pipe shelf


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.


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.


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.


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!



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.


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.


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

curtain crush



i’ve been searching for 3 years for window treatments for the tv room and i think i might have finally found the perfect curtains. the front room’s linen striped panels came from serena & lily. i love them but thought they might be too light weight for the back room and i also wasn’t so sure i wanted everything in the house to be so matchy-mtachy. i found these ombre pinch pleat curtain panels on etsy — such a great treasure trove for unique items for the home — by lovely home idea out of lithuania. they are handmade, linen and come in a few different colors. the fabric is hand dyed so each panel may be slightly different.


if i like the grey as much as i think i’m going to, i might have to purchase the gold for the upstairs guest bedroom. but what about the blue folks…the blue is mighty pretty too! ugh, decisions, decisions.


domino is back baby


domino fans rejoice! the ultimate guide to living with style has returned, just in time for the holidays. conde nast has finally brought back my dream magazine, and i couldn’t be happier. i was completely crushed in 2009 when i learned i would no longer receive my beloved home interior guide to goodness every month. last year my hopes were raised when there was rumor for a possible comeback, only to learn that the hyped issue was a repackaging of old content.


but i’m a domino pack rat and saved every single issue. so needless to say, i was completely bummed when i bought the new issue after hunting it for weeks only to find it was old news. but not this time…domino is back and the new issue for the 2013 holidays is on stands now.

one of the coolest things about this comeback is not only will it be a quarterly publication, but it will also host an e-shop. now you can source and buy everything you see on every spread all in one shop…a-mazing! since the dismantling of the original domino, i’ve enjoyed reading and perusing lonny, rue and anthology magazines. not only are they the ultimate source of trending and obtainable interior design, but these publications provide URLs for featured decor. it beats googling weird descriptions of pillows or lamps in hopes of getting lucky with the link of your lighting desire.

after quickly snapping up my copy online, i had to check out the e-shop. here are a few things that might just have to make it into my home in the near future.


cole & sons — woods wallpaper


patterns, patterns, patterns…there are so many to chose from! and how do you narrow it down to one. or to make the decision more difficult, how do you pick more then one pattern that doesn’t make your home look like a crazy fruit bowl? how do you make them mesh; be fluid. if i thought picking a paint pallet was tough, adding in patterns and multiple colors can make my head spin. i thought pillows were difficult. seriously, how do interior designers do it? oh ya, that’s right, they go to school for that stuff.

since we moved to the new house, i’ve been contemplating wallpaper much to the boy’s dismay…but (i think) the reasoning behind it is because neither of us have ever plastered it to walls—wallpaper newbies. i always thought wallpaper was too much of a commitment, too 70’s and too much of a pain in the ass, but the mind changer was when i found ferm living a few years back. recently, i dipped my toes into wall decals in little maus’s bedroom. we, and when i say we, i mean the boy, stuck a tree decal into the corner of the room, and i love it. it is soft and subtle; however, i have not clue as to how to remove it…i guess i will learn years down the road when she is 15 and deal with it then. i digress.

while perusing design*sponge, I came across this blog post and fell in love with the cole & sons new contemporary two woods wallpaper. all i could think while viewing sonja rasula’s dining room was was, “hey there pretty little birch trees. you guys need to be living in my foyer along side the barrister shelving and the haywood wakefield chair”, omg, this pattern might just change my life. dramatic, maybe a touch, but seriously crushing on it all the same. the wallpaper pattern, designed by michael clark in 1959, features bold sketches of trees making a unique forest repeat. it would look fabu in my mcm cookie cutter home.

my love for birch trees stems from my childhood. my parents had this beautiful white paper birch in their front yard. i can remember sitting next to it, running my fingers over the trunk. the paper bark peeling off and feeling silky soft. the pattern clark created just makes me think warm and cozy thoughts. it brings the outside into the home which is the main idea i’ve tried to convey in the interior of our home. i guess all i have to say now is, “get on my walls!” let’s do this!