Folks, my etsy shop is finally set up.  I’m still working on taking pictures and researching the item’s worth and history before posting any more items for sale.  Please check it out.

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Friday affordable finds: nursery decor

These days, if I’m not attending a wedding, I’m going to a baby shower.  I’ve reached the age where my friends are settling down and having babies.  And the highlight of that is, I get to help them with their nursery.

I like to treat the nursery the same way as any other room in the house.   The only piece of furniture that I would purchase from the baby department would probably be the crib. I also like to use neutral paint and wall art to spruce up the room and allow the baby to discover colors that way.   After all, as a parent, you’ll be spending an enormous amount of time in the nursery.  So why not make it to your aesthetics?

Here are some deals if you’ve got a little one coming.

Crib – have you seen this mod crib from Walmart?  It also converts into a toddler bed.

This vintage world map would go great on the wall, framed or unframed.

Having a small daybed or couch in the nursery helps with feedings, changing, playing, sleeping, or anything you want to do together with your baby.  (Unless you think you can squeeze in the crib).

I love this Malm dresser from Ikea because you can personalize by painting it the color you love or adding hardware to give it a vintage look.

Who doesn’t love an owl lamp?

And finally, a colorful rug in to help warm up the space.

This whole look can be achieved for around $700.  And as you can see, it is still fun, playful and one that the baby can grow into. Oh, if you hire me, I can get up 10-20% designer discount on any applicable products.

(Be sure to stay tune for Liem’s nursery reveal.)




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Before and after: an $8 mirror gets a new life

I found this mirror a while ago and bragged about how I would give it a new life.  Well, it’s been months since and we finally got around to sanding, priming and giving it a new coat of paint.  As you can see from this post, I was going to add some vibrant colors to it and use it for our mudroom or family room.  Well, I’ve changed my mind since (I do this often).  I’m working on a monochromatic, dark, masculine den so that the two boys of the house can hang out in.  I decided to use Martha Stewart’s Vintage Gold and Behr’s Deep Space to paint out the mirror.  (I am using Behr’s Deep Space as an accent wall so this will all tie together after I reveal the den).

Here’s the before and after.


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Friday affordable finds

I am always on the hunt for affordable pieces for my home and my clients.  After all, what’s the point of hiring an interior designer if you know where all the good deals are!  I specifically love industrial pieces to add an edge to any room. My husband is in the rig construction business so I know he’ll love any industrial pieces I bring home.  So I’ve put together some of my favorites here. (Click on the picture to go directly to the item.)


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Man cave

For my male friends, who thinks rooms should be filled with hard lines, black leather, and white walls.  And for my female friends, who are trying to persuade their man to be a little bit more adventurous with decorating.

This bachelor pad belongs to a 41-year old in Manhattan.

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Photographing your own interior spaces

When I first started to take interior pictures for my own portfolio, it would take me all day to get the right shot.  I knew what I wanted in the vignette but waiting for the right amount of light to let in at certain time of the day in certain rooms of the house was really tiresome.  On certain days, I’d take so many photos my eyes would get watery and my glasses would fog up.

Who knew that during the daytime you’d need to use a flash?  It didn’t take me long to become best friends with a flash and a tripod.  Since natural lighting isn’t consistent throughout the rooms, using a flash would help balance that light.  Flashes are set to match daylight.  And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that a tripod helps to avoid all the possibility for instability like a flippy hand.  (After painting a room, rearranging the furniture, and prepping for photo shoot, even my Popeye the Sailor man arms wouldn’t hold up the lightest camera, not to mention my ten pound lens).

So I wanted to show you what I mean by showing two photos of my dining room, one without the flash and one with.  You can see the difference it makes in clarity and balance of light.

This one is without flash or tripod:

With flash and tripod:


For all you photography fanatics out there, any other comments or suggestions would be highly appreciated.


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Choosing the right contractors for your home renovation or remodel

As my husband and I are in the process of purchasing our second home, I suddenly cringed at the thought of having to once again deal with builders and general contractors.  The last time we went through this process, our builder short-changed us on so many things that I am still traumatized over the experience.  To cap that off, they ate up 20% of the total construction cost.  I won’t mention the amount but I will say that at the time, it was more than my annual salary.  I regret not quitting my daytime job to be our own general contractor then.

Enough with the venting.  Here are some tips to help you choose the right person for the job:

-Look at their portfolio and visit their past projects if available.  Also, check on Angie’s List to see what others are saying about them.

-Builders will tell you that a particular style or finish is not available. More than likely, it is available. Keep them honest by doing the leg work for them. For example, our builder told us that black vinyl casement windows were not available. (Why wouldn’t they be available?  Our neighbors have them!) The windows we wanted were available, just not with the supplier the builder wanted to use.

-A home builder’s markup is 20-30%. For example, if their costs are $200,000, their price to you is $260,000.  If you can do some of the leg work yourself, do it (or hire your own handyman).

-Ask the builder for specifications (make and model) of major items like windows, insulation, ac unit, water heater, etc.  Then do your own research to get the best quality ones rather than generic ones that will break down (ironically, as soon as your warrantee is over).

-MDF is a cheap alternative for base molding and framed mirrors.  This is my husband’s way of saying, your finishes needs to meet up to the standard and value of your house.

-Cabinets that are built onsite are cheap and poor quality. You’re better off getting cabinets built at a factory. (I think it might just have been the carpenter our builder used).  But this reiterates the fact that if you’re not at the construction site every day to monitor the work, the quality of the workmanship will not be up to your standards.

At last, I’ll leave you with this beautiful meditation room, where I will now go to relieve some tension.

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Jenna Lyon’s Brooklyn home for sale

If you’ve been following any decor blog or read British Vogue, you’ve probably seen these famous rooms from the home of JCrew’s creative director, Jenna Lyons.

Well, the Brooklyn house is now on the market for a mere $3.7M.

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Some tips on getting your house ready to sell

The New York Times published an article today on getting your house ready to be marketed that may have some useful tips if you’re thinking about listing your house.  Bright, light-filled spaces sell.  But more importantly, using the right paint hues and lighting will help create the right ambiance allowing buyers to imagine themselves in it.

CATEGORIES: staging | 1 Comment »

Drawn to European decor

Something about European decor that I find cozy yet minimal.   The colors are always warm and inviting, even in white, neutral rooms.

a flat in Madrid


a bedroom in a Madrid flat


Nottinghill, London


Paris, France


Paris, France



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