the invitation takes center stage ::

when a special little girl was selecting a theme for her birthday party, she waved off the usual children’s party spots in town and opted for a runway themed bash.  the idea trickled onto her party invitations … a bit of glitter and leopard print paired with her favorite color – peacock blue!

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with the handmade invitations in mind, planning the party decor was a breeze.  when i considered what to do in the center of the table, it only made sense to let the invitation take center stage!

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and no party is complete without a little take home treat!

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do you need help bringing style to your upcoming event?  contact me for info about designing your next party so it’s one your guests will remember!

another first for nicole odette designs ::

i’ve always loved “firsts” in my design work …. so when i was recently asked to design the children’s waiting area for a pediatric dentist, i jumped at the chance!  my task?  create a “tree house” environment in a dental office that already has a safari theme with zebras, giraffes, and elephants adorning the walls.  the surfaces must of course be safe and kid-friendly, and allow the children who enter to feel like they’ve momentarily escaped to a secluded place in the trees …. right before the dental assistant calls their names!

office design board

the design plan?  use corrugated metal panels on the bottom half of the walls, with framed “windows” on each of the three walls.  the main “window” will have a painted mural of a various jungle animals in the trees, while the others will frame t.v. sets on which the kids can play their favorite video games.  cedar siding will be used around each window with a canvas tarp suspended from the ceiling to create the tree house canopy.  the trendy and functional wood-look ceramic tile planks will cover the floor and outdoor lighting will be used on each wall.

what could be better than a tree house getaway to take a child’s mind off the often not-so-favorite activity of visiting the dentist?  check back soon for before & after photos of the kids’ waiting room!

 

how to design with kids in mind ::

if you walk through any big name home decor store, you may get the impression that the way to design a space perfect for any kiddo or teen is to follow two rules … pick a theme {butterflies, sports, ballerinas, pirates} and select matching furnishings {a bed that matches the dresser that matches the nightstands … you get the idea}.  well, let me take a minute to bust through those “rules” by offering a few design ideas.  first decide how your child, tween, or teen will use the space – do they need a place to study, a space to “hangout” with friends, or a good organizational system?  then select items already in their room or from around the house that can be used in the space.  what pieces can be kept, reused, or repurposed?  next, make your shopping list … what is needed in the room?  perhaps a new nightstand, art, or storage?

that’s exactly the thought process i used when creating the most recent design board for an 11 year old boy who had some very specific requests … he wanted the walls to be a dark gray {we needed to find the right shade to work with the existing dresser and shelving unit that had already been repainted}, he asked that his favorite sports teams be represented {though I promised his mom we wouldn’t do a “theme” room}, and there were certain items that were going to be used {the headboard from mom and dad’s room, a desk from his older brother, and the red locker storage bins already in use in his room}.  my goal was to bring in color besides the ones found in his favorite sports logos, and to give his room an eclectic, collected feel that would grow with him over the upcoming years.  the result?

jack's room2

and while this is merely a start that we’ll use to adjust and build upon to find the perfect style for this design savvy tween, it’s good to have direction when beginning any design project!  so the next time your child asks for an updated room, throw the “rules” out the window and design with kids in mind!

the path taken ::

it is with bittersweet emotion that i share with you a change that is taking place in the nicole odette designs studio.  for the last several years, i’ve been able to work with many people … they began as clients but became friends … to share advise and direction on how they could make their homes not only functional but design savvy.  i’ve established a niche working with those who may have otherwise been leery of calling a “designer” {many are busy moms who want homes that are beautiful for their families, but don’t know where to begin} … my goal has been to make interior design accessible to anyone, regardless of style or budget.  with that goal in mind, i’ve loved every minute creating interiors that my clients find both functional and beautiful!

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i’ve taken into account my clients’ existing pieces, their tastes, styles, and budgets to come up with design board after design board after design board ….

master bedroom design board

 

living room design board

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jake's room1

office design board1

… and spent countless late night hours with my sewing machines whirring away on so many custom projects …

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but with life comes a variety of seasons … times when we must follow our dreams, and times when they can’t take center stage.  i’ve been facing one of those times for the past year, and finally had to make a choice.  when a new challenge came to me over a year ago, i was determined to balance it all … continue working full speed ahead, juggle family schedules, commit to the latest challenge.  while “having it all” sounds wonderful in theory, reality was that my attempt left me stressed, sleep deprived, and on auto-pilot {or highly caffeinated} much of the time, and not enjoying that stage of life that i was in the midst of.  so this summer, i found myself faced with a choice … continue on the current path, or make an adjustment that would leave me more creative for my clients, more energetic and enthusiastic for my family, and better able to experience each and every day rather than watching them speed right by me.

and that is the path taken … but luckily, this path will last only a matter of months.

as of this august, i won’t be taking any new design clients {unless they are interested in my new e-design program … more on that soon!}, but will be placing new clients on a waiting list to begin design in may 2014.  i’m so excited that this will allow me to devote my design time to those clients who have asked me to provide design advise and ideas for their homes over the last several years.  i’ll continue to work with my existing clients {current and former} during this time, so this adjustment will be seamless to those of you who have welcomed me into your homes and asked me to help with ideas for its redesign.  during this time, there will also be more shared on the nicole odette designs blog … and a little something called etsy!

while saying “no”, or perhaps “not now”, is one of the most difficult things i’ve had to do, i’m thrilled that it will give me the chance to live my dream and not allow it to run right over me!  i know i’m not the only one who has been faced with this sort of choice … friends, i’d love to hear how you’ve handled those times when you’ve had to make a similar choice!  which was your path taken?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lifelong love ::

it’s been over 20 years now … ok, maybe closer to 25, but who’s counting?  it was then that i walked away from my canvases, brushes, and paints not to look back.  but let’s start at the beginning.  for as long as i can remember, i have had an absolute love of color, shape, image … a deep interest in all things art appeared throughout my family.  so it was only natural for my parents to enroll me in private art lessons.  week after week and month after month, i’d attend lessons learning all about painting in a variety of forms {oil, acrylic, watercolor}, pastels, pencil shading.  the instructor was, and still is, amazingly talented … in fact, she is instrumental in our city’s youth art programs even today.  there was only one problem.  or at least it turned out to be a problem for me.  at that time, my art teacher had her students choose from a variety of images from her boxes and boxes of greeting card covers – the idea was that she could then see the image that each student was trying to create and help teach the techniques to accomplish that finished product.  the concept is good in theory, and must have worked for her hundreds of students over the decades.  but for me, it eventually blocked my ability to develop my own creative art without second guessing myself.

after that time, i still enjoyed my high school and college art classes, but felt there was a damper on my own individual creativity.  i followed the more practical route during those years … pursuit of a business degree, and considered the creative degrees to be more of a luxury.  i was mistaken.

life continues on no matter what path you take, and years later when it allowed, i began again to tap into my own creativity … first sewing custom children’s clothing and one-of-a-kind handbags, then back to interior design {including custom accent pillows and window treatments}.  but even more recently, the love of painting began to work its way back into my mind.

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as many of my creative ventures begin, it started with a need.  i have several interior decor jobs that are in need of large scale pieces of art, but when i’ve looked for the perfect wall art for the space, i’ve run into two roadblocks.  first, custom art is expensive … and after a client has invested in major pieces for the room {furniture, rugs, linens}, there often isn’t a large budget remaining to fill vast wall spaces.  second, many of the more reasonably priced pieces i’ve been able to find make my stomach nearly churn when i glance at the back side of the print only to find a “made in china” label.  i want real {not reproduced} art for a reasonable cost for my clients … is that too much to ask?  apparently it is.  so my solution?  make it myself!

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of course there’s a chance that the artistic creativity that i’ve kept sleeping the past few decades chooses not to wake up, but how will i know unless i try?  so after a quick trip to my nearby art supply store, i walked out with a bag full of gorgeously colored acrylics, brushes, and a canvas – not a large one to start, but one big enough to test out my ability {or lack of} to create abstract images that will give a few interior projects a unique and complete look.

while my trial run is far from complete, when the house was finally quiet last night, i got out an old paint palette, selected a few tubes to allow for a nice base on the canvas, and started …. {remember, this is only a base coat onto which some bold color will soon appear!}

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i’d love to know, what are those talents and interests you have stored away for a future time?  is now the time to dust them off and pursue your dreams?

once upon a design ::

several months ago, i shared a piece of the story of my little farmhouse and the big plans for the much needed remodel of the master bedroom.

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{master bedroom before}

while the room is far from its big reveal, a few hints of its new look are long overdue!

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what started as updates to the master bedroom have spread to other parts of the farmhouse, and  as is the case with so many design updates, there are pieces that although still loved and useful, are no longer needed.  since storage is at a premium in the farmhouse, i wanted to first share these items with my blog readers {omaha area only, please} before posting to craigslist.  email me at nicoleodettedesigns@gmail.com for more photos or if you’re interested in any of these items.

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solid oak antique church bench  $200 :: i bought this bench from park avenue antiques in fremont a few years ago for $325.  this bench was refinished prior to my purchase, and is in perfect condition!  45″w x 24″d x 35″h

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handmade 15″ custom accent pillows $20 for the pair.  the front fabric is a soft green with golden and light cranberry accents and the backs are a chocolate chenille.

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ivory coverlet / comforter and two shams $45 :: fits a full / queen size bed.  it’s finally time for me to say goodbye to the comforter that has been my favorite for years.  if only i had a guest room, it would happily find a new home there!  i’ve paired this set with nearly every color you can imagine and it gives a fun, fresh, new look every time!

make room for creativity ::

one question that many of my design clients ask is “what is the rule about … mixing metals … using dark colors in small spaces … combining paint and stain” …. the list goes on and on!  while i’m not usually one to abide by the “rules” of design, when it comes to living in a farm house that is nearly 100 years old, there are no rules to break!  i see every surface in our home as a space to bring in a bit more creativity or test a design idea!  this was certainly the case when faced with the ho-hum door to my laundry room.

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just like every element of our home, things are as they are for a myriad of reasons … in this case, the original walls were papered below the chair rail, and we quickly discovered that the paper was nearly holding the walls together!  the best and most economical solution at the time?  cover in beadboard and paint in a crisp ivory, and while i’ve never much cared for the result, it was “good enough” while other projects in our remodel took the spotlight.  up until recently, that is!  with the school year right around the corner {yes, i said it!}, i decided that this door which is positioned in a central spot in our home, could be more than a simple slab of wood between one room and another …. it could be command central!  after a trip to sherwin-williams, i was all set!

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first step … remove the hardware!  {ugly door, i know!  i really had nothing to lose!}

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next, tape the trim around the door and stir the paint.

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i quickly learned that this was a tricky paint to work with … a water-based paint that acted like an oil, agggghhhhhh!

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now for a little advise for those of you who think it may be fun to tackle this kind of project … while i’d recommend keeping a wet painted edge if possible, i’d also recommend using more of a “dry brush” technique.  each time i thought the surface was perfect, the paint would begin to sag in one place or five!  but after two coats of chalkboard paint and waiting 24 hours for the paint to cure, my family welcomed a fun, new way to stay organized, plan our days, and leave notes for each other!

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but this little hallway is far from finished!  the ugly golden beige color that adorns the walls will soon be the next item checked off the list!  oh, and you haven’t even seen the off-centered light fixture!  after another trip or two to my favorite paint store, and perhaps a visit to Lowe’s, this hall will be even more transformed and worthy of it’s much used position in my home!