My Favorites from the 2014 Dwell on Design Event

Last weekend, Dwell was in town at the LA Convention Center, showing off the latest in home decor trends. I’ve been meaning to see this show for several years, and somehow there’s always something unexpected that gets in the way. Well this year, I was lucky enough to finally make it there with a coworker… a little work research, so to speak. Here are a few of my favorite things from the show.

This was one of the first booths we saw there, VIT. I just love the colorful modern glazed finish on such organic shapes.
DSCN5058Vertex Design Studios had some fantastic concrete-made decor.DSCN5069 These pendant lights were my favorite!DSCN5070 Cerno is a local company that designs and manufactures lights. I just loved their use of wood, and take a look at this incredible large-scale cantilevered lamp in the foreground. I love its angles, and it was big enough to just walk right under!DSCN5099 Being an interior designer on a student budget can be frustrating sometimes, so I’m always super excited to find low-budget good-design ideas. There were two booths there that got me excited for low-budget design solutions. The first was Stikwood.DSCN5107 Stikwood is a wood plank product with a sticky back, so you can literally peel and stick the stuff to whatever your heart desires! I think it wood be fantastic for a wall-covering or ceiling treatment. You could also use it as a make-shift headboard, or even stick it to the face of some simple Ikea furniture pieces.DSCN5108 DSCN5111

And speaking of Ikea, this company has a brilliant Ikea-hack business model. Semihandmade makes doors for Ikea cabinets. From the looks of it they are only a little it more expensive than Ikea doors, but significantly more aesthetically pleasing. Here’s your chance to have unique kitchen cabinet facing on an Ikea budget.DSCN5208 DSCN5209 DSCN5210 I’ve been falling increasingly in love with Loll outdoor furniture, so I was happy to take a look at their line in person. They make durable outdoor furniture out of recycled plastic.DSCN5113 DSCN5114 DSCN5115 This display totally tickled my fancy. Wouldn’t you just love to go camping with this!?DSCN5119 DSCN5120 DSCN5121 Clei had several great small-space solutions: everything from your standard murphy bed to desks that fold down into beds. This queen size bed was fun to see transformed into more storage space.DSCN5129 DSCN5130 DSCN5131 DSCN5132 I thought this chair by Sitskie looked like such a cool design, but I didn’t fully understand until I sat down on it. Each little piece of wood you see here moves, allowing the chair to form to your body. I have never sat in a wooden chair so comfortable as this one!DSCN5135These side tables from Karabachian Design are modern and simple, but the dip-died legs make the piece. I always love a surprise pop of color.DSCN5191There were a variety of modular and pre-fab homes on display there, which I was most excited to explore. I’ve been hearing a lot about some of the really cool architecture and design that’s happening in pre-fab homes so I loved seeing them in person. This is a scale model of a modular home called the Pinwheel series. This was an incredibly elaborate, perfectly hand-crafted model.
DSCN5143 DSCN5144 I mean, look at the miniature lamp!! DSCN5145 This prefab home by Altius was my favorite exterior of the homes on display. DSCN5148

Wheel Haus had a creative set up. This is more like a mobile home in that it is literally on wheels and just needs to be plugged into the utilities and you’re all ready to go! But look and the awesome, huge overhang over the porch. DSCN5167 And I just loved the wood plank ceilings. This feels nothing like your stereotypical mobile home.DSCN5165 DSCN5162 This 3-bedroom/1-bathroom house by Living Homes was by far my favorite prefab home on display. Its layout was well thought out, the finishes inside were top notch, and even the decor of the model made it easy to get a feeling of what it would be like to live there.DSCN5168

The people wandering through even looked at home inside. DSCN5169 DSCN5179DSCN5171 DSCN5172 DSCN5174 DSCN5180I’m so glad I was finally able to make it to Dwell on Design this year. It really got my creative wheels turning!

Which one is your favorite?

Furniture of the Las Vegas Market 2014: Pretty Places to Rest Your Bum

Last week, I had the pleasure of heading to the Las Vegas Market with my co-workers to see the latest in furnishings and home decor. This was my first trip to the Market, and it was enormous! There was so much to see, and admittedly we barely scratched the surface. With our limited time there we had to be strategic and mainly focused on the vendors and manufacturers we use frequently, with the goal of seeing what’s new this year. Since there was so much to see, and so much I want to share with you, I’ll spit it up into three posts. This week, the focus is on seating. Here are some pieces I found unique, interesting, or that I just really liked a lot (in no particular order).

I like the wrap-around metal work on this cozy club chair. Plus, it’s not a huge chair, and since a big city like LA has plenty of small spaces, it’s the perfect size for a space like our little house, or really any of the apartments we’ve lived in here.

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I love the design of the wood on the back of this dining chair, and combined with the exposed screws and bolts holding it together it feels a little like the arts and crafts movement and yet a little bit modern industrial.LVMarket2014_150 This is an industrial take on a mid-century modern classic. The metal prongs on the back of the chair remind me of leather belts.LVMarket2014_146 LVMarket2014_147 Who doesn’t love a good ol’ chesterfield sofa? The leather here looks a little pre-weathered, which I love.LVMarket2014_117

And speaking of chesterfield sofas, is this not a gorgeous interpretation of a classic? We were all dying over how beautiful this sofa is. The leather is gorgeous, the upholstery is perfect, and the lines of the sofa are accented with chrome from one front corner, all along the top of the sofa, and back to the front corner on the other side.The sofa is basically cantilevered over it’s base!LVMarket2014_080I am often a sucker for burlap (despite a mild allergy to it that I discovered after making burlap pillow covers) so I appreciate this combination of a modern wing chair with an upholstered burlap back. And look at how pretty the linen-look of the white fabric on the front is next to the burlap and nail heads!LVMarket2014_113 LVMarket2014_114 Ok, so maybe I wouldn’t put this in my house, and it might not be the coziest chair to curl up with a book on, but isn’t it interesting? A very art-house club chair, deconstructed, as though I’m looking at it with x-ray vision.LVMarket2014_106 A little Danish modern, a  little flying nun, there’s still something really appealing about the curves of this chair. And did you notice it only has 3 legs?LVMarket2014_090 I noticed quite a few vendors at the market combining natural materials with really sleek, silvery modern elements. I think the alligator leather upholstery with the brushed nickel base on this chair is quite striking.LVMarket2014_086 And how about the sweeping lines of chrome on this leather arm chair? I also love the detail of the upholstery seams  on the outside arms framed visually by the chrome frame of the chair.LVMarket2014_082 I saw a few sofas with flanges at the seams, like this one in a kind of foggy gray leather. It’s casual and interesting, but still makes quite a statement. Even though it’s very masculine, I can still envision it in several different kinds of spaces.LVMarket2014_081 This outdoor lounge set has a unique, modern organic feel to it while still being suitable to outdoor wear and tear.LVMarket2014_075 LVMarket2014_076 I thought this club chair was interesting. IAlittle industrial, a little art deco. As you can see, this was not the first time I saw chrome being used to make a statement at the Market.LVMarket2014_067 Sometimes it’s the simple things… I thought these patterned cow-hide ottomans were great!LVMarket2014_057What can I say? I’m a sucker for beautiful wood details, curves, and comfort, all three of which this chair has.LVMarket2014_038This side chair might not be the most unique in the world, but I loved the choice of pattern on the upholstery.
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And in a complete style 180, I found this chair charming, especially with the great choice of color. I love coral.LVMarket2014_183 I feel like I see industrial drafting stools just about everywhere these days, so I found this geometric, modern take on them to be very refreshing, and much more unique.LVMarket2014_137Stay tuned next week for more of my favorites from the Las Vegas Market!

Which of these is your favorite? What do you love about it?

The Goat is Back and Blogging

Holy moly, where has the time gone? I’ll admit I’m a bit ashamed of how long it’s been since my last post. But that’s ok, because it is a new year and there’s lots to look forward to this year! I have a better handle on my school/work/life schedules and I’m ready to start fresh. A new year, a new routine. So keep your eye out for new posts once a week on Thursdays. And I’ll try to periodically post some “This Week I Loved” entries. Some forthcoming topics to look forward to:

All sorts of goodies from the Las Vegas Market.

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My favorite shop for eye candy, in SoHo.

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Flea market fun (and finally a post about the flea market on Melrose and Fairfax, a local favorite).

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And more!

So, happy New Year to my faithful readers, and welcome back to anecdotes on design, travel, and life in Los Angeles that I hope will delight your senses.

Cheers!

Fall Time on the Farm

After a couple days in New York City, I had some time to go up to Rhode Island to spend some time with my best friend. Since we don’t have much of a fall in Los Angeles, it was such a treat to get a little taste of the crisp air and changing colors of an East coast Autumn. And nothing says fall time like apple cider, pumpkins, and a corn maze! So we took a trip to her aunt’s and uncle’s farm.

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DSCN3861They don’t have many animals on this farm, but we were sure to say hello to the donkey and the llama that live by the barn.
DSCN3859 DSCN3855 Every fall they sell Indian corn, gourds, pumpkins, and apples.

DSCN3837DSCN3842 DSCN3844All their maple syrup is home made, and they’ve even posted instructions on how it’s done for any curious eyes.
DSCN3848 DSCN3845 Heated only by this stove (which was really quite warm), the inside is lined with all sorts of antique farm goodies, including a collection of old tractor seats.DSCN3849

DSCN3847The best antique of all is this massive antique cider press, which they use to press fresh cider every year. We missed the last pressing by only a couple of days, but I still got to enjoy some cider and it was delicious! Fresh, perfect apples in liquid form. No added water or sugar or anything else, just pure perfection in a bottle.
DSCN3813 DSCN3812 Next we headed past a small field of sunflowers for a walk through the corn maze, which they create every year. All are welcome, kids and adults alike.DSCN3814 DSCN3815 DSCN3817 DSCN3819 Each intersection was marked with a fun, educational fact about farming and some of the critters who might live on a farm.DSCN3821 DSCN3820 In the center of the maze, we came across this giant, friendly hay-spider.DSCN3825 When you exit the other side of the maze, you are left right in the middle of a pick-your-own-pumpkin patch. If I hadn’t had a flight ahead of me, I certainly would have loved to bring some home and carve them into wonderful jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. DSCN3832 DSCN3833As we left the farm, I tried to imagine what it might be like to run such a place. Undoubtedly it is a tremendous amount of work, but how I would love to spend my fall days surrounded by pumpkins, cider, and maple syrup!

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DSCN3829Happy Autumn, everyone!

What’s your favorite part about this time of year?

A Walk Through Central Park

Last week I mentioned my trip to New York City, and this week I thought I’d share some of that trip with you. Most of my time in New York was spent celebrating the union of two dear friends, but a few of us still made time to see some of the sights. I’ve been to New York a few times before, but had always spent my sightseeing excursions going to museums, dining with friends, and doing a little shopping here and there. So this time I made sure to spend some time in Central Park.

The weather there was really quite perfect, so it was a great fall weekend to spend a little time strolling through this amazing park.

DSCN3665 There are some fantastic roads and bike paths all throughout the park, and we saw lots of joggers and bicyclists taking advantage of the beautiful day.DSCN3702This is the mall, which has appeared in many a movie and tv show throughout the years, and being there I could see why. It’s a wonderfully romantic place, covered with a canopy of trees and with plenty of benches to sit and read, take a rest during your walk, or just breath in the fresh air. This place feels very far away from the bustling big city surrounding it.
DSCN3668 DSCN3671 The trees weren’t changing to autumn colors as much as I had hoped, but every once in a while there was one like this to remind me that those fall colors are indeed right around the corner.DSCN3673 At the end of the mall, the Bethesda Fountain almost seemed to pop up out of nowhere. There was lots of activity here, some people just passing through, others enjoying the fountain or taking pictures.DSCN3677 DSCN3684 I love the views from inside the park. There’s something magical about seeing the skyscrapers of New York watching over the park.DSCN3687We came across several refreshing ponds, where life thrived all around them.

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DSCN3686 Since it was right before Halloween, there was even a pumpkin patch right in the middle of the park.DSCN3692 We made sure to visit Strawberry Fields, where dozens of people were gathered to pay tribute to John Lennon. I imagine it is this crowded, or more, all the time. It really says something about the influence the Beatles continue to have, even now.DSCN3696 DSCN3693 DSCN3694I loved coming across this bridge, Oak Bridge.
DSCN3703And I loved the view from the bridge even more.
DSCN3704 And of course, we had to pay a visit to Belvedere Castle, which provides the highest point from which to view the park from within. (Incidentally, it’s also the point from which the national weather service monitors the temperatures for the city.)DSCN3716 See, look at that view!DSCN3708Central Park is huge, and we really only explored the lower half of it. I hope to explore the rest next time I’m in the city.

Do you have a favorite spot in Central Park?

This Week I Loved… (East Coast Travel Edition)

Of course the thing I loved THE MOST was seeing some amazing friends old and new, and celebrating the union of two very incredible people who I love dearly. But in this anecdote I thought I’d share with you some of the sights I saw while I was in New York (for said friends’ wedding reception) and Rhode Island / Massachusettes (to play for a couple days with my best friend). More posts on my trip coming next week!

This week in New York I loved…

Central Park in the fall.

DSCN3704 Strawberry Fields, which still draws a consistent crowd.DSCN3696 DSCN3694 This awesome street vendor in Soho. Hoping we’ll see her on Etsy one day! Until then, if you want her email address let me know and I’ll send it along. 🙂DSCN3732

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This week in New England I loved…

Visiting my best friend’s aunt and uncles’ farm in Rhode Island. Cider, a pumpkin patch, and even a corn maze!

DSCN3834 DSCN3814Touring The Elms, one of Newport’s “cottages.”DSCN3879 The most incredible display of jack-o-lanterns I have ever seen, at the zoo near Providence.(Yes, these are all REAL pumpkins!)DSCN3939 DSCN3917 Ending the trip in Salem, Massachusetts on the perfect fall day. The Witch House is the last remaining structure from the 1692 witch trial era.

DSCN3975Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween yesterday, and Happy Fall!

What Have I Been Up To?

Well folks, I have to admit getting used to a new routine involving an intensive hand-drafting/hand-rendering class and a busy work schedule has been a challenge. I’m starting to get a hold on how to best manage my time so I can get back to blogging! I’ve got a couple up my sleeve, plus I’m heading to New York for a friend’s wedding celebration and will surely have lots to write about when I get back. In the mean time, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Among many things, at work I’ve been pairing fabrics in our library.

fabric And shopping for fabrics in the Fabric District in Downtown LA.fabricdistrict At home, the hubby has been cooking up a delicious storm, including roasting these tomatoes and peppers.tomatoespeppers We watched the Breaking Bad series finally, accompanied by these red velvet cupcakes the Village Bakery made in honor of the final paragraph of the live of Walter White.bbcupcakes I snuck away from my drafting table for a night with girls at Street Food Cinema… Princess Bride screened outdoors in a nearby park, plus lots of food trucks. Mmmmm Umami….umamiburger princessbride This oh so scrumptious hot cookie and ice cream dessert at Pop, a champagne and dessert bar in Pasadena, where we met a wonderful friend from college during her brief work-related visit.cookiedessertAnd Disney lovers hold on to your seats… my AMAZING husband, who clearly knows me too well, gave me annual passes for Disneyland for our anniversary! BEST. GIFT. EVER.
DSCN3580I’m looking forward to sharing regular anecdotes with you all again! Next week: a nod to Halloween.

DIY Burlap Throw Pillow Covers

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When it came to furnishing the living room in my new house, it was easy! I would see the right piece of furniture (like the coffee table or sofa) and know right away it was perfect. Even the rug was an easy decision. But for some reason, finding the right accessories has been less intuitive, especially because I really want to bring out some of the yellow that’s in the detailing of the rug. So after much searching for the perfect throw pillow cases and not really finding exactly what I wanted, I decided to make them instead!

This project is simple, and would be a great way to refresh your own living room for spring. I used gray and yellow for my colors, but you can substitute these colors for whatever colors work well in your own living room. And have fun with it!

You Will Need

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  • burlap fabric – neutral  (1 yd)
  • burlap fabric – color of your choice (1 yd)
  • scissors
  • rotary cutter (optional)
  • cutting mat (if you use a rotary cutter)
  • ruler (at least 20+ inches long; quilting ruler is ideal)
  • pen
  • thread in two colors of your choice
  • upholstery thread (optional)
  • safety pins
  • hook-and-eye (2 sets)
  • slim darning needle (optional)
  • standard sewing needle
  • sewing machine
  • iron

Step One – cut your fabric

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You will need a square 20” x 20” in your neutral burlap, a square 20” x 20” in your color burlap, and a rectangle 10” x 20” in your color burlap. Be aware that burlap can be a little “wiggly” to work with. (I know that’s not a technical term, but you’ll see what I mean.) The straight line you cut on may not perfectly align with the weave of the burlap, so be sure to create your own straight line and stick with it.

Step Two – draw on your line design

I recommend starting with the outside lines on either side and work your way inward. I started with lines 4” from each side by marking a 4” point toward the top and again at the bottom, and then connecting the dots.

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Do your best to make sure the edge of the fabric stays straight and then use the length of your ruler to draw the whole line top to bottom. My next 3 lines on either side worked their way inward 1” at a time. Then I left 2” between the next line, followed by a series of lines ¼” apart from each other in the center. This pattern makes for a nice variation in the design while still looking structured, clean, and intentional.

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Step Three – sew along your line design

This is where those colors start to come to life! Use the lines you drew to be sure the needle on your sewing machine stays in a straight line as your fabric moves through it.

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Each time you you finish one line of thread, gently stretch it out to avoid bunching.

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Depending on your fabric and how bold you want your colors to show, you may want to go over it a couple of times. I found that three runs for each line gave me the look I wanted. Also, remember you have 2 colors, so alternate the colors you use for each line. You can do all your lines of one color on every other draw line, then switch the thread in your sewing machine and do the alternating lines you skipped the first time around with your second color.

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**Be sure that the thread in your bobbin always matches the thread in your needle; we will be flipping this design over and using the back side as the outward-facing side of the pillow cover.

When you are done with the line design, flip it over and take a look at what will soon be the front of your pillow. Pretty cool, huh? You can start to see it coming together! Because you will be using what was the back of the sewn fabric as the front of your pillow, you may notice some stray threads from where you may have lost a thread and had to pick it back up, or maybe the top end of the thread from your previous line got caught up in the next one. Since the weave of the burlap is so loose, I found it easiest to use a thin darning needle to thread the stray ones and push them back through to the other side. Take a few minutes to make sure you have pushed through and secured any stray threads, and freed any threads that may have gotten accidentally sewn into the design.

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Then cut the edges of the thread at the top and the bottom so they are only about ½” long on either end.

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Step Four – prep and hem the edges for the back of the pillow cover

This side is in two pieces to make it easy to get your pillow insert in and out for cleaning. For each the 20” x 20” color burlap square and the 10” x 20” color burlap rectangle, you will need to fold one 20” side down about 2” and iron down the fold.

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Then fold it over again maintaining an approx. 2” overlap, and iron down the second fold.

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Take your two 2” folded edges to your sewing machine (remember, there should only be one 20” long hem for each color burlap piece) and sew a hem approximately ½” from the second fold. Use thread the same color as your burlap to keep the hem hidden and the opening on the back of your pillow less noticeable.

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Step Five – prep and sew together all the pieces

Lay down your neutral burlap square (the one with the line design) so that the outside of your pillow cover faces upward. Next, lay down the smaller of your color burlap pieces so that the rough 20” edge is lined up with the top edge of the neutral burlap square and the smooth side of the hem is facing downward.

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Finally, lay down the bigger of your color burlap pieces with the rough 20” edge lined up with the bottom edge of the neutral burlap square and the smooth side of the hem should also be facing downward.

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Now you’ll need to pin it all into place. Because the weave of the burlap is so loose, I recommend using safety pins so the pins won’t slip out unexpectedly. Use the safety pins to secure all four sides, about  1½” from the edge to allow enough room for the sewing machine foot to move along the edge without you having to take out the pins as you go.

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Next you will sew the pieces together! I used a strong upholstery thread for a little extra durability when putting the pillow insert in or out of the cover.

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Simply sew along each side about ½” from the edge.

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You now have a pillow cover! Flip it right side out, and see the fruits of your labor!

Step Six – add hooks and eyes

This final step on your pillow cover is meant to keep the back closed so the pillow insert doesn’t bulge out. You’ll need to hand-sew two eyes to the hem of the larger back piece.

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I found placing each of them about 4” horizontally from the center in each direction, and about ¾” from the folded top, works pretty well.

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Then sew the corresponding hooks to the smaller back piece. You’ll need to be sure that the hook lines up vertically with the corresponding eye. Then sew it on the inside of your pillow case, just below the thread of your hem.

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This will allow you to sew through to the other side of the excess folded fabric so you won’t have any thread showing on the back side of your pillow cover. Make sure your hook is facing the proper direction to hook onto the eye and keep your pillow cover closed.

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Congratulations, you now have a new throw pillow cover! Stuff that pillow insert in there and enjoy.

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And when people ask where you got it, you can proudly say you made it yourself! I love a good project with a tangible outcome that I can be proud of.

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I’d love to hear your feedback on this project, so if you try it out, let me know how it goes!