Vintage SoCal Vibes

Come visit April 25th Design and Decor Read the rest of this entry »


Read this… Why? Because it is April 2nd!

Nine months ago, I told you I had one of the best days of my life.  Do you remember? Read the rest of this entry »


It’s spring…feeling groovy?

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.
Hello lamppost,
What cha knowing?
I’ve come to watch your flowers growing.
Ain’t cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in’ doo-doo,
Feelin’ groovy.Got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
Life, I love you,
All is groovy.
59th Street Bridge Song by Simon and Garfunkel
The lyrics to the above song is how I have been feeling every morning now that Spring has officially Sprung its lovely weather. Life is short and why not feel a bit groovy every day?  Here are a few Fun and Fabulous Finds that might make you hum the above ditty and get your groove on…
Isn’t this a lovely place to have coffee and read your Fun and Fabulous Finds blog?  Then you can go catch a wave in the ocean.  See the surfboard in the background?  Home Beautiful photograph.
This lucite tray is perfect for entertaining outdoors this Spring.  I love the classic monogram mixed with the fun retro pattern. www.rosenberryrooms.com
Carry this handwoven basket with you to the market and then go to a park to watch the spring time flowers growing!  www.jadetribe.com
I adore this soft and playful t-shirt.  I own it.  Join me and buy one too!
www.shopthetrendboutique.com
Fierce and Fabulous necklace that screams springtime!
Zurdokero shop on etsy.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/zurdokero
Life I love you.
All is groovy.

Kermit the Frog was wrong..it is easy being green!

An idea for designing a room can come from many unexpected sources.  Here is a fun example of how you can let your imagination flow forward and inspire you:  Below is a photo of my cat “Lucky” lounging in the greenery on a beautiful Spring afternoon.

Look at me..I am a cat lounging in a bed of plants. Now I am inspiring decor choices for a room. I am famous. No wonder my name is Lucky.

The model below reminds me of Lucky lounging in the sun and I think it is hilarious (this has nothing to do with design and decor, but we all need to laugh!):

Don't you think this woman is trying to pose like Lucky? It is eerily similar...

Anyway, getting back on track…All of this makes me want to decorate a room retro Palm Beach crazy and do something like this:

I love how Nikki Hilton paid homage to her history...this is the same wallpaper found in the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel that her family owns. So clever that she incorporated this in her home.

Now take a peek at this vintage dining set I found for a client’s breakfast room. It was ironically located at the John Salibello showroom in West Palm Beach.  It now adds a fun and fabulous retro chicness to their newly constructed house.

I love this because it is unique and you won't see it anywhere else. Maybe my client's will invite you for dinner!?!

I am in the process of choosing paint colors for their breakfast room and a new ceiling fixture.  I am thinking something like this will look fab with the above table and chairs:

This six light bamboo tower chandelier comes in a variety of colors. Check it out at www.shadesoflight.com

And this color is a perfect shade of green.  Hence the name:

Breakfast Room Green Number 81 by Farrow and Ball

An easy, breezy green that is a fabulous find!  www.farrow-ball.com

Sometimes it is the “everyday moments” that kick off an idea which shape your world…Take the time to notice where today may lead you. 


I am a Taurus. What is your decor and fashion sign?

I have thought a lot about how ones fashion sense tends to translate to the decor in their home. I started to analyze this after having a conversation with my good friend, Kari, on her wardrobe choices for an upcoming vacation. After we decided on her hip and happening outfit, we began talking about a chair she has always dreamed of purchasing for her house.  I hung up the phone and it hit me that Kari’s fabulous fashion sense has the same vibe as her home’s rockin’ decor. (Stay tuned, because her home will be featured in an upcoming post)!  My point for you to ponder today:  If what you choose to wear is an outside reflection of how others view you, then shouldn’t the decor in your home also be a bit of a window to your soul?
I love the carefree elements of fashion from the 60’s and early 70’s.  I am naturally drawn to that funky vibe in my clothes and I tend to incorporate some of that style into my home.

Here are a pair of boots I covet and want to purchase:

I bet many of you can appreciate this fun and fabulous find, but wouldn’t wear them! (If you would then I would love to hear from you, because we are “soul sisters”). Here is how I would traipse around the city in the above beauties:  I would wear them with shorts on a crispy fall afternoon while running errands, I would put them on after yoga when grabbing coffee, or I would pair them with a funky skirt and white t-shirt while having dinner and a cocktail with friends.   Anyone who knows me would agree that these furry finds fit my personality to a T and I would wear them all the time!

But, as you noticed in my last post I have been dying for this piece of furniture in my family room:

So…you get where I am going with this….my fashion sense and my decor choices tend to go hand in hand!

Here is the dress my friend Kari purchased for her trip (She is an Aries):

Kari's fabulous find from Rag and Bone

Now here is the piece of furniture Kari wants to buy for her house:

Womb chair and ottoman that Kari loves

Debra is another friend who is a good example of my theory.  Below is a clothing line she likes to wear. (She is a Libra):

Debra wears tops by Roberta Roller Rabbit and it is so her style

This Serena and Lily bar cart would fit in fabulously with Debra's decor and summertime soirees!

I would love to hear if you agree that fashion and decor follow one another.  Take a chance…Let the world see who you really are with your sense of style and home furnishings! Thanks to all my friends and readers for the constant inspiration.


life is short…let loose and have a little fun!

Listen up readers!  I am going to let you know one of the biggest mistakes most people make when they are decorating their home.  (Drum roll sound inserted here….) People tend to play it safe.  But, decorating your space is similar to life.  Right?  Part of the wonder of living life fully is you don’t know what to expect tomorrow.  I like my client’s homes to have the vibe of the unexpected.  The joy of not quite knowing what the visitor will “see” when they round the corner.  Decorating is fun!  Part of the journey in designing is that there should be a little surprise that makes you stop and look.  And reflect.  And hopefully smile.  Check out these fun and fabulous finds.  They may not be your cup of tea, but maybe you can imagine how they could add a bit of whimsy to your room?  April 25th is my day, but today is your day and you only live once.  So, let loose and have a little fun!

Curly Lamb Fur and Chrome Bench. I am obsessed with this as it is both retro and modern. Imagine this placed in front of a fireplace or sofa. http://www.piecesinc.com

I love these faux fur stools with the gold painted legs. Check out Dimples and Tangles blog where she posts about these fabulous finds.
http://dimplesandtangles.blogspot.com/2012/02/funky-chairs-and-fur

This sofa is crazy cool..I mean c'mon!
Cipria Sofa at http://www.switchmodern.com

See how this bench adds a bit of whimsy to a traditional bedroom?

Share with me how you find your fun when decorating your space.  I would love to hear from you!                              


Our house…in the middle of our street….

I thought it would be a good idea to give my readers some practical, easy, and inexpensive ideas for their home by using my current house as an example.  But, don’t worry!  These aren’t going to be more “boring, same old same old, look what I did” postings!  So, keep on reading…I bet you will find my ideas worthwhile!  The “before” photos were given to me courtesy of Laurie Reinsmith with Prudential Gary Greene Realtors.  She was the listing agent of the house when we purchased it, and I was in such a sleep deprived state at the time with my twins, that I didn’t have the  common sense to take photos before we moved into our home. (Embarrassing tidbit to admit since I always advise my clients to take before and after shots).  Today, I am going to chat about the front exterior of a home as it is always important.  It is the first impression your guests have of “who lives here” and as the saying goes…You only have a few seconds to make a first impression!

Before:

This is how the house looked the first time I saw it. It had some interesting elements, but was in desperate need of updating and charm.

Here is what was positive and unique about the charmer you see in the above photo:  It has a tin (aluminum type) roof which resemble wooden shingles.   You  just don’t see this application that often anymore.  For me, it was love at first sight.   The house is entirely made of brick and painted a cream color that I could easily keep in place without the added expense of repainting.  The original landscaping was charming, and between that and the roof it had a “French flair” that I thought I could enhance.

View of tin tiles on roof that are exceptionally charming (love that word) and different.

The first step in achieving our current look was to take black paint and accent the moulding and iron work on the house.  You really can’t see the moulding or the iron details on the home in the “before” photo.

Raised moulding under window was painted black along with original iron scrolls that were unnoticeable when we purchased the home.

I removed all the interior blinds in the home and installed woven window coverings.  The ones in my living and dining room are not lined, so you can see the pretty material from the outside. The windows on the left of the house are bedrooms and those woven window coverings are lined with white cotton.

View of living room windows from outside.

The frames of all the exterior and interior windows were original to the home and aluminum.  We painted these black to match the trim and make the outside “pop” a bit more.  This is an inexpensive cosmetic solution to replacing windows.  (I will explain this process in another posting, but it is fair to say that my husband and Dad are both saints for humoring me and undertaking this project).

The next step was to remove the lovely (insert sarcasm here) wooden 1970’s era numbers on the front of house and repaint the door.  The door had beautiful and original brass fixtures and I just couldn’t part with them, as they add to that French charm I was trying to achieve.  Here is a before photo of the door:

Original brown mahogany wood that didn't match anything...

Below is a photo of updated front door:

We painted the door black and the trim is painted the cream color of the brick on the house.

I then replaced the wooden numbers on house with brass ones and placed them on the bottom of front door.  I added a wrought iron scrolled door mat and some flowers to entry way that were set  in “French” baskets. I completed the front entry with two charming concrete lions that were spray painted black and whimsically greet the guests when they arrive.

How can you not love my pair of fun and fabulous lions?

To complete the look, I found two antique concrete flower pots and didn’t alter their natural patina as it gave the containers some interest.  We placed these along each side of our circular driveway.

I love the gray and white patina on these containers. If you look closely the feet are a depiction of a dragon's face!

Fun “French” and Fabulous home today:

Ta Da!


Finding your inspiration when decorating…

One question that I am asked the most often is “How should I start to design my room?”  My answer is always the same: Start the  process by finding something that makes you smile and happy every time you look at it!   Maybe it is the color of  paint on your wall,  a vase you bought at a resale shop, or your great aunt’s silver platter which reminds you of your childhood. All are easy ways to find inspiration that will help you start the decorating process for your space.  I have a friend who based some of her remodeling decisions on wallpaper she fell in love with for her dining room.  The colors in the paper influenced her choices for new tile in her powder room.   The whimsy of the pattern in the paper led her to fun and carefree elements of design in other aspects of her home.  So, what is inspiring you today when you look at  your house or apartment?    Find something that makes your house YOUR home by incorporating what  you love into the rooms.  Take a look at a few of my inspirations over the years:

This is a fabulous inspiration that sits on my desk and keeps me motivated everyday. My friend Ellen found a four leaf clover and presented it to me in this lovely little "birthday box". This is one of my more cherished possessions.

This owl was originally a Christmas ornament that now spends his days on my dining room table. This $15.00 trinket adds whimsy to my room that I couldn't achieve with a more expensive piece of art.

 

A carved wooden sheep that I purchased on one of my "I am an adult now!" trips with my friend Angela in a tiny village in Brazil. I stare at him daily as he rests on one of my family room bookshelves.

I purchased this hand carved wooden soldier from an antique dealer. She told me that he used to reside in a child's bedroom in Italy. He now hangs on my kitchen door and his colors inspired my choices for the room.

Obviously, I have a fondness for hand carved wooden animals! She rode home on my lap from Sicily, Italy, fifteen years ago and is priceless to me. The color of red on her bow influenced the fabric on my living room sofa.

 

 


The beginning for me was house number 8.

Home Sweet Home...The Eighth Time

I am thinking that this  probably should have been my first post.  But, I tend to approach my projects out of the norm, so I am going to back track a bit.  I want to explain to my readers what led me to create April 25th Design and Decor.

I have owned eight homes during the past fifteen years.  All of them were original construction and all of them required a lot of love and updating.  For me, there is something so magical about the mysteries you encounter while living in an older house.  The joy of discovering original floor tile in a 1940’s bathroom while removing the 1970’s carpet.  Or, it may be the surprise of finding vintage wallpaper from the 1950’s in the pantry of your 1990’s kitchen when repainting.  Sometimes it is the hours of pondering why a previous owner awkwardly installed a wall in the middle of your beautiful family room.  To me, these are surprises along the way that are as fun as a Christmas morning. (I tend to block out the moments of realization when you discover the electrical isn’t up to code or that the corroded pipes have left you with a small flood in your living area).

So, every once in a while, I will be using my blog as a forum to illustrate projects that I have accomplished in my  current 1950’s “Whimsical French” abode that I have resided in for the past two years, (along with my 22 month old twin boys, 13-year-old son, two chihuahuas, two cats and one VERY patient husband…).

But to understand my love of this home, you have to understand my story.  After discovering I was pregnant with twins, the economy took a heavy hit and my husband, like many others, was laid off and out of work for 18 months.  Not sure how many of my readers have been older moms, but being middle-aged and pregnant with two babies is a bit challenging and required much bed rest.  This rest took place in a 9x 13 foot bedroom which was part of a 1,200 square foot original bungalow in the “heart of Houston”. When I say heart, I mean a very colorful neighborhood that is as charming as it is challenging.   Blocks of sweet original homes that were so easy on the eye and easy targets for crime.

Needless to say, tight finances, pregnancy and the knowledge that we needed to sell our house for more space made for a very unsettling year.   This is where I will fast forward the story …two months after the babies were born, and a lot of patience from my realtor (love her..just love her as she has been with me for seven of my eight home purchases) we found our “diamond in the rough”.   A house we are trying to make into our home in a 1950’s subdivision in West Houston.

And this is where the story really begins….I invite you to join me on my journey as I attempt to live an authentic life while dealing with the challenges of  raising a teenager along with two-year old twins,  balancing the tightrope of being a daughter to frustrated parents that feel like I will never be “independent”, and a husband who is finally finding his way in his forties.  The past ten years of my life haven’t been wrapped up in one pretty package,  but it has led me here.  And I am living one of my dreams: managing and owning April 25th Design and Decor.  I invite you to join me as I attempt to live the second half of my life my way.  It may not always be perfect, but it has been the imperfections of my homes and my past that has brought me here with you today.


let’s talk about bathroom linens…

Appliqued hand towel by Leontine Linens

Today I am going to blog about something unexpected-bathroom linens!  When was the last time you were visiting a home that had lovely guest towels or linens?  Fine appliqued and hand embroidered linens is a lost art that you don’t often see today.  Try placing a beautiful hand towel in your bathroom the next time you entertain.  It is a little luxury that makes a big impact on your guests. Wonderful linens can be found at tag sales, resale shops or  in your grandmother’s hope chest!  Enjoy their beauty and use them daily, during a party or while hosting a luncheon with friends!   Let me indulge you with a few of my favorites….

White terry towel with orange linen trim and embroidered Addison monogram by Leontine Linens

Vintage hand embroidered hand towel $6.50 listed by Genuine Branches at etsy.com

Retro owl hand embroidered guest towel $25.00 at etsy.com by MelysHandEmbroidery

Set of two guest towels $70.00 iomoi for Matouk