interior design

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’!

 

 

Fruit with Punch: Cranberry Style

It’s that time again- another round of the Fruit with Punch series. It’s a Christmas miracle I can get anything done these days, but who can resist a little calorie free fruit-as-design inspo? This week I’m covering all things Cran-tastic. So what do I love about cranberry style? For one, cranberry is much more lively than her Marsala sister, even though she is currently holding the crown as the Pantone Color of the Year for 2015. I am still convinced the votes were rigged on that one, you can read more about my thoughts here. Cranberry is also top of mind because it’s seasonal and captures the spirit of the holidays. I love that the fruit itself is beautiful, shiny, fresh and surprisingly tart. At face value, it seems like it would be nice and sweet and then BANG! So yeah, cranberries pretty much sum up my interior design goals; to create a space that’s enticing with a twist!

But since we are not actually using fruit to decorate, just color inspiration, here is how you can work with cranberry in a living space. When working with a bold color, it is important to keep balance in mind so as not to overwhelm. You can go big, but it must be done right. Since it is a vibrant, rich color, it must be carefully integrated.

So let’s indulge this cranberry crantasy, shall we? Here are some of my favorite cranberry-hued rooms to get your juices flowing (pun intended).

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Here the bold cranberry wall makes a big impact, especially with it’s high gloss finish. It’s rich and seductive, but this hue can be a great choice because it’s not either too masculine or too feminine.

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Cran adds quite a bit of drama to this spa retreat. The chandelier adds the right touch of glam it needs to balance the wall color and otherwise modern and sleek bathroom fixtures.

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This red bathtub accented with red wallpaper is a more subtle approach, but an effective balance. Clean without overwhelming.

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The office desk takes center stage as a cheery pop of color as the red tones are also reflected on the wall art to keep it all in balance.

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I particularly love this cranberry lacquered dresser. Note the subtle soft blue accents that keep everything in balance against this bold statement piece. It works in perfect harmony and although it’s a very bold furniture choice, it doesn’t feel shocking, it feels bright, fun and maybe a bit unexpected which is the goal.

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And speaking of blue, these lovely walls adds a perfect contrast to the red-toned curtain treatments and accessories.

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So now that you’ve seen some of my favorite uses of cranberry from around the internet, here is how I would use cranberry in a living space. I give you, the Crantastic Bath…

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First of all, I love the gold fixtures with this color! Ok, well duh, I did pick them. But they do add warmth and shine to enhance our fave seasonal hue. By using subtle accents like the red accented wallpaper and accessories, it compliments without taking over the space. You are left with a clean, chic powder room that is not the least bit short on glam, yet not too dramatic either. All about balance, right?

So go for it and gussy up your space… or keep the Crantasy alive and dream about it some more, I won’t judge. Happy Holidays!

xo,

Emily

 

PANTONE Color of the Year 2015- Marsala

Some thoughts, and maybe some venting today….

PANTONE just announced Marsala as it’s new Color of the Year for 2015. Now hear me out, I LOVE COLOR. I am completely color obsessed to a fault. I could literally eat color with a spoon! But the Marsala take over in my inbox and social media feeds left my head spinning this morning, and let’s just say, it was not what I’d call a “good buzz”.

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Marsala- Pantone Color of the Year 2015

I’m sure there will be rave reviews in the beauty and fashion world which sets the major color trends, and that’s fine and dandy. Coated skinny jeans? Yep. Anything in suede? Great. Lip gloss? Sure, why not? But for interiors? Well, I have to keep it real and to me, this color is just…. well… heinous. It’s a bit dull and falls short of sophisticated in comparison to the vibrant color selections from Pantone seen in previous years. Actually, to me, Marsala fell somewhere between the burgundy brown lipsticks from Revlon’s yesteryears circa 1990 and vintage mauve hued Victoria’s Secret catalogs. Mauve, muted, brown, blah… aka, dated, done and uninspired.  I truly don’t feel that this color adds any value that a rich brown or garnet couldn’t do in its place.

Anyone remember Revlon’s “Toast of New York?” When she was all the rage, I was just getting into my awkward teenage years, and therefore discovering how (or how not) to apply make up, so I was all about this color, complete with even darker lined lips thanks to Drew Barrymore and her display of this shade, daisies and black ribboned chokers. This era was grunge, goth and apparently… marsala.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Toast of New York

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Anyone remember these vintage VS babes? Ha! And yes, that wall color looked just like Victoria’s Secret retail stores in the 80’s and 90’s too. Remember it? Marsala was the old “Love Pink”, they just didn’t know it. Don’t even ask me who they’re calling or if I think that phone works…. but yes, they just might be on the other end of that 1-900 number… ya never know.

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So now that I’m older and wiser I’m not afraid to go against this color trend. I really wouldn’t mind if this color blew away as quickly as it came in with all the 90’s resurfaced fads that go along with it. It seriously boggles my mind and makes me start thinking about how and why Pantone selected this color because it certainly wasn’t because it was favorable for interior design! Ok, rant over.

Here are the color palettes Pantone recommends with their new hue. Maybe it’s me, but I’m just not feeling it.

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So then, how can you make Marsala work in a color scheme? Since I have to work with design challenges all the time, here is my version on a color palette including this hue. I think grounding Marsala with primaries like bold orange and deep blue round it out in a way that is not as dull and flat.

elds-pantone-2015-marsala-color-paletteWhat are your thoughts? Would you decorate your home in Marsala? Or is it best left on your lips and hips? Let me know!

xo,

Emily

 

House Demos- from dud to stud

If you’ve ever considered doing a major home remodel (since I happen to be in the middle of two house demos with clients), I thought I would share some helpful tips. There is a lot of excitement, anxiety, decision making and cash-flow that goes into these projects so you must be brave, a little adventurous and up for the challenge. What do they say- dreams don’t work unless you do, right? Fortunately for my clients, as a designer I help make homeowner dreams a reality and I’m always up for reworking a design dilemma! So let’s strip things down to the studs as we take a look at two very different home projects I am currently managing for my clients.

With any major home demo, once the sledgehammer goes through the wall, and your home is no longer the old version of itself, it can feel really overwhelming and daunting, in both positive and negative ways. Yes, the home you once knew is no more, but the memories will still be there as you create a space reimagined with possibility. I love this part of the process, because you get a chance to see what’s underneath it all and address much needed updates that will absolutely benefit the way you live in your new space. Major demo and remodeling allows you to update wiring, HVAC systems, lighting, plumbing, A/V and so on. Not to mention all of the surface finishes throughout. These updates of course are both labor intensive and costly so if you’re considering a full-scale remodel, you need to keep a few things in mind. For one, it helps if the home has good bones and you are satisfied overall with it’s layout. Also, consider property value in your area if you think you may not stay in your home long enough to recoup your investment. Maybe you love the neighborhood or the schools? If you plan to stay in your home but it’s not meeting your current needs, this is where demo will benefit you most.

PROJECT #1: TRADITIONAL RANCH

BEFORE

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AFTER

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This traditional ranch home nestled in the San Fernando Valley is being redesigned into an elegant, family friendly space with a slightly bohemian vibe; more details on the style can be found here. My clients are a family of 5, three of them being boys under the age of 10. The current home is roughly 3,000 sq ft and we are adding 500 sq ft to accommodate a new home office and bath. They are also cooking enthusiasts so a state of the art kitchen is a must, as well as a bigger laundry to keep up with the wear and tear of boys! Overall, the goal of the remodel is to create a more family friendly and entertaining space for company, while also adding square footage to meet the needs of  a home office. Since the homeowners are going for this nouveau elegant meets bohemian aesthetic, this is where I am really harnessing my creative resources! I think it’s coming together nicely. Take a looksy… emily-lamarque-design-studio-bohemian-elegance-concept-board

PROJECT #2: HISTORIC SPANISH COLONIAL

BEFORE

(First Floor)

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(Second Floor)

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AFTER

(First Floor)

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(Second Floor)

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Built in 1922, this spanish colonial home is located in a historic section of Pasadena. More details on this home can be found from my other post, here. It is over 4,000 sq ft and since it was built in the 1920’s, it is in desperate need of a major overhaul. However, since it is in a historic neighborhood, the façade must retain it’s original integrity. This is a major challenge, particularly when the owners have a modern aesthetic and we are working with a Spanish colonial home! So I’m developing a modern Spanish style design, and I’m very excited to see this one evolve since it is definitely pushing the creative limits.

Here is my inspirational concept board for the home. It is still evolving, but this has been my jumping off point of color palettes, fabrics and finishes to start…

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What interests me most about this home is how it becomes a historic viewfinder into the way people lived in the past. Originally, the kitchen was completely cut off from the living and dining areas. It was opened up to the dining sometime during the 70’s or 80’s, which is evident from a few aluminum windows and other telltale signs. Nowadays the kitchen functions as a central hub for gathering and entertaining. It is safe to say that with a home like this, complete with maid’s quarters, the original owners weren’t doing the cooking. Rather, they were entertaining in the formal living room where families used to congregate. Interesting how times have changed! In other older home formalities, this home has a porte cochère and a detached garage. It truly makes me wonder if it was utilized for a horse and carriage!

Lastly, in other surprising news to us, yet typical for this design period, there is no designated master. The four bedrooms upstairs share two barely functional bathrooms (gasp!). The bathrooms are tiny, with zero storage. Back then it was all about the vanity area and getting ready, but home spa retreat? Not so much. Thank goodness we are updating this home with the times! We will be reconfiguring the bedrooms to function as three full-size masters in the home with ensuite baths, while the downstairs maid’s quarters will function as a playroom for the grandchildren. This will also have a full-size luxurious bathroom, so this room could easily convert to a downstairs master as well. We will also be adding an elevator for added convenience. For outdoor entertainment, we will be redesigning the pool, adding a jacuzzi as well as a pool bathroom.

Here are some visuals of how I think this property can fully transform into a modern Spanish hacienda…

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Architectural trees and plantings, still very modern and Spanish combined.

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I love this fountain, the potted small citrus trees, the ironwork on the gate and the smooth white plaster finish on the chimney and walls.

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I love these homes that are Spanish but still feel very modern and architectural.

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This is interior, but still in the vibe and VERY pretty. Look at the top detail in the niches.

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Rows of olive trees, drought tolerant shrubs and succulents… so very spanish in landscape style, yet can also lend themselves to a modern feel.

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An incredible lavender color palette…

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This one is a little modern, but still would work beautifully.

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As you can see, there is a lot of attention to detail when it comes to home remodeling! It is truly wonderful when you have the luxury of time to plan your design and make design decisions before you get too deep into the construction process. But fear not, working with a designer eases you through the process to make sure the details are not overlooked, that your vision for the space is properly executed and that any issues that arise are resolved. My goal is to work together to make sure you love your living space, and yes, from time to time, I also serve as a design therapist, a hand holder of sorts, reassuring clients that “it will all look incredible when it’s complete”. That’s my job, and I love what I do! Stay with me and see how these two projects unfold.

xo,

Emily