Apr 30, 2008

Let's hear it for Jessica Gooley, The Belly Button Bunch

I love giving "shout outs" to entrepreneurial women who offer us home decor from the heart. Let's hear it for Jessica Gooley, who has created a group of fun zany animal wall hangings in colors that really pop. They are called the "Belly Button Bunch".

The style reminds me of children's books or coloring books I saw in the 60s. Made of the ever popular felt, they have a retro fun feel. I think they would be at home in any children's room, day care, classroom and doctor's office.

How do you get one?

Right now, the Belly Button Bunch wall hangings are available either as limited-edition, handmade art or as a do-it-yourself craft kit which includes all materials but the frame. See the website -- click here -- for more details.

Jessica asked for advice on marketing her fun friends. I suggested an Etsy shop.

What ideas do you have for her? And can you share Jessica's Belly Button Bunch with your friends?

Thanks to Whitney Johnson of Dare to Dream for helping Jessica and bringing her to my attention.

Apr 24, 2008

America's Homes

I love IKEA... cheap and chic, the way we like it!

IKEA's catalog is my most well-worn catalog. Every year it is more clever than the year before. I was especially grabbed by a headline on the front of this years catalog:

Home is the most important place.

To make their point, IKEA has published a beautiful book that takes a peek inside the diverse homes of America.

And to drive the point home, so to speak, the home they want to feature on the book's cover is YOUR home and family. You customize the book with your home and/or family on the cover.

Check it out by clicking here.

I am considering this photo -- at left -- depicting our move last year to our new home. Pretty much sums up the experience!

Home is the most important place...and it's the most fun too.

Apr 16, 2008

Just a reminder about the design event

Join us in St. Louis, Missouri this Friday and/or Saturday:

Apr 10, 2008

The designHop

Women of the St. Louis, Missouri based, Design Hop, meeting last month, from left to right: Colleen, Emily, Sarah, Stephanie (in back behind Gina), Gina and Dana. (Missing: Marianne -- taking the photo -- Christie, Marie, and other friends.)

Do you feel overwhelmed with home decorating?

Many people do.

Do you lack confidence to tackle the do-it-yourself home decorating project?

You are not alone.

Or maybe you actually are alone and that is the problem!

Could you use a little help?

In truth, we all could. Even professional interior designers look to others for feedback or help.

Collaboration is key to success in almost any endeavor and the design of our homes is no exception. Yet many homeowners feel alone.

I have had clients tell me they watch HGTV, they are inspired and learn much, but when it comes to internalizing what they have learned they feel overwhelmed or lack confidence to try it in their own home.

One client said, "I wish Vern Yip (HGTV design guru) would pop through my TV screen and show me how to design my own home!"

Learning the principles of design is easier than applying them to our own spaces.

It may be that we lack experience and so we lack confidence. Or our spouses and family members have different opinions that we don't know how to mediate. And perhaps, too, it is because decorating our home is a big investment and we are afraid to blow it.

Whatever the reason for the hesitation or anxiety, decorating is, for most people, a very emotional experience.

At the root of most design anxiety is "fear".

Don't we all wish a "design star" would jump through the TV screen to support us? That won't happen, but I have discovered something even better.

The designHop.

It is a creation of a group of women at my church that has grown to include neighbors and friends.

We "hop" from home to home, a different one each month, and as a group we tackle a design dilemma in the home. Last month we helped Stephanie rearrange her bedroom furniture to become a more functional living space.

Gina and I, the group's design leaders, take some time at each designHop teaching basic principles of design. Then we let the group loose to tackle a particular design dilemma the host of the hop has given us. During the hands-on activity, Gina and I mostly sit back and watch.

The most satisfying result is not the ultimate design of the room -- though that is amazing -- but is the increased confidence the women gain through the process. They become "design stars" in their own right.

We have no rules for the group, but we encourage them to try their ideas.

We tell them there is NO such thing as "bad ideas", only ideas that work better than others. And ultimately the right design solution is what works for the homeowner. With that in mind, the ladies feel free to experiment.

We meet once a month. Tonight we will meet at Emily's home to accessorize her fireplace mantel, and then we'll "hop" on over to her neighbor's home, Bridget, to rearrange the furniture in her dining room.

If you live in the St. Louis area and would like to join us for a Design Hop, or would like help to create your own Design Hop, whether here in St. Louis or another area, then leave me a comment. I am glad to help.

This is so exciting... We create "Design Stars" one hop at a time!

A related link, is Dare to Dream, where women are encouraged to practice "systergy" to support each other in their dreams. I will share more about the collaborative systergy of the Design Hop in future posts...stay tuned.

Apr 6, 2008

Armoire Transformed -- Found it at the Big Box

I have a special love for Target and for furnishings remade with paint...so here is an idea that really spoke to me.

This is where Rachel and Phoebe truly work together.

Jen from Sanctuary Arts at Home, inspires us to pull out the paint to give not only yard sale finds a lift, but also to give Target mass-market furnishings that one-of-a-kind look.

Jen says:

"...don't be afraid to pull out the paint and give something new life instead of putting it into the land fill and spending unnecessary money. Reusing something and putting some paint on it is a green and budget friendly choice. I know some people feel nervous about coating good wood in latex ( Mom, good wood isn't good wood if it's ugly.), but really, it is only paint."
See the Target armoire transformed, below:

Armoire before Jen does her magic.

Wow, what a transformation!

Apr 3, 2008

Save the Date...You're Invited!

Gail Farwell, real estate agent, doesn't just sell homes...

...she sells the city!

The Art of City Living Tour is Gail's brain child. It's art, it's food and it's fun... and you are invited. Launched last month, the inaugural tour attracted over one hundred patrons.

Gail is committed to hosting the FREE event every month, featuring different homes and artists in St. Louis. She invites the public in the greater metro area from county folks to city folks so everyone can learn what city living is all about.

Dana's Design Studio is one of the sponsors for the April 18th and 19th tours. I designed the interior of the Coachlight Town Home where the tour is being held.

I'll be there Friday for the party and art show, and Saturday -- from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. -- I'll share design tips for budget decorating. Bring photos of your design dilemmas on Saturday and recieve free design advice on the spot.

Gail and I want people to know they can live in style on a budget. Homes are a good deal now and furnishing them is made easier by decorating in clever ways, using sources like Ashley Furniture Homestores and other value-driven retailers.

Living in the city is an art.

Check it out by clicking:

The Art of City Living Tour.

See you there!

Apr 2, 2008

Heirloom Chic -- found it at the Big Box

Rachel's favorite, Brocade Home, and others like Target, are featured on the Today Show. But not in a segment you might expect. It is not about creating the "new" look, but the "old". For traditional charm and heirloom- feel, we might think to turn to yard sales and the antique store.

Susanna Salk, home decor expert, tells how you can achieve old world charm even if you can't afford to buy expensive antiques, or if you simply can't find what you are looking for at yard sales or the antique store. She has cleverly sourced items found at the Big Boxes and other mass marketers to create that Heirloom-Chic look.

Here are some take-aways to do-it-yourself:

1) Mass marketers, like Brocade and Target, provide heirloom-chic style furnishings that won't cost an arm and a leg.

2) Wallpaper is grand and beautiful. It does not need to take over a space, but can be hung on an accent wall.

3) Mixing patterns adds character to a room. Don't be afraid to mix patterns.

4) Mix old and new. If you can't afford grand antique pieces, consider investing in smaller pieces, like silverware. "Phoebes" will love the antique source - 1stdibs.com -- given in this clip.

5) Even modern spaces can be made more unique with an heirloom-style accent piece.

6) Family heirloom pictures -- even of your pet -- add that heirloom feel.

7) Consider the hardware on your dressers and drawers. Give them an uplift with new "old" hardware.

What are your favorite take-aways?

Apr 1, 2008

Festive and Frugal

Another great idea found on Laura's site -- Paint in my Hair.

Laura's friends, Patti and Kim, decorated a party in a gymnasium for a church women's organization. They spent a total of $29. Using paper, they made over-sized confetti. Center pieces were cakes that guests were invited to decorate with sprinkles. Paper lanterns hung above added to the festive atmosphere.

Consider how you can be festive and fugal for your next party by using over-sized confetti.