Month: May 2013

Design Sponge – Before and After Part II

To go along with that great little video make over – check out Nightwood’s website – instant dream furniture that I need in my apartment!

catalog_storage_alask_console1 catalog_tables_midland_noir_coffee1“Nightwood is a small Brooklyn based furniture, textiles and interiors outfit specializing in our own deconstructed furniture and textiles. We design and build with a down to earth yet airy aesthetic and sensibility to convey a modern rusticity that emphasizes hand crafted one-of-a-kind works of functional art. The two halves of Nightwood are Ry Scruggs and Nadia Yaron. Old things, primitive practices, creative reuse and natural materials inspire us both. We have been collaborating since 2003 and our vision is complemented and completed by each other’s work.”

Art Meets Interior

Two of my favorite things had a baby, art and interior design and the creator is Lori Larusso. Her work is amaZing, with a capitol ZING! I found Larusso on one of my favorite art blogs, the Jealous Curator. Check out Larusso’s cool work – acrylic paintings on shaped canvases. Her way of highlighting the negative space is really amazing.


As the Jealous Curator says, “They are acrylic paintings, but I might be tempted to call them sculptures. See some of those shadows? Yep, these are actually paintings on intricately cut panels {all around the 4′ mark}. Gorgeous! And besides the beautifully mundane domestic subject matter {which I am obsessed with!}, in perfectly chosen colors, I think what I love most is that fact that they’re a bit of a mind trick… by cutting the panels, Lori gives so much dimension to these totally flat, partially dissected spaces.”

Definitely check out the rest of the Jealous Curator’s blog posts – the work selected is really interesting, all different mediums. One of my favorite Stylist/Interior Designers, Emily Henderson has also teamed up with the Jealous Curator for the ‘Art Roundup.’ So it all comes back full circle!

Pillow Talk

The original Munro Shea lady, AKA my Mom, has passed on many things to me, including our common love and addiction for pillows. We just can’t get enough, love them. They belong on every spare surface in my home. (Especially because it becomes a perch for Bruin, see example below, Bruin at my parents house).

photo-8The best way to describe this story, are through some Grams,’ last summer when I first moved into my apartment with my j’adorable BF, I picked up a few things for my kitchen at the Christmas Tree Shop, when I noticed these really bright yellow pillows, they looked so cheerful and the price was right at $3 each!

photo-3So I brought them home to live with us. The bold yellow ikat pattern was really fun for the summer, but once winter rolled around they were looking pretty beat – especially since puppy paws had been prancing on them all season long.

It was perfect timing when my Mom brought me along to help her pick up some fabric for a valance in their bathroom. The Fabric Place Basement in Natick is the BEST place to get fabric around here, a lot of options. I love Joann’s but there is only so much paisley I can take in.

photo-4 photo-6They also organize everything by color, which makes it easier to compare tones. I was aiming for something to compliment the gray/blue tweed on my Karlstad Ikea couch. And then I spotted it – a neutral geometric pattern that stole my heart.



It was perfect! I took sewing lessons when I was younger, but have totally forgotten now (on the summer to do list) so I sewed the pillow cases by hand without putting in a zipper. I figured I am such a nut about pillows by the time I need to give them a good wash, I’d want something different! And obviously Bruin approves of the change-up as well.


A Musician Living Above the Clouds

One of my fabulous friends lives in a tiny house.

She has also been my BFFL since we were 11 – no big deal. She currently lives with her boyfriend in a tiny house in California. And when I say tiny, I mean tiny! I was introduced to the ‘Tiny House Movement‘ when my friend first mentioned wanting to move…

1 Front of house 1

My boyfriend and I somehow became very interested in hand-built houses once we moved to LA (go figure?). We took a cob building workshop (which is an earthen building material) and started reading lots of books on the subject of hand-built homes. We loved the ideas the authors spoke about: building a home that fits into nature and doesn’t drastically contrast it; building a home made with eco-friendly products instead of toxic ones; building a home for just what you need and simplifying many aspects of your life; and designing a home with spaces conducive to your lifestyle.

Our minds really opened up to the definition of a home and we started thinking outside the box. We became pretty much obsessed with making our tiny house dream a reality, and decided that the option that would work best for us at this point in our lives was a home on wheels. A home on wheels is more acceptable to permit inspectors and it’s mobile if you need to relocate. We also knew that because we were living in the city and had no place to build a house ourselves, it would be best to hire someone to build our design for us.

2.1 Side of houseLots and lots of tiny-house research online led us to a man named Wolf Brooks with a small business out of Pagosa Springs, Colorado called Jalopy Cabins. On his website, it appeared that he mostly builds log cabins, but we also saw a picture of a small house on wheels that he had built. Pat and I loved how rustic and funky his building style is, so we contacted him and he was totally on board. The price he quoted us was less than any other company we found, too.

8 Interior bathroom

Jalopy Cabins uses as many reclaimed materials as possible, which was part of their appeal for us. Our home is a stick frame house made of beetle-killed wood. In Colorado, trees killed by a certain kind of beetle become a fire hazard if left free-standing, so they are cut down anyway. It is stained with an all-natural vinegar and steel wool mix and the doors and windows are all second-hand.

As for the interior, My boyfriend and I chose all of the appliances, sinks, fixtures, etc. It was pretty much a blank canvas when we received it and we built all of the shelving, cabinets, and the built-in sofa.

10 Sleeping loft

5 Kitchen Table 5.1 Desk drawer cabinets 6 Kitchen sinkWe designed the floor plan for our needs with many other tiny-house floor plans in mind that we had seen photos of. There are a few companies who specialize in building homes like this so we definitely pulled from some of their ideas. The maximum size to tow a house like this without needing a special permit is 8×20 ft., so we ended up making ours 7×20 ft. to fit within those perimeters. It was quite a challenge to fit everything we wanted in 140 sq. ft. and we re-drafted our plan many times.

3 Interior kitchenAlso, once we started living in the house we had to make changes that we didn’t foresee on paper. For instance, we decided to build a small outdoor bathroom behind our house for our compost toilet instead of having it in the bathroom inside. It has a fan that runs 24-7 and we couldn’t imagine hearing that buzz all the time in the small house. We also underestimated the size of a fridge we would need and the small college-sized fridge we initially went for just wasn’t cutting it! Because of the size of the space, one change requires you to take away something else and re-work everything. We ended up taking out our stove/oven, replacing it with a toaster oven/hot plate and moving things around in the kitchen to fit a larger fridge.”

7 Cooking, fridge, pantry, clothes 9 Interior shower

A little friend to friend Q & A about this adorable home:

Were you worried about being too cramped?
Surprisingly, we didn’t think about that much! We had a large apartment with barely any outdoor space. Living in Southern California, we thought it would be nicer to have more outdoor than indoor space. (I think that was a wise choice – look at their view everyday!)

2.2 View from front yard

Was it hard to let go of so many possessions, or was it liberating?
Liberating, for sure! Everything is on loan, really. When we moved to LA, my boyfriend and I went vintage furniture shopping and bought the most gorgeous pieces….a beautiful 1920’s iron bed with shabby chic dressers and nightstands, an antique sofa with retro coffee table, a 1950’s yellow diner table and chairs. We enjoyed them all for a year, but we knew they wouldn’t fit in our new place. We sold them and now new people are enjoying those pieces which is nice to think about.

I have to be very conscious about buying things now to make sure there is a place for it, and usually there isn’t. Except for clothes. There is always space for clothes 😉

4 Interior living room

The kitty palace (so awesome), was that part of the original plan all along?
Yes! The kitty palace was definitely part of the plan all along. We have two indoor cats and we definitely didn’t want them cooped up in such a small space. So, my boyfriend built an outdoor living space (that is larger than the house itself) with cat ramps, perches, and comfy cat-lounging furniture. It is attached to the side of the house and accessible through a door. When we aren’t home, they have a little cat door they use. The palace is very secure and safe from the wild animals here…coyotes, raccoons, owls, hawks. It also has a roof over it, so we’re able to hang out in all types of weather. The cats love it more than any other place we’ve lived. Lots of bird and lizard watching going on…

11 Entrance from house to palace photo-5 photo-4 12 Outdoor palace


2 Front of house 2
Thanks  for letting me crash your beautiful tiny house!

Brimfield Part II … The Loot

Finally, I am ready to reveal the Brimfield loot. After a day of rummaging through artifacts, these little treasures HAD to come home with me and my Mom agreed. We are dangerous shopping influences on each other. (Wait until my sister moves back home, then the shopping trifecta will be complete).

Drum roll please… TA DA!

treasuresLike I said in the last post, we were carrying reusable plastic bags so we couldn’t take anything too big, so these guys made the final cut!

First grab of the day was that graphic basket. It was in a pile of baskets that was the size of a small car.

basketNext was that white ceramic hand. I saw it, and immediately had to get it because one of my favorite designers has one.

photo-3artifacts_items(Ceramic hand now lives next to my artwork and the ceramic parisian Jeff Koons knock off)

Next was the metal cow skull cut from barn-sheet metal– which is the perfect mate for the longhorn I got last year from the same vender, a large Texan man with the best southern accent. And lastly were these two treasures, the horn candelabra and scotty dog etching.

horn_candlebruinAs you can see Bruin, was really into that dog etching and generally being on my table.

Brimfield… Part I

Brimfield (if you don’t know) is a magical flea market that happens in Western-eqsue Massachusetts. It lasts for about 4 days and it’s like the Woodstock of cool antiques and bric-a-brac.

My Mom (original Munro Shea) and I continued our tradition of listening to Michael Buble and stopping at McDonald’s before hitting up da’ field.

Once we parked our car, we grabbed our reusable plastic shopping bags – and there was no turning back! secondThere’s a little bit of everything … and then some at Brimfield! threeWhen you go – be prepared to do some hunting – through dirty ole’ bins, tents and tables. Here are some of the highlights – Below are all my favorite chairs that I saw – please note the mustard yellow-antler-and-horn chair, could there be anything more antler chic ; )

chairsBut I am seriously diggin’ those cowhide metal stools! In the words of Rachel Zoe, “I Die.” Next we move onto the light-highlights… pun intended. The vendor who created all the ‘upcycled’ ceiling lamps comes all the way from Texas!lamps

This colander hanging light was my favorite – it was also on sale for $45 ‘last day sale.’ Which is also another good reason for traveling to Brimfield on the last day.lamps_1Stay tuned for Brimfield Part II so I can show off all the loot I scored!