Archive for Reclaimed

Graffiti Knitting – an interior craft gone exterior

It began last winter with me knitting a scarf for my youngest daughter. A friend had knit a scarf with pomp-a-doodle yarn and said it wasn’t that difficult to do and it actually didn’t even take that long to knit with this particular type of yarn. Fast and economical fashion – count me in. And so it began – it started with that scarf, then two more pom pom scarves this holiday season for my other daughter and her college room mate, then a cowl for myself (again with the pom pom yarn), then creating a scarf with the pom pom yarn mixed with a fringe yarn, and the latest, a scarf with a “ruffle” yarn. I can’t seem to stop and I have only created neck attire!

I posted the images of my creations on Facebook and inquired if there was a way to somehow connect my new hobby with my blog postings. Several friends weighed in with interesting thoughts-

Kate: Are you working with eco-friendly yarns (non-toxic dyes, natural fibers, etc), which would give you a link to “green” material choices for interiors — or maybe there’s a fun way to use knitted pieces as a design element? Or maybe there’s a metaphor in the whole process of knitting — you untangle a mess of yarn, and turn a single strand of wool into a unified piece (like working with disparate design elements and turning them into a pleasing and unified room design)?

Donna: Have you seen Norah Gaughan’s book Knitting Nature? Very “green” and fascinating way to design- reminds me of Bachelard’s book The Poetics of Space on home design.

I liked both of these suggestions, but it was Leah’s reply that captured my attention: Check this out- I just saw an article on it recently. I’m not entirely sure as to how it would tie in, but it did pop in to my mind… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yarn_bombing.

According to Wikipedia: Yarn bombing, yarnbombing, yarnstorming, guerrilla knitting, urban knitting or graffiti knitting is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk.

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How cool. Yarn bombers target anything they find from sleeves on parking meters, trees, statues, to cars and buses. Like most graffiti artists, this group of knitters often tag in the middle of the night. Some troupes wear crocheted masks while they work, and although it is technically illegal, the police have yet to make any knitter arrests.

In researching images for this blog, I discovered an artist that goes by the name OLEK (Agata Oleksiak) born in Poland living in NYC. ​”Crochet came to me as a result of being totally broke. I had to make a costume in NYC and I had no cash for a sewing machine. I used any materials I could possibly find…I even cut my sheets into strips to make pieces. Being resourceful is in my blood as you can see. Crochet is for poor people…that’s why you can find it in almost any culture across the globe.”

I was fascinated to see how much art Olek has produced in recent years. I have LIKED her Facebook page, bookmarked her website (http://www.agataolek.com/), and I look forward to seeing her work in person in the near future.

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          Olek creating The Cube

Some of Olek’s work both in galleries as well as on the street:

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I am not sure if I connected urban knitting with green interior design, (other than showing some interiors covered in knit and crochet slipcovers), but I did share an art form that is gaining in popularity and world recognition. Hopefully, you have seen something unique and inspiring and find it as interesting as I have. If you have any knitting/crocheting queries, please feel free to contact me at design@lmkinteriorsltd.com. I will try my best to be of assistance.

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Great Resources: magazines to the internet

It started with my mother’s Better Homes and Gardens back in the late 60’s early 70’s. Thumbing through them after she had finished looking at that month’s issue. Cutting out the pages of things I had liked and anticipating applying the ideas in my first apartment. I would make collages with images based on color. Pages of things of various shades of blues, greens and of course – purples. I never really liked oranges, yellows or reds – back then…

After I had graduated from design school and moved to Massachusetts, I began receiving my own issues of Better Homes and Garden each month in the mail. I then added Metropolitan Home and Architectural Digest. Martha Stewart came and went and as I glance over at the bookcase in my office now: stacks of Home, Domino (2005-2009) and House and Garden date back to 2006. The largest collection is Natural Home from May 2007 to this month’s issue. I also have an IKEA brochure for each year dating back to 2006.

lmk interiors, ltd. bookcase            lmk interiors, ltd. close up magazines

I love turning the pages and looking through old as well as contemporary issues. It offers inspiration for layouts, color palettes and overall design that I can share with clients. The only difference now is that I can view most of the magazines I have mentioned on the internet. I only subscribe to one magazine: Natural Home and Garden.

Several of these magazines are no longer published nor do they have websites, but I did want to share a few that I enjoy viewing. On any of these sites you can type in green interior design, eco-friendly design or sustainable design in the search window and find a wealth of ideas.

Metropolitan Home ceased publication in 2009, but a website with all of the archived issues and new inspirations can be found at http://www.elledecor.com/. The plus: there are so many categories to find a multitude of ideas; the negative: one can get lost on the website for HOURS! I find this to be true on most of the following websites. My advice is to limit your searches to an hour at a time.

http://www.bhg.com/ (Better Home and Gardens)http://www.architecturaldigest.com/                     http://www.marthastewart.com/                             http://www.traditionalhome.com/                               http://www.housebeautiful.com/                                        http://www.dwell.com/                                                 http://www.realsimple.com/ (I do look at this at the checkout register in the grocery store when they have an issue on the stands)http://www.naturalhomeandgarden.com/

                          Natural Home and Garden magazine issues

As I have shared, my Natural Home and Garden magazine is my largest collection. Mainly because it offers a wealth of information on green design. It showcases renovations and new construction as well as providing information on sustainable and recycled products for use in the home as building materials and purposeful  and decorative products. I enjoy using their website, but I still love turning the pages and dog-earring things I like and might use on my next project!

Through Facebook I have found some great websites (blogs) that keep me posted with innovative products and design ideas as well. By subscribing to them, I get their posts on my news feed and can click for the latest informative tidbit.

http://inhabitat.com/                                                      http://groovygreenlivin.com/                                   http://www.hipmomsgogreen.com/                     http://www.GoGreenWebDirectory.com/

I enjoy sharing these sites with you. If you have any questions, you can always contact me at design@lmkinteriorsltd.com or (978)335-1140.

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De-cluttering

I’ll get to it when I have time… just keep re-organizing the piles…procrastinate…overwhelmed… we are having friends come over– hide everything! Oh yeah, perhaps we should just de-clutter.

                       CLUTTER

At some point, is it possible to have everything in it’s proper place and have the home or office close to what we see in the magazine? Yes, the photos showcase staged environments at their best. But, with some planning and lots of organizing, I believe we can live and work in a space devoid of clutter.

As a designer, I sometimes find that what I design for my clients does not always translate into my own living space or office area. I create cabinetry, cubbies, shelves, closets, organizers and storage capabilities so that there is a place for every item in their kitchen, living room, bedroom and bath. When I look around my house, I find the pile of bills, the items I have read, but am not sure whether to file them or keep them out to review yet again, the clothes from the day before draped over the chair at the foot of my bed, the basement a receptacle of items that simply “can not” be discarded just yet. And that is just me, there are four other people plus a dog and two cats living in our home! The list goes on and on. In a perfect world, one would move into a home and have a pre-determined place for everything. Well, I am here to share that even I do not have this mastered.

That is why we have Professional Organizers, the Fly Lady, blogs to help us learn how to de-clutter, Container Stores and lots of books on de-cluttering as well. I would like to share a few bits of information that I have gathered to assist all of us with our battle against stuff.

                            NoClutter2

www.flylady.net:

According to Marla Cilley (aka The fly Lady), “Taking 15 minutes each day to de-clutter an area and clearing your hotspots are among some of the most powerful tools you can use to create a more peaceful home. Remember: You cannot organize clutter – you can only organize the things you love!”

  • When to De-clutter: Decide how often you are going to de-clutter a zone. Do a little every day – use a timer. But be warned – this can become compulsive! Once you get started you will want to clean like a banshee! Don’t burn yourself out! Only do small amounts at a time. The house did not get dirty overnight and it will not get clean overnight. When you set the timer you can only do two sessions at a time. This goal may seem unattainable right now, but you can do it in little pieces. In a couple of months, the whole house will be de-cluttered.
  • De-cluttering Equipment: You will need garbage bags, boxes, magic markers, and a dust rag. Label the boxes “Give Away”, “Throw Away”, and “Put Away”. Line the “Throw Away” box with a plastic garbage bag.
  • Set your timer: for 1 hour (or 30, 15, or 10 minutes – it doesn’t matter how long). Just do the job as fast as you can and do not pull out more stuff than you can put away in that length of time. This means just one drawer, one closet (or even one shelf in one closet), one magazine rack, or digging under just the furniture in the zone. Not all of them at once!
  • Start at the entrance to the room: Then, work your way around the room clockwise. Do not skip a spot. Whatever happens to be next, just do it.
  • De-clutter Away! With boxes at your feet and dust rag in your waistband, start off by cleaning out and getting rid of the things that do not belong in this room. Put garbage in the “Throw Away” box, donations in the “Give Away” box, and stuff that goes somewhere else in the “Put Away” box. Don’t worry that you do not have a place for everything right now. By the time you finish you will. That’s a promise from FlyLady!
  • What to de-clutter? Things to ask yourself as you get rid of your clutter:
    • Do I love this item?
    • Have I used it in the past year?
    • Is it really garbage?
    • Do I have another one that is better?
    • Should I really keep two?
    • Does it have sentimental value that causes me to love it?
    • Or does it give me guilt and make me sad when I see the item?
    • Cleanse this room of everything that does not make you SMILE.
  • Sing this song: “Please release me, let me go” as sung from the stuff’s point of view. It needs to be loved by someone and if you don’t love it – GET RID OF IT!
  • Get rid of the garbage! When the “Throw Away” box gets full, pull out the garbage bag, close it, and put it in the trash can, the pickup truck, or wherever you keep your garbage. Put a new garbage bag in the “Throw Away” box and keep on Flying until the timer goes off.
  • Donations: When the “Give Away” box gets full, seal it off, and put it in your car. The next time you are out, you can donate to the area thrift shop. Do not save your clutter for a yard or garage sale, you will be blessed by giving it away. The value can be deducted on your income tax. Remember you are trying to get rid of clutter – not relocate it somewhere else in your home. Now, grab another box, label it “Give Away”, and get back to work.
  • “Put Away” Stuff: When the “Put Away” box gets full, take the box in your arms and run around the house (good thing you have shoes on – right?) and put the items in the room where they belong. If they have a place, put them there, if not put them in the room where they logically belong. By the time you have finished you will have a place for everything and everything will be in it’s place.
  • Timer Goes Off: When the timer goes off, you have to put away all the boxes, but first you have to empty them all. Go as fast as you can.
  •  Another great website overflowing with information on de-cluttering and getting your life organized is www.zenhabits.net. Leo Babauta shares his personal story and provides simple steps to follow that are similar to the Fly Lady’s but add a Zen flavor.

    David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done (GTD) has some insightful methods of de-cluttering at www.zenhabits.net/the-getting-things-done-gtd-faq/ as well as his book: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

    Some of my clients have asked for initial help by a professional to get them started when planning to organize and de-clutter. I often refer clients to Professional Organizer, Nancy Black of Organization Plus to assist. She offers an initial 3 hour consultation service that helps when taking the first steps to achieving a more balanced existence. http://organizationplus.com/03_threehourtransfomration.html

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    With the holidays upon us, this is the time when most of us put forth a great effort to clean and organize our homes with the added incentive of company coming to visit. If that is what it takes to motivate us for the big push, then so be it. But for the every day living amongst our possessions, I do recommend finding that balance with some of the tips mentioned above. Happy de-cluttering and if you find you need someone to share your situation with, please feel free to contact me at design@lmkinteriorsltd.com or (978)335-1140.

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    Sometimes, all it takes is a photo: Before & After Images

    A great way to share the wealth of services I can provide to a client is usually accomplished by showing my visual portfolio of completed projects. Sometimes, they have been to a home where I have worked my magic. They then have seen “in person” how a room can be transformed either in it’s entirety or with the addition or elimination of a few items. Often, seeing that visual image reassures them that they too will be able to make changes within their own home; with the assistance of lmk interiors, ltd.

    I thought it would be useful to share some before and after images of some of the work from lmk interiors, ltd. I am not showing entire rooms; more specifically items within the rooms that have been reused, reworked or refinished. To see more room views that have been transformed, go to my website at: www.lmkinteriorsltd.com.

    Reworked Window Treatments

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    We reworked these existing window treatments in a Master Bedroom. The sheers in the left photo were suspended from a wooden rod by wooden rings. They appeared outdated and saggy (about one foot of extra fabric pooled on the floor). The fabric was salvageable, so we redesigned the new treatments with that in mind. We used a traversing metal rod that was mounted into each corner, this created a “wall” of fabric when they are closed. Adding a bronze banding fabric to the top and bottom finished it off with a clean, sophisticated appearance. No more droopy fabric puddling on the floor nor off the mounting rod.

    detail, lmk interiors, ltd.

    Detail of top design and banding.

     

     

     

    Replacing Window Treatments

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    As in the example above, we had something to work with in order to ruse it in the redesign. In this case, the wooden blinds in the photo on the left had been damaged by too much use and could not be repaired. They also did not provide enough warmth when the family sat down in the wintertime to eat at the table. We removed the existing window treatments and designed new thermal panels that not only provided room darkening capabilities, but also provided a blanket of protection against the elements. They are on a vertical channel system mounted on the sides of the window frames that allow the treatments to be in either an “up” position or “down” position (as shown in these photographs). A coordinating striped fabric window seat cushion was made to provide comfort for seating on the bench as well.

    Sometimes There Is Nothing There

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    This kitchen showroom space at NorthShore Kitchens Plus was not only transformed by the addition of the window treatments, but also the faux wall finish and glass tile backsplash. For the showroom space below, playing with contrasting colors for the window treatments and wall finish made for an interesting transition from a contemporary kitchen vignette to a more traditional one within a shared space.

    before, lmk interiors, ltd.  after, lmk interiors, ltd. detail, lmk interiors, ltd.

    Reusing Family Heirloom Furnishings 

    One of my clients redesigned her kitchen/dining room and family room area. I was engaged to transform her heirloom dining set to fit with the new environment. We reupholstered the side chairs along with the arm chairs. We also created a decorative valance for the window treatments above the sliding glass doors; coordinating all of the fabrics as well as adding a coordinating area rug.

    before, lmk interiors, ltd.  before, lmk interiors, ltd.  after, lmk interiors, ltd.

    The images below showcase a guest bedroom redesign. It began with reupholstering a family arm chair. Bedding, window treatments, faux painting on the walls and a whole bunch of decorative pillows followed!

    before, lmk interiors, ltd.    after, lmk interiors, ltd.

    Do We Buy a New Sofa or Reupholster Our Comfy Favorite One?

    Honestly, depending on the fabric selected, a new sofa can cost the same or less than reupholstering your existing one. It is a matter of personal choice. If it has served you well and is showing wear that is beyond repair, it may be time to purchase a new one. But if it is a matter of adding some new padding to your seat cushions and covering it with some fresh fabric, than that is the way to go.

    before, lmk interiors, ltd.  after, lmk interiors, ltd.

    My Amazing Team             

    After beginning my residential interior design business eight years ago, I was quite lucky to find amazing resources early on to assist with the execution of my designs. I have been working with this team for 6-8 years now and value the incredible quality of their work as well as the integrity they demonstrate in their businesses. I look forward to many more years of using their services to provide quality, and unique designs for my clients.

    Upholstering: Julio Cruz of J.C. Upholstering  www.jcupholstering.net

    Window Treatments: Cathy Crist of Refinements, Inc.

    Faux Painting: Julie King of Samarra Faux Painting www.samarrafaux.com

    As always, please feel free to contact me regarding any of your interior design needs or questions at lmk interiors, ltd. (978)335-1140 or design@lmkinteriorsltd.com.

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    back to school… again

    It all started with my Dad. He decided it was time to retire the sofas that have been around since I was a child and purchase some new, more comfortable sofas for his den. The first call I made for him was to a store I knew of in Cambridge called RESIDE (www.resideinc.com) to see if they might be interested in purchasing them. They specialize in classic mid 20th century modern furnishings. They buy, sell and consign furniture. Unfortunately, after sending them digital photos of the sofas, they felt they could not sell them for us. The next step was to ask family and friends if they were in need of some sofas. There were no takers, except for my son, August. Last spring he found himself along with three friends looking for an off-campus apartment for this coming school year at Rochester Institute of Technology after losing out to on-campus apartments through the lottery. Two, free, six foot sofas would be an ideal addition to an apartment. Especially, when it needed to be fully furnished! They were disassembled on the first of September and moved to upstate New York via U-Haul Labor Day weekend. August's Apartment

    As we moved August into his apartment, I looked around and realized how many items had come from the four roommates’ homes. Whether it be furniture, cooking utensils, clothing, or modes of transportation, they were all playing a part in reclaiming, recycling and repurposing much of the things in their new space. Even their apartment used to be something else before it was transformed a few years ago into an apartment complex. It was a carpet showroom! Upon moving August into his apartment, my husband Jim noted how he used to drive to school on this back road and remembered going by the showroom. Jim and I attended and met at Rochester Institute of Technology, 27 years ago.

    After we dropped August off, we headed down to Dunkirk, NY to visit with Jim’s Dad. We recently moved him into an assisted living facility and we are in the process of selling his home. While there, we looked around for anymore finds that might work in August’s apartment. In the basement we discovered six bar stools. Jackpot! The guys had a high counter separating their living area from the kitchen, begging for some stools. We snagged four.

    august's apartment

    august's apartment

    In August’s junior year of high school, he purchased his first car. We mentioned to a friend that he was beginning to look and she told us a friend of hers was considering selling her car. It was an Acura 1995: good price & good condition. Having a car has been great, but for less cumbersome access to campus and for general riding around, he and his roommates thought having bikes for this year would be good. August began and ended his search using Craig’s List (www.Craigslist.org). When he mentioned that one of the bikes he had found was labelled “vintage”, I told him to keep looking. Instead, he headed up to Gloucester and purchased a classic French 1970’s Motobecane. Again, good price & good condition. A quick tune up at the local bike shop and a new cable and he was on his way.

    Some other items taking up residence in August’s apartment include:

    •  two clothing dressers that I had purchased years ago at a yard sale. (He repainted them with metallic paint for the tops and left over paint from his bedroom for the base)
    • his bed frame from home (Jim went in and set up one of our daughter’s bed frames the day we came home from Rochester because it felt odd not having one in the room)
    • His roommate’s old television cabinet, television and end tables
    • Another roommate’s old kitchen table and chairs, floor lamp and cooking pans, dishes, glassware and utensils

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    August and his roommates have discovered several thrift and discount shops around Rochester. I am sure that if they require additional items, they will make their way to the local Salvation Army & Goodwill stores which are located fairly close by. (www.salvationarmyusa.org & www.goodwill.org )

    As for my Dad, his new sofas should be delivered within the coming weeks.august's apartment

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