Australian Inspiration

Hello! Today I thought I’d share of few of my favorite Australian design shops. All are colorful and fun and hugely inspiring. Check them out – let me know if you see anything that inspires you!

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I’m in love with these dip-dyed stools from Jumbled!

Jumbledonline.com

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Lovely patterned mugs from Christopher Vine Design.

cvd.com.au

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The Family Love Tree has wonderful happy furniture like this chair!

thefamilylovetree.com.au

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Happy pendant lights from Kiitos.

kiitos.com.au

 

 

Ladder Lighting

I love vintage wooden ladders as decor – they always manage to look great in any style of home – from country to contemporary. They can hang or lean on a wall as art, be used as a bookshelf, a place to hang quilts or towels or Christmas stockings, or even as lighting, like this:

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This ladder is suspended from the ceiling, wrapped with globe lights and decorated with vintage chandelier crystals and branches. There are a million variations on this theme – and a ton of places where lighting like this would look amazing – hanging over a long dining table, a headboard, a kitchen island, or a long hallway.

 

Spotted: Rust and Feathers, Leesburg, VA

Bankers Box Bold

Found these today at the Container Store – I am actually excited about organizing my tax documents now!

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Or maybe I will use them to organize pictures…

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Or the kids’ artwork…

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What would you use them for? At only $3.99 each, a lot of fun could be had with these!

Orange You Glad It’s Almost Spring?

Even before we got 13 inches of snow last week, I was craving the bright colors of springtime. I actually love winter, but I was really missing color. I had a few spare minutes, so I ducked into Crate and Barrel in search of some color to pep me up.

Now I’m loving the idea of a colorful dinner party:

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Or a couch overflowing with orange throw pillows:

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A little color goes a long way to brighten things up!

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Orange you ready for Spring? I am!

 

Jett is the New Black

It’s been a snowy week here on the East Coast and I was craving a little color, so I stopped into Crate and Barrel with orange on my mind. But I’ll have to share that tomorrow, because the thing I saw and can’t forget about is this:

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Satin black silverware! I am in love! The pattern is called Jett. While the design is simple, the finish is amazing. Each piece also has a nice heft, which is so important to me. When we registered for silverware when we got married, we went to Crate and Barrel, picked up every fork on the silverware display and chose the pattern with the heaviest one. In the 14 years since, I have never once regretted our choice or craved something new. Until now.

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Jett vs. Stainless. I’m not sure I’ll ever look at my forks the same way again.

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The Kids Lounge

The Kids Lounge. We don’t ever call it the Playroom. The Playroom was the space that made me crazya room filled to the brim with toys that were always all over the floor even though no one ever seemed to be playing with them. I felt like I spent every waking moment cleaning it up and still it always looked cluttered. When my youngest went to kindergarten, I quickly set to work erasing the Playroom. I got rid of a ton of stuff (the kids never even noticed!) and relocated the few remaining things to their bedrooms and one designated cabinet for games and art supplies. Then I set about making them a space they could use that wouldn’t make me nuts. I didn’t want to spend a fortune, as I knew full well that it was the Kids Lounge and things were likely to be used and abused and that someone was probably going to be eating yogurt on the sofa when I wasn’t looking.

I’ve already shown the workspace side of the room here. This side is for TV watching, reading, and some occasional hijinks involving the ottoman on wheels.

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All the furniture had a life elsewhere before it ended up here – the Crate and Barrel couch and chair were a lucky hand-me-down from my mom. They are about 15 years old but in great shape. (A steam clean once in a while does wonders.) I laughed this week when I opened the Design Within Reach Catalog and saw almost the exact same design:

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The leather ottoman on wheels was part of a living room configuration from a previous house and makes a great kid-friendly coffee table – free of corners and hard edges. If Ottoman Gymnastics ever becomes an Olympic sport, my kids are sure to win gold medals.

Across the room is a cabinet that we originally purchased in 2000 as a dining room sideboard to hold our dishes. At the time we lived in an adorable house in Denver that was so small there was actually no room in the kitchen for dishes! It now holds TV components and DVDs. Across the room a matching tall cabinet holds games and art supplies. The TV is a Dell, from the days when Dell actually made TVs.

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I decided on graphic black and white accents to pull the couch and ottoman and silver cabinets and pale blue walls together and connect it to all to the black cabinetry in the adjoining dining room.

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I looked at tons of rugs and discovered that Overstock.com is a great source for wool rugs at really good prices. This 8×10 rug and a nice pad to go underneath totaled $311 with free shipping! It does a wonderful job of defining the space and making a statement all at the same time.

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The pillows are an Etsy find – covers made to order in the fabrics of my choice for $15 each. And washable to boot!

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The mirrored wall art has hung in several different rooms over the years – it fits nicely in the space between the windows.

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The orange clock we purchased on a whim at CB2 a few years ago but it sat in the box for a  long time until we figured out what to do with it. It rotates – one side says GO and the other says IDLE. I have to admit neither side ever displays the correct time. I love it, but I tend to forget it’s a clock.

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The side table is actually a box that my Eames Elephant came in. It was so great looking and so sturdy that no one wanted to get rid of it. It became a side table and also a place to stash stuff.

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The kids love their space and now finally I do too!

Sources (not mentioned above):

Ottoman: Room and Board

Remote Control Knit Basket: Container Store

Mirrored Wall Art: West Elm

Elephant Plate: Thomas Paul, Burkedecor.com

Throw Pillows: Etsy, Castaway Cove Decor

Blanket: IKEA

Wall Color: A Breath of Fresh Air, Benjamin Moore

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine Victoriana

Valentine’s Day is a big deal in my house. But not because of romance – it’s actually my youngest daughter’s birthday! These large and gorgeous Victorian-style glass dishes caught my eye because they would make great Valentine’s Day decor (or gifts!) that are a little bit different from the norm.

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Spotted at: Red Orchard, Bethesda, MD.

 

Faucet Fabulous

I realized the other day that I had promised to share all the fun little details from our kitchen remodel but I have been remiss in doing so. My apologies!

Today let me share my touch faucet – the Brizo Vuelo in Stainless Steel finish. I chose this faucet because it met all my requirements – plus it looks like a swan! I love swans – even though I hear that they are mean birds.

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I wanted a faucet with a pull-out spray head that pulls down, not out. Sprays that pull down make it much easier to rinse out the sink than those that pull out. It was important to me that the handle be easy to operate – our previous faucet was very confusing to people who were not used to it – the handle mechanism moved in odd directions. This one is much more simple and straightforward.

I also wanted the matching soap pump to feel substantial. I really liked the button on top of this one – much easier to use than the pumps where you have to push the whole top down to get the soap out. This is one of the reasons I highly recommend shopping for faucets at a showroom and not just online. I had done a ton of online research, but as soon as I walked into a showroom, the correct faucet choice was obvious.

When I initially went faucet shopping, it was not my intention to look at touch faucets – mostly because I didn’t have any experience with them. Once I chose this design, my husband and I consulted with our plumber and decided that the upgrade to the touch faucet feature would be worth it. (This design comes with or without.) Why remodel if you’re not going to add some fun new technology?

The touch feature is not only fun (the kids love to demonstrate it for guests!), but useful too. It’s great to quickly and easily turn the water on and off when washing dishes or prepping food just by touching the arc of the faucet or the handle – you can even use your arm or the back of your hand instead of your fingers if you’ve just been touching raw meat or kneading dough or something like that. The touch component is powered by a battery pack which is mounted inside the cabinet below. I was worried that it would run through batteries quickly, but it’s been in use over 4 months and we have not needed to change them yet.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to a regular faucet now that I’m used to it!

Purchased From: Ferguson (http://shop.ferguson.com/)

 

Funday Monday

It’s a grey day with nonstop pouring rain here, and I’m craving a little color and fun. Here are a few whimsical, colorful things I’ve spotted recently that would sure cheer things up today!

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Paper Lamp (above) and Giraffe Pillows (below), Victoria and Albert Gift Shop, London

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Bright yellow throw blanket, Skandium, London.

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Vintage polka dot mixing bowl, ReFind, Vienna, Virginia.

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Bright red barstools, Rust and Feathers, Leesburg, Virginia.

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Super colorful Dash and Albert Rugs, The Nest Egg, Fairfax, Virginia.

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The Union Jack in pink! Dwell, London.

And if all else fails to cheer you up on a rainy day…

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Pillow, Red Orchard. Bethesda, Maryland.