Living Room

“Pink” Chip Stock

pink living rooom_semi wide

Even experts at the Color Marketing Group agree that when the Dow Jones takes a dip, people embrace big, bold color. That is exactly what I did in this apartment I designed for a friend in Manhattan working with the tightest budget. Benjamin Moore’s Pink Corsage gave this room the most dramatic impact for the dollar—the best investment yet in my design portfolio.

Beth-Apartment--medium-Before

Before

The moment this paint went on the wall I knew it was perfect and even when the light changes during the day, this shade of pink stays true and never becomes harsh or jarring to the senses. And maybe, more importantly, it casts a flattering hue on everyone’s complexion.

Here’s a tip: buy the Pink Corsage in the Aura blend, which is one of Benjamin Moore’s richest, premium performance formulas of paint. You’ll get an intensity of color in one or two coats.

I like thinking of this shade of pink as a neutral because so many colors look fabulous with it: brown, gray, yellow, green, blue, red, purple, silver. Think pink!

A Clear Point of View

4_blue print table

When you’re making every inch count in your small space, it’s time to take a clear point of view. Think Lucite, glass and acrylic. One of my favorite go-to places is CB2 for affordable acrylic console and coffee tables. I used one in my friend’s apartment as a desk for her computer, and it is thick and substantial and does not visually take up valuable real estate. And because it is “clear” and “space neutral,” it can serve double duty as a wet bar or buffet table when she hosts parties for friends and family. I accessorized her table with a French crystal lamp and a crystal paper weight.

I have a six-foot glass desk in my tiny New York rental and because it is glass, it just seems to float in the room. I chose a big table lamp but because it is also transparent, it reflects the light in a beautiful way and doesn’t obstruct the lines of the table.

Cropped Glass Desk

I also love Lucite trays that you can buy inexpensively and with an added engraved monogram, you can elevate it instantly to tray chic.

pov Photo 3 Tray BCA5 - A Clear Point of View

Through the Looking Glass

3_magnifying picture frame_detail2

I thought if a picture is worth a thousand words than magnified 5-10 times would be that much better, right?

Cropped Photos

This idea was inspired by two treasured photos of my older brother and sister in Korea from the 1950s, but the original copies are very small. They only measure about 3×4” so I decided to attach a magnifying glass on the outside of the frame to help illuminate the finer details of the photo. I thought it would also make the photo viewing experience interactive and more intimate.

I found these bi-focal lenses and screwed them into an inexpensive frame I found at a close-out store. The frame cost $7.99 and the bi-focal lenses were $2.50 for the pair. They easily adjust up and down to view different angles of the photo. You can also find vintage optical loops at thepaperfleamarket.com for $3.00 each. Because the optical loops don’t come with a screw, just hang those from a thin black grosgrain ribbon affixed by a decorative tack across the top front of your frame for a truly personal touch to your home. These frames really make wonderful gifts for someone special in your life.

Cuckoo For Rococo

Cropped Chandelier Light

I love to mix it up when it comes to different design styles in a space especially when it’s shy of vital square footage. A little vintage here, a smidge of art deco there keeps the eye entertained and diverts attention away from a room’s shortcomings.

I searched everywhere for an inexpensive rococo style frame with lots of curly shapes and dramatic molding, but they were just too much for what I wanted to spend so I found an easy way to make my own.

I found a plain white, flat frame and ordered pieces of decorative molding from wishIhadthat.com.

Each piece cost between $2.50-3.50. I used hot glue to attach the molding in place. Then I used papier-mache (my favorite is Celluclay that you mix with water) and filled in all of the empty spaces between the molding. After that dried, I applied a skim coat of a product called Paperclay.

2_rococo frame_how to1

It’s a smoother air-drying clay that will give the frame a more finished look. Let that dry one or two days and then paint on two layers of gesso and finish with two layers of white paint.

I know it may sound like a tedious process, but it really is kind of therapeutic and the result is so satisfying. Use your new frame around a mirror to make any hallway or bedroom look important. It will make you go absolutely cuckoo for rococo! Watch CBS clip.

Fabulous Frame of Mind

Cropped Bedroom Doorway

Lately, I’ve been trying to challenge myself to adopt a “use what you have” approach to decorating projects in my apartment. Over time, I’ve accumulated a ragtag collection of picture frames in my closet; many left over from design attempts gone awry. Oops!

I was dying to put them to good use on the gray living room wall. I decided to keep the look monochromatic by painting the frames with the same Benjamin Moore’s Wrought Iron gray color but for extra pop, used it in a high-gloss finish.

Displayed as a large collection on the wall, these picture frames add a sense of architectural interest and depth to the overall space. Give it a whirl!

Two Sheets to … the Window

Balloon Shade Cropped

I love the look and drape of a balloon window shade, but when you live in a rental you don’t want to spend a lot on curtains if you know you’ll just move to a new space with completely different window requirements. My solution was to create fabric shades out of inexpensive fitted-sheets for my current small digs.

Sheet Set - Two Sheets to ... the Window

I bought two sheet sets at Home Goods for $19.99 with the perfect green trellis design I was looking for. I couldn’t believe my luck! Measure your windows. Mine are 70” tall x 41” wide. One fitted- twin sheet is about 80” long and 40” wide so I used one fitted-sheet per window. A queen fitted-sheet measures about 80” long and 60” wide. You can usually get two window shades out of one fitted-queen.

Cut off the top of the sheet and sew a finished hem leaving room for the curtain rod. I used two rows of green grosgrain ribbon for each shade to tie it all together.

I am just crazy about the finished look. Chic, cheap and cheerful!

Frame-tastic

7_weather stripping frame

I had no idea custom framing was so expensive until I needed a frame for a very large watercolor painting that I bought and love. When the frame options were going to cost more than the art itself I had to hit the pavement in search of a better solution.

I’m thrilled to say I didn’t have to look any further than my local hardware store. I bought aluminum and vinyl door jamb (yes, with a “b”) weather-stripping. The weather-stripping came in a set of three. Two strips measured 84” long and a shorter strip was 36” long. The price was about $15.00.

7_weather stripping frame detail

There are so many different finishes to choose from to match your art like white, nickel, silver, gold, and bronze which is what I decided to go with.

Check out Loews.com for weather-stripping in a variety of finishes:

1

My hardware store cut the pieces exactly to the measurements I needed for $5.00 extra and they did it while I waited. Each strip has pre-drilled nail holes so I used extra large upholstery tacks (5/8” wide) in a brushed nickel finish to give my art frame that industrial look.

For a package of 500 tacks be prepared to spend about $46.00. You have to buy them in bulk, but I end up using them for so many different projects so it’s worth it. What can I say…it’s frame-tastic and I came in way under budget!

So Audrey

Photo 1 Audrey - So Audrey

Hard to believe iconic beauty, Audrey Hepburn, was teased as a young girl for being tall, lanky and having large eyes. When I picked up this book, Being Audrey, I fell in love with each illustration and cannot wait to frame some of the images in a little girl’s room…especially the one with Audrey and her dog. Children will be inspired by reading the story of Audrey’s life illustrated in watercolor.

Photo 2 Bike - So Audrey

The handcrafted Audrey pin I recently bought in Korea is a reminder that she was beloved all over the world.

Photo 3 Pin - So Audrey

You can get the same look by printing a favorite Audrey image onto a fabric transfer sheet. Iron on the transfer onto silk or cotton and sew it into a small pillow pin.

Cranky Crafter

cc 01 - Cranky Crafter

I don’t know about you but I hate the words craft, crafty, or crafter. Luckily, sites like etsy.com are showcasing craft as a hip art form.

I recently discovered a tool called the Fiskars Crank Hand Drill that instantly changed the way I create home accessories. The product claims it drills a clean hole in paper, plastic and even metal. It is under $20 so I thought I would give it a whirl.

cc 02 - Cranky Crafter

I dusted off an old metal candelabra, which never had enough holes to hang a stylish cluster of crystals, and put the hand drill to work. I was shocked how easily and perfectly the drill pierced the metal. I made perfect holes all around my candelabra and was able to hang the vintage crystals my mother had given me.

cc 03 - Cranky Crafter

My next project is to transform a Lucite jewelry box with six drawers with new drawer pulls.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying my candelabra all over again

cc 04 - Cranky Crafter

Give it a whirl in your home. Enjoy!