Favorite Things: Spring Edition!

24 Apr

In keeping with my sporadic blogging of late, I just wanted to pop in and share a few of my favorite things right now. This may be short, but I assure you, all five things are super sweet!

 

1.) This “French Country Writing Desk” from Belle Escape.

It comes in a ton of colors and even though my husband loathes it, I love it enough to make up for his disdain. (Sorry for the odd picture format, I couldn’t get it to crop evenly).

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2.) This gorgeous slab I saw last week when doing some granite selection with a client.

Well, actually, it’s two slabs. See the reflection of the man for scale – they’re huge! I wish I remembered the name of the stone but all I can recall is the word “azure.”

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3.) Easter Eggs/Family Crafts

We did some family egg dyeing last weekend, and I thought I was very clever when I taped off an egg and made an abstract landscape:

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Then I walked around the table to check on my husband, and he TOTALLY showed me up with his PAINTING of our cat. Unbelievable. But he is talented! Do I even need to mention that instead of using a regular, pedestrian hard-boiled egg like my son and I did, he drilled a hole into his and literally blew out all of the insides?…of course I don’t.

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Here are the finished eggs:

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4.) Graphic patterns with bold colors.

This is a detail from a restaurant in Chattanooga, Tennessee called Milk and Honey (their website sports the same colors. Excellent gelato.) Right up my alley! This has been a long lasting combo, and I hope it sticks around.

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5.) This video, which creatively applies the aesthetic of filmmaker Wes Anderson to the classic, Forest Gump.

Spot on, perfection.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/92419083″>Forrest Gump by Wes Anderson</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user24786269″>Louis Paquet</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

Hope you enjoy at least some of the same things! Have a great rest of the week!

 

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

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Hack The Box: Re-Programming the Museum Experience

18 Mar

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I’ve had the opportunity to do some really interesting and fun things in my capacity as an instructor at the Corcoran College of Art and Design (CCAD). Last week was no exception. Between March 13-15, Corcoran College of Art and Design and Bethesda-based Brivo Labs engaged in a cutting-edge, meticulously planned, creatively consuming, brain-numbing-in-a-good-way design charrette to re-think the way that we experience the museum, as experienced through today’s (and the future’s) vast, and growing, technological capabilities.  (Whew. Did I say that right?)

The entire group consisted of about 15 rockstar graduate students from CCAD’s interior design and exhibition design departments, about 5 faculty mentors and 3 administrators from CCAD, many employees from Brivo, a few people from Top Coder (a company that I could write another whole post on). For the final presentation we were all joined by a handful of esteemed curators, webmasters, CEO’s, and other key members from important institutions in the worlds of art, architecture, and technology.

I was a faculty mentor for Team Retail (which I’ll explain below). I think we were also called Team Shop. Or Team Store. But we referred to ourselves as Team Retail from the first day.

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In an attempt to summarize this endeavor briefly, the schedule was as follows:

On Thursday we met at Brivo headquarters in Bethesda for an introduction to what they do and a discussion of how we could best create a conceptual synergy. We got to play with some neat gadgets and learn about things like beacons, which look like this  (note: this faceted silicone thing is the housing/casing, and not the actual “brain” itself, which is buried inside):

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In short, Brivo Systems provides cloud-based security solutions and Brivo Labs does all kinds of neat stuff with technology that I am just beginning to wrap my head around, so I will keep my explanation of what they do to that. Their website can pick up where I leave off.

We were split into three teams, each one working within the confines of the Corcoran’s historic 17th Street Beaux-Arts building as a test-case:

Team Entry had the task of addressing how we discover and first approach and engage with the museum.

Team Exhibition had the task of addressing how we understand, interact with, and experience the actual art.

Team Retail had the task of addressing how we engage with, locate, and participate in the retail experience of a museum. I was a faculty mentor for this team, which was comprised of five interior design grad students, two exhibition design grad students, members of both Brivo and TopCoder, and another faculty member.

On Friday, we met at the Corcoran Gallery of Art to explore the space as a whole as well as take measurements, document, and collect data about our respective spaces.

If you wanted to, you could even sneak away to see some of the current exhibitions and happenings. I walked into “Loop,” which is a personal favorite.

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I was also mesmerized by students and volunteers working on a huge Sol LeWitt line drawing in the atrium. Where else could you see something like this happening?

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Our team chose to spend the bulk of that time discussing ways that we could incorporate technology into the retail experience, and we worked closely with our Brivo and Top Coder tech-brains to distill those ideas into a what was ultimately a solicitation for solutions on Top Coder’s website.  What basically happened, was we came up with a concept for an App that would tie the museum experience to the retail experience, driving traffic back and forth between the two both while in the museum and after leaving the space. This would create a chicken-and-egg/cyclical effect of looping the two experiences together, which would result in repeat visitors to the museum and increased sales in the shop. The App would play heavily on the concept of gamification, creating incentives for ultimate cash-in in the retail store, and would work for those who choose to have active engagement through a device like an iPhone or tablet (either their own or one provided by the museum) as well as those who choose to have passive engagement through wearing a day-pass around their neck or carrying a member ID card (which would be equipped with a unique identifier such as a RFID chip). I’m going to stop going into detail here, because 1.) I could go on forever and 2.) I don’t want to give anything away that people might be hacking away at in the coming months.

I am really geeking out here, you guys. I can’t tell you how FUN this was.

On Saturday, we all reconvened at Brivo to have the official charrette day, where we put our brains to work. Starting at 8am. For 13 hours. Without leaving the building at all on a REALLY nice day. In a room full of dry erase fumes. But we made it through to the other side, and we’re fine. Better for the experience, actually.

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Saturday was a complete fog of diagrams, whiteboards, tracing paper, Google Drive and Dropbox exchanges, coffee (OH! the coffee we consumed), jelly beans, and power cords. Somehow, in the midst of all of this, we even managed to try out some toys that Brivo had for us to play with. Among them:

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GOOGLE GLASS! I don’t even CARE that I appear to have premature wrinkles on my forehead. I don’t even care. My husband was so jealous.

The day looked a lot like this for all three teams:

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Then 6pm rolled around, we breathed for a few minutes, and we set up to present our conclusions and proof of concepts to the critics. That looked a lot like this:

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Team Retail was even able to show a peek at the wireframe model of the App we conceived of. Can you believe that?  After formulating a concept, submitting a request to the TopCoder community of hundreds of thousands of programmers and coders, and letting things happen overnight, a “winner” from halfway across the world came up with a viable working model for the actual App. This is an example of the incredible synergy that this three-way partnership was intended to create: my mind is blown.

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The end of the evening was full of high-fives, thank-yous, and mutual admiration for what ended up being an awesome and exhausting collaboration. I didn’t play sports in high school, but it felt like we won a division championship or something. (Showing my nerd card. Again.)

One of the things that I have yet to mention is that this event was planned right before the recent announcements concerning the fate of the Corcoran Gallery/College, so many of the groups had approaches that necessarily addressed questions like “What happens to the collection?” and “Will the museum be free?” Those questions in and of themselves are big things to tackle, so doing that in conjunction with the larger purpose of the charrette was an enormous feat on top of another enormous feat, and these groups handled themselves like pros. I’m proud.

This three-day exercise, in conjunction with the conceptual nature of CCAD’s curriculum and the unique resources we have as an institution, are hallmarks of the Corcoran Experience for its students. The Corcoran College of Art and Design, and the Gallery, have a culture that is unique to the art community, unique to the museum world, and unique to the Washington DC area. At this time, the logistics of what happens to the space, its people, and its inner-workings are up in the air as to the what, when, who, and how. There are six thousand ways that things could shake down in the coming months, and I’m sure three thousand of them are incredibly beneficial to everyone involved. But as an alum of the Corcoran, a current faculty member, and someone invested in seeing its vibrant and unique culture survive and THRIVE, I think it’s important that we highlight experiences like this one as an example of what we need to preserve and perpetuate in order to keep the mission and voice of the Corcoran alive and well.

In any case, WHAT A GREAT experience for everyone involved! I hope it’s just the first of many more like it! I’ll echo the many “thank yous” exchanged around the room on Saturday, and say that each person involved the charrette – Brivo, Top Coder, the Corcoran folks, and the critics – was not only a valuable resource but a complete joy to spend in intense weekend with.

You can read the full press-release of the event here.

Many of the images in this blog post were taken by me. Many came from other participants, and can be sourced here via re-posted Instagram or Twitter pics.

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Tiny Gallery For A Tiny Person

17 Mar

Today’s SNOW DAY Morning Mission: creating a gallery wall in my son’s bedroom!

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As almost all parents-of-preschoolers do, we usually have about 600 pieces of kid art laying around the house. It just so happens that this weekend we went through and culled that down to about 100 pieces, which we put in a desk organizer on a bookshelf with the intent to work through it monthly and keep, scan, purge, or mail to grandparents. So naturally, this morning after a marathon game of Chutes and Ladders (did you KNOW how long that game can go on???) I grabbed the art organizer, called over my artist and assistant curator, and we got to work.

First we picked out about 20 things my son wanted to see up on the wall. We also found and printed some photographs. I let him choose about six rolls of washi tape for the “frames” (I love this Etsy shop for fantastic, fairly inexpensive tape). We also used a few existing frames and mats; by the way, I love these 2-pack NYTTJA frames from IKEA for kids’ rooms.

After about half an hour of “curating” we started the assembly. I’d love to say this was carefully thought out (as a client’s wall would be)  but we just started tacking things up and filling in the holes. I was careful to hang the actual frames a little higher than I thought he’d reach or hit while playing.

This is what we got:

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A few of the highlights are the origami dinosaur and crane, which are essentially “seat-belted” the the wall…

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Some of his early writings…2014-03-17 02.27.06 pm

 

And this ice cream cutout, which is paired with a “menu” he recently gave me as breakfast suggestions (nice try). 2014-03-17 02.27.24 pm

If the tape doesn’t stick very well or comes unglued, you can hit it with a hot hairdryer to gum it onto the wall a little bit more. But don’t worry, it won’t damage your wall (that’s the beauty of washi-tape). It will also keep your paper free of rips if you remove it (just pull slowly and carefully).

Now if tomorrow’s another snow day, I have NO IDEA what we’re going to do!

 

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

West Elm Is MAJORLY Stepping It Up With Hardware Options!

1 Mar

I was perusing West Elm recently and came across this really unique and fun agate hardware. There are knobs, pulls, and handle sets, and they’re all super interesting.

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I could even see applying these to an Ikea hack. Like on the ubiquitous Malm. (Oh come on, you know you have a Malm.)

Malm with West Elm Agate

I might have to get myself some of these…hope you like them, too!

They’re available from West Elm and they range from $9.99 t0 $49.

 

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

5 Things I Love RIGHT Now.

21 Feb

1.  Marbleized Anything

marble paper(source)

I love the idea of framing a piece of marbleized paper.

marble paper

I acquired a DIY marbling kit for Christmas so I might be trying this soon. Hopefully I’ll spring for a marbling tray so I don’t stain my bathtub, but I’ve been known to be a less than careful crafter when I’m struck with an urge to make something.

 

2. Making Candy

gummy candy

I experimented with chocolate and toffee and truffles during the holidays, but I’d never made gummi candy before. Until a few weeks ago. And the thing is, it’s SO easy! You just mix a large box of Jell-O with 3 packets of plain gelatin and 2/3 cup of water, let it sit for 5 minutes, then boil it until the crystals dissolve. Then you pour it into little silicone molds (it makes about two molds since there is so little liquid involved), let it sit for half an hour, and they pop RIGHT out. Easiest thing ever. Totally gross and artificial, but who am I to criticize that. I love candy.

 

3. Nurturing A Creative Soul

My son is really coming into his own as a tiny artist. He is not one to receive instruction or take direction often or with ease, but he has been asking for drawing lessons lately, and I oblige. He even added some…umm…”flair” to a rough sketch of mine. I’m not sure that it needed purses or Christmas trees, but he thought it did.

Collaborative Sketch

 

4. Rocks

A few weeks ago I rediscovered my childhood “100 Rocks of North America” chart, and it brought back awesome memories.

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It’s hard to tell from my picture, but they really are super colorful and cover a wide spectrum of neutrals. They remind me of these agate platters from LEIF ($50 – currently sold out, but they should be back in stock soon).

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5. Free Stuff!

I’ll be doing a GIVEAWAY on the blog next week! Look out for it – it’s a good one!

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Rug Flipping!

30 Jan

Yesterday I was vacuuming our living room rug, which I am growing quite tired of, and I flipped it over to vacuum underneath it.

It’s a pretty rug, by Surya: it’s black with gray (cool gray…slightly green) large-scale spots on it, and it fits our colors nicely. It works well as a soft place where my son can build things, like ergonomic stands for the iPad (I am a proud mama). It’s getting older and has been well loved. It looks like this:

Rug Flipping

It’s a fine rug. But I’m a designer, and I get tired of things. Plus right now I’m in a neutral phase (or at least I think it’s a phase, but that remains to be seen).

Anyway, when I flipped it over I saw this: Rug Backing

It’s perfect. Neutral, slightly masculine, simple, and lovely.

So I flipped the whole rug over. My son helped. We talked about how “flat weave” means “no shoes.” He gets it. Completely gets it.

Rug Flipping

I layered a little throw rug on top of it, and there it is. I love it. Thinking this will last for a while…

 

 

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Spring Is Right Around The Corner…

24 Jan

No really. It is!

Night Snow

Never mind that we have almost two full months of winter left, I know that spring is coming because I am booking up like crazy. When the holiday decorations are all put away and people start to look at their homes in their natural state, they often decide it’s the right time to call a designer. After five years of being in business, I am always my busiest this time of year (and in the fall when people start to think about holiday decorations or hosting and realize they want to make some changes). This is also the time of year I head back to the classroom, which is really ENERGIZING. It’s  a nice shift away from holiday-mode to return to stacks of paper on your desk and lots of new projects to tackle.

And though I love crafts, it’s nice to not have to scramble for something to keep little hands busy every single day. Though we did have fun with beet stamping one night a few weeks ago…

Beet Stamping

 

 

To shift back to work-mode, one of the projects I’m working on has this fantastic mix of rustic and glam materials: it’s a master bath in a single-family historic home in NW DC. Here is a super messy, in-progress sneak-peek that shows the incredible shower floor. I love being able to see the sleek new marble, the earthy river rock floor, and the original woodwork all in the same frame.

In Progress

Other projects include a bunch of color consultations (blog post to come on my most popular colors of 2013), two new homes, a kitchen renovation, and an institutional commercial project that I don’t have quite enough info to talk about yet.

I’m not sure right now if I’ll ever get back to “regular” blogging, but I’ll do my best to update as I can. It’s good to be busy!

My new year resolution is to take more in-progress and finished photos, so let’s hope I stick to it!

 

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

 

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