Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bye, Bye Baby

So, my big boy definitely isn't a baby anymore.


And apparently, Mommy is having a hard time moving on - because his bedroom still has baby written all over it. I don't know why I haven't been able to bring myself to transform his nursery into a big-boy bedroom yet, but it probably has something to do with the fact that I love that little baby room so much. I remember the week I hauled my very pregnant self all around the room, dragging a stool with me to sit on, and painted words in cursive on the flat chair rail my husband and father installed.

"Once upon a time, there were four little rabbits, and their names were -- Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter...."

I made a window treatment (I even sewed a little, which is a major undertaking for me) and painted three scenes from the storybook that I framed for the walls. I painted an old bookshelf and the old rocking chair my parents gave me. I mixed and matched bedding, found my own combination of items to create a theme without being too "themey."

Poor grad student as I was, I did it on a shoestring budget, and I just loved it.

So, OK, I guess that explains why I haven't moved on from it yet. All that, plus the fact that it's been a VERY busy almost-four years. But now that my not-so-little-guy is on the verge of his 4th birthday, I know it's time he gets a more grown-up space. I want his new room to reflect him, not me (nursery is all about Mommy, big-boy room all about Big Boy), so I've been paying attention to what he's into and asking him from time to time what he wants in his new room: cars & trucks or music.

Since it's the answer nine times out of ten, music is the clear winner. So for a few months now, I've been keeping my eyes open for music-themed items to inspire me. I've found a lamp here, a rug there. But last weekend at the Cooper-Young Festival, I found what I've been waiting for. The piece de resistance. The thing that will inspire the design of the whole space.

Again, it's a book.

But it's a grown-up book, a big-boy book, and it sets exactly the right tone (no pun intended) for what will hopefully be an awesome, stimulating, inspiring space for my Big Boy to grow up in.

*sniffles again*

I'll get started on the transformation soon - because I know he doesn't need a changing table anymore. I know he's past the stage of being rocked to sleep in that old, painted rocking chair. He's moved on. So I'll move on, too.

Really I will..

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Not-So-High Price of Custom

One of the things that's most fun about my job is the chance to create something all new and completely unique. That can happen in a lot of ways - blending an unexpected mix of colors or patterns, solving a problem with space planning, playing with scale - but the most obvious way it happens is designing something that's not already out there on the market to meet a specific need for a space.

In other words, creating a custom piece of furniture.
It's not something that happens every day for a designer, but I haven't been doing this all that long (two years), and I've already had the chance to see one piece through from conception to completion (pictured) and am about to start conceptualizing another one. Which is why the topic's on my mind.
In both instances, the reason the client and I pursued a custom piece was because we searched and searched and searched for an existing piece that met their needs - space-wise, function-wise, style-wise - and came up short. With the gazillions of home products out there for sale, you'd think that'd be an uncommon problem, but it happens all the time. The biggest surprise - for me and my clients - is that a custom-designed, custom-made piece of furniture isn't necessarily as unattainable, price-wise, as you might think. The china cabinet pictured above is the perfect height and width for the space, has the exact finish the client wanted (plus a metallic finish inside that literally makes it shine), and has shelves and drawers configured specifically for the items the client wanted it to hold. It doesn't get any better than that. And the price tag wasn't much higher - maybe 15-20% - than a comparable piece from a decent furniture manufacturer.
Worth it, because the piece is not only ideal for the space, but it's handcrafted from solid wood and made in our local community (a real anomaly these days, since nearly all furniture is made overseas). It's also well-built - something the family will hold onto and pass down for generations.
Now I'm about to pick up my drawing tools (yes, I draw by hand, also an anomaly these days but so much more fulfilling for me) and get to work sketching out ideas for my new piece..
So. Much. Fun.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Modern Friend Morgan

A friend of mine, Morgan Armstrong, just jumped out there and launched a website for her new interior design business, Memphis Modern. The site looks awesome, and I'm so proud of her! She, like me, has a contemporary aesthetic. That's not to say she won't design traditional rooms and traditional homes - that's par for the course when you live and work in uber-trad Memphis - but she loves modern design and contemporary style, and I love that about her!

I just wanted to put up a couple of pics from her portfolio. I especially love the trash-to-treasure white lacquer chest of drawers and mirror. I also love her color palette - silvers and grays and whites and soft blues.

Morgan and I crossed paths in school and she worked as an intern at my firm. We've been to Market together, attended IDS meetings together and sat through product presentations together. We've also had a lot of conversations about design - what we like and why, what styles appeal to us and don't, what types of things we'd have in our dream houses. And we've discovered that our tastes are really similar.
Anybody reading this, what about you? What styles are you most drawn to? What colors soothe you and say "home" to you? Does your house reflect those things?

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