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Archive for the ‘Reinvent It’ Category

And while we’re on the subject of new lighting

This image, from the Style At Home booth at the Interior Design Show in Toronto, has been floating around the web for the past couple of days.  The painted floor is amazing, as is the fabulous bright springy styling — a sign of things to come for those of us being socked by winter weather right now.  But what’s really terrific is the use of paint cans as lighting fixtures.

It reminded me that I had recently snapped an equally cool use of paint cans as light fixtures…except this one was a little less sleek. 

Just as inventive though, don’t you think?

These fixtures — using brand new paint cans or well-worn ones or any other vessel entirely — are super-easy to make on your own.  All you need is the object of your choice and one of these:

And if you want to hardwire it rather than plugging it in and hanging it from a hook, pick up one of these:

Have you ever created your own lighting?  Pendant?  Chandelier?  Lamp?  Please share!

Image credits: Re-nest (originally from Poppytalk, similar image can also be seen on Aubrey+Lindsay’s Blog); Paige Lewin; West Elm Pendant Cord Set; West Elm Industrial Pendant Conversion Kit

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When Weston was a little older than a year, Monkey arrived.  It was love at first sight, really.  Maybe more for me than Wes at first, but the second I saw that little monkey-shaped bundle of love staring at me from the basket in the toy store I knew we needed to bring him home. 

Weston and Monkey soon became inseparable, and I started to get concerned about what would happen if Monkey got lost (crazy first-time mother stuff, clearly).  So one monkey soon grew to be a family of monkeys (two full-size replacements and two little ones for travel — I told you, crazy), complete with Daddy Monkey, Mommy Monkey, Teacher/Babysitter Monkey and the babies. 

Nearly six years later, The Monkeys still hang out with us, lined up and tucked in at the foot of Weston’s bed.  But Daddy Monkey, Weston’s favorite, is starting to look like the babies have kept him up at night and his job is stressing him out.  I know the day will come when we pack up The Monkeys and send them to the attic, but it sure would be cool to memorialize them while they’re still in decent shape. 

Enter Hippopota.

A super-cool company that memorializes your kiddo’s lovey (or any loved object, really) in a totally modern way, Hippopota owner Christian Jaillite photographs the subject, capturing the essence of it and nothing else.  Just contact him to make arrangements, send him your object (to be returned, of course), and in 2-3 weeks you can have a masterpiece of your child’s favorite pal that’s hip enough to hang in your dining room.

Photo credits: Monkey in his better days, Paige Lewin; “Hippo,” Christian Jaillite, Hippopota; prices start at $500 with 10% of all profits donated to the World Food Program

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Logic quiz:

Poor self-image is to fashion magazines as WHAT is to home decor catalogs?

I don’t know either, but sometimes I feel like I have it, whatever IT is.  Occasionally I get sort of taken over by staging my house…rolling up the throw blankets and storing them just-so in a gorgeous basket (you’re cold? grab one of these!), propping the white ceramic fish platter in a plate holder on my kitchen counter (look, it’s art!), stacking up a pretty set of books by my bedside (who has time to read?).  Maybe it’s some form of OCD, or maybe it comes from buying and selling multiple houses in the past five years (never know when you’re gonna have to put it on the market!), but I suspect that some of the obsession comes from looking through too many home design catalogs and shelter pubs.

Luckily, my little brother pointed me to a hilarious site that reminds me how idiotic some of those scenes from Pottery Barn (and others) are.  Catalog Living follows the fictional life of Gary and Elaine, the passive-aggressive, accessory-obsessed couple who live in your catalogs.  Created by actor and Tufts graduate Molly Erdman, Catalog Living now serves as my daily reminder that I shouldn’t worry if my throws aren’t just-so.

{But really, a little staging never hurt anyone.}

Image credit: Catalog Living, January 20, 2011

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{For those of you thinking you were going to get a post on some great product or DIY project today, please forgive this brief indulgence…we’ll be back tomorrow with our regularly scheduled programming.}

For four days last week, I indulged in my ultimate personal (not to be confused with family) vacation.

For four days last week, I caught up with an old friend, met at least thirty new ones, and basked in the warm glow of humor, creativity, entrepreneurship, inspiration, artistry, and seriously great fashion.

For four days last week, I attended the Altitude Design Summit, a not-to-be-missed bringing-together of social media and design professionals to hear from some of the Greats, learn new skills (screen-printing, tabletop photography, Illustrator, oh my!) and forge new relationships that will last beyond Twitter.

For anyone interested in the content of the panels, you can find summaries and commentary all over the blogosphere. Since I know many of my readers are not bloggers or designers and The Mudroom is not what one would characterize as a personal blog, I won’t recount every life-changing detail. But I will tell you this…for me, the final keynote session of the conference, led by Swiss Miss Tina Roth Eisenberg, summed up my reason for starting this blog, and in some ways, my reason for being. During her address, she said many things that struck a chord for me (“don’t start a blog unless you’re passionate about the subject,” “nobody can tell you what’s best for you,” “enthusiasm and integrity are your biggest assets,” and so on), but it was when she was talking about her upbringing in Switzerland that she said the magic words:

“Life is too short not to surround yourself with beautiful things.”

And that, in 15 words or less, is exactly why I started writing this blog.

Life is too short.

We probably all have some experience with that phenomenon, and maybe someday I’ll write about mine. My life-is-too-short experience led my soul-searching husband to ask me three years ago “what is your passion…your reason for being?” to which I answered, my home and my family and my belief that everyone can live in a beautiful space that incorporates all the messiness of real life.

Some people may feel that’s trite. But the architects and artists and designers of the world — the ones that Switzerland celebrates on its bank notes — would tell you otherwise.

And I’m assuming you guys and gals out there who occasionally stop by my little Mudroom here might feel the same, and that’s why you keep coming back. So thank you…thanks for making my day every time one of you leaves a comment, or sends a nice e-mail my way to let me know that you look to surround yourself with beauty too.

Keep ’em coming, and I’ll do the same.

xo
Paige

P.S. – Thank you, thank you to the brilliant ladies of Kirtsy and the amazing sponsors for putting on this conference.

P.P.S. – That whole sponsorship thing really works.  Haven’t stopped thinking about the Honda Accord Crosstour since our chaffeured lift to Lamb’s on Thursday night.

Photo credit: the super-sweet Grand America courtyard in Salt Lake City; photo taken by Paige Lewin

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It seems like the school year *just* started.  And then it was Halloween.  And now, in exactly one week, we’re going to be roasting turkeys, mashing potatoes and generally stuffing ourselves like proverbial pigs seated at gorgeously decorated tables in holiday-decked houses. 

Oh, what’s that?  Haven’t taken down the paper spiders from your window or jack-o-lantern from your porch? 

No worries.  Join me on Life.Style with Christine Koh on The Pulse Network tomorrow at 1 p.m. EST (or anytime after that)  for some super simple, wallet-friendly, use-what-you-own ideas to make your house and table gorgeous for the big day.  It’s going to be awesome.  Like Oprah and Nate, except with less hair and makeup.

{If you’re on Twitter, feel free to tweet us during the show at @mudroomboston, @bostonmamas and @thepulse}

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The weekend is almost here, and for many of us it’s going to be a nice long one.  What are your plans?

In between a big family dinner, writing and some good old-fashioned quality time with the kids and hubs, I’m going to be working on our home office.  Want a peek at the fabrics?

Looks like I’m finally going to get some of that girly I’ve been wanting for so long.

Have a great weekend, friends!

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My older son is really into Star Wars right now and decided (supported by my husband, and much to my chagrin) that he would love a “giant Star Wars poster with, like, Darth Vader or General Greivous or somethin'” on his newly painted wall of his new bedroom in our new house. 

Um, no.

Since lightsaber-wielding, gun-toting heroes from the Dark Side aren’t really my idea of great decoration for the room of a first grader (who, by the way, has never seen any of the movies), I needed to get creative. 

Better put, I hoped that somebody else had gotten creative for me.

 Urban Splendor

Tortuga Graphix

luckyemotion

SamSerlingSutton

DaogreerEarthWorks

Great, right? 

Since I love WPA-style posters, and I’m still (for now) in charge of decorating my kids’ rooms, a little propaganda piece encouraging travelers to visit the relocated Rebel base was my selection.

Hope he likes it.

Zazzle

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Best laid plans.

I don’t know about you, but when I move into a new space (which is more often than I’d like), I try to have it all planned out before the big day.  The furniture, the wall colors, where the lamps will go.  Everything.

But sometimes things don’t turn out exactly like you expect.  There’s enough space for the couch on that wall, but looks terrible.  Your pots and pans don’t actually fit in the cabinets.  The TV is perfect right there, but the deck door allows a little beam of the neighbor’s outdoor light in exactly when you want to watch The Real Housewives airkiss and then rip each other to shreds.  You get the picture.

Anyhoo, it turns out that one of the AWESOME things we didn’t count on was that our fabulous extra-narrow cherry farm table that used to be in our dining room fit perfectly in our new kitchen, so we didn’t have to buy a kitchen table and it freed up a whole room.  Frankly, I’ve always thought formal dining rooms were sort of a waste of space, so rather than doing a home office/guest room combo (our original plan), we have the unexpected opportunity to have an entire room dedicated to an office (can you hear the chorus of angels?).  I’d like our space to be:

Peaceful, with lots of work space,

 

multi-purpose,

 

separate, but equal,

 

and of course, well-styled.

Image credits: House Beautiful, Southern Living, Cottage Living, Stacy Style (who, by the way, rocks, and if you tweet you should follow her @stacystyle)

 

 

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Divine.

Elegant with an edge.  Exactly how I would want to look on vacation in Spain.  And those arms? Love.

Image credit: Mrs. O

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A few weeks ago, I noticed that one of the blogs I follow started doing something called “Wordless Wednesday.”  Then a few weeks later, another.  Call me slow, but apparently this wordless business is sweeping the blogosphere, and as a working mom of two who is attempting to set up house, keep up a blog she loves and do some design work on the side, all without moving to Crazyville, I’m totally for it. 

So here’s my contribution to Wordless Wednesday…a sneak peek of our new-to-us house. 

Then (a mere 4 weeks ago)…

…and now

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