Introducing the Target styling Video Series

What do you get when you take the best retailer in the country, a really good creative agency, 70 crew members, 4 sets and a chick who can really talk and talk about styling?

10 (pretty dope) videos about home style.

Today I want to share with you the intro video about the series, giving you a sneak peek into the sets, the rooms and the tips. The scope of the entire production was so huge, and yet the second I got on set with the creative team (too many to name but Chris, Todd and Nick were my directors/guides for the week) it felt comfortable and like we were just chatting. Just us girls.

People snapped some  behind the scenes photos while I was styling and you know how I feel about behind the scenes shots.

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I just cruised around with copper cocktail shakers and styled these pretty spaces (with the help of Meg, Scott, Ginny and Brady, of course).

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But you want to know one of the most hilarious parts? I had a body double. Technically she’s referred to as a stand-in because she was never on camera. But a few weeks before the shoot they asked my height and weight for a stand-in so they hired this 25 year old Russian MODEL, that was might height and had blonde hair and fair skin but thats pretty much where the similarities ended.

You see when I was working on another set or in hair/makeup they needed someone to sit in for lighting/positioning purposes that way when I finally sat down they didn’t realize that there was a lampshade directly behind my head or  a huge shadow on my left ear or something.

So this nice lady sat there in my stead. She was also available for all my nudity scenes should those come up.

This shot is HER:

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And then this one is ME:

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As my stunt double she was also ready and available for all extreme styling action moves, like when I paint the ceiling whilst standing on a broomstick, reupholster a chair underwater, etc.

What you’ll get out of the videos is what I love to talk about most – how to style and add that personality through pieces you might already have or just a few quick changes/purchases. Its unexpected uses of things, learning how to combine styles together, and how to choose pieces that work with any style, year round … and its all pretty budget friendly. We have living room, bedrooms, dining/entertaining and even a video about bathroom styling. Because bathrooms are people, too.

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The first video will be released monday, so stay tuned, but meanwhile watch the intro video about the project with some sneak peeks of the whole series.

Here you go, friends. Happy Thursday.

Hair and makeup by the lovely and always amazing Danielle Walch.

My Guest Room Makeover

Alright. This is a dooooooooziiie of a design post, including ‘before’ shots, the process, an EPIC FAIL, the remedy, the ‘after’ photos, resources, ‘get the looks’ and a VIDEO. Tell your boss that you ate bad salmon and that you and that you need to go to the hospital for an emergency surgery, possibly even a C section or kidney removal. Something that could take hours. Then go home, grab a cup of coffee, diet coke or wine (I like to give you options) and settle in to read the epic guest room make-over post.

Here goes: The guest room is FINISHED thanks to a partnership with DutchBoy paint. Dunzo. Like President Obama and Michelle could randomly show up at my door for the weekend and all we’d have to do is add some flowers. I mean, for them of course we’d have to get REALLY beautiful flowers, probably open garden roses flown in from Holland, watered by the tears of angels, but other than that, this room is good to go. Finally.

But before I show you the ‘after’ you must suffer through the process. Because I had to (and because the process is what this blog is all about).

We moved into this house 9 months ago and started fixing up this bad boy. BEFORE we moved in the room looked like this and I blogged about its needs HERE:

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To recap: disgusting pee carpet, gross painted ceiling, lovely ‘vintage’ ceiling fan, etc. Oh and you can’t tell but there is an insane texture on the walls – as if it was a gothic cathedral in Prague in the 1700’s. Like serious texture.

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So we skim-coated, painted the walls, put down new beautiful hard-wood flooring and it started looking way better.

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TA DA!!!!! Isn’t it beautiful, you guys? It only took 9 months, 2 design assistants and 3K to do that.

Kidding. This is what it looked like after we moved in and unpacked and it clearly wasn’t designed or even thought about. It was good enough for the parents to come and sleep in for the holidays but needed some serious considering.

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We lived with it like that for about 6 months while we worked on the rest of the house.

I’ve gone back and forth about whether I like that brick wall thing ever since we bought it. But dry-walling it sounded annoying and expensive, so I wanted to try to work with it and it seemed like a good opportunity to use the grid of bricks in an interesting way.  So one night, 3 nights before the Domino shoot I decided to grab some beer, put on Season 3 of the OC, grab 18 different colors of paint and see what the beer tells me to do, because that’s how real designers design.

In my defense I will say that this idea was endorsed by Ginny, Brady and Scott and we all picked out the colors together. It was kinda thought out, but we all had our doubts.

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What I did to that wall was a G.D. masterpiece. I’ve since decided to quit styling and dedicate myself to my true passion – tipsy public performance painting. How do I create such beauty, you ask? Well, how did Mozart compose such melody, or how does Sara Silverman think of a joke?

You can’t explain it, the genius is the true miracle.

Also I did have some inspiration pics/references to work off of, these weird 80’s color blocked buildings, but sadly the wall never really came to resemble them at all.

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I started with just a few colors and kept them looking more ‘water-color-y’ without hard edges (especially since there aren’t any hard edges – the bricks were rough). Then I was all, MORE, I NEED MORE NOW AND COLOR MORE COLOR FAST HURRY I’M SOBERING UP!!!

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But then that looked like a drunk monkey took over painting the wall with those crazy pops of color. So I decided to have it be more tonal and just do these kinda weird pastels together (the last photo). And then it looked like Easter threw up on my wall. It was terrible and incredible all at once. I hated it in an aggressive sort of way where it actually made me angry. It’s probably because the rest of the house is open and white/bright so all of a sudden when you caught this through the doorway your eyes were bombarded with these annoying colors, challenging your controlled temper, making you want to do violent things to helpless animals. It was that bad.

Click through to see the afters …

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Bloggers loving Target – A roundup

Today is like my wedding + christmas, but for my career. Well, that might be a bit superlative but its a big week, folks. I am shooting a bunch of styling videos with Target the next six days with some of the most creative, smart and generally just lovely people from Target and their Ad agency, Partners and Spade. When I saw the set on Saturday (which i can’t wait to show you – its BEAUTIFUL) I had kinda the same feeling/nerves that I had when I thought about walking down the isle – all those people are going to be looking at me? But it was quickly followed by, total excitement – not because they are looking but despite it. Its going to be super fun.

Obviously you’ll hear all about it and I’ll be instagramming all week some behind the scenes, but I figured it was a good time to share with you some things that some of my favorite blogs have been doing with Target as well. Target challenged the best design/diy blogs to use one Room Essentials piece, and style it out three different ways in their space. I’m only posting one way so this post isn’t like 15 pages long, but click on the link to see how else they used the piece. I have a decent amount of the Room Essential line pieces at my house because they are just super simple, sleek and modern looking and yes, flexible pieces – you can kinda use them anywhere which is what all these bloggers demonstrated so well. Nice job, friends. Take a gander.

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A Merry Mishap I mean, that desk is very chic.

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Oh Happy Day – Naturally Jordan Ferney killed it. And that coat rack is ridiculously cute, too.

View More: http://morganashleyphotography.pass.us/target-room-essentials-high-res

Darling Magazine, these accent tables are so versatile

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The Design Confidential – I have two of those standing lamps. So good. (Nesting Table | Standing Lamp | Mug)

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Justina Blakeney My friend, Justina, never disappoints.

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Little Green Notebook Duh. What can’t Jenny do? P.S. did you see her house in Domino? So lovely, but I want to see more!!!!!

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Smitten Studio What a hideous bathroom. #opposite. (ottoman)

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Studio DIY Curious is those are temporary or permanent ice cream handles. Either way, very cute. (Kitchen Cart)

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SF Girl by Bay Victoria used hers as a barcart, too. There is something so utilitarian and simple about that cart. (Kitchen Cart)

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Making It Lovely Always lovely. That wall color is awesome. (Desk)

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Design Mom Gabrielle knows anything that has to do with kids, as she should with 6 of them. (Metal Cart)

Nice job, ladies. And good job, Target. You guys are going to freak out at some of the fall and holiday stuff that is coming out that I’m styling with this week. It’s AWESOME. Stay tuned and happy monday!

Our New Kitchen reveal, plus we cook now

Most of you know that I don’t cook and topping my excuse list has always been that I’ve hated my kitchens and as a ‘visual person’ its just always bummed me out to be in there. They’ve always been rentals, and either tiny (in New York), run down (two houses ago), or both (our last house).

To prove my ‘ugly kitchen’ situation I give you exhibit A and B:

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See?? You might be wondering what we ate then, right? Well it was a combo of take-out, going-out (pre-charlie) or most likely ‘making food’ which is normally a salad or a microwaveable meal. I’m not really a foodie (clearly), but Brian is very emotionally invested in EACH AND EVERY MEAL and literally every night from 7 – 7:30 is the ‘what are we going to do for dinner’ debate. I say, ‘I don’t really care, I’ll eat anything’ and then he spends the next 30 minutes torturing himself trying to figure out what he wants and debating the not so endless possibilities.  It’s literally groundhog day every night. Our biggest issue is that we never have food in the fridge and if we do, it doesn’t really create an easy meal – or one good enough to actually put effort into.

Anyway … Our new kitchen (that is not a rental) was pretty ugly but fairly doable (see the before photos and what the plan was here). We started cooking a bit more (mainly because I can watch TV while I make my one weekly chicken soup), but I mostly still ‘made food’. Then we updated it and it looked like this for a while (which is what is in Domino) and all of a sudden I liked being in it:

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Photo by Brittany Ambridge for Domino Magazine

Wildly better, obviously. I love the white, the hardware, the brass “grout” (which I’ll tell you about once I get some detail shots), the pendants, the faucet, the appliances and that baby. I love that adorable baby. I love all of it EXCEPT for the refinished lower cabinetry that looked even more retro than before, and besides those beautiful schoolhouse electric handles just didn’t pop off of them.

Ok, this is not ‘The Kitchen makeover post’. Nay. I’m working on that post (trying to get more photos of what was in Domino, fishing through my library for the ones I’ve taken and then probably taking more photos of details for ya) but I figured I’d may as well show you a sneak peek of the kitchen because we changed it even after the Domino shoot. Because i’m crazy. 

Yes, you heard me. We have painted that kitchen since that shoot. 

Around that same time, Blue Apron emailed and asked me if I wanted to try out their product – delivered meal plans, with all ingredients, ready for you to cook, always different, and delicious meals. I figured I’d celebrate my new kitchen with a photo shoot (who doesn’t?) of me proving to the world (you) that I now cook. And yes, this is a sponsored post but since i’m not a food blogger I figured clearly a reveal of my new kitchen would make it even more fun, no?

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Here’s the deal: Blue Apron allows you to create delicious, chef-designed recipes at home and takes all the guess-work out of it as they send all the farm-fresh ingredients you need, right to your doorstep, in exactly the right proportions. No trips to the grocery store and no waste from unused ingredients. Its wonderful, and completely dummy proof.

Blue Apron will send you three meals per week – for two, four, or six people. The meals are $9.99 per person with free shipping and in case you are worried about all those fresh ingredients spoiling they are one step ahead of you and everything arrives in a refrigerated box so ingredients will stay fresh even if you’re not at home when your package arrives.

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When I first started getting Blue Apron I put it in the fridge. Five days later we hadn’t made any of them. I was like, ‘whoops, guess I’m going to have to cancel that sponsored post’. But then that night I was like, just make one and see. I turned on the tv, poured a glass of wine and started cooking. After about 10 minutes I texted Ginny and Brady with a ‘I’m blue apron-ing it and I kinda love it‘. And then I ate the meal and I was even more psyched (I think that one was beef stuffed poblano chili).

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Here’s what I liken it to – it’s like a personal trainer for cooking. Sure, i can cook on my own, but I don’t. Technically I know how to do the basics but I don’t know how to do anything interesting so I never try the new stuff and therefore I’m never super excited about what I’ve spent my time on. Like a personal trainer you are kinda taught how to do the more innovative things, and are in a way forced to do it (because it’s staring at you in the fridge) and then afterwards you are just so proud of yourself because you are good at it. Click through to see more photos (even a few pulled back ones) of the new painted kitchen.

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Oprah Magazine Weekend Makeover

One time Oprah called and asked if I would do a budget weekend makeover for her magazine, and I was like, ‘Opes, for you … anything.’ The job/challenge was to show their readers what they can actually do in a weekend, with a limited budget. It’s not ‘just buy a new sofa’ or ‘wallpaper your ceiling’, its easy upgrades, simple solutions, etc, that you can really do to improve your space in 2-3 days. Having those parameters was VERY fun, indeed, and has inspired another big makeover post (and possible series) that I’m launching with Target soon.

The budget for decor was $1800, which isn’t nothing and certainly isn’t what a lot of people have just lying around but it still goes really fast. Trust me.

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It’s out now in the September issue, but let’s go back in time and check out what it looked like when we found it:

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The apartment itself is beautiful – big, white, open with pretty, classic architecture. Her pieces were simple and easy to style on top of, which was good since we didn’t have the budget to buy a new sofa, etc. And OH YEAH, SHE ALREADY HAD TWO PLATNER STOOLS. She inherited them from her mom and I was VERY jealous.

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Things were just kinda mismatched, without a specific point of view and it just didn’t reflect her personality.

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There was something very classic and Victorian about the space so we felt like we could go for a more feminine, almost regal color. And since she lived by herself and didn’t necessarily need to take in her boyfriend’s opinion so much we wanted to go a little bit girly.

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