July 30, 2014

We built a barn house! And here’s how it turned out

by Gillian

My last post about the house was back in April (eek!) and since then we have finished the house! We moved into it in June although there were still some punch list items that needed to be finalized. The exterior still needs some painting to the roof area which hopefully will be finalized soon, and the interior staircase has to be painted as well. But here’s our house tour…

The downstairs consists of open living/dining/kitchen area on one side and then a small mudroom, laundry, and powder room on the other side of the entry door. The beams are reclaimed from an old barn (unfortunately we couldn’t use the old beams from the barn we tore down because they had been treated with a chemical called creosote that would have been harmful over time).  These are one of my favorite features of the house because I really feel like it gives it so much character. Almost all of the furnishings in the house were purchased online with the exception of the sofa which we had to test out first.


I love how the floating shelves turned out in the kitchen. Since we’re only there on weekends we don’t need that many dishes so it works for us.


But there’s plenty of room in the island cabinets if we needed more space. And behind that door is a walk in pantry. (I wish I had all this extra space in my city apartment!)


Moving upstairs there are two bedrooms and a bathroom. Here’s the master bedroom. I wanted to keep everything very calm and peaceful. How amazing is my view!? When I wake up in the morning I can spot the deer grazing in the fields below.


Across from the bed is our home-made Jackson Pollack that the entire family helped to make. I LOVE how perfect it looks in here.


The girls room is gigantic! It’s the entire length of the house but it actually is perfect. They both have a full size bed plus all their toys and crafts are contained in this room so there is no need for it to trickle down into the living space. I installed an extra long IKEA desk so they can both spread out to do crafting projects and then when they are older homework.


When they wake up in the morning they like to peek out the window too and see what animals they can spot. Last week they saw some bunnies as well as a deer family.


In lieu of actual headboards I made these butterfly fabric wall frames to coordinate with the pottery barn bedding.


And the last room upstairs is the bathroom which is very difficult to photograph because of the tight space.


This vanity that I found online is great – so much storage space! Even with 4 of us sharing this bathroom there is plenty of room.


There is still a lot of exterior work to be finished including painting, installing the front door knob, and landscaping which we can’t start until early fall. Stay tuned for more updates and before and after photos.

April 10, 2014

We’re building a house! Part II

by Gillian

Last month I made a trip to the job site to have a look at the progress they had made since February. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was starting to really look a house on the inside. The plumbing and electrical were completed and passed inspection so the house was insulated and the walls were up!  And we now have a front door (which will be painted later).

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This is what it looks like when you walk through the front door and immediately turn left. Eric is standing in what will be the dining “nook”. Even covered in snow the view is breathtaking.

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Along the back wall here is where the kitchen will be installed – the door to the right is the pantry.

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Here’s the master bedroom, doesn’t look like much now but wait until I can really get in there!

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The girls will be sharing this enormous bedroom, and they too have the same amazing view (but my back was towards the view in this pic). I have some DIY ideas on the brain for this space.

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And here’s our incomplete deck. We still need to install the stainless steel cable railings. I am day dreaming about relaxing here with a glass of wine at the end of a fabulous summer day.


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I was also able to finalize the kitchen layout and purchase the cabinets and appliances. Here’s a computer generated drawing of how it’s going to look:




On my next site visit in a few weeks I hope to see the floors, staircase, doors, window & door trim all installed! Maybe I will also be able to approve a color for the exterior of the house. Red of course, but there are so many variations. I don’t want something too bright, or too brown, and it has to coordinate with the existing 100 yr old barn in the back of this new house so it might be quite tricky.


April 4, 2014

Guest House Interiors: Part I

by Gillian

A few weeks I blogged mostly about the construction and exterior of the guest house at the farm that I am in the process of building. The vision for the interior is to have the main level feel open and airy, like a loft space, with the living, dining and kitchen areas all exposed. There will also be a powder room, mudroom, and laundry area on the main floor. Upstairs there are 2 bedrooms and a full bath. Each main room’s purpose it to maximize the spectacular view.

In coming up with the design for the space I wanted to play with juxtaposition a bit – the exterior is supposed to look like a barn (albeit modern) but I don’t really love traditional spaces I much prefer the modern look. So while from the outside the house might look a bit more traditional I wanted the interior to feel really clean and modern but with a twist. So I came up with a design I am calling modern industrial chic barn. In theory I would love to have everything white and cream and airy but with 2 small children and a dog who knows no boundaries that is just a fantasy. I created a style board that reflects the look I’m going for.

furniture & Lighitng


So now I’m just anxiously waiting until I can finalize the purchases and then coordinate installation once the construction is complete. I can’t wait to share the finished project with you all!

March 10, 2014

Kitchen Makeover: Part II

by Gillian

I recently completed the mini kitchen makeover I started just after the new year and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. You might recall I revamped my floors in a previous post that can be found here (http://wp.me/p21Kto-so) and they are holding up very well. I will mention that they do need to be cleaned more frequently because they show more dirt and pet hair but it’s not a big deal.

Next up was changing out the awful fluorescent lights. I spoke to my building handyman and confirmed that he could switch out the old box fixtures with a halogen track light. I found the Megan Chrome Four Light Track at Bellacor and thought it was very attractive as well as inexpensive and it also gives off a ton of light.  The handyman also painted the ceiling for me because the ceiling was black under the old boxes. I can’t even begin to guess how old those lights were.


Step 3 was to accessorize and make the kitchen feel a little cheerier. I found these cute Polka Dot decals (on Etsy of course) which remind me a lot of Damien Hirst’s work which I happen to love.  They were very easy to put up – just peel and stick.


And then I ordered a keep calm and carry on Poster from AllPosters.com which just makes me smile every time I look at it.


I also ordered Fiesta Canisters from Macy’s during one of their sales for my counter top to hold Ollie’s dog food and treats etc.


And finally, I needed a Multi-Device Charging Station to contain all our ipads and iphones. I like this dock because it can hold up to 6 devises at the same time and the wires are mostly obscured. This project came in at roughly $200 and I am really happy with how it turned out. The counter tops are still a sore sight but they are not as glaring to me now that there’s so much else going on.

March 5, 2014

We’re building a house! Part I

by Gillian

Every summer my family spends a lot of time at my parent’s weekend place (which we call the farm). My brother and his wife come too and now that they have new baby we were simply running out of space for everyone. The house is from the late 1880’s so our initial thought to build up and make the attic a usable 2 bedroom and bathroom space wouldn’t work because the house structurally wouldn’t hold up. Fortunately, we have a lot of property so we decided to build a new house where an old existing barn garage and corn crib had been. We were just kind of throwing ideas out there and we weren’t going to start any construction until Fall 2104 but our builder told us he was suddenly available this winter and would be able to build us a house by June 1, 2014 so we jumped on the chance. It’s been a very crazy few months first trying to figure out what we wanted the space to look like – modern, barn-like, more traditional? Then trying to find an architect to draw up plans and get all our permits etc within a matter of weeks so that we could demo the old structures, break ground and pour concrete before mid November when the ground typically freezes. And then get the house framed and wrapped before the wrath of winter. Also, I should mention that the farm is 2 hours away from Manhattan so it’s been tough to make regular site visits and the majority of communication has been via phone and email with the builder and not face to face. Additionally, I would like to add that once you leave a big city everything moves at a snail’s pace. Nobody has any sense of urgency about anything and it can take days or weeks even to get an email reply. It’s not how I’m used to working and has been a very good test of my patience so far.

Ultimately, we decided to build a modern barn home to fit in with the existing old main house on one side of the site and an existing old barn structure that used to hold livestock. The most important feature of the whole new house is the view. We really wanted to take advantage of just how stunning it is. I am really looking forward to waking up to this:


In September this is what the site looked like – barn garage on the left and corn crib on the right (you can see the roof of the old barn in the background which is staying). You also may notice my dad’s baby – his 1967 Cutlass convertible which he calls “the ghost”. I’ll get back to “the ghost” when I fill you in on the interior plans.


In early October here’s what it looked like: old structures were demolished leaving the footprint for the new house.


Then while it was relatively still warm, the concrete foundation was poured:

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By the end of November the framing was up. And we already had the first of many snowstorms:


By Christmas the entire house was framed and they were putting on the roof. This was the first time I was seeing it in person and not just from photos and it felt so much smaller in person than it did on the floorplans.  During our walk through we noticed some things that we needed to tweak and some things that we wished we could but ultimately could not change. This is one of the main disadvantages of not being able to have regular site visits.

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This is the view standing in my new living room:

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In January the windows were in and the house was wrapped up for protection from this brutal winter we are having. Here’s the view from the main road looking at the front of the house:

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When I saw it in February they had started putting on the board and batten on the sides of the house.

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My next visit up to see the house is in a few weeks. I am expecting to see the electrical & plumbing complete, as well as the all the sheet rock which is going to totally make this shell feel like a real space. Stay tuned for more posts to see how the house is progressing along with my interior plans for this modern industrial chic barn house!

January 6, 2014

Kitchen Makeover: Part I

by Gillian

Happy New Year everyone! 2014 is going to be great and filled with so many fun projects.I just finished a really easy project that I am so excited to share with you.

The first project of the year was a quick fix on my rental kitchen. I moved into this apartment 6 years ago and while we painted and decorated and installed lighting and window treatments there wasn’t much we could do with the kitchen! I really hate the look of my existing kitchen – it’s dark and has horrible huge flourescent light boxes, the worst cheapest looking counter tops & appliances and a really old and ugly vinyl floor. The cabinets are the only things that are actually OK. We just resigned our lease and I could not bear the thought of looking at this tired space another minute. I was looking online to see if there was any cute peel and stick vinyl flooring (oxymoron!) that I could install over our existing floors. I did come across a great site that sells vinyl flooring in incredibly chic and fun patterns but they were a little pricey and based in the UK and since this is just a temporary home I wasn’t willing to commit. Everything else I saw was what you would imagine if someone said vinyl flooring – cheap looking tiles that try to seem like they are stone or granite. In my opinion I think they look really fake and I wanted to try to avoid that look all together. In my search I stumbled across a blog called the sweetest digs and loved what Gemma came up with. So I RAN out to my local Home Depot, scooped up my black and white tiles for 69 cents a piece and enlisted my husbands help in laying the tile and fitting it around the corners. It took us a few hours because of all the cuts we had to make but I LOVE how it turned out. Every time I walk into the kitchen I am happily surprised all over again at how much of a difference a little vinyl tile goes. This project cost $50 and was super simple. Now I just have to figure out what to do with my counter tops and how I can change the lighting. Do you have any great ideas on how to conceal or change my counter tops on a dime? Please share!

Here’s the kitchen before (pardon the mess):

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And here it is with the new floor:

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November 18, 2013

Car Themed Baby Boy Nursery-Reveal!

by Gillian

A few months ago I wrote about another baby boy nursery project I was working on – this one was car themed. The room has been finished for a while but I haven’t had a chance to upload the photos yet…until now!

The client had chosen the Bo boo cotton fabric by Marimekko before we had even met so the whole room was worked around it. One entire length of window wall was treated with the fabric to create a floor to ceiling curtain effect. The rug is actually wall to wall carpet that we had cut to size. The client wanted an area rug that took up most of the floor space but left a border of wood floor and because of the size of the space this was a better option than a typical stocked area rug. DSC_7196-001I found these amazing vintage car prints on 1stdibs and we both immediately fell in love with them and knew they would be perfect.

The Presidio Glider from Serena & Lily was an existing piece from the client’s eldest child but we changed the fabric and had a custom slipcover professionally made. It completely changed the look of the piece. In fact all of the major furniture items were reused from the the baby’s sibling but with simple updates you would never know.


The dresser was also an existing piece but we gave it a bit of a facelift with these checked hand-painted knobs from Gracious Home


We had two of the large throw pillows custom-made with a great Lulu DK child fabric called Skittles in Blueberry and the other two woven pillows were from Dash & Albert that I found on Layla Grace. All are perched atop of a west elm daybed that was recovered with a custom mattress cover (not shown).


Even the closet interior got some love with these striped toy bins from Pottery Barn Kids.


I adore this stylish nursery for such a sweet family. I hope Nicholas enjoys his fabulous room as much as I do!

November 4, 2013

Baby of The World – Eli’s Room Details

by Gillian

A few months ago I installed my nephew’s nursery and good thing since Eli Wolfe arrived 3 weeks early!  I can’t wait to share with you all the adorable details. As I mentioned in a previous blog post I found the crib bedding which was the inspiration for the whole space.

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We decided to go with a blue, red & white color theme – the walls are a pale blue color (Benjamin Moore Breath of Fresh Air # 806); the handmade  wool rug is a super plush cream and light blue chevron that I found on Overstock for a steal ; the curtains are blue and white checked panels that I also scored on Overstock; the Ikea dresser is a deep peacock-blue; the pouf and storage cubes are red and the window seat cushion is multicolored.

Here’s what we started with:


I enlisted my sister-in-law’s help with putting together my 2nd DIY project – the window seat! I hunted down this discontinued fabric that I spotted online because once I saw it I knew it would be perfect for this room and I HAD TO HAVE IT! I mean could it be any cuter? Then I had a masonite board pre-cut at the Home Depot and then ordered thick foam online – also cut to my measurements. The bench is actually a bookcase from IKEA that we flipped horizontally.

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You basically just align the fabric and staple all the way around, and when you get to the corners you wrap them like you would a present. Cut off any excess and don’t worry about what the bottom looks like – nobody will see it.

aug - sept 2013 018I realized once we were installing that my measurements were a wee bit off so fortunately my brother’s friend was able to step in and help us cut the board.photo(7)Here we are wrapping the fabric around a masonite board and foam cushion. Gotta love a staple gun!

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I used heavy-duty velcro to adhere the bottom of the cushion to the top of the bookcase and then popped in the clear red IKEA bins.



While we were busy with that Zach was in charge of drilling – he hung the curtains and then installed 5 wall shelves on either side of the window for our floating bookcase wall.

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I love that all the books will be visible and easy to find once his library grows.

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We then hung the swing arm lights on either side of the crib and then placed the focal point of the room – the world map mural that I found on Ebay.  The decal came in two sheets and I cut out each continent and laid it out on the floor before we began.

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Eli has no excuse for not being a whiz in geography!

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The decals peel right off and were easy to move around and adjust.

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How awesome did this turn out?? I am obsessed.

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Here’s the baby-daddy testing out the Luca Glider that used to live in my girl’s room and the new and pouf .

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Here are a few of the personal details that help to make this such a special room. A custom mobile from Etsy to perfectly match the room’s decor.


Framed Shanghai & New York prints hang above the glider.


An ever growing library wall filled with books and toys.




I love this room and I hope my nephew feels all the love that went into putting it all together.

September 16, 2013

Boring Malm Dresser transforms into Fabulous Campaign Dresser

by Gillian

A few weeks ago I started one of the DIY projects for my “baby of the world nursery” that I installed today.  I had seen several varieties of DIY campaign dressers on Pinterest and I knew it would be perfect for this space. Basically I took an inexpensive boring MALM 4-drawer chest  and transformed it into a fabulous campaign chest of drawers. I picked this gorgeous super glossy peacock-blue color (Benjamin Moore Evening Blue #2066-20) and lightly sanded and then painted each section first before assembling the dresser. I ended up using 3 coats of paints to get an even coverage and because of the humidity it took several weeks to completely dry.

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Once the paint was dry I enlisted the help of my handy hubby and brother to drill the hardware into the center of each drawer front and on each of the 4 corners of  every drawer. As you can see from the photo the hardware does not sit flush inside the drawer front because I did not have the tools to chisel out and recess the groove required. None of the other bloggers who worked on a similar project did that either (even though the hardware manufacturer says you should), so i just followed their lead. Once the piece is in the space you really can’t tell that the handle isn’t flush unless you’re standing directly in front of the dresser looking down.

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My brother put the whole piece together but because the paint was still a bit tacky it ended up peeling off in some spots. Fortunately we had some leftover paint so it was not a problem to touch up.

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I am so pleased with how it all turned out and I don’t think you would ever be able to tell that it was an Ikea piece!

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What Ikea pieces have you transformed?

August 22, 2013

Car Themed Baby Boy Nursery Sneak Peek

by Gillian

Greetings. So the past few months I’ve been working on 2 baby boy nurseries which are both revealing soon. Here’s a sneak peek at a sweet car themed room for a baby downtown. The client loved the car fabric from Marimekko so that was our starting point. We needed to have her existing Serena & Lily Glider recovered and throw pillows made for a day bed so I selected a cute palette of blues for both. In addition, I sourced a carpet that I turned into an area rug and found these incredible antique framed car prints (similar to the airplanes shown in the styleboard) which will hang above the  day bed. Here’s the style board I created which gives a pretty good overview of the room:


The curtains were installed yesterday:

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In the next few weeks I’ll be installing the area rug, hanging the art and putting the final touches on the space. Stay tuned to see how it all comes together!

July 22, 2013

Everlasting Play Table – Genius!

by Gillian

I am crazy about this table from Land of Nod called the Everlasting play table – it’s so new that it isn’t even up on their website yet but you can find it in their catalog. The table retails for $399 and comes in Wheat or Grey Wash.

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July 18, 2013

2 Great Companies Partner Up

by Gillian

I was so excited when I opened the current Land of Nod catalog and saw that they have partnered with Ducduc, a very cool American furniture company. These pieces are gorgeous and I love how modern they feel. I can’t wait to spec them for future nurseries.

Verona Crib – available in 4 colors


Verona 3-Drawer Dresser – available in 4 colors

verona dresser

Oslo Crib – available in 5 colors

oslo dresser

Oslo 3-Drawer Dresser – available in 6 colors

oslo dresser

July 9, 2013

Baby Of The World Nursery

by Gillian

I have some exciting news to share…I’m going to be an aunt to a baby boy who will be arriving around Halloween. I am super excited to meet him but also excited because my brother and sister-in-law have asked me to design the nursery. For those of you who do not know my sister-in-law is from Shanghai, where my brother met her, and they both love to travel so we’ve come up with a theme “Baby of The World” for the nursery.  Here’s a peak at the style board I’ve come up with:


I found these adorable crib sheets that were the inspiration for the color scheme.


The walls are being painted Benjamin Moore Breath of Fresh Air 806, and I found a great light blue and cream chevron rug that is going to work perfectly. I am going to hack an Ikea Expedit bookcase and turn it into a storage bench underneath the window for all the toys, as well as transforming an Ikea Malm dresser into a campaign style changing table. Above the crib we’re going to install a huge map of the world similar to this one so my nephew can dream of his future travels around the globe.

world map

I’ll be posting updates on my DIY projects and of course the reveal when we’re through!

June 18, 2013

Dining Chair Round Up

by Gillian

Anyone with small children will tell you that they are capable of destroying anything – I speak from experience! I would advise anyone with kids to consider a dining chair that can easily be wiped down and NOT an expensive fabric covered chair. Here’s my round up of top dining chairs for families:

amanda leather chair

Amanda Leather Chair

polaris aluminum chair

Polaris Side Chair

ryan side chair

Ryan Side Chair

alden side chair

Alden Side Chair

eames molded wood side chair

Eames® Molded Wood Side Chair

saarinen leather chair

Saarinen Executive Side Chair

eames molded plastic

Eames Molded Plastic

Louis Ghost chair

Louis Ghost Chair

tulip chair

Saarinen Tulip Armless Chair

brno tubular chair

Brno Tubular Chair

metal schoolhouse

Metal Schoolhouse Chair

Hagen Painted Chir

Hagen Painted Chair

forma painted chair

Forma Painted Chair


Klismos Dining Chair

June 4, 2013

The Evolution of My Living Room

by Gillian

A few weeks ago I told you all about my current obsession – Aerial Beach Photography for my LR walls. Well, literally the next day One Kings Lane had a Grey Malin sale and to say I was excited would have been a huge understatement. I immediately selected a print and added it to my cart and then patiently waited 2 weeks until it arrived. While I was waiting I did some research on framing. I wanted  a floating look, with super high shine and started reading about the different methods available. I decided to use Laumont Photographics after reading their reviews and speaking with a sales person there.  I opted for the “plexi sandwich – A premium mounting material, Plexiglas is a flat and smooth surface, is both archival and durable. The “sandwich” combination of front and back mounting acquires the look of  frameless “floating” presentation for your photographic prints. Face-in mounting is expertly done in the Diasec-style silicone based process, which provides a crystal clear appearance for your presentation. The back is then mounted to plexi and lastly, a backing brace is attached in order to hang the piece for display. Available in AR anti-scratch, clear, matte, UV (OP-3) and non-glare surface types.” The framing took about 10 days and I am thrilled with the results.


This is a side view of the piece – you can see the plexi is about 1/4″ thick and then there’s a wood mounting bracket attached to the back of the piece which mounts to a bracket on my wall. DSC_5922-001

And now that the art is up on the wall I’m ready to reveal my new living room. But first here’s a look back at what it looked liked when we moved in 5 1/2 years ago before kids. (Ollie was such a small pup)…

Living Room

Here’s what our living room looked like 5 years & 2 kids later….


And here’s what it looks like now…


I was tired of the browns and blues so to the shock of my husband I decided to go with greys & purples. But now that it’s all come together I think he actually likes it! If this wasn’t a rental apartment I would definitely have installed crown molding and probably changed out the parquet floors, and installed some more ceiling lights and….oh I could just go on and on…


May 15, 2013

3D Butterly Wall Art

by Gillian

In an earlier post I mentioned that my almost 5 yr old daughter Grace requested butterflies in her room. I wanted to give her something fun and whimsical but also wanted the ability to remove it when she tired of it. I decided to purchase translucent plastic butterfly decals from Butterfly Bazaar on Etsy. The butterflies ship flat and instructions say to fold the butterflies with the glossy side down. Adhere a glue dot to the center and stick it to your surface. I used an artist canvas but these can probably stick just as easily directly to the wall. After folding all the butterflies that I purchased, I sorted them by color and then started playing around with the composition until I created something that I was happy with. I stuck a glue dot on each one and in a very short time I had a custom piece of art for less than $50.

The butterflies are shipped flat like this:IMG_2064-001

Here’s what they look like once they are folded:


Trying to figure out a layout that I like:IMG_2065-001

Finished product:



May 6, 2013

Living Room Art

by Gillian

I am in desperate need of art for my living room wall behind my sofa. Ideally I would love to find a piece that is 40 x 60 that doesn’t cost a small fortune. I have been an admirer of Massimo Vitali’s work for some time. He is an Italian photographer who shoots these incredible crowd scenes and I am particularly fond of his beach shots.



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His prices, however, are astronomical and not even close to being in my budget. So I started looking around to see if there were other artists who took similar photos that would be better suited for me. I stumbled upon Christian Chaize on the site 20×200.com (which has since been shut down) and started liking it even more than Vitali’s work! It appears as though Chaize is shooting from a higher vantage point looking down and I LOVE the color of all the beach umbrellas that he is able to capture.

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A few weeks ago in New York City, while at the Affordable Art Fair, and I was introduced to another aerial beach photographer Gray Malin.  And now I can’t stop dreaming about how these pieces would look in my living room! They just make me so happy to look at!





Where do YOU source art?

April 22, 2013

Faux Snakeskin Ikea Lack Table

by Gillian


In addition to redoing my girls’ bedroom, I decided my living room needed a makeover as well. I don’t recall how I came across Emily’s blog Recently, but the moment I did I fell in love with her DIY faux snakeskin table and HAD to HAVE one of my very own. Her step by step instructions were so easy to follow. Click here for the step by step guide. Emily reused a plastic table that she picked up at goodwill. I purchased a very inexpensive LACK Sofa table from Ikea because I knew it would come in separate pieces and I thought that would be easier to work with. It’s a good shape and height but seriously lacking in personality.

lack hack

I purchased this faux snakeskin fabric from Hancock Fabrics on clearance for $1.99 a yard!! Talk about a bargain.


And I scooped up some Mod Podge and a sponge brush and was ready to begin. I ran out of mod podge half way through the project so make sure you have enough. You will need to paint it on the surface of your table to make it sticky and then again on top of the fabric several times to get it to harden and shine.  ( I used two 16oz bottles for the entire project.)


My piece seemed a little rough, almost sandpaper like, when it was dry so I contacted Emily to see if she sealed her table with anything. She recommended Minwax Polycrylic finish so I applied 2 coats of once the mod podge dried.


I am beyond obsessed with my new table. Seriously, if you were to purchase this in a store you would pay hundreds, if not thousands for a similar table. A huge thanks to Emily for her inspiration!





April 15, 2013

Foyer Wallpaper

by Gillian

My foyer and living room are essentially one room so when I decided to redo the living room, I clearly had to update the entryway as well :).  I live in a rental apartment so there’s not too much I can do but, I think at a bare minimum you have to paint those horrible white walls and make it feel homier. We did change the paint from a beige to a grey but I still felt like my walls were lacking some personality. I love wallpaper and would probably wallpaper every room if I owned a place. Fortunately, there are tons of companies that are making temporary wallpaper targeted towards renters. I scoured the Spoonflower website to try to find a pattern for my one wall when you walk into my apartment. I purchased two swatches and polled everyone who walked through my front door.

Here’s option A

diamond_circles wallpaper by holli_zollinger for sale on Spoonflower – custom wallpaper

option A

And here’s option B

watercolor dots magenta on dark grey wallpaper by katarina for sale on Spoonflower – custom wallpaper

Option B

Personally, I liked option B but literally every person that came in liked option A so that’s what we went with. Here’s what our foyer looked like before…


And here’s how it turned out after the wallpaper was applied.

DSC_5366  DSC_5369-001  DSC_5374-001

I was under the impression the wallpaper was going to be some kind of peel and stick paper. This was not the case. The wallpaper arrived with adhesive already applied to the back of it. The wallpaper required much more work that I anticipated although it wasn’t really hard to do. Basically you had reverse roll the paper, soak it in water for 15 seconds, fold it like a book on itself for 1 minute and then hang it from top to bottom while smoothing out the air bubbles. It was definitely a two person job, one which my husband wasn’t too thrilled about doing, but it didn’t take long. It was about an hour to hang the paper (our wall is approx 12′ wide), then we let it dry for 3 hours and then with an exacto knife we trimmed the edges. I think it makes a pretty big impact on such a small wall.

April 9, 2013

Designer Crush: Jonathan Adler

by Gillian

I just received the latest Spring catalog from Jonathan Adler and it made me so happy! I love Jonathan’s style and playfulness and somehow even though he uses so many crazy patterns and color and styles it all still works! In case you didn’t see it here you go. Enjoy!













April 1, 2013

Girls’ Room Reveal

by Gillian

I am so excited to share with you Grace & Charlie’s new pink princess bedroom. Here’s what their room looked liked before (I was anti pink when I was pregnant with Grace)


And here’s how their shared room looks now….






March 25, 2013

Girls Reno Part II – Storage

by Gillian

As I mentioned in my last post about the girls’ room renovation I have been working on a few DIY projects. One of them was giving new life to a tired, sad, little storage bench that used to live in my office area and relocating it to the girls’ room to serve as their dress up station. As anyone with daughter’s knows the amount of dresses, tutus, high heels, tiaras and wands can be overwhelming if not stored properly.  Their dress up clothes used to hang on a custom Princess Dress Up Peg Rack.  While this was very cute, and easy for the girls to get their dresses and clean up afterwards, there was still the issue of  what to do with the accessories? Since everything had to come down from the walls so we could repaint I decided not to re-hang the peg rack. Instead I decided to reuse the piece from my office and freshen it up.

This is what the storage bench looked like before


The guy at the hardware store told me I wouldn’t need to prime the piece, just a light sanding with fine sand paper and two coats of Krylon Gloss white paint.


After the first coat I was a little concerned about seeing all the brush strokes. Yikes!


I waited 30 minutes and then applied the second coat. The brush strokes were vanishing and the piece was looking bright and shiny


Like most little girls mine are obsessed with all things princess. I didn’t want their room to feel juvenile so I didn’t put princess decals on the wall, or get them princess bedding, but I did want them to have something princess-y so I ordered princess decals from ebay and stuck them all over their new dress up box.


Now there’s a container each for dresses & tutus, tiaras, wands & fairy wings, and high heels. The girls love their new dress up station and I love how neatly everything tucks away out of sight.

How have you re-purposed an existing piece of furniture?

March 20, 2013

Girls Room Reno part I

by Gillian

My youngest daughter Charlie started climbing out of her crib when she was 19 months! While she was a pretty good escape artist I was concerned that she would injure herself so I reluctantly made the decision to switch her to a bed. Charlie and my eldest daughter Grace, who will be 5 in May, share a room that was decorated before Grace was born, so of course I wanted to seize the opportunity to redecorate. Grace had been sleeping in a bed that coordinated with the crib since she was 2 1/2  but I wanted something that was more girly that the girls could have for a while. I was going to keep their existing Moda Dressers from Room & Board, a cream colored area rug from ABC carpet that was still in relatively good condition, their modern luca glider, and an Ikea billy bookcase that I had wallpapered on the interior.

I found these Plain High Arch Upholstered Headboards online and that became the starting point for the design


I then came across this fun Pink Chandelier  that I knew would be the main focus of the room. Since we’re in an apartment rental I needed to find something that could be plugged in instead of hardwired into the ceiling

silly gypsy chandelier

Grace helped me pic this cute bedding from PBteen

PB teen bedding

And I also ordered these needlepoint heart pillows from PBteen

heart pillow

Cathy from Cathyscustompillows is making me these adorable PINK SUZANI CURTAINS


I found this hot pink mirror to go above the dresser from One Kings Lane

mirrorGrace requested butterflies in her room, so I’ll be working on a custom 3D butterfly project that I’ll share with you soon, as well as an existing storage bench that got new life as a dress up storage solution fit for a princess!

I will have actual photos of the room’s reveal once the curtains, mirror and art are hung, but in the meantime here’s the style board for their room.


March 18, 2013


by Gillian

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. To be honest I got swamped with my full service design firm and just couldn’t find the time to write.  But now I’m back and I can’t wait to share with you so many fun new projects that I’ve been working on! It also got me thinking that in the spirit of the new year (3 months ago!) the blog is going to change a bit and not focus solely on children’s design, but all things design related. I hope you’ll still follow me on my design journey.

December 3, 2012

Finn McDermott’s Giraffe Inspired Nursery

by Gillian

I will admit it…I love Tori Spelling. I hated her character Donna on 90210 back in the day, but ever since her reality TV show I have grown to really like her and her style a lot.  So, it was no surprise to me that the newest family member, Finn McDermott, has a super chic nursery which Tori & Dean recently showed it off. I love the unexpected color combinations and the nod to mid-century modern style.


Custom ducduc Regency Crib and Pebble Mattress

Tori found inspiration for Finn’s room from a vintage flea market find of a ceramic giraffe. I love the gallery of mixed frames on this incredible and bold wallpaper from Tempaper Designs.


This fantastic Custom ducduc Savannah Changer  has a retro feel. If you weren’t working on Tori’s budget this would be a great flea market find that could be transformed with a little DIY work.


Of course an important feature in a nursery is a rocker, Tori found hers at Anthropologie.  I love the small rope table right beside the rocker which is great spot to set down a bottle or burp cloth, and rope stool to rest your feet.  She continues her giraffe theme with a small patterned pillow on the rocker and the ceramic figures on the side table.


Tori found a great dresser in this vibrant orange from SPI Baby. If you’re working within a tight budget this is anther great opportunity to transform a flea market piece with a few coats of paint. To achieve this high gloss look send the piece out to be spray finished.


And she of course did not miss even the tiniest detail. A great flea market find letter “F” makes Finn’s room more personal, as well as what appears to be a home-made giraffe mobile.