Archive | May, 2011

Wood pallet daybed from Design Sponge

31 May

I am a huge fan of Design*Sponge as most of you probably know.  I get a lot of inspiration from reader “before and after” projects. A perfect example is this daybed constructed out of wood pallets which you can usually get for free from a DIY store like Home Depot.  Check out the full post on the Design*Sponge website.  And if you haven’t already bookmarked Design*Sponge – do it.

Shadow boxes

30 May

Shadow boxes never go out of style, in my humble opinion.  I wanted to share some of my favorites from around the web.  Even if the object you want to put on display is somewhat mundane — a great way to pimp out your shadow box is by adding decorative wallpaper or wrapping paper as a background.  

The photo at the bottom of this post is a shadow box filled with tags is a “wishing tree” which was created as a wedding shower gift.   Each tag shares a wish or piece of advice from close friends of the bride and groom.  The shadow box is a great way to keep these thoughts with them all the time. 

Number plate

29 May

I’m a lot of talk about all the design resources I like and yet I’ve purchased from very few of these great resources to date — that’s mainly because I’ve been spending all my dough on the big stuff so the fun stuff — the design pieces and decor elements — are falling by the wayside.  Anyway, I mentioned inspirational house numbers in a previous post and I’ve finally put my money where my mouth is.

I really do think curb appeal is critical and I want my place to look special so I ordered this number plate from Lucienne de Mauny.  My only criticism of the site would be that they are located in the UK — just a hop, skip and a jump away and they DON’T ship to the Republic of Ireland – go figure.  So I shipped it to the states thinking that my buddy, Kathy, could bring it over to me when I met up with her last month in Italy.  Wouldn’t it figure that the number plate didn’t arrive in time — and was waiting for her when she got back to the U.S.  Oh well…it will eventually make it my way!  In the meantime, Kathy was kind enough to send me this photo of my new number plate so that I can admire it from afar.

And a bit more progress

28 May

I think I might possibly have the fastest builders ever working on my house.

Tilly’s Cottage was “discovered” because Tilly and I used take walks in the area on our way to the park.  I initially saw a house two doors down that was for sale, viewed it, put in a very low bid for it and then very quickly got rejected.  This is when I got inspired (after I first got very depressed) and started putting notes in the doors of similar houses in the area.  It took seven months but the owner who had left Tilly’s Cottage dilapidated and in disrepair for over 10 years finally contacted me and, on a handshake, it was mine!

So cottage #1 just wasn’t destined to be “Tilly’s Cottage” which is a good thing because it sold for more money than my handshake deal, is on a slightly smaller lot and has fewer of the original features.   The new owners of cottage #1 got caught up in a bigger planning permission nightmare than I did and we ended up starting our renovation projects within a week of one another even though they had a 7-month jump start.

Wow, I’m babbling today.

Well, Mick and team started two weeks after and yet are far farther along than the larger team of builders at cottage #1.  Here’s the progress after just four weeks! 

A new age Aga

27 May

AGA has just introduced its Total Control cooker which is designed in the classic, cast-iron look that has made AGA so iconic but this new model heats within eight minutes and can be controlled by your iPhone.

When you open the door of the oven, a touch-screen control panel lets you program the AGA to be on or off as you choose.  So now you can have your meal ready to go when you get home from work or have a hot breakfast awaiting you on a Saturday morning — if only it could put on the coffee and set the table as well!

Shades of Light

26 May

I came across this site, Shades of Light, the other day in one of my Google drifts and thought it looked like it had interesting home products – rugs, furniture, lighting of all kinds and accessories.

As a side note, happy birthday to Nick and a happy anniversary to Stacy and Scott.

Design for dog lovers

25 May

Today is my friend and long-time roommate of years gone by Susan’s birthday.  Susan, like myself, is a dog lover and “new mom” to young Maxx (whom I wish I had a pic of to share here because he’s very cute but sadly, I don’t!).  In honor of Susan’s birthday, I thought I’d feature some interior design that might appeal to you dog lovers out there…

Is your renovation worth it?

24 May

Ann from contacted me about a recent article which might appeal to anyone doing a remodeling project — the top 10 list to consider whether or not your investment will pay off! Renovations and remodeling are, of course, not always about re-sale value — sometimes it’s just about enjoying your home.  With that said, you can walk away from all the pain, worry and sleepless nights of a remodel if you know you’ll get great value out of it when you go to sell your home.  Below is the abbreviated list but for the full article, log on to DoorFly.

  1. Who will provide the labor?  If you can provide some or all of the labor for the project, you’re more likely to add value.
  2. Updates needed. An updated kitchen and bath are areas to focus!
  3. Finish the unfinished. You will be able to list your home at a higher value with that much more ‘finished’ living space.
  4. Improved curb appeal. The first impression of a home when a person drives up is a key factor in selling a home.
  5. Special deals. Take advantage of discount pricing you can get on appliances, flooring or plumbing fixtures in order to add value without adding cost.
  6. Added value. Most remodels do not recoup 100% of their costs — make sure you keep a close eye on what you invest versus what you can get out of your home.
  7. Cost vs Value Report. provide yearly reports that give some general guidelines as to which types of remodel projects are the most profitable.
  8. Real Estate Appraisal – Real estate appraisers have a list of values that they use for determining a home’s overall market value. Have I mentioned my sister’s in real estate?
  9. Energy savings. If you’re using energy-saving products, calculate their value to your over time as you live in your home.
  10. Personal use.  It is always important to remodel in a way that you will appreciate and not just for sales value.

Thanks to Ann for passing these tips along!

Spiffing up for the prez

23 May

Another special visitor to Ireland arrived today.  Barack Obama (or Barry O’Bama as he’s been called a few times around Ireland) is visiting the country today.  Among his stops is a trip to Moneygall in County Offaly which is the site of his ancestral home.  In preparation for his visit, Dulux paint manufacturers offered the town of Moneygall a free makeover as a part of the worldwide initiative by the brand in their Let’s Colour Project.  As a marketer, I really admire this campaign.  I’ve already seen it in action around Ireland and it’s a smart way to get presence.  As a design lover, it’s fun to see the transformation of so many places with paint.  Check out the video on the website. 

House & Home coming into its own

22 May

I really love a lot of the European decorating mags and one of my favorites is Ireland’s very own, House & Home.   With Ireland being so small, it’s not (in my humble opinion) a great magazine market so the quality suffers at times because the big number reading audiences just aren’t there.  House & Home is an exception — it’s done very well and I really feel like the magazine has come into its own.

One of the things I’ve noticed of late is that the styles featured are starting to shift and I wonder if this is in response to the economy?  A few years ago, most of the home decor mags featured slick, modern-styled homes and while these still feature in House & Home, I’ve noticed that the style is moving toward a more rustic and homey feel of late.  Check out the House & Home blog online for more inspiration from the May/June issue.