family

Happy New Year!

2015 ocean horizon photo

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2015 is here! Right on the horizon. We can almost touch it.

And although the New Year is an arbitrary turning over of our calendar, it has a significance that I love. I love welcoming a fresh start, I love thinking ahead, facing forward.

I’m less into the fuss of New Year’s Eve parties, plans and balls dropping (maybe because staying up until midnight gets harder for me each year!). I’m more into the universal reflection that happens this time of year. The collective excitement and optimism that we all feel in anticipation of another year of life ahead, no matter where we are currently.

And I totes make resolutions. Or wishes. Or a list of things I’d like to accomplish in the year ahead. I rarely come back to them to check up on myself, but I like the ritual.

Some years my inner drill sergeant reports for duty: “Exercise 3-5x per week, read one book per month…”. Some years my bucket list runneth over: “visit Paris, eat alligator in New Orleans, take the Staten Island Ferry…”. Sometimes I go heavy on the self improvement: “Learn to live in the present, reach out to friends by phone more often…”. (PS, none of those things I just rattled off have been fulfilled.)

This year, although there is plenty to continue to work on in my life, wish for and strive for, I feel a singular purpose calling me forward. In 2015, my big task is to have a baby. And then adjust to the changes he brings into our lives, hopefully with some small amount of grace.

I’m not tempted to impose any expectations onto myself or James beyond accepting our new role as parents and adding a third person to our tiny family.

2015 is the year of One Foot in Front of the Other.

What’s ahead for you in 2015?

Loveyoubye, 2014!! Maggie

Our Thanksgiving

raised by design thanksgiving holiday table setting

This was our third year hosting Thanksgiving at Lil’ Spot and each year I feel like we get better at juggling all of the happy chaos. Here in New York it was a day filled with snowfall, turkey basting, pie eating and baby bump rubbing.

My two sweet sisters and brother-in-law were up from DC which made my day extra special. I can’t get enough of the times when the three of us are together. #reunitedanditfeelssogood

While I pampered the turkey and set the house up for guests, James worked hard shoveling snow and making a path for Grammy’s wheelchair. She arrived with Mom early in the day for hors d’oeuvres (cheese ring is fancy enough to qualify as an hors d’oeuvres, right?). We snapped pictures and compared outfits and after a few hours of fun she headed home, tuckered out and filled with love from her ‘grand-babies’, as she calls us.

3-grammy

Dinner was centered around our big ol’ turkey, of course, and conversation about music technology (from The Beatles vs. The Beach Boys to T-Pain and Auto-Tune). My Dad had just found an article about the Grateful Dead shows he produced back in the early 70’s and how they changed live music forever. (He’s pictured but not mentioned.)

After we filled our bellies with Mo’s Mac N’ Cheese and Dad’s Sausage Stuffing, James’ family arrived for dessert and aperitifs and things got cray-balls. We played a bazillion rounds of Heads Up (best free download ever!) and opened a dozen or so bottles of wine, including a special bottle of port from our wedding. Perfectly suited for this occasion.

It took a few days of movie watching and leftover turkey sandwiches to come down from the high of family, food and fun. We have a lot to be thankful for this year. Here are some snaps of the scene at our house.

raised by design thanksgiving holiday table setting

letters

china

raised by design thanksgiving holiday table setting

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raised by design thanksgiving holiday table setting

raised by design thanksgiving table setting holiday

happy hosts

Happy Hosts with an extra turkey in the oven this year!

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday weekend too! Onto the next one!

Loveyoubye, Maggie

Bambino’s Nursery Decor

raised by design - baby boy nursery decor design planI put together this mockup to illustrate my vision for Bambino’s nursery in real life. I wrote here about the main pieces of furniture we decided to bring into the room. And as you can see here, we already have white walls and geometric brown and white carpeting to work with. Finally, in this post, I wrote about the design concept and inspiration for the room which we’re calling “Adventures in Boyhood”.

It’s helpful for me to be (loosely) tethered to a concept when I’m designing a room, otherwise it can go to Crazy Town pretty quickly. I’m like the proverbial leashed child at Disney World at the start of a design project – a quick snap away from gobbling up all of the unicorn pops in the joint and then barfing on the ferris wheel. My concept acts as a road map – anytime I start to feel lost and alone I can refer to it for direction.

I pulled a color palette, another useful tool, from the below image in the inspiration board. This vignette is clearly not a nursery and that’s OK! It inspired me (that painting!), which is what imagery is meant to do – it doesn’t matter where it comes from.

The palette helped me stay focused while choosing art, accessories, crib bedding and toys. You don’t have to be rigid though. Saying things like, “Oh, too bad I can’t get that adorable blanket because it’s not deep sea blue, it’s more of a robin’s egg blue,” will do nothing but twist your panties up tight and get you beat up on the playground.

A serious thought on choosing colors for Bambino’s room: I really don’t think baby rooms need to be limited to a multiple choice of pale blue, girly pink, gender neutral sage green or baby yellow. As long as the space feels comfortable, relaxed and inspiring it will serve it’s purpose as both a sleep sanctuary and playhouse. In reality, this palette is tempered with white walls, (mostly) white furniture and a handful of neutral textiles. The pops of color come through in small doses via the art, toys and accessories. Mkay?

You can see how the inspiration board informed the design plan without being too literal:

raised by design - nursery inspiration moldboard adventures in boyhood

Below is a list of sources for all of these goodies.

raised by design - boy's nursery decor plan

  1. Framed 8×10 Print – The Rapids by Rose Lindo via Minted – $46
  2. Vintage Binoculars – (similar) via Rue15Vintage – $92
  3. Driftwood Mobile – (similar) by LumaLine – $40
  4. Framed 8×10 Print – Free by Kristi Kohut via Minted – $46
  5. Nursery Bedding – crib sheet by Little Auggie, crib skirt by ModFox and blanket by Fine Little Day
  6. Vintage Castle – (similar) by The Crafter’s Merchant – $35
  7. Modern Crib – Mid-Century Natural Crib by Dwell Studio – $649
  8. Log Cabin Blocks – Abe Lincoln Log Cabin Playset – $20
  9. Arrows – Gold Arrows by Mineral and Matter – $66
  10. Squirrel Teether – Organic Toy Teether by Bannor Toys – $12
  11. Pink Ugly Doll – Little Bent by Ugly Doll – $20
  12. Teepee Pillow – Tooth Fairy Teepee Pillow by Apple White – $24
  13. Brass Reading Lamp – (similar) Brass Pharmacy Lamp via Lamps Plus – $100
  14. Glider – Graham Glider in Lagood by West Elm – $899
  15. Moccasins – Stay Golden Suede Moccasins by Freshly Picked – $60
  16. Dresser/Changing Table – Hemnes 8-Drawer Dresser by IKEA – $229
  17. Ottoman – Rhys Ottoman by Anthropologie – $998
  18. Toy Basket – (similar) Handmade Fair Trade Woven African Hamper via Connected Artisans – $175
  19. Brown and White Carpeting – (similar) Geometric Pattern Rug via Overstock.com – $245

Many of these things we already own and many are vintage so I tried to provide similar options in those cases.

If you’re wondering where that incredible arrow light fixture from the inspiration board went…it went into my dreams, that’s where. We have ho-hum lighting in place for now, and our budget certainly doesn’t accommodate a $975 splurge. But DAYUM, somebody get that! The gorgeous leather ottoman from Anthropologie will probably be relegated to my dreams as well. Bambino won’t know the difference.

Once the room is ready (which, at this rate will be at the 11th Hour!), of course I’ll share heaps of pics. Before you know it, there will be a wiggly baby in them too. Eek!

Loveyoubye! Maggie

Bambino’s Nursery – Adventures in Boyhood

raised by design - nursery inspiration moldboard adventures in boyhood

Image Credits: Claudius Schulze via En Route Magazine /// The Merry Thought /// Sean Fennessy via The Design Files /// Pantone /// A Beautiful Mess /// ZuHouse Berlin /// Tulonksy /// Caroline Wanitzek /// DAMM /// Raised by Design /// Ryan McElhinney

Coming up with a cohesive design theme for Bambino’s Nursery was harder than I thought! There is so much inspiration out there and an infinite number of cute ideas for baby rooms. I had about a million design concepts bouncing around my head and couldn’t pick just one.

We settled on a hybrid of our favorite boy themes, wrapped into one overarching concept we’re calling ADVENTURES IN BOYHOOD – one part Peter Pan’s Lost Boys, one part Robin Hood, one part Moonrise Kingdom, two parts Little Woodsman/Scout/Explorer.

The result is what you see in this inspiration board – a mixture of textiles and toys that reflect boyhood dreams and bring nature and imagination to teeny Bambino’s bedside.

Next up is a look at how we’ll actualize this inspiration in the room itself. Stay tuned!

Loveyoubye! Maggie

Bambino’s Nursery Plan

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog for the last few months, you know that we’re expecting a baby this February (!!) and we’re having a boy who we affectionately refer to as Bambino. I’m resisting the temptation to be all Baby Town over here, but I’m sure you can imagine how excited I am to design Bambino’s nursery. And I promised I would dish once we got some details squared away, so today I’m sharing The Plan for the baby’s room. Here goes…

THE SPACE:

Here’s a rough sketch of the room’s floor plan and how I’m imaging the furniture layout:

raised by design nursery design floorplan

The room is separated by a sort of invisible corridor created by the door to enter the room off the living room and the external door that leads out to the driveway. In the original floor plan, this room was the eat-in kitchen which is why there is an exit. (Until we created an exit off the new kitchen to the backyard, this door functioned as the back door.) We left the door in place because we weren’t sure how we would use the room long term. For now, we’ve placed furniture in front of it so that it functions more like a window.

I wrote here about how the West side of the room is my office space, which will stay that way for as long as I can manage.

The East side of the room will be Bambino Territory. There is plenty of space for a crib, a large dresser that we’ll use as a changing table, a bookcase and a glider.

LOGISTICS:

There are a few challenges in converting this space to a nursery:

  • The scary-steep basement stairs right off the room. We will need a serious Alcatraz-style baby gate there some day. The tricky part is that Roxy’s litter box is down there so we always keep the door cracked for her. Eff. Do they make baby gates with pet doors? Somebody get on that and become a millionaire.
  • The counter-height outlets leftover from the kitchen layout. DANGIT! In some ways these are great because they’re out of reach when baby is crawling on the floor. But they are perfectly within reach when baby is on the changing table or in the crib. To solve this one we’ll be hanging artwork over the one above the changing table and we’ll be putting the crib on the wall without an outlet under the windows.
  • It’s chilly in this room. Probably because of the drafty door but also because this room stays pretty shaded by the house next door during the day. Having the crib under the window may not work well if it’s too cold so we may have to rethink the layout.
  • There isn’t a closet. The one you see in the floor plan is actually our front hall/coat closet and we haven’t figured out how that’s going to work yet. We currently stash our coats, vacuum, ironing board, drying rack and umbrellas there. Where will we store all of our impending baby gear and huge packages of diapers? Our solution to that problem is to wing it until a solution presents itself.

FURNITURE:

For the most part, we have tried to repurpose furniture and decor that we already own or use things endowed to us by our families in their timely effort to downsize. But we will need to buy a new crib and a chair for rocking baby to sleep.

We have our eye on the Midcentury Crib in Natural from Dwell Studio. There are a bazillion cribs out there that we like, but this one is our favorite because of the killer x-shaped base and gold-toed legs.

DwellStudio-Mid-Century-Natural-Crib

For cuddling up with Bambino and late night feedings, we are going with the Graham Glider from West Elm in Lagoon. The deep blue faux-velvet is a bold choice that will give the room a good jolt of personality. I’m kind of obsessed with it. The chair has a nice high wingback shape – which means Mommy and Daddy can rest their weary heads while rocking fusspants to sleep.

I’m holding off on getting the matching ottoman until I can say for sure that the room can fit one. If we have the room, I may look for something fun from a different maker to mix things up.

West Elm Graham Glider in Lagoon

Next to the glider, we are keeping the brass/walnut bar cart in front of the door as an end table. I found that guy about 7 years ago at a thrift store in Roslindale, MA years ago for $40. It’s kick ass. I’m happy it can hang in the nursery.

raised by design - bar cart styling in office

We are (happily) taking my little sis’s orphaned Hemnes 8-drawer dresser from IKEA to use as Bambino’s dresser/changing table. This big guy didn’t make the cut when she moved into her studio apartment but its only a few years old and is incredibly versatile. The Hemnes is the perfect height to use as a changing table and the 8 gliding drawers should be enough storage to house diaper changing supplies, clothes, crib bedding and maybe a few toys.

hemnes--drawer-dresser__30435_PE118674_S4

Speaking of toys, for the majority of Bambino’s prized possessions we are planning to use two hand-me-downs from my parents: an extra large braided basket from Mexico and an antique bookcase with adjustable shelves. The basket will be a catch-all for easy cleanups and the bookcase will house books and things we want to have on display.

raised by design - honeymoon woven mexican basket

Once we settled on the pieces we would be bringing into the space – all basics for the most part – I started to brainstorm ‘themes’ to round out the decor. OH BOY! That’s where the fun starts.

I’m going to share the Mood Board with you later this week so you can see what we’re doing to fun the place up for Bambino.

Stay tuned!

Loveyoubye, Magoo.

Wrapping Up

raised-by-design-gem-magnets

Today I’m wrapping up some DIY gem magnets I made to add to the goodie bag at my Mom, Charlotte’s Vermont Getaway next weekend. I’m honored to be contributing something as a sponsor – there are some ridiculously talented ladies in her circle. I hope they like them!

I’m also wrapping up from our weekend with family at the beach in Old Lyme, CT. It’s one of my favorite places to be – the beach. I love everything about being near water. Especially the breezy New England beach on the Sound up at Old Lyme. It’s the best of both worlds – the coast and the country smooshed together in a kind of heaven that seems like it was made just for me.

old lyme beach weekend

This weekend had all the bells and whistles: kayaking, birding, reading, puzzling, fried clams, bonfires, sunset cocktails, painting, morning walks, pockets of shells and rocks, hot dogs, playoff hockey and long meals with loud laughs. I always wonder if life were like this all the time, would I love it this much?

old lyme beach weekend

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old-lyme-james-1

watercolor - crab

Loveyoubye! Maggie

Mother’s Day Instagram Giveaway

This week, as we approach Mother’s Day, I want to direct your attention to this blog’s name.  It’s all there: the story of how I finally came around to redirecting my career, going back to school, launching my own business and starting this blog all in the name of bringing design back to the center of my life. I was Raised by Design.

interests

I’m convinced that there is creativity in everyone; and it works like a muscle that needs to be kept fit. Some people never tone it up, like my triceps, for example. But others spend their lives constantly creating until it ends up being the strongest muscle they have. No successful artist or designer is born out of pure talent. They’ve been trained, influenced and inspired by a community of family, friends, teachers and designers before them. And at its core, that is what this blog is really about: the ones before us.

For my Mom’s part, it was through her career as an artist, author, teacher, designer and home-maker that I learned to live and breath design. Anyone who steps into my home, peeks in my closet or skims through my portfolio can see where her influence lives in me.

So to celebrate Mother’s Day here on the blog, and to kickstart my blog series about Design Influencers, I’m hosting my first ever giveaway through Instagram. I’ll be posting images all week on my Instagram feed of ways in which my mother, Charlotte Lyons, has influenced me to become a designer. Things that she’s given me that now have a place in my home or lessons I’ve learned from watching her make her home.

And I want to spread the love around and see how YOUR mom has influenced you! I also want to GIVE you one of these vintage cuties with its new air plant buddy (books stay with me!). See how to enter for the giveaway below.

lusterware elephant

vintage lusterware elephant

seashell airplant holder

awesome seashell decor

panda airplant holder

hand painted panda

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Download the Instgram App for iPhone or Android if you haven’t already and follow me! @reallymaggie
  2. Take a photo of something that shows how your Mom has influenced you and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #RAISEDBYDESIGN (it can be anything!)
  3. You can post as many pics/entries as you like between now and midnight EST on Mother’s Day – Sunday, May 11th
  4. I’ll select a winner at random on Monday morning and announce it both on Instagram and here on the blog.
  5. If you win, you’ll tell me which of the 3 vintage cuties you want to claim as your prize and I’ll wrap it up and ship it to you!
  6. Then you’ll tell your Mother, wherever she may be, that you love her.

Moms are the best, right?!!?!

Loveyoubye, Maggie