December 5, 2012

Arte Styling is now Story & Space!

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In case you haven't heard the news, I've rebranded. Arte Styling has been my biz name for nearly 10 years. It was time for a change.

I'm thrilled to introduce Story & Space to you! It's been about a year in the making, and I've still got lots of work to do. But I have a new blog and a new website. I won't be posting here anymore, so please add Story & Space to your blog rolls, email feed, etc. I don't want to miss you!

Thanks for your continued support and readership. I'm looking forward to sharing more stories and spaces in the future.

November 14, 2012

Wicker Peacock Headboards

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I can't tell you how many requests I get for information on my wicker headboard. Well, I could, but it might get boring. Because I get a lot. 

What's so funny is that I picked it up at an estate sale for $2.50. It was outside near the trash bins, carelessly tossed against a withering fence. It didn't have a price tag but I expected it would be in the neighborhood of $50 or so. When the estate sale lady told me "$2.50" I almost passed out. Well, first I almost passed out because I thought she said "$250" and that would have been a little ridiculous. Then, when I clarified that it was in fact two dollars and fifty cents, my heart skipped a little beat and I almost passed out again. You know that rush you get when you know you've found something too good to be true and you don't want anyone to know about it for fear that they might discover they've made a terrible mistake and when they do they are going to take it away from you? Geez! That sounds like a crazy person talking when I actually put words to paper! But, I know you know what I'm talking about. Needless to say, I snatched up that headboard so fast even though I wasn't even sure how I was going to use it. It was a twin size and we had a queen bed. Fortunately, I'm not much for design rules and I used it anyway. 

Apparently houzz readers aren't much for design rules either, as this photo has been added to over 13,000 ideabooks. Amazing. It really blows my mind.

Anyway, being that I get so many inquires about this headboard, it seemed a good blog post subject. (My apologies if you weren't interested in my headboard story, but I think "the hunt" may very well be the best part of shopping and decorating.)

Here's the wicker headboard shopping low-down:
  • Estate sales and garage sales are your best bet for cheap prices. Your chances of finding one of these babies is probably pretty slim, but not hopeless. You might be searching for awhile, so if you want that headboard right now, maybe not your best option. You can probably expect to pay $5 - $50. Or maybe you'll get really lucky and score one for free.
  • Craigslist is a good alternate choice, and often overlaps with estate sales and garage sales. Many times you can peruse through photo galleries before even heading to a sale. Occasionally you might spy a photo with headboard that wasn't highlighted in the sale posting. You can also search "wicker headboard" in the craigslist search bar. Most likely you will spend somewhere between $5 - $100. Or, again, you might find one for free.

current craigslist post near Scranton, PA
  • eBay is another good option. At any given time there are a handful of these headboards for sale for about $100 -$200. Not sure about shipping. That varies from vendor to vendor. Your best bet is to find something local that you can pick up.
  • Etsy also has some headboards. Prices are about the same as eBay. Here's a pair for $175.

from Etsy seller avintagerevolution
  • The Family Love Tree has an amazingly array of rattan peacock headboards in beautiful colors. These are new, made in Indonesia, and yes, they are 2 to 3 times more than what you would find through any of the above resources. If you aren't on a tight budget, these are a great option.
Do you have any other secret shopping sources? Have you decorated with a peacock headboard in your own home? If so feel free to post a pic on my facebook page or leave as a comment on houzz. Thanks!

(On another note, if you're curious about the difference between wicker and rattan, read this.)

October 17, 2012

A Kitchen Remodel Inspired by...Hummingbirds?

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Sometimes kitchen remodels start with a very specific inspiration. In this case, that inspiration was these little guys.


I'll be honest. This was a first for me. A lot of designers probably would have insisted that the hummingbirds be eliminated, but I was determined to make them work. It presented a bit of a design challenge, yes, but also an opportunity to help my client create a unique space that she and her family would absolutely love. 

So I began this project hunting for tiles and granite slabs that would play nicely with these little feathered creatures.

I found the granite first. Madre Perla. Perfect shade of green and a very subtle pattern...almost like marble. (For locals, it was from Da Vinci Marble in San Carlos.) My client fell in love with this immediately.

Then I found this beautiful onyx and marble border piece, which was actually being discontinued as we were looking at it. My client loved this too, and we bought it up right away.

We knew we wanted to use the hummingbird tiles behind the stove, and I had to find a way to incorporate them without making it look cheesy. And although my client said it would be no problem to get more hummingbirds if we needed them, I assured her that would not be necessary. 

After drawing up a number of tile design options, we landed on this one. I opted for a 4x4 creamy white field tile to match the background color and shape of the hummingbird tile. I put them on a diagonal for a little variation since everything else was running straight. (Coincidentally, I'm just noticing that the interior mosaics are also running at a diagonal. Huh. Must have been one of those subconscious design decisions...) And I wanted to set the hummingbirds off against a bolder background, so I incorporated a mini-brick mosaic in the same green marble as the decorative border piece. The green brick was framed with a ceramic liner in a similar hue. Geez! It sounds so complicated when I write it all down! The truth is, though, tile design can get very tricky. Especially when there are hummingbirds involved.

We kept the rest of the backsplash pretty simple with creamy white subway tiles intersected with the border piece at about 2/3 the height of the backsplash.

My clients opted for white cabinetry everywhere but the island. I love how the rich wood tone helps keep the space warm. We also went replaced the existing flooring with a wood to match the rest of the house. 

The woven barstools are from Cost Plus World Market. They were too high for the counter, but the contracter fixed that problem easily by chopping a couple of inches off the legs.

The pendant light fixtures are from Schoolhouse Electric. They have such cool glass shades. 

And here's a little before and after of the kitchen office area...


And the adjacent bar...


And the overall kitchen, which you might have seen on my Facebook page...

Aren't those chairs great? I suggested my clients keep their old ones and paint them this fun coral color. (There's a bit of coral in those hummingbirds.) And the table they scored at a bargain price from another client of mine who was getting rid of it. See? It can really pay to work with a designer. Contrary to popular belief, we can save you money. Or, at least help you spend it in the right places.

This was such a fun project to work on. My clients were amazingly open to so many of my ideas and executed many of them themselves long after I was done consulting. They said they learned so much from me - so much that I pretty much taught myself out of a job! Not sure if that's the mark of a successful designer or not. Oh, well. Bottom line: they love their new kitchen. And that, to me, is the ultimate mark of successful design. Well, that and working peacefully with a group of hummingbirds. Those little guys can be pretty demanding, but we made it through without any major battles.

If you need help designing your kitchen around hummingbird tiles, or any other feathery friend,  give me a call at 650.867.3896 or shoot me an email at

September 26, 2012

Vintage Trays as Wall Art

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I haven't done a ton of decorating in the new house yet. Mostly because I'm taking a little time to figure out some "hows". How do we use the space? How does the light hit each room at different points of the day? How do we want each room to feel? How do we want this home to be different than the last? How do we want it to be the same? How much of of furniture and decor do we keep? How much do we replace? (Old Ikea dining table, I'm talking to you!)

While I focus on these "hows", however, we continue to live in a house full of flat white walls. The chalky kind that show each fingerprint and were painted so hastily that we constantly find bits of scotch tape and other interesting decorative elements stuck into them. And it's starting to drive me crazy.

To tide me over until we paint (funny how long it takes to give myself a proper color consultation), I did a quick art installation the other day. I collect vintage trays at estate sales. They didn't have a proper place in the home yet, and are quite colorful, so up they went! I arranged them on the floor first and then stuck them to the wall with Command damage-free picture hanging strips. They are like velcro, basically, and work perfectly for things that you don't want to impale with a screw or nail. 

And it's really as simple as that. 

If you want help with your color or DIY projects or give me a call at 650.867.3896 or shoot me an email at

September 24, 2012

"Holy, &@#%. We Just Painted Our Room Purple!"

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Over the weekend I received this email from a client and it was so awesome I just had to share. It made me laugh, mostly because there is so much truth to it. How many of you have had a freak-out moment when the first coat of paint went up?

But it's also a testament to the power of fearlessness. Lose the fear, gain the love.

"Hi, Kelly,  
Just wanted to write a quick note to properly thank you for your color consultation. At least now I know for sure that the THANKS are truly in order since we finally painted and we are thrilled with the transformation!  
We're still bringing lighting and furniture back into the rooms. I have to say, the Benjamin Moore Riverbank color gave me a sleepless night when the painters had completed the first coat and left the white tarps covering the floors. I came home from work and stared at it and thought, "Holy, &@#%. We just painted our room purple!" I went upstairs and hid in our bedroom and reassured myself that when the floors, furniture and lighting came back into the equation, it would look a lot different. And it completely did! We love the richness.  
Thank you for guiding us to the colors that make our house feel more like our home!"

Congratulations to my clients for being brave! And may their story inspire others to take a colorful leap of faith.

September 20, 2012

Violet Bath Design in San Mateo - Before and Afters

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Here's a project I recently wrapped up in San Mateo. My clients were so much fun to work with, and weren't afraid to embrace color....all...the...way!

Here's what we started with:

Fine. Nothing wrong with this bathroom, except that it wasn't quite finished.

But my clients were craving color. And drama, and sophistication. So, violet stepped in and helped us out.

Big change, right?

My client fell in love with this glass mosaic tile by Sicis. And from there we rode the violet wave, adding field tile by Sonoma Tilemakers in India Ink and Benjamin Moore's luscious Mulberry Wine.

Tub/shower before - tiles were painted white. 
Tub/shower after
We moved the niche a bit higher up the wall and filled it with the mosaic tiles.
We also ran the mosaics all the way to the ceiling behind the vanity. 
This was such a fun project to work on because a) my clients were super cool and b) they weren't afraid of color. And - guess what? They LOVE their new bath. No fear = great reward.

Have you ever taken a no-fear approach to a project? 

If you want help with a no-fear bathroom design project give me a call at 650.867.3896 or shoot me an email at

September 14, 2012

CANCELLED -Makeshift Society Workshop: "Defining a Mindful Business and Workspace"

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Update: Sorry, everyone, but the workshop's been cancelled. Completely out of my control, unfortunately. It's a big disappointment, but I'm trying to figure out another way to share my tips. I'll keep you all updated!

Doesn't that just say it all?

I'm beyond excited to share this news. On October 13, I will be co-leading a workshop at the new Makeshift Society in San Francisco. If you haven't heard of the Makeshift Society, you must check it out. It is "an organization for those who crave camaraderie to fuel their creativity."  The founding teamRena Tom, Victoria Smith and Suzanne Shade, are working hard to open up the 10,000 square foot "clubhouse" in Hayes Valley on September 17. And they will be offering all sorts of cool classes and events. 

One of those classes is "Defining a Mindful Business and Workspace." And it is taught by Genevieve and Shelly, my talented friends at Lightbox SF, and me. Come join us in our 4-hour hands-on workshop as we guide you through a discussion and exercises focused on helping you define and design your own mindful business.

You can sign up for our class here. And don't forget to check out some of the other classes, especially those taught by the lovely Sarah Deragon and Lisa Anderson Shaffer of Awfully Grand, who wrote a sweet post on our class!

"Where and how you work is just as important as what you do. There is a sweet spot in the overlap of having a strong brand image, being aware of your work patterns and habits, and designing a functionally and emotionally supportive space."

WHEN: October 13 / 10am-2pm
WHERE: Makeshift Society/ 235 Gough Street/ SF
WHO: Kelly Berg, Genevieve Brazelton and Shelly Kerry
WHY: Because you love what you do.