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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.

Perfect Playful Playrooms!

9 May

I just dropped my son off at his new day care, and though he’s only attending part time I’ve been sniffly all morning. Though I believe his actual departing words were “School! Ready! I go! Bye!” I’ll be thinking about him all day, hoping he’s having a good time.  

It seems fitting that since I have toddler-things on my brain today that I feature some great playrooms. So here are a few that I find really inspiring in color, furniture choice, and incorporation of innovative play-elements.

The "Tree Room' by Brooklyn Designer Jen Talbot (image via

I love the levels, the art installation, and the custom upholstered bench! Milieu Design Group for the 2010 Atlanta Symphony Showhouse (image via

What a great custom-bunk from Cookie Magazine! (image via Cookie)

I'm always happy with dark walls that still allow the space to feel "light." (image via Project Nursery)

I love everything about this little corner from the home of photographers Jesse and Whitney Chamberlin (image via DesignSponge)

Have a great Monday! …and may all of your first-day day care drop offs go as smoothly as mine did.

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

When Even The Paint Fan Doesn’t Have Enough Colors… *

2 May

* The alternative titles to this post are: “More Of My House…” or “Please Excuse My Bad Camera Phone Photos.”

I’ve been waiting to repaint my son’s room until he either identified a color he preferred OR came out on the other side of a throwing-things-at-the-wall phase. Apparently the joke’s on me because he really isn’t that bad about throwing things and he recently identified his color preference: traffic cone orange. No thanks, mini man. I guess it’s time for me to get to it. 

So light yellow-ey green it is! Or “wasabi.” Or “avocado.” Or “light yellow-ey green.” After a weekend of testing, here’s my selection. 

Which one you ask? Well, that’s the thing. I love the deeper shade, Pale Avocado. But it’s too deep. It’s especially too deep because we rent our lovely condo and our landlord is the most fantastic of landlords and not only painted our place for us, but seems to value my professional opinion and enjoy our color selections. As such, we want them to remain non-offensive, neutral, pretty, and widely appealing. So no to the “pale” avocado…which is not pale at all.

My solution was fairly simple, but one that you might not know about. I went to the Benjamin Moore up the street and asked them to do a custom color between Rainforest Dew (2146-50) and Pale Avocado (2146-40). What they do is use the light base color and instead of mixing 100% of the pigment they use for Rainforest Dew, they mix in 150% of that pigment. Because colors on the same card are all the same hue (color) in different values (degrees of lightness and darkness) there is no chance that the undertones will change; the result will be every-so-slightly more dramatic than the baby green that Rainforest Dew is. The result? (and now, you really have to excuse my camera phone photo AND the fact that I’ve hung nothing in the walls yet):

I love it! Not too light, not too green, and equally appropriate for a two year old as it is for a 30-something’s office. Which some day very very far from today, it will likely be.

What do you think? My son’s coming around. I suppose it’s the next best choice after “o-nage!” (which adult humans pronounce as “orange”).

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.

Find of the Week: Restoration Hardware Baby!

31 Mar

This week’s “Find of the Week” is just as much of an idea as it as a particular item: sourcing childrens’ furnishings for your adult spaces.

The Vintage City Prints above the bed and the European Letter Jersey sheet set are two of my favorite things in the RH Baby line! (image via Restoration Hardware)


I’m not talking about stores like Land of Nod or Momeni Kids Rugs, which have a place in the nursery but are often too bright and cartoonish for our rooms (except for the lamps…always check out PB Teen for simple, cheap lamps!). Instead, I’m particularly enamored with Restoration Hardware’s baby and kids line, which incorporates RH’s signature style at smaller sizes and lower prices, and softens the edges ever-s0-slightly. Here are some of my favorites:

Vintage Industrial Letters: These are gorgeously imperfect with their mix of metal and distressed wood.  At $14 each, their price point is actually competitive with letters from Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters!

Vintage Industrial Letters, $14 each (image via Restoration Hardware)


Platform Bed…or a Daybed! I love this Industrial Cart Platform Bed, which is $549 for a a twin. It would add the perfect amount of ruggedness to a sunroom or guestroom if used as a daybed! I can just see it dressed in crisp white sunbrella fabric and bright, patterned pillows.

Industrial Cart Platform Bed, $549-$699 (image via Restoration Hardware)



Carnival Rides Art: At $149 for a 24” square canvas (or $269 for both!) I’d say these prints are a fantastic deal.  I’m actually surprised these are listed in the kids’ section of the website, since I can clearly see these in a bachelor pad, a modern industrial space, or a transitional gold/iron/copper-toned living area. Lovely!

Carnival Rides Art Prints, $149 for one or $269 for both (image via Restoration Hardware)



What do you like from the Restoration Hardware baby line, and how would you incorporate it into your spaces?

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

One of the Many Perks of Being a Working Mom…

10 Feb

Earlier this week I was home with my 22 month old and needed to tend to some quick emails.  I had wet paint downstairs and in our bedroom (touch-ups during nap time) so he had to stay in his nursery.  To add some extra spice to this equation, my son has recently been in the habit of charging the baby gate placed at his doorway repeatedly, with full force, until he knocks it down.  It’s a fun-fest all day long here, for sure.

I gave him my phone to watch an Elmo video for a few minutes, and when I reached for it after the song stopped I saw something that made me shudder: he had shared “Elmo’s Song,” via email, WITH ONE OF MY CLIENTS.

So there you have it: if you’re looking for a designer who can select the perfect hardware for your kitchen cabinets as well as periodically send you educational videos featuring singing monsters, then give me a call.

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Kid (and Negligent Adult) Friendly Coffee Tables!

8 Feb

If you have a child anywhere between the ages of 0 and 18, it’s likely that your furniture is taking some abuse.  One of the pieces that receives some of the most banging, scratching and wet-glass-depositing is the coffee table.  I speak from personal experience, but I doubt yours is any different.  Here are five coffee tables I’d highly recommend for households with energetic kids and absent-minded, beer-wielding sports fans. They’ll take the damage happily, and still be in tact and attractive at the end of the day (or the craft project, or dinner party, or after serving as a truck ramp).

1.)  Crate and Barrel’s Seguro Coffee Table ($699 ): Reclaimed wood is almost always friendly to defects, and it wears well over time by developing character.

(image via Crate and Barrel)


2.)  Industrial Galvanized Coffee Table from Hudson Goods ($795): Already rusty and dinged up, its charm is the patina. Drink rings?  Tiny ding?  Cat scratch? — Can’t even see it, because it blends in with all of the others.  Just don’t forget your corner protectors for the little ones!

(image via Hudson Goods)


3.)  Lack Coffee Table from IKEA ($39.50): Well, the biggest charm of this piece is the price.  It will hold up alright for a while, but it will chip and flake eventually.  Why are you recommending this, you say?  Because it’s $40!  Buy two of them and replace it when the first is no longer acceptable. Or even better, assemble both and store the second one “for company.” When your guests come over and you don’t want to appear as if you’re living in a zoo, just bring out the undamaged table and pretend like your family is as civilized as everyone else’s.  Another big plus to this table is that it doesn’t really get water rings.  And finally, the price and modern but not overtly out-there Parsons table aesthetic make it appealing to a wide range of people.

The Lack comes in a lot, and I mean a LOT, of colors. (image via Ikea)


4.)  Upholstered Nailhead Ottoman from Ballard Designs (about $400, depending on fabric selection): It’s cushy, it’s comfy, it’s good for sitting on, and with a few strategically placed trays you don’t need to set anything directly on it.  With an easy-care or indoor/outdoor fabric you don’t need to be concerned about stains, plus, you can get it recovered over the years as your tastes change.

(image via Ballard Designs)


5.) Test a Couple Out! From left to right are West Elm’s Bubbles Ceramic ($129), Natural Tree Stump ($199), and Martini ($129) Side Tables: If you have your heart set on a certain type of table — ceramic, rustic wood, polished chrome, whatever it is… — try finding a small table made of the same material from the same vendor.  You can purchase one and put it where your coffee table normally goes, then just sit back and see how it wears.  If it’s a success then you can go on and buy the big one, or maybe consider a grouping of smaller tables.  If it fails then you just scored yourself a cute but slightly damaged end table for another room in the house!

(all images via West Elm)


There are lots of other options, but in general I’d stay away from lacquers, resins, untreated woods and glass.  Just remember to be creative and avoid frustration by shopping smartly!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Three MUST DO Valentine Crafts!

2 Feb

I know that Valentine’s Day is a whole 12 days away, but I have been loving these craft ideas and want to share them with you so that you have enough time to possibly accomplish one before the 14th.

1.) Valentine Crayon Cards!

What a wonderful idea! (image via The Long Thread)

Cute, functional, and fun to make, these are good for young kids and adults.  Check out this tutorial on The Long Thread about how to put together your own cards and then visit Make It Take It for the crayon how-to.  My personal experience with this is that you should avoid the metal pan/vegetable spray route and just use a silicon ice cube tray (trust me…I spent a long evening with my husband and our friend trying to do this with all metal parts, and the results were abysmal).

2.) Candy Necklaces!

Lovely DIY, edible necklaces! (image via One Charming Party)

There is little I can say about these except how gorgeous they are!  I remember when chunky, colored “pearl” necklaces became big in high school and I had a few necklaces that were very similar to these.  They were pink and purple, and surely at least $80 each…. Oh well.  I am dying to make a few of these this weekend, and I think I might run with the concept but see if I can cleanly poke holes in marshmallows.  My son is a little too small for stray gumballs around the house, and I hesitate to give these as gifts to parents with young kids. In any case, I anticipate some frustration with the hole-poking but I am super excited to take a crack at these!  Check out One Charming Party for the tutorial.

3.) Fruit Stickers

There are 7 fruit stickers to choose from! (images via Twig and Thistle)

Ok — here’s the easy one: all you do is get yourself a single sheet of sticky paper and print this template from Twig and Thistle.  Ok ok, you also need a 1” craft punch (which I of course happen to have floating in my bag of drafting/crafting supplies) but you can cut carefully and tediously by hand if you don’t have one.

Anyone have any more must-do crafts?  I haven’t been this excited about making things in a long time!  Hopefully I actually get a chance to: our “Valentines” will either be getting a cute bag full of stuff, or a print out of this blog posting this year!

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Stylish Babies Are Everywhere…

1 Feb

I was so inspired by this seriously dark yet colorful nursery that was featured on Apartment Therapy’s Ohdeedoh a few weeks ago.

Love the Anthropologie round rug, the prints, and the almost black wall! (image via Apartment Therapy)

To see the full tour and read the original post, click here. It’s no surprise that one of the comments reads “I want to do MY room like this!”

This room seems like such a great place for this new Nurseryworks Rocker that I found for a client last week:

The Nurseryworks Empire Rocker (image via Nurseryworks)

This fabulous chair is about $800 (or $1,300 with your own fabric selection) so technically, it’s not that much more than your standard Land of Nod or higher-end Babies R Us model.  It comes in ecru, mocha or slate (pictured) microfiber, and the wood finish can be either light or dark ash.  I love it, and think we need more options like this for our chic babies.  Now, if they could only start making these at a $300 or $400 price point…right?

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

Find of the Week: Twig Crayons!

27 Nov

Inntrax Twig Crayons up close - love the mix of electric colors and natural materials. (image via Babygadget)

You all know how much I love One Kings Lane and Gilt Groupe for home finds.  So naturally, I am loving these sets of twig crayons from Inntrax that are featured on Gilt Groupe today.  They’re $50 –  $150 for 40 – 100 crayons in a birch basket, and they are mind blowingly stunning.  Inntrax is a Polish company that uses brush scrap to make these neat little writing implements: so they’re innovative and sustainable!

Inntrax Birch Crayons (images via Gilt Groupe)

I envision them on an entry table or decorative console as a decor item; though the large set is featured in the Gilt kid’s section I think they’re appropriate for arts or nature enthusiasts alike.  Pricey, but so so cool and unlike anything else.

Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.