September 5, 2010

What do you see?

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:10 pm by dotcomdecorator

I think it’s safe to say we are all familiar with optical illusions such as the Rubin Vase (pictured) or the Magic Eye stereogram images. At first glance you may see a vase, then your awareness shifts and suddenly you see two faces. Is there a right or wrong interpretation? Can something be one thing then another? I say “absolutely!” and applying that belief in decorating terms brings me some of my greatest joy and sense of accomplishment.

I have a voracious appetite for DIY projects and feel most alive when creating (or re-creating) something. If budget weren’t an issue, my projects would be much larger –like purchasing and renovating a certain property I refer to as my “dream house”–but I have found I can answer the call of the creative muse and find great satisfaction even with smaller, low-budget projects. Many times those projects require looking at an item and seeing something other than what is there…just like looking at the Rubin Vase.

For example, one afternoon I spotted an old stereo cabinet at the curb for the trash man.  Most people wouldn’t have given it a second glance, who needs a relic from the 1950’s? I do! I took one look at the arched front and decided I could make it into a wine cabinet. Had I ever done that before? No, but hey, it was free so what did I have to lose? It wasn’t a simple one-day project, but each step of the way, my vision became clearer and I prevailed. I ended up with a beautiful wine buffet, complete with 12-bottle wine rack, hanging glass storage, shelf space, and a cheese serving area. As it turns out, it is now one of my favorite pieces of furniture! (Before and after photos will soon be posted at the newly updated

Another one of my favorites was once my daughters 6-drawer tall dresser, now my liquor cabinet. Yes, I know there is a continuing theme here…I like to entertain! I removed the drawers, painted the interior flat black, added a shelving board, built wire-front doors, and crackle finished the exterior. It got a second life and I have a nice addition to my decor!

Most recently I decided I could no longer stand the makeshift doggy blockades I have concocted over the years. I have spent far too much time and effort making my home warm and inviting for the first reaction of visitors to be “what is all that?” as they point to whatever is blocking the 8′ wide doorway into the living room. Seriously–isn’t this awful?

Improvised doggy blockade!

I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years–I wanted to install antique French bi-fold doors, but that budget thing again–and finally came up with a viable option. Wanting something attractive, yet functional, I looked at a door frame accent kit with new eyes and got my solution! While intended to be mounted on the face trim of a door, I opted to mount it inside the frame.  Of course, it wasn’t just a matter of mounting it:  there was measuring, cutting, installation of hinges, filling holes, sanding and painting. Once finished, I have a doggy gate that can be used daily, but within seconds it becomes a simple decorative accent.  Not the intended use, but with a fresh approach it becomes a practical solution to a problem.

New doggy gate in down position

Doggy gate in the upright position

While many of my projects are solution-focused, just as many are simply because I see a new or unique purpose for an item.  For example, do you know that you can create a beautiful faux tile floor with hardi-backer (cement tile board) and paint? Or that a wrought-iron plant stand with a top makes a great pub table? Or how about, instead of plants you can hang candle lanterns from shepard’s hooks for nice garden path lighting; a decorative birdcage with electric candles inside makes a stunning lighting fixture, or that simple Christmas ornaments can dramatically change the look of a dining room chandelier (stay tuned…this is next month’s big project!)?

How many times have you dismissed an object, if looked at with a creative eye could be your own found treasure? How many times have you stuck with the same ol’ thing because that’s just the way it is done?  Try looking at a problem, a piece of furniture, a discarded item, or a common household object with fresh eyes!  Invite your inner-creative out to play…you’ll enjoy the process!

Until next time,

Viva Con Gioia!

The DotComDecorator

P.S.  I guess this post can’t be complete until I share with you my recent embarrassment from seeing things in a different light:  One day last week, I headed out the back door, but stopped short when I realized our resident backyard bunny was back! I hadn’t seen him in months and was amazed at how fat he’d gotten, so I went to get my camera. I came back and shot a few pictures through the glass.   I was surprised the bunny wasn’t disturbed by the squirrels running all around it. Then I became concerned, he wasn’t moving at all. Not a blink, not a nose twitch.  I stepped outside and he still didn’t move.  With dread, I imagined the recent heat and dry spell had taken its toll on the poor bunny.  I went to the edge of the deck, trying to ascertain if it was even breathing, then I realized why he wasn’t moving…it wasn’t a bunny, it was a rock! A huge rock that’s been in the same spot for years. I just never saw it in the same way I did this day. Ok, stop laughing! Really, it looked like a bunny! See…

Rockbunny--the best pet rock ever!

Rocks aside, start looking for the unexpected in the ordinary!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: