Design with you in mind.

Hello world!  Welcome to The Design Times.  Design, as I see it,  is a fluid evolution of personal style.  Your home should be filled with a collection of pieces that reflect its inhabitants' personality,  interests, and life's journey.  And it is a never-ending masterpiece, one that you can and should edit as often as you choose.  Don't be afraid to mix and match.  The only real rule should be, "Things I love."  No rules mean pricey investment pieces can blend seamlessly with thrift store and flea market finds.   I created The Design Times as a place to combine my love of writing and all things design.  I hope you're inspired to free your inner designer and fearlessly curate your own spaces.

 
 

Design Style

 
 
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Midcentury Madness

(Above) The living room oozes midcentury modern pieces and an extensive collection of white ceramics is hard to miss.  The black and white rug with its striking "H" logo adds a special touch (a nod to my last name).  Find similar statement rugs at retailers like West Elm and Wayfair.  A number of thrift store finds intermingle with new pieces.  The brass lamp was $10 and the solid wood midcentury armchairs were $17 (yellow) and $40 (plaid).   The plaid chair is one of many pending upholstery projects.  The gray lacquered shelving units were under $200 each from Ikea.  (Left) A strategically stacked collection of boxes in black and white and wood tones is reminiscent of New York's skyline.  I scored the midcentury sideboard for $100 at a local thrift store.  

The Green Room

Plants hold a special place in design.  Besides the obvious benefit of the oxygen they produce, plants add warmth and dimension to any space and are a quick way to transform a house into a home. Be careful to choose plants that fit your lifestyle to avoid the guilt of having dead plants on your hands.  A word of warning_once you get started, there's a chance you could become a plant addict and end up with your very own jungle.   

Spiny cacti perch near a sunny window in the green room out back.

Spiny cacti perch near a sunny window in the green room out back.

Cacti

No plant lover's home is complete without the addition of cacti.  They come in an array of shapes and sizes.  (Above) A small grouping of cacti are planted in classic terra-cotta pots and a speckled thrift store stunner.  These hardy plants are drought tolerant in their natural habitat and only require watering once or twice a month depending on the season.

Pretty in pink (cactus in bloom).

Pretty in pink (cactus in bloom).

Blooming Beauty

Many people don't realize that cacti are flowering plants.  Above, a  Mammillaria rhodantha "rainbow pincushion" displays its magenta flowers.  Other varieties bloom in orange and yellows.  

Strategically placed succulents soak up the sun in the shadow of a Hope Philodendron. 

Strategically placed succulents soak up the sun in the shadow of a Hope Philodendron. 

Sophisticated Succulents

Another must-have plant for any real design enthusiast are succulents.  This is a huge family of plants that store water.  The varieties are as vast as they are beautiful.  Have fun collecting shapes that appeal to your design aesthetic.  Choose pots that compliment your plant and be sure to research the size of the adult species, water, light, and other needs of the plant.  This will ensure a healthy plant.  

Before & After

When my husband and I were house shopping, we didn't set out to find a fixer-upper.  We wanted a house with character that we could make into our home.  The house we settled on was built in 1976 and  came with the good, the bad, and the ugly.  We moved in and began a room by room transformation that is still in progress.

 

Living Room makeover:  CONVERTING AN UGLY DUCKLING INTO A BEAUTIFUL SWAN

The living room required few tweeks to turn it from drab to fab.  It was a matter of knocking down a couple small sections of wall, ripping up some carpet, and applying a few coats of paint.

The living room was stuck in the 70'when we bought our home.  

The living room was stuck in the 70'when we bought our home.  

BEFORE

The living room was a harrowing case of the 70's gone wild.  Shamrock green heavy drapery and matching carpet almost reflected unto bland white walls.  Half walls adorned with spindles border the entry way.  

 

Updated modern living room.

Updated modern living room.

AFTER

We removed the green carpet in the living room and discovered the concrete was in excellent condition.  Concrete floors are a very modern flooring option so we decided to embrace it.  The  dreadful half walls were an eyesore and were promptly removed instantly updating the room.  Next up were the dated drapes.  We installed modern brushed steel rods from West Elm and hip junglelicious curtains from Ikea.  

 
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BEFORE

Another pair of spindled half walls separated the living and dining rooms giving both a cramped closed-off feel.

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AFTER

Now the living room and dining room flow into each other giving the space an airy spacious feel.   Although the walls are a deep olive shade (Behr Olive Shadow), the room transcends the dimness  associated with rooms painted in dark colors.  During the day, the lighter window treatments funnel natural light through a sizable wall of windows.