what I do

what I do

Monday, August 26, 2013

A sneak peek of an almost finished project

I've been working on a project for a month or so and it is finally starting to come together ...

The hardwood floors were finished last week and today the new carpet is being installed in the bedrooms and on the stairs. The downstairs has travertine in the entry, hallways, kitchen and family room, and the living rooms (there are two) and dining room were wall-to-wall carpet. The carpet was old and had been overly stained by the dogs. On our first meeting, the client made it clear that she loved the look of the carpet (see photo below) and if she could, she would replicate it, but because of the dogs she was hesitant. I agreed that carpet was not a wise idea because of the dogs and also because it is a dated look - especially in the dining room. 

The room "before" 

My first thought was to try to match the existing travertine or put in a wood floor instead of the carpet. The client was not happy with the idea of wood, so we tried to match the existing floor. But when we could not find a travertine that matched enough to make either of us happy, we went to plan "B" which was to try to find a wood floor that she would be happy with. It didn't happen over-night. It took some trusting on her part and finding just the right look on my end. I liked the idea of a darker wood floor and she was more comfortable with a lighter one. We brought samples of both and the dark floor won. 

Newly installed hardwood floors

The end result is absolutely beautiful and it looks like it was meant to be all along. It makes sense and perfectly compliments the existing stairway and front door. I am thrilled that the client is as happy as I am. 

New pillows for an existing sofa

The new area rugs are on order and the furniture is out for re-upholstery. We replaced worn-out table lamps and had new custom pillows made. The existing decor was primarily black and white and I added a pop of color with new pillows which I brought out last week when I came out to measure for the new area rugs. 

New lamp and pillow for an existing chair and side table

We also replaced the old and tired lamps for new ones.

We bought this new chair from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. It is part of their "The Good Wife" collection. It replaced this:

The re-upholstered furniture and new coffee table should start trickling in sometime next week ... right after the new area rugs arrive ... I am really excited to see the finished space.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A symbol of love

The symbol of the cross can mean different things to different people. For me it is a symbol of love. It is a reminder of the pure and sacrificial love of Christ and a reminder for me to try to love people the way that Jesus loved. 

I saw the cross last week on Marianne's blog. I thought it was a lovely way to offer a little help for a great cause

I purchased it here.

"Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."  - Philippians 2:4

Friday, August 23, 2013

My week

Sneak peek of the move-the-laundry-center project

This has been a short-but-crammed-full-of-work week.  I finished up a long and time consuming project at my mom's house last week (no time to take great photos but a post will follow on that soon) and then headed out of town to visit my daughter - the one with the baby who is almost two!

My younger daughter was also visiting and made us a delicious nectarine crisp from the tree in the backyard ... it was really hard to leave all the fun.

I drove back into town Tuesday morning and immediately started checking up on a few ongoing projects ...

This job has gone out to the upholsterer ...

I stopped by to mark where I wanted the pattern to sit exactly on the dining room chairs and went over a few sofa details. Then I headed over to check on another project ...

The room was wall to wall carpet and it needed to be replaced. We are replacing with a beautiful wood floor and some really fun area rugs ...

LOVE!  Then I headed over to start another project ...

Do you remember this house? We moved the dining room into the old living room space and turned the dining room into a comfortable have-your-morning-cup-of-coffee-read-the-paper-sit-with-the-husband-and-catch-up-on-life room. I had not seen the new area rug yet ... super excited to see how it all came together and even more excited to hear how much the client's love and use this new room.

We are doing some new fun things around the house (some bedroom updates) and adding some more art to the walls. So it was off to the framer and then to a few design stores ...

I don't know how I did it, but I was able to get everything done I needed to and still have time to have a leisurely lunch with a friend:

Today is a full scheduled day - putting out some "fires", picking up more frames, stuffing pillows, measuring for area rugs, selecting fabrics ... 

New pillow covers waiting to be stuffed

More on my list than I think I can get done ... and sooo looking forward to the weekend!

And so excited that I woke up to my first CSA box on my doorstep this morning!

Happy Friday everyone!!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Picture memories

In Brene Brown's book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, she talks about how to find joy and even more importantly, how to hold on to that joy in the midst of all the tragedy and pain that we experience or see others go through in this broken world of ours. Feeling moments of utter joy can leave us feeling vulnerable that something bad is just around the corner. 

Practicing gratitude is one way to help us to stay in the moment and hold on to joy. She says, "The shudder of vulnerability that accompanies joy is an invitation to practice gratitude, to acknowledge how truly grateful we are for the person, the beauty, the connection, or simply the moment before us."


Brene Brown, on cultivating gratitude:

"When she (her daughter Ellen) was in the first grade, we played hooky one afternoon and spent the day at the park. At one point we were on a paddleboat, feeding the ducks stale bread that we had brought from home, when I realized that she had stopped pedaling and was sitting perfectly still in her seat. Her hands were wrapped around the bread sack, her head tilted back, and her eyes were closed. The sun was shining on her uplifted face and she had a quiet smile on her face. I was so struck by her beauty and her vulnerability that I could barely catch my breath.
     I watched for a full minute, but when she didn't move, I got a little nervous. "Ellie? Is everything okay, sweetie?"
     Her smile widened and she opened her eyes. She looked at me and said, "I'm fine, Mama. I was just making a picture memory."
     I had never heard of a picture memory, but I liked the sound of it. "What's that mean?"
     "Oh, a picture memory is a picture I take in my mind when I'm really, really happy. I close my eyes and take a picture, so when I'm feeling sad or scared or lonely, I can look at my picture memories." (An except from Brene Brown's, Daring Greatly | Chapter 4, The Vulnerability Armory).

I thought Ellen's picture memories were the sweetest idea and oh, so very profound. Today, I am up visiting my daughter and her husband and my sweet little granddaughter in the small town they live in up in the mountains. My husband, my youngest daughter and even our dog are here. It has been a weekend filled with carnivals and street fairs, a parade and even a rodeo. It has been a weekend filled with joy and we are making picture memories to last us a long time. We need those moments. 

That sweet little girl with her beautiful big brown eyes watching her first parade; practicing her princess wave at the passing floats filled with real-life princesses and beauty queens. Seeing the excitement on her face as the horses prance by, the gymnasts flip and the cheerleaders clap and cheer. Those tiny little dimpled hands, finger pointing at everything new and exciting. I try to grab  some of those images on my camera but none are captured well and then I remember the story of  Ellen. I put down my camera, lean back and let those precious moments just float in. And I make picture memories of my own.

 I am ever so grateful. And filled with joy.

"The LORD has done great things for us,

    and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126:3


Monday, August 12, 2013

A beautiful Portland home

A friend of mine is starting a long awaited kitchen remodel. She lives a couple of hours away from me and so has enlisted the help of a designer that is in her area and a friend as well. But when you have a clean slate and so many options open to choose from it can be hard overwhelming to say the least even when you have professional guidance.

It is one thing to just choose products that are trendy or "what everyone else is doing", but to get a kitchen (or whatever room you are remodeling) to be personalized to reflect just who you are is not as easy. What I loved about this home remodel (designed by Jessica Helgerson) is that it doesn't look 'designed'. Rather, it feels like a home that reflects the people who live in it.

What an interesting vase!

I also like that it has a nice balance of vintage and modern pieces and where it feels 'clean' and uncluttered, it has just the right amount of interesting and unique art and accessories to make it feel homey and not sterile.

Did you notice that they carried out a common color throughout each room to unify some very different spaces? The wall color in the living room, colored glassware in the kitchen cabinets, cushion fabric in the children's room, colored glass in the bedroom and the glass tile floor in the bathroom all relate to each other.

I am finishing up some remodeling at my mom's house this week which has kept me busier than I had planned ... hoping to share some of my own photos soon. 

Happy Monday Everyone!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

P.S. There's Hope

 "Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it's what's in the middle that counts. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will." 

-Steven Rogers, Hope Floats

Hope Floats is one of my favorite movies. It is one of those movies that I can watch over and over again and never get tired of. And even though I know every part of it, it still makes me laugh and cry. I used to have the soundtrack on my iPod (when I had an iPod) and I have listened to those songs through some pretty tough times in my life - sleepless nights, difficult medical procedures ... long soul searching bike rides.

My favorite line comes at the end of the movie which is also my favorite part (well, that and the part where Harry Connick Jr. carries Sandra Bullock Birdee into his truck) ...

Bernice Pruitt: My dad says that childhood is the happiest time of my life. But, I think he's wrong. I think my mom's right. She says that...
[Bernice's voice fades as Birdee takes over]
Birdee Pruitt: [laughing] Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome. That's what momma always says. She says that beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too...

"Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer." Romans 12:12 | The Voice

"But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you." Psalm 39:7

Monday, August 5, 2013

Framing photographs and gallery walls

A couple of years ago I was referred to a new client through a painter that I had collaborated with on another home. What began as a simple paint color consultation quickly turned into a full house renovation. I posted a few before and after photos here and here but because the house was never completely finished I have not taken a complete set of final photographs.

Because the renovation was so much more than they had originally planned on and because of the extent of the work (and the disruption to their lives), we split the job into two phases. Last year we completed the downstairs. We painted and changed out hardware, put in new hardwood floors and carpet, changed the fireplaces and purchased new furniture and accessories throughout. 


Almost finished

After the painting was completed, the furniture installed and the artwork re-hung, came the task of displaying the family's many photographs. The client is very sentimental and wants to see all her photographs displayed where she can see them. She had a quite a few of those sports plaques - you know the ones where they give you a small photo of your child, a larger team photo and a medal and mount it on wood behind a piece of plexiglass. Some were hung on walls in various rooms in her house and some were all lined up on ledges in her hallway. The photos were old and faded and we talked about what to do with them. I thought they could go in a scrapbook but she really wanted them out where she could see them, so I had my sister take those little faded photos and she restored and enlarged them. We framed them and hung them in one of the hallways.

Now, a year later, we are finishing up the upstairs part of the house renovation and she came across more photos that she wanted to display in the same way.

When I am framing photos for a gallery wall, I start by selecting frames that will compliment each individual photograph and also look well grouped together. Because this gallery wall was going in the master bedroom, I wanted it to be somewhat formal and to coordinate with the furnishings in the room. I selected a few frames that might not have been as "masculine" as I might have done if just framing an individual photo (of their son, for example) but that worked well in the group and gave the feel I was trying to achieve with the overall gallery wall. When I am selecting frames, I lay out the general surface area I will be working with and when I am happy with the way I have it laid out, I take a photograph of them. Because I often add or change the mats that come with the frames, taking a quick photo helps later to remember what went with what.

On install day, I lay the photos out on a large surface (usually the floor), check the outside measurement to make sure it will fit well on the wall where it is being hung and then write down a few of the inside measurements to get a roadmap for hanging them. Sometimes I start in the middle and work my way out and other times (like I did with this wall) I start  on one side and work my way to the other side. 

Normally I like photographs individually framed and am not a huge fan of grouping photos inside one frame. But on this wall, since space was limited and there were so many photographs, I needed to group a few and I think it came out quite nice actually. 

I knew when we hung this wall of family photographs last year, that it might be added to someday (weddings, grandchildren, etc.) and there was room for a "few" more frames. Last week, my client came across "quite a few" more family photos and was hoping to add them to the gallery wall above the piano. I was not sure if they would fit, but framed them all and figured we would make room for them somewhere. 

I re-framed one photograph to make it smaller, used that existing larger frame for one of the new larger photographs and only had to re-locate one photograph.

Family photo wall before:

The photograph on the far right was removed and will be relocated with two more new photographs that are currently being framed on another wall in the house. The large vertical black frame in the middle was used for a large horizontal photograph. The framed photograph on the piano was moved to the upstairs' bedroom gallery wall.

Family photo wall after:

I actually like the new wall better. I love when things turn out that way!