Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Faking It. . .1/24/12

There was a time when achieving a certain look in interior design and style of furniture was only made possible by the purchase of authentic and genuine antiques. But that time is for the most part long gone. Of course there are still pieces so unique and fabulous that somehow only generations past and countries abroad were able to produce but if you are in the market for incredible design at a cost less than an arm and a leg, you CAN find it. . .and it doesn't even require custom creation?! Need a slip covered chair? You can get it for less than what Shabby Slips, Quatrine or Longoria Collection charge. Need an incredible chippy buffet and hutch for your dining room? Check out Wisteria, Restoration Hardware, Aiden Gray, Pottery Barn or even Ballard Designs. In fact, if you are among the very fortunate, and patient, you could even find exactly what you are looking for on Craigslist, Ebay or at a local estate sale.

These days so many commercial furniture stores have dedicated portions of their inventory to reproduction items that there are times when at first blush even the pros can't tell the difference between the real deal and an impostor. Some people, like my mother for example, love the "look" of antique furniture but hate old things. For those, reproductions are a great way to go! Check out some of these fabulous options available to you in store and online. . .

Reclaimed wood console/buffet from Restoration Hardware.
Wingback chair upholstered in vintage French grain sack from Wisteria.
French daybed from Wisteria.
Bench upholstered in antique French grain sack - comes in red and blue from Wisteria.
French bistro table - reproduction from Aiden Gray Home.
Daybed/Bench in Hemp from Aiden Gray Home.
Bench from Aiden Gray Home. I love the cushion on this!
Chest from Wisteria. This would make a great bedside table.
As would this painted chest, also from Wisteria.
Swedish armoire from Wisteria.
Painted armoire from Wisteria Collection.
Starburst armoire from Wisteria.
Gorgeous painted and chippy dining room table.
Custom upholstered chair from Wisteria.
This beautiful impostor would look lovely in a bedroom and/or study.
Why am I already picturing this Wisteria chair in my bedroom and bathroom??
This lantern might cost thousands in an antique store but you can find it online for under $300.
Are all these lights reproduction??. . .I double dare you to know the difference. . .

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Clean Sweep. . .1/18/12

There are so many ways in which to get organized, de-clutter and simply our lives but for most of us, getting started is half the battle and the other half of the battle is KEEPING things de-cluttered and organized. Things seem to start out great: you somehow find the time to get things organized, put away, filed and trashed only to find yourself in the throes of a disaster again three months later. So how can we maintain our hard work throughout the year? One way to accomplish this is to develop good organization habits and stick with them as best you can, even if it means 15 extra minutes a day of work to keep things manageable and avoid letting the messes pile up. Here is a short check list of questions offered up by professional organizer Candita Clayton that can help you stay organized - especially when it comes to decision-making time and wondering what to do with something or where to put it.

1. What do I need to have a place for?
2. Do I need to have this item close or at arm's reach or can it be put away?
3. What supplies help keep me organized?
4. What is the best way to label this item and its contents?
5. Is this the easiest way to accomplish this task?
6. Do I like the way my system looks and is it functional?
7. How do I remind myself to use my new system until it becomes habitual?

Let me tell you what I personally do to stay organized in my own life and to keep my family organized. I'm always in "tidy-up" mode. I try to do things in the moment, meaning I put groceries away when I come home from the store; I try to do most laundry a couple loads back to back when I'm near the laundry room and playing with the kids - I then try to fold laundry and put it away all within the same day; I place coats, mail, keys, backpacks etc. in the exact same place every day - as part of a routine. For example, when I come home with the kids from school, I bring everyone inside, take lunch boxes and backpacks to the sink, unload them, trash the trash and file pictures, art etc. I then hang the lunch sacks on hooks in the pantry (I bought them for $3 a piece at Target) and then go on about my day. Before bed time, I tidy up each room a bit, wash dishes, and leave things I'm order so that we are ready to start the next day in an efficient manner. Does this sound do-able? I think that if I can manage it with two small children and a million different things going on every day, so can you. In the very least we can try, right?

Let me know how you fare or where you struggle and I'll help you come up with a solution: thekelleys9305@aol.com.

Here are some fantastic ideas for storage in children's rooms courtesy of HGTV:
Try a system like this one for school-age children in an afternoon homework spot. Making it simple for kids to stay organized turns YOUR de-cluttering tasks into a family commitment. By having assigned areas every family member is responsible for, not only will you stay organized and keep things manageable for yourself but you will instill in them a sense of becoming organized in their earlier years. . .they'll thank you later ;)
Smaller children and smaller spaces can still be kept tidy and stylish by adding sweet and simple labels to fashionable metal containers.
This wood boxes are easy as pie!! Buy them at Hobby Lobby and paint them any color you want to match your rooms and spaces - then simply stencil the name of the contents on each box. Or try this in a mud room with each child's name. Make them put away their own shoes and backpacks so you can lessen your load and teach them responsibility in one fell swoop!!
Monochromatic or printed cardboard boxes and lids can be found anywhere from an office supply store to Target to Ikea. This is a great way to file papers that need to be kept long term but out of sight. I also use this system for special children's keepsakes: birth certificates, baby shower mementos, cards, class pictures, hospital tags, etc. You are only limited by your imagination - just remember to label the boxes and if they start to overflow, add the year to the label and start a new box.
Simple plastic containers with easy to remove lids are retro, fun, clever and easy way to store a myriad of things from art supplies to toys to snacks. Ikea and Target carry these and they are inexpensive enough to use just about anywhere you have space for them.
These wall-hook storage bags are wonderful. Martha Stewart makes them for Target in neutral khaki and canvas colors. Use them in a pantry, home office, kitchen. . .anywhere you have papers that seem to become unruly.
And lastly for the person who has a too-simple closet set up and needs better options this system is incredibly easy to put together and can be found at the Container Store.

So, what are we waiting for? Let's get started!! Send me pictures of your latest organization projects and for more inspiration, check out: Clutter and Closets and Starting Anew

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Break Time's Over. . .1/15/12

It has been brought to my attention that my break time from blogging on La Vie Abondante is over. I knew it was time to come back to my beloved blog but the truth is my friends that it was never inspiration that I was lacking but rather time. This past season has been an extremely busy one but a joke in comparison to what lies ahead. God knows what we can and cannot handle and among other things, I was grappling with a very attractive and tangible opportunity to start a company with a close friend that ultimately I decided was not in the right time. That said, here is as taste of what is happening in my life presently and what you can expect to be seeing from me in the coming weeks and months now that we are back:
  • Organization and de-cluttering (but of course! It IS the new year after all?!)
  • Photographs and details about my first solo interior design project for which I was hired this past August - part of why I fell off the map
  • Lots of wedding ideas, bridal showers, images and design inspiration (my brother is engaged and I am also wedding planning for a friend that is actually LIVING in our home right now, yes, you read that correctly)
  • Baby shower and baby room design, inspiration and planning (not for myself)
  • Lots of new recipes that go along with great tablescapes for entertaining - tables for two, four, six and up to ten!!
  • Birthday party stylings
  • DIY home projects
  • Inspiration from antique shows, local fairs and markets, stores, interior design and hopefully much much more!!
My goal and promise this year is to give you at least five posts a month and depending on time and material, perhaps more. I can only tell you that I appreciate your reading this teensy tiny little blog that is merely a blip in the blogospere!! To La Via Abondante. . .here's to 2012!! To living the Abundant Life!!!