Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Things I learded this week

What a productive week and further proof that you never stop learning. Here are the things I learned:

Bathroom fans don't always vent to the outside. 
I was chatting with an electrician about putting in new bath fans. He explained to me that in some cases, hooligan builders will just plop a fan in and have it vent all the warm, wet air right into the attic. Now, in some cases, that isn't horrible because attics are vented like crazy and it isn't doing any real damage. However, if your attic is buttoned up nice and tight to save you some cash on your heating bills, dumping warm wet air up among the insulation is just going to give you a mold problem. Mold in your attic is not a good thing. Once you get it, you need someone to come in and sort it out. 

Some tilers are excessive builders.
I worked on a bathroom remodel and had the good fortune of tearing out a shower that was built to withstand Armageddon. It was a 38" x 38" neo-angle shower that was framed out using every nail produced in the 80's.  I pulled one support out that had 15 nails holding it to a stud. On top of that. The studs were covered with drywall then a plastic screen was laid over it with a nail every 3 inches. That screen was then covered with 3/4 of an inch of cement and all that was covered with a layer of thinset and approx a billion 4" pink tiles.
I hammered on the walls with a sledge and could hardly get them to budge. The tray they built must have weighed over 300 pounds. Each 12" x 12" section I tore out (and they came out about 12 inches at a time) must have weighed about 20 pounds.

And the last thing I learned.

Nails are sharp.
I stepped on a nail. Not like I had a pile of junk on the floor and lost my footing ending up with a nail in my foot. It wasn't anything that accidental.
What actually happened was this. I had safely moved all the detritus out to the dumpster and was reviewing how much I had moved. One piece of trim was lying on the ground with 3 inch nails sticking out of it. In my eternal quest for safety, I figured nails sticking up would be better if someone could fold them over. So I stepped on one and gently pushed it to the side. Then another, then a third. The third one didn't like being bent over. It much preferred pushing through the bottom of my shoe and directly into the ball of my left foot. Deeply.
No one ever said I was the sharpest tool in the shed because I went to the same nail and gave it a shot with my other foot. Again the nail refused to fold and poked a hole in my right shoe and ended up piercing my big toe.

So at the end of the day, all the hard work done, I poked a hole in not one but both of my feet.
Thankfully, I am up to date on all my shots and am back in walking shape. I even went so far as running 5K yesterday.

For those of you concerned about my health, I will continue to watch the hole in my foot and make sure it doesn't turn into a festering wound. I like both of my feet a lot. I would love to keep them. However, I am a dab hand at carving. If I end up losing one, I can carve myself a good looking one out of wood.
In design news. If you do find you have mold in your attic, contact your friendly designer. He or she should know a mold remediation person that can help you get your attic clean and dry again. Then you should work with your designer to get your bathroom venting correctly.
I recommend a bath fan that is silent or near silent. If they are loud, you won't use them. If you can, you should splash out on one with a humidity sensor or a timer that is tied into the light switch. That way the biggest variable is taken out of the equation. You.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A beginning (of sorts)

I know I spoke of a new beginning when I started this blog and it was a beginning. It was just a different kind of beginning. I have made another jump in my life. I adjusted my contract with the company I was working for to let me be my own designer without strings. Much like Pinocchio.
My next step is to buy some red shorts and a giant, bow-tie. You know, I had forgotten how creepy Pinocchio looked. Disney was one strange S.O.B.

But don't despair. I am still set up with a couple of loyal clients that will keep be busy and keep me in Cap'n Crunch for a little longer. One of which I am currently working on her kitchen and will eventually get to work on her bedroom. We talked about doing it up as a Zen Retreat for her to relax in. She has amassed a great collection of furniture pieces over the years and it makes for a lot to work with.
The typical response when a client says "Zen" is to a Japanese style. Uncluttered to the point of Spartan with light woods, rice paper screens and combed gravel gardens. Nothing against that style of living or design (I LOVE Japanese style homes) but getting your client to put all their stuff away into little cabinets and behind screens is near impossible unless they have been doing it since they were 2.
Turning Japanese is not your only option when a client asks for Zen. Buddhism is a widespread religion with a lot of different iterations. For this bedroom, I am turning to more of a Balinese style.
I am using a hotel in Bali as inspiration and will show the client some images from their rooms as an example as to what we are trying to accomplish.   
The hotel is the Villa Mathis in Seminyak Bali. I have borrowed a couple of images from their website for you all to look at and hopefully take some of your own inspiration from.
Aside from the typical "Zen" look, this Balinese style has darker and more intricately carved wood pieces. It also allows for the use of fabric to soften the edges of the windows and doors. Traditionally, the fabric would be a form of mosquito netting --I have been to Bali and some of the bugs are bigger than children. Check out this posting from Michelle Maor. Last two pics. 
However, the wood doesn't have to remain all dark. I think the treatment of the mirror above actually helps to show off the amazing carving at the corners. This shows one way you can treat a piece of carved furniture to emphasize the special areas. Remember, if everything is special, then nothing is. Keep it light and use accent pieces as accents. 

I am looking forward to working on this bedroom for my client and looking forward to posting the pics here for you to check out. 

I promise to take lots of pics of my upcoming projects and post them here with some explanations as to why I did what I did. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

America's Mart

It has been awhile since I posted anything design-y. Sorry about the slacker-ness. I could use the excuse that I moved to a new country, got a new job, designed a new studio to work in, hosted an open house along with my colleagues, made a trip back to Idaho to see the family.... Dang, I am tired just typing it.

But it is time to get back to work. In fact, some of us at work are headed to Atlanta to see what is new and exciting at America's Mart. Personally, I am looking to pick up a new 'Merica while I am there. The one I have is worn out and the congress stopped working about 5 years ago.
Actually, what happens there is a load of the vendors that sell furniture, lighting, home accessories, etc. come to Atlanta and show off all their new goodies.
By going to the show that means I will be privy to all the new trends, hot items and cutting edge thing-a-majigs and thus a more informed designer when I come out the other side of the event on Monday morning.

Wish me luck. I am taking some 5-hour energy with me and if I don't have a heart attack I should be able to stay awake for all four days.

p.s. There is one good thing going on this weekend, I get to catch up with my great friend and school buddy, Megan Sullivan. She is a lovely person, a great designer and she is cute as a button.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Background.

I was on the phone with a client the other day talking over a design we are planning for her master suite. During the course of our conversation, she reminded me that I had promised to change the background on this site and had yet to do it. I like to say it is because I have been busy, but I have just been lazy.
So here it is, something warm, clubby, just right to enjoy a tasty beverage while we talk about new designs and products that are out there.

If anyone is missing the wacky background, you should check out this new rug from Sonya Winner.
I was lucky enough to meet Sonya a couple years ago. She is a lovely woman that makes some amazing rugs. One of my favorites that she has come up with is this tree trunk one. She designed it for Decorex a couple years back and it was amazing. Filled the entire center hall. She is doing smaller versions now.

If you have a vision of a different rug, she can probably pull it together for you. Anything from squares to lightning bolts, butterflies to bubbles, she can do it all. 

I hope you enjoy this less aggressive background. I will keep posting the cool stuff I stumble upon as I work in this design-y world.

p.s. Along with the cool rug, that is a sweet wooden, arc lamp in the above picture. Sonya, if you read this, where did that lamp come from? 

All images came from she really is a lovely woman and does some great work. Check her out. 


Monday, September 3, 2012


Well, it had to happen. We packed up our lives again and headed back across the water to the land of opportunity, America.

Yes, I am now living in America just like James Brown did in Rocky 4 but without the crazy suit. Don't get me wrong, I can do the splits, I just don't have someone to come drape a towel around me and walk me off the stage.

You might be wondering, "Where in America did you settle down? " and to that I would say, good question. We are now in Bethesda. Maryland just north of Washington, D.C. I have a new apartment, a few new shirts and a brand new sofa to sit on, so I am pretty well set up. All I need now are a couple of clients that need help with their interiors.  

I will start to post more until I get too busy. Oh and I promise to change this wacky background. It is a bit too much.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sweet little seats

Like most mornings, I spent a while going through the email to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Not sure how all the chaff gets in there, but every so often I do find a lovely little kernel that can be used. -- I almost mixed my metaphor there. From farming to mining. Whew! --

Anyway, the kernel. One of the mails was from a furniture company called Naughtone they are featuring a new line they call Cloud Seating

Not only is it some cute little furniture with fancy quilted backs, it is made in England, there are two leg options and lots of colour combos.

Personally, I am a huge fan of the high backed sofa. Nothing I like more than being able to sit and read/work without all the surrounding noise of a room breaking my solitude. It looks so nice and cozy and comfy. Please sing me up for two.

Let this be a lesson to everyone. Not every piece of unsolicited email is junk. By reading it carefully, you can stumble upon some tasty nuggets of seatty goodness.

If you are in the market for some cool seats, give this company a look. Support your local economy and gain some privacy all at the same time.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Olympia Art and Antiques Fair

Today is the opening day of the aforementioned Art and Antiques Fair. If you were one of the lucky folks to make it through the rain to the preview night you probably saw some of the lovely furniture available from Gordon Watson LTD. 

One of my favorites was this very sweet reception set. Sexy and Deco, perched elegantly on those tiny legs.
This is what I want in my sitting room for when I have Jane Russell and Robert Mitchum over for drinks. I am well aware that they are both sort of dead, but it would have been a nice party. We would have had Sazeracs.   The conversation would have been sparkling and everyone would comment on how lovely the chairs and sofa were.
If you didn't make it out to the preview night, there are lots of days left and lots of activities planned. Head over to the website and get your tickets, then get to Olympia and check it out.

If you see Jane Russell there, tell her I have a new bottle of Rye and I would love to have a chat with her over drinks. If you see Bob, tell him I said hello and he is looking good for a dead guy.