trial and error — vignettes

front room interior design

if you have been reading this blog, then you will remember a while back i posted some images of our front room…you know that room that has no tv and adults sip coffee and chat room? well, we have one of those rooms, but one will usually find me sipping coffee, sitting quietly in a chair only early sunday mornings. the dude wakes me up while the boy is out hunting. the dude plays on his leap pad while i peruse my email and the local news…okay, really i’m probably instagramming and facebooking.

in that post, i didn’t however show the 2 other pieces of furniture in that room. i suck at composing vignettes and styling in general. you know, those little arrangements of cute knick-knacks on tables and shelves that interior designers set up flawlessly. i finally set out to face my nemesis. take the bull by the horns. i figured since santa would be sending a lot of presents via the postman, a few more packages of vases and little brass objects would not be overly noticeable to the boy. i was bound and determine to conquer the vignette come hell or high water so a shopping i went, and here’s a look at how it turned out.

the opa cabinet topthe opa cabinet bottom

this cabinet, made by the boy’s opa in germany, was shipped to the states and gifted to him by his parents. i knew, even though it was not quite my style, that it was here to stay, and i have learned to love it (quite a lot actually). when i first met the boy it was filled with his steins that he collected from festivals in germany. i had to embrace those. he also loves duck hunting, cooking, and WWII…hmmmm, how do i combine all that into a vignette? well, i stole his books, obviously. i stacked cookbooks and war books together and added in a brass duck and goose. as a nod to the boy’s grandfather, i topped the WWII books with his opa’s hat after his passing to honor him in a special way.

here are a couple closer looks at the compositions on the shelving

goose and camera

the vase is from tooth and nail studio and the golden goose is from vintage urban antiques and design.

beer steins

vase, frame and mouse

the succulent is from waterstone succulents, while the brass orb is from west elm and the brass mouse and frame are from the broadway antique market in chicago.

design books and cookbooks

by grouping the books in coordinating colors, each stacking holds its own space on the shelving. the pug bookend is from yearbook studios.

than came the hairpin table. i purchased this off of craigslist and it has been the revolving door of knick-knacks. i think i’m finally happy with it, but really only time will tell.

hairpin side table tophairpin side table bottom

while i’m still not thrilled with the bottom area, overall, i’m pleased with how this has evolved. eventually i’d like two of these small ottomans below, but since they are quite pricey, i think i have to wait a bit and save my pretty pennies.

the caravan pacific lamp has been my dream lamp for the last 3-4 years. i found them on kickstarter, but at the time was in no position to be spending money on lamps. little did i know, the price would double after achieving their kickstarter goal. this past christmas, the boy surprised me…best husband ever! my dream lamp come true!

caravan pacific lampcaravan pacific lamp

final vignette

this final grouping of books is filled with my favorites. the photobooth book, well, if you read this blog post, it will all make sense. every year, for christmas, i give the boy a new cookbook. this year, he finally received momofuku. he is presently planning an epic food trip to new york. a couple months ago, i stumbled across a blog post about camp wandawega. we will be staying here for a long weekend this coming summer, and i can’t wait! i mean, who can resist a faboosh vintage resort complete with rustic original decor? dream come true, am i right? anyhoo, the book, found, free & flea is written by the owner of camp wandawega. it has become my new go to book for decor ideas…it is packed with goodies. my favorite place to dine back home is a small supper club named ishnala in wisconsin dells. it’s featured on the front cover of the bottom book.

playlist tuesday

i’ve been doing a lot more yoga at home lately and i always like some chill music playing in the background while i’m in my asanas. here are a few of the songs i’ve been listening to in heavy rotation.

pipe shelf

pipeShelf1pipeShelf2

after a bit of prodding, begging, pleading and a little googling, the boy built this pipe shelf for my home office, and i have to say, it’s AWESOME! it took me quite a while to style it, but it is finally coming together. i love decorating the little spaces in our home almost as much as the large spaces, but sometimes find it difficult to find the right composition. more often than not, i step back and think, too cluttered or too minimalist. it takes plenty of trial and error to find the right balance. this post is dedicated to the little snippet of progress i have made styling the shelf thus far…although it is bound to change.

i learned how to style on set for a catalog i was designing. while art directing the shoot, i found myself following victor, the stylist, everywhere he went. he sensed my enthusiasm and took me under his wing. however, i quickly learned that styling a studio set is so much different than styling a vignette at home. on set, you want to add punch without too many knick-knacks. those tiny details just do not register when dropped into a layout. although at home, the tiny details are what make your home unique. your guest can walk right up to that shelf and touch (okay, at my home, we have a no touchy rule, but whatevs) each item.

pipeShelf5

the top shelf is probably the shelf that i change out the most. i don’t think i need to display my laptop, but something large needs to take its place. a vessel maybe filled with hydrangeas? but i already have 2 vessels here. oh i don’t know, decisions, decisions. btw, this is what keeps me awake at night folks. i love the pouva start bakelite vintage camera. the indian head soda bottle was thrifted and the brass vase is nate berkus for target.

pipeShelf4

i own a ton of design books. many that i use on a daily basis. the brass ram bookends and vintage apothecary jar are finds from etsy. the candle is my favorite scent from anthropologie and the tiny drawers were purchased at a flea market. because i’m constantly mocking up design layouts, the drawers are great for child proofing my scissors, x-acto knives and blades.

pipeShelf3

i have to hardest time throwing away magazines, especially my communication arts periodicals. i like that they are so simple and minimal with the white spine and small pops of color; i chose to display them topped with a large vintage globe i sourced at BAM Chicago. the small bowl is again from target and the artwork is by beth hoeckel. if you have never heard of her, you should…go check her out now.

the spacing between this shelf and the shelf above it is a bit too large. i’m trying to find the perfect lamp (task lamp or in my dreams pierre cardin brass lamp) to replace that globe, and as i’m typing this a light bulb just appeared over my head. once i find said lamp, the globe will replace the laptop on the top shelf…HA! i’ve been told by the boy that decreasing that space between the shelves  is not an option, so maybe that pierre cardin brass lamp is not just a pipe (shelf) dream.

now, before you started to read this post, you were probably eyeing this pretty little gem, asking yourself how you can build one in your own home. well, ask and you shall receive. i found a few good tutorials, but apartment therapy and the brick house seemed to have the clearest of instructions. i wanted a thicker wood which was unavailable at my local home depot (we purchased the pipe there, and they cut it down for us in under an hour), so i contacted a nearby lumberyard (isn’t that grain amazing?). they cut the wood, and the boy painstalkingly drilled each hole (not realizing just how hard of a wood oak is; each hole took over 30 mins to complete…poor little cordless drill). he stained it using minwax in walnut, and voila! a beautiful pipe shelf was created!

pipeShelf6

 

new prints in the house

max wanger and his beautiful wife margaux are these insanely talented photographers out of los angeles. i’m unsure how i stumbled upon their work a few years back, but when i fell, i fell hard people. their work is breathtaking, stunning, whimsical, hip…you can see their love of negative space and design in each composition.

i’ve been emailing them (bugging them, yes, super annoying i’m sure) begging them to come to chicago. offering to fly them out for family photos. ever since dean thorsen up and left the chicago area, i’ve been searching for my new photographer go to without much success. but as luck would have it, when i finally found max, he up and decided to start a family of his own…so chicago was a no go. i must fly my family out to LA if i want to hire mr wanger. we are looking to make that happen next summer, but that is for yet another blog post.

anyhoo, i decided if i couldn’t have max photograph my family, i still wanted his work on my walls. he has a fantastic print shop where you can purchase some of his choice art work. let me tell you, it was a very difficult decision to make. every print is so beautiful and if i wasn’t running out of wall space, i’d buy one of each! i first chose the pink balloon in an oversized 30 X 45 print. a splurge yes, but for original artwork of this size, completely affordable.

balloon

originally it was to be hung above the fireplace, but i changed my mind last minute and decided to hang it in the front room (but after purchasing the lani lee work, it was moved again to the guest bedroom). i tend to change my mind a lot. i love how even with all the negative space the print commands the room without being overly loud. fast forward 3 months, i still needed something for the fireplace. i returned to max’s print shop and chose his tulum print also in an oversized 30 X 45 print.

tulum

i really struggle with this room in particular. we have a way oversized sectional and coffee table. everything seems to be a beige beige world here, but after hanging the tulum print, this room breathed life! it is simple but the teals and blues are popping. i wound up framing it in a thin 1-inch black frame, but after seeing how emily henderson framed it in white for bri from designlovefest, i’m second guessing my choice. and for all of you that know my love (insert obsession) for emily, i’ll have you know i was tickled pink to know that i picked artwork that she chose before she even chose it! i guess it made me feel like i did something right.

now i just need to finish this room. it’s slowly coming together, but i get so confused when it comes to pillows and window treatments. not even emily henderson’s video on mixing and matching patterns has helped me. she makes it look so easy! i watch it and think ya, i totally got this, let’s go! i buy a bunch of pillows, get them on my sofa and soon thereafter, i return them…defeated. i have even resorted to purchasing sourced pillows from her portfolio but they never seem to work. one of these days it will happen folks…i promise!

so what are you waiting for? go to max’s print shop and pick out some for your fireplace and why stop there? you can follow his work on twitter/instagram at @maxwanger

time traveling

every once in a while i have a day where i enjoy retracing my steps…time traveling a bit. lately, i’ve been thinking back to our honeymoon. since my husband’s family was unable to fly to the states for the wedding, we chose to travel to them for the honeymoon. the majority of our time was spent in a quiet farm town in germany with oma and opa, but we  fit in a couple roadtrips to visit aunts, uncles and cousins in trier and koln. we even managed to get away on our own to visit the czech republic. ah prague, it stole my heart…a fascinating city although i do suggest taking public transportation. however, the 20 year old german map from oma’s house might have been the reason for my deciphering difficulties; mainly because i don’t speak a lick of german or czech.

public transportation prague

finally, after what seemed to be forever (and accidentally driving through a tram station where an old man shook his umbrella angrily at us), we arrived at our hotel, located just yards away from the foot of the stunning charles bridge. each afternoon, painters and street performers fight for space with throngs of tourists. our last morning, we woke up before the dawn to catch these shots.

charles bridge - prague

after our boat trip along the river we booked reservations at kampa park. we chose a a candlelit table on the cobblestoned terrace, draped in fairy lights right beside the river. the lights of charles bridge glittering on the water. being a foodie, i have dined at quite a few upscale restaurants. i’m unsure if it was the amazing wine or the insane view, but this has gone down as the best meal of my life thus far. after dark it became a bit chilly, so i cozied up with the cashmere blanket on the back of my chair and topped the evening off with a delicious cappuccino.

boat trip along the vltavalennon wall in prague

after dinner, the blue light jazz club and an old english pub (the name i don’t recall) became our haunts of choice. after many a staropramen, we’d slowly make our way back to our bed and breakfast, only to start another adventure the following day.

farmers market in prague

little did i realize this would be one of the last chances the boy and i would have to slip away together before children. and although this european getaway was not the typical balmy exotic island, lined with palm trees and coconuts honeymoon, i wouldn’t trade it for the world. it was an amazing adventure that i will revisit in my mind again and again. til we meet again prague.