Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cure for the Common DBRB

Early last week, I posted about a nasty disease making its way around the design blogosphere - Design Blog-Reader's Blues. Apparently, many of you have experienced those feelings of design inadequacy that are the hallmarks of DBRB. After hearing from so many MLHP readers who said they relate to having the symptoms of this plague, I knew I had to do something to help.

Often, we question the Real Life aspect of the truly inspirational, but impossibly-perfect images we see in shelter mags or amazing design blogs. Perhaps we need a bit of assurance that yes, one can enjoy beautiful design on a Real Life level - even where there's messy home offices, toy-riddled rooms, and unattended dust bunnies (all being the case in MY own home!)

If there's any people who know how to bridge the gap between top-notch design offerings, and the real-life limitations of time, space and budget, it is the Designers themselves. I figured, what better cure for the Common DBRB than to see the Real Life homes of fantastic Interior Designer/Bloggers!

I emailed six of my favorite Interior Design Blogstresses asking if they'd be willing to participate in my DBRB therapy session. Would they be willing to send me a pic or two of a room or part of their home they feel best represents their sense of design? Most important though, was that they not "spiff up" the room too much before snapping the pic. After all, the medicinal value is being able to view stylish yet achievably-imperfect images!
I can't even tell you how gracious each and every one was - so willing, and excited about playing along. Sit back and relax - You Are Going to LOVE this!

Do you live in an older house? Maybe a cute little Cape Cod big on appeal, but missing the grand Master Bath? Well, so does Camila - you know her from High-Heeled Foot in the Door. Look what she's done with her tiny full bath! She embraced the theme of the bath's original black and white tile (saved a ton of cash by keeping it, too!), then upped the ante by painting the walls black. This amount of drama and charm turn a small space into an asset!

This next group of pics come from Erika of Urban Grace Interiors - you may have heard of her...

This is Erika's den/laundry room - a room she says is definitely a favorite in her home. I can certainly see why. This is a very cozy space, one I feel has a lot of heart and soul because you get such a sense of the person who lives here... Isn't that some wonderful natural light? You know what I spied first? The industrial-looking curtain rod. I've seen Erika's clever use of non-traditional materials before, and knew there was something to this. Can you guess? How 'bout galvanized piping, typically used for plumbing and electrical. I know, brilliant!
That restful greenish-gray on the walls is Sherwin Williams "Hardware" (SW6172), and the capiz shell chandelier was a $99 West Elm find.

Do you ever feel like you need a little (or a lot) of cool art to fill your walls? Erika snagged this entire collection of vintage matchbooks for $20 at a Flea Market, bought frames at Target, and mats at Hobby Lobby. Makes a rather smashing focal point, doesn't it? Remember, you don't have spend a fortune to get wonderful, conversation-piece art!

I hope you're sitting down, 'cuz you just might faint...This lucite coffee table - TWENTY DOLLARS - Goodwill. Yes, I'm weeping with you. You know, I always thoughts "scores" like this were Urban Myths started by Eddie Ross! P.S. - I'm going to wager that a year from now, that humongo papercutter will no longer reside at crumb-cruncher level! Hint: see that antique yellow bassinet in the first pic? ;)

The room's casual elegance disguises its all-important functional capabilities
Don't you ever wonder what's hiding under the skirted tables and closet doors of published homes? I'm kinda nosey, though!
I was extra-excited to get these pics from Shannon, who blogs at Pink Wallpaper. You see, Shannon is an Interior Designer who also has a daughter who's the same age as my Avery. I always wonder if there's any hope to having stylish interiors once kiddos and toys come into the picture. Looking at Shannon's pics shows the two can co-exist beautifully!

Shannon's design philosophy mirrors my own: Anyone with a big budget can "buy" style, but to be able to pull it together on a slim wallet takes truer "Style Chops."

I had just been introduced to the blogosphere when I read her post about finding this vintage chrome sawhorse desk on Craigslist. I remember being a) Highly impressed with her Craigslist-scoring skills, and b) Pea Green over said skills!
The lucite lamp was a recent find at a local antique store, and the vintage rotary phone was a junk-store snag - $12!! Shannon, can I trade you my blah-blah ivory one for yours? Turq-waz is sooo much more me - I'm sure you understand... ;)
My favorite thing, though? The silhouette - a portrait of little-girl Shannon found at her grandmother's. Awwww! Love it!

Here, in her entry resides an inexpensive (i.e. we need furniture now) console that looks great vignetted with the botanical chart, vintage fan, foo dogs, and totally indispensable storage baskets - oh, and her daughter, Tay's favorite body-slamming critter!
Shannon reminded me that indeed, there's lots of keepin' it real going on in her house...Palettes, toys, and a snoozing Retriever were only slightly out-of-frame, plus, she was emailing from a laptop plunked down on a bedroom floor because her wireless router crapped out. Now THIS is a life I can relate to!

When I found Interior Designer Marianne Strong's blog, Haven & Home, I remember thinking, where have I been? Her posts never fail to satisfy my sweet tooth for all things house and Home, PLUS she is wonderfully down-to-earth!

When I first saw the pictures of Marianne's living and bedroom, I thought - "Wow, that's pretty close to perfect," but upon closer study, I realized that in fact, the rooms are very achievable. Let's take a look-see...

Here's her living room. Fantastically done, I think! Marianne admits that much work has gone into the room, and many of the elements were either custom or bought from a "to the trade" source - Drat! I still think it is a "touchable," realistic, and very welcoming room.
In her cozy bedroom, she incorporated more readily-available items like the West Elm headboard, the Target roman shade, and Pottery Barn bedding. The scene-stealer: the crab trap she snagged from her parents to use at the end of the bed - I LOVE it!
Marianne understands, though, the importance of showing the reality of interiors - that they are almost always always in a state of flux. This is the other side of her bedroom - where her had-forever-chest and waiting-for-some-reupholster-love side chair reside. See, not EVERYTHING is perfect! ;)

The next designer on my DBRB-recovery board is Joni from Cote de Texas. I feel like I've earned an honorary degree in Interior Design from reading the blog written by this wonderfully talented, wealth-of-knowledge, TEXAN design maven! I only have one pic from Joni's home: this small sitting area in her family room. (It was the only area she said was "decluttered enough" to share!)
I'm immediately drawn to all the layers that make this vignette special, noting the ever-present-with-Joni near wall-to-wall seagrass rug (classic, awesome!) Joni recently edited this sitting area, removing some fabric and accessories. The Take Away: Designers have doubts and desires about their homes, JUST LIKE US!

I don't know about you, but the cause of my DBRB isn't limited to visions of interiors. I often get dizzy looking at heavenly landscapes - probably because I have to factor in lots of time and patience to envision such cultivated greatness for myself - not exactly two things I have a lot of...

So, I was extra-happy when Becky of Harmony and Home sent me these pics of her beautiful patio. Becky lives near San Jose, CA - where the weather is darn near perfect, and I imagine one feels rather naked without a fantastic outdoor living area.
I don't think she has a thing to worry about - the outdoor fireplace is gorgeous, and with a nice glass of wine from nearby Napa, I imagine one can feel like they've found Heaven on Earth!
Becky, next time I'm in CA, can I crash at your place? :)

So, you see - Wonderful, beautiful-but-attainable homes - the perfect tincture for Design Blog-Reader's Blues. For more "dosing," be sure to visit these ladies' blogs (see links above).

Muito Obrigada to Camila, Erika, Shannon, Marianne, Joni and Becky!

Have a wonderful Memorial Weekend!!

46 comments:

Lindsey said...

You made my Friday! Love the post.

Rebecca@Harmony and Home said...

Hi Alison! What a great post! I feel like I should have supplied you with interior shots, but truth be said, I just don't have a home as clever, artistic and designer-like as these other gals! I'm getting there! Perhaps by the time you get around to DBRB 2, I'll have something clever to show you! :) Great idea!!! Have a lovely day!

Federica said...

Oh wow! That's an amazing post!
Hugs

Darby said...

Alison... Awesome post! I loved all the pics and all the commentary too! Thanks for sharing all of this with the rest of us!!!

ms. less is always more said...

This is fabulous! You should do it more often! I get a little burned out with the oh-so-perfect pictures too. Like how can we keep up with that? Do we even want to? Sometimes I feel like I want a really cool and inviting home, but I don't want it to be perfect. I can't live up to that!

Haven and Home said...

Hi Alison,

Thank you so much for including me in this. I can't wait to read about the other homes. From just scanning the post quickly I can already tell you I am green with envy about the $20 lucite table!

Pink Wallpaper said...

what a fab post...i feel honored to be in such great company!! thanks again for asking me :)

bluehydrangea said...

I love this post! I think it is way more fun to see real homes than fancy, propped shots. thanks so much for sharing..I sure would like to see more!

My Notting Hill said...

Love this post. So you're right about the DBRB - sometimes I get the DBBloggersBlues. All these bloggers' pics are inspiring!

High-Heeled Foot in the door said...

Wow Alison! This post came out great. Thanks for including me with all those fab women. Unbelievable. I love getting sneak peeks into everyone's home!

Totally jealous over Erika's $20 lucite coffee table. Amazing!

GracefulElegance said...

Oh my goodness - I LOVE this post. Thanks for sharing a look into all all these talented ladies' homes!!!

TheBeautyFile said...

What a great post!! You all have such wonderful style as seen on your blogs and especially in your homes!

Lizzie said...

Thanks so much for putting this post together. It's wonderful to see inside some of the houses of the people that inspire me dailey! And I'll be adding you're great blog to my dailey reads. Thanks again for sharing!!

Averill said...

Alison, what a great idea for a post! I love all these bloggers and it was great to see all their "real" homes. I am particularly impressed with Camila's b&w bathroom makeover -- that mirror is to die for! And of course, anything Erika touches just magically turns to gold. Thanks for the pick-me-up!

pve design said...

feeling so much better with your cures for the common DBRB!
pve

Maria Killam said...

Aren't those rooms fun! Love that lamp on the office desk and of course the black bathroom from high-heeled foot in the door which is how I got here!

Lauren Jade said...

Love your blog and definitely becoming a follower! this post reminds me of myself because I'm all for the cheap finds! hope you'll follow my blog as well! :D
-Lauren Jade

Style Redux 2 said...

I really really enjoyed this post. The rooms are beautiful, but real. With the demise of Domino, we are left with shelter magazines like the sterile Architectural Digest and the celebrity filled Elle Decor. I hope you will make this a regular feature.

Blueprint Bliss said...

Great post, Alison. I always love seeing inside people's homes. And I'm with you and the others- $20 from goodwill?? I, too, thought those types of stories were myths!

my favorite and my best said...

my face just exploded over that post.

Sarah's Fab Day said...

Loved this post and idea!

erika said...

Hello, been having computer problems today and just now getting to read this post! You are brilliant! And thank you for including me in your round-up... I'm honored!!
XO
erika

Blair said...

Oh, I feel better already! Plus I love seeing some of my favorite loggers home!!! Great post. Have w wonderful weekend.

simply seleta said...

this was so pretty to see, and most interesting because it was personal. i'll take looking at a home someone lives in versus a stiff, stuffy overly perfect showhouse!

great blog!

Paloma {La Dolce Vita} said...

So many gorgeous rooms and wonderful bloggers in one fabulous post!

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Oh. That. Was . FUN!

I guess that is my fave too...just looking into the real lives of bloggers...or just homes in general. (yes. Hangs head. I have been known to drive extra slowly at that time of night when lights are on in homes and curtains are not yet drawn...just to get a peek inside homes.)

Great post!

Hope it does become a reular...adding you to my faves, ma dear!

maureen said...

Awesome post! I learned so much stuff. I think you're right that home decor magazines have images that are almost out of reach & I'm so glad u featured spaces of these fabulous designers. Lets us know good design is reachable for anyone:)

down and out chic said...

what a great idea, i love this post. thanks to everyone who shared, such nice spaces.

Emily Arrison said...

Lovely blog post! I love love love reading about Camila's designs from High-Heeled Foot in the Door. Thanks for asking her to share her black and white bathroom. It is just my style.

Anonymous said...

There needs to be a return to traditional based design - lets stop all the frenzy to complete decorating that looks like Dominoe magazine - come on kids lets evolve and return to our roots - enough already

Abby said...

What a great post! These are some of my favorite reads too!

Slices of Beauty... said...

Lovely post!

Cote de Texas said...

So many cute houses I hadn't seen!!! thank you so much for letting me be a part of this. I wish I had sent more pictures -!!!! oy!!!

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

What a wonderful post! I enjoyed seeing these rooms so much! I can't say that they did much to cure MY DBRB though! I thought they were absolutely magazine worthy "as is". That didn't keep me from enjoying the post though. Thank you and thank your friends for sharing these lovely rooms. (your commentary was fun to read also!) laurie

Things That Inspire said...

What a great post! After I returned from the home that I just posted about, I felt that my house was way too cluttered, way to unfinished! These spaces are certainly finished and beautiful, but real too.

paula said...

Wonderful post! I just adored getting to take a peek into all these lovely ladies homes.

PS~Erin said...

DBRB... That's funny, but oh so true. Thanks for the sneak peaks! I love love looking at real homes and these are all so great!

Lauren said...

WHat a FUN post!!! loved seeing into these awesome designer/ blogger homes & am so glad I saw the link on Marianne's blog to your blog!! enjoyed it tons!!
xoxo

Under a Green Roof said...

I love this post! great idea and I loved peeking in these ladies homes!

Courtney said...

These are all so fabulous! What a wonderful post and great roundup of girls!!

Cathy said...

I found your blog through Cote de Texas!!! I am sooo glad I did!!!

This is such a wonderful post!!! Such a great reminder that we are all human...just doing the best we can in our little corner of the world!!!

I became a follower of yours today and I look forward to many more visits!!!

Have a wonderful day!!!
XOXO
Cathy

Vanilla Lavender said...

Wow! These rooms are completly beautiful! I really enjoyed reading what you had to say about DBRB and I will come back read more of your posts. Have a great day! Vanessa

Chic Provence said...

HI this is a brilliant post!

I'm a designer/blogger. I have started a post about re-doing my own living room. And I just can't seem to finish it! The living room will never be perfect, I ran out of decorating money months ago.....lol!! you are so very funny and entertaining, I have a little courage now to revisit my ongoing living room saga online. I always have that conflict between what's perfect (don't forget there's photoshop, there's borrowing stuff to "try out", there's a few tricks out there!)....and what's real.

I even angst about being "perfectly imperfect" if that doesn't sound perfectly wacko!

Anyway, great post, and I'll be back. Hope you are enjoying Brazil!

Hill Country House Girl said...

Just found you and love your blog. What a fun post! It's true - we can all get intimidated by the perfection in magazines and it is so much more fun to realize we are all human and actually have to LIVE somewhere in our homes.Thanks for the inspiration and I can't wait to visit you again.

sarah @ realestatestyle said...

this is great! I am new to the world of bloggin!

Donna said...

Such great inspiration...love it!