Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Brotherly Love

I thought I would share a little project I did recently as a surprise for my brother. Matty is the youngest of the four Baker children, and the last one to graduate from college. Upon graduation, his plan was to live here at our parents house. Coming home with a very impressive two degrees and a minor (that's right - my boy's wicked smaht) it was clear that he was no longer the little one, and that he had officially become an adult, much to his dismay. His bedroom, however, was still stuck somewhere back in his middle school days. Luckily, the (super cool at the time) robot wallpaper of his childhood had been taken down, but the room was still covered in messy magazine clippings, sports memorabilia, and absolute junk. (I don't mean to throw you under the bus here, kid, but you know it was bad...) Now, being the youngest, Matty sort of got the shaft when we moved into this house. His "bedroom" is actually a ten foot by ten foot portion of another room that was split in half, with no closet to speak of and a tiny sliver of a window. I know he will kill me for doing this, but let's just take a peek at this before photo (in his defense, this is actually more of a 'halfway through cleaning it out' picture - it wasn't quite this messy to start with, but it was pretty close)

And all the stuff that was under the bed....probably there since we moved in....16 years ago?

Pretty dismal, no? So, being the awesome big sister that I am (right, buddy?) I thought that as a graduation gift to little number 4 (and a fun design project for myself), I would redo the room to make it feel a little more adult and a little less pre-pubescent. Matty just so happens to be one of the coolest brothers ever; he is always putting others before himself, helping around the house, and has assisted with enough apartment/dorm/home moves to earn him the nickname 'Llama'. So I wanted him to be able to come home from college and move into a brand new, clean space without having to worry about figuring out where to put everything or having to fix everything up.

The major issue with the room was figuring out where to put all of his stuff. Matty has a pretty impressive DVD and book collection, so storage was key. Although I would have loved to have gotten all new furniture, plenty of what he had was in fine shape, so I worked around those pieces. One amazing trip to Ikea later, the bulk of my shopping was done. I had to keep the dark blue carpeting, so I thought I would go with a neutral color on the walls, keeping it light so the room wouldn't feel as heavy as it previously had. While I like the color I chose (Behr's Castle Stone), it wasn't exactly what I had wanted for this space (it's a bit too yellow). But it did the job, and Matty has no idea the difference, so whatev. Just painting the room made such a huge difference - it went from tiny and dark to light and bright in just a couple coats. Even though there is a ton of furniture squished into this tiny room, there is still plenty more space to move around now that everything is organized.

The after pictures!

And the awesome reaction face! I think he likes it!

Friday, June 26, 2009

White Hot

It is absolutely sweltering in my house right now. Despite the temperatures having cooled since the sun went down, my bedroom has somehow retained all of the heat from the day, and is now stuffy and disgusting. All of this just serves to deepen my obsession with crisp, cool, white bedrooms. I love how these rooms just feel clean and bright, and when accented with vibrant colors in the bedding and art the space becomes more relaxed and happy.

(Um, that lucite bed in the last picture?! Gaah)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I am determined to have a good and productive day. Starting with a great song/video.

Death Cab for Cutie - Little Bribes from Ross Ching on Vimeo.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mystic Street

One of my favorite parts about designing has always been the artistic aspect of it. I've never really been great at freehand drawing or painting, so rendering is the perfect way for me to be artistic and creative. Rendering is straightforward and easy for me to understand, but within that there are all sorts of techniques and subtleties that can transform a picture and make it endlessly fascinating. I've been a little out of practice the past couple years, but my Dad has been encouraging me to try my hand at some house portraits. So as a Father's Day gift to him, I gave it a shot using our house as my first model. Our home is a Folk/Stick Style Victorian (read: A knock-off Victorian done on the cheap, basically) built around 1885. It's oddly configured, and creaky, and crumbling in some places, but I love it.

This one ended up being done entirely in colored pencil, but I think I'm gonna explore some other mediums and see what happens. I have a list of places, homes (including the actual Peck Avenue itself), objects, and interiors that I'm itching to try now, so I can't wait to start practicing, and really get back into it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cool Katz

This dreary, rainy day is making me feel all sorts of quiet and introspective and arty for some reason. So much so that I went out and bought a buttload of new art supplies today (with a random gift card I found in my old wallet - woohoo!) to get going on some projects I've been putting off. It's supposed to rain for the next five days or so, so maybe this feeling will stick and I'll get some great art out of it. I always like to look at some of my favorite artists as motivation whenever I'm in the mood to be creative, so I thought I would share one. Alex Katz has been one of my favorite artists ever since I saw a book of his work back in high school. I did an entire painting series based on his style, and I just love how his work is simple yet dynamic. I love pieces where the light/dark contrast and shadows are broken down into solid shapes, and forms become very straightforward and stark. I'm not much of an art buff, but I know what I like, and this is it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bargain Beauty

Back in this post, I professed my undying love for the Cellula Chandelier. I have dreamt of someday owning one, but with a pricetag of $2,600, I hate to admit that it was a bit of a distant and highly unlikely wish. That is until the design gods smiled down on me and presented me with THIS:

A clear knockoff of the original for $350!!! If I was better at math, I would figure out what the actual discount is, but I'm not, so let's just say that is a SERIOUS bargain. Now, I have to admit, I still don't love it as much as I do the Cellula - it's somewhat shorter which takes away from the elegance a bit - but for that price, who the hell cares?! Close enough! The only problem is that I don't actually have an apartment/home of my own to put it in just yet. *sigh* So hopefully when that day finally comes, it will still be around. I'll have to seriously resist the urge to just buy it anyways.

I found this amazing deal while searching around Z Gallerie. I'm pretty sure everyone already knows about this site, but I just found it, so I'm a little late to the game. But what an awesome resource for unique pieces that are pretty reasonably priced. A few more things I'll have to restrain from purchasing:

Pottery Barn had lamps similar to this one last year ( in black with a woven metal shade - gaaah) that I was completely obsessed with and came thisclose to buying on sale for $100 a pop despite having any actual place for them whatsoever. Practicality is out the window when something is this pretty, and if it's possible, I think I love this version even more. Again, here's hoping they stick around....

A ceramic rhino is possibly the last thing I would ever think to add to my decor, but this little guy is just so short and fat and oddly cute, I think he would be a great unexpected accent. Something this random would be sure to cheer me up on even the crappiest of days.

A little bit Hollywood Regency, a little bit badass rock and roll makes for a gorgeous combination on this umbrella stand.

Who doesn't love a bold wingback chair? And in leather with a nailhead trim, no less. A great way to add a touch of masculinity to an otherwise feminine space while still keeping things pretty.

I love how this abstract print has an almost playful feeling about it. The colors and textures would make for a great addition in a retro eclectic space, or a bold statement piece in an otherwise minmal room.

Ok, ok, enough dreaming...back to reality for me...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mission Organization

The plan on this cloudy day is to seriously crack down and get my shit together. Major desk re-organization, resumes, cover letters, design projects, figuring out computer junk....the list goes on. My major focus, though, is to get my little 'art area' squared away. I have a massive art/drafting table in my room that has somehow become a dumping ground for everything that doesn't seem to have a home. Old school projects, portfolios, huge newspaper pads, and all kinds of leftover art supplies have completely taken over the space, and have made it impossible for me to get anything done. I've been seeing a lot of really amazing offices images around the web that have really inspired me to make my art area a place of inspiration and organization. Here's an idea of what I'm striving for:

Amazing inspiration walls for texture and color

The fresh and modern home office of interior stylist Erin (from Elements of Style) will definitely be my inspiration for when I have a real office space. The combination of that vibrant green and crisp white is so energizing - perfect for a creative space.

An ever popular image from Domino - I love how all of the color comes from the myriad of accessories and books. Keeping this together requires serious organization.

Sherry and John (from This Young House) have been my major organizational inspiration. They have tips for organizing everything in the house, and the whole place just looks crisp, clean, and gorgeous. I love how there is a place for everything in this little office nook they created.

So that's the plan! If all goes well, hopefully I'll get to all the art and projects I've been putting off for so long - and maybe eventually I can share them on my little blog :) Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Marimekko for the Masses

So while on my hunt for cool wallpaper yesterday, I came across the new Marimekko wallpapers over at Always Mod. Such bold, pretty prints!

And then today, I stumble across the amazing news that the Finnish design house has teamed up with Swedish slipcover manufacturer Bemz, and everyones favorite Scandinavian furniture spot Ikea, to create a new line of slipcovers for some of their most popular pieces. Squee! I think Ikea and Marimekko is a genius combination because of their similar modern styles. These slipcovers are a great addition to the standard covers available at the stores, and an easy way to bring style to the masses.
Read the full article here, and visit the Bemz website for even more amazing slipcovers designed exclusively for Ikea furniture.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Domo Arigato

I'm really starting to love bold, graphic wallpapers, and these patterns from Aimee Wilder are right up my alley. They're crisp, young, and a little whimsical while still somehow remaining sophisticated. I am, of course, in love with the robots. I'd love to use the them in a completely unexpected place, like a laundry room or master closet, to add a little cheer to an otherwise mundane space. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

She also has a ton of amazing patterns under the 'designs' category on her website, but I'm not sure if they're sold as wallpaper just yet...

So many projects...

"To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it."
-Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mini Me

I find it hilarious that these are the kinds of expensive things I drool over. Not diamonds, not expensive shoes or bags, nope. Tiny chairs. That's it. It's kind of ridiculous how obsessed I am with these little replicas, and I think only a true design nerd can understand what I'm saying here. These petite works of genius are The Miniatures Collection from Vitra, and while they aren't exactly cheap (anywhere from $140 to $700), they are definitely a less expensive way to own a piece of history. Now, like many other designers I'm sure, it has always been a dream of mine to someday own a real, bona fide piece of classic furniture - Eames Rocker, Eames Lounge, Barcelona....really, it doesn't matter which one. But until that day comes, I would be happy to collect these little guys and display them everywhere. The perfect home accent for a designer.