Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Interiors | Progress on a Cozy Living Room + Slipcovers in Outdoor Fabric

Hi there!  Can you believe it is already almost Thursday?  I always start the week with the grandest of blogging intentions and yet I'm lucky if I manage to squeak just one post out.  Oh well, this is my life.  I'm still trying to figure out how to strike the right balance with my new business (feels funny to even call it that). I've learned in the last month or so that I need to carve out more time for each room than I anticipated and space out projects enough so that I feel inspired and fresh each time I begin a new one.  For me that means staying true to a limited number of hours each week dedicated to Nine & Sixteen Home, so I can still spend plenty of afternoons baking and cooking or sneak in the occasional afternoon date with Jimmy or girlfriends.  All this to say, balance is good for the soul and I think I'm finding it.  Ok, on to a little peek at some recent work...

I'm just going to share a few teaser images of a home belonging to a neighbor and dear friend.  We started working on her home last fall (I think?).  The room is evolving slowly and with a budget.  You know, real life. :)  While not yet finished, the changes so far are dramatic  and have made such a difference in the room.  We started by repainting the room a pretty warm gray (it was too blue before), swapping out the printed rug for a larger, natural fiber rug, adding cheerful window treatments and creating an AMAZING gallery wall (I will show full wall in future post).  They are EXTREMELY well traveled (recently spent a year living abroad in Rome) and have a stunning collection of pottery, antique etchings, and prints that make the room feel so special and so them.  All that art was sitting in boxes in the basement; it was priority number one to get it framed (without breaking the bank) and displayed in way that complemented the room and didn't look cluttered.  Another issue was seating.  They had 2 sofas, one upholstered in an burnt orange fabric and the other in black leather (remains from former bachelor pad).  Like most of us, their home is a collection of things accumulated over a lifetime, some items are timeless and always work, while others need a bit of help to feel fresh and fit as our taste changes and our homes evolve.  The leather sofa got the boot in a garage sale, replaced with an antique chest of drawers (estate sale find - and complete score.  Patience and persistence are so important to creating beautiful rooms, especially if you want the rooms to incorporate antiques). Additional seating came from 2 wingback chairs - a Craigslist find.  Originally covered in a quilted teal/seafoam green fabric.

Here is a "before" shot from the same angle as shown above...

^^ If I told you what they paid for this chest of drawers you would cry.   Such a lucky find.  It is gorgeous and so much better than the black leather sofa. :) ^^

^^ The tiniest glimpse of their gallery wall.  I wasn't trying to be this secretive with this post! I took my camera over the other day when Charlie was going over for a playdate and realized I had my macro lens on too late.  The antique gold frames are actually ikea (I know!) made to look 100x more expensive with a little Rub-n-Buff paint.^^

^^ The small windows flanking the fireplace got roman shades and the large, front facing window got drapes. The pattern is perfect in the room because the reddish orange color matches the sofa perfectly making it appear intentional rather than a sofa kept because the budget didn't allow for a new one. ^^ 

The wingback chairs might be my second favorite thing in the room. (gallery wall is no. 1).  Three young and active boys live in this home and the living room is their main hangout spot.  It is also the room you walk into from the front door.  Yes, linen would have been a stunning slipcover option, but impractical.  I had seen other designers using outdoor fabrics in their homes and we thought if we could find the right color and texture it would be the perfect solution here too.  Stephanie ordered a bunch of soft gray Sunbrella swatches and we were both pleasantly surprised.  This one isn't thick, or plastic-y feeling like you expect outdoor fabrics to be.  It was thin enough to create pretty box pleats and the color is exactly what we were looking for.  I have recommended this option to other home owners since and I'm using it in my own home too.  Slipcovers are practical, but unless you have white, you can't bleach them and if you happen to forget and leave them in the dryer a minute too long they will shrink, so yes, I love the look maybe more than the supposed functionality.  These will never need to be washed.  Just wiped with a damp cloth. Easy -peasy. ^^

A couple other examples of using outdoor fabric:
^^chair in outdoor fabric from Rachel Halvorson^^

^^Sofa in all weather fabric, from Amy Meier^^

More pics to come on this lovely room soon, just a few finishing touches AND a proper camera lens and we should be good to go! ;)

  If you are interested in a decorating consultation for your home
please email me at:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Interiors | The Inspiration Process

I wanted to talk a little about one of my favorite stages of a decorating consult, what I refer to as the ideation stage.  It is when I search for inspiration and gather tons of ideas for the space.  A bit like gathering the ingredients for a recipe. Inspiration comes from many places, typically mine starts with fabric or an image from a magazine or book.  Occasionally, I'll see a room and know right away what I would add or change, but more often it comes later, after I've had time to let lots of options dance around in my head.  My number one goal in this new decorating endeavor is to share my love and joy of creating a home with others in the hopes it inspires them to feel the same. Decorating, even when you enjoy it and are good at it, is just better when you have someone invested in the journey with you, to bounce ideas off of, or confirm your direction.  It takes a lot of second guessing out of the equation.  My hope is that NINE & SIXTEEN HOME will grow to offer more than consults, because HOME encompasses much more than decorating, but I'm still trying to sort out what that will look like.  For now it's the blog and consults! :)

One big learning for me in the last year has been how important images are when discussing ideas.  I could say floral fabric and envision a muted block print pattern, while someone else is envisioning giant cabbage roses (think Waverley patterns circa 1985). Or I could say warm neutrals meaning taupes and grays, while someone else thinks mustard yellow.   Sometimes, if I feel that I'm still trying to sort out the direction the homeowner wants to go, I start the ideation process with a couple mini inspiration boards to give options before developing the full plan and inspiration board for a room.

Here is a recent example from a local project (the home pictured at the beginning of this post).  The homeowners had done an amazing renovation and addition to an existing home.  They had worked so hard on the renovation that by the time decorating decisions came along (and a new baby, number 3) they were starting to feel tapped on creative energy.  They had started to second guess what they liked and what they were buying, even though they have great style!  They have an beautiful dining room that used to be the home's former living room.  It has a fireplace (my dream) and space for a long farmhouse table.   It is open to the family room and serves as the daily gathering spot for their family dinners.  The homeowner (and friend. ;)) sent me some inspiration images to get things started.  Here are a couple:

Her walls are already painted a soft, pretty gray but I couldn't gauge if she was really gravitating toward a cooler palette or a warmer, neutral palette. So I gave her options:

Option 1: Warm neutrals, more traditional 

Option 2: Cozy, with a cooler color palette, a little more causal than the other option

And here is how the final board came together for her room, after one round of revisions:

It ended up as a little bit of a combination of the two options.  But, in general, the focus is on warmer neutrals in the textiles and accesssories.  They will hang a pair of the oversized lanterns over the dining table (using the ones above - how gorgeous, right?!!).  And one wall will have a long, shallow built-in like in the Something's Gotta Give dining room but painted a gray similar to the one on the inspiration board and lined with ironstone plates and platters (yeah, I know, how jealous are we?!).  The fabrics are a combination of what will be on draperies, slipcovers and used in the adjoining family room on throw pillows.  I can't wait to watch it come together.  I will show updates as they come along.   There are a lot of details not shown on the board that are equally as pretty.  You'l just have to wait till I can show the real thing.  :)

As a curtesy to paying clients, I do not provide sources for items in their homes.
However, I will always happily share sources for my own home.
If you would like my help creating a beautiful home please 
contact me at:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pumpkin Bread + Heirloom Pumpkin Gift Tags

This weekend we had our first real taste of glorious, golden, early Autumn weather and we spent as much of it outside as possible.  Biking, hiking, playing football, and picnicking.  We had a fun night at The Cincinnati Nature Center on Saturday for their annual Preparing for Night Event.  Its become a tradition that I look forward to attending each year that signals the change of seasons.  There is a picnic with live bluegrass music followed by a self led nature hike that features stations to learn about nocturnal animals.  The boys really enjoy it and I usually learn something new too. (Did you know that wearing bright red and orange attracts mosquitos?!  I did not. :)

The other sure fire sign that fall has arrived is in my kitchen!  This is the first pumpkin recipe I make every year.  The boys know that the second the temperatures drop they'll be snacking on pumpkin bread after school.  This morning we all just about froze biking to school (2 certain young boys thought wearing shorts in 45 degree weather is comfortable) I, on the other hand, was actually wishing I had on a pair of gloves! I shared this recipe back when I first started blogging.  Before Pinterest, before I realized that using a flash indoors is a no-no, and before anyone read my posts.  So, it bears a repeat showing.  The recipe yields two full loaves or four mini loaves (or 6 mini-mini), making it impossible not to share.  Enjoy!!

^I baked in disposable baking pans. They work great but I do spray with cooking spray beforehand^

At the end of the post I've included the heirloom pumpkin gift tag as printable for you to make gifting your fresh baked deliciousness extra special.  :)   I thought they too cute not to share. I like to wrap the cooled loaves in brown parchment paper and tie with twine or jute string.  Simple, simple.  Since I made some cinnamon, honey butter (1 stick room temp butter, 1/2 c powdered sugar, 1/2 c honey, 1 tsp cinnamon all whipped till well blended.  Store in fridge) to go with them, I put the loaves I was giving away in baskets.  I bought the tiny Weck jars in NYC last fall at Fishs Eddy knowing I would use them for this exact purpose! (you can buy them online here, I used the 2.7 oz jars)

Recipe | My Favorite Pumpkin Bread
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs 
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin 
3 cups all purpose flour 
1 teaspoon ground cloves 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. (Mix in  1 c. chopped walnuts, if desired). 

Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes for full sized loaves (40-45 for mini). Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.