New Mod Pieces Photo Format!

It’s been so busy around the studio that things have become a little crowded.

To solve this issue, I decided to find a new place to shoot all of the product photographs for the store.

In my new photography area, I now have two different backgrounds to shoot against. One is a white, painted brick and one is a painted, grey wall. This gives me more flexibility in choosing the best background to complement each and every lamp.

The photos are made consistent by the presence of the credenza that each lamp is photographed atop.

Having a separate space do to all of my photography has freed up so much work space in my studio. I’m so excited to have reclaimed those precious square feet to do what I love most… Restyle vintage lamps!

After being “closed for maintenance” for over a week, I’m happy to report that Mod Pieces is back open and looking better than ever!

Head on over there now to check out all the latest goodies and let me know which piece is your fave!

New Business Cards!

As you know, I recently changed the direction of Mod Pieces from focusing on all types of furnishings to focusing on lighting, exclusively.

It was time for new business cards to match!

I hymned and hawed about whether to go the traditional route again and design something fancy that could be printed by an outside supplier or if I could come up with a more creative, simple and eco-friendly solution.

I opted to have recycled cardstock custom cut into the size & shape that I required. Next, I had some custom stamps made of my logo, tagline and contact information.

It’s a little extra work on my end to hand stamp each one, but I think it’s worth it to have a handmade, earth-concious business card that reflects the core values of Mod Pieces.

The best part is that the stamps can be used over and over again, not just for my business cards, but for my tags, postcards, etc.

What do you think? Have I struck the balance between upscale-handmade and eco-chic?

Why “Redecorating” Shouldn’t Be In Your Vocabulary

Your home should be in a constant state of evolution, developing and improving naturally over time (just like you). The concept of “redecorating” should be banished.

And here’s why…

  1. It implies that you should “finish” decorating and then do it all over again in a few years when you grow tired of the look. This makes no sense to me, from both a practical and financial standpoint. Who wants to spend money “redecorating” every few years?
  2. You should never feel like you’ve “failed” to get it right the first time, putting you in a position where you feel like you have to “redecorate” If you can get in touch with your own personal style and are open to creating a space that accurately reflects you and all your splendid quirks, then there can be no mistakes.
  3. It suggests that we should all blindly follow trends without considering if they’re really right for us in the first place. An interior that is purely based on trends will have to be “redecorated” every few years, just to keep up.

Instead, why not start with a classic, timeless canvas that allows you to interchange furnishings, artwork and accessories as your tastes grow and evolve?

This way, you can feel free to “try on” trends and inject pieces that reflect different facets of your personality in a low-comittment way without having to disrupt or ruin your entire room.

There are 3 keys to creating a timeless canvas which will allow you to add & subtract pieces, prints & patterns as you choose, without having to “redecorate”.

1. Neutral Flooring

Depending on your location, the standard may be hardwood, tile or carpet. Whichever suits your lifestyle best is fine, just keep it simple, allowing yourself the freedom to switch up your furnishings.

2. Neutral Paint Colours

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good statement wall, saturated in bold colour, more than anyone, but one wall per room is more than enough. One wall is large enough to make a big impact, yet small enough to be changed in an afternoon if you tire of the colour.

4. Neutral Investment Pieces

You’ll only want to incur the cost of large purchases like sofas & beds once. So, make the right choice the first time around. Simple colours, clean lines and quality construction are key. Dress up investment pieces with fun accessories that are easily interchangeable over time.

Neutra, neutral, neutral…

It doesn’t have to be boring. And, it doesn’t have to mean beige! Check outthis post on how to introduce neutral, statement pieces in your home.

White, navy, grey, black, cream & brown are all classic neutrals that will serve you well for years to come.

Guest Post – DIY Gone Wrong

A few weeks back I wrote a post called When To DIY & When To Buy.

This sparked a Twitter conversation between my new friend, Alexa Thomason, and I. She reminded me that while she’s had many DIY mishaps in her past and with hindsight can now see when she should have DIY’d and when she should have bought (or called in the pros), that each and every DIY mishap has left her with a funny story to tell.

So, Alexa is here today to share some of her DIY blunders with us as a warning to be prepared and not bite off more than we can chew. She’s right… She now has more than a few funny stories to tell!

I recently bought a house, an 80-year-old fixer-upper in a historic neighborhood. I was apprehensive at first, as there was brown shag carpeting in every room, a dropped ceiling in the spare bedroom, and a bathroom that needed to be completely renovated, but I love watching DIY shows and doing mini at-home projects. I felt I was up to the challenge. Little did I know how wrong I was…

The first thing I did was pull up the carpet. I had pulled up an edge of the carpet and spied hardwood floors beneath, and I was excited to get started. After hours of backbreaking work, I discovered that the floors were scarred and covered in what looked like white paint or plaster (the ceilings had been stuccoed). Furthermore, there was a large spot in the master bedroom that was rotten from repeated water damage. However, I borrowed my dad’s floor sander, and was able to make the floors presentable.

My next challenge was the dropped ceiling. As I removed the panels, dirt and cobwebs fell everywhere. It took me more than a week to finish this project, and then I was faced with a room where the top foot of wall and the true ceiling were filthy. The previous owners had installed wood paneling up to the level of the dropped ceiling, and I removed that as well, revealing cracked plaster walls. It took me several weeks to renovate this space to my satisfaction.

My final challenge was the bathroom: the sink leaked, the flooring was extremely old, and there were mushrooms growing out of the shower enclosure. I made a list of everything I would need to make this space presentable and went to the nearest home improvement store. The store had to use expedited shipping to get the flooring I wanted, but I was confident that I would succeed at this project.

Alexa’s Bathroom

Nothing could be further from the truth. The flooring came in…and the store had ordered the wrong style. I had already torn up my old flooring, so I went ahead and bought what was shipped. I removed the water-damaged subflooring and replaced it, but for an unfathomable reason, there was a dip in the floor that I could not level out. I was out of money, so I used an old yoga mat to make the floor even. This appeared to work until I laid the flooring; the dip was still there, but squishy because of the mat.

The sink I bought came with the necessary plumbing, but I soon realized that the piping did not reach far enough, and I was unable to make it stretch enough to reach the water supply lines. I was getting frustrated by this point, so I put this part of the project on hold and tackled the enclosure. This went fairly well, although it was disgusting behind the old enclosure, until the next day, when the enclosure started to buckle and come unfastened from the wall, eventually crashing into the tub in the middle of the night.

I finally called my dad, and he came and helped me the best he could. There is still a squishy spot in my floor, and the plumbing for my sink had to be rigged to stretch, and currently looks like the work of a second-grader, but my bathroom no longer smells like mildew, the rooms are beautifully decorated, and my stubborn attitude and hard work coaxed my home into the 21st century, rather than being stuck in the sixties.

Endless Inspiration…

With so many talented creatives producing such amazing work on a daily basis, I sometimes become overwhelmed with inspiration… Overwhelmed in a good way that is, considering the alternative.

And, with only so many hours in the day and the vastness of the web, it’s fantabulous to have websites that gather the best of the best and bring it all together in one pretty place.

Here are my top 5 go-to hubs for instant inspiration…

1. Pinterest

Pinterest is my first stop for inspiration as well as a reward for a hard days work. Because they have so many users, adding delightful pins all day long, Pinterest is bursting at the seams with goodness. Request an invitation and get pinning! You can organize your own pins onto different boards, making them easy to reference, repin others pins onto one of your boards, or simply “like” others pins (my fave option).

2. Nestfully

From the creators behind We Love Indie, Flairful & Wedfully came Nestfully. Curated from the Artesssen network of blogs, it brings the lastest home & lifestyle posts together in one lovely place. Click through to read entire articles and log in to “favorite” the posts that tickle your fancy.

3. Dwelling Gawker

A daily roundup of the best of the blogosphere. Dwelling Gawker hunts down the most inspiring posts relating to all things home & design and makes them easy to “heart”. If you have a great post to share, don’t just wait for it to be found, submit your post for review by their team! Feeling like you’d like to explore another subject matter? Check out Food Gawker, Wedding Gawker and Craft Gawker!

4. Fab

Fab is the new kid on the block. If you haven’t already signed up to be notified about their daily design sales, you really must! In fact, use this link to help me earn Fab credit. Once you’re a member you can click over to their inspiration page, adjust the thumbnails to suit your visual preferences, then go ahead and get inspired!

5. Instagram

If you’ve got an iPhone and you’re looking for inspiration on the go, you really need to download the Instagram app. Not only can you snap shots of your own world (and add fun, vintage filters to them), but you can also take a peek into the worlds of others by checking out what’s ranking high on the “popular” page. I use this app to snap shots of forsaken furniture in my travels so that I can blog about them later in my Thrifted Thoughts column.

Well, that’s my top five! Where to go for an instant inspiration fix?

When To DIY & When To Buy

I like to DIY as much as the next girl, but our crafty culture seems to forget sometimes that not EVERYTHING is DIY-able by EVERYONE.

With the abundance of tutorials the web has to offer us, it sometimes seems like we can take on anything, but I beg the question…

When does quality come into play?

We each have different skill sets. We each have different strengths and weaknesses. If you value quality, sometimes the better option is to buy from someone who has already perfected their methods.

There is nothing worse than choosing to DIY instead of buying and ending up with something that looks cheap, poorly constructed and sloppy.

Know your limits when it comes to skills, resources and equipment. If you can’t produce something that looks beautifully handmade then pay someone who can. Otherwise your interior will suffer the consequences.

Sure, there are loads of easy DIY’s that just about anyone can master. Sure, anyone can learn to do anything they set their minds to if they put in the time, the effort and the practice required to be great. But, sometimes it’s easier and more feasible to buy from someone who has already put in the time, effort and practice.

Consider also what you really enjoy doing and what you don’t. I see no value in spending your time on a craft you don’t really love.

A great example of this, for me anyway, is upholstery. I thought I would love it. I thought I had the skills to be great at it. I didn’t and I don’t.

Sure, I can handle recovering the occasional chair seat and even a slipcover here and there, but reupholstering an entire chair or sofa… No way! I now know better and leave that job to the pro’s.

By re-evaluating your limitations and your preferences, how could you better support our crafty community through buying from someone whose already perfected their methods?

When “Me” Becomes “We”

Have you heard?

My first e-book, When “Me” Becomes “We”, is now available for sale!

If you and your partner have a bunch of disconnected ideas and differing opinions on how to proceed with the design or decorating of your home, this book can help.

It’s a manual that will arm you with the tools you need to achieve a cohesive blend between your two individual styles.

It doesn’t focus on specific decorating advice. If that’s what you’re looking for, you should subscribe to have blog posts and weekly decorating tips delivered to your inbox.

It’s a short, sweet and simple guide that will walk you through some valuable exercises and tasks that will help you clue in to what your joint decorating style might look like.