Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Welcome to the first of many Q&A's with DBK. If you have a design problem you would like to submit, I will post on reader questions, or questions that people ask me while I'm out and about. I hope that this series helps get you some answers and makes you feel more comfortable submitting comments and questions on the blog.

Since we just talked about holiday parties on Sunday, I thought I would take this question on hosting a gingerbread house party:

I'm hosting a holiday party as a community event in one of the community buildings. The party will be to make and decorate gingerbread houses, and as it is in a community building we won't be able to put anything up on the walls. How do you suggest we decorate to get people in the holiday spirit, while still allowing ample space for food and making the gingerbread houses?

After a few email exchanges, I learned that the space has some chalk boards and will have a long row of tables with food set out buffet style. There will be tables in the middle for gingerbread house work-stations. And there will be a table with extras to decorate the houses, etc.

Here are some suggestions to add to the festive environment, while getting across the theme:

1. Use big block letters, to write "How to make a gingerbread house" on the chalkboard, with a few simple instructions below to get people started. (i.e.: using the icing, connect the pieces of your house, and give them a layer of "snow"; using the various pieces of candy, create shingles, windows, doors, a walkway or other festive decor...etc.) Make a simple depiction of a house and a gingerbread man & woman below.

2. On the extras table, put down a layer of quilt batting below the the bowls of toppings to make it look like a snowy winter wonderland. Doing this on the food table or the work-station areas will get in the way of the function of those tables, so just a plain white table cloth will do on the other spaces.

3. Using a 3" wide ribbon in silver/white with sparkles, tie a ribbon around the base of the back of the chairs where the back meets the seat. Measure the distance from the seat to the floor, and multiply by 4, then tie a bow with this length. You don't want the ribbon to drag the ground, but you do want it to hang just above the floor.

Using things such as a white or silver ribbon, and white quilting batting & table cloths will help with a winter/holiday theme, without being too specific to any religious holiday.

What do you think? Will these ideas make a cold space feel more festive? Would you want to attend this fun gingerbread house party?

If you have a question you would like to submit for a future DBK Q & A, click on the email link on the  right side of the page (the orange button with the envelope) or comment on any post.

Happy Designing!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holidays with an Old Hollywood Glam Twist

This year, P and I are hosting our first annual holiday party for family and friends. I thought it would be fun to have a theme to make it more fun and I came up with Old Hollywood Glam.

The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year. Growing up, Christmas was about being with our loved ones and all of the merriment that goes along with the festivities.

So to add a bit of sparkle and glamor to our season, I thought Old Hollywood Glam would be perfect.

The colors: Black, gold, and red, with hints of evergreen represented in the tree and the garland.

In our apartment, we have a big kitchen/dining/living/great room. so we will divy up the space through the food and beverage areas to help spread things out. Instead of having everything buffet style on the dining table, we will have the hors d'oeuvres on the dining room table, the drinks set up on the kitchen peninsula, and the desserts laid out on the desk.

I wish I could draw you a map to make it more clear, but imagine our great room shaped like an "L." The front door is at the far end of the L so you would walk right into the kitchen peninsula, then take a left by the dining room table and a right to go to the desserts at the top of the L. Spreading the different foods out will help circulate the guests throughout our space.

Each area will have a few pieces that give a nod to the Old Hollywood Glam theme. Another idea someone suggested that will help move the guests through the space is give them an ornament as they walk in to let them hang on the tree. It's a nice idea to let your guests help decorate, and it adds to the holiday cheer.

Here are some of the decor items that I have purchased already to emphasize the theme:

Tree & clear apothecary jar from HomeGoods; Candelabra, gold tray & amber apothecary jar from Pier 1.

Festive ornaments will fill the apothecary jars, there will be candles glowing in a multitude of clear and gold holders throughout the space, flutes of champagne and sparkling cider will be served on the gold trey and the gold tree will be adorned with wine charms for people to mark their glasses with.

The holiday season is officially upon us! Are you throwing or going to any holiday parties? Need help with the festive decor, let me know, I'd love to be of assistance!

Happy Designing!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How to Trim Your Tree, Like a Pro

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and a lot of families will cut down their trees this weekend. It's a great tradition: while you are in family mode for Thanksgiving, just go get your tree to kick off the holiday season!

When do you guys start getting out your holiday decorations?

There are ways to decorate your tree to make it look look more dimensional and full, so here are some tricks from Martha Stewart that might help.

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart.

Once you get your tree to stand up straight, add the lights, then ornaments and finally the topper. Here is how to add the lights Martha Stewart style:

1. Starting at a bottom bough, string lights along the underside of each branch. When you get near the end, loop lights around the top of the branch.
2. Work back to the tree trunk, winding around branch and light strand. Continue around the tree. Reverse the procedure on upper branches (or those above eye level of an average adult), stringing lights first along the top, then back around bottom.

Adding the lights in this fashion will show the depth of your tree and make it look more full.

The next trick is how to get your ornaments to stay on the branch so you don't have to deal with them slipping around and falling:

Suspend ornaments from tinned copper wire instead of manufacturer-provided hooks, which can slip off branches, causing breakage. To make your own hangers, thread a 5-inch piece of wire through the ornament loop; twist the wire around itself several times to secure. To hang, wrap the other end of the wire around the branch until the ornament is secure.

This is a little more complicated than just putting them up, but it will guarantee that your ornaments will stay in place!

Now you can also come up with a theme for your tree and put out ornaments that coordinate with that theme. However, sometimes it is fun to have ornaments from trips that you have taken, or that your kids have made, etc., and in that case, keep it simple and don't worry about a theme.

If you click on the above link to the article, you will find a lot more on how to not only decorate your tree like a pro, but also how to photograph it, so check that out for some more great tips.

It is getting to be that time of the year, what are your holiday traditions?

Happy Designing and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Colours with Sherri

A few weeks ago, I met with Sherri at her new home to discuss painting over the colors.

During the color consult (or as Sherri would write, colour consult), we talked about the flow of the space, went over some inspiration photos, and discussed Sherri's overall style.

Sherri felt that her space was very disjointed and she wanted to pull it together to make it feel seamless. Like the rooms were really supposed to flow into each other. But most importantly she wanted to make it feel like she was living in her home.

So what did we do? I loved working with Sherri, she was actually a very easy client. She didn't know where to start, but with some guidance, she discovered what style and colors really spoke to her. After discussing her inspiration images from her homework assignment, we got started with her space.

The colors were bold, and varied wildly throughout her home. Here is a look at the "problem areas" inside:

Kitchen in red.

Dining room in shades of sea-foam green.

Bathroom in buttery yellow.

Main Bedroom in white-washed blue undertones
Sherri seems to favor shades of blue and green, in serene spa-like tones, she likes simple, yet classic furnishings. I would say her style is sleek-traditional-cozy.

She spent the last week painting swatches on 12"x12" foam core boards, and viewing them throughout the space. Here is the suggested scheme (all Benjamin Moore Paints):

From Left to Right: The Kitchen will be the third color down on the first strip, Harbour Town #493.

The Dining Room wainscoting will be painted the top of the second strip, Polar Frost #1506, with the rest of the room accented in the fifth down on the third strip: Baffin Island #243.

The Bathroom will be the third down on the forth strip, Grecian Green #507.

The primary bedroom color will be third down on the fifth strip, Pleasant Valley #696, with an accent wall in the 4th down on the last strip: del Mar Blue #704.

All of the painted trim in Sherri's home will be refreshed with Super White white.

I think the colors will flow nicely into one another and will give Sherri's space the makeover that will really feel like home.

Here is a close up of the swatches Sherri has painted and taped up on the walls:

Kitchen: Harbour Town #493

Dining Room: Baffin Island (#243) & Polar Frost (#1506)

Bathroom: Grecian Green (#507)

Bedroom: del Mar Blue (#704) & Pleasant Valley (#696)
What do you think? Are you a fan of Sherri's new scheme? I can't wait to see it when it is finished. In the meanwhile, Sherri and I will be working out furniture plan for her living room, and finding new pieces to fill in where need be.

Happy Designing!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Drumroll Please!

And the winner is......

Miss Chan! Please comment and let me know which book you would like from the original post, and I will get it out to you ASAP!

Thank you all for taking the time to enter, unfortunately there weren't enough entries for their to be a second place prize...

Onto our second year of interior design related info...I have been making some additions to the blog:

Did you notice our shiny, colorful, new social media buttons? Click on them to follow DBK all over the web!

If you look at the top you can peruse our tabs on consultation services, the DBK backstory, and soon to come: client testimonials.

One more thing that I want to change around here: I have up to this point, tried to post on a weekly basis. I put out the posts on Sunday mornings like the big newspapers, and that has been working thus far. Just like the newspaper, the big stories in DBK will continue to come out on Sundays, but I will also be providing you with some mid-week entertainment now. So start checking in on Wednesday evenings for fun pieces relating to the design industry.

As always I am open to your questions and comments, and I love to hear from you all. Please let me know if you need any info, or if you just want to share your opinions on something I've posted.

DBK is getting older, and hopefully wiser, I hope you agree :)

Happy Designing!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

New & Improved

...with bold pops of color.

Did you see this sneak peek on Instagram?

Here is the new & improved mid-century bar cart:

In it's new home, nestled between the chairs.

And here are the other color accents in our living room with shades of Purple Rain, St. Lucia Teal, & Amber:

The main view as you enter the space.

The pillows: Blue detailed pillow from Target, Purple Chevron pillow found at TJ Maxx
Opposite the sofa, the entertainment center with natural elements from the wicker baskets.
Ready for their close-up!

The elements I love the most are the colors and comfort that the new pillows add; the texture that the ladder of throws adds; the bold pop of the bar cart; and the elements of nature with the baskets, raw wool in the lamp, and the wood of the ladder.

Note: The ladder was also found at the flea market, and was exactly what this space needed!

Which elements do you like?

If you have time later today, remember to enter in the anniversary contest (and let me know you did!), check out our new social media links in the top right hand corner of your screen, and click on the buttons to follow DBK all week long! Tuesday is our anniversary! ( & hopefully the new layout of the blog will be all set to go then too!) Contest winner will be chosen Wednesday.

Happy Designing, and have a fabulous week!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mid Century Overhaul

Remember this great mid-century bar cart we picked up at the flea market?

Here is its make-over in a photo story.

Put down a drop cloth so as not to damage anything in the surrounding area.

Give it a really good clean. You don't want the paint sticking to the dirt, you want it sticking to the object.

Disassembling this cart makes it easier to get the right pieces painted the right colors. (Be sure to hold onto all the hardware!)

Apply your color of choice. For this cart: Deep Purple for the shelves, and a non-shiny Gold for the legs.

Do like the colors? Can you see how they play into the chosen color scheme for the living room?

Next week, see it in its new living room setting!

Don't forget to set your clocks back...What project will you get done with this extra hour?

Happy Designing!