Tuesday, September 15, 2015

cobalt = cool.

if you are following my instagram, you may have noticed that i am hung up on some bright blue cobalt, especially in art and accessories (aka pillows) - the color seems super appropriate ERRYWHERE, even in a more traditional space, while also being hip and cool and fresh. turn down for what, or turnnt up the cobalts, or something like that. i don't know the lingo these days, you guys!!

even though it's still a million degrees here in space city, it has been surprisingly cooler in the evenings. which probably explains why i dreamt last night that i was wearing the world's most beautiful cobalt leather jacket. cobalt moto jacket = LITERALLY THE COAT OF MY DREAMS.

are these so last season? i don't even know... i am currently living in a shanty down by the river so i'm not exactly hip to the fashion trends these days. BUT I NEED SOME COBALT LEATHERS STATTY STAT STAT. here are two that i will gladly take if you are feeling benevolent.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

ye olde shanty: part 7, aka time flies when you are standing still.

this morning, the construction crew rolled up at seven in the AM to begin what looks like more demolition of the front shanty, but is actually the first part of what is really and truly construction. after such a long time of what seems like nothing happening, we are actually maybe possibly getting started on building a new shanty, and it's super exciting!

around 800 hours, i realized that today is actually the two-year anniversary of my move to this house, which is weird, and a coincidence, but i really don't believe in coincidences. could we call it synchronistic? let's do!

since my post in february, it seems like nothing has happened, but the reality is IT'S ALL HAPPENING, i think for real this time? hopefully, the universe is done playing tricks on me, because imma bout to hit you with some shanty plannin'.

to recap, this is the front shanty from the street, from the real estate listing:
that photo is from an angle and pretty misleading - i think this was taken in the 80's, because this is not what i bought. you can catch up on past shanty posts here, but this is a photo showing what the shanty has looked like for most of these TWO LONGEST YEARS EVER:
and just for fun, here is present-day shanty, featuring the original 1930's wooden siding, unearthed beneath two layers of vinyl and asbestos nastiness:
I KNOW, I KNOW.... it is getting worse. i shall treat you with siding (aka termite rot) post, as well as introduce you to that beast puppy in my arms, RILL SOON.

here are the final runners-up in my house inspiration file, affectionately called "KEEP DREAMING". this is four photos out of probably... thousands? if this compilation seems all over the place, you just don't even KNOW, but the reality is i just haven't stumbled upon a photo of what i'm trying to achieve.
do i even know what i'm trying to achieve? probably not.

i kid, i kid!!

they say designers should not design their own home, and i think they are right. fellow designers - thoughts? or am i the only one who has struggled on a very real level? the two-year wait has been horrendous to my concise and definitive decision-making.

in an effort to define just what it is i'm after, this is an über-ghetto rendering of MAH FUTURE SHANTY, which i slapped together made just this weekend in an effort to convince myself that i am not making mistakes. also, i realllllllyyy want to install some baller exterior light fixtures and this is the best way to convince myself that they're worth it. please note that my lush wisteria will likely be the envy of the neighborhood:
after being told by the first architect duo that the full set of drawings they'd generated could be modified if i was willing to wait one million years to get on their calendar (after i'd already waited three months for them to return my phone call), i have a new architect, who completely scrapped the original house plans and started over, and had my new plans ready in ONE WEEK. he's been an architect forever and is super salty. i like to call him Gene The No-Frills Architect, because aside from being all business, he is the fastest draw (CAD jokes!) in the west and has a rolodex of houston building codes tucked neatly between his ears. also, he has zero tolerance for bullshit, which includes my ideas for a hot tub, as well as any coffee drinks that are not FOLGERS. gene probably regrets signing on for this project and is very quick to remind me that he is currently on owner-dictated revision numero seventeen, and counting, but he sure did like my rendering.

also i somehow finally found a builder??? three rounds of interviews and bid submittals later, that is.

a word to you builders out there: you are the worst!! the stringing along, the ambiguous contracts, the hidden fees and flat-out lying about what was and was not possible, the corner cutting, the empty promises... and these were mostly builders i had worked with previously or were by referral.

my new word for builders is EX-BOYFRIEND, and spoiler alert: i hate all of you. i stupidly thought, given my line of work and years of experience, that i might have an easy go of finding a builder, but consider this one of the times that i was colossally mistaken. it's largely due to the level of complications in ye olde shanty, but were i a real person, and not the formidable designer you've come to know and love, i'd-a quit it hardcore awhile back and just lived in my van down by the river.

i did eventually find a building group that came highly referred and who (fingers crossed) seem to be a great fit. they focus a lot on renovation and design, and it seems we are finally making some headway. in the words of her royal highness rupaul, DON'T FUCK IT UP, y'all, because i believe in you and i really think i can be in that stupid house by christmas.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

roll out.

me and my homies, we got so much money.

thus, the hilarity AND effectiveness of world market's ludacris reference in hawking their rug sale is NOT LOST on me.

roll out, indeed.

you can't stop that.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

ye olde shanty: part 6, aka a super romantic valentine's edition.

just in time for your romantical valentimes, here's that much-anticipated #yeoldeshanty post you've been holding your breaths for! jkjktotallyK, this post is not romantic, but i promise i've written and re-written it like 400 times, so i hope you can appreciate it.

to recap, part 5 of this epic saga detailed the demolition of the front shanty's interior, which occured in fall 2013, and i got around to blogging that shiz in early november. in late december, we took the world's cutest christmas card photos with the world's cutest rescue puppy in the front shanty, and true to my chronic lateness, i got those christmas cards out as early valentine cards in late january 2014.
well this is awkward.
on valentine's day, 2014, sugarbear told me he wanted a divorce. he surprised the shit out me, took the puppy and i am not kidding dot com, left me on valentine's day.

so on this most special, most tumultuous and polarizing of days, i hope you'll forgive my over-sharing, or at the least, forgive my absence in blogging, or if you know me personally, please forgive my absence in life. nothing sends you into a tailspin quite like a surprise divorce, but dammit if it didn't really take the steam out of my kick-ass shanty valentines, and this seemed like an appropriate, albeit painful, time to share. BOOKENDS, people.

i will admit i waffled a bit on whether or not it was the right thing to do, posting the valentine here, so FRIENDS PLEASE TEXT ME IMMEDIATELY IF I HAVE DONE THE WRONG THING because my barometer is less functional these days. however, my thoughts about opening up were that ONE this valentine photo is still awesome and i still think it's hilarious, both for initial hilarity and also for really, really shitty timing - laugh or cry, people. TWO as much as i've tried to wipe it from my mind, there were good parts to that marriage, lots of them, and this picture is a Literal Moment In Time that reminds me of that, especially when i'm down in the dumpster. THREE this image serves as penance and serves me right for splashing my super personal ev.er.eeee.thing all over the internet, which i'm definitely not going to do so casually in the future, so live it up folks, one last time. FOUR let this posted photo be the final nail in the coffin of my marriage, as one last reminder so i never forget what happens when you ignore the obvious and-slash-or drop the ball with regard to what is really important in life. FIVE that dog is fucking cute.

as hard as it has been to pick up the pieces, i'm doing much better one almostyear later, everyone! this post isn't a cry for help; rather, a point from which i've been trying to GET for quite some time. that is to say, i was finally able to write this post. i was finally able to POST this post. and if i don't end up deleting it, someday in the future, i hope to feel really, really comfortable about this post.

trust that lots of days, it has been hard to get out of bed, and it still is. while lots of days i didn't win that battle, i am currently getting out of my bed all the days, and that is not just because i signed up for some stupidly expensive pilates classes that i'd be a fool to skip. to be standing on my feet on the other side of this (and doing so happily), i have some super understanding friends and clients and client-friends to thank. to say that everyone has been 'extremely nice' may not cover it - extremely patient? extremely good at times, at making me take a shower? merely thanking everyone seems like not enough words to cover the mountain of appreciation i have for those who were (intentionally and unintentionally) involved, but THANKS PEOPLE. me love you long time; HASHTAG BLESSED, also please give me just a teensy bit more time, because the recovery process has taken every bit of this year and i still have a long way to go.

while i'm being so thankful, i can also say that thankfully, the divorce nightmare finally came to an end last week, freeing me up to return to blogging about my favorite topic, me Steve cool stuff that everyone has probably seen before the shanty. YE OLDE SHANTY, or to be more specific, MY SHANTY, people!! that's right, for the bargain price of SO MUCH MONEY YEARS OF MY LIFE PROBABLY ERASED LAWYER FIGHTS TEARS A FAILED MARRIAGE and ONE ADORABLE DOG, this hovel of trash is now allllllllll miiiiiiiiiine. don't be jealous.

or at least contain your jealousy as i commence with this portion of the Most Difficult Post To Write Ever. also please understand that's it, that's all i have to say and i won't get into more details than those i've just shared, other than to advise you to never, ever ever everrrrrr get divorced. did you think i was going to say married? come on, haters. if i were a bitter old hag, i might say to never get married, but the truth is that i totally loved being married and would totes consider it again at some point, because life is better when you're on a team. TEAM MARRIAGE, but like, let me sit on the sidelines for just a bit longer, because my fucking heart is sprained.

in the end, and/or as i begin again, i wish sugarbear all the best, i really do, and hope he has all the joy that life has to offer. he will always be the sugarbear.

and that is all i am going to say about that.


so as for #yeoldeshanty, it has been a much longer stay than i expected, to say the least. the anticipated four-month back shanty time period has stretched into.... over a year and a half? crap. it will be two full years come july, which is not a nice revelation. and as i reflect upon my decision-making in decorating and furnishing the shanty, i may or may not have made a HUGE, tiny mistake.

meaning in my short-sightedness regarding the duration of my shanty stay, i have crammed way too much stuff into this small space. i mean, i do love it, and the folks who get my particular kind of crazy also love it, but then we always agree that it is Bonkers HQ.

in my dreams, someone politely describes what i've done to this place as iris apfel's extremely swanky college dorm room, but the reality is that i'm sort of at a stopping point with the back shanty decor, and in hindsight, i should probably start over.

(sidenote-if you came for the divorce post and are just joining us for shanty updates, you can catch up here:
part one - wish us luck.
part two - bless this mess.
part three - a circus massacre.
part four - paint it black.
part five  - underneath it all.

at least a back shanty re-evaluation will give me something to do in the interim called Starting Over: My Life But Also A House Plans Story. why's that, you ask?

because after designing (and redesigning, and then redesigning one more time) the front house renovation plan, i've decided to throw those plans away and go back to the drawing board ONE MORE TIME. it seems (is) totally nuts, but as i sit on the precipice of finally, after so many years of guiding clients through the process of building their own dream house. building what may very well be the last home i ever live in, i don't want to fuck it up. and i want what i want, and i am the captain now.

good thing i've got gene, the no-frills architect, on board, because he is fast and i hain't got time for slowpokes at this point. the plan is to break ground next month? HAHAHA fingers crossed, but so far it is going SWELL:
as for the shanty, fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine. here's a photo recap of what is happening, paired with a general update even though i JUST GOT DONE telling you i hate what i've done, because i am a giver and i give the people what they want. which is mainly photos.
you may recall from part one that the back shanty is on stilts, amongst the trees. I LIVE LIKE TREE PEOPLE DOT COM.
the former owner's set-up, including the unpainted floors, RAW DOG floors, which you may recall from shanty post one.
more former owner-she was a crystal collector, skull-hoarder and cloud painter, but is now my spirit animal.
did i ever post the former kitchen? check out my 1982 sub-zero fridge, homies. I'M SO FANCY YOU ALREADY KNOW.
painting the floors (shanty part 4) because you can kind of tell where former rugs and/or spills may or may not have happened.
 former bedroom + current KWD office, which i hope to post about soon. hours after i took this, this guy wanted to murder-suicide me.
more action shots from my post about painting, brought to you by decorator's white, the paint version of oxygen, available through my bf benjamin moore.
moving in reality check-all of the furniture is wayyyyy toooooo big. also, a photo of the world's LEAST HELPFUL moving crew so you can see what i've been up against. 
these guys hate me and totally rubbed their sweaty faces all over my sofa's fancy new custom sunbrella slipcover. good thing i can clean it with bleach? #nailedit
some stuff!! all of which is mostly way too big and way too crazy. also that badA cat sculpture got super humpty dumptied and there was no saving her.

this left-behind cactus looks like a dong and that means we are keeping it. #dongcactus #classy #iamagrownup
three guard dogs at the world's fanciest temporary construction fence.
outdoor lounge sitch on fleek, aka steve takes a break, aka the opposite of #nevernotworking.
super sexy foundation leveling and post-termite tent repairs to the front house, which is at present much the same state as this 1.5 year old photo. also, YES, that IS the latin gene simmons of supergroup BESO on your left.
barf, or as the termites keep saying, NOMS.
SURPRISSSEESSS! here's the new old kitchen, where i hoard wilton armetale like it is my job. more deets in a future shanty post.
more of the updated kitchen. adding open shelving was one of the better ideas.
fine shanty dining, present day. so much stuff. also the light fixture is too low but it took like 100 years to install, and i can't be bothered to deal with it right now. 
i can't even, with the stuff and the rug OH THE RUG, but the floors look amazing.
living room, complete with crooked lampshade, crooked art, stuff on stuff on stuff and the rug that is currently killing me smalls. raina, bring your leafblower.
I DID IT! how mortifying. regardless, next up in the shanty series will be either the front shanty house plans or a closer look at present-day back shanty and YOU WILL LIKE IT.

Monday, February 2, 2015


what the what? it may or may not have been approximately one entire year since i blogged; is that important?


all that is important is that this morning, i put my college degree (a bachelorette's degree in fine arts with an emphasis in graphic de-zines, y'all) to good use when i made this here fancy graphic:
the occasion? build direct has selected me as one of The 15 Best Interior Designers in Houston. trust that i am every bit as surprised as you are and extremely flattered.

also, lest you think i am getting too big for my britches, here is one of houston's top designers, as photographed this morning without help from a team for hair and makeup team, nor the fine photography and retouching efforts of my usual portrait-taker (julie soefer, people).

i will admit that i had to go track down some red lipstick so you'd recognize me and hopefully not focus too much on how cool my costco spectacles are. also, let's just call this my signature pose from now on.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

hit the slopes.

This morning, we make our annual pilgrimage to Park City for an extended weekend to shred the sick pow (Deer Valley) and catch the last weekend of Sundance. It’s a trip I look forward to every year, because after an upbringing in mountainous Kansas, a failed attempt at snowboarding (that shit is for children and derelicts, fyi), and now numerous doll-hairs spent on private instructor lessons later, I am proud to say that I LOVE SKIING. It is by and large my greatest athletic accomplishment to date (which is to say, I roll hard on double blues and a few tree runs), narrowly beating out the time I won an intramural walleyball championship with laura alcoriza and the time I was kicked off the high school cheerleading squad for making out with the co-captain’s boyfriend, aka “being late to practice too many times,” as they phrased it.

Sundance Skication also rocks because it’s a chance for me to fully invest in one of my most favorite passtimes: stalking celebrities. What I like to do is: hunt for them obsessively, find them, and then TOTALLY ACT LIKE I DON’T KNOW WHO THEY ARE AND THEY HAVE LEPROSY. Do not take pictures, do not say hello, do not treat them like they are normal people that I would just get on a ski lift with, do not take a photo and be like OMG you famous!, GET AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE AND THEN DISENGAGE. Some people would call this bizarre, I call it Things I Do That Both Please Me And Fill Me With A Burning Regret. Except not really, on the regret part-I mean, what if they were mean? That would straight haunt me.

Although last year was a bust, we almost always see famous people in normal everyday situations, and the list to date includes the likes of Ray Liotta (in the bowling alley at the Montage), Oliver Stone, Catherine Keener (who i did my very best to ignore as we chatted waiting for a shuttle for like, 20 minutes), Simon Rex, Rob Lowe (tiniest man I has ever seen), Paul Dano, THE Paris Hilton (locked inside a coffee shop with her while her security team secured the area-this was during the height of PH popularity, btw), Stands With A Fist from Dances With Wolves, the white chick from Hustle and Flow, Justin Timberlake (I will ALWAYS regret not getting on that super abandoned ski lift with him, sorryimnotsorry, YOLOFOMOMOFO's), and my accidental encounter with Matthew Fox.

But the main reason I love the Sundance Skication is that for a few days, I am forced to relax and partially unplug in a serene environment that is truly beautiful. I love pulling over on a run or riding a lift only to hear NOTHING. Being away from everything and being in that sound restores the part of me that is constantly dealing with the creative process, everyone’s sofa emergency, the stress of running a small business, the mess of having moved and adjusting to our weird shanty life, and the animals – not just the ridiculously huge number of pets we have brought into our lives, but also, the animal rescue groups I’ve gotten involved with recently, which I’ve not really blogged about (but follow me on instagram and you shall see).

I say that not to complain, because I love how all of this is turning out, and wouldn’t change a bit. I love my job, love my company, LOOOOVVVVEE our crazy shanty shenanigans and for the most part, really enjoy the animals. I mean, they shit on everything, but it is rewarding, and if I had the opportunity to go back in time and change any of these decisions, I wouldn’t.

Does the stress of all this weigh on me? Absolutely. If you compared photos of KWjanuary2012, KWjanuary2013 and KWjanuary2014, would it look a little bit like a Faces of Meth calendar? Probably. But for the most part, I find the balance and recharge necessary to handle it all, and this trip is one of those occasions that I find most rewarding. Hashtag: Pay It Forward.

BESIDES, in a few of those stress insomnia nights, when I’ve run out of Page Six articles, Instagram feed and Bloglovin post backlogs, I have downloaded the Polyvore app and used it to pre-pack my suitcase (with a few liberties - sidenote: I DO NOT OWN A $1,500 GIVENCHY SHARKTOOTH NECKLACE; DO NOT ROB MY SHANTY. also sidenote: valentine’s present?). And thanks to the magic of the internets and wifi on airplanes (which I have decided is equivalent of dial-up internet circa 1998), I have these fancy boards to share with you now, circa end of day Thursday.

So we are all winners.