Category Archives: Decor Style

FIXER UPPER GOES MODERN

Time to talk about everybody’s favorite HGTV show, Fixer Upper.

After an iffy start, I now find Chip very amusing,

+ I have always had a lady crush on Joanna.

fu-chip-and-joanne

I’m sure they’d both be pleased,

because it’s not like they don’t have throngs of super fans or anything.

Meanwhile, check out their latest Fixer Upper project,

which they’ve named the Pick-A-Door House:

fu-modern-before-exterior

Pretty ho hum, no?

fu-modern-after

Wow!  It’s so modern!

So modern, in fact, that I wondered if the show’s fans would embrace it.

Let’s talk about what makes it modern + whether or not we’re on board.

  I’m giving thumbs up for the wide paver + stone walkway,

that black metal roof, the dark gray paint + the double doors.

Have you noticed?  Joanna has a ‘thing’ for them.

Here they are from the inside:

fu-modern-house-entry

Those light wood floors had me swooning,

as do the black metal sliding doors on either side of the entry.

There’s one set for the office, on the left:

fu-modern-office-with-doors-open

fu-modern-office-with-chair-and-shelves

Those light tone wood built ins!  Love!

The second set encloses the dining room, just across the entry hall:

fu-modern-dr-with-sliding-doors-closed

fu-modern-house-dr-mirror-on-wall

Honestly, all I could think was that the doors were crazy cool

but not that functional or necessary,

WHICH is something I usually embrace, wholeheartedly

They probably cost more than MY HOUSE, though,

which is kind of a buzz kill, when you’re me.

Anyway, here’s another view from the adjacent living room:

fu-modern-living-room-fireplace

Don’t you love the color of that leather with all that black + gray?

I call that baseball glove brown, + it’s my fave.

The original fireplace had some structural issues,

so it was replaced with this very modern, concrete one:

fu-modern-lr-fireplace-straight-on

They have intentionally left the marks from the forms,

which makes it rustic + modern + industrial.

I vote yes.

But wait.  Look at the rest of the living room.

  • There’s more concrete.  Or is it faux concrete?

fu-modern-lr-opposite-fp

Oh, dear.

I fear this has gone from industrial chic to cellar hideaway, so thumbs down.

An accent of concrete is good — walls + walls of it, not so much.

But wait.

 Look at that wall of black metal windows —

my favorite feature of the entire re-do!

So much natural light!  I live for it!

fu-modern-living-room-window-wall

Please take a sec to notice all the groovy houseplants + their awesome holders.

They have me yearning to gas up the car + go plant shopping, a.s.a.p.!

+ + + +

Now, then, back to the house — with yet more concrete in the kitchen.

It’s the back side of that fireplace, + once again, I love it.

fu-modern-kitchen-stove-logs

I’m still not digging the concrete on the other walls, though.

fu-modern-kitchen-refrigerator

All that black + gray!   Does anybody need an anti-depressant, or is it just me?

fu-modern-kitchen-after

fu-modern-kitchen-close-up-shelf

fu-modern-kitchen-after-with-window

Oh, cheer up, already.

The light wood floors, beams  + shelves really pop against all that dark,

 + there’s yet more of that fabulous window wall:

fu-modern-kitchen-window-bar

Isn’t that bar epic?

fu-modern-kitchen-window-bar-with-plant

+ + + +

There’s an entirely new master bath + bathroom.

At first, Chip wasn’t on board with the bedroom’s black ship lap feature wall:

fu-modern-bedroom-overview

Oh, if I had a dollar for every time that happens in our little world!

cats-fighting

But let’s get real — I think the black really works

when surrounded by all the light furniture + the white walls:

fu-modern-bedroom-with-hanging-plants

Thumbs up for all the modern ceiling fans, including this one.

But wait a minute.

Those plant hangers are having their moment,

 but that moment’s already taken place inside my very own hacienda,

circa 19 and 73.

I’m not sure I want to return!  What say ye?

+ + + +

While we ponder that, let’s have a quick glimpse of the new master bath,

with yet more black, white + light wood:

fu-modern-bathroom

These large, black hexagon floor tiles are very modern.

They transition into smaller black hexes in the shower,

the walls of which are covered in large black marble rectangles.

Thumbs up or down?

I vote up.

fu-modern-bathroom-shower

Once again — a job well done by the Gaines-es.

Are you a fan,

or are you hoping the next episode features another farmhouse?

Stay tuned!


MEDIA WALL MUSINGS

Lately I’ve been planning our Dutch colonial’s living room in my head.

What fun!

Of course, we’ll need comfortable seating + lights for reading.

I must incorporate a TV, my books + artwork, too.

Me being me, I need to try + do this as stylishly as possible.

With a miniscule budget.

Yikes.

Let’s see what we have,

looking in from Dutch colonial’s front door:

IMG_4576(1)

Next, as seen from the adjacent dining room,

through our fabulous pocket doors:

IMG_4575(1)

A closer view of  that large, south-facing window bay:

IMG_4573(1)

Here’s the view from that bay past G.O.

+ into the dining room (+ the kitchen, just beyond):

IMG_4572(1)

We’ll have ourselves a nice, bright room!

But again — what to do with the TV, my books + artwork,

a.k.a. the media wall?

Answer:

That large, blank wall opposite the front door.

Here ’tis again:

IMG_4570(1)

Just this week while perusing Pinterest,

I found a fantastic inspiration for our media wall, here:

Don’t you love it?

It’s inside the L.A. loft of Kristan Cunningham + Scott Jarrell:

lonny magazine -- kristin cunningham and scott jarrell's LA loft

You might recognize her from the old HGTV show, Design On A Dime.

These 2 kids also own the L.A. design firm + shop,

Hammer + Spear.

lonny hammer + spear

lonny magazine -- victorian turned wood easel with mirror $750

Victorian turned wood easel with mirror $750

lonny -- painted parchessi and checkers game board hammer and spear $499

Painted Parcheesi + checkers game board $499

lonny hammer + spear laboratory perfumes scented candle $60

Laboratory Perfumes scented candle $60

 

Cowboy Grass unisex fragrance by D.S. Durga  $106

Cowboy Grass (what?) unisex fragrance by D.S. Durga
$106

Okay.  So I love everything, but it’s all too spendy for me!

It’s that miniscule budget I mentioned, before.

* * *

But I digress!  Back to their fab media wall!

Let’s have a look-see + determine why it is so awesome:

lonny -- kristin cunningham's living room mid century + walls

While it looks like a wall of expensive built-ins,

 upon closer inspection,

one realizes that they’ve actually used light-toned wood cabinets

with a matching, light-toned wood wall behind them.

It looks like those are relatively inexpensive brackets + shelves, too.

lonny -- kristin cunningham's living room mid century + walls

Please notice the high contrast between the lighter media wall

+ how dark they’ve painted every other wall.

It creates an amazing focal point!

* * *

So.  That’s what I want to try + emulate for our media wall!

Instead of the cabinets,

we could use our new/old mid-century dresser.

(We drug it home from the curb about a month ago.  Score!)

IMG_4564(1)

I like that our rescued dresser’s a whopping 64″ long;

it’s really going to make a statement in our room!

Its simple, mid-century modern good looks will ramp up our style, for sure.

IMG_4565(1)

Now to match our dresser with our wall,

as they matched their cabinets with their wall in the L.A. loft.

Our options are to refinish our dresser’s wood

+ install some sort of wood wall behind it.

Or paint everything.

I’m leaning toward painting the dresser + wall, like here.

See how the artwork “pops” + the TV kind of “disappears”?

gray dark tv and artwork pottery barn

potterybarn.com

As you no doubt noticed, I’d be switching the lights + darks

from the original loft’s media wall . . .

lonny -- kristin cunningham's living room mid century + walls

. . . + go darker for my media wall + much lighter for everything else, like this:

Look how the dark gray renders the TV nearly invisible!

gray dark accent wall -- houzz.

Houzz.com

YAY on the TV “going away” . . .

. . . sure, we have one, but who wants it to be the focal point?

Now that that’s settled (one hopes), next up is the question,

“Dark gray or dark navy?”

 

navy houzz

houzz.com

Stay tuned!


Country Bumpkin Christmasi, C. early 90’s

In yesterday’s blog post,

I went down memory lane to my country bumpkin Christmasi of the past.

Here’s the building I bought way back in 1993,

to house my country bumpkin retail store,

Heart-in-Hand:

heart in hand

Christmas 1993
Oregon, Illinois

Just a few years after this,

we built a home upstairs for me, my boys +

Susie, our beloved miniature Dachshund.

christmas -- ben + jon + susie + fireplace

Ben, Susie + Jon
seated on an old bench
I bought at auction when I was 19 or so.

I splurged on that gas fireplace

+ am currently obsessing about doing said-same

in our current re-do.

Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, check out my delightful red woodwork

+ my dozens of Santa’s!

christmas -- apartment -- fireplace

* * *

Now let’s back track just a bit, to the BEFORE:

christmas -- living room before

Whoa!  Kind of looks like a bomb went off, doesn’t it?

* * *

Here’s the same shot, AFTER:

christmas -- apartment -- living room with windows

Currently, I find myself wanting old school shutters like these
for the bottom halves of our Dutch colonial’s windows.
Stay tuned, part II!

My then-beau, an upholsterer, covered my couch

in that awesome coverlet-style fabric.

It was the height of country bumpkin awesomeness

at the time!

Also noteworthy: the original pressed tin ceiling

+ my hand-stenciled border!

* * *

Imagine that — back then, I was even less skilled

at photography than I am now,

but this does show that pressed tin ceiling:

christmas -- apartment -- living room diagonal

Here I am in ‘mid-decorating mode’:

christmas -- apartment -- kay in squalor living room

I hosted open houses of our pad, all decked out for Christmas,

during our town’s annual Candlelight Walk.

Good X’s.

* * *

My beloved floors were new, wide-plank pine boards,

secured with square-head nail look-alikes.

Here’s a nice view of it:

christmas -- apartment -- susie #1 + max

Susie the mini Dachsie
with my upholsterer beau’s dog Max

These days, I find myself wanting light wood floors like this

for our Dutch colonial fixer.

Stay tuned, part III!

* * *

The main living spaces were all together.

Here’s a photo of Ben, seated at the dining table.

He’s facing the living room + those front windows,

with the country bumpkin kitchen in the background.

christmas -- ben at dining table in apartment

Oh, please note the skylight — 1 of 3 (another splurge).

I’m still loving the large buffalo check wallpaper

+ am thinking about using said-same NOW!

buffalo check

YUM + stay tuned, yet again!!

But I digress.  Back to my old kitchen:

christmas apartment kitchen island

Wow, this photo’s bad,

but it does show my antique red workbench

that I thought made the most perfect kitchen island.

* * *

Let’s head down the hallway

to our very country bumpkin bathroom!

christmas -- apartment -- bathroom patchwork shower curtain

I super loved that homespun wallpaper.

There’s the patchwork shower curtain that I made

by sewing together antique 4-Patch quilt squares.

It was always a crowd pleaser during my open houses.

christmas -- apartment -- bathroom

Loving the shelf above this door, behind which

we’d tucked in a stackable washer + dryer:

christmas -- apartment bathroom washer-dryer

Just say NO to the tunic-length sweater when one is 5’0″!

Look!  I still clasp my hands together like that in photos:

IMG_2442(1)

Ditto on the unflattering blue top, for some reason!?
Somebody call a stylist!
I “keed” (a little!)

* * *

But I digress.  Back to our apartment.

It contained 3 bedrooms.

Each boy had his own, but for some reason,

there are no photos of said-same.

Here’s mine:

christmas -- apartment -- shaker bed

I seriously wish I still had that pencil post bed,

but NOT those swag + jabot curtains.

I did love them at the time (Country Curtains catalog).

Another of my splurges: the wood-clad, vaulted ceiling,

with its (not shown) skylight.

* * *

Isn’t it funny that, while I poke fun of my fondness

for the country bumpkin décor . . .

. . . there are still quite a few things I did here

that I am considering doing again, TODAY!

Stay tuned!


Is Less MORE Or Is It A BORE?

LESS IS MORE!

Okay, who first said that?  + about what was he speaking?

architecture -- mies van der whozit

He said it. The great 20th C architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

This, the Farnsworth House, was designed by van der Rohe.

It sits on the side of the Fox River just west of Yorkville, Illinois.

architecture -- farnsworth house

For my own decor, when it comes to ‘less is more’,

I am always inspired by rooms like this:

spare interior

Or this:

spare entry #2

When I see photos like these, I am halfway inspired to get rid of EVERYTHING I OWN.

Until I spy a charmer like this one:

clutter #1

I love it!

Hey!   Maybe LESS is a BORE!

And yes, that’s another famous quote by another famous architect:

Robert Venturi

He said it.
Robert Venturi
Post-modern architect

Here’s one of his most famous residential designs:

vanna venturi house

But back to ME . . .

. . . one day last weekend, I felt I needed the kind of morale boost

that moving my stuff around provides.

I tackled our neglected (in winter) enclosed front porch

+ gave it its warm weather makeover!

IMG_0931(1)

I was definitely rocking some less-is-a-bore attitude.

IMG_0930(1)

Believe it or not, I was all set to sell this piece at auction.

Instead, I filled it with lots of stuff I love!

IMG_0949(1)

IMG_0942(1)

IMG_0940(1)

IMG_0926(1)

IMG_0933(1)

The red quilt is old, + its pattern is called Irish Chain.

The blue one is only old enough to have been sold

at the late, great Marshall Fields, C early 90’s.

Its beautiful design is called Ocean Waves.

IMG_0939(1)

Okay, so that was fun — both the re-arranging + the blogging about my stuff!

As always, thanks for viewing; it means a lot!

 


H O U Z Z

Here’s hoping that you know about HOUZZ

+ go there often to be inspired, as do I.

There are bazillions of photos on just about any topic.

How do you think I found my inspirations

for the exterior of our Dutch colonial?

Search for 'Dutch colonials' on Houzz + voila!

Search for ‘Dutch colonials’ on Houzz + voila!

Houzz not only provides awesome eye candy — it’s also interactive!

Check it out: http://www.houzz.com/discussions

DISCUSSIONS!

People write in with their house-related dilemas,

+ we can respond with suggestions + photo ops!

I KNOW!!??  It’s like our dreams came true!

SO

just yesterday I finally joined the party + responded to this mother’s request:

boy room on houzz

My son’s room

I want to decorate my son’s room.

He is 12 years old and wants to decorate to urban/city style.

Please help me.

* * * * * *

PEOPLE.

My thoughts immediately raced to Restoration Hardware’s website,

which has the most inspirational room galleries, EVER!

IN-cluding these yummy bedrooms for BOYS!

RH boy room with rollnig bed

^^Come ON — how awesome is that rolling bed!?!

RH boy room with RACERH boy room with pipe shelves

^^Totally digging the graphic letters + numbers + industrial-style lighting!

RH boy room with insect artRH boy room with huge M

^^Those metal beds + the huge insect art  — genius!

RH boy room with huge A

I was SO excited to participate + share my love of the Restoration Hardware “with the class”!

I did add a disclaimer that their merch is way too expensive,

but that it’s an excellent inspiration to take to the flea market,

where one can find “the real stuff”  for less $!

rh boy room with AZ

^^I mean, even WE have 2 sets of old, metal lockers

that were purchased for $20-ish each, at the flea market.

* * * * *
But I digress.

Don’t you agree that RH’s cool industrial furniture, lighting + accesories

would be a great fit in an urban/city-inspired boys’ bedroom?

Without having to be 100% literal or — God forbid — a THEME.

RH boy room with Kay lamps

WELL.

Apparently, not everybody was on board.

In fact, one gal was so against my RH suggestion that she disdainfully rejected said-same!

* * * * * * *

Wow, really folks?

Urban/city style is not a wall mural of a city (not to say they aren’t super cool!),

nor is it restoration hardware or old signs.

* * * * * * *

HA!  What!?!

ME-OW!

Gosh, I kind of dislike it when people are snarky + rude + dismissive

+  kill my fun, little online buzz.

 I’ll admit, I was a little tempted to reply in my best 8th grade girl fashion

+ call her a name.

Oh, SNAP!

Thankfully, saner heads prevailed, + I opted to act like a grown up

by making fun of her on my blog!  😉

Have a swell rest of the day, + see you on HOUZZ!


Are 2 Light Fixtures Better than 1?

I love staring at Pinterest in the morning!

Today’s inspirational fun involves dining room light fixtures.

I noticed that people are hanging 2 lights over the table, instead of the usual 1.

dining room light drums

Nobody loves a drum shade more than I do.

Nobody loves navy blue ticking stripe more than I do.

dining room ticking drumsdining room ticking drums

I wonder how a pair of these beauties would look, hanging over our pine farmhouse table!

Kay's house

Our table — the pine is from an old structure in Manchester, Englad.

Blue ticking drum shades are of the modern-meets-granny persuasion, don’t you think?

I like to describe my decor as such.

Speaking of which, here’s a stunning modern/granny/industrial dining room:

dining room light tin

It’s all good, but I think I’m most smitten with that cabinet!

NO, I don’t have it, but I do have a close runner-up . . .

 . . . my 20’s-era postal sorter!

P is for postal sorter

A quarrel ensued when I told G.O. this was going in our house!

I think I paid $75 for this, way back in ’91 when I had my first retail shop . . .

. . .  Heart-in-Hand, in my then-hometown of Oregon, Illinois

(about 2 hours straight west of Chicago).

I stayed up til the wee hours, stenciling that sign!

I stayed up til the wee hours, stenciling that sign!

But I digress.

What I am saying is: that postal sorter is definitely moving with us to the Dutch colonial.

Now all I have to do is decide whether it will be in our living or dining room.

Today my vote would go to the dining room.

Stay tuned!


PLATE RACK LOVE

As I was doing yet another “move-around” in my kitchen the other day, I remembered a black plate rack that had been in my retail store. Sadly, it didn’t look right in my kitchen; I think the space was too small . . .

My black peg rack.

My black plate rack — just not ‘working’ in my kitchen.

. . . but it did remind me of another countertop plate rack that I’d seen in a long-ago Country Living magazine.  Somehow,  I miraculously remembered the name of the kitchen’s designer!  Nancy Fishelson.  Here’s her gorgeous Connecticut kitchen:

Nancy Fishelson

Nancy Fishelson’s kitchen with the countertop plate rack

Nancy Fishelson

SO, Nancy Fishelson is a fan of the ‘move-around’, just like I am.  Here’s the plate rack in another room.

I love everything in this photo!

I love everything in this photo!

I’ve always longed for kitchen cabinets with a built-in plate rack.  So charming!


I am loving how these kitchen islands are rocking the plate rack.  Note to self: do this in next kitchen!

Since I was going down design memory lane, I also thought of Diane Keaton’s fantastic dining room in the movie Something’s Gotta Give.

something's gotta give plate rack

Wall o' blue + white plates.

Wall o’ blue + white plates.


The hanging plate rack seems to be the most eclectic of all . . . you can even rock the modern + industrial version!

I love the chest, the wood countertop + the industrial lamp.  K.M.Y.

I love the chest, the wood countertop + the industrial lamp. K.M.Y.

1/2 of me loves this; the other 1/2 fears it looks goofy.  The red floor rules, though!

1/2 of me loves this; the other 1/2 fears it’s goofy. That red floor + sink skirt are awesome, though!

From the late, great Cottage Living magazine.

From the late, great Cottage Living magazine.


MARRYING MY OLD WITH MY NEW

Marrying My New With My Old

Yesterday I talked about how my decor style has evolved from 70’s Early American to something with new mixed in with the old. Remember? Change is good!

The old stuff in our dining room includes that large bench with the gorgeous, chippy gray paint, the pine farmhouse table + old chairs, yellow ware bowls + those tin quilt stencils displayed above the door.

My quest to go more “what’s happening now” (Flip Wilson) would be the striped Pottery Barn rug + that accent wall stenciled (by us!) in a very current ikat design. Prints + pattern = 2013!

Methinks we need to switch out the plain Jane window sheers (not shown) with something with a fun print. Soon! What about you? Loving prints these days?


DECOR EVOLUTION

DECOR EVOLUTION

Hola! I’m Kay, + this is my blog about all things design + what not (Big Lebowski quote).

As a young homeowner in the seventies, I loved avocado EVERY-thing, eagles EVERY-where + the most adorable white Cape Cod curtains from the dime store (ask your mom!)

Disclaimer: that was a bad start, but things got better!

Today, while I still have a fondness for old stuff (now called ‘vintage’) — my 2013 living room is sporting this Eames recliner knock-off instead of something plaid with box pleats. Always remember this rule for living: CHANGE IS GOOD.

Thanks for reading; it means a lot!


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