Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Before & After: Tented Stripe Nursery

After what feels like a 1 million-year hiatus, I'm writing a blog post! And I have to say, it feels SO good to do so, it feels exciting just to have something new in my home to share with you. With the arrival of my third son, I had the excuse to get busy with the last baby bedroom in our house. It was begging for some decorating. We waited to find out the gender of our little Levi when he was born, so I didn't prepare ANYthing but a crib, dresser, and bookshelf. The room was beyond a blank canvas, as you will see below. Finally when he was about 6 months old, I mustered up the energy to plan and execute a design scheme for his room (it turns out 3 kids under 5 years old is no joke! Lol):

Inspiration rooms from top to bottom: Bruce Budd, Miles Redd, Mark D. Sikes. Illustrations by Ludwig Bemelmans.

I wanted to focus my attention on the biggest impact item, a 'hero' fabric or wallpaper; for this room I decided to install the stunning Brewster Home Cooper Denim Cabin Stripe wallpaper on all 4 walls AND the 5th wall, the ceiling. I wanted a go-big-or-go-home moment, especially in the smallest bedroom in our home. This way, the third child wouldn't feel like he got the lesser of the spaces! 

This wallpaper was perfect for the job because it had the classic tented stripe appearance I was going for, it looks like fabric with the texture and appearance of denim, and it's wipeable (perfect for a kids room). The fabulous people at Brewster Home Fashions were kind enough to share a coupon code for all of you to save 10% of a purchase from their beautiful collection of wallcoverings: use code NANCY10 on their website here

Truthfully, I felt like I had recently seen so many missed opportunities with rooms that I saw on social media; for example bedrooms with dormer ceilings that hadn't been papered all the way up. I'd say to myself, "aw, why didn't they take the wallpaper onto that nook/ceiling?" or "why did they only do a feature wall? It would have been so much more impactful taken everywhere!" Designers are preaching that an accent wall really isn't the best decorating solution, and can actually end up chopping up a room so that it looks LESS expansive than if you had carried the wallpaper, paint, or millwork onto all walls. Wrapping a whole room in a wallpaper or bold paint color ends up visually expanding the space (yes even on the ceiling!), and also means you can enjoy the view of it from every vantage point. 

So that's when I decided, I shouldn't just talk the talk, I need to walk the walk as well and do it myself! I'll admit I lost some sleep wondering if it would turn out, but on wallpaper day I quickly could see that it was exactly what the room needed. Here are some before & afters (all 'after' photos by the talented Tracey Ayton Photography - I wouldn't trust anyone else to photograph my home!)

You guys went crazy when I posted this sneak peek on IG!

I wanted to share the details of the space in a more precise way then Instagram would allow, break down my sources and even give you an idea of what a room like this would realistically cost. It's hard because the rooms I try to emulate, and the design style I align with is often unattainable to an 'average homeowner' like myself. So, many of you know I rely on second-hand sources like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, and this room was no different! 

Here's a list of what I bought second hand:
- Rattan Dresser $150
- Rattan child's chair $50
- Yellow velvet chair $200
- 2 paint-by-numbers nautical paintings $50 for the pair
- Tortoise lamp and lampshade (which I trimmed in a blue ribbon using fabric glue) $80
- Dollhouse $80

Brand new items I purchased included the chandelier for about $240 (from Shades of Light), rug for $200 (from Rugs USA), and custom table skirt $150, and Roman shade $500 (from Etsy). It's the mix of old and new & high and low that makes things interesting and can give you the overall desired look on a budget!

I bought a cheap Amazon Basics crib skirt, and with that same fabric glue that I used to gussy up the lampshade, I added blue grosgrain ribbon for a custom look. Whole project was less than $30! 

And then of course, my biggest and most time consuming DIY: the Bemelmans art canvas. I studied images from Bemelmans bar in NYC, as well as the Madeline picture books we have at home. My kids wanted me to add bits like the Eiffel Tower, Madeline's rescue dog Geneviève, and the carousel. So it's got our own custom twists; the kids watched me paint it step by step over about a month, and we all love how it turned out! I think it'll be a fun memory for them having seen it all come together over time.  

The Block print pillows were custom sewn for me by Barbara of Markova Design, the Rothko artwork was an Etsy download-able print for next to nothing. Florals were created by the talented Karla of Kerrisdale Design

So the grand total for the space, including installation costs for the wallpaper was just under $3500! Not bad I'd say, I'm happy with how it all turned out on that budget level. Thank you for all your support of this reveal over here on the blog and on IG! It means the world to me and I just love being able to share my joy of creating spaces for these growing little boys of mine. 


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Textbook Tuesday | Markham Roberts: Notes on Decorating

If you've visited me here for any length of time, you will know that I am a self-proclaimed bibliophile. Fall may be one of my favorite seasons for just that reason, the stunning books which are released (and just in time for gift-giving)! On the top of my list this season is Markham Roberts second tome, 'Notes on Decorating,' published by Vendome Press. Markham Roberts trained with design royalty, under Mark Hampton, affirming his pedigree in the design field. Truly he is called a 'master of timeless American style' for good reason, and this book is a testament to that title. And be sure not to take this book as a mere collection of pretty rooms, his thoughtful and witty explanations include so many lessons to take notes from. 

Without the dust jacket, the texture is incredible! This is the perfect addition to any coffee table both for the outward appearance, and the inward content. Below is a view of the Table of Contents, which shows the unique and thoughtful way the chapters are laid out. Markham begins with his process of deep-diving into the needs of the client the 'Clients Point of View,' and then takes us through other elements such as establishing a 'Sense of Place,' and acknowledging the need for 'Practicality.' The final chapter takes us through one project and walks through all the elements described in the previous chapters to show how they are implemented. Genius!

Here is a peek at some of my favorite pages and projects:

I sincerely love Markham's spaces that utilize an all-over pattern, like the one below with Arbre de Matisse in a fresh light blue colorway:

Chocolate walls never looked so good!

Tabletop inspiration is included as well:

And truly when you being to study his work, you can see the complex mix of antiques, vintage and new pieces are a key component of what makes Markham's spaces sing:

There is so much beauty and careful thought that has gone into 'Notes on Decorating', I am so thankful to have added it to my design library and will surely re-visit the pages often. To add this to your collection or purchase as a gift for the design-savvy friends on your list, hop to Amazon here. You can see more of Markham Roberts inspirational work on his website and instagram accounts as well. 


Friday, July 10, 2020

Lake Forest Showhouse 2020

The Lake Forest Showhouse benefiting the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago is officially opening its doors tomorrow! The roster of designers and the rooms they have created is nothing short of impressive (keep in mind during a pandemic, nonetheless!). Some of my very favorite showhouse rooms in the past have been in the Lake Forest showhomes, and from the video tours and sneak peek photos we have had the chance to see on instagram, it's already very obvious that this years home does not disappoint. Oh, how I wish to see it all in person! But of course I am thankful for the powers of social media which at least have let us take this virtual walk through today. Let's take a peek:

Sun room bathed in de Gournay by M & M Interior Design, photography by Aimee Mazzenga

Sun room by M & M Interior Design

Sun room by M & M Interior Design, with art by Josh Young

Sun room by M & M Interior Design, iPhone snap by Aimee Mazzenga

Dining room cloaked in Iksel wallcovering by Paloma Contreras Interior Design

Place settings and the Frances Elkin loop chair set by Paloma Contreras Interior Design

Dining room lacquered cabinet in peacock blue by Paloma Contreras Interior Design, photography by Aimee Mazzenga

Sun Porch in rattan & cocoa Gracie wallpaper and pillows by Shelley Johnstone Design

Sun porch with lovely lacquered ceiling by Shelley Johnstone Design, iPhone snap by Aimee Mazzenga

Sun porch and a view of the Julie Neill chandelier - Shelley Johnstone Design, iPhone snap by Aimee Mazzenga

Closer view of the greek key floor detail - Shelley Johnstone Design, iPhone snap by Lady Bug Vintage

Looking onto the outdoor patio by Shelley Johnstone Design

Fabulous art in this mudroom by Savarie Interiors LLC and Michelle Frigon Design 

Perfect in pink powder room by Sarah Vaile Design

Bathroom by Edyta & Co. 

Modern Family room with the perfect touch of mustard velvet by Soledad Zitzewitz Interiors

Closer detail of the family room by Soledad Zitzewitz Interiors

Kitchen by The ABL Group with a lovely blossom stone inset above the stove

Cozy office by North Shore Nest 

Two story potting room with sky light and beams, by James Thomas Chicago

Potting room by James Thomas Chicago, photography by Werner Straube

The dream teen girl hangout by Alexandra Kaehler, photography by Aimee Mazzenga

Teen girl hangout by Alexandra Kaehler

Sitting room by Wendy Labrum Interiors

Sitting room by Wendy Labrum Interiors, iPhone snap by Aimee Mazzenga

iPhone snap of the exterior by Aimee Mazzenga

This post officially includes snaps from 12 of the 31 designer spaces!! There is still so much more to see. If you are in the area, help me live vicariously through you and go take a walk through. This looks like it's truly a showhouse for the books, a stunning surprise around every corner. If you would like to buy tickets or donate to the Infant Welfare Society, click here. If you would like to take a video tour of the home with the Lake Forest Showhouse & Gardens Honorary Chair, Paloma Contreras, as your guide hop here

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