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A long, long time ago (we’re talking, like a year), we found this light at a sidewalk sale, polished it, wired it, and had big plans to hang it in the studio – that is, after you nixed our original idea. Remember? (Yeah, us either. It was that long ago!)

That didn’t happen – between the art wall, our corner Skar and the wall of shelves, there was no good place for it in the studio, really – but look! It’s finally up and hanging in our living room. We nixed our old lamp for now (to the basement she goes), and although we’ve yet to figure out our end table situation, we’ve at least got this girl to illuminate an otherwise dark corner:

As for how we got it hanging, it couldn’t have been easier. Scott picked up this Driller Hook picked up from Home Depot (on a run for something else entirely, go figure), which required no anchors, screws or drilling. Note: pay attention to the maximum weight when purchasing! Our little light is just a few pounds, so the 15 lb. limit was more than enough for us.

Scott held our wire from a ladder, and I instructed him to the left! and to the right! and – well, you get it. Once we (eyeballed) the perfect placement, he screwed the hook right into the ceiling, no tools required. We wrapped the cord around the hook just once, and to conceal the extra wire, we ran it behind our curtain.

Below, you can see we have an accessible outlet for our evening mood lighting, although we wish we would’ve installed a switch during our re-wire. Ah, well; perhaps we’ll tackle that down the road.

Now, to find a table to put underneath our light. Currently, Henry sits atop a stack of magazines, which is sitting atop a subwoofer. Classy.

We caused quite the controversy when I’d wanted to hang her in the entryway (green + gold + chrome = no bueno for Scott and you!), so what do you think of the new home?

  • Marco Chavarry - October 25, 2012 - 3:38 PM

    Wow, that light looks amazing! Congrats!ReplyCancel

  • Marie - October 28, 2012 - 5:10 PM

    I really like your brand new presentation, congrats. And, of course, the way you put some more light in your living room and in my life. I think I’ll borrow you this idea (yes, one more ;-)ReplyCancel

  • Jill - October 30, 2012 - 11:03 AM

    What a pretty little gem in the corner! We need some additional corner lighting in our living room too.ReplyCancel

  • Ada (new york) - October 31, 2012 - 5:54 AM

    What a GREAT light fixture find .. (and at a sidewalk sale?? .. score!!!) Looks like Henry loves being in the spotlight :)ReplyCancel

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After committing to a handful of tweaks for the living room, we were the most excited (and at the same time, perhaps the most undecided) about changing up our wall of shelves. After tossing around a few ideas – because at first, Scott was pretty set on keeping our former set-up – we finally agreed that a clean, crisp ledge of art would be a fun way to inject a bit of color into the room. Together, we discussed what art would set the stage, and you now know we landed on this:

From collecting frames, to ordering mats and finding things that made us laugh, smile and conjure up happy memories, we spent well over 3 months to narrow it down to these six pieces. Here’s what we’ve got:

1. Chair print, by Bo Kim: This was purchased from a student art sale at the Art Institute almost two years ago, but sadly, I can’t find a website to credit the artist (does anyone know?). You might remember it was framed in this dumpster find, but a shiny, polished frame gives it a new look. We love that the bold blue plays off our totally teal console. Update! Bo Kim’s work can be found right here.

2. Map of Italy: During our summer yard sale, our friends Miss M & Mr B were getting rid of these fun maps, and we couldn’t resist snapping one up! I’m half Italian, and Scott and I talk about visiting Italy someday to visit some family tree members – and fill up on the food that my grandma has perfected, of course.

3. View from the Eiffel Tower: I took this photo looking down from the Eiffel Tower during our whirlwind weekend in Paris over the summer. On the last day of our trip, our crew picnicked under the Tower, and Scott insisted that we take the stairs to the top (or, well, as far up as the stairs allowed). We printed this as a 12″x18″, and it’s so fun guessing what the groups of people are doing – we spy photos being taken, an exhausted group of bikers, and, get this, do you see all those teeny white flecks in the grass? Those are cigarettes. Seriously.

4. Strawberry Frosted, by Jennifer Keats: We first spotted these donut prints at a local summer art festival, and at the time, we were torn between maple and strawberry sprinkles. It felt like the impossible task picking out just one donut, but after flip flopping for days, we decided on the strawberry frosted. It’s just the right dose of color, and better yet, it’s pink!

5. Thick Skin, by Aled Lewis: We’ve wanted one of Aled’s illustrations for years, but it was always a matter of deciding on which one. Thick Skin makes us smile, and we’re sure Jack enjoys our daily sing-a-long as a result. They’re all tear-inducing hilarious. See for yourself!

6. DIY Screen print: At the same art fest where we spotted the donuts, Spudnik Press was set up for fair-goers to make their own screen prints! They had a handful of readymade supplies, and we simply picked our design to make a custom print.

The first two frames were picked up at yard sales for $1 each (then spray painted white and gold), the third frame is an Ikea Ribba, frame four was purchased at the City Flea (and the former Jesus print is still in there, being used as backing!), frame five was another $1 yard sale find and frame six is a Ribba.

For the most part – especially with the yard sale frames and big, gaudy gold guy – we framed the art using the pig technique, but for fussy ones, we just taped them in à la our Parisian boat.

We love that the ledge gives us the freedom to swap up the prints and/or frames if the urge strikes, and we think we’ve struck a nice balance between the clean lines of the ledge, the glossy white frames and the mix of prints, photographs and touch of gold. (Whew, hello, run-on!)

Have you added any new art to your home lately? Can we see?

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - October 23, 2012 - 9:04 AM

    It’s no secret I love them all, but that photograph from Paris? So cool! Thanks for letting us see it closer, too, because honestly I was squinting at my computer screen trying to make out some details. I can’t get enough of it.

    We just added a whole slew of art to our laundry room. And now I find myself being an advocate for fine art in the bathroom. It’s a game changer.

    http://www.chrislovesjulia.com/2012/10/laundry-roomhalf-bath-before-and-afters.htmlReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 23, 2012 - 9:12 AM

    Julia, the art is definitely a nice touch! Fine art goes with any room, don’t you think?

    And a whole room for laundry… be still my heart!ReplyCancel

  • Staci @ My Friend Staci - October 23, 2012 - 1:41 PM

    That photo from Paris looks like something from 20×200.com– It’s absolutely fantastic! It’s also an interesting social study about the comfort zone bubble! Isn’t it funny how all the groups are spaced out more or less evenly? I love it!
    We have been hanging art in our new place, thanks for asking! ;) I finally succeeded at hanging my first bonafide gallery wall. http://myfriendstaci.com/2012/10/23/our-gallery-wall/ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 23, 2012 - 1:50 PM

    Looks good, Staci! Mosey is ADORABLE.ReplyCancel

  • alichia - October 23, 2012 - 11:45 PM

    I have two really cool prints sitting in cardboard tubes just begging to be framed. Why is that always the hardest thing to get around to??ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 24, 2012 - 9:39 AM

    Alichia, we know the feeling! Sometimes the problem is finding wall space…ReplyCancel

  • Dawn @ Inspired Living - October 25, 2012 - 3:45 PM

    Hi! I was excited to stumble upon your blog this morning and see you are in Chicago – my husband and I lived on Southport up until about 4 years ago when we sold our condo and moved about 30 minutes west.

    Thanks for this great post. I don’t know why I never thought of checking out the student art sale at the Art Institute. I also want to take a look back at some of my photos from past trips to Europe to look at them with a different eye.

    I recently added a Norman Rockwell print and picture frame on the bookshelf in my son’s nusery (second picture in my post below):

    http://inspiredlivinghome.blogspot.com/2012/10/nursery-wall-letters.html

    I purchased them both at a local resale shop; my original intention was to spray the frame, but when I got it in the room it worked so well with everything else I left it as is. Less work for me.

    I was just outside spraying two more frames I picked up at the local Goodwill – praying that the rain would hold off and the wind would stop blowing leaves my way – for his nursery wall. Can’t wait to get them up.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 25, 2012 - 4:28 PM

      Hi Dawn, that nursery looks so relaxing! Great work!

      We love hitting the student art sale. It happens twice a year – during the holidays and every spring!ReplyCancel

  • Jill - October 30, 2012 - 11:06 AM

    Love the big art ledge!ReplyCancel

  • Tosha - November 7, 2012 - 4:51 PM

    I LOVE, LOVE that photo you took from the eiffel tower! I think it’s funny how the people naturally spaced themselves out. It kind of reminds me of the Kite Hill photo by Paul Octavious. I’m sure you’ve seen it, but if not you should check it! Love your art shelf!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 7, 2012 - 4:58 PM

    Thanks, Tosha! I do know the Kite Hill photo and have always LOVED it, so thank you for the awesome compliment!ReplyCancel

  • Bo Kim - December 15, 2012 - 8:07 PM

    Hi I’m Bo Kim :)
    Thanks for the frame for my print work
    I live and work in New York
    My website is
    http://www.bokimstudio.comReplyCancel

  • Ashlyn - December 17, 2012 - 2:36 PM

    Love your collection of art! I love how they’re grouped together and the donut looks amazing in the large gold frame.

    Thanks for introducing some new and fun artists (the donuts and Aled Lewis). You should think about selling prints of your Paris photo. You’d already have at least one customer – me! But seriously, please do let me know if you intend to sell it in the future.
    Best,
    AshlynReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 17, 2012 - 4:16 PM

      Ashlyn, thank you so much! I really need to get working on that – just trying to figure out the logistics of how to make it all work. I love receiving the feedback, so thanks for chiming in! Fingers crossed I can get it going sometime in the new year…ReplyCancel

  • Morgan - January 19, 2013 - 1:35 PM

    Beautiful home and loved the tour on Apartment Therapy! Just wanted to let you know that we designed the Wells Prints with Jess LC and when she closed her shop, we transferred those prints to our etsy shop! Just in case anyone is wondering where to find the Just Keep Going poster!

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/115334886/just-keep-going-print

    Cheers,
    MorganReplyCancel

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One of the questions we hear often is how do you two merge your styles and live to tell about it? And to be honest, it wasn’t always so easy. (Scott’s first, over-stuffed leather couch comes to mind as a sticking point!) Over time, we’ve learned to only proceed with a project if we’ve both fully agreed to all the terms, but we understand that there needs to room for give and take. Say, for example, our recent photo ledge. Scott knows I love a good ornate frame (the gaudier, the better!), but we’ve balanced that with the clean lines of the ledge itself and by the addition of sleek, industrial curtain rods.

When Lauren from Kelly & Olive told us about their +SPACE contest (aka, Positive Space) – all in the hopes of turning a potential negative into an opportunity for creativity – we were intrigued. And since we have lived to tell our story, we turned to Lauren (the professional!) to help break it down, as well as share the details on their +SPACE contest!

Hi Yellow Brick Home readers!

I’m Lauren from Chicago based styling and decorating company Kelly + Olive. Kim asked me here today to talk a bit about decorating your home with your significant other. This is the most common stumbling block we see with clients…how to make decisions when one person says they don’t care (but is full of opinions after the fact) or, like Scott and Kim, both partners have strong tastes and unique styles they’d like represented in their place. I’ll admit, as a single lady all that compromise in my own space fills me with anxiety but, as we’ve learned after working with dozens of couples, it doesn’t have to be an painful process. We promise! Today, we’re going to give you a few tips to help you find common ground, learn to compromise and to create home where you both feel comfortable, and where the look and feel represent a bit of each of you and your life as a team.

#1 Get on the same page

Your partner says they want white and modern. That could mean this…

or this.

Decorating words and even colors are up to personal interpretation. Is my blue the same as your blue? When I say rustic do you picture shabby chic rustic or more gritty industrial rustic?  Like every other aspect of a good relationship, communication is key.

Yes, I am your decorating couples therapist.

Let’s do a little exercise to help establish a common vocabulary. One friday night, put on your favorite music, order thai food in and start the hunt for inspirational images. Pics of rooms that push your buttons. Maybe you love the color of the rug, a specific furniture piece or just the overall vibe. It doesn’t matter why. Follow your gut. (Pinterest is great for finding images, as is Houzz, Decorpad, Remodelista…or take it offline with some scissors and a stack of magazines.)

We recommend that each person create their own inspiration file to start. Don’t worry about choosing things you think the other person will like. Eat your spring rolls and think about your dreamhome. After a while, (if your partner is less than enthused about this project, set a timer) it’s time to share. Talk about your choices. Notice common threads in your own pics, as well as places where your tastes overlap. This little peek into each others brains will help you visualize and plan your space with a bit more knowledge, as well as concrete examples to point to and say ‘I want this!’

#2 Start with color

First things first, what color’s going on the walls? One person wants purple, one wants yellow…who wins?

Well, neither.

We’ve found that a neutral wall works with just about every style and, when decorating with your sweetie, it’s a great non-partisan place to start.  Color is layered in later with accessories and art in a palette of accent colors…and this is where the fun begins!

Create a color palette collage together! Look at your inspiration images and choose elements that you both are drawn too. Let’s say you both picked images with charcoal grays and some piece of leather. Use those for the big elements in the room. You can be a little wilder and more eclectic with accents. Throw out a few faves each. She wants a rich dusty purple and a splash of hot pink. He picks bright modern yellow and black.

Truly, just about any seemingly random selection of accent colors can look great together…just stick to your palette, spread them throughout the space and create a base of lovely neutrals underneath it all.

(Fun fact: Our name, Kelly+Olive, was inspired by a room done in unexpected hues of bright kelly, almost leprechaun green, and rich moody olive. Beautiful, unexpected, and totally brilliant!)

#3 Look for balance 

For arguments sake, let’s say she loves ornate Louis XV inspired furniture, all things fancy and feminine and frenchy. On the other hand, he wants simplicity and comfort.

The chair on the left would scare him. But the chair on the right with gray masculine upholstery retains its feminine charms but with a bit more subtlety.  Any feminine pieces, like curvy chairs, tufted sofas or items with a lot of delicate detail can be tempered by keeping the color neutral.

When it comes to pattern, the same trick can be used to balance more femme designs. Guys tend to shy away from pattern, even simple stripes and geometrics can feel fussy and florals can be downright terrifying, but in the right colors, ornate patterns feel strong and simple.

Here’s a the start of our room… the Louis XV chair and an traditional side table mixed with a masculine leather couch (this one’s vintage) and boxy industrial coffee table, a patterned rug and pillow in a neutral gray, white and cream palette, and pops of accent color in a solid pillow, modern lamp, and colorful piece of art.

#4 Reframe and relax

Breath. Don’t stress. Let it go.

Your home may never look like the perfect magazine image. That idealized rustic farmhouse or atomic bungalow or boho lounge is being diluted by someone else’s grandma chic or modern minimalism or whatever.

And that’s ok! Think of this process as creating a whole new design style with a little of each of you, a one of a kind place the represents the two of you together. Besides, the most beautiful, interesting spaces are not the ones straight out of a showroom or ripped from a magazine page. They’re the ones where the idiosyncrasies, influences, and aspirations of the homeowners are on display.

Extra Credit: Give it a name

Whitewashed swedish farmhouse + guitars and screenprinted band posters =  Scandanavian rockstar retreat

Ethnic patterns and global influences + florals and antiques = World traveler Grandma

Upscale beachy + midcentury modern = Don Draper goes to the Hamptons

We do this with clients all the time. Partially because it makes us giggle and partially because it’s great shorthand and can, along with your color palette collage, help you focus and act as an impartial guidepost in the face of temptation. You’re out shopping and see something you love, say to yourself…

Is this vintage schoolhouse chic? (or Alaskan glamour igloo? Or whatever your very own personal design style is called.) Does it mesh with our colors?

Yes? Get it!

Designing your space as a team doesn’t have to be all stress and anxiety. Talk it out, look at pictures, find balance, common ground, and moments of compromise. Make a plan. Oh, and have fun! After all, it’s just decorating! For more info on Kelly + Olive, visit us right here. We’re currently running a +SPACE contest where the winner receives a free custom moodboard for any room of their choice (and all entrants receive 10% off!) For rules, details on how to enter and all that jazz, stop by!

Thanks so much to Kim and Scott for having us! Happy decorating!

Thank you, Lauren! And for those living with others, how do you compromise and merge styles, while still finding a space that’s inspiring?

First photo via House to Home and second photo via Plastolux.

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