Fave 5: Pillow Talk

While I'm a fan of keeping furniture and walls somewhat neutral, I love to add pops of color from fun throw pillows and vivid wall art.  My latest mission is to find pillows for our den and living room that can complement two watercolor prints that I recently found on Minted.  

I was so happy to find art that reminds me of my west coast roots.  The artist, Jennifer Daily, is based in Alameda, California just 5 minutes from where my dad lives.  I chose two abstract landscape expressions.  The first is above the fireplace in the den and it evokes the terrain around Palm Desert.  I love the fluidity of the beautifully muted colors.

Palm Desert from the Terrain Series by Jennifer Daily/Minted

The second is hung over the sofa in the living room and it portrays Marin and it's gorgeous green hills just across the Golden Gate from San Francisco.  

Marin from the Terrain Series by Jennifer Daily/Minted

At first, I couldn't decide which print to place in which room.  I then realized that the south-facing windows in the living room bring in warmer natural light that would enhance and complement the cool colors of the "Marin" print.  The cooler natural light from the north-facing den windows pairs well with the warmer tones of the "Palm Desert" print.  Using colors in this way is a good rule of thumb for decorating in general.  The same principle can be applied to fabrics, paints, rugs and furniture.

All of the options below are from SparkModern, a fab little Etsy shop that specializes in creating custom pillows from designer fabrics.  At most other locations and especially at a brick and mortar shop, a custom pillow crafted from a brand name textile would run $250+ not to mention the fact that a minimum amount of yardage would have to be purchased and ordered separately, often through vendors that sell only to-the-trade.  These beauties are much more reasonably priced and available in a gorgeous array of colors, textures, and patterns.  The mother-daughter team at Spark even runs another Etsy shop, OrangeOliveStudio, where they sell discontinued print pillows.  Not only are these options discounted, they are ready to ship.

The Manuel Canovas pillow in the center is probably my favorite right now for the living room since it would pair nicely with the greens and teals of the "Marin" print.  It could get a little busy with that detailed pattern but the jewel tones are so pretty and I love that it would add a classic touch.  To coordinate with "Palm Desert" in the den, the Peter Dunham Ikat option is the front runner right now and I would love to pair it with the two Kelly Wearstler options at the right, Channels and Bengal Bazaar.

Left to right (all pillows by SparkModern):

Kelly Wearstler Edo Linen in Opal

Peter Dunham Textiles Ikat in Pasha

Manuel Canovas Parfum d'Ete in Bleu Canard

Kelly Wearstler Channels in Plum Oatmeal

Kelly Wearstler Bengal Bazaar in Magenta

Here are a few tips for choosing throw pillows:

1.  Size matters.  For standard size sofas, 18" square pillows work well scale-wise.  For a low-back midcentury sofa or chair, smaller 16" square pillows or oblong lumbar pillows would be best.  Larger pillows that are 20-24 inches square can be used as well if you are looking for a more casual feel in a family or media room.  Just remember that pillows should be comfortable while providing enough room to sit.  If they take up too much of the seating area and need to be moved constantly, they just become a pain.

2.  Many pillows like the ones above are sold as the cover only with a discreet zip closure.  The insert is typically sold separately.  Look for inserts that are two inches wider in each dimension than the pillow to give it that full, cushy look.  For example, if you are buying a 20"x20" pillow cover, opt for a 22"x22" insert.

3.  While pillow inserts filled with 50% down and 50% feathers are plush, lightweight and luxurious, they often look crumpled and require a lot of fluffing.  The best option is to go for an insert that is 90% feathers and 10% down.  If you like to karate chop your pillows for that magazine spread look, this is the way to go since the pillow will hold its shape well.  For a more economical option, foam and synthetic fill inserts are available.  They have less of that lush squish but they hold their shape very well.

4.  A nice way to add variation to your room is through the use of texture.  For a velvet or mohair covered side chair, a smooth silk pillow would add nice textural contrast.  A leather sofa could use the soft warmth of woven wool pillows.

5.  Mix it up.  By using a mix of different patterns, textures, and sizes, you can create real visual interest around the room.  Bring them all together as a composition with a common thread throughout by using the same color palette or style for all pillows.

Fave 5: Springtime Paints and Polishes

What is it about this season that makes us want to try something new?  Maybe it's the fact that the sleepy cold months are long gone and the excitement of summer is just around the corner.  It is the perfect time of year to clean up and start fresh.  Today's Fave 5 features paint colors and coordinating nail polishes that will put a spring in your step.  Why not try a fun new hue on your bedroom walls?  If a big change isn't what you are looking for, you can always start small with your fingertips.  The bold magenta, petal pink, and lush seafoam green recall pretty blooms while the cloudy white and deep cobalt bring to mind a bright spring sky.  

1. Portland Gray by Benjamin Moore and Playa del Platinum by Essie

2. Old Claret by Benjamin Moore and Just Lanai-ing Around by OPI

3. Washington Blue by Benjamin Moore and 555 Blue Boy by Chanel

4. Cherry Malt by Benjamin Moore and Do You Take Lei Away?  by OPI 

5. Wedgewood Gray by Benjamin Moore and Le Vernis #26 Croisiere Sensation by Givenchy

Nautical Nursery

What better way to kick off my blog than with a post that combines two of the things I love most: my baby boy and interior design!  I was so eager to start designing our little guy's nursery last year that I drew a floor plan of the space when I was only a few weeks pregnant.  My poor husband even agreed to vacate his office so that we could turn it into baby's room and assemble the crib 5 months before our due date.  I can blame it on my love of interior design but I think I was just plain excited.

I knew I wanted to have a theme to the room without anything being too literal.  I decided to go with some nautical touches and kept the color palette to primarily white and navy with a few other small pops of color.  As far as major furniture pieces go, we have been very happy with the Hudson crib.  I chose it for the simple design and clean lines.  It coordinates well with our Land of Nod Changing Table (not shown) and the Crate and Barrel ladder bookshelf.  It also includes a toddler bed conversion kit so really it's two beds in one. 

I originally hung white canvas curtains in the room because I thought that they evoked sails and went perfectly with my theme.  They looked really nice during the last couple months of my pregnancy.  Then once baby arrived, nap time and the ever-important "sleep environment" took precedent.  The canvas curtains are currently folded in the linen closet.  This may seem obvious to some, but you are going to need blackout curtains for those mid-day naps.  I'm not sure why I didn't consider this to begin with. The windows in our nursery are also south-facing so blackouts were necessary for heat blocking as well.  I ended up with these from Pottery Barn Kids.  They add a fun punch of pattern to the room and really pull it together!

We have a comfy Dutailier glider but our little nursery was too small to fit any other full size seating.  We now have a couple of poufs in the room including the one below.  These are great as ottomans and extra seating for kids and adults alike.  When you are spending a lot of time nursing, its nice to have extra seating for family and friends.

1. Lucy Darling watercolor print.  This brand has adorable prints and products for sale on their own website, Etsy, and Amazon.  We also have their age stickers that we use for monthly photos.

2. Lucy Darling art print.  This hangs right above the crib.

3. Jayson Home rope knot door stop.  Reminiscent of a sailor's knot (also known as a monkey's fist), similar door stops can be found at a variety of price points.

4. Nate Berkus metallic pouf.  Great Target find!  A comfy place for dad to sit while mom is nursing.

5. Round hanging mirror (similar shown here with rope detailing).  I like that this mirror recalls a ship's porthole.  Similar to the knot door stop, different options can be found from a variety of retailers at a range of different prices.

6. Moby Dick print.  Minted is a great resource for art prints and this one fit the theme perfectly.  It hangs with a few other framed prints in a gallery wall layout over the changing table.

7.  Duralee Roped Fabric.  I found this fun fabric at Calico Corners and used it to create a custom pillow along with a tea towel that I found at Paper Source (see #10 below).  A pop of red canvas piping pulled it all together.  It was my nursery splurge but I love how it turned out!

Landon, 2 weeks old, with his custom pillow (while it was still clean and spit-up free).

Landon, 2 weeks old, with his custom pillow (while it was still clean and spit-up free).

8. Crate and Barrel Sawyer Leaning Bookcase.  This elegant piece fits nicely in the corner of the room adjacent to the crib.  It is so convenient to have a place to keep decorative heirlooms, photo frames, gifts, and books without taking up too much floor space.  Since it is open on the sides, it is a great spot for our video monitor camera (we went with a Dropcam) as well as the white noise machine.

9. Crosley Antique Bronze Clock.  I like the vintage look of this little table clock and it coordinates well with the window hardware that we found on sale at Restoration Hardware (similar shown here).  I quickly realized after the first couple of weeks at home that having a clock in the nursery is essential for timing feeding sessions. 

10. Whale Tea Towel.  I love the 'Into The Mystic' quote by Van Morrison on this sweet little towel.  Since I walked down the aisle to 'Crazy Love' this was the perfect addition to our nursery.  I had it combined with the Duralee fabric above (see #7) to create a one-of-a-kind decorative pillow.

11. Water Hyacinth Storage Bins.  I was torn between going with a dresser with changing table top versus a traditional changing table with open shelving below.  I went with the latter and added six of these storage bins.  They are durable and add a natural touch.  Larger bins on the lower shelf hold sleep sacks, swaddles, burp cloths and bibs while smaller bins on the upper shelf hold socks, diapers, hats, and accessories.

12.  Babyletto Hudson Crib.  I found our crib at Serena & Lily but this design is available from several retailers.  I like the modern look of it and it also converts to a toddler bed which is always a plus when searching for the best baby bed.  I also highly recommend our lightweight and organic cotton crib mattress.  It fits snugly within the crib and is so lightweight that changing crib sheets is a breeze.

What are some of your favorite nursery items?