Saturday, March 21, 2020

Creativity Let Loose... WFH commuting map

So here I am, first full week isolated at home - not going out, or anywhere except a few walks.... keeping the suggested 6 feet apart from a walking partner; who is chosen with care!  Not much unlike the rest of the country right now... As I told you in my last post I have been working from home since mid December so #WFH (working from home) is not new to me.  Today was a gorgeous day here in the Northeast, sunshine and 79 degrees!  As I was working this morning I started to think about my "work commute" and isolating... not going to the gym every morning, or grabbing a coffee with a friend.  Life changed in a matter of seconds!

I reflected on my "commute", what does my day look like now? Comparing it to what it used to look like when I worked in NYC and even from home before all this craziness started.  I took a break from working on textile designs and created an at home Corvid Commute Line map....just for the fun of it!

Pretty much how I have tried to structure my days; 

  • get up & get dressed for the day
  • go downstairs,  get coffee

* of course I have checked the online fitness class schedule on IG the night before...(greatest thing since sliced bread.. at least that is how my grandmother, or even father would say it, lol)  It is the best thing that could have happened for someone like me, and so many others I know!

  • dependent on the time of the online class, I decide if I will eat before or after  
  • make breakfast and eat at my desk while checking emails
  • check wechat; to connect to my team who are all based in China
  • answer emails and plan the day's projects
  • makes notes and calls, strategizing my week
  • take a class... Spin, Yoga or Embody - so many are now generously offering online classes you can take ANYTHING!  Lifetime Athletic and Orange Theory (I belong to both) are also now offering online classes!

I go from my bedroom to the kitchen, kitchen to my office, office to my kitchen...
With a world of everyone paying attention to "counting their steps"  I wanted to break it down a little further... what is my path, what is my commute every day...  then I started creating a map of my house.  I have to admit I was inspired by a friend who sent me a meme via text and I was off and running!!!

When I am in the city, and take SoulCycle  I usually ride at one of two studios; West Village or W77; taking the 1 train or the "red line" from Penn Station.  So I started thinking, why not make a red line to my Spin Bike in the basement express line! LOL!  I continued along this route and built another express line for my husband and I to "get to work".... the orange line! 

The blue line expresses to the kitchen, the yellow line is more of a weekend express to the kitchen and the family room and the green line is the local line that will get you anywhere and everywhere in the house... including the local stops at the pantry, fridge, Nespresso machine, toaster, oven and sink.  This line also will go to the laundry room and outside!

What is your day like, how do you get your steps in?!
Be safe!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Social Distancing and Design.... how interconnected they really are!

In my lifetime I never could have imagined we would all be here today, where we need to think about every person we are in physical contact with, who we saw in the last two weeks and how to keep eachother safe....  scary times!  

I am thankful that I have been working from home since December.  I had been in and out of the city up until last week, when I went for one day to see friends ... thankful I now have the luxury of working from home; yes luxury!

When I made this change I had to re-think the "space" I would be working in, what would make it feel like an office, not just a desk in my dining room. It had to be a place I could feel good in, and look good to fit my home aesthetic.  Not to mention that I would be video chatting more often so people would see it, lol! See my photos of the room I changed to my home office at the end of this post!

For most who now find themselves having to re-think their day, their meals, their space, it is new and not so easy - I first had to deal with the isolation, no other people to laugh with, to talk about projects as they happen, tv shows or just to have social interaction.  

A friend sent me this article;  in the Washington Post that really hit home!  So much of it spoke to what I had to go through when I started to work from home, and now what so many other people will have to deal with... this one statement :

"When a global pandemic shrinks your world, you can’t help but notice its imperfections. The uneven lighting. The ho-hum paint."

BOOM!  The connection back to my world, design and your home and how you need to feel good in your space! They are talking about your space, having to carve out work space at home,  and all the issues you will see now that you spend so much more time at home ... what you notice!

I often talk about inspiration in my posts.... don't let the things you now see become that thorn in your side... because, let's face it, you are spending a lot more time home then you did before and will see things you let slide because it wasn't "in your face".

It is difficult to deal with this Coronavirus (Covid-19), "forcing us" to stay home, to take a look at so many things, (for those of us lucky enough to have jobs where we can work from home), this is just the tip of the iceberg:

  • how to structure your workday
  • your space
  • the need to communicate with your associates, clients, etc.

Nevermind the fact that you are now staring at your four walls and starting to see all of the things you would want to change, fix and improve.
So many people think, " I don't have any idea where to start..."  That is what I hope to help you with here.
On your breaks, (oh, don't forget to take breaks!) look for ideas online, in magazines you didn't have time to read before.  Make a pinterest page with ideas for your office, or any other room that now stands out as needing a fresh look ....

Start to gather your ideas, changes you want to make and consider these small suggestions that might also help to lift you up.... today and tomorrow and in the weeks to come. In a time where we have to give up control of so many things, this is one area that we can feel "in control".. where we can make a difference in how we feel everyday.

Look at what you can do NOW to make you feel like you can affect your space.  
Changing, fixing, improving and the ever so simple .... "re-arranging" This alone can make a huge difference! 

Here are some suggestions:

  • Take down the art in your house and see how you might re-arrange the pieces together, place them in different rooms or create a gallery wall, arranging your favorites, in your most lived in space.
  • Look to see if you have any paint in the house, or order paint to pick up ( I know local stores can use all the help they can get to stay in business and would be happy to have it ready for you to pick up curbside) and start with the room you will spend the most time in.
  • Move your furniture around for a new layout; take a chair or ottoman and use it in a different room, drape it with a throw.
  • Take decorative pillows and throws and use them in new rooms!
New perspective, new day.... Spring is coming and as time passes, hopefully this will too; sooner than later.
For now - be good to each other, to yourself! 

Here is my before and after of my home office 
Everything out and ready for painting - it really was a dining room with a desk. 

Now it is my office,  a space I really feel good about!  I  painted, added new drapes, a desk and bookcase, some decorative items, wall art  and baskets for files. There are still things to do, organizationally and more... so little by little I add a touch here and there, adding the finishing touches that make it feel like "my space"!

**Also loving this desk.. it has a lift top feature!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Reigniting My Love for Painting

I love painting!  The art of creating... it is what I do for a living, which is a luxury, as it does not feel like work!  I create textile designs, bedding collections, and home textiles; working in the industry over 25 years... can hardly believe it has been that long!

Finding love in an old hobby is hard to do... first you have to find the time, then the courage to try it again... asking yourself "is it worth investing the time, the money... what if I am not really good at it?"

Cranbury Station Gallery runs these wonderful painting parties, and every time I got an invitation, I wanted to go.  What with work, commuting in and out of NYC, the time never aligned for my schedule... until now! 

I am working from home since December and when this invite came, and it was a floral theme, I couldn't been happier to say yes!  I have been framing artwork with Kathleen for all the years I have lived in the area, a long time - and as an artist, her work is so pretty!  She has it in the gallery in Princeton for sale, and I always love to go in and peruse what is hanging.

Kathy sends out emails and shows you an image of the project you will be working on.... and when you have the winter blues and long for the colors of Spring, painting flowers feels like the right thing to do!

Located in Palmer Square, next to the garage it was easy to park and I could not wait!  Almost all of the art I have purchased, that hangs in my home is related to botanicals...  why not try...

I attended to two parties - some of the people who attend are regulars!
The first class I attended we were to paint these pretty pink flowers in a vase... I thought what better way to start!  Kathy gives great direction, we paint from a painting that she has done - which can be helpful when getting back into the art, or starting from scratch.

As amazing as it sounds, every one of us looked at the same painting and every one of us had a different outcome; one prettier than the other!

Here is my first painting; after over 2 decades of not taking paint brush to canvas...
Kathy convinced me to sign it, lol!

Over the years I have done multiple murals for friends kid's rooms and lead the design on both post prom events for my kids High Schools, but this is more personal... therapeutic and relaxing!

I really enjoyed the evening.  
When I received the next invite, I set up a "date night" with my husband, who is also an artist in his own right... I planned a day, then the painting party and dinner next door at Mediterra for afterwards

... This time Kathy showed us that we would be painting daisies; my daughter's favorite flower... so we went!

We had a really fun evening and I am pretty happy with how it turned out!  I keep critiquing it,   how I would add  more shadows, and how else I could have approached it... but overall I am pretty pleased and proud of myself.... for taking on the challenge and just allowing myself to have fun!

Spring is in the air!
I am now waiting for the town of Princeton to hang all those amazing flower baskets that they do every year to make it official!

Take time to take a deep breath, try something new or go back to an old hobby you once loved!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Master Bathroom Final Outcome!

I travel a lot for work; to some really wonderful places! My job is to design and create new products for the home so I am always looking for something new and different as well as absorbing the space around me. Many years ago my husband and I were lucky enough to spend an Anniversary in NYC overnight... BC! (before children, LOL) I had worked for Ralph Lauren for a decade and truly understood what "luxury lifestyle" is.. not that I lived that way, but we worked to create the aura of luxury and opulence in clothing that then extended into your home or homes!!! Back to our overnight
- we had enough points to stay at the Stanhope Hotel - OMG, the walls were this gorgeous patina marble, the sitting room looked like a staged room from our RL Showrooms; leather chairs, velvet curtains, deep rich prints.... and that was just the lobby and sitting room! Our room was amazing and the bathroom? WOW! We vowed that when we could, we would create a master bedroom and en-suite, as though we were living in the best luxury hotelever, just like this!
As you read from my last post, when the kids moved out on their own, and we finally decided to turn our attention and $$ towards ourselves... and so... we designed this gorgeous bathroom; one that would rival even the most amazing hotel!!! Choosing monotone tiles and keeping the feel of the room neutral and elegant, would lend itself to the look of a luxury hotel. We found beautiful tiles @CreativeTile they are so wonderful to work with! Stonetech is a wonderland of the most beautiful and unique natural products you can find... we spent hours looking at so many slabs until we landed on this one, that stoneyard told us is called "white mystery" ... for the counters and shower sill - which we also used for the half wall cap, shower sill, the seat, and in the oversized wall alcove!
We loved the textured smaller tiles for the floor of the shower and we also mindfully placed them in the floor as accents to tie the look together.
We shopped in NYC in Tribeca and through the Bowery for the most beautiful lighting fixture! We paid attention to every detail... and love how the lighting fixture is not only seen as the centerpiece of the room when you enter, but it reflects everywhere! In the wardrobe mirror, the vanity mirrors and the glass doors of the shower...
It is such a wonderful treat to come home or wake up to this room, luxurious shower, this sanctuary that we created!
Before this renovation my husband and I had to schedule our prep time for work, etc.... now we have our Google Home set up to give us the morning news and play music so we can co-exist in this beautiful space! Treat yourself! Rejuvenate your space, whether is it a simple paint color change, with new towels, a new mirror or bath mats; you deserve the best!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Master Bathroom Luxury Renovation!

Art fills my soul! It makes me smile, it makes me crave more and awakes the need in me to be creative!
This can be good and bad, as usually that means changing something in my house; a paint color, rearranging furniture or worse off a complete renovation of a room! This blog started off wanting to share some street art... I will save that for another post I realize that I always plan to blog more every year, however that requires the luxury of time. As I look back I see I never shared my "total master bathroom renovation"
and this is a must!
We moved into our house 20 years ago.. with three "little girls"
- the house was built in the 70's and did not have ANY upgrades at all! Long story short, we took a few weeks before we moved in to do simple things like taking down the wallpaper in EVERY SINGLE SPACE ... everywhere there was sheetrock (besides the family room that had "panelling" of all things) we scraped, and spackled and well... you know the drill. We then painted every room and did a few small projects to make the house more of our home. Our girls are grown, and out on their own for years now - when they were in High School we updated their bathroom to make it really nice for them... ignoring our own; as it was a postage stamp and never room in their for the two of us at the same time but ours would need much more than simple things and here we did not have the luxury of $$$ Here is what the room looked like... gold mini tiles, we painted the vanity at one point, cabinet over the toilet, but there was not a lot of things we could do to make it better! How horrible is this!?? Last year we decided we owed it to ourselves to finally focus on us!
We tore out the closet and this crazy space that was nestled between the bathroom and the walk in closet... not sure why this space was every here to begin with...
The wall was removed, and that space was now more than adequate for a true Master en-suite! Construction was long and dusty to say the least... we moved out of our room and into one of the girls rooms to avoid the mess as much as we could!
Then the fun came - DESIGNING!
isn't that what this blog is about??? ... I will share some of the things we chose- the tiles, the white mystery stone for the countertop and this magnificent lighting fixture we found in Tribeca... and the fun we had finding it was almost as great as how perfect it ended up in the room!
I hope you continue to follow me and please.... Stay tuned to the next entry (promise it will be soon) to show you the finished product!