Tag Archives: Design

Post #100 and it’s all about you!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to anyone and everyone who has ever read my blog! This has been an amazing journey thus far and I am excited about what lies ahead.

For my 100th post, I want to remind you about my TWO GIVEAWAYS that end TOMORROW, FRIDAY OCTOBER 29TH. The details are below:

Win a 1-hour decorating consultation

Email me a picture of a space you would like some professional help with.The Artist’s Eye has been generous enough to offer ONE lucky reader with a one-hour design consultation. Here is what you need to know to enter for your chance to win.

  1. For this giveaway, you need to live in the D.C. metro area (no worries, I will have other giveaways for readers outside of the D.C. area).
  2. Email me a picture of the space you want The Artist’s Eye to help you with and a brief description of why you need the consultation by  Friday, October 29th.
  3. I will select a winner based on the emails and photos I receive.

Win  an arrangement of coffee filter flowers

You get to pick all of the details for the arrangement. There are three ways to enter:

  1. Comment on any post
  2. Join the Fabulous in Four-Hundred Square Feet Facebook page (if you already follow my Facebook page, Contact Me and let me know and I will count an entry for you)
  3. Follow me on Twitter (if you already follow my Facebook page,Contact Meand let me know and I will count an entry for you)

You can do one or all three for a better chance to win. Deadline is Friday, October 29th.

So there you have it! Many thanks again.



Dynamic Design

While I had prepared myself for the transition of job culture from my last job to this new one, or so I thought, it has been a surprisingly frazzling first two weeks. My schedule is all thrown off, I don’t have much work to do, I’m still getting used to wearing “grown-up clothes” ….. the list goes on.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still extremely excited for what the future may hold, and grateful for all that I have, but I’m drained. Hence, the short post today. I promise I will be much more on the ball next week.

I came across this quote the other day. I think it will help me to justify my current mental state and the physical state of my closet.

One person’s mess is merely another person’s filing system.

– Margo Kaurman

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

Fall 2010 Capital Home Show

Happy Friday! I am reaching the end of my “Two Weeks of Freedom”, but there is still more fun ahead.

This weekend is the Capital Home Show at the Dulles Expo Center. The show begins today and ends Sunday the 26th. This is my first time attending any sort of interior decorating or home show and I’m very very excited! I promise to take lots of pictures and come back with my stories and finds. If you are interested in attending this year’s show as well, you can save $3 by purchasing your tickets on-line. Tickets are $12 at the door.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wishful Wednesday

I am currently working on a redecorating project for my first client! I’m very excited.

For the living space, I have decided to give it somewhat of a safari feel. Here are some amazing rooms from ELLE Decor of “The Allure of Animal Print”.

All images courtesy of www.elledecor.com.

Two weeks of freedom!

I had my last day as a “Research Analyst” on Friday, September 10th. My first day working as a “Fed” (Federal Government Employee) isn’t until September 27th. This means I have two full weeks of NO WORK!

I can’t remember a time, since I’ve been able to work at 15 years-old, when I had two weeks with absolutely no work and no obligations. It’s beyond amazing. I’m a few days in and still loving it. I’ve decided to use this time for a few different things:

  • Fitness. In the last year, with my health finally in check, my workout schedule has been sporadic. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy yoga. I hope to use the next two weeks to get into more of a routine with my physical fitness.
  • Crafts. I have lots of half-started projects that I would either like to finish or get much further on.
  • Decorating. I’d like to finish-up my office area decorating and organization and then move on to my closet.
  • Learning to build a Web Site. I would like to take this blog to another level, but don’t have the technical know-how. With the help of the library, a tech savvy friend, online tutorials and a lot of patience, I hope to learn a bit more about web design.
  • Getting ready for my job. I need suits. My previous job had no dress code – literally. I’m used to wearing jeans and a t-shirt to work. This will go along with cleaning out, organizing and styling my closet as I will need to go through my clothes to determine what work clothes I need to purchase.
  • Dotting my “i”s and crossing my “t”s. I haven’t been eating the best lately. This is entirely due to laziness. The last thing I want to do when I get home from work is cook a meal. This needs to stop. I need to figure out what steps to take in order to make cooking more enjoyable and easier. I also want to make sure I at least start this new portion of my life with as much organization as possible.

I could ramble on and on about how amazing these two weeks will be and how much I have grown and changed in the past year, but I won’t.

The weather is gorgeous in D.C. and I hope it is where ever you are as well. Have a great Tuesday and don’t forget to e-mail me your space redecoration pictures!

My cat, Lola, enjoying the sun and fresh air on my newly recovered chair.

Drum roll please…

Tada! My finished living room – post redecoration. As I am sure I have said before, I am completely in love with the new space. On Friday, I showed you the design board I pulled together while deciding how to redecorate my space. Now, you will finally get to see what my new space looks like!

What do you think?

In regards to budget, you can find the shopping list of everything in this space here. While this total seems high, most of these items were purchased before the redecoration. My redecoration purchases were most of the items under “Living Room Redecoration”; I was able to redecorate it for about $250. My most expensive purchase was the area rug and was well worth it. I got the rug for an amazing price; it is also very durable and really makes the space.

Now it is time for you to share your space redecorations! E-mail me photos of your space. They can be before and after or just the final space. If you are in the process of redecorating and want some tips, e-mail me those too!

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 5

Now that I know what I am working with (Step 1), have gotten rid of any clutter (Step 2), found my design inspiration (Step 3) and had a great time shopping (Step 4), its time for me to share with you my final living room!

I am a very visual person, and for me to feel confident about my decisions I like to see them all together first. This helps me identify if there is something missing (ie. a color, feeling, not enough or too much of a style, etc.) or if something just doesn’t fit. Here is the design board I put together:

  1. It is almost embarrassing to admit, but in the 3+ years I have lived here I have not yet put up any sort of window treatments. While the vertical blinds already installed serve their practical purpose, I also think they make the space a bit less warm. With my relatively new sewing machine, I still seem to have quite the crafter’s bug; therefore, I clearly had to make my curtains. To be budget savvy, I purchased sheer curtains from World Market and modified them. I wanted the curtains to blend but still have a bit of style.
  2. As I have mentioned a few times, I recently made a slipcover for my futon. While this was less expensive than purchasing a new sleeper sofa or having a slipcover custom made, it wasn’t cheap. Therefore, this piece was staying pretty much as is. That helped to determine at least part of my color palette – brown.With the lighter brown used for the futon, I needed to bring in some richer colors to this piece. Being that the futon/couch is such a substantial portion of the space it was important to have a few more brown tones, particularly darker ones, included. I purchased a very inexpensive throw blanket from Marshall’s to do the trick.
  3. While I know it may be a bit taboo, in reality my TV is really the focus of this space. I already owned the TV and TV stand. The stand is on casters so that it can be turned towards my bed. To stay to a smaller budget, I kept this piece as is and decided to work to incorporate the lighter brown.
  4. The IKEA side table that I already owned (in birch) helps in tying in the lighter brown of my TV stand. I decided to keep the table lamp that I already owned since it could work with the pieces I had.
  5. You may recognize this chair in the photos of my living room. That’s because it’s the same chair that, in the design board, has only been modified in color via Photoshop. The old navy blue color just didn’t fit. I have purchased a brown slipcover for this chair in a brown darker than the futon to add darker browns to the space. This was a cost effective decision as I would have loved a new chair but just didn’t want to stretch the budget.
  6. I think that finding images of what you would like your space to look like or feel like is a step too often skipped. The importance of this was clear during my living room redecoration. As I was putting all of the pieces together, something was still missing. I referred to my binder full of print-outs and found that nearly every living room I loved had symmetry; more specifically, each of these spaces had two accent chairs. After purchasing a new desk chair from Craigslist.com, I was able to use the old chair in my living room. What a difference it made!
  7. Possibly my favorite piece! This area rug is about 5 ft X 8 ft and will covers a much more substantial portion of my living space floor than my previous, very undersized, rug. My attempt with the smaller rug was to pull together the blue in the chair with the brown futon. I just don’t think this worked at all for various reasons. Long story short, this rug has various tones of brown and will really help to pull together the various pieces. The rug will also serve to help separate the living space from the other spaces in my apartment and I love the pattern.
  8. I have 2 of these ottomans and love them. They add additional seating and storage and the top allows for them to also serve as a coffee table of sorts. As you clearly see, these are not brown – they are black. Not a huge problem as they aren’t huge pieces and I have also pulled in some other black elements.
  9. To make the various tones of brown work, I needed to ensure that they were repeated in the space. The two solid dark brown pillows I already own and they will stay on the futon. The smaller rectangular pillow will go on the chair to add some lighter tones to it and give some contemporary style. The square pillow with circles will go on the futon/couch.
  10. There are a few things that either I couldn’t reasonably change or didn’t want to change. One of these is my artwork. As I have traveled abroad, I have purchased art from local artists in various countries and cities. These are very special to me and I have wanted them to take center stage to a degree in my decor.Being that these pieces of art are varying sizes and sometimes not standard sizes for U.S. frames, I purchased inexpensive black frames from IKEA and then had custom matting made in appropriate colors. This was much more affordable than having custom framing done for most of them. The black frames make the artwork all look as one composition, but the coordinating matting allows each piece to standout in its own way as they are all unique in style, medium, etc.

And there you have it – my redecorated living room. I absolutely love it!

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 3

Step 3 to redecorating my living room was to find design inspiration. Looking for inspiration to redecorate my living room was fun and extremely helpful.

As I mentioned earlier, sproost.com has a wonderful style engine to help in identifying your style. After completing sproost’s style engine, I identified my own style as a combination of “French Eclectic”, “Cottage Chic” and “Hollywood Couture” or what I have called French-Cottage-Couture.

Here are some examples of each design style:

An example of French Eclectic style from sproost.com

An example of Cottage Chic from sproost.com

An example of Hollywood Couture from sproost.com

Keeping this in mind, I was able to focus my search for other photos of spaces with elements that I like. Here are a few spaces that I wanted to pull from in my own living room redecoration:

From: David Jimenez

From: decor*pad

What did you find for your redecorating inspiration?

Dynamic Design

An artist cannot do anything slovenly.

– Jane Austen

Tobi Fairley's, far from slovenly, office

Wishful Wednesday

I’m a fan of dreaming big. I have a large stash of inspirational images of various spaces that I wish were mine. Here are a few of my dream living rooms:

From: Decorpad.com

From: Decorpad.com

From: Decorpad.com

I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

So…..how did it go? Did you enjoy your 5 Step room redecoration? What does your space look like now?

Any plans to redecorate another space?

Any obstacles you still need to overcome?

Please e-mail me photos of your spaces. I’d love to see what everyone has done and I always enjoy sharing ideas!

To be fair, here is a sneak peek at what I have done with my living room redecoration

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

So…..how did it go? Did you enjoy your 5 Step room redecoration? What does your space look like now?

Any plans to redecorate another space?

Any obstacles you still need to overcome?

Please e-mail me photos of your spaces. I’d love to see what everyone has done and I always enjoy sharing ideas!

To be fair, here is a sneak peek at what I have done with my living room redecoration

Design Principles: Color, Pattern and Texture

The final principles of design – color, pattern and texture.

While color adds a lot to a space, it can be further enhanced through the use of pattern and texture. This is particularly important in monochromatic schemes to avoid the room looking dull. Pattern and texture add depth and interest.

Short and sweet for these design principles (as I’m still recovering from yesterday’s surgery).

Here are some great uses of color, pattern and texture:

Design Principles: Focal Point and Emphasis

While I often like to be the focal point for most everything, I must admit that establishing a focal point is essential to successful space design. As Lee Brown, of interiordezine.com, says

[A focal point is] something attractive that immediately draws the eye into the room and makes you want to be there.

I think that this is an area of design where you can really let your personality and person style shine and have a good deal of fun. When I chose a focal point in my own spaces I like to consider:

  • what is my favorite element of this space? why?
  • is there something in this space that holds particular meaning?
  • what is the feeling I want people to get when the enter this space?

Taking the answers to the above questions into consideration helps to identify (a) what the focal point should be and (b) some ideas for how best to highlight it.

Lee Brown offers some additional advice on focal points:

Some people are lucky and have an ever changing view from a window that does this naturally, but most of us have to work at it. The most common ways to achieve a focal point is with the use of a piece of artwork be it sculptural or a painting. Other ways include a large decorative mirror, a fireplace, using a change in wall color with a feature wall, using a change in texture with a wallpaper or fabric to draw your eye. Sometimes a piece of furniture or a rug can be a focal point, but they aren’t usually as obvious because you eye has to look down to see these, the best place for a focal point is at eye level. Don’t forget to highlight the focal point with lighting.

As always, have fun!

Design Principles: Rhythm and Repetition

When thinking of these next design principles, all that comes to mind are my days of being a band geek. Contrary to my musical associations, rhythm and repetition are very important elements in design, as well as music.

Design Our Sign provides a very comprehensive explanation:

How objects relate to one another develops rhythm. This works the same way in a home as it does in a piece of music. Rhythm creates interest. It can make an area come alive. Repetition and contrast are key elements to use. A modern example of this would be a room that is mostly one color (monochromatic) and feels very harmonious and comfortable. This is achieved by using different textures and materials of this one color. The mix of textures (contrast) combined with the repetition of color provides rhythm.

Here are some examples of rhythm and repetition:

Redecorating a Living Room (or any space) – Step 4: Budgeting and Shopping

The end is in sight and it just keeps getting more enjoyable and rewarding from here on out. I told you the hard work would pay off!

Much of what I am going to say here is similar, if not identical, to some of the advice from 5 Steps to a More Organized and Usable Small Kitchen. The basics of planning your budget, shopping and sticking to your budget are as follows:

  • Know the space: It is important that you take thorough measurements of the spaces you are reorganizing. This includes, but is not limited to, cabinets, closets, floor space, etc. Make sure to measure every dimension (length – width – depth). I find it helpful to draw the space on graph paper so that I can better visualize how to use different organizational tools.
  • Solve problems: Remember the words that you brainstorms earlier in Step 2. Think of what elements you could add or existing things you could modify in order to make the space all that you want it to be. Try to think outside of the box as much as possible – just because you have used a particular piece of furniture or an item for one purpose doesn’t mean that is the only purpose it can serve.
  • Know your budget: If you end the project having the most amazing space with fabulous furniture, but are stressed out because you have overspent, the project really hasn’t achieved its full potential. Have a budget and stick to it. Make sure your budget is reasonable – for your finances and for what you think you will need to purchase. Remember that you may have things already that you can re-purpose. Also remember your position in life – is this a place you plan on settling in for a while, or is it more of a short-term home. This can effect how much you want to budget for items such as furniture. If you plan on moving in the near future, it may not be a bad idea to look for less expensive or even second-hand items.
  • Research: This is vital to staying on budget. I am a fan of using Microsoft Excel. I typically set up a spreadsheet to keep track of items that I think I want to purchase. This way I can get an idea for what the end cost will be before making any purchases. This helps to prioritize purchases when you near the end of your budget and helps you find the best deal for your purchase. You can find an example of the spreadsheet layout I have used as part of Step 4 of A More Organized and Usable Small Kitchen.

Aside from the nitty-gritty of planning your purchases and budget there are other elements of style and design you will want to consider. Remember your style! This can be incorporated into your space on any budget. If you’re style is like mine and you would love an amazing accent chair, but are also on a budget like mine, no worries! Just because you can’t purchase a new chair doesn’t mean you can’t make a current chair look new. Think of using slip-covers, throw pillows and the like. You can also refurbish a piece of furniture or an inexpensive second-hand piece. If you are crafty, you may be able to save even more money by sewing an accent pillow that will really bring out your style or making a slip cover like I did for my futon.

When shopping, I would recommend bringing swatches of the colors or fabrics that you are working with to make sure you are getting pieces that will work together. Aside from color, don’t forget texture. This is especially important in monochromatic spaces. Without texture it may all look a bit bland.

Happy Shopping! If you find any great deals to share with fellow decorators – please do!

Design Dissection: My more organized and usable small kitchen (Part 2)

I’m so excited! I finally received all of my purchases and had some time to put everything into place last night. I love love love the result.

I already walked you through how I completed steps 1 thru 4 of my process. Here is what I did to complete the 5th and final step:

Step 5: Implement

In Part 1 of this Design Dissection, I mentioned to you my acquisition decisions and now you will get to see how I was able to utilize them to improve my very small kitchen space.

Starting with my entryway/kitchen closet and pantry:

  • I did not make any big purchases for the first half of this closet even though it looks completely different and is much more organized.
  • I had previously had a plastic drawer that I used for cleaning storage. Under the side table in my living room, I had two more plastic drawers that stacked together. By cleaning  out the two drawers under my side table, I not only got rid of many things I simply didn’t need or know I had, but I also created two more drawers to be used in my closet. I stacked all three next to the coat bag in the closet. The bottom drawer contained candles and air freshener in its old location, and since I kept some of these I simply kept them in the drawer when I moved it to the closet. The middle drawer was already in my closet and didn’t need any cleaning out. The top drawer I was now empty to use as needed! This turned into part of the storage for my plastic containers and serving dishes. While these drawers had been purchased years ago – you can still buy them at The Container Store and they are currently on sale for $16.99 each.
  • Remember all of those large containers and pans on top of my cabinets? They are no longer there. I have now stored them on top of the three stacked drawers so they are out of sight!
  • Being the frugalista that I am, I needed to find a way to use that three-tier hanging basket I purchased. One of my biggest storage frustrations is my plastic container storage. No matter how many times I have reorganized them they inevitably end up in a mess a few weeks later. I figured that the solution to this problem was more accessible and visible storage which was perfectly solved by the hanging baskets! The containers are easily visible to me when I need to find one, but still out of sight in the closet.
  • The top shelf of the left half of this closet didn’t need any real organizing this time around. A few months ago I had reorganized this shelf by using an expanding shelf that I already owned to make the space more functional. Using this shelf allowed me to better see and access the sandwich bags, garbage bags and what-not I had stored there. This shelf is also not factored into my budget, but you can still purchase it at The Container Store.
  • The other half of my closet is more for food storage. Here I already owner an ELFA organizer from The Container Store. This has been great addition storage for my pantry. As part of this project, I cleaned out the drawers and reorganized the space with my new storage purchases.
  • My favorite purchase for this project is the hanging shelf I bought for my pantry. This has allowed me to finally make use of the empty space above my ELFA unit and utilize the closet pole.
  • For the top shelf, I purchased a can dispenser. I also used many of the plastic storage containers I purchased to store my bulk items (ie. flour, pasta, sugar, etc.).
  • Lastly, I was stuck on how to best organize the many bottles on this shelf. My struggle has been finding a way to see and access all of them easily. My aha! moment (thanks to my best friend) was using the lazy suzan I had on my dining table for these bottles. I couldn’t have imagined a better solution!

Moving to the other half of my kitchen, I also reorganized my cabinets. I was thrilled at the amount of space I opened up through this project. Much of the space was not so much from discarding old or unwanted items but from simply better utilizing the space I had.

  • I have three cabinets above my stove and sink, as well as, two hard to reach cabinets above my refrigerator. The only item I purchased for this part of the project was an expandable tiered shelf for my spices.
  • For the cabinets below my counter-top, I had done much of this reorganizing earlier. One great idea to help contain the cleaning supplies under my sink was to use a plastic container. This not only contains them but also allows me to take the whole container out with everything I need for cleaning.

There you have it! My newly reorganized and much more usable small kitchen!

Continuing to get my learn on.

I just finished ‘attending’ another great (and free) webinar hosted by ASID. Today’s webinar was all about color and provided far more information that I would have ever expected from a free webinar.

If you are interested in expanding your knowledge of interior decorating or design I highly recommend that you check out the ASID website and their list of upcoming webinars.

A More Organized and Usable Small Kitchen – Step 4: Shop

The step I am sure many of you have been waiting for; this is certainly my favorite part.

Hopefully you have picked up and made note of some ideas of what you may want to do with your space from you search for inspiration. If not, get going and then get back to me.

Now that you have some ideas, its time to start seeing what would be feasible in your own space and on your own budget. To do this efficiently, under budget and effectively here are a few key recommendations:

  • Know the space: It is important that you take thorough measurements of the spaces you are reorganizing. This includes, but is not limited to, cabinets, closets, floor space, etc. Make sure to measure every dimension (length – width – depth). I find it helpful to draw the space on graph paper so that I can better visualize how to use different organizational tools.
  • Solve problems: Look at everything you have taken out of your kitchen and see where you could condense storage of an item (ie. cereal), make items more visible (ie. canned goods), make items more accessible (ie. spices) or simply need to create storage for something that previously did not have a home.
  • Know your budget: If you end the project having the most amazing organizational items on the market, but stressed out because you have overspent, the project really hasn’t achieved its full potential. Have a budget and stick to it. Make sure your budget is reasonable – for your finances and for what you think you will need to purchase. Remember that you may have things already that you can re-purpose to better organize your kitchen.
  • Research: This is vital to staying on budget. I am a fan of using Microsoft Excel. I typically set up a spreadsheet to keep track of items that I think I want to purchase. This way I can get an idea for what the end cost will be before making any purchases. This helps to prioritize purchases when you near the end of your budget and helps you find the best deal for your purchase. Here is an example of the spreadsheet I use:

If you are like me, and are pretty tight on your spending, here is one piece of advice when organizing. Sometimes you need to spend the money to make your life simpler. Sounds silly and like a shopaholic justification, but hear me out.

My best example would be my lower kitchen cabinet that I use to store my baking ‘stuff’. My biggest pet peeve with this cabinet is that I would constantly have to dig through everything to find the right measuring cup; every time I would organize the measuring cups by stacking them in one another, I felt it never lasted very long at all and was hard to keep organized. I really didn’t want to purchase new measuring cups since I already owned more than one set, but I finally got fed up enough and purchased a set of collapsible measuring cups and got rid of all of my other ones. GREAT IDEA! This has saved me time, frustration and space. It is now simple to keep that cabinet organized and I never have a hard time finding just what I need. Just some food for thought.

When looking for solutions to your organizational problems, keep in mind that you can find the perfect solution. There are so many stores and items out there that you don’t have a reason to settle. Also, think outside of the box a bit. You don’t only need to buy organizational items that are labeled as being used for the kitchen or even labeled as being organizational tools. For example, I used a clothes hanger to help organize my umbrellas. When working in a small space, like my efficiency, it is important to utilize as much space as possible. In my pantry, for example, I have a clothing rod across the top and a decent amount of unused space between my storage unit and the top shelf. To find a way to utilize this empty space I have been looking for closet organizers since they are often made to hang in a space.

I hope that helps get you started. Patience is certainly a virtue for this project. I certainly need practice in this area, but it is better to wait and find a perfect solution than to settle for something that will do for the moment but you will end up buying a replacement for – and spending more unnecessary money – later on.

Happy Shopping!

A More Organized and Usable Small Kitchen – Step 1: Inventory

It’s time to jump in! Take everything out of every cabinet, drawer, closet or shelf in your kitchen. Everything.

It is best to have a clear space to put these things while you work through your kitchen. I have a table right next to my kitchen that I used to lay everything out on, including the floor, chairs – whatever space I needed. Being that the items in your refrigerator and freezer are perishable, we will approach those last. For now, focus on all of the dry goods, cooking utensils, etc. that you have in your kitchen area.

That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Now that you can see everything you are working with, sort the items in a way that is logical and works for you. For instance – I keep items that I use to bake with together. While this includes chocolate chips, which some may consider sweets/candy, and dried fruits, this is the best and most logical method of organization for me. While you are sorting through everything, make sure that you aren’t keeping items that are of no use, for example:

  • food storage without matching lids
  • pans that are so old you don’t like to use them
  • expired food (keep in mind that just because it may not have an expiration date doesn’t mean that it doesn’t go bad)
  • things you don’t ever use
  • duplicates (you don’t need four pasta serving spoons)

You have just accomplished what is, in my opinion, the most overwhelming part of organizing your kitchen. You have an empty kitchen to work with and you can easily see every item that you own that will need to go into that kitchen.

Even though “Inspiration” is not until step #3, I would recommend that you start browsing now for two reasons:

  1. Eye on the prize: While your kitchen is currently spread out in your dining room (or whatever space you have chosen) you can keep in mind the rewarding end result.
  2. Start looking for options: When looking for inspiration for this part of the project, you should focus less on style and more on methods of organization. There are many ways to organize the same things in the same space; it is all about what will work best for you.