Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm.....

How many times do you find yourself watching HGTV or something of the like and ask yourself how does one get on this show and get all this awesome free stuff (and, really, what is free)?.  I'd say a lot.

When we first decided to move and bought a house without yet selling our house, then went through the process of selling our house on our own, moved 985 miles away from family and friends and started a complete gut renovation...oh, did I mention I was 7 months pregnant at the time?...I toyed with the idea of entering to be on one of the HGTV shows.  With all that on our plate, I figured we could be pretty entertaining.   I consulted the list of shows seeking potential "guests" (their words), but none interested me and I was afraid my raging hormones may make me "appear" crazy.  Still, I always wondered what could have been.

Now we can get a little insider scoop on what it is like to be a guest on HGTV thanks to Joy over at Oh Joy!.  She and her husband were lucky enough to be chosen for my latest obsession, Secrets of a Stylist.  Who knew you had to audition for months?  I'm still curious what kind of budget you have to cough up for it, but it is pretty cool that you get design and labor for free.

It totally stinks that they cut out the part about her wallpaper line.  Hello people, you USED it in their living room!!!  Would have been an amazing plug....Anywho, read on for the details.

I was waiting to post my recap for you guys until the episode was online for those of you without TV's or who didn't get to see it live. So check it out right here if you haven't watched it yet. Then, all the bits below will make much more sense!
So you might wonder what it's like to have your house made over on a reality show...well, it's pretty awesome! Here's a little recap and behind-the-scenes bits for you of how it all went down. I had known of Emily's styling work previously to her being on Design Star but we had never met. Once I saw the pilot episode of her new show, I emailed her a fan letter and asked if she was available for consulting because I loved her show and needed help. Her show was the first on HGTV that I really felt fit our style and if anyone could give some good advice, she could. She was too busy to consult, but she was like, "Why don't you audition for the show and then I'd get to style your place for free?!?". My ears perked up and so I got Bob to film this audition tapewith me. We sent it in, and soon after started the process of going through rounds of casting from August-October of last year. When we finally got the call that we were in, we were told we'd be shooting a month later and filmed our episode at the end of November.
During the casting process, we met with Emily a couple times to talk about our own individual styles as well as our combined styles and what love our space to become. We sent her some tear sheets of things we liked. While I tend to be very type A and want to be in charge, I really let Emily do her thing because I love her work and trusted her 100%. And, Bob, well, he's easy so there were no concerns there. Here's what our living room & dining room looked like before...
When the week of filming came, we moved out for the week and rented a temporary apartment nearby. The crew works long hours filming in the house, so especially since we have cats, we thought it would be easier for everyone involved if we just moved out for the week and took our furry friends with us. The show shoots from Monday-Saturday with 3 days that we had to be available for filming.
On the first day of filming, we gave Emily an overview of our space, what we needed help with, and a bit about our styles.
We went to Emily's studio to film the "Style Diagnostic" in which she has us choose between different objects to get a sense of our style through our choices. The funny part about this segment is that the two shoes I picked for Bob were actually his! We didn't see the objects ahead of time {they must have pulled some of his shoes from our house}, so we were laughing on the inside when I had to pick what he'd like...knowing that was an easy job for me! None of the girl's shoes were mine, so Bob had a tougher task...
Then, she gave us our diagnosis and told us about the plan to start with my Artsy Nouveau look, and then layer on Bob's Single Malt Minimalism for a hybrid of Single Malt Nouveau. Now, here's where she warns us that she might go a little over the top with the girlie, feminine stuff and then tone it back down with Bob's style later.
Emily, Orlando, and the team then proceed with the first look. I love this scene here where she's standing in a corner with full-on wallpaper! So cute. {Because no one puts Baby in the wallpapered corner!} And yes, this is from my wallpaper line. We did talk about that on the show but it got cut for time sake. They then proceeded to put together Artsy Nouveau...
Vintage, hot pink, gold-gilded palace of girlieness!
This was the expression on our faces. Don't we look scared? I was probably the most flustered as I didn't know something so feminine could exist. And that while I loved parts of it, on a whole it was too feminine even for me {and definitely for Bob}.
Emily explains how she wanted to bring in a huge dose of "Joy" and then pare it down and add some of "Bob" in the next look. We were relieved that she wasn't going to leave it that way and excited to see the balance of our two styles in the second look.
I loved this segment about how Emily placed our artwork on the wall in a pretty cluster. That paper trick is awesome and something I totally need to do going forward. They then did their magic, and here's the 2nd and final look...
...which we LOVED! It was {and still is} a great mix of both Bob and my style. Emily paired down some of the girlieness and brought in more wood, chrome, and streamlined shapes that felt more modern and more like Bob...and a look which felt much more livable to me than the previous one.
Can you see the smiles on our faces?!? Totally. Relieved. And so so happy!
You can see more before and after's right here. Check Emily's blog for all of her behind-the-scenes bit from our episode and sources on where she got everything. For the items that were ours that you guys have asked about...
The ceramic head planters in the dining room are from Floral Art LA and the meat prints are byDominic Episcopo.
The prints above the couch are {from left to right}: lady print by Peggy Wolf, floral hedgehog byChipmunk Cheeks, vintage poodle print from Rosebowl flea market, popsicle print by Anna Tillett, heart by CDR, portrait by Gemma Correll, bird print by Yumi Yumi, Manhattan print byJim Datz for Three Potato Four, lemon print by Dear Colleen, lady print by Peggy Wolf, Swan girl print by Sophie Blackall, rabbit by Fifi Lapin, and buildings by Julia Rothman.
Phew! That was probably the longest post I've ever written! Thanks again for watching the episode and for all your nice emails, comments, and tweets! It was so fun sharing a bit of our home with you guys, and we hope you had fun watching it! — Joy
{all after photos by Laure Joliet. all other images are screen shots from the show}

Monday, March 28, 2011

Purple Passion

It seems like all the tress down here got the memo that it is Spring.  We didn't move down here until May last year so I am not familiar with the amazing blossoms in March.  Wisteria is EVERYWHERE.  It makes me wish we incorporated it into our landscaping.....and then I see all the bees it attracts.  No thank you.  I like bees, just not near my kid :)

It is not surprising that I fell in love with this bedroom in the recent Ballard Designs catalog:

There is something about purple and gold that I love.  And purple and green, and purple and pink, and purple and plum, and purple and black......

I think I'm going to have to bring this into the master bedroom.  Just when I think my projects are coming to an end, another idea comes up. What is on your project list?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Deal of the Week

Have you opened your Home Decorators Collection catalog lately?

I love these high backed slipcovered chairs.  They would make awesome head chairs for a dining room.  What did Emily from Secrets of a Stylist say in her latest episode?  Keep it low profile for casual and high profile for drama?  I think this is the perfect blend...high profile for the formality of a dining room (or, why not a kitchen?) yet slipcovered for that casual feel.  I am a sucker for grey, but the close-up view online looks questionable, almost velvety. I'm curious.  If anyone buys this,let me know how it looks.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Ok, I can't really say my kitchen is "featured" on another blog because she asked for readers' submissions and I obliged.....but, still pretty cool.  Thanks, Julie, for including me!

Before And After: Patio

BEFORE: Dirt area between our house and the carriage house 

I can't even call it a "patio:before".  This photo was taken right when we bought the place.  Imagine all the construction debris that piled there and wasn't quite hauled off as promised.....

The hardscapers cleared and leveled it:

And started in with the herringbone pattern:

We still need to paint the fence, buy a grill, sew a new cushion and pillows for the couch, plant things in the built-in flower bed, and style the area, but we're happy relaxing out here.  And, thankfully, the neighbors can no longer see into the yard from their deck :)


Sidenote: That is a rinnai on the side of our house (left).  Environmentally friendly doesn't always mean pretty (or fast), but it does the job.  The beast of an HVAC is hidden behind the fence, along with myriad beach chairs and perhaps my future bike :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  I've been busy being obsessed with the Barre class at my gym, making yummy meals for Quinn on the amazingly easy Beaba babycook, reading food blogs and learning new, fun recipes for the adult meals,  watering our new grass 2x a day, enjoying the 70-80 degree weather, going to kids' birthday parties with jump castles, eating lots of ice cream, and it's not even April yet.........

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Deal of the Week

This weather is making me want to go for a bike ride.  All the kids in this town have really cool beach cruiser/old school wheels.  Some have drink holders, others are decked out with bumper stickers.  Now I know how they can afford it:

Much better than the $399 version at Urban Outfitters and don't get me started on the $$$$$ other options.  Yikes!  This makes me very happy.  Now we just have to figure out where to store it where it won't get stolen :(

Monday, March 14, 2011


I'm having a hard time publishing my post about a new bike that I want when one of my favorite countries is dealing with such loss right now.  I had the pleasure of visiting Tokyo and Hakone for work a few years ago and it has had a place in my heart every since.  To watch people who take such pride in balance, efficiency, and cleanliness deal with such chaos is gut wrenching.

My friend Christine of Bijou and Boheme posted a list of charitable organizations helping with the disaster.  Make a donation or make a purchase to help.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Before And After: Driveway

I think 90% of home renovation budgets eat up the little portion set aside for landscaping.  And it is a HUGE mistake.  You spend all your time/money/patience making the inside look great, but no one can tell the difference unless they are invited inside.

Every time I walked up to our house it felt kind of depressing.  We were still stuck with this:

This picture doesn't even do it justice.  Gravel is not fun for strollers or anyone who likes nature.  It is good for hoarding cigarette butts (from old tenants) and little bits of trash.  Yuck.

There were a lot of variables to consider with this area.  Do we need a permit? How do we pitch the yard to help with flooding (the city of Charleston is below sea level). Do we remove the gravel or use it as a layer?  It all seemed so complicated. 

Now that the weather is consistently beautiful (I'll kick myself for jinxing it) we knew we just had to bite the bullet and call in the experts.  This took place over 3 hours yesterday morning:

I can't wait to watch the boxwoods grow and smell the fragrant tea olive trees as they bloom.  A fence will be constructed tomorrow to separate the yard from the parking area (in front of car in 2nd pic).  Picture the grass green and luscious and insert puppy :)

Oy!  Now we have to worry about watering and cutting the grass!

I'm calling in early this week.  My parents are visiting this weekend.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Deal of the Week

Passing fad or fab staple, whatever your theory is on the cowhide rug, you can have the look for less.  I looked at the IKEA selection last month and they were all too dark for and deep browns.  I was so happy to finally find light grays and tans at my local World Market yesterday (colors are better at the store than they are online).

Brazilian Cowhide Rug | World Market

I think it would feel better under Quinn's soon-to-be mobile knees than the current sisal roughness.

World Market ships, but it is better to pick these out in person.  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Headboard Fabric Poll

Our weekend was filled with walks and iced coffee and swingsets so the headboard did not get done.  It occurred to me that I don't even have fabric for the project.....duh!

Do any of these tickle your fancy?

To Larger Image

To Chipper Collection

To Larger Image

To Larger Image

Click for Larger Image

The bold colors are a drastic departure from the rest of the house (minus the nursery), but remember I am embracing the Ms. PacMan machine.  Too much?

I am going for this look:

image courtesy of High Heeled Foot in the Door (now Effortless Style)

Maybe I'll do the solid yellow and use the other fabric choices for the pillows.  Glad I could work this out as I type :)  I'd love to hear what you think anyway.....

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 4, 2011

By The Way....

Ballards came out with a new shape for their Atoll Mirror and it's on sale!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Headboard DIY

I've always loved this DIY video from Design Sponge.  She explains all  the steps so well and the finished product looks exactly like her inspirational photo.  I wish I could figure out how to cut that shape without hiring a carpenter.  I'm not confident I could freehand the curves and then I'd have a lot of curved edges to upholster.

I love the otomi fabric, but it will clash too much with my blue ikat chairs in the guest room (see second pic below).  I'm thinking it is best to just work with the Ms. PacMan machine.  She is a beast, but pink is in this year right?

Material Girls and Little Green Notebook have blogged about some great shaped headboards.  If I want this done quick and easy (always my MO) then I should stick with plain old square (snooze).  I'll have to dress it up with some fun fabric.  Luckily, hubster is on spring break next week.  Looks like we'll have another Weekend Warrior project to help this situation (so embarrassing):

Send suggestions if you have any!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Before And After: Cane Back Chairs

I bought these chairs at Brimfield Antique Market 2 summers ago (mark your calendar: 2011 dates are May 10-15, July 12-17, Sept 6-11).  I didn't know it at the time, but they are a great match to my cane back dining chairs.  I got a 2 for 1 deal since they double as living room chairs and host chairs at the dining table.



I'm loving the gray faux ostrich skin fabric.  Kid friendly, renter friendly, and still chic.  And I can officially report that I love the white slip cover couch I got a few months ago.  I switch out the slipcovers every few weeks and just throw them in the wash.  So easy.  Do you have any kid-proof/life-proof decor ideas to pass on? any kid-proof/life-proof decor ideas to pass on?