Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I seriously feel like I just discovered buried treasure! May be old news to some, but brand new to me. And this is one of the reasons why I love blogs-uncovering new sources like a pirate scoring booty (and I don't mean tail). Today, I found an incredible source for affordable modern printed fabrics, which in my opinion, just might be the mother load. Thanks Elements of Style! It's not just for designers, you too can partake. The website is called Spoonflower and the fabric selection is A-mazing. I couldn't even pick my favorites because there were just too many. Here's a smattering.

Makes me want to decorate Little Miss Sunshine (our retro trailer) in any of the yellow patterned fabrics. The site shows pattern scale, color search, and coordinating fabrics to boot. Thoughts? I think my <3 just skipped a beat.

Friday, December 2, 2011

What's your Christmas style?

The decorating possibilites for Christmas can be more than your traditional red and green. I'm starting to see the injection of more creative combinations of colors with the standard Christmas tree, garlands, etc. A great way to incorporate your Christmas colors and style is through the ornaments placed on your tree or as accessories around the room, like an accent bowl on your coffee table filled with ornaments. Another way to inject your Christmas style and colors into your home is with your gift wrapping paper. Choose patterned paper or use a standard brown paper and wrap with colorful bows or ribbons. I've even seen patterns drawn onto the brown paper with gold or silver paint pens! A colorful pillow or throw is another great way to tie in the colors. I think a great centerpiece on the dining table also adds interest, and it doesn't have to be flowers! Think objects or even hanging something over the table or incorporate with your light fixture if possible. Last year I did a neutral Christmas with metallic accents. You can check out the pictures here. This year I've decided to go a little more modern and am using the metallics and neutrals with pops of lime green, hunter green, and turquoise. I'll be sure to post pics once everything is set up! I thought it would be fun to put together a board with a funky-retro Christmas style, and yes, I will be listening to the James Brown Christmas station on Pandora at our Christmas party! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A very, merry DIY Christmas!

Let's face it. Most of us are on a budget. Throw in what you've got for presents and there's not much left over! If you like the idea of crafting, being creative, and being proud of something YOU made, then check out some of these clever holiday decorating ideas bound to make your home a little extra special this year ;)

1. Can't find your holiday decorating colors? These ornaments were made with clear glass/plastic ornaments and simply filling the inside of them with a (non-flammable) acrylic craft paint color of your choice!

2. More with clear glass/plastic ornaments- fill it with literally whatever! The possibilities are endless!

3. Want that all natur-al, neutral, vintage theme? I saw a version of these at Anthropologie!

Make your own version with different colored or patterned paper. Add buttons, etc. Here's another paper tree to get your wheels spinning:

4. Start saving your toilet paper rolls! Trash can become treasure. Can you say R-E-C-Y-C-L-E? 

Another creative version of this toilet paper roll flower:

5. Paper ornaments 101. These are ridiculously easy. I actually made the larger ones, but plan to make the smaller tree ornaments to match ;) 

6. Yarn, not just for knitting! These ornaments are super customizable and cute to boot. 

7. Felt. Your friend. 

And MORE ornaments!

Check out the DIY board on my Pinterest for source info and how-to's!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's looking a little like Fall

I think most states have already entered into a season of Fall and temperatures have started to dip, sweaters and scarves are coming out, and leaves are starting to change. Here in Texas, we don't really have fall per say- we get some cold fronts, the leaves change a little... WE GOT RAIN TODAY!!! Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I'm feeling a little inspired by all things that feel Fall.

1. Birch Bark candle holders- Bragging Bags, Etsy.
2. Crisp fall days paper garland- Arts Delight, Etsy.
3. Book page pumpkins-Pinterest.
4. Empty Nest photograph. Lucysnowephotography, Etsy.
5. Cozy living room-Pinterest.
6. Gemstone earrings- Art Inspired Gifts, Etsy.
7. Autumn sunset loop scarf- White Moth, Etsy.
8. October Dusk photograph- Ara133photography, Etsy.
9. Autumn yarn wool organizer- Blueroom Pottery, Etsy.
10. Woven burlap ribbon- Gorustic, Etsy.
11. Yummy fall desserts- Pinterest.
12. Vintage geode bookends- Kingsdownroad, Etsy
13. Fall fashion- Pinterest. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Office Space

Since transitioning into my own Interior Design business, I have begun to really focus on getting my office space together and organized! This is kind of a challenge because as of right now I am working out of my home to keep the overhead low. It's very easy to plop down with my laptop just about anywhere, and I like the flexibility (don't get me wrong), but I'm starting to have enough things going on that require me to really get organized and get a good storage system going. For now I will be sharing our upstairs loft area with my husband's drum set, oh joy ;). So it will be kind of like a play area/work space. I love a modern, clean aesthetic with some rustic, natural elements mixed in. I'm inspired by these spaces, found on my new addiction Pinterest.

We have a window seat area just like this in the loft, so I'd love to have a cushion made and throw some pillows up there to make it more comfortable and a space where we can hang out, listen to Merrick play the drums (with our ear plugs in), and work.  And here's a quick design board I put together of what I invision our loft work space to look like:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lifeworks Home Improvement Challenge 2011

I had the awesome opportunity to participate in Austin's 7th annual Lifeworks Home Improvement Challenge this year! My motto is promoting the wellbeing of others through the creation of beautiful spaces, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to help someone else through design. Lifeworks specializes in helping young adults who have been homeless at some point, are single mothers, or are growing out of foster care. They give them the tools to succeed and some deserving clients apartments to help them get on their feet. I had the opportunity to design one of these apartments with the help of other volunteers from Dell. It was super fun and our client was thrilled with the results. The apartment was studio like in style, with the Living and Dining spaces being shared in one room, one bedroom for our client and her 20 month old daughter, and one bathroom. The mother (Tre) and daughter (Ti'yanna) would be sharing the bedroom, which I saw as the biggest challenge. Tre really wanted a space that felt relaxing and peaceful, and her favorite colors were lavender and chocolate brown. She also liked African motifs and texture, and candles. I think we pretty much nailed the design aesthetic (according to Tre) on our very limited budget! It was such a rewarding experience :) We also won the "Keeping it Green" award for our use of environmentally friendly products, sustainable materials, and repurposed furnishings. I definitely see myself doing this every year!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Casa de Ales

Lots to update on- first- I am now the proud owner of Christen Ales Interior Design, which means I am no longer working for the old firm Bulhon Design Associates. I am officially a free bird and open for business! I work in the Austin area, but would be excited to work on any out of town projects as well and have e-packages available. The website is almost complete, but for now I'd like to share some pictures of my own home. And they are Before and Afters (which I know we all love!) Enjoy! Photography by my talented husband, Merrick Ales.



Things to note:
1. We changed the concrete floors to wood laminate-super durable by the way, even for dogs :)
2. Built a new wood mantle at fireplace (by Greg Brooks and Merrick Ales)
3. Everything else you see decorative and furnishings wise obviously, but I custom designed the console table which is made out of MDF and wrapped in grasscloth wallpaper, trimmed out with nailheads and topped with a piece of glass. (also built by Greg Brooks and Merrick Ales)
4. Bargain items: Wing Chair- $25 on Craigslist, Wooden side table on Craigslist- $75, Pair of stools-$40 at antique store (refurbished by me), Vintage pair of lamps-Ebay, Wood frame chair- Antique store
5. Hand made curtains by my mom and me :) 
6. Kilim pillows from Sukan on Etsy.
7. New paint color

Aka, the Christmas corner (puke :\)


Things to Note:
1. New furnishings and window treatment, obviously.
2. New light fixture- CB2
3. Bargain items- Midcentury hutch from Antique store- $125, Dining Chairs- $75 each from a local consignment store (awaiting a new fabric) 
4. Succulent planter by me
5. New paint color



Things to Note:
1. New paint color and cabinets painted light creamy white
2. New curtains, made by me
3. New floors- same as Living and Dining
4. New light fixture

TA DA :)

There are still many more projects to come, but we feel this is a good start.