Design Plans and Outcomes

Those that have been reading my blog for a while would know how much I love putting together design plans (aka mood boards). I thought I would summarize a few plans I’ve put together so far, and show you how faithful the outcomes were to them.

The Plan: Master Bedroom
The Outcome. Read more about this transformation here.
The Plan 1.0: Living Room
The Plan 2.0: Living Room
The Outcome…read more about this transformation here.
The Plan: Basement Bathroom
The Outcome…read more here.
The Plan 1.0: Home Office
The Plan 2.0: Home Office
The Outcome… read more here.
The Plan: Master Bathroom
The Outcome: we shall find out in April/May timeframe.
So, are you a big fan of the mood board exercise? Did your projects turn out mostly according to the plans?

Featured on Houzz

Today I received an email from Lydia, Professionals Support at Houzz that “my work was hand-picked by one of their writers for a featured Ideabook on the homepage of the site!”. How cool is that?

This is my living room photo reviewed by designers behind Design Chic. The article titled “Two Sides to Black and White Art” is about a mother-daughter design team that shares their preference in modern and traditional black-and-white arts. They each illustrated how versatile bw arts can be for the space you work into.  

You can read the rest of the article here.

Btw, I’ve picked up painting (on canvas) again, so hopefully I will have something rustic to show soon for my comeback.

The Chronicle of Our Living Room Transformations

This post has also been added under the “Living Room” tab on the front page. I need to caution you before you proceed to read the rest of the blog that some old pictures are horrendous. I am still scratching my head as to how our living room ever looked like that. Anyhow, here it goes.  

In July 2009, when we first moved into our newly-built house, the living room was in some serious need for character and life. The walls were white, floor was laminate, and it also warehoused the old furniture we took with us from our last house.

December 2009, to prep the living room “for show” in time for a Christmas party, I picked up some decor accessories and furniture I later parted with on CList — the room not only looked “blah” but also was impractical: why on earth did I put an oval white silk ottoman in the middle of the room? It’s so pristine that none of guests dared to sit on or use it.

June 2010, in my quench to add some vintage look to the living room, I put up a gallery wall of antique botanical prints over the fireplace. The flow appeared awkward, and the room still looked very much like a builder home.

Fast forward one year, June 2011, I came to the realization that wall panel/wainscoting could be a good way to add character and accomplish that “always there” look I’ve been so much going after.
We also replaced the ceiling light with the Edwardian lantern to add more vintage touch.

September 2011, the room was filled with a lot of my favorite: Windsor Smith Pelagos fabric, antique coffee table with criss-cross legs, finial urns, etc., but they were all upstaged by the masculine black cowhide sofa set. They cost us tons of stones, so to get rid of them wouldn’t be rational. The only hope was to finish the basement soon so that we could retire them down there.

November 2011, a fantastic score of the Urban Barn Lumex coffee table, and the newly acquired Martha Stewart Fretwork rug seemed to have brought the room together.

December 2011 was a good month. We finished our basement, and were able to send the black cowhide sofa set down to my husband’s man cave. I added two curved arm chairs upholstered in a creamy fabric (similar to the long sofa), a mirrored chest with clover cutout, and re-arranged a few pieces of furniture and accessories.

And the living room is finally “fully us”. It was a painstaking process to put this room together as it was done while my design skills and tastes were evolving. It was however definitely worth the ride, and I’ve learnt so much from the experience.

You can read more about how our living room came together here.

Living Room Complete – Take 2

I was finally able to relocate the black cowhide sofa set from our living room down to the basement. There is a bit of the whole enchilada down there now with a collection of furniture we’ve accumulated over the years but no longer wish to use them as show pieces.

I am sure most of you know that I am a die-hard fan of Sarah Richardson, and I drool over her entire furniture collection with clean lines, slender legs and neutral fabrics, everything has Sarah’s signature all over. The one chair which I am particularly in love with is Elsie Chair. I don’t know how much it would cost (not cheap I guess) or where I could conveniently get it, but one thing I know for sure is that her furniture is custom made which means it takes time. With holidays only weeks away and the need to back-fill the space I just freed up, I settled for these lookalikes from a local furniture store. I am extremely happy with the fabric options, quality construction and turnaround time — one week from the time we placed the order to our living room, one week! The price is decent but I can’t say it’s cheap. It’s still worth the splurge especially now I have them to entertain my guests throughout the holidays.

This is what our living room looks like now. The white mirrored cabinet with clover-patterned cutout is a score from HomeSense.

We are finishing up a wall-to-wall built-in shelves in our basement this weekend. I’d do whatever it takes to stay away from those malls. Hope you all have a great weekend. The sunshine outside picks me up.

Rug and Coffee Table

Remember that Pemberley Wool Rug I wanted for my living room but has constantly been out of stock and only available in the States? Well, deprived of patience and acting on impulse, I picked up another rug that’s 60% cheaper — the Martha Stewart Fretwork Rug. The price is insane for a 8×10 rug that’s made of 100% wool with soft cotton backing! Though it’s not in the grey color tone that I am ever crazy about, the creamy color with subtle fretwork pattern adds visual interest to this super soft and practical area rug.
This is what our living room looks like now with the new rug in time for winter.  

Notice that Urban Barn Lumex Coffee Table? I am sure you’ve come across this simple yet stylish coffee table many times on the various blogs, such as Jen’s Rambling Renovators and Lindsay’s Aubrey + Lindsay’s Little House Blog. This coffee table, to me, is like falling in love with a platonic boyfriend after knowing him for years — it takes time to get to me. Unfortunately, not all platonic boyfriends wait around forever, and same goes to this coffee table. Urban Barn discontinued it last year, and not even one store across the country has any leftover. So I turned to KJ and CL as my last straw, and I found one! I contacted the seller and they responded immediately that the table was sold pending pickup. I am not proud of what I did, but I wanted the table so badly that I offered more than what the seller asked for! And the rest is history. Hey, you hear it here first that someone actually bid more than asking price on KJ and CL!? You know eBay owns KJ for a reason right?

Here is my Urban Barn Lumex Coffee Table now the focal point of our living room.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Living Room Complete

I’ve been working on re-decorating our living room on and off for the past five months. I don’t think I can be entirely content with the outcome until I move the TV down to the basement (when it’s finished), and get rid of those masculine black cowhide club chairs. A formal living room, in my view, should have more elegant seating like this and this. After all, if hub could claim his man cave in the basement, I certainly deserve my Petit Trianon.

So here are some latest pictures of my living room. The only thing missing is this Pemberley Grey Rug that’s forever on back order. It’s probably about time for me to look for an alternative.

Living Room
Living Room with Lighting
Living Room from a different angle
Birds Nest Coral Close-up

A few weeks ago Grandma surprised me with this gift — blue and white porcelain vase from Qing Dynasty. I think it works nicely with the rest of the decor in the room.


  • Textured Dupioni Silk Curtains in Robin Egg from Halfpricedrapes.
  • Mirror over mantle: Lighting Palace.
  • White porcelain urn with finials: Urban Barn.
  • Black cowhide club chairs and sofa: Coja Leather.
  • Cream fabric tufted sofa with curved arms: custom made by Zooma Designs.
  • Antique architectural prints:; Frames from Michaels.
  • Antique coffee table with criss-cross legs: circa 1890.
  • Windsor Smith Pelagos Pillows: SanMarino on Etsy.
  • Sofa table with marble top: Domus Decor.
  • Criss-cross side table with antique mirror finish top: some boutique in Paris.
  • Oval ottoman: Skyline Furniture.
  • Geometric throw, lacquered black and blue boxes: HomeSense.
  • Edwardian Lantern in Chrome: HomeSense.

Boxes, Candle Holders and Pillow

At the risk of “over-accessorizing” my living room, I’ve decided to give my thrifty hunt adventure a rest. Who knew Salvation Army and Value Village can be as addictive as HomeSense? 

Anyhoo, here are a few things I picked up over the past few weeks:

Lacquer Keepsake Box in Robbin Egg (love the chinoiserie chrome hardware): from HomeSense at $19.99, perfect for stowing away remote controllers.
 More Lacquer Keepsake Boxes in Black, from HomSense at $19.99 each.
Remember those vintage marble eggs from Salvation Army for $14.99 a set? I found these vintage brass candlestick holders (~$12 for all of them) to display them, and I like how it turns out.
If there’s a deal out there, I will find it (or so according to my husband). Truth be told, these days I almost never make (or stick to) any impulsive purchase. Perhaps we will soon hear some research reveals, in addition to love, pain, money and cocaine, “saving” lights up the same area of brain. 😀
If you are looking for pillows in designer fabric without breaking an arm and a leg, look no further than SanMarino shop on Etsy by very talented and super nice Robert Campbell. This Windsor Smith Pelagos pillow is from the shop, and I went back to order another one as soon as I received it in the mail.
And that is all, two blogs in a day, what’s wrong with me? Hope you all stay cool and hydrated. This heat is just brutal.