go. I guess that's why Jonathan Adler is my favourite designer; I like how his creations and interior schemes are fun, relaxed, tongue-in-cheek, but all the while ever-so stylish. That said, I don't think style can be defined, well not to me personally, because each and every day I see new spaces that inspire me and scream style!

What inspires you?
I am inspired by shelter magazines, stationary designs, fashion, patterns, fresh flowers, the colours of the sea and sky, photography and music.

What life experience has shaped your design aesthetics?
This has to be when I was a child; I had a bright yellow cover for my bed and I remember how happy it used to make me - especially seeing it when we returned from family holidays. Given I was always rearranging the furniture in my bedroom, I think it was a dead cert that I was going to love design. Once I left home and went to uni, this was when I finally fell in love with this great world of creativity.

What is your go to source?
It has to be Etsy, especially for the beautiful photography and prints that some of the sellers stock. I love vintage, colour enhanced images - their warmth and uplifting nature always appeals to me.

What were your thoughts for my room?


Catherine explained that her favourite colour was blue so I knew that I wanted to incorporate some blue hues in the scheme. The starting point for the room was the bouquet rug, which featured the fab blue and pink colour combo, which I felt was perfect for the living room. From here, I added bright pops of pink in form of a high gloss table lamp, which I echoed in the striped cushion, with simple grey hues to ground the scheme. I echoed these softer, grey hues in the second throw cushion and chose it for the delicate illustration it held. This was to ensure their was visual interest in the room beyond the bright colours. I think the wallpaper would look great on two of the four walls - I like the causal nature of the blue stripes, with the splashes of paint, it creates a laid back and unique look, which is perfect for a living room.


I chose a simple grey sofa to tie the blue and pink colours together. Plus, it also acts as a base through which to add pattern - namely in the form of some fun, graphic cushions and throws. I chose graphic patterns to add a touch of masculinity and balance out the poppy pinks. The vibrant coffee table has a detachable tray, which I thought would be practical for guests and when Catherine's little one wanted to play on the floor! Plus, the lacquer nature of the piece ties in with the high gloss pink table lamp. Graphic notes are continued with the angular mirror and 50's style clock, whilst the deeper blue hues from the 'links' cushion are drawn out in the side table. To finish things off I felt two of the chandelier pendants would look fantastic hanging side-by-side in the middle of the room - their subtle pops of different colours add interest and prevent the room from looking too set.


I think that  coming home to a pair of those fabulous chandeliers would evoke the same feeling of happiness that Will described about his Yellow bed covers.  I hope you all enjoyed seeing my room thru the brilliant eyes of a shelter magazine addict. I was also glad to see stripes being used, Will’s signature pattern.  He did a fabulous job carefully selecting just the right print and scale with the perfect balance of color throughout the room.  Very youthful, very energetic, very Will.

Thanks to all my readers for stopping by today.  If you would like to view the other entries in the challenge, including the Dining Room designs, please click on the names of the designers at the top right corner of this page under the Designer Challenge buttons.  You will be taken directly to that designer’s post.  Below I have also included the designs done so far for your convenience:

Designer Challenge – Living Room

Designer Challenge – Dining Room
Christina Fluegge’s (Greige) Transitional Eclectic Mix

Hurry over to Splenderosa to see what a fun post and gorgeous outfit she has picked up for this room!

Friday, July 16, 2010

More About Lacquered Walls

hallway-walls-ceilings-floors-in-black-and-white-stripes via jordanguidedesign

Last  Friday’s post sent emails a-flashing in the background here.  Apparently not only are lacquered wall hot right now, they are also by most people’s opinion, the hardest wall treatment to get it just right.  There are different options, however, that might not be ideal, but will give you some bang for your effort buck.

Option 1:  Add Swirls

Marty from A Stroll Thru Life added texture over her imperfectly lacquered walls and came up with a texture that she found was quite pleasant.  Sorry, no pictures. 

“What I used was just a water based semi gloss poly that I got at the hardware store.  This was several years ago, but I know there are a lot of products out there.  I don't have an exact product name.  We used a large brush and applied it in a swirl pattern on the wall.  We practiced on a board first to get the pattern that was pleasing to us and then just went for it.  We had already painted the wall, so this was an attempt to salvage it, and the result was really pleasing.  I know you see a lot of cross hatching, however, I didn't like the effect of that, so we just applied it in a swirl pattern.  I've even seen them do similar things on HGTV with a rag and swirl it around.  Sorry I'm not more help than this.  My painter also suggested that we could tape it off and do a strip in the gloss and this would help to camouflage the imperfections in the wall, however, if the gloss hit a spot that wasn't perfect, it just seemed to enhance the imperfections.  The swirl pattern just gave the overall appearance of sort of clouds if you can picture what I mean.  Hope this helps.”


Option 2:  Add Stripes or Patterns to Minimize the Impact of a Imperfection

via apt therapy










Ann Onnusko, from Rose et Lis, a professional faux painter (see a previous guest post here) has a few recommendations:

  • “Measure the stripes with metric. It's easier to divide and is smaller increments than inches.
  • After you tape off the stripes, seal the edge of the tape ( inside the stripe) with either a fast drying glaze ( like they sell at HD) or the base color. This provides a barrier for the stripe color that prevents feathering and leaking under the tape- a real bummer when you remove the tape.
  • I usually use the same paint color in a semi-gloss or gloss rather than a gloss poly- it looks richer. “


Option 3:  Apply a Similar Treatment

IMG_0920 (2)

If you have textured wall, like I do, there is a treatment that is quite pleasing.  Of course you will not get the watery feel of a truly lacquered wall, but the effect of being enveloped in a gorgeous casing, like my friend Splenderosa so beautifully puts it:  “it is like being inside a jewel box”.  This is a closeup of our WC walls.  Multiple shades emphasize the imperfections and the glossy paint adds a touch of glamour to the treatment.

If you would like to see the actual how to on lacquered wall, please go visit the pro.  Ann has written a post on it today over at Rose et Lis.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Welcome Elie Fournier

 Please help me welcome to the Living Room Edition of the  Designer Challenge, Elie Fournier.  This powerhouse is quite the entrepreneur.  She is the force behind Punctuation Mark (a blog), Fournier Papel (a stationary collection designed by her), Vanille (a patisserie business of sorts) and the label Elie Fournier (accessories line designed by her).   Last year, Elie’s stationary made it to the Secret Room Events 2009 Academy Awards Red Carpet Style Lounge gift bags. 

I am a licensed interior designer (in the state of Florida you cannot call yourself an interior designer if
you don’t have a license) and have practiced commercial design for about 8 years mostly hospitality and
some corporate because I like the environment in which these types of projects happen. I’ve been very
lucky to say that I’ve worked with some of the most influential designers in the world on boutique hotel
projects and some of the largest hotel companies. Additionally, I am a LEED Accredited Professional
which has helped in the way I design because the products that we put out there have an impact both
on our planet and on the people that get to live in them.

How do you define your Style?
My personal style is simple and light. My home has large windows all over and the whole layout centers
around letting it coming into the house and being able to see outside.
At work my style is the style of my clients and all I do is translate their style into a tridimensional space. I
have worked on traditional projects in which I have given the clients the possibility to adapt their space
to different situations and to change it easily or if their personal style changes. The modern project I’ve
been involved with had the characteristic of looking that they don’t feel cold allowing the people living
in them to always feel comfortable.

What designer or life experience has influenced your design aesthetics?
I am heavily influenced by the local environment of where a project is located. When I work on a project
I like to talk to the people who will be working there and take a good look at what city or place it will be.
The reason for this is that this project will create an impact on the local community and it is up to the
designer to make a positive or negative impact.

What are your go to resources?
I have sooooo many that I don’t think there is enough space here to name them all. I do have to say that
I usually start the process with images of anything that is related to the project… cities, flowers, art
work, maps, city grids, fashion, etc… so I guess one of my first sources would be Flickr.
As in material resources they are a collection of manufacturers that I have worked with time and time
again throughout my career that usually deliver good product value at the right budget so the client is
always happy.

What are your thoughts of my room?
My idea for this space is to open it up and create groups of seating that can be changed depending on
the occasion without altering the total look of the space.
The colors used are neutral but also have a touch of elegance in them. Leather is the material of choice
for the sofa because it is the largest piece of furniture in the space that ties it all together using one of
the fabrics used in the other pieces as accent cushions. Also, it is used for the ottomans that can be used
as side tables and seating.
ottoman copy sofa copy
The fabrics have dynamic prints with dark backgrounds and accents in blue and tan picking up the colors
from the area rug and the leather. The chairs that are upholstered with these fabrics are smaller in scale
and allow free flow in and out of the living room area. Additionally they create small intimate spaces
within the larger space itself making conversations amongst people easier.
side chair copy 
The area rug is made with wool and silk to give it both body and luster taking advantage of the stripe
patterned in which it is woven.
area copy 
The furniture selection is contemporary with a retro influence so each piece can blend with each other
but also stand on its own. The lines of the furniture are soft and have unique accents like the lounge
chairs that have a back with a wood piece carved in a sort of wave bringing added comfort to whoever
sits on them. The same can be said about the side chairs that feature a rounded back and low arms
enhancing the comfort level of the chair.
lounge chair copy
The niche next to the fireplace will be filled with a bar/credenza type of piece that will serve as
additional storage or as a bar to fix drinks to the people seating at the living room. Above this piece will
be a mirror that will make the space look bigger but will mainly reflect the outdoors and the
environment from the windows facing the covered patio.
bar-credenza copy mirror copy
Several accessories and decorative elements will be placed all over the living room.
Accessories copy coffee table copy side table copyscreen copylamps copy  
The wicker lamps will add warmth and texture to the space but also have a color similar to all the colors used on the other materials.
 wicker copy
The artwork above the fireplace will be more modern to add dynamism to the space.
art copy
Finally, barstools placed on the bar area connected to the kitchen allow the space to become part of the
dining and kitchen area but also serve as sculptural pieces because of their unique construction and use
of materials.
barstool copy
Thank you Elie so much for contributing to this series.  I am particular impressed by two ideas:  the mirror reflecting the outside and the bar!!!!  Fantastic.
Thanks to all my readers for stopping by today.  If you would like to view the other entries in the challenge, including the Dining Room designs, please click on the names of the designers at the top right corner of this page under the Designer Challenge buttons.  You will be taken directly to that designer’s post.  Below I have also included the designs done so far for your convenience:

Designer Challenge – Living Room

Designer Challenge – Dining Room
Christina Fluegge’s (Greige) Transitional Eclectic Mix

Hurry over to Splenderosa to see what a fun post and gorgeous outfit she has picked up for this room!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

And Yet, The Sun Still Shines Today…

“Every life must have its sorrows and its pain
Yes it will
Where there's sunlight there are shadows and sometimes rain
When you're down and can't get up
Lay both hands on a lovin' cup
Make each teardrop like a diamond
Just look up
Just look up when storm clouds block the sun
(Just look up)
Just look up when there's nowhere left to run
(Nowhere to run)
Remember how the trees must bend
And the mighty rivers went
There's a rainbow waiting for you
Just look up
For each promise of forever
There'll be times, yes there will
When you crawl 'til you swear you've had your fill
Keep your heart right on your sleeve
Stand your ground when you want to leave
There's a love that'll last forever
Just look up
Just look up when storm clouds block the sun
(Just look up)
Just look up when there's nowhere left to run
(Got nowhere to run)
Remember how the trees must bend
And the mighty rivers went
There's a rainbow waiting for you
Just look up
(Just look up)
When you 've lost that light that guides you from despair
(From despair)
And the memories of dear ones fade with earthly cares
Know the spirits burnin' bright
Throughout all you're darkest nights
Make your life a testimony
Just Look Up
Just look up when storm clouds block the sun
(Just look up)
Just look up when there's nowhere left to run
(Nowhere to run)
Remember how the trees must bend
And the mighty rivers went
There's a rainbow waiting for you
Just look up
(Just look up)”
“Just Look Up” by Eric Bibb
Please leave a note of encouragement to Marija’s family at her blog:  Holding Court

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wall Treatment for My Private Oasis

This weekend, Susan Fox from Love Where You Live will be featuring moi and my little private space: my office.  I invite you to pay her a visit to check out my digs.  While you are there, look around a bit.  Susan is a field editor for publications such as Traditional Home, Better Homes & Garden, Remodel, Renovation Style, Kitchen & Bath Ideas, and as such she has access to some fabulous properties.

Meanwhile, in Shiny Pebble land, I have compiled a few ideas for my office.  Its color came with the house --  standard builder’s blah.  I originally thought about painting it a deep deep rusty brown, to make it nice and cozy.  Then, this Summer, I was reminded of the hot, stuffy, humid days of Houston and decided I needed something cooler.  Heck, I need something downright wet! Lacquered walls!!!

Notice how this treatment requires that the trim be also painted in the same color and shimmer as the walls.  I am loving that!  I think I would do the wood just one shade darker.  But that is just me, it might not really be needed.

I probably would pick a tad teal-ish shade of an acqua blue, as I love peacocks and hopefully the look would turn out more regal than retro.  The Peacock Blue from the first  picture in the above collage is not much en Vogue in newer homes being built in my area, but I think it would look AMAZING! When paired with a lighter color, so I read, it takes its cues from the coast and becomes a bit more casual.

Or  I could go with Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue a la Miles Redd, as it appears to reflect just the right amount of yellow when the sun hits its lacquered form.

Regardless of the actual color I end up choosing, the real problem with this type of wall treatment is the prep required for a flawless effect.  The cost effectiveness of getting a masterful artist at my home to do the deed will have to be balanced against a commercial product like Phillip Jeffries Ltd lacquered wallpapers.  I am in love with the striated version (top right) of these vinyl wallpapers.  But I am thinking I could get away with Graphite (below) as well.

Now, if any of you have had a chance to work with either method (vinyl wallpaper or lacquering of walls), I would love to hear from you.  I am open for any color choices as well.  And for a better view of my space please go visit Susan at
Love Where You Live, and tell her I said hello!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Welcome Kellie Cashon

Hello all, please join me in welcoming the fabulous, the talented, the funny and adorable Ms. Kellie Cashon from the gorgeous blog Cashon & Co.  to The Shiny Pebble Designer ChallengeLiving Room Edition.  Seriously, you guys, get ready to be WOW’d out of your computer loungers.  This girl has talent and she likes to share.  So go ahead: get a refill and cozy up…  This will be an amazing trip!



I graduated from College in the early 1990's with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Arts (Painting). My secondary studies were in Art History and Metal-smithing.  I was (and still am) happiest in the workrooms of an art building. I love the smell of turpentine, wood, metal, ink, you name it…. I spent my fifth year of art school at another University and dabbled in printmaking, which I TRULY enjoyed: especially etching. A few years after school, I made my living by being a commercial photographer --on staff at a newspaper, in the business and sports sections. Unfortunately, this type of photography is not where I was able to express my creativity and I soon burned out. I went back to school in my late twenties and got an education degree, in art and elementary education, and briefly taught 5th grade. Once my children were born, I took almost a decade "off" and had fun running a small jewelry hobby/business as well as decorating for friends, and myself. Soon the decorating part just kind of took on it's own life, and when both of my kids were in elementary school, I decided to take it full-time. And here I am!



Well, I guess the best words to describe my own design style would be "Continental Eclectic Chic"….Yeah, that sounds good. Let's go with that.

"CONTINENTAL" because I don't truly identify with one type of style-- I find most of my inspiration from English sources, but would not categorize myself as having a typical English style…..I like modern furniture and cubism, but would not say I'm mid-century modern or a contemporist….. I find myself drawn to Italian and French architecture and furniture, but I don't think those countries define me…. So I guess you could sum it up by saying I like everything - but mostly antiques- from every continent, and not just Europe.

"ECLECTIC" because I think that as long as each piece is unique, you can put anything together and it will look good. In my opinion, an eclectic style shows personality, as it is a style that is most easily obtained by years of travel and collecting. The theory of this is that you buy what you like --no matter the provenance, genre, or brand-- and as long as the colors, composition, and  scale work together, the pieces will marry perfectly. That is basically how I shop and how I decorate, at least for myself. I buy what catches my eye, what intrigues me, what makes me happy and I will eventually find a place for it. Having everything I love in one room together is what works best for me. I find that if you decorate in this manner,  that even when trends come and go and your tastes change (which they will)-- you will have not locked yourself into ONE certain style. So my theory is that if you stick to what you like, not to what a style dictates you to buy,  you will never have to "totally redecorate" your space.  This way you can eliminate bits and pieces as your tastes change and supplement over time, and have fun doing it. Think: Bill Blass & Yves Saint Laurent….

"CHIC" because I'm young and I want it to look fresh, right?  I love history and I tend to be drawn to everything Victorian and Edwardian as well as a lot of "old-fashioned" objects… so the trick is how do you make old-fashioned items look fresh? By introducing contemporary and modern objects in the same space…. A little bit of tension to me is essential for an interesting room - one sets off the other. Think: Chanel jacket with t-shirt and jeans….. slubby wrinkled-linen upholstery on gilt furniture…. Jeff Koons balloon dog sculpture on lucite base in front of a 17th Century Venetian Mirror ---to me, these are CHIC…. and ECLECTIC…. and CONTINENTAL…. My goal is to get this look, but on an attainable budget. That's the fun part. That's the challenge.

Chic to me also means "imperfect". I never strive for pure-perfection in a finished space -- I think "picture-perfect" sometimes conveys an "unwelcoming" and an "unlived-in" feeling. I also think the reason European homes have that "je ne sais quoi" that we Americans are always striving to achieve is because families over there pass so much down to future generations. Their homes are full of inherited pieces, not newly purchased furniture suites. Rarely does the furniture they inherit come in perfect condition, and instead of selling it and buying pieces to match, they work with what they have. This gives the homes in Europe that carefree-collected look that I think we here really try to emulate.  I remember reading a book about Old English Style and one thing it said really stuck with me. This book said that the English people of the past were so concerned about things looking "perfect" or "new" that they purposely would knock a lampshade askew so there was that sense of tension in the room. I cannot tell you how freeing that was to me. As I was reading this, I looked across the room to an old warehouse stool I bought.  It had it's original tapestry upholstery, but the ends were frayed and the trim was hanging off. At that moment, I realized that I DON'T have to fix this. It DOESN'T have to be perfect. I have learned to embrace certain flaws and to be proud of the unpolished nature of things. Now I gladly purchase those old paintings with chips that no one wants. We're not perfect, why should we hold our homes to that standard? I mean, how "chic" is that philosophy, right?

a b


English movies and series set in the 1930's and 1940's, especially Poirot with David Suchet (I can't get enough of him, the houses, AND the costumes--exquisite), learning the history behind a craft, how art intermixes with the history of it's time, music, fashion and jewelry, politics, textures, layers, family history, collections, paper, sculpture, technology, relationships, photographs….



I think what has most greatly defined my aesthetics is my education in art. At an early age I was exposed to classical paintings by my parents, who have always been art appreciators. I grew up going to galleries and museums, and naturally those experiences helped lead me to my art studies as an adult. I have always been fascinated by art and decorative items that cause you to pause and "think"… I like using drawings, books, or "found" objects that promote conversation and invoke feelings. Although I've grown up to be a person that routinely likes to  "play it safe", there has always been that part of me that likes to shock people a little. I would never want to be mistaken for boring, and the same goes for my design aesthetics. I consider myself a living example of "opposites": Wild but Conservative, Spontaneous but Hesitant, Formal but Laid-back…. I think these dichotomies are reflected in my design tastes: 19th c antique paintings in gilt frames -- but with big chips and tears…. 17th c marble Italian sculpture fragment on a $10 garage sale table…. Wedgwood jasperware plates next to a grotesquely primitive street-art etching… Your design style can't be anything BUT what your personality and life-experiences have made you to be.



FABRICS: Shumacher is my favorite source for linen prints, with Cowtan & Tout and Lee Jofa coming in second. Usually I like to buy my solid-linen at discount fabric places where you buy off the bolt. That way you don't spend a fortune on something that is going to get washed a lot, and you can afford to buy extra material to make supplemental covers for emergencies. I also like Pottery Barn's linen pre-made curtains. Ebay is a good source to find designer remnants for pillows. Rutherford's is great for trim and passemainterie.

LIGHTING: Circalighting.com, Mary Cates & Co., and making lamps from found objects. Lamps Plus has some good looking pre-made lampshades.

FURNITURE: Outdoor: Pottery Barn & Restoration Hardware
Indoor: Consignment Stores, Restoration Hardware for upholstery items, Quatrine for slipcovered furniture, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Room & Board

ANTIQUES: Consignment (Brant Laird's Consignment Heaven), Antique Malls (Forestwood Antique Mall), 1st Dibs, Antique Row, Milton Kent Antiques, Uncommon Market, V&M.com, Ebay

ACCESSORIES: Ebay, consignment stores, Jayson Home & Garden, Mecox Gardens, 1st Dibs, Local Antique Warehouses & Estate sales

the room


Well, my first thought was "remember, she has a child…. and big dogs!" I have to keep that in mind, as I have kids and pets too, and that means you need options for floors and upholstery that will wear well and hide stains. My inspiration for your room were the 3 Chinese porcelain vases on the breakfront in your breakfast room. Seeing those combined with the doors on your tv cabinet immediately made me think of "elegantly ethnic"…. So my first search was to look for the KEY fabric for the room. This is where I get the color scheme and the inspiration for the rest of the room. I went with blues since I was using your Chinese blue & white porcelain as inspiration, and you had mentioned it is you and your husband's favorite color. Then the layering began.

I wanted to make the room warm, comfortable, elegant and timelessly sophisticated. I guess those are my goals for every room, and I hope to bring enough contrasts in patterns, styles and objects that whatever pieces you add, right away or over time, will blend in seamlessly. I tend to incorporate a few "dressy/show-stopper" pieces in family rooms because I think you shouldn't save your "good stuff" for the rooms you never go in. This way you will have a bit of beauty and glamour in the room you spend every day in.

 schumacher Schumacher

lee jofa Lee Jofa

zoffany Zoffany

So, the first thing I do for a room when I am planning a design is start with the fabric. Not "a" fabric, but "the" fabric. Usually I ask the homeowner what their style is, and we go together to the Design Center OR I give them tons of options and I ask them to pick out that one fabric that "wow's" them. Literally, they have to be in love with it. At that point I don't know where we'll use it, but usually the piece they pick out dictates the style and colours and textures for the room.

Since I had already decided to go with the blue palate for your living room, and an "elegantly ethnic" type of pattern, I picked out three main fabrics and some accent pieces and put them on boards.

The top board has a Schumacher linen modern floral print in bright colours on a cream background. I think you could pair almost any colour with it, but it would be nice to play on some of the bright colours in the pattern either with supplemental fabrics OR in furniture and decor choices. Or both.

The middle board has a rich coloured ikat by Lee Jofa that is a velvet cotton. Because velvet is usually too heavy for drapery in hot climates, I would do solid curtains and use this as the main accent in the room or even as an upholstered chair. The geometric print looks great with this ikat and this fabric also has a strong colour pallette that would be fun to play with.

The bottom board  has a more traditional pattern of a blue abstract-floral on a dark linen. Because this fabric is so subtle, I think it would be nice to keep the room's whole look subtle as well. To me, the Pierre Frey asian fabric takes this traditional print to a new level. And to make it more transitional, I would do more tone-on-tone fabrics but with graphically different patterns. Because this board is more subdue in it's tonal quality, the use of textures in this room will be very important. I would like to see contrasts in this room; like more richer looking and formal antiques to off-set the casual nature of the texture and patterns in these fabrics.


Once I pick out the main fabric (or in your case, the main 3 fabrics) I start having fun by playing around with different art/furniture/lighting options to see what looks good. Because I am not there to find out which of the three fabrics are your favourite, I decided to give you 3 different designs. In all three designs, I tried to make it where all the different art, lighting, rugs, furniture and accessories will work with any of the designs you choose. Hopefully you can take an object from one board and use it with the fabrics and furniture from another board and they will all work together.

On this design, labeled "Living Room 1", the Schumacher linen is the inspiration. This is where I think about just where I intend to use it. I think these would look great as curtains and would choose to use solid linens/cotton/blends on the furniture.


While playing around with thoughts on the "Living Room 2" board, I thought it would be great to add some gold/gilt to the room. When I see it next to each other on this board I consider it more seriously, because I think it looks good! Used either as a modern lamp OR as an antique mirror, they both work beautifully to me. Throwing a little modern art on this board looks good too. "Very sophisticated and Well traveled" is the feeling I get from this board.

Shiny_Pebble_3 On the "Living Room 3" design, the ikat pattern is strong so I think the rest of the items in the room need to be strong too - whether graphically or in size. I reconsider mixing too many patterns in here, but I find I like the way some of the shapes of the accessories look -- like the convex mirror from Paris Hotel Boutique and the rustic lanterns. Maybe I use wall lanterns on the wall above the console instead of lamps? I like the idea of the tassel trim with this fabric. (Maybe use it as a trim on the base of an upholstered chair or ottoman?) It has an almost Moroccan feel to me, especially with the lanterns. Maybe throw an antique French chair in here to mix it up?

Screen_shot_2010-06-25_at_6.14.37_PM After I come up with general ideas of what looks good together, I am super-inspired!  I spend a long time shopping the local stores (and taking snapshots while there, as well as measurements and prices) as well as on-line resources and compile them all in a folder on my desktop so I can start shopping from my own folder. This is the folder for you! 272 photos is a reasonable amount to give us plenty of options. Now I have to figure out the logistics of how the furniture will fit and where it should go.


I might work a little backwards by just now getting to the logistics of how the room will work, but I find that I have to be inspired and have a "vision" first in my head, and by going out and seeing what's out there -- art and furniture/antiques -- I usually come back with an idea of what to use and how to use it.

For this room, I feel a sectional would work wonderfully in the corner and give the room more seating. It seems like this room was almost made for it! But I need to look at the floorplan and the dimensions to confirm all my ideas before getting carried away with myself. This is where I get picky with the details considering the depth of the seating and the space for paths in the room. You really do have to know the exact measurements of a space, so no mistakes or "surprises" are made. Trust me, I know. I mis-measured by about 18" when we moved in our house, thinking FOR SURE our piano would fit. Yes, even that small amount makes a big difference, and needless to say, the piano had to go "bye-bye". *sigh.... This is one of those moments when your kids/students ask you (like you asked your teachers at the same age) "When am I eeevvvver going to use math in real life? I'll never have to use algebra or geometry in the real world!" Well kids, unless you want to waste a lot of money on a piano that won't fit in a house, trust me, you'll use your math when you get older.

I am assuming your family has the television in the armoire, so I would keep it where it is. I love it! I would consider staining the wood a darker, richer walnut color like the similar piece shown here. And also, I would have a carpenter put the doors on a tracksystem so they can fold back completely into the recessed space. If you wanted it might be nice to paint the back of the cabinet in a complimentary colour to the room, for some contrast and interest so you could add extra shelves and display items in there also.

On top of the TV cabinet, I would group several blue & white chinese porcelain vases and ginger jars to fill up that gap and bring in more blue.

On this focal wall, which you see from the entry, I would put a console table and some lighting, preferably matching lamps with custom linen drum or rectangle shades. (Similar to the examples shown here from Lisa Luby Ryan in Dallas.) Over the console I would hang a mirror for reflection and to extend the space as you enter the house. Underneath the console I would have an upholstered ottoman on casters or an antique gilt stool covered in a yummy mohair.


SCAN0229 Here is a quick crayon-sketch of what the space could look like, using the brighter colour palette.

For the furniture in the living space, I would do a linen slip-covered sectional in a neutral colour. Slipcovers are GREAT for kids. It's so easy to rip them right off when a chocolate millk disaster happens and throw them in the washing machine. I had a client recently who was reluctant about putting light coloured slipcovers on her kitchen chairs. I cut a sample of the fabric, which was very, very light, and told her to do this: take it and give it to your kids and have them use it as napkins with a spaghetti dinner, then treat it with a stain-lifter and throw it in the machine. She did just that, and ALSO took her make-up off with it, and said that they came out perfectly clean! I'm not going to lie, you have to treat it and let it soak, but that is a great test to do if you are hesitant about any fabric. Also pre-wash your linen/cotton before you slipcover anything, to allow for shrinkage, or it won't fit after you sew it.
On the sofa, I would do a flat-flange in either a matching linen or a soft contrasting colour, similar to the examples from Quatrine shown below. I would bring in my coordinating colours in the pillows on the sectional. On either end of the sectional, I would place a small end table with two table lamps. But another option would be to forgo table lamps and use floor lamps for height.

For a cocktail table, I think a square shape would work best for the sectional, as it would give some room to add an upholstered arm chair to the space too.  I think a modern OR a rustic style table would look great with any of the designs we picked!

As far as the lounge chair goes, I would put that chair on a swivel base so the  person sitting there has the option to watch tv from a better angle.

Across from the sectional, and basically directly across from the tv cabinet, I would put a backless bench so the seating area is now set as a square. And some one who sits on the bench can have the option of facing into the seating arrangement for conversation, or have their back to the seating and watch the television.

SCAN0230Here is another quick sketch by crayon to show what the living space could look like...

Directly in front of the fireplace, I would place two diminutive chairs, such as this tub or slipper chair, facing each other with a small garden seat/table in between them. I think it would give some special notice to the fireplace, and I think that it would make the room seem more cohesive... especially with the floor covered in wall-to-wall sisal. I think you said you had already done this here once before, and I like the idea still!

For the fireplace, I would place a guard that was made of frameless glass. Maybe this comes out after the baby is past the baby-proofing stage? But I think it would make the fireplace box clean-looking and open up that part of the room a bit.
On top of the mantel, I love how you have your art leaning, instead of hung. I do the same thing, and I would find a piece, whether traditional or contemporary/modern that has some colour or graphic quality that mimics the style/colours of the room's design. Or compliments it.

For the finishing touches, I would cover the entire living area in a custom sized natural fiber/sisal rug. You could do wall-to wall and take it from room to room, or you could do a rug that leaves about 15" of space around the entire perimeter.
I have a favorite that I like to use called Mozambique, but any weave that has a big pattern instead of a small loop/weave works best in high-traffic areas. Smaller boucles are hard to clean, especially where food may fall. I've had great luck with Tanzania also, shown here. Stains are almost invisible on it. And it makes a great, smooth tricycle platform!
I would center a hanging light fixture over the living area, directly over the cocktail table.

For additional decorative touches, I would place an architectural element or a sculpture atop the console against the wall. I would fill in the blanks with art work on the walls, natural elements such as shells on display, and window treatments of course! And I think it would look fantastic to layer an antique mahal or caucasian rug on top of the sisal carpet, but only around the seating area.

So I compiled groups of furniture, priced from High (1st Dibs) to Low (Target) and I think that with all of the different furniture pieces I picked, you can truly mix and match and almost all of it will work with all three designs I planned for you.

chairs chairs_prices

sofas sofas_prices

cocktail cocktail_table_prices consoles consoles_prices

And to give you an idea of how they all work together (feel free to enlarge each image, as there are so many gorgeous goodies on each board! The detail in the fabric textures and the art/sculptures are brilliant!), I shopped from the choices I saved in your file and laid out 3 more-detailed options for choices in art and accessories for each design. Have fun mixing and matching mis-matching and THANK YOU Catherine for asking me to participate in The Shiny Pebble Designer Challenge. It was such fun, and I am honored to be contributing my designs along with the other talented and fabulous designers you featured! I'm flattered to share such company and humbled that you included me.





Now was this a fun trip or what?!  I know you are just as excited about Kellie’s talent as I am and can’t get enough of her style.  So here are a few of her best posts (not including this one of course!) over at her blog.  The first time I visited her I fell right onto a towel bar shelf DYI, and I thought “oh no!  that never has a happy ending”…  and then I saw this:

IMG_2703 And it just got better from there.  Make sure you check out the Shells on Display entry, the bit about Salt Cellars, a peak at her fabulous home here and here.  I could go on and on… Just hop on over to Cashon & Co. and become an avid follower of this fabulous designer.   One can’t help but appreciate the work and eye of an artist.  Kellie’s photographic talents have sure enhanced the experience as well.  I am absolutely smitten by her work!

Please, don’t forget to see what my dear friend Marsha at Splenderosa is up to… 



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