29 February 2012

Flokati Rugs: A sign I may be turning into a Hippie

Ok, what gives? Your self-proclaimed, "Queen of Darkness" is pulling away from the crisp, geometric prints and moving into gauzy territory. Just today, I purchased a white, gauzy sundress with bell sleeves. Really!?!?

I think it started with seeing this at IKEA this weekend:
Yep, that's right. $80 bucks for 4x6.

I've even started pinning Flokati rugs! What?

Who am I?

I know absolutely nothing about these rugs so here's what I found, according to good old Wikipedia:

"flokati rug is a handmade shag wool rug. Making flokatis is a long-time tradition of the Vlachs in the Pindus mountains. The natural color of a flokati rug is off-white, but they may be dyed different colors. The entire rug is wool, including the backing from which the tapered shag emerges. After the rug is woven, it is placed in the cold water of a river to fluff the shag. They continue to be handmade in the mountains of Greece and are regarded as desirable in American modern decor and children's rooms." 

Interesting. Weave the rug, submerge in river.

Aside from the logistical, pragmatics, these rugs are a great way to introduce texture (lots of it!) into a room. They're reasonably affordable without having to sacrifice quality on the lower end of the spectrum (as seen at IKEA). Since I have a very hairy dog with black hair, this may not be an option for me...but I'm DYING to use this in a space that's a bit cold and modern. Can you imagine what a great tactile oasis this would be for the toes in a bungalow with concrete floors?

Do you have a flokati rug? Please share links in the comments below. I'd love to see how you style it!

28 February 2012

The BBB Guide to Surviving IKEA

Having as 13 apartments and a limited budget, I know a thing or two about how to make IKEA furniture work in a home.  I've visited numerous IKEAs around the country: Boston, CT, Phoenix, Florida, and just this weekend I braved the Brooklyn, NY location. Not only did I survive, I thrived! 
A very happy Courtney this Sunday after 2 hours in the Brooklyn IKEA. 
IKEA isn't the nightmare you hear about from your friends if you plan ahead, and work your plan. Here are my tips on surviving IKEA.

1. Plan ahead: There are three things I do before shopping at IKEA- I shop online first so I can narrow down exactly what I'm looking for when I hit the store. This keeps you on budget and increases trip efficiency. Everything you need to know about that piece of furniture is listed on this page: the dimensions, available colors, as well as its availability in your local store. Compile a list of the make and model of furniture that you want. The items often have quirky, Swedish names so writing this down helps.

Second stage in planning is making sure the furniture works in your space. Take the time to plot out where your furniture will be in your home and explore the possible scenarios of your space. Believe me, you do NOT want to schlep a heavy IKEA box home only to find out that the piece doesn't work.

2. Get acquainted with the store layout: IKEA's showroom and marketplace floor are designed to lead you past every single piece of furniture they sell. This winding labyrinth layout has been hugely profitable for IKEA, as it confuses shoppers and urges them to grab items and go because they may be too hard to find later. My tip for staving off impulse buys is to stay the course as you wind through the showroom. If you're pressed for time, make a beeline to the department you need and utilize shortcuts to minimize distractions or getting caught up in showroom traffic.
Ottawa's IKEA Showroom Layout c/o GirlAboutTown.com
If this is your first time at IKEA and you have an hour plus to spare, it's worth taking a stroll through their showroom to see how their products play out in real life. This is your only chance to see their furniture up close and personal where you can see the quality of the piece you're looking for. Test it out-play with drawers, sit on mattresses. IKEA items are shot very well online and sometimes the piece is not what you expected. This could be disappointing or pleasantly surprising.

Also, they do some really great small apartment vignettes. For example, I stumbled upon a mocked up 300 sq ft apartment that was entirely furnished (from foyer, to bedroom, to bathroom, and kitchen) with IKEA products and the utilization of space was genius.

If you're pressed for time, or if it's absolutely bananas in there, skip to step #4&5.

3. Track the location of your items: While you're in the showroom, make sure you record the location of your items. Most pieces of furniture, with the exception or oversized items, are accessed in the self serve furniture area. This is indicated at the bottom of each item's tag, usually in red.
You will need to know the asile and bin numbers. The item number above is also handy if you need to inquire about the status of the item in stock. My tip is to take a pic of the tag with your cell phone for easy reference later in self serve. 

c/o dottywymandesigns.blogspot.com
4. The Marketplace: Ah, this is where the magic happens. If you're looking for rugs, kitchen items, lighting, or bedding come here first and skip the showroom. You can access the Marketplace by walking through the checkout line and past the Self Serve Area. Make sure you bring a cart!
Gorgeous Flokati rug for under $100 I saw this weekend!
5. Self Serve Furniture Area: If you're coming to IKEA with your list of items and you know that they're in Self Serve, skip the Showroom and enter IKEA through the check out lines (yes, they say "Do Not Enter" but ignore this) to get there. This is going to shave 2+ hours off your time here. If you know the name of the item you're looking for, it's often very easy to walk through the aisles of Self Serve and find what you're looking for. Furniture is often grouped together by model and the room that it serves, so you'll likely be able to find your MALM dresser if you locate where the MALM items live.
c/o ericadukes.com
If you're coming from the showroom, use your pictures of the aisle and bin numbers to find your furniture. Here's what you'll see:
c/o ericadukes.com

Be sure to grab the right color if your piece of furniture has multiple options. You can see in the pic above that this Lack table comes in the birch veneer color, as indicated on sticker on the label. Also, some items come in multiple boxes so make sure you get everything.

6. Check out and RUN!!!!!: All the homework and navigation strategy is an attempt to cut down on the time you spend hunting in IKEA because often the checkout lines are long and slow on the weekends. This is the only thing you cannot control during your visit here. My suggestion is to make sure your small items are on the top of your cart so you can feed them to the cashier first to get things going. Also, make sure that all the labels are facing the same way to make it easy for the cashier to scan your big boxes.
Success! An entire office outfitted for under $500. Shopped on a Sunday-stress-free to boot!

So there you have it; my tips to make IKEA a stress-free and efficient visit. Got any nightmare stories or tips to share? Please comment below!

25 February 2012

I must be crazy: I bought two linen duvets

Those who know me well, know that I'm borderline OCD. I love symmertry, crisp lines, and order. Everything about my aesthetic screams "Hollywood Regency-slick, slick, slick!"

So why did I buy a linen duvet cover?

Well, first off, Nicole suggested it and I couldn't get the idea out of my head.

I went to Restoration Hardware to check it out with my boyfriend. We were decorating his room at the time and I wanted his opinion on the duvet. Needless to say he loved it because next thing I know we were purchasing one for him! He literally stole it out from under me! But, aha!  I was not worried- I'd use his duvet as a test run and see if I could handle the wrinkled, rumpled madness.

A month goes by. His duvet cover (after washing and drying man-style, aka not ironed/pressed/or taken out of the dryer for a day), looks like this below (not his room).

Source: google.com via blomma on Pinterest

Gah!!!! I'm dying on the inside. Too....much....rumpled....mess!

Meanwhile, Higgins is at home shedding black fur all over my pristine white comforter. Something must be done. I find myself back at Restoration, asking the sales rep how they keep their linen duvets so crisp and clean. They look like this:

"Oh, honey, we steam these almost daily."

Great....next thing I know, the credit card is out because I rationalize to myself that I'll actually whip out a steamer on a weekly basis to tame the wrinkles. I've purchased the same exact duvet for myself.

A week later, here's where I'm at. I haven't steamed the thing, but I'm not minding the wrinkles so much. My thought is that it's there to hide the dog fur, be soft, and add texture to my room.

I would be remiss to say that I'm not done with my bedding. I need some black and white patterned sheets and a sleek coverlet to layer in with the linen and fur throw. Any suggestions?

23 February 2012

NYC on the street: Macy's original escalators

Last Saturday, I had the task of getting a wedding shower gift....which took me to THE Macy's in Herald Square. You know, the one with the entire floor of shoes that has its own zip code??

That, however, was not the draw to Macy's for me. The escalators were. I learned about them a while back on NPR and finally saw these in person. 

They're made of wood. The steps are large, grooved wood stairs that are wider than your average escalator. They're in shabby condition which adds to their charm in my eyes. They're definitely a relic of days past by. 

It was funny to me because the store did nothing to preserve these or make them stand out as part of the original structure. They're just there. No pomp, no circumstance...just a part of a bustling department store. That's New York for ya!

22 February 2012

New Project: Bridal Gown Headquarters

This is the year of the entrepreneur!!! I swear more and more of my girlfriends are branching out and following their passions...It's inspiring....and perhaps a sign? Anyway, my girlfriend Kelly is an amazing wedding dress designer who is launching her own line this April. She's asked me to transform this image above into something fabulous!

We're on a tight schedule with an even tighter budget so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, "like" Kelly Faetanini on Facebook to get all the details. If you're in the market for a wedding dress, you'll want to see this!

20 February 2012

Black Blinds

White roller shades, roman shades, and blinds are our go-to staples for pulling together a well-dressed window. Lately I've seen the trend reverse in my favorite color....BLACK!

Of COURSE my favorite designer, Ryan Korban, combines this trend in a simple, yet gorgeous roman shade. If you think about it, black shades are the way to go because they will effectively block out any light due to the nature of the color and the opacity of the shade. Just some food for thought.

17 February 2012

Higgins' 5th Bday Wish: Please ADOPT!!

 I'm back from a week long biz trip just in time to wish my faithful canine companion a happy 5th (approximately) birthday!
 Higgins was rescued in 2007 off an ad on Petfinder.com. He was found roaming the streets of Miami and was placed into a foster home through the Friends Forever Rescue shelter, where he was lovingly cared for until we met.
For those of you who are considering taking a pet into your home, please consider looking into rescue adoption first. Placing an emphasis on adoption over purchasing from a breeder can help alleviate the pressure on animal shelters that often have no other choice but to kill pets to make room for the daily influx of dogs. There are many great dogs that languish in the shelter that are often overlooked. 
Please consider an "older" shelter dog over a puppy and reap the benefits of having a happy, healthy, and fully trained dog upon adoption. Shelters that utilize a foster program have many loving people working hard to ensure that the pet is ready to be a fully functioning family member upon adoption. Higgins came to us at 7 mos fully potty trained, already socialized with other pets and people. 
If you must adopt a specific breed, please take a look into rescue clubs/shelters. Puppy mills are often liquidated, and shelters will take these dogs that were destined for the pet stores in your local shops and malls. The demand for designer dogs has put pressure on breeders to quickly churn out dogs, causing problems with overpopulation as well as birth defects in the dogs due to inbreeding. Those horrors aside, there are many designer dogs in perfect condition that are in need of rescue! A quick Google search for yorkies yielded three national rescue organizations that address this very problem. 
 Also, consider a different breeds. My brother rescued a pit bull terrier despite all of the horror stories and stigmas behind these dogs. With careful, dedicated training my "nephew" Stubbs is enjoying a life of 5 mile runs through the streets of Boston and an active back yard hunting life. He would have most likely been put to sleep if it weren't for my brother. I've had good and bad experiences with pit bull terriers and believe that, like any dog, they also deserve a chance. A dog is only as good as the owner behind it so please consider a giving these dear dogs a chance!

I am so thankful for all of the love I've been able to share with Higgins and am glad that I can provide him a life that's safe, stable, and loving. Please share your stories of adoption and if you or a friend are looking for a pet, ADOPT!!

10 February 2012

Guest Posting: Courtney Out Loud

It has been my pleasure to have met Mr. Courtney Lake last year in the flesh, after months of blog correspondance. I was honored the "King of Vignettes" approached me to share one of mine. 

Head over his blog to check out my simple, yet hugely meaningful vignette in my room that commemorates my move to NYC. Bring a tissue, because you may get a little teary (yes, even the most hard core designers like myself have a soft side). 

09 February 2012

Bachelor Pad: Crunch Time

I'm sure my fellow weekend warrior decorators know what it's like for a project to hit all sorts of snags. My 11th Ave Bachelor Pad boys have been out of town so much that it's been a slow process sourcing and procuring furniture. (It pretty much still looks just like this, but with a tv, couch, and rug in there) I found out last week that they're throwing a housewarming party this coming Saturday and we're nowhere near "camera ready."

The beauty of this really is that guys don't care. 

So my plan is to concentrate on what matters: the bar! some seating! and good eats!
(Before you think I'm some crazy designer that goes way above and beyond, one of these guys is my boyfriend)

Here's some of the last-minute projects I'm going to try to tackle by Saturday night. First, making a first impression with the entryway. 

Katie Dehnam of Katie-d-i-d.blogspot.com took a cue from the Mirror Master, Vincente Wolf, and placed a small console in front of a large mirror to open up a small foyer. The 11th Ave boys have a mirror like this that I struggled to use because it was too short to stand on the floor. I'm going to be mounting it with a french cleat this week to the wall, which will also cover the unsightly fuse box. If I can't find a small console table, I'm going to use little square ottomans in front so people can rest their bags at the party.

Then there's the bar. They have this cheapie IKEA-like bar cabinet that's on its last legs. I came across a few ideas on Pinterest that may serve as a better alternative.

This unit with open shelving is ideal, though I'm not confident that we can have same day furniture delivery.

Traying up the existing liquor and placing it on their kitchen island instead of using the crappy bar may be a better quick fix alternative.

Please help! We obviously can't make furniture appear out of thin air in two days, so what are you thoughts and sources on objects to spruce up the place?

07 February 2012

Guest Posting: Sketch 42

While we were discussing LaLa yesterday, I guest posted for Nicole over at Sketch42. 

Nicole and I have been vibing back and forth lately on art, fashion, and design. She recently sent me a pic of some art she's working on that immediately reminded me of artist Richard Serra. Thus spawned the (title of this program--any Tribe Called Quest fans?--you'd appreciate that) post.

Go over to Sketch42 to check it out. If you're a lover of black and white, you'll love his work!

06 February 2012

LaLa Store Reveal

I came. I saw. I cried. Then I walked the runway.
In a flurry of flights and little sleep, I managed to swoop down to Fort Lauderdale to see the LaLa store in the flesh and support my girl, Molly, in the grand opening of her store. The last time I was in the store they completed the build-out and lighting, but nothing more. We finalized the furniture layout, wallpaper, and shopped for the fitting rooms, then I went back on my merry way to NYC. Molly kept me updated on the progress of the design and texted me pictures but nothing compared to walking through the door on Saturday.

The floor was cleared of merchandise to make room for the party and runway show. Seeing the store in person after spending months reviewing blueprints, moodboards, and iphone pics was a huge moment for me. It was even better in person. I had one little teary moment but was ordered not to cry, as hair and makeup were in full effect! With that said, the designer hat was off and this girl was in model mode!
 The fabulous Mendy sisters transformed me from 'hipster geek' to 'LaLa chic.' I mean, check out the before...
...and after....
Blazer, tank, and shorts all courtesy of LaLa Couture. 

We conducted a mini runway show that showcased the latest LaLa looks. Shortly after the show, ladies were lining up for the dressing rooms and  at the cash register! It was a great night filled with amazing fashion, design, and friends. I wouldn't trade being a part of this for anything in the world!!!
 This is why I love South Florida. Look at all that COLOR!!!!!!

Owner, Molly Carey, and I. This girl has more hard work and determination in one pinky finger that most of us have in our entire bodies. The way she charged at this dream and made it happen inspires me on a daily basis. 
Enjoying a pre-runway drink with Molly and Christy. It was very sweet for Molly to include the "original LaLa girls" in her show. It's not every day that old ladies like us get to walk the runway with 19 year olds! Christy and I are part of a group that have gone from unpacking the first boxes to modeling the first shipments of clothes. It's been so surreal. 
photo c/o The Mendy House
Here's the Kartel lamp we squealed over this summer that was the first purchase for the boutique. The artwork was purchased off Gilt Groupe. 
This is the view into the fitting room area that I helped design. The chaise normally resides in the middle of the store but was brought back here to make room on the floor. The interior designer, Alli, had the idea of painting the archway into the fitting room the hot pink, which provides are great contrast and depth in the space. 
More details. The chaise and mirror are from PolArt. We used textured wallpaper from Sherwin Williams to add texture and richness to the room. For all of you who have ever wondered how this looks, I highly recommend doing and accent wall like this and then painting it the same as the rest of the room. 
You can see here the level of detail in the wallpaper. 

I hope you enjoyed my mini recap. I'll post runway photos as soon as they're up. It was a shame I had to get back home to NYC this weekend, because I wanted to do some major dammage shopping. There is something for everyone in this store and if you're a fan of color, definitely check it out!

The LaLa Couture store is located at 1918 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304. 
Please follow LaLa here at : www.facebook.com/lalacouturegirl
Shop here at: www.lalacouture.com

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