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Book Review & Giveaway :: The Little Book of Big Decorating Ideas

Recently I received a copy of Country Living’s The Little Book of Big Decorating Ideas. Indeed it’s a little square book measuring only 7 x 7 inches, but don’t let the size fool you. This pint sized edition is loaded with big inspiration. It features a hand-picked collection of the magazine’s best advice (and how to instruction) on ways to organize, decorate or add a personal touch to your space. There’s even a chapter for gardeners giving smart secrets for growing lush, abundant landscapes. This book would make a fabulous house warming gift!

Little Book of Big Decorating Ideas REVIEW

With over 280 ideas presented, it wasn’t easy narrowing down my faves …  but here’s a few that caught my eye!

driftwood cabinet pull for fridgeblack painted china cabinetart wall from book illustrationsDIY toy barnyard animal candleholdersdiy wallpaper dressershadow box ribbon collectionDo you remember seeing this fun idea at work in the decorator show house equestrian bedroom?

Little Book of Big Decorating Ideas GIVEAWAY

I enjoyed reading this new DIY decor book and think you will too. The publishers have agreed to give one lucky Simplified Bee reader their own copy of The Little Book of Big Decorating Ideas!

Here’s how to enter to win:

  • Simply leave a comment on this post (provide your email if I don’t have a way to contact you).
  • Extra Entry – become a new follower of Simplified Bee’s BlogTwitterPinterest or Facebook Page.
  • Extra Entry – mention this giveaway in a blog post, Facebook link, tweet or pin an image from this post, then leave a comment letting me know.
  • Please post a separate comment for each extra entry.

Entry period closes at midnight PST on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The winner will be chosen by and will be announced on the Simplified Bee Facebook page on Thursday, June 27, 2013.

Best of luck and happy decorating!


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Read full story By on June 19, 2013 in book, book review, decorating small spaces, Design Tips, DIY, Features, Giveaways, interior design, Tips/Tricks

Interior Designer, Angie Hranowsky’s Home + Weekend Reads

I’ve long been a fan of Charleston, South Carolina-based  interior designer, Angie Hranowky. The former graphic designer mixes pattern and color effortlessly. I especially like Angie’s style because it feels so personal, inviting and organic. When I heard that her new pad (a charming historic 1850’s home) was being featured in the latest Lonny Magazine, I just knew I’d love it. And indeed I did. Angie’s renting the home which has it’s challenges for anyone (including designers), yet she pulls it off amazingly. As you will see the window treatment, wall paint and lighting fixtures she selected make a huge impact in the space. In the article, Angie gives great tips on making a rental your own.

chic pink living room designroman shade in pinkchic chrome poster bedblue child's bedroom designorganized kid's play areapurple breakfast dining area

*images via Lonny Magazine

It’s Friday… one of my favorite days of the week. Over the weekend I’ll be diving into more shelter magazines and blogs. I thought I’d share a few links to blog articles I enjoyed this past week.

Mr Bazaar's organized pantry

Mr. Bazaar Styles his Pantry

inspiring organized kitchens

I Heart Organizing’s Kitchen Link Party Faves

sea inspired living room design

Pure Style Home’s Client’s Family Room Reveal


 And a big thank you for supporting and voting for the bee at Circle of Moms (there is still time to vote!). Enjoy your weekend!



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Read full story By on April 12, 2013 in Bedroom, bedrooms, beds, curated look, Design Tips, home organization, interior design, Interiors, Living Room, Organization, Organizational tips, Playroom, Tips/Tricks, window treatments

Interview :: Interior Designer Graciela Rutkowski

In 2003, Seattle based and self-taught decorator, Graciela Rutkowski was named one of House Beautiful’s America’s Top Young Designers. I first saw her work published on blogs and pinned on Pinterest and became an instant fan of her classic style with a fresh twist. Graciela combines old and new effortlessly and makes you believe that the process evolved over time. Each space is inviting, unique and beautiful.

I’m thrilled to be interviewing Graciela today!

airy designer dining room

Simplified Bee: When did you know you wanted to be an interior designer?

Graciela Rutkowski: I  didn’t really until I decorated my own house, let’s just say, I’m a late bloomer, but when I think back on the things I would do as play as a child.  I was always either building the houses my dolls were going to live in, or playing store.    I never actually played with the dolls, it was all about finding creative ways to decorate and build their homes.  – funny how I now do that in grown up houses 🙂

traditinal living room with large artwork

SB:  How would you describe your personal style?

GR:  I’d like to say casually elegant. Classics with a bit of modern thrown in.

pink daybed girls bedroom

SB:  Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?

GR:  I should probably throw out a really pretentious sounding artist that I came across, but I love collaborating with contractors and tradesmen, I know this doesn’t sound very glamorous,  but they are the people actually building the things we imagine, they work with the materials all day long and have so much experience.   I’m always amazed at the skill level, dedication  and the patience that they have to complete a job beautifully, true artisans always make me look good!

black cabinets home office

SB:  Do you have “go to” paint colors? If so, which ones?

GR:  Yes!  My favorite paint – especially for the northwest is Benjamin Moore, Revere Pewter,  It’s a warm grey color and looks great against white trim.  It’s one of those magic colors, that take on the characteristics of what is around it.  So if you’re not sure if your palate will be grey or beige, it will work with either.  Hale Navy is a great navy  – also by Benjamin Moore. Racoon Fur is a great dark grey/black, it looks especially nice on metal. Pratt and Lambert Seed Pearl is a beautiful white for trims.

I also love BLACK.  I joke with my painter that my house is slowly getting painted black, my dining room has black walls, as well as my sun room, and all the doors are slowly getting painted black also.  Maybe I’ll get to the end, then start all over again, lightening it all up again.

styled designer bookcase

SB:  Which of today’s interior design trends are here to stay and which ones will we see fade away?

GR:  I think the classic tried and true will always be around, leopard prints are always fun and add a bit of glamour.   Lucite, fur, I love painted furniture, in a single solid shiny color.   I hope color stays around, I can’t stand a room without it.  Even if it’s just a pop here and there.

Oversized airplane part furniture – hmmmmm? Too much of the industrial look.

Mustaches?  I’m sorry, I don’t get it , maybe I’m too old.

foo dog lamp in contemporary living roominterior design tip

SB:  Where do you recommend clients splurge versus save?

GR:  Splurge on your family room sofa!  It will be the most used piece of furniture you own.  Splurge on pillow fabric.  Not everyone can afford Fortuny drapery, but give yourself a little luxury and buy a few yards for pillows, they are like fantastic earrings on the little black dress.

elegant designer bedroom

Splurge on fine linens for your bed.  You will never spend as much time as you do in your bed, and they touch your skin, splurge on the best sheeting and have some pretty embroidery or monogram put on them, it’s not as expensive as you think.  Don’t be fooled by thread-count, it doesn’t mean anything.  Go for what feels the best.

pearlized lamp shades

Splurge on beautiful shades for lamps.  They can transform a simple lamp, into something fantastic.  Our new obsession is pearlized fabric. We are making shades out of it, and it,s like a thousand sparkly lights coming out of the shade. (see above image)

Save on the custom tiles, there are so many fantastic designs and creative ways of using existing designs, unless it’s a very personalized design I’m not sure when I would use it.

Save on the furniture in your bedroom.  I know, we all want to think we will use that beautiful Chaise, but it’s probably going to just hold clothing.

traditional living room with lantern

SB:  Fill in the blank. No room is complete without…

GR:  a bit of leopard!! GRRRRRR

traditional family room in blue and yellow

SB:  What’s next for Graciela Rutkowski Interiors?

GR: We recently opened our first retail store near my home in the University District of Seattle,  I’m hoping it becomes a fun place for people to stop in for inspiration whether it’s furniture, accessories or a fun gift.

purple and orange flower arrangement

Flowers are in our future – we are expanding to offer special events and seasonal floral in our store.  We had a lot of fun this last Christmas with greenery for the home.  Customers could pre-order their wreaths and Catherine our fabulous floral designer was there during pick up and she embellished the wreaths with ornaments, ribbon, birds, and other fun accessories.  It was so much fun and we loved the fun holiday feel.  We’re hoping to offer more seasonal quick pick ups for mothers day, birthdays etc.

We are also working on offering our store online, that’s a giant project, but hoping to have it up and running later this year.

We also have expanded our studio offices and should be opening in Mid March, we’ve moved around from my tiny basement to the store to now, our new offices.  – yes we have leopard carpeting!


Thank you Graciela for sharing your time, expertise and inspiration!


*images via Graciela Rutoski Interiors

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Read full story By on March 6, 2013 in bedrooms, color, Design Tips, dining rooms, Features, girl's bedroom, interior design, Interiors, interview, Interviews, living rooms, Tips/Tricks

Small Entryway Ideas

Entryways can serve many functions. They offer the first glimpse into our homes and are where we welcome guests. For many it’s also a drop zone for such things as coats, purses, keys  and mail.  If your entryway is on the smaller side,  it may take some planning to achieve the function and organization you desire, while still reflecting your home’s style. Before purchasing furniture and accessories, measure the space and take into account your family’s daily routine to see what items would work best in the space. Do you need seating to put on your shoes? Hooks for bags? A basket for mittens? When selecting paint colors or wallpaper for the space, consider taking hues from the color scheme used in adjacent rooms such as the living room. This way your home will have a better flow.

To inspire you, I’ve selected some fabulous small entryway ideas that may consider for your home.

small entryway ideas

chic wallpaper + simple bench + stacked mirrors. design by Heather Garrett Design

small entryway ideas chinese cabinet

chinoiserie cabinet + fresh flowers + fabulous artwork. photo via Lonny

white contemporary entryway

parsons console + upholstered side chair + basket with lid. photo via Lonny

 small organized entry ideas

hooks + shelf cubbie + modern art. photo via Bo Bedre

small entryway ideas with wallpaper

colorful door + petite console table + fabulous mirror. photo via Pinterest

 Happy decorating & organizing!


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Read full story By on February 27, 2013 in console tables, Design Tips, foyers, furniture, Interiors, pinterest, Tips/Tricks, wallpaper