Wednesday, December 28, 2011 0 comments

New Year's Decorating Resolutions......

Another year has come to a close and with it, several projects have been completed and new ones laid out.  I don't make New Year's resolutions in general because I feel like anytime is a good time to make positive changes in your life so there's no need to wait.  This year however, I'm going to make some New Year's Decorating Resolutions.  Sounds silly right?  Well, if you're remodeling or decorating your home you know that ideas come and go and sometimes you try to talk yourself into a concept or a piece of furniture because of the cost or for the simple fact that your tired of having an empty space.  I don't mind having and empty space but I have been guilty of compromising because something is a great deal and I could make it work.  This year, I'm making some resolutions that will be friendly reminders when I'm out shopping at thrift stores and resale shops.  These are also meant to be anchors when I'm making decisions for new projects.  Here's what's making the list:

1.  Buy what you love.   I've been doing this long enough that my gut tells me when something is good.  I've learned that if I hesitate on something, I should consider passing on it. 

2.  The exception to this would be if I pass on something and I think I should have gotten it  24 hours later.  That's when I usually go back and see if it's still there. If it is, I buy it.  This doesn't happen  often now but it used to when I was first starting out.  The gamble with this would be that the item is no longer there and now you want it. My attitude is if it's meant to be mine, it'll be there.  That always makes me feel better if it's not there when I go back. 

3.  Don't paint anything unless you are 100% sure.  I say this because sometimes you put a piece of vintage furniture in a space and you think that by changing the color, the whole room will magically come together.  This doesn't work unless you are absolutely happy with everything else in the room.  I'm actually going through this right now with the credenza I have in my office.  I think  I want to paint it but the rest of the room is not finished being decorated so it's staying in it's original finish for now.  This makes it easier for me because it's not the focal point in my room.  It's a big accent but not the showstopper.  I will see how it fits when everything else is done. 

4.   Don't proceed with a project unless you are committed to the plan. This sounds easy enough but for me, this means that if you are hesitant at all about the final layout or design, keep working on the plan before proceeding.  I'm thinking of my Master Bathroom for this one.  I'm trying to renovate this space with everything where it is but will have to add plumbing for the pedestal tub.  Question is, does this layout work?  Is there a better way to lay the space out with the addition of the tub?  Do I like the view from the tub? As much as I hate this bathroom, we are still working through the final design and we are committed to paying whatever the additional pricing would be to have the best layout for this bathroom. We may end up leaving things where they are but for now, I'm not 100% so that tells me that I need to give it more thought and look for more inspiration. 

5.  Be patient. I can honestly say that I am thankful that I didn't renovate the whole house at the beginning.  A lot of the renovations we've done were never ideas that we had when we first moved in almost 7 years ago.  The renovations that we've done have created spaces for the way we live while honoring the original layout of the house.  It's by living in your house that you realize what works and doesn't work for you and your family. Finding inspiration and incorporating the vintage with the modern and the recycled is the fun part.  For me, once I determine how I want the room to feel, the plan is made and I start to focus on the details. This could be the exact opposite of how some people design but for me, this is what works.  Being patient has paid off and developed my creativity more than anything else.

6.  Last but most importantly, be thankful for what you already have.  Step back, appreciate and be thankful for all you've been blessed with.  Everybody wants a beautifully decorated home.  Having a loving family to share it with is priceless.

I love designing spaces and creating environments and look forward to several new projects in 2012.  I am also hoping to grow Guest House Interiors by offering some of the vintage items I find for sale.  Perhaps something I find will inspire you to create a room you love.  Whatever your goals are for 2012, I wish you all the luck in reaching them.

Monday, November 28, 2011 3 comments

Having Fun with Holiday Decorating...

It's so easy to get caught up in all of the craziness that comes with the holidays but I'm one of those people that refuses to let it stress me out.  After all, this is supposed to be a time of celebrating and coming together right?  I always put my Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving and this year, I decided to buy a flocked tree.   I remember having a flocked tree when I was younger and we used to decorate it with colorful kitschy ornaments and multicolor lights.  That's the mood I'm in this year.  I wanted something that was fun, colorful and cheery.  I wanted to do something that was NOT traditional and not serious but more festive.  It all started on a trip to the Salvation Army last month.  I came across a beautiful black velvet skirt that had this gorgeous and colorful beading and detailing on it.  It was a full skirt that had this Mayan theme all around it.  It included the Mayan calendar, Mayan ruins, Mayan Indians, and an Eagle with a snake in it's mouth.  The pictures were a combination of hand painting and hand sewn sequins of every color.  It was beautiful and truly a piece of art.  I tried it on thinking this would be fun for a Christmas party but it was a little small.  I couldn't leave this so I decided to make it my Christmas Tree skirt.  This was the inspiration for my colorful tree.  I used this along with a few boxes of very colorful vintage decorations I got from my Grandmother who used to throw awesome parties back in the day.  These decorations I've had for a long time and most of them were never opened.  I'm so glad that I finally got to use these and although this tree is unlike any other tree I've ever done, it's colorful and festive and that's just the way I want it this year.  My girls love it and HH says it's a nice change. I wound up buying a few of those large shatterproof ornaments to fill in a few spots but that's it. However you decide to decorate for the Holidays, I hope it makes you feel festive and puts a smile on your face.  If you're tired of doing the same thing every year, consider changing it up by adding some over sized decorations or incorporate some non traditional items like old necklaces or scarves and tie them on the tree...  It's time to celebrate.  Have fun with it. 




Thursday, November 10, 2011 1 comments

Before and After........ Gabriella's Room

Well, it's finally complete.  The project we started many weeks ago (but who's counting???) is finally finished and she l o v e s it. This project involved more work for me since I made the cushion and pillows but I love the way it turned out too.  Let me give you the breakdown of what we have.  The Roman Shade for the window works well here because it's clean looking and looks good rolled up which is how it is most of the time.  I've decided I'm going to add a colorful bad to the shade but I haven't decided if that's going to be ribbon or fabric.  As for the cushion and pillows, I deconstructed and used an Anthropologie quilt I bought at a resale shop for $30. I separated the layers and took out the cotton middle (saved it for another use), lined the fabric with muslin for added strength and then made the pillows and cushion cover.  I used snap tape for a closure so everything can be removed and washed.  The patterns are different on the other side of the pillows and cushion so there's a whole other look if she gets tired of it.  The mirrors I've had in the attic (they are vintage) and I like the way it looks against the bookcase.  It's one nail hole so if Gabriella gets tired of it, off they go.  The little ikat bowl is from Anthropologie, and the blue numbers are gas station numbers that I bought from a local dealer.  That blue color is really pretty and looks great with the touches of red, orange and yellow. The vintage set of Children's Encyclopedias have beautiful gold detailing that go well with the Mum knobs I found in the clearance bin at Anthropologie.  The pictures above her bed are postcards that I put in Ikea frames that I've had for a long time. The hand painted bird dishes in the cool plate holders came from a thrift store.  The bed, night stands, french desk and chair are all resale finds that I've gotten over time very inexpensively.  I tell Gabriella that her desk is probably one of the nicest pieces of furniture in our house. It's a solid, well made and beautiful piece of furniture.   The little metal tulip looking tables I think are from Ikea but I got them at a thrift store.  They are easy to move and they make a great footrest when you're sitting on the window seat.  The lamps by her bed are from Marshall's Homegoods and the desk lamp is from Target.   That should about cover it.  Thanks again to my fabulous HH for all of his hard work and dedication to making our home beautiful.  We both agree that our children should have a beautiful and comfortable space to call their own.  A place just like we have where they can retreat, get a goods night's sleep, do homework or hang out with friends. We feel that children appreciate a nice space just like any older person and with that nice space comes the responsibility of respecting their "house" by keeping it neat and clean.  This is something that our girls understand and honor not because we tell them to (OK sometimes we do...) but because they want their space to stay nice.  Of course, it's the creative process, the search for items and making it all come together that drives me.  The finished rooms are a story of happenstance, hard work, attention to detail and a thoughtfulness that hopefully translates into a comfortable and creative space.  So, let's see what we came up with.  Here's the space before.....

And here it is now........










So, what do you think?  I still think we need some additional pieces for her bookcase but the fun will be in finding them.  Of course one day I would love to get rid of this wood floor and replace it with something nicer.  Hopefully that will come sooner than later. For the rest of this year, we are going to do some small things around the house and I am going to finish the office.  We are hoping to start demo in the Master Bathroom in January.  I'll keep you posted as always.

What kinds of projects are you working on?  Is there any one project you'd like to finish before the holidays?  I'd love to hear about them. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011 1 comments

Vanity Reveal!

I'm just about finished with Gabriella's room and I thought I would give you a quick update on that first.  Today, HH will finish putting in the recessed lights and I will finish making the pillows for her bench. I'm still filling her bookshelves and I found some cute knobs in the sale bin at Anthro last weekend that will look great (and they got the "thumbs up" from Gabriella) on the cabinet doors. Can't wait to show you the finished room!  Now, on to the vanity.  I finally found a stool for my vanity.  I thought initially that I wanted a round stool but then decided on this one when I saw it.  If fills in the opening in the vanity better and it has an art deco feel which I like.  After I painted the stool, I went over to High Fashion Home and found this beautiful animal print fabric.  The fabric is heavy and lush and I love how it blends with the rest of the room.  The lamp shades are covered in fabric that I cut from some lounge pants I bought at the Salvation Army. I loved the print and it works perfect for lamp shades. Can I just say one thing about the Salvation Army?  After speaking with my 95 year old grandmother a few weeks ago, I learned something about the Salvation Army that I want to share with you (Forgive me in advance if I ramble.  I don't want to leave anything out).  She was telling me that one of her friends passed away and she was reading her obituary and the card from her service.  She was a wealthier woman and it was noted that she was donating everything she had to the Salvation Army.  It was also requested that donations be made to the Salvation Army in lieu of flowers.  My grandma told me that when this woman was young, her husband had left her and her children with nothing and that the Salvation Army basically provided for her and her family until she was able to get on her feet. This woman had been forever grateful and felt like the Salvation Army saved her life and her family.  My grandma also mentioned to me that when my grandpa was in Iwo Jima (he was a decorated Marine), they didn't have any cigarettes and were asking around to see where they could get some.  He told her the Red Cross was charging them money for cigarettes but the Salvation Army came out to them and gave them out for free.  This clearly earned the Salvation Army a heightened respect among the Marines at that time and place.  After hearing that, it created a new level of respect and appreciation for me too. I'll be sure to put some extra money in the "kettle" this year at Christmas and shake the hand and thank the bell ringer for all of their charitable work.  Another reason to feel good about shopping at the Salvation Army.  Now, back to the vanity...  Want to see it?  Here's the vanity before:

and here's the stool before:

and here's what it looks like now:



I really do love having this special place to get ready.  I wonder if the woman that had this before me loved it as much as I do? 
Friday, October 21, 2011 0 comments

Almost There......Almost.....

Has it been 13 weeks yet? Maybe more?  Ha!  Well, after numerous distractions, this weekend will be the weekend I finally get to paint the Bookcases, Bench and Baseboards in my daughter Gabriella's room.  HH (Handy Husbnd) has worked really hard to get this all ready and it looks great.  He's turning out to be quite the bookscase maker!  Although I don't particularly like painting, I am very excited to get this done for her.  I still need to make some pillows for the back seat but the main part of this will be done and her room can get back to normal.  It's funny, I used to get so inpatient with not having things done, but I've gotten to where I can live with a project taking a little longer (within reason of course) if there are other things that come up or things we want to do.  Thankfully our kids are very patient and they know that it will be great when it's finished.  So, what else have I been doing?  For starters, I'm still working on re-doing my office.  I have all of the furniture I need but  I'm still working on the details.  I have a chair that needs to get re-upholstered, a vintage chandelier that needs to get re-wired and few more things that need "tweaking". I bought a chrome and Lucite chandelier a few weeks ago that I think will be great in the office.  It's very modern but classic and it will be a nice element in this room.  The glass chandelier that is currently in the office will be re-purposed and used in the Master Bathroom.  I also found a great chair for my daughter Tatiana's room.  You might remember that she got a little seating area at the foot of her bed and I found another chair that will coordinate nicely with the one she has.  It's totally different but the same scale so it will work and give her more seating.  I'm finished with my vanity and I'm still looking for a little seat.  I'm looking everywhere so hopefully I will find one soon. I'm using my vanity every day and I love it.  It's such a nice change from standing in the bathroom. As always, I'll share the afters of all of these projects with you when they are finished.  Here's some pictures of the chandelier and the chair I'm working on.  Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. 


Monday, October 3, 2011 0 comments

Salvage Finds..........

Is it me or is it getting harder and harder to find salvage items?  In Houston, there used to be several architectural salvage places that were full of detail pieces, windows, doors and all sorts of goodies.  Now, there's really only one and it makes me wonder, "have we demolished everything that has architectural value"? It seems that the abundance of inventory that used to be is no longer, thus making these items even more special (at least to me anyways).  This past weekend, we went to one of our favorite places, Adkins Architectural Antiques.  I love to come here and look at all of the doors and ornamental iron. The detail on the old storefronts and doors is fantastic and the scale is so grand.  Truly works of art.  We have purchased many doors from here in the past and today we were looking for a new door for our Master Bathroom. I was looking for a door that had some glass so we could let in some natural light.  After looking through the section that had the dimensions we need, we came up empty. That is, until I was looking around at all of the big pieces and came across a pair of old french doors. It was love at first sight and the dimensions are perfect.  We need to do a little tweaking for the height but that's not unusual.  We purchased these along with some knobs for my vanity.  I'm so excited to see these put up. If you live in the Houston area and you haven't been to Adkins, you must go.  If you don't live in Houston, you can visit them online although the selection is limited.   

Master Bathroom doors.

I loved these metal olive baskets.  

Just one of the many beautiful doors at Adkins. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 0 comments

Getting Pretty......

I love dressing tables and vanities.  There's something ritualistic and sexy about them.  I remember when I was in high school, I had a wicker table and mirror from Pier1 that I used as my vanity and I loved having my own space to get pretty for the day.  In all of the places I've lived in since then, my space to get pretty was determined by the amount of counter space in the bathroom.  To be honest, I kind of missed having a dressing table.  Then, I came across this......

It's not the most elaborate vanity out there but it is small in scale and functional which is what I was looking for.  Not only does it have two pre-wired lamps built in, but it also came with a mirror (not pictured but it attaches to the back) and a lot of drawers for all of my goodies.  It didn't come with a stool but I'm pretty sure I have one in the attic that will work.  Problem is, I have to go into the attic to find it. It's still really hot here so I'm not too excited to go up there and start digging around at the moment.  I'm working on this now and will show you the after.  I'm excited to have a vanity again and this time it's going to be small but chic.  I can't wait to show this to you when it's done.
On a side note,  I ordered a plain white roman shade for Gabriella's window and it looks great.  I might add some trim for color but that will be decided after the bench fabric and pillows are all in place.  I ordered a great vintage chevron fabric off of ebay but Gabriella didn't like it (definitely keeping for another project) so we started over.  She's decided that she likes the radomness of mixed fabrics instead.  It's actually going to be more bohemian and I'm liking this direction a lot.  I've got an old anthropologie quilt that I've deconstructed and I'm hoping this will work out because the patterns are perfect. Stay tuned......

This is the vintage chevron fabric that I got originally for the bench. Since Gabriella doesn't like it, I'm keeping it in my stash for a future project.  This would look great on dining room chairs! 
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 2 comments

Project Update....

There has been a lot of progress made with the Bookcase/Bench combo in my daughter Gabriella's room.  My HH will be hopefully finishing up the trim and casings this week and then on to primer and paint.  I'm currently looking at fabric swatches for the pull down shade for her window and for the bench cushion but haven't decided on anything yet. Here's some pictures on where we are right now.


I've been tossing a few different ideas around for fabrics and I'm liking the play on patterns against the white. What do you think about it?  Here are some inspiration pics to get you thinking.....



Friday, September 2, 2011 0 comments


As I'm wrapping up my week getting ready to enjoy a long weekend, I wanted to leave you with some photos that I've saved that really don't have a fitting category other than "Random".  These are images that are moving to me in some way and just all around beautiful. Wishing you all have an opportunity to relax this weekend and spend some time with good people. 


Photo credits from top:  Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3 and Photo 4