Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Shopping for Showhouse Accessories

I've been shopping for accessories for my Showhouse bedroom for a teenaged girl. It's so much fun! Since I have a 20 year old daughter, I just imagined what she would like and went with that. I found the book above at Anthropologie. It's a collection of stories from famous creative people, who recount their first moves to NYC....actors, journalists, artists, writers, etc. from the last 50 years. It's perfect for my teenaged client who envisions herself living there someday! I found the bronze Empire State Bldg statue at a local antique mall.

I raided my daughter's bookshelf for her old Gossip Girl books and picked up some current fashion magazines.
The jewelry tree is a decorative metal tree from Aidan Gray. It's nice for jewelry, crystals, and the odd things my client wishes to adorn it with. Sort of a whimsical artistic display.

I found this colorful assortment of bowls at Anthropologie for jewelry and such to sit under the tree.

Rectangular frame is from Marshall's, round one is from Anthropologie.

Turquoise vase is from Target. Platter is from Marshall's. All the jewelry was a real deal at Forever 21.

Love the bright punches of color in these prints from Unique Arts of Houston. I hung them in frames painted to match the wall.

Love this corded trim below, from Robert Allen for the leading edge of my sheers. Great contrast with the dark French doors.

Come and visit the Showhouse in Sienna Plantation. It starts this weekend! I'll be there all three upcoming weekends.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mixing Old and New Furnishings - at the Showhouse

I love eclectic mixes of furnishings. After all, we don't always acquire every bit of new furniture at one time in our lives. Tastes, budgets, and needs change over the years and making the old work with the new can be a challenge. Eclectic doesn't mean jumbled or crazy or anything goes. There has to be purpose to the mix in order for it all to come together. It's really kind of an art.

In my upcoming Showhouse bedroom for an older teen girl, I've used some vintage pieces and some new ones to create a unique space that speaks to the unique personality of my imaginary client. Just like most of us, "Phoebe" likes lots of different styles and finds the art of the mix fun and expressive.

I found this old chair frame in Bryan, TX in a dusty antique shop. I loved the simple lines of the legs, arms, and wings.

I put a Thom Felicia fabric on it and painted the legs in a vibrant turquoise. I love the way the stripes sort of exaggerate the wings. It's a bit whimsical, don't you think?

Here's my grandmother's old 1950's dresser I found in my mother's garage. It was sanded and refinished.

Love the lucite knobs and serpentine base. It has such a nice retro vibe.

Here it is ready to go.

I found these old French fashion magazine ads from the 50's in a local antique mall. Great drawings with a hint of color. I framed them in some Target do-it-yourself metallic frames and some new dark turquoise mats to give them a stronger presence on the white walls.

A consignment store find. Doesn't this scream "grandmother" to you? Doilies? Really? It had such curvy, graceful legs though and a simple design. I thought it would make a great base for my jewelry tree. Phoebe could store bowls of her jewelry around the base.

At the finishing shop. It was mahogany with lots of red in the finish and a little veneer damage. I wanted to take the red out and make it more brown colored. My refinisher had to stain it with a green tinted stain to get about 90% of the red out.

Doesn't it look totally different in a more modern space?

The perfect base for the jewelry tree.

This nightstand had some nice detail, but that red!!!

Painted white to match the walls it takes on a more modern look. Love the brass hardware.

I was looking for a really tall 60's look vintage lamp for the dresser. Perfect!

Primed, painted, rewired, and a new shade later......

Love the color.

Now for some of my new pieces.

Love these mirrors in patterns that repeat my pillow fabric patterns. They will be hung over the head of the bed to reflect the light from the balcony doors. I think they add some glamour to the space.

My ghost chair. It goes anywhere!

The custom queen daybed I had made looks great in the space. I wanted to give my client more floor space for a lounge area in the room and a clear path to the balcony, so I pushed the bed up in the corner of the room. The white vinyl has no grain, it's not pretending to be leather. The bed is designed to be sold as a queen bed with headboard. The side headboard is actually king size and can be removed and used separately. This makes such a great backdrop for my beautiful, graphic pillows.

Just a few of my many pillows that will be tossed on the bed.

I love the new 8' round wool flokati I found online. With my gray sisal on the floor, the white flokati provides a wonderful textural contrast and brings the white color down to the floor.

My new bulletin board I had made to hang over the dresser. White linen with some great tape trim. The pattern repeats the pattern in one of the pillow fabrics.

New ottoman that will sit on the flokati. The Brentano velvet is so rich and plush.

Ready for visitors!

If you are in the Houston area, drop in to the Showhouse in Sienna Plantation! It opens next weekend and runs until April 17th. Open Tuesday through Sunday. Come see the mix!

I'd love for you to visit my new blog, Designed w/Carla Aston. See you there!

If you like an eclectic mix of furnishings but are unsure of how to put it all together, contact Aston Design Studio for a consultation to begin the design of your creative, eclectic interior.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Showhouse Bedroom

Color palette for the bedroom. Love the Brentano velvet in the center!

A few weeks ago I shared the bathroom design I was doing for the upcoming ASID Showhouse in Sienna Plantation, in the Houston area. I was still tweaking the bedroom, but everything is almost done now so I'd love to share some of the beautiful fabrics and interesting furnishings I'm using in the space.

This is my imaginary client, "Phoebe", an older teen girl, maybe a freshman or sophomore in college, visiting home on holidays and summer. She is a free spirit, artistic, creative, smart, and opinionated. She has an unpredictable sense of style, a bit bohemian but not dark and sloppy.....more happy and pretty.

The floor plan shows the queen bed pushed up in the near corner of the room so that Phoebe can have a nice lounge area to spend some private time with her home friends away from the family. Her bed is so puffy and inviting that she can lounge there with her laptop amongst all her colorful pillows while glancing out the French doors to the beautiful view beyond. She has a balcony and the best view of the house.....nothing but the best for our Phoebe!

Her eclectic spirit is evident here with Grandmother's old chair frame, upholstered in a new bright print fabric with legs painted in Phoebe's favorite turquoise.

Chair fabric, Thom Felicia for Kravet

The mix of a mid-century modern chrome lamp, an antique painted nightstand, and a velvet ottoman make for a unique combination.

The other corner has a tall leaning mirror (Phoebe can see herself from everywhere in the room) and a unique metal tree that serves as a jewelry holder and whimsical art project. Phoebe decorates it with various crystals and beads as her mood changes.

A ghost chair and mid-century modern dresser highlight the mix.

(My grandmother's dresser from the 1950's. Love the serpentine base.)

It will be painted SW Sassy Green.

with some lucite knobs.

If you are in the Houston area in April, please come and visit the Showhouse! Open April 1st through 17th, Tuesdays through Sundays, closed Mondays.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Backsplash Tips - Part 2, Dealing with Outlets and Switches

You can have the most beautiful, expensive tile with a fabulous pattern for your kitchen backsplash and ruin it with a few missteps. Not dealing with the outlets and switches in a splash can render it the biggest eyesore in the room. Doesn't this above just scream, "You forgot about me!"

Each project is different and has different circumstances so there are no hard and fast rules except one, you don't want them to stand out or contrast with your material. You don't want outlets and switches to take the thunder away from the star, your beautiful backsplash.

The best way to do that is to blend. I usually recommend having the electrician change out all the electrical in the splash to a standard color that is as close to the backsplash field color as possible. Then, you are really only paying for labor, outlets are not that expensive. Standard colors are white, light almond, ivory, brown, and black. Stainless covers are also available and can blend in to a lot of materials. If you are using travertine, a light almond is good. Ivory for a more yellowed color of tile and brown is good on wood, like on an island. It doesn't have to be perfect, just not such a high contrast. It's not just the plates, the receptacles need to be changed too, that's why you need an electrician.

These dark outlets really distract from the pattern of the backsplash in this kitchen. A light neutral would have helped hide them.

The white outlets here interrupt the pattern and have a high contrast with the gray tile. Your eye goes right to the bright white spot. A gray color and a horizontal mounting at the base of the splash would have been a good solution.

Simple white outlets on this white tile would have blended in.

Lutron controls have a great color selection to choose from. They are somewhat more costly than standard outlets and switches, but you can really get a good match and a very sophisticated look for your backsplash.

Some contractors and designers like to put a plug strip directly under the upper cabinets. While it can create a clean look, if you plug anything in, the cord is highly visible.

If you are going to use your outlets a lot on that wall or leave items plugged in, the trailing cord can be more unsightly than the outlet. It's also a pain to bend down and look under the cabinet to see where the outlet is every time you want to plug something in.

Here is a standard light almond color outlet on a neutral tumbled limestone splash. It blends in really well.

The outlet above is mounted horizontally and blends with the backsplash colors. This is a Lutron greige color and is as inconspicuous as possible.

The outlets here are mounted horizontally and fit within the size of the tile and just underneath the inset. The expensive handmade glass tile mosaic is uninterrupted. This takes careful planning when locating the outlets on the wall.

A beautiful kitchen with unobtrusive outlets and switches. You notice the marble tile, not the white switch plates.

Careful planning and attention to detail are essential to making the most of your backsplash. You don't want to spend all that money on beautiful tile just to ruin it with an ill placed, contrasting outlet.

For more info on backsplash design see this post.....Walls of Tile

Check out my new blog, Designed w/Carla Aston. See you there!

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