Saturday, July 31, 2010

Her Personal Space . . . . at Home with Anna (La Boheme)

Mi casa es su casa takes on special meaning for Anna at La Boheme whose friend has given her temporary loan of a favorite place -- at his home in northern California.

"I'm staying with a friend of mine for couple of months so finding that special space that says "me" was interesting," she explains. "However, my friend loves his home and did amazing job with his front yard. It is the place where sitting with a good book is truly relaxing and uplifting time in my day," she says.

Meet Anna:

Anna says the friend she got to take her picture kept urging to "smile" . . . "smile, smile!" In the end, Anna says she burst out laughing. " It is a very honest picture about my inability to sit still and look serious!"

"Loving Frank" -- about F.L. Wright -- was a great story to read here while watching beautiful flowers and greenery everywhere. I love being surrounded by lovely objects no matter where I am, so I added a hand-painted bowl that I brought back from Czech Republic on the porch too.  It reminds me not only home but also cheers everyone up. Filled with freshly picked fruit from the backyard it cannot say summer any more."

What a great friend you have, Anna! Tell him thank you for allowing us to visit this beautiful front yard and relaxing porch below!

Thank you, too, Anna for both participating and sharing! If you have a moment, check out her lovely blog, La Boheme; it's filled with beautiful fashion and design images. 

Tomorrow -- on Sunday -- I will show Kelley at Polished Pebble's favorite spot -- at home. Her Personal Space is a weekend series sharing images of where our blog friends like to go to read a book, be inspired, and rest and relax. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Great New Idea for Guest Rooms!

The guest rooms at Joan and Jerry's Blackbird Farm, located in a small Texas town nestled somewhere between Houston and Austin, reveal such unique character that I just had to show you how this twosome thought outside the box when deciding how they'd like to accommodate overnighters. Cozy, intimate and chock full of folk art charm, these cute cabins are situated only steps from the "big house (er, barn)," where Jerry and Joan lay their heads at night:
I bet Joan and Jerry's friends find it difficult to leave such pampered casitas.... The footbridge is over what Joan calls "Birthday Pond," since it is manmade -- and a 2008 birthday gift from Jerry.
The orange fence to the right indicates the boundaries of their current construction project: "We are in the process of building a new structure that we are calling Herring Hall.
It will have a 1,000 sq ft private party dinning room that measures 24 foot by 42 foot, a very large office that we will share, a catering kitchen with commercial appliances, a wine storage closet, a gun closet, a climate controlled storage area and two powder rooms, one will be ADA equipped."

Jerry and Joan are both professional photographers/artists who often hold gallery openings and host fundraising events -- in addition to running Dakota Framing & Photography. So, as they previously did in Houston, they've constructed a multi-purpose compound, if you will, that satisfies their work needs, home life and lively entertainment gatherings. Meet Jerry and Joan:
Jerry and Joan

Joan says they began a few years ago looking for a country locale. Their primary stipulation was to be in close range to Houston, since they still maintain business there.

"On our first day of looking, we saw six properties on a Saturday and this location was the final piece we looked at that day.The next day we made an offer. And the following week our offer was accepted, which was pretty amazing since six siblings had to agree. We loved the 38 acres of land and were in a hurry to build our second home in the country.  It is very secluded, and our neighbors on each side are herds of cattle.

"We worked on a large home design for about six months and then decided to build a guest house first and stay in that while we built. I went on line and searched for barn builders. . . . We decide to go with the second guy we talked to, after visiting two of his buildings in other counties and talking with the owners," says Joan.

In addition to their main home, which is a pole barn (the living space measures 36 feet by 48 feet and is one open space; they live on the second floor and have a three-car garage and horse stall below), they also have an art studio and the two guest cabins. Each cabin measures 16' x 20' each, has a wet bar, mini fridge and, of course, a bath. Here's a look in the Black and White Cabin:

The little chair was made by friends Arne and MaryAnne.

The second "Folk Art" cabin is named for their friends, Wisconsin artist Arne Nyen and Mary Anne Wise. And here's a look inside:

And the front porches add further comfort and pleasure at this 5-star abode for friends who visit:

The barn, the venue of Joan and Jerry's art openings and events:

"We designed everything ourselves," says Joan. "Our goal was to keep things simple, add our style and fit into the country. We now have 15 longhorns, two donkeys and 24 chickens that have just began to lay eggs. Our friends visit often; they settle in and slow down and they never want to leave. We love country living, and I see us being here a long time."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Her Personal Space . . . . at Home with Allison (AtticMag)

Well, someone's gotta do it!  I'm talking about shopping. And that's exactly what Allison at AtticMag does for the online design magazine. She's the shopping editor. Allison looks for the best -- in terms of furnishings and accessories -- and then she tells us about her findings. A great gig if you can get it, right?!  She is today's participant in my regular weekend series titled "Her Personal Space," which features some friends in their favorite spots -- at home. 
If you don't know Allison, you will now . . . Here she is at home in Alabama with two of her three dogs:

"We built a new home on a lake almost five years ago, so there are plenty
of 'me' spaces indoors and outside.  When I need to relax, I'll take our
dogs, Dubya, Coco and Benji (a lab, not shown) and walk around our
property.  We always run across some form of wildlife, so it keeps our
walks interesting.  The bentwood rockers on the front veranda are a cool
place to sit even during hot Alabama summers."

"A large perennial bed along the upper drive is a nice early morning spot.
I love to hear the birds and ducks as they are waking up, while I am
tending to the plants."

"I enjoy the great room fireplace area more often during winter months. 
Whether for reading or visiting with a friend, it's a pleasant area."

 " This lower level bedroom briefly belonged to our youngest of three
children before she moved into her own home.  I love reading, daydreaming
or napping on the sofa which offers a 180 degree view of the lake. Our two
cats, Boo and Angel, nap here daily. The room, lake and mountain ridge
views make this to me the most comforting spot in our home."

Thank you, Allison

Scroll down to the next post to see Penny (at Comforts of Home/Lavender Hills Studio)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Her Personal Space . . . . at Home with Penny (The Comforts of Home and Lavender Hills Studio)

The name of her "art" blog infuses such relaxing imagery for me that I knew immediately, by the title alone, it had to be a very special place. And, lucky for us all, Penny at Lavender Hills Studio invites us into her refuge. (She also pens another delightful -- and colorful -- blog called The Comforts of Home, which today shared a great tip on how we all can quickly turn our cucumbers into crunchy and tasty pickles!)

Meet Penny. She's standing in her studio located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina:

"I am a mosaic artist and my personal space is my studio.  My studio is in a room over our garage.  I can't help but smile when I walk into this room.  I love the black and white harlequin floor we installed.  I love being able to see ALL of the vintage dishes I use in my mosaics, so I keep them displayed on shelves around the room."


"I am most relaxed when I am creating.  I can spend hours in here; in fact, I spend more time in my studio than I do in any other room of my house."

She also wanted to share her second favorite personal space. (yeah!) Can you guess where (a place where she chose not to be pictured (smile)?

What marvelous light!

"I spend most evenings in my master bath, she says.  "It has a spa like feel to it.  I love lighting scented candles, putting on soft music, filling the tub with warm water, and adding lavender bath salts so I can soak away all of the stress of the world.  It is where I pamper myself."

If you visit her studio -- and I hope you do -- check out that fabulous rooster!!!

Thank you, Penny, for participating in Her Personal Space . . . where we're getting to know some of our favorite bloggers in a different light. I keep asking participants in my weekend series where they go to get away from it all. To read a book. To escape the hustle-bustle of family and/or work.

Tomorrow, please come again and meet Allison at AtticMag.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Master Bath Redo -- Giving a Glam Look to a Generic Space

Have you ever walked into a space and wanted to tear it all out and start over? Assuming you've been in those shoes, you know that frustrating and even daunting feeling (especially when you begin to ring up, mentally speaking, the costs involved). Well, I know one couple who felt the urge to gut their master bath; however, they took a step back and considered what they did like about the space. In the end -- by keeping the space intact and focusing on resurfacing the countertops, bath surround and implementing a few other ideas -- they say their decisions saved them some big bucks. They do share some tips, if you're interested and can relate to their project.

First, here's a the look they wanted and got:

I don't have a photo of this . . . but in the mirror's reflection, you can perhaps tell there's a sitting area or shelf under the window. They replaced the wood surface there with stone.  

I hope I didn't enlarge this AFTER photo too much so that it looses detail.  You'll notice there are "two baths" in this one space. Each person can claim one or the other side; something they liked. And the shower offers two entries -- one from each person's side. Nice, huh? It's a rather interesting and useful configuration, don't you think? (You feel like you have your own space but yet you're sharing the basics.)

Imagine this space above as being all white and rather "lifeless," to use a word offered by the owners. It was all tile. "No personality," they said. Its shiny aluminum gold framed shower, the gold fixtures and small wall mirrors above the vanity certainly did nothing to elevate the look for them either. They wanted a warmer and more sophisticated feel.

They did like the bathroom's layout, the two entries into the shower, the hexagonal coffered ceiling. They also decided to keep the sinks, the Jacuzzi tub and cabinets. They did decide to do the following:

1. Replaced the sink fixtures. 

2. Swapped out cabinet pulls and lights for newer, updated selections.

3. Enlarged the frameless wall mirrors to cover most of the vanity walls.

4. Raised the shower glass -- as well as the shower head -- to higher elevations, which also helped, visually, to add height to the room.

5. Replaced shower lights with halogen pin lights to help illuminate the new onyx mosaic tiles (since the owners viewed the tiles as the focal point of the bath).

6. Installed recessed lighting and dimmers.

7. Sandblasted the newly added Cream of Marfil around the shower to convey a more "antique effect."

8. Painted the ceiling a shade lighter than the walls to help convey added height.

9. Removed the tile and placed Golden Beach granite on the countertops.

10. Added both the granite and tile to the tub to create to unify and upgrade the look.

A closer look at one of the two vanities. The owners elected to keep the original sinks and cabinets to save some money. The other vanity is on the other side of the room, separated by the bath and shower.

This couple spent $13,000 on this remodel, and they did employ a contractor who shared more cost saving tips for those who want to spend even less:

1. Rather than buy a large slab of granite, buy tiles. You still can get the marble or granite look -- in tiles -- and save money doing so.

2. To get a high-end look, buy three-piece hardware rather than the compact one-piece faucet/handle units.

3. Simply paint your cabinets and add molding for a more custom look.

4. Replace hardware and lights.

5. Use ceramic tiles on the floor instead of stone.

6. Rather than install seamless glass in your shower, look for ones with minimal metal.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Her Personal Space . . . . at Home with Lauren (Pure Style Home)

I don't know how this perky 20-something woman -- living in northern Virginia -- does all that she does!  She runs an interior design studio (which includes conducting online consultations), mothers a toddler and baby, maintains a very popular blog, manages to squeeze in the time and patience to have her own home photographed by "Better Homes & Garden" (the article complete with photos comes out this December), volunteers to help redo living spaces for some deserving women in her community, continuously works with her husband on home-based projects . . . . A lot goes on in this household, don't you agree? And, I'm sure it all just represents the tip of the iceberg.

Many of you already know her. And if you don't, you will benefit from it. I'm a big fan of her youthful yet sophisticated style. Here she is . . . Lauren at Pure Style Home:
This is her coveted spot. In bed. Relaxing. Reading a good book -- or, I'm sure, leafing through a stack of design magazines. It's the best place she says she can go to reap some "me" time.

Thank you, Lauren, for inviting us into your bedroom. (We'll quietly leave now to give you your peace and quiet....)

Lauren and Michelle from Zuniga Interiors (see her space in the previous post below) both agreed to participate in my weekend pictorial series showing where they go to escape "the noise" and, in some cases, find inspiration.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Her Personal Space . . . . at Home with Michelle (Zuniga Interiors)

Michelle Zuniga, author of the blog called Zuniga Interiors, entered a Mood Board contest (see her entry) hosted by both Love Where You Live and The Green Plum last year. That's when I just fell in love with Michelle's design aesthetics. So,now, I'm thrilled she's participating in "Her Personal Space," a weekend series where we get to visit favorite home retreats of some blogger friends.

Meet Michelle. She lives in southern California, has produced home feature stories for both "Coastal Living Magazine" and "Home Companion Magazine," and runs an interior design studio: 
"Relaxation for me is found in my home studio.  I find myself most relaxed when I'm surrounded by my favourite things- I always fill this space with fresh cut flowers -- peonies and roses, beautiful fabrics, enticing design elements; it's where I love to be." 

"While relaxing, I love to enjoy a favorite drink -- European Roast coffee brewed with ground cardamom spice. This aromatic spice is simply heavenly to the senses and the palate!  I first tried it when friends invited my husband and me to dinner. They are from Israel and cooked the most fabulous meal and at the end of it, we enjoyed coffee with cardamom ... I was hooked!"

Surrounded by Moroccan and Eastern details-- vintage tea trays, Moroccan tables and a custom iron day bed filled with pillows made from Indian saris.(It's the perfect spot to curl up and read design magazines or a  good book!)  My space is also filled with the scent of votivo candles (Moroccan Fig is a favorite!) and votives in painted tea glasses.


Thank you Michelle!

Tomorrow, come by and see/meet Lauren at Pure Style Home in her cozy spot -- at home.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Turning A Trip Souvenir Into Something Fabulous -- and Memorable!

I'll show you mine if you show me yours. 

Let me explain my thinking . . . 
Most of us go on a trip from time to time, right?  To a foreign country?  To grandma's house?  Down the street?  What compels you to bring "it" back home?

"It" might be something kitschy or something rather cool. I'm suggesting we share what we've done with our trip souvenirs, or how we've incorporated them into our home decor!  Are you game?  I'm about to share one of mine, but I really-really hope you send me photos of yours as well. I'd love to do a creative post crammed with fun ideas -- with your help, of course. (Please visit my profile to get my email; help prevent spammers from finding me. (smile)

Are you one of those who picks up a shell from all the beaches you visit? Or do you always buy a tee-shirt? Maybe you walk away with a memorable postcard or ????? Come on . . . tell me.  Better yet, share what you did with it. Did your souvenir inspire something fun, serious, practical?  Here's one of my pick ups from a past trip:

If you haven't already guessed, this is hand-woven fabric I bought many years ago when visiting Antigua, Guatemala. Gosh, what did I spend? Maybe $10, at best, for a couple of yards?!

When I got home, with fabric in hand, I began to wonder what to do with this bright soft reminder of my trip. For starters, it was about 36 inches wide. And it matched nothing in my home. (Sometimes I become so engaged with a country and its people, I want to mimic their style ... but, alas, I get home and often end up tucking my "sounvenir" into a drawer. This time, I wanted to do something more than admire and then forget. That's when this chair, holding nothing but sentiment, entered the scene:

I snagged this Morris chair (an early version of today's recliner) 28 years ago (I remember because I was pregnant with my baby girl). My husband and I found it at a community antique event. I think I forked over about $40 to $50 for it. 

So . . . I had this Arts & Craft chair (my one and only, as this particular design movement never really took off in my own home) and a narrow piece of material. The chair didn't have cushions when we bought it. Although, at some point, I did have some upholstered ones made to fit the chair. Eventually, I decided to replace the old cushions, as you'll see below. I still love both my "memory" pieces (the chair and the fabric). Here's the married look:

Voila. The Morris chair, which you typically see in leather, in Guatemalan fabric.

Tomorrow afternoon, please visit again when we take a peek into where Michelle at Zuniga Interiors retreats for inspiration and some calm. On Sunday, we'll get a glimpse of Lauren at Pure Style Home's relaxing place -- at home. Both are part of an ongoing weekend series I call Her Personal Space

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Her Personal Space . . . . at Home with Rhoda (Southern Hospitality)

This talented and gracious lady describes herself as a true-blue "GRIT." Translation: Girl Raised in the South. If you've been blogging for a while or regularly read a variety of decorating posts, you've probably already "met" Rhoda at Southern Hospitality

Rhoda definitely knows how to pull together a room without breaking the bank! And who doesn't love that concept, and the tips she offers on her blog?!  She says she'd rather be "thrifting" or snooping around someone else's junk (looking for that rare jewel or treasure) than doing almost anything else (except for cooking and gardening perhaps).

Here she is . . . at home in Alabama . . . enjoying the back porch she recently decorated just in time for summer:
Rhoda taking a reading break at her favorite at-home spot.

Since we're invited, let's take a look around:

A refreshing oasis, don't you think?

Thank you, Rhoda, for giving us a little peek into your backyard -- your refuge. Rhoda is part of my weekend pictorial series revealing where some of us escape for a little "alone time."  Yesterday, Catherine at The Shiny Pebble was featured. Scroll down to the next post to visit her favored at-home space.

Please stop by next weekend for another visit to two fellow bloggers' personal spaces. 

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