Kelly Christakos Stivers
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Tuesday
Dec242013

merry christmas!

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and thank you so, SO much for being such loyal blog readers!  I have so much to be thankful for this holiday season and you, my wonderful readers, are high on that list.  I hope each and every one of you has a magical Christmas!

Monday
Dec232013

last-minute christmas

With only two days left until Christmas, it's getting a little late to order gifts online, but if you do your best shopping at the last minute and don't mind paying extra in shipping, here are a few items I'm loving lately that would make fabulous Christmas gifts or last-minute pretties for yourself!

A statement necklace is the only thing helping me take my maternity tops from daily wear to Christmas ready - I've gotten so many compliments on this Juliet Sparkle necklace and the best part is that it's as gorgeous as it is affordable!

My tootsies are ready for Christmas (and for labor and delivery!) thanks to my go-to Christmas red, Essie in Geranium.

Sea salt soap adds a nautical touch for the holidays and is a great stocking stuffer!

A client included this peppermint bark hot chocolate from Williams Sonoma in their Christmas basket this year and I'm OBSESSED.  Especially festive in these gorgeous tartan mugs.

This bay leaf wreath looks as amazing as it smells hanging in my kitchen (thank you, Lisa!) - the burlap ribbon is the perfect holiday touch.

Nothing like a few cable knit throw pillows to cozy up your perch for the holidays!

OBSESSED with these gorgeous herringbone stockings from Holiday + Crew - all that's needed is a monogram and some velvet ribbon!

These gold Maya Brenner initial studs from Mark and Graham are classic; the perfect finishing touch for daily wear or running errands.

Serve up cocktails or snacks in style on this gorgeous brass and marble serving tray; it's so pretty I would have to leave it out on my countertops year round!

What are some of your favorite last-minute gift ideas?

Wednesday
Dec182013

free vintage printables!

If you're looking for some last minute Christmas gift ideas, or, if you're in the market for some AMAZING art finds that won't break your piggy bank, you MUST head on over to Biodiversity Heritage Library IMMEDIATELY!!!  I've never had much luck with free vintage printables online simply because it always seemed like searching for a needle in a haystack, HOWEVER....Biodiversity Heritage Library has almost 90,000 high-resolution images (90,000!!) in their Flickr feed, all neatly organized into 1,680 sets, making it super easy (and super quick!) to flip through.  There really is something for everyone - print one out, stick in a frame and you have a beautiful Christmas gift! Print a set for a gallery wall and your bestie will love you forever! They also make a beautiful hostess gift.  Here are some of my favorites:

Seashells and conchology:

Love these fish:

Gorgeous collections of moths and butterflies:

Amazing orchids:

Mushrooms - love these for the cooking aficionado:

Bird eggs-so elegant!

To print them out, click on an image you love.  All the way to the right of the image, there are three little dots.  Click on those dots and select "Download/All Sizes":

For the best resolution, click "ORIGINAL", all the way to the right.  Download, save to your computer and either print at home or print online from Staples or Kinkos on thicker paper.  That's it!

To see more collections, click here

Happy Hunting!

Tuesday
Dec172013

my top 10 no-fail design products

Design and decor trends may come and go, but there are a few products in my arsenal that I use time and time again that never fail me, no matter the design style I may be working with!  I love each and every one of these products not only for their versatility but also for their budget-friendly price tags (an added bonus when putting together design boards for clients!)  I could have dragged this list on and on, but here are my top 10 go-to design and decor products that never disappoint.  What are your favorites?  I'd love to know!

1.  If I had a dollar for every project in which I've used Ikea's Merete grommet curtain panels, I'd have a pretty fat piggy bank!  Who doesn't love crisp white curtain panels?  They soften a room and look fabulous paired with bamboo Roman blinds, and at less than $30 for a pair of two 98" panels, you would be hard pressed to find fabric by the yard for the same price!  They used to sell them in 118" length, as well, which is what I have all over my own home, and even though they discontinued them a few years ago, I still have high hopes they will someday bring them back! 

2. Seagrass baskets are a must-have in any space; they add texture and interest and the additional storage is always a plus.  I use them to corral magazines, blankets, toys, towels, firewood, toilet paper, as pots for plants and sometimes just to fill an empty corner (clients always find something to stick in them!)  The one pictured above is from Wisteria, but I can always find them for a fraction of the price at TJ Maxx, HomeGoods and Marshall's.

3.  Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter is, hands down, THE PERFECT NEUTRAL PAINT COLOR! A beautiful shade of greige, it goes from gray to taupe to a lovely shade of wet sand, depending on the light.  I've used this in kitchens, dining rooms, this nursery, even my own guest room - it always looks so elegant and is a gorgeous backdrop for bold color and pattern!

4.  Bamboo Roman blinds have become my #1 treatment for windows as much for price as texture, warmth and overall loveliness.  I have used these from Home Depot for many client projects, and I have them all over my own home - they come in a bunch of different sizes and do an amazing job of blocking light (an added bonus so that way you can see the bamboo from the outside and not an ugly liner!)

5.  I'm a firm believer in that every home should have a gallery wall and my favorite way to display a collection of family photographs is with modern, clean lined frames with extra wide white mats.  I love this collection from Target and have used them time and time again; they are such a great price point to begin with, but they go on sale often, an added bonus!

6.  Resin coral pieces are a beautiful way to add a natural element to bookshelves, built-ins, coffee tables, even on top of a pile of books, to name a few places and they add so much bang for your buck.  TJMaxx and HomeGoods always have a great selection year-round but I've also used these faux pieces from ZGallerie and haven't been disappointed!

7.  Blue and white ginger jars, oh, how I love thee. They add such an elegant, colorful touch to bookshelves and countertops and I especially love using them as makeshift vases for magnolia branches and fresh cut flowers!  The set listed above is from here, BUT...I hate to sound like a broken record, but, you guessed it - I have only ever bought them for a fraction of the price from TJ's, HomeGoods and especially, Ross, believe it or not!

8.  Every space benefits from a monogrammed touch, ESPECIALLY in the bathroom and these satin stitched embroidered beauties from Pottery Barn are my favorites for adding an elegant, modern touch, with a pop of colo.  They wash really well, too, making them perfect for hand towels in powder rooms!

9. Live plants are a must for a pop of color and freshness, but they can be an expensive investment if you don't have a green thumb.  I LOVE live topiary, but it's always been super difficult for me to keep them from committing suicide...until I found this rosemary version for less than $20!  I've used them a lot lately and my clients love them!

10.  This telescope floor lamp is the ultimate triple threat - its modern style, great size and super affordable price

Monday
Dec162013

nursery progress + a quick and easy before and after

It's amazing how a few key items can really make a space feel like it's pulled together, even if it's not quite close to being finished!  Last week, I received my crib bedding and curtains for the nursery and not only did they both turn out even more amazing than I expected, but they really make the room feel so much more cozy and almost complete! I'm still waiting on art so I can hang her gallery wall and for  bedding to arrive for the daybed, but things are coming along!  I know these are some sneaky peeks, but I promise to do a full reveal once everything is completely done...so, in the meantime, here are a few progress shots for everyone who has been so kind as to email about the nursery!

One of my dearest friends back at the beach happens to be an interior designer and master seamstress and her gift to Baby Girl was to fit the windows in her nursery with some gorgeous curtains.  They turned out amazing and not only soften the entire room, but they compliment the peachy/coral ceiling paint and look fabulous paired with bamboo Roman blinds:

I ordered sample cards of linen in every color you could imagine from Gray Line Linen and, after pouring over them for a ridiculous amount of time, ended up going with flax panels with a four inch band of coral linen.  I was very impressed with the fabric weight, the color varieties (there are a TON!) and customer service over at Gray Line Linen; the fabric arrived three days after ordering!

From the very moment I found out I was having a girl, I had my heart set on a champagne crib; it has been the one item throughout all the planning for her room upon which every other detail was based and I am in love with how it turned out!  To be completely honest, it was no way near the easy process I anticipated-from finding the perfect shade of metallic champagne paint (it's harder than you think!) to getting it sprayed (twice!), it was a real pain in the ass, but, in the end, it was definitely worth the hassel. 

I decided on a Jenny Lind-style crib from the get-go; I loved the simplicity and antique feel of the spindle style and you couldn't beat the price! I'm not a fan of oversize, convertible cribs, so this one was perfect for me.  After an exhaustive search for paint, I ended up going with Ralph Lauren's Regent Metallic paint in Champagne Toast - the perfect pale gold, it complimented the ceiling paint and crib bedding fabric beautifully.  Another major bonus was that it was a one-step process, unlike many metallic paints where you have to prime, paint and then apply a metallic top coat (all of which is hella expensive, might I add!)  Here's a little peek of both the crib paint and the bedding:

I NEVER sub out any of my furniture, but I wanted a smooth finish with no brush strokes, so I had it sprayed professionally.  The paint is so gorgeous-great coverage and the most amazing pearl finish. The only drawback was that the air compressor sucked up most of the metallic, making it look more like a wheat-painted crib, which was NOT what I wanted.  So, I picked up a quart of Metallic glaze in gold from Sherwin Williams; a light coat was all that was needed for that extra shimmer and it's absolutely gorgeous!

Above the crib we mounted a hand-carved mermaid that my aunt found in an antique store in Newport, RI.  An older, retired gentleman makes them by hand and I especially love that half of the proceeds go to military families.  At almost FIVE FEET LONG, she is absolutely stunning and has become the focal point of that side of the room!  Isn't she gorgeous?

There have been quite a few DIY's in the design of this nursery, the easiest of which has been a quick and easy paint treatment on a lamp.  I loved the lines and shape of the Audrey lamp from Lulu and Georgia, but at more than $200, sadly, it was way out of my price range.  I found the one below left on sale for $50 at Hobby Lobby; I loved the shape and burlap shade, but the brown faux wood finish had to go.  To help it blend in a little better with my framed Animal Print Shop prints (I used large mat Target frames that I painted in this gold spray paint), I applied a light coat of adhesion primer first and then broke out my liquid gold leaf and voila!

What a difference, no? 

And last, but not least, the making of a gallery wall...the sail boat was painted by a lovely friend (see my tutorial on how to make linen picture frame mats here), the "Prayer for a Little Girl" hung in my nursery as a baby and the navy mermaid is from Pottery Barn.  It was actually the very first thing I bought for the nursery! Still waiting on a few little pieces of art and a handwritten calligraphy piece, but it's starting to come together nicely:

Finished pics coming soon!