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Mud Cloth Trending

Mud cloth drying in the sun
Mud cloth drying in the sun

I recently saw a post about decorating with mud  cloth on Apartment Therapy (full post here). We happen to have a few pillows made with mud cloth in the shop and now I am trying to get my hands on some more of it so I can do something custom like upholster a chair or use as a wall hanging or something else creative and fun.

Bogolanfini, referred to as mud cloth is a handmade Malian cotton fabric that is traditionally dyed with fermented mud. According to Wikipedia, traditionally the men weave the fabric and the women dye it. The dyeing process is apparently cumbersome and long as the cloth is soaked in a dye bath made from mashed and boiled, or soaked, leaves of the n’gallama tree. Then the cloth is sun-dried and painted with designs using a piece of metal or wood. The paint, carefully and repeatedly applied to outline the intricate motifs, is a special mud, collected from riverbeds and fermented for up to a year in a clay jar. Thanks to a chemical reaction between the mud and the dyed cloth, the brown color remains after the mud is washed off. Finally, the yellow n’gallama dye is removed from the unpainted parts of the cloth by applying soap or bleach. [info via Wikipedia]

Quite the process, right?! I am constantly amazed by the techniques that go into making textile products such as this. Techniques that are easy for us to take advantage of here and not even consider the source or what went into making such a beautiful creation.

Mixing modern and contemporary furnishings with global textiles and art is hugely popular right now in interiors and demonstrated pretty well in these two photos from the Apartment Therapy post.

 

 

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 Here in the shop we have one of our mud cloth pillows on this mid century style leather sofa, paired with a vintage brass table and modern task lamp.

 

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 To some mixing the mud cloth pillow with this hand carved chair upholstered in gold mohair with nailhead would be a stretch. I happen to love unexpected combos like this.

 

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 Up close shot of the 2 pillows we have in the shop.

 
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Summer Entertaining Essentials

I love having intimate gatherings at my apartment with a handful of friends. My apartment is small at 600sf so we cant fit more than a handful of friends in at one time! I am not a great cook and I honestly just don’t care to spend much time in my tiny kitchen preparing elaborate meals. But a party with cocktails and finger food..I am always game for that and pretty much have a fool proof method for hosting a memorable evening among friends.

foodtable

 Melanie and I styled this table with food made by me and accessories from the shop for a night of cocktails at Tobe’s (the popular blogger of Because It’s Awesome). The night was centered around the drinks courtesy of Smirnoff Vodka, see the full post here. I got to thinking that this would be the perfect opportunity to offer some great entertaining tips.

cheeseboards

Cheese is a must at my place for a low key gathering. I have both a wood and stone board at home and it just depends on the rest of the mix and how I want it to all lay out on which one I use. We used the long marble boards at Tobe’s and I put all of the meats on one and all of the cheese on another. To make things feel more upscale I highly recommend buying quality blocks of cheese and letting your guests cut their own pieces. My boyfriend works at a cheese shop and admittedly I have turned into a bit of a cheese snob because I now totally scoff at the regular sliced variety from the grocery store.

cheeseknives

Whats a nice cheese board without some fancy knives? I love this Gold Feather set that we have in the shop.

mercurytealights

These mercury glass votives have a silver lining that really makes a pretty sparkle in a dimly lit setting. We scattered these on just about every table surface at Tobe’s party. I don’t think you could over-do it with these!

napkins

Want to really class things up and also be a good steward of mother earth while you’re at it? Switch from paper napkins or paper towels to cloth napkins. I don’t just use these on special occasions, they are an every day staple at my house.

 

forks

For an alternate to the predictable flower arrangement try using succulents instead. Smaller sized pots like these hand thrown, raku fired, terra cotta vessels are the perfect size for using as a center piece or accent on any surface. For the party we clustered about 3 on the main table and then scattered the rest on the bar cart, side tables etc.

Although we didn’t get to use the hang forged iron forks at the party I think they would be perfect for a multitude of purposes. Obviously great for grilling, how about roasting hot dogs or marshmallows in a fire pit? I’ve had several customers tell me they would just use them in their kitchen cooking steaks or other meats on the stovetop.

Here are some great finger food ideas that always go over well when I use them: deviled eggs, figs or dates wrapped in prosciutto, cheese tray, meat tray, hummus with veggies & crackers, roasted & seasoned nuts and the ultimate lazy persons go-to, frozen spanakopita from Trader Joe’s.

Lastly but arguably most importantly, music. In my opinion good music with good audio goes a long way for setting the mood. I can’t tell you how many gatherings I’ve gone to where the music has been either non-existent or barely audible. Make a play list, put it on Pandora or Songza, whatever you need to do, but make your guests feel like they are at a bar with good music just not as loud and with only their favorite people.

The second photo is by Jason Hanna Photography, the remainder of photos are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finding Comfort in Consistency & Quality

I eagerly left for Comfort College in North Carolina early on a Monday morning. I came back that Wednesday completely impressed. Not because of the view of the Appalachians to the West. And not because I could be an afternoon’s drive to the Atlantic Coast. Both of those are equally as amazing, but I came back to Kansas City still reeling from my humbling visit to the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams production facility located just north of Charlotte in Taylorsville.

With “relaxed design” being their primary focus, Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams partnered up in 1989 to initiate production of upholstered dining chairs.  Almost 25 years later, the line includes not only dining chairs, but slipcovered and tailored upholstery, leather, sectionals, sleepers sofas, ottomans, and much more. All of which being produced in North Carolina since the beginning.

The itinerary for this three day business excursion was a dense one. Shelly, a sales associate at Coveted Home, was to meet me in Charlotte upon arrival Monday afternoon. Although the “Travel Gods” were against us from the start, Shelly and I finally landed separately in Charlotte a little less than 4 hours behind schedule. After several departure delays and a few too many complementary gingersnap cookies, we were ready to start our journey to Lake Hickory, where Mitchell and his partner have a waterfront home. We made it just in time for a delicious meal, good conversation with Mitchell himself,  and a beautiful sunset.

Tuesday began with a few more introductions. Before our official factory tour, we met Bob, as well as a few individuals from the production and design crew . Shelly and I both were so pleasantly surprised at how down-to-earth the entire staff was. What a fantastic group of people! We could tell immediately that each employee conveyed an intense sense of ownership for their brand and was eager to express this to each of us throughout the tour. Within the 267,000 sq-ft. factory, we were given the opportunity to see firsthand each step within the production process for all custom upholstery. From start to finish, each area of production was as impressive as the last. I really did not expect such a well oiled machine. The concentration, dedication, and consistency that every individual on the factory line possessed gave me the indication that not only do they make the product well, they take pride in each piece that comes off that production line.

We had dinner Tuesday evening at Bob’s home in Hickory. I fell in love with his “colonial outside mid-century modern inside” dwelling. Every room in that house had something so interesting to gawk at. I adored his mid-century chair collection, the tray showcasing old cigarette lighters on the coffee table, and the numerous groupings of vintage McCoy and Haeger pottery intermixing with furniture pieces from their own line. I never wanted to leave, but they probably frown upon lingerers.

BobsCoffeeTableA shot of Bob’s coffee table & curiosities

Wednesday was a day of design. Shelly and I were thrilled to hear about the new Fall 2013 Collection and how the team was inspired by the political, social, scientific, and economic views of the late 60’s to early 70’s. After a brief quiz and a nice lunch in the factory’s health-conscious cafe, all of us that participated in the three days of Comfort College were given a diploma by both Mitchell and Bob. Only some of us received kisses on the cheek from Mitchell, Shelly and I included. I would say that was a perfect way to end our North Carolina adventure!

Mitchell, Melanie, BobMitchell, myself and Bob

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Coveted Home + Because It’s Awesome + Smirnoff Cocktails

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We recently had the pleasure of co-hosting a Smirnoff Vodka mixology party with Tobe from Because It’s Awesome. Tobe’s back yard and patio is cush–with a loungy sectional and vintage fan chairs set against a lush green yard complete with a fountain, fire pit and beautiful plants galore–it was the perfect spot for a night of relaxing with cocktails and friends.

Our job was to bring in the finishing pieces and deck it out with some fab accessories. Challenge accepted! A slew of new pillows arrived just in time. They lined the back of her sectional perfectly and added some fun pattern and color. The blue stripe rug is one of our indestructible indoor/outdoor rugs by Dash & Albert.

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We littered the tables with some potted succulents, lanterns and new mercury glass tea lights that have mirrored lining on the inside, giving them an extra shimmer.

B.I.A. Smirnoff_CH3all photos by Jason Hanna Photography

Melanie and I were thrilled to be a part of this lovely evening! Head over to Because It’s Awesome to see her post with all the details, more pics and recipes for the yummy drink concoctions that we indulged in.

All of our featured products from the post are available in our shop!

 

 

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What to expect from the unexpected.

Color inspiration found on Pinterest.

     Let me introduce myself. My name is Melanie Clouser. I am the new Creative Director at Coveted Home. And I love it here.

I consider myself unconventional. Proudly atypical. And my path to acquiring the position of Creative Director at Coveted Home was just that. With that being said, I also consider myself very lucky. Although I am still getting settled, I have never felt so completely impassioned, excited, and eager to grow like I do with Coveted Home. As most of you know already, I had an amazing mentor to help me transition into the role. It was bittersweet to see Amanda move to Portland last month. I looked forward to being the new Creative Director, but I also grew very fond of Amanda and I did not want to see her go. I am thankful for the time she spent with me so that when the time came to “pass the torch”, it felt seamless.

What an extraordinary feeling to love your job. I have already established such a sense of ownership to Coveted Home. When I am not working, I am still working, and I can’t tell you how happy I am to say that! Jaclyn’s vision is contagious. Not only is my background in Retail Merchandising, but I have a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art, so naturally, I am a strong believer in self-expression through design. That personal space should mirror individual style without sacrificing comfort or quality. The first time I walked into Coveted Home, I could tell that Jaclyn was wanting to convey that exact approach to her customers.

Immediately after I became a part of this store, I started to reflect on my own personal style. What does my space say about who I am as an individual? Am I representing myself appropriately? Am I telling a story, and if so, are people listening? I contemplated on what truly inspires me by using tools like Pinterest and Houzz. I sifted through numerous issues of every major home furnishings magazine to get a solid feel of what my eye initially is drawn to. What I had concluded to was not surprising, nor would it shock anyone who knows me well. I am intrigued by the unexpected. I revel in contrast and differing forms. To marry unlikely objects that would otherwise never meet. This is my “style compass”. I will let it guide me as I begin this new and thrilling endeavor at Coveted Home.

Living room found on Houzz. Love the overlapping prints on the walls.

Bedroom inspiration found on Houzz. I am a sucker for tufting.

 

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A house in KC, A house in DC

This house belonged to some of my very first (and some of my favorite for that matter) design clients that I started working with back in 2009 when I first opened up shop. We worked on their home over the course of about 3 years, the bulk of it being done in the beginning and over time getting to finishing touches and extra bedrooms etc. Then last year in August they moved to the quaint town of Alexandria, Virginia, right outside of DC.

Their KC abode was adorable with some unique characteristics and is situated in a desirable neighborhood. Take for instance the hay that was plastered into the walls. I thought for sure they would want to get rid of it, but they liked the quirky charm of it and they way it correlated with the Spanish pavers in the living and dining room.

This house has been featured on my portfolio for a while and has also made appearances in our ads as well as a few local magazines. When they made the move they asked me to help them get situated in their new house (a rental for the time being), which is about half the size of their former KC home. I happily agreed and flew out for moving day. We knew we would  have to move things around to make it fit and some pieces were just going to have to go into storage.

Here is the KC house

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I loved those black & white chairs at the dining table.

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Can you see the hay in the walls? It definitely grew on me.

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Loved the feeling of rustic modern we brought to the house mixed with some unexpected elements.

In their new house the sectional was not going to fit so we got them an adorable small size sofa (the Mona from MG + BW) in a luxurious mink colored chenille and added some velvet and silk pillows.

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We kept the green leather ottoman and moved the head chairs from the dining room in the previous house to the living room. They simply would not fit in their new dining room and I love how they turned out in here! We also added that awesome bronze mirror crosshatch tray to the ottoman from Notre Monde and a Madeline Weinrib rug.

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The beautiful Oly Studio Elisabeth Cabinet was previously in their bedroom but in no way would make it up the tight staircase to their new DC bedroom so it landed here in the living room and luckily works quite well there! And although its hard to see in these photos, that amazing faux bois white resin table from Oly Studio that was also previously in the master bedroom (with the blue walls) now serves as their entry table next to the front door–behind the black and white stripe chairs.

I loved being a part of their new home and being able to help them get settled. I was so glad we were able to work in the majority of the pieces even if it is a bit tight in some spots! I certainly miss seeing them around Kansas City but I can tell they are quite happy in their new home and fingers crossed they call me the next time they move:)

Photo credits:

Kansas City home photographed by Roy Inman

Alexandria home photographed by the homeowner, Jessica Allen

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Happy Anniversary to us!

May 1st was our 1 year anniversary at Coveted Home and also marks being in business for a total of 4 years now!  The previous 3 years were under a different name, Urban Dwellings Design, located in downtown Kansas City–my first business endeavor.   I became very excited when I realized I was going into my 5th year of business…it just feels like a good sign and I have a feeling that the best is yet to come for the Coveted Home brand!

I thought this was the perfect opportunity to reminisce and show some photos that have never been published before. They are mostly all from Urban Dwellings–we had such a cool space down there in a beautiful old building and I do miss being downtown! The first 5 or so photos were taken right when we opened in 2008. You can just tell how fresh everything was, all in its perfect spot!

The last 5 are from Coveted Home. I love looking back at these photos to see how things have transformed and evolved over the years. Next month in June the store will be transformed once again. A brand new shipment of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams furniture will be arriving (including a bed, sofa, chairs and tables) along with lots of new accessories, so stay in touch and be on the lookout for the exciting news when everything arrives!

 

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Photo Credits:

1-8 Patrick Andrew Adams Photography

9-11 Landon Collis Photography

12-16 Forester Michael Photography

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Special Order Sale

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It is finally starting to warm up around here and it is time for the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Spring Special Order Event! Now through May 5th any special order including custom upholstery, coffee tables, side tables, lamps and rugs is 20% off.

We offer free in store consultations on furniture and fabric selections, just bring in some photos of your room. We are here to help you design your life!

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Seeking Qualified Applicants

PLEASE NOTE: THE POSITION HAS BEEN FILLED, THANK YOU!

As much as it saddens me to write this post, the time has come. My sister, Amanda Steiner, who has been with me every step of the way since I opened Urban Dwellings Design back in 2008 is moving and leaving some really big shoes to fill here at Coveted Home. When she and her husband moved to KC four and half years ago they stated their intentions then that they would be here for 3-5 years, but then would be moving. At the time they weren’t sure where they would be going, but they knew they wouldn’t be here for the long haul. True to their word, they have decided upon a new home in the uber hip city of Portland, Oregon (I can’t wait to start visiting!). I couldn’t be where I am today without the help and support of my sister and the shop just won’t be the same without her.

With that being said, I am in need of finding a replacement for her position as Creative Director. Please pass this post on to anyone that you think would be a good fit for an intimate retail working environment.  Oh, and you have to love dogs because Simone comes to work with me everyday 🙂 A brief description of the job and my expectations for qualified candidates follows:

The Coveted Home is now hiring for the position of Creative Director. Seeking applicants with strong visual display & merchandising skills. Interior Design background is not required, but must be able to demonstrate knowledge of interior design, current home decor and fashion trends. Position also entails managerial duties such as order entry, social media outreach, scheduling and superior customer service skills. A positive attitude, enthusiasm and dedication to always giving your best is a must. Sales and or management experience is required. Working weekends is to be expected.  Please email resume to: info@covetedhome.com

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Fun with Olioboard

I’ve been using a new website called Olioboard to put together mood boards for clients. Since I have zero skills when it comes to photo shop or any other graphic design program, this site is my new best friend. Previously it was really challenging for me to gather images of specific pieces, inspiration ideas, colors or patterns and play with them together in a simple format online. With Olioboard I can upload my own images, put them in a space and see how they mingle together. You can even build rooms with architectural features, which I have not yet graduated to, but plan on learning soon!

Here is a board I recently put together for a client. She has a dark brown, semi-contemporary leather sofa that needed to be incorporated into the room. However when I spied on her Pinterest page (another great tool I use to get a sense of a clients style), all of the images she had pinned were of light colored, tufted sofas. All of the rooms she seemed to like were light in color and feeling, leaning towards a modern day approach to traditional or classic styles.

My solution was to incorporate dark and light elements throughout the room to play off what we were starting with and her current day preferences. Dark sofa/light chairs. The coffee table selection is perfect: a two tone wood, dark on top/light on bottom (from MG+BW here). Light console & media cabinet/dark lamps on top. Spallittaliving2

The walls were already painted a very pretty, neutral greige (color chip behind the sofa on the left) and I think the color fits perfectly into the design. She also already had a rug that is a beige background with a blue pattern. I picked up the blue in the pillows and the artwork. I love how this turned out and can’t wait to see it come to life!