Homepolishing Kelly Oxford’s House

Photographs by Tessa Neustadt with Additional Photography by Sean Gin, Courtesy Homepolish

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Dear Kelly Oxford’s Weird Looking Cats,

Have you heard the news? Kelly’s new house is finally furnished and ready for scratching! After months of texting and mutual whining to each other about everything, Kelly and I wrapped up the project a few weeks ago and I’m super stoked with the results.

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My favorite thing at her house, which I am def getting made for my own place, is this triptych by Erika Gragg. Erika and I have been close friends since college and I’ve always been a huge fan of her work, so I was stoked to be able to commission her to create something for Kelly’s happy, bright space. Bringing original art into a space is the best way to make it personal and unique so if you know any artists, buy stuff from them! (Or, better yet, from Erika).

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I’m pretty much obsessed with these chrome and glass coffee tables we snagged from Apt2B. Because Kelly’s great room is so enormous, I needed two to fill the space between the sofas. You might be freaking out that I paired them with brass side tables and brass legs, but I am a huge fan of mixing metals. I believe in diversity and integration. If you disagree with me, you’re a racist.

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This root ball table from AllModern really makes me mad. Mad that I don’t own it and made that it’s not 1970, a time when people really knew how to appreciate an organic wood coffee table.

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These little cube sculptures made by my friend Ben Medanksy fill my heart with joy and bewilderment. If you don’t know Ben’s work you have to check out his site (also a great place to buy my Christmas gift HINT HINT). You’ll notice his work scattered throughout the rest of the house.

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Those banana pillows, RIGHT? They make me so happy. I saw the fabric downtown and instantly knew I had to make them into pillows for Kelly. Those Issey Miyake-inspired pleated throws from West Elm are kind of the bomb, and totally affordable ($29).  Those brass circular side tables are from Revitaliste and every time I go to Kelly’s I say “WHY AREN’T YOU LOSING YOUR MIND OVER THESE???” and she’s all “I AM LOSING MY MIND CAN’T YOU SEE???”

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These Copper Barstools from Blu Dot are 100% the bomb.

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These rugs from Rugs USA helped make each area (TV/lounge area, sitting area, and dining area) distinct from one another.

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That pouf pretty much makes my life complete. Kelly and I found it at the flea market. At first, we weren’t sure about it because it had gross upholstery and needed a mega makeover. But then, some ANNOYING GIRLS started looking at it and both of us were immediately outraged “GET AWAY FROM OUR POUF!” As soon as they left we swooped it up and ran for the border.

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The dining nook got some love with a new saarinen table, Eames chairs (in a color called “Pickle” HAY) and an amazing “Les Oiseaux” (The Birds) poster. I wanted to keep it light and airy in there so I added sheer white drapery from Barn & Willow.

You can check out the rest of the images of this project and get all the resources by reading my piece on Homepolish Mag.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!

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You can enter to win this awesome coffee table, courtesy Apt2B and Homepolish!

ENTER HERE (Giveaway ends September 25)

BUT WAIT THERE’S STILL MORE!

Just kidding! No there isn’t. But make sure to read the whole Homepolish Mag piece (it’s RILLY good!).

Love,
Orlando

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Six Shocking Facts About Fire Island That Will Change The Way You See Everything

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Dear Tell-All Diary,

Did you know there is a Gay Island super close to New York City where lots of gay guys go every summer to wiggle around like Mexican Jumping Beans? It’s called Fire Island and its about 2.5 hours away from Manhattan (via a train, another train, another train, yet one more train, one final train, a bus, and a ferry). I went there this past weekend and I learned a lot of facts about this magical island. If you like facts, keep reading! If you hate them, just look at the pictures! Okay, onto to the facts!

1. All logical rental systems are banned from the island.

Finding a place to stay in Fire Island is probably the most difficult thing in the world. This is because it’s an island full of privately owned homes that landlords sublet to people all summer. Those subletters then sublet them to other subletters who in turn sublet them a few more times until you have no idea who is the owner and who is the hobo that lives underneath the hot tub. Fire Island frequenters call this system “getting a share on Fire Island.” Ridiculously wealthy people have Full Shares (the whole summer), moderately rich people have “half shares” (half the summer), and moderately impoverished people have “quarter shares.” This system of share dividing is necessary because living in New York is stupid expensive and that turns everyone who lives there into a hungry hungry psychopath.

2. The houses on the island are sororities.

As the years pass and rosé goes from cool, to passé, to cool again, to way too cool, groups of gays form and go to Fire Island together over and over and over again. Together. They become like families because they get shares in the same house repeatedly. They create house rules to keep order and thus peace is maintained. The house rules are things like “no guests, you have to do your chores, etc.” And they’re incredibly strict. In Palm Springs if you rent a house with friends and you invite a friend to drive in from LA and sleep on the sofa no one cares. If you invite a friend to sleep on the sofa in Fire Island, both you and the friend will be murdered publicly. People will look on, understanding looks on their faces saying “I can’t believe he invited a guest!”

3. They have tons of tea parties all the time but no one drinks tea ever.

At Fire Island there are about 16 tea parties every day. There’s Tea, Low Tea, High Tea, Middle Tea, Junior Tea, Senior Tea, etc. But there’s never any tea. “Tea” is just code for “circuit party at 4 PM.” (A circuit party is a party with laser lights and electronic music that normally take place at 4 AM, FYI). You go to at least two of these parties before you eat dinner and then you’re supposed to go to one or more after. This is when you realize that dancing in a club with disco balls and laser lights at 4 PM makes you feel not only 100 years old but also like a crystal meth addict. In sort of a fun way and sort of a way that makes you question your life choices.

4. The houses there are either jaw dropping or disgusting.

Fire Island is filled with homes that make you want to slowly poison the owners until they die so you can start squatting in them and never have to leave. There are some incredibly gorgeous homes there. And then there are homes that are falling down and covered with mold and still rent for hundreds of thousands of dollars a summer. It’s confusing, and exciting, because you never know what’s going to happen when you’re invited to a pool party. It could be at a shack or it could be at a mega mansion.

5. There are two sides of the island and they hate each other.

On Fire Island, there’s Fire Island Pines on one side and Cherry Grove on the other. The two sides hate each other. The Pines is supposedly the fancier side and the Grove is the more approachable side. I stayed in the Pines but actually loved Cherry Grove because my boyfriend and I went on an amazing pretend shopping spree over there where he bought pajama bottoms and I bought neon underwear. But if you tell someone from the Pines side that you’re staying in the Cherry Grove side they’ll look at you like you’re a piece of rotting meat.

6. It’s impossible not to use the word “magical” when describing Fire Island.

Yes, it will make everyone want to punch you hard in the mouth, but it’s kind of hard not call this place magical. It’s a tiny little island with nothing else around it and it’s kind of a miracle that it exists. It’s only 1 mile wide (by 14 miles long) so it literally could blow away in the next hurricane. My advice is to get there as soon as you can, ogle some merry Homosexuals, and try your hardest to understand the strange, amazing, and delightfully terrifying place that is Fire Island.

Now that I’ve listed these six things in a way that makes you question whether or not I hate Fire Island and if I’m actually the most boring person on earth because I don’t want to go to a dance party at 4 PM, let’s move onto my actual trip!

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We stayed at this cute little hotel. There aren’t regular hotels there, only ones made out of houses. So it was kind of more like a bed and breakfast, but it was fun and we got to meet grizzled people who have been coming here for years and told  us all sorts of crazy tales about the island’s history, the fires that are constantly burning down houses (side note: all the homes here are made from matchsticks), and how the hurricanes changed everything for everyone.

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I found myself obsessing over these little zig zag fences everywhere. Like I want a yard made out of sand so I can do this at home.

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And look at this little newspaper. Don’t you just want to read this and only this over and over and over until your eyes bleed? I bet it has all sorts of new about local history and other stuff (I didn’t bother to read it while I was there DUH I was busy!).

More stuff I noticed…

ARCHITECTURE

There were so amazing buildings on that island. I guess when you take the population of Manhattan and squeeze them onto a tiny island they make cool buildings…

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Because all I care about is houses and design and architecture I had no idea when I started taking this picture that a naked dude was staring through his window at me taking this picture. Then my boyfriend screamed “A NAKED DUDE!” and I felt like a sex offender. Lesson: when you’re on Fire Island, just assume there’s always a naked dude peeping out his window at you.

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Hi house. I love how open and glassy you are. Touch me.

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This was the first house I got really excited about and wanted for myself.

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And then I saw this house and I was like BURN ALL THE OTHER HOUSES. It’s so gorgeous and apparently they filmed a movie there called ‘Ghost Writer’ which I’ve never seen but is now my favorite movie in the history of time.

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This is the pavilion where all the “tea parties” happen. This building is brand new because the previous tea party space burnt to the ground in an allegedly scandalous money grubbing fraud. Or something. That’s just what people told me while I was there. Sidenote: Fire Island, like most other places in New York, is the type of place where they like to be like “BACK WHEN I STARTED COMING HERE THINGS WERE DIFFERENT THINGS WERE REAL!” and then you’re like “When did you start coming here?” And they’re all “2012.” Eye roll.

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BOARDWALKS

I also found myself obsessing with the glamorous system of boardwalks that connects the entire island. The boardwalks allow you to walk around the island without getting gross and disgusting dirt all over brightly colored flip-flops you matched to your outfit.

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You can take a boardwalk and hop on a boat…

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Or you can take a boardwalk to a MYSTERY LOCATION…

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…Or to the ugly ol’ beach!

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BEACHES

Oh yeah, and there’s beaches there. Where I yelled at my boyfriend until he did tricks for me.

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Sidenote: Do you like his Orlebar Brown swimmiez as much as I do?

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I will always believe that, because of the mega pollution, LA has the best sunsets. That being said, these weren’t too shabby. I mean, look at that flamingo pink sky. I just want to eat it like cotton candy. Or a corndog. Or any fair food actually…

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See! Here I am smiling that the beach was so pretty!

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This is the last sunset I’ll ever see in Fire Island. Just kidding. I think I would go back. But only if I happened to be in New York and my friend was all “hey we got a house on Fire Island come sleep on the sofa!” Oh wait that doesn’t happen. So yeah I’m never going back. I suggest you go though, if only for the anthropological lessons you’ll learn from going there. And the fact that you get to drink “tea” all day and no one will judge you for it.

Love,
Orlando

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A Dining Room That’s Good Enough to Eat!

Photo by Sean Gin Courtesy Homepolish

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Dear Internet,

Hi there! It’s me, Orlando, here. And I’m typing directly to you. Anyway, do you have a boring dining room? Do you wish the walls had more personality and stuff or whatever? Do you sometimes stare at the wall hoping a giant shape will show up out of nowhere if you stare hard enough? If you answered “yes” or “no” to any or none of these questions than you simply must read the heartwarming story of my dining room’s transformation from moldy to marvelous today on Emily Henderson’s Glamoursite and Homepolish Magazine.

CLICK HERE FOR STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO GET A DINING ROOM JUST LIKE MINE ON EMILY’S SITE!

CLICK HERE TO SEE BEFORE & AFTER PHOTOS AND GET ALL THE RESOURCES FROM HOMEPOLISH MAGAZINE! 

HURRY!

Love,
Orlando

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Hello Giggles? I Will Remember You? Will You Remember Me?

Photographs by Tessa Neustadt Courtesy Homepolishc

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Dear Zooey Deschanel,

Remember when you started a website called Hello Giggles? With your friends Sophia and Molly? And then Hello Gigggles moved to downtown LA? And the office was all beige and boring and made everyone want to claw their eyes out? And you wanted it to reflect the fun, happy vibe of the site instead of being sad and depressing? And then me and Homepolish came over to spice things up? Well now you can see what the office looks like now that it’s decorated? By reading posts on Hello Giggles and Homepolish? WHY IS ALL OF LIFE A QUESTION???

And then we made this Hello Giggles Office Makeover Video?

But guess what also? You can win this amazing chair? If you bother to enter our giveaway? Enter by CLICKING THIS LINK? Hurry?

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Please read more about this office makeover? See the below links?

STORY ON HELLO GIGGLES

STORY ON HOMEPOLISH MAGAZINE

Love?
Orlando?

WHO IS THIS???

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Whut Glamour: Robert Bingaman’s Night Pool Series

Photographs Courtesy Robert Bingaman’s Website

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Dear Art Nerd,

Every once in a while I see paintings and wish I’d made them and it infuriates me and makes me want to punch the computer whilst screaming “WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY!” These amazing pool paintings by Robert Bingaman are the perfect example. I love how simple yet totally intoxicating they are. I just want to jump inside these paintings and live in them forever, saying goodbye to the worries of the real world where you have to do boring things like eat breakfast and dress yourself every day. Enjoy Robert’s Night Pool series here and check out the rest of his work on his website.

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Love,
Orlando

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From Nasty to Rhinoplasty: Upholstery Made Simple

Photograph by Sean Gin Courtesy Homepolish

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Dear Sir or Madam,

Remember when you were applying to jobs and you used to write cover letters and you’d always have no idea how to address them? “Do I write ‘Dear Sir or Madam’? Do I write ‘Dear Hiring Manager’? Do I write ‘Hi There’?” It was so confusing, because whatever you wrote it sounded stupid and you felt like you’d never get the job and it seemed pointless and annoying because applying for jobs is the worst thing in the world. Well this post I wrote for Homepolish Magazine is nothing like that. Instead, it’s a simple tutorial about how to reupholster a chair. It features lots of pictures of me frowning, looking super contemplative, busy, and important. Check it out!

Love,
Orlando

PS: READ FULL STORY HERE

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Homepolishing The Beach House Great Room

Photography by Tessa Neustadt Courtesy Homepolish

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Dear Diary,

I spend a lot of time wondering if the stuff I do is weird. Like is my love for peanut butter unclean? Is is wrong to drink so much coffee every morning that I start vibrating? Does it make sense to listen to NPR all day just so I can hear liberal voices murmuring things about foreign policy even if I don’t listen to what they are saying and I just use it as a substitute for being around actual humans?

When I’m not neurotically second guessing daily activities, I’m usually wishing that whatever room I’m in was brighter, that it had more natural elements in it, and that its beach view was a beach instead of Laurel Canyon Boulevard. This is why I filled the beach house with so many natural materials, muted colors, and bright whites. Speaking of bright, blinding white, my skin. I went to the dermatologist yesterday and he was like “With your skin and eyes you should never go in the sun ever again. In fact I’m outraged that you ever went outside in the first place.” So this basically dashes all my dreams of waddling out of my future beach dream house and laying in the sun all day, wondering what Mandy Moore is up to and if she ever sings “Candy” in the shower.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s so sad. But I got the short end of the latino stick (I’m half, in case you’re curious). I have a friend who has literally the same genetic makeup as me and he has brown eyes and coconut skin and he can wiggle around in the sun all day and never get sunburned. If I can’t have skin that looks like beautiful, oiled brown leather and I’m not allowed to go outside, it’s vital I make my interior space look like a dreamland. Thus, I hope my space someday looks like the beach house.

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The great room (which is where the living, dining, and kitchen are located) is where the high-low elements of the project really shine. Those contemporary chairs were a steal from CB2, while the solid marble coffee table from Timothy Oulton was a splurge. [Resources listed at bottom of post].

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That throw is really soft. I may or may not have nuzzled it, whispering romantic things to it, while I was styling this photograph.

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The sofa is one of my favorite parts of the whole beach house. Mainly because I got a straight guy to go for it. Every time I propose a light-colored sofa to a straight guy (or any man in general) he’s all “Whut if I eat a pizza on it?” And it’s like THEN DON’T EAT A PIZZA ON YOUR SOFA. I mean, I understand the desire to eat pizza alone whilst crying and staring at the ocean, but this sofa is worth eating your pizza in the kitchen (or better yet, a dark, private, shame-ridden closet).

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This succulent garden gets a fair amount of light on the coffee table, but the trick to keeping him happy is to move him into the full sun every few days to allow him to luxuriate and absorb some UV rays. Unlike me, he is genetically predisposed to sit in full sun all day without dying of sun poisoning.

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I know, I know. You’ve seen crabs like this a million times. But I felt like the beach house wouldn’t be complete without one. In fact, is any house really complete without a vintage brass ash tray?

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These side tables from Wisteria sold out. Which is pretty much the saddest thing that has ever happened because I think they are amazing (and they were $80) and I want everyone to have them.

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I love these water glasses. Once, one exploded in my hand while I was washing it and my hand squirted blood everywhere and it looked like that scene in The Addams Family where Wednesday and Pugsley do that super gory play and blood is spraying all over everyone’s faces. My boyfriend was like “WE’RE THROWING THESE ALL AWAY NEVER AGAIN!” And then I went back and bought a few more the next day to replace them. I guess I just like the thin glass walls, feeling the chill of cold water before it hits my thirsty, quivering mouth (side note: how gross/amazing is “quivering mouth”? Use it in a sentence today). Also, I like to live in danger because I am hardcore and dangerous and will stop at nothing until I rule the streets.

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These West Elm brass lamps make me lose my mind every time I look at them. They are so cool and chic looking and such a good deal. As you can tell, I love a good deal.

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This built-in desk is one of my favorite moments at the beach house. You can sit at it, work on your laptop, and think about how nice it would be if you were allowed to go outside. Dreamz…

Love,
Orlando

LIVING AREA RESOURCES

Sofa from Crate & Barrel, Marble Coffee Table from Timothy Oulton, Chairs from CB2, Geometric Sidetables from Wisteria, Chandelier from Park Collective, X-Benches from West Elm, Milo Baughman-Inspired Side Table from West Elm, Mid-Century Floor Lamps from Crate & Barrel, Wooden Tray from Crate & Barrel, Agate Coasters from West Elm, Accent Pillows from Crate & Barrel, Ivory Throw from Crate & Barrel, Sisal Rug from Rugs USA, Brass Mid-Century Lamps from West Elm, Custom Desk by Francis Capone, Desk Chair from Crate & Barrel.

DINING AREA RESOURCES

Dining Table from HD Buttercup, Eames-Inspired Chairs from Amazon, Succulent Arrangements by Mickey Hargitay, Console Table from Crate & Barrel, Nelson Bubble Pendant from Modernica.

This project was completed as part of my work with Homepolish, a full service design company that is revolutionizing the interior design industry and making everything better for design-strarved clients nationwide. If you’d like to work with me or another Homepolish designer, please visit our website and sign up for a consultation. 

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Interior Design Magazine’s Designers to Follow on Instagram

5cjx9VPUnI4TxdimjJPpGtplCH5nuJ9FIElPgI4F8DQDear Instangrandmas,

I’ve had a lot of luck in with my Instagram account lately. I’ve been added to a few fun “Design Instagramers to Watch” lists, including Buzzfeed and DesignSponge. The latest of these lists I’ve magically been included on is Interior Design Magazine’s list of 15 Inspiring Designers to Follow on Instagram. They created their list in collaboration with a mobile mood board creation app called Morpholio, so each designer was tasked with creating a mood board representing their brand (see mine above). Below is the list of Interior Design Magazine’s list, along with each designer’s mood board:

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Kemble Interiors

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Miles Redd

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Vicente Wolf

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Angela Kounnas

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Kyla Bidgood

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Knibb Design

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Martyn Lawrence Bullard

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Bonni Whyte Interiors

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Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Go check out all these Insta accounts immediately. Also, check out the @homepolish account, which is obviously another one of my faves.

Love,
Orlando

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D.I.Why? Making a Headboard All Alone By Yourself in Silence

Photographs By Sean Gin Courtesy Homepolish

headboard-2Dear Slumberers,

Do you have a bed with no headboard? Do you yearn to make one alone, by yourself, in silence, whilst weeping? If so check out my latest post for Homepolish Magazine! In it, you’ll learn how to make the lovely headboard featured above. Also, you’ll see hair-raising action shots like this one:

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Think you can handle it? Head over to Homepolish Magazine and check it out!

Best,
Orlando

READ FULL POST HERE

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Deck Design Challenge Reveal: Before & After at My Parents’ House!

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Dear The Cast of Melrose Place (the original one, not the Ashlee Simpson one, which I cannot stop watching now that it’s on Netflix because the fashonz are so 90z and amazing),

As you may remember, I entered a design challenge recently and I’m thrilled to announce that I have won and that everyone else is a complete loser. Just kidding I don’t know if anyone is actually winning. But if one were to win, I’m hoping it would be me. Or one of the other bloggers who entered the challenge. Or better yet a random person on the street who has never heard of Del Mar, ceiling fans, or Hommemaking. Anyway, let’s all remind ourselves of how gross my parents’ deck was before the makeover:

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The brown paint was all “Hey, I’m depressing. Wanna come be depressed me with? I don’t got no Zoloft.” It made the space so dark and boring that it fills me anger that anyone ever thought it was a good idea to paint it that color. If time travel existed, I would go back in time and tell that person’s mom not to get pregnant, just to avoid this design tragedy, which, in many ways, has ruined my whole life.

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But don’t worry, I have a long held philosophy when it comes to disaster color situations. Paint it white! I know that sounds boring and safe, but white is the perfect neutral backdrop. I love beautiful, bold uses of color, but sometimes the simplicity of white wins out. It reminds me of being in a glamorous art museum, ogling original Warhols, wanting to steal one and cherish it for the rest of time.

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Painting this outdoor space took days and days. Well two actually. I forced my mom to help me do it and it was fun because we did it together and laughed about how terrible we are at not dripping paint all over the place. Aside from painting, the main thing I did to change the space was rearrange it to be a welcoming outdoor dining area. This space sits right outside the kitchen so it’s a convenient place to host a dinner party or just to come sit outside and drink a glass of wine (it is Sonoma County after all, home of America’s most beloved wines).

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I also invested in a lot of cute table top stuff to add color to the space. My mom loves blue just as much as I do so it wasn’t difficult figuring out which placemats and napkins to buy.

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As you can see, painting that ugly brown corrugated metal roof white is completely life changing and totally solves world hunger and stuff. It really made the space look so much happier which allowed me to forgive the awful person who painted it brown and maybe take back the thing I said about going back in time to make sure he’d never be born. Just kidding I still stand by that. I hate that guy.

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My fiddle leaf fig outgrew my living room (it’s like 7′ tall now HAY) so I brought it up to use on the deck up here. It’ll be much happier here, swinging in the breeze, staring at my parents as they sit on their deck talking about how #blessed they are to have such a dutiful son.

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I also added some potted succulents. These are in a pot made by a family friend, the color matching perfectly with our succulent arrangement.

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I’ve never been a huge fan person, but adding this fan (which, full disclosure, was sent by Del Mar Fans as part of this design challenge) really made the space feel breezy and vacationy.

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I added as many pillows and throws as possible to make the space feel loungey and glamorous. You might recognize the waves pillow on the left. My mom made these and I have a few in my apartment. They are a hand-dyed Japanese fabric and I love them completely and with all my heart and sometimes I make out with them when my boyfriend is out of town and/or not looking.

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My mother made this workbench in a woodworking class like 30 years ago and it was just sitting in the garage feeling lonely and sad and neglected. She also made this awesome pipe bench. As you might imagine I get most of my craftymakingstuff skills from my mother, who is literally most talented builder/fabricator/sewer/maker I know.

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So there we go. That’s the makeover. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out and can’t wait to go back up there to hang out (sometimes I wish LA were in Northern California so I could get up there more often). I’ll sit out on that deck, fantasize about the future, and think about how happy I am that the deck is no longer the color of depressing mud.

Love,
Orlando

RESOURCES

Dining Table and Chairs from Pottery Barn (no longer available), Chesapeake Sectional Sofa from Pottery Barn, Jute Rug from World Market, Recycled Wood Hurricane from World Market, Blue Placemats and Napkins from World Market, Natural Fiber Table Runner from World MarketTribal Carved Accent Stool from World Market, Chunky Throw from West Elm, Blue & White Floral Pillow from Pottery Barn, Rhodes Blue Diamond Pillow from Ninespace, Large-Scale Lantern from Pottery Barn, Blue Garden Stool from One Kings LaneKichler White Ceiling Fan from Del Mar Fans.

From my mother’s vintage collection: Safari Napkin Rings, Pewter Water Pitcher, Japanese Appetizer Dishes, Planters.

Handmade by my mother: Martha Stewart DIY Pipe Bench, Work Table, Waves Pillow.

This post was done in collaboration with Del Mar Fans, who furnished the fan and subsidized a portion of the outdoor furnishings. I received no compensation for this post and the opinions expressed are my own and genuine.

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