Monday, October 6

The Business of Design & Finding A Balance

I am but an infant blogger having only done this for a short time, but one thing I've learned quickly is that I am not alone in this space. A quick check of the website BlogTopSites and I found more blogs in the Home and Garden category than I could count. Literally, I got to number 718 and stopped out of sheer exhaustion. Some are more successful than others such as Thrifty Decor Chick with her 2.5 million monthly page views or  Centsational Girl with her only slightly less impressive 1.5 million. Hometalk, the popular platform for people to share their decor and DIY projects boasts more than 715,000 Facebook followers and there's even a national conference called Haven which "allows people to learn from and gather with some of the most notable DIY/Home bloggers in blog land." A whole conference on blogging about home decor. This isn't a cottage industry folks, this is big business! 

Of course, blogs are just one part of the home decor cosmos. HGTV is seen in more than 99 million households with an annual revenue figure of $176 million. According to Target's 2012 annual report, close to $13 billion in sales came from their home furnishings and decor department. That's almost equal to the GDP of Iceland people!!!

So why the national obsession? I suppose I am in a good position to answer that given I am one of the masses. For me, it is my creative outlet. Starting with a blank slate and creating a beautiful space gives me pure joy. There's no drama. There are no deadlines. No one is yelling at me or counting on me. It's just me and a giant puzzle that I am obsessed with putting together. The minute I have a scheme in mind, I literally can't wait to implement it. And once it's done, I keep going back into that room to look at what I've done. I know how that sounds and let's be honest, being an amateur designer and beginner blogger hardly makes me Mother Teresa.

So how do I balance my obsession with pretty things and my inner desire to give back? I got a small glimpse at how I might be able to do both this summer when I was contacted by BJs Wholesale Club who asked me to help them redesign a teacher's lounge at an elementary school in central Virginia. On a hot August day, I took my 10 year old daughter with me and we took shots of the lounge and then using all BJs products and a very limited budget, I came up with a concept to transform the space. Here was how the room looked when I visited:

And here is the inspiration board I created using all products from BJs. I provided them with a detailed and numbered guide on how to implement the design and which products to chose from their website. Unfortunately, scheduling and budget constraints kept this project from being implemented in this way, but I was happy to do the work and it inspired me to do more.

Now that I have reduced my work schedule and am close to finishing my own house, I am going to start looking for more projects where I can give my time to helping the designer challenged. And I think you know who you are. JUST KIDDING! What I mean is finding deserving people/places that could use a little pick me up to make daily life that much more enjoyable. A balanced life awaits!

Friday, October 3

Ask Allie: Kitty Nix's Living Room Makeover!

A few months ago I created a design board for my friend Kitty Nix. I am so excited to show you what she did with her living room. As a reminder, here was the post and here are a few pictures of the room before. You can see that she had the dark blue accent wall in the background, the tv on the side, the couch near the window and a chair in the corner. 

Here is the design board I created for the room. The theme I was going for was beachy and bright. I loved the idea of incorporating turquoise into the space. My biggest recommendation was the set up of the room. You can see in the full post that I suggested she move the couch in front of the fireplace and to move the television over the mantle. 

And here is what Kitty did with the space! Ah-mazing right? I love that she added yellow to the scheme which makes it a bright but elegant space. So let's break it down. First, she had the walls painted a pretty shade of greige - somewhere between grey and beige that her friend Heather helped her pick out and it is C2 Artisian-473P. You can see that the left the moldings white which makes them stand out. And of course, the tv made it's way over the fireplace courtesy of her husband Brad. 

Kitty found the grey credenza behind the couch on Joss & Main. I love how it mimics the white molding on the wall. The lamps are repurposed and are perfect for this table because they don't block the view of the tv. The yellow poufs are perfect for her three kids to lounge on and came from Amazon

I take credit for hunting down this grey velvet chair and fending off other buyers at Homegoods last week. Did you know they will actually hold items for you without purchasing them if you beg long enough? And it was only $249 which is a steal for the quality. You can see in the second picture that it has a nice slope and the scale is perfect for that corner. 

This is one of my favorite parts of the room. All of these paintings were created by Kitty's grandmother or her father. They are gorgeous and have obvious sentimental value which is priceless. Kitty's friend Mary suggested the layout and I really love it. 

Last weekend, Kitty went to her friend Kim's house for her 40th birthday party and saw this great teal planter. Apparently she thought it was a party favor and brought it home. It's perfect even if stolen. 

Here's a view of the bay window and the sitting area. It's a great place for games and the chairs are easily moved when she has company and needs more seating. Some of the pieces in the room have been handed down for more than 4 generations making it a beautiful and meaningful room. The rug came from Overstock and has both blue and grey tones to it. 

So there ya go! I love it and am so proud of her for doing it and for spending less than $1,500 total. It just goes to show that you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a great look and the feeling of a whole new room. 


Design Concept - Designing On The Side
Throw Pillows - Target
Dining Rug - Target
Pot - Stolen from Kim's house. There is a warrant out. 
Grey Chair  - Home Goods
Living Rug - Overstock
Sofa Table - Joss & Main
Yellow Poufs & Teal Blanket - Amazon
Paint - C2