Accessible Design Vol. 1

Sooo, seeking out awesome spaces to shoot has led me to find out how accessible it could be to incorporate certain design elements into my own spaces. I figured that it would be a cool idea to try and find similarly designed lighting, furniture, and other various housewares (ideally items on the inexpensive side since I tend to ball on a budget) that are easily available for anyone who vibes with some of my Inspired posts as of late. We’ll start out with this inspiring Spanish/modern space from Fuego!

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1. Schoolhouse Electric Apartment Pendant
2. Target Threshold Starburst Mirror
3. Ikea Stockholm Sofa
4. Society 6 “Bike and Lines” Framed Art Print
5. Society 6 “Love Pattern” Framed Art Print

Ok, so some of these items really aren’t all that inexpensive, but I think a willingness to invest in quality pieces that’ll stick around for a while (both structurally and stylistically) is worth the price tag sometimes.

Inspired: Bluejacket

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This place is just too cool.

Bluejacket is an awesome brewery and restaurant located in southeast Washington, DC, right by Nats stadium. The space is housed in a former factory where workers once built boilers for ships, which is an aesthetic that fits the brand pretty perfectly. A palette of cool industrial elements, warm wooden accents, and an authentically classic-inspired brand combine to create an environment that speaks directly to the tradition of brewing great beer and creating good vibes.

Bluejacket is actually the name of the brewery, while The Arsenal is the the name of the restaurant and bar housed within the brewery. A very interesting dynamic! The handcrafted design of the identity for both Bluejacket and The Arsenal, used in a variety of forms throughout the space, reflect the handcrafted brews and food served at the restaurant. Unique branding for each of the beers that Bluejacket produces is also a pretty sweet touch.

I wish that I was more of a beer connoisseur so that I could speak more to the beers that I sampled while shooting the space, but I can definitely say that I was not disappointed!

Simple Ottoman DIY

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What started out as one side table has turned into a few other small furniture projects. I never got a chance to take any sort of furniture building class in school, so these small projects are becoming really great and fun ways of teaching myself how (and how not, mostly) to build pieces that are both sturdy and functional.

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I started out by grabbing a 17″x24″ slab of wood for the base of ottoman. There was no real rhyme or reason for that size, it just seemed to suit my needs pretty well. Next, I bought 2″ thick foam and got it cut down to the same size as the base. I also picked up a bunch of extra loft batting, which would wrap around the foam/wood to make for cushiony edges and corners. I used wood glue to adhere the foam to the wood and a staple gun to staple the extra loft batting around it all, like so (the batting is slightly see-through which is why it looks green):

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Next, I wrapped the fabric around the wood/foam/batting and stapled it in place. I stapled one side completely, pulled the fabric to the other side so that it was as taut as it could be, stapled it in place while keeping it as taut as possible, and repeated that process for the remaining two sides. I had to do a little de-stapling and re-stapling to smooth out of some wrinkles in the fabric.

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The underside of the wood was looking a little janky and incomplete, so I got some cambric fabric (typically used underneath couches and armchairs to keep dust and bugs and things out of the springs), cut it to the appropriate size, and stapled it in place to make things look a little more polished. I actually attached angled leg plates onto the bottom of the wood base before adding the cambric, just to hide them and to keep everything neat and clean.

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I purchased these inexpensive 16″ tapered hardwood legs from Amazon.com and stained them a warm brown (Varathane light walnut). I applied a few coats to achieve the richness that I wanted, and then I applied two coats of matte polyurethane to finish them off. To screw the legs into the plates that were underneath the cambric at this point, I just used scissors to poke small holes where necessary and screwed them right in. And that’s it! A simple and unique piece that you can easily put together in a weekend.

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Lessons learned: Next time, I would use a thicker piece of plywood for the base, just to ensure sturdiness and stability. I’d also try to think of a cleaner way to finish off the corners of the fabric, which was probably the hardest part of the whole project, weirdly.

Inspired: Farmers Fishers Bakers

ffb1ffb3ffb5Processed with VSCOcamffb9ffb8ffb6ffb7ffb4Welcome to Farmers Fishers Bakers, an awesome restaurant on the Georgetown waterfront that is influenced by farm-fresh and locally inspired comfort food. Complete with both rustic accents and timely details (read: paint dipped coat hangers and captain’s mirrors), FFB is a prime example of a space designed appropriately for it’s brand. After an unfortunate flood hit the restaurant (and the rest of the Georgetown waterfront), in 2011, the team decided to rebrand the restaurant to fit more in line with it’s sister restaurant, Founding Farmers (which I featured here a few weeks ago), and some primo stuff ensued. I love a good fusion of styles in a space like this. At FFB, you get a little farmhouse/americana, a little modern, a little quirky, and a lot of personality.

I’d like to give a HUGE shout out to the management at both Farmers Fishers Bakers and Founding Farmers for being so open to letting me creep around their spaces with my camera to capture these photos! I couldn’t be more appreciative.

Simple Side Table DIY

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I’m in the process of working on a redecorating project with a pretty small budget, so I’m taking an opportunity to get my hands on some practice building furniture from scratch. I usually refurbish or add to existing pieces of furniture, but I’ve rarely built a piece from the ground up, so building this little side table taught me a little somethin somethin. Here’s a synopsis of how it all went down…

(Side note: I’m in no way, shape, or form an expert on building furniture, and I’m sure that there are more efficient methods than mine. I just do what works for my limited budget, resources, and know-how. Hopefully I teach somebody how NOT to make the same mistakes I make!)

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To start things off, I took a trip to Home Depot to get some hardwood Red Oak trimmed down to size. I got two boards trimmed to 20″ for the top and bottom of the table, and two boards trimmed to 21″ for the sides (all boards are a foot wide). I also grabbed four 6″ tapered legs and four leg top plates to eventually mount the legs to the bottom of the table (legs and plates bought from a local True Value). I wanted the final product to be 27″ tall, which is why I got 21″ boards for the sides, but it turned out to be a little taller with the thickness of the horizontal pieces included.

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All it took to build the frame was a handful of screws and wood glue, but this is where I ran into a bit of a problem. I didn’t want to apply screws to connect the top of the table to the sides, because I didn’t want them to be visible from the top. I ended up using only wood glue to adhere the top, and it seems to be extremely strong, so maybe that’s enough?

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My initial intention was to have the table be completely open in the middle, with no shelf built into the center. After getting to this point, though, we thought it looked a little weird without it, so I went ahead and got another piece of wood cut down to 18.5 inches to fit. I mounted these brackets so that the shelf would sit directly in the center.

After letting the glue dry , I sanded everything down and applied the stain. I had to apply 4-5 coats to get the color that I wanted. I ran into an issue where the stain wouldn’t soak in to areas of the wood that I neglected to wipe completely clean of glue, so I had to go over certain spots with tons of extra stain to match. Lesson learned! After a couple of coats of polyurethane, it was good to go.

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I’ll be showing where this guy will end up once the room is complete!

Inspired: Founding Farmers

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I’m TOO stoked to be posting about one of my favorite restaurants.

The lovely people at Founding Farmers were kind enough to let me spend a morning in the restaurant to chat about their brand and to take a few pictures of the inspiring space (and to enjoy a delicious egg scramble breakfast). Founding Farmers provides an awesome Farm-to-Table American dining experience that’s unlike anything else I’ve seen in the DC area. The restaurant is owned and represented by the North Dakota Farmers Union, which is reflected in the heartland-inspired menu. On top of that, Founding Farmers is the Greenest restaurant in DC, boasting a LEED Gold Certification.

The space itself is also reflective of the environmentally focused brand, with somewhat of a playfully casual spin, which can be seen in the puffy cloud-like light fixtures in the photo above. The walls are lined with steel shelving and pickling jars, further tying into the earthiness of the overall design, but contrasted against more modern fixtures in the form of lighting and typography. I like how the shelving throughout the restaurant showcases Founding Farmers cookbooks (which I might just have to cop), but they also kind of holistically serve as a complimentary design element on their own.

And now I will go dream of their cornbread skillet.

Inspired: Fuego Cocina y Tequileria

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Fuego Cocina y Tequileria is just one of those places that quickly becomes everyone’s regular happy hour/weekend spot. The space has such a cool (hot?) vibe to it that’s visible throughout, largely due to the recurring red accents that you can see in the above photos. The architecture of the restaurant is really awesome as well, complete with wooden clad focal walls, unique tiling, and iron plated fireplaces.

The main thing that I appreciate about Fuego (aside from the awesome variety of tacos that I’ve had the pleasure of eating) is the attention to a cohesive brand. You can see the “Tequileria” signage in the last photo above, and there is an identical wall on the second floor (not pictured) that says “Cocina”; both tying directly back into the name of the restaurant. Also, the floral design pictured in the environment is reflected in the design of the menus and other collateral pieces. Diggin’ it.

DIY Hanging Planter

Plants are taking over.

Which is great! I used to be hesitant about buying houseplants, on account of them being able to die and stuff… but during the last year or so, I’ve gained a huge appreciation for them. They’re such an easy way to inject color and an organic ambience, and I’ve learned that different kinds of plants can reinforce specific design styles. The sculptural leaves of a fiddle leaf fig tree (probably the most popular houseplant these days) lend themselves to a more modern aesthetic, while plants like ivy and fern can steer toward a bohemian vibe.

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Anyways, with the abundance of plants hanging out around the apartment these days, I’m finding the need to think of new and interesting ways to house them. I fashioned this wall-mounted hanging planter out of leftover wood from my ladder project. I’m all about easy (but good-looking) DIY projects, and this one takes the cake.

All I needed were the scraps of pine wood, one(!) screw, some twine, a clay pot, and a nice plant. First, used a cordless drill to screw one piece of wood into the other and to drill two small holes (one in the vertical piece, where the planter would hang against the wall, and one in the horizontal piece, where the twine would be knotted to allow for the hanging pot). I used a fancy twine technique that I found here for the hanging mechanism, but I had to make sure to string the twine through the hole in the horizontal piece of wood before tying the top knot, so that it would rest in place. I hope that makes sense.

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This blog has made me realize that I’m a huge fan of raw, light, unfinished pine. Just look at almost any other DIY project that I’ve done. I added a color (neutral?) block of white paint to the bottom of the clay pot just to liven and lighten things up a bit.

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Since my bathroom is about 80 years old and has a strange variety of hooks/nails just chilling in the walls, I was able to easily hang the planter using the hole drilled into the vertical piece of wood. I could have just as easily hammered a nail into the wall for the same effect, just like you’d do to hang a picture.

Inspired: DGS Delicatessen

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As many times as I’ve walked past DGS Delicatessen and admired the classic aesthetic (and typography) that emanates from the front window, I only stopped in for the first time recently to grab a quick lunch. DGS is a nod to the mom-and-pop “District Grocery Stores” that lined street corners in DC at the turn of twentieth century, and the brand flows through this space so seamlessly. From the various vintage lighting fixtures used throughout, to gallery walls of classic black and white family photographs, this environment touches on a perfect amount of understated vintage. On top of that, some very cool typography is put on display throughout the restaurant in different ways, adding a little touch of modernism to the otherwise classic atmosphere. I haven’t had much Jewish food before, but if the food at DGS is any indication, I’ve been missing out on some primo stuff.

Nighstand No. 2

Ever since I installed my floating shelf nightstand, the other side of the bed has been pretty empty. Some vintage wooden crates were stacked there for a little while, but they have since found new homes elsewhere in the apartment. After stumbling across this awesome Ikea laundry hamper turned side table over on The Clever Bunny, and remembering that I had that hamper stored away, I figured that I’d take a stab at the same project.

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I pretty much followed her tutorial to the tee, so I won’t go into too much detail about the process here. I decided to keep the pine wood in it’s natural state without staining it, but I did apply a few coats of polyurethane.

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A few months ago, I talked a little bit about the collections that I’ve accumulated over the years. When I was little, I’d collect these little animal figurines made out of wood, clay, marble, and other materials, usually from overseas flea markets.

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