Archive for July, 2011

Living Room Before and After

Today, I’m incredibly pleased to reveal a project I’ve been assisting with, across the country.  If you recall this e-design I put together last year, it’s now time for the big reveal.

Here is a before shot of how the living room was when my clients bought the place.  BEFORE they moved in….

And the AFTER…

What a change!  I helped with the base and the layout of the room and then my very talented and stylish client added in so many great and personal details.

Here is a breakdown of the room…

The colors that the client requested were purple and green – so this fab purple rug was the jumping point for the room.  I was so excited when I found the rug in her colors and in such a great geometric pattern.  I found the jax coffee table on ETSY to play up the geometric pattern in the rug.  The clients already owned these handsome leather chairs with nailhead trim.  I had sent over this Faux Antler DIY from Jenny’s blog but my client found the perfect “blue collar antler” from Z Gallerie and I adore the pop of white against the gray.  I’m not sure where she found that side table but I am sure that I’m head over heels for it!

My client came up with the perfect DIY art for above each chair.  She framed calendar paper from the two months that are very important to them (the month they got engaged and the month they got married).

Opposite the leather club chairs is a classic tufted sofa from Macy’s.

I had suggested the brass World’s Aways side table, which is a favorite of mine.

She has another personal art piece – a beautiful watercolor of their home, which was painted by her husband’s aunt.

I encouraged to put the Eames Lounge chair front and center in the room because it is such a showstopper.  My clients inherited not one but two of those chairs.  Lucky ducks!!

Opposite the Eames chair is a gorgeous fireplace.  My clients were hesitant to put the TV on the mantel and so I suggested this great Restoration Hardware easel to hold the TV instead.  This way, they could put their beautiful starburst mirror at the focus of attention.

There were more great personal touches on the mantel such as pictures of places the couple has traveled to –

The client’s mother in law found a fabulous detail for the mantel complete with their last name initial –

I love all the personal additions throughout the room which brings a loving feeling to the room.  However, what really brings love into the room is my clients cute dog, Shelby:

She’s just the perfect final touch.  Thanks for sharing all you have done with your place!  Great work!  To check out more of my client’s beautiful home, you should see her adorable blog: Ann and Pat.

Thanks for sharing Ann, Pat and Shelby.

July 19, 2011 at 6:59 AM 15 comments

My Cup Runneth Over

As I mentioned, it was my birthday recently.  One of the great things about birthdays is pressies!  Don’t I sound spoiled?  But, well, it’s true.  This year was a stellar year in the decor and fashion department for my birthday and I thought I’d share how loved ones helped to gussy up my home and wardrobe.

The hugest thank you goes to my MIL, Glynnis, for actually MAKING me a superb pillow.  Not only did she sew, she also needlepointed!  It’s the most beautiful pillow…

 

The only issue is now that I get to keep her amazing crafting talent, I may come begging back for more. 🙂

Not only did Glynnis make me this but she and my FIL, Brian, also got me the cutest pair of dog bookends.

It’s a doggy dog world out there and I’m thrilled my collection continues to grow. (For the record, I do realize the proper saying is “a dog eat dog world out there”).

I titled this post: “My Cup Runneth Over” because of all the fabulous gifts but this next one is really where the heart of the title came from.  Thanks to my brother and SIL, Bridget, for my first plant.

I really love the stars on the Italian tea cup and to add in a cactus is just genius to me.

This next gift, I found myself in a tiny antique store and asked my mom if she would go for it for my birthday.  I actually purchased it about four months ago, before I knew we could not switch out the lighting in our apartment…

It’s a Capiz shell pendant light and it looks even more beautiful hung and lit up.  A similar light made an appearance in this month’s, Lonny Mag:

This photo was taken in Nate Burkus Associates office; I’ll admit I let out a squeal when I saw the light in the photo.

And last, but def. not least, because birthdays can’t be all about decor, Graham got me a gorgeous dress for the wedding in Alaska.  He also got me a new pair of jeans.  Okay, okay, so I picked both out and let him know he got me gifts.

 

(The dress pictured above after the after wedding party).  Graham then wanted to surprise me and got me a gift certificate to one of my favorite local stores: Eel and Ermine.  If you’re local, check them out!  They have beautiful bespoke clothing and the shop owners are so nice!

My cup runneth over this year!  I’m so happy my apartment and wardrobe are now styling.   A huge thank you to those who celebrated my birthday with me on the day, before and after.  They made turning 31 a cinch.

July 18, 2011 at 9:49 AM 7 comments

Happy Friday

Happy Friday everyone!!  So, one of my readers got to meet Princess Katherine this past weekend and I just can’t stop thinking about it.  Isn’t she flawless?

So chic.  Love her!

Have a fabulous weekend everyone.  I’m going to work on some decor posts for you to go up next week.

July 15, 2011 at 9:19 AM Leave a comment

The Parker Palm Springs

Thank you to all of those who read my post yesterday and for the fabulous comments.  I had a wonderful birthday and I attribute it to my lovely readers, friends and family.

So, yesterday, I mentioned how I squared away a deal with Graham a few moments into our trip that our next vacation will be to the Parker, Palm Springs.  It will be a while before we go on another vacation and I’m happy with that since our last one was so great.  However, let’s take a gander at where Graham and I will be heading sometime in the next year or so…

                                                                      (Photos by Kristin Eldridge Photography)

A deal is a deal.  And I made a sweet one!  Hee Hee.  This hotel was designed by one of my icons – Jonathan Adler.  LOVE.

Have you ever stayed here?

July 14, 2011 at 9:13 AM 3 comments

Alaska Days

Warning: This is a long entry but I promise to keep you entertained with humorous stories and pictures.  I decided to write up the journal I kept while on our fishing trip.  Since today is my birthday, I figured I can indulge myself and share my writing and travel photos with all of you.  Tomorrow we’ll be back on to decor and a much smaller chunk of words…

Our journey to Alaska was,well, let’s just call it an unusual route.  We had to fly San Francisco to CHICAGO then Chicago to Anchorage.  We flew using frequent flyer miles on American and this was the only way they would let us go.  Ugh.  After flying for four hours the wrong direction, we touched down in Chicago.  However, our spirits were high because we knew we could finally start heading west for Anchorage.

Of course, a sunny disposition can only last so long as things are destined to go wrong.  Our plane had “mechanical issues” and we had to sit on the tarmac in Chicago for two hours while they tried to fix it.  There was even threat of deplaning us and canceling the entire flight.  Thankfully, it was fixed.  But since life is never simple, just as our plane was good to go, a lightening storm came to town.  We sat on the runway for another hour waiting for it to pass.  Eventually, we were good to go and it was a wonderful feeling to be airborne.  Even though we left our apartment at 6:30 AM and we didn’t arrive to Alaska until 1:30 AM the next day, we were thrilled to be there.  I even instisted Graham take a picture of me next to the polar bears in the airport.

The next morning at 6:30 AM, we were up for another flight.  This time, we were taking a small charter flight from Anchorage to a small town called, Igiugig, to get to our remote fishing lodge: Big Ku.  Graham and I were thrilled to be getting to our final destination after such a long journey.  We took some silly pictures in the small private airport.

I then stumbled across the T-shirt they were selling in the airport terminal…

Hmmm…not exactly, the most easy feeling for getting on a tiny plane.  Luckily, I saw that they had their priorities correct with what they were filling the plane with…

Soon enough, we had boarded the tiny plane and we were ready for our adventure to begin. We had a gorgeous plane ride over to Katmai National Park.

 Two hours later, we had touched down in Igiugig, population 65 people.  This sets the scene for where our story begins.

If you were standing on the Igiugig patch of dirt, known as their runway, and if you could see past the black cloud of flesh eating “white socks” bugs swarming around my exposed skin, look beyond the newly purchased bug net draped over my face, peer under the polaroid fishing glasses, you would find a pool of tears welling up and cascading down my cheeks.  With a quivering lip, I looked at Graham and stuck out my hand and with all the fear, disappointment and adreneline I had pumping through my body, I said: “Next trip is to the Parker Palm Springs and we are going to all the estate sales and furniture stores I want and you are NOT golfing.”

Graham knew what was best.  He stuck out his hand and shook mine and made a deal as fast as any husband could.  The Inuit people of Igiugig looked on with smiles of amusement as the young yuppies from San Francisco battled out their new surroundings and succomed to a marriage treaty.  We made our way to a small wooden shack, known as the terminal where a man with calloused skin, a carheart suit, wading boots and a large bug net draped over his face lead us to a float plane.  I decided if someone this burly succomed to the bug net, we were in trouble.

Like bumbling idiots with flailing arms, we boarded the plane.  Graham did his best to make small talk with a man who lives in a town whose population is smaller than the total inhabinants of our three story apartment building.  I sat in the back of the plane and sucked in gulps of air as the tears began to subside.

One bouncy, lose your lunch, flight over and we hade made it to a small rocky beach.  Here, we were greeted by our two guides: Jordan and Shane.  They put us into a motor boat and took us to our lodge.  When getting to camp, we were relieved to find out the bugs weren’t as bad, the lodge was gorgeous and the views were out of this world.  We had electricity, flannel sheets and even Internet (although, we never did use it).

Happy I had made the Palm Springs deal at the worst part, my trembling began to slow down and I started to think I could survive this.   When talking to our guides, we found out that they worked at the Fly Shop in Redding.  This was my dad’s favorite shop and so I asked if they knew him.  One guide said he had set up fishing trips for him.  I proudly responded, “That’s my dad.”  The other guide went to highschool with my cousins up in Bend, Oregon.  Amazingly, I took a 747 plane to a small commuter plane to a float plane to a motor boat, and still found someone who knew my dad.  I couldn’t help but think this was my dad saying, “I’m looking after you, child.  Go catch some Rainbows.”  I knew I had to make him proud.

Within ten minutes of arriving, we sat down to a delicious homemade Minestrone soup.  We slurped the soup down in seconds and we were then ready to go fish.  We fished right out front the lodge and on the first cast, Graham caught a 20 inch trout.  His absolute pure joy was magic to see and the trip began to look up.

The next day, we had our first full eight hour day of fishing ahead of us.  I was apprehensive but knew I had a family of anglers back at home who would kill to be where we were.  I was not about to sissy out.   The guide suggest that we combine fishing and hiking and we were thrilled with this idea.  Over the course of the day, we made 28 river crossings and hiked a couple of miles of Alaskan tundra.  It was massive land with panoramic views.

Even though there were times when the hiking was treacherous and we had to yell, “Go Bears!”  when walking into thick brush (as not to startle a sleeping bear), I had two men looking after me (Graham and the guide, Jordan) and I was having the time of my life.  That day was a constant rotation of jokes, bouncing off of ones another’s humor, which lead to crazed giggle fits.

The next day, the guide, Shane, suggested that we fish close to the lodge, come back in for lunch and go back out again.  Having the day split in half was music to my ears because I decided to sit the morning out.  I turned on our cabin electric heater full blast, nestled into my flannel blankets next to a window with breathless views and got carried away with an engrossing novel.  Graham came back for lunch bubbling with fish stories, while I was adrift in London, England (where the story takes place); we were both in perfect spots.  After lunch, I joined Graham and Shane to document Graham’s mighty catches and to continue reading.

On the way home that evening, we saw the Sockeye Salmon had begun their run to spawn.  First Sockeye viewing of the season was a huge occasion and we were all cheering.  It was an unforgetable moment.  We made it back to camp to find the other guide had caught a Sockeye.  That night, we feasted on fresh bar-b-qued salmon.  It was the best fish of my life.

By day four, I was started to get a knack for the Big Ku life.  Don’t get me wrong, it had its challenges.  The climate is harsh.  With a wind chill, it can get down to about 40 degrees, and you’re wading in hip high freezing water.  If the wind isn’t whipping, it was about 55 degrees but the stillness brought on bugs which swarm all around you.  The bugs are a mixture of whitesock (which will literally eat your flesh, leave you swollen and in pain) and whiny blood-sucking mosquitoes.  You become conflicted between wanting wind or sun and actually find fishing in rain is best because at least it’s a bit warmer and the bugs are gone.  This ain’t no sissy country.

The fourth day, we went back out to the small stream of a million laughs that we had conquered two days before.  A light rain had begun and it was time to get my fish on.  About twenty minutes into fishing, I had a 25 inch, 6 pound Rainbow Trout on the line.  The guide, Jordan, was down by Graham and I was hooting and hollering that this prize fish was brought on all by myself.  Graham and Jordan ran over and watched as I slowly reeled the fighting fish to the rocky bank.  Photo ops and videos ensued as I beamed with pride.  When all was said and done, I turned to the guide and said, “You think I could be called an Angler now?”  He felt the title was appropriate.  As I cast back out for another fish, I thought of my new title – Kate Belchers: Decorator and Angler.  That sounded mighty fine to me.

That fourth day was the 4th of July and we’d been talking about the need for fireworks.  Our guide carries a gun for bear protection and I sheepishly asked if I could shoot it.  He felt it apropos for the 4th and since the bullet is rubber, he thought, “why not?”  He put the gun in my hand and it was time for the show to begin; wincing for a massive aftershock, I pointed the gun towards the horizon and I pulled the trigger.  To my surprise, it had the kick of an adolescents BB gun and it only let our a whimpering whistle.

But shooting guns and catching fish in Alaska is a far cry from my life of high heels, delicate fabrics and glossy shelter magazines.  I felt liberated, just like our founding fathers on the 4th of July.  This is America.

                    (I was wearing about ten layers in this photo and the wind picked up my jacket, while I look about 8 months pregnant in this shot, I’m not).

Day 5, we set out for “Battle Creek” which local only refer to as “Battle.”  I was ready for a fight as Jordan and Shane warned that “Battle” was a good 5 degrees colder than everywhere else.  The water there is bitter cold and the wind whips, but the fishing is great and the views are spectacular.

That morning we woke up battered, bruised and worse for wear, after conquering the previous night with beers, cards and blue grass.  As we emerged from our cabins to duel with the great outdoors, our fuzzy brains registered something we had not seen in a while – sun.  Was nature really waving her white flag?  This wasn’t going to be a battle after all.

We took a boat 15 miles across a Lake Iliamna.  The ride was effortless as we glided across glassy flat water.  We arrived at a creek that lies at the base of massive glaciers, with barely a cloud in the sky.  It was truly as if we were standing in the middle of a National Geographic cover shoot.  Now this is Alaska.

Due to the stillness of the water from the lack of wind, the fishing was much more technical than I could manage.  Graham’s fishing had improved immensely and he embraced the challenge, taking it up a notch using his skill of Spey Rod fishing.

Hearing that the fishing was over my head was a welcome relief to me, all I really wanted to catch were some rays of sunshine.  I sat, protected at the bow of the boat and eagerly soaked in the Vitamin D.  I didn’t even have to wear my bug net as the bugs were miraculously few and far between.  This day was pure heaven.

I sat in one of the most beautiful places in the world, warm in only 4 layers of clothes, not my usual 7, and watched my husband fall more madly in love with the sport I was brought up on.  Fish live in beautiful places so I don’t mind spending the rest of our lives, traveling the globe, chasing after them.

Growing up with three older brothers and parents who embraced the great outdoors, I was raised to get on out there and get dirty.  However, years of city living had prissified the dirt loving, snake holding, dove cleaning, spitting tomboy of childhood.  Day six brought me back on home to my roots.  Just give me some good water to fish, fantastic company for entertainment and a cacophony of birds singing and I’m golden.  I’ve got to say, it felt great to be back.  Heels be damned.

With my rekindled love of the my tomboy side, I was ready to fish my heart out.  We headed back out to our favorite stream, Nanunateket, otherwise known as Little Ku.  I started off in my usual spot: Kate’s Corner (self-named) where I caught my huge fish a few days prior.  I felt the need to show him who was boss again.  Within a few casts, the reel was whizzing and I had a fish on.  The day continued on this way for Graham and I as we marched through the stream and plucked fish from one glory hole after another.  Graham was cheering by my side and I couldn’t help but feel dad laughing with pride.

Day 7 was our final day of fishing.  We woke up bright and early and I put on my seven layers of clothing with zest.  Dressing in 2 pairs of long johns, Lululemon pants, two long sleeved shirts, one t-shirt, two button down tops, 2 fleece jackets and topping it all of with waders was becoming old hat to me.

We set off this morning on a bear hunt and took a boat ride downriver.  We had a total of 16 bear sightings in a 2 hours.  That’s seeing a bear every 7.5  minutes.  I was happy to really get a clear idea of how thick the bear population is on the last day.

After gawking at all the healthy bears, we decided to park our boat mid stream and fish for salmon.  This didn’t seem like the best idea, but I went for it.  Within a few casts, Graham and I were both catching salmon and having a great time.  I, of course, wanted to try out many different poses as possible with my catch.

Thoroughly distracted by my fish photo shoot, I forgot about the bears.  Suddenly, our guide, Shane, announces in a calm voice, “Bear approaching slowly walk to the boat and get in it.”  Oh great – good thing I’ve got the equivalent of a bear hot fudge Sunday in my hands.  We got to the boat while Shane yelled at the bear to try to scare it away.  He lifted the boat off the atoll where it was parked.  The bear continued to approach but it turns out he was just wanted to be where we were parked and wanted nothing to do with us.

Once we were safely out of the bears reach, I could breathe a sigh of relief.  But the encounter left me much more bearanoid and yearning for city life again.

Luckily, city life is exactly where we were headed.  The next day, it was time to leave Little Ku and to head back to Anchorage for a rehearsal dinner and wedding the following day.  The same burly man from day one came to get us in his float plane and take us back to the small town of Igiugig for our chartered flight.  This time the gruff pilot didn’t intimidate me, there was something very appealing to his lifestyle.

While sitting in the tiny airport of Igiugig, we watched a family get off of the chartered plane we were about to board to get back to Anchorage.  There were three women and two men that were headed to our lodge.  The women’s hair was freshly coiffed and their make-up was recently applied.  Their brand new North Face attire had only seen shopping malls prior to this.  The men were well groomed and one man was even in a sport coat.  Their bug net hats were nowhere to be seen.  They trepidatiously deplaned, intimidated by their wild surroundings.  Graham and I looked at each other, chuckled and declared them “Yuppies.”

July 13, 2011 at 5:47 AM 9 comments

Inspiration Files: Paint It Black

I’m baaack!!  Alaska was everything I hoped it would be and more.  I’ve now got piles of laundry to face and a gazillion e-mails so excuse me with the short post today.  I’m prepping tomorrow’s post that will be a recap on Alaska – it’s going to be a wordy one but it’s my birthday tomorrow so I figure I can post as long as a post as I want to. 🙂

Today let’s do some pinterest inspirational looks, shall we?

                                           Via Rooms that Inspire

                                                     Via Lofty Living

                                                                       Summer Thorton’s Kitchen via House Beautiful

Looks like I’m currently inspired by painting certain elements of a room black.  I love the drama and sophistication that it brings.  Would you paint your kitchen cabinets black?

July 12, 2011 at 9:35 AM 4 comments

Austin’s Nursery Sneak Peak

Today, I’m making my way back home from our trip so this is my last pre-scheduled post.  I thought I’d finish it off with the most fab nursery.  My little nephew is as cute as they come and so is his nursery…

This is the third boy for my sister in law and so she already had a lot of the baby pieces of furniture.  This time round though, she wanted to soften things up and go with a more neutral color palette.  She reupholstered the chair from a blue to a softer palate and added in the cream pouf.  She put light colored fabric balls above the crib and changed out the crib bedding from blues to creams.  She switched blue drapes for a softer, natural look. She also added in the wall of framed nursery animals; I believe they were also in her room as a child.  Finally, she changed out the dressing table pulls to the cute trucks and hung some sweet baby clothing up.  I absolutely love the look – not only is Lucy a loving mother, she does a fabulous job at decorating!!

July 11, 2011 at 5:15 AM 2 comments

Older Posts Newer Posts


Welcome

Hi, welcome to my interior design blog. This is my little spot to attempt to express my design style and to show wonderful inspirations for making a home. I hope you enjoy it!

Follow me on Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Chance for a free Kate Collins Interiors' designed gift...

Join 364 other followers