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re-energized by design: the office/garage challenge

This is a sponsored post.

The second elimination challenge in the Re-Energized by Design competition is here! This time, each team had the option to makeover either the garage or an office. My team, The Bedfords, decided to makeover an office.

This space serves as a multi-purpose room for the Bedfords: an office for Slade, a guest room, and a napping space for the youngest member of the family, Theo. I was overwhelmed by the dark window coverings, multiple desks, and overall cluttered feel of the room. Something struck me immediately though — the giant, vintage pull-down school map of the United States. SO COOL! I decided to let that be the focal point of the space, and pulled all of the room’s inspiration from the color palate and theme. The color, Overjoy by Sherwin Williams, is a nice, warm golden yellow. It’s a perfect counterpoint to grey Seattle skies, and also complements the yellow and golden hues in the map without looking to pastel. This is a man’s office after all, so I wanted an air of distinguished masculinity to permeate the room. That being said, Slade wasn’t too convinced of my bold color choice at first.

Not having tons of money ($500), we scrapped plans for new furniture and instead focused on organizing and styling the space. We got rid of one of the two heavy dark wood desks, immediately making the room feel more open. I took the yellow-brass drawer pulls from the desk and antiqued them, making it look more expensive and more like an actual antique than the 1990’s repro it actually is. We purchased some dark wood shelving, a new set of Nate Berkus curtains from Target, and some nice dark wood blinds to help block out the light when little Theo is taking a siesta. Bonus — those window treatments will help reduce energy costs by blocking out the brutal summer sun through those west facing windows.

Instead of buying a brand new light fixture, we found a vintage one at our local buliding salvage for a song. We paired it with a dimmer switch to allow maximum flexibility for the multi-functioning room. The brassy 70’s feel of the fixture helped tie some of the pre-existing furniture into the new design. In fact, our motto for this room became “embrace the brass” — Kristen scored a few vintage hand-me-down brass lamps that really added some warmth and more focused light around the room. We outfitted everything with new GE LED bulbs, modernizing the vintage fixtures and adding an abundance of more functional light while simultaneously reducing the overall wattage.

Once again, the room was styled mostly with items from the Bedford’s home: an emerald green ceramic stool from the backyard added a touch of the orient, a vintage beer barrel from the basement served as a unique side table, and memorabilia from previous travels became art. My favorite little touch? Those three inexpensive matching clocks echoing the travel vibe. So fun.

I couldn’t be more pleased with how this room turned out. Slade, despite his reservations at first, loves it as well. And most importantly, the judges loved it! They gave me high praise for my color selection this week. Let’s see if this momentum keeps up — the living room challenge is next week!

From our partners

help! we need to replace our ikea coffee table with something more grownup

After three year’s in our house, we have are slowly replacing our Ikea furniture with more permanent pieces. The one at the center of our home — and indeed, the center of our lives it seems — is our Strind coffee table. It serves us well, offsetting a dark brown leather couch with its round white surfaces and delicate metal legs. We love the bottom shelf for stacking our current selection of magazines and children’s books (both of which seems to pile up effortlessly). The wheels make it easy to push aside when it’s time for one Isadora’s gymnastic demonstrations or we just want to kick our feet up with ease. But, it is getting wobbly.

To keep the balance in the room, we’d like to stick with white and round. We’ve found a few options. Which one do you like?


The Sybil table reminds me of the 70s rec rooms from my youth. It’s pretty groovy, but maybe too heavy? As a bonus, the top level swivels for optimal drink poising. $550 at modernfurniture.com


A high gloss and metal table is the most elegant of the bunch. $565 at bastores.com


Classic modern may be the way to go. The white version of the design stable seems sensible. $313 at inmodehome.com

What do you think? Any suggestions I should consider?

From our partners

re-energized by design: the bathroom challenge

This is a sponsored post.

Well, the time has finally arrived — time for the first room challenge in the Re-Energized By Design competition! Our first room to be made over: the bathroom.

Kristen and Slade’s downstairs guest bathroom was not lacking design challenges. The ceiling was (and still is) crazy-low, compounded by the globe light fixture stealing precious head room. The long, narrow, space was overwhelmed by a wall-length mirror and a clunky MDF storage unit. The bright white walls clashed with the off-white tiles and beige tile floors, which were actually kind of cool and in good shape. The bathroom, though a guest bath, also functions as the primary bathroom for the Bedford’s two young boys.

My goal for this bathroom was to create a whimsical yet modern room that feels much more open and bright, with a definite nautical vibe for the boys. I suggested that we use a nice bold marine blue paint (Sailor’s Sea Blue from Benjamin Moore) to complement the warm neutral tone of the tiles; and took the paint up to the tile line rather than the ceiling to give the illusion of a more open space. Since the room’s only window is in the middle of the shower, we used a double curtain open in the center to frame the window like drapery rather than a traditional single curtain. And we used an unconventional material for those shower curtains: canvas drop cloth from the hardware store! A smaller porthole-like mirror, dark-stained wood shelves and bright red towels added some functionality to our design; and Kristen shopped her own home to style the space with art and fun accessories.

As far as energy efficient changes go, Kristen and Slade installed a new low-flow shower head and WaterSense faucet, significantly reducing their hot water usage. That claustrophobia-inducing globe light fixture? Replaced by a recessed fixture with a low-wattage LED that gives them better lighting and more space. And the piece de resistance: a new light fixture over the mirror that gives more focused light for makeup applications and adds a great deal of that nautical vibe to the room. We sourced our fixture somewhere you may not have expected: the outdoor light section. Outdoor fixtures work in damp environments, and can have that industrial modern look that we needed for this project. And the GE Bright from the Start CFL didn’t look tacky in the clear glass globe, a definite change from the CFL’s I had become accustomed to.

I loved how our bathroom turned out. I’ll be honest, this was my first foray into design for someone other than myself, and I was delighted by the result of collaborating with the Bedfords. Thankfully, the judges loved the space as well, declaring it “phenomenal” — so we’ll be going on to compete for the next room. What did you think of what we did?

From our partners

steal this idea: book pages as wallpaper

The other day I was having a delightful page turn through the new Heart + Home, a digital UK design magazine that reminds of everything I used to love about Living Etc and Elle Decor UK (which I can hardly find stateside anymore). Their combination of creative yet realistic homes plus sharp market work makes it at a true inspiration. Take for example the photo above. It is from a story about Emma Cassi, a stylist-turned-jewelry design who lives in a west London with her husband and two children. In her daughter Hope’s room, she’s cleverly taken pages of out of a vintage book and decoupaged one wall with them. What it the book? The magazine doesn’t say, but I’d think that a little Louis Carroll or C.S. Lewis would do nicely. I’ve always wanted to try this in a small half bath. Which author would you feature there? Jane Austin or Henry Miller? The mind twirls with possibilities.

Looking for a how-to on this project? Check out Apartment Therapy’s Di.I.Y. post. To see more of Emma’s beautiful home, see the current issue of Heart + Home.

From our partners

giveaway! get to know mudshark studios & win a ceramic oil cruet

This giveaway is now closed

As a ceramic artist in Portland, OR, I began to hear about Mudshark Studios from friends in the clay community a few years back. It wasn’t until they began producing lighting for Rejuvenation (I used to work for them) in 2011, that I really fell in love with what they were doing. I had always been curious about ceramic production work and slip casting, so I decided that I had to learn more about the company and what they did.

Mudshark launched in 2006 and has been making waves in the design world since, not only attracting commercial clients like Kohler and Ann Sacks, but also working with individual artists and designers from all over the country. Co-founders Chris Lyon and Brett Binford set up the studio with a goal to educate others on product design, clay manufacturing methods, and provide a high quality finished product, while designing work of their own. Today, in addition to Mudshark, both artists pursue their personal creative interests in other businesses, like the Portland Growler Company and Bretton Sage Designs.

I caught up with Chris and Brett recently and thought it would be a treat to see what happens in their studio from day to day. Here’s a look at the magic of Mudshark…


Plaster molds are made of the original object, and slip is poured inside to make the desired shape.


Once a mother mold is created, Mudshark can make several molds to produce numerous items at once.


Each slip cast piece is finished by hand to clean up the seams and any imperfections that come through the process. In some cases the pieces are trimmed by hand on the potter’s wheel.


Once the cruets are cleaned up and leather hard, they are bisque fired before being glazed and fired a final time.

And just like that, you have a hand-made piece of Portland goodness, in the very functional form of an oil cruet.


Want a chance to win one of your own?
Hop on over to Brett’s design site Bretton Sage Designs and check out his olive oil and balsamic vinegar cruets. Then, come on back to Shelterrific and leave a comment telling us which one is your favorite. On April 1st, we will select a winner at random (no foolin’!) and send you the oil cruet of your dreams — compliments of Mudshark Studios and Bretton Sage Designs.

From our partners