Bit by the Design Bug

I spent a lot of today watching Sarah’s House on HGTV.com and reading through the archives of The Brass Petal. This was probably preceded at some point by a visit to Design*Sponge (especially the Living In category…swoon) and/or The City Sage. This was probably followed by lamentations on how I cannot afford a Pendleton blanket/crystal chandelier/vintage wingback chair.

But! Design is not dependent on money. That is one of the greatest things about it–if you have an eye and some moxie, it doesn’t matter if you have Jonathan Adler on call to make you some lamps, or if you have the latest version of Photoshop on your computer. As long as you keep in mind the limits of your budget and materials (stretching them is good; pointing them out is not), creativity can flourish. It usually does in tough situations more than easy ones.

I’ve moved since the last design post I made, and my new place is has a lot more style. It was built in the 1930s, instead of the ’80s, and has rockin’ hardwood floors, plaster walls and some cool built-ins instead of creepy industrial carpet and cinderblock walls. So the itch to design isn’t as urgent, but at the same time, I know if I put some effort into my place, it will look really, really neat. The only problem here, of course, is budget. And the fact that I am renting and therefore cannot paint (my sooooul, it perishes).

However, I’m in luck. Emily at Brass Petal posted a link to some awesome-tacular wall ideas at Shop Ruche. Like making flowers out of paper (been there, done that), using books as wallpaper (sacrilege!), or–the best–using fabric as wallpaper. With cornstarch paste, so easy cleanup and no wall damage. HOW COOL IS THAT. Now I am determined to find some ridiculous amazing fabric (or even vintage sheets) to brighten up my place.

I’m obsessed with the idea of plastering this amazing pattern on the walls of my kitchen, but at $9 per yard, I doubt that’ll happen. Bargain bin, plzkthx?

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Chaussures de Victoire

When the weather gets hot, I usually take a break from fashion. The last thing I want to be when I’m melting and sweat is sticky on my skin is particular about how I look. A sundress and some cute sandals are fine, with minimal makeup. Maybe a hat or some earrings when I’m feeling fancy.

But every year around this time, I start itching for fall. Even though the thought of wearing a sweater makes my skin crawl, I find myself yearning for crisp autumn air, for my lovely winter coats and sturdy shoes, for the excitement of new school clothes. So I start planning. Since 2007, I’ve been rather enamoured with the idea for a wardrobe based on a hip version of Minerva McGonagall. Kind of tweedy-professor-meets-Daphne-Guiness. For the last couple summers I’ve gotten really excited about it, thinking about how to make the Staid British Professor into someone young and fun. I’ve always loved tweeds and jackets and boots, but I also love bright colors and weird jewelry and architectural detailing. And I always thing “THIS YEAR! This will be the year I will actually carry it out!” It never is. I have enough cold-weather clothes to last me a long time; I don’t (and can’t) buy more. I have to work with what I have, which is a lot of all-American knitwear left over from my undergrad years. I’ve been slowly but surely moving in a more fulfilling direction, but it’s going to take a while.

Except I’ve just gotten a jump start. A few months ago, I walked past this delicious pair of Oxford brogues in the window of a little shoe shop on 23rd. They were laceless and kind of nude colored, and I thought they were the prettiest brogues I had ever seen (and trust me, I’ve been looking). This weekend, I was up on 23rd again with my friend Ch., and I spotted them again–I thought they would be long gone by now–so tried them on. They fit perfectly, and are truly some of the best shoes I’ve ever put on my feet (the brand is Pour la Victoire). They’re also quite expensive.

But I put them on hold anyway and inquired about a layaway plan. Then I went home and researched a little. And I found them for $50 less than I would pay in the store, $95 less than the retail price. So I evaluated my finances, steeled myself, and bought them online. Sorry, little shop. I’m getting new shoes this week!

Editorial: Seabreeze

Because I could really use one, a sea breeze. And Meg is bugging me to start posting here again. And it’s too hot to sleep. ¶ I love a little fashion escapism, but sometimes I just need concrete examples of what’s good to wear. Mila Jovovich wears clothes well, so she’s a perfect choice for this kind of editorial. ¶ Now I find myself wishing the beach were closer!

UK Vogue
April 2007
Photographer: Carter Smith
Model: Mila Jovovich