House to Home : Cozy Bedroom Retreat

When decorating a home, my own bedroom always seems to be finished last. After all, no one but me spends much time, if any, in the space. In some ways, I’ve always thought that giving too much attention to a bedroom hinted at vanity.

When decorating, I’m self-conscious to a fault that I don’t want my space to be “too girly.” This mindset meant that I avoided pink in any of my decor. Turns out, I regret that decision, mostly because I enjoy pink love the color’s versatility and vibrancy.

The bedroom became the remedy for that mistake. I decided I wanted to decorate with my three favorite colors—pink, green and brown—and let the design flow from there.

It turns out, I love this room. I love it because it is girly and feminine and completely me. I love the pictures of my family on the walls. I love the old radio re-purposed as a nightstand. I love the grungy, old brown box on my dresser where I keep my makeup. And I love the stuffed frog, a staple of my room since eighth grade.

And all of the pink? Turns out, I love that, too.

RESOURCES:
Bulletin Board: Pottery Barn
Flower Quilt/Shams: Anthropologie
Heart Artwork: Rifle Paper Co.
Lampshade: Target
Pink Coverlet: Land of Nod
Purple Blanket: Pottery Barn
White Frames: Pottery Barn

All other items are family heirlooms, found on the side of the road, or antiques.

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House to Home : Chicago Bungalow

What makes a house a home? What makes a home hospitable? Inviting and beautiful? These are all things I consider when decorating the three-bedroom bungalow I call home.

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Even though I am a visual artist, designing for print or web is very different from designing in three-dimensional space. Regardless, the same principles of my personal style—clean lines, composition, and color—still apply. I’m not sure how professional interior designers work, but I always start with color, and by that I mean I find something with every color in it that I love and match all other items to that piece. In this case, I purchased the rug and curtains with the same bright peacock pattern, hanging the curtains in the family room and using the rug in the dining room to tie the two distinct, but conjoined, spaces. I intentionally choose something with tons of colors to allow me to color my space with variety—and, if I get bored of one hue, I can always add another!

Perhaps the biggest challenge for me in designing my home was to select artwork for the walls. As an artist and photographer, I tend to be very picky with what I am willing to hang. I feel the merit of the artwork I hang in my house is a visual answer to the question “What is good art?” Deciding on something to hang on either side of the couch took the most effort and reflection. I wanted something to tie in with the books to create a library-esque feel. In playing off the trend of hanging vintage Penguin book covers, I created my own canvases, switching out the book titles for lines of songs or quotes that inspire me.

The rest of the space is, for the most part, a collection of family heirlooms, personal creations, and favorite items I’ve discovered on the side of the road discarded as trash, or at antique shops or garage sales. Among some of my favorite finds include the old tea box I found discarded outside a used bookstore and use as an end table. It’s made only of plywood held together by aluminum angles, but never fails to earn a compliment from guests.  The old phone is an antique from the early 1900s and would still work if only there were switchboard operators! Perhaps what I love most about the space is the bookshelves—or rather, the books themselves. If there is anything that I consider a “comfort possession” (something I don’t have to own but love to anyway), it’s my books. It’s easy for people to figure out who I am simply by looking through the titles of books I own.

Six years of collecting, curating and cultivating my own design style has resulted in a space I’m proud to call mine. How do you go about creating a space you love? Share in the comments!

RESOURCES:
Bird Rug and Curtains: Anthropologie
Calendar: Rifle Paper Co.
Green Chair: Jubilee Furniture
Orange and Green Kantha Blanket: Hand & Cloth
Red Pepper and Corn Salt and Pepper Shakers: Brimfield
Red Rug: Pier 1
Red Spotlight Lamps: Pottery Barn
Photographs and Vintage Penguin Artwork: Parisi Images
White Bookshelves: Ikea

PAINT COLOR:

Behr Navajo White

BONUS MATERIAL:
View the home office and Parisi Images’ Gallery, both of which are part of this same home, on Parisi Images’ blog.

Update (6/14/2013): I’m so pleased to announce that the bungalow has been featured as a House Call on the popular home design blog Apartment Therapy. Hop on over there to check out the post and leave some extra comment love.

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Food Now : Kansas City Locavore Event

A great deal has happened—more personally than professionally, I suppose—since the last post. To start with, I had the chance to photograph a great farm-and-food related event in Kansas City this past August.

I was thrilled to be part of such a great event that aspires to educate the local community about the importance of eating healthy, local foods. Farmers from the surrounding area contributed all of the food for the event dinner and local celebrity chefs prepared the fantastic feast. Perhaps best of all, the event took place at an über unique and trendy venue—the 12th St. Bridge in the West Bottoms.

Each year, proceeds from the event go to local not-for-profits working for local, healthier eating. This year’s beneficiaries included Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition, The Dream Factory of Greater Kansas City, and The Food Conservancy.

If you live in the KC area, be sure to check out this event for next year. It’s well worth your support!

The Abundant Life

In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells the Parable of the Good Shepherd wherein he promises his disciples that He has come to give “abundant” life to all those who believe (John 10:10 NAS). In Matthew, Jesus is heard qualifying the abundant life as one filled with rest, commanding his followers to “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30, NIV)

I believe in Jesus and I believe these words are His. But truth be told, I’m often persuaded to discount the reality of their implications. All too often, the unending ordinariness of my life breeds a gnawing sense of discontent and a desire for more. More joy. More peace. More beauty. More abundance.

This Beautiful Life is a personal project—a vision and calling, really—to consider what it means to live abundantly, to live beautifully. Not in some far-off future, but in this here and now, tangibly in this world’s reality. It’s about learning to embrace the journey while living in the destination, sensing that somewhere in-between is that “more joy, more peace, and more satisfaction” I so crave.

Welcome to the destination. Welcome to this beautiful life.