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Friday, November 11th, 2011

Flickr Faves on Fridays: Bringing the Leaves Indoors

Becky

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Once again, a flickr favorite came from Flickr member Saidos da Concha, who added them to our Fresh New Spaces Group. Blogger Concha has moved from Lisbon Portugal to Staffordshire England. She’s obviously finding some beautiful leaves around the countryside to bring into her English home, adding organic autumnal style. What I really like is that rather than going for the typical firey red and brilliant orange leaves we’re used to seeing in fall decorating, she included leaves that were still half-green and light yellow. I never would have thought of this:

Don’t you just want to plan a room around the colors in those leaves on the left side of the mantle? It’s such a beautiful color palette! I also love the way she’s tied in the sweet little gourds, the bird prints, and the books in this mantle arrangement. Simple clear glass vases let the leaves be the stars.

A master of tablescapes and shelf arranging, once again Concha has created a beautiful and fun composition here. The grahpics on the posters are crisp, more intricate little works of art are mixed in, stacks of books that could be total pulp (though I do spy some literary classics) add another layer, and a mustachioed rabbit and a fun little car top off the piles of books. It’s so much fun! I also love the way she tucked these leaves behing the sconce. They will cast interesting shadows at night when the lights are on.

If you’re struggling with ideas for your Thanksgiving decorations, why not take a look around at the leaves outside, grab a pair of pruners, and swipe a few?

Read Concha’s full blog post here

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Friday, February 25th, 2011

Flickr Faves on Fridays: Mondrian Shelves

Becky

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For this week’s Flickr fave of the week, I am loving these floating shelves from Jeremy Levine Design. I’m also digging the way they used the stacking shelves on the left side. Thanks for adding it to our Fresh New Spaces Group!

By the way, this was an addition and remodel to a residence. The house was built around three trees and includes: grey water recycling, storm water capture, recycled coal fly ash concrete, solar energy, recycled lumber, passive cooling, thermal rock wall, and mobile shade panels.

Office of floating shelves

Photographer: Tom Fowlkes

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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Designer Interview: Adam Fitzgerald of Jackson Street Furniture

Becky

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Recently I have the pleasure of sitting down with (O.K., actually  emailing back and forth with; this is the era of the Golden Globe winning The Social Network) Adam Fitzgerald, architect and furniture designer extraordinaire. I hope you will find as much inspiration from his work and his advice as I have!

Please tell us a bit about how your company came to be – your creative background and how you began to build your
business.

I’ve been an architect for over 20 years, but I’ve designed and built furniture since I was in graduate school. Working
with furniture is satisfying for me because it’s such an intimate thing. We interact with furniture on a daily basis, and
almost constantly at that. Plus it’s easier to take chances with furniture. When you’re doing a building that costs
millions of dollars it can be tough to get the client to try something different. So furniture offers me the opportunity to
experiment, and try things that are “on the edge”. I was also motivated to design and build furniture when I first got
out of school because I couldn’t find good contemporary furniture that was affordable, so it’s always been a goal of
mine to sell a line that is creative, but also affordable to most people.

Please take us on a bit of a virtual tour of your studio. What’s the neighborhood like? What were some of your
priorities when finding a space where you need to be creative?

My current studio is fairly ordinary. It’s a “flex” space with an office and a large open area for the shop. The
neighborhood is a gritty area on the north side of Denver. I really like this kind of neighborhood. There’s a real
mix of businesses and artists in the area. I can find sources for all kinds of materials and ideas just by talking with
people in my building. There’s everything here from another contemporary furniture company to companies that mill
complex machine parts. So the “community” I could say, is very important in choosing a space. Before this location
I had a space here in Denver in a building with ten artists that offered a great a chance for feedback and inspiration.
Unfortunately the owner sold the building, and we were booted to the street!

When I step outside I get a great view of the Denver skyline with the mountains in the background which isn’t too
bad! I can even see the last building I did in the skyline—a 41 story condominium that I finished off last year, right
before I started Jackson Street Furniture.

Where do you start when designing something new? A sketch? A wood sample? A dream?
I get inspiration everywhere. I often get ideas from ordinary things I see that have nothing to do with furniture but
that have a geometry, or character that strikes me as beautiful. I’ve consciously tried to stay away from studying the
history of furniture, or specific styles. I try approach furniture design from the “outside”. In school, I had to study a lot
of architectural history and I think when designing you can actually use “style” as a crutch that keeps you from really
trying more innovative things. I sketch all my ideas. Many of them go nowhere, but I keep them all. I revisit them
every so often. I’ve found that often a sketch from years ago will inspire a new idea when I look at it with fresh eyes.

How do you stay inspired? Any advice for those who are suffering from a creative block?
I always keep a sketchbook close by. When inspiration hits, I sketch it out. Sometimes it will be months or even
years before I come back to it, but I also might go into the studio the next day and start building it. The building
process keeps me inspired. I often start with an idea I’ve sketched but by the time I’m done it’s morphed into
something entirely different. That keeps the creative juices flowing—I love being spontaneous with design.

If I’m “blocked’ creatively, I try to get away from what I’m working on and rejuvenate my mind by doing something
else. I think the subconscious takes over if you’re distracted and before long, new ideas work their way to the
surface.

Onto the furniture! There is something a dash Rat Pack about some of your pieces to me (I mean that as a
compliment – am I way off?), in particular the Zoom Table and BOG (O)Val Table. I also feel a sense of nostalgia
when I look at the Open Wide Table. You clearly balance a touch of retro inspiration with your contemporary designs.
How do you balance the old and the new?

I definitely think you’re right about some of my furniture having a mid century quality, and I’ve had others tell me that
as well. (I like the idea of Dean Martin pulling up next to the Zoom table with a scotch and a cigarette!) But it’s not
really something I consciously strive for. I’ve always been drawn to simple geometry and forms that are streamlined,
but also a bit quirky and unusual—not the more rigid, formal shapes of “classical” modernism. I love the designs you
find on fabrics from the 50’s and 60’s.

Do you have any words of wisdom for creatives who are ready to make the leap into a building a business?
First, if it’s something you love to do—definitely go for it. Life’s short, and you’ve got to take chances. Second, I think
it’s important to dive into the deep end, so to speak. Go “all in”, and immerse yourself in it. To me, that’s the only
way to do your best work, and give yourself and your ideas the best shot at being successful.

Adam, thanks so much for sitting down with us today and sharing your inspirations and advice! To see the Jackson Street Furniture line, click here.

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Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Organization Tuesday, Oops, Thursday…

Becky

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PROGRESS REPORT:

I’ve just completed week three (of six) of the organizing workshop. As you can see, my organization efforts are still running behind! I think I was waiting for my space to be perfect before sharing it. Then I realized that I’d be waiting a really long time, put off blog posts, and leave you all with nothing new to read when you stop by for weeks on end. Apparently, waiting until it’s perfect is a paralyzing organizing roadblock for me. I have accomplished sorting various junk drawers and even clearing out a mega-sized drawer to hide my paper and cardboard recycling – the basket full of it out in the open was starting to make me not want to recycle any more! It’s crazy how happy this has made me. The feeling of accomplishment that comes with these little projects is wonderful.

I am finding that having organization on the brain is leading to other projects and simple fixes that I had been ignoring for a long time. For instance, my beloved Dyson vacuum had lost all of its sucking mojo. I finally did some hardcore taking-apart of the appliance and found there was a pen stuck in there and all kinds of things were stuck around it, blocking all of the air. I finally had my beloved but filthy with construction dust and pollen screened-in porch powerwashed, removed all of the furniture for a scrub-down, washed all of my pillow covers and got a new rug for out there. I found a bored friend to hang the shelves my office had been crying out for, so without further ado:

BEFORE (EWWWW! I could not get ANY work done in here because it was so distractingly gross and ugly):

You may recognize my map wall. It had seen better days; the sun had faded the once-lovely blue to a depressing gray. Yuck. Actually, it had been replaced by my horrible D.I.Y. disaster inspiration board, but that thing has bitten the dust as well. I cannot seem to find a good inspiration board solution. I need to go re-read my post comments because I know you all gave me some great suggestions.

IN PROGRESS:

What I have left to do:

1) Find the perfect labels for those pails so I’ll know which one to pull down. They contain all of my drafting supplies which were formerly in that little chest of drawers in the BEFORE picture. The chest was great for my station in grad school, but it had just become clunky junky in my current office. I think it would be a cute nightstand in a future dream beach house I don’t own, so I’m storing it in the attic for now. Oh, those are paint tins from Home Depot, I think they cost about $1 each. They come in a bunch of different sizes and they are great for hiding a multitude of sins.

2) Sort whatever the heck is in this tin.

3) I feel like this is sort of wasted space, but I don’t want to fill it just because I have it. Look it how gross it got in the BEFORE shot. For now, I’m going to enjoy the empty space it adds to my flow. Hopefully this wastebasket is not in my feng shui financial corner or something (wasn’t that in Bridget Jones’ Diary? She was basically letting her finances get tossed out with the garbage, according to a feng shui article in one of her glossies. I have much bigger issues to deal with before I can even think about adding feng shui complications!).

4) I just threw extra office supplies on this shelf. I need to get it looking nicer or it’s going to bug me. That Staples box of envelopes is too ugly to be out. These are the kinds of details that bug me.

I have to give another shoutout to my Organizing 101 Workshop. It’s part practical organizing, part figuring out the psychology of why my house gets to a certain point of disarray, like why I shop too much, why my clutter builds up, etc.! There’s also a great forum of people going through the same thing to chat and commiserate with – it is really motivating and it’s well worth the $75 price tag.

When I’m all done, I’m going to do something crazy. I’m probably going to have to take it all down because I HATE that ten year old Restoration Hardware soft green, and I’d like to wallpaper. However, by the time I’m done, I should have a system, and I’ll take pictures so I will know where to put everything back up, right? Another one of my roadblocks is finding out my pain in the butt limits – I ordered some samples, picked one, tried to get two different people in the know to refer a good wallpaper hanger, they didn’t know any, and I stopped trying! However, I have been in touch with a great painter. Perhaps I should just stick with him and keep things simple. Sorry, if any of you are still actually reading this, I think I’m working through my own personal organization/project completion limitations through this blog and boring you with it! Hmmm, what color, what color…hmmm, time to distract myself with June’s Coastal Living, Elle Decor, and Southern Living, all of which are sitting right in front of me at the moment, then make a field trip to Benjamin Moore…

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Friday, November 6th, 2009

Flickr Faves on Fridays: Arranging Shelves

Becky

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Stamp Art

Here are some more beautiful shelves from flickr member hnxing. Check out the way she had the stamps framed. I’ve been meaning to do this with my Eames stamps before I use them all up on bills!

photo from flickr member hnxing

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