A Garage Reformed

October 27th, 2014

I met my dear friend, Gina, when our children were in preschool together. She and I have been practicing Pilates together for years now, and sometime last year she called me up and told me she was getting her Pilates teaching certification and converting her garage to a studio. So in addition to her existing professional career and child rearing, she is now a certified Pilates instructor. Over achiever! 

She called me and my husband James and asked that we design and build out the studio for her. It was a fun project that turned out to be beautiful; not to mention she is now forever indebted to me and has made it her life’s mission to transform me in to the perfect Pilates specimen. That last statement is wildly untrue and in fact impossible, but I like to pretend. Here are some pics of what we did!

We started with a normal ole garage in Nashville’s Sylvan Park neighborhood filled with bikes, yard supplies, the family car, and the sacred beer fridge. 
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Obviously we needed a massive cleaning and a lot of fresh paint. We painted the whole thing (trim, ceiling and walls) with Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White; stained the floors and added a coat of polyurethane; and had to add heating and cooling lest we freeze in the winter or sweat to death in the summer. Then finished off with new lighting, trim and hardware.
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James built us a giant wall of sliding doors to hide the garage items that could not be relocated, still freeing up enough space to have 4 reformers. With a ton of reclaimed wood from Woodstock Lumber, James whitewashed it all and up it went along with two giant mirrors.
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James took his job and compressor very seriously.
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I honestly never thought I would love a garage door so much. But I LOVE IT. I use to dream of a vintage Birkin bag, and now I would take this door over that little beauty any day of the week. For real.
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The best part of all of this is that I now have my own personal Pilates maven and a beautiful little playground for when I actually get a minute to do something good for myself, which now that one of my BFF’s can teach me, I am much more likely to go. I also happen to know that Gina keeps a surplus of beer and wine behind those sliding doors. You know, just in case!
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For more information email Gina Brooks at gina.t.brooks@gmail.com. Girl will whip you into shape!

And as always, many thanks to Q Avenue Photo for always taking such perfect photos!

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On the Wall.

January 29th, 2014

As a designer, my eyes occasionally go blurry from all of the fabric and wallpaper swatches I pore over day in and day out. It’s easy for all of them to just blend together into one long multi-colored acid trip of pattern, line and color. So I very often have to take a figurative step back, refocus and return to them so as to appreciate them for the art that they inherently are. It’s in doing so that my heart flutters and I fall in love with the idea of wallpapering every room in my house again. These are a few that have me swooning right now.
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Cole & Sons Geometric Circus

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Mad for Plaid.

October 8th, 2013

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SELECT AND ARRANGE : THE HOME UPGRADE, pt. I

July 8th, 2013

To paraphrase Charles Eames, A home is a backdrop for ideas and eventually, everything connects. In that spirit, and inspired by a healthy dose of day dreaming, the upgrade is a wishlist of sorts. The pretty and well designed things that make for a well arranged life.

TEXTURE

DOUG JOHNSTON HAND-MADE BASKETS :

Hand formed and stitched on vintage industrial zig-zag sewing machines in his Brokklyn studio, Doug Johnston’s baskets add a soft and sculptural element to any space. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes these are prefect for storing rolled towels, toys or even firewood. I received one of his totes as a birthday gift this year and I have yet to put the beauty down. Available at dougjohnston.net and Steven Alan.
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VINTAGE ANDEAN FRASADAS :

Brilliant and beautiful colors, hand woven in Bolivia, these vintage sheep’s wool blankets are the perfect accent for the back of your sofa or foot of the bed. Truly one of a kind. Available at Spartan.
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HAND DYED INDIGO BLANKET :

It seems as though we are in the throws of indigo hysteria in all aspects of design. This shibori blanket is a testament as to why. Should you have the good fortune to live in a climate where the temperatures dip down in the evenings and a summer breeze blows through the open windows, so nowhere near me, this beautiful blanket would be perfect for said evening. For the rest of us in the sweltering south, it would look lovely on a sofa or foot of the bed as we suffer through the summer dreaming of the fall when we can put it to use.
At General Store.
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FOUTA STRIPED TUNISIAN HAMMAM TOWELS :

A few years ago I purged my house of all my tired, boring white terry towels. These Tunisian Hammam towels are extremely absorbent and give your bath an immediate face lift. These are also ideal for the beach as they take up less space in your beach bag and dry so much faster than traditional beach towels. I love them because on those days I am not feeling fabulous in my bikini (alas, they are many), at least I have a pretty towel to wrap up in. At ABC.
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UTILITY

ELLIPI STAPLER :

Made in Italy, these staplers add a pop of color to your desktop. And it resembles a happy whale. At Nickey Kehoe.
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REDECKER BROOM AND DUST PAN :

What began as standard training for the blind at the time, brush making has become the Redecker family business for over 75 years now. I always find that when preforming the mundane and dreaded task of housework, if I am using something beautiful it makes it a bit more bearable. Available at Joinery.
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SHINOLA BIXBY BICYCLE :

I have been on a mission to get my girls riding on 2 wheels this summer so bicycles are very much on my mind. Shinola, based in Detroit, is a company committed to manufacturing quality goods in the US. These commuter bicycles are a wonderful example of that. Using frame and forks made in Wisconsin, each and every Shinola bicycle is assembled in their workshop. Whether in town or country, it is the epitome of style. In pink, my daughter’s and I would be quite the cycling trifecta… if we can ever ditch the training wheels! Available through Steven Alan or go to Shinola for more info.
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FOUND MY ANIMAL LEASH :

When we adopted our little yorkie/poodle mix we went on a quest to find the perfect collar that is as cute as she is. Which believe me, was no small fete. She now parades around town adorned with a little ombre collar from this line that I am in love with. Ditch the ugly, retractable number for this one. Your pup deserves it. Available at Steven Alan.
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VINTAGE BRITISH ROTARY TELEPHONE :

In such a mobile and connected world, it’s nice to have a place in your home where you actually take calls on a real telephone. Call me nostalgic, but this phone reminds me fondly of the home phone of my childhood. Minus the sounds of four screaming girls fighting over whose turn it is to use it. At Sweet Bella.
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KITCHEN

ANDREA BRUGI CUTTING BOARDS :

With a crazy schedule and children, I hate to admit it but half my meals are eaten standing in the kitchen snacking off of a cutting board filled with various oddities while checking homework, sending a last minute e-mail or staring off into space wondering where my freedom went. I love beautiful cutting boards because they make me feel better about my little snack dinners. Handmade in Italy with no two alike, these cutting boards are as beautiful as they are functional. You’ll hesitate to use it but cut away. The character and beauty is only enhanced with use. Available at andreabrugi.com
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KAICO ENAMEL TEA POT :

Designed by Makoto Koizumi, this is a study in clean simplicity. Whether or not tea is, ahem, your cup of tea this will make any cook top the calm center of your kitchen. At Alder + Co.
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SEA OF CORTEZ SAL del MAR :

A delicious alternative to another favorite, Maldon, this coarse sea salt comes in natural cotton bags hand embroidered from the remote village of Sabinito in the Sierra Madre, Occidental Mexico. Each purchase helps benefit the local women who support their families from their traditional skills. Pretty. A good cause. Delicious. Kind of perfect. At Alder + Co.
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LOSTINE ROLLING PIN :

I love to bake. I spend an alarming amount of time thinking about what pies I will be making for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am that mother that can’t remember the proper school supplies but will stay up all night before a birthday rolling out cookies and decorating them. So as one might imagine, I take my baking tools very seriously. These lovely rolling pins by Lostine have me thinking about buying a new apron (another obsession of mine) and having Thanksgiving in July.
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SIT/READ

THE PIONEER CHAIR :

Made in New Hampshire, Pioneer Chairs is a family run business with a long handed down passion for simple yet thoughtful design and skilled wood working. So beautiful, drag it outside with a glass of wine and a book on a peaceful summer’s evening. At Joinery.
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HOME MADE SUMMER :

Yvette van Boven’s follow up to “Home Made Winter” is a cook book after my own heart. “…ideas for long barbecue nights with friends, perfect salads to accompany the grilled dishes, cold soups for those super-hot days, and festive summer drinks.” Um, yes please.
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DINER JOURNAL :

Andrew Tarlow and co. just do it right. The eponymous offspring of the first of his many Brooklyn restaurants, Diner Journal is full of wonderful seasonal recipes, wonderfully written essays and with yearly subscriptions available, you’ll have something to look forward to each month.
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BLACKBERRY FARM COOKBOOK :

While I have never had the opportunity to stay at Blackberry Farm, it is something I dream of. The photographs are beautiful and the recipes amazing (the blackberry cobbler really is to die for!). Every time I open it up I contemplate taking out a second mortgage to pay for a weekend away in this idyllic paradise. Available at blackberryfarm.com
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LITTLE PEOPLE

May 3rd, 2013

WALLPAPER

A couple of years ago, I spent a few weeks in England and Ireland and I was inspired by their frequent use of wallpaper, much more so than here in the States. While it certainly costs more to wallpaper a room than to paint a wall, the effect far out weighs the money saved. I often wallpaper just the wall behind the bed or chose a small powder room so as I am not having to use roll upon roll of wallpaper and go over budget. I especially love using bold patterns in children’s rooms to create a magical, whimsical space. Here are some of my favorite wallpapers in little people’s rooms.

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STILL LIFE

May 3rd, 2013

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