Jun 27, 2008

Affordable Art

Mass-produced art puts art within reach of the masses. You find them in the Big Box stores or catalogs often digitally reproduced on canvas.

Even still, I favor real ink, glue and paint on paper.

Many people believe original or handmade art is expensive.

Think again.

Emerging artists making a name for themselves offer affordable artwork. And accessibility is increasing with sites like Etsy.

Some sites, like Poppytalk, are emerging as web-based curators promoting the best independent artists. Check out Poppytalk's Affordable Art Guide.

Next time you are shopping for something to put on your walls,curio shelves or mantels, consider supporting the emerging artist. You can build a collection for even less than you would pay for digital-produced art. And you'll have something of far greater value than mass-produced art can give you; you'll have art that is real, impressive, meaningful and beautiful.

Photo above is my favorite by Stephanie Levy currently highlighted Poppytalk's Affordable Art Guide.

Jun 21, 2008

Please vote on Kirtsy for designHop clubs

Friend Whitney Johnson, creator of Dare to Dream, not only encourages women to go after their dreams, she helps them along.

Case in point, Whitney has posted Aisha Sultan's article about our designHop club on Kirtsy -- a website that highlights popular news articles. If you will, please head on over to Kirtsy and click on the article link titled: Big decorating plans, small budget – why not start a designHop.

To vote FOR the article (and I hope you will) just click the link and read the article. It can be a bit confusing because there is no clear place to register a positive vote. However, just reading the article confirms you are voting to see it land on Kirtsy's front page.

Click here for Kirtsy and to see the link.

Thank you!

Jun 17, 2008

Wall Flowers

When is it cool to be a wall flower?

When it's chic and cheap, that's when.

Wall Flowers, new from UMA.

Jun 14, 2008

Budget Design Inspiration

A few things crossing my inbox this week to inspire the budget decorator.

First from a Missouri favorite, Pat at Back Porch Musings shares her DIY project to cover a $20 sidewalk sale chair in zebra print. I am very drawn to traditional furnishings covered in unexpected prints. I think it looks right at home in her more traditional setting. Let's hear it for Pat!

Pat's chair before makeover

Pat's chair after makeover

Pat's chair looking at home in its new surroundings

From our St. Louis favorite, UMA, these very fun vinyl tiles, Mozaikit: 225 a set for only $25.

I have blogged about vinyl stickers before -- they are the new wallpaper. Cover anything and have fun.

From Ballard Designs, we can be inspired by three basic rooms decorated with accessories for under $1000. I show one of them below. It's inspirational for sure, but I bet I could do it for half that. Dare me? Check out all three the rooms: Decorating on a Budget from Ballard Designs.



On the designHop front, we have seen a great response to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article. Many are inquiring how they can start a designHop club or party. I will share details soon. Please leave a comment if you would like to learn more...and check out the new designHop links.

Jun 7, 2008


Lindell Ladies designHop in the home of Aisha Sultan, home and family editor for the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, left to right: Marianne Power, Emily Tan, Mira Pazolli, Kimberly Warburton, Lisa Erekson, Stephanie Welsh, Christie Hutchins, Colleen Mitchell, Aisha Sultan and Dana King. Missing: Gina Adolphson, Marie Newman and Sarah Page.

Last month the Lindell Ladies designHop hopped on over to the home of Aisha Sultan, home and family editor for the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH newspaper.

Aisha was delightful. She made us yummy Pakistani food and treated us royally. Ten ladies came, our biggest group yet.

Aisha interviewed us and then invited the group to give her ideas on hanging her pictures. See her story -- click here or for your convenience, it is in the body of this post:

Designers hop houses
By Aisha Sultan
Saturday, Jun. 07 2008

One of the most intimidating things about hiring an interior designer is managing budget expectations. A designer, hired presumably for a superior aesthetic sense and know-how, is invited to judge our most intimate spaces.

So, when he or she asks: "How much did you have in mind?" it's a loaded question. Estimate too low, and you'll appear an unsophisticated rube. Too high, and you'll be thinking of excuses to back out of the buying presentation.

Local designer Dana King has found an intriguing way to bring intimidation-free, budget-friendly design to the masses. In fact, her approach relies on the inherent creativity of the masses. King was approached by women at her church about teaching design classes. She took their idea a step further and formed a design group along with Gina Adolphson, a fellow designer.

DESIGNHOP MEMBERS: left to right -- Gina Adolphson, Dana King, Emily Tan.

"Everyone is creative and everyone has the potential to design their home," she says.

Once a month, they gather the group at one of the participant's houses. King and Adolphson start with a short lesson, and then invite the group to tackle the
homeowner's design issue -- hands on. Women start moving furniture, searching the house for "new" accessories and suggesting paint colors.

King has dubbed the monthly get-together a "design hop" and wants to spread the ideas to form similar groups throughout the area. It's like joining a traveling band of home style stars.

For King, it's about making good design accessible. Because the ideas come from
ordinary people from diverse backgrounds, they tend to be practical. And,thankfully, there's no shame in trying to find the cheapest solution. The only possible drawback is getting your house clean enough for half a dozen women to wander through.

IN NEED OF HELP • This is a view of the mantle in Emily Tan’s dining room
before her design group did a remodeling makeover.

MANTLE MAGIC • The design group used items Tan already had to make the
fireplace area more appealing.

I offered to host a hop at my home to see how the process would work. I've worked with designers before and was curious to hear suggestions from a group of women with expertise ranging from biology to home schooling. I wanted input on arranging and hanging pictures that have been sitting in our closets for years.

Ten women showed up for the design hop. Before King and Adolphson presented their short lection on the basics of picture hanging, they asked for an update from women who had hosted previous hops. The discussion centered on money-saving decorating tips.

Emily Tan, whose house has been on the market for several months, said the group made over two fireplace mantels in her house, along with the entryway.

"I didn't have to spend any money," she said. "They used stuff we had."

Before the hop, her house had gotten low marks on decorating from potential home buyers. The feedback has improved, she said. Another woman said she was able to find fabric shower curtains to use as window treatments.

"That's a great tip," said King. She had also used shower curtains in her daughter's bedroom.

PEACEFUL PLACE • A “before” view of the entryway in Emily Tan’s foyer before
her design group did a remodeling makeover.

MASTER PEACEFUL PLACE • An “after” view of the entryway in Emily Tan’s foyer
after her design group did a remodeling makeover.

"You helped me have courage to paint," another woman volunteered. King offered tips unlikely to be heard from designers working on commission. She suggested finding accessories at craft or thrift shops that can be spray painted for a new look.

"Shop for shape," she advised. Anything can be painted to make it the right color.

Adolphson used a small dry erase board to illustrate the lesson on hanging artwork. She explained the importance of considering "negative space" (the space between a group of pictures) and talked about the ideal hanging length. The group headed upstairs to check out our bedroom and the art I'd laid all around the room.

Immediately, a few started suggesting different furniture layouts. I vetoed most of those suggestions. Then, a discussion began on paint colors, which led to ideas for window treatments and accessories. Ten fresh sets of eyes found ways of looking at the room that I had never considered. Their enthusiasm got me excited about a project I'd stalled on for months. There are many confident do-it-yourselfers, but I'm in the camp that balks at spending thousands or investing hours in a project that may turn out looking no better than it started.

The suggestions from the design hop were much more helpful than I had expected. They even found a spot for an oversized painting of irises that I'd nearly given up on. And, no one ever asked me about my budget.


If you would like to start a designHop group or join ours, email me at: dana@danasdesignstudio.com or call: 314-652-1759.

Jun 6, 2008

designHop update -- Christie's home

The Lindell ladies designHop has been busy the last few months. We hopped over to Christy's home to rearrange her living room.

Stephanie (left) discusses layout ideas with Christie (right)

Marianne has a plan!

Voila! A redo that has added color and interest to Christy's space.

Christie already had beautiful things, but she was tired of the arrangement and didn't feel it was functional. We moved a love seat to replace the chair, opening up space in another area. Her room was mostly green and lacking an accent color. We noticed a yellow tray from the kitchen that we placed on the tired ottoman. The tray inspired Christie to pull out yellow pillows and a yellow lamp she had hidden away.

Corner before

We tackled every corner of the room including one where a cello and wreath sat looking very lonely. We added a picture frame making an arrangement of three (we like odd numbers and we especially like groupings made of three items).

Corner after

If you would like to join our designHop club or receive information about how to start one of your own, please leave a comment or email me, Dana King at dana@danasdesignstudio.com or call 314-652-1759.

Learn more about the designHop -- click here