INTERIOR STYLING

my retro office and blue walls

retro office // doonyaya.com

OK, I want to show off my ultra-cool-retro-circa-60s-made-modern-office. Because a lot of risks were taken in this room which ultimately paid off, because this is one flashy room, right? But as with all risks, sometimes they lead to miserable failures. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a risk I guess. I’ve also been talking about the importance of risk-taking with my business-number-cruncher/friend Nick. You wouldn’t think a numbers guy would be into risk-taking, but we both agree that life is sad, boring and stale without taking some scary and thrilling leaps. Or even worse, that life without risks can come to a complete standstill. And that’s not a good way to live.

But let’s be real, I’m not talking about life-altering risks like cashing in your life-savings for a thrilling and most likely the-worst-idea-of-your-life kind of weekend at Vegas. I’m talking about whether to paint a room white or ooooh, let’s get crazy here and go with dark blue–kind of risk.

So let’s talk about these risky dark blue walls in my white-walled house. Shocking, right? The idea was to match the background color of the wallpaper I made on the back wall–the one with the brambly white branches. The wallpaper came into existence after a brainstorming session with Kathryn (my co-designer/architect/friend) about themes that were emerging in the house, and one of them seemed to be trees. That prompted me to take a photo of the branches outside the office window and obsessively mess with it in photoshop. Once I was fairly satisfied with the image (or taken to the edge of my sanity by lining up tiny branches to make a seamless repeat) I called it done and got the design printed onto wallpaper at Spoonflower. I’m pretty happy with how it came out but I think it would be better if the branches were more random looking so you couldn’t see the repeat at all. Still, I think it was a smart move to prioritize my sanity.retro office // doonyaya.comMoving on, for the shelf insert I wanted to have a collection of vintage cameras. Because I like vintage cameras. No risk taken there.

screen printed pillows // doonyaya.comThen I decided to screen print these long retro pillows. I tried to line up the pattern to be continuous when the pillows are put together, but again I fell short because, obviously, the pattern is not continuous. Don’t get me wrong, I still like these pillows. A lot. In fact, I like them so much that I’m reproducing and selling them as part of my first “product line.” Yep, that’s right, after four years of planning my launch it’s actually happening–in two short weeks.

Anyhow, back to my flashy office…Finding a desk was a major challenge. Mostly because desks are big, imposing pieces of furniture that change the style of a room instantly. So I wanted something with understated personality. Like a party guest that’s polite and kind of quiet, speaking only when moved to add something intelligent and thoughtful to the conversation. Kind of like Scandinavian design: intelligent, practical, individual without a big ego. Plus mid-century and retro. Which equalled Alvar Aalto, the creative force behind bentwood furniture, like the stools at the Apple’s “genius bar” that he designed back in 1935. Anyhow, one night of obsessive eBay searches I found it: this Aalto desk with cool lucite nobs and signature bentwood legs. Score.

The cool orange swing light is from Brooklyn-based company onefortythree, who manufactures each light by hand. The trash “can” is a wire egg basket I painted black.

retro office // doonyaya.comretro office // doonyaya.comFor the vintage typewriter I again searched obsessively on eBay and found this awesome, working Underwood. The penholder is one of my pottery experiments and the stapler is from Schoolhouse Electric, which has great modern-with-a-retro-feel plus a selection of handmade things (hint hint to any product scouts from Schoolhouse Electric who just might be looking for hand screen-printed pillows, table linens, Cat Owls…)

On the other side of the room I have my bookshelf with the screen printed postcard I made from a vintage Reader’s Digest book cover. The quote “There’s Puddles on Every Trail” reminds me that taking a risk is actually not even a risk, because whichever direction I choose there will always be obstacles and challenges. So I guess that actually means that whatever choice I make will lead to problems…so maybe I shouldn’t do anything at all…or even leave the house cause it’s just going be bad…I guess I should stay inside and do nothing…why risk it?

Wow, my brain hurts. I’m choosing to ignore that line of thinking and go with this: when I try–and sometimes fail–at something new, even if it doesn’t work out the first time I’ve still gotten one step closer to a new possibility. And one step further from living a stale, sad, stagnant life.

And that alone is probably worth the risk.

retro office // doonyaya.com

disco dining room + hot pink

disco dining room // doonyaya.com

I say it about every room in my house, but I really mean it for the disco dining room: this is my very favorite room in the house. And it’s coolness is entirely due to Kathryn Whitman, my architect/design co-hort/friend. I would have absolutely ruined this room with my crazy ideas and bizarro objects I wanted to pack in here. As always, Kathryn helped me minimize the clutter to maximize the impact. She’s a better designer than I am, but I like to believe that I challenge her too, if only by exasperating her with wanting to paint everything hot pink or suggesting a wall of silver faux antlers and taxidermy. Oh, and “definitely needing” an enormous photograph of a pink flamingo. Perfect for a farmhouse, right?

disco dining room // doonyaya.comBut I think the compromise (or middle ground) is amazing and perfect. And I got the glam I wanted with the Tom Dixon light, aptly named Mirror Ball. I was originally going to re-hang a Nelson light that I packed away in my garage after moving from Maine, but a squirrel used it as a squat over the winter and stained it with leftover nut chips. So I tossed it. But it all worked out, because look at this amazing light I got instead.

disco dining room // doonyaya.comThen we came up with the idea to do a wall installation of vintage photographs. My original idea for a theme was “hunters and brides.” Don’t ask. Anyhow, Kathryn saved me again and came up with “funny human tricks.” So I set to work scouring the interwebs for vintage snapshots of people dancing with goats, human pyramids, neighborhood snake charmers, home contortionists and any variation of backyard circus tricks. The installation is a great conversation starter for anyone awkwardly not knowing what to talk about (usually myself). I just say, “check out this grandpa in a weird superhero costume that his wife made for him to do his side project of juggling weiner dogs.” That usually breaks the ice.

disco dining room // doonyaya.comdisco dining room // doonyaya.comdisco dining room // doonyaya.comAt some point it became clear that the room was going to be all about white – with pops of hot pink. Because hot pink makes me happy. So I was on the lookout for hot pink objects. I landed on these: 1. The hot pink Bertoia chair from Cast and Crew, an etsy shop that powder-coats and restores midcentury wire furniture. Then I screen-printed the hot pink geometric pattern for the seat pad.  2. I traded the hot pink painting of positive/negative trees (and mutant bunnies?) with my uber-talented friend Zoe Bissell of Formed+Found for a table I no longer used.  3. I made a stack of pillows from my screen prints, which of course have hot pink in them.

disco dining room // doonyaya.comdisco dining room // doonyaya.comdisco dining room // doonyaya.comAs for the rest of the room, the motto was “paint it white.” Thus, everything was painted white. And I thought it would feel sterile and not exciting enough for my drama-seeking soul. But I was wrong. Because the room is full of drama, but not in a way that will land me in jail or on Jerry Springer for spray-painting “hope he was worth it” on the stripper’s car that my boyfriend’s cousin I’m having an affair with is cheating on me with. It’s more like the drama of subtle textures that are more pronounced with a monochrome backdrop. Yep, that’s how I get my thrills these days.

disco dining room // doonyaya.comdisco dining room // doonyaya.comThen I decided to go with chrome Bertoia chairs for more bling. But let’s be real, midcentury wire chairs look great but sitting in them is torturous. I would tell the enemy every secret code and sleeper cell just to get out of one of those chairs. And the pads they come with are so…boring. I couldn’t resist covering them. I chose more of my geometric screen-prints on black and white nubby linen. It also gave me the idea to start a line of screen printed covers for mid-century wire furniture, like Knoll’s Diamond chair or Woodard’s Sculptura chair or Baxton Studio’s Avery chair…the list goes on. Because with all things retro that were once cutting edge, times have changed and designs have evolved. I want to be part of that evolution, bringing another idea into the mix and hopefully inspiring more ideas to follow. And of course those ideas should always include hot pink.

disco dining room // doonyaya.com

house tour: transformation of the “piano room”

doonyaya // piano room

Here’s what I call the “piano room.” Doesn’t that sound fancy? It has a special piano in it that was given to me by my step-ish mother, Leslie Parke, because I play piano. But I’ve never lived in a house big enough for it – until now.

Which is just one of the reasons that this is my favorite room. But this is also my favorite room because the transformation was so dramatic, like going from wearing stained sweats and oversized muscle-tees to Prada suits and Gucci heels. Here’s what I mean:

The original farmhouse was built in 1880, and was obviously beautiful. But over the past 135 years some questionable decisions were made – most of which had to be unmade.

For example, sometime during the Reagan Administration the owners decided to build a chimney and fireplace smack in the middle of the room. Chimneys and fireplaces are made out of heavy materials like bricks and mortar which make them difficult to move or destroy. So instead of fighting this massive architectural feature, I decided to work with it. Here’s what we (by “we” I mean the construction crew) did:

  • Removed the fireplace and drywall to expose the chimney
  • Coated the chimney with cement and painted it white
  • Installed the Scandinavian wood stove that was in my mother’s garage for 20 years (thanks mom)
  • Built the bookshelf/firewood hutch to divide the dining room from the “piano room”

You be the judge, but I’d say it’s an improvement.

doonyaya // piano room beforedoonyaya // piano roomAnother issue was the installation of a raised faux-wood laminate floor that covered the original real wood floor. Why keep historic, 110+ year old, beautifully aged, original wide-plank pine boards? Cover that s%*t up! So a new owner can spend a small fortune to uncover it. Which I did. And then realized that the installation of the raised faux-wood floor had destroyed the original wood floor beyond saving. So we had to put in a new wood floor on top of the once-beautiful, original wood floor. Throughout the entire house. Oy. That’s all I have to say about that.

This is a good time to show off some of the artwork, furniture and objects that make this room so awesome. Like the painting to the left of the bookshelf/firewood hutch that was made by my Mom (known to everyone else in the world as Constance Kheel). It’s actually an enormous pastel called “Susie Series #22,” after her friend Susie who saved me from an Italian trip gone wrong – but that is definitely another story. The piece helped determine the charcoal-gray accent color which, in case you want to reproduce the look, is a Benjamin Moore color, aptly named “gray.”

doonyaya // piano roomdoonyaya // piano roomThe incredible table/stool is by Kieran Kinsella, who gave me a studio tour of his inspiring space in Kingston. I coveted everything. I could afford nothing. I even tried pawning off some logs I have from an old tree behind my garage, but I think I was more desperate than he was. And then something miraculous happened: he ended up donating this stool to the O+ Festival auction, and guess who won? Obviously I did because it’s in my house and it’s too heavy to steal.

doonyaya // piano roomAww, isn’t Heathcliff adorable on his new Hans Wegner reproduction cat bed? I love love love this cat bed. My only complaint is that it came with a real, totally non-vegan sheepskin. I quickly tried to replace it with a vegan faux fur thingy, but it just looked like a cheap, flammable toupée. At least I tried.

Now let’s spin around and look at the other end of the room. This is where another big, expensive, questionable decision was made: expanding the house by eight feet. Here’s my complaint: why go through the trouble of expanding a house (which is a lot of trouble, by the way) only to add eight feet? And in order to add these eight feet you would have to remove the original exterior wall which, according to the construction pros, would “compromise” the structure of the house. That means the house could fall down. And make the floors above the removed wall bounce anytime someone heavier than a dwarf chihuahua walked on it. But hey, anything can be fixed – for a small fortune.

I’m over it. Really, I am.

doonyaya // piano room beforedoonyaya // piano roomYou can’t tell from the interior photos, but another problem with the new exterior wall was the weird spacing of the windows that didn’t line up with the windows above them. So we moved all the windows.

No biggie. Because the house also came with this cool tree that has money growing on it.

And I swear this is my last complaint about the eight-foot addition: the added entrance that was literally five feet from the original entrance. And a huge closet that was presumably for the unnecessary new entrance, and doubled as a wall to run into when you walked down the stairs too fast. Obviously, both the entrance and the bizarro closet had to go.

doonyaya // piano roomThis is where I need to give a huge shout out to Kathryn Whitman of Quatrefoil, who spent hours with me weighing and debating every possible scenario for this room. Once we nailed down the “chunky pottery,” “earthy without being hippie,” “Hans Wegner showcase,” “bohemian archeology,” “mad botanist/musician” theme, it all came together and we knew what to look for.

doonyaya // piano roomdoonyaya // piano roomdoonyaya // piano roomI had seen the cool folding rope chairs at a friends house and loved them. Guess who designed them? Yep, Hans Wegner, the master of “put some rope on it.”

Then we found this amazing rug by Nani Marquina.

And the copper “Scamp” table by Blu Dot.

Then I tried out a new design for the screen printed pillows, which look great on the rope chairs.

I threw in some of my favorite mid century, West German pottery.

And called it a day.

Or a “piano room.”

my studio makeover

doonyaya // studio

Welcome to the first half of my studio. This is my designing/sewing/prototyping/playing loud music half. The screen printing/playing loud music half is still on hold, due to an incredibly difficult permit process to instal a sink. But I’ll whine about that another time. Because how awesome is it that I have this half of my studio done?

It was designed by myself and Kathryn Whitman (my architect/designer/friend), then built by Mike Whitman (my contractor/dead animal remover of whatever my cat brings in/friend) and their Quatrefoil crew.

Having a studio is vital to my creative life — it’s where I can be my unedited self and create according to my own rules

The biggest consideration for my studio space was the layout because I don’t like tripping over things when I’m working. I also have different work stations with separate functions, which keeps my supplies lumped together in certain areas. My sewing station, for example, functions best on a long table to fit my machine, a cutting board, an ironing pad and enough room to spread out.

doonyaya // studioSo we decided to build (or actually I decided to have Quatrefoil build) said long table (12′ long) from two layers of plywood and some cool iron legs I found on etsy. The only other thing I can tell you about constructing this table is that at one point it had a lot of clamps on it, presumably to keep the two plywood layers set while the glue dried – at least that’s my guess.

doonyaya // studiostudio110As for my design table, I bought the IKEA Finnvard legs and had Quatrefoil build me another double layer plywood top. I also needed a gray square painted on it to save me from having to tape off my template each time. Very convenient.

doonyaya // studioI have to take a detour to tell you how much I love my thread holders. Because I love them so much. They’re made from plywood scraps with nails. They work really well because I can see exactly what I have and they also look rainbow cool with the thread on them.

doonyaya // studioI screen printed the quote card: “there’s puddles on every trail” as a reminder to my “self” that there are always challenges in life – so suck it up “self” and don’t get discouraged. If you haven’t gathered yet, I fight self-inflicted discouragement regularly. At least twice a week. And that’s why, at the risk of sounding self-helpy, I make a concerted effort to tell myself positive things and spend time with other optimistic people. Thankfully, I have wonderfully positive and optimistic friends. Thank you positive and optimistic friends.

Back to the big, life changing studio decisions. Like painting it blue. Just because I felt like it.

doonyaya // studiodoonyaya // studioBecause doing what I feel like is the best part of having a studio. It’s my own space where I can let it hang out and be messy, where things don’t need to make sense to anyone but myself.

My studio is where I have complete creative freedom, where the only rules to follow are my own

That’s why I have reminders of what that freedom and creativity looks like in my life and why it matters: being a happy, creative mom that takes leaps and fearlessly jumps like I did when I was five. And passing on that fearlessness and happiness to my son Lars (or at least not standing in the way of his happiness) is why I pursue a creative life. It makes me stronger, happier and more courageous.

And what’s more important than that?

So I wish all you creative souls out there a beautiful, creative space of your own … And hopefully it won’t take four years to get it.

doonyaya // studio

my new studio or how it’s taken 4 years to get here

doonyaya // new studio

I don’t want to gripe about how long it has taken to have my own studio space since moving from Maine.

Actually I do.

Because it has been an epically long time. Otherwise known as four years.

And a lot can happen in four years. Like an Egyptian revolution, five seasons of Downton Abbey, Detroit going broke, Jefferson County going broke, Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” happening, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber continuing to happen, Lady Gaga really happening, 98 school shootings happening (yes, I’m shocked by that number, too, but I counted them on wiki), Osama Bin Laden getting killed, the biggest earthquake and tsunami in Japan’s history, Lance Armstrong being stripped of his Tour de France wins for doping, Lars learning to talk, walk and ride a bike, my marriage ending . . .

. . . and my studio sitting in storage.

And here’s how that happened: When Gerald and I moved to Maine in 2007, I didn’t know what to do when I grew up besides make things – which is a pretty broad spectrum since there are a lot of things to make. So I doodled in our living space, not taking anything I made too seriously.

Having a studio helps make me take my work — and myself — more seriously because what I do is more than a hobby: it’s my passion

Until I took a screen printing class – the skies opened up, seas parted, angels sang.

Or at least I knew I wanted to screen print more.

But screen printing requires big equipment and a water source, neither of which I had. Most landlords frown upon their tenants re-purposing the bathtub for artistic endeavors, and screen printing equipment is too big to get up a residential staircase. So I used a local studio where the skaters and stoners printed.

Until we decided to adopt baby Lars and buy a home with a basement and a garage. Yes!

I converted the basement into my screen printing studio and took over the garage for my designing and sewing (because who needs a garage for their car in Maine? It’s not like it snows a lot there).

And then Gerald decided he wanted to move back to New York.

So in June of 2011 I sold the house, packed up my studio, put my cat Suki and baby Lars in the car and moved to Hudson.

And that’s where my studio has stayed – in a storage unit in Hudson – besides a short stint at a studio space in a brick factory/mill that had an (apparently) un-repairable leaking roof, which resulted in my stuff going back into storage.

Then in June of 2012 I bought a farmhouse and started renovating. Three years later the house is finished and they have been able to start on my garage/studio. “They” being the amazingly talented duo Kathryn and Mike Whitman of Quatrefoil, who designed and built my home and have taken me out for nachos when I needed to vent about my divorce and other luxury problems.

Anyhow, the downstairs of the garage is where I will be screen printing – once I get a sink installed. And that is another epic and fairly boring story. The only important thing is that it has taken nine months (and counting) and mountains of paperwork to get a permit to put in the water line. Rumor has it the town I moved to is the seventh most difficult place in the country to get permit approval. But I’m not complaining.

Actually, I guess I am. I mean, come on. It’s just a friggin sink.

There, I’m done complaining.

So, until my sink is installed, I will continue to print at the Womens Studio Workshop, which has actually worked out really well because I get to hang out with an awesome group of talented ladies.

And the upstairs of my studio space is now finished. And it looks amazing. And I love working there. Because I can play music as loud as I want, which is super important because it helps drown out all my negative mental chatter when I’m working. I also have natural light, tons of space, a view of grass, trees and the two bunnies that camp outside the studio…pretty great.

And the best part: everything is out of storage.

“just for fun” triangle project

doonyaya -- painting triangle doors13

I recently told a friend that I wanted to paint a triangle pattern on the cabinet doors in my living room. Because they were big and blank and white, which says to me: put a triangle on it.

He said, “oh…just for fun?”

And that made me pause. For a solid week.

Because sucking up hours of precious studio time on a “fun” DIY home project didn’t sound fun at all. I knew it would be difficult and frustrating and time-consuming. And ultimately it was going to be a big risk, because the final product might end up looking really bad, which would mean I’d have to paint the doors white all over again. And that would make me feel like a complete failure every time I sat on my couch and looked at all that big mocking whiteness.

So really, what choice did I have? I had to do it.

doonyaya // painting triangle doors

doonyaya // painting triangles25Once I started taping off the triangles, I knew my instincts were right: this was not going to be fun. Just check out the grumpy look on my face. And don’t say that I’m smiling on the inside, because I’m not. My insides are just as grumpy as my outsides.

In fact, my first attempt was a complete disaster. The black paint was a cheap Benjamin Moore latex that bled under the tape because it was too thin and had some kind of blue tinted stain in it that smudged everywhere. It was a total mess.

doonyaya // painting trianglesThings turned around when I tried an expensive paint by Fine Paints of Europe. This paint changed my life. Well, it at least changed my urge to hurl the paint at the wall and decimate the cabinet doors with a sledge hammer. The paint was a perfect consistency and left sharp, clean lines when I pulled up the tape. Totally worth the $50 per quart (yep, you read that price right).

For the first door I taped and painted each triangle separately and randomly, just going with what intuitively looked right. It took a gazillion hours and million feet of tape (only a slight exaggeration).

For the second door I wised up and taped every other row of triangles. This added some order to the madness and also used less tape. But on the downside, I couldn’t see the overall image as well, so I had very little idea how it would look once the tape was removed. It was a drum-roll kind of reveal.

doonyaya // painted triangle wallBefore I leave you to attempt this kind of obsessive, jab-your-eyes-out, intensely frustrating DIY project of your own, I have one other piece of advice: ABANDON THE PLAN.

Because it will trip you up and get you stuck.

I had started with the plan: lots of grey, white and black triangles in a geometric pattern that I had drawn on graph-paper – all the triangles exactly where I wanted them.

But the amount of time I spent trying to get the painted image to line up with the drawn image – counting little graph-paper squares and then measuring exactly where the triangles were supposed to be painted according to the little graph-paper squares – can never be returned to me. Hours forever lost.

doonyaya // painting trianglesBut when I followed my instincts and put triangles where I felt like they should go, everything fell into place and the pattern emerged on its own.

And I think the pattern is even better than the original plan. Doesn’t it look great?

I would even venture to say there were moments when it was almost fun.

Like when it was finished.

That was fun.

house tour: the living room

living room // doonyaya.com

Welcome to my living room, the final frontier of my 1880’s farmhouse renovation – an epic three year journey of demolition, construction and re-construction, involving a squirrel-infested wall, a few jackhammers and a turn-of-the-century fire in the kitchen requiring the complete removal of that end of the house – but I won’t get into that right now.

Because I want to give a very loud shout-out to all the people that helped me create this beautiful space and share how I got from a gallery-sterile white room to the uber-abundance of coolness it is now. Because this is not the work of myself alone. Not by a long shot.

I want to love everything in my home because it’s what I live with everyday

I need to start by outing myself: I am not an interior designer by any stretch of the imagination. I design and print patterns for pillows (like the black and white dash pillow and gray geometric pillow on the couch) which is a very different skill-set than conceptualizing the look of a home. What I have on my side is an opinionated idea of what is cool and what is ugly. Which is why I came up with my own design principles for creating my dream home:

  1. Everything in my home has to be something that I love – because life is too short to be surrounded by ugly.
  2. I must strive to fill my home with objects that have associations with people that I like/love, respect or who inspire me.
  3. Every room must have at least one item that I have made or designed as a reminder that I, too, am fueled by creativity.

doonyaya // screen-printed pillowSimple, right?

Wrong.

Because there is a major flaw in my design theory: just because I like everything in my home doesn’t mean it will look good when it’s all put together. In fact, it’s just as likely that it will wind up looking all hodgepodge and ugly. Because it’s one thing to have cool furniture, but quite another to make a beautiful home.

The truth is I needed help. So here is who helped me and how it all went down.

By mere chance and miraculous luck I ended up with Kathryn Whitman as my architect, design consultant and now friend. I like to believe that our work together was a collaboration, that the finished design was a meeting of our combined creative minds, although truthfully most of the time Kathryn came up with a brilliant design idea while simultaneously having to reel me in from some crazy idea. Like how I wanted a collection of antique metal dentures above my bed, or a display of vintage photographs of hunters (or dead animals) for the dining room. They seemed like good ideas at the time, or about as good as getting a tattoo across my chest of an ex’s name written in cursive with a heart as the dot over the “i.” Kathryn saved me from those kinds of regrets.

doonyaya // living room design doonyaya // butterfly painting by Leslie Parke

Having something that I made in my home reminds me that I am fueled by creativity

We started the living room design with the gorgeous butterfly painting by my step(ish)-mother Leslie Parke. Leslie helped raise me when she moved in with my self-proclaimed “crazy German Dad” when I was five, and she was there when we didn’t have enough money for heat so the water in our toilet-bowl froze – an interesting problem that I like to be reminded of in the warm comfort of my current home since, as of yet, no toilet-bowls have frozen.

Anyhow, as the room’s centerpiece, every design decision followed the question “does it go with the painting?” And this led to ideas about grids, science, collections and maybe more bright orange.

Through a series of conversations (a euphemism for me suggesting something like bright green walls and Kathryn gently saying “I don’t think so…”) we landed on bringing in a gritty urban feeling to the room. Thus the vintage gray rug and the grainy tile wallpaper made by English designer Deborah Bowness.

And then something miraculous happened: my mother offered up her George Nelson couch that she “didn’t really need.” It had been gifted to my grandfather in the ’70s, and had been barely used since – except for the few times my mother claims she slept on it, which was followed by an awkward silence because I don’t like imagining my mother crashing on couches or knowing the circumstances surrounding said couch crashing…

Anyhow, as any good daughter would, I selflessly offered to take the couch off her hands.

doonyaya // screen-printed pillowBut we now had mid-century chrome and leather to contend with. So I brought in my friend and designer Joseph Foglia for a second opinion on how to bring the mid-century furniture together. Because what goes with a mid-century leather and chrome couch besides more mid-century leather and chrome? And then it would feel like some mid-century den of chromie-ness and leatheriness. Which was not what I was after. At. All. My feeble vegan heart would break into a thousand pieces with all that leather.

So Joseph geared me towards adding wood chairs to counteract the coldness of the gray, leather and chrome – ever reminding me of the valuable design lesson that “armchairs should have arms.”

With this in mind, I followed up by sending Joseph and Kathryn obsessive chair lists, compiled during insomniac hours when I was convinced my life could not continue until I found the perfect chair. And finally, after an accumulative week of lost sleep, I found the mid-century remakes of Ib Kofod-Larsen on etsy and we all agreed I should pull the trigger.

Then Joseph generously traded me his Barcelona coffee table, which was a perfect match for the Nelson couch, without going overboard on the chrome. Plus, the glass top didn’t cover up the amazing rug design.

Vwala.

The room was starting to look pretty darn cool with just a few minor gaps to fill in.

doonyaya // farmhouse living roomWhich was when I decided to make something of my own (see principle #3), which ended up being a hand-painted, monochromatic triangle design on the tall cabinet doors. It only took me two days and five thousand feet of tape to finish the obsessive triangle project, but I’m pretty proud of how it came out.

Because nothing beats having something made by my own hands for my own home.

Absolutely nothing.

Except unfrozen toilet-bowl water.

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