Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Best Camouflage....

Instead of Therapy or Plastic Surgery!

You know when you have an extra five pounds on you and you just feel schlumpfy?  You can't afford the personal trainer, liposuction, or 100 calorie meal delivery service that the stars rely on.... so you do the next best do your hair and makeup, put on your best camouflage outfit, and voila!!

problem solved. 

Interior design is much the same.  How to inject a little vavoom into your bland room?  Need to create eye-candy on a long wall?  Your room lacks coziness?  Well, for some reason, Martin Lawrence Bullard and Kathryn Ireland aren't answering your phone calls.  You can't build the wall that really should have been built because your dog is asthmatic and dust will kill her.  You can't buy that  piece of art that is simply incroyable!!  Because your husband is color blind and thinks it's pink...  or, more likely, you just need to win the lottery.  Fat chance. But you can solve your issues without trauma by designing or purchasing a screen.  Really you can.   Most rooms we work on present tons of issues and happily, many are resolved by finding a screen on the market or customizing one affordably.

We typically use them to overcome lack of architectural structure, bad proportions, and/or lack of money for great art.   If you have a nice handy person handy, this project is your next fun goal.   Take a look at these great finds picked out, all of which can be copied in one form or another. Use a variety of materials from wallpaper to fabric to wood and you just might amaze yourself. 

And how yummy do they look in rooms with problems?  do you see the problem or the yumminess?  Just like when you gripe about that extra weight you hate, your friends tell you, you are perfect!  Don't they??? If not,....well, you have bigger issues.  I can probably recommend a therapist for that.....:)


             Here is a solution we worked for a sophisticated, sweet
16-year old girl's room
we recently completed...we had lots of real estate, not a lot of art, a tight we made two panels like part of a screen, wallpapered them and placed on either side of the bed... 
a super chic solution! 
(We also had the camel hump bedside tables made and topped them with custom cut mirror.....)

In the charming
14-year old sister's room 
we again had too much real estate on the bed wall so we created a massive screen to give her a little more of a
for her bed...
(cute pendants are white wicker from IKEA and we just added scrunchy white cotton over the cords...)

And finally, for a darling client of ours, we had our super furniture guys whip up two of these
gray lacquered screens
with Schumacher wallpaper for either side of a couch- the room is long and skinny with no architectural detail or height so we manufactured some...

Give some thought to your design issues and the affordable options for great camouflage...

More to come,
Annie and Team Blue Box

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Year's Next Step

The Nana Factor

You know how I love the New Year....Well, yipes...we are already  mid-January! still invigorated, but needing to keep the resolution fire burning productively.  Josie's mom, Nana Mary, is here from Charlotte, North Carolina and she is inspiring me to up my game and yours.  She is spoiling my family in the loveliest way..  which I will explain I thought our second collective New Year's intention should be to be more like Nana!!
 number 1 was to spruce up our work spaces.  And I know we have ALL gone from complete chaos (me left).....
JCrew's Jenna Lyons' groovy office

 to controlled creative chaos (me above)

to chic controlled perfection (all you over-achievers below)
     Aerin Lauder at her uber glam mirror top desk!

So our collective goal number 2, inspired by the "nana mary fairy" who comes to our house each day, is to focus on comfort for our families.... Here are some simple, old-fashioned comforts Nana has been bringing to our house.  

Bake.   Make the house smell divine, your significant other swoon, and the kids sit down and talk about their day....

~Nana Mary's Almond Tart~
Melt 3/4c butter in a bowl, add 1 1/2 c sugar and cream together.
Add two eggs one at a time.
Then add 1 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 tsp almond extract and 1 1/2 c flour.  Mix.  Batter will be thick.  Place in 9" tart pan with 3/4 c sliced almonds and tablespoon of sugar on top.  Bake 40 mins at 350 degrees.
Light Candles.  Morning, noon and night especially in our winter months up here in the gloomy Northwest.  This past Wednesday, the girls and I came home from a morning meeting, lit candles, made lattes and enjoyed Nana's scrumptious tart!

Iron.  No, not your underwear....just the pillowcases!

Makes you feel as if you sent the sheets out to be laundered (which would be super luxurious...I only do that for special houseguests...)
(upgrade option:   if you spritz your cases in the morning with lavender spray and pull them taut it will reduce wrinkles and freshen your bedding...especially for your fancy bed pillows)

Since we will more than sad to kiss Josie's mom goodbye in a couple weeks, and to keep us from the sure stages of grief at her absence, we are going to keep up the Nana touches to remind us of all the yummy love she lavished on our families. 

Annie, Josie and Brooke

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Photo Shoot Outtakes

Puh-leeze Be Serious...
Oh Lordy!  We had a hilarious day even though we had been dreading it.....

In attempting to get with the 21st century business model, we are trying to put together a professional website and of course this blog, facebook, and twitter.  Josie, Brooke and I have diviied up the responsibilities of social media: Brooke as the youngest and most with-it is in charge of facebooking, Josie - because she claims she really can not spell- is in charge of tweeting, and I, why??, am the team blogger.  In order to do Blue Box Workshop justice, we are building a nice little custom website (coming in February!). Our web designer and developer have been pushing us for photos of "before and after" design project visuals and also, pictures of ourselves.....ugh......who likes photos of themselves?  well, yeah, Jennifer Aniston...

Months ago, when this first came up, we thought we would all lose ten pounds, have a stylist come in, hire a professional photographer, and we would of course look FAB, CHIC, SKINNY....for our photo shoot......or at a minimum we would manage to look better than in everyday life!  But the realities of time and money killed that dream and we resorted to my sweet sister-in-law, Jeannie, being photographer and we were our own stylists:) and we shot it in my kitchen.

Personally, I of course think my partners look AMAZING.  They both have megawatt star smiles and BEEyoootiful hair.

I was showing my dear dear friend Andy these pics - she raved about Josie and Brookie, too! 

And just as I was thinking they were ok of me, she said, "Oh my Gawd, you are soooooo not photogenic.  Oh my Gawd, you are sooooo much better in person."  (that's kind of a compliment, right???) 
Then she added, "You know, I think it's just an age thing. You ARE a lot older than Josie and Brooke.  That's probably why your pics aren't good."  uh...okay...yeah that's true, andy. thanks.  thanks a lot....great feedback. um  don't you need to go home now, andy?  yeah...bye bye sweetie.  see you next week ...yeah okay thanks.  yep yep i luv ya.....YEAH BUH- BYE !

Now that I've recovered from that, here is a glimpse of our goofy day trying to get some good shots....our funnier moments....

Brooke is making us laugh too much!!

Josie is making us laugh too much!

When is lunch???

i give up....

More to come!
Annie and Team Blue Box

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Improvements

Blue Box Intentions for 2012
Okay, I'm a disaster!

Blogging lesson #1: 
don't ever do a countdown or countup during the holidays.

Sorry I went AWOL!

Brooke and Josie didn't even bark at me to get counting which made me think I could get away with it. Well, I just felt guilty the whole holiday..... However, it's a new year and I am forever grateful for fresh starts:)

I loooove a new year to be supremely motivated, recalibrate and make things happen! Our family sits down to breakfast every January 1st and sets out our intentions, reviews the previous year's list, and makes predictions. Our percentage hovers slightly over or under 50% depending on the family member but we always strive for greater improvement and have a lot of laughs about our successes and omissions. My overarching theme year after year is "FINISH TO COMPLETION". I tend to be a starter... I get a little taste of success, and then I move on to the next project.....leaving a big debris field..... Does that sound familiar to any of you? Thank heavens my Deke is patient. too patient probably. I think I should get chewed out once in a while... Anyway, TEAMWORK is the way to success and since I lean on my team to help me finish my tasks and inspire me, we want to share our energy and ideas with you. We will focus on resolutions/intentions over the next few weeks so that we can all get moving productively, creatively, happily towards a more beautiful, aesthetically pleasing 2012!

Our first collective goal for the new year? 
Make yourself a personal spot to work.

We at Blue Box are each working on our personal work zones...(Brooke just tore hers out and is starting from scratch.)   Here's my cozy little office off the kitchen- no bigger than a little walk-in closet but I love it. I even light a candle when I work in there:)  Every item in there puts a smile on my face...ok...maybe not the bills... 

If you like a cleaner look and are short on space, make your bedside table double as a desk with a darling chair you can pull up. This is what Josie is planning to do....Check out some of these great set-ups where space is at a premium...


...if you need more places to stash stuff, add a rolling white lacquer file cart underneath or a set of stacked lidded baskets.
Even if you have a workspace, give it a facelift this week:)


Organize your children's workspaces in a similar fashion...they need the structure too and nothing is more reasonably priced than an Ikea desk kitted out for a kid....This is what Josie did for her daughter, Stuart...cheery, functional and inexpensive!
If you need to really maximize a small space, do a simple built-in desk -
Check back for the photos of this work in progress in a few days!

And Finally, Blue Box Workshop is halfway to a new office in my basement...we will post before and afters let's all get crackin' on our work zones! It's a zippy way to start our 2012 directed and productive...

More to come,
Annie and Team Blue Box