Category Archives: Home Styling

What A Difference Some Paint Makes

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When you have a wall that looks like this in the backyard of your home, it’s pretty cool for all of maybe 5 minutes. Then when you live with it for a year and realize that your Brooklyn backyard graffiti probably contributed to why you got a good deal on the apartment. It was great for a fashion shoot I hosted and styled (above), but right after I decided it needed a makeover.

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I debated for the past year whether to paint another mural over it, but my trip to New Orleans really inspired me, as well the walls of the East Village restaurant, Edie & The Wolf (above). I wanted a weathered oasis that seemed as though it naturally faded over time.

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What a difference some paint makes, right?

Here’s how I did it:

- 1 coat of Benjamin Moore outdoor primer paint

-2 coats of Benjamin Moore in Vintage Vogue with thick rollers and extenders

-2 light coats of the two paints mixed with a textured roller in all different directions. Focus more in the areas that would get weathered the most.

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Voila!

I also painted the back wall with chalkboard paint for a different look to pull in the black of our dining set.

Stay tuned for more of my home improvements as the journey of being a new homeowner continues…


6 Ways How To Host A Party In Style

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dress: Parker New York for Barney’s // tights: American Apparel // booties: Seychelles (similar online) // belt: c/o Nona E. Rose // necklaces: etc… and c/o Gorjana Griffin

This past weekend, a friend told me that I’m going to be “The next Martha Stewart…but with an edge.” I’ll take that, especially as I love to host a good gathering like Martha.

The hubby and I hosted a post-holiday party for a few close friends that has become a tradition, as the holiday season can be a tricky time to make plans with friends. We celebrate everything from Christmas to Chanukah and even the Chinese New Year with a menu that reflects all of that, but centered around our favorite traditional Chanukah fare, Latkes.

Just when the holidays may have gotten the best of you, there are more celebrations to be had. Whether you’re hosting a New Years Eve soiree, a birthday celebration, or even a post-holiday party, you too can be a Martha with my go-to tricks for being the “hostess with the mostest.”

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1. Create a menu and post it somewhere for your guests.

It’s helpful for your guests to clearly write out all of the menu items somewhere, so they can leave room for items coming out as they are ready. Additionally, you can use it as your own checklist. You can also leave out labels for each item on the table as well, in case you have any guests with allergies or dietary restrictions.

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2. Create a signature cocktail or two and make sure there are non-alcoholic refreshments available too.

Your guests will appreciate that they aren’t standing at the bar area dumbfounded on what to make.

Some sort of punch or sangria is perfect for guests because you can make quite a bit of it ahead of time. Make sure if your recipe calls for club soda, to add it right before guests arrive so it doesn’t go flat. I tend to make these cocktails slightly weaker, so party-goers don’t feel so guilty when they tend to drink it like juice.

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If you decide to make a signature drink that cannot be made beforehand, then leave out instructions for your guests, so in case you’re busy greeting someone, they can handle it themselves.

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3. Set up all of the dishes and plates for your hors d’oeuvres and bites prior to serving

It’s helpful to lay everything out prior, so you’re not scrambling while guests arrive. We even try to make as much as possible the night before so we can reserve last minute touches for the day of.

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4. Get a head count of your guests and make enough food for a third more.

While you may have politely asked for RSVP’s on your invite, there will always be those that bring a friend without mentioning it or those that come pretty hungry. It’s always best to prepare more and have leftovers for yourself and guests to go home with. Nothing makes people want to leave a party more than one that has run out of food and drinks.

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5. Create an activity for your guests.

Whether it’s a parlor game like the ever popular Cards Against Humanity, or another group activity, it’s great to have an ice breaker or something that guests can participate in. I leave out some games like Jenga or Apples To Apples for people to play with just in case the party starts to get quiet.

It’s become a tradition for this post-holiday party to do a “bad gift exchange,” where friends can bring a gift they received over the holidays that they weren’t a fan of (like the moldy farmer’s market turnip my mother-in-law gave us…just kidding) and trade it in for someone else’s wrapped gift under the tree before they leave. The subjectively “bad” gifts this year included a kitten calendar, a heart shaped candle, a tinsel scarf, texting gloves, and the one I received and am actually excited about, paper and binder clips. It made for some great laughs and actually made guests leaving early much less awkward for them.

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6. Make an easy and unique appetizer that your guests will demand at every party

The most memorable parties are the ones with the food that you continue to talk about. My agent once made this cream cheese wasabi spread at a party and I begged her for the recipe because it was such a hit. Turns out it was ridiculously simple to assemble and now my friends are demanding it for all of my gatherings and even to bring to their own.

Here’s how to make the Cream Cheese Wasabi Spread Served With Rice Crackers.

ingredients:

1 block of regular cream cheese (low fat is difficult to work with!)
wasabi paste
soy sauce
sesame seeds
rice crackers for serving

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Cut the cream cheese in half lengthwise.

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Spread on a thin layer of wasabi paste.

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Drizzle with soy sauce.

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Place the other half on top and repeat the last two steps. Then sprinkle a layer of sesame seeds on top. Serve with a spreading knife and pair it with rice crackers.

Of course the best way to host a party in style is by making sure everyone is having a good time, introducing friends to each other and making sure that even you are enjoying yourself.

Have a happy, healthy and *stylish* New Years. See you in 2014!


A Closet Fit For A Stylist

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“You need a wall of shoes.”

That was the first thing my friend Jason, the owner the NYC bar, The Wayland, when he saw the sad looking closet area in our new Brooklyn apartment. Jason designed his award-winning bar (DailyCandy even declared it the best bar in the country for 2013) from reclaimed materials, such as flooring from a school gym that was torn down a few blocks away and even a wine casket that creates the perfect sculptural rest for bar snacks. When he said he would help design my closet, I was all ears.

I knew that the reach-in closet in our garden-level bedroom wouldn’t be enough room for this stylist’s wardrobe, so I originally had a popular closet company come in to design and estimate for a walk-in closet to be created around this space. When I found out that they wanted to charge me $1500 to put up shelves and that didn’t even include the wall, door, moving the lights, etc., I gave those blueprints to Jason and we came up with a game plan—and of course, scrapped all of their plans. Here’s what we came up with:

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This is the same wall as the pre-existing reach-in closet, but we decided to raise the bar (literally and figuratively) and include a second bar for my pants to get more out of the space.

Jason came up with the idea of partitioning the left-hand side for my longer items like dresses and gowns.

To the right you can see there’s shelving we created for my sweaters, hats and even a cubbie for my sunglasses.

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The plan is to share this closet with the hubby, but of course it was devised more with my needs in mind (oops), as he tends to shove his daily wardrobe into drawers and shelves. We created a long bar for his nicer clothing to hang and one big shelf for him to throw his pants on at the end of the day, which is right above this nook that we customized for our hamper unit to tuck into. Brilliant, right?

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It wouldn’t be a stylist’s closet without a wall for shoes. Jason told his contractor to create different sizes based on my shoe heights and they actually measured my shoes to fit! What they didn’t account for where the ridiculous amount of handbags I own, so I had them stop adding shelves to fit them.

Somehow the hubby’s wardrobe is going to fit in here (to the left), but no one will be looking at that when there’s a wall of shoes!

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Insta-Redecorating

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I’m a little embarrassed by this picture above, to be honest. I’ve lived in my Brooklyn condo for 9 months now and have spent all of my time and money (hence some of my last fall wardrobe that you may be sick of already) updating each room. Still, I haven’t gotten around to redecorating my bedroom, which remains pretty much in the same state as when I moved in.

This room is a hodgepodge of hand-me-downs like the antique chair that was my grandmother’s, as well as the antique rug and dresser passed down from my mother-in-law. I recently updated the large dresser with a coat of paint and some knobs from Anthropologie, which are always my solution to perk up furniture.

I’m still saving up for the perfect headboard/bedframe, lamps and night stands, not to mention, my much-needed walk-in-closet addition. As you can see, I haven’t even hung much on my walls because I’m not ready to commit to anything until I have a plan of action. I’ve been so focused on the rooms that my visitors see and don’t know where to start on this one!

That’s where Remodo came in.

I was a little bit hesitant at first to have someone else style for me, but I was curious to see other ideas. I did warn my personal designer that I wanted a more adult room than most of their customers, who are often tweens, teens and college students. She listened to that and everything else I requested, including that I didn’t want to re-paint the walls.

Here’s what she came up with:

 

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Not bad! If only I could replace my tiled floor with that wood!

There were a few items that she hit the nail on the head, like the headboard, which is exactly what I’ve been wanting.

She also opened my eyes to some ideas that I haven’t even thought of like black and white photos over my bed with a Brooklyn theme. It’s very elegant and also very me. A chaise lounge, especially in a chevron pattern, is also a brilliant idea that would be a nice addition for those who spill over from my backyard get-togethers (yes, the door to my yard is oddly in my bedroom).

I’m not sure if the rug is something I’d want in my bedroom–I tend to opt for cooler colors, as they are soothing. Though, I think modern rug would freshen up all of the antiques.

You can try Remodo yourself with these 3 ways:
1. Work With A Designer (fill out a questionnaire and someone will get back to you within a day or two)
2. Be Your Own Designer (design your own room with their library of items)
3. Shop Remodo’s Online Store (shop for what you like. duh.)

Now you can try it for yourself and get 25% off on both the designer package (WWAD2013) and on all Remodo products (Shop10).

Post your room makeover on Twitter and let both Remodo (@myremodo) and myself (@dear_andi) know what you’ve designed!

How To Cover An Eye-Sore In Your Home

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art by Randy Howard

When we found our condo in Brooklyn, there were certain elements that nearly turned me off—and I’m sure other potential buyers as well—one of which being these eye-sore of air conditioner units being the focal point of two rooms. While I can’t complain that we have a/c during summers in the city (#firstworldproblems?), I didn’t love that was the first thing I noticed when I walked into the room.

My solution was to hang a great piece of art over it when it’s not in use, but how in the world do you hang something that is that far away from the wall?

Fortunately I have a retired aerospace engineer as a father, and he came up with using curtain rod hooks to rest the canvas on. Brilliant.

Now you know the secret in this stylist’s home!
STYLIST TIP: Don’t have a large canvas of beautiful art hanging around? Purchase a blank one at the art / craft store and create your own art! Even a wash of one or two colors can be an interesting conversation piece (hello, Rothko). You can also paint the canvas one color, then cut up vegetables and have your kids stamp them into another color paint onto the canvas for a personal piece.

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