Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wallpaper...It's not what it used to be!

So I know that wall paper has this super bad rep for being well…not the best looking thing out there. Let’s be honest most of our grandmothers had some pretty…interesting wall coverings back in the day. Or my personal favorite the teddy bear border my mom put around my room. (They were a little creepy) BUT, wallpaper gotten so much better over the years and companies have really stepped up their game.

One of the coolest things I’ve seen being done with wall paper is to make a giant piece of art out of it. Seabrook, a wallpaper company, has come out with a gorgeous wallpaper that has a huge motif. It can be mounted to a 54” x 108” canvas!

source - www.seabrook.com
This is a great and unique way to get a large piece of art for a wall. Actually we are planning to use the wall paper shown above for a project. This is going to look sooooo awesome in a niche. The plan is to mount the wallpaper to a canvas and to glaze the piece to make it look more like a piece of art and not just wall paper.

Don’t worry as soon as we have pictures, they will be posted!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Face Lift Anyone?

It’s a common problem out there, you’ve lived in a space so long, with all the same furniture in the same arrangement, with the same accessories in the same spot, with the same pictures in the same frames, and now you’re bored. Well yeah you’re bored! Who wouldn’t be bored?

What can you do? You can give your space a face lift!

Now I’m not saying you have to spend a ton of money to make a space feel new and fresh, quite the opposite actually. Take this room for example:

Before it was a little cluttered and closed off, but after an hour of reworking the space, you can see how open, light and fresh it feels.

Basically we took sofa and faced it the opposite direction that way when you come in the room you see a nice inviting area to sit, and not the back of a couch, and then we arranged the rest of the furniture around it.

We added a few new custom pillows to the couch and chairs to add some color and fun to the space.

Also, we added a few table top accessories to the coffee table and side tables to add visual interest to the space.

Besides that we just shuffled around a few of the clients paintings and viola! A whole new and fresh looking space! It’s like the room had a face lift!

 - Erin

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rockin' Little Boy's Room!

Ever since I can remember, I have loved window seats. So, when a client approached me wanting to add a window seat to her son’s room, I might have shown more excitement than her or her son. Her older traditional home had some great architectural details including the perfect set up to add built-in bookcases and a window seat to her small son’s space.
We measured, we sketched, we drew and then it was time to open up the walls and see what the original builders had left us to work with. To our disbelief, the wall cavities were perfect and in a few short weeks, we had some pretty spectacular shelves and seats thanks to a great contractor and his craftsmen.
The crisp clean shelves needed a little “vavoom” so the client and I decided to add a geometric black and white pattern to the backs of the bookcases.  After scouring through wall covering books and not finding something, we turned to fabric. 
One fabric book set our imagination soaring with brightly colored geometric patterns and stripes that will dot the space in pillows, window treatments and other accents. 

 I may have initially been more excited about this room than her son was, but he sure is loving the end result!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Trapped between a floor and a king-sized bed!

Of course our job as interior designers is to make a space functional; it is what every professor and mentor preach and it’s what every client wants.  

Function first, then layer in the aesthetics. 

But, we all know that when we are looking through design magazines, we’re attracted to what is beautiful, elegant, different and "edgy."  

We ‘oooh’ and ‘aahhh’ at those picturesque spaces because they are just that…picturesque.

Now you’d think that the job behind creating all of these amazing spaces is glamorous and trendy.  Our edgy design style is reflected in everything - our spaces, our clothing, our lifestyle and the way we work. 

However, designers go through a lot of blood, sweat, and well, anything else we can muster to create the perfect space for our clients.


Take for instance, placing a rug under a heavy king-sized bed. 
No easy task for even the strongest of muscle men, yet there I found myself squeezing under a solid wood bed frame and shimmying between the support stands to pull the rug using my minuscule triceps while my installer lifted one side of the bed frame as high as he could for as long as he could (which amounted to about 10 second spurts).
That's me! Trapped under the bed!

Really tight squeeze!
What makes things even more complicated? 
I couldn't move once the bed is set down on top of me. 
So, then I’m trapped under the bed until the next lift- where I simultaneously shimmied, pulled, 
and positioned the rug for the quick 10 seconds.

Pulling a design together is not always as glamorous as they make it look on TV, 
but we sure have fun doing it and the end result is always worth the hard work; 
even when it requires crawling in tight spaces 

Oh, the things we do to make a space beautiful!
The finished product !!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spice Up Your Kitchen

Bored with your kitchen, but don’t want to completely redo everything? Well you don’t have to!

source - arteriors.com
An easy and simple way to spice up a boring kitchen is to get new accessories. A few cute, colorful canisters or some decorative plates is a great way to add some fun to the room.
source - creativecoop.com

Just pick out items that you like and that coordinates well with what you already have. If you are looking for things to go on you kitchen counters, make sure that they are not only great looking, but are functional for you and your family as well. This will ensure that the item isn’t just taking up space, and that you didn’t waste your money on something that you will end up putting in a cabinet.

source - cyandesign.biz
Decorative plates for your wall are also a great way to add some pizzazz to your space. This will look especially good if you have a long area of back splash in your kitchen that doesn’t have anything in front of it. There are even plate hangers now that stick to the wall and the plate, kind of like the Command Strips, that way you just see the plate and not the hanger.

Erika's Project

 - Erin

Monday, July 16, 2012

Washington DC Marathon - March 2012

This is a long one... but a good one!

This past March, my brother Travis ran his first marathon in Washington D.C. As soon as he told me he was going to do this run, I bought a plane ticket, found a hotel room, and was so ready to be there to cheer him on! While living in Michigan, I was able to watch several of his races; not being able to go to his races was one of the most heartbreaking aspects of moving to Texas.
Travis and I stopping in front of the Capitol Building the day before the race.

Me and Lindsey
 One of my old roommates from Wayne State just happened to be visiting DC the same weekend and we were able to hook up for lunch. 

Washington DC 
Rock and Roll Marathon
March 20, 2012
On the metro heading towards the marathon start with thousands of other people. 

7:40 am
Putting his shoes on. 
 It took much longer to get to the race start than we anticipated. So Travis got ready on the sidewalk and ran his way to the start for a mini warm up. 
7:40am - Ready to start!

At the start - if you look really closely, you can see a sliver of Travis's face between the guy in the blue shirt and the guy in the black tank top!

Here we go!
 As soon as the race started, I had an overwhelming wave of emotion come over me and immediately start crying. I missed a good picture of Travis running by me because I couldn't hold my camera steady.
Getting back on the metro as thousands of people are still  pouring off to get to the start.  Heading to mile marker 10.

But, no time to ponder! I had one hour to get myself to mile marker 10 to give Travis is Goo energy. I had signed up to get text message updates throughout the race that would tell me when Travis had passed certain mile marker points.
Travis coming up on Mile 10. From my perspective, he was in about 7th or 8th place and about 1 minute ahead of his pace time.
 I'm going to admit, I was super nervous and completely charged during the entire race. I couldn't sit still, I was sweating and constantly checking my watch to his split times. Looking over my maps and twitching.

From mile marker 10, I had to run about a mile to mile 16 to give Travis another Goo energy. (I should have been working out prior to this!)  At this point in the race, the half-marathon runners are running along side the marathon runners. So, on one side of the street are hundreds of spectators (for the half marathoners) and on the marathon side, there are only a few of us supporters.

I was pacing back and forth. My text message updates stopped working and Travis was supposed to pass by me at any minute.  Had I missed him? Is he doing alright? Has he hit the "wall?"

A guy walking on the sidewalk came up to me and was utterly confused about what was going on. He was asking me all sorts of questions and I tried to give him short answers- I had business to take care of!

Suddenly, the lead car comes over the hill... there's the leader in a white top and hat....
Approx. 9:35am
Travis in second place! Right behind the leader!
I wigged out! And by "wigged out," I mean I threw my pile of maps and papers into the stranger's hands and start jumping up and down screaming incoherently! Travis was in 2nd place and I was so incredibly proud of him!

9:36 am
But no time to waste! I had 20 minutes to get to my last mile marker before the finish and 1 more Goo packet to give Trav. I apologize to the man, thank him, grab my things and take off down the street towards the Metro station.

I was back on and off the Metro then running down a completely deserted street. 

But! I couldn't find the marathon!  Confused, I started pacing back and forth on a street bridge. I looked down below in frustration.... and saw the runners! I was on an overpass and they were running on the street underneath me!

But I couldn't see Travis and after waiting 5 minutes, decided I must have missed him!

Well! Back to the Metro to hit the finish. As I got on the platform, I cried in disbelief. The next train to the finish was 12 minutes away. I was going to miss the finish. I stood there in a sea of people and cried. A man obviously noticed me and started chatting with me about what was going on. We finally got on the train, got off and he said, "Erika! Hang on to my backpack." The man was large and built and he plowed through the crowd towards the finish with me hanging on for dear life to his backpack. 

I couldn't thank this man enough... but also couldn't find Travis. I had missed the finish and he was nowhere to be found. Wandering back and forth between the stage and our designated meeting area, my mind was going crazy! Where's Travis? Is he OK? Did he finish? Did he win? My text message updates had completely stopped working and that cycle of questions continued viciously for about 15 minutes.

Standing at our meeting point, I glanced back at the stage, tears in my eyes.... and there was Travis! Hobbling onto the stage to receive his 2nd place plaque!  Completely ecstatic, I ran to the stage, leaping over the people sitting in the grass, screaming as loudly as possible. 

The people on stage pointed and laughed... but I didn't care! I couldn't believe it! Travis had just placed 2nd out of tens of thousands of runners in his very first marathon!
Travis and the 1st and 3rd place finishers.

Travis hanging out with the 3rd place finisher.

Travis and all of his loot!
 Travis and I hobbled around the race finish for about an hour, soaking it all in. There were people everywhere, live bands playing music, excitement, sweat, and pride.
Travis and I at the end of the race!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Why we love bunching cocktail tables

Okay, so there is a growing trend… well maybe not growing. It’s here! I for one certainly hope it sticks around for a long while. The bunching cocktail table! This concept is so great for so many reasons.

source - kalalou.com
Bunching cocktail tables provide versatility. If you have three or four little, and lightweight tables verses one big, heavy table you can move them around in different arrangements to fit your needs. I’m no he-man so where ever we put one large cocktail table it would be stuck there.
source - uttermost.com

Bunching tables are great for kids who what to color or do homework. They can have their own little table to work on. Or if it’s family game night you can just put the tables altogether and make one big table for everyone to gather around.

source - lorts.wordpress.com
And for a more eclectic look you can just mix a few different, coordinating tables. This will add more interest to your space, and still give you the flexibility and versatility of the bunching tables.

source - orientalexpress.com
Also, honestly they are super cute! I mean why would you not want these. 

 - Erin

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Passino Annual Crawfish Boil 2012

For over 20 years, Evan's Houston family, the Passinos have had a summer crawfish boil. While the party has moved around from place to place, there are always the same 3 ingredients...

1. Hot, spicy, and scrumptious crawfish,
2. Wonderful people to hang out with,
3. Hot weather and plenty of cold beer!
Vincent holding one of the crawfish;
we were lucky to have such large crawfish for this
late in the summer season!
This year, I invited my good friends, Susan and Vincent to the bash. It was Vincent's first boil, the crawfish were huge, and we were all hungry!

Susan and Vincent messing around with the crawfish.

Evan has been coming to this boil for over 5 years now and has been promoted to head Passino Crawfish Boil Chef! A title he does not take lightly; he slaves over the hot pots for hours making some of the best crawfish I've ever had!

First you boil the veggies in water and boil seasoning for about 30 minutes. 

Remove the veggies and add the crawfish to the boil.
After 5 minutes, turn the heat off and let sit for about 20 minutes.

The crawfish and veggies get mixed together with some added seasoning.

This isn't the Passino's first rodeo;
they have a specially constructed table with a
convenient hole in the middle for trash. Don't worry,
someone thought to cover the hole before the food was dumped on the table!

The fresh and steaming hot food is dumped on the table and it's chow time!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Shhh.....Surprise for Evan!

It's a secret.....

Evan doesn't know it yet, but I've sent three of our panoramic photos from our Canadian adventure off to be printed on large canvases.  Each will measure 16x32 and will be some long awaited wall decor for Evan's room. 

Lake Moraine in Banff National Park, Alberta Canada.

Stopping off of the side of the road in Banff National Park, Alberta Canada.

Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta Canada.

The photographs were taken on my iPhone with a free app called "Photosynth;" an app I highly recommend you download....right now! I use this app almost daily whether it's to capture panoramic scenery or to photograph a space for a project. You've probably tried to photograph a small space, it's nearly impossible to do unless you have a professional camera with an amazing wide angle lens. 

Here's how it works:
You open the Photosynth app on your phone and take multiple photos of a space moving only the camera (not your body). The program will 'stitch' the photos together almost seamlessly.  I edited the photos in Photoshop to clean up the edges and convert to black and white, but the same can be done with Paint.