Kitchens with Chalkboard Paint

In the new year I am finally going to be working on my kitchen and one of the things I've toyed with doing is creating a chalkboard wall or some sort of chalkboard accent.  Doing a little research, I found these great examples of what others have done in their own kitchens.  Some are a little more involved than others, and I'm not sure if I am willing to paint an entire wall, but it is a good way to visualize what it would look like without actually doing it.  What about your experiences with chalkboard paint?  I would love to hear about your own work with this type of paint or send me a picture of your finished projects.

images: country livingdesign sponge, design spongeapartment therapyHigh Street MarketHigh Street Marketgourmet magazine via brown turtleneck sweater, cottage living via sally lee by the sea,  High Street Market, living etc. via style filesdesign sponge


Top 5 Decorating Books

If you have someone who is interested in interior design, decorating, or in making their space a little better, think about giving them a design book for the holidays.  They are not only fun to look through, but can be a great way to stimulate ideas.  I know that it can be a little intimidating to look over all of the decor books out there so I've made a list of the top 5 design books that have inspired me. Whether it was their selection of featured interiors, design tips and tricks, or some of their inventive DIY projects, each of these books have opened my eyes to the possibilities in my own space and created a greater appreciation for all of the unique and creative interiors out there.

1. Domino: The Book of Decorating by Deborah Needleman, Sara Ruffin Costello, Dara Caponigro
2. Design Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney
3. Decorate by Holly Becker & Joanna Copestick
4. The Nest Home Design Handbook by Carley Roney
5. Modern Vintage Style by Emily Chalmers

Any suggestions of other books to check out? 


Online Holiday Gift Guides

One of the best things about the holidays are the awesome gift guides that all of the blogs and online magazines cover.  They find the most creative and unique presents and inspire me to look a little deeper than the usual places for what I am looking for.  Also, a lot of the magazines have direct links to where you can purchase an item which makes things much easier and more interactive than a typical magazine.  Here are a few of my favorite online gift guides this season.  Take a little time and check them out. I dare you not to find something you love.  Happy shopping!


iPhone Case from Paper Shaving Studio

A long time in coming, I finally bought my first iPhone a few months back when the new 4s's were released and I have to say that I am completely in love with it!  It has made my life so much more convenient.  Here are a few of my favorite things so far...

Favorite Features:
-Face Time (I can see my family and friends back east so easily now.  I don't have to make a scheduled Skype appointment because they can just call me.)
-Siri (I love being able to read texts or message while I'm driving with the voice recognition.  It also makes alarms and notes to myself completely effortless.)
-Maps (I've used this so much already)

Favorite Apps:
-Starbucks (I can run inside now without having to bring in my purse because it allows you to pay with your phone.)
-Twitter and Facebook (no brainer here...this helps me stay updated more easily throughout my day.)
-Agenda Calendar (I have been slowly transferring over from my planner and it makes everything so much easier, not to mention my bag a lot lighter.)

In addition to picking up this SWEET phone, I also bought a case that I am completely in love with.  It took me awhile to find something I really wanted because a lot of the cases out there were just not "me".  However, there is an Etsy shop called Paper Shaving Studio run by graphic designer Rachel Singleton where she customizes cases for you.  They immediately grabbed my attention with their bright colors, stripes, and fun designs.  Through her awesome shop I found just what I was looking for.  She even gave me a discount on a future purchase if I decide to buy another case in the future.  How great is that?!   Here is a peek at some of the other cool items in her shop.


Amy Martin Illustrations

 came across these lovely illustrations by artist Amy Martin the other day and completely fell in love with them.  The color, graphic style and fresh perspective are really something I am drawn to.  She recently came out with her first children's book called Symphony City that might be the perfect gift for your little one.  Not only will your child hopefully get something out of it, but the colorful and creative illustrations will keep your interest as well.  

images: Amy Martin


Missing My Computer

Oh, Boy!  I took my computer in the other day because I was having a pixel issue with my screen and they ended up having to replace the entire monitor.  I've never had any issues with my Apple products before (knock on wood) so it was sort of a shock when they said they had to TAKE MY COMPUTER for THREE to FIVE DAYS!  Handing it over was like handing over a child, or what I would imagine that to be like.  I've been "unplugged" from the world for three days and although it was sort of nice to not have the distraction, I've felt like I've missed so much.  This may be a lesson telling me to disconnect more often.  If I am going through withdrawal from my computer when it was only gone for a few days, then I may have a problem.  How about you guys?  Have you ever been without your computer/lifeline for an extended period of time and freaked out?

image: apartment 34


Unique LA Breakdown

I can't imagine anyone not being inspired by all of the wonderfully creative work that everyone made for the Unique LA show over the weekend.  The event was a little packed with people, but I not only found some great looking handmade gifts for my family and friends, but I also got to taste some AMAZING food.  Who would have thought that one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I've ever had would be at a design show?  They made it with Burrata cheese and cherry tomatoes....um, yummmmm!!!  Definitely going to try that one on my own sometime.  Below are some favorite things I saw on Saturday.  All of the artists were very nice and happy to be able to share information about their work/products with me.  I had a great time chatting with them about their process and where their inspiration came from too.  Definitely check them out as well as some of the other artists listed below that aren't pictured.  I'll see you next year Unique LA! 

Lizbeth Navarro
Stacey Winters
Kiki Designs
Asher Market
We Love Citrus
Loom Lab
Urban Octopus

Other Notable Shops:
White Fly
Woot Factory
Paper Pastries


Los Angeles Wind Storm

On Wednesday night we had the strongest wind storm I've ever seen in LA, or anywhere else for that matter.  It started off as just a strong wind that we sometimes get as part of the Santa Ana winds. However, as the night progressed you could tell that this was not normal.  The wind was absolutely howling, and the trees were shaking around my home like I've never seen before.  I'm glad that no one was hurt during the storm, but the damage, especially to the Arcadia area where I was working the next day, looked more like a disaster area.  You would swear that if it were not Los Angeles, that it was a tornado that had passed through.  Check out some of the damage yourself.  Crazy huh?


Fingerprint Tree

This different take on creating a wedding guestbook was something I saw on Pinterest and thought it would be perfect for a Christmas present too.  If you have a big family this would be a personal and unique way to illustrate your family tree and give your loved ones something they can cherish for generations.  My boyfriend has a really big family and his parents have 9 grandchildren so this will be perfect for them.  The wreath design also caught my eye, so I might have to try that one a little later.  You can buy the tree or wreath already drawn out and ready to go at the Etsy shop Love From The Thumb, or you can be crazy (like me) and draw it yourself.  I'll let you know how it turns out and post it when it is done.  Hope they will like it!  Are any of you making gifts for people this year?


Cleaning and Storage

Over the weekend I got in some major downtime, but unfortunately I can sometimes be a little type A, and also did some major cleaning and organizing.  It seems that when I slow down, I try to tackle those tasks that I normally put off.  In my cleaning frenzy I found this amazing thing called a Swiffer Duster.  I know, I know, it's been around for awhile.  I come from a tradition of using the same types of cleaning products that I've always used and not buying into a lot of fad cleaning items because they never work for me.  Well, I can tell you that the Swiffer Duster is AMAZING!!!! It literally sucked up all the dust in my house.  Usually, when dusting it seems like I am just moving the dust around or sending it back into the air to then settle again where it was before. Not this time!  It literally took me minutes to dust every surface of my home.  I'm in love.

Along with my dusting revelation, I also realized that I need to figure out a different way of organizing my cleaning products.  I'm embarrassed to admit that they are just sort of shoved in a bucket under my sink.  Here are some wonderful ideas I found around the web that I think will help to get me started.

The hooks on the door, or some type of door shelf would be helpful for smaller brushes or drying gloves.  There is also not a lot of space under my sink so taking advantage of the height of the cabinet would be a great idea.  The installation of a tension bar for spray bottles is really creative, but I'm afraid those bottles would get in the way of the stuff behind it (could be annoying).  I think the biggest success would be the sliding shelves.  That way I can easily access everything without having to reach all the way under the dirty kitchen sink. I can get an inexpensive plastic 14" Pull-Out Basket System at the Container Store for around $17.99 or I can spring for the more expensive Chrome 2-Tier Sliding Organizer (pictured above) for $75.  Decisions, decisions.


Being Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  May your home be filled with family, friends, and good food this holiday weekend.  If Black Friday is on your mind, I hope the parking spots open right away, the lines are fast, and the deals are awesome!  I will be shopping online and looking in stores later in the day when the madness has died down (I hope).  See you Monday!


Guest Post: Winter Textiles

was lucky enough to be contacted by Susi over at Design Shuffle about doing a guest post and I was really excited about the idea of introducing other talented writers and bloggers to you here at D+U.  My hope is that in the future I can bring you more contributors that will share their unique points of view and cool projects.  So with out further ado....(insert drumroll here)....

Hi, I'm Susi and I can usually be found over at Design Shuffle, a wonderful online community of design professionals and design lovers who share their work from around the world.  I love getting out and visiting great Interior Design blogs like Design Plus You. Thanks for letting me stop by!  I live in the Northeast and we got our first dose of winter this weekend so I'm thinking about cozy home textiles for winter already.  Here are some of my favorites. Enjoy!

The tartan is a classic pattern for fall and winter fashion so it makes sense for it to be a perfect pattern for cozy winter textiles. Wool blankets or cotton flannels in charming plaids are great to make a bed cozy for winter.

Warm woolen throws and blankets are a great opportunity to add color to a room. Drape a striped throw on a chair, bed or sofa to add pattern and color.

A favorite winter textile is the knit throw.  These are like sweaters for your furniture.  Cozy cable knits, thick garter stitch and finely knit cashmere are popular choices.

A winter bed is best made with layers and layers of cozy winter textiles. Down comforters, quilts, coverlets and throws add an extra layer of warmth, and can add great color and texture to a Bedroom Design.

Not your granny squares throw, these crocheted blankets are lacy wonders.  These delicate winter textiles look like woven snowflakes.

For a cozy winter table, use a throw as a table cloth. A cream throw add textures to this winter table. This is perfect for a tea or cookie party.

Fur is the ultimate luxury fabric for winter. Faux furs have come a long way recently and are a fantastic option for the budget or anti-fur decorator.  So soft and cozy!

Nothing says winter textiles like a stack of beautiful handwoven wools and mohairs.  For winter decorating ideas, look for throws, blankets and coverlets that will add color and texture to your rooms. Throw blankets are perfect for any Living Room Designs.

With winter around the corner its time to start thinking about cozy home textiles already! For more great ideas or if you want to share your inspirations, visit Design Shuffle, where you can learn about the History of Interior Design and connect with Boston interior designers and more!

images: pinterest, dwell studio, pinterest, good life of design, country days, better homes and gardens, good life of design, graham and green


Unique LA Coming Soon!

This is going to be the gift-getting opportunity you've been looking for.  I can't wait to check out all of the crafty goodies that local artists have been working on this year at the annual Unique LA show.  This independent design show was conceived in 2008 by designer Sonja Rasula and continues to support and encourage the growing community of artists and designers in the area.  To read a really great interview with Sonja and how Unique LA came about check out this link to Laist.

So on to the details...there is an entrance fee of $10 a person, but with that fee you get a tote bag with a featured artist's work, FREE DRINKS, photos from their photo station, access to DIY workshops, and cafes with snacks. Yum! You really do get something for your money.  Not to mention unlimited access for the entire weekend event.  The show is December 3 + 4 from 11-6pm at The California Market Center in downtown Los Angeles.  These are the types of events that make me so happy to be living in LA and I'm excited to be able to go this year. I hope to see you there!

Check out this video for a sneak peek at the show.

The 3rd Annual Holiday Show from UNIQUE LA on Vimeo.


H.D. Buttercup Lighting

Here is a little eye candy for those lighting fanatics out there.  On a recent trip to H.D. Buttercup in Culver City I was really amazed at how creative lighting designers were becoming.  Especially with their use of materials and construction.  I think it would be a dream to use any one of these!  What do you guys think?  Too over-the-top or just plain fantastic?

So, I have to admit that I really like this funky light, but it sort of reminded me of Elmo too.  What do you think?