interior style tips

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

 

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

Our Home: Interior Finishes

If you’re just joining us, this is the third installment on our home remodel. If you’re interested in playing catch up, you can read all about the process and how our home was selected as part of the Pasadena Kitchen & Home Tour right here. If you’ve been happily reading along (thank you bunches), we just finished demo and now we’re moving onto the incredible task of selecting interior finishes to complete our happy home.

I speak as both a homeowner and as a designer when I say this– I don’t think there is anything more challenging than designing your own home. At least for me! I know what you’re thinking. I am a designer, this is what I do, it should be a no brainer, right? Think again. Show me 100 different fabrics for a client and I can narrow them down to a handful in matter of minutes, but when picking something for myself, it’s only a matter of time before I over-think everything and short-circuit! I see SO many different fabrics, finishes, furniture, etc. every single day, so to actually settle on one thing and decide that I am going to love living with it for an extended period of time…..well, I get commitment-phobic!

Whether you’re a designer or not, the promise of a clean space that you can have your way with starts out very exhilarating, full of potential, and then it can become completely nerve wracking. But at the end of the day, I had to move forward making decisions, selections, and choices for my own home. Since this is Design Dish after all, here is another taste of yummy goodness from my own home. So let’s serve up the finishes!

 

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Finishes are tricky – they can be completely stunning or downright fugly. It either works beautifully or it misses the mark entirely. Even worse are finishes that are beyond boring. Blah? We’ll pass. They can be intimidating to commit to because the vast majority of finishes are permanent (think tile, counters, flooring, etc.) and don’t move easily once they are installed, so they need to make a statement and look incredible. And since they are pretty ‘permanent’, that means they are more costly – you have both the material cost and labor to install them. I myself had a l-o-o-o-n-g laundry list of requirements for the finishes I picked for my own home. So how did I narrow it down?

First and foremost, I had to love them! Obvi! I didn’t want to install something only to hate it two weeks later. Plus, the finishes had to be light, bright, airy, and cheerful. While I love a sophisticated dark room, I just don’t want to live in one at the moment. Also, kid and pet friendly – they needed to withstand the abuse of an active three year old who has a penchant for launching hot wheels at the walls as target practice. We are total animal lovers and since the fur-babes are family too, our selections needed to be easy to keep clean, as in no super dark finishes that show adorable, but obviously dirty, paw tracks! So to recap – cheerful, super-durable, youthful with a chic twist, unique, bold, colorful, timeless, slightly mid-century vibe, and of course, within budget. Seriously, that’s a darn tall order. But like any good designer, I worked it out!

So now that you’ve seen my selections, here’s a peek at how they all work together in my efficient mid-century ranch…

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emily-lamarque-design-studio-graphic-wallpaper I selected graphic wallpaper and patterns that were neutral but had a matte shimmer to make the patterns pop without interfering with my growing collection of wall art. But since I had to indulge my color obsession, I also selected this fab peacock paper for the powder room and kept the look clean and period-esque by incorporating the terrazzo tile.

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Next up- colorful glass tile.  Part retro and part spa- like, this tile is fun and reminds me of a gorgeously tiled swimming pool! It was a bold color risk, but it is the statement piece for our bathroom and I am all about making a statement!

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Lastly, ma-ma-marble! It’s ma fave. It’s clean, timeless and elegant, and something we can all commit to. But since I wanted to add visual interest, I mixed tile patterns as seen in the fretwork mosaic and a small trim of metallic glass square tiles on our backsplash to pick up the glistening speckles in the quartz counter top. Subtle bling!

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Please keep tuning in for the next phase of our home remodel. There is so much more to cover. Design delights guaranteed!

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 

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Navy Circle Pop Wallpaper

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Gold Air Plant Pots

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Hand Stitched Triangle Art

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 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

Cravings: All things Woven

This week’s cravings is officially brought to you by all things woven, making these fab finds… wait for it… UNBEWEAVABLE! I have always had a love affair with plush textiles, tassels and fringe. Maybe the appeal started as a kid when my mom had this massive loom that took over our living room, literally. It was like an indoor jungle gym to us, so naturally we couldn’t resist messing with the pedals and tinkering with the tapestries… my poor mom. I’m sure somewhere or other we made our mark on her handmade treasures.

What I love about woven items most is how they ground a space, making it feel instantly cozy. Plush textiles add a ton of warmth which in turn makes a room feel more relaxed and lived in, which is, hello… the point! I’ve spotted a lot of woven tapestries and other fuzzy and furry goods (not to be confused with pets, though equally awesome) that are making a comeback in a big way.

Are you ready to skip to my loom cravings?? Let’s check out the ones we want to comb through our fingers even though mom tells us “DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH IT!!!!”

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I am obsessed with this groovy piece from Chief & Kewpie. Mad respect to all who have conquered the loom! I love the artistry and know it probably took a hot minute to create one of these pieces.  I want to braid the bottom like any girl would… you know you thought about it too, c’mon.

This diamond pom-pom awesomeness from Urban Outfitters takes me back to a wall weaving at my Grandma’s house. It was on the wall of her indoor spa, where she would dunk us before bedtime so we’d pass out… most likely from heat exhaustion. But something about yarn + Grandma’s is like peanut butter + jelly; the two always go together and bring back warm memories of childhood, literally. I may need one of these just to reminisce!

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These cocooned little airplants are so bright and cheery, they would liven up any tablescape or even better, as a wall installation. Sooo fun. The more you group together, the bigger the drama.

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I love this fresh take on dream catchers. I can picture this hanging above a very boho bed. Dreamy indeed.

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And since we’re day dreaming, this jacquard hammock is a perfect place to unwind- and that fringe!! Don’t you just want to skim your fingers across the tassels? I get very tactile with my textiles… owning it!8ecfa9ce116b243b880a7302dbd104cd

 

Serena and Lily always delivers stylish organization like these delightful hand woven Senegalese storage baskets. They are as sweet as they are functional, which is always a bonus when it comes to space planning. Make the most of your decor!

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Here are some DIY woven decoratives and tutorials from A Beautiful Mess. This DIY aluminum chair update no doubt took some careful artistry and precision to achieve it’s awesomeness….

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… but this macrame wall piece is a little less daunting of a DIY project, and so chic with the copper piping adding some unexpected bling.

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Lastly, this post would not be complete without the cherry on top, the woven goddess of them all…. the moroccan wedding blanket! Also called handira, these tapestries have been particularly popular over the last few years, but they are and forever will be irresistible. The detail and craftsmanship mixing sequins, pattern and fringe delight on so many sensory levels. My longtime fave is the one featured in this room at the Parker Hotel Palm Springs.

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There are so many other places it can be used from a decorative wall tapestry to a floor rug, it is a statement piece that really can pull a room together. Best of all, if you’ll notice, adding neutral textural layers makes the handira pop even more. It’s like being in blankie heaven!

Wherever you find woven inspiration, make it richen your room… make it… yep, you know it… UNBEWEAVABLE!

xo,

Emily