A blog from Visual Jill, East Bay Interior Design

A blog from Visual Jill, East Bay Interior Design

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Decorating, Part 2: Bright Colors and DIYs

Some of the most refreshing holiday decor we've seen falls outside of the traditional red, white and green color palette. It's fun to incorporate brights and neons for a change.

For example, in Jill's living room, we went with a "black, white and color" theme:

We also love this happy garland from Midget Gems featured on Apartment Therapy:

(via Apartment Therapy)

Your table settings and centerpieces are an easy opportunity to add color. For Jill's holiday place settings, we set out a bowl of bright Christmas balls and then carried the color through the ribbons tied around the napkins:

We tucked an air plant under the ribbon as a modern alternative to the traditional fir tree clipping.

Two DIY projects add some extra fun to our decorations. On the kitchen wall, we hung an original art piece created by Lauren Hosmer from our team.

Lauren glued mini-cookie cutters together (get out your glue gun!) and then painted some of the interiors with red acrylic paint. After hanging the piece with clear fishing line, she inserted a few air plants for a funky touch.

Lauren also created the dramatic vases on the living room table:

Lauren transformed simple wine, Perrier and sake bottles using acrylic paint and painter's tape. (Hint: remove the labels from the bottles and paint the white layer before adding the colorful stripe!) 

What's your current holiday color scheme? Do you have a favorite Holiday DIY? Share them with us in the comments below!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Decorating, Part 1: Stockings

Nothing says Christmas like stockings bulging with goodies, hung over a roaring fire. But if you don't have a fireplace (or even a mantel), stockings can still be part of your holiday decorating scheme. They bring the holiday spirit whether hung from doorknobs, on wall hooks, or even on an empty coat rack!

At Jill's own house, she hangs her stockings on her stair bannisters, and varies the style of the stockings from year to year. This holiday she found these charming, colorful and unique stockings at the Alameda Flea Market.

She also bought a set of minis for the pets in the family!

Last year we added gold chain to the greenery with the stockings on the bannister:

If you're still searching for the right stockings, here's a few cool ones we found:

White and fluffy from West Elm.

Colorful stripes from LIVbyLouise on etsy.

Graphic and modern by StudioTree on etsy.

Colorful -- and customized -- from Urban Creative, also from etsy.

Where do you hang your stockings? And what's your favorite thing to find inside your stocking? Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Gift Ideas from Visual Jill

Ready or not, here it comes . . . the "official" Holiday shopping season is upon us. Today's post is all about helping you whittle down your gift list . . .  these recent discoveries and old favorites might be just right for your friends and family.

Pantone Mugs. These bright and cheery mugs give morning coffee a boost —and look great on  kitchen shelves. $90 for set of 6.

Flower vases from Anthropologie. These come in several styles; this Chrysanthemum is our favorite. $28 each.

Premium Down Ultra-light vest from Uniqlo. This great layering piece is both cozy and light. $49.90.

Birch Storage Boxes from CB2. Great for hiding treasures (or just the remote controls). $29.99 for set of 4.

Peet's Coffee. Treat the coffee-lovers in your life to the very best -- a local favorite!

Velvet pillows from World Market. These come in seven colors and are the best deal we've found for sprucing up your living room. $9.99-$29.99 depending on size.

Favorite Throw from West Elm. A great addition to any couch or reading chair! $29.00

And last but not least, why not give the gift of decor? Our very own Visual Jill Gift Certificate is just the right present for anyone who could use decorating help of any kind (finding the right furnishings, color consultations, repurposing current items, etc). Just send us an email at jill@visualjill.com and we'll have it delivered to you!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Book Review: Home by Novogratz

We just picked up the new design book Home by Novogratz, and boy are we glad we did! This book is chock-full of great ideas, tips and photos -- providing a feast for your right brain as well as practical information for your left side.

You gotta love the cover photo -- complete with the dimpled smirks of Cortney and Robert and all seven of their kids! For those of you not familiar with this dynamic design duo, the Novogratzes host their own HGTV show, Home by Novogratz, and also have a line of furniture and accessories right now in CB2. Their signature style is a modern/vintage mix, with bold accents -- most often in lighting and artwork.

I love how this book is organized. Each chapter is dedicated to one design project, and they share the budget, the goal and the client's wish list so you can really understand why they do what they do. They begin with a large photo of "Where we started" (i.e., the "Before") and end with a "Where we ended" ("After") photo. Cortney and Robert take readers through the major steps of each project, complete with photos and snappy little tips.

Each chapter also includes user-friendly info graphics like the one below.

And you even get a line-by-line breakdown of exactly how they spent the client's budget. This is a great added bonus that most designers don't share.

Here are some more treats from the book. Check out this fireplace transformation!

In this photo you see one of the Novogratzes' signature tricks: mismatching the dining room chairs -- choosing highly contrasting armchairs vs. side chairs.

How amazing is this room, created for triplets? Playful wall art (custom wall paper) and colorful lighting are also a sure sign that this room was Novogratzed.

This may be my favorite of all the excellent design books that have rolled out this past year. It has just the right balance of photography and information, and it's organized and easy to follow. If you want to be inspired and informed without being overwhelmed, this book is for you!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mid-Century Marvelous!

It's no wonder that so many of us love mid-century modern -- the clean lines, bold colors and materials  such as teak, stainless, and molded plastic are just as chic and comfortable as they were 60 years ago. We recently had the chance to help a hip and enthusiastic couple furnish and decorate their mid-century home in Oakland -- a dream job for us!

We had fun with color in the living room. You'll see the awesome orangey-red popping up throughout the home.

Note how iconic pieces such as an Eames Lounge chair and Noguchi table mix with the destined-to-be-classic leather Karlstad sofa. We scored the paintings at Urban Home in Emeryville.

This shot shows the classic beams found in many mid-century homes.

The dining room features a clean-lined wooden table paired with molded plastic chairs (we love the surprise of two random reds among the whites!). And don't overlook the Nelson Saucer pendant and Spindle clock.

Check out the gorgeous entryway/stairway -- the windows are perhaps the best design element of all! (Although the Moooi Random Light -- a new modern classic -- is pretty nice too.)

Here's a view of the outside of the house -- and another look at those impressive windows.

We'd like to thank Bobbi Jo and Martin for allowing us into their home. It was our pleasure to help them bring color, comfort and style to their sleek mid-century jewel.

All photography courtesy of Lauren Hosmer.
Plant design by Marco Marchesini Landscape Design.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sectionals for comfort and style

We're noticing that more people are choosing sectionals -- rather than sofas -- for their living spaces. A sectional is a great option if you want to include a "lounge" into your seating plan (perfect for TV watching). And when you have a sectional, you only need one other side chair, instead of two that would be next to a traditional sofa.

BoConcept allows you to create your own modular system from their pieces. We especially like the Mezzo and the Istra models, shown below.

We're also fans of the Replay sectional from EQ3:

And we think the Dual Chocolate Sectional from CB2 is just yummy!

And let's not forget the Karlstad sectional from Ikea -- one of Jill's personal favorites!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fun design, step by step

Those of us who schlep our laundry or groceries up and down our stairs every day can tend to overlook the potential of this space. Your stairwell offers a few key decorating possibilities -- along the wall, the risers, or on the steps themselves.

We often paint the stairwell wall an accent color, as we did here:

And we always highlight this wall with artwork or a photo gallery, as in these examples from our portfolio:

The most recent issue of HGTV magazine has some fun ideas for decorating your stairs . . .

How cute are those numbered stairs? And we LOVE the orange painted "banister"!

Have you tried anything creative with your stairs? Let us know in the comments below!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Home is where the ART is

One of Visual Jill's fundamental decorating tips: don't overlook the importance of artwork. Displaying just the right artwork can take your space from nice to extraordinary. This week we had the pleasure of proving this point in a home we staged.

In this Uptown home, we incorporated many original paintings, mixed media pieces and photographs from Oakland-based artist a.miguel (Alan Hall). When we hung this vibrant painting over the sofa, we literally jumped up and down because it looked so fantastic.

In the bedroom, we hung a grouping of Alan's photography instead of one large piece over the bed. The colors really stand out against the fresh yellow-green wall, and just happen to match the pillow perfectly!

This more muted painting is a great match for the kitchen, especially since the vertical lines complement the lines in the zebra-wood cabinets.

The already colorful family room receives another burst of energy from Alan's orange-and-blue piece over the sofa.

Maybe the best thing about this home is the separate "art barn" on the back of the property. Yes, a barn in the middle of downtown Oakland! The developers painted the inside, and we staged it as an artist's studio -- showcasing more of Alan's work.

We love Alan's art and are thankful we were able to use it to add the extra "WOW" factor to the space.

Some tips for choosing the right artwork for your space:

  • Consider size -- if you have an entirely open wall, one small or medium-sized piece won't have the impact you need. Try one or two larger pieces, or a grouping of smaller ones.
  • Consider color -- the art doesn't have to completely match the other pieces in the room, but it should include at least a touch of one or two colors being used. Artwork is a great way to pick up the accent colors throughout the home.
  • Consider texture -- use art as a way to introduce contrasting textures. If the room includes glass or mirrors, try hanging a rougher mixed media piece. If the room showcases natural materials such as jute, leather or linen, a sleek black-and-white photo would be a great complement.
  • Consider personal meaning -- when you can, choose pieces that are meaningful to you (created by someone you know, purchased on a trip, representative of a different culture, etc.). This guarantees that your space will be one-of-a-kind.

(all photos courtesy of Lisa Ratner)