International World Traveler… sort of

Everyone has a budget.  Some of us just have a slightly smaller or larger one.  Over the last few years, I’ve become pretty good at stretching our Ikea budget to match our Pottery Barn taste.

So what’s the secret?  Mixing, matching and looking for a sale!  You can buy 95% budget-friendly items, but you can’t get them all from the same place or everyone will know you just raided the entire Hemnes section of Ikea.  And when you throw in a few vintage finds, you can nail that coveted, eclectic style that’s all the rage.

Don’t get me wrong, we still buy a lot of Ikea; but it’s the pieces we mix in that make all the difference.  One of my super-secret budget friendly mix in spots: Cost Plus World Market.  (Note this post is NOT sponsored, I’m just obsessed with them!)

World Market Logo

I first learned about them when I stumbled upon the store at the Grove a few years ago while hunting for props for a short film; it had the perfect eclectic mix of home goods my place (and my short film) had been missing.  Since then, Jefe and I have become quite the World Market connoisseurs.

Why do I love it?  You can get an all-leather storage ottoman for $200 that has worn beautifully.  You can get every serving piece you could possibly need to host your first Thanksgiving and still have money left over for that festival fall runner.  And it all holds up beautifully; the furniture is definitely a step up in the stability department.

In the spirit of sharing is caring, I’ve taken the liberty of picking a few of my favorites for you.  It’s a great mix of items we already own with others I’ve got my eye on.

The Natalie Bed – I have to admit that this may have been a recent purchase as I’m so obsessed with it.  Our Ikea bed was not going to make its 4th move and this beauty caught my eye.  And lucky for you, it’s currently $240 off!

Natalie Bed

IMG_8918

Charcoal Oscar Chair – I have the prefect corner ready and waiting for this stylish arm chair.

Charcoal Armchair

Black Windowpane Andrea Mirror – Is your home a little dark?  Lacking windows?  Why not fill up an empty wall with this windowpane mirror!  Fake window and more light all in one.

Windowpane Mirror

Wood Parat Bowl – One of a kind and a beautiful accessory for a console table, a bookcase, or an entryway where you can stash your keys.

Wood Parat Bowls

Espresso Bi-Cast Leather Storage Ottomon – This updated version is the perfect multi-functional piece for any home.  Stylish nailhead trim, supple leather, and plenty of storage.  If it’s anything like the one we bought a few years ago, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Leather Ottomon

IMG_8923

Milk Bottle Vase with Wood Rack – Crushing hard on Joanne Gaines or is that just me?  I’m obsessed with Fixer Upper.  Sometimes her style verges a little on shabby chic, but her more rustic decor makes my heart pitter patter as does this milk bottle vase!

Milk Bottle Vases

Campaign Desk – So stylish and versatile.  The color of wood is the perfect complement to the greenish-grey of our new home office walls.  As we haven’t finished unpacking yet, please excuse the old picture.

Campaign Desk

Office - Desk Detail

Blue Villa Stripe Table Runner – This needs to be spread across my dining table immediately.  It’s a perfectly classic linen for anyone’s space that can be mixed and matched with other linens.

Blue Stripe Runner

Antique Black Verona Bookshelf – You know how the world was heartbroken when the Expedit was discontinued?  Well ours bit the dust during the move.  Guess it’s time for a stylish upgrade to THIS beauty.  I definitely think it’s an improvement however I’m not so sure about my significant other’s decorating choices on those top 2 shelves (although his styling game on the bottom few make me so proud!)

Verona Bookshelf

IMG_8927

So there you have it, my full-fledged, undying love for World Market.  Anyone else a fan?  If that’s not  your jam, what’s your secret go-to for budget-friendly eclectic pieces?

Ellen’s Design Challenge – Episode 3 Recap

UPDATED with photos of final designs below!

This week’s recap of “Ellen’s Design Challenge” begins with the Wayfair WALL ‘O CHAIRS! Each designer was tasked with selecting a chair that reflected their design aesthetic.  Katie chose first, stealing Gaspar’s prized Ghost Chair.  Gaspar had the opportunity to choose next – a black plastic chair with light, wooden legs.  Carley chose a french country chair that I absolutely adored.  Tim bucked tradition and decided to challenge himself by choosing the white plastic S chair.

Designers and their chairssource

Joe then presented the challenge for the week – craft a dining table to compliment the contestants’ chosen chairs (I couldn’t see that one coming from 500 miles away…) Each designer was quick to create their designs, however, Tim and Carley’s were nearly identical. After sparring over the same beautiful slab of raw wood, Tim eventually relented to Carley’s persistence.

Fighting Ovsource

Carley’s table was an intriguing design from the get-go and obviously focused on forged metal highlighting her expertise, however I knew the one glaring problem – the giant splice down the middle – was going to be a serious problem come judging time.

Carley's Tablesource

Tim had to adjust his design based on this second choice of material. This worked to his advantage as the design was now distinctly different from Carley’s. I was thoroughly impressed with how he managed to create such a rustic yet modern piece that gorgeous in such a short time! In the end, it still screamed very masculine, but I couldn’t dispute that it was a stunning piece of furniture that perfectly complemented his chairs.

Tim'ssource

Gaspar got inventive. Like Tim, he decided to step outside his comfort zone this week and chose to work with plexiglass. He crafted a stunning tree silhouette out of wood veneer and then sandwiched it between the plexi. The final product was not my style but was indisputably beautiful and truly one of a kind.

Gaspar'ssource

Now for Katie. With Leslie gone, Katie’s quickly stepped up as the most annoying contestant in my book. I do love her perky attitude but the Valley Girl talk has gotten on my nerves. Combine that with the very cow-like table that she crafted and it was just too much for me. Had her finished product more closely resembled her initial design with a marble-like finish, I would have liked her piece much more than the barnyard animal she came up with.

Katie'ssource

I did, however, admire her fierce commitment to wildlife courtesy of the pandas all over her pajama-like pants.

Panda Pants 2source

Our guest judge, Ray Azoulay of Obsolete was another design-world insider. All the contestants seemed thoroughly impressed with him but as an average viewer, I had no idea who he was.

Ellensource

His insight in to each piece, however, was spot on. Note to the producers and programming executives – not the smartest move to continually have unrecognizable insiders in that chair. Your average American viewer is oblivious to their resume and will quickly be turned off.

Ellen and Furniture

0230400.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.301.170source

 During judging we FINALLY got our first Ellen in-person sighting of the season. She made quite the comical entrance, but otherwise, her presence was fairly unnecessary. It didn’t add much besides some fake, crafted for TV suspense when she handed notes to Katie and Carley telling them who was going home. (SPOILER ALERT: Neither. Did you really think Ellen was there to do the dirty work?! Of course not!). So all 4 designers are safe for another week.

BP__HGEDC_Ellens-Design-Challenge_BTS-Ellen-and-judges_3-0128_h.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.960source

Overall, I’d give the show a 5/10. It has some redeeming qualities but certainly has room for improvement. So I’ll keep watching it for now, if only so that I can critique it for you all the rest of the season.

ellens-design-challeng3source

And just as a small aside – the folks over at HGTV and Wayfair need to work on their cross promotions. I appreciate the Wayfair interstitial ad we got right before we cut back to the show from a commercial break, however, there is ZERO presence of the show on Wayfair’s site. For the amount of in-show Wayfair mentions and commercial air time purchased, I was certain they’d be plugging it left and right but I searched for hours and couldn’t find a single mention on their site. Especially for an online retailer, thats a huge missed opportunity. HGTV Ad Sales and Wayfair Marketing – call me. I’ve got a ton of ideas for how to up your game 🙂

So what do you all think? Is anyone loving it? Watching out of obligation? Or have you already unloaded it from your DVR in favor of making room for another episode of “Downton Abbey?” Speaking of which, who watched this past Sunday’s episode?! I just have to say to Edith: you go girl. You do you; you do you!

Ellen’s Design Challenge – Episode 2 Recap

Surprise!  You guys get 2 posts this week!  First off – are any of you watching Scandal?  Last night’s episode was bananas!  I can’t handle it!  But that’s not the show I’m here to talk about today.

Apparently a lot of you lost your cable on Monday night!  I’ve gotten a lot of questions this week about what happened on episode 2 of Ellen’s Design Challenge.  I have to say, I’m still holding out hope for this show.  There were a few glimmers this week.

To start, the challenge was a lot more exciting.  Each designer was tasked with creating a piece of furniture to house the mystery contents of a storage unit.  The contents varied from barware to baby clothes to craft supplies.

Storage

 source

What I really enjoyed was seeing the designers spend more time with their carpenters actually designing and building their furniture.  I know in a first episode of a new series that you need more time to establish the show – the rules, the contestants and their backstories, etc.  But in episode 2 you can really dig in and see the contestants’ process.

Building

 source

Ellen was again – no where to be seen outside of a TV monitor.  She provided the contestants with some inspiration for the challenge, however, I really missed seeing her in person.  Knowing that they film her talk show in LA and they filmed this show in LA, I am sorely disappointed that she couldn’t find time to show up in person to tape 5 minutes for each episode that has her own name in the title.

Katie

source

When it came time for judging all of the critiques were on point.  However, I disagree with their final winning selection.  I thought Gaspar’s sideboard for dishware knocked it out of the park.  I wouldn’t put it in my home but I thought it was stunning for the right space.

The judges had other ideas though and selected Katie’s red cabinet that was VERY 80’s inspired.  I thought it was over the line kitch, but the judges just loved the artful storage it provided for clothing.  Her finished piece is below:

Winning Cabinet

source

The judges eventually decided to send home Leslie FINALLY.  Although she caused drama, which makes for good TV, her overall attitude and approach to everything was just annoying and I was so happy to see her go.  The dresser she created to house baby clothes was too simple, lacking any unique features.  And as Christiane pointed out, the changing pad with a baby would have gone flying off the table without being properly secured.

So I’ll give the show one more week.  What did you guys think?  Are you still watching?  Or have you grown bored?

Ellen’s Design Challenge

Updated: Found some photos of the finished products if you scroll to the bottom!

For those that don’t know, I work in the entertainment industry to pay the bills.  So I get super pumped when my world of interests collide – television, branding, and home design.  Such was the case with Ellen’s Design Challenge which premiered this past week on HGTV.

Ellen

source

First off – Ellen.  Love her.  I think she is one of the funniest, most genuine women on TV so naturally I was stoked to have another reason to watch her.  The show is named after her, she’s in all the promos and marketing so she’d be a main part of the show, right?  Wrong.  She’s in one segment.  Where the contestants watch a clip of her on a TV.  Total snoozefest.

Ellen on TV

source

The format.  Totally Project Runway meets HGTV Design Star.  Pre-selected, talented contestants compete in unique furniture design challenges each week to prove who is the best.  You get the gist.  Design school graduates, self-made furniture builders, a FEMALE blacksmith (my favorite).

Contestants

source

Casting was obviously done both for talent and reality TV drama because honestly, why else would you watch without at least one cat fight?!  I could list all their names here, but honestly,  no one stood out enough to remember.  Which is not good TV.

As the contestants have limited time to complete their challenges, they’re each given a carpenter to help execute their designs.

Carpenters

source

Here’s what really pulled me out – most of the carpenters are smaller, but recognizable HGTV personalities themselves.  This is never acknowledged.  It’s like they’re just your average carpenter found through the Yellow Pages.

The host.  Generic, mildly charismatic reality show type guy.  I do not even remember his name and you learn nothing about him.  He just directs the contestants where to look.

Host Jay Montepare

source

The judges.  Credit goes to HGTV execs for finding relevant, qualified judges for the competition: Amanda Dameron, editor-in-chief of Dwell Magazine.  She’s a little boring, but clearly knows her stuff and her expertise is appreciated.  She’s partnered with Christiane Lemieux, executive creative director of Wayfair.com, one of the show’s key sponsors.  Christiane is fairly expressive and entertaining to watch.

Judges

source

They also bring in a guest judge, Jason Chauncey of Brownstone Upholstery Inc.  Here’s my gripe about the guest judge – although I’m no design expert, I have NEVER heard of this guy. And if I haven’t, your average American viewer DEFINITELY has not heard of him. He was also a bit boring.  Where’s Nate Berkus?  Or Genevieve Gorder?  Granted, HGTV probably can’t afford these now uber-famous faces, but you need another hook to keep your viewer interested.  Thought – how about Ellen?!  It is her show and she was in very little of this first episode.  She may not be a design professional, but she’s certainly a lover of great design.  Her home has been featured in some of the best home decor magazines out there.  And she’s a recognizable face (THE face that many viewers tuned in for) which is key when you’re trying to find your audience for a new show.

Elle Decor Cover

source

Architectural Digest

source

The night’s challenge was to take a big, boring existing box consisting of wood, steel and plexi and repurpose it in to a design exemplary of the contestants’ style (total Project Runway unconventional challenge knock off).

Box Pre Makeover

source

The final designs – I was less than impressed.  We had one mid-century modern shelving system knock-off and a sculpturally beautiful chair that was under-appreciated by the judges.

BP_HDEDC101_After-Designer-4-5.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.1920

BP_HDEDC101_After-Designer-3-1.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.1920

source

There was also an entry table made by the blacksmith (she is so bad ass!) and the most boring wall shelving unit I’ve ever seen (she is annoying and should have been the first to go!).

BP_HDEDC101_After-Designer-6-3.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.1920

BP_HDEDC101_After-Designer-2-2.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.853

source

Then there was the winner, a beautiful yet useful campaign desk made by the guy who, shocker, specializes in reclaimed materials.

BP_HDEDC101_After-Designer-Tim-2.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.853

source

Lastly, I was fairly impressed with the brand integrations on the show.  So often shows like this can look like walking advertisements for Home Depot or Armstrong flooring.  But the Wayfair.com accessory wall was done very tastefully and they had a great interstitial ad just before you came back from one of the commercial breaks.  It showed you examples of the furniture created on the show and then cut to similar styles available for purchase.  It was a commercial, but tasteful (and hosted by judge Christiane.)

Wayfair Wall Background

(best shot of the Wayfair Wall I could find)

Overall, I was a bit disappointed in the show.  The previews for upcoming episodes look promising (and include Ellen in person) so I’ll keep watching.  But if the show doesn’t deliver, I can only last another episode or 2.  Three episodes of any new show is my limit; no one has time these days to waste on uninteresting television.

So there’s my rant.  What did you guys think?  Did anyone love it?  Are you going to keep watching?

Beauty Rest Bedroom

So now that the kitchen is looking good (pending some artwork decisions), it’s time to move down the long hall to our master bedroom.  Our big challenge right now is furniture – although we’re fairly content with the quantity of storage our current dressers provide, they leave quite a bit to be desired in the quality and aesthetics arenas.  And now that I have my rich, wood-toned nightstand, we’re anxious to get the rest of our room up to snuff.

Here’s what it’s looking like these days (excuse all poor iPhone photos – its the first time I felt up to blogging in a while and i was motivated to get it DONE!):

IMG_4951

The first piece we’re focusing on is a new nightstand with storage for Jefe.  His side of the bed is currently rocking the matchy-matchy black Hemnes I purchased 7 years ago when I moved to LA.

Hemnes Nightstand

Since I got so lucky finding my nightstand at the Rose Bowl, we’ve been focusing our search at the flea market.  So far we’ve struck out twice there and once at the Long Beach Flea Market where we ventured for the first time last week.  Frustrated, I started branching out to the usual suspects to see what new pieces retailers like Pottery Barn, West Elm and World Market had to offer.

Pottery Barn has this great Branford Bedside Table in Mahogany that would be perfect, but at $529 ON SALE, it’s not really in the budget.

PB Branford Nightstand

The next option I found was from World Market – the Sara Double-Wide Nightstand in a beautiful shade of grey blue.  With a price of $119 and by adding some more sophisticated hardware, I could totally make this work.  Then I remembered it would be sitting in front of NAVY curtains, next to NAVY and white striped duvet, and I’m planning to lay down an INDIGO rug….. Just too much blue (I didn’t know there was such a thing!)  But the minute they sell this table in a wood tone, it’s MINE.

483546_SARA DOUBLE-WIDE NIGHTSTAND

Target had some interesting pieces including this more rustic accent table, but there was nothing I liked that was tall enough.  I really hate the low-sitting bed trend.

Threshold Mixed Material Side Table

For now, I’m just going to keep looking.  We live 1 block from the Melrose Trading Post and have yet to venture over, so I think that’s where I’ll be headed this Sunday to continue the hunt.

The other pieces we’re looking to replace are our 2 existing Hemnes dressers and eventually our Hemnes bed frame.  Out with the matching bedroom suit, hello perfectly-curated eclectic mix.  We’re definitely looking to go vintage on the dressers so we can get something of real quality which is so much more important for those types of larger pieces.  I’d love to just pick up an antique back in Pennsylvania next time I’m home, but the shipping alone would break any budget we set.

For the bed frame, I’ve had my eye on a variety of slightly curved, nailhead trimmed headboards and Crate & Barrel just released the bed of my dreams.  I was lusting after the similarly styled Colette, but it wouldn’t allow for a box spring and sat too low.  But the Curve Queen Bed in Napa Camel is absolute perfection. Now if I could just scrounge up enough change from the couch cushions to actually afford it….

Curve Bed in Napa Camel

 

To soften things up, I’m dying to lay down this indigo Empire Scroll Rug from Pottery Barn over our hardwood floor.

PB Empire Scroll Rug

In terms of accessories, I’m still toying with that, but I think we’re going to stick with black and white photos for artwork.  We already have two great pieces hung, but we really need something for over the bed.  As we’re in earthquake country, there is very little Jefe will let me hang over our heads, but he has agreed to a lightweight canvas of some sort.  I’d like to find an image one of us has taken and get it blown up and printed on canvas by Shutterfly.  Hats off to Brooklyn Limestone for turning me on to the plethora of new home decor options they offer!

Now that I’ve racked up the costs for this “little” redo, I think we’ll stick with our current bedding, which I think will fit in quite nicely. Here’s a quick recap of the plan:

Master Bedroom Revamp Mood Board

I can’t wait to get started!  Now excuse me while I go rob a bank.