Author Archives: Guest Writer

Six Days of Spring: Bejeweled Place Card Holders

Decorating, DIY | | | 9 Replies

This week, we’re participating in a week’s worth of spring projects and DIYs with five other bloggers (make sure to click through on today’s projects at the bottom of this post).

For today’s project, we’re revisiting the bejeweled place card holders that were  featured in our garden party tablescape.

 

 

They’re perfect for weddings, dinner parties or other gatherings where a place card is needed. Karen Ondracek of General Taxonomy has all of the details for her DIY.

 

Supplies 

 

  • Small wooden blocks (toy blocks worked well – I chose them in the spirit of reuse. You can buy small wooden blocks at craft and hobby shops.)
  • Vintage clip on earrings and/or vintage pins. Larger brooches & pins can be used to make holders for menus, welcome signs, etc.
  • Spray paint (Needed only if you wish to alter the color of your blocks or jewelery. You may wish to use a spray primer as well.)
  • Masking tape (Needed only if you are spray painting and wish to retain some original colors.)
  • Hot glue gun & hot glue sticks

 

Step 1:

Spray paint the wooden blocks to coordinate with your color scheme. I chose white. If you have wooden blocks that look great as found, skip this step.

 

Step 2:

 

Spray paint vintage jewelry to coordinate with your color scheme. Mask off any jewels or other areas that you want to retain their original appearance. I spray painted gold tone, brass and pearl elements of my jewelry silver. If all your jewelry looks great as found, skip this step.

 

Tip: Try a few drops of eucalyptus oil mixed with a bit of hand lotion to remove any spray paint you might accidentally get on your skin, then wash with soap and water. Unless, of course, you are allergic or sensitive to eucalyptus.

 

Step 3:


Use hot glue to attach earrings and pins to woodblocks as shown.

 

For pins you want to create a narrow slot between the pin back and the block for the card. For large pins, you may need more than one block.

 

With the variety of jewelry styles & spray paints out there, these DIY place cards could work in many a tablescape. Have fun!

Thanks Karen! Make sure to check out her shop General Taxonomy for more arty and vintage goodness!

Check out the rest of the DIYs featured today from the other participating bloggers!

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How-To: Build Kyle Schuneman’s Pipe Shelving

Decorating, DIY and tagged , | | | Leave a comment

Interior Designer Kyle Schuneman‘s apartment was recently featured in Sunset magazine, and we fell in love with his cool style — as well as his ingenious wall shelving, seen here. Kyle DIYed the shelf out of plumbing parts, and ever since the article ran, he’s been getting questions about how exactly he built it. We reached out to Kyle to find out the steps for this DIY. Check out Kyle’s directions for the DIY below.

 

 

Supplies

  • 24 – 3/4″ Galvanized Pipe Flange
  • 12 – 3/4″ (18″ long) Galvanized Pipes
  • 5 –  2″x10″ (8′ long) wood lumber
  • 96 – 1″ Screws
  • 6 – 2″ Casters
  • Phillips Head Screw Driver
  • Wood Stain
  • Rag
  • Tape Measure
  • (Optional: 3 1″ L Brackets and Screws)

 


Step 1:

In a well ventilated area stain all sides of your 5 long wood boards and let them dry. Wipe on the stain along the grain and with a dry rag wipe off the excess. The more layers of stain you put on the darker it will get.

 

Step 2:

Lay one board on the ground and measure halfway from the end of your board (48″) and make a mark. Place and screw your first flange there. Measure 2″ from either side of the ends of your board and place and screw on 2 other flanges. Do this same treatment to one more board. These will be your top and bottom shelves.

 

Step 3:

Do the same to the remaining 3 boards. However, with these you need to attach flanges to both sides of each board.

 

Step 4:

Once your flanges are all attached is time to screw in your pipes. Connect the boards by screwing in the pipes.

 

Step 5:

Attach the 6 2″ casters (2 under each flange) to the bottom of the bottom shelf


Step 6:

If you’d like to attach your bookcase to your wall for extra support, you can screw in 3 L-Brackets (centered and on the sides) to the top of the top shelf.

All photos by Joe Schmelzer

How-To: Make Place Card Holders For Your Next Dinner Party

Decorating, DIY, Parties and tagged , , | | | 2 Replies

Did you fall in love with the place card holders featured in our garden party tablescape? You’re not alone. We’ve already received several requests from readers for directions on how to create them.

 

 

They’re perfect for weddings, dinner parties or other gatherings where a place card is needed. Karen Ondracek of General Taxonomy has all of the details for her DIY.

 

Supplies 

 

  • Small wooden blocks (toy blocks worked well – I chose them in the spirit of reuse. You can buy small wooden blocks at craft and hobby shops.)
  • Vintage clip on earrings and/or vintage pins. Larger brooches & pins can be used to make holders for menus, welcome signs, etc.
  • Spray paint (Needed only if you wish to alter the color of your blocks or jewelery. You may wish to use a spray primer as well.)
  • Masking tape (Needed only if you are spray painting and wish to retain some original colors.)
  • Hot glue gun & hot glue sticks

 

Step 1:

Spray paint the wooden blocks to coordinate with your color scheme. I chose white. If you have wooden blocks that look great as found, skip this step.

 

Step 2:

 

Spray paint vintage jewelry to coordinate with your color scheme. Mask off any jewels or other areas that you want to retain their original appearance. I spray painted gold tone, brass and pearl elements of my jewelry silver. If all your jewelry looks great as found, skip this step.

 

Tip: Try a few drops of eucalyptus oil mixed with a bit of hand lotion to remove any spray paint you might accidentally get on your skin, then wash with soap and water. Unless, of course, you are allergic or sensitive to eucalyptus.

 

Step 3:


Use hot glue to attach earrings and pins to woodblocks as shown.

 

For pins you want to create a narrow slot between the pin back and the block for the card. For large pins, you may need more than one block.

 

With the variety of jewelry styles & spray paints out there, these DIY place cards could work in many a tablescape. Have fun!

Thanks Karen! Make sure to check out her shop General Taxonomy for more arty and vintage goodness!

How-To: Craft a Headboard Out of a Salvaged Door

Decorating, DIY, How-To and tagged , , , | | | 5 Replies

Last week, we featured Lindsay’s gorgeous sun porch. Today, she’s back with a tutorial for us from her own home, showing us how to make a headboard out of a salvaged door.

The technique we used to hang the door allows it to hang freely on the wall without any screws showing through or damaging the front of the door. This technique is similar to one used frequently when hanging a heavy work of art on a wall.

Supplies

  • Old door
  • Paint and/or stain if necessary
  • Two 1 x 4 boards cut to the length of your door
  • Table saw (used to cut a 45 degree angle)
  • Level
  • Deck screws
  • Trim screws
  • Stud finder
  • Tape measure

Directions

  • Select an interesting door. I used a door that was left in the basement of my home when I purchased it. I am guessing it used to be the door that went from the sun porch into the home. I love the idea that I created a headboard for my king sized bed, essentially for free, and with an architectural piece that belonged to my home! If you don’t already have an old door, they can be found in salvage shops and flea markets around the country for a reasonable price.
  • Decide if you want to refinish or paint the door. I scrubbed mine with soap and water because it needed to be cleaned after years of being stored in the basement. After the door was completely dry, I used Minwax “Dark Walnut” colored stain to give the door a fresh coat of stain. I just followed the directions on the back of the can. I would suggest being in a well-ventilated area and wearing gloves.
  • Next, take measurements of where you want the door to be located on the wall. I wanted the mattress to cover up about an inch at the bottom edge of the door, so I measured the height of the bedframe and mattress and then spaced the door accordingly.

 

Cut one 1 X 4 length-wise on a 45 degree angle. This piece will then be anchored into the studs of the wall. Have the “short” side of the angle attached to the wall.

 

Attach the other 1 X 4 to the headboard. Place the flat side at the top of the door and the angle at the bottom. These two 45 degree angle boards will fit into each other on the wall creating a secure hold.

 

  • The other 1 x 4 is then secured to the wall as a spacer to hold the headboard plumb or level. Once the headboard is in place, a small trim screw can be used on the 1×4 to further secure it in place.

 

  • Tada! Now you have your own salvaged door headboard!

Keep up with Lindsay’s adventures with her husband, pups and home when you read her blog, The Milkweed Pods.

Creating a Beautiful Holiday Mantel: A Tutorial From Designer Stephen Saint-Onge

Decorating, Holiday, How-To and tagged , , | | | Leave a comment

Today, we’re excited to present a post from designer and dad Stephen Saint-Onge. Using a variety of Pottery Barn products as well as personal family heirlooms, he creates an effortless and beutiful holiday mantel you can accomplish quickly.

Happy Holidays everyone.  I am very excited to share this simple makeover idea with you…

As a designer and as a family man, I love this time of year.  I love how the feeling of home truly comes to life during this holiday season.  We realize, in the midst of our busy lives and the crazy world out there, that our homes are a place that can lift us up, can remind us of the good things in life again — or they can simply provide us with a foundation that allows us to do what we do everyday.  At this time of year, it’s a chance to make those home spaces better, more beautiful and more inviting for our family and friends — but also for ourselves.  We all deserve that.  My motto:  Good home design has the power to change lives.  I have seen it happen and now — more than ever — we all need that power in our lives.

I also know as a husband and father  that this time of year can be stressful and filled with many things on our to-do list, so getting our homes ready for the holidays may be one of the last things we tackle.

So with that in mind, I want to show you that you can do it all. You can make your home look beautiful and festive without taking away too much time from everything else you need to get done.

For me, it’s all about creating focal points this holiday season. You do not have to go over the top as you prep your home for guests and entertaining. Focus on areas : on the front door/entrance area, a buffet table or, in the case of what I’m sharing with you today, a mantel.  You can create simple touches in your home that can bring the holidays in by creating a mood, a visual, a warm glow in place you see everyday.

As the last week before Christmas starts playing out — don’t panic —   your home will be ready and it will be beautiful.  I’m here with Pottery Barn to help you turn an everyday space into something special : easily, creatively and right now.

I recently visited a friend’s house where I was going to tackle a mantel makeover for the holidays…

*Simple mantel.   Here is what it looked like at the start.  A great location to create a focal point.

 

*Remove the props and accessories to simplify your working stage.

 

Sometimes removing artwork or other things on the walls can help you see something in a fresh way. I wanted to create two instant looks for them, the first one being very simple.  The ther one is a bit more detailed, but still very doable.

The first look was simply done by laying out two fresh garlands across the mantel.  Anyone can do this and it looks beautiful thanks to Pottery Barn’s amazing options for the holidays….So easy – go online – find what you like and order it. Comes right to your home ready to place!  That is just what we did here.

Next, I decided to repurpose an angel they had instead of the painting.  Shopping your house for props is a great way to get a new look in your home now.  Plus, you can introduce new pieces as well, which truly drives home a stylish new look any time of year,  in any room of your home!

Then I added a simple string of white lights into the garland for a nice warm glow.

I could have easily have added some pillar candles and tapered candles along the mantel for more light… But I liked the simple look of the green garland with the white angel.

For a second look,  I removed everything and put the painting back into place. This time I used two other garlands (ones that smell amazing!) and placed them on the mantel.  These have silver ball accents that add a great sparkle to the area but also serve as an accent that I will bring in again with other props too.

*Then I added a string of white lights again for the glow. I’m all about lighting the holiday time. I always tell clients that if you cannot makeover your whole house, use lighting to your advantage.  Candles and lights on dimmers can make a home setting look beautiful easily. It can take your eye away from areas or things about a room that you do not want to accent as much. Lighting allows you to set the stage and is a great creative tool in every project I do — even in my own home!

I loved these stocking holders in silver that can be engraved for every member of the family.  I like the idea of placing photos of each family member in them.  Fun thing to bring out every year!

I found these great faux fur velvet stockings from Pottery Barn too.  I liked that I could look online and see the options easily – great way to check off the list and know that those creative tools will be coming your way quickly.  I liked the color of these stockings because they worked well with the room’s overall color scheme.  Classic style.

To complete the focal point , gather some furniture pieces for seating near the area to draw your eye in as you enter the room. Light the fire, dim the room lights, turn up the music and set the scene. Easy and doable — even in these last few days before Christmas!

I invite you to visit my Designer Dad Studio blog to see a video of me on location doing this makeover for you.

I’m all about simple ideas and things that can easily make family-focused homes better.  I’m also one that believes that change is good at any time of year — not just at holiday time. I look forward to inspiring, motivating and getting you excited about your homes again…

Happy Holidays from my family to your family!

Designer Dad Stephen Saint-Onge is a designer, photographer, artist, author of the book No Place Like Home: Tips and Techniques for Real Family-Friendly Home Design and a Contributing Home Editor for Family Circle.   Stephen is also a husband and father of two boys. 

Source: Photos courtesy Stephen Saint-Onge

How To Set Up a Festive Drinks Station For Your Holiday Party

Entertaining, Holiday, Recipes and tagged , , , , | | | 6 Replies

We’re excited to feature a post today from Carmen Taylor, who shows you how to create an easy and festive drinks station for your upcoming holiday soirees!

Setting up a drink station for a large crowd can be stylish and fun. Follow these guidelines for a seamless holiday beverage service.

Choose a signature drink that may be customized using infusions, purees and juices. An interactive beverage station is personal and exciting for guests. Use a beverage dispenser suited for larger service like the Decorator’s Drink Dispenser.

 Fill the base of the drink dispenser with seasonal decor elements.

 Mercury Glass Ball Ornaments add the perfect amount of glimmer.Prep glassware by garnishing Jewel Cut Double Old-Fashioned glasses before guests arrive. I enjoy using fresh herbs or fruit slices.

 

Rosemary Gin Sparkler

1 ½ cup of sugar

1 ½ cup of water

8 sprigs of rosemary

2 ¼ cup of gin

2 cups of club soda

½ cup of lime juice

In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, 4 of the rosemary sprigs, and water to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool.

Strain the sugar syrup into a large pitcher. Add the gin, club soda, and lime juice and stir to combine. Chill before serving; garnish each glass with rosemary sprigs.
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Source: Photos courtesy Carmen Taylor

Three Architectural Plants to Make your Room Zing

Decorating, How-To | | | Leave a comment

In The Unexpected Houseplant (Timber Press, 2012), longtime houseplant aficionado Tovah Martin shares her secrets for creating style with houseplants.

The book offers a fascinating glimpse at a home accent that many take for granted. Tovah’s writing and advice is wonderfully complemented by the gorgeous photos, taken by Kindra Clineff. Today, Tovah and Kindra share inspiration and photos from the book in the form of three truly special houseplants. Take it away, Tovah!

Want to live with green? Anyone can invite plants into their home to live happily ever after, no special thumb color required. Forging a lasting relationship with living plants is easier than you dreamed, and autumn is the time to do it. As the garden slips into slumber, your windows can go to work. But skip the dusty images of your grandmother’s houseplants. Here are some ideas for a trio of tony and trim plants that will do wonders for your home, no sweat.


Calla Lily 

Even before swinging into the serious business of producing outlandish funnel-shaped blossoms, a calla lily (Zantedeschia) looks smart. With arrow-shaped leaves on long, arching stems, the plant makes a strong statement from across the room. Add those jack-in-the-pulpit-like flowers to the picture, and who can resist? You’ll come across calla lilies everywhere — try the supermarket! Pair your newfound companion with a handsome terra cotta pot, and you’ve got the sort of look that you can live with. And finding the right spot shouldn’t be a challenge—the indirect sun of an east or west window is ideal. But be poised with the watering pot, because this plant is thirsty. Calla lilies are toxic, so keep them out of reach from children and pets.


Staghorn Fern

The polar opposite from boring, a staghorn fern (Platycerium might look like the sci-fi spin on a houseplant, but it is surprisingly easy to host in your home. Imagine antler-like arms jutting from a trophy-esque back plaque and you’ve got the picture. Because they’re adapted to growing on trees in their native jungles, staghorn ferns need no soil. You can tie the plant (try fishing line) to a slab of wood or let it engulf a wicker basket (that’s what happened with the fern shown here) and then let it do its thing. Since staghorns are ferns, they thrive in low light. Take the whole shebang outdoors, put it in the tub, or bring it to the sink for weekly drinks. And then sit back and admire its wacky ways.


Kalanchoe

Outrageous, but deceptively simple to grow, kalanchoes of all types make super housemates. And Kalanchoe thyrsiflora ‘Desert Rose’ is queen of the oddballs. Like a massive rosette of succulent leaves, the whole plant looks like a giant blossom unfolding. Add the perk of matte, steel gray leaves blushing to red at the tips and you’ve got a plant with panache. This kalanchoe speaks for itself. But fit it with a smart container for the ultimate package. Kalanchoes are succulents, so they should be watered sparingly—perfect for anyone who is otherwise engaged. Give the plant as much sunlight as you can muster to keep it svelte. Amazingly, kalanchoes are total no-brainers. Living with nature was never easier — or more fulfilling.

Source: All photographs copyright Kindra Clineff