decorating

Get Organized with FAT- File, Act, Toss

Hello and Happy New Year! While we’re still on our motivational highs for 2015, I thought I’d continue where I left off last week, as I discussed tips to declutter your home post-holiday season, here. So now that you’ve tossed all the unnecessaries and shed the weight it’s time to get FAT… in a good way! FAT is an organizational system that a friend of mine created. It’s a wonderful antidote to hoarding, and it’s a good fat, not fat chub chub. Who’s with me for some organizational tools that actually work?! We just spent time cleaning/tossing/donating all our excess, so now we must sort through what’s staying and where it’s going to live!

Step #1  F – File it

If it comes in the mail, if you need to hold onto it, if you want to keep it for future reference, file it. And file it now. Today! Otherwise it will sit in a pile and the pile will grow and grow until you can’t remember what it is anymore. We’ve all been there. All those coupons we swore we were going to use only to find them buried between 8 pounds of Restoration Hardware catalogs. We get eagerly excited to see our dear little discounted friend again, only to realize… yep, it expired a month ago! No bueno. Identify a designated area in your home (where you stack your mail often works well) where you will sort through things like mail, bills, medical records, legal documents and all that paperwork that comes home from school and start sorting.

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As for all those loose items like gift cards, reward cards and coupons? Use an errand planner or business card file concept that keeps things all in plain view. I’m not proud to admit that I’ve found myself at the cashier stand at Target only to walk away realizing I had a gift card hiding in my wallet somewhere that I could have used. Ouch. You been there too? If you can’t see it, you don’t know it’s there. Time to get organized.

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Step#2   A – Act on it

Do you need to pay it? Return a call? Email it to someone? Act on it now and then file it or throw it away. Cross it off the list and be done with it. Take a few minutes to take care of those important little things so you don’t forget to do it. Don’t put it off! If you are one of those people who come back to it over and over again, act on it first thing in the morning before you start your day. Resist the temptation to check emails and social media. That can all wait. Get your head on straight and knock those lingering tasks off your list before today’s curveball gets thrown your way. You’ll be glad you did!

Step# 3   T – Toss it

Why are you keeping this item/bill/record/etc? Is it truly necessary for the future? Will you need it in 6 months to a year? If so, then File it! And, file it within your system. If not, shed the weight! Here’s a great flow chart you can refer to…

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Keys to Success

–          A label maker. Everybody can use a label maker at some point or another. They’re awesome, they’re helpful, and they’re downright fun to use! I like the Brother P-Touch personally. Everybody needs a Bro-tha!

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Ahhh, the look of labels. You can officially uncross your eyes!

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–          Virtually file. Bank statements, utility bills, etc. can all be stored on your computer. Get rid of unnecessary paper waste, go green, and save these to your computer. For other task management systems like to-do lists or recipe storage, try an app that works both with your computer and your smartphone, like Evernote or Wunderlist. Toss that extra paper into the recycle bin and enjoy your extra shelf space.

–          Compartmentalize – in other words, contain yourself! Stores like The Container Store are around because they are downright awesome. Stack of magazines? Tuck them into a basket and keep them current! If you’re holding onto it for one measly article, clip that article, file and store. Kids toys? Group those in stacking baskets.

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Organize that junk in your drawers into neatly divided sections with Lucite drawer inserts. Clarity is key. You can compartmentalize but if you can’t see it, you may not know it’s there. I’m a big fan of clear dividers for this reason! All of a sudden you can find your paperclips, stapler, post-its, tape, makeup, etc. You can find things in record time, and if things are lying around on the counter, you have a designated well-organized space to put them.

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–          Treat yourself to stylish and fun organizational accessories that make you smile. Bright colors, a dose of sparkle, whatever it may be, if you love the way it looks, you will definitely be more committed to using it! See Jane Work is a fave staple of mine that offers it all – a hip, thoughtful collection of goodies sure to help you organize your desk and your life.

Everything deserves to have a home within your home, it’s that simple. Cheers to getting FAT in 2015!

xo,

Emily

 

Project Undecorate

I spend a lot of time in my little corner of the internet chatting about decorating. But what about undecorating? Whether it’s the holidays or the middle of your average uneventful week, everybody can and should undecorate. Now is the perfect time to do so since you’re just coming out of your Christmas food coma and wondering what to do between now and New Years. Why not make decluttering a New Years Resolution? This is the perfect time to shed the weight. We resolve to do it for New Years with our bodies, so why not do it in our homes?? With the holidays we go out and spend money to buy MORE stuff to bring into our homes! The average household has way more stuff than most of us ever need or even use. This week I am personally dedicating some time to shedding the extra stuff, the extra weight and here’s how you can join me in some very easy, achievable solutions for a fresh start to 2015, starting with your living space!

Unload, unburden, get rid of stuff. Edit, edit, edit.

#1 Put It Away

Start with the easy things- all that holiday garb. Nobody wants a Christmas tree in their living room come March. No one thinks your blow up lawn Santa is cute after January 2nd and Christmas lights are not meant to be left strung up year round. Bottom line, none of this is adding anything to your post-holiday curb appeal. Take that Target gift card Santa gave you and treat yourself to some color coded bins (red and green for Christmas, orange and black for Halloween, etc.) to store your holiday items so they are easily recognized and accessible.

#2 Throw It Away

If your singing holiday angel now croaks because she was dropped on floor one too many times, get rid of it. If there are too many glitter infested ornaments leaving slut dust all over your floor, think about eliminating some, I mean, how many can you really have? If things break or no longer work or just start to look like a collection of junk, edit them down.

#3 Donate

Goodwill, Salvation Army- get that tax deduction before year end! Still worried about “giving” something sentimental away?  Why not give it to a family that can truly use it if you aren’t?

#4 Edit, edit, edit

I often hear, ‘I don’t like it, but that’s worth a lot of money!!’. It’s only worth something if you sell it. If you don’t like it, it’s not worth anything to you! If it truly is worth something, cash out and move on! Ebay, craigslist, garage sale, antiques road show, whatever, but don’t keep it just because someone might potentially pay you something for it, especially if you don’t like it.

My recommendation is that if you haven’t worn it or used it in 1 year, really evaluate if you have use for this item? If not, set it aside. I like to keep a running giveaway bag at all times in the closet in the guest bedroom. When I come across clothing, toys, books, whatever that I am no longer using, I put it in that bag. I would say that I add to the bag at least every week. I’m not a hoarder but I’m certainly not a minimalist either. Bottom line is that we accumulate, and at some point some things have got to go! It’s truly amazing when you clear out things and literally create more space in your environment, how you feel that you have created space within yourself and your mind as well. I am rigorous with clients about getting them to declutter, donate, filter, and once they literally unburden themselves of things, they always tell me how much better they feel in their mind as well.

Lastly, note that everybody has some sentimental items that might be seen as ugly, or useless, or inconsequential. You have them, I have them, we all do. I’m not saying to get rid of anything ugly or old just because it’s not currently en vogue or because your stylish neighbor poo-poos it. Just carefully select which items you choose to surround yourself with. Surround yourself with things that are a reflection of the best side of yourself and if that’s all stuff from your great-grandmother, so be it. But if something is useless or bothersome, or ugly to you, then part with it and leave it at that. Stay tuned for our next post on getting organized and staying organized in the new year! Happy New Year and here’s to shedding those empty calories Design Dish style!

xo,

Emily

P.S. Check out this hilarious little stand-up clip from the Tonight Show where Jerry Seinfeld all about how we accumulate ‘stuff’!

 

 

Our Home: Finishing Touches

If you’ve been keeping tabs on our home transformation project, so far we have touched on house hunting, demo and design, interior finishes and finally, today’s post, the finishing touches. Our charming mid-century modern ranch home is nearly complete as I’ve spent the last year putting on the glitz in between client projects. But, honestly, is a designer’s work ever truly done?!? If you are interested in seeing the finished project, you can tour my home at the upcoming Pasadena Kitchen & Home Tour. Click the link for more details. Come by, say hello and check it out, it’s going to be a stellar event!

Moving on from the gratuitous plug… it’s no shock if you know me that I have a love for mid-century modern style. In re-designing this home, I wanted it to pay homage to this artful period, but elevate the look with today’s modern amenities, fixtures and style. I wanted our home to look and feel happy, bright, clean and kid friendly- a tall order, but I am always up for the challenge.

This process was a bit different and not how I typically work with clients, in that it was very progressive, pulling pieces over time and working out of order in many respects. I didn’t have a cohesive vision or concept going into the project, which was very disconcerting because I am such a planner! For instance, one of the first things I started with was the window shade fabric for the kitchen and dining room.

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Taking inspiration from this pattern, I pulled my main color palette of aquas, coral, orange and white and I began collecting things that I loved that also reflected the style period. I had a wide assortment of things that I knew I loved or wanted in my home, and from there I worked on filling in the blanks. Start with something you love and take a balanced approach to building around it. Keep in mind color, texture, lines and a little sparkle and let the layering begin!

8b2fd430c351ac61af651c56569279b9Many of the fixtures I installed, like this amazing Jonathan Adler sputnik lighting fixture, are throwbacks to that mid-century bygone era, and of course some actual vintage pieces add flair and nostalgia as well. I was careful to make sure that the decorative pieces had lots of cheerful color and patterns, while much of the case goods and interior finishes and paint remained light and neutral. That way, I can give each room a facelift when I want to change things up on the cheap. Which is more often than I’d like to admit! Anyone else share my illness? I believe it’s called interior decoritis…. and yes, it’s most definitely acute… acute interior decoritis. Oh how I suffer! It’s miserable.

Once I had decided on the right assortment of bright, colorful, vintage inspired fun, this was the finished concept….

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Cosamia art// Bird bowl // Coffee table // Chandelier // Vintage Camel // Dresser // Original art // Sunny Stool // Pomegranate wallpaper // Yellow tray // Greek key rug // Rattan chair //  Tassel pillow // Table lamp // Eames side chair // Green fabric // Picture frames //

It’s modern, chic and kid friendly. It is a great mix of color, sparkle, texture, and lines. Original art completes the space, giving it wow factor and pulling your eye downward from the lighting fixture… that is if you can take your eye off that illuminated masterpiece!  Best of all, it perfectly fits our family of three, plus pets and feels just right. If you’re in the LA area, my home will be on tour, Sunday, October 19th. Purchase tickets here! Step inside, I can’t wait to welcome you!

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xo,
Emily

 

Great.ly- Makers & Tastemakers Unite!

Like any designer with eye candy ADD, I’m a glutton for gorgeous product. I will go to the ends of the earth, virtually speaking anyway, to find the perfect pieces for my personal home and my clients’ homes (thank you internet gods for making this possible!). When it comes to selecting the right decor, it can often come from several sources and take a lot of time and research to scout the best in class. Fortunately, that’s when Great.ly came into my life and made it so much easier to not only showcase some of my favorite makers of quality goods, but to also allow you to personally shop from my curated boutique! I am a big fan of hand crafted goods. For one, it supports small business, and makers are quite literally, the fabric of our country and our world. Secondly, when you purchase directly from an artist, it immediately gives you a sense of personal connection. The shopping experience is elevated to a different relationship that transcends buyer and seller. You are interacting with the individual who spent careful time preparing and creating a piece for you to enjoy for a lifetime. End of story… and yes, that is the best part; there is a story behind the purchase which makes it that much more sentimental! Ironically, the timing couldn’t have been more fitting, since I just spent the weekend at Renegade Craft Fair- LA, which is essentially an event based version of much of the items you will find on Great.ly. There was so much to see and explore, I literally got lost in rows of fabulous prints, hand made jewelry, beauty products and textiles. Aside from the oppressive heat, it was divine! If you’re fortunate enough to live in a major metro where these fairs are offered one weekend annually, you are lucky enough. For the rest of the 51 weeks a year, Great.ly is a fabulous way to find these kinds of items from the comfort of your home computer. So let’s take a moment to look at some of the beautifully crafted pieces from the makers that define style, set trends and make Great.ly, well…. great!

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Hot Pink Cocktail Coasters 

circle and pop navy chasing paper

Navy Circle Pop Wallpaper

gold inverse mini air plant pods sea & asters

Gold Air Plant Pots

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Hand Stitched Triangle Art

animals mealtime set bobo ceramics

 Animal Mealtime Set

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Watercolor Giclee

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Original Acrylic Painting

Go ahead, give them some love! Are you digging what I’m dishing? Please visit my Great.ly boutique to see more of the delicious pieces I’m craving.  For more of my Renegade Craft Fair faves, please check out my Makers & Shakers Pinterest board. You deserve a big slice of style!

xo,

Emily

American Picker in Cabo

As I reflect on my trip in Cabo San Lucas, I’ve been thinking about what sums up a great vacation. In short, my definition of a great vacation is all about the experience. For me, it’s made up of equal parts R&R, quality family time, tasty cultural cuisine and of course, shopping local! I love hunting for the perfect “tangible take home” so I can cherish the memories made and add a delightful piece to my living space. Plus, it gives  a good feeling to know that you have helped support their local economy. I will literally scour foreign towns and marketplaces American Picker style! It not only feeds my creative energy, but also gives me an adrenaline rush when I find that amazing item in a “have to have it” moment.

For me, part of the fun is the shopping experience, the thrill of the find and maybe even a little haggling en espanol…. courtesy of my “interpreter” who is tagging along with me for this excursion. At three year’s old his spanish is far superior to mine, but his taste’s??? TBD. Although he definitely loves a colorful find just like I do! Clearly he needs these sunnies, but let’s see if he can talk dinero with the shop owners!

Quinn sunnies

Of course, haggling with street vendors also makes me wonder “how low can you go?” I never really know if I’m overpaying since everything is negotiable. Since we have the world marketplace at our fingertips online, I thought it might be interesting to compare my local finds with online finds to know for sure. Here is what I found!

First up, my obsession with all things Otomi. Otomi embroidered art and textiles pay homage to traditional mexican style. These gorgeous patterns often featuring animals are intricate, colorful and big on my cravings list! I negotiated this table runner down from $150 to $100 but I also found one for $72 on e-bay that is nearly identical and also imported from Mexico, so…. hmmmm. Pass. They also were selling full tablecloths starting at $400 compared to what I found online ranging from $250 upward.

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I absolutely love this gorgeous Mexican style embroidered table runner from Anthropologie, tassels and all, but it’s a definite splurge at $298.

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Next up, I went on to find a deal from another vendor who sold me 10 otomi placemats (below) for $20 a piece that are going to be turned into pillows. They are online for $35 each, so I’d say that was a good deal! They are all beautifully hand-stitched and embroidered, and I think these will be the perfect compliment to a kid’s bedroom or playroom. Fun, whimsical yet refined, and washable! No matter how old you are, this is not something you outgrow.

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This Otomi inspired bedding is from LandofNod and it’s on sale right now with pillow shams starting at $14.95. I love that it’s printed rather than embroidered making it more durable, and an overall great value. Hurry and get your cultural chic on!

I also came across this awesome otomi-inspired canvas bag and the girl who made it! She’s a graphic designer who made 25 of them for a family reunion trip. She had extra, so I chatted her up in hopes of getting a “gringo” discount. Isn’t it adorable?

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Moving onto clothing, I spotted these darling little girl’s dresses, but Quinn wanted no part of it. Hey, maybe they’re for your cousins, dude! Don’t get your fruit loop colored sunnies bent out of shape, geez. These were roughly between $25-35, comparable to what I found online, but these were twice as cute!

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Lastly, I contemplated this colorful woven tablecloth. I love the graphic stripes and the beautiful colors, but at $80 pre-haggle price, it wasn’t a must-have.

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Bottom line, purchasing is all tied to emotion (you don’t say?). If you love it, even if it’s in the moment, price often can become secondary. There are deals aplenty online, but that purchase will never tell a story that can only be told by a day combing through vibrant textiles and multi-colored pareos as a mariachi band follows your footsteps. Simply put, an experience is something money can’t buy, it is felt. We attach emotion to items that remind us of those experiences which is why we treasure our souvenirs. That’s what souvenir means after all – “memory” in French.  So in spirit of making memories, I say, go squander a peso or ten, you’re on vacation! All you’ll remember is the time spent with those you love, which is hardly a rip off, it’s priceless!

xo,

Emily