a Splash in the Bathroom without water!

The project mission?  To decorate my client’s blah guest bathroom on a budget. The tricky part – decorating it without changing the paint color (the veeeery muted dark-ish wall color). Oh, btw the ceiling was also painted with the same color (yeah, just a lil claustrophobic). My solution: simply add (2) decorative elements. All economical, of course, since that’s how we rock and roll over here! We added (1) fun decals and (2) artwork.

Let’s take a look at the very scientific process ….

(1) stare at the space until a design pops in your head. Think of the “what you want to hide or un-accentuate”. For this room, it was the color of walls. Here’s a BEFORE PHOTO …

(2) draw a design (a draft) and start pulling materials (sourcing). 


(3) Implement the design. These are the days that I don’t go to the gym.  During decal installations I tend to have to stretch a lot (up and down, up and down), kinda like yoga. Hmm, it’s like doing yoga warrior poses and instead of a mat I use a ladder.

RECAP: The dark wall color is a bit overwheming for the small bathroom especially since the ceiling was painted as well … the solution … instead of repainting it we added a BIG SPLASH OF white DECAL FUN and  white matted photo framed to lightened up the walls. Did you notice how I extended the decal from 1 wall to the other … yeah, I’m cRaaaZy like that, thankfully my clients like my kind of crazy, wink!.

My client loves the ocean so I recommended an ocean / water theme and purchased (4) cool photos online (I think it was from 2 different etsy stores). Did you spot the turtle that wants a kiss? Smooooches.

We joked around that my client’s guests may take a loooong time in the bathroom simply to admire the art. With the help of my design intern, Nicole, we also added another SPLASH decal to the door, kinds gives guests a sneak peek of the design before they enter the powder room:

Here’s a closer look at the door with the decal. And remember, you don’t need to add a lot (or spend a lot of money or time) to a space to make it feel or look HUGELY different.


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Retractable clothesline is finally up (happy dance!)

I finaaaally installed a retractable clothesline in our bathroom. EPIC? You betcha! Why? Bec it’s one of those …. I’ll get to it later .. and later .. and (1 year after) later annoyances. Do you have one of those? You know, those …. I’ll-get-to-it-one-day”. Fixing a squeaky door, replacing a broken handle, getting a retractable clothesline to make like easier! And isn’t that what WE ALL WANT; to walk in a room with our wet laundry and have singing birds happily help you lift each piece of clothing onto a drying spot (yes, I clearly had way too much coffee that my imagination is running wild!). But you get the point right? Or better said, you know the feeling, right …. of relief when something you wanted/needed/dreamt …. (fixed) … is finally done.

As excited as I am about my new laundry BFF, this post was really created to show you an EASY TRICK that I learned the HARD WAY while installing the clothesline. What took me 20 minutes of struggle was resolved in less than 1 minute. A 15 minute project took me 36 minutes. Here’s why. 

The instruction was simple … screw the base/hook onto the wall -> and attach the clothesline disc to the hook -> then connect both with a tiny screw on top through microscopic holes on both pieces (the hook + the disc). Simply, right. hahahaha_cry!

The  implementation was not simple ….. since I could NOT see the holes, the holes of the hook and the disc had to align. URGH! What’s a gal to do. After 20 minutes (felt like 5 hours) I took a break, and check myself out in the mirror (as I thought ugh I am getting sweaty from this darn installation) … then DING DING DING lightbulb solution!

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Part 2, the guest room reveal is FINALLY here!

It’s taken me so long to create this post that my hair grew immensely since the design was implemented (seriously! yikes). But, it’s finally here. My previous post revealed how temporary walls can be “rented” to make an extra room in your home (see drawings/post here). Now, the reveal …  da daa daaa (yes i’m feeling dramatic today, wink!). Huge thanks to my design assistant Albina Dobruskin (((HUG))) for helping me take photos. What a crazy day it was .. squeezing in styling and photographing mid afternoon. We were racing against the clock (tick tock, knowing that by 4pm it would be dark outside and we would lose natural light, eek). The biggest furniture piece inside the room was a murphy bed.

Here’s a sneak peek of the TEMPORARY wall that were installed to create this bedroom (psst, do read the previous post here so you aren’t lost on the design plan).


I already knew Melanie and Rahul’s design style since I decorated their previous apartment, so this would be a breeze, right?! Um, not really.  Remember, I needed to design a TEMPORARY bedroom from an EMPTY space (NO WALLS!) and make it MULTI-FUNCTIONAL (though, that is my specialty, wink!) and ECONOMICAL since they may be/could-be/possibly moving. I was def, up for the challenge. I finished a pint of ice cream (my brain food!) for inspiration, and came up with a design.


Keeping: their existing window blinds and a small TV

Walls installed – see how here.

guest bedroom – we added murphy bed, dresser, table lamp, happy colorful bedding, decor

yoga/ meditation space – green meditation pillows added, existing TV mounted to the wall for yoga tapes, bottom of dresser can be used to store pillows

study area – the murphy bed I hunted down + presented for clients approval has a pull out table (awesome sauce!).

tiny nursery space – yep, they were expecting. Still in the early stages of the preg, they simply wanted an area to add a small crib which they would buy when the due date got closer. Remember, they were possibly having to move back to California for work so all items had to be ECONOMICAL and transferable.

update: they had a beautiful baby girl named Anjali (I love that name!), and yes they ended up moving back to California. But before they move they did get to enjoy the designed room. More photos below.

Murphy bed came with a strap so you can tuck in the bedding and pillow and open /close. Yes, my friends murphy beds are STILL AWESOME. Ya just need to get the right design to fit within your space.


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Did you know? You can RENT walls for your home!

If you want an extra room in your home (temporarily) you can get a pressurized wall (with doors if you want) installed. Pretty awesome huh?! My clients Rahul and Melanie had a 1 bedroom apartment and potential plans to move back to California but they wanted an extra room for: (1) when their parents visited, (2) to practice yoga, and to fit a (3) bassinet (yep, they were expecting a baby). Yaaaay and holey cow, how am I going to fit all that in! Today’s post walks you through the installation steps (and the short hair that I was styling back then). First I created the DESIGN LAYOUTS. 

The kitchen had 2 entries/exists, so we closed one up (thanks to temporary walls to the rescuuuuuue) and the space that would normally be a dining area we made into the extra bedroom with french doors (all temporary awesomeness!).

The walls (sheetrock / drywall) are installed with a pressurized system attached from floor to system so NO nails on your floors, walls, or ceiling. You can EVEN hang frames/mirrors (under 30 lbs) to the temp wall. Cool, right! Some pictures are blurry bec they are snapshots from video (we took more vids back then than photos!). All floors projected (for installation and painting) …..

Closeup of the pressurized metal frame . . .


Plastering for sheetrock smoothness ….

We ordered 2 French doors with clear lite panes so I kinda freaked out when I noticed that all the glass panes were white. Then I realized that it was just the protected liner (duh!). Beautiful clear glass panes (panels) were underneath. Phew. Um. yeah, err, there was no panicking; tsst, I was totally cool like a cucumber! Looking back now I realize that as my short hair grew out I learned to be more relaxed – there is always a solution, wink. Peel paper, all good.

These temporary walls (room dividers) are perfect solution for peeps that want an extra room for guests … a roommate … an office … a nursery … storage space …  yoga / meditation space … etc. Once you are about to move, or kid grows up, etc you simply contact the company to de-install the walls and your security deposit it given back. The company we hired in New York is:

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Weekend project – How to monogram your wall ECONOMICALLY

Hi! Today’s post is a project I designed for an apartment’s dressing area adjacent to a small bathroom. The mission was to turn a boring wall beautiful without adding wallpaper, decal, artwork, or buying a stencil. So, I stared at left over paint and came up with …. monogramming the wall creating my own motif stencil simply out of copy paper (yep, DIY style baby!). Normally I would suggest a thicker paper material for a stencil, but on a teanie tiny small budget I aimed to create a WOW factor design without spending much money. Mission accomplished. 

8.5×11 copy paper … had in the office
printer …. doesn’t everyone have one in their home?
brush ………. had already
paint ……..  used left over paint

Here’s how it turned out (oh, and do you see the letter ‘A’ in the design? Tilt your head to the left or right to see it):

the easy STEPS:
(1) create a design
(2) print the design + tape together (if need be)
(3) cut the outline of the design (it is now a stencil) 
(4) tape the stencil to the wall
(5) paint it
(6) remove the stencil
(7) do touch ups (if needed) using a small brush
(8) say oooh and aaaah when complete

(1) CREATE THE DESIGN:  for this monogrammed wall, I choose the letter “A” turned on it’s side, mirrored, and repeated 3 times for a total of 4 letter A’s. I used the font NotnorvalHMK for the cool curves within the letter.

With a marker I attached the end ‘leg’ of the letter A and created a HEART design within the monogram. 

I first created a miniature version on my computer to get the design approved, then printed it GINORMOUSLY using regular 8.5×11 copy paper in sections …..  Continue reading

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How to make a small bathroom grandiose (without renovation)

Today I’m working on a kitchen design, bathroom design, editing photo shoot photos, and I need to HUNT DOWN some pillows for a living room. Didn’t you know I was a juggler? Also writing this post (as I suck down more coffee/caffeine) to share with you a lil design trick I use for my own bathroom and which I blab about to my clients all the time. If you have a SMALL BATHROOM in your home here’s a great way to make your small bathroom feel/look grandiose (big, huge, Godzilla like) without any renovations or mirrors - since you can’t stretch your bathroom’s width or depth, then tackle (emphasize) it’s HEIGHT!

Standard size shower curtain rod placement (heights) make small bathroom simply look mediocre (blah). In my bathroom we have a window in the tub wall which was even taller in height than the shower curtain height (so it looked unbalance). And as a designer that drives me NUTS!  So, in raising up the curtain rod height up up up up, we were able to (1) hide (balance) the window and (2) make the bathroom appear bigger / taller /grandiose. I also added 2 shower curtains instead of the standard quantity of one. And I looove it, it’s like a stage …. curtains open, and I am ready for a beautiful new day! Do ya’ll like it? ….

to make a small bathroom appear grandiose without renovation

– curtain rod (use existing or buy new one)
– two new shower curtains (I used an outdoor curtain)
– new shower liner (cost was @ $12)
– drill and hardware
– wall spackling + lil dab of paint

1. remove your current rod completely (including hardware)
2. spackle + paint wall area so it looks like there were never holes from the hardware
3. then install the shower rod higher to accommodate a TALLER shower curtain.
4. attach your longer curtain(s) with hooks (add 2 curtains instead of 1 for a dramatic exclamation singing “I’m reeaaaaady for this new beautiful day” exit from your tub. Plus, it actually makes the bathroom appear WIDER bec there is now a spacial balance on both sides (not just flushing the curtain to just 1 side).

So in theory the installation process is pretty simple, EXCEPT that in my bathroom I wanted a sleeker modern look so I decided to add a grommet design outdoor curtain vs a standard curtain that you simply add shower hooks to hold the curtain onto the rod. With standard ‘hooked’ curtains you simply unhook it to throw it into the laundry for cleaning. But with a grommet design we needed to make an adjustment to the rod so it would unscrew and the curtain would simple slide off. Simple? Yes, once the LIGHT BULB IDEA comes into your head on how to make it work (thanks hubby).

Ooooh, and the shower rod also arrived broken . . . .

But there is NO PANICKING in interior design!!! I called up for a replacement (which arrived miraculously quick … yaaaay!), and we were back to diving into the installation. One of the lessons that I always teach my design assistants is that something usually goes wrong in a design project.  It’s not a negative outlook, it’s more of a factual heads up to a problem solving opportunity. An item arrives late, or damaged, or we receive the wrong item. Contractor or client is sick and we have to postpone meeting / installation. It’s raining / snowing / or scorching hot outside and we get a delayed in our paint drying time schedule. I train to turn panic into problem solving (no yelling at vendors/stores either!). I had an assistant who I had to teach her to soften up .. it’s not customer services fault, they didn’t pack the item, they are there to help us get a solution. Ok, enough of my preaching. Back to the installation,  replacement part arrived . . . .

 . . . . and we added a bolt onto the hardware so the rod can screw/unscrew easily for whenever we had to launder the shower curtains.

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Apartment made out of ice (sort-of-ish)

While in Boston we decided to visit Frost Ice Bar lounge or as I like to call it – an ice apartment. Almost every single item in the ‘apartment’ is made from ice (I know, crazy cool, right!). They had sofas made of ice (yes, I practically squealed with excitement when I spotted them). The residents keep their apt thermostat at 21 degrees to preserve their precious cool furnishing. Brrr.

The foyer (entrance) took my breath away when I spotted the gorgeous chandelier with ice-crystal blocks. Did you see the ice bubbled wall coverings (better than any wallpaper or paint). Then there was the playful toys (ducks), the sculpture with an ice tong tool frozen in time (cool irony), and sports memorabilia (baseballs), and they even had a fish tank (no, fish not real, but still adorable) As I walked towards the living room area I spotted the sofas with sheepskin throws, the coffee/cocktail table, the centerpiece on the table, and even … FROZEN art (I’m squealing with excitement just reminiscing)! But enough of my babbling, let me show you photos . . . .

Artwork (encased in ice), sofa (carved from ice), throw /sheepskin on the sofa for our tushy’s comfort, coffee/ cocktail table (made of ice blocks), centerpiece decor on table (ice ice ice!), and  ceiling ice-cubes hanging art; all adds up to =  coolness!

And then I spotted it …. (cue the exciting squeaaaaaaaaling). Isn’t she beautiful?

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The boat house we rented (yes, boat!).

Hubby and I took a mini get-away trip to downtown Boston this month (about 3 hrs from NY). If you have been a long time subscriber to my blog ya’ll know that we love staying at rentals homes for a comfy/cozy feel (like we did here, here, and here), but when I perused the internet to see what was avail, my eye almost popped out – instead of staying at a rental apartment building we can stay at a house boat (awesome sauce!!!!!). The house boat was available by Sleep A Float (booked through Fipkey). Here I am below getting on our house boat (oh, did I mention it has a full kitchen .. like I can bake cookies if I wanted to!!!, but yeah that’s not going to happen, but still nice to know that it’s an option, right).


We stayed in downtown Boston by the Lewis Wharf. We arrived at the marina’s nearby parking lot and it had a sign that said NO SPACE AVAILABLE (what the what?), our hearts sank but we drove into the outdoor lot anywayz (fingers crossed), and spotted one spot left (hallelujah!!!).

At the parking lot we met SleepAfloat’s super nice site manager John who handed us the keys (to the private gate area into the marina’s docks and the boat keys). He then gave us the tour of where everything was on the boat (the towels, bedrooms, bathroom, etc.).

Boat is named Lily Pad (how adorbs). The boats next to use where rentals as well which was GREAT bec everyone had to abide by the 10pm quiet time policy – much appreciated when we would come “home” late. The house boat is about 30 feet long and is a 4 level boat with everything awesomely compacted (well planned SleepAfloat, well planned indeed), it has:

  • 1 master bedroom (all linens and pillows provided)
  • 1 guest room (teanie tiny area, but sleepable)
  • living room (w/ tv and stereo, futon bed) and sunroof)
  • full bathroom (w/ sink, shower, toilet, vanity mirrors)
  • a full kitchen (to get my baking on!!! not)
  • upstairs outdoor lounge (our suntanning spot /cigar lounge)
  • balcony with electric grill (and area where I fed the ducks from)

Now, when I say full kitchen I really mean FULL (minus dishwasher), it has a stove, oven, microwave, coffee pot (Keurig), plates, utensils, cups, etc).


Doesn’t hubby look like a captain. I quickly started using the kitchen bakingbrewing, ok ok I just added sugar into my coffee!


Some boats can be taken out for an additional charge, but we were cheapos … nah, seriously we just wanted a unique place to stay for 3 days as we did tooooooons of walking around the hood (Faneuil Hall/market, Haymarket, Fenway Park (went to see Boston Red Sox baseball game), etc.

All the windows were tinted except for the drivers seat (captains window) so no one could see in during the daytime as we walked around nude (just kidding, we aren’t nudist). At night though you can clearly see inside so that’s when all the dark blue drapes came in handy. One window didn’t have a shade so we added my beach towel (yep, we are classy that way!).


One of the best parts of having a house boat is that it has a roomy indoor shower (soap, shampoo, towels, privacy), so once I sunbathed I would slip into the shower.


I was a bit nervous about the bedroom bec hubby’s 6′ tall, but it was more comfortable than we thought it would be plus I got a kick out out being able to use the large waterfront view window from the bed as an entrance / exit to the balcony. The first night was a bit horrible since we FROZE. We had tons on blankets on (I even wore hubby’s hooded sweater) but it was still freezing. It wasn’t until the next day that we remembered (1) that there is a heater in the storage room and  (2) hubs spotted a heater on the ceiling. We also learned that night who would survive in a deserted island. Hubby woke up to 1/2 of a bed sheet on him, turning to me and seeing me cocooned with 3 blankets (which I apparently hogged in my sleep). Basically, we concluded that in a deserted island I would eat him first like a chicken drum (survival instincts) or I would hog all the leaves in the island to make myself a blanket.  So, we aren’t planning to visit any deserted island to be on the safe side or planning to sign up for Discovery Channels Naked & Afraid crazy ventures.


To the left of when you enter the boat is the guest room. Though it’s not exactly a “room” but a space … a small small did I mention small area where you get to lie down but can’t sit up straight without knocking yourself out unconscious. You can see the edge of the bed in this photo by the steps …. (see the bedspread/mattress?):

It does have a fan, side table-ish area and adorable aquatic pillows. I took a selfie so you can see how tall (or not so tall) the ceiling is to my head. I still give it a thumbs up for unique use of space.


The upper deck . . . .

It was easier climbing the ladder to reach the outdoor lounge area with shoes on, but I liked walking around in our “home” without shoes so needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway) … I’m thankful that the ladder wasn’t too high up. I spend most of the time up here sunbathing and Patrick smoking cigars = peacefully perfect. Isn’t he handsome ….

We were apparently too busy taking pictures of ourselves that we didn’t take pics of the Boston waterfront views or the lounge chairs area. The table on the deck was a makeshift …. it was the heater / conditioner box from indoors that protruded outside and a table-top was constructed to camouflage it – not too shabby. You can get a slight glimpse of it from the below photo where Patrick is sitting on the lower deck.

The lower deck …..

We also enjoyed lounging at the back of the boat; where we could grill some fresh fish (we could, but didn’t). Instead we smoked cigars and I fed ducks (too tired to grill, people). I also spent some time at night gazing (peeping) at the building across from us …. the sections with long balconies …  some with flowers, some with tables and chairs, some (one) with a huge kayak that I concluded must had been hauled up with a rope. I would had taken a photo but was too busy being a peeper. The BEST part of the lower deck was the FUN access we had entering/exiting it from the bedroom window. By fun, I mean a not-so-eloquent dive, drop, roll actions from the deck through the window to the bed to access the rest of the boat (and vice versa).

It was funny, it was fun. I could hang out with hubs when he was at the back deck while I laid in bed.


The morning views were serenely amazing with fresh air, cool breeze, great night sleep (once we got the heater). Sleeping in a boat you feel like you are in a hammock while the boat sang a lullabye. Oh, and the cost was just $179 a night – awesome sauce!!! – much more economical than the B&B and hotel places that we spotted around town.

Here’s the private gated entry:

Here’s a tomato plant from another rentals boat (i want one!):

Here’s my love patiently waiting as I tool a gazillion photos:

Here I am giggling:

And then there was some of the food we ate that turned us into zombies at night. So delicious! Have you visited Boston? I recommend Hanover street from pastry shops, seafood, and fun. Well, I hope you enjoyed the tour. Oh, and stay tuned. We went to an apartment made of ice (sort-of-ish), I’ll post the tour of that apt in a few days, but first I have some designs to tackle. Have a great day.

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I’m smitten .. yes, with a trivet! You too?

It had me at … sketch! I was totally smitten when I spotted this unique trivet design … a silicon trivet created to look like a sketched pot and pan. Cue my muuuust-have-it-squeal, esp at a cost of $11.99 each (awesome sauce!!!). We finished our kitchen reno (floors, countertop, backsplash, etc.) but I still have some finishing touches to make, and with a brand new white countertop I knew I wanted a trivet into my design. So after I stopped squealing with excitement on my find, I purchased 2, one pot and one pan from here. Check out how they look below and how my kitchen is looking like lately. Let me know if you have any questions.

Oh, and some behind the scene facts – the pastry holder above had more goodies when I started taking photos, by the end of the shoot there were just 3 coconut cookies left (#icouldnotresist).

I also had to plant new basil  (go dig some up from our garden) to put into the white hanging pot (I use basil a lot in salads and cooking) so when it came time for the shoot, there was NONE left indoors … so I placed camera down, and replaced it with a shovel (very elegant huh!) to play with dirt. All in the name of great staging/styling! So my friends, this (staging + eating + styling) is why some photo shoots take longer, wink! I guess I could save time and stop eating my props huh. Maybe.


Adorable XOXOs on pillowcase and balloons

For my 5 year wedding anniversary I wanted to DIY a present for hubs. “Monogramming” something came to mind! Towel? Naah! Maybe something cozier. Aha, pillowcase! But instead of adding his initials, I decided to add a love note (hugs and kisses) … XOXO. So i purchased a new pillowcase and used fabric paint to write my love note on the pillowcase. Then, wrapped the present and added balloons – message balloons (see instructions below). Notice anything inside the balloons below?

I added a photo w/a message into each balloon!!! Every balloon marked a year of our marriage (5 years = 5 balloons), plus a photo of each year.

How to create ANNIVERSARY / BIRTHDAY message balloons:

1. use marker to write each # of years (anniversary, birthday, etc) on the balloon

2. insert a photo of each year (1st anniversary, 2nd anniversary, etc) so you can both reminisce of the eventful year

3. blow into the balloon without passing out + tie it up

4. (the fun part), give hubs a pin to POP the balloon and see the photo/note inside (I taped a pin onto the anniversary card that I gave him first)

Painting XOXO onto a PILLOWCASE is very economical and super easy to do. The tough part will be hiding it from your significant other while it dries (for at least 24hrs)! The beautiful part is that YOU created it on your own (custom made with looooove, wink!). Here are the INGREDIENTS and instructions:

1. pillowcase / iron it so it’s smoother to paint

2. pencil / lightly write your love note (XOXO)

3. fabric paint / paint over the pencil outline