Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shop Like a Design Blogger: My Little Happy Place

This week I'm thrilled to welcome Alison from My Little Happy Place, one of my daily blog reads. A native Texan, Alison and her family currently live in Brazil, where she blogs about interior design and style. While Alison's eye is impeccable and her ability to spot a bargain and see an item's potential is uncanny, what I love most about Alison is her distinctly upbeat and entertaining point of view where happiness and joy -- not perfection -- are the ultimate aims of interior design.

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I was truly honored to be included in Averill's Shop like Design Blogger series, as I don't see myself as being in the same league as other Blogstresses who are, in fact, designers. However, I do love design, and soak up as much of it as I can. I live overseas, and often find e-shopping is the only way I can obtain certain "looks," however, when I'm home, Stateside, there are definitely physical places I don't miss the chance to visit - certain I'll find something great!

The last few years have witnessed such a flourish of accessible design opportunities, that even those of us not part of the design "trade" have been able to dream up and create our ideal spaces, without breaking the bank. Some of my go-to sources are most likely the same places many people find their treasures; but each person focuses on their own aesthetic. It's such a win-win because mainstream retailers have caught on to what expensive boutiques have known all along: Style Sells!

Without further ado, here's my picks for bringing home clever design:


1. Lamps: Without a doubt: Homegoods. Pick up your latest shelter mag, and spy a lamp you like - chances are, there already is, or soon will be, a dead-ringer at your nearest TJ Maxx/Homegoods location - for a fraction of the cost. To keep it real, I must admit it is sometimes an exercise in frustration to find a pair with matching shades and hardware intact, but when you hit the jackpot, it's the Real Deal! (Runner Up: Walmart's website for terrifically-stylish options.)

2. Modern Furniture Knock-Offs: Overstock. If you have a penchant for modern design, or just want a touch of it to mix things up, but don't want the commitment of an authentic piece, look no further than Overstock. The vast website is an online shopper's dream: customer product reviews, low-stock warnings, and free or $1.00 shipping - amazing! I've recently ordered two chairs for a room remodel, and the quality for the price is spot-on. Can't say enough about it!

3. Art: Etsy and Art.com. For truly one-of-a-kind works, hit up the Etsy website. You can "convo" an artist about particular pieces they have listed, and even request special, custom versions. It's a great way to start a collection of original art without stepping foot into an overpriced gallery. If you are trying to fit a very particular space, and have an idea of what type of art you'd like, Art.com is a great website. You can search by category, "try" the different works in a room, sample different frame options, and save what you like to your own "gallery" for future viewing. Not one-of-a-kind pieces, but certainly better than the options at your typical, Big Box store. I was immediately smitten recently with this custom, four-piece abstract landscape from artist JShears.

4. For that One-of-A-Kind Piece: Warrenton Antiques Festival. Although the Antiques Festival is only offered twice a year, the sheer volume of opportunity makes it worth your while to make a list throughout the months of what special pieces you'd like to find. If the thrill of the hunt is part of the fun for you, then Warrenton (or any antiques fair) is the place you need to go! There are a few vendors with typical, "bought at Market" wares, but for the most part, this is where you'll find honest-to-goodness "found" items that speak to you on a more personal level. It's the kind of items or accessories that make statement pieces, or just finish off a room - making it yours and yours alone. I recently snagged this unique, industrial coffee table (shown above) for a friend, and it immediately became a special, focal point in her room.

5. Newest "A-Ha" Sources: Big Lots and Tuesday Morning
. These two stores may be lurking in your nearest, not-too-trendy shopping center, but they just might be worth a regular stop-in. If you are patient and diligent, you may just find the exact same Chinese Garden Stool that Pottery Barn lists for $100+ for a mere $20 - like I did at Big Lots a few months ago (shown above).

Or a piece waiting for a DIY makeover, like this Wisteria wanna-be I stumbled upon at Tuesday Morning.

I think it goes without saying that people who love design see the styling of a room or home as an ongoing process, and keeping an eye open for that special piece is a just a part of our existence, and you never, never know where one may pop up! Thanks so much, Averill for letting me share!

Next Week: Camila from High-Heeled Foot in the Door!

20 comments:

The Zhush said...

Your right! She does have a great eye, and terrific bargain sleuthing skills...loving this series.

Christy said...

Averill thanks for introducing me to yet another fabulous blogger! I'm totally loving this serious. I love her sources as they're actually affordable! How neat that she lives in Brazil...we vacationed there when I was pregnant with the Foo! Great guest post!

Karena said...

Great finds and Ideas. Love to see the latest on your site!

Karena
Art by Karena

Connie @ Sogni e Sorrisi said...

What great sources and finds!

Emily A. Clark said...

She shops like me! I think there will be a lot of similarities in our lists :) Great job.

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

Alison is talking my language! I think she's spot-on with accessible and affordable design resources - can't wait to check out her blog!

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

Big Lots? Who knew? I'll have to try that.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Alison fabulous job. You are a woman after my own heart. Great choices and if you are a person willing to do the hunt, you can have great success. I always told my mom, "it's a full time job being cheap". You must definitely have the time. Thanks Averill and thanks to Alison!

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Well done!!! And, you are so right with your assessment with all of these stores!

Marija said...

Overstock is a fave of mine but I always forget about it for modern knock-offs! Nice work! Great post! Marija

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

I love Tuesday Morning and need to remember to pop in there more often.

Morning T said...

Love Alison and MLHP. She has great style and is such a gracious blogger!

PS- how did I miss that Chinese garden stool at Big Lots for $20?!!!

my favorite and my best said...

happy happy bargains..

ashlina said...

i love her blog +her shopping style...great post!!!!!!

Design Darling said...

love these suggestions! off to check out overstock now.

Bailey@ peppermintbliss said...

Deals make me happy. Alison makes me happy. Alison shelling her deal finding secrets = a very happy Thursday!

Things That Inspire said...

I love that term - blogstress!

Great finds. I need to go check out overstock.com - have heard about some amazing deals on there!

Sanity Fair said...

Great choices! I especially love Tuesday Morning - I have been consistently surprised by what I've found there. Biggest score? Crane's Christmas cards - beautiful, and enough for my entire holiday list at less than the price of one box at normal retail!!!

Laura@JourneyChic said...

Love, love, love HomeGoods! I recently discovered Tuesday Morning, too, when it opened in my parents' town. Although I don't think it was smart of them to put it right next to TJ Maxx!

La Maison Fou said...

Great info! I wandered over from the blog ( lhp ).
What great tips and yes good sources.
L.

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