Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chistmas Tree Time, Making Your Own Best Tree Ever!

Good morning and Happy December!!

We are well in to the holiday season this year, and a big part of the season is the the Christmas tree. To me this is one of the things that I look forward to the absolute most. I change things up just a touch each year, and over the seasons I have been collecting different things to add to my collection allowing me to switch it up. This year I decided to make our tree devoid of color and go back to a white, black and silver tree.

I admittedly have quite "THE" Christmas tree each year, and though I don't mean to brag I can tell you that it has sparked some Christmas tree envy year after year. I have quite a few tree enthusiasts that have asked me how they can create their own designer tree so I figured I would share some love and give you a bit of a tutorial on how to make your own should your heart desire.

Let's start by taking a look at this year's tree.

This year I decided to remove the color from the tree and instead go with a very modern neutral pallet. I took out all the purple and red that I had last year just for something different. I only needed to buy a few new things such as the extra large silver and white ball ornaments which are a whopping 8-10" diameters. The rest of what's on the tree are things I already own and rotate in and out year by year.

Take a look at last year's tree with the colors we had.

Though the shades of plum and purple are stunning no color was to be had this year. 

Here is a close up of this year's tree so that you can see the difference.

Let's talk about how you can create your own designer Christmas tree with this handy little step by step, and some tricks that I use along the way.

The first step is to figure out your tree theme. Do you have specific colors that you are shooting for such as my white and silver tree? Do you want it to be covered with any one type of  theme such as the beach, or a Disney tree perhaps? Do you want an "organic" tree with burlap and wooded branches?

Establishing your tree theme will help you know what to buy when you are out or going through what you already have. My tree has a color theme, but not one specific type of item on the tree.

A rule of thumb when decorating your tree is to remember that "More is More"! You will always need more than what you thought you would. The joke in my family is that if I put one more thing on our tree it will topple over! The joke is on them though because I have my eye on some large glittery flowers at Z Gallery which are too expensive, but I'm waiting patiently for them to go on sale so that I can scoop them up, and by scoop them up I mean by about a dozen. I doubt these pretties will make the tree actually topple over, or so I hope.

It may sound excessive, but here are some of the numbers and items that we have on our tree:

- 2 extra large plastic bins of ornament balls in varying shades of white, silver and black from Wal Mart and Target from years ago. I have no idea how many this equates to, but it's allot!
- 10 new extra large 10" glittery ornament balls from Wal Mart this season.
- 22 crystal sprays from Z Gallery bought over the past 3 holiday seasons.
- 4 large feather sprays from Michael's Crafts bought years ago.
- 14 mercury glass leaves bought last year from Wal Mart last season.
- 28 white feather ball ornaments bought last season from Wal Mart.
- 3 varying sized disco balls under the tree, and I'm on the hunt for more!
- 2 round spools of wood garland from Michael's crafts bought years ago.
- 2 rolls of silver ribbon bought years ago at Michael's crafts.
- Many varying specialy ornaments, and by many I mean MANY bought and collected through the      years.
- Our neighbor's cat.
- The kitchen sink.
- Possibly a living child in there somewhere.
- Sometimes an elf on the shelf.

Bottom line is that there's a whole lotta stuff on that baby!

Now if you are thinking this is a costly venture, it can be, but with some money saving tips and an eye for what you're looking for you can save some money and also buy things little by little through the years. Here are some of the tips that work for me.

One of my hidden gems for Christmas decor is actually Wal Mart people! You don't like that place? Join the club, but I go every year just to see what they have. Have you seen the feather balls from West Elm out this season in the picture below???

West Elm sells them for $9.00 each (on sale now for $6.00). I bought mine last year from Wal Mart for only $2.99 each and I have 28 of them so you do the math.

It's important to know that their inventory changes every year, but I highly recommend going. This year I bought 10 of the white and silver extra large ball ornaments in 10" diameter for $5.00 each. They are huge and you don't need too many of them on the tree to make a statement. They completely upped my tree a notch.

Another money saver for great holiday decor is finding the sales. All of the stores have them because all of the stores need to move that inventory. I have 22 crystal sprays from Z Gallery which were originally $14.95 each which would have cost me about $329 for some crystal branches???? I think not! I bought 5 of them for full price about 5 years ago, and then another few about 2 years ago. Last year a good friend gave me a tip about their end of season sale for 75% off all holiday decor. Well, I scooped up about 15 of them and paid a fraction of the cost at 75-80% off you can't beat it. Believe me most every major retailer has their holiday decor sales so be on the look out.  Some other gem stores that I go to are Home Goods, JC Penny, and the Ace Hardware in Coral Gables which has a little boutique in it.

The point here is that yes it can cost you to buy everything all at once, but if you are a savvy shopper and buy a little bit each year you can build in to the tree of your dreams. I've been at this for about 7 years people.

The picture below shows you a good view of the crystal sprays and the extra large ball ornaments on our tree.

Don't forget underneath your tree. In the picture below you can see a close up of my tree skirt and the disco balls that I am collecting (and wanting more of) that are under our tree. The skirt is a faux fur throw that I bought at Target last year on the cheap. I love this idea which was given to me from a friend because it covers more ground than a typical skirt. How about those disco balls??!! I found the large one at a yard sale for only $20 bucks, and the other two on Craig's list for $25. I'm looking for more and hope to one day fill the entire bottom the the entire tree with these lovelies, but they can be expensive so I'm on the hunt for my own deals. Let me know if you have one laying around, I'll scoop that baby up (or you can just put it under your tree).

Now that you have all of your goodies to put on the tree, let's go step by step.

Step 1: Wrap ribbon all around the tree from the top of the tree to the bottom.
**Your Step 1 might be stringing the lights. I have a per-lit faux tree, and no I do not miss a real tree or its needles. I live in Florida and my real trees die very quickly, and with all the things I put on the tree the branches end up sunken on the floor. This is just my preference. 

Step 2: Hang all of your varying sized and or colored ball ornaments from the top to the bottom (and in the back). I didn't put the small at the top and the large at the bottom, I mix them up.

Step 3: Hang all of your specialty ornaments in any areas where there are holes.
** Tip, I add ornaments and balls on the inside branches as well. This gives depth to the tree, covers any sparse areas around the trunk especially in fake trees, and really makes a difference in the beauty of your tree. I highly recommend this.

Step 4: Add your extra large ball ornaments. I waited until now because you can really get a feel for how it looks and where they need to be placed once everything is up. You can move things if needed.

Step 5: Add your crystal sprays or flowers or twisted sticks tucking the stems deep in the tree so that only the prettiest parts show.

Step 6: Hang the star or angel at the top.

**Tip, I add to the back of my tree as well. It is visible from most every angle so I have to do this. I would hate to see a beautiful tree and then a big old bald spot in the back, wouldn't you?

Step 6: Pour a glass of wine or a cup of hot chocolate and let the season begin!

Here are some additional shots of our tree this year.

 Since we will be going out of town this Christmas I didn't go as all out on the holiday decorating as I normally would, but with a tree like this I don't have to! I love that this tree is a show stopper and I hope that some of these tips can help you to create your own show stopping tree this season!

P.S. I would love to see pictures if you do get inspired and want to show off a little bit, just sayin;)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Project Sneak Peek, Progress Is Always Good

Hello again, as promised I want to finally share with you some sneak peek pics of one of my current projects.

Remember when I posted about a home that was in need of a little updating love here? Well, there has been some progress in the home. It's actually almost finished minus some items on back order.

Take a look at the space when I started below.

Living Room Before:

The home before lacked light and flow. It had too many dark furnishings, and since it is such a small space it also needed some changes in scale with the furnishings to make it feel lighter and less cluttered.

Take a look at the space in progress with it's new fresh paint and all of the lighter pieces.

Living Room After **In progress and with some Christmas decor :0) It's that time of year...

 It's important to note that this project was done with a minimal budget so I had to really be creative where I spent, and I also had to use some of the existing pieces to save cost. 

Here are some notable changes in this room. 

~By unifying the colors within similar pallets, but mixing up the prints it really gave a pop to an otherwise pretty monotone scheme. Don't be afraid to mix your prints. By doing so you create character and visual interest.

~The new freshly painted grey walls instantly inject brightness in to the room, and also instantly updated the older beige walls. Never underestimate the power of paint!!! It is one of the most cost effective ways to update a space and/or brighten the space.

~I used a smaller scale chair which replaced the client's old brown leather chair. The new chair provides seating while opening up the walk way and giving the illusion of space. It is also a mixed material and print so that things aren't so "matchy matchy" As a rule of thumb try for no more than 2 matching pieces in a room. Any more and it becomes something straight off the furniture store floor. 

~In the entry I used the client's existing console, but because it was so small scale and had a small mirror as well as too many frames I instead added a very tall mirror to open the room up. Mirrors also always make a room seem larger. I cleaned up the accessories and unified that area with the rest of the space. 

~I replaced the too small coffee table with an ottoman which was a mega sale score! I love that it's again another material, but with the light cream fabric and some silver accents like that tray it's the perfect coffee table/stool. I'm sort of obsessed with it. 

~The last notable change in the room are the art and picture walls around the TV. Since this is a young growing family my client has many family photos. By adding an interesting picture wall all around the TV,  which is what you see right when you walk through the door it actually masks the TV and makes it an interesting focal point. Everyone loves a good picture wall! The mirrored frames on the opposing wall are pretty touches above the heavy leather sofas.

Since you can see the kitchen and dining room from the family room I unified both spaces. It's still being finished since the lighting is on back order, but since you already have a sneak peek in some of the pictures here's a better shot of that room in progress. 


More of that to come soon as well as better detailed shots and images of the kitchen. Probably after the holidays though. 

Speaking of the holidays, I plan to show our new Perez family Christmas tree this week. I won't lie, it's sort of amazing!!! I'm so excited for the holidays. I just returned from New York for Thanksgiving and can tell you for certain that it is "the most wonderful time of the year"! That place will really put you in the mood.

Talk to you soon!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Design For Less At Target

Good morning,

I recently received the new Pottery Barn Teen catalog, and came across one of their new collections featuring the Maison Gold Dottie Bedroom and fell in love. Take a look.

 I love the whimsy of this room, and more importantly I love that gold unicorn!

I am such a fan of an animal head here or there. I use them to hang awards, scarfs or necklaces from. They just make the prettiest little vignettes, don't you think?

Well, sadly this guy is $99 and I wasn't about to spend that so I held off.

I just happened to go to Target and saw all of their new holiday decor (YAAAAY!), when I found what I thought to be a suitable alternative.

You can see the entire collection from Threshold here. Now I know they aren't unicorns, but at prices from $19.99-$39.99 and in the finishes of all white or gold and silver antlers they will do the job just fine. I settled on the mounted horns in gold as shown above for only $19.99. I needed them to complete a little area beside my daughter's bed, and that they did!. I modified them a bit by gluing a flower to them just to make them even better. 

Take a look at the finished product.

The horns were only $19.99 and the chalk board I found on clearance for $7.00 years ago and spray painted it gold.

 I'll probably put her toy basket underneath when it's all said and done which still works with the colors and contains all her toys and "stuff".

Though I still love the unicorn this works and it saved me $80 bucks! I'll take that any day.

As all the holiday collections at Target go, they sell out fast. If you want your own budget worthy "stag head collection", you better go quickly before they're all gone.

Next up in Isabella's mini room makeover, the striped ceiling which was actually painted twice.

**Spoiler alert, there's a new chandelier! Here's your sneak peek.

Until next time.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ikea Hack, Upholstered Headboard For The Hemnes Day Bed

Good morning,

Since adding the finishing touches to Amanda's awesome teen room seen here, I decided to make a few updates also to Isabella's room per her statement "my room looks like an old grandma lives here", kids can be so charming;) I didn't want to change everything, but rather step things up a notch by adding more color, modifying her bed, and overall giving it a dose of "fun" (as opposed to old grandma like which is apparently not fun).

One of the biggest challenges was working with her Hemnes Day Bed from Ikea since I don't want to spend the money to replace a perfectly good bed, but I did want to somehow make it better.

Here is the day bed as it's sold. 

If you're unfamiliar with this bed, let me help you out. It's a basic white day bed that has 3 drawers for storage AND the ability to turn in to a double bed without losing the drawers and their storage. The best part is that for only $299 you really can't beat it. The problem is that as you can see, it's pretty basic.

What I want is something more, something like these lovely day beds with their unique take on an upholstered head board.

I think that the head boards on these beds take them from average to amazing, and that's exactly what was looking to do. But how to make that happen?

I thought about having something made custom, but anyone who knows custom knows there's is always a high cost for this. I needed something easy and more affordable. I discovered that the length of the Hemnes day bed is 78 3/4", which is very close to the width of a kind sized bed which measures 78". Close enough. I decided to buy a prefabbed headboard from Skyline Furniture through that you can find here.

It's the perfect shape for what I was looking for and with near perfect measurements. It has a nail head trim which I love and it was the most affordable option that I found at about $370. As a side note, you may want to look on JossandMain who frequently has sales on Skyline furniture.

Take a look at the before and after for my Ikea Hemnes Day Bed Hack.

Isabella's Ikea Hemnes Day Bed Before:

 Isabella's Ikea Hemnes Day Bed After: (with some changes to the room)


Here is a step by step on how make your own Ikea Hemnes day bed have an upholstered headboard.

Ikea Hemnes Day Bed With Upholstered Headboard DIY:

First we took the back panel of the day bed and cut 12" off the top to allow us to move the new headboard down a bit so that it doesn't block the window. We also removed the decorative trim off the top of the back panel which comes off by simply lifting it (it was only held in place by wood dowels.) You will lose the top bolts that are on the back of the bed, but don't worry the new headboard will provide the support the bed needs.

We then placed the headboard flush to the back of the bed and the bottom of the headboard flush against the top of the back support panel. We did not use the metal beams that come with the headboard, in this case they are not needed. Simply place a screw at the top and the bottom of both sides of the headboard, screwing directly through the back of the headboard in to your wood bed frame.

That's it! It really was that simple to convert this bed. Below is a picture taken to show you the side of the bed where there is a missing bolt from cutting the support panel. 

If your bed were showing from the side you may need to modify the headboard because as you can see there is a bit of it that you can see. In my case it works perfectly fine since the bed is flanked by curtains. Take a look. 

Voila, nothing seen on the sides;). 

Let's see that again. 

Day Bed Before:


Day Bed After:

  It was absolutely worth it! It makes the bed look so much more custom and glamorous as opposed to your standard big box store version don't you think?! And it was so easy!!!

Stay tuned for the rest of Isabella's room including the painted stripes on the ceiling. You heard me correct, I painted stripes on the ceiling, and I learned a hard lesson along the way that I plan to share with you to save you the headache I went through;) I'll also cover the details on the color, those amazing Kelly Wearstler bengal bazaar pillows, and any sources that you may want to know about.

The new room definitely kicks granny's old butt! Take that old lady room:0) 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chic Halloween Dinner Party Decor

Hello again and Happy Friday!

I often find myself lusting over some random item, one that I don't really need and that I can definitely live without, yet lust I do.

Case in point, a set of gold silverware from West Elm.......These to be exact.

Yes, gold silverware. Anyone who knows me or who has been keeping up here knows that I'm all about gold, and the idea of having some soiree with gold utensils is a hell yea! must.

Let me help you with some convincing. Take a look at some yummy table scape eye candy with gold silver ware.  Queue the Austin Powers "I like gooooold"....

Yup, it's that awesome. Soooooo, I had 12 place settings in my "cart" ready to pull the trigger and order away when I had a thought. 12 place settings, which is enough to fill my dining table for 12 is a necessity, but it also costs me $29 per set which translates to over $300 or closer to $350. **Truthfully I would still do it, but something told me this was crazy! It could be that I'm in the middle of multiple projects at the house (as usual), and it could also be that I'm always finding an object du jour that I MUST HAVE. So, in this case I said NO :-(

If you're feeling sad for me, read on. As fate has it I was shopping one day at my local Home Goods (where there have been many Whitney spottings), and there they were. Gold silver ware! 3 sets of 4. It gets better, they were $49.99 each. I quickly realized that a) this was more than a 50% savings, and b) I did in fact have to have them and not only did I have to have them but I had to create an occasion to exhibit them in.

Fast forward to the makings of a "Chic Halloween Dinner Party". Though it's fun to decorate for Halloween, see my home and costume last year here Halloween Decor  and here Day of the Dead Costume Reveal, it's also fun to create memories and moments with friends through entertaining for the holidays.

You saw the gold silverware and its epic story above.

I'm planning to make things especially fall and festive (even though I live in sunny Florida:-( ) by adding a burlap runner down my table similar to this table.

I don't prefer anything else in that set up for my Chic Halloween Dinner Party. Instead I will add mason jars for my flower vases sprinkled down the table hopefully achieving something like these.

What would a Halloween party be without some form of Halloween in the mix?! For my special theme I am going for something "pretty" by sprinkling the little white pumpkin gourds down my table along with my mason jars full of flowers, maybe something like these.

I love the table scape below! It embodies much of what I hoped to achieve in my own Chic Halloween Dinner Party table. Fall gets warmer as do the colors. Burnt orange, cranberry and deep berry colors are perfect for flowers of any kind. Add some pumpkins and candles and really you can't go wrong.

Want to see how my table turned out, and how I made it happen???

Take a look at my Chic Halloween Dinner Party decor.

Not bad huh? Want to know how I did it? It's really quite simple;-)

1) I started with a white table runner. I own it and use it as my base runner every time, and because it's white it is neutral and can be layered endlessly.

2) I added 2 burlap table runners that I found at Target for $15.00 each. Most people could use 1 but my table is over 120" long so I always need more.

3) I bought 2 boxes of mason jars from Ross which were 4 for $5.99. I then bought 6 misc bunches of berry colored flowers from my local grocery store that were 3 for $12.99. I separated the flowers by type, cut the stems and dispersed them throughout the mason jars.

4) I bought 8 white pumpkins from my local grocery store for $1.50 each and placed them in between the flowers. I chose white because I wanted the table to be "pretty" and "chic" and I find white pumpkins look better than orange, but this is purely my preference. I also added a few extra flower stems down the runner for an added layer.

5) I took out all of my various candle votives and added them all over the table. My biggest dinner party rule is that YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY CANDLES, EVER! I have these on hand at all times, but you can score some from any craft store or local home store such as Target or Wal Mart for pretty good prices. You can buy candles and use these over and over.

6) I added my regular dishes which I have in all white because they are neutral and can be rotated to suit any occasion. I then separated them with a napkin draped between the two. I prefer cloth napkins for dinner parties and always have a variety in my home. I found that Target has a great selection and these black ones were 12 for $9.99. I then set each place with my new gold silver ware (secret high five to myself for this obsession score!).

7) I added a RIP name tag to each place setting for a lil something spooky. These are from Target, 4 for only $1.00!!!

That's it my friends. See how simple it can be with a little planning to dress up your table for a Chic Halloween Party? You will find that once you have the basics on hand, you can use them over and over and can easily change up the themes around your basic pieces for future parties.

What are some of your ideas for decorating your parties? Do you like this "chic" version or do you prefer the traditional Halloween colors and style?

One things that's for sure is that it's Friday, and I can't wait to break this table in!