Thursday, April 30, 2009

I like this.

I was just going through my picture files and came across this one. I don't remember where I got it from, but it's good hey? Such a fresh way to use embroidery hoops. There are so many ways to interpret this idea - different fabrics and colors, sizes and layouts. If you use fabric scraps you already have it could be really cheap, too!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Bedroom

Trying to photograph my place has just confirmed my belief I'm a crap photographer, but anyhoo.... here's my bedroom! The "art" above my bed is a vast and varied collection. There's a Wilco concert poster, a vintage paint-by-numbers, a few pics clipped from magazines, and a couple pieces my best friend's 3 year-old son made for me. The yellow mirror was originally white and I spray painted it. I got it at Home Sense for $25. When I saw it, I thought it looked like something you'd see in Domino. A few weeks later, I was flipping through some back issues of said mag and there was a black one nearly identical in style (just a foot wider). Price tag... $699! I was so proud. My nightstands are metal file cabinets that hold a LOT of stuff. They work well with my Cortina lamps. Oh, my Cortina lamps. I love them. Especially since I got them 75% off when a furniture store I used to work for went out of business. (Not that I was happy about the store closing, but 75% off lamps provided some comfort.)

The patchwork quilt at the foot of my bed was made for me several years ago by a family friend. It's awesome. The fabrics are all these funky patterns I'm sure she'd had since the 70's. There's a purple one that has "Help! I'm trapped inside!" printed on it. It still cracks me up. I don't know why.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

That Martha!

Table Trio

Jewelry Cabinet

Bookcase Armoire

I've got to admit that Martha Stewart really does have some freaking brilliant ideas. These DIY furniture projects on her website are all so clever. They'd be pretty cheap to make, too. The pics above are a few of my favorites, but they're all good.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Desk

This is the desk my sister and I share. (Her laptop is the black one and mine's pink. If you know us that won't be a surprise.) We don't have an extra room to turn into an office, so this is on one wall of the living room. I'm constantly rearranging things, but this is how it looks today.

Reading Corner

This is the corner of my living room. It was furnished on a very tight budget. Ikea shelves, Pier 1 drum stool, and the paper lanterns are from Michael's ($1.50 each, baby!). My mom bought the rocking chair when I was born and she let me take it when I moved out. It had a brown corduroy chair pad on the back and seat that I replaced with a white seat cushion from Ikea (big improvement).

Friday, April 24, 2009

I like.

Now that Domino has closed (sob!) I have to settle for looking through back issues for inspiration. Architect Lisa Mahar made this photo gallery from 24 Pottery Barn frames stuck together with duct tape!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Tracy Kendall makes the most beautiful wallpaper. I especially love this one - it has sequins! (I'm such a girl.) I think it would be a beautiful feature wall in an all-white room with some rustic wood furniture for contrast.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Does anyone else remember this book?

Need a House? Call Ms Mouse!
By George Mendoza
Illustrated by Doris Susan Smith

This was one of my favorite books as a kid. In fact, it was this book that first triggered my interest in architecture and interior design at an early age. Without it maybe I'd now be a dentist or something! I was just thinking about it today and did a little googling - it looks like it may be out of print. My copy is still at my parents' house. I believe the book technically belongs to my sister, but she became a social worker and I’m the designer so it clearly had a much greater impact on me (and therefore really should be mine). It is the story of Henrietta Mouse - “a world-famous decorator” who designs homes for all her animal friends. The illustrations used to just fascinate me. If you can find a copy I highly recommend it.

Read the New York Times book review (from 1981!) here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


image via dwell

See! You can just paint out the brick on that ugly old fireplace and make it look good. Really good.

Monday, April 20, 2009


This poster is awesome. Get it here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Front Hall

The sister and I tend to get a little lazy about hanging up our coats. We (okay, mostly me) also have a habit of dropping our bags on the floor in the front hall. I figured it was time to put this empty wall to better use. A few weeks ago I painted these trees and incorporated some hooks. I made the hooks from wooden spools that I painted black and put a screw through the middle. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and my stuff is off the floor. Now if I could just figure out what to do with all the shoes in front of the door...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Oh, the Agony!

Like so many other design buffs in blogland, I am an avid reader of Apartment Therapy. After following the Small Cool Contest for the last couple of years, I decided that this year I would bite the bullet and enter. It was just the extra incentive I needed to get my butt in gear and get my place in order.

I've been living in my condo for almost four years now. You would think that would be plenty of time to finish decorating. But no. I look around compiling mental lists of things I would add or change given the time and the money. I find myself with a lot of time right now - but pretty much no money. So it's time to get creative. Really, really, creative. I've got to make the best out of what I've got or can procure on the very, very, cheap. I have spent the last few weeks obsessively decorating, organizing, and rearranging. My sister (co-owner and roommate) comes home from work every day and we have a little game of "what has Tara changed in the apartment today?" Fun times. The place is still not done and there are still many things I'd like to change, but it's the best it's ever been and will most likely be for quite some time.

I sent the photos off to Apartment Therapy last weekend. I have now spent the week checking the blog a billion times a day to see if I've been posted. It's now Saturday. Nothing. Posts are done. I knew I wasn't going to win this thing - the goal was just to get posted and hopefully a respectable number of "thumbs up" and maybe a couple of nice comments. Oh, AT - why do you torture me like this? I am so disappointed. At least I now have some photos of my place I can post here. Stay tuned!