Aug
26
2016
The Design Confidential x AVE Home // DIY In The Clear Oil Finish Butler Tray

For my third and final installment with the AVE Raw line from Ave Home, I really wanted to celebrate the beauty of the piece by leaving it in all it's Raw and beautiful glory. But... let's be real - I have two boys, dogs, a husband and a couple of frogs and all of them specialize in making messes and breaking things. Some sort of protective finish was a must, but many layers of wax and buffing or a true oil finish that would alter the color of the wood or give it an unnatural shine were quite the opposite of what I had in mind.

I am over the moon excited to share this project with you fine folks, because it is truly the first and only finish I have ever done that was actually clear and didn't alter the original look of the wood at all. No added sheen or shine, no hours of labor intensive applications of varnish or wax. Just pure and simple - a gorgeous oil based finish in the convenience of a spray.

The Design Confidential x AVE Home // DIY In The Clear Oil Finish Butler Tray

Let's talk about the piece for a minute, shall we? This fine piece of work is the Audrey Butler Tray + Brass Stand and it could be the poster child for all the beautiful things. It is much larger than I imagined it would be, which opens it up for more amazing uses that I hadn't even thought to use it for. I have been slowly attempting to add lighter tones of wood throughout my family room and kitchen area so this piece is now replacing a darker vintage piece I formerly had in this spot. It is a far better height and width and the brass stand is mighty handsome too, giving it just a bit of that something extra. It is perfect and it arrived in a perfect state with absolutely no need to sand or condition it prior to finishing. 

Wholesale online orders will be open through the end of the month, and beginning September 1st, you will be able to order the pieces in the Raw line through your local dealer. Of course if you don't have a dealer near you, you can contact the lovely folks at Ave Home for a special order!

The Design Confidential x AVE Home // DIY In The Clear Oil Finish Butler Tray

An oil finish is timeless and durable. Most of the time an oil finish demands much more of you than this particular product did and all that beauty often comes at a price if altering the color is not your goal. An oil will soak down into the pores of the wood and will provide a marvelous water resistance and protective durability. This good looking oil I used here, could not be easier if it tried. I used a spray water proofing product that is clear and gave this piece two light coats and done. There really wasn't much else to it.

The Design Confidential x AVE Home // DIY In The Clear Oil Finish Butler Tray

The most difficult part of the application is that you actually need to spray a light coat. I hope that you can see above just how lightly this can be sprayed. If you are like me, this is the hardest thing ever because my perfectionist nature wants to have each and every coat have perfect coverage. Luckily it won't be the end of the world if you accidentally spray more on than you should have. It will pool and it may even drip or run, but it matters not, just use a brush or a smooth cloth rag and wipe away excess. Let it cure and dry for at least 24 hours before you bring your furniture inside and be sure to wear a respirator and eye protection. This is a product that should be applied outside, just be sure to protect your plants.

MATERIALS //

The Design Confidential x AVE Home // DIY In The Clear Oil Finish Butler Tray

Once you have addressed any excess and allowed for the finish to dry, you won't be able to tell you applied anything at all except that your wood will be happy and water will bead if it is spilled on the surface.

The Design Confidential x AVE Home // DIY In The Clear Oil Finish Butler Tray

The finish and this piece are truly dreamy and a clear oil based finish was perfect way to show off the natural beauty of this butler tray and the craftsmanship that went into it. It lives on a little wall that is a straight shot down a long hallway and can be seen almost instantly when you enter my home. It was an honor to put my mark on it and I love seeing this little vignette every time I walk in the front door.

This project was created in partnership with Ave Home. All crazy talk and opinions are 100% my own. 

Jun
30
2016
The Design Confidential x Target Summer Soiree and Party Inspiration Swap via @thedesconf

This post is brought to you by TargetStyleShop the new Home collection in stores and online.

Summertime soiree’s are officially in season, and I couldn’t be more excited to let my hair down and have some fun! Nothing sounds more perfect than lounging on a beach blanket, enjoying the breeze and basking in the cooler temperatures the evening brings. The only things missing are the hula dancers and a live band serenading me with the sounds of a tropical vacation.

 

The Design Confidential x Target Summer Soiree and Party Inspiration Swap via @thedesconf

Melamine Serving Tray /  Solid Plates / Melamine Serving Bowl / Bar Cart / Picnic Blanket / Jumbo Inflatable Ball / Plastic Highball Tumblers / Cutting Board

For this party, I was partnered with Jessica from Little Baby Garvin and together we were challenged to providing each other with inspiration for our respective parties. So fun! She pulled together some fabulous items from Target, to help me decorate for a Palm Springs-esque Tiki Tropical backyard bash - and I ran with it!

The Design Confidential x Target Summer Soiree and Party Inspiration Swap via @thedesconf

The fabulous thing about decorating for an event with items from Target, is that I can always rest assured they will have anything and everything I could possibly want or need. I can pull in pieces I already own from past seasons, and everything will coordinate beautifully.

The Design Confidential x Target Summer Soiree and Party Inspiration Swap via @thedesconf

Glass Tumblers / Ceramic Bowl / Solid Plates / Flatware Set / Melamine Serving Tray /  Solid Plates / Cutting Board

The Summer Collection is bursting at the seams with color and perfectly reflects my current state of mind. The rainbow melamine tray is the stuff that happiness is made of – fun, stylish, durable and able to withstand a house full of boys and beach balls bouncing off the walls.  If your house gets rowdy, like my house gets rowdy - run, don't walk, to your nearest Target and stock up on all of the durable pieces they have on the shelves for outdoor dining and entertaining.

The Design Confidential x Target Summer Soiree and Party Inspiration Swap via @thedesconf

Melamine Serving Bowl / Bar Cart / Picnic Blanket / Plastic Highball Tumblers / Cutting Board

No party is complete without a bar cart filled with fun treats for the 21 and over crowd, and a signature drink – or in this case a signature poptail – my new favorite way to cool down and spice things up at the same time. Make them ahead of time with a popsicle mold and a mix of juices and flavors and you won’t be stuck behind the bar blending frozen drinks while your guests have all the fun! Display them in the happiest rainbow serving bowl ever, and fill it with ice and frozen cherries to keep things cool.

The Design Confidential x Target Summer Soiree and Party Inspiration Swap via @thedesconf

Glass Tumblers / Ceramic Bowl / Solid Plates / Flatware Set / Melamine Serving Tray /  Solid Plates / Melamine Serving Bowl / Cutting Board

Whether you plan to stay inside to beat the heat or take it outside for some fun in the sun, Target is the place to go for all of your shopping needs. Just don’t forget the sunblock and some sunnies, it’s hard to mingle with your guests if you are blinded by the light and burned to a crisp, amiright?

The Design Confidential x Target Summer Soiree and Party Inspiration Swap via @thedesconf

Melamine Serving Tray /  Solid Plates / Melamine Serving Bowl / Bar Cart / Picnic Blanket / Jumbo Inflatable Ball / Plastic Highball Tumblers / Cutting Board

If you need me… I will be out back. I plan to put in some serious quality time taking up 3 out of the 4 spots on the 4 person picnic blanket and will stay cool with refreshments from the bar cart!

Outdoor 
Jun
01
2016
The Design Confidential x MichaelsMakers DIY // Summertime Entertaining + Rainbow Poptail Recipe

School is officially out for the summer here and we have quite a few big-deal graduations to celebrate! One in particular marks the end of school all together, for my baby brother, as he just recently graduated from Vanderbilt Law School. My mom is going to be retiring, my step son just graduated from High School, and my littlest graduated from toddler-hood (totally a thing) and will be heading into preschool this fall. Lots of firsts and lots of lasts that definitely warrant a fun and festive shindig of epic proportions!

The Design Confidential x MichaelsMakers DIY // Summertime Entertaining + Rainbow Poptail Recipe

Michaels has every single thing I could ever dream of needing for a fabulous party, from decor to baking supplies, it makes my crazy color loving heart go all aflutter... For this party we are giving it an old school summer vacay theme, complete with flamingo string lights and a lightbox to set the tone. 

SHOP THIS ARTICLE //

The Design Confidential x MichaelsMakers DIY // Summertime Entertaining + Rainbow Poptail Recipe

They have a crazy good selection of garlands, lanterns, photo backdrop props and tissue paper poufs - both ready made and DIY. Dip dye a white fabric garland in a color that suits your decor and throw in some shiny pinwheels for good measure.

The Design Confidential x MichaelsMakers DIY // Summertime Entertaining + Rainbow Poptail Recipe

I love a fun activity at a party that guests can dabble at here and there as they please. A friendship bracelet making station and coloring for grownups put everyone in a summer camp state of mind and take us back to a time when summer vacation meant something entirely different and was altogether carefree and wonderful. 

The Design Confidential x MichaelsMakers DIY // Summertime Entertaining + Rainbow Poptail Recipe

RAINBOW POPTAIL RECIPE //

This would be fabulous as a non-alchoholic treat as well, simply substitute water for rum.

Ingredients / Each popsicle mold holds about 4 tsp. For larger molds, double or triple as needed.

1 tsp Rum

3 tsp Flavor

To create the rainbow I used 4 flavors and mixed as needed- Cherry, Pina Colada, Berry Blue, Cotton Candy (can purchase a flavor for each color of the rainbow or mix as indicated below)

Red = 3 tsp of Cherry

Orange = 1.5 tsp of Cherry + 1.5 tsp of Pina Colada

Yellow = 3 tsp of Pina Colada

Green = 1.5 tsp of Pina Colada + 1.5 tsp of Berry Blue

Teal = 1 tsp of Pina Colada + 2 tsp of Berry Blue

Blue = 3 tsp of Berry Blue

Purple = 1.5 tsp of Cherry + 1.5 tsp of Berry Blue

Magenta = 1.5 tsp of Berry Blue + 1.5 tsp of Cotton Candy

Pink = 3 tsp of Cotton Candy

From paper crafts, party goods and baking supplies to new outdoor lighting, glass and floral, Michaels is your DIY destination for all of your summer celebrations. Be sure to check out all of the other Michaels Makers DIY summer party ideas on the Michaels blog.

An InLinkz Link-up

Outdoor 
May
28
2016
The Design Confidential x AVE Home In the Raw // Beautiful Pieces Both Custom + Convenient

We are a community of Makers here at TDC... wouldn't you say? Of course by 'we', I truly mean all of you - in addition to me! As it happens, a great many of you - hundreds and hundreds to be exact - contact me on a regular basis to ask where you can purchase ready made pieces of furniture or custom furniture because you aren't able to build, or simply don't prefer to. I know you will flip your lid and jump for joy when I share all of the juicy details about the exciting launch of AVE Raw by Ave Home. Created specifically for the DIY'er and Designer who want high quality pieces for your own custom finishes.

The Design Confidential x AVE Home In the Raw // Beautiful Pieces Both Custom + Convenient

I have had the pleasure of getting to know a few of their pieces, on an intimate level, and the craftsmanship is nothing short of amazing. I have often complained of the difficulty of staining pine, and that is no joke - it is tough, especially if you are a beginner. But through the process of finishing this gorgeous table for outdoor use, I stumbled across a new technique that I will be sharing with you shortly and reaffirmed my belief that 90 percent of your staining success, involves sanding. The Jax Pedestal Table you see here, sitting so pretty, arrived in a state of flawless sanded bliss. It was so perfect in fact, that I didn't dare sand it any further and contemplated leaving it be entirely...

The Design Confidential x AVE Home In the Raw // Beautiful Pieces Both Custom + Convenient

Alas... the weather and climate in Northern California don't really allow for that, so I chose the next best thing - a clear, waterproofing sealer with UV protection, and a light varnish suitable for marine use. The original state of this table made for the easiest most seamless finishing process I have ever experienced. The. End. Inclement weather not included of course, and that alone made for prolonged drying times and tricky timing in between sporadic spring rain and humidity.

The Design Confidential x AVE Home In the Raw // Beautiful Pieces Both Custom + Convenient

Delivery was fast, like lightning speed and the price points are marvelous. As you enjoy Memorial Day weekend here in the US, take a moment to check out their goods - shipping is free for the newest member of your household through June 3rd, so get clicking and start browsing. Based in beautiful New Orleans, all of the AVE Raw pieces are available for purchase online and it is a mighty fine collection of pieces at that.

This project created in partnership with Ave Home for the launch of AVE Raw. Thank you for supporting the brands that help bring fresh new content like this to The Design Confidential, I heart you guys!

May
24
2016
When Nature Interferes with Fun / The Design Confidential x Ortho

Got pests and weeds? Ortho has you covered. Trust the Ortho® family of products to provide solutions to pest and weed problems in and around your home. Visit Ortho.com to learn more

Spring is truly the only season of the year when it is possible to enjoy our outdoor living space here in Northern California. The days are numbered and summer comes fast and hard before we have even had a chance to stop and smell the roses. Naturally, with weather that is only beginning to warm and intermittent rain, nature can spiral out of control around here and start to take over in some less than enjoyable ways.

When Nature Interferes with Fun / The Design Confidential x Ortho

There is nothing I like less than having an unexpected visitor of the biting or stinging variety show up to my party uninvited… And when they bring enough plus 1’s to start a party of their own – well that doesn’t make anyone feel much liking dancing or laughing and a restful afternoon is utterly out of the question.

When Nature Interferes with Fun / The Design Confidential x Ortho

If the parties of my youth were any indication, things can get ugly faster than you know what hit you… and despite what anyone tells you, nobody likes to cry at their own party. So what is a gal to do when your outdoor living space goes from 0 to no fun in a minute flat?

When Nature Interferes with Fun / The Design Confidential x Ortho

Lucky for us, we don’t have to suffer pesky bugs, prickly weeds or teenage broken hearts for very long… Ortho’s party crasher fighting duo - Home Defense MAX Insect Killer and Weed B Gon are the perfect pair to help create a bug free perimeter around your home and a weed free zone for your lawn and garden. One simple application of Home Defense MAX Insect Killer can even end your worries about those sneaky pests that make their way inside. You know the ones I mean- the quintessential worst guests ever…

When Nature Interferes with Fun / The Design Confidential x Ortho

To be continued… who will prevail on this showdown between Ortho and my unwanted guests?

May
16
2016
The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

This post is brought to you by TargetStyleShop the new Home collection in stores and online.

When I have entertaining on the horizon and the event isn’t related to a specific holiday, I love to create an experience that draws inspiration from a faraway place. For me a party is like a vacation, a place you can go for a brief period of time where you don’t have to focus on meals or cleaning and where you can and should get swept up in the moment and enjoy your time.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

The Louvre in Neon - Paris

As the host, creating this experience for other people can be stressful and tedious. Rather than a vacation, it has the potential to feel more like a chore, especially for those of us who are tasked with thinking of the details and implementing them. Most of the time, this stress doesn’t end until the party itself has ended. After a recent trip to Europe, my entertaining frame of mind has forever been changed. I now view simple and indulgent as being far more chic than any elaborate spread might be.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Pineapple Candle / Gold Fluted Tray / Ceramic Platter / Neon Tray / Cheeseboard / Recycled Glass Tumblers + Carafe / Decorative Lemon / 8" Plant Stand / Gold Pigeon / Gold Decorative Vase / Bottle Opener

Choose a Theme or Pick a Locale

On my recent trip overseas, I had the distinct pleasure of spending time in Paris and London. It was magical and unforgettable in every possible way. Both cities had such an extreme mix of old and new, opulent and rich in history, right alongside and mingling marvelously with minimal and modern. I was smitten and it was glorious. Since both countries were heavily invested in many of the tropical nations we know and love today, a celebration of the exotic can be seen everywhere you turn. From décor to cuisine, the wonder of the West Indies and a love of all things from the Far East, it was spectacular to see how these things have been incorporated in every aspect of life for both cultures.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Le Bon Marche, Paper Koi + Crane Installation - Paris

For this event, I hoped to incorporate a bit of inspiration from both the places I visited along with some of the more exotic places that have inspired them throughout the ages. Luckily, an eclectic mix of design styles is always amazing, don’t you think? With the vast amount of super stylish goods available at Target, I was able to bring this wild and varied look to the table (literally) in a far more inspired way than I could have imagined and with so much less stress from beginning to end.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Pineapple Candle / Neon Tray / Cheeseboard / Recycled Glass Tumblers + Carafe / Decorative Lemon / 8" Plant Stand / Gold Pigeon / Black Plates / Striped Napkins

Simplify and Focus on the Few

Having the opportunity to travel always leaves me full of inspiration and a completely new outlook on the type of lifestyle I would like to lead. It certainly brings light to all the ways I might enjoy the everyday moments so much more. Vacations are amazing like that, aren’t they? In London, they celebrate a way of life that is steeped in tradition. Meals are often elaborate and indulgent with a great many options on the menu. It’s beautiful and delicious, and such a big focus of the day. 

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Modern Gold Chainmail Ceiling Installation – Palace of Versailles

In contrast, the Parisian way of life is simplified and indulgent with far fewer options and much less fuss. While meals are also a large focus of the day in Paris, it is less about the process and more about the experience and enjoying the people you are with. The latter of these ideas is something that truly stuck with me and for this event I sought to recreate the ambiance I adored from both places with the more simplified sentiment of Parisian dining. The simple and chic sensibility that permeates every aspect of Parisian life was definitely contagious and I think in replicating a bit of it here, it made for a more relaxing setup and likely a more pleasant experience for my guests. I kept the food easy and paired down, yet sumptuous and delicious, with a few baked goods that work beautifully with either cheese or dark chocolate. An overabundance of fresh fruits was scattered about, to celebrate a bit of the exotic and of course bring that vacation-esque feel to the table that we all long for come spring.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Pineapple Candle / Gold Fluted Tray / Ceramic Platter / Neon Tray / Cheeseboard / Recycled Glass Tumblers + Carafe / Gold Decorative Vase / Decorative Lemon / 8" Plant Stand / Gold Pigeon

Throw Caution to the Wind and Have Fun

I am a firm believer in the fact that if you love it, it will work – as long as you ground it within your design and repeat it more than once. The same goes for entertaining. Mastering the Mix is often more about letting your guard down and taking risks than a set guideline for pairing patterns and colors. When done right, I often end up with elements that I wouldn’t otherwise choose to put together but in the end I am typically so very glad I did. This is precisely how the style direction for this spring event happened for me and the challenge of trying to create a feeling and an experience rather than directly placing the focus on the design elements themselves, gave me a whole new freedom in setting the table and choosing the menu.  It was glorious.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Modern Stairway Model – Victoria & Albert Museum - London

I walked the aisles at Target and chose individual items that reminded me of London and Paris. Rustic cheeseboards, global patterns, handcrafted ceramics, pineapples (a constant motif in London architecture), modern neon acrylic trays and a wide array of colors all reminiscent of the tropics and all grounded in a healthy dose of white, black and gold – just like these ancient cities themselves. It was so easy to find no less than one million items that would have been perfect and so chic, and oh so hard to narrow it down to what might actually fit on the table.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

My table is a melting pot of eras, materials and styles and somehow that made choosing the pieces carefree, fun and fabulous. With a theme that was based in variety and more about the ambiance, I had more options for décor and entertaining than I could actually cart home with me and a very low stress experience in the process of choosing the pieces to use. There were no rules to consider or strict choices to be adhered to – I just went for it and let the vacation vibe and carefree state of mind I was hoping to create, take the lead.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Target knocks it out of the park every single season and this spring is no exception. If you have entertaining on the calendar in the near future, you can be sure that you will find everything you need (and more – always more) to create an experience for your guests that you can enjoy right along with them. Let them do the heavy lifting and simply mix and mingle styles from their collections as you please.

DIY 

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