Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tweener Fun Two/Too

Tween Fun

This room makes me smile.  Thus young tweener had a lot of input on what she wanted in this room.  We only changed the accessories and added a few furniture pieces, painted and got to work on how to store her stuff. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Decorated Items-I Take Charity

If you live in the local Portland area and have some used children's decorating items please send me a message. If you are changing out your child's room, have things in boxes stored in your garage..for years...I would like to come and possibly take them off your hands. Perhaps for a small price. 
I am working on a project and gathering up, cute, good condition items.  Things such as lamps. pictures, linens, pillows, area rugs, even some toys, furniture pieces, and anything and everything to decorate a child's room.
If you are able to take pictures of the items you may have or want to email me about what you may have, even better.  Please email at:

Also if you are interested in following ( in which I have set up dedicated specifically to the design of children's rooms as well as ask to be my friend on Facebook at skip to my room.

Thanks so much,

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Choosing Hues of Blue for a Sweeping View

"Choosing hues of blue for a sweeping view in an open floor plan. I have chosen three complimentary hues of blue. Lighter in the entry which spills to the upper staircase and hallways, darker in the kitchen, back to the lighter in the dining area, and that 3rd hue of blue to bring the family room in. Wide open floor plans can easily be broken up with the same colors, different hues, without being to choppy. She wants a "sweeping" look in her home."
I just cut and pasted an update on my facebook (skiptomyroom), right into my blog. Is that weird?  Words worth repeating even if they are my words.  I have been reading and hearing request for choosing paint colors. I received an email loaded with pictures of this stunning home. I could see the stunning elements in this home. Perhaps a designer's eye?  Beautiful open floor plan, exposed beams, and the entire home trimmed in this beautiful wood.  I tried to be extra gentle and nice when I commented and gave my thoughts to this gal and sadly used words like "drab" "cluttered" and "do you really want to hang onto that rug?"  This homeowner is on teacher's budget.  She admitted that she did not like her furniture and really thought she needed to just start over with painting and new furniture. Only making for a depressing "not going to happen" feeling due to all that was going on, or not going on.  As I looked over the pictures, I saw that she had lovely old furniture pieces.  Turns out family hand-me-downs.  A clutter of precious things which could easily be contained and stored and displayed rather than just placed in available spots.
Being extra sensitive to her budget I hit the pavement.  Spent an afternoon choosing paint colors that will accent and enhance the wood tones, bringing a boring and drab look to an updated soothing and cozy look. Sweeping views with hues of Blue. Open up her spaces and yet still defining each room, wide open to the next.  Looking at her beautiful styled sofa and rendering a look that would cost very little in accessories.  Choosing fabrics that she could choose to make panels in the living spaces to bring it all together and build in the colors of the wood tones and the blues we chose.
Here are some of the samples chosen:
 These blues are not turquoise although they appear that way in this light. You can choose a print for your windows that ties all your elements together. She has both light wood tones and darker tones, which this fabric connects both.
 Hello inexpensive Target pillow which works with all the print options.
 This fabric has hues from the "tired" sofa, which is really very nice, mixed tones of browns and brings in the blue that will go on the walls. I think that Target pillow would be great with this window panel.
 Stripes give height to a room. With this open floor plan, a stripe gives more depth and height to a room if placed in the right space above the window frame.  Again the blues are picked up and the wood tones brought in.
Hello beautiful fabric. The colors are a much softer then the bolder ones above. This would be my first choice, but it's up to this lovely lady to fall in love with her own choice.
Now hear, here, hear is the secret to this room. Using all these fabrics can really pull a room together. You can get coupons for 40% off fabrics. Buy all you need for your windows in one cut of the fabric.  Sew/Hem the edges and you have instant inexpensive window panels.  Make up a few pillows.  Using two prints. No fancy sewing. The fabric is your design source.  Cost effective, beautiful and easy.  All you have to know how to do is sew straight lines. Just like driving a car. 
More exciting on this teacher's budget is that I don't cost as much when emailing and conversing through email.  She has actually saved a lot of money in designer fees.  Knowing what questions to ask, seeing the pictures of every square inch of her home, making her feel comfortable to send the pictures. and she is well on her way to a new look in her home. (Meaning,  she did not have to tidy up or feel self conscience about her home).  Getting to work to find the elements in a cost effective way and hopefully I can talk her into before and after pictures. 
Happy Designing,
Elizabeth Traub
p.s. if you are not following me on facebook, you can just click on the icon to the right and start watching and seeing how design unfold daily in my world.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Teacups to Tables STEP FOUR FINAL

STEP FOUR FINAL is having me try to find the best pictures.  Layering is a miracle way of painting.  Remember I said do not look at the pattern as a whole, but layer the pattern  with the lightest colors first.  OH JOY!!!  Get excited with me. I am so pleased how this turned out. 
 My teacup and my table now completed.  I am very happy with how this turned out. I took a close up to show how very imperfect this is. Go ahead look very very close at this.  Layering of each color transfers the pattern without even really trying.  I took each color and moved it around the table in about the approximate place it should be.
 Table top, lower shelf, tea cup and paint. Yes I spread my paints out on a white plate.  Makes it easier for me to tone down, mix the right colors and keep my pallet close.
 This is that lower shelf. I am so glad I trimmed in blue and decided to take the time to paint the lower shelf.  It did not take any extra time in that the layering of color was just dabbling.
 Right back where I started.  From a teacup to a table.  I love this!
 Looking down at the table notice my almost perfect blue trim around the table. Really?  Who paints perfection like that? Not me. When my table was complete and I was happy with my pattern, I took a fine white paintbrush.  I then went over the oopsies on the table itself. You know like getting your hand in the way and then getting paint where you did not see it.  I painted  white over all those little imperfections.

What is your next project?  This table took me about three hours to complete from start to finish.  I did not not complete it one sitting. I let the white paint drive over night. Even though the bottle said it would take only 30 minutes to try, there is the risk of a tacky feel, and then every little thumb print is recorded.  Sunday I took the earlier afternoon and stuck to the painting of the pattern.

Next time I am going to do a step by step covering of mirror with some really colorful and fun fabric.  Happy Teacup and Table
Very Much a happy Designer,
Elizabeth Traub

Teacups to Tables STEP THREE

STEP THREE is what I call layering. I think any beginner would think this to be a difficult project.  Do not look at the project as a whole. Look at this project in layers. Starting with the lightest color I find the pattern on the cup of just yellow.
 The little shelf on the bottom of this table will be modeled like the inside of the cup.  It narrows down the pattern for me to easily see the yellow colors first.
 For some, this may be a tedious job of spacing and measuring. I eyeball the distance and do not hold myself to perfection.  I use to be a perfectionist and a project like this would have taken weeks, I would loose my enthusiasm, and the project  would be junked in my garage.  Believe me this is way more fun and becomes your own.
 I also made sure to transfer my first layer of color on the lower shelf too.  Starting with the lightest colors always help "fix" mistakes along the way.  Also keep your "inspiration" piece safe.  I know that if that ironing board gets knocked over I can clean up paints but would be sad to break this teacup. So I kept it on the floor close to the project, or a shelf very close by. 
I layered next with orange. It was kind of a sherbet orange which certainly punches out the yellow.  Once the yellow and orange were layered on I started to add the blue.  Are you ready to see all the colors applied and the finished table?

Teacups to Tables STEP TWO

STEP TWO involved first sanding the table. I have to admit I should have worn a mask, although I was outdoors and did not deliberately breath the stain that was most likely over 50 years old.  It smelled  of my grandma's attic. Then I water cleaned, wiped down and dried off the table.  I then spray painted the table white. I was glad I had my roller handy as it really helped with the areas that wanted to drip.  Once the paint was dry I added blue trim.  Now the teacup had a purple accent, so faint that if you blurred your eyes it looked blue. I wanted to highlight the blue so I trimmed it out with a dark and lighter blue.  Make no mistake, there are few clean lines. I know when I am done I will get out my fine paint brush and touch up all the areas that I over painted in white.  Here is the table now painted and trimmed.  Ready for the next step?
Painted white and trimmed in blue.  I like to paint on my ironing board.  It is a good height and there is lots of hang over for this table, so I can walk around the project, reach under and over without having to move the table.  I even have the teacup under that stand to remind me of what first got me thinking of this table.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Teacups to Tables STEP ONE

It seems pretty easy to get started on such a simple project.  The reality is you have to take inventory of what you will need from start to finish.  Nothing kills the joy of an afternoon project than missing key pieces  to get the project moving.  Taking inventory here of what I need:

In the upper left you will see some sandpaper.  Brushing off the extra bumps, dirt, and loose parts of the finish. I am not a "play by rules" kind of furniture painter.  This you must know up front.  I am a do it as fast, as easy  and if no one is playing with the piece, licking it, or moving it around then a general soft sanding is fine with me.  I have my rollers ready too. These are removable and washable.  Acrylic color samples that will be the colors  for the flowers on the table. One can of white spray paint. (The rollers help smooth out the parts I overspray)  And the inspiration piece is the Teacup. Total cost for spray paint, rollers, and sand paper $14.50.  Misc paint colors on hand and now I am ready to paint this:

This lovely table I picked up a a garage sale for about $8.00. All the screws are tight making this a very stable table to hold a lovely lamp for later.  Now that I have every thing all ready to go. STEP TWO will be well under way in the next hour.  My husband is watching football, the boys are all playing so this is going to be a project I can start and finish in one day.  The only delays will be paint drying. 

In case you did not notice the placement in which I have laid out my supplies and the area rug are pieces from my breakfast area.  Over and over people ask where I got those lovely place-mats? I bought $16.00 of them at Dollar Tree about a year ago. One of my better finds since a local design shop had close to the same bamboo placements for $12.00 each. I was going to buy the more expensive ones because I knew I would get the mileage, use and function out of them. Turns out that bamboo that cost a dollar works just as fine too.  The area rug is by our back door which ties in with the place-mats. Another inexpensive clearance item from Target.  I love when I can find things in random places that work together.

Happy Saturday,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

From Teacups to Tables

I am excited to get started on this weekend's project. Really excited.  I was sitting in my family room chatting with my daughter about our two favorite tea cups. She has hers and I have mine.  Only we have yet to sip tea out of them.  Mine came from a dear friend, and funny thing, hers came from a dear friend too. We have dear friends with fabulous tea cup taste.  They both sit up on a shelf side by side (the teacups, not the friends).  And then it hit me. I am going to transfer these patterns onto  pieces of furniture.  I have  two tired little end tables I picked up at estate sales and for months have been wondering what to do with them. Now I know. I am going to paint each of them.  One to match each teacup.  My next post will be pictures of the process. For now here are pictures of the teacups that will soon have matching tables.  I am so excited for this project.  

 This is Emily's cup.  I love this hue of blue and even more the pattern which I will copy by way of using the copy machine.  Which will give me the design, and then transfer onto the furniture.
 This is the inside of my cup.  Every time I look inside I smile. It's the perfect visual bouquet.
Here is my cup with the little fine flower under the cup handle. I can't wait to see how this will transfer, also making copies on a copy machine to put the pattern together.

This project will take place over three blog posts.  Today is the inspiration, the next will be the process, and the third will be the final. I can't wait to see how this goes.  

Friday, September 23, 2011

One Great Find at a Time

It all starts with a great find and a little time.  For me it was really no time at all.  I was on my way home, car full of boys and saw a garage sale.  So I stopped. Saw these cute pillows and for really cheap I bought them.  Then weeks later another garage sale.  One look at that Posies Dot print and I knew I was in for a steal of deal. First, I had already collected a few other items here and there.  And if the price is right on this chair, this would only add to the story I was already building one piece at  a time and one great find at a time.
This Posie Dot was on a very familiar chair. A chair I had custom made for a client over ten years ago. A designer knows her work and this was my work.  After ten years it was in a garage sale.  I might have thought "ouch" to my ego, but finds like this demand oo's and ah's.  The gal said it was a dear friend's who had it "custom made" as  reading chair in her little girl's room.  But her daughter was a teenager now and passed it onto her. She was moving and had no room to take it. So for less than $20.00 it was loaded into my van. I did not even have to load it.  And the sweetness of this was made even sweeter knowing it was going with a story I was building.
The story is this. I found these cute floral, solid, and check pillows in a garage sale too as mentioned above. Kept them tucked away for future story building.  Then I got my hands on this colorful braided rug that matched these pillows growing my story.  To find a chair, now building this colorful story you can imagine how excited I was.  Take a look at the next picture. WALLA!!!  The story continues to grow.  Who's story is this anyway?
Who belongs to this story?  No one yet, but there will be a client who has a darling little girl, and who wants to make some changes in a room.  Budgets don't always allow all the bells and whistles and the expense that come with all those bells and whistle. So I am always on the look out for great  finds like these.  Providing all the bells and whistles with a smaller expense.

Each week, most likely on a Friday I will be featuring the next "One Great Find at a Time".  I love to focus on kids' rooms as that is where my heart and passions started, but keep checking in as I find other great finds for every room in the house.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just One Splash

I am currently working on a project that has me going down memory lane as a designer.  This project has me digging through files and wondering why I NEVER took pictures of all of my be-fore's and afters.  Files of line drawings, room layouts, fabric and paint swatches, flooring, pages torn from catalogs and not one picture.  My career began long before digital cameras.  My career did not hinge on a portfolio to present to a client. My career was based on word of mouth. A client saw a room in a friend's home and then I would get the call.

Every year for over 12 years I was featured in the Portland Street of Dreams, showcasing 2-3 kids rooms, and would have a sign up sheet if interested in my services and a business card. We did not even have a column for "email address", and yet the clients would come and I developed a wonderful reputation in my community as being the one to call for a child's room, playroom, family room and often those jobs would lead to other rooms in the house.

Betwen 2004-June of 2006 I had this handy new device. A digital camera.  The kind you paid hundreds of dollars for, and that same camera today goes for under a $100 dollars. I did not understand it's purpose or it's value, only that once in a while I would get a call to be featured in an article, magazine, or a local write up and they wanted pictures.  So I would call up a client and ask if I could come and take a few pictures. So as I piece together my life as a designer I have just that a few pictures.  

Today I came across a picture that I did not even know I had.  The one here today on this blog post.  I laughed when I saw it.  I actually squealed with delight. Almost five years since I decorated this teeny bopper girls room. I remember when the lights were installed and the room completed and the first flick of the switch. The lights went on.  We had them put on a dimmer switch, close to her bed as these would be used for her overhead reading in bed.  What a surprise we all had when we saw this amazing pattern and design thrown onto the wall.  We both started giggling and laughing and her mom said,  it was amazing at how "carefully" I had "planned" such a "stunning" look. Really?  No at all, a total surprise and I said so too.  This one splash of a pattern really made this room over the top perfect. Oh how I wish I would have taken more pictures over the years.

Now with my first project in over five years I start a bathroom remodel.  Guess what one of the first things I have done?  I have taken before pictures. Placing the camera in the same spots I will take the finished pictures.  I have another design project to start soon and that will also have it's own set of pictures.  

Just one splash of color and a room is made perfect in a teeny bopper's eyes.  As you will see on my facebook page I do like to splash color.  Times, designs, styles and design fashions have changed in five years.  There is more attention than ever before given to the design of every room in the house. More available at price points that make an amazing room on a smaller budget. Please take a moment and find me on facebook.  "Friend" me and let me know you started here and found me.

Truly  A Design Fanatic,
Elizabeth Traub

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Credentials

For years my children have asked me why I don't frame my respective write ups from various publications?  Why I don't have framed magazine covers, and rooms framed and decorating my office of my credentials.  Those highlights of my past. They are proud of my accomplishments and believe that in order for me to have credibility, I must submit my credits.  Would it help if I gave those now?  Understanding that when I had my first design job I had no credibility whatsoever and landed my first design job in a  home that would be featured in the Street of Dreams.

She walked into my little design shop. It was not set up for anything more than a side hobby.  My thought was if I could pay all my bills on time, send my kids to private school, and provide music lessons, while still maintaining a stay home mommy status then the shop was worth keeping open.  I was young and had NO design experience, but she asked one question..."do you make house calls?"  I did not hesitate and boldly said, "yes". I had no idea what house-calls meant, but she did and I was about to find out with her next question.  "How much do you charge an hour?"  I gave her an hourly rate that just popped out of my head and she accepted.  We set up a "house-call" which I now call a "design consultation" and I took her address.  Being farely new to the area and no GPS or cell phones I managed to find her home. Her home and all the other around were all under construction. What on earth had I gotten myself into?

She showed me around her unfinished home and then asked, "Could you have this project done within 4 months?" My inexperience had no limitations and four months was a long time so I said, "yes"  She then went on to tell me that her home and the entire block would be featured in the 1994 Street of Dreams, and I had no idea what that was but again my inexperience, or lack of credibility did not hinder the idea of this larger than life project. In August of 1993 a shop owner who loved color and design was born.  In December of 1993  she walked into my shop and had the confidence in what I had to show her, a designer was born.

Credentials are very important and I am certain I will take some time down memory lane and share some of those moments.  Credentials are the highlights of our past.  I want to high light today and the future.  Today when I step into your home, your project will be like the first one to me.  I still have that enthusiasm, excitement and joy to come alongside and help your dreams to become a reality. I enjoy watching you, the client, the friend  tell me your heart on the matter and we find what your heart looks like in design.

In my first design job it was not my credentials that got me hired. It was my ability to get into my clients head and learn what it was this family wanted. Asking the right kinds of questions. I did not know what those questions were to be, but being nosy worked to my advantage.  On a side I had made window treatments in one of the rooms, using an old Singer Lightweight Sewing Machine. Those window treatments landed on the cover of a Window Treatment magazine.  When I was handed the magazine it went into a drawer. I was to embarrassed to let anyone know that I was not very good at sewing, but with beautiful fabrics how could you go wrong with a design. I wish I had that magazine today.

As the summer months have now passed and I have started a bathroom remodel I am thankful for those who come alongside and trust my instincts in getting that room laid out just right for you.

Truly A Design Fanatic,
Elizabeth Traub