Orlando’s Dining Room Comes Full Circle

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This post was written by Mr. Orlando Soria, himself. Please check his blog for general hilarity and good design.

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Dear Emily,

I’m sitting here, writing on my computer, thinking about all the things you taught me, all the things we learned together, and all the things I learned from ogling all your beautiful designs. One thing I learned from you (in addition to looking happily into the camera as I pretend to type this post), is to always be adventurous and inventive when designing a space. This is what gave me the idea to paint a big ol’ circle on my dining room wall.

My dining room was actually kind of okay before, but I was getting bored of the black metal bookcases and the art I had in there so I decided it was time to pep things up a bit. Add some color. I’ve always been a fan of wall graphics but I thought my style was too simple and paired back to use one in my own space. Which is exactly why I decided to do it. Sometimes, when you’re scared of doing something the best thing you can do for your own sanity is just to do it and see what happens. I mean, like don’t go trying crystal meth or heroin or anything, but if you’re just painting something, HELLO YOU CAN ALWAYS REPAINT IT CALM DOWN.

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So that’s what the dining room looked like before, and now it’s all:

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How’d I get from Point A to Point B, you ask? Paint. Like basically all I did was paint everything. Which is kind of a testament to how awesome paint is and how transformative it can be. Also, I studied painting in college (HAY PRACTICAL MAJOR!) and so my first instinct is to just paint everything. Like if I could paint over that one time my aunt told me Santa wasn’t coming because I opened a gift on Christmas eve I totally would. Oh my god, Christmas is coming in like three months I am like so excited. Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, paint. Here’s what it looked like when I repainted my shockingly well-priced Ikea bookcases:

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Don’t let these pictures fool you. Painting these things took like five hours and burned off the top 13 layers of my skin. Just kidding not really, but it did take way longer than I expected. Going from black to white with spray paint takes lots of layers and LOTS of patience. So put on a Cranberries album, drink a Snapple, and get into the groove of spray painting because QUALITY TAKES TIME PEOPLE.

And now it’s time to trace your mega graphic onto the wall:

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To trace the giant circle shape onto the wall, I hammered a nail into the center of the wall and attached a string with a pencil tied onto it at the radius I had determined beforehand. This sounds confusing but it’s not. Basically tie a pencil onto the wall on a piece of string half the length of the diameter. Do you get what I mean? WHY IS THIS CONCEPT SO HARD TO EXPLAIN I CAN’T TELL IF I’M MAKING ANY SENSE!!! HELP ME.

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Once I’d repainted everything, I did a little shelf styling and kept it lighter and airier than it was previously. When placing bookcases in front of a hyper graphic, you have to keep the background shape in mind when composing the shelves.

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So there you go. Now go out there and paint some big ass shapes on your wall and it they look like garbage paint over them and start again because you only live once and a life without shape is a life without purpose!

Love,

Orlando

PS: For more pics, tips from Orlando on shelf styling, and full before/after shots read more of the story on  Homepolish Magazine!

Photographs by Sean Gin courtesy Homepolish

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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The Fig House Stained Glass Design; Judson Studios

If you follow me on ANY social media you have seen a lot of stained glass on my feed – mostly from Judson Studio and The Fig House project. Hell if you’ve breathed near me in the last year you were likely to hear about The Fig House. And Charlie. Hopefully y’all aren’t sick of hearing about this project, it was just huge and there were/are so many design components to it, so its taking a while to document them all. I wrote about Judson Studios a month ago, but now its time to document what we actually did with them.

Lets bring you back to the beginning (and read this post if you haven’t). When I first signed on for Fig I said ‘Stained Glass’ immediately. I had been wanting to do a project with custom stained glass so bad and this seemed like the perfect one.

So let me guide you through the project (and yes, there is a whole video at the end):

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First we met with Tim Carey, an artist, at Judson Studio and talked about general art direction. I said I wanted something geometric, modern, saturated colors and large-scale. He said that they hadn’t done that before (mainly because it’s not what clients want) and he was psyched to get started.

So he sent through this first sketch with some initial ideas:

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It was so fun to see the potential. We really liked it but it didn’t quite feel modern enough. It felt too fluid for a new build, not quite geometric enough.
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And Tim totally agreed. So easy to work with. So he went back with our notes and came up with this pattern. A common motif throughout the Fig House were octogons, so he took more inspiration from that and started the process again:

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He sent this through and we flipped out, in a good way:

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Yes yes yes yes yes. The thick verticals and horizontals were the window frame.  It was a 12′ window I believe so it had to have mullions help supporting it. Yes, I say fancy words like ‘mullions’ now. Hopefully I’m correct in the usage …

Next he printed it out, all life-size which was sooo fun to see.

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He took a first pass at color and sent us through this:

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Sorry, its fuzzy. I think it was just a screenshot of his computer. We liked it but it wasn’t quite the colors that we were working with.  So we went in and played with the color combo for hours.

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Lisa’s House: The Bedroom Makeover

Welcome to the last post of Lisa’s house. I’ve blogged about the living room, dining room and office already, so here’s the bedroom.

Lisa had just moved in and the only thing she did was have the walls painted with this texture – well, and the chandelier, but otherwise it was just kinda left over furniture from her old house/life. She wanted it to feel calm, feminine, pretty, french country but updated. Not to mention, cohesive and finished.

Designers are constantly asked what room people should prioritize – what room to start with and I don’t really know the answer. I used to say wherever you spend the most time – which is usually the living room (or family room) – that’s the room people are going to see, where you spend most of your (awake) time entertaining. No one really sees your bedroom but you. But at the end of the day walking into a pulled together and inviting room is such a luxury and really does make you feel more special and grown up.

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Click through to see the afters …

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Lisa’s House: the Office makeover

Ok. When we started the project Lisa’s office was not ideal. Her desk was small. She had no storage. It was just generally less than inspiring to be in. And coming from someone who has worked out of a home office for years, let me tell you that your work life improves if you like going into your office.

This office? Yeah, she didn’t like it at all:

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It needed color/style/function and it also just needed to feel more important. So the first thing was getting a big pretty desk, a working table, that really commanded the space. Speaking of the space, it was a bit tricky because it was a pass through between the entry and the kitchen so we had to keep the desk on one side of the room, which meant that her back would be to the window. She didn’t want to be up against the window, facing it, so it was tricky but we figured it out. And there was a bathroom in the room that you can’t see, so there was a 3 door challenge.

First we painted the walls and brought in the new big rustic table that would be the desk:

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Click on through to see the after …

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