Wednesday, June 29, 2011

White Subway Tile- Check! Now, What Grout Color?

In the spring, I am excited that we will be sprucing up our master bathroom a bit! We are going to replace the counter, retile the shower, repaint the walls, and maybe replace the flooring. Good stuff- I cannot wait! We are definitely going with white subway tile in the shower, but the dilemma is the grout color! Do we go with a classic white, or switch it up and go with a dark gray/black grout? I love both looks! I recently saw on Million Dollar Decorators that one of the designers chose a dark grout for the shower he was renovating and said, the dark grout gives it a more masculine feel. That's fine with me, because I can always compliment that with some crystal accessories and shiny chrome, to glam it up for me! It could be a nice balance for us. Then again, I am drawn to the white grout, because of it's classic look. You can never go wrong with that timeless look. What's a girl to do? (My husband doesn't mind and left this detail up to me!) Now to ponder a bit more, we also plan to use the same white subway tile in our kitchen (down the road). Back to the same question again- white or dark gray/black grout? Here are some gorgeous kitchens and bathrooms that use either white or gray/black grout:








I would love to hear your opinion... I'm more confused than ever!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Did you know about this site?

I always love to find a new source for inexpensive, beautiful home decor. I came across one last week! In the mail, I received a new catalogue from Home Decorators Collection. You can shop through their catalogue or on-line, and their selections are comparable to other more expensive retailers, but with a better price tag! I guess they are a division of Home Depot- the catalogue is great! So, I decided to create a design board using (mostly) products from their collection.
I was so impressed with their selection and prices! Everything on this design board is from the Home Decorators Collection, except for the martini side table, throw pillows and orange drapery fabric. I am impressed and will definitely use this store for future design boards for clients (or for our home)! If you are interested in having a design board created for you, please e-mail me at simpledwellings1@gmail.com.

Was I the only one left out in the dark about this source?

Also, I'm over at Courtney's blog, A Thoughtful Place today, sharing an easy, fun dessert for the 4th of July! Stop over and check it out!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Coral on the Porch

In a previous post here, I talk about my love for coral. I received a great comment from a reader, saying she just found some pretty coral pillows for an amazing deal and they proudly sit out on her porch! I was so excited to see her finds, that I asked her to send over some pictures. It turns out, she has recently started a blog and decided to post about her porch finds here. Her name is Melissa, and her blog is The Happier Homemaker. Here are the coral pillows and pretty porch:




I love these pillows! She found them at Steinmart's for $12 each!! The rest of her accessories also give the porch a fun summer look. You can read more about her porch here on her blog. Stop over and say hi! And thanks Melissa, for leaving your comment and sharing your beautiful porch.

What great deals have you found lately?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Why This Works

Happy Friday! I'm back with the series Why This Works... where I find a designed space and describe why (I think) it's perfection. This week, the room of choice is a serene, chic dining space. The slightly monochromatic color scheme works well with the abundance of texture in the space. Enjoy!

 Image via Traditional Home. Designed by Paul Corrie.

This gorgeous dining space was designed by Paul Corrie, who is also the homeowner. He beautifully transformed this row home he shares with his partner, Steve Ewens. This home and dining space has a soothing, neutral color palette, yet stays very chic and stylish. In this space, the side chairs have a rustic finish, which works well against the formal, crystal chandelier. The dramatic, oversized mirror has a more casual appearance when it is leaned up against the wall. The light colored walls work well with the dark stained floors and dining table. The room appears formal with the detailed crown molding and nailhead arm chairs, yet also casual with the informal table setting of fresh picked hydrangeas and bowl of fruit. To me, this room works! It has the perfect blend of rustic elegance, traditonal with modern and chic with casual. To see the entire remodel with all of the before and afters, go here

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Having a Thing for Coral

Maybe it's because we just got back from the beach, or maybe it's because summer is just beginning, but I am definitely loving the look of coral in a room. As an accessory on a table, on a pillow, lamp or rug- coral always seems to catch my eye these days. I am drawn to the chic, subtle way coral can add a coastal touch to a room and it can be used in so many ways. Here are some of my favorite ways I have seen coral lately-





Above images via Pottery Barn. (And the first image of the red coral branches are now on clearance for $9!)


Image via Ballard Designs.


Image via Pier 1 Imports.

What design accessory do you have a thing for lately?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

If My Blog Was A Room - Next Up - About Last Weekend

I am so excited to be back with the Wednesday series If My Blog Was A Room... where I pose the challenge to think of your blog as an actual space. What would that space look like? I am beyond thrilled to have one of my favorite bloggers here today! Her name is Jody, and she has the wonderful blog, About Last Weekend. Jody's blog is funny, informative, witty and can make me laugh out loud! She is a stylish lady with a wonderful writing talent! I love how she has taken on this blog room challenge. Without further adieu, here she is!

Thank you Amber! I was totally chuffed Amber asked me over today because I've just re-modelled my blog a bit and because my blog really is a room - it's our kitchen. (All pictures below are of my kitchen.)

For a start, my blog masthead is a picture of our dining table in it's usual Saturday morning state of devastation with mucky plates and shoes on the tables.... the latter always being the mark of a good night, I feel. Lucite, plastic, glass and wood in this space mean it all cleans up really quickly.






My blog is about all kinds of stuff - truthfully it's probably a bit all over the place. But maybe that's okay because I'm all over the show - originally a Kiwi from Ohope Beach in the Bay Of Plenty, I made a 15-year "stopover" in London before landing in Oakland where we've lived with our four kids for nine years.

We remodelled two years ago. Theoretically I'm a minimalist, but in reality I cannot resist a dash of kiwi kitcharama, a few tsotchkes and lashings of colour.


If you click on Topics on my blog, illustrated by Tallulah, age 10, you will find a range of subjects including Fashion for Grown-Ups, Idle Hostess, More Kid Nonsense and Zeitgeist.  Too varied? But a kitchen has to be many things too: a place to cook, talk, laugh, write and eat. And without fuss: I want to be able to look forward to an adult dinner party where we discuss world economics and the Kardashians and the next day host a kid's soccer party and not freak out when the striker squishes a couple of raspberries on the floor.






But hopefully there are tranquil spaces to reflect and anything of great value is up out of harm's way on the wall, in the paintings.


It's important to peer out into the world and let the world see you. One of the best things about blogging is visiting other bloggers and in turn welcoming them when they pop into your place. Our wooden folding door does just that for an indoor-outdoor flow.


And here is is my place to write to you, having a wee bit of a rant, ramble or ruminate...


And a place for you to sit down, have a nice cuppa tea or glass of wine and tell me about what happened to you today...




Wow- thanks so much, Jody! (I watch the Kardashian's too!) :)  Your home is beautiful, chic, relaxing and fun- just like your blog! I love the way the sliding doors bring the outdoors in, and I especially love all the beautiful seating in your home! I love the pops of color and the way your modern style is so warm and inviting. Stop by and check out Jody's great blog!  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm Back and Writing My 100th Post!

I'm excited to be back on the blog and writing my 100th post! When I started this blog back in January, I had no idea the journey it would take me on, or the wonderful inspiration I would find along the way! I am so thankful to have wonderful readers who share a love for interior design. I know this blog will continue to be a labor of love for me, and hope you will continue with me along this journey!

We just returned from a wonderful, restful trip along the east coast, with stops in Ocean City, Maryland and North Carolina. I would love to share some of my Ocean City pictures with you today! The beach alone is inspiring, beautiful and restful. I loved looking at the cottages along the boardwalk that offered week long rentals. (That just might be the way to go, next time!) Here are some beach inspired images for today-







Fun, inspiring and beautiful- we would definitely go again! And did you see that crab? Maybe if you live near the beach, you might see those often- but that was a shocker to me!

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Here is Some Inspiration

I love looking at spaces, seeing the beauty, potential and all of the amazing inspiration! A great source for finding beautiful, inspiring spaces is in the Rue magazine gallery. You can choose from several types of rooms and look at current and past issues. The rooms from this magazine are so eclectic, beautiful and inspiring.






These rooms are fun, eclectic and oh so beautiful! They blend traditional with modern and are so fun to look at! What I love best about this on line magazine, is that is shows designs that look so achievable on a buget! When I look at this last office space above, I think... I can do that! These interiors and others can be found at the rue gallery here.
What are your favorite design sources for inspiration?

I will be back on the blog next week with more amazing interiors, including a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer in the Country

There is a lot to look forward to for summer... more lazy, relaxing days, warm weather and easy, laid back decor ideas! This month's issue of Country Living is jam packed with great summer looks and ideas. It all looks so effortless and fun- which I love!

These sweet, adorable, lavender filled pouches are a great way to add a country summer flair to your drawers or for your guests. By using leftover fabrics and buttons, these fragrant strawberries can be made. The template and instructions can be found here.

I love the look of galvanized metal! These planters from Pottery Barn would make a great addition to a backyard party! Add some drinks, towels or even pretty plants. An even better idea though, came from this month's issue of Country Living. They suggest turning the extra large planter upside down, for an instant chic side table!

 Speaking of outdoor entertaining, who could resist these adorable salad tongs! The pitchfork and shovel shape reminds me of summer gardening.

This large shark head from PB Teen is a fun way to decorate for the summer! It can be used for a fun game of beanbag toss or to store pool towels!

There you have it! Country Living pulls out all the stops to make this summer a blast!
Do you have a fun way to get ready and inspired for summer?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Why This Works

Happy Friday! It's time for the series Why This Works... where I find a designed space and describe why (I think) it's perfection. Maybe the room feels like a relaxing getaway; maybe the colors are fun and unique, or maybe the room just makes my jaw drop when I see it!  And today's space (in my eyes) works in so many ways! The gorgeous room for today comes from the inspiring Rue magazine.

Image via Rue Magazine.

There are so many reasons why I love this space! I could see myself on either comfortable sofa, lingering for hours with a good magazine or watching a great episode on HGTV. The space feels so warm and inviting, traditional and modern. The two sofas work nicely together, adding a traditional and modern touch to the space. I love, love, love the soft blue/gray on the window wall with the subtle pops of color in the accessories. The rustic wood floors goes well with the beautiful chandelier, combining simplicity with elegance. I love the simple, rustic feel of the logs in the fireplace with the ornate and elegant mirror above the mantle. The rustic A- shaped ladder made me smile, because it reminds me of my mom's ladder here from her master bath. At one time, my mom had her ladder in the family room, with blankets and quilts on display. To me, this room is simple, refined, casual, elegant, traditional, rustic and a touch of modern. (All of the elements which I love!)
What elements do you like best in this space?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Newly Discovered Attic

I will be back soon with the Wednesday series, but for now, let's show a new Olioboard challenge! This site for creating design boards has a new challenge: After clearing out your attic space, you have just recently uncovered 500 more square feet of living space in your home! The ceiling is slanted on both sides, following the peak of the roof and there is one window at the end of the space. What would you do with this new found square footage? Well, I never shy away from a challenge, so I entered! There were no budget requirements for this challenge, so I just picked what I thought would work. Here is what I came up with:

I decided to make this space into an extra living and work room. I wanted it to be a serene escape, where I could take risks with color! I decided to wallpaper the walls and ceiling with this taupe/blue flower and branch wallpaper. It was a subtle backdrop to the space, which will draw your eye up and allow you to forget the dramatic peaks of the ceiling. If this rooms dimensions were for a real space, I would probably also suggest a rustic, white beam to be installed where the ceiling peaks meet. This would also help draw your eye up. The pops of color come in the drapery and accessories, while the furniture and rug stay neutral. The colorful pillow in the left corner of the design board allowed the wallpaper to work well with the rest of the bright colors. Hanging several mirrors in the space will give the illusion of more liveable space, while making the walls appear as if they have been pushed back a bit. To vote for this design, go here and find "Attic Chic." And to see the shopping sources for this look, visit here.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The NBA Finals and Design

A while back, I mentioned that my husband and I enjoy watching basketball and become excited for the finals, both in college and in the NBA. During the college basketball finals in March, I wrote a post here about finding design inspiration from the sport. I'm back at it again for the NBA finals! Our favorite teams are no longer in the series, but it would still be fun to think of design and basketball together. The teams battling for the championship title are the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks. Rather than finding design inspiration from the team's colors, I thought it would be interesting and fun to search for successful interior designers in the two cities, who do a wonderful job of incorporating the city's vibe and style into the homes/businesses they design. First up- Miami! When I think of Miami style, I think of modern, art deco style with loads of color. And when I think of amazing designers who have worked in Miami, these two powerhouses come to mind: Kelly Wearstler and David Bromstad. They know how to style Miami right!


The above images designed by Kelly Wearstler.

Designed by David Bromstad.

And now, on to Dallas! When I think of Dallas, Texas design, I think of traditional, elegant, comfortable and luxurious! I think of wonderful southern charm! I found a Dallas designer who delivers these designs for her clients! 



Interior designs by Adrienne Morgan.

This ended up being very interesting, because it seemed to turn out as Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks- Modern vs. Traditional!

That might be a bit of a stretch, as I am sure these talented designers were not thinking of their home teams while creating these beautiful interiors. Also, I know modern can exist in Dallas, just like traditional exists in Miami. But- it's still fun, never the less! For me, I like to blend both design styles and find elements I love from all the designers!

What basketball team are you rooting for? What design style do you most root for?
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