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Posted on January 23, 2014
Need a closet? IKEA or Container Store is the Million Dollar Question

This is probably my least decorative but most useful post.  Buckle up and take notes.

I’m kind of an anomaly.  My list of house-related fantasies does not have “super-duper closet” at the top, or even middle, of the list.  That scene in Sex and the City, where Carrie’s seduction by Mr. Big is sealed when she walks through the closet that cost more than a Volkswagen…


was completely lost on me.  

However, as I might have mentioned, I am now an engaged woman facing the reality of two becoming one in the household sense and I feel I now have a duty to get my p’s and q’s in order.  Since mine is going to be the matrimonial home, it’s time to purge and reorganize the closet. 

I hesitate to share these because I may lose all the respect you never knew you had for me:


Sad, shlumpy, awful closet.  I admit it.  It’s embarrassing.  In my defense, I took this after the purging had started.  There wasn’t always an industrial-strength garbage bag on the floor.

Which brings us to the age old question……IKEA or Container Store.

It’s so interesting to me how a store named after the lowly container is such a budgetary minefield.  Diamond Store or Caviar Store….plan to spend some major bucks, I get it.  But the Container Store?!?!?  I’m a sucker though, just like everyone else.

Conscience made me look to IKEA first, however.  I knew that IKEA had closet systems, and I knew that they had to be cheaper than the Container Store.  Turns out, it’s cheaper for a reason.  First of all, the guy at the store couldn’t grasp the fact that I wanted one that you mounted on the wall and not in their Pax wardrobes.  After two or three attempts at saying, “No! wall mounted!” using pretty much those same exact words, he led me to this, their grutenmagenflergen system:

I made up that name, by the way.  This pretty much has the components you would need, they are just pretty flimsy. 



 The rods don’t really look like rods and the whole thing just isn’t super solid.

Container Store it is!

One of the many great things about getting their Elfa system is that you have the benefit of one of their designers helping you to put it together in the store or online. There are a ton of options (pull out jewelry drawer anyone?) and upgrades that really didn’t seem necessary to me  including faux wood veneer thingies meant to conceal the front of the wire shelving.  Let’s face it…it’s pretty apparent that it’s wire shelving….let’s not try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Here a couple of the hundreds of scenarios you can come up with:

                                image image

Assembly is easy….said the person who didn’t assemble it.  However, what I do know is that they give you a personalized direction and ingredients list for each section, and specify how many and which pieces apply to each.  Also, all of their pieces are labeled, so it’s pretty impossible to get mixed up about what goes where.


So, two weeks later, we finally emptied the closet and fiancee dealt with plaster, sanding and painting:


Ed in his artsy Instagram filter shot.  Trixie, below, making sure she could keep an eye on the progress.


We painted the walls and ceiling this deep blue just to snazz the place up a bit.  Ed put up a little snit about painting the ceiling, but I pointed out that he was marrying a bonafide design professional and he really didn’t have any say in this matter.  Turns out, he likes it.

So, because the closet is tiny and I’m not a pro photographer, these after pics aren’t that great, but take it from me, the improvement is ginormous:


Can you trust your eyes?  Yes, that is actually extra space, although after this purging episode, I don’t want to to bring anything new into this house ever again.  I’m sure all of my clothing is timeless fashion-wise anyway.  Elfa has some fancy pull-out shoe shelving, but we opted to just use stationary shelving because the pull-out shelves take up valuable space and don’t really accommodate THAT many shoes.  The pull-out drawers on the left are amazing….much better use of space than the fancy shoes pull-outs.

Final tip….find out when the sales are.  Elfa is pricey, but our saleswoman was kind enough to let us know that their 30% off sale was starting in two weeks, so we went ahead and planned the closet and made the purchase by phone once the sale had started.  What a huge difference!

Posted on January 8, 2014
Everyone Should Have an Avatar Right?

I have this embarrassing predilection for TV Land sitcoms. 

I just like having them on in the background if I’m working.  My favorites, because you want to know, are I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show….I draw the line at GunSmoke.  I know I know…they are super corny, and I can’t pretend to be all intellectual and deep and stuff now that I’ve admitted this, but I’m not in college anymore, so I haven’t pretended that for a while.  I can’t necessarily say they remind me of my childhood because I wasn’t even a glimmer in my mother’s eye when these were on, although I did grow up in the age of Ted Turner’s afternoon reruns, so maybe that explains it.  Remember those, everything started on the 5.

So, and this is not a non-sequitur, I now have an avatar.  Not really an avatar, because I’m pretty sure that refers to a computer world kind of thing, mine is a gen-u-ine piece of art that represents my best Laura Petrie self drawn by local artist Alison Douglass.  

I recently found Alison’s work through my friends at Altlas Graphic Design.  Alison’s drawings evoke that groovy atomic ranch vibe and I was immediately hooked.

Some of my favorite images:


Library Gal


Sound of Music

And I would be remiss if I didn’t post this one:


Modern Chairs

Back to my avatar:  If you don’t know who Laura Petrie is, she is the smokin’ early 1960’s era wife who shocked the world with her  groovy peg leg capris-apparently that was actually a feminist statement back then.

Check her out in action:


That’s pretty much me at any given dinner party.

Alison and I engineered a little labor swap and I commissioned a drawing that I could use for cards to send to very special people (I’ve sent about one so far; they’re hard to part with).

I added some tongue-in-cheek text to the bottom (Martini font – very apropos) and, voila, I have a calling card!


Now, in my cartoon world, my cartoon self lounges on a Jacobsen Egg Chair and has long slender legs that taper to itty-bitty feet in cute black flats with my faithful dog nearby.  Not bad for an alternate universe!

Posted on January 1, 2014
Don’t Want to be Typecast

A look back on 2013 proves the old adage, “Variety is the spice of life.”  One thing that ties all my clients together, they are all super duper different.  No imposing my “signature style” here, and I’m actually pretty ok with that.

Back in the day, I wanted to be an actress.  Now, the roles I was usually up for typically included goofy comic relief, not doe-eyed ingenue, which was pretty ok because who wants to be doe-eyed, anyway?  In Bye Bye Birdie, I was Ursuala who screamed and fainted a lot, not Kim who got to sing, “How lovely to be a woman, LIKE ME!!!”  Not sure I could have pulled off the latter with a straight face.  However, it might have been fun to be flexible enough to be considered for the role of, say, smoldering, sexy temptress.  

The die was cast though, and I realized that if I wanted variety, I had to look elsewhere…

Accordingly, I always think of these different projects as putting on different roles….getting to know and love what my client knows and loves so that I can really pull it off, even though it looks nothing like what you might find in my own house.  Actually, may no client ever have a house that looks like mine….I could use a butler.

So, I thought  a good way of looking back on 2013 would be a little show and tell of some of the wildly different items I found for clients….it really never gets boring!

You’ve seen the kitchen and bathroom of this project recently, but I love the pieces that we put together for this family.


This project was typified by eclectic, fun, pieces that brought this old bungalow into today for this young family.  There’s some big news coming regarding this project, but I’m going to sit on it for a little bit and make sure it hatches ; (That was not intended as a Roost pun, but so be it.)

Now this next project came as a total surprise for me.  A lovely couple from Charlotte were building a house on Lake James and they wanted to go Bohemian Hotel all the way!  If you’re not from Asheville, let me describe the Bohemian with a simple list: antler chandeliers, wall mounted boar / stag heads, crystal chandeliers, stacked stone, purple velvet, intricate woodwork, rich oil paintings etc..  It basically looks like your slightly eccentric British Lord created a hunting lodge with a bent towards luxury.  Woohoo, here we go!


Hope to get some pics of this project soon, but I think the above gives you a good idea of that little adventure.  This family now enjoys the house as a cozy and luxurious retreat from their busy lives in the city.

A ladylike master bedroom was another fun project and close to home, figuratively speaking….it was for my sister!


You need to go back to that post and feast your eyes on the before pictures.  My sister is mortified that they are up for the world to see, but a good before makes for an even better after!  Sorry Louise!

These are three highlights of a year that brought many new clients and friends to my door.  Can’t wait to see what next year’s highlights will be! 

Happy New Year everyone!