Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Walk The Line

Photo Courtesy of Elephant Journal

I was thinking back today about one of my early potential clients...

Walking up to his adorable cottage, I was greeted with a maelstrom of his demands (or were they commands!?) for the direction he thought he wanted his space to go.  Demand or command, the would-be client insisted on me delivering his clear-as-mud version of what he envisioned as good design. I was horrified by his tunnel vision (and the nasty collections he wanted to include). It further seemed HE was horrified at any of my aesthetic digressions from HIS ideas.

It took me many deep breaths and forced smiles and nods, not to say, "Then what I am here for? If you have it all figured out, just do it yourself!"  

But, of course I didn't.  I do maintain my professionalism. And eventually, I politely bowed out from his home (and the unseemly project that had no legs).

I like to think that I achieve great balance in creating spaces for my clients that speak volumes of who they are—while pushing them outside their comfort zone—and still maintaining good design integrity in their environment. I like to think that I am good at what I do.  I like to think that someone hires me not only for my budget-gourmet-achievability, but also my capacity to design in and around challenges and obstacles, whether financial or structural. I like to think that people hire me because they like what I do and how I do it.

But of course we don't all have the same vision, do we? 

Sometimes it's just best to walk away from a project, a person, people, or a paradigm where you're not appreciated for being authentic to your own value system. And that's okay.

And I will walk the long walk if I have to.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

D E S I G N + L I F E + K I D S kicks off summer...

Rit Dye, (one of my staples in life) + Bing aided in the tie-dying and coordination of the party

I'll be honest, I'm not big on gathering with large groups of people (unless it's a concert). Especially not groups of strangers. Especially not groups of 100% female strangers. I just usually feel like the oddball out for a variety of reasons...

But, when my friend, Kim, the founder, writer, and badass-aesthetic-minded-mama of DLK invited me to her "A Radiant Orchid Summer" soiree, I must say I was looking forward to it. She asked us to wear something Radiant Orchid to celebrate Pantone's color of the year and it was neato to see what everyone's interpretation of that was.  Arriving to see all the coolish stuff and delish edibles and color saturated surprises amidst the backdrop of her vertically vast yard was refreshing from the usual events and backyard keg parties I once frequented so often in my twenties (sigh).

It felt good to do something different than my usual Saturday norm, and even better to talk to (dare I say it?!?), strangers! There were lots of business-minded, creative women, all trying to get their voices out in the world and make a living at it.  And even though our conversations were lightly peppered with talk of our kiddos, generally we all stuck to discussing who the hell WE were, and we put down our mom hats for the afternoon.

We tie-dyed, used flowers from The Bouqs to make bracelets (my daughter really LOVED this gift), played with the best insta-slushy ever, ate things and drank seriously awesome beer, and enjoyed the company of one another on a seriously gorgeroni day.  Oh, and then when we left, Kim gave us a swag bag (well, bucket), of all this super cool stuff from all the companies that sponsor her.  Because that's right, she's legit in the blogosphere.  After I left, I felt a little more legit in the atmosphere.  That mighta' been the Blueberry Beer talking though.

Regardless, she kicked off the Summer sensation right, and I thank her and all those [apparently] strange women for that! Hostess with the mostest award goes to Kim (and the DLK team)!
Thanks for the afternoon.
And the inspiration.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Orchids Sure ARE Radiant!

pic courtesy of sofa.com

In honor of the Pantone Color of the Year, and the super radaroni event I'm psyched to go to, I've been investigating some design elements to pay homage to "Radiant Orchid!"
And guess what? You can go to the party too (just click the event link above).
Kim from DLK is the hostess with the mostest.

Here are some inspirations:

Friday, May 9, 2014

All I Want for Mother's Day on Sunday

I don't want anything from Zales.
I don't want a box of chocolate.
I don't want flowers from a roadside stand.

But here is my wish list:

I want to sleep in (uninterrupted until 10am).  Therefore, no hair getting ripped out of my scalp at 7am, no one barfing or crying in the middle of the night.  No one, of any age, or any relationship to me, trying to stake a claim on my boobs, at any point, for any reason.

Then when I blissfully wake from my slumber, I would like to be served hot tea and fresh toast. And I don't want it to spill or be flung across the room, but I would like to be able to reach it from my bedside.

Then I want to be magically be clean and showered, look great, smell great, feel great, and leave.
That's right: leave. I want to be with my other strong & complex mama friends who deserve a break too.  And I want the brood of us to do whatever the hell it is we wanna do: FOR THE ENTIRE DAY.

Then, [here we go with the more "wants"], I want to come home, where my house is clean, my kids are clean, the trash has been taken out (all of it: in the office, the bathrooms, the basement AND indeed, the kitchen too), projects are complete and someone else has made dinner.

I want the dinner to be well seasoned, and everyone likes it, and eats it, and gets it from their plate in to their faces without veering wildly off track.

Then the dishes...ahhh: the dishes.  I want zero part in caring for, rinsing, putting away, or dealing with a single dish.

Or the laundry.
THE LAAaaaAAuuUUunnNNddDDrrrRy!!!!!!!!!!
I want someone else to wash the diapers.  I want someone else to separate, situate and fold em.  And carry them to their respected arenas. And then put them away.
Nicely. Without groaning.

And I want someone else to bathe my kids, and make sure they don't injure themselves (or cause a flood).

Meanwhile, I will be watching whatever I want on tv and having a giant glass of wine.

Then, I want to put my kids to bed while they hold my neck sweetly as I sing them their favorite made-up lullabies. I want to listen to their breathing slow and deepen as they drift off to sleep, FOR THE ENTIRE NIGHT.

And really, that's all I want.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Make it a Double

Eleven-Thirty-ish Sunday night I was searching Craigslist for a client’s new project when I came across this pair of chifforobes. I was hooked. Our 1900 house is ill-equipped with the storage our first bungalow was surprisingly endowed with. These were calling my name.

Ken and I picked them up for our bedroom the next afternoon. We pulled up to a home on a cul-de-sac with old carpet stacked high against the mailbox. The owners’ five children had grown and left, and these empty-nesters were now fixing up their place to sell and ultimately downsize.

Memories removed.

Homogenized for the marketplace.

Hard to believe one day I, too, will be a mama bird with a bare nest.

The wardrobes were removed from a sunny yellow girl’s room still plastered with pastel wallpaper and heartthrob posters she had collaged herself. It smelled like perfume samples and old curling irons in there.
Yesterday, in the fresh morning light, I washed our new wardrobes down with my standard vinegar spray before I got to rubbing off the years of hard use with my Magic Eraser.
(Is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser™ truly magic? You're damn right it is. Get one. Seriously.)

Anyway, it took a good bit of elbow grease to get them clean. One of the chifforobes in particular was clearly used to hold lotions and potions. I found an old unused bar of Crabtree and Evelyn soap in a drawer and more renegade lotion squirts than I'd care to mention.  They spoke of rushed moments and idle flippancy that screamed, "Mom will clean that up." 

The pink lotion and white lotion and cream-colored lotions had dried and shellacked themselves to the interior shelves as the years and summers of short-shorts had faded. As I scrubbed, I imagined her, this girl I will probably never know, getting ready to go to pool parties, dances, dates, and celebrations as I once did. I remembered the feeling of those days: anticipation and dread, glee and queasiness, freedom and frailty. Never in those years did it occur to me that there might come a day I wouldn't want to wear shorts so short, or care about other people's opinions any longer. It is intrinsic for a teen to be a narcissist, now that I think about it.

But here I am now as an adult, cleaning these furniture pieces that once held the important things that a girl keeps in her bedroom. I was at once glad I no longer live in the torture known as "the teen years," and frightened to know that one day (sooner than I can imagine), my children will.

Until then, I have big plans for a revamp on these “new” pieces.  Stay tuned.

[***A huge thank you to Geee-off & Ken for carrying these heavy monsters in our house. At night. Up icy, snow-covered stairs. Up more stairs once they made it in the house. During the chaos of bedtime for the kiddos. And I wished I would have thought of it then, but next time, be good to your backs and take the drawers out first. (Hindsight.)***]

(self tanner residuals: the stuff proms are made of)

(Not yet a teen; although she thinks she is.)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Beware: Danger Ahead!

(Bashed and Busted Window Sill via Easel and Brut Boy)

Yes, Danger is indeed his middle name, and we couldn't have agreed on a better one for our son.

He is breaking our house.
He is climbing the outer edges of our stairs; ya' know, on the wrong side of the spindles.

He is forcing open the child locks installed on our many drawers (with vigor, determination, and much success).
He is jamming open our lazy Susan and demolishing our glass nesting bowls that reside within.
He is eating the few shards of paper towel he can extract from the "baby-proofed" cabinet under our sink.
He is even pushing the chairs lining the walls in the dining room back over to the table to climb on and get on top of said table.
He tried to crack open my skull with a blue tub of vapor rub.
He rips out fistfuls on his sisters hair and laughs while she screams & cries.
He chucks any item through the baby gates to see how far they travel down the stairs.

He launches remote controls as far and as hard as he can to watch the batteries, and battery cover, explode from their housing.
This boy even rubs his coconut oiled face (à la prepped for winter wind), down my glass doors and in to any surface that makes sound to provide drum beats. All our windows are now oiled.

He climbs beds; he mounts coffee tables.
He surfs any and all bikes, ride-on-toys, or rockers.
He ripped down the phonics boards that were lovingly bolted to a wall in his room.
He has broken a dining room chair beyond repair.
He has forced us to trash one of my favorite vintage arm chairs.
He headbutts the back of his highchair to get it to move around: over and over.
He very intentionally and spitefully threw keys in the downstairs toilet.
He has pulled out 28% of the hair from the circumference of my hairline.
He just ate a turquoise crayon.  His teeth are now turquoise.
He is now trying to color my face. 
He is fourteen months old.

But this is my boy, our boy, and I will love and appreciate him through the chaos.
I will remember how lucky I am as I clean up, glue, screw, wipe, mop, vacuum, repaint, remove, reevaluate, reassign, redesign, and revive items in our house. Or at least when my husband does it.

Then, he smiles, he whines, and I pick him up. 
He curls up under my chin and in to my chest and I melt and breathe him in
(Thanks, to Sarah for the reminder.)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teach Your Children Well

I prefer to shun card and jewelry commercials and yell obscenities and wit at the t.v. when I do catch V-Day commercialism trying to guilt the public at large in to consuming and conceding. But I do love teaching my kids what kindness and love are REALLY about; and that is a principle we do celebrate every day.  In fact, Sunday is our official "Love Day." Every single week.
Mushy? Yes.
Important to the fabric of my family and society? Yes.
Do you wanna gag yourself with a spoon now? Go ahead.

But my daughter reminded me Valentine's day was, in fact, this Friday, and that she was "...soOoOoOOo excited for it."  So I figured I'd humor that enthusiasm.
Anyway, this frugal scrap paper project with the kids gave us a creative respite from the mess left from breakfast and the reality of laundry and diapers to be washed. The glow of the blinding snow flooded in our dining room and we sat and worked together.  Even baby Marin added some soft scribbles to the construction paper hearts.

Scrap Decorative Paper & Construction paper + Tape + Time Well Spent Chatting Coloring and Cutting With Kiddos = Much appreciated Homespun Happiness.

And it really didn't take much time or effort and that's always a good thing.

$0.00 spent.
Love tank: filled.
Card stores: bite me.
Jewelry commercials: my five-year-old is a stealthier manipulator.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sorta'-Kinda'-Non-'14 PSA

(thanks houzz for the pic)

While on holiday hiatus, I contemplated several times to blog about 'this' or 'that' or post something astute or helpful in a social media format regarding the season or some sort of interior design resolve. 

Every time I went to do it, it all just felt so contrived. So I opted out because I thought no one would want to hear about one more thing they gotta do, or feel as though they should do or even feel guilty for not doing because some buddy out there (me) said on some computer that it might be a good idea. That's not what this past Festivus/Hanukkah/Kwanza/Xmas/Christmas/'Mas/New Year is supposed to really be about. 

The holiday season is supposed to be about feeling that buoyancy inside because you're celebrating the thing or idea or spirit or faith-driven ideal you have come to rely on and to do it with the people that (hopefully) make you feel magical, too.

So this has been my Happy New Year PSA. Feel charmed in whatever space you occupy; headspace or otherwise.