eclectic design inspiration

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Help: 60s and Southern

After stuffing my face with almost an entire baguette, brie, and blueberries, I have just gotten home from watching the 84th Academy Awards at a friend's house (everyone knew The Artist  would sweep tonight - French snacks were appropriate!). I've spent nearly the past 5 hours commenting on gowns and hairdos, overall-good speeches, and all the movies I still need to see. And I'm still thinking about a few things: Billy Crystal is going to be a really adorable old man, I will never stop girl crushing on Penelope Cruz, and since when did Nick Nolte become Santa Clause? Sad face. (for the children)

And before this past year's films get totally away from us, I wanted to do a post on the set design of the various homes featured in the "Best Picture" nominated The Help, which takes place during the 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi. While watching this movie, the interiors really caught my eye because they are a look I am familiar with: both my mom and grandmother's favored home design and decor style is Southern and filled with antiques (definitely not something I appreciated as a kid. Antique shopping had to be the most boring thing in the world. My, how times have changed). But that doesn't mean they are stuck in the 1960s; there are elements to the interior style achieved in The Help that are timeless and therefore totally doable now. But definitely not that crazy pink bathroom below! 

As The Help's production designer, Mark Ricker, explains for Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, he found design inspiration from vintage copies of Better Homes and Gardens MagazineUnder Live Oaks by Caroline Seebohm, and of course the iconic Southern film, Gone With The Wind. After scavenging for the right antiques and decor from Memphis to Jackson, he chose to show the variety of 1960s Southern interior design by taking a different style approach with each character's home.

 Hilly's home represented the new South style that was "prim, perfect, pastel and icy." In this photo I am drawn to the pale peach walls and the porcelain lamps. Very elegant.

 Hilly's bathroom was designed with bubble gum pink everything and vintage wallpaper. This bathroom is soooo retro!

During this era, painted family portraits were pretty popular as seen in this photo of Hilly's living room; my grandmother had a very pretty portrait of my mom above the sofa in her den for a long time.

Celia's house was a "relic of an older generation, filled with all the history of a grander time and rich in family tradition." This photo makes me want to play I Spy with all of the animals! Jeez Louise!

I love that mirror in this photo of Celia's bedroom, but everything else is a bit too dramatic for me.

My mom often covers her formal dining table in a lace table cloth as done in this photo, and she often displays her silver and china in a similar way too.

Elizabeth's house was a middle-income ranch style home with a blander style, in an effort to keep with her character. Those walls scream 60s to me! In fact, everything about this room does.

Skeeter's home was light toned and comfortable, but still had a "formality of tradition."

 I love that linoleum floor!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Gettin' Crafty: Birthday Gifts

This past Friday was my friend Lisa's 28th birthday (we are "birthday sisters" because our birthdays are less than a week apart), so we got the party started by going out for some sassy cocktails, oyster shooters and cajun food at her favorite restaurant, Portland's iconic Le Bistro Montage, tucked under the Morrison Bridge. After having a nice, long dinner we moseyed over to a basement club called The Goodfoot where we got all kinds of hot and shiny while getting down to loud funk music under a sparkly disco ball. Of all the photos snapped over the course of the night, Lisa's favorite was a close-up action shot of her whipping her hair across her face while working it on the dance floor. Everyone really needs a friend like her. <3

Because this girl and I have a very thoughtful, long-lasting, close friendship, I thought I'd do something different this year and create a homemade gift for her birthday. While I love shopping for the perfect birthday present, sometimes it's fun to make a gift instead because it always ends up being super personal. After searching on Pinterest for a new way to decorate a picture frame and finding nothing I liked (been there, done that), I had a completely random, Brownies-era thought pop into my head: I should make her a dreamcatcher. Now this gift might not be appreciated by everyone, because it's a little bit "out there" and a unique kind of decor, but I was pretty sure she'd be into it. And she was.

The basic steps for making a dreamcatcher are pretty simple (I mean we all made them in elementary school, didn't we?) but there's definitely room to get creative with the details, so I support straying from the instructions a little bit and just trying something you think will look good. Picking out unique materials and charms was the most fun part for me; I went to several different shops to get gemstones, beads, silver charms, sea glass and feathers. I felt like a 28-year old Goonie hunting for treasure. My favorite personalization was the addition of amethyst to the catcher because it's the birthstone of February. And what month is the diamond again? Yeah, those are the lucky people! 

I'm not going to give you instructions for creating a dreamcatcher because when I made one I just entered it into Youtube and came up with about a dozen how-to videos. The best instructional video definitely being this one (this is when the existence of sarcasm font would be helpful) - listen for the cats. Instead, I thought I'd take the space to share some of the other cool DIY decor-related gift ideas I came across on the web.

DIY Etched Map Serving Tray from Design*Sponge

Egg Carton Wreath from Homemade Serenity

 DIY Monogrammed Mugs from Design Mom

DIY Clay Jewelry Tray from Fiskars

DIY Sunburst Mirror from K Sarah Designs

Cool, huh? There are some crafty people out there! I would be thrilled to receive any of these. :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

surf stylie

In high school, I was really "into surfing." The craze began when my dad bought me a surfboard at a garage sale while we were on vacay in Santa Barbara, CA, and after paddling out for the first time at Leadbetter Beach (a nice spot for beginners like me), I found myself surrounded by a family of dolphins. I freaked out of course, and took it as a sign from God that I was meant to be a surfer. Just kidding. But I was so stoked on life from that unique experience that even though I didn't get up on a single wave that day (surfing is hard people!), I was determined to keep at it. I became obsessed.

Over the next couple of years, I read surf mags religiously and daydreamed about trips to Fiji, Indo, and Gold Coast, I wore Roxy and Volcom and Rusty like it was my job, I watched The Endless Summer and The Endless Summer II to the point of memorization, and after painting by bedroom "surf green," I plastered the walls with giant Rob Machado and Kelly Slater posters. But I wasn't a total poser; on a lot of Saturdays my brother and I would actually wake up super early and drive about an hour and a half down to Surfside, Texas, to catch some decent (believe it or not) waves.

After starting college in San Diego, I continued with the surfing thing until I decided the water was just too damn cold for me and I gave up. Plus the waves were often scary-big and it freaked me out. I really missed my mellow, bath water-warm Gulf of Mexico.

I still have major love for the surf culture vibe: the chilled-out, sun-drenched, travel-influenced, beach-worshipping lifestyle. I especially appreciate surf style translated into home decor; there is something just so positive about living in a space that creates an endless summer.

I'm totally lovin' these examples of "surf shack" decor below.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

i'm in love, people!

Have you ever had one of those moments when you are inspired by some incredibly awesome outfit that someone else is wearing, and you feel like you won't be happy unless you throw everything in your own closet out and start over with a whole new wardrobe?

Well that just happened to me, except instead of a whole new closet I want a whole new apartment. Actually - a house, in Los Angeles (here we go again) - with new furniture, new art, new colors, new everything.

Feast your eyes on this new dream house of mine and get ready to start panting:

Yeah that would be a neon sign above the door, designed by THE HOMEOWNER!

A pink pig on the mantle? Don't mind if I do.

This room is absolute perfection to me.

Kilim envy.

Yes to the pepto bismol!

Totally digging that mirror.

I have never ever in my life seen a more precious bowl.

I have butterflies. I have found my soulmate and it just happens to be a house (don't judge). Seriously, not a thing I would change about this place. 

The elements that stand out to me (and of course will try to recreate in my own apartment):

1) A white backdrop with pops of color juxtaposed against neutrals and natural wood

2) Diverse styles of wall art displayed in simple frames, grouped together in little families

3) Pink in unexpected places

4) Eclectic (and that's exactly how the homeowners describe their style)

5) A healthy mix of vintage/modern/antique. And that's good vintage, no kitsch allowed.

6) A nonchalant display of treasures from travels

And please note - All of these photos are from a Mar Vista, Los Angeles house tour featured on always-lovely Apartment Therapy. I definitely recommend you check it out so you can get all the deets on who the homeowners are, where they find such great stuff, and their philosophy behind design.

Here's to going to bed and dreaming about this house!  :)