Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My New Favorite Thing: Ceramic Accent Table/Garden Stool

I'm starting a new feature where I simply list some of my favorite finds as I'm out and about, so I wanted to start with something that is so simple yet functional and sophisticated:
the ceramic accent table/garden stool. 
Many of you might have seen these already as they are beginning to pop up in Target and other department stores. I first found them when I was researching tables for my HGTV redesign in LA.
I LOVE them!

They come in many colors and styles, but most of them that you will find are around the same height which is around 18-20 inches. They are perfect beside or between a chair(s) as a place to lay a book or remote,
look beautiful when grouped in pairs in your bathroom, sunroom, living room, etc., and here's the best part: you can even use them on your patio or porch (which was their intended design purpose).

Here some of my favorites:

This is from the Jeff Lewis Collection (yep the guy from Bravo's "Flipping Out") and is on clearance at for only $49!

                                           From West Elm

I apologize for the quality of this image, but this is an actual Chinese antique garden stool on Neiman Marcus' site that is 120-150 years old and is selling for $760! Whew!

Ok, now below is one that I found while designing a room and it was from Burlington Coat Factory for only $48! Hard to tell the difference!!

Here is the stool in the house. The owner decided to add
some decorative twigs to the inserts in the top.

                                $29 from

                        Beautiful chrome version for a modern edge:

So you get the idea. Pick up one of these versatile stools/accent tables
and I promise you that you will find a dozen places where you can use it!
Until next time...

Friday, April 16, 2010


Wallpaper: the word alone can strike fear into the hearts of do-it-yourselfers. The thought of choosing the pattern, applying it to the wall, and after all of that work, what if you’re not happy with it? The fear of it all overtakes us, so we just decide to paint (yawn). I am here to ease any wallpaper woes that you might have and take the fear out of adding wallpaper to your decorating. I have always been a fan of wallpaper, even when it wasn’t the “cool” thing to do. I just love how the application of it can instantly change the feel of a room. Wallpaper can take a room from ho-hum to fabulous in minutes (or days depending on your speed of hanging it)

Wallpaper: the word alone can strike fear into the hearts of do-it-yourselfers.

Here are some of my ideas to ease into the world of wallpaper:

• FOCAL WALL: I know many of you are familiar with the concept of painting a wall in your room as the focal wall. The rest of the space might be a nondescript neutral, but you allow yourself to walk on the wildside, well tiptoe there anyway, with an experiment of vivid color on one wall. Let’s apply that same idea to a wallpaper focal wall. Choose a paper that you love, maybe that super bold pattern that you are too squeamish to apply to the entire room, and simply apply it to the wall behind your bed, sofa, dining room sideboard, anywhere! Choose the wall, choose a coordinating paper, and go for it!


 Wallpaper can take a room from ho-hum to fabulous in minutes

• PAINTABLE PAPER: Texture is a component that all rooms need in some form or fashion, so what about textured walls? There are lots of paintable textured (or sometimes called "embossed") wallpapers on the market that you can paint to any color, shade or patina, over and over again-just like your typical walls. The papers also come in tons of patterns to match any d├ęcor.  (ANAGLYPTA AND LINCRUSTA are two classic textured papers that you might have heard of). A nice feature of textured wallpaper is that it hides imperfections in your wall if the wall is a little old or bumpy. I have used textured paper in older homes over rough plaster and also over paneling. So don’t tear out your old paneled walls, just apply paper and go!  Another favorite of mine is to choose a pattern reminiscent of a tin ceiling and add it to your ceiling and then paint with a metallic paint for a very realistic look.  Textured and paintable wallpapers are a great way to ease into wallpaper, but still have control over the paper if it becomes “too much.”

So don’t tear out your old paneled walls, just apply paper and go!


• WALLPAPER OBJECTS: To really walk slowly into wallpaper, think about objects and accessories onto which you can apply the patterned paper. Some things to paper include: lampshades, serving trays, pencil holders, simple decorative boxes and more! This list can go on and on…

Other fun applications:
*Buy standard canvas frames and apply a great wallpaper to the frames and hang on the wall as Instant Artwork!

*Insert a wallpaper clipping into a glass picture frame and hang

*Cut a piece of wallpaper the exact size of the top of a chest or table and lay glass over the top for an instant update to a tired table

*Wallpaper your light and outlet switch plates

Make sure that you correctly prepare the walls by cleaning, filling holes, painting bare walls, etc.

On the application side of things: If you are totally afraid of hanging the paper yourself, hire someone. However, once you get started, it is relatively easy to do. Don’t choose a intricate pattern that you have to match closely for your first time hanging-this can be difficult to master. Also, make sure that you correctly prepare the walls by cleaning, filling holes, painting bare walls, etc.

So get thee to a wallpaper store and apply!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bathroom Before and After

As promised, here is the before and after of my own bathroom renovation. As you can see, it was an old outdated and worn out guest bathroom. Not the place that your guests would enjoy using. There was old vinyl flooring that I scraped up (oddly secure for it's age) a huge 1970s vanity and equally huge and old 3 door medicine cabinet. The good parts were: the tile was a classic white with a gold accent border (thank God because the master bath had baby blue tile) and the tub and tile surround were still in great condition.
Okay, well, that sums up the good parts...
Now onto the AFTER:
*I obviously kept the same wall tile, but matched it up with a gold damask style wallpaper that I had leftover from a project in my very first house 10 years ago (see??? Keep the stuff that you like to save some moola later on)
*I added a neutral colored marble tile floor (bought on clearance and used in my kitchen too)
*Refinished and converted an old dresser that my mother had given me, into a vanity by removing the drawers and just installing the drawer fronts to allow for plumbing, adding the white vessel sink to tie in the classic white tile, and splurging on a really nice and somewhat pricey faucet. This vanity become the focal point of the room and while functional, is also a beautiful piece of furniture that could have easily been discarded in it's prior condition.
*Instead of changing the window to a frosted bathroom window (I have never cared too much for those), I replaced the window and simply applied a look-a-like stained glass pattern onto it. Instant beauty and privacy (there is also a bamboo shade in case someone feels that they want more) These applications are at your local Lowes or Home Depot and can be installed in minutes and look remarkably realistic.
*Added simple accessories and new shower curtain.

For a quick video of the bathroom, you can see it in my HGTV audition video at around 1:18

And there you have it! Following my philosophy of making your guest bath a stand-out feature in your home, I turned a 1970s ugly duckling into a classic and traditional bathroom. Yes, the faucet was much more than I normally would spend, but I saved on using wallpaper that I already had and having a dresser given to me, so it all worked out. Continue to think outside the box and repurpose and reuse things for a fresh new look: That's beautiful, affordable, design.....