...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Victoria emailed me needing help with the long, skinny room above her garage.  She wanted it to function as a retreat for guests using a color scheme of blue, chocolate and tan.

Here’s what I came up with…

Victoria's Cloud Nine Bonus Room1 – Instead of being too literal with the desired color scheme, I switched up the combination to blue-green, gold, white and espresso…to keep things a little more airy in a room lacking tons of natural light.  For the wall/ceiling color, something along the lines of Olympic’s Carolina Inn Club Aqua {as seen over on Young House Love} would give guests the feeling of sleeping in the sky.  To complement the blue-green walls, I chose a textured gold duvet cover to fold up and lay across the bottom third of the proposed all white bed. The subtle chrysanthemum pattern adds interest and ties into the wall art nicely.

2 – For the sleeping area, I found these inexpensive espresso nightstands to flank either side of the bed.  I suggested using these crisp tear drop lamps on each nightstand placed in front of these reflective wall sculptures to bounce even more light around and add glimmer to the room.  Adding a sophisticated, circular monogram {either vinyl or DIY’d} in dark gray or navy above the center of the bed would help to establish a focal point on the long wall.  And what bed couldn’t use a pair of Etsy pillows?  Mixing an ikat pattern with a geometric motif keeps things from going department store matchy.

3 – Victoria wanted a place for her guests to work on their laptop if necessary.  I suggested moving the workspace to the small wall where a floor lamp lives in the before picture above.  I found this crazy affordable version of a white parsons desk for tossing papers, computers or phones onto. Partnered with this contrasting espresso bentwood chair, the work area suddenly becomes a modern vignette.  Hanging this floral print above the desk in an all white frame/mat, would tie in all the colors of room: aqua, gold, white and espresso.

4 – Also on Victoria’s must-have list was a sitting area for her guests to lounge and read.  Placing the sitting area on the side of the bed opposite the work area will help to balance the long room and also separate the workspace from the leisure space.  These patterned slipper chairs angled in towards this rich, clean-lined side table would cozy up empty space on the other side of room.  The floor lamp in the before pic would provide ample reading light.

Here’s hoping these ideas help Victoria turn her bonus room into the soothing room she wants for her guests.  And maybe it inspired you as well.  As for me, I’m seriously digging those reflective wall sculptures.

images:  1) bedroom before via Victoria  2) mood board by Dana Miller via Polyvore

01.28.11 / DIY Kale Chips

I know this isn’t a food blog.  In fact, I was not born with nor have I acquired a love or knack for cooking.  But there are 2 things that force me to cook {sometimes}:  I love to eat and I love to keep things cheap. Honestly, cooking is just another DIY project to me…minus the warm, fuzzy feeling. So, I hope you don’t mind if I share a {what-I-think-is} good recipe here and there.  Seriously, it won’t be that often because I don’t cook that often.  Just ask Handy Hubby.  He’s the head chef. In fact, the idea for this quick snack recipe came while reading Kristin van Ogtrop‘s {managing editor at Real Simple magazine} account of introducing her family to kale last year.  She mentioned making kale chips, and I love chips so I thought I’d give ’em a try.  {This required me to buy kale for the first time in my life!}  Here’s what happened:

1 – Buy kale.

2 – Cut leaves off main stem.

3 – Tear leaves into chip-sized pieces.  Wash and dry in lettuce spinner.

4 – Place on non-insulated cookie sheet.  Drizzle over with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.  Bake in oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes.  {Watch to make sure the edges of the chips don’t burn.}

Those are mine right out of the oven.  I probably could have used less olive oil.  But they were surprisingly good!  The even bigger surprise???  The pickiest, slowest eating, most indecisive, and difficult to feed 2-year-old LOVED the kale chips.

So maybe I cheated and let him dip them in sour cream, but seriously, it was the most green leafy vegetable that kid has consumed in all of his almost 3 years on earth.  I was amazed.  It was the first thing I told Handy Hubby when he walked through the door after work that day.  “You’re never going to believe it!  Everett just ate a bunch of kale!”  I don’t think he quite believed me, but I’ve got the pictures to prove it.

I’m definitely going to have to make them again.  Just for this lil’ guy.

Now, that’s how you tweak a healthy veggie into a kid-friendly snack.  Have you tried any new successful recipes lately?  Do you have a picky eater in your house?  Maybe you eat kale regularly?  Take a break from home improvement and interior design today to tell me all about it.

images:  all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking