Random Items that Inspire

Hi All! Have I mentioned previously that I am a queen repurposer? And that I like to make up words, like repurposer. I have always been a bit of a black sheep with it comes to an item’s function and its use. I love to find new ways to use an everyday or old item. So much so that at times drives my husband crazy. I have also been known to go off on a tangent about the silliest little detail and its use or misuse. Crazy, I know, but hey it’s who I am. Actually, I do this all the time without thinking about it. I see an item and just start thinking out loud about all the different uses or situations it can come in handy for. I’m famous for making statements that sound like…”hey, wouldn’t it be great if..” or, “wouldn’t this be awesome if we paint it this color and moved it to such and such location”. All this jibber jabber from me makes others heads spin as I tout off idea after idea. And then it hit me! Instead of rambling to someone who has no clue or interest in what I am talking about, why not involve the design and DIY community. Why not capture my ideas via photo while I am out and about and write about it later, here on my blog. So that is what this post is all about.

Let’s also address one KEY element. There is no right or wrong way to be inspired. I read in a book the other day about how a women was on a hike, saw a piece of corrugated scrap metal, and took it home. She cleaned it, took it to some metal work place to have it cut to size. And then she used it in her home as a floor to ceiling piece of art that also acted as a fireplace mantel/surround. What an awesome idea! It wouldn’t be my taste, but very cool way to see art in discarded material and have the courage to use some elbow grease to make it work for her purpose.

I think what is important is to recognize that if something makes you stop to admire it, and this could be anything… A feather floating mid air, an ad for some new hair dye where the model’s hair is moving in a way that maybe inspires you to paint a mural on a wall in your home, or the spring bloom of a flower. Everything and anything can be inspirational. We just have to take a moment to realize that something in that image stopped us long enough to take it in. That, my friends, is what art and design is all about. Seeing something that gives us an idea about how to create our own unique art.

That being said, yesterday I had a little free time. Free time in my world translates to I had about an hour to kill while also carting around our 9 month old and our 4 year old. An hour that did not demand me to be somewhere else or be doing something specific. So I set out to one of my favorite stores to wander aimlessly. And let it be known if I could wander in this store everyday, I think I would. Thats right, Homegoods. I Love That Store! I go in there every chance I can. Not to purchase anything, but because sometimes just wandering around I get very creative ideas for designing. I see items that were obviously picked up by someone only to be put down in another aisle. That is when my eye is usually drawn to those particular items and my wheels start turning.

Here are two finds that stopped me long enough to take a picture and dream before my energetic 4 year old snapped me back into reality.


To all my color lovers out there. This piece speaks to you. Even if you are not a fan of loud, in your face color. There is no denying that this chair commands attention as you pass by. I fell in love with the color first, then the shape, and finally the clean design of the legs.  I could easily see this in a very fun dining room where the color combination was focused around lacquer black, chartreuse, and mirrored finishes. Imagine a hand blown black glass chandelier and wall sconces! Perhaps a wainscoting that goes 3/4 of the way up the walls, to be finished off with a molding. Then last 1/4 of wall space has some retro, funky wallpaper that is reminiscent of the art deco era, or a fun 70s vibe. By restricting the wall area with this type of print on it to a small area, keeps the print from becoming over bearing in the room. Another idea, maybe the wallpaper is only placed on one wall with a giant over sized mirror leaning against it, and the rest of the room is painted a middle toned color from the wallpaper. Maybe eggplant purple is in there somewhere? The effect would be stunning.

Color does not need to be intimidating. Make one bold punch, and keep the rest subdued and the effect is balanced design. Talk about a conversation piece!

The second item I found was this corbel.


I would imagine that many folks would have no clue what to do with this item. Let’s break it down one step at a time. First, let’s evaluate the size. This piece is just over 30″ long! So for those who have minimal floor space, this is a gorgeous, stand alone shelf! Perhaps it is just the item an entry foyer needs. Some of us live in wicked old buildings with weird angled walls, or barely usable walls. This would fit in almost any little amount of space and yet be extremely useful. Personally I have something similar, that is about 1/4 of its size. I use it as a plant stand for one of my favorite cascading plants, a golden pathos. Secondly, let’s talk about the color. On one hand, we can look at it and take a lead from the fashion world. Which is having a huge cobalt moment right now. That being said, this color is perfectly on trend. Then, we can also recognize that it is wood, and we can paint it ANY color! Sometimes we are so controlled by our own blinders on life that we fail to see options. I see a glazing over this piece in a lighter blue, letting the cobalt peak through for a vintage look. Or paint it an entirely different color, but let me challenge you to avoid black. That brings me to my final point about this. I will never speak against black, I use it in almost everything. Designing, my personal wardrobe, etc. But when an item such as this, has great detail, painting it black is almost a sin. The wonderful scroll work was created to stand out, not blend in. If you have been trying to push your decorating boundaries, something like this is a great baby step. Take the risk, and use it as is or paint it boldly. What’s the worst that can happen? You decide you don’t like the color and you have to go back to your ho hum comfort zone. That’s not such a bad risk is it?

Both of these examples just show that on any given day, we stop to “smell the roses” so to speak. Maybe it’s something in a commercial, or on your drive to work, maybe it’s something you heard on the radio. The point is, if you are that moved by an item to give it more then 2 secs of your time. Pay attention. It might be solving a problem you have been looking for an answer to. Do you have a favorite place to get inspiration? Let me know!


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