Friday, January 23, 2015

Design Trends I'd Like To See Disappear...

... and no, I'm not talking about the ubiquitous chevron print! Lately, I've noticed that certain design trends aren't just overdone. Some are actually giving me headaches and ruining my nights out. And that's not good, functional design. I love the vintage industrial look, but I'm starting to see why some of these things were originally designed for factory use, not residential use.

1. Exposed light bulbs in cages
Yes, they look cool when you're shopping online. In reality, though, the unfiltered light burns my eyes and eventually gives me a headache. And the cage casts bizarre and unflattering shadows all over the room. I'd like to see more interesting light fixtures with glass globes or shades that filter the light.

Industrial Cage Light and Possini Euro Open Cage Glass Pendant Light

2. Hard surfaces with no sound absorbers
The restaurants and bars in Nashville are full of metal, concrete, brick... and nothing soft to absorb sound. I'm so tired of going out to places that are loud because sound won't stop bouncing off the hard surfaces! I have a librarian's quiet voice, and when no one can hear me, I give up and spend the evening in silence. At this point, I'd rather stay in, and that's a bummer. The problem would be so easy to fix with soft banquettes, draperies, rugs, or even wall hangings to absorb sound. Basically, I'd like to see more textiles and soft furnishings in restaurants.

At least it's undeniably beautiful. Design by Brinkworth
3. Reclaimed wood everywhere, just because
First of all, SPLINTERS. Ouch. Yes, reusing building materials is a nice idea. But I'm not convinced that using reclaimed wood is the greenest option. Because, HELLO! It's WOOD. Wood can be composted, which would save all the pesky environmental problems of shipping it. And since this look is so trendy, soon it's going to look about as cool as 1970s wood paneling. I'd rather see reclaimed wood used in smaller projects that aren't built-in and semi-permanent. Like furniture.

What design trends do you hope will go away soon?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Update: A Gallery Wall and Mirror in the Dining Room

Right now I'm chipping away at the most dull items on my 2015 to-do list. Hello, new lampshade! And goodbye, ceiling light fixture that looks like a tiny penis! Wait, what?! More about those things later, because I'm dreaming of more exciting and photogenic things, like new dining room chairs. 

Speaking of photogenic things, I *finally* got myself a proper tripod and remote for my camera so I can take better photos of the house. For months, I've been putting off blog posts because Mrs. Shaky Hands couldn't take great indoor photos. No longer!

I love this picture because you can see the subtle carved pattern on
the tabletop, and how it echoes the pattern on the front of the buffet. 
In the dining room, I decided against the Spanish Revival chairs I wanted to hunt down a few months back. Womp womp. Big, fancy, rustic Spanish pieces would have looked great with Aunt Judy's Spanish style cabinet in the corner, but they would have have clashed with everything else. For now, Aunt Judy's cabinet will be the lone Spanish piece that (hopefully) adds interest and keeps everything from being too matchy.

The cabinet is packed with board games, and we still have to stick a few
games on this floor underneath it. We have a board game addiction, I tell you.
While I was focused on chairs, Keith was focused on the walls. He actually asked me to hang some art, because the blankness was bothering him. So first, we hung a big honkin' mirror over the bar. If you're trying to hunt down a BIG mirror, this one will do the job. It's 43 inches wide! Yeah. This is the Junius Mirror by Uttermost. It has a lightly smoked finish, so it's a bit darker than the walls, but it still bounces light around the room. And the round, gold painted frame echoes the round gold frame on a piece of art just around the corner from it. I love the way it looks in here. Also, we never could have afforded it at retail price, and I want to thank the Uttermost dealer we know who kindly charged us the wholesale price. You know who you are, and I owe you a huge hug!

Much later, we hung a neat grid of gallery style frames on the other wall. I'd wanted to do this for months, but buying so many frames at once is expensive. Fast forward to two weeks ago. I was cleaning out a cabinet, and I found two Target gift cards. Where did they come from? I don't know! I felt like I hit the jackpot, and I went out and bought these frames from Target's Room Essentials line. Then I found pictures online of fancy trays by iBride, cropped the images, and printed them out. I love the way they look, but not paying for art makes  me feel shady. Is that shady?

This room is becoming exactly what I hoped it would be. The black trim and white walls look clean and modern, and the warm colored wood is so welcoming and... well... warm. But the chairs are so, so uncomfortable! Those spindly chair backs always press into the wrong place on my spine. If we sit there playing board games for a while, it actually starts to hurt. I'd like to get chairs that are shorter and less prominent. I feel like the chairs are the first thing you see when you look at the room! 

I've been ogling the Rustic Dining Chair from West Elm online, but I wondered if the chair looked cheap in person. So yesterday, I stopped by the local West Elm shop to examine it in person. It's beautiful! West Elm's photographer didn't do it justice, I tell you. And on top of that, it's comfortable. And the exact same color as our table. What's the catch? At $200 a pop, it's NOT a bargain. This table seats eight, so we'd have to plan and budget it out, and buy one or two chairs at a time. Which is absolutely not the end of the world.

What do you think of the progress we've made? 

Source List
Walls - White Dove by Benjamin Moore, color matched to Valspar paint
Trim and doors - Black Beauty by Benjamin Moore, color matched to Valspar paint
Chandelier - Helena by Cal Lighting
Rug - Nyla rug in beige by Loloi (Wait 'til Wayfair is offering it at half price!)
Mirror - Junius by Uttermost
Picture Frames - Target
Blinds - The cheap "cut while you wait" blinds at Lowe's. I can't remember the brand!
All furniture is family hand me downs or from thrift stores.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Acero by Minka Aire. I'm a Fan.

I've been putting this post off for twelve days, because Nashville has been so dark and sad that I couldn't get a good picture of the room until yesterday. #bloggerproblems But hey, guess what? The big, dark, banana leaf ceiling fan is gone! Woo-hoo!! At Christmas, Keith gave me a beautiful, sleek silver ceiling fan that I'd been eyeing for months.

He wrapped all the pieces in separate boxes, and when we opened presents under the tree it took a minute for me to realize exactly what I was opening. When it dawned on me, I was ecstatic. "Oh boy, a downrod!" *tearing more paper* "Oh honey, you got me a motor!" Maybe you had to be there, but it was really funny.

Here's an old picture to remind you how the previous ceiling fan looked. Sorry, I always tried to crop the old fan out of photos, so I don't have a lot of pictures of it! Obviously, this is a really old pic, from before we moved the furniture into the room. But you can see that the brass motor and tropical style of the old fan just didn't work for us. That fan looked big and heavy, and it called a lot of attention to itself. I couldn't wait to get rid of it, because I wanted the attention to be on the art over the fireplace, not on the fan.

I don't like the look of most ceiling fans. But in Tennessee, a good fan is practically a necessity. So I spent weeks looking for a fan I liked, and this one is my favorite. It's the Acero model by Minka Aire. Acero has a simple shape that doesn't call a lot of attention to the fan. With just 3 blades, it doesn't take up a lot of visual space. The nickel finish matches the other metal in the room, and it blends into our white ceiling better than dark wooden fans. And the light kit (usually the ugliest part of a fan!) is flat and barely visible. Best of all, I love the cage around the motor because it reminds me of pretty vintage table top fans. One last thing: The Acero fan is sold at Restoration Hardware, but don't buy it from them--they overcharge by more than $100!

So far, we love it. It's practically silent, and blades move air well. We've been using it every day because it reverses to push warm air down in the winter. It has a nice bright white light with a built-in dimmer, and the wall panel is fancy schmancy. Unfortunately, the old wall panel had two switches. One controlled the fan blades, and one was for the (nonexistent) fan lights. So if you found this post because you're looking for info about this fan, keep in mind that you may need to replace your switchplate cover.

 We need to get a 2-gang switchplate with one blank side, like this.


It feels great to cross the fan off of the to-do list. I'm one step closer to the plan I put together for this room waaaay back in August. Here was the original mood board. All that remains are the curtains and sectional! But first, we'll probably put up a picture rail behind Keith's desk. But more about that later!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nude Art - Yes or No?

How do you feel about (presumably tasteful) nude art displayed in the home?

From Lonny Magazine
My first instinct is to say, "No problem." When I was a kid, I visited a lot of Chicago museums with my parents. They were comfortable viewing Greek and Roman sculptures with me, and through their example I learned not to be prudish about art. But now I live in the south! And it's not just about what I think; I don't want my art to make my guests feel uncomfortable. When I visit friends' houses, I don't see any nudes hanging on the walls, except for maybe a kitschy topless J.H. Lynch piece.

I ask because I'm choosing art for the guest bedroom, and I want to use this print. Except, well, boobs. The image is a portrait of Kathleen Millay, drawn in 1925 by Joseph Stella. The original is part of Cheekwood's permanent collection, and I received this print (and many others) as a parting gift when I completed my grad school internship there. I've never displayed any of these gifted prints, but I think this one would be perfect in our guest room. The colors and even the Asian motif on her robe are just right. And I like that she is both feminine and strong. Look at that gaze--she is not a woman to be trifled with!

I really want to know what you think. What do you think of nudes on the wall in general? And would you be uncomfortable staying in a guest room with this picture on the wall? What if your children were staying with you? Would that change things?