Saturday, October 31, 2009

Black Magic

Everyone seems to consider black walls just a trend but by the looks of these chic noir interiors, I'd say they are on the way to becoming a classic design hue. I am especially loving the black magic look of the dark kitchens and libraries. It's clear that black isn't just for Halloween anymore! Enjoy!

Barclay Fryery

Jason Miller as seen in The New York Times

Barclay Fryery

House Beautiful

Miles Redd

Aerin Lauder in Elle Decor

Aerin Lauder from House & Garden

Aerin Lauder from Elle Decor

Aerin Lauder from Elle Decor

Mark Badgley and James Mischka in Elle Decor

JK Place Hotel, Florence

Ryan Korban

Mark Badgley and James Mischka in Elle Decor

Via Style Court

Windsor Smith in House Beautiful

Windsor Smith in House Beautiful

Barclay Fryery

Jenna Lyons in Domino

House Beautiful

House Beautiful

Gilles Mendel

Gwyneth Paltrow, House & Garden

Renea Abbott

Metropolitan Home

Robert Duffy in Elle Decor

Ruthie Sommers

Top Image: Nancy Boszhardt from House Beautiful

Invest in Your Nest with Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams

This week marks the release of Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams' new book Comfortable Home How to Invest in your Nest and Live Well for Less. A timely book that is sure to add value to your home and decor with photos and step by step instructions to help you enhance your home.

Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams believe that, in any economy, your home is an incredibly smart investment. Its value goes well beyond what current real estate prices may say. A beautiful, serene, and organized house truly has the power to change your life. And investments can be made on any budget. The table of contents give you a good peek into what looks like an interesting mix of styles applicable to many different decors. Throughout the book, fabulous original photography provides stimulating tours of real homes, including Mitchell and Bob’s New York City apartment, a country cottage, a revitalized ranch, and a Federal-style home in the city.
Using Mitchell and Bob’s great ideas for working with color, you'll learn the art of furnishing small spaces, creating room to-room flow, and more. The book gives step by step instructions - wonderfully staged so anyone achieve their classic looks.
Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams were kind enough to provide a copy of their new book to Willow Decor for a giveaway. If you are interested in winning this fabulous new design book just leave a comment. As always, followers and subscribers of Willow Decor are automatically entered. Special thanks to Mindy Drucker co writer of the book!
You can purchase the Comfortable Home How to Invest in your Nest and Live Well for Less here and learn more about Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams here. Winner will be announced Friday, November 6th.
Happy Halloween!!!
xx- Gina
(BTW, Willow Decor is just a fan of Mitchell Gold, their products and design philosophy.
No services or compensation have been received in exchange for this post.)

Friday, October 30, 2009


So what is everyone dressing up as this Halloween? I always thought this would be a cute costume but I could never find masks that looked exactly the same. Oh well, maybe next year! Happy Halloween!


I've been toying around with this post for quite some time now. I have held off because it shows a side of me I'm not so proud of. I decided to write it today because especially lately, more than usual, I've seen comments and posts here and there from bloggers about their home not measuring up...not being as beautiful as the next...not as perfect.

This big bloggy world is one that has brought much joy to my life. Much creativity. I have loved "meeting" all of you because of blogging.

But there are times when I click through some blogs and am not proud of my reaction. First, it's awe and glee from a great reveal or project.

Then, maybe a bit of wishing.

Then, do I dare say it...

Resentment? Jealousy?

I'm not proud of that. Not one bit, but it's the truth.

Let me be clear here -- I big fat LOVE our home. I would not trade it for any other. Because it is truly where our heart is. I have put my blood, sweat and tears into this house. We have raised out kids here and have created so many wonderful traditions and memories.

I cannot stress enough how much I adore it.

So maybe it's not the homes I see that give me the tinges of jealousy. Maybe it's the time some have to dedicate to their homes. Maybe it's the money some can spend on their homes. Maybe it's the way they describe their lives that seem so...perfect?

Maybe you have felt that way about this blog at times? I know it's possible and probably true, but I hope it's a fleeting feeling.

Our home is not perfect. Our life is not perfect. And a couple weeks ago, I got a big (soft) slap upside the head from God when I found out something about a blogger I visit every so often. It's a little known fact about this person, and let's just say I felt like a big fat ARSE after finding out the information. ;)

It was a message in flashing red lights that no one's life is "perfect." It may appear to be, but it never is.

And really, who wants perfect? Seriously, perfect is BOR-RING. Just like a house, it's so much more interesting with imperfections...the squeak on the floor that drives you crazy every time you step on that spot. The crack in the wall no one sees but you (but it still drives you mad). The dings in the drywall and baseboards from kids living in a home. All of us have squeaks and cracks and dings in our lives that make them not perfect.

I will spare you the details of my life, but because of my experiences, HOME means so much more to me than a building or a place for stuff. Most of my childhood was filled with wonderful memories and traditions. I never noticed the dings in the drywall, the creaks in the floors. (And your kids won't either.)

Then in high school, a series of events occurred that changed my outlook on life. I didn't have a home for quite some time. I lived with my best friend and her family for a summer. When it was time to go back to college, my dorm room was my only home. And that Thanksgiving was spent in an old, gross motel room, just my Mom and me.

It was one of the lowest days of my life.

At that time, Sarah McLachlan's song "Elsewhere" brought me comfort. I listened to it constantly. Part of the chorus from that song that still sticks with me:

I believe this is heaven to no one else but me.
And I'll defend it as long as I can be...

That song still makes me cry. ;) I am thankful for every moment of my life, because it's brought me where I am today.

It's not about the stuff or the house being perfect. It's about it being a home, in the emotional sense. Because of my past, a place to put down roots and to create memories for our kids means so much to me. So if you ever take anything away from this blog, it's that your home should be YOUR haven. I don't care what it looks like. I don't care if it's your dream home. Make it your dream home with what you have.

Even if that is just baking cookies, carving a pumpkin and playing with your kids on this Halloween weekend. Remember even those that feel they have very little are envied by someone. Be proud and love what you have and make it what you love and are proud of, in whatever way you can.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend with your family. Thanks for listening to my deep thoughts today. :)

One for the coop

Susan, a mother and chicken owner from Northern Ireland, uses the Ikea Antonius range as a new bug-free chicken nest box and storage unit. The drawers were cut with a sharp knife to create the nest boxes. Chickens love their new home!

See more of Susan's chicken nest box instructions and more photos on Flickr.

Related hack:
- Ikea home for chicks

Built-in Besta entertainment center

George is quite the hacker and has started his own blog documenting his personal Ikea hacks.

"I've done two kitchen remodels over the past few years where I hacked/modified Ikea cabinets, however I never documented the hacks. Anyway, I just posted an entertainment center build where I hacked a couple Ikea Besta products.

The point of the Besta hack is to raise the speakers, hide the components and cables. There is also a neat sliding shelf for the receiver.

built-in besta entertainment centrebuilt-in besta entertainment centrebesta entertainment centre

Hop over for a looksee.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

(Almost) free Halloween decor

I'm so stinking excited you all love my redo as much as I do!! It's GORG, eh? It just feels like "home" to me, like it always should have looked this way. ;)

It hit me this week that, uhhhhh, Halloween is like, in two days and I hadn't shown you more of my decor. Maybe you can file some ideas away for next year, yes?

Most of my Halloween decor -- well ALL of my Halloween decor -- was made by moi or purchased on the cheap. I showed you my free spooky mantel here, my ghouly candleholders here and my Halloween crafting here. All were super cheap or faaaareeee!

Here's more of the other el cheapo decorations I promise every one of you can do!

A glittery word from Hob Lob, cut off the ribbon and attach it to scrapbook paper in an old frame:
The gumball machine was $4 at Goodwill and I couldn't. resist. it. I tried, I did. It's perfect for peanut M&M's. Makes it a bit harder to get to them, which is a good thing. ;)

These labels are free online (if you search Halloween labels you should find some) -- I did these last year with Goodwill bottles so I can't remember where I found them:
This year I got a few more little jars for $.25 each at GW, and printed off itty bitty labels I found here. (You have to see all of the ideas Lorie finds -- amazing!! I couldn't find the actual post for these -- do you know where it is Lorie?)
Years ago I found images online, printed them out and cut out the shapes in stiff felt. They've lasted for a long time and I love how they look on our windows:

When you take three cardboard letters that spell out BOO and half off scrapbook paper, this is what you get:
Four bucks total, I believe? I think the paper cost more than the pumpkin for this one:
Outside, I used spidey web lights I found at the drug store last year on clearance (drug stores have some fun stuff for CHEAP after the holidays.) I think these cost me two bucks:
And of course my dollar store tombstones are all over the front yard! I touched them up with white paint and they look awesome:
This one was probably the most expensive project -- I found these vinyl stickers at HomeGoods a few weeks ago and got Spooky and Scary for $6:
I took some scrap wood, spray painted it, distressed it and drilled holes for the ribbon to hang it:

Adorable. Cheap. Thankyouverymuch. ("Scary" is vertical and leans against a wall in our foyer.)
Fun stuff eh??

Please don't let all of this fool you. I have a secret...

I am sooooo cheating...
I couldn't resist, really. Could you? (Don't tell me if you could.)

Another Before and After Party is coming up this Monday!! (I'll have the post up Sunday night!) You just need a before picture and the after to join us. Wooeee, I love a party!!

I'll also share my first Christmas project next week -- I've mentioned it before but you'll need some time to prepare for this one. ;)