Thursday, June 30, 2011

{soothing} GRAY WALLS

My recent house hunting has me dreaming of freshly painted walls {among many other things}. It's been years since I've lived in a place where I had the freedom to choose my wall color, and even then I'm not sure if I was truly allowed to paint, but I did anyway {and rarely got my security deposit back in my early renting years}. I've painted walls red, aqua, yellow, black, many shades of green and even tried beige, but I'm ready for a complete change...and shades of gray it is! Gray as a neutral creates such a soothing backdrop to so many great colors. Here are a few favorites... 

What's your favorite wall color? 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I get really excited for my days off because I usually have a DIY project that has been brewing since my last day off {which was actually only three days ago}. As soon as I woke up this morning I grabbed my coffee and set up shop on the back porch. Inspired by my recent obsession with hot pink I should have a {pink} DIY coming your way in just a few days. In the meantime, here are a few photos that inspired this little project.  

via Fab 

Monday, June 27, 2011

WEEKEND WEDDING {here comes the sun}

I attended a beautiful wedding this weekend, and the sun even made an appearance just in time for the ceremony. After heartfelt vows and a picnic style dinner, the clouds rolled with umbrellas in hand, we danced the night away in the rain. Congratulations Alex & Matt!

Of course I couldn't resist snapping some photos of the DIY decor. Do you want to see more???

Friday, June 24, 2011

KITCHEN OF THE WEEK {metal mosaics}

There is a joke around the office that we, as designers, are very distracted by shiny things. We could be fully focused and deep into a project, but if someone walks by with a new sample or pretty picture, all focus goes out the window as we ooh and aah over what we call "shiny things." Four years ago in my final stretch of school, I designed a kitchen for my final project using metal mosaics as the backsplash, and years later I'm still drawn to these shiny little tiles. I'm hoping these stick around for awhile because I'm not sick of them yet. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NAIL ART {are you into it?}

I'm a little fascinated with nail art these days. I'm not sure how long this process takes or if I'd ever really get into it, but here are a few designs that made me smile...

{images via Pinterest}

I did add a little something to my own nails last night for this weekend's wedding festivities I'm attending. We'll see how long this lasts!

Now that I'm seeing this flower up close, I may not be that into it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I've become quite the dedicated follower to a design blog called 79 Ideas by Radostina, a blogger and graphic designer from the Czech Republic. She has a great eye for truly beautiful spaces and I look forward to her daily posts. As I scrolled through the images from today's post, A Home Full of Creative Ideas, I realized I must try some of these ideas in my own home. 

Working at a kitchen design showroom {with a warehouse attached} I have my pick of pallets to give this DIY coffee table a try. I tend to like coffee tables that are a bit taller so I might try doubling them up. Once I find the perfect pair, I'll need 4 casters and a custom glass top to complete my new table. Let the search begin!

That also brings me to this tree stump with wheels...

A few years ago I spent the summer in Chicago with my good friend Crystal {a fabulous interior designer and owner of Chic Antique} assisting her on a few projects. The summer I was there she had a tree cut down in her backyard, so when it was time for me pack up and head back to the east coast, I lugged a few of these stumps along with me. 

I've had many ideas for them over the years, but nothing ever came of them. I think a rolling stump is just what I need!

{More about Chic Antique coming soon!}

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

HANGING RAILS {declutter your countertops}

I love hanging rail systems in kitchens. It gets things off the counter, but still allows you to reach for those cooking utensils or spices you often use. We recently added this one {below} to a display in our showroom at Classic Kitchens & Baths. I love how the shiny chrome accessories pop against the crisp white Corian backsplash and compliments the sparkling quartz countertops. 

Hafele Hanging Rail and Accessories available at Classic Kitchens & Baths

Monday, June 20, 2011

JUST A FEW {collected} THINGS...

Last Friday night my roomies and I were enjoying a glass of wine and a few good laughs when I glanced over at one of our side tables and said out loud, "I just love this arrangement!"  maybe it was the wine that made me blurt that out, but it's true! Everything on the table, including the table was some type of found object/DIY project...and I have to admit, the color combination is pretty great too! 

1. Art Deco Lamp from On A Whim Consignment $40 2. Mannequin Head Free 3. Goodwill Grab Bag $3 + spray paint
4. "Ducks Egg" Side Table $18 (includes table, paint and glass top)

It's the little things...

Sunday, June 19, 2011


You know how I always say..."Someday when I own my own place"?...well, someday very soon I will! My boyfriend and I decided renting is a thing of our past, plus it's pretty clear I need a blank canvas of my own. So, on this beautiful Sunday morning we are venturing off to see our first potential house. Once we purchase a house and the move begins, I'll make sure to take everyone along for the remodels and before & afters. I came across this picture on Pinterest the other day and decided to save it to my new folder 'Our House.' I love the layered rugs, the long rustic table and cozy window seat bench...and that strange light is pretty awesome too! 

Wish us luck!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


In honor of my grandfathers 91st birthday celebration this evening, I'll be mixing up a few fresh summer cocktails before I'm coaxed into picking up that dreaded microphone. Let you be warned...this is not your average family gathering! 

{images via Design Sponge and We Heart It}

Over the last 5 years or so it has developed into more of a 'palooza' if you will, even naming the event {Herb-A-Palooza} after him. From garage parties to surprise guests from New York, New Jersey and Colorado, our family looks forward to this craziness each year. Today's event is supposed to be a bit more tame then last years roaring 20's themed party which featured performances from grandchildren and friends in costumes from head to toe...but I'll believe it when I see it. I'll see what I can do to capture some of these great moments. 

The girls attempting the Charleston last year for the big 9-0!

Oh...and Gramp's version of New York, New York is always one of the great highlights of the night!

Friday, June 17, 2011

KITCHEN OF THE WEEK {truck parts}

I love the reuse of just about anything...especially when it involves industrial parts. This week's kitchen features some great re-purposed stools made from springs from an old truck. They are a nice touch to the distressed wood base cabinets and they pop against the freshly tiled floor. I'm usually a fan of large industrial lights used in the kitchen, but these lights {for me} seem to compete with the stools. Maybe they are a bit large for the space, or perhaps it's just the angle of the photo that has me questioning them. Overall, this bright cottage kitchen is a great mix of  freshly painted walls, clean lines and rustic, salvaged materials.

Follow the link to see more photos of this Napa Valley Cottage. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

{guest blogger spotlight} WEAR IT + LIVE IN IT by Erin

I'm really excited to have the opportunity to guest blog for Solana James here at SoloThais! As a devote reader who is mesmerized by Solana's design eye and DIY talents - this is quite an honor. For those who haven't visited my blog before, at Graceful Whimsy I write about fashion and interior design with a healthy dose of wedding inspiration every now and then. This guest post is to share one of my favorite color combinations to wear and decorate with right now - navy blue, camel and elephant gray. 


How to WEAR IT 

A gray fedora with a linen band, structured leather bag and leather belt add just enough sophistication. Chuck Taylor's and cargo shorts balance the look with a relaxed/carefree feel. The embellished navy blue tank abd cuff bracelet adds a touch of sparkle and glam.
Camel, Navy and Elephant Gray

J Crew striped tank, $55
Cotton cargo shorts, £20
Converse hi top sneaker, $79
Rampage mini shoulder bag, $88
Linea Pelle leather bangle, $65
Modstrom shawls scarve, €30
Eugenia Kim grey fedora, £150
Buckle belt, $48


A dove gray sofa from West Elm pairs with a highly textured, round woven coffee table and a retro navy blue rug. The industrial gray side table balances the look and camel colored walls add additional warmth to the room. The blue surf lamp adds yet another pop of navy blue.
Navy Blue, Camel and Elephant Gray Living Room

Lorimer Sofa - Dove Gray - West Elm, $799
Made Goods Edurne Coffee Table And Ottoman -...
Custom Tinted Benjamin Moore Paint Colors | west elm, $36
Aidan Gray Galvanized Side Table - Aidan-gray-g85 | Candelabra, Inc., $270
Unique Grey Cutler Vase | Accessories | Z Gallerie, $30
Weego Home - Lagoon_Pillow_Navy, $195 Pillow - Navy: : Gift & Paper, $35
Sadie Surf Table Lamp, $50
Diamond Camel Pillow, $149
Retro Rings Rug, 8x10', Navy, $599

Thank you Erin for sharing Wear It + Live In It with Solo Thais readers! What a great way to translate the colors, patterns and textures from an outfit to an interior space. 
Your outfits make me want to shop, and your rooms are a true inspiration. Check out more of Erin's fabulous inspiration boards and design ideas at her blog, Graceful Whimsy

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DIY LIGHTING {hemp pendant light}

It's finally here...or should I say it's finally finished! My DIY hemp pendant light has found a place to live. For those of you who follow Solo Thais through facebook, you've seen a few pictures of my progress, and although I finished this about a month ago, I got hung-up {no pun intended} on where to hang this. My apartment rental with tin ceilings posed a bit of a problem, but after experimenting with Velcro hooks and wall mounted plant hangers, I decided it would be best to hang it in the only room without tin, the kitchen. Here's how it all came together...

In April I blogged about DIY pendant light ideas and decided to try one out myself. I chose the Hemp Pendant lights seen on Crafty Nest, and inspired by West Elms Woven Abaca lamps. I followed Heika DeHart's step-by-step instructions and the results were amazing! 

What you'll need: Deflate-able ball from Target ($3), two bottles of clear tacky glue (about $3 each), a spool of hemp string (under $5) and a hanging light cord ($15)

After drawing a circle on the bottom of the ball, I began running the string through the glue and wrapping it around the ball in random patterns avoiding the circle {this is for the opening at the bottom}. The glue quickly covered my hands and started to dry, so I dumped the glue into a container and diluted it with water which made it easier to spread over the string. After using the entire spool of string I let it sit for 3 days to allow all of the layers to dry.

When the glue dried completely, it was time to deflate and removed the ball. I filled it back up with air for the next one {or to bring to the beach}.

Because I watered down the glue, some of the glue spread between the string and dried into small, clear flakes which I had to scrape off.

I had some great suggestions by friends as to what type of bulb I should use. Almost everyone suggested an old-style filament bulb, so I compromised and got a clear round one from Home Depot, and as a backup in case this one became too hot, I grabbed some round compact florescents. So far, my clear bulb seems to be doing just fine.

My new kitchen light!!!

 I love what this light has added to our small kitchen, and I like how it compliments my birch tree painting. The shadows on the wall look like tree branches extending from the branches in the painting and the hemp adds a natural and rustic element to the room.

If anyone is going to try this and would like advice, feel free to contact me...or I'd be happy to make one for you {price to be decided}. 

Thanks for following me throughout this process!