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Cheep–I mean Cheap–Ikea Decor Find

7 Sep

I love how the littlest touches can reinvigorate a room. A picture, a pillow or, in this case, a serving tray can add color, texture or detail.
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Friday Free-For-All: Catalogs and Caterpillars

12 Aug

It’s been a busy week around the office and the house, so I haven’t done much nesting worth posting about this week. One bit of excitement this week happened though: the delivery of the 2012 IKEA catalog.
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Friday Free-for-All: Cleaning, Pinning and Planning

29 Jul

Image courtesy of Flickr user patries71 under Creative Commons license.

Ok, folks, to get the blog moving a little more, I’m going to try something new: a little weekly recap of what’s going on in my life and/or the web. Since it’s a little bit of everything I think I will call it Friday Free-for-All. (Why, yes, I do like a little alliteration now and then! :-))

So, here goes! If you like it, let me know down in the comments section.

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Time for a Closet Makeover

21 Jun

Sometimes you get to choose your home improvement projects. Other times they choose you. My newest project is definitely the latter of the two.

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Pinterest Review

13 May

I’ve just discovered a new addictive time-suck inspiring creative tool, called Pinterest. If you spend a lot of time on the web, you may have already heard of it. (I know it’s been sweeping the blogs and message boards I frequent faster than you can say “viral.”)

But if you haven’t heard of it–or you’re just waiting to hear what all the fuss is really about–I’ll give you a quick review of my initial impressions.

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The Big Reveal: Our Baby Boy’s “Modern Meadow” Nursery

28 Dec

It’s been both a challenge and a pleasure transforming our under-used second bedroom–or let’s be honest, our “junk room”–to a clean, cozy space for our baby boy. Thank you to everyone who has followed us from our initial brainstorming, to three rounds of mood boards, to painting, and now, finally, today’s big reveal.

From Mood Board to Reality

The mood board development process was actually a great tool for clarifying and refining our rough design ideas, so by the time we selected our final mood board, we had a pretty good idea of exactly what we wanted. However, there are always some small adjustments when you start putting actual furniture into an actual space, so, of course, we did make a few modifications.

The biggest surprise to us was how much the furniture we selected filled the room. We intentionally selected pieces that were space-efficient and small in scale to avoid over-crowding our petite nursery. Even so, we found that when everything else was in the room, we no longer had space for the side-table we had planned. We also made some tweaks to the original floor-plan, and we settled a few small details we hadn’t decided in the planning stages, for example, lighting and a diaper pail.

Although we finished painting nearly a month ago, it took a few weeks to do all the shopping, assembling, arranging and, most time-consuming of all, staging all the finishing touches to get the room picture-perfect. It was all worth it in the end, though. The nursery feels so clean, calm and cozy that just sitting in there for a few minutes makes me happy. It was nice to have such a welcoming space to bring our baby boy home to.

The Pictures

This first image is the view as you walk into the room from our hallway. We re-covered the guest-room futon we already owned with a suede-like brown microfiber cover to create a cozy sitting area for nursing, cuddling, story-time and, of course, napping while baby sleeps. When our little one outgrows the convertible crib/toddler bed, the futon will become a hip, multi-functional “big boy” bed.

The botanical prints, purchased from Etsy and framed in affordable Ikea frames, help carry the theme and color palette throughout the room in an affordable way. They’re simple and classic enough that if we decorate our son’s room someday down the road, I could see reusing them in another space.

Ikea’s ever-popular Expedit bookcase was just the right size to house baby’s first library, a few toys and mementos and some neat woven toy-boxes, without crowding or dominating the room.

To create a cozy but modern sleeping space, we paired Ikea’s minimalist Gulliver crib with select elements from the “Bunny Meadow” bedding collection. The mobile and other pieces bring just the right amount of cuteness without making the room too baby-ish.

We placed our relaxing Eames-style fiberglass rocker next to the crib both to create an easy transition from nursing to crib and to help carry the rich, brick red accent color throughout the room.

We also included Ikea’s sturdy Mandal dresser to provide a steady, roomy changing area, as well as ample storage for everything from diapers, to clothes, to bedding.

We hope you enjoyed going through the design process with us. I’ve attempted to link to as many of the furniture and decor items, as possible, in the text above, but if you have any questions about the room or any feedback you’d like to share, please drop us a note in the comments section. We would love to hear from you!

Nest: Olioboard.com Review

16 Nov

When it comes to design, I tend to be an “I’ll know it when I see it” type of decision-maker. I don’t always know exactly where I’m headed until I have time to put some different concepts on paper and look at them side-by-side. That’s why having a convenient way to create and edit “mood boards” or “inspiration boards” was such a valuable tool when working on transforming our guest room to a nursery.

There are many options for creating mood boards, including design software like Photoshop and InDesign, basic software like PowerPoint and free photo sharing applications like Photobucket and Picasa. However, I recently discovered a new tool, designed especially for this purpose, Olioboard.com.

Much like fashion site Polyvore.com, Olioboard is a web-based application that allows users to collect items from around the Web and combine them into an endless variety of mood boards. Olioboard is oriented specifically toward interior design and has partnerships with several popular retailers, who contribute libraries of items for inspiration.

After creating a series of nine mood boards for our nursery design, I feel like I have a pretty good feel for the site and I have to say I am absolutely a fan. The site has several advantages that make it a great tool, as well a few areas where it could improve. Here are my thoughts.

Advantages

  • Free and Web-Based: One of the best things about Olioboard is that it is completely free, Web-based, and no special software is required. This is a great advantage because it means you can work on your mood boards any time, on any computer, and you don’t have to fill up your computer with special software or downloaded images.
  • Keeps You Organized: When you add an item to your Olioboard account, it not only saves the image, but the website also captures the URL of where you found the item, the name of the retailer and the price. This is great for quick reference when you’re working on your boards, and it gives you a handy shopping list to work from when you’ve selected your final board design.
  • Easy to Share: The Olioboard site gives you quick access to the URLs and html codes needed to share your boards online. You won’t have to upload your board to a photo-hosting site, but, instead, you can post your boards directly to any website, blog or message board.

Future Wish-List

While I think Olioboard is pretty darn great as it is, here are a few features I found myself wishing for when using the site myself.

  • Ability to Copy Whole Boards: For me, design tends to be somewhat of an iterative process, with me executing several variations on one theme and comparing slightly different versions side-by-side. Being able to copy and paste whole mood boards would make this easy; sadly, that is not an option on Olioboard. I would have saved a lot of time on my last design project if this had been an option, so I really hope Olioboard will continue adding it in the future.
  • Ability to Save Item Settings: On a similar note, it would be great to save settings such as cropping, scaling and transparency options, so that those settings apply every time you use the same item.
  • A More Robust Community: Olioboard.com is a fairly new site, having launched in summer of this year, so I suspect its community features are just starting to get going. When I started using the site about two months ago, I noted several areas that would facilitate greater dialogue and collaboration: 1) the ability to search other users, boards and items, 2) individual groups or boards for certain interest areas, and 3) the energy and excitement that comes with more users. Having just returned to the site, I’ve noticed that Olioboard seems to be actively updating its community features to make these ideas a reality. The search feature is up and running. A groups feature is listed as “coming soon.” And traffic seems to be picking up on the community pages. I’m excited to see the progress they’re making and look forward to using some of these new features to gather inspiration and connect with other users.

Readers, have you used Olioboard.com? If so, what did you think? What did you like about the tool? How could they make the site better?