Saturday, July 25, 2009

Re-Design for a Good Cause

My dear friend Gloria Blalock of Blalock Interiors LLC and I donated our services to an event for a charity benefiting  A-SPAN (Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network). A-SPAN is a wonderful charity that is dedicated to supporting people who are homeless, living in the streets or facing homelessness in the Arlington, Virginia area by providing supportive services that include Outreach, Employment Counseling, Case Management, Permanent Supportive Housing, Opportunity Place and The Homeless Bagged Meal Program.

The winning bidder would receive:
Gloria Blalock of Blalock Interiors and Laura Jens of Interior View, two fabulous designers are teaming up to offer a Re-Design of a room.  They will come to your residence for 2-3 hours where they will be selecting, arranging existing furnishings, artwork and accessories to recreate a living space to enhance the style and functionality of your space. In addition, they’ll provide color consultation and make a list of recommended items for purchase if needed. 

We arrived and met Mr. & Mrs. J. the most wonderful warm loving couple and their three young beautiful adopted children.  After sitting down to ask the family how they live, we then surveyed the room(s) and agreed to re-design their living room and dining area where most of their activities take place.  This is where the children do their homework, the family sits together to watch movies (& oodles of them :)), have sleep over parties and play together.

We realized we certainly had our work cut out for us…..and it was time to get busy. :)

ASPAN Johnson_-5The room as when we arrived…...

The process: 
To create functioning but yet cozy sitting groups, create an organized area for homework, and accessorize the many trinkets that have been collected over the years in a unified manner.

BeforeASPAN Johnson_After ASPAN Johnson_-21

The lovely (extremely heavy) piano was moved under the window to take center stage, wall units were separated and moved to the opposite side near the entry, the main seating pieces pulled in and centered with the fireplace (focal point), and the TV pulled in and angled closer for better viewing. *Phew* I’m tired again just thinking about it all :) ASPAN Johnson_-16After: from the other end

Before (all items had to be removed prior to the furniture being moved)  ASPAN Johnson_-6

 ASPAN Johnson_-19After:
In the Dining Area, art re-arranged, the bookcase was removed, the hutch and buffet were switched and the small bookcase placed under the window to store kids supplies and homework. All of this helped to open up the space and created a place that works well to share a yummy home cooked meal…….after everyone’s homework is completed that is :)



A few items that were removed from a couple pieces of furniture.

ASPAN Johnson_-8



There was lots & lots & lots of stuff that was removed from cabinets and shelves, oodles to clean, sort, and organize. Gloria is the Queen of grouping, arranging, and displaying all the treasures in a cohesive thoughtful way. There was such a huge impact made in the way she arranged the cabinets & shelves in displaying some of their most treasured pieces.



An example below of the bookshelf:

    ASPAN Johnson_-2      ASPAN Johnson_-14
                       Before                                         After

The globe we found downstairs and immediately both fell in love with it, then came to find out the owners had been trying to figure a way to display it for quite some time. The stand, a repurposed beautiful hand carved wooden piece made by his father now has a prominent place. The large leather bound book on the top shelf under the globe is a precious old beautiful bible that belonged to Mr. J’s mother.

Sorted & Re-arranged:
ASPAN Johnson_-17       



I’m sorry that I didn’t take close up pictures of the items newly displayed. Thanks to Gloria it was truly an amazing difference. But at this point I was so brain fried :) but I really should have listened to my friend who suggested that I take those pictures. Sorry Gloria.   :(            





ASPAN Johnson_-4 Before

ASPAN Johnson_-15 
The owners were given a task of finding open baskets to put on the shelves on the bookcase behind the TV to house the hundreds thousands of DVDs that they own and that they love to watch together. Though not in this picture, I am happy to report they had success in their mission. Good job guys.



 ASPAN Johnson_-20


And speaking of, the lovely Mr. & Mrs. J, here they are sitting and enjoying the newly transformed space.









2-3 hours seemed like such little time…..and, well, as we learned it was!  We spent a solid non stop exhausting but rewarding 8 hours working on the transformation. Most homeowners watch HGTV and are under the assumption that this process is quick and easy, not so! Due to a little misunderstanding the family was home during the process (which we  recommend against). It can be hard to sit back and watch strangers go through your prized possessions, your life, and watch the intense work that goes on. They are happy with the results, but I think would agree, it is better to come in and see the “reveal” than watch every little step of it along the way.

Thank you to Mr. & Mrs. J. for allowing us to do this for them, and donating to a wonderful charity.

If you are interested in volunteering or donating to A-SPAN, please visit their site to learn more.

We also recommended they paint the existing dark green walls in the dining area to something a little softer like a sage green.

A color that will compliment the existing living room color for in the dining area:
Element from Benjamin Moore’s Aura line:

 clip_image002 image

Thursday, July 9, 2009


In the Garden since 1979, no more.

While looking for a few things for a project I am working on I went over to one of my favorite sites Smith and Hawken this morning and was saddened (I can’t say in this economy I am shocked) to see:


Smith and Hawken is closing all of their stores.

The company was sold in 2004 to the largest pesticide supplier, Scotts Miracle Gro Co. Both Dave Smith and Paul Hawken said the company that bears their name had long since veered away from being a gardening company and seem quite relieved to have their names no longer be associated with the company. The original Smith & Hawken focused on high-end English gardening tools with a lifetime guarantee.

"Scotts couldn't have been a worse corporate owner," said Hawken, who lives in Mill Valley. "Smith & Hawken had become just a ghost of itself."

"How could you possibly have a gardening store in this economy and go wrong?" Hawken said. "I'll tell you why. This wasn't a gardening store anymore.

It seems funny, that my absolute coveted gift, a favorite shovel from Smith and Hawken just 2 weeks ago broke. It was a very sad day for me, it still leans up against the shed for the fond memories of all the earth that was dug up and the plants it helped to plant. Maybe a gardener might be able to relate to that, and all you others well, you just go ahead and roll your eyes :) For the gardeners out there, hold on, for there may still be hope yet for the chance for some great gardening tools…….

Gardeners might soon have a new place to find the premium gardening tools from around the world, from a surprising source. Hawken, who already wears many hats as an author, environmental activist and entrepreneur, is planning to launch an Web-based store for garden tools, in conjunction with Marin Roots Farm owner Jesse Kuhn.

To read the complete article go here.

What is your favorite gardening tool?