144 posts categorized "Home Decorating"

May 1, 2016

DIY: Dresser Makeover

DIY Dresser A

When it comes to your baby’s room, it may seem to be the easiest room to decorate. There are, after all few design opinions coming from the tiny occupant, and as the parent, you get to design the room to your exact specifications. While for many, this ensures a no-brainer, done-deal project, there are those who need more information about the occupant in order to personalize their space.

I am in the latter group. For three years, Zoe’s room sat bare with the only décor being a coat of paint, a hand-me-down crib, a pink-and-white area rug and a ubiquitous white 6-drawer dresser. From the start, I was hesitant to impose my personal decorating ideas and essentially force her to live in a room that may not suit her personality.

After a handful of years, I know her much better and despite the fact she hasn’t exhibited any of her own color preferences, I can no longer starve her - or myself - of the visual delights of decorating.

First up, heading to Spoonflower for one-of-a-kind selection of wallpaper. Be forewarned, there are thousands of patterns and colors to choose from. The best strategy: find a favorite designer and stick with them.

DIY Dresser B

(Above) I chose Holli Zollinger and ordered five samples. Choose from smooth or woven texture, and water-activated or peel-and-stick. I ordered the samples in all the forms to feel the weight of the paper, and to determine which would be easier to apply.

DIY Dresser C

(Above) Holli Zollinger’s “Atrium Veranda Garden” woven wallpaper, #3856775 from Spoonflower. It comes in 2’ x 12’ rolls. The dresser was less than 5’ tall but you’ll need wiggle room for correct placement and any mistakes. The materials: cutting mat, Exacto knife, pencil, ruler and measuring tape. The roll comes with a squeegee to push out any air bubbles as you apply the paper.

DIY Dresser D

(Above) I chose the woven texture peel-and-stick. The paper has a heavier hand, rougher surface and is repositionable.

DIY Dresser E

(Above) Here, half the dresser is completed. Wipe down the dresser face and remove knobs. Measure the face of the dresser face down on the paper underside. I left an extra inch on the top and bottom because it’s better to cut too long than too short. Trim off the extra or curve it under the drawer.

DIY Dresser F

(Above) A 2’ width roll will get you only half way across the dresser front. Now begins the lining up and meticulous matching up of the seams. Once you’ve identified the general area of the perfect seaming, leave about 2” extra to begin slicing off thin strips until your pattern matches up.

DIY Dresser G

(Above) Here: tiny slice by tiny slice until it’s a perfect seam.

DIY Dresser H

(Above) Perfect!

DIY Dresser I

(Above) We’re on our way!

DIY Dresser J

(Above) After all the paper was applied, the next step was to give the dresser a finish worthy of an antique-y look. Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint is a decorative paint that is applied without the need to sand or prime the surface. A little goes a long way. I painted the top, sides and front frame in two coats with this sample pot. I bought her brush and clear wax finish. The wax was suppose to dry clear but it dried slightly darker, so I stopped because that wasn’t what I wanted.

DIY Dresser K

(Above) The sides of the drawers also got a little lipstick. The material was raw wood, however so I applied a coat of shellac first. Here, Annie Sloan’s Scandinavian Pink.

DIY Dresser L

(Above) The Distorted Faceted clear knobs from Anthropologie were the finishing touch!

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May 16, 2015

Shopping: pillow inserts


Our brand new throw pillows!

Here you go. You’re welcome! What am I talking about? We hate the throw pillows that came with our sofa. We love our sofa. Hate the pillows. They are mean little things with pokey quills popping out all over. You can’t see them and only know they’re there after they’ve taken some of your blood. Unzip the pillow cover, and there are feathers everywhere. Pulling the pillow out of the cover would be a catastrophic mess. I can just see it. 

This leads me back to why you’re thanking me for I know there are other pokey-haters out there too! After spending weeks researching different kinds of pillow fills from polyester fill to buckwheat seeds, whether to consider pillow protectors and what's the right size to buy, I decided to share what I purchased. 

First, here’s a shout out to the reason why we needed new inserts: Les Indiennes, hand block-printed organic cotton textiles, which uses old-school kalamkari Indian methods to create uber soft fabrics. My favorite part is that they lay out the cotton in India’s intense sun to bleach before printing.


A chance reading about the shop’s outlet in Hudson, New York on a Friday night led to a spontaneous 3-hour family daytrip to the historic town Saturday morning. Outlet items are located at the back of the shop, and my haul included euro shams, pillowcases, dessert plates and four throw pillow covers. 


Check out the textiles and plates we bought at Les Indiennes. I love the rich red and ditsy pattern.


Throw pillow inserts: I loved the idea of the therapeutic qualities of buckwheat pillows but they’re expensive and the process of making my own was beyond my mental capabilities at that point. At the end, Garnet Hill’s inserts were natural, dense and soft with 95% white goose feathers and 5% white goose down with little to no reports of pokey quills. Hooray! And at $18 each for a 18”x18" square, the price was right.

Pillow protectors: I decided to go for an extra layer of protection between me and the sharp quills, and also the down for hypoallergenic reasons. Protectors keep errant feather escapees contained. Pottery Barn’s cotton selection come zippered and are machine washable. Their 230-thread count 18”x18” size is $8 each. 

The general rule for sizing is to buy inserts 1" - 2” larger than the pillowcase. It makes for a plumper and firmer throw pillow.  

Happy lounging. We are!

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September 4, 2014

Ikea 2015


I'm always chomping on the bit to see what comes out next in Ikea's collection.  Their global design team usually makes me say the following things: “That reminds me of that XX antique I once saw,” or “…that piece of furniture comes in all those colors?” or “I can get that for that price?” Whether it’s a small or large item, there’s usually some small detail that makes an impression.  Here are a few examples that make all the difference in my book for this new season!

{1} Jane Austen comes to mind when I spot a secretary, as well as hidden panels with love letters stuffed inside.

{2} Clearly, I have the 18th century on the brain because wing chairs are a classical piece of furniture that make a statement.

{3} Here’s a tumbler that resembles milk glass.  And in pink!

{4} This chest of drawers has something art deco about it.

{5} A simple towel rack chair serves style, function and Nordic, Shaker-style lovliness.

{6} Increase the convenience quotient and solve small-space problems with a drop-leaf, wall- mounted shelf any where. 

{7} Who doesn’t love a table with a sexy leg?

{8} Not only are wardrobes with sliding doors a space-saver for tight quarters but I have a soft spot for country-style beadboard.

{9} A storage box is merely a container until you put a Victorian-esque label holder on it. Now, there’s character!

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July 21, 2014

Kids: 7 very cool rooms


You rock that head scarf, baby!  Don’t try to climb out of your crib yet.  I’d stay in there, and enjoy that awesome bohemian vibe.  Eschewing bunny posters for vintage art and a seemingly dismantled pendant lamp, I love the cool ease. 

{Photo via thewiegands}


The dusty rose shaggy pillows give an edge to this otherwise girly room but so do those awesome silver trunks.  Bedside tables are the most interesting, when they’re an unexpected medium that also function and provide a surface. 

{Photo via decocrush}


A Vermeer painting was the first thing I thought when I saw this room.  The contrast of a dark wall, honey-colored wood and Marimekko’s bright oversized pattern gives it a gorgeous painterly quality.

{Photo via handmadecharlotte}


Children’s wall art doesn’t need to be expensive.  A variety of colorful hankies does the trick.  Did you see the display case wardrobe closet?  Beautiful!

{Photo via sfgirlbybay}


I’ll be taking a cue from this room for Zoe.  It’s never been my habit to lay out clothes for the next day.  I love the idea of having a designated hook in the middle of the wall, and hanging tomorrow’s clothes on it.  What a time saver, not to mention it looks very artistic.

{Photo via lovelylife}


I love a bold, extrovert wallpaper pattern.  You can get away with it if you keep it to one wall.  The different yet matching bed sets are creative and functional, since they seem to be able to extend as the child grows.

{Photo via mokkasin}


This French Directoire-style bed really says nothing kid-like.  Yet once you festoon it with plush toys and pillows, it immediately becomes approachable.  The entire room has an adult sensibility, and soft touches like the wire wall hanging and flokati rug will make her an envy with all her friends.

{Photo via sfgirlbybay}

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June 28, 2014

Fun Goth Portraits





Nineteenth century portraits, we’ve all seen them: black and white, nobody ever smiling, upright postures and clothes you could analyze for hours.  I found the whimsical, Tim Burton-esque, children’s version at the Hester Street Fair.  So colorful, they avoid being cutesy with their gothic and quirky characteristics, which I love.  Buttons make google-y eyes on original paintings.  Some come in vintage oval frames, others are paintings on wooden plaques.  Both are equally wonderful in starting a wall gallery.  Check out Naughty and Nice on Etsy.

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April 14, 2014

DXV by American Standard




You’ve heard of American Standard.  When I received an invitation to their new Manhattan showroom introducing their DXV line, it sounded like an event I should not miss.  I found out what their big news was: DXV represents American Standard’s new luxury kitchen and bathroom line, and pulls from their storied past.  I call it, “American Standard’s greatest hits."  Of course, modified with fresh silhouettes and details.  By the way, DXV, stands for Decade 15, as in they’ve been in business for 150 years.

There’s a reason why I salivate over beautiful kitchen and bath design.  How often do you get to choose a new fixture, sink or bathtub?  Certainly not on a regular basis.  It’s not that kind of disposable product.  It’s meant to last through the times, and because of that, it’s a special occasion when the opportunity presents itself.  Also, I never underestimate the pure joy of loving your bathroom or kitchen.  It makes my day, everyday.  Check out more on DXV!

American-Standard -3

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February 19, 2014

Found it! Yellow stools



I never planned to want so much citrus in my life.  It came on suddenly or perhaps more likely, slowly and subconsciously.  Maybe it’s because I’ve lived with cool neutrals for so long, like grays and creamy browns, that my brain was seriously parched for happy color.  At the last “happy color” count, I found the following in our apartment: citrus yellow sofa, chartreuse dining room curtains, kelly green wallpaper, lime green filing cabinet and a yellow runner.  Just for the record, I’ve never been partial to citrus but clearly my brain took over my body, and made me purchase the other end of the rainbow.  I guess my soul needed it.  And am I ever grateful because I feel pretty intoxicated.

Should you ever find yourself in Nolita in downtown Manhattan, stop by The Butcher’s Daughter.  This is a yummy juice bar/vegetarian café, where tables and counters sport bright stools that smack of chirpy, yellow sunshine.  No sooner was I wondering where someone could buy a set that I spotted these at CB2!  They’re low on stock, so hurry if they’re up your alley.  Seems like quite a lot of people like the sunshine-y look too!

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February 13, 2014

Beni Ourain rugs - everywhere i look



There’s a certain rug I’ve been seeing everywhere.  The first few times I saw these Beni Ourain-style rugs, I thought they were beautiful.  They’ve been around for quite some time but recently they’ve been hotter than a hot tin roof.  They were named after the Moroccan Berber tribe, who handcrafted these textiles from high-grade wool.  I love this rug for the easy, coordinating-friendly black and white colorways.  Not to mention, the pile is just the right foot-loving softness and comfort.  At the bottom of this post, I list various sources where you can buy one of your very own.

{Photos above via DesignLoveFest, LovelyLife}





{Photos above via StyleByEmilyHenderson, SFGirlByBay, Pink Rug Co, Lilly Bunn Interiors}


Buy your own right here! 

Pink Rug Co offers vintage Beni Ourain rugs from 20 – 60 years old.  Ships from Morocco through Etsy. 

West Elm collaborated with artisans to create their own interpretation of the Morrocan Berber style rug. 

Pottery Barn’s version is made of New Zealand wool designed in the traditional lattice Mughal pattern.

Lacasadecoto sells vintage Moroccan wool rugs, and ships from Barcelona through Etsy.

Urban Outfitters’s wide selection of tufted rugs are designed in traditional Moroccan patterns, and of course in a good price point.

{Photo via Domino}

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January 6, 2014

Tricia Guild, color maven and designer


The first thing you take away from amazingly decadent fashion layouts, print ads and coffee table books is inspiration.  We know to observe, garner what appeals to us, and apply it in a way which elevates our lifestyle.  This example is never truer than with Tricia Guild, creative director for Designers Guild.  The visuals in her new book, "Decorating with Color" {Rizzoli, November 2013} are sumptuous, and although set in palatial houses, her perception is universal.  Your home - mansion or one-room studio - is a paintable canvas.  In my opinion, few designers present patterns, textures and color more indelible than Tricia.  I ask her a few questions.


TISLstyle: When you've mentioned the color Duck Egg Blue, great images pop into my head.  What are your thoughts on the names of colors, and how they affect us?

Tricia Guild: Color stems directly from nature.  Color names are so evocative because they do relate to the natural world.  Just think of pearl, ocean, grass or violet; they all conjure images of something beautiful from the natural world that is intrinsically linked with a particular shade.  I cannot imagine how else we would define or indeed, use the colors in the spectrum without this reference.  We spend an age naming our designs and their colors to make them as evocative and interesting as possible.


TISLstyle: During your book signing, you mentioned a couple of stylish and colorful cars in your lifetime.  What attracts you to them?

Tricia Guild: What's not to love about a stylish old car?  The cars I was referring to have a personality and are also great colors - an emerald green saloon {aka sedan} is such a statement.  As for the battered lilac Fiat {photo above} – I find myself imaging the journeys that little car has taken and the person that first bought it.

I find inspiration from all the aspects of my life, and in a way, inspiration is around us at all times.  It is a case of being tuned into it and having one's own eyes open.

{Car image © Getty Images}


TISLstyle: What is your view on neutrals?

Tricia Guild: I do use a lot of natural and neutral shades, and think that they are wonderful when combined with shimmering metallic, with color, or indeed in a cool, serene palette of their own.  What I do find sad about them is that people can often shy away from using the colors they love, in fear; the result is a bland and boring neutral color scheme that will bring them no joy.

As easy as it may seem, a natural or neutral palette is not always easy to decorate with.  It can be lifeless or cold and sterile, and in fact too many underlying shades of neutral can render a space dull.  One must have an understanding of what these tones need to ensure they are none of the above, but rather dynamic and interesting.


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December 31, 2013

Reminiscing TISLstyle 2013


For the creative blogger, you always leave some little part of you in every blog post.  It's always fun to take a trip down memory lane.  Perhaps you remember some of these, or maybe they'll be a good read for you now.  Here’s a look back on a few things that happened on TISLstyle during 2013.  Whichever the case, thanks for spending time with me, happy new year, and see you in 2014!


Who: The Tinsel Trading Company, New York City

What: Manhattan’s historic 1930s millinery and trim shop is the best there is

Why: Tinsel Trading is full of nostalgic charm selling vintage and new notions, dressmaker’s details and embellishments.



What: Streamlined and minimalist approach to baby gear

Why: Muted modern silhouettes and colorways makes both baby and adult happy



What: DIY how-to paper pom-poms 

Why: They add a light festivity to a party, a home office, child’s room or any corner needing some luster



What: Greige is a shade with varying degrees of gray and beige

Why: It’s the best neutral that isn’t white or tan, and is at once masculine and feminine.



What: After running my two favorite bags into the ground, I went on a shopping bag spree, and splurged on four new ones.

Why: Bags are personal.  Featured here are four that make my life a little easier and whole lot more fun.



What: Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth

Why: This cloth can be twisted, folded or tied to make a shoulder bag, to gift wrap or bundle items.

Virtual glasses


Who: Flutter Eyewear

What: Upload a photo of yourself and try on as many different eyeglasses

Why: Imagine the ease of trying on frames from the comfort of home

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