Stairwell Inspiration: A design consultation~

A few weeks back I received an email from Kim who said:

Dear Shabby Nest...I NEED some inspiration for the wall up my stairs. It is SO sad and boring... but it has much potential... can you help? ~ Kim

Of course I can help! I live for this stuff!!

Here are the photos Kim sent me of her stairs in their current state.

Kim is right....the space has loads of potential...

The first thing I would do for this space, would be to paint it. My suggestion would be to continue that fabulous green from the downstairs wall up the inside of the stairwell. This would have the effect of making the stairs a part of the living space rather than pointing out their utilitarian side.

One of my favorite looks for a staircase is a collage. Now Kim could go with the idea she started...a family photo collage. And this could be outstanding. She would just need to take it to the next level. If Kim wants to use this idea, I would suggest sticking with one photo color....either all black & white or all color. Frames don't necessarily have to match, but keeping the photos in the same tone helps to create a cohesive feeling. And Kim, go for broke. Don't chicken out with just a few photos. And don't think you have to only have photos of the family. You can throw in a pretty art print. Or something a little unexpected like marquis letters. Check out these two examples from the Pottery Barn catalog.

Another fabulous look, is to hang a collage of empty frames all painted one color. I love this look because it creates "architecture" where it didn't exist before...similar to putting up mouldings. Here are a couple of my favorite examples of this look.

Photo by Mimi Charmante of Kasey's Amazing home

Photo from Nesting Place

I personally like the idea of using a mirror collage in a stairwell. This helps to bounce light around and makes what could be a dark spot lighter! Although my personal preference is to use frameless mirrors like the ones pictured from Pottery Barn, any mirror will do the trick. Just look for some with unique shapes or frames to create interest.

But if Kim would rather do away with the collage look, she could try using one large statement piece. I have always loved this stairway from Brooke Gianetti's home. The giant clockface is amazing.

Because a huge vintage clockface might be difficult to locate ;-) Kim might consider purchasing a new large clock online such as this one from Ballard Designs.

And because I like to offer inexpensive design solutions, Kim might also consider finding a fabulous piece of fabric and simply wrapping it around a wood frame or canvas. This is one of the least expensive ways to make a large "statement" piece of art.

Finally, you may have noticed the little basket at the base of the stairs. From a mother's point of view I totally understand needing a catchall. And since the landing looks to be fairly substantial, why not consider adding a small demilune table like this one from Ballard design on the wall facing the long staircase? And add a pretty basket or hatbox underneath to stash whatever stuff needs to find it's way upstairs!

I hope these ideas help Kim and anyone else out there who needs a little stairwell inspiration!!

A little sidenote: Serena & Lily featured yesterday's post on their Facebook page! And for anyone that wonders...No, I am not being paid by Serena & Lily...I just love their stuff. But if anyone from Serena & Lily happens to be reading this....I know of a master bedroom in desperate need of a king size ruched quilt and a sparrow chair. ;-) Just sayin'.
Have a great weekend~


A Few Things About Gift-wrapped Walls, Some Vintage Etsy Goodness, and a Winner~

First...I have a few questions that came up on yesterday's post that I wanted to answer.

1. The most asked question....Where did I get that fabulous paper? I purchased the wrapping paper for $7.89 from Tai-Pan trading - a local store in Utah with one location in California. Unfortunately, I don't remember the brand and I threw the packaging away (what kind of blogger am I?) I'll see if I can find out for you all the next time I'm at the store. (I checked out their website and they don't offer online shopping...sigh.)

2. I have used regular desk staples to do similar projects in the past - and they work great - but this time I used my staple gun. I only stapled around the edges, and then once or twice where the seam is. The staples may have shown on a more subdued paper, but as luck would have it, the pattern really hides them. (If you click on the photo below to enlarge it, and look carefully, you can see one of the staples...but it's not that noticeable.)

3. I didn't consider using mod podge to seal the paper, or applying fabric with liquid starch (although I love that idea) because I want to avoid anything that might make for a messy removal process since this is a rental house. Does anyone have experience with removing wall coverings applied with liquid starch. Is it really as easy as they claim?

4. The bag is from DownEast Basics. They don't have this particular style anymore, but they do have a fabulous line of clothing and accessories (their clothes just keep getting better each season! Love them!)

And finally, not a question, but my favorite comment from yesterday's post was from Mary who says, "Personally I LOVE the juxtaposition of the bold wall pattern to the sign that says 'simplify.'" I hadn't thought about it at the time, but boy is she right!

Next, I wanted to share two of the latest vintage goodies that I will be adding to my Etsy.

First up! This sweet little turquoise vase in a funky blossom stand. I just love this! And, you know, turquoise is Pantone's color of 2010! I personally, think this vase would look fabulous with some Gerbera Daisies sticking out the top! It has some serious personality!

And if you're like me, I have a soft spot for vintage silverware...especially when it's been engraved. This sweet baby spoon bracelet features an engraving on the ladle portion of the spoon that appears to be a name. I can't quite make it out, but you know it was important to someone once upon a time. I just love imagining the stories behind sweet pieces like this one.

Finally, the winner of the Lisa Leonard $75 gift certificate giveaway is... Twig from Twig Decor! Drop me an email Twig...and we'll get you set up with your prize!!

Thanks for being such great readers!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday~


Gift Wrapping Your Walls~

Just inside our back door is a little "mud" area. It's very useful...and very....drab. The minute I saw it, it made me homesick for my mini-mudroom in all it's beadboard prettiness. I put my "simplify" sign up - and it fit perfectly - but it just didn't give it the "bang" I was looking for.
(forgive the orange indoor lighting...it was evening when I started this project)

Since this is a rental home, putting up beadboard like my mini-mudroom was definitely not an option. But I had to do something.

I thought of wallpaper....but again....rental. Then I remembered something I did in my college apartment. I almost hate to admit this, because it will definitely date me. But back in my college days, wallpaper borders were the "in" thing. So, to spruce up our boring builder beige apartment, we stapled a wallpaper border along the top edge of our living room walls. The key word here being "stapled".

So I decided I would find myself a nice wallpaper that I could staple to the wall in our drab little mud area. Then, while shopping with my sister-in-law Saturday evening, I saw some uber-fabulous damask heavy weight wrapping paper in celery green. And I decided to go for the bold. Remember how I said that this house would help me push my design style in a new direction? Well, this celery green damask paper did just that!

I started by cutting pieces of the wrapping paper slightly longer than the height of each section of wall. Then I stapled them to the wall using my staple gun, and trimmed them with a razor blade. Because the paper isn't as wide as the space, I had to cut second pieces making sure to match the pattern...this part was a little trickier, but still not bad. Then I stapled them in the same way.

Now I realize that wrapping paper isn't made to withstand heavy use...and to be honest, although I think that the space is much happier, and quite pretty, I'm not sure how long I'll leave it. But the beauty of this project is how easy it is to change up. The wrapping paper was about 1/5 the cost of the wallpapers I had been looking at, so pulling it down won't hurt. If I decide down the line, that "going for the bold" is a little too much for me, I can always find a new subdued paper to replace it with.

But for now, this bright, bold damask really gives a happy punch to the dreary space...and makes me smile when I see it!

There's still time to enter the giveaway for a $75 Lisa Leonard Gift Certificate...just scroll down to the next post...drawing ends at 11:59 MST tonight!

Linking to DIY day at ASPTL.
Have a great day~


The Mini-Mudroom Strikes Again~

Popping in on a Saturday to let you all know...

My mini-mudroom was featured again at Ohdeedoh yesterday! Check it out! http://www.ohdeedoh.com/ohdeedoh/organizing/shoes-offroundup-106688

Thanks Laura for letting me know!!

I hit 1,000,000 page views Friday at about 5:30 pm MST!! To celebrate come back Monday for a special giveaway... it's a good one!!

Have a great weekend~


A Peek into a Princess' Closet~

Remember a week or so ago, when I was lamenting the doorless closets in our home? Well, I finally have the Princess' closet organized. And you know what? It's almost cute enough to leave as is. Almost.

I still think I'll add a pretty set of curtains to frame out the doorway, although I doubt we'll ever close them.

And in case any of you doubted that a Princess really does live at my house...check out this collection of princess dresses.

Why not use something like these dresses as an accessory? They add to the feeling of whimsy, and their pastel colors are perfect for a little girl's room. The rocking chair tucked underneath has been a favorite reading spot for the Princess ever since I put it there. (and in case anyone was wondering...nothing is cuter than seeing that little girl sitting amidst all of her dress-ups devouring a Fancy Nancy book...trust me.)

And because somebody is bound to ask...all of the Princess' pants, shirts and other wearables are in her dresser. She does actually own clothes besides dresses. ;-)

This has nothing whatsoever to do with the closet. But you may remember this lamp makeover. Well, the little lamp got a fancier shade, and now resides on the Princess' dresser. So pretty.

And a little sidenote...as of this writing, I am just about 900 page views away from reaching 1,000,000 page views...that's right 1 million!! And since I owe this wonderful milestone to YOU MY FABULOUS READERS...I think it calls for a giveaway. Come back Monday and we'll celebrate together!!

Coming up next week:
  • My reader-appreciation giveaway
  • New vintage items for my Etsy shop
  • A design consultation
  • My big kitchen chalkboard reveal

Have a great weekend~


For The Love of Smocking~

I adore smocking...

And when I say that, I bet you all thought of something like this...

Dress by Anavini available at bestdressedchild.com

Yes, I love this sort of smocking. In fact, I couldn't get enough of it when the Princess was a baby. But that's not what I'm talking about.

I'm actually talking about something more like this...

Chandler Smocked Teastained Curtains available at La Belle Maison

How amazing are these curtains? I first saw a set of these lovelies at my sister-in-law's home a few weeks ago. She redid her girls' room and used some of these on the windows. I. fell. in. love. (I promise to do a post on that room one of these days....AMAZING!) But I digress.

I decided that I need some of these for the Princess' new room. Their price tag, however, was a little too rich for my blood (and if her husband reads this...I'm sure she got them on sale). Just wait 'til you see my solution. I make you all wait to see things a lot, don't I? Sorry about that. Really.

Then today, my little boys and I were doing a bit of shopping - using Christmas gift cards, what else? And since I was nearby, I decided to take a stroll though Anthro. (Note to self for future reference...the toddler demolition team and Anthro do not mix.) In the few minutes I was able to look around before I started to get worried that things might get broken, I saw this...

Anthropologie Crowned Crain Bedding

Anthro's Crowned Crane bedding. Simply amazing. I wanted to crawl right up on the display bed and take a snooze, but I thought the sales girl might not appreciate having to babysit my boys. I'll tell you what though, I may just have to start a new duvet cover fund. It was that good.

What about you, my dear readers? Do you like smocking?

EDITED TO ADD: I have had a couple of readers tell me about PB's smocked drapes. Hello?? With as much as I look at the Pottery Barn catalog and website, how did I miss these? Seriously.

Have a great day~


Big Chalkboard Plans~

Remember this photo of our kitchen wall?

The photo looks lovely, but in reality, the wall is very big...and...very...empty. So I thought. And thought. And thought some more. About what I felt would be the best way to fill that big, empty wall.

I knew I wanted a statement piece.

And then it hit me.....A GIANT CHALKBOARD!

And after I told the hubby that I wanted to put a giant chalkboard on the wall (and he agreed, bless his impeccably stylish little heart)

I'm so excited!! The hubby and I are going to look for wood today so that he can make me a giant chalkboard.
Just call it an anniversary gift. 14 years today. I am so grateful to be married to my best friend.



In Praise of Under-Cabinet Lighting~

I've been enjoying this long weekend with the kiddos...having Wii contests with my 9 and 6-year-olds can be a humbling experience but it sure is a lot of fun! And we even managed to get them all to sit still long enough to take updated portraits...a triumph in itself!!

Before we get into the post, I want to make a little disclaimer. My photographic skills when it comes to interior house photography are still in the developmental phase. These photos aren't the best I've ever taken, but I know that you, my exceptionally clever readers, will get the idea despite my photographs.

So here we go...

In our last home, we did not have under-cabinet lighting. In fact, we've never had it in any of our homes. I've thought about it. I've thought that it would be a nice addition to the kitchen lighting scheme. But it's never been a priority. Until now.

Our current house has under-cabinet lighting. And now that I've experienced it. I. Will. Not. Go. Back. Neither the hubby nor I are fans of overhead lighting. We use ambient lighting almost exclusively...unless we have no other choice. We fill our house with lamps and use them, rather than the overhead fixtures, when at all possible. And now that I have under-cabinet lighting, that is the only way I light the kitchen in the evening. It's just dreamy.

Here are my (somewhat lacking) before and after photos...




The under-cabinet lighting floods down on these little vignettes and makes them POP! Not to mention the colors it brings out in both the slate tile backsplash and the corian countertops! I'm sold on it.

But because there can be limitations (and expense) to hardwiring under-cabinet lighting...I want you all to know that there are plug-in options available...in all price ranges. So go light up your kitchens!

Have a great Monday~


Design Consultation...Baby Girl's Nursery~

A few weeks back I received an email from one of my readers asking for some ideas for a nursery for baby girl #2...

Tara writes:

HELP!! We are having girl #2 and I am drawing a blank when it comes to what to do in the nursery. I am going to use the same quilt and bumper from the first. It's one that I made with reds and all sorts of polka dots. I need some inspiration. Any ideas? I love your blog and always find lots of inspiration there.

Tara's baby quilt...

A portion of the room with the crib...

Tara described her style as Pottery Barn-inspired and IKEA-realized. I hear ya, Tara! So keeping that in mind, I came up with a game plan that would incorporate a classic PB style and add in the whimsy that I think is necessary in children's decorating.

All of these ideas can be adapted to fit a budget, and I've included (on the more expensive items like rugs) a variety of choices at different price points.

So let's jump in, shall we?

First, although Tara and her husband live in a rental, they are allowed to paint! Hooray!! Tara mentioned that she was thinking of a creamy white for the walls. I love that idea. But to add a subtle bit of interest I thought it would be nice to use stripes.

This can be accomplished in one of two ways. (1) Tone on tone - two shades of white, one slightly darker than the other or (2) The same shade in two different finishes, one being matte and the other glossy. Option (2) is my personal favorite idea and is very subtle, but also sophisticated. Although this would be done in creamy white, here is a picture of what I'm suggesting done in blue.

Tara mentioned that she is re-using the bedding from her first baby girl which is red and white with polkadots, and that her crib is dark cherry wood. With this in mind, I went with a color scheme of red, pink and white with touches of green. This will contrast beautifully with the dark wood.

Tara wanted to find fabric that would coordinate with the bedding and pull the red out. She mentioned the idea of a toile. I found these two very different toiles that I think would work equally well in the space.

The first is P Kauffman Animal Tale - mint. It is a slightly more gender neutral and quite sophisticated. 15.99/yd at thefabricfinder.com.

The second is P Kauffman Over The Moon - Antique. This print is very girly and I just adore it!!
15.99/yd at thefabricfinder.com.

Tara has one large window in the space. I would flank the window with straight panel curtains in either one of these toiles and use the following curtain panels in place of sheers underneath (because they will give offer some - albeit limited - light control).

Swiss Dot Ruffled Curtains from the Simply Shabby Chic line at Target. 19.99 per panel.

Continue the ruffled feeling with a fabulous pillow such as this one found on Etsy. It could be used in the crib to add softness (although it would have to removed when baby was in the crib, of course) or on a chair to add softness and femininity.

Every room needs artwork. Here are a couple of great ways to personalize the space just for baby.

This first idea comes courtesy of my good friend Kasey. Each letter of baby's name (in a different font) can be framed in its own mismatched frame and placed whimsically above the crib. Tara could use either shabby white frames like Kasey did, or dark cherry frames to match the crib.

And what could be more classic than a silhouette? Tara can choose from a number of different silhouette styles and can change the color from red to either pink or green at Sarah and Abraham. Custom name prints 8x10 - $20, 11x14 - $30.

Tara also mentioned that there is a lack of light in the space. What could be prettier in a nursery than a chandelier?

This little number is from IKEA and costs a mere $39.99.

Although it is meant to be hardwired, any chandelier can be converted to a plug-in with a swag kit available at your local hardware store.

Finally, every room needs something soft underfoot. I've chosen three fabulous options for Tara.

Option #1 This happy little rug from IKEA. It is very whimsical and continues the polkadot theme from the bedding. Measuring just about 4' it costs only $24.99

Option #2 The Andrea Rund rug, also from IKEA is the boldest of the three choices. Its round shape also echos the polkadots. It is large measuring 8' and costs $299. (This choice would give an eclectic feel to the room...it really depends on how adventurous Tara is with her decor.)

Option #3 The Alvine rug by IKEA. This rug is my personal choice because it is classic, fairly understated and incorporates all of the colors in the color scheme without focusing too heavily on one. It measures 5'x8' a perfect size for Tara's 12x12 room and costs a reasonable $149.

Put it all together and what do you have? A fabulous nursery that is both sophisticated and whimsical and ready to welcome baby!!

Congratulations Tara on the impending arrival of baby girl #2! I hope these ideas help!

Have a great weekend~


Penny Planets~

Or alternate "punny" titles...

The World According to Mr. Two

It's a Small, Small, Small World

The Weight of the World on her Scale

Okay, enough of my feeble attempts at humor, and down to business.
I have mentioned a few times before that my mother is a collector. And to use the word "collector", may just be putting it mildly. Basically, if there is anything I need, or really, if there is anything I want, chances are she has one....or several....of exactly what I am looking for.

Case in point, these darling vintage piggy banks. Or, as Mr. Two calls them, Penny Planets (he's a clever one, that Mr. Two).
While visiting my mother's home last week, she bequeathed upon us several of these darling Penny Planets. My children adore them. And they are very sweet.

But, alas, I do not have the room for all of these tiny worlds, and so I am starting a new venture, and that is, I am adding vintage goodies to my Etsy.

Every once in a while, when I inherit, or happen upon, a great vintage find, I'll list it in my Etsy. You'll find these Penny Planets there shortly!

Have a great day~