Monthly Archives: April 2013

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Trendspotting at Target… Interior Design trends for Spring 2013

target shopping

I love, love, love black. And white. And grey. That’s kind of the extent of how far I go with “color”. I will occasionally be drawn to something colorful, but it’s rare, and always makes me feel a little sick. And a little dizzy.

Case in point: our living room.

Now this is just a small area, but you get what I’m saying. The only color here is a small turquoise pillow and the most awesome neon color print ever made. More on that later.

It’s not that I’m afraid of color, it just doesn’t tend to speak to me. I don’t want to feel like I’m walking into a box of confetti, so for our house, I tend to stick to a pretty simple color palette.

When everything in the stores starts turning pastel, I feel so let down. Is this really all we can come up with to usher Spring into our lives? Pastel candy-colored clothing, shoes and accessories? Really? Luckily this year, I have been pleasantly surprised at the housewares coming out for the Spring 2013 season.

Any high-end store is going to have really great accessories to make your home amazing, but really, who wants to spend $150 on a gold pig? I mean, I do… but let’s be realistic. If you’re buying seasonal accessories, they don’t need to be expensive. This way, you can easily change them out as the seasons (and your mood) change. Target has really done a great job in being current, mostly well-priced, and highly accessible to everyone (who doesn’t have a Target near them?). There are probably people who will scoff at shopping at Target because it’s not high-end, but I definitely believe in mixing high and low, and buying things if you love them, regardless of where they come from!

I took a little lunch time adventure to see what accessories at Target would fit into the Spring Interior Design trends, but also ones that would not scare away people like me, who shy away from color. Here’s what I found:


gold wire side table. absolutely gorgeous! 

sparkly mirrored lamp base. stunning!

metallic weave side table. brilliant!

OK so I know what you’re thinking – adding metallics isn’t exactly getting out of my comfort zone. There was more though!



We’ve all seen color blocking in fashion last year, and it has made its way to housewares…

a great basket showing color blocking. storage for rolled up throw blankets, possibly?


white and lime striped lamp shade. so many options for mix-and-match bases! you could do metallic, wood, woven rope, white, a color-clashing bright blue… endless possibilities!

very classic, yet on trend throw pillow utilizing stripes AND color blocking. this would go well with modern or vintage syling. 


Texture is very important in design, as it gives variation to your space. Layering textures, being able to touch things (a wool throw blanket, a geode candlestick) keeps things interesting and livens up the room.

these oversize baskets are right on trend with their chalkboard name plates. they would be great in a shelving unit, with the contents clearly labeled on the chalkboard plate. also, each family member could have their own basket on shelves near the front door with the baskets acting as a catch-all for their daily items (keys, purse, toys, shoes) – this would keep things nice and tidy!

this X-basket could almost be used as a tote – it’s that cute! i’m imagining this as storage for my design magazines, next to the sofa.


Floral can go bad very quickly. It seems that there is a very fine line between beautiful floral patterns, and tacky floral patterns. The patterns I’m seeing currently are fresh, vibrant, and totally cool.

such a great floral pattern, without being stuffy or old. this pillow could work in any room.

the floral pattern on this lamp shade is muted, so it could work well in a lot of different situations. a clear acrylic base, a wooden base, a bright turquoise base… so many options.

Just for fun, I had to add this amazing piece, which would be great hung over a mantle, a bed, a doorway – really anywhere! The colors are just right and it lends a touch of humor to your space. Beautiful!

rope deer mount can be found at:


So this Spring, the bottom line is to take some chances with these colors! They are beautiful and done so well. The best part is that they won’t break the bank! Happy Spring!

When one door closes…

Grey House Design Studio

In 2010, we were lucky enough to be able to go to London and Paris for a week of vacation. This was the second time we’d been to London and the first we’d been to Paris.

One of things I was so inpsired by in both of these incredible cities, was the color. The color of the landscape, the color of the street art, and mainly, the color of their doors.

The doors on homes and businesses have personality. It’s as if they are hinting at what might be inside, and inviting you in to find out.

oooh, so magic. can we please come in?

One of the best parts of these colorful doors that I really loved was the amount of glossy lacquer that was applied. It’s as if the original owners chose a wonderful color, and every owner after that added another layer of lacquer until it was an inch thick. The doors glistened and sparkled with the shiny gloss. Let me tell you, I wanted to go knock on every single one, just to see exactly what was inside that made for such a special entrance.

the door to our hotel in paris. made my heart skip a beat.

Because this was the second time we’d been in London, we decided to do some touristy things. When we visited the Tower of London, design inspiration punched me in the face. It wasn’t the moss-covered stone walls, the thick gates that used to house prisoners or the display of weapons and jewels. It was the bright blue doors in the buildings out around the Tower lawn. The contrast between the doors and the dark stone walls was absolutely perfect. I needed this color in my life, and it was now my mission to transform our front door with the same blue color.

Once we got home, I got to work trying to find out what color these doors were painted. My google search showed photos that others had taken of the doors, but there was nothing specifying what color or formula this was. One article that I had read suggested that the blue color was made for the Queen, so it made sense that I wasn’t able to find a canned version of this.

looking back through photos, I noticed that the tower bridge also used the bright blue color.

Relying on my ability to remember colors and later match paint chips, I chose a bright blue that I felt was closest to the Tower doors.

At this point, our front door was a bright red, which we had painted over a navy that had been painted over a green, a white, a cream… layers upon layers upon layers of paint. We considered just buying a new door that wasn’t painted and painting it ourselves, but the door we had was solid wood. To replace it would have been pretty expensive!

So instead, I bought a heat gun and a scraper and got to work.

I originally considered using a gel or liquid stripper, but didn’t want to deal with the smell or the mess. We laid down a plastic tarp, plugged in the heat gun, and got to work. This was not a quick project. I worked on the door, one small section at a time, for a few months. The heat gun is a wonderful tool, but to get through that many layers of paint without setting the door on fire (yes, there was smoke a few times when I held it in one spot too long), it was a very slow process. Hold the heat gun in one spot, wait for the paint to start to bubble, move the gun to the area just below, then scrape that paint off. Oh, and don’t get your hand too close. And also don’t let the old hot paint fall onto your feet when you’re not wearing shoes. Eek!

After all layers of paint had been removed, I sanded the door using sand paper over a sanding block. Then I painted the door with one layer of white, flat primer. I had gotten a small sample jar of the blue paint in a matte finish (there was no choice other than matte) so I used this as a color-based primer over the white.

Because our front door faces West, I wanted to be sure that the door was as protected as possible, so didn’t mind adding a couple of layers. I purchased a small can of high gloss blue paint matching the sample, and painted two coats on the door.

After letting it dry (barely. I have ZERO patience to wait for projects to finish themselves!), John reinstalled the hardware, and I had the door of my European dreams.

For now.

I still need to find a ridiculously shiny clear lacquer finish and start to add layer after layer after layer. When I’ve talked to employees at the hardware stores here, they look at me confused as if to say “Why would you want your door to be so shiny?”

I smile. They have no idea. Maybe our next trip to Europe will involve actually going up to one of those shiny doors and asking the occupants just how they got their door so very shiny.

Blue Door

The finished door. Come on in!

Why Grey? And not Gray?


Back in school, one of the assignments in my Professional Practices class was to develop our own Interior Design business plan and logo. I didn’t have much interest in the plan as much as I did in the logo and the NAME.

Being inspired as I was by the little old house that we live in, I immediately knew I wanted to use the house and it’s color in the name. I came up with Grey House Design because to me, it felt personal, but not too personal for someone else to connect with. It let everyone know exactly what it was doing, and it was simple. I chose the spelling of Grey over Gray because hey, I just thought it looked better. It seemed fancier. It seemed a little more whimsical.

picture from


And according to

Gray and grey are different spellings of the same word, and both are used throughout the English-speaking world. But gray is more common in American English, while grey is more common in all the other main varieties of English. In the U.K., for instance, grey appears about twenty times for every instance of gray. In the U.S. the ratio is reversed.”

I have always felt that Europeans just do it so much better, in most every way of life. So it makes sense that I would gravitate towards their spelling of grey. And who doesn’t want a bit of whimsy in their every day life? I know I do.

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