Cure for the Common DBRB

Early last week, I posted about a nasty disease making its way around the design blogosphere - Design Blog-Reader's Blues. Apparently, many of you have experienced those feelings of design inadequacy that are the hallmarks of DBRB. After hearing from so many MLHP readers who said they relate to having the symptoms of this plague, I knew I had to do something to help.

Often, we question the Real Life aspect of the truly inspirational, but impossibly-perfect images we see in shelter mags or amazing design blogs. Perhaps we need a bit of assurance that yes, one can enjoy beautiful design on a Real Life level - even where there's messy home offices, toy-riddled rooms, and unattended dust bunnies (all being the case in MY own home!)

If there's any people who know how to bridge the gap between top-notch design offerings, and the real-life limitations of time, space and budget, it is the Designers themselves. I figured, what better cure for the Common DBRB than to see the Real Life homes of fantastic Interior Designer/Bloggers!

I emailed six of my favorite Interior Design Blogstresses asking if they'd be willing to participate in my DBRB therapy session. Would they be willing to send me a pic or two of a room or part of their home they feel best represents their sense of design? Most important though, was that they not "spiff up" the room too much before snapping the pic. After all, the medicinal value is being able to view stylish yet achievably-imperfect images!
I can't even tell you how gracious each and every one was - so willing, and excited about playing along. Sit back and relax - You Are Going to LOVE this!

Do you live in an older house? Maybe a cute little Cape Cod big on appeal, but missing the grand Master Bath? Well, so does Camila - you know her from High-Heeled Foot in the Door. Look what she's done with her tiny full bath! She embraced the theme of the bath's original black and white tile (saved a ton of cash by keeping it, too!), then upped the ante by painting the walls black. This amount of drama and charm turn a small space into an asset!

This next group of pics come from Erika of Urban Grace Interiors - you may have heard of her...

This is Erika's den/laundry room - a room she says is definitely a favorite in her home. I can certainly see why. This is a very cozy space, one I feel has a lot of heart and soul because you get such a sense of the person who lives here... Isn't that some wonderful natural light? You know what I spied first? The industrial-looking curtain rod. I've seen Erika's clever use of non-traditional materials before, and knew there was something to this. Can you guess? How 'bout galvanized piping, typically used for plumbing and electrical. I know, brilliant!
That restful greenish-gray on the walls is Sherwin Williams "Hardware" (SW6172), and the capiz shell chandelier was a $99 West Elm find.

Do you ever feel like you need a little (or a lot) of cool art to fill your walls? Erika snagged this entire collection of vintage matchbooks for $20 at a Flea Market, bought frames at Target, and mats at Hobby Lobby. Makes a rather smashing focal point, doesn't it? Remember, you don't have spend a fortune to get wonderful, conversation-piece art!

I hope you're sitting down, 'cuz you just might faint...This lucite coffee table - TWENTY DOLLARS - Goodwill. Yes, I'm weeping with you. You know, I always thoughts "scores" like this were Urban Myths started by Eddie Ross! P.S. - I'm going to wager that a year from now, that humongo papercutter will no longer reside at crumb-cruncher level! Hint: see that antique yellow bassinet in the first pic? ;)

The room's casual elegance disguises its all-important functional capabilities
Don't you ever wonder what's hiding under the skirted tables and closet doors of published homes? I'm kinda nosey, though!
I was extra-excited to get these pics from Shannon, who blogs at Pink Wallpaper. You see, Shannon is an Interior Designer who also has a daughter who's the same age as my Avery. I always wonder if there's any hope to having stylish interiors once kiddos and toys come into the picture. Looking at Shannon's pics shows the two can co-exist beautifully!

Shannon's design philosophy mirrors my own: Anyone with a big budget can "buy" style, but to be able to pull it together on a slim wallet takes truer "Style Chops."

I had just been introduced to the blogosphere when I read her post about finding this vintage chrome sawhorse desk on Craigslist. I remember being a) Highly impressed with her Craigslist-scoring skills, and b) Pea Green over said skills!
The lucite lamp was a recent find at a local antique store, and the vintage rotary phone was a junk-store snag - $12!! Shannon, can I trade you my blah-blah ivory one for yours? Turq-waz is sooo much more me - I'm sure you understand... ;)
My favorite thing, though? The silhouette - a portrait of little-girl Shannon found at her grandmother's. Awwww! Love it!

Here, in her entry resides an inexpensive (i.e. we need furniture now) console that looks great vignetted with the botanical chart, vintage fan, foo dogs, and totally indispensable storage baskets - oh, and her daughter, Tay's favorite body-slamming critter!
Shannon reminded me that indeed, there's lots of keepin' it real going on in her house...Palettes, toys, and a snoozing Retriever were only slightly out-of-frame, plus, she was emailing from a laptop plunked down on a bedroom floor because her wireless router crapped out. Now THIS is a life I can relate to!

When I found Interior Designer Marianne Strong's blog, Haven & Home, I remember thinking, where have I been? Her posts never fail to satisfy my sweet tooth for all things house and Home, PLUS she is wonderfully down-to-earth!

When I first saw the pictures of Marianne's living and bedroom, I thought - "Wow, that's pretty close to perfect," but upon closer study, I realized that in fact, the rooms are very achievable. Let's take a look-see...

Here's her living room. Fantastically done, I think! Marianne admits that much work has gone into the room, and many of the elements were either custom or bought from a "to the trade" source - Drat! I still think it is a "touchable," realistic, and very welcoming room.
In her cozy bedroom, she incorporated more readily-available items like the West Elm headboard, the Target roman shade, and Pottery Barn bedding. The scene-stealer: the crab trap she snagged from her parents to use at the end of the bed - I LOVE it!
Marianne understands, though, the importance of showing the reality of interiors - that they are almost always always in a state of flux. This is the other side of her bedroom - where her had-forever-chest and waiting-for-some-reupholster-love side chair reside. See, not EVERYTHING is perfect! ;)

The next designer on my DBRB-recovery board is Joni from Cote de Texas. I feel like I've earned an honorary degree in Interior Design from reading the blog written by this wonderfully talented, wealth-of-knowledge, TEXAN design maven! I only have one pic from Joni's home: this small sitting area in her family room. (It was the only area she said was "decluttered enough" to share!)
I'm immediately drawn to all the layers that make this vignette special, noting the ever-present-with-Joni near wall-to-wall seagrass rug (classic, awesome!) Joni recently edited this sitting area, removing some fabric and accessories. The Take Away: Designers have doubts and desires about their homes, JUST LIKE US!

I don't know about you, but the cause of my DBRB isn't limited to visions of interiors. I often get dizzy looking at heavenly landscapes - probably because I have to factor in lots of time and patience to envision such cultivated greatness for myself - not exactly two things I have a lot of...

So, I was extra-happy when Becky of Harmony and Home sent me these pics of her beautiful patio. Becky lives near San Jose, CA - where the weather is darn near perfect, and I imagine one feels rather naked without a fantastic outdoor living area.
I don't think she has a thing to worry about - the outdoor fireplace is gorgeous, and with a nice glass of wine from nearby Napa, I imagine one can feel like they've found Heaven on Earth!
Becky, next time I'm in CA, can I crash at your place? :)

So, you see - Wonderful, beautiful-but-attainable homes - the perfect tincture for Design Blog-Reader's Blues. For more "dosing," be sure to visit these ladies' blogs (see links above).

Muito Obrigada to Camila, Erika, Shannon, Marianne, Joni and Becky!

Have a wonderful Memorial Weekend!!