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New blog! At last! August 23, 2010

Posted by Emily in blog, design, things that make me smile.
1 comment so far

Yep, you read correctly. I’ve jumped ship.

I’ve decided to move this blog’s content and work to a more personalized, flexible platform. Check out the bright and shiny Endlessly Creating Myself blog.

Also, please be sure to update your RSS feed.

Let the fun begin! Looking forward to seeing you there!

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How cute are these? June 28, 2010

Posted by Emily in a few of my favorite things, design, moving, new house.
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12 comments

Now that my house is all painted, something I didn’t think I’d be able to do (or have done, and choose colors) in a rental, I apparently want what I can’t have and have been strangely interested in pendant lights lately. Go figure.

These caught my eye:

I can’t decide if I like the yellow or the turquoise best….

(via Remodelista)

down the (white) rabbit hole May 19, 2010

Posted by Emily in colors, design, moving, new house, Spain.
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3 comments

I have this weird thing about making decisions. I would consider myself fairly decisive, but when it comes to buying things, or making random commitments, I like to know that I’m making the right decision via process of elimination. I research. I read comments online. I stew a little. I ask most of the people I know for their opinions, even if it’s sometimes just to clear up in my head that I was right all along. I may be capable of decisiveness, but I am very rarely impulsive, especially with big purchases.

And so I’m trying to figure out the right paint colors for my new house. This process is inexplicably exciting for me, as it’s something I’ve been dying to be able to do for a long time. But now that it’s here, I want to be sure. If the paint goes up and ends up looking yucky, we’re probably going to be stuck with it, since I doubt we’ll be able to pay for it twice. (even once is a little overwhelming)

I have made up my mind that I want light gray walls in the living room and dining room, with white trim. Seems so simple, right?

Well, then I started reading about “the right white” and all my confidence went to hell. I read all 94 comments on this post. (RIP, Decorno) Read through Apartment Therapy’s take on white paint. Then their tips on choosing paint colors. Then read through Colour Me Happy’s take on paint choices (and have to agree with the starkness of the cinnamon color against the bright white – arg.) While I was there I also read her post “What everyone should know about gray” (because I really don’t want to screw that up, too. Gray is tricky.)

Then there’s the eggshell/semi-gloss/flat/who knows what else question. Semi gloss for the trim seems to be the consensus. But ceiling? Walls? Everyone has a different opinion, and everyone seems to feel very right.

I know I read even more musings on whites (not to mention the section in the book I bought), but I closed those browser tabs in a moment of feeling a bit out of control. I came to realize that most of my normal life/purchasing choices are highly governed by budget, which is an issue here, but not SO much since all of these cost the same or can be color matched. And generally there’s a finite number of choices – you go to Target, see 10 stereos, and you choose one.

But goodness, there are a million colors of paint! And don’t even get me started on how many freaking whites Benjamin Moore carries, not even counting the million other companies!

But somewhere along the way, I pretty much decided to paint my bedroom Benjamin Moore’s “Quiet Moments” (or its color-matched equivalent, depending on my budget at that point.) This felt like a huge victory. Every time I see it, I like it. And I even like the name, which seems to have strange emotional pull (yet another reason why BM’s “Mayonnaise” is not my white).

(photo via design*sponge, clearly. I love her Sneak Peeks and find them hugely inspirational [and laid out better than Apartment Therapy house tours].)

Does anyone have any paint choosing tips? Know the perfect white? Have a color in their house that they just love?

I seem to like yellow kitchens, but that’s a whole other issue. We don’t want day-glo. But we also don’t want weird Easter pastels. It can easily look dingy, the opposite of what you want in a kitchen. Colors, I love you but you treat me badly. At least when I’m trying to decide which of you to put on my walls.

yes, zebra scissors May 13, 2010

Posted by Emily in design, things that make me smile.
1 comment so far

I got them today at the college bookstore over my lunch break.

These are the kinds of things that make me happy.

I’m a winner! May 10, 2010

Posted by Emily in books, design, moving, things that make me smile.
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1 comment so far

Stopped into a local design store the other day on my way back from lunch. Was on the hunt for rugs as the carpet is pretty shot at my new house, and after seeing this post on Design*Sponge but realizing that all of the lovely rugs under $100 were actually doormat sized from Anthropologie. That’s one steep doormat. I foolishly thought that this shop’s gambler’s sale on housewares and accessories would include rugs, but I was mistaken. I looked through some of their Dash and Albert rugs, of course gravitating to this more expensive wool option:

On the way out (into the rain), I put my name on a slip of paper and dropped it in a vase for a drawing – I always sign up for those sorts of things (I am my mother’s daughter). Got an email last week that I won this book:

Some of the rooms are a bit too basic for me, but there are some interesting tips. The timing couldn’t be better! Plus, winning is fun.

My love/hate relationship with HGTV February 19, 2010

Posted by Emily in Blogs I read and like, design, rants.
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3 comments

My name is Emily, and I’m a design addict.

My Google Reader is bursting with “homies” blogs and typography blogs and blogs with names like “Lovely Package” and “Happy Tape” (who knew cool tape – patterned, colored masking tape from Japan – could be so entertaining?) But none of it takes the place of flipping through a well-designed design magazine.

But where to go?

Domino, one of the greatest home design inspirations, closed down about a year ago.

Living Etc is a British decor magazine I love, but I can only, in good conscience, allow myself so many $8.50 issues every year.

I started subscribing to Country Living, and though it leans a bit more, well, country, than I’d like, it sort of holds me over. What Country Living lacks in cheekiness, my ReadyMade subscription more than makes up for. There’s twee urban hipsterness to spare, and sometimes interesting spaces, but it leans a bit too “look, I’m modern and eco friendly”  for my taste. Dwell is the same but even more.

The last two New York Times Habitat features have been so incredibly DULL, as Decorno and others have noted, that I find I’m throwing up my hands.

Honestly, outside of blogs and the occasional Living Etc droolfest, I get my best design fix from reading through my mom’s Better Homes and Gardens magazines.

And so we come to HGTV. Like Country Living and ReadyMade and so on, to some extent HGTV only factors in due to lack of better options. 95% of the houses they feature are blah beige suburban split levels with massive garages – not really my thing. And so few of the people featured have any sense of the possibilities of the house, what it could become. They want new, low maintenance, move-in ready. They pay way too much attention to paint color (which, I will admit, is atrocious when it’s not beige – lots of bubblegum pink bedrooms). And so their wishlists are eerily similar:

  • stainless steel appliances
  • “open plan living”
  • “room to entertain”
  • hardwood floors
  • if one of the few urban episodes, off-street parking
  • and most want a formal dining room

They tour the three houses, each of them saying “this must be the master” as they walk into the biggest room.  For some reason, most of the episodes seem to take place in Canada, so I’ll admit, there’s a little giggle value with the accents. On Property Virgins, pushy Sandra Rinomato guilt trips them into making swift decisions, as though their Canadian outposts have three houses, total, on the market. On My First Place, plenty seem to think their dads will mow their lawns (say wha?) and then they feign surprise when the house they buy gets one room kitted out with boring furniture and lame Target art on the walls.

Is this the best we can do? I remember thinking, back in the day when Trading Spaces didn’t suck, that most of these people didn’t have bad taste to work with – just no taste. Matching bedroom sets, sectional couches around massive TVs (and little else), no moldings or interesting features, berber carpet (or the ubiquitous new hardwood floors) and white or off-white paint, maybe with an awkward accent wall. It’s all such a snore. And somehow, also the American dream.

And am I solving that exasperation via HGTV? No. I’m still flipping on the TV after work some days and shaking my head at what HGTV usually has to offer. But I am looking out for some alternatives, and currently taking any suggestions you might be able to offer.