Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Trina Turk Outdoor Fabric = Love

 It's crazy how easily I can design for other people and absolutely maddening it is to design for myself.  I think it's a good lesson for me.  It reminds me just how scary it can be to pull the trigger on something that you've been dreaming about doing for such a long time.  To My Clients:  I feel you.  I've currently been sitting at the computer since 3:45am trying to make some last notes on my new business card design and will spend tomorrow (really today I guess) obsessing about the outdoor cushions I'm having made for myself.  I fully realize that these are not life and death decisions but I do want to be thoughtful about how I spend my money and present my design aesthetic to the world.  The Architect and I have vowed to do the real work of designing for ourselves. We aren't going to cheat ourselves out of the special anymore because it's easier.  Here are the outdoor fabric contenders.  Feel free to weigh in!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Toto Toilet Wins

How hard can it be to pick out a toilet?  As it turns out pretty hard.  Our new fixer upper, now dubbed the "No Tell Hotel Strodl" has 4 different toilets each in a different pastel color from 1960.  It's a regular Easter basket around here!  My Architect (hubby) took me shopping once and I went over to Ferguson's to check things out on my own as well.  I was taking notes, pictures, reading labels and inspecting every square inch of the loos.  The one thing I wasn't doing was sitting on each one.  Now I'm not particularly self aware or easily embarrassed but I wasn't about to sit on every toilet in a showroom filled with ladies picking out Dorn Bracht fixtures in their cutest Tory Burch sandals... that is until the sales woman INSISTED that I sit on the one I really liked.  It was a very modern, narrow squarish toilet.  She said to me, (the sales woman not the toilet, although there are some toilets that will do everything short of well...give you a bikini wax) "you have to sit on that or I won't sell it to you."  So I sat and I couldn't get up fast enough you guys.  This was one uncomfortable toilet.  I proceeded to sit on every toilet and didn't give a crap what anyone thought-sorry couldn't resist!  4 toilets can run you a little money and can be a pain to install so I didn't want to get this wrong.  In the end, we decided on a nice modern Toto with a dual flush system to save on water. It's pretty, comfy and saves on the H2O.  Two are going in tomorrow and I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little excited about it.  Moral of the story-sit your butt down, you have try on toilets like you'd try on a pair of shoes.  I've hear Japanese toilets are ahmazing.  Anyone have any stories they'd like to share.  I'm really curious about them now!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Live In The Moment

This artwork came across my inbox this morning and I just had to share it with you guys.  I'm really trying to live this advice out right now.  It ain't always easy but it is ALWAYS worth it!  Hope you guys are having some adventure, some great design and some laughter happening in your lives.  I know I am!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Right White

Hello people. We have had a busy two weeks on Mason so I thought I'd give you an update. Jason was almost eaten by a tarantula (yes!), we have a new walk-in closet, we have a back yard full of grass and we painted the entire house white. So let's just talk about that for a second shall we? I'm here to tell you that choosing the right shade of white paint is crazy hard. Any designer who tells you it's easy is lying. Did I spell that right? Lying. Lieing. Liing. Yep, got it right. Anyhow, there are go-to's like "Decorator's White" "China White" and "Swiss Coffee" and the new to me "Chantilly Lace" and "Cloud" but it really depends on what else is happening in the room. What kind of light bulbs you use are huge! Also, are there reflections of the outside or an adjoining room that play in? What colors are in your textiles and art? So much to consider. As always, a big sample that you view at various times of day is your best bet for choosing the right shade of white. In the end, we went with Sherwin-William's "Snowbound". It's a cool white with a tiny bit of gray in it. We think it will look great when the concrete floors are polished up. It may be hard to tell but here are a few snap shots...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Consulting, Designing and Remodeling

I've gotten an overwhelming request to start blogging again so the three of you can stop harassing me now okay? It's been a very busy 5 months to say the least. I worked with a good friend of ours consulting for TSK Architecture on a new Hotel in Northern Cali called Black Oak, I am about 2 seconds away from finishing a custom home that my husband and I designed together (he gets most of the credit on this one!) and a few little side jobs squished in between like a few pillows here, a new barstool there. Last but not least, I have kept three little boys alive, one of whom has started walking and the other reading! I suppose I just felt like my blog had become a burden. Blogging (and reading blogs) is supposed to be fun! It feels fun again now so my current plan is to keep a journal of our remodeling process. Most of you know that we have bought an old fixer upper in McNeil Estates and plan to totally remodel it. This can be very hard for anyone but this can be the ultimate test of patience for two designers working for themselves. I'd love to share the funny stories and before and after pics with you guys along the way. Obviously, there are other fantastic blogs out there doing the same thing like Young House Love but this is really for us to look back on someday and laugh (or cry). Missed you guys!

our new house on Mason

lobby of the black oak hotel

kuluz residence

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Colorful Kid's Rooms


So, I'm sure you've been frantically checking your email for new posts and have started to wonder what the flip has happened to me. One word. Work. I have been pulled out of comfy little mommy world to work on a couple of projects that are stretching me. And by stretching me, I mean not cleaning my house (ever), not cooking anything that can't be made in a microwave and giving up the gym (getting fatter by the second). I'm miserable and thrilled all at the same time. So, sadly my blogging has taken a backseat to a paycheck. Forgive me? That's cool- I knew you would. Here are a couple of tidbits to keep Varnish on your radar. Beautiful children's rooms that are innovative and colorful. Found on Casa De Valentina.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

South West Fabric

I never thought I'd like SouthWestern and Native American prints but I've now learned to never say never in design. You'll eat crow every time. Ralph Lauren's line with Kravet is flat out to die for! Now I just need a cabin.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Black Oak Hotel Takedown

Sorry I have been MIA people! I'm in the middle of DD for Black Oak Hotel & Casino in No. Cali. It's taken over part of my kitchen and the entire dining room. At a bare minimum I can post photos to prove I'm busy right? Besos.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Missoni Madness

Missoni for Target

Did you people try to go to Target's website yesterday while I was trying to buy Missoni?? Well, you must've because I couldn't get on and now everything is sold out. In 1 day. That's right it's Missoni! Miss. Soni if you're nasty. Sort of funny. No? Okay, well anyhow, it's Missoni Madness and you better get in on the action. It's akin to the Cabbage Patch Doll fiasco in the early 80s but without the mom-on-mom fist fight action, unless of course there was a show down on Grand Canyon that you'd like to share with the class.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sara Baldwin Making My Ikat Dreams Come True

Ikat Wall Tile

Please stand back and let out a collective gasp! Seriously. I actually gasped this morning when I got my daily from Material Girls and saw this bad a$$ (don't be offended by my dollar signs because this deserves it) Ikat Mosaic designed by Sara Baldwin for New Ravenna Mosaics. Please somebody, ANYBODY let me put this in your powder room.

Ikat Wall Tile

Ikat Wall Tile

Ikat Wall Tile

Ikat Wall Tile

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Perfect Pairings

Perfect Pairing

These are some of my current favorite seating + side table pairings. All eye candy in my humble opinion!

Perfect Pairing

Perfect Pairings

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Animal Print Shop Wows


I'm a slightly obsessed with these gorgeous images from The Animal Print Shop. God has some imagination right? The porcupine is killing me he's so cute.



Monday, August 29, 2011

DIY Paint Swatch Art

Paint Chip Art

I blogged a few months ago about a little DIY project that I thought was cool so I busted out my colt 45 and got busy. Here are the step-by-step instructions if you are feeling a little frisky this Monday.

1. Have an empty frame laying around somewhere. Preferably under a bed, a little warped from water damage and purchased from Ikea in 2001.

Paint, Chip, Swatch, Art, DIY, Varnish

2. Have a glue gun. If you read design blogs than my guess is you have one. The tough part is locating the bag of glue sticks.

3. Go to your local hardware store and pretend that you are painting the Taj Majal but really just take (steal) about 40 paint chips. I used Behr because they were so big and I started to feel that I would be taken to Home Depot prison for taking so many swatches if I didn't hurry up and get the heck out of dodge.

4. Start gluing those bad boys right to the backer board of the frame- unless of course you want to reuse it at some point.

Paint, Chip, Swatch, Art, DIY, Varnish

5. Hang and gloat to your husband that this cost you zero dollars and it's actually kinda cool. I got a lot of eye ball rolling during this but I think he likes it now. Good, no?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hello Richard Burbidge!

Richard Burbidge

I just want to take a moment and introduce you to the newest sponsor here at Varnish, Richard Burbidge out of the UK! I'm excited to have a sponsor who offers such beautiful architectural details. The product is gorgeous and if it doesn't make you want to remodel your home than you don't have a pulse (or eyeballs)! The mouldings and decorative paneling has me planning a makeover as we speak. Go peruse their website and tempt yourself to redo your ugly tract house. What?! I live in one too! We NEED this product. Passing it straight on to "My Architect"!

Richard Burbidge

Richard Burbidge

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Frieda and Nellie Friendship Bracelets


In the 6th grade all my friends and I did was make friendship bracelets. We could could not hang with Frieda & Nellie's versions here. I love that the designers are actually best friends too. Not a better way to work in my opinion. These are pretty spendy and if you can't swing them than Material Therapy offers a more reasonable, allbeit, less grand version. Still super cute though. A good option for a friend's birthday or Christmas exchange I think.

Frieda & Nelly
Material Therapy

Frieda & Nellie Friendship Bracelets

Monday, August 22, 2011

Design Star Update


Happy Monday people! Well, it has been one crazy week. I worked on a few projects this week, had some new job offers, went for the Design Star open call on Saturday and got my little ones ready for their first day of preschool and kindergarten (this morning!) Nothing like going to bed at midnight to make sure everyone has their uniforms cleaned and pressed. You mama's know what I'm talking about! Anyhow, I promised a full report about the Design Star audition so here it is. After filling out a 17 page application, submitting my portfolio, a resume and two pictures of myself, I waited in a conference room with maybe 40-50 people at the Westin. I waited for a little over an hour before meeting with the casting lady, director, coordinator (not sure of the lingo). I made some new friends and, as always, in uncomfortable situations everyone seemed to find some connection with the person sitting next to them. In my case, a guy from Wynn Design and Development who worked with two old friends and an old boss, an old acquaintance from high school and an old friend of my mother-in-law. By the end of our stay we were laughing and forming what could be a "Vegas alliance" not to be messed with. After a very brief, one-on-one interview I left with what was a positive experience. 4 hours later and I got a call back for tomorrow morning. I have never been on camera, save one terrible experience in NYC trying to describe a play I had not seen (long story). As luck would have it, I met Olivia Fierro of the Channel 5 news at my hair dressers last night and she was gracious and generous with her advice. I mean seriously, how lucky was that?! By the way, she is nicer than she needs to be and even prettier in person. Tomorrow morning I have to have a 5 minute prepared demonstration of some kind of design tip. I think I'm going to show them how to make oil cloth, with the help of my sister-in-law. We'll see how that develops over the course of the day! Anyhow, of course I will let you know how it all shakes out. Thanks for taking the ride with me!

Photography by Elly Yap

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Are You the Next Design Star?

Design Star

Allright all you design aficionados- you think that you can hang with David and Emily, well here's your chance! This Sunday, here in Las Vegas HGTV is holding an open casting call for the next season of Design Star. Click here for more details. I filled out the 17 page application (um yeah) and will be there to check out all of the action. I've always wanted to know how this behind the scenes stuff happens so I'll have a full report for you on Monday. I'm sure that I will pulverized by the the competition but I've always been adventurous enough (okay dumb enough) to at least see what the big boys are up to. Say a prayer for me. I don't even know how to operate any major power tools so it should be pretty embarrassing. At least our curiosity will be satisfied though, right? Now go spruce up your portfolios and I'll see you there.

HGTV's Design Star 7 Vegas Flyer

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dream Kitchen

Miss Paloma Contreras featured these images last week of a Canadian home that has me all undone. This is my dream kitchen. Look at those floors! The brass hardware and toe kick are seriously gorgeous. The sunlight, the fireplace, marble waterfall counter tops, retro light fixture, modern swoopy oven hood!!!! I almost can't handle it. These are the images I hoard and send to"my architect" for future reference. The cabinets are from Ikea, by the way. Never underestimate the power of mixing reasonably priced things with higher end things!
P.S. My dog would look way cuter laying on those herringbone floors.

My Dream Kitchen

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Holy Nacho Polo

Nacho Polo

Well, I don't normally include the head shot of interior designers, but ladies- you are welcome! Spanish designer Nacho Polo is wowing me with this highly edited, graphic space. I'm normally not a black and white scheme girl but this is really gorgeous. I feel like it's a movie set starring me and Hugh Jackman as husband and wife spies who beat each other up....oh wait, you mean that's been done. Sorry. I hope my beautiful husband doesn't read this post (he won't ;) Anyhow, I am really taken by this! The design isn't bad either. You can read a great interview with Senor Polo on Yatzer.

Nacho Polo

Nacho Polo

Nacho Polo

Nacho Polo

Nacho Polo

Nacho Polo

Nacho Polo
all of these gorgeous images via Yatzer
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