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A hub for all things to do with design, furniture painting, photography, style, event planning [and some foodie bits for good measure].  

What I've been [REALLY] busy doing...whole house renovation anyone?


I don't exactly know how it started, but it's been on my mind since I bought my house four years ago.  Being an early 20th century craftsman bungalow, my home has got oodles of charm and character, but not much in the way of space.  I always knew going up and finishing my attic space was part of the plan, since it was a major selling feature of my house with its unusually high ceilings [most attics, you're lucky to even stand upright in them, and my attic has 13+ foot ceilings...not too shabby].  

I was in the running for being part of a major HGTV renovation a few months back, and their plan was in fact to renovate the attic, which would have been amazing.  Unfortunately, we didn't make the cut.  But the idea was now implanted, and the cogs in my head were turning at such a rapid rate, I couldn't help but try and see if I could pull off this project myself.  

The biggest impetus for going big is my home is now becoming a family compound, where my Mom will also live long term, and hopefully other family members will come and stay over the years.  I also like to play imaginary big family [yeah, I'm TOTALLY Ted from How I Met Your Mother]. In the meantime, my brood consists of my two dogs and two cats [I think my only child syndrome is at fault for this]. 

Since I'm [sort of] an interior designer these days, I've been HEAVILY involved with this project.  I actually had a significant hand in the design of the attic renovation, as well as the small addition on the back end of the house [the part of the renovation that is turning out to be what I'm most excited about!] 

Even though I'm not a licensed architect or interior designer, I was able to work very closely with my architect, sending him scale drawings of what I had in mind, and he's now finishing up the final construction plans. Upon approval by the city [fingers crossed], the construction will begin as early as mid January [SO exciting, but slightly terrifying!] so I've been working 'round the clock, making decisions about plumbing and lighting and woodwork and space planning and AHH!  We've had many sleepless nights about this project, but it will dramatically change our lives for the better once completed. 

Check out the preliminary design plans above, though they've changed here and there, because I'm constantly coming up with new ideas and creative ways to make the house more functional and beautiful.  Over the coming months, I can't wait to take you through the entire process of this renovation. Hopefully by April [our predicted completion date], I'll have something my family and I can truly be proud of.

Designing my new office: DIY Tack Board.


Now that I'm seriously getting into the design business, I need a dedicated space to work on projects, and one day [fingers crossed!] meet with clients.  The third bedroom of my house is located right off the front door, and is wide open to the street and our parking pad.  I can't ever legitimately using the space as a bedroom, but it makes the perfect spot for a home office.

I'm far from finished, since I still need to space plan and figure out creative ways to organize samples [fabric, buttons, countertops, and other goodies] as well as paperwork.  One thing I knew I wanted was a simple tack board to pin any important notes or samples, and have it easily accessible to my desk.

Just because I need a simple tack board in no way means it should look simple.  I thought it might be fun to try and create one myself, since even a plain old cork board can be a bit pricey [$30+ and not so attractive].  I don't have photos of the process [I threw it together so quickly, I completely forgot to document how completed it!] but here's a rundown of how to create this yourself!

Fabric Tack Board

Materials:
Wood Frame: $5 [I found mine at a thrift store and it has such great vintage character]
Cardboard: FREE! [this needs to at least the size of the frame, or slightly larger.  I used a box from a mirror I ordered, but you can also find free cardboard boxes at your local liquor store]
Fabric $5 [I found this bold, graphic fabric at a great deal at Lewis & Sheron, and only needed about a half yard
Industrial Stapler $20 [of course you don't need to factor in this cost if you already own one, but I HIGHLY recommend having one of these around- they can be used for a million different projects]
nails [you likely have these around the house, and they're just pennies anyway, so no cost factor necessary here]
Hammer [I imagine you have one of these too!]

Cut 2-3 panels of cardboard to fit just beyond the opening of the frame, about a quarter inch.  This will give you enough room to attach the cardboard to the wood frame at the end.  

Cut the fabric larger than the cardboard, allowing for at least 3 inches excess on each side.

Lay your cardboard panels and fabric on top of additional cardboard or on a work surface that can take a beating [sometimes staples will make their way too far through the layers of cardboard, and could puncture your work surface, so be careful!]

Start with one corner and pull fabric taught and staple as close to the edge of the cardboard [this will ensure that if any staples punch through, this won't be visible once the board is attached to the frame]

You don't need to overdo it on the staples, maybe just one every 3 or 4 inches until you've made your way around the entire board. 

Once the board is completely covered, all that's left is to lay the board on top of the back side of the frame, and nail each corner [and a couple additional nails depending on the size of your board- for mine I used 8 nails total]

And there you have it, a beautiful, functional backboard that's customized to your exact design aesthetic! This took me only 30 minutes, and has already made such a difference in my office.



Fabric Hunting on a budget: $9.99 or less.

I recently purchased my first sewing machine [we had one as a kid, but sewing machines have really come a long way!] and my first upholstery stapler [my now preferred weapon of choice].  I'm on the hunt for fabrics to start some new projects.  My favorite stomping grounds are Forsyth Fabrics and Lewis & Sheron Fabrics, both of which are located in the Westside of Atlanta, a neighborhood jam packed with everything a designer needs.  

Since I'm pretty green when it comes to sewing, I wanted to pick up some fabrics on the affordable side [so if I botch them up, I'm not throwing hundreds of dollars into the scrap pile].  This time I headed to Lewis & Sheron, and told myself I would only purchase fabrics under $10.  The projects I was shopping for were: a chair seat, bulletin board, and curtains. It's amazing how fabrics and colors can really inspire an entire room, even when on a budget! 

All four of these fabrics are $9.99/yard and coordinate so well together. Although I love using color, I'm starting to lean towards using more neutrals, and layering in interesting patterns is a great way to add interest to a neutral palette.  
I LOVE all things chevron [although too much can make me a little dizzy] and I decided to pick up a yard of the bright pink pattern, since I thought it would coordinate well with my new multi colored chevron headboard [pictures to come soon!]
I don't normally love floral fabrics, but when they're large and graphic like this, you can't go wrong.  The grape purple really resonated with me [my early childhood bedroom was COVERED in purple] so I picked up a yard and decided to go with this as my bulletin board fabric.
The Greek key is a classic pattern, while also bringing a modern flair with its geometric lines.  It was a little busy for the projects I was working on, but I could definitely see using the dark grey or linen color in some upcoming projects.

This fabric with its tiny leaf design has a really delicate quality that I like.  I could see using this as an alternative to the traditional ticking stripe.  I almost considered this for curtains, but I was worried since the fabric was a bit stiff, and might not drape well alongside my windows.  


My Living Room was selected for a color contest!


I'm excited to share here that my living room was selected for a contest on Apartment Therapy: Room for Color 2012!! I only found out late last night, and already I'm in third place in my category!  I shared this with my friends + family, but I would love to get the blog world involved too!

Check it out my room here!

If you already have an Apartment Therapy account, then voting is super simple, just click the 'favorite' button towards the bottom of my room's page [see photo below].  If you don't have an account, I know it can be a hassle to sign up, but I would be forever grateful and send you good thoughts [and cookies if you're convenient enough!].  All you need to do is click where it says 'Need an account? Sign up for free in minutes' [see below] and follow the directions.

I feel so lucky that I was picked right around the time I decide to really forge into the interior design world, and I would truly appreciate your support!  Wish me luck!