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