Category Archives: NBID

Professional Interior Design

DIY Maps on Closet Doors

Maps are nostalgic.  They take us back to a time and most definitely a place: a city that you visited, were born in or went to college in.  We all can relate some part of our life to a map.   I used to hang souvenir maps of amusement parks on my wall as a teenager.  I relived and dreamed about my trips to Disney World, Cedar Point and Sea World.  When I was designing Hudson’s nursery we made sure to include a map of New York City, the Hudson River being his namesake.

Wanting to take NYC maps in our decor to the next level, I decided to wallpaper the closet doors in the childrens’ room with MTA maps.  These are the easy to get, free maps of our subway system in New York City.  All you have to do is ask a MTA booth attendant for one.  So over the course of a few months  I randomly asked for them until I had about 6 or 7 maps.

To hang the maps on the doors I had some criteria, the most important being that it had to be removable with no damage.  The maps also needed to withstand wear and tear that a 2 year old can inflict on it.

I bounced ideas off of my DIY and interior design friends and several ideas came up.  One was to mod podge the maps to canvas sheets and wrap the doors with the canvas.  This was a great inexpensive idea because rolls of canvas for framing doesnt cost much but I wanted something that would be more durable.

The next idea was combining the maps with clear contact paper, the drawer liner type.  This idea stuck with me but I had many questions about how the end result would look.  Contact paper only comes in 24″ width rolls so that meant that there would be a seam.  Would the seam show?  Is clear contact paper really clear?

I decided to go with the contact paper idea because a single roll of supermarket contact paper could cover 2 closet doors and this project was only going to cost me $6!

Then I sat wondering how I would hang it.  Would I roll out the contact paper sticky side up and arrange the maps on it first, then hang it like real wallpaper?  Or do I tape the maps to the door and then cover it with the contact paper?  I went with the latter.  I sparingly used double stick tape to stick random sizes and shapes cut from the MTA maps on the door. Then I covered it with full sheets of contact paper leaving extra at the top and bottom to wrap around to the back of the door.  The side of the doors where they meet each other also needed to wrap to the back, but I didn’t need to wrap on the hinge side.  Ensuring the contact paper wrapped to the back of the door was an important part.  The contact paper will surely peel if it stops at the edge of the door or on the side of the door.

So did the seams show?  Nope!  Is the clear contact paper truly clear?  YES!  I was prepared to except that the image would be hazy or blurred from the transparent looking vinyl but it wasn’t, it was just as clear as without.

As an after thought and bonus I realized that this vinyl surface could be written on with dry eraser markers.  I haven’t let Hudson do it yet, but I think that he will have fun drawing out a path on the maps or marking up sites he’s been too.  Macy has also used the maps as a quick reference as we were heading out the door and discussing which train to take.  She’s been riding the rails for 6 years now but she is just now interested in knowing how to get around, not that she will be going anywhere alone until she’s like 20.

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Toddler By Design – part two

 

I love modern childrens’ furniture.  Its a trend in juvenile products that has caught on like wildfire.  But the funny thing is, most of the popular modern pieces are reissued mid-century designs.  Something fabulous and unforgettable was happening in the 50’s.   My second child Hudson is my modern child,  I happily splurge on designer furniture for him that is a fraction of the size and cost as the originals.   My inner child lives vicariously on those indulgences without sacrificing my adult decor style.  I’ve already featured my son’s bedrooms as he progress from Nursery to Toddler, and along with a toddler comes (lots of) toys and play spaces.  Here is how I live happily with ours.

Part 2 – Play Area

While his bed and dresser are in the bedroom, Hudson’s toy box, table and chairs are in the living room.  He drags all the toys out there anyway so I decided not to squeeze them into the shared bedroom.  There’s a funny little family story about how I’ve been on the hunt for a coffee table for a few years.  With transitions in our life, moves and changes in spaces, I finally thought I was ready to pick something.  Then Hudson needed a play table and pouf!  I gained a “coffee table”, at least is looks good in my living room!

Hudson’s play area may intrude on our living room space, but I’m happy with the modern childrens’ furniture that I get to add to my collection.  Like little works of art, the Eames Elephant and Panton Junior chairs are not just pleasing on my eye, their colorful, sculptural and nearly indestructible construction are perfect for my son’s rambunctious pretend play. And like all of our polypropylene furniture, they clean up like brand new with a Mr Clean Magic Eraser.

Modern childrens’ furniture isn’t cheap.  You have to appreciate that you are paying for the design to justify buying it.  I’m a big advocate of buying licensed design products, I don’t buy knockoffs, its sorta a professional courtesy.   That doesn’t mean that I think there aren’t great designs out there without a big name designer name attached to it.  Target and Ikea are excellent companies cranking out modern and on trend products.  Hudson’s toy box is from Ikea and his table is from Target and they all look perfect together.  We also pick up more expensive items one at a time.  Obviously the pink Panton Junior chair is Macy’s, so we’ve had it for a few years.  Hudson got the orange one for christmas and the elephant for his birthday.

My kidos love building blocks, this natural wood set from Melissa and Doug, sits out in a wire basket (from Moon River Chattel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn) ready to be made into an architecural masterpiece on a whim.

So there are “toy box people” and there are “cubby box people”.  I was once a “cubby box mom”, all of Macy’s toys were housed in cute little pink wooden boxes that sat on a shelving unit.  I would stress over the collections being separated properly and spend way to much time organizing it all.  I got over that and LOVE throwing all of Hudson’s  toys in the toy box now.  But it doesn’t mean that its completely an unorganized mess.  The majority of the childrens’ bedroom closet is shelving designated for board games, playsets and a few cubbies. And within the toy box, I came up with a solution to keep collections like cars, puzzle pieces, block sets & Schleich animals grouped for easy play.  I reuse the cloth pull string bags that sheets and other home items are packaged in for a few of those popular toys…..and then I toss them in the toy box, done!

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Toddler By Design – part one

Preschool of Art rendering by Nikki Berry

Just shy of 10 years ago there was a major shift in my personal design style.  After beginning design school and absorbing knowledge of design theory like a sponge, I had a gravitational pull toward modern design, especially design that spoke of a child’s delight.  My design school projects always leaned toward fanciful and whimsy, my biggest dream was to design interiors for Disney.  As I developed my senior thesis on symbolism and a child’s built environment I was inspired by Post Modernism, Maria Montessori and the grand idea that arose to create Kindergarden for children.  I would have benefited significantly to have seen the MOMA’s latest exhibition: Century of the Child, as scraping together resources for my thesis research was tough.   But my intelllectual design voice was understood and my senior project that bloomed from it was a gorgeous, modern Preschool of Art.  It was 2005 and the boom of modern children’s product had not yet taken off.  But with sources like Design Within Reach’s children’s store JAX, The MOMA store, Kido, Modernseed and Vitra my modern preschool was well furnished and flowed with symbolic references that would appeal to the child in all of us.  Little did the jury panel know, I was really just nesting for my next child.

Part 1 – Bedroom

My daughter Macy, now 10 years old, is an old soul.  Her style has always been more traditional.  She might have been a Victorian they way she likes to collect tchotchkes. So when my design style changed to modern I used the birth of my second child Hudson, now 2.5, as a reason to buy all the reissued mid-century childrens’ furniture and toys that I really wanted for myself. Giraud, Eames, Panton, Nelson and new comers Stark, Ouef, & Dwell Studio are high on my radar for Modern children’s design.  All of their products work in harmony in a home like mine where I collect mid century  and modern furniture and color is always welcome.  Where form is the priority and the history behind a piece always the price tag.  Items like the Panton Jr chairs and Eames Elephant will never be packed up and stored away when my children are older.  They are pieces of art to me.

I’d like to share how my toddler design collection is coming along.  I have already shared Hudson’s Nursery HERE.  Its a big hit on Pinterest and one of my most popular posts.  He and Macy share a room in our Brooklyn apartment, these pictures are only of his spaces.

Hudson’s side of the bedroom is in transition right now, its sort of an in-between phase for him.  While he’s done with a “nursery look”, the main components of his room aren’t ready to be replaced yet.  His Ouef Sparrow crib will soon convert to a toddler bed and he will continue with grey, green and aqua colors but I have changed out some smaller details to update his Nursery into Toddler room.  Later on I have I have ideas for a navy and orange room with bunk beds for his young boy bedroom.

Hudson’s Oliver the Owl nursery was inspired by the Dwell Studio Owl bedding. So now that his bumper and matching quilt are phased out I could work in the sheeting from the Dwell Studio collection.  We’ve also begun picking up softgoods, like the navy Star Wars pillow by Pottery Barn Kids, that we know will transition to his young boy bedroom.

We adore maps, especially the NYC MTA maps, making them art for the room was an easy addition. I just completed this awesome DIY wallcovering on the closet doors in the childrens’ room.  Look for a post on that soon.

Since I added plenty of map graphics in the room we replaced the framed vintage subway map with a circus letterpress print we pick up on a trip home to Nashville from the legendary Hatch Show Print.

We love books!  We started collection our favorite childhood classics even before we had children.  The wide window sills in the bedroom make for an easy book shelf and I used an Ikea Lack wall shelf that we no longer used as a color pop and platform to display the books.  The canvas art is my creation along with the Arctic Friends painting.  The Blue Brooklyn Brownstones illustration is from Claudia Pearson.

Im not done yet!  Check back in later for the second part of Hudson’s toddler spaces: the play area.

 

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Do You Know Vera?

Vera Neumann

No not Wang or Bradley.  Neumann.  Ive been in love with her prints for half a dozen years but only until recently did I figure out who she was.  The first time I came across her signature logo was at an old dusty dress shop on a town square in the middle of no where Tennessee.  My friends and I were antiquing and came across scarves and napkins.   We saw potential in the beautiful patterns to become pillows.   I was curious from the beginning about who Vera was but in my initial internet search many years ago there was nothing that gave me any knowledge about the person or company that illustrated these colorful patterns.

As the sewer of the group, I took home everyones Vera treasures to turn into pillows.  But I hung on to my set of napkins afraid to break them up until I knew who Vera was.  My napkins were pink tulips in various completed illustrated stages, some line drawings, some painted.  Being that they were pink and I had a 3 year old little girl at the time I gave them to her to use in her dress up and pretend play.  They were often set at her tea table or wrapped as blankets around her stuffed animals.

The first set of pillows I made for my friends were scarves in brown polka dot and floral patterns on cream backgrounds.  I sewed ice blue satin to the back being very careful not to cut the scarf incase we wanted ever wanted to take apart the pillow and reclaim it.    I loved them so much, it was hard to send them to her because they also matched my Dwell Studio bedding at the time.

Vera Neumann Scarves made into pillows

The third Vera treasure moved around with me from Tennessee to New York to North Carolina and back to New York again.  It was a larger scarf in two shades of springy green with polka dots and a center circle design.

Vera Neumann scarf

Then it was in New York this spring that I ran across a book about Vera Neumann.  Eureka!! I had finally found Vera!

Vera: The Art and Life of an Icon

image via: craftycookups.blogspot

Excitedly I searched and found so much information from recent product launches with Crate and Barrel, MAC cosmetics and Anthropologie to blogposts celebrating her endless illustrations, Etsy sellers crafting with the linens and information on her company history, which is still very much active.  Here is an excerpt from The Vera Company website:

“The Vera Company owns the extensive library of prints, original artwork, scarves, and the trademarks and copyrights of the late, iconic American artist, Vera Neumann. Vera was a pioneer in design who successfully cross-licensed her designs into linens, scarves and sportswear. Her company began at her kitchen table in 1947 and grew into a multi-million dollar international business. All Vera products started as original pieces of art from her own hand and sported the distinctive Vera signature (often with a ladybug) trademark. After years of being dormant, the beloved Vera brand is back and is experiencing a resurgence among old and new fans alike – for once you know Vera, you adore her.”

Between the 40’s through her death in 1993, with several company changes, Vera designed everything from wallpaper, bedding, table linens to dresses, blouses and her signature scarves.  All signed with her name and sometimes with a ladybug.  8,000 of her designs are copyrighted in the Library of Congress.  With so many works of art designed over a span of 50 years a Vera original can pop up anywhere.  An iconic Vera scarf was all Marilyn Monroe wore in her famous “Last Sitting” shoot in 1962 by Bert Stern.

Marilyn Monroe in Vera Neumann scarf

So I missed the boat on the Anthropolgie products released in 2009, the collection was called We Love Vera.  Apparently it happened during the month that I moved from New York to North Carolina.  So I see how I missed that,  I really wasn’t out shopping while I moved my family across the country and I guess my catalog wasn’t forwarded either.  Design* Sponge gave an excellent report on the launch here.

We Love Vera dress Anthropolgie 2009

We Love Vera skirt Anthropolgie 2009

We Love Vera dress Anthropolgie 2009

We Love Vera skirt Anthropolgie 2009

I also missed the MAC Cosmetics launch, but some products are still available online here.  The embossed “scarf” corner of the face powder is a perfect design element to represent The Vera Company.  Here is a good blog post on the rest of the collection (BTW this blog author gives EXCELLENT make-up tutorials on YouTube, I just realized she the same girl who taught me how to apply my Red Queen halloween make up).

MAC cosmetics Vera Collection face powder

But I did NOT miss the Crate and Barrel launch of dish towels and aprons.  Mainly because I receive the CB catalog every few weeks and I had already learned about Vera from the book.  So she was in my radar now.  I picked up a few dishtowels (the ones pictured below) and they go nicely with my green backsplash and orange Air Chairs.

After getting excited about discovering the beauty of Vera I realized I still owed my friend a pillow from the scarf that moved around with me for half a dozen years.  I turned that green dotted scarf into a large euro size pillow with luscious white silk envelope back.

Vera Neumann vintage scarf pillow

Vera Neumann vintage scarf pillow

Vera Neumann vintage scarf pillow

So now you know Vera and next time you are out vintage shopping or maybe just at the mall, pick up some brightly colored works of art and start your own collection.

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Vintage Singer Sewing Cabinet

About 10 years ago I received a hand-me down sewing desk with a 1970’s Singer included.  The Singer sewing machine was a beauty but I didnt feel like I  was the right person to invest in its resurrection, so I chucked it.  But I’ve hung on to the sewing desk.  Its been used in several of our homes usually as an entry piece because of its small size.   It came to me in very good condition as a solid wood piece in a hickory stain and although I adore natural wood we recently decided that we would like to paint it gray.  It turned out to be an excellent idea that I dont regret it at all.  We used an oil base Benjamin Moore, color #1483 – Cos Cob Stonewall, its a cool medium gray with green undertones.  It was the same paint that I used to match an Ikea Hack to Hudson’s Oeuf Sparrow Crib.

I don’t have any pictures of how my cabinet looked before we painted it but I do have the manual that had some other models pictured on the back.  When I thought about sharing my DIY of this cabinet I did a little research to find another existing cabinet like mine without much luck.  I did find two similar models just like the ones pictured on the back of my instruction manual.  One is in the excellent shape that mine is in and is going for $300 on ebay in Phoenix and the other not so great shape for $50 at a thrift store in Mesa, AZ. Both with the same type Singer Machine that I chucked.

When we moved into our Brooklyn apartment we stretched the limits of our imagination to repurposed this vintage beauty yet again. I affixed waffled dish towels with a staple gun to serve as an apron with inverted pleats.  This apron allowed us concealed storage underneath,  but you wont believe what we put under there……the kitty litter box!  We had no hiding spot for the cat box in this loft style apartment and by coincidence our size box just happen to fit.  I’ll spare you the gorry details but I promise its under that curtain and yes from one angle it can be seen but wrapping the entire cabinet was not ideal for kitty entry and ventilation.

We have been so pleased with the way our cabinet fits right into our changing style, its been a chameleon of sorts and I suppose I’ll always make it work for us.  I believe thats what a piece of  furniture with good bones does, its always in style and it can be updated with just a change of accessories or a coat of paint.  In fact I am already working on restyling this piece with new objects d’art  I received for Christmas: a Dwell Studio Urchin and a CB2 Neville House.  I was especially excited to match up the Urchin’s bronze coloring to the existing pulls on the Singer cabinet because for a while I considered replacing them with something modern.  Nope, they are complimented perfectly now and I’ve made the first step in adding bronze as metal accent to my home.  Our CB2 Ada lamp stays, (it’s another perpetual piece in the Berry residence) but I am in the market for new art.  Any ideas  anyone?

Dwell Studio Urchin & CB2 Neville House on a refurbished vintage Singer Sewing Cabinet

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An Eames Elephant for Hudson

Purdy Matter on one of the original 1945 plywood Eames Elephant

I’ve been in love with designs from Charles & Ray Eames since I learned about them in design school and to celebrate my graduation my husband gave me my first piece of their iconic furniture, the LCW.  Since design school, each time I get a chance to “need” a new piece of furniture I always pick out mid-century modern classics.   My history of furniture teacher said that furniture is the best investment you can make, so that could be my excuse or it’s just that I have an obsession with that era and with chairs in particular.  As Hudson’s second birthday was approaching on February 4th we were at a loss about what to get him. We felt that we over did it at Christmas and he didn’t need nor did we have any room in the toy box for more toys…..but I always have room for a new piece of furniture :)  So we decided that it was now or never, he was the perfect age to play with an Eames Elephant and if we didn’t get it now then it would not really be a toy for him later.  I just adore this little elephant and just as the rest of my mid-century lovelies Im really into learning about the history of its design.  Unfortunately doing just web research I can’t find much info on the origin of the 1945 design.  I had hoped to find a drawing or a picture of the Eameses with one of the original two prototypes.  Im sure that in a real book somewhere is all the info I want so ill be on the look out for that, until then I have a bit of history to share and I also have found some great new pictures of how people are having fun with the reproductions of this precious pachyderm.

The only known original Eames Elephant is safe in the hands of the Eames family

The plywood elephant was among a menagerie of plywood animals that the Eames designed around 1945, the same time they were designing and experimenting with splints and chairs.  But none of the creatures – elephant, frog, seal, bear and horse – ever moved beyond the concept stage.  Their fabrication was too challenging to be mass-produced with compound curves and tight angles. Two elephant prototypes were made and displayed at the Museum of Modern Art from 1945-46 and the only surviving elephant is safe in the hands of the Eames family.  To celebrate the 100th birthday of Charles Eames in 2007, Vitra decided to master the art of producing the plywood elephant and released limited edition plywood elephants, 1000 each in natural and red stained maple.

source – kandpreadme.blogspot.com

Hive modern still has a limited edition plywood elephant for sale see it HERE!

source – moderity.se

The response was overwhelmingly received and all 2000 copies sold out immediately at $1900 each!   Since the cost and limited production made for an instant collectors item, Vitra decided to develop a second series of elephants made from plastic in 2009.  A nod to the fact that the Eameses were the first to use plastic in furniture in the 1950’s and also making this new series affordable to buy for the intended user – a child!  Current pricing of the elephant is $290 and comes in red, ice-gray, white, lime and pink.  You can find them stocked and ready to ship online in stores like DWR, Hive Modern, All Modern, Modern Seed and Design Public.

Vitra Eames Elephants

This brochure for the new elephants is FANTASTIC, besides being made by a graphic design student, it has the flat pattern of the two components for constructing mini paper elephants.  So its marketed for kids but I’m thinking of all the other things I could make like….a fondant cake topper, swoon!

see the brochure HERE

If  you are a furniture lover or design professional without a child, don’t let that deter you from adding this beautiful sculptural piece to your home, it looks like a “stool” to the adult crowd or consider the Vitra miniature in either Red or Natural plywood for $185 as a book shelf decoration.

Vitra miniture

With the release of the 2007 Limited Edition elephant, Eames Demetrios, the grandson of Charles Eames and director of Eames Office and Chairman of the Eames Foundation, produced a film ” A Gathering of Elephants” to stir excitement for these beloved creations:

Hudson loves to trumpet along with the elephants and move to the african drum beat, its a great little film!

Then, just this january a second elephant film was released, “Elephant Safaris – in to the Wilds

Im excited to share that this film was brought to my attention by a tweet from Eames Demetrios himself!

Its only been a few years since the release of the new elephant and I’ve searched around to see how its being used and displayed.

Check out this playroom at the new London Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse!!

At the Vitra Design Muesum (what are Bleu and Pinky doing there?  wink wink)

I found several Flickr pictures that show this outdoor “elephant pin” from the Basel Vitra Design Museum.  They must be rearranged daily, each picture had them doing different things.   It makes the little guys seem to really have a playful personality seeing them “running around” this pin.

Singapore: Saturday In Design via How We Create

In Hong Kong, an auction of artistic re-designs of the elephants for  the ‘Ambassadors of Design’ via Alive Not Dead

And of course my own contribution to the bank of elephant images

Hudson and the Eameses

Nose to Nose with his pet elephant

This little elephant is so much fun to photograph, I can’t wait until a warm spring day when we can take him outside and take more pictures!  Hudson already loves playing with him, since the back is sloped he likes to run his cars off of it like a slide and once I caught him trying to climb through its backside, that would have been a good picture!

Eames Elephant in Ice Gray

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Deer Hunting

I love animals.  I love their beauty and I love when their beauty is represented in interior design.  Just as long as no animal was injured for us to enjoy that beauty.   We have amazing manufacturing techiniques today and I see no reason why we can’t duplicate all the beauty of the animal kingdom …so that there is still an animal kingdom for the next generation.  Thats why I am in love with faux deer heads.  Resin or wood, painted or even mixed media, there are some really fine options out there to celebrate your love for animals.

Brooklyn Bedroom

This is my Brooklyn bedroom, I used a white resin deer head from Z Gallerie to mix up the media in a gallery arragement.  We lovingly named our deer Bambi :) and have even decorated him at christmas!

Bambi in his holiday best

I get asked about our deer all the time and I thought I might give my readers some resources to hunt down a good one . Heres our deer from  Z Gallerie  – Small !6″ $50

And also from Z Gallerie – Large 39″ $250

Dwell Studio has a great paper mache selection of animal heads in pretty colors for kids or adults – 13″H  $76

I found several great faux animal head examples on Etsy!  So glad that there are American artisans taking part in this design trend.  Here are a few of my favoirtes:

 Mahzer & Vee has many animal statues in fun colors! Faux Taxidermy Deer Head – 21″H $100

Lucy Haus has deer heads in gray, white, gold or any color you would like!   Cocoa Gray Faux Deer Head Mount – 23″H  $150

 BeJanked is offering rhinestoned moose and elephants that are sure to be a conversation piece! The original Rhinestone Taxidermy: Moose – 13.75H $600   Elephant – 18″H $275

Ruby’s Lounge  also has wallpaper embellished resin dear heads in many patterns and colors.  Kelly Summer – 18″H  $335

Lastly, I am really excited to feature this whimsical alternative to real animal taxidermy.  Jordan Elise has created Horrible Adorables, these “quirky faux taxidermy mounts of strange creatures and wonderful wonders”.  Each odd little character is one-of-a-kind, constructed of foam, wool felt and real glass taxidermy eyes.  I found these creatures at the Regnegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn last year and have thought about them ever since, I think I might have to have one for Hudson!

Check out more of the Horrible Adorables at Jordan’s Etsy shop , Artstarphilly and creature gallery

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