Monday, April 30, 2012

How to Clean Lucite

I picked up this vintage lucite stool at the flea market a week or two ago and this weekend I had a minute to reupholster the seat and clean up the base.

I was so excited to use this laminated fabric I bought at Purl Soho a while back. You can find lots of laminated fabrics online. They're great to use on dining chairs and play room chairs, or seating in the bathroom.

I took off the old, dingy fabric and used the old fabric as a pattern to cut out the laminated fabric. This way it was easy to choose where I wanted to center the fabric on the pattern.

Laminated fabric, like vinyl, is a little tricky to work with around corners and round edges because it is so thick. Don't be afraid to pull tightly and try hard to keep the folds on the underside of the seat, rather than along the edge.

Before I put the new seat on, I cleaned the acrylic frame. There's definitnely a right and a wrong way to clean lucite. NEVER use Windex!! It deteriorates the acrylic slightly over time and makes it look cloudy instead of bright and clear.

The best way to clean lucite is simply warm soapy water and a soft cloth.

Then just wipe it down with a dry cloth and you're all done. I've seen acrylic polish solutions out there but I've never used them before.

So happy to have a new little waterproof stool in our bathroom for sitting on while I bathe the girls!

PS Here's the post were I painted the little blue vanity. And remember Emily's laminated fabric bench in her dining room? Have you found a great use or source for laminated fabric?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Copy Cat Design: Chic, Modern Desk

Colleen, who may have suckered me into buying a gingham dress, is back in action today with another killer copy cat post! I loved this room from Adore too! PS Colleen mentions Pinterest in her round up. Thought I would mention she is one of my favorite Pinners around. Follow her here.

I have a confession. I really, really love office supplies. Walking into Container Store makes my knees buckle, and guys, I am not an organized person. So when I saw Claudia Stephenson's Sydney office area in Adore magazine, I was a little smitten. 

I love the glass ball lamp in the picture, but I'd settle for a lucite one too. Another option are these mini ball lamps--you get a pair for $220, which is quite the deal!

In my fantasy life, my pencils all match. The little things.

We should probably refrain from choosing bright pink for every storage container. Unless this is for a young girl, in which case I suggest you go wild. A simple, natural fiber storage basket adds just enough texture.

A little luxury for your workspace, that's it!

Stash receipts and other not-so-pretty but necessary things.

A little caveat: if you spend a significant amount of time at your desk, definitely invest in something more comfortable than a side chair. But plopping down for a little Pinterest session, I love this chair.

A place for the bits and bobs to live, like business cards.

Resist the temptation to buy a matching desk set and use non-office things, like votive holders, small vases, and drinking glasses, as pencil holders. 

I dig the small collection of vintage Penguin editions in the image. Popping into used book stores is one of my favorite things, and you can always find some cool-looking covers.

Pretty square scarves make excellent art. This office uses a Hermes scarf, but I'm a little partial to this Kate Spade pattern!

Ground all the color and slickness with a simple jute rug.

For an x-desk, I really like this one from Z Gallerie. But if you just want a simple white lacquer desk, nothing much beats the Parsons Desk from West Elm. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Ties That Bind

I've been thinking a lot lately about the idea of binding together a handful of inexpensive/less expensive flat weave rugs to make a large custom size rug. I think the look would be super casual and boho. See how cool Amanda Peet's rug looks?

Here are a few less expensive small rugs and runners that I think would look really great stitched together. Pricing listed below.

Overstock Patterned Sisal: $194 for four rugs to make an 8x10. This rug looks a little more on the rusty side in person. I'd love to see it paired with this pretty turquoise twine!

Overstock Nikolay Rug: Four runners makes an 8x10 for $374. And how perfect is the combo with neon pink twine?

IKEA Soften Rug: $150 for six rugs to make an 8x10. I think this would be a super dramatic and sophisticated look, with dark charcoal twine. I imagine it in a chic living room or a really cool office.

Pottery Barn Chindi Stripe : Make a 6x6' rug to go under a round pedestal table for your breakfast nook. $236 for six rugs. (I really want this one!)

IKEA Andrup Rug: $140 for four rugs to make an 8x10. What a steal for a GREAT play room rug! I'm loving that sky blue jute twine!

West Elm Izmir Dhurrie: $206 to make a 5x7 rug. I would pair it with this neon yellow twine for a super cool little boys room rug. It's outdoor material, so you can even hose it down! Keep some IKEA flokati throws handy for layered texture and comfort, though if you take a close look at all the images, the rug actually looks just like wool! I bet it's softer than most outdoor rugs.

I can't wait to try this idea out in our next place. It looks like such a simple over-under type stitch (blanket or whip stitch, maybe?). So very easy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Skirted Bassinet

When I was pregnant with Evie, I meant to add a skirt to our simple white bassinet. I never quite got around to it before she was born, but if I had, it would look a lot like the one here. This lady NAILED it.

Check out her whole nursery tour here and also a few more photos on her blog.

PS Some people in the comments section of the Apt Therapy tour were all upset that this nursery is so grown-up looking. I think it's lovely to have a more sophisticated space for children as long as everything is safe. And I think I feel that way especially about a nursery, since the parents will be the ones with the most vivid memories of time spent in that room! What do you think?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

If you're scared of DIY upholstery...

I got this settee off craigslist a while back and when we bought the Chesterfield I didn't really have a place for it. The old yellow silk upholstery on the frame was in pretty good shape, but the cushion was bad. The fabric was worn completely through and the feather cushion was a little wimpy and old, and just needed to be replaced.

We almost got rid of the settee but ended up keeping it and I'm so glad we did! I found this black cut velvet on white silk at Mood for $20 a yard and bought the whole bolt (ended up being a little over six yards, which will be *just* right).

My upholsterer quoted me $700 to redo the entire settee, but just to do the cushion (down-wrapped foam) was $250. This is such a great option for beginner DIY upholsterers or tired/lazy DIYers like me! Smoothing and stapling fabric against a frame is not that stressful, but sewing a cushion can get a little tricky!

Once I realized the new foam and feathers would cost me about $150 in materials, paying a professional a little extra to do the hard part was a no-brainer.

I'm hoping to get to the frame upholstery done this week. I pulled off some of the old welting and took out a few inches of staples yesterday to see what I was working with.

The wood is in pretty rough shape - lots of staple and nail damage from about 150 years of upholstery jobs. I might have to do some wood filling here or something.

I'm excited to get this one done and start enjoying the sofa again!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The thorny problem of media pluralism

The term pluralism is regularly used in critiques of media and in arguments for public intervention. It is employed so loosely, however, that it allows varied interpretations to be attached and this makes it highly challenging to turn general support for the concept into specific policy. Much of the lack of clarity is the consequence of indefiniteness of the term and because it is used as a proxy for more involved concepts.

The term is derived from “plural”, an indistinct quantitative concept indicating the existence of more than a single thing and plurality itself merely indicates a state of being numerous. This alone allows the term plurality to be used in various ways when applied to media.

For some it means a plurality of media outlets. This is indicated by having multiple types of media and multiple units of each media and the existence of a range of print, broadcast, satellite, and Internet content providers can represent pluralism. For other observers pluralism means plurality in ownership, that is, a range of owners and different types of ownership. For others it is indicated by the existence of public service as well as private commercial firms so some provision is made by an organisation(s) without direct individual economic self-interest(s).

The amount of media, its ownership, and its operation are not in themselves the objects of concern about pluralism, however, and these usages are merely shorthand semantic devices that indicate a collection of political, economic, and cultural concepts and ideologies. Because that collection is not universally agreed, the term pluralism is disparately employed.

The term encompasses fundamental concepts in liberal democratic media ideology and neo-Marxist critiques of media. It incorporates ideas of the benefits of free flow of information, ideas and opinions and the value of a variety in artistic and cultural expression. It recognizes the amount of content that can be offered by any one provider is limited by temporal and spatial factors. It accepts that the abilities of individuals to obtain and attend to content are affected by monetary and temporal limitations. It recognizes that operation of media is accompanied by political and economic benefits such as access, privilege, influence, and power and that those can be used for personal advantage and interests.

Those who accept these concepts underlying the term pluralism differ widely about the proper means for its pursuit, however. They have divergent beliefs about the roles of the state and the market and differ widely about whether policy should promote beneficial outcomes through regulation or incentives and whether—and the extent to which—non-market provision of content is desirable.

The difficulty of achieving the ultimate objectives is further complicated by the fact that public policies promoting pluralism tend of focus on the overt evidences of plurality in media outlets, media ownership, and media operation. Although multiplicity of media outlets, ownership and operation increase the possibility of achieving the objectives of pluralism, they do not guarantee because they are not necessary and sufficient conditions for its existence. Thus ‘external pluralism’ is sometimes not enough. This has led many to advocate for ‘internal pluralism,’ meaning that within a single broadcasters or publisher as variety of content and perspectives are provided. The provision of internal pluralism is typically used to justify public service broadcasting and narrow internal pluralism is a typical critique of private media.

The contemporary world creates lower barriers to participation in communication by making production easier and shifting distribution away from technologies that limited the number of providers and content available—the fundamental rationale for concern about pluralism. In the digital media world, the fundamental challenge involving pluralism is not limitations on producing content, expressing divergent ideas and opinions, or access to distribution systems. The primary challenge is the ability to effectively reach audiences.

In this environment promoting pluralism must focuses on reducing control over what flows through new digital distribution systems so dominant owners of production and distribution systems are not able to marginalize alternative perspectives and make them difficult to locate. And the fundamental content and attention problem remains.

Although digital media provide many more opportunity to be heard, the issue today is not ‘share of voice’, but ‘share of ear’. We need to seek ways to promote knowledge about alternative content and to make it more readily accessible. Otherwise the concentration of where the audience goes—in terms of aggregators and sites—is every bit as damaging to pluralism as limitations on spectrum and concentration of ownership. This is especially true by the Internet service providers, content aggregators, search engines, and video on demand services that pursue their own interests through in-transparent practices and algorithms that skew the access to and distribution of information, even when it is ‘personalized’ by individuals.

Those who hold that pluralism is no longer an issue in the digital world argue that its underlying infrastructures are neutral. That technology may be neutral, but the systems necessary to make them function are under the control of companies with their own agendas and the abilities to limit or direct its use in ways that harm pluralism.

Room Tours: Kristin's Living Room (and white sputnik!)

Kristin has a lovely home in Florida with gorgeous beamed ceilings. She emailed me recently asking for advice on a chandelier and whether or not I thought my sputnik DIY would work in her space, with her wood beams. I suggested going with a white versions and I'm so thrilled with Kristin's results. Don't the white florets look like milk glass? Love! 

Here are some photos of her living room (and one of her breakfast nook - so cute!). Sources listed at the bottom.

sofa table - antique
woven tray on table - a gift from a shop in our town called Decorative Arts
green lamps - one of my favorite vintage finds
green end table - purchased for $8.00 from the Salvation Army and painted!  I love the greek key detailing
small chinoisserie planter - found at an antique store
chinoisserie bird coasters - purchased years ago at Anthropologie
brown leather tufted couch - the company is four hands but I purchased from Decorative Arts (this couch and I were love at first sight! :))
throw pillows on both couches - feather pillow same from T.J. Maxx and were recovered with fabric from Calico Corners
throw blanket - Missoni for Target (I was one of those crazy people that were lined up early in the morning at my local Target) :)
Ottoman - purchased at Home Goods, and reupholstered by my amazing friend Cori who first introduced me to LGN! (fabric from Calico Corners)
white mirrored tray on ottoman - Target and then we repainted it white
tweed couch - company unknown.  Purchased at a boutique home store in Tampa, Fl called Magnolia
Bookshelves - Billy Book cases of course!  Inspired by Jenny, we bought the white bookcases and then painted the backs in a dark brown color.  We then styled them with sentimental objects such as vintage books passed down from family, photos, a painting my husband made for me, silhouette of my son Hudson, etc...
T.V. stand in the middle of the bookshelves - we scored this piece at a garage sale...  It was formerly a buffet.  We repainted it off white to match the bookshelves, took one drawer out to accomodate the electronics and replaced the hardware.
little glass bottle with scent diffuser - Anthropologie
Large green glass jars on top of bookshelves - Decorative Arts
Area Rug - Diamond Jute from Pottery Barn
Children's chairs - Pottery Barn Kids in Sherpa ( I think I sent you a picture of Harper enjoying it! )
Small table in between children's chairs - a vintage find
Entry mahogony table - found this years ago at an antique store with knob and all!
lamp on table - vintage ginger jar lamp; shade from decorative arts
small dragonfly tray on entry table - John Derian tray
potted plant - Anthropologie
floor lamp next to children's chairs - Pottery Barn
bird pictures on wall near children's chairs - these are antique audobon prints.  I repainted the frames gold.
large wooden basket under entry table - antique basket found years ago at the Rennigars Antique show in Mt. Dora, Fl
the window woven roman shades throughout the room - custom made from Levelor.  
Mirror on fireplace - Honeycomb Mirror from Pier 1 (inspired by Jenny and February's Southern Living).  I think that this mirror is even more gorgeous in person.  It's beautiful!
Wooden duck on hearth - carved by my grandfather when I was a child
Chandelier - Ikea Maskros DIY (courtesy of Jenny and Little Green Notebook!) She recommended to keep the chandelier white and use the white fleur cups.  I love, love, love this light fixture!

Friday, April 20, 2012

DIY Inlay Dresser

I love mother of pearl inlay furniture. The layer of texture it gives to a room is so COOL, but is it really worth the price tag? Larger pieces are several thousand dollars (sometimes more than $10,000 for repros!)


I bought this dresser at the flea market last fall for my girls bedroom. It fit perfectly between their twin beds and made a great joint nightstand. I thought the size and shape made this piece a great candidate for an inlay DIY. I was super excited when Sherwin-Williams invited me to join a group of talented bloggers to spread the word about National Painting Week. Each of us was assigned a color and I was thrilled to get purple.


Inspired by the lilac wall color in this amazing Katie Ridder room, I chose Rhapsody Lilac for the main color of the dresser and Minuet for the highlights/faux inlay.


I used Sherwin-Williams waterborne interior alkyd enamel in both shades. It wears as well as full on oil-based paint, but cleans up like latex paint. It's low VOC and there is hardly any smell, (though you'll still want to keep your windows open or do the painting outside). It really is a great paint. It's made for trim and doors, but the hard-wearing formula is awesome for furniture as well.


I lightly sanded the dresser and gave it two coats of Rhapsody Lilac in semi-gloss with a foam mini-roller. Once the base coats were fully dried, I took a glance at some inspiration inlay pieces online and just started doodling with an artists brush. I tried a couple different brushes and quickly discovered you only need one for this project - a 1/4" wide angled artist's brush. 

You can see on most of the real inlay pieces that the patterns are simple - a couple of circular stylized flowers with vines and simple leaves, all inside a border.

It feels like an intimidating project, but I found that the more relaxed you are, the better and more authentic the result is. I was over-thinking the design on the top of the dresser and that's my least favorite section now.  Also, don't go over the leaves twice. The real bone or mother of pearl inlay pieces have a lot of color variation, so you don't want solid white design here either. The real inlay patterns are often not exact and are even a little crooked. Don't worry about perfection here. No painters tape needed!

Here's a little 10 second video to give you the sense of the speed of the project. It takes a couple hours probably to cover every surface with the doodling, but it feels like quick, light work.

Can you hear my kids chattering in the background? This was happening on the other side of dresser :)

Once all the big surface designs were done, I went back and added small leaf patterns to all the edges and sides. This was the fun part for me and the look really started coming together with the addition of the smaller patterns.

It doesn't really matter what design you paint or where or how, the idea is just lots of movement and pattern, in varying shades of white. The result is folksy and pretty charming. Perfect for a child's room!

Oh - and a quick note about the knobs. After I started the project I realized I would need new knobs to replace the super traditional brass pulls. I was planning to just pick up some of those round unfinished wood knobs, but then I remembered I had a bunch of these green glass knobs from the clearance section at TJ Maxx. They already had a flower design on the fronts, so I just painted those white.

I love the dimension the knobs give!

One of my girlfriends stopped by our place last week, coincidentally after some shopping at ABC where she saw lots of inlay furniture in pastel shades. She noticed the dresser as she walked past the girls room, gasped, said "Oh no you didn't" as she ran up to get a closer look at the inlay. Trickery = Success! Insert evil laugh and tapping together of finger tips! 

Later my friend confessed she was pretty confused at the thought of me spending five grand at ABC. She said that's not really my style, which I *think* I'll take as a compliment. :)   I'm happy with the dresser, even though it's clearly not perfect, and super glad I didn't have to spend thousands to get the inlay look.  Especially for something in my kids' room! 


Have you checked out the other National Painting Week participant projects? Tomorrow is Aicia and Bruno from Curbly, so be sure to pop over there in the morning.

Also, I just wanted to thank you guys for all the sweet comments and emails about our super sick Gracie girl. I'm happy to report she is on the upswing today. Thanks for the suggestions and for giving me a little time off to take care of her. Have a GREAT weekend! xoxo