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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.

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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

get re-energized by design!

This is a sponsored post.

What is Re-Energized by Design, you ask? Well, it is an awesome web series that Shelterrific is excited to be participating in — produced by Puget Sound Energy, it’s all about incorporating energy efficiency into home design. The challenge is this: six teams of homeowners are paired with design coaches and together they compete to re-design 5 rooms with a focus on saving energy with a small budget. Cameras are documenting each leg of the challenge, and with every room one team gets the boot! The prizes are great: a home full of new LED and CFL lightbulbs from GE, a full suite of kitchen and laundry appliances from Frigidaire, and $5000.

I was fortunate to be paired with the Bedford family, who are just delightful. Kristen and her husband Slade have a great contemporary house, fun design aesthetic, and are really willing to completely put themselves into every challenge. This experience for me has literally been re-energizing to me as well, ending a year-long creative rut and getting me back into blogging and crafting and having fun again. I can’t wait to share what we’ve created together.

But as of today, I won’t have to wait much longer, as the first webisode is available at 6am PST at the Re-Energized By Design site — this week’s is an introduction to all the contestants. And stay tuned each week as we reveal another webisode. Also be sure to go to the Re-Energized page on Facebook, where you can enter to win a new Frigidaire appliance like those featured in the challenge!

From our partners

steal this idea: stacked end tables from hannah’s apartment on hbo’s girls

Watching HBO’s Girls makes me simultaneously relieved to no longer be in my yearning 20s, and also incredibly nostalgic for a time in my life when everything was unknown and yet anything was possible. But even in my former Girl state (i.e. a 40-something mom), I can’t help but be charmed by the whimsy of the decor. Hannah and Shoshanna especially have deliciously quirky and playful apartments that walk a fine line between childish and clever. (Much has been written about the sleek style of Charlie’s apartment, but like Marnie, I would find it claustrophobic.) One piece in Hannah’s apartment jumped out at me last night during the season finale. Instead of focusing on our poor heroine and her bout with OCD, I was zeroing in on the stack of end tables in the background. Like so many other things in Girls, it’s painted bright pink. It creates a great use of space and instant storage. All you would need would be four discarded Ethan Allen style tables (which are super common in yard sales or on eBay for as little as $30). The key would be to make sure they all had the same dimensions so the legs would balance properly. I’d a fix them with a strong proxy, and keep cats and kids away.

Any other Girls fans out there? Tell me what you love about the decorating style.

From our partners