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Look for Less: Geometric Wool Blankets!

12 Jun

Blankets are a great way to intersect form with function. Especially in my house, where 4 out of 5 nights you’ll find someone crashed out on the couch watching MadMen or Dora the Explorer or Real Housewives of….wait. Forget that last one. We never watch that.

I love these two blankets right now – for the bed mostly, but I could see them on the sofa in the right setting: especially folded neatly across the back. Can you guess which is “high” and which is “low?” I’m referring specifically to the patterned blanket on the left, and the neatly folded up patterned blanket on the right.

So were you right?


This is the sleek, mod Chelsea Stipe Throw from Dwell Studio – yours for $175. All in all, that’s not a terrible price for a nice wool blanket.



Or you could get this one, the Henny from Ikea, for $39.99.


What’s your pick?


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.


A Few Words About Chalkboard Paint…

22 Feb

Chalkboard paint in a work- and child-friendly space! (image via Elle Decor)

Last night I met with clients who had just moved in to their new home. Literally, they’d moved in hours ago, and I ended up finalizing interior paint selections amidst moving boxes and hungry, excited, adorable children. Lucky for the little ones in this house, their parents were very open to letting the kids play a role in their wall colors. I’ve had many clients who “let” the kids pick a color, but when the child says “I want green!” what they hear is ” We’re going to go with this understated olive from the sophisticated historical palette, ok?” If you can bear it, sometimes it’s ok to let the kids go with what the kids want. After all, it’s my job to make sure we can make that neon yellow work, and work it will. Anyway, last night, we also ended up incorporating chalkboard paint into the kids’ rooms in restrained but still very fun ways – both near desks, and both only on portions of the wall.

I love infusing kid’s spaces with novelty, and chalkboard paint is a great way to do it (you’ve heard me say this before). That said, chalkboard paint can come with some issues, so allow me to lay out some ground rules that will save you headaches should you choose to use it. Pay careful attention!

Chalkboard Paint DOs

– DO choose a small area to apply the paint to. There’s really no need to make every wall a charcoal colored art surface, so choose a small nook by the desk, tape off just a section, paint on the back of a door, or apply it under a chair rail.

Painting a piece of furniture is a good intro to this concept. (image via ModernChicTots)

– DO monitor how your kid uses the wall for a while after you implement it. Start slowly by giving your kid one piece of chalk, or by storing the chalk in another room or a high place. To be super clear: don’t give your four year old a jumbo chalk bucket, lest you actually WANT to end up with six million broken stubs of chalk and marks all over surfaces that are painted with interior flat white. 

Needless to say, a child that can be trusted around white floors and many large and heavy propped up things can probably be trusted not to destroy the walls. Where do you find this breed of child? (image via spicerandbank.blogspot)

– DO place a play mat or cheap rug under the surface if you’re worried about dust. Truth be told though, if there’s chalk dust it will probably land on the molding (which is likely high-gloss, so just wipe it off regularly).

This Ikea bench allows a(n older) kid to climb up and utilize more of the drawing surface, while protecting the floor and maybe even providing a place to store (and put away) chalk and the eraser. (image via OhDeeDoh)

– DO explore other uses for this fun surface. I used it in my own home on a wall behind the kitchen where the fuse box is located: it camouflages the ugly box AND the surface is magnetized, too! If you’re tired of chalk clean up, I recommend giving your child a teeny tiny cup of water and a paint brush to “paint” the wall. Monitor this activity so you don’t end up with a soppy mess.


Chalkboard Paint DON’Ts

– DON’T use those chalk markers. They’re very hard to erase.

Just use chalk. No markers. Lots of chalk. Like this girl! (image via Green is the New Black.)

– DON’T use extra hard chalk: you may think this will prevent dust, and it will, but if you press too hard it can leave indentations in the drywall. (You say you have plaster walls? Lucky you – press away!)

If you're starting to become chalk-phobic, you can also use a magnetic primer to create a magnetized surface, like this fireplace guard! (image via http://pinkgreenandzebra.blogspot)

– DON’T paint above a crib, bed, or near an upholstered piece. Your bed/seat will just be a depository for colored powder. Young, mobile creatures have been known to reach out of the crib, touch the wall, and rub the powder all over themselves and their surroundings. And they eat it, too.

Looks very cool, but NO CHALK ON THE BABY! (image via Stylehandler)

– DON’T incorporate chalkboard into stripes unless they’re very wide (10” or greater). You’re just asking to mistakenly color outside of the lines.

– DON’T freak out about erasing it! Use a lightly damp sponge or paper towels. Also, know that it’s not ever going to look perfectly clean. …and that’s part of the charm.


Do you have any other fun uses for chalkboard paint? If so, share in the comments!


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Another Sneak Peek: A Peaceful Bedroom!

6 Feb

This sneak peek of a calming, green and neutral-toned bedroom is literally just a tiny peek, but I think it’s worth it.

Are you ready?

Ok. Here we go.

First up is the bed: a gorgeous combination of about seven different fabrics ranging from a lovely suzani print to an elegant lattice to velvets to linens to an off-the-shelf Restoration Hardware print that I had cut to use as cording and flange material. (Phew – that was a lot!) The rug is a simple woven jute and wool – and was a steal if you believe it! – and the fantastic patina-finish bed was existing to the client’s home. I am beyond thrilled with the results.


Next up (and last up — I told you it was a super tiny peek) is the fantastic mirror I chose for the wall that is adjacent to the bed. With the reflection of all those perfect textiles in it, it looks, well, perfect!


Pulling together fabric collections is incredibly fun, and satisfying when it turns out well. These photos make me so happy! Thankfully, my client feels the same way (and gets to live in the room)!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Letters on the Wall, and How I Chose My Kid’s Name.

6 Jul

As soon as I found out I was having a boy at about four months pregnant (almost a whole three years ago!), I knew that I wanted to put his name on the wall in fun graphic letters. One night, I found myself wanting to mock-up the wall display but I didn’t have an actual name to mock-up (my husband and I gave each other equal veto power). I’d already collected a few inspirational alphabet images, so I just went ahead with a recent name that my husband had suggested (and that I had vetoed): Beckett.  You know, just to see what it looked like. It was seven letters, easy to center on a wall, and would take up plenty of space. It was filled with straight lines from the T’s and curves from the B and C. Sure…why not?

Needless to say that after a few hours of photoshopping and digital frame insertion, I was totally past the “everyone’s going to think we named our kid after David Beckham because my husband likes soccer a lot” and was no longer able to see this tiny person as anything other than a Beckett.  And so he is.  And I love it.

All I did was order seven 6” square black frames from an online frame discounter, and set up the images I’d found (via Flickr…thanks Creative Commons!) to print at the right size. I got them professionally printed to be crisp and lovely, and set to work with my exacto-knife to get the photos snug in their frames.

Now that he’s older and has real preferences, we’ve moved the letters to a smaller shelf in his new room. Due to the length of the shelf I had to shorten things a bit to “Beck” (which we don’t call him, but ehh, oh well). I let him choose which E he liked best and it’s no surprise that he chose the orange one!  We have them placed next to a “Big B” and a little handmade stuffed mountain goat that his Aunt and Uncle got him in Mexico.

Given the length of your child’s name (or perhaps your desire to frame the entire alphabet) your mileage may vary in terms of cost and degree of difficulty. In any case, this is project I highly recommend. I still love the letters more than two years later!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Stratton Blue from Benjamin Moore: Three Ways!

31 May

Stratton Blue (HC-142),  a historical color from Benjamin Moore, is a perfect blueish greenish color that is fresh and classic.  Depending on the light, the shadows, and the surroundings, it’s virtually impossible to tell if the color is blue or green; that’s a huge part of its charm.  Over the past year I’ve had THREE! clients use this paint color in their homes, and they all have made it their own via different interpretations and accents I’ve recommended. I’ll be building my online portfolio over the next few months, and you’re sure to see some pictures when all is installed, accessorized, and shot, but for now here is a sneak peek at some mini-boards of the different ways that Stratton Blue can shine.

Let it stand on it’s own!

Stratton Blue is a bold color, so pairing it with crisp white is a great way to showcase it on the walls.  A single pattern or pillow incorporating some vibrancy is enough. This mini-board is for a guest bedroom in a DC row house.

(Clockwise from top right: Thomas Paul's Dahlia fabric in Aegean via Thomas Paul; Cottage Furniture's Lawson Sideboard via Layla Grayce; Oly Studio's Jonathan Tufted Stool via Oly Studio; Crate and Barrel's Lupe Pillow)


Let it set the tone with detailed, textural accents! 

Neutrals of all shades and materials deepen the complexity of a space, and with a sophisticated shot of color the room becomes both refined and relaxed. This mini-board is for a master bedroom in a Capitol Hill home.

(Clockwise from top right: Jangle in Silversage via Calico Corners; Brass Foiled and Wood Round Accent Table via Clayton Gray Home; Vincent Rug by Ballard Designs; Villa Club Chair by Thomas Pheasant via Baker; Celadon Green Gourd Lamp by Arteriors Home)


Let it take the beautiful backseat with contrasting complements! 

Stratton Blue’s ambiguous blue-green hue is the perfect pair for an equally non-committal pinkish-orange. This mini-board is for a powder room in a Northern Virginia home. Full disclosure: this “client” is my mother, and the only commitment she’s made so far is the paint color…anyone want this powder room? If so, let’s DO IT!

(Clockwise from top right: Godzilla Poster by MonsterGallery via Etsy; B&W Wall Hook via Anthropologie; Lobmeyer Crystal Back-lit Mirror via Orange via First Dibs; Zebra Wastebasket and Tissue via Clayton Gray Home; Bus Ticket Tea Towel by 3-P4 via Urban Outfitters )

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

My favorite nursery, and painting your son’s toenails…

13 Apr

This has forever been, and will probably continue to be for a while, one of my favorite nurseries:

Dark but light, cool but not too cool. What else would you expect from J Crew's creative director? (image via a very old Domino Magazine)

I love so many things about it: the painted ceiling, the incorporation of black, the eclectic Tim-Burton-esque letters on the wall, and the use of imperfect furniture.  The nursery belongs to Jenna Lyons’ son, Beckett.  Lyons is the creative director at J.Crew: an enviable job with style as a prerequisite for sure!  You can see more of her whole house here at Design Actually.  I know I’ve posted pictures of the dining room before, which is incredible.

I re-found this room this week because of a controversy surrounding a J.Crew ad featuring Lyons and her son.  In a recent company e-blast, there was a photo of Lyons painting her son’s toenails with pink polish, accompanied by a quote that read: “Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon!”

I'm showing the image in its full context: the picture being discussed is directly under the "2." (image via J Crew)

All kinds of media outlets are up in arms about this pictorial for reasons ranging from gender identity confusion to concern over the well being of the boy.  If you know me, you know that I couldn’t CARE LESS if a boy wants to paint his toes pink, shove them into pink shoes, and throw a pink purse over his shoulder as he makes his way out to his pink Mary Kay Cadillac.  I doubt this picture means anything except a mom and a kid goofing around, but unfortunately there’s a mini media storm surrounding it. A media storm about a little kid hanging out with his mom in a J.Crew catalog – seriously.

The thing that actually does cause me to raise an eyebrow is putting a child into the public eye who didn’t ask to be put there.  I am squeamish about bloggers who blog with abandon about their school-aged children and teachers who write about their students on Facebook (which is a big NO, right?).   As a formerly chunky child, I was upset a few weeks ago to read the news that Michelle Obama had used her own young daughter as an example to encourage other parents to monitor the weight and nutritional needs of their children; with information being so readily accessible these days, I find that kind of conduct virtually begging for some mean spirited child or parent to instigate a moment of humiliation, be it intentional or unintentional.  My point is, a kid never knowingly asks for this kind of attention, and if they do it’s our job to protect them.  So despite my love of J.Crew clothing and my general feelings on pink toenails (they are excellent), I feel like this image has a greater chance of causing conflict for this little boy than it has of causing joy. I feel like this is a picture that is adorable, and should have been put in an album to exist as a fun memory. I feel like if this was staged by a sophisticated company that knows how PR works, that it was a move that made a four-year-old boy the target of a bunch of over zealous issue-mongers and that that’s not a fair price to pay for oodles of cuteness.  It’s sad.

Beckett Lyons' big boy bed in the same fabulous room. (image via Domino)

But honestly, all I really want is for people to stop talking about this piece of “news” so that my Beckett can go back to being the only Beckett in the room.  Ok? …and I thought we’d come up with such an original name!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Where Did I See That Blanket?

10 Jan

Sometimes even I have trouble sourcing things.  But mainly for myself.

Lovely, but not what I'm looking for. Missoni Hector Blankets. $274 each. (image via Missoni)

I’ve been thinking about a certain throw blanket for DAYS now.  I know that I first saw it many months ago and I loved it immediately; I just didn’t know if it was right for me or my home.  Well, after kicking myself several times now for passing it up, I decided that I wanted to hunt this particular throw down and finally get it — or at least show it to my readers if it was super expensive and out of range.  But, umm, I couldn’t remember where it was from.

This never happens to me: I take good notes, I remember things.  That particular shade of subtle sage for my Bethesda client’s bedroom? — Restoration Hardware.  That cool, industrial pendant lamp for my Shaw client’s rowhouse? — 1st Dibs still has it.   What’s that, mom-of-three-from-Alexandria, a reclaimed wood, wall-hung wine rack would be perfect for your new kitchen? — Reincarnations Furnishings has a great one on sale!  But when I want to recall a simple throw blanket for myself, my memory goes blank.

Well good news, everyone.  After literally an hour of google-ing every combination of color/pattern/blanket-synonym I could conjure up, I found it!  And it’s cheap — as in Urban Outfitters pricing instead of Yves Delorme!  But the bad news is it’s no longer available.

Flag Knit Throw, $68 from Urban Outfitters (image via UO)

Lessons learned: if you love it, get it…and if you aren’t sure or can’t afford it, at least write it down.  Trust me, it’ll make your shopping experiences (and my job) much more pleasant!

UPDATE:  Check out this incredible dresser, spotted on Craigslist LA by Apartment Therapy!  It’s a perfect match for the throw!  Better click the link soon, because I know this won’t last long.


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Beautiful Beds!

22 Dec

Don't you just want to fall down and take a nap here? (image via LivingEtc.)

Maybe I’m thinking about fluffy comforters and perfectly positioned pillows because I know that shortly I’ll be waking up at 4am for a most-of-the-day-drive.  Or maybe it’s because last night I spent a few middle-of-the-night hours in the pitch black with a toddler who was very enthusiastically chanting his new words — “hair!  Aaaa!  Bbbb!  Pppp!  meow!  no!”  Anyway, at this point in the season I know that many of us are sleep deprived, but at least we can get our rest vicariously through these gorgeously soft and comfy bedroom images.

Hopefully, these might be able to provide some inspiration for your own sleeping quarters.  Enjoy!

A few pastels for the shabby-chic, feminine types:

On L: a minimalist but colorful vignette from Domino magazine. On R: a frilly but updated scene from Elle Decor.

A monochrome room where the textual details say it all:

Love this -- the architectural details, the simplicity, and the DOG! (image via Cottage Living)

And a few eclectic rooms, where all of the elements come together just right.

Color that's fearless! On L: image via Apartment Therapy. On R: image via Style at Home.

The stool at the foot of the bed just makes this room for me. (image cia DecorPad)


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Guests For The Holidays…But You Don’t Have a Guest Bedroom.

22 Nov

Make room for guests at your house...even if you don't technically have anywhere for them to sleep. (image via Stoopidgerl's Etsy shop).

It happens to all of us, especially those of us who live in DC: your parents/cousins/old college friends are coming to town for a few days and they’re looking for a place to stay.  At your place.  Which has just enough bedrooms for everyone who lives there.

In the middle of July most people would either happily blow up the air mattress in the living room or give them the keys to the street.  For the holidays though, you might want to be more accommodating and create a special, comfortable environment for your friends or family.

Here are a few ideas for making the most of your space, your resources, and your host and/or hostessing skills.

Got An Air Mattress?   Instead of blowing it up at night, by mouth (like my husband once did while my mother-in-law and I watched him), try setting it up in advance and making it with fresh linens that aren’t just your spare white sheet set (Target, Home Goods, and sale-time at West Elm or Crate and Barrel are great places to get a nice set of bed linens on the cheap).  Bonus points for matching your air mattress linens to the room it’s temporarily living in. Also consider hooking the fake-out guest room up with some essentials like a nearby tray or basket filled with bottled water, a nightlight, a tiny alarm clock, some of your favorite books and a kitschy chocolate treat for bedtime.  This may be going on in your den, but at least it’ll look welcoming and make your guests feel special.  Plus, you’ll save the effort of getting them tucked in when you’re exhausted after a day of entertaining.

A guest tray: easy and cheap to make, but a really lush detail. (image via Sunset)

Don’t have an air mattress but have an extra futon, daybed, or couch in a spare room?  Then do the same thing…except just get a cushy, twin-sized foam mattress pad and cover the couch cushions in lieu of a mattress. No one will know, and I won’t tell.

Still want to put your guest to sleep on the floor next to your speakers?  Fine.  Just at least lean the mattress up against a wall during the day so you’re not stepping over it to get to the cranberry sauce.

No unsuspecting grandma deserves being forced to sleep in this bed. (image via Amazon)


Now, if you have kids, sometimes the solution is giving up your own bedroom and crashing with them.  That’s great…except not really fun for you.  Plus, if your kids are at all like my 20 month old they’ll look at this as an excuse for an all night party.  Though this most likely won’t work for a clingy toddler, you can definitely move a little baby (via pack n’ play or bassinet) or an adventurous older child (via sleeping bag) to another location – quiet hallway, open walk-in closet, living area, you get the idea – then take their room over with your lame air mattress.  You get privacy, the child gets quiet (baby) or a fun sleeping experience (older kid), and your guests get comfort and a door to close.  It’s a win-win-win, and all you had to do was be a little creative about the sleeping arrangements.

I’m sure other people have solutions they’ve tried when faced with this dilemma. If so, please share your successes and your not-so-successful attempts in the comments.

Happy Hosting!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.