Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On the Market

One of the families that I have worked with has just put their house on the market! So last weekend for fun, P & I went to check it out and while we were there, we snapped some pictures of the main living spaces.

Living Room:

Dining Room:



What do you think? I think it turned out really lovely (of course I may be partial).

Do you check out open houses, with or without being interested in buying?

After checking out this house that I worked on, we looked at some other open houses in the area, and we had quite a bit of fun seeing what elements we both liked or disliked.

Whether you are in the market or not--happy house hunting!

Monday, January 28, 2013


Congratulations are in order.

On this beautiful snowy day that we are having here in the northeast, it seems so appropriate to draw the winner of the winterize contest.

drum roll please

Vee will be getting winterized! (Please email me your address so I can get your prize in the mail)

I hope you all enjoyed this contest and learning how to make the pillows yourself, so if you didn't win, but you were really hoping to get winterized, you can help yourself add some winter accessories with the instructions of this DIY post.

Hope you all had a great weekend! Happy winterizing, and congrats to Vee!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday

Well, it is that time of year again, and most people, whether fans of football or not, will be involved in some sort of party to watch the big game (or at least the commercials and half time entertainment).

So if you are one of those hosting the Super Bowl party, here are some easy low-stress suggestions to have fun and enjoy the show.

Pick one main dish that you can serve-something that you can add toppings to. I like Chili; it is easy to make, and most people enjoy it. So for the purposes of this post, we will use chili.

Make your chili in the crock pot first thing in the morning. Then start to put together your toppings: mini cornbread loafs, diced chives, sour cream, salsa, corn chips, shredded cheese, etc., basically add what you like.

When you set out your buffet, your chili will be the centerpiece, surrounded by all of the delicious toppings. You can also put out a simple salad or veggie tray--but don't stress.

Another creative option: base your foods off of the hometowns of the teams. Such as, crab cakes for the Ravens, and sourdough for the 49ers. Maybe you could take the entre with toppings idea, and offer a seafood soup with sourdough bread bowls and oyster crackers. Or have one of your guests bring a crab dip and sourdough loaf to enjoy it with.

This event should be one that you enjoy with just a few friends, a small group of 6-8 people. invite your guests to bring their favorite finger food or dip to have on the coffee table for people to snack on.

The focal point of this day will be friends surrounding the TV while enjoying the delicious spred. So enjoy it!

Happy Hosting!

Friday, January 25, 2013

DIY :: Sweater Pillows

As the title suggests, I have a DIY to show you on how to turn your old sweaters into slip covers for your decorative pillows!

The supplies: a sewing machine (borrowed with necessary accessories), sweaters (Goodwill), scissors (a good pair), and a lumbar pillow (to slip the new cover over).

Step 1: Once you have found sweaters in the colors that fit your space and your liking, pre-wash them and then flip them inside out.

Step 2: Trim the sweater at the arms, leaving an inch or so above the armpit point, to trim later.

Step 3: Create a seam across the body of the sweater, from armpit to armpit. You can do this in a variety of ways. I chose to keep it simple; in my house these pillows won't get a lot of use as pillows-P moves them, and I use the larger pillows for comfort most of the time. If your pillows are going to get more use, you want to make sure you really create a strong seam-If you have a serger, use that to create the seam, it will wrap the edges so you won't have to worry about them unraveling.

There are probably several ways to make your seam. Do what you feel is best for you.

Step 4: Flip the pillow right side in, and put your lumbar pillow inside of it.

I chose not to seam the bottom. That way, in the winter when you are putting the sweaters on your pillows to warm up your space, it is easy. No fuss, and you don't have to deal with the hassle of sewing on zippers, etc.

Wrap the ribbed bottom edge around the base of the pillow and tuck it in. This edge is the edge that will  be on the bottom, so nobody will see it anyway.

Oh, and by the way, this is half of the prize for the winterize giveaway! The other half is a candle in a luminous holder to add light, ambience, and warmth to your winter space. If you want your space to feel super cozy, you can enter to win here, and if you don't win now you know how to make your own sweater pillows!

Good luck, and happy DIY-ing!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

DBK :: Q&A

While discussing ideas for the Boyish Charm post with P and some of his friends, one friend asked if any of those ideas could be applied to a living room space.

So here is B's question: How do you incorporate sports memorabilia in a living room in a mature way?

So B, here are some suggestions:

First off, B's lovely girlfriend framed one of his jersey's for him for his birthday, such a great gift for a sports lover. Framing jerseys can be quite costly, however, if you have a signed jersey especially, or even one from when you played in college, having it framed is worth the cost.

It will dress up the item, give it a professional look and it is a display piece that you can be proud of.

Secondly, keep like items together. In our space we took the abundance of hats and grouped them together to make them a focal point. In addition, we grouped the press passes to hang together, the helmets to be together on a shelf. You can group anything.

Another thing we grouped: the baseballs. We put them all in a vase. You can do this with almost any small item to create a decorative piece. For P we did it with the baseballs in the bedroom. For my knitting, I put the remnant balls of yarn in a glass bowl, and for the holiday, we filled clear vases with ornaments.

Finally, a great way to automatically add sophistication to your collection is by finding an antique or unique piece that can join the collection. For P's collection, it was the antique football helmet, but if you look on Etsy or ebay you can find all sorts of antique sports pieces to enhance your collection. Adding something like this gives your collection depth, that dresses it up while giving you a conversation piece.

Hope this helps.

For future design questions, send them my way! Happy pondering!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Miscellaneous MLK Jr. Day

What do you do when you get an extra day off? Do you appreciate the reason for the holiday, or do you just tick-off your to-do list?

I do both. Working with kids, it is easy to appreciate the reason for the holiday, because you get to see how they are studying the different holidays and what they learn at different ages.

As for the to-do list, that all depends on if I have the house to myself. And today, I do.

So I will be doing an intense amount of housework but more organizational stuff than cleaning, really. We did that yesterday. The morning will be about sorting through the closet and the drawers and doing some laundry.

And the afternoon will be about grocery shopping (we already planned the menu) and fun shopping (it's time to cash in on those holiday/birthday gift cards)!

I also want to finish getting the winterized prize all set to mail so when it is time to pick a winner, it will be all set to go! Speaking of which the deadline has been moved by just a few days to the 28th, so you have a week left to enter if you are interested! (Enter Here.)

However you spend it, enjoy your day.

Happy MLK Jr. Day!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Boyish Charm meets Grown-Up Style

One of the things I struggled with, upon P moving in, was his massive collection of sports memorabilia.

He has several dozen ball caps, posters, penants, all of his press passes and more. I guess it is the fault of living with a sports writer, but the question still remains:

How do you incorporate all of this stuff without making it look like it belongs in a kid's space?

Here are some things that we have done in our house. One thing we have decided is that we will eventually be in a two-bedroom space. The second bedroom will serve primarily as our office, him for working on all that sport writing, me for all things DBK. It has been decided long before we moved in, that any office space we will incorporate in our home will have a sports themed design.

However, our current office set-up, is in our great room, and I wanted to be able to close the door on the sports stuff. So it is in our bedroom.

Here are some of the ways we have classed it up, to make it fit in, without making our room feel like it houses a fanatic five-year old.

The string of hats: This is honestly my favorite thing. I really do love P's hat collection. I am a sports fan too, and I think it is really interesting to see all of the hats on display. (For the record, in his past home, he had them all hidden away in the closet.)  Arranging them in this fashion gives them an organization, puts them on display, and really showcases the variety, and fun of them all while unifying them in one area. It also allows him to un-clip one when he wants to wear it and clip it back up later. (A big shout out to Mr. Jay for helping us install these modern clothes lines from IKEA!)

For Christmas, I found an antique Leather football helment. It has a lot of wear and looks very rustic, which I love! Having an antique element to any collection automatically makes it look more sophisticated.

P also collects mini bats. So I thought why not use that as a rung to hang his press passes on.

Other little details in the space include the scoreboard chalkboard that we can write notes on, and a huge vase filled with baseballs.

Here is a final look at the space:

All of the little touches, in combination with the focus display of hats, really pull the room together in a playfully mature way.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Weekend Happenings

Happy Friday to all! Hope you had a pleasant week.

Here are some home-related events that will be taking place around the country this weekend:

Wednesday stated the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market at the Dallas Market Center. (Ending Jan. 22)

Yesterday kicked off the Seattle Gift Show at the Seattle Convention Center. (Ending Jan. 20)

Tomorrow the Orlando Gift Show (ending Jan. 21) and the Chicago Market: Gifts for the Home (ending Jan. 22) get started, at the Orange County Convention Center and the Merchandise Mart respectively.

Are these big shows the type of events that you enjoy? What is on your agenda this weekend?

Locally, P & I will be enjoying a long weekend with minimal work and a football party on the calendar! Sometimes it is just nice to relax.

Happy Happenings, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Designs That Captivate: Emerald

For those of you that haven't heard, Emerald has been announced as the color of the year.

I, for one, am loving it! I even painted my nails with Revlon #330 "Emerald" this week:

Here are some other great Emerald pieces I have found, all of which would make great accents in a space while keeping on trend:

Vintage Ceramic Planters, used as such, or decoratively.

Pillows are a great way to update your rooms as seasons, and trends, change.

Dylan Pillow in Emerald

Garden stools make for great end tables in small or large spaces; they can also serve as an extra seat during a party.

Safavieh Paradise Garden Stool

So have you warmed up to Emerald? What is captivating you?

Happy Designing!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Winterized Giveaway!

That's right, it is giveaway time!

Remember last week's topic on keeping that cozy winter feel in your space? Well, with this giveaway, I can help!

What will you get? A little winter accessory pack from DBK!

How can you enter? Over on the side of the blog, you will see an area to follow DBK, click the link, and sign up to follow us right here on the blog! After you sign up to follow, leave a comment to let me know.

Deadline: Jan. 23rd (I want you to get your winter accessory before it's time to pack it away!) 

Good luck, and happy winterizing!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sustainable Home

This past December, I was lucky enough to have been invited to tour a local sustainable home.

"We don't have to pollute the planet, we can follow nature's model," Etta Kantor commented on why she chose to build a sustainable home.

When people think of green design, they often think of ultra-modern or futuristic. But this home was the ultimate example of how being sustainable can fit any style. Mrs. Kantor's home had a country-theme running through it, with roots in all things sustainable.

She guided our group through her home, showing us all of the inner workings from the stained poured concrete floors on the main level (with radient heat), to the mechanical room that houses the heating systems.

Some of the systems she had in place have been gaining in popularity over the years. For starters, she uses a photovoltaic system that creates electricity which generates almost all of the home's electricity. There is also a 1,000-gallon water tank heated by solar-thermal panels on the roof, which is then transfered to heating the house and providing the heat for the domestic hot water systems (showers, dishwasher, pool, etc.).

However, in the event the sun is not providing the energy that the home requires at any given time, a backup pellet stove will kick in to maintain the heat.

Some of the systems Mrs. Kantor has implemented in the home even her husband was hesitant to install, most notably the composting toilet. The toilet doesn't have an odor, and once you wrap your mind around the process of how it works, it really isn't that bad. They only use one composting toilet, and the other toilets in the home use a gray-water system. The family also uses a cistern in the yard to capture rainwater for landscaping purposes.

Overall, when you walk around the home, if you didn't know it was a platinum-rated LEED certified home. It feels like a traditional country home, with all of the modern conveniences. The Kantor's kitchen is furnished with state-of-the-art energy star appliances, a with beautiful tile details from a local supplier

Some of my favorite details in the home were the many fireplaces:

The wall of fame with all of the awards and certifications the house has earned:

 The spaces flooded with natural light on all levels of the house:

The raw and earthy feel of the exposed timber ceilings:

The colors of the tinted concrete floors:

And the roof tiles that are made of a composite recycled rubber.

The home requires no heating in the winter, although occasionally they take advantage of the warmth of the radient-heat flooring. In the summer months they use conventional methods of central cooling, all of which use energy provided by the sun.

Overall, the Kantor's goal was to make the home as sustainable as possible. While discussing the benefits of sustainability, we discussed that there is a payback in some areas.

But, "I don't want to cut down the trees, so you just feel good knowing you are doing the right thing," Mrs. Kantor stated.

After leaving this lovely home, my passion for sustainability and green design was re-ignited. "You can't be 100 percent but [doing something] is better than not doing anything."

Architect: Edgcomb Design Group
For more information on building green visit the US Green Building Council

How do you feel about the environment, and incorporating a more 'green' lifestyle?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Photo Story: Montreal

P & I decided to skip town for New Year's Eve. Well really we skipped the country, and headed to a very cold, and magical stay in Montreal.

And we had a lovely trip...enjoy the photo story of our scenic drive and cold but amazing trip! (See if you pick up on any of my design/architecture obsessions.)

How is 2013 treating you so far? Are you ready to skip town?

Happy travels!