what I do

what I do

Monday, January 31, 2011

And the winner is ...

I am in need of more filing space. I have one little filing drawer that I use for my household records (my monthly records, tax receipts, medical records & that kind of thing) but I really need to add some filing space for some business records and some personal files. I have most of my records and papers in binders but there are few things that I would like to have in files. I would love to have the files in my office but there is not a lot of room. I probably have room for a tiny rolling cart ... something like this:

Ikea's Aspvik file cart
But while I was searching I found this:

I love this! It is a DIY project from Ready MadeYou can get the instructions on how to make your own here. It made me start thinking it would be a really great thing to put in my laundry area which is just outside my office - I could have extra files out there, it wouldn't obstruct my office space and I could use the top for folding laundry.  CB2 has the file cabinets in some really great colors but this would be my choice if I didn't get white (which is always my first choice!): 

CB2 Chartreuse File Cabinet - $149.00
Well, it is something to think about.  I hope you are having a productive Monday! Oh... one more thing!

The winner of the $55 CSN Stores giveaway is ...
Pat from Gypsy Heart!
I really enjoyed reading what everyone would have purchased and I wish that all of you could have won! I used the Random Number Generator but couldn't figure out how to get the results box into my post. I had 25 entries, I entered 1 - 25 and #9 was the winner. Congratulations Pat! 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Design, gardening and a good book

Besides design, I have a passion for gardening and reading a good book. Saturday I was able to experience all three. I don't often design exterior spaces, but every once in a while I will help an established client. And so when I was asked to help pull together the front courtyard of a house that we had just had painted and new lighting installed, I pulled up my sleeves, put on my gloves and went to work.


It was a beautiful sunny day in Southern California and it was a pleasure to put together some new container pots with beautiful flowers. I told my client, "this is my favorite kind of accessorizing!" Because when I accessorize the interior of a house, say, the living room for example, I can go back in that house in a few months and it will look the same. But with flowers, they take on a life of their own and you can never fully expect what they will do. And that is the fun of it; I love to watch the new plantings evolve as they will.

I am also reading a book that a friend gave me this year - a reading for each day. It is an inspirational book but more than that, because it is written by an author that challenges me and I like that.
The book is by Phillip Yancey and is called, Grace Notes. It is compiled of excerpts from twenty-some books and even more articles that Mr. Yancey has written over a few decades. I thought that I would share what I read this morning with you and maybe it will touch you as it did me.

Yancey, reflecting on his visit to St. Peter's Basilica:

"Michelangelo, arguably the greatest artist who has ever lived, later confessed that his work had crowded out his own faith. As his life drew to a close, he penned these lines:

          So now, from this mad passion
          Which made me take art for an idol and a king
          I have learnt the burden of error that it bore
          And what misfortune springs from man's desire . . .
          The world's frivolities have robbed me of the time
          That I was given for reflecting upon God.

Perhaps. But Michelangelo and others like him have through their labors helped turn us from the world's frivolities and given us time for such reflection. For this one moment inside St. Peter's I had inhabited a glorious space not on earth, a moment of time not in time. Art had done its work."
From "A Goad, a Nail, and Scribbles in the Sand."
First Things, February 2009 (38)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Giveaway reminder


Need a new pillow? Or how about this Dash and Albert Tufted Vine Wool Rug (isn't it gorgeous)? Did you know you can purchase both plus a ton more at CSN Stores.com?

Don't forget that the chance to enter the $55 CSN Stores giveaway ends this Sunday night at midnight (PST). So far the odds are pretty good! If you haven't entered yet, you might want to head over to this post to sign up!

Remember, If you want to enter you must do two things: (1) you must become a follower by clicking on the box that says, 'Follow' (on the right side of the page) and then at the bottom of the post where it says, 'comments', click on that and (2) add your comment telling me that you are a follower and what you would buy if you won!

To see the entire post and rule details, click here. To view all 200+ stores click here! 
Happy Saturday!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

A pretty guest room

One of the rooms that I worked on last week while I was out of town was their guest room. The room was about 80% finished. We had started it last year and when I had come on board the bed and armoire (that holds the television) were already in place. Before seeing the space in person, I had selected the beautiful Serena & Lily damask bedding, found a mirrored chest at HomeGoods which we used for a nightstand and the client had found the lamps. During my first visit, I selected the carpet and paint. What the room was still missing was fabric to reupholster an existing chair, window coverings, a bench at the foot of the bed, new shades for the existing lamps and a new pillow to brighten up the bedding. The walls could use some artwork as well. Those were some of the things I needed to work on during this trip.

The way that I like to work is to combine custom upholstery with ready-made items to help keep costs down. And so I am always thrilled when I can walk in a store and find something ready to carry out that works. Which is exactly what happened when we went into the local Target store and found this geometrical pillow with the black welting.  It was the perfect thing to break up the matchy-match bedding.  The black welting stood out because of the black bed and the green was just 'off' enough to make it interesting.

I found this cute little pillow at Target - and it was just right!
During this trip we had quite a few upholstery projects to address, so with our punch list in hand, we went to look at fabrics. For the guest room we wanted to recover an existing chair and find a fabric for a bench. This is what I choose for the chair:

Norbar Prism Spring Collection / Pattern: Athens   Color: Watermelon
I like that this fabric ties in the bed (the black), and coordinates with the bedding but it also brings in some fresh and pretty colors. I think it would look nice to welt the chair in black too - to really make it pop. The golden colored flowers go well with the wall color and actually helps the walls "make sense" and the pink just felt fun especially with it being Pantone's color of the year (Honeysuckle). The Serena & Lily bedding is welted with pink fabric if you look close at the photos.

For the bench I selected this flocked fabric - I fell in love when I saw it:

Robert Allen Home / Pattern: Fleur flocked  Color: Kohl
I really liked how it looked with the chair fabric and I loved the idea of it at the foot of the bed. But when we were out shopping we found a very inexpensive bench - ready to go - and it worked great, which fits into my philosophy. So I think this fabric will be used for a nice pillow for the bed or to throw on the chair. It is too great to not use at all! Honestly, I can see this fabric on the chair as well!

Essex Bench from West Elm - $249.00, mirrored nightstand from HomeGoods.

The windows will be finished off with Roman shades like these that I had made for this room:

The lamps shades that are on the existing lamps will be replaced with white linen drum shades similar to these from Pottery Barn:

What was nice was that while I was working on the room (and the house), I was staying in the guest room so I was able to get a really nice perspective on what the room needed and on the entire house actually - how the clients lived in it, what worked and what didn't. Since I like to couple organization with design, it is nice to really see first hand how a house functions for a client. I shared the master closet makeover in a previous post (you can see it here if you missed it) and I will share more of what I did while I was up there in a later post!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thank You David Austin

Do you feel this way? After packing away the Christmas decor my house always feels empty and bare. Does yours? It doesn't make sense because I loved my house BEFORE I put out all the decorations; in fact this year I was even hesitant to start the Christmas decorating because I didn't want it to feel cluttered. But after having all the colorful balls and the sparkle, and the warmth that the tree brought in, it takes a while to adjust back to the way it was. Which is weird because I was anxious to move it all out. 

So yesterday, I took a few minutes (well, maybe more than a few) and went out to enjoy some of the warmth outside and trim prune some of the rose bushes. I was surprised to find that even in late January and although very scraggly, there were still a few beauties out there. I had some market roses already in a vase, so when I pruned I brought in a few spectacular ones and added them to the mix (falling apart quickly though!). Just adding this little pop of color sure makes a difference in the room.

My favorite roses are my David Austins ... for me, there is just nothing that compares to them. Well, maybe a peony but sadly they don't grow here. Oh, yes, I've tried. One year Roger's Gardens even had a special variety of peonies just for Southern California. They didn't make it. And I would think it was just me, but my very talented gardener friend tried as well and hers flopped too. But these David Austin roses are wonderful and they have the most amazing scent - just heavenly! If you have a chance you should pick up one ... or two. Actually, since you should always try to 'accessorize' in odd numbers, maybe even three! 

Abraham Darby
And even though we are still on a spending freeze over here ... I couldn't resist a couple of new Target (bless you Target!) pillows just to add a little change and pop in a little color. I have been shopping and shopping and shopping for clients and just needed to bring a little something home for me ;.)

What a simple way to brighten up a room! 

I hope you are having a good week and don't forget to sign up for the CSN Stores giveaway that I posted yesterday! The odds are pretty good right now!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My 100th post and a GIVEAWAY!

It is hard to believe, that this is my 100th post! And how perfect to celebrate by hosting my first giveaway. A few weeks ago, I was approached by CSN Stores about either doing a product review or a giveaway. As much as I would love to have the gift certificate, I thought it would be much more fun to pass it on to one of you!  CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find almost anything you could possibly want from a chic handbag, tv tables (the Super Bowl is coming up!) or even a Jonathan Adler lamp. Seriously, check them out ... you'll be amazed at all of the many, many products available on their site. 
Here are just a few things that caught my eye!

The giveaway is $55 (including shipping) to spend as you wish at any of CSN's 200 + stores

Giveaway is closed!
HOW TO ENTER / rules:

1. Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents over 18 only.
2. Become a follower of this blog*.
3. Leave me a comment telling me you are a follower and what you would buy at CSN if you win (if you win, you are free to buy whatever you want!).
4. Facebooking, Tweeting or Blogging about this giveaway gives you an extra entry, but you must leave a separate comment about each in order for it to count as a separate entry.
5. If your profile is not linked to your e-mail or blog, leave your e-mail address in your comments so I can contact you if you win.
6. I will use the Random Number Generator to select the winner and will notify the winner via e-mail. If I cannot reach the winner within 4 days, I will select a new winner.
7. Entries will be accepted until midnight PST on Sunday, January 30
Good Luck!
* I know there are a lot of local readers that are not "followers" or bloggers. I would love to know who you are! Drop me a line; let me know what you like, what you are interested in. I would love to hear from you! xo Sherri

If you are local and would like help with design or organization, e-mail me @ SHCInsideOut@aol.com

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An artful dorm room

When I drove my daughter back to school last week I helped her unpack and tidy up her room a little and I took a few photos. She rents a room in a sorority house. It is a big old house with three stories and a kitchen on each floor. It is not in the best shape but you can tell in its day it was really something.

There are some wonderful elements left over from the house's glory days. Like these great door knobs. 

She shares the bottom floor with one other girl and they have a living room with a television to hang out in and they have the kitchen to themselves except when the rest of the 'house' cooks together one night a week. There is a fireplace in the TV room and it has a beautiful old mantle on it.

Her room is the tiniest little room but it is all hers. The last two years she shared a room with someone else so having her own room is a move up. It came furnished and with 4 different colors of paint on the walls. Apparently they have allowed every girl who rented the room before her to paint however they wanted. One girl basically painted around the furniture. So the first thing we did when she moved in was re-paint the walls all one color.  She selected a nice blue paint color for the walls and a new duvet cover and desk chair from Ikea. 

Here is the room when she first moved in ... freshly painted:

When I was up there this last visit I had to smile when I saw her walls because there is not much left of the wall showing; she has covered it with things she loves and a lot of her own artwork. It is fabulous ... a perfect college student's 'dorm' room: 

I love that she is her own person and did not buy into my minimal and mostly white esthetic. For her, the more colorful the better. She is extremely neat and organized (the part of her that is like me) which helps  in such a small space.

In her freshman year she lived in the dorms and the walls were lined with message boards so she covered the wall easily by using push pins. When she moved out, she took everything off the walls and put them on canvas boards to save it.

Freshman dorm room wall
Dorm room wall transferred to canvas
New art wall
An art project
Another art project - public transportation!
And since I left her last weekend ... she has been busy creating even more. She took down her plain white paper lantern and added some paint. I LOVE it! 

How creative! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Master closet makeover

One of the first things I did last week in my trip to Chico was to help them with their master closet. Before I left, my client had sent me a series of emails and photos of each room that she wanted help with. She is very organized and neat but she was having some issues with her closet and just couldn't get it to work the way she wanted. Her clothes were all in order and she had gone through and taken out what she didn't wear, etc. so having too much was not the issue.
The client had a couple of concerns and there were a few things that bothered me as well. She did not like their shoes on the floor but did not see any other solution. She also needed an area for costume jewelry, glasses and such. And the laundry basket was a big problem. She liked the way it functioned and the size and really wanted it to be the closet but she didn't like the looks of it. 
Problem: needs area for everyday jewelry & glasses, shoes on the floor; generally unhappy with closet!
Instead of using a dresser they were utilizing all the shelves in the closet and she had purchased matching canvas bins to keep things like socks, underwear, pajamas, etc.  I think that can be a good solution if you have no other choices, but when I surveyed the closet I thought I could do a little better than that for them.
The problem: The laundry basket (to the left), the canvas bins for clothes, and the shoes on the floor.

I started with the husband's side of the closet and addressed the shoe issue first. There is just something like shoes all lined up in rows that makes me happy. Even though the shelves were 15" apart and non-adjustable I was pretty sure that I could make the shelves work for the shoes. But that would require that I take the canvas bins off and put those clothes somewhere else. If you have read this blog much you will know that I prefer drawers to shelves whenever possible so I tried to figure out a way to bring drawers into the closet.

Shoes all lined up nicely, new bins for extra storage and an area to drop key, glasses, etc.
I purchased inexpensive shoe organizers from Target and placed them on the existing 15" shelves. There was a little space left over which worked perfect for the boots. It is not 'custom' but a great improvement! Each unit cost $10 so this was a $30 improvement. I selected the Malm 6-drawer chest from Ikea which fit perfectly in the space and gave ample drawer space for all the clothes that were on the shelves. The chest cost $149.00.

New Malm dresser from Ikea and 2 new laundry bins from Target
We also added a beautiful rug from Cost Plus World Market for $119 and two new laundry bins.

This side of the closet will have the same Ikea dresser added to it.
For the other side of the closet I needed more shoe space and also I could not utilize as much of the shelves as I did for the other side. I used the Besta shelving unit from Ikea ($70) to fit underneath the shelves and just one of the $10 target shoe shelves. The rest of the client's shoes that were stored in boxes will be put in matching plastic shoe boxes ($.97 at Walmart) and placed on the upper shelves on the same side as her other shoes are kept.

New shoe shelving and jewelry area. Bins and baskets for extra storage.

Baskets from HomeGoods, canvas bins from Ikea.
The closet makeover was a big success as it was inexpensive, was done in one day, made the closet appear larger, gave them more room for clothes storage and looks pleasing. A couple of things that didn't get done due to time restraints was changing out the hangers to the slimline flocked hangers which will give them even more space and a uniform look to the hangers. You can see them here.

Are you inspired? Happy Monday! 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Snow Geese birthday present

I just got back from working on a beautiful house in Chico, California. It was a fast-paced four and a half days trying to pack in as much as we could to finish up the decorating that was started last year. The day I arrived, which happened to be my birthday, my clients took me out for a little treat before we started working. They drove me past the groves of walnut trees to the rice fields near the Llano Seco Wildlife Refuge to see the snow geese. 

Aren't these trees interesting looking? They graft English Walnut trees on to Black Walnut stumps to take advantage of the better roots of the Black Walnut trees. Even without leaves, the orchards are just beautiful.

There are hundreds (I even heard a million) snow geese in this area. 


We walked down this path and when we got out to where the geese were they all took flight at once making the most amazing flapping sound. It was quite a sight. I only wish I had taken my camera with me. These were taken with my phone which I grabbed but not soon enough to really capture it. As they flew away, my clients said to me, "Happy Birthday!" Ahhhh! What a wonderful treat!

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
-Matthew 6:25-27