Tag Archives: design on a dime

My new Office

This fall i completely overhauled my office space.  everything was removed, room repainted and bought all new items.  now i have a space that reflects my style & inspires me to be creative!

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I had a small area to place desk, so went simple

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The lamps add the right amount of glam

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Simple accessories keep the top functional & stylish

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Drawers for storage are a must

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the sheepskin for comfort

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Art is important to me and where I don’t mind investing my money

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Keeping my kid’s art close brings a smile to my face

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Overall this area is functional and stylish

TOTAL COST BREAKDOWN: Desk <homeclick>$199, Lamps <target>$80, Seat <crate&Barrel>$15, Lambskin <homegoods>$19, decorative Box <homegoods> $15, Framed Art <antique store>$300

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Office Project

This is what you can do in 9 days and twelve hours of work!  The deadline was tight, so I had to shop locally, which is limiting, but made the best of it and accomplished the goals of the space.  The main requests for the room were to be functional, comfortable and colorful.

The office space is in an old brick building with new paint, floor covering & built in’s.

DSC_0244Lisa was willing to start fresh with her existing furniture.

DSC_0246DSC_0247DSC_0242This office was the last to undergo any attention, so the funds were tight.  Seating was important and I was able to find an affordable set.  The color of the seating went really well with the room and the neutral cushions gave me a neutral palette to work with.

DSC_0310I really loved the colors and texture of these Crate & Barrel pillows.

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The bookcases just needed some rearranging of books and added a few other small personal touches, such as candles, plants and small vase and photos.

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DSC_0313A sweet work of art, given to Lisa as a gift was hung above the loveseat.  The art against the bricks is the first thing you see when walking to the office, but your eye immediately goes down to the blue throw that is draped perfectly between the colorful pillows.

DSC_0253   The old desk was replaced with a sleek simple desk.  The key to having an inviting office is the placement of the furniture.  Floating the desk at an angle gave enough room for office supplies behind and opened up the rest of the room for a comfortable sitting area.

DSC_0315 DSC_0314DSC_0317Prints on canvas of Lisa’s kids will be ordered and hung behind her desk.

DSC_0305A pop of color is just what the room needed to tie everything together!  Since the chairs are neutral everything around them could be very colorful.  Teal and yellow are also found in the pillows on the loveseat and of course the books.  The artwork is done by a local Dover artist, Caryn of “Creative Spirit Art Studio“.

DSC_0308The windowsill just needed some greens and Lisa had a special elephant that was getting lost on the bookshelves and needed it’s own special place.

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Lisa Flynn of ChildLight Yoga~

“As a busy professional in a new space, there was no time to shop and make decisions about design and decor. I knew I wanted a warm and inviting office space in which to work, but had no idea how to start. In fact, I was so intimidated to make a decision style-wise, I was paralyzed and found myself working in an empty office of unpacked boxes for weeks. And then, I remembered Denise! We met the very next day, established a budget, and after making a few immediate suggestions and taking a few measurements, she was on her way to shop. Within 9 days, just in time for our grand opening, I had the office of my dreams, on budget! Denise’s calm and friendly demeanor, combined with her design confidence had me feeling I was as much in a therapy session as a style consult that week. Beyond that she saved me a ton of time and most likely a ton of money as well with a finished product that would have taken me a year to pull together. Thank you Denise. You a gift. I look forward to working with you again…and again!”

Going for Old Hollywood

Old Hollywood reminds me of hair pinned up, bright lips, gold shoes and fur.  When I dress for a special occasion, just putting on a pretty dress is not enough.  I enjoy having a vision and this time my vision started with wearing a fur.  I didn’t own a fur, or any of my look but I get jazzed by the challenge of finding my outfit.  The fundraiser was held at the Ritz-Carlton in Boston for Jaden’s Ladder.  When I’m at a classy hotel, I like to dress the part.

The skinny on my look~

I found this simple brown DVF dress at a friend’s shop for $50!  The next thing I found were these gold and black sequence shoes from J. Crew.  Over time I found the fur vest on Ebay but with the shipping time, it would arrive with only 10 days to spare.  I really wasn’t sure if it would be perfect, but to my surprise it’s gorgeous.

I picked up the clutch on winter clearance at Lord & Taylor.  I chose it to tie the black and gold together with a bit of hard to play off the soft fur.  The last item I picked, which didn’t really end up showing is my gold and Swarovski crystal necklace.  But, I love it and am glad I bought it.  The symbol means, “double luck” in Chinese.’

Hair styled by Salon Sabeha, make up from Modern Priscilla, teeth whitening by Super Smile.

Dress $50, J.Crew Shoes $32 (clearance), Fur $75, Swarovski necklace $60 (outlet), clutch $28

Total cost $245

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Make your own custom art

I’m picky about what I’ll display in my home or clients homes.  I do like rooms to feel personal and decided my mantle needed our last name initial.  This DIY was pretty simple and recommend you making your own.

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Supplies you need:  Burlap, paint, pencil, font type, glue, and frame

The process:   Find the frame you’ll be using first.  Make sure it fits well on your mantel and I recommend using a glassless frame.  If you use a frame with glass then glue your fabric on the glass.

Measure the area inside of the frame.  Cut your fabric to size.  No worries if you’re off a bit, as I was then just grabbed some trim I had and glued that layer on to cover my mistakes.  You can use any kind of plain fabric.  I like added texture, so went for burlap.

Find the font you want to use.  There are so many fonts out there.  Check out tootledoo designs, as they are amazing!  You can write anything you want, a full monogram, entire last name, or just an initial.  You may want to enlarge one of the fonts and copy it, make a stencil and trace on your fabric, or freehand it using pencil.

Once you’ve drawn your letter, go ahead and use a smaller brush to apply paint (any kind works) on the outline of the letter.  Then fill in the entire letter with paint.

After the paint drys decide if your letter needs anything else.  You may want to outline the letter in another color, or glitter…think about what makes sense with your style.  Go ahead and use clear glue on the surface of your frame.  Affix your fabric and let dry.  Add any additional trim on the inside of your frame.

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8 Home upgrades worth doing.

If you are looking to spruce up your home and aren’t ready to drop too drain your bank account then I have some inexpensive upgrades you should consider, as they have worked for me time and time again.

Inexpensive Home Upgrades

1.  Rearrange your furniture.  This will give you a new feeling in your space, make you consider what you really need or can get rid off, put away and clean.

2.  Paint a new wall color.  I know everyone always says it, but boy does paint enhance banged up, dull walls into a space that can feel calm or fun, you decide which way to go!

3.  Replace your toilets or just the seats.  Need not say more on why!

4.  Replace your hardware on your cabinets.  This can bring your style up to date.  I bought mine at Pottery Barn, for very little nine years ago, and still love them.

5.  Change your bedding.  I finally found a duvet cover that works and I’m sticking with it, but in the winter I add a beautiful thick blanket at the foot of the bed and it changes the feel of my bed.  I do know some people who change their duvet covers a couple times a year!

6.  Replace your light fixtures or just add dimers!  New lighting gives a whole new feel to any room.

7.  Slip cover that furniture.  If your sick of it, cover it.

8.  Purge.  Getting rid of extra clutter in the home, will really lighten the feeling and change how your home looks.

Good Luck!  Happy Home= Happy Me, You too?

My Mantel-DYI

I picked up this wood mantel down the road at a yard sale a good six years ago for $45.00.  I adore the elderly couple who I bought it from and enjoy knowing that this was in their home as well.

We took out our cast iron wood burning stove, since I have allergies and found the wood to be messy and hard to restock and replaced it with a gas burning remote fireplace- now were talking!

Once the fireplace was installed, we started to add the buy-on’s like a stone background, fake logs, etc.  It took us a while to figure out how to incorporate the wood mantel since we had a larger opening…with some additional building, painting and molding we were able to ‘fake’ our professional looking fireplace.

I wanted a light colored mantel but didn’t want it to be flat, so found this texture paint by Valspar, called Tuscan Accents.

As you can see we had a lot going on here.  To unify everything I went with neutral color paints.

First coat came out smooth and creamy in color.

I also brought the brush they suggested to use, which was basically a long bristle brush.

The second coat is where the texture gets added.  You must make sure to get this into all your nooks so that you will have an even looking project.  As you can the paint has these bits that you have to flatten out with a plastic or metal tool.  I used the same tool that I use to remove the excess putty from a hole that I’m filling in.  I did this step in stages as you want to flatten bits before they dry, so take your time.  Once you get the texture that you desire, then your job is finished.  It is a very simple DYI project.

You can see that the Tuscan texture is very light, but gives good depth to the appearance of my mantel.

We painted our other accessories a similar color, but there isn’t any texture to the finish.

We have a light marble tile that completed our entire look.

The tile on top gives our mantel a lot of natural color and texture.  I have some panels high above that have a similar texture and coloring of our mantel.

Old Jeans

I dug out my old, DKNY silver tapered jeans that at the time were a little, ok a lot strange… but I just had to have them and over the years I have held on to them.  Several times I have wanted to get rid of them, but every time I looked at them, I thought they are cool.

It has been about 9 years, 2 babies, and a whole lot of jean styles since I wore my funky silver jeans, but it was time to give them a try again.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well they worked out.

They have a high waist, with a zipper on the side and aren’t as flattering on my rear as I’d like, so I paired them with this ‘funky lady’ shirt that is longer.  I love this shirt since the back is a bit of a surprise!  I picked up at a great local second hand store, the Wear House.  I love the colors of this shirt and it has a lot of life left.  It was a great find.

I cuffed the jeans to give them more of a summery feel and wanted to show off my rhinestone wedges.

I love how these shoes, Vera by Vera Wang, are fun with jeans or a dress.  They can add a lot of bling for little cha-ching.

When it came to the jewelry I didn’t want to go rock n’ roll since the shoes and the shirt had a lot of flare, so the pearls gave this outfit the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.

My jeans don’t have pockets, so now you can see that nobody is looking at my butt!

By giving my old jeans the right shirt and accessories I was able to update these, at the time, futuristic jeans right into 2012.  I did get a lot of “ooohhh very cool” and “I like your jeans” comments from my friends and a couple of strangers.  I’m not ready to let them go yet, so I can’t wait to see what they’ll look like with boots this Fall.

Maine, the way life should be

We’ve lived in Maine for the past eleven years and I love everything about it, but if I had to pick my most favorite thing about living here, hands down I’d pick our stunning coastline and welcoming beaches.  On any given summer day, I have 7 different beaches to choose from all being with in fifteen minutes from my house.  I have developed such a fondness for our beaches, I was inspired to create Maine compositions for my son’s room.

My boys combing a Maine beach for treasures!

Our beach finds.

I love how the wood, shells, watercolor, lobster claw and stickers work well to create a cohesive Maine collection.

When my kids found this lobster claw they felt like they found a diamond in the rough!

While antiquing I found these two Jonesort, Maine canned fish labels.  I love the way they look mounted together, so I attached them to a canvas that I painted bright yellow to add a punch of color.  Since they are in a child’s room, I added playful stickers.

I bought a nautical themed mirror from an inexpensive store, but on it’s own, it was too simple so I found this small handmade buoy created by a local Mainer!  Maine has several do it yourselfer’s so you never know what you’ll find in local shops.

Maine is also known as vacation land! Lucky Me!

Jewels of the Sea

Living on the East Coast, we always keep an eye out for sea glass.

I love how all the glass is so different, but goes together as a whole so well.

I attended a holiday craft show on the coast of Maine and bought these three awesome lobster cards.

This blue lobster made out of sea glass gave me the idea to hot glue my jewels of the sea to the frame.

When i think of lobsters, I think of red, which is why I went with a red background

The frame came from Michaels and was very inexpensive, but with these stunning cards and pieces of sea glass we turned our collection into a priceless sea of summer memories.

It’s a Disco Party

Not too long ago I turned, well older and went all out with a “disco” themed party.  Deciding what to wear was hard until I saw it…the purple polyester jumpsuit straight out of (I like to believe) Studio 54!  I bought it used from FireflyVintage on Etsy for $55.00.  But, since every seller on Etsy has their own private shops, you can contact them through Etsy and simply ask if they have any sales running or if they can do better with shipping.  It is always worth asking since 9 times out of 10 I do get a discount.

I just happened to have my mother in laws 1960’s round shades that have 5 other lenses!  I felt the suit needed a belt to break it up, so I found the perfect gold link belt at a local antique shop for $5.00.  Since this suit has such a deep neck, it had to have a chunky necklace, which I found on Etsy at GloriasJewelryBox for $20.00.  This owl has the perfect 70’s feel and picks up the aqua from the jumpsuit.  I already owned the gold wedges which are from Cole Haan.  If you look closely I have a pack of Basic smokes tucked into my top (hey why not- that is what they did in the 70’s).  My gold purse was purchased from a local thrift store for $5.00.  I picked up my bracelet for $200 from a local thrift shop.

I dolled up my face with plenty of rouge, lip gloss and fake eyelashes.  My hairdresser Amanda from, Salon Sabeha in Portsmouth gave me my perfect 1970’s glam do.

Never underestimate a perfect outfit for an important occasion.  I felt as good as I looked and had the time of my life.  Remember to have a couple of tricks…. like this wig I came out in near the end of the night!  Live it up and go all the way with the right ‘outfit’!