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Things I Learned This Week

Foxes…Foci? Are the cutest thing ever- second only to lambs (and Grace) but more on that later. But I knew about their cuteness.

But did you know in London there are city foxes?

Sounds like this: 

Right?

But no really…It’s a big enough thing to be a problem. 

Is it just me or do London problems seem a bit, I don’t know, more stylish? Proper? It’s like their taxis- even their rodents are cuter. Thanks to British Twitter follower Tiffany for this fun fact.

On a COMPLETELY different note. I have to share with you this story a lady who came into the store yesterday told me. She was browsing our selection of books, and decided on a book on New Orleans. She told me that she had lived in Houston all her life (she was probably late 60s) and had never been to New Orleans until last month, when she went to go meet her girlhood pen pal from Australia for the first time. The girls had written each other letters from 1968-1972 before losing touch. A few months ago the lady was cleaning out her attic and found the stacks of letters- which she described as a time capsule of life in Australia and Texas in turbulent times as the girls tried to tell each other about their lives a world apart- and was inspired to get back in touch with her old friend. She searched classmate sites, the girls school alumni services, to no avail until she remembered that the girls brother was in medical school during their correspondence and while the girl had likely married and changed her name, his would be the same. Sure enough, she found the brother, emailed him, and after the lady scanned a few of the letters to prove she was legit, he put the former pen pals in touch. They have resumed their handwritten correspondence, and decided to meet for the first time last month in New Orleans.

Pretty incredible, right?

Not to mention, totally fulfilled a very specific fantasy I had about being a shop owner, getting to meet wonderful charming people and hear great stories about their lives. Very Shop Around The Corner.

Right?

Also, in shop news. We shipped out our first bedding web orders yesterday. Crib sheets are in, printed queen duvets are supposed to come in next week. I am really hopeful we will have enough of everything in to ship out all orders before Christmas. How cute is our packaging? Not to mention, how cute are they paired with our jellycats? More gift ideas from Biscuit and beyond next week.

Finally. Did you see the new Rue?It was like…cuteness porn for me. Lambs EVERYWHERE!!!!!!

Pretty much all I want for Christmas, and every day.

But for more things I want for Christmas- and Pete and Grace and stocking stuffers and gifts by price range, we are having Gift Guides Galore next week.

And I have to say Thank You to PaperCity for the lovely feature on the store in this months issue, Ballard for tweeting about our HGTV feature, CitySearch Houston, and Jenna Kingman for her post and beautiful pictures of the store! Lots of love coming our way, and I am very thankful.

So how did I do this week? Are the posts more on track with the Peppermint Bliss action you favor? I hope so, and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Client Work: Before & After

“Cher’s main thrill in life is a makeover. It gives her a sense of control in a world full of chaos.”

Lauren emailed me back in March to help them with their master bedroom. They were adhering to a tighter budget because they had just splurged on this amazing Ethan Allen bed.

And, as it turns out though I didn’t know it then, they were expecting a little nugget soon as well.

Here is their room before:

So working with the bed they had just ordered, and her love of Chiang Mai Dragon, this is what I came up with for them.

I think this board demonstrates the high/low…splurge on investment pieces, save on others thing I was talking about on Monday. The bed is a forever piece. The bedding is really good too- as are the side lamps. The side tables are from west elm, and the bench at the end of the bed is from overstock. And this is what it looks like in real life:

I love how the space looks pretty and put together, but not overly designed. I don’t think it looks like “me”, I think it looks like them, and if I walked into this room I wouldn’t think “who is your designer?” I would think “y’all did a great job”.

Another angle of the room before:

The design board:

And this is also why Lauren is a dream client. In respect to their budget I had suggested the Ikea malm dresser with these little upgrades.

But SHE went out and found this piece on The Craig. And painted it the color I suggested. Lookin’ real good, though I do think it could use the lamps I suggested to finish it off. That is the great thing about doing the boards though- you can do things at your own pace as funds and priorities and tastes align.

Beautiful family in their beautiful room.

Let’s give them a round of applause, shall we?

Christmas Lights

Slowly but surely we are adding items to our online store…

Check out our version of Christmas Lights.

So festive!

And until midnight tonight, get 20% off of your lighting purchase with the code “festive” at checkout.

‘Tis the spirit of the season!

Werk.

Really excited to see this living/family room come together.See! I can do Beige!

If you are interested in our design services, email design@biscuit-home.com

Bliss for a Bargain

One of the requests I received in my post last Friday was for me to start doing posts of rooms I have designed, or rooms I wish I had designed, and how you can get the look for less. This is tricky for me, because while I do love a bargain, I think that a lot of what people respond to in a room are the special and usually more expensive touches. Some of those things can be replicated for less, but craftsmanship and quality costs money.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to achieve a good look for less, you just have to know what it is you are trying to replicate and pay for those details and forgo the others.

Let me demonstrate with our blue velvet sectional. I get more emails about this piece than anything else.

I drew it up and had it made when we were in Chicago. I would be happy to share the contact of the furniture maker who built it, but the number I had for him is out of service. It wasn’t as expensive as some pieces I have seen in fancy stores like DWR, but custom costs money, and so does velvet.

This one from Room Service is nearly $4000, and is linen. You can get it in custom fabrics, and I would guess this one requires about 15 yards of fabric? A high quality velvet (though again, there are deals) starts around $100 a yard retail. So you do the math.

Or I will. That’s $1500 on top of the $4000 base price. Ouch.

I should make these and sell them through Biscuit…and maybe I will one day…but for now, here is how I would get the look for less.

So. In our couch there are a few elements that might be pleasing. Namely the tufting, the blue velvet, the mod/classic style, clean lines, exposed legs, and the non-bulky sectionalness. Counter-clockwise, here is what I think each of these pieces has to offer someone who liked our sofa:

1. The best deal, and the most like our sofa in the big picture. Same color, if not material. Same clean lines and exposed legs, same shape and seating- though lacking the tufting detail. Ikea and Bemz for $1500.

2. This is the most expensive and probably the biggest departure in style, it is more similar to the green velvet sofa I drew up for our living room, but this shows the range of cost and quality. It comes in a beautiful blue velvet, and has the exposed legs and tufting detail some might be drawn to in ours. Definitely not cheap though at nearly $3,000 from Jayson.

3. Clean lines, exposed legs, tufting, available in a teal velvet. It’s wee, but for $1,200 from Ballard you get quality construction, blue velvet, tufted, and the clean lines.

4.  Probably the most similar in terms of style, details, sectional-ness. But not on the fabric. It’s $1800 from CB2, and you could always recover it later. This is probably the one I would most recommend.

So. Try to identify everything you like about a piece or a room, and rank it. Realize that each special touch costs something. Using the example of the couch, you can get something in velvet for a deal, but probably not a whole sectional. If the velvet is the most important part to you, and you are on a budget, scale back on the size. If the shape is the most important part, consider a blue linen instead. Try not to get duped by some amazing deal that promises it all. Inexpensive velvets do exist, but usually if something is cheap $ wise, something about it is cheap quality wise as well.

If you are going to spend more than 20% of your budget for a room on something, my personal belief, is that it should be real- not a cheap replica. And by that I mean (again using this example) buy a quality sofa that will last long enough to be recovered in the velvet when you can afford it. Craigslist, antique mall, ebay…Look around and find a vintage sofa with enough of the other details, and velvetize later.

In my opinion, the only way to get a true deal, is to look in the long term. If you go out and Ikea a whole room, even if it looks like a pretty good version, there aren’t any long term pieces for you to grow with. You will have to replace every piece in a few years anyway. But if you splurge on one investment piece, and Ikea the rest, you will (hopefully) have that piece forever. The next time it comes to refluff, get another forever piece and replace what needs replacing. So on and so forth until you are mostly surrounded by meaningful forever pieces. And isn’t that the point? To be surrounded by what is special to you?

And that, is my version of bliss for a bargain.

So…was this helpful at all? Trying to get back to the Peppermint Bliss that you all said you missed, and bring you what you want. I hope this was on the right track!