The Big Boy Room: Update

There was a large, blank wall in Manu’s bedroom that needed to be addressed.  Because it’s the wall that his bed faces, I wanted it to be extra cheery and fun…and because this is a rental, I wanted to spend next to nothing to do it.

I think he loves it.  The steel cable with clips is great because I can change it up whenever the mood strikes.  I totally get a kick out of seeing how pleased he is when wanders into his room to discover that his most recent work of art is hanging there.

The chalk board is a huge hit.  I found the little mailbox in those dollar bins at Target (love those!)  around Valentine’s day and thought it would be a cute way to store the chalk.

So I think I can finally call the Big Boy Room project “done”  for now (well, after one more  teeny- tiny project).  On to the living room!


Right Angle

Along with the close-up, detailed pictures, I desperately tried to get a nice room-view shot.  No such luck.  With walls and door frames in the way, I couldn’t position myself to capture the angle I was after.  I think Santa should bring me a wide-angle lens…and a macro lens…and diamonds.

The Big Boy Room

Remember about 12 years ago when I said I was going to start work on Manu’s Big Boy Room???  Well guess what?!  I’m still not done.  The child-rearing gig apparently takes a lot of time.  The good news is I’m about 75% done.  There’s a bare wall I still need to tackle, a mirror to paint, and a closet door I want to do something with once the inspiration hits.  At this rate, I should have the entire house (which is quite teeny tiny) entirely decorated 2 years after we move out.  I’m slow.

The room is a collection of major department store finds, Etsy, and lots of DIY sewing and craft projects.  It’s been fun , but I think it’s time I wrapped this one up….probably sometime in 2011 after the holidays and the little guy’s 1st birthday party.  Of course I’ll post additional pics when the room is complete.

Did I show you the “before”?  I don’t believe I did.



Big Boy Room Update

This is going to be a quick post.  I just spent the last 1 1/2 hours planning this week’s menu and making the grocery list.  Why does it always take me so long?Anyway, I emailed myself the list and I’m going solo (yippee!) first thing tomorrow morning.  I mean, first thing AFTER coffee tomorrow morning.

In my spare time (HA!) I’ve started work on Manu’s Big Boy Room.  Like all decorating projects I take on, my goal is to spend wisely and make it look like a million bucks.  I love a good challenge.

Riz’s request was that it NOT look like a catalog room which was/is a difficult request for 2 reasons:

1.  I want to live in a catalog

2.  The inspiration bedroom a posted earlier is from the Serena and Lily catalog.

Difficult but not impossible.  I totally get what he’s saying.  He wants it to look to look like our 2 year old plays and dreams in that room.  Homey, comfortable, friendly and fun.  A kid’s room decked out in PBkids from floor to ceiling will surely look cute, but it’s kinda a no-brainer and lacking some serious personality.  This room needs to be special.

So catalog room out the window and back to to the drawing board.  Here’s a sneak peak of what I’ve got so far:

This print from Sarah Jane Studio was the starting point.

Cloud Rug from Restoration Hardware Baby

Sheets from PB Teen

Quilt from Tar-jay

This “Pumpkin Pinstripe” fabric from Serena and Lily that I’m not exactly sure what do with, but I love.  I’m thinking a Euro pillow perhaps.  With some cute piping in a contrasting color?

Like I said, we’re moving at a snail’s pace here but I’ll keep you posted!  Hopefully have it done before he’s a teenager.  Yikes.  That’s a scary thought…

Performance Art

I was still thinking about artwork for Manu’s big-boy room today and I had what I thought was a brilliant idea; to commission Manu himself to produce some original pieces on the cheap.

Like most of our projects, it started off well enough:

We paint with a brush and water colors on a pretty regular basis, but this was his first time using his fingers with acrylics.  “Great color balance”, I thought.  “He’s got the artsy gene”.

He was really into it.

Really into it until he realized…

That he enjoyed the paint far better on his hands than on paper.  Which of course logically led him to..

Painting here….

…and here.  Big mess.  At one point I was tempted to drop the camera and scold him for not staying on the paper.  Then I remembered, it’s art.  It’s art and it’ll wash off.  The experience and these photos are far more precious to me than what’s left on the paper.  I’m learning to chose my battles.

A Work of Art

When I’m on the hunt for original and affordable works of art, I turn to Etsy.  So many  of the handmade goods on there are nothing short of amazing.  Since I’ve started working on Manu’s big-boy room, I’ve come across some really fantastic art for  kids. I’ve narrowed my list down a bit but  I’m still having a hard time deciding!

All images from Etsy

The Big-Boy Room

It looks like Manu’s room is going to be the first to be decorated in our new place here in CT.  I was planning on starting in the living room but Zeemu needs to be moved into a crib ASAP and I didn’t want to buy another one.  This past weekend we purchased a big-boy bed for Manu which frees up yet another hand-me-down  the crib for Zeemu.

And a new big-boy bed requires a suitable big-boy room like this one:

It’s Serena and Lily; (of course) creator of all things super-awesome for kids (and adults now too!).  Super-lovely stuff with a super-high price tag to match.  Of course there’s no way I could swing the $820 it would cost to purchase the collection.  Even if I could afford it,  there’s  just no fun in that. Rather than literally recreate the room piece by piece, what I hope to do is capture and translate the feeling of the inspiration room into my design : a little nautical, a little preppy, clean lines, relaxed, with pops of  bright color for fun.

With two little ones it’ll be slow-going, but we’ll  keep you posted on the progress!


I’ve been inspired by unfussy, preppy, coastal,  casual, serene spaces lately.  What’s not to love, right?  Riz and I had an initial conversation about decor couple night ago.  Believe it or not, I pretty much run all my decorating ideas by him.  Although he’s the tech-y one of the family, he’s also got a really great eye for design (he’ll never admit it).  The first thing he said is “Flow is going to be key”.  He could not have been more right.  With only 750 sq feet, the way the space “flows” will make or break the design.  The goal is to create a cohesive design that effortlessly moves from space to space without harsh or choppy interruptions.  That doesn’t mean knocking down all the walls and painting everything white, but there are a couple of tricks to make the most of a small space:

  • A limited color palette.  Color is great, but in  small spaces a blue kitchen, red dining room, and green living room will make each space seem more confined and leave you feeling pretty claustrophobic.  Choosing 3 colors and rotating them in different spaces (kitchen and bath the same color, dining and guest room same) will create movement and harmony.  Even better, choose 2-3 analogous colors (colors next to each other on the color wheel) instead of complimentary colors (colors opposite of each other) for a more calming effecting.  For this house I’m thinking shades of blue-greys and purples.
  • Less really is more in a small space.  There’s no room for any kind of clutter; daily clutter or design clutter.  While a gallery of mismatched frames may look stunning leading up a grand staircase, it’ll just look plain messy  here.  Instead, opt for one large art piece to make an impact (I’ll be using a vintage map in the living room).
  • Flooring.  Floors are often forgotten but are really important for “flow”.  In this space, most of the floors (save the kitchen and bathroom) are hardwood which is awesome.  This instantly creates unity between all the rooms in the house.
  • Windows:  Hanging curtain rods high up (I’m talking right below the ceiling) gives the illusion of height when you’re living living in a space with standard or low ceilings.  And if your windows are tiny, fake it.  Hang them high AND wide.
  • Know your style.  You should know your style in any sized space, but in tiny quarters, it’s really key.  If your light and bright cottage-y dining room and super- sophisticated old world living room abut one another, it’s going to seem disjointed.  It’s an extreme example, but you get the idea.  One way to avoid this to buy what you love.  When you’re buying what you love (even if you don’t know why you love it) those things  automatically start creating a look that doesn’t feel contrived.
  • Decorate the house, not a room.  Don’t limit yourself to only decorating one room at a time.  When you’re decorating and buying for the entire house you avoid falling into the trap of “theme” rooms (A “look” is good.  A “theme” is bad.) You’ll also then find you can easily swap the tray from your coffee table with that vase on your bedroom dresser, and it looks great….and it flows!

Ok.  Enough school for today.  Time for some inspiration pics!

The infallible Nate B.  Example of color scheme.

Had this little clip from Domino Mag saved forever.  We have a half-wall separating the entrance from the dining room and I want to do a DIY banquette there.  Yay for DIY!

Did I mention we have a screened-in porch?  We have a screened in porch!  Super-excited for that project!  I’d love to kick-back here!

Love how the pinky-red in the artwork is tied into the chairs in the adjoining sitting area.  Thinking I might pull up one of the colors in the vintage map and use it in some throw pillows.  Oh, and that Capiz chandelier?  LOVE!

A sisal rug is on my must-have list.  I’m thinking under the dining table where it can take a daily beating.  I love this striped one.  Actually, I love the whole foyer.

Oh, Katie Lee Joel.  You may not be married to the Piano Man anymore, but this paint color’s got me feelin’ alright.  After a little investigating I found 1.  Nate’s the brains behind the NYC apartment (of course).  2.  The paint color is Benjamin Moore’s Pale Smoke and it’s going in our living room!

So excited for the new space!  Can’t wait to get started!