interior style

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

 

White Christmas Style

There’s something magical about a white Christmas. Maybe it’s because I live in SoCal and the odds of having one are… well, zero. But, this year, I have been lusting after holiday decor that is primarily white. By that I’m not referring to the flocked trees we Californians are coerced into purchasing by opportunist lumberjacks at the local tree lot. Fun fact: flocked trees aren’t sold in other states because citizens of the snow need not see it in their living room all holiday season! So yes, for all you non-Californians, we are officially nuttier than fruitcake with our faux snow! I mean seriously, what the flock?

White goes with everything, obviously, which makes it an easy color choice. Christmas is always so traditionally red and green that for me, it’s a bit ho-hum and not enough ho-ho-ho. So in the spirit of white christmas style, here are some of my favorite living spaces from around the web that enliven the season in a new and inspiring way.

Cottage chic…
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The whites are fresh, chic and dreamy, and the vintage vibe makes this room one cozy retreat. Simple yet elegant without being fussy.

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Here is a similar white christmas dining scape that has rustic cottage style. This space has a very organic feel, using natural textures to bring the outside in while adding a subtle dose of metallic sparkle.

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And this kitchen is slightly more elegant, yet still rustic and organic with that cozy cottage vibe with the beamed ceilings and natural cabinetry.

Parisian penthouse…

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If your style is a bit more romantic and antique chic, then this tablescape is sure to delight! I love that they used ivy as garland and really let the grandeur of the space speak for itself. Beautiful!

Modern farmhouse…

Farmhouse Christmas style

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Venturing into a completely different look is this modern farmhouse Christmas. It’s still mostly white with traditional brick fireplace, yet those pops of red make it look clean yet rich. The pillows feel a bit Scandianvian in design, and I love the large pom pom fringe. And ohhh, those white paper trees on the mantel, soooo purdy!

And speaking of Scandinavian, well, it wouldn’t be a white Christmas without these lovely contributions…

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I don’t think I’ve made a paper chain since I was a kid, but what a welcome way to bring on the Christmas count down!Scandinavian-Christmas-Decorating-Ideas-01-1-Kindesign

I love the use of sheepskin as chair covers here.  It adds coziness to the otherwise minimalist vibe that is oh-so Nordic.

Modern Minimalist

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Dreamy dangling white prisms, aka, modern snowflakes!
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Boho-ho anyone?

Scandinavian Bohemian White Christmas

With a slightly more bohemian flair, this room adds a healthy dose of free spirited color against the white walls and flooring.

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I love this twig tree! It nearly looks like driftwood, which would be a great addition to a coastal christmas home. This one is still bohemian with almost a modern cabin flair. Which brings me to….

Modern Cabin…

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Now this is an A-frame I could live in while soaking up all that winter white.

And finally, some transitional takes on Christmas for you, chock full of mid century influences… my fave!

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How about these gold prism ornaments made out of pipe cleaners? Get the clever and easy DIY tutorial for them, here.

I’m loving the white, black and gold glam Emily Henderson recently posted for TargetStyle. And that magical touch of teal really livens up the space. Just enough glitz and glow and still feels like coming home for christmas.

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….And may all your Christmases be white….

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

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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

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(First Floor)

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(Second Floor)

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(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: 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

 

Fruit with Punch- Watermelon Style

Welcome to Round 2 of my Fruit with Punch series. If you are just joining in, you can find my take on pineapple style right here. This series is all about designing a room using fruit as inspiration and this week is all about watermelon style. A girl’s gotta flex her creative muscle every now and then, and since this is Design Dish, it’s only fitting we use food to inspire!

It has been hotter than Hades in So Cal. It seems like summer is not going to give it up to fall without someone getting burned… namely, me. Since I am in desperate need of a cool down, I’ve been craving some refreshing watermelon style! Sure, watermelon takes all of us back to childhood summers spent outdoors with it’s sticky sweetness dribbling down our chins. Watermelon is a summer staple and it’s blushing pink color is always appealing. But have you ever thought of using watermelon as style inspiration for your home? Yeah me neither! That’s why it was a perfect challenge for me and proof that you can take something from fruit to fab. No, I am not talking about a DIY door wreath. Gingham and country kitsch need not apply. With our theme in mind, I decided to push the envelope and go big, go bold, make it fun, feminine and glamtastic.

The obvious choice when you think watermelon is something pink and green. Something girly, fresh and not the slightest bit short on fun…. image001 … like this bike perhaps? Methinks all this image is missing is some pigtailed girls with ice cream cones! Or maybe a mama with a foo-foo drink?? Ok, I’ll split the difference!

This is my literal interpretation of what a watermelon color palette could look like…

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…and this room would be the result. Watermelon chic in the form of an airstream living space. image002While I do love tiny houses and all things vintage, this is on the extreme. So the challenge is to find a happy medium. Something that pays tribute to this color palette without feeling theme-y. You can take a theme as inspiration, but definitely push the envelope by doing something unexpected. I think we’re ripe for some boundary testing… who’s ready?

C’mon ladies, don’t play with your food. This is a design challenge, not Naked Chef! Back to work, we have a room to assemble…. image003Here are two inspired looks that watermelon style could look like if this fruit took a seat in your space this summer…. emily-lamarque-design-studio-watermelon-style1 The color palette stays true to the watermelon with black accents taken as inspiration from the seeds. These accents can quickly update and pay homage to your home or wardrobe with true summer glam style. And this “I Carried A Watermelon” sign could very well put Baby in a corner! But what if you are a little swankier, more daring and seeking a full fledge fruit-over? Well, here ya go…. ((drumroll))…. Design Dish is proud to introduce to you, a new trend in fruit inspired design. Introducing…. emily-lamarque-design-studio-watermelon-swank Here we’re using colors derived from watermelon, not the literal fruit, yet the color palette pays homage to our magnificent melon! Using bold graphics and vibrant colored accessories with a pop of pizzaz, you can give your room and instant update with this chic look, which is feminine yet still refined. The lighting fixture reminds me of dripping watermelon seeds.  If you can appreciate the notion of creative storytelling with art, you can see how home decor pieces can also serve a similar purpose. All art forms have something to say, it’s up to us to discover and define their meaning on a personal level. This is where the magic comes in; when you spot something in a room that evokes a mood, an experience, something from nature, or something that makes you stop and think in general, this is what it means to design! So let those walls talk!!

Now that fall is arriving, stay tuned as I’ll be putting together more fruit with punch design inspiration, featuring the hautest of the harvest! For now, I bid you and summer adieu with this tasty boozy beverage featuring our new fruity fave! Click the image for the recipe.

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xo,

Emily