Friday, April 22, 2011

Tips of the Trade. Part1

I've decided to just put it all out there. Share insider tips, tricks and secrets of the trade to all of you who write to us seeking advise to your room dilemmas. Sometimes all a space needs is a few easy tweaks and POOF! Like magic the rooms takes on a new life. And I bet that if you follow the simple steps outlined below you will not only use your room more, but you will feel better when using it. Good luck and enjoy!

One. LIGHTING. Every room should have lamps, I don't care how many cans you have in the ceiling, there is nothing like lighting on your level. Keep it simple: a good rule of thumb is that there should always be a triangle of lighting a space. Not only will this help with creating ambiance and task lighting, but it will also lend a helping hand in where your furniture should be. Notice the 2 small lamps behind the sofa?...Don't be afraid to layer lighting!
            TIP: Need a chandelier over your dining table but not sure what is too large or too small? Measure the longest wall in the room. Double it. Convert it to inches. That number is the smallest size the chandelier should be.

Via HGTV Interior design by: Loretta Willis

Via House Beautiful. Photography: Christopher Baker. Interior Design: Robin Bell

Two. GROUND YOUR SPACE! Feel like something is missing in the room? Add an area rug. Without it the room has no connector. Or, try skirting your upholstery. The room will suddenly feel weightier simply because solid pieces are grazing the floor (rather than looking through the legs of wood pieces).
               TIP: Place your area rug in the direction of the sofa. The longest line of the rug should parallel the longest line of the sofa. And, the longer sofa should be placed along the longer wall of the room. It should also be large enough to connect the rest of the upholstery. Otherwise the area rug becomes a mat for your coffee table and is completely out of scale!


via HGTV. Interior Design by Andreea Avram Rusu
Three. CREATE VISUAL INTEREST. Load on the texture and add up the pattern. You can never have too many pillows on a bed. They make the room feel more luxurious and inviting. Play around with size, pattern, shape, texture and color to create a "rhythm" in the room. Pick a contrasting color to the bedding or pull the color out of another object on the opposite side of the room to draw your eye to it. Add more pillows to your sofa, 2 is NEVER enough!!



Via HGTV. Interior design by: Erinn Valencick

 Four. DEC{orate}THE HALLS. Besides, you walk though them all day long to get to your other rooms, so why not make them look good? Place a runner in a narrow hallway or a larger area rug in a bigger space (yes you can do this over wall to wall carpet). Hang some artwork, sconces and dress the windows if you have them. If room allows, place a narrow bench with some pillows on it to cozy up an otherwise "dead space".

Via Elle Decor.
Via House Beautiful. Interior Design by: Stephen Shubel

Five. DISPLAY STUNNING VIGNETTES. This may be my favorite! A good vignette represents a design principal we like to call "heaven, man and earth". Which basically means that you have high objects, low objects and objects in the middle.

Via Elle Decor

Via House Beautiful

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Magazine Rack Redo

Simple piece, fabulous results.......

Anyone that knows me knows I am a bit obsessed with gold right now...I've also been a bit "spray paint happy" with it!   I am also obsessed with anything vintage, and really good deals...

I picked up this "dud" at my local thrift store today for $1.00...yep, one dollar magazine rack redo!

A little fab spray paint, and check her out!!! 

What a quick and easy project with great results! 

I bet all the gals will be asking me about this one at my upcoming house warming party!

 More quick and easy redo's to follow.......stay tuned!!


Friday, April 15, 2011

Walk in my walk-in

The days of bedroom closets with bi fold doors and plastic Shelftrack shelving is over. Make way for the era of CUSTOM. Custom kitchens, custom furniture, custom wedding dresses, even custom appliances. So why stop short with your closet? After all, isn't it one of the most important and most used rooms in your house? I know I spend a lot of my time in mine!  

See TIPS below to give your closet a quick face lift!

Below are some unique and truly draw dropping gorgeous closets. Inspired by famous kitchen designers (like Clive Christian and Christopher Peacock), Parisian boutiques and trendy high end clothing stores, these closets will make you want to redo yours...

  • Try painting it a fun color. Pick a color you would be more hesitant on choosing for one of your main rooms, like fuschia, peacock blue or glossy black!
  • Line the walls with wallpaper to make it feel more cozy and inviting
  • Add a unique light fixture or chandelier to the ceiling
  • Hang artwork
  • Add texture by stacking woven baskets on top of each other that hold scarves, gloves or clutches
  • Place a scented candle, satchel or plug in in a disguised area....there is nothing better than walking into a space that smells as good as it looks, it just makes you want to stay longer :)  
  • Add an upholstered bench, ottoman or chair to soften the look and to give you a place to pile clothes!
  • Try "displaying" your bags and jewelry. It will not only look cool, but I bet you will wear it more often simply because you see it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grilled Peach and Mozzarella Salad

Because I am a vegetarian, I jump at the thought of any grill recipe without meat!!   This is a great summer salad that can stand alone as an entree or accompany any meal.  If it is still a little too cold outside for you, make it indoors on your grill pan as I did here. -xo Carinne

You will need:
5 peaches
3 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lime zest
1/2 cup fresh lime zest
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. tequila (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil
vegetable cooking spray
3/4 lb. fresh mozzarella cut into 1/4" slices
1. Peel and cut one peach and set aside. Cut remaining 4 peaches into 1/2" thick rounds
2. Coat grill pan (or grill grate) with cooking spray and grill peach rounds covered for 3-5 min./side
3. Process chopped peach and remaining ingredients- except mozzarella- in a food processor until combined
5. Plate salad by alternately layering grilled peach rounds and mozzarella.
6. Top with desired amount of peach dressing and serve

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kitchen Essentials

While moving and packing for the last week, I have realized what you really need in life- and whats just plain garbage!  I have rifled through so many kitchen gadgets, its just crazy-

Here,  I let you in on the basic kitchen essentials!

1.Japanese Mandoline (available at
Great for thinly slicing potatoes, carrots, fennel...etc....very quick! A must have-
2.Food Processor (available at
So many uses... vinaigrettes, sauces....easy to clean, easy to use.

3.Kuhn Rikon peeler (available at
Cheapest, sharpest peeler.....comes in a variety of fun colors too!

4.French wooden spoon (available at
My favorite- long & lean....for all your hand held mixing

5.Microplane (available at
Perfect tool for zesting lemons, grating parmesan, whole spices, chocolate.....I use mine every day!

6.Stainless steel tongs (available at
Elund are my favorite, easy to use, good springs!

7.Affordable knife (available at
Victorinox is a great brand of knives, very user friendly and inexpensive.

Friday, April 8, 2011

5 Great All American Decorating TRENDS

I thought it would be fun to do a post on something all our viewers could relate to, even the guys too ;) And who can't touch base with something all American? I thought of these trends based on what I have seen over and over again in the last couple of years. While designing spaces for my clients, these five trends are the most common on their wish lists.

1. Flat Screens Over Fireplaces. We all know how I obsess over a true focal point in a room. Well this trend combines two focal points that would otherwise fight each other for attention and places the emphasis in one spot. Obviously becoming popular a few years ago when the flat screen TVs became more affordable to the public, a flat screen over a fireplace eliminates the need for a (tired) wall unit  and makes for a cleaner, more beautiful space. When hung correctly--with the messy wires tucked behind the wall and the components either hidden and accessed wirelessly, or placed in a disguised end table--the television hangs as a piece of art. Notice in the picture below how these home owners framed their TV in.

{via traditional home}


{via traditional home}
2. The Walk-in Shower. This one is still on the up and up, I think. But really, if you are going to take a shower, why limit the space in which you can lather up? Not only is this a functional trend, but how amazingly gorgeous does this make your bathroom look?  The seamless glass enclosure allows the light to shine through, making the large scale of the shower look as if it is floating. You are left with the tiles glittering off the fancy hardware, yes fancy, because now that the hot and cold buttons are visible, why not show them off?

{Via HGTV}

{via traditional home}

3. The Eat-in Kitchen. Originated in the U.S in the 1930's due to the Industrial Movement, the Eat-in Kitchen was a larger space where food could be cooked on wood or coal burning stoves that were vented into the chimney, thus allowing you to cook and eat in the same room.
The concept of the eat in kitchen (EIK) has gone in and out of style throughout the decades. But because of America's fast paced lifestyles, the functionality of the EIK makes sense as you can sit down for breakfast or coffee or enjoy a midnight snack. The beauty of today's EIK makes for a lovely time to cook while entertaining guests or catch up with the family while making dinner. And why not make it pretty and comfortable with a sofa and upholstered chairs? Not only does the fabric soften all the hard elements---like the wooden cabinets, tile floors and glass windows---but it provides an opportunity to make it your own. The EIK should feel like an extension of the rest of the house, another room, a gathering place.

Besides, when you have people over, where does everyone hang out??

4. The Great Room. A perfect seg way from the eat-in kitchen, the great room came about in the 1980's. A large room that is all encompassing, this room is the focal point and life of the home, the HUB if you will. A great room allows a family to all be together in the same space without doing the same activities and therefor there is usually several areas in the room. 

Always off the kitchen, someone can be cooking in the kitchen and still be able to view a television show in the great room where the rest of the family is hanging out.

{via traditional home}

{via house beautiful}
ABOVE: TV hidden in armoire to conceal it's electonic look (hey, flat screens over fireplace's are not for everyone!)

5. Eclectic Design. Remember when people walked into a store and ordered a "set" of furniture? Usually how it was displayed was what they got. Now a days (thankfully!) we see more and more people open to an "eclectic" look. Somewhat overplayed, eclectic design conveys a collected over-time appeal. The Eclectic Room should look and feel like you took this lamp from the other room, purchased that lamp new, inherited great grandmas sofa and found the coffee table at a vintage consignment shop. All the while incorporating different fabrics and patterns and textures in the space.
But beware when attempting this look on your can be easy to gather great things, but not so easy to make each piece blend cohesively with all the others. If not done right the end result could look less like a living room and more like a thrift store. Instead, keep the end result in mind while selecting things and think of the room as a whole.
{via New England Home}
ABOVE: The glass cubes' modern look contrasts to the rooms traditional architecture, but flows well with the large scale modern fabrics of the pillows. All of this adds an element of surprise when your eye finally rests on these pieces, making the design of this room eclectic.

Blog Feature!

A dress from my etsy shop Martini Road Vintage was featured on a very cool blog called Spot 92!  The blog post is a tribute to style icon Marilyn Monroe.  Here is the picture featuring my dress on the right...She did a great job of finding a very similar dress to the horizontal stripe dress Marilyn is wearing!
Check out the rest of the feature and her amazing blog at Spot 92.
xo- Carinne

Monday, April 4, 2011

make shift home office

I have recently decided that I need my own at-home work space..somewhere tucked away where I can access my computer and simply be inspired. Considering that one of the guest bedrooms is occupied, I may have to be a bit more creative and not so traditional when choosing this space.

If you're trying this at home, look for a space that big enough, yet quirky. How about the space underneath your staircase? Or a little nitch inbetween rooms that would otherwise be unused? Or even, just even, in a hallway?

Can a closet be more than a place to hang your hat? Well obviously that depends on the "closet". We happen to have nice size walk in closets in each bedroom, each with their own window. Quite charming, they have sloped ceilings and original hardwood floors. My thoughts are to make the second guest bedroom closet into my little hideaway space...after all, beggars can't be choosers! AND, based on the amount of time I spend in my own "clothes closet", it shouldn't be that bad!!

I am beginning my research for the perfect desk, storage and accessories to pull the whole look together. Below are some creative home office images for inspiration...

Do you have any thoughts or tips or neat home office spaces of your own you could share??? Let me know, I'd love to hear from you...

Images 1-8: via House Beautiful
Images 9 &10 via Sarah Richardson
Imahes 11- 21 via HGTV