Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Make It: Heirloom Wool Tree Skirt

My friend Andrea over at the wildly popular Andrea Currie Crafts (go Andrea!) asked me to put together a little tutorial on my home made tree skirt.  I'm happy to share how I got started and what you can do to personalize the skirt for your home.

 The first step is to find a fabric that fits within both your home's standard decor and your seasonal decor.  I'm a big fan of white on white, and I appreciate it's modern suggestion of snowfall.  I chose a beautiful Melton Wool from my local fabric shop.  Wool is a super fabric that can withstand quite a bit of abuse.  Spill some tree water?  No problem, it will likely ball up on the surface for easy cleanup.
I also picked up some beautiful silver sequins and clear glass seed beads to embellish my skirt's border.

Tools & Ingredients....and Sparkles
2 yards of fabric (Your skirt will be between 55" and 60" in diameter)
good fabric scissors
something round (I used an almost empty roll of tape)
thread to match your fabric
seed beads

The dreaded circle.  It's nearly impossible to cut a perfect circle at home without a special machine.  My trick?  A piece of curling ribbon and a sharp pencil.  Determine the diameter of your skirt by measuring the overall width of your fabric (not the amount you had cut, but the predetermined width on the bolt or roll.)  Mine maxed out at 56".  Tie the ribbon around your pencil with a long tail.  Mark that tail from the point it leaves the pencil to the halfway point on your fabric.  Mine was 28".  Hold the point in the center of your fabric, hold the pencil at 90 degrees, and begin to draw your circle.  Make sure you draw on the back side of your fabric if it has one, this way you are sure to avoid any trace of pencil after you make your cut.  You'll draw a full 360 degrees and have a finished circle.  Now, find the center of your fabric again, and estimate 3"-4" on the tail of your pencil and you'll draw a 6"-8" circle in the center of your fabric.  This will accommodate your tree stand.

Just like you learned in Mrs. Rodger's class, don't cut outside the lines on this project.  Use your sharp fabric scissors and cut precisely on the lines you've just drawn.  You'll also need to cut a slit from the perimeter of the skirt to the center circle.  I eyeballed this, but feel free to draw a straight line if you don't trust your driving skills.

Now the fun part.  To embellish my skirt, I traced the inside of a partially used roll of tape onto the backside of my remaining fabric.  You can use whatever template you'd like, but I'm really loving the result of the simple circle.  I could have geeked out and drawn this in AutoCAD, but I didn't.  I have no idea how many I cut, so you'll have to estimate.  Be sure to lay them out as you go to be sure you don't do more work than you have to!

I then sewed a small silver sequin to each circle while watching a GLEE marathon, thanks to Netflix.  It can be kind of mind numbing so having some music or a favorite show entertaining you in the background is key.   Again, be sure to lay this out before you take the final step.  Once you are sure you have the correct amount of circles, pull out your all purpose tacky glue and go to town.  The edge of the skirt should cut the small circle in half.  This way you get that beautiful scalloped edge detail.  

I'll never be able to do those sequins justice in a photograph, but trust me, this skirt comes alive when you turn those tree lights on.  It's a beautiful piece that I'll probably add more detail to next year.  The biggest tip I can share here is to use tacky glue for the final application.  This way, if your skirt happens to get stained or torn, you can easily remove the embellishments and use them on a new base.  

Merry Christmas!
Jenny @ Fig

Monday, December 20, 2010

'Tis the Season

 Photo By Fig

We're taking a Holiday break to spend time baking, cooking, sewing, and hanging out with friends and family. Basically we're going domestic for the next couple of weeks.  Old friends are beginning to filter into town, so lunch dates, brunch outings, and coffee check-ins are sure to help us meet our sugar quota for the year.  Enjoy the season and the sparkles.  Find joy in the everyday.

Merry Christmas!
Fig Studio

Friday, December 10, 2010

Portfolio: Fresh Updates

Hello Friends.  We've nipped and tucked our always in progress portfolio site for you.  Take a look.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Grant Park Kitchen

Recently completed Grant Park Kitchen in Portland, OR
Interior Designer: Fig Studio
Contractor: JDL Development
Custom Art Glass: Batho Studios

Herringbone laid Italian porcelain adds graphic punch to the galley floorplan

The custom glass backsplash exemplifies the client's affinity for bold focus and rich details

Anigre set on the horizontal gives texture to this storage-focused space

Friday, December 3, 2010

Frozen in Time: Coolest 4th Grade Art Class Ever

Yesterday I stopped by the Springbox Gallery in the NW Industrial district to check out a one-day-only showcase of Tracie Broughton's work with Mr. O's 4th grade class at Chapman Elementary.  Tracie leads in-class art lessons at Chapman, and I'm hoping she'll expand her work and we'll see her at other schools soon.  We all know art and exercise are the first programs to be dismissed when school budgets are tight!

 The students wrapped their classmates in saran wrap, one limb at a time, then followed with a layer of clear packing tape.  Once removed from the body, the students assembled the pieces to create freestanding sculpture.


The sculptures are being auctioned off tonight at the 2010 Chapman Swifts Prom at the Tiffany Center.  All proceeds directly benefit the school.

When Tracie isn't working with Chapman students, you can find her about town running Cannonball Art.  Think of it an an immersion program for art.  Contact her for private get togethers, corporate parties, or a personalized lesson.  You'll be amazed at what you can create with Tracie in a 4 to 5 hour time period.  If you think your school needs Tracie, contact her via her website.

"Like the Dive, Cannonball Art is an unencumbered outlet of passion.  It's a social event good food and drink, music and friends coming together to make a great memory and works of art that you love enough to bring home and hang on your wall."

Cannonball Art can also be found on Tuesdays and Thursdays at The Canvas Art Bar on NW 18th and Upshur St.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kid Collective Gift Guide

Want to support your local small business during the holiday season?  Check out Casey's gift guides over at The Kid Collective.  Fig Studio contributed our favorite pieces for the home in today's post, comprised of under $25, under $50, and under $100 categories.  Don't forget, supporting local supports you and your community!  Let the Holidays begin...

 My favorite holiday movie.  Yes, I do know all the songs and dances by heart.

Friday, November 26, 2010

NYC Trip Wrapup

This trip was full of highlights and visiting family, friends, and architectural sites top the list.  I can't possibly write about everything we did, but I'll share a few other photographs that describe the full breadth of our adventures... 


images via

My friend and fellow interior designer, Erin, joined us for a night on Broadway to see Promises Promises.  The all star cast was incredible, and we are all thrilled with surprise when Molly Shannon stepped out to play Marge Macdougall.

Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock, the best view in Manhattan, is always our favorite.  The architectural and interior details are stunning.  Wizard of Oz, anyone?

Top of the Rock Chandelier


Penelope on Lexington has a stellar breakfast- their french toast is amazing and our table neighbors seemed to enjoy their fresh cider mimosas.

I don't have any photos, but my family treated us to an amazing ravioli meal from Pastosa.  Pastosa has a long history of serving Staten Island residents with the best fresh pasta.


Although I'll spare my family by omitting photos from the blog, we had a great mini-reunion over food and wine.  I got to meet my brand new baby cousin and see how my other small cousins have grown.  Family is the most important aspect in my life, and I'm happy that we were able to make it back East to see everyone.  We were treated to a feast, and I hope someday we can do the same for them.

Enjoy your weekend, everybody!
Fig Studio

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Glimpse & Gander: Maharam Design Studio

Our fabulous local Maharam rep, Richelle, hooked us up with an amazing tour of the Maharam Design Studio, located on 5th Ave., just steps from Union Square.  We were so impressed with the kind atmosphere and inspiring projects they have in process...and I know exactly what fabric I'm going to use on my next cafe project. 

 difficult to tell from this photo, but those pieces are actually embroidered!

We were surprised by the intimate size of the design team, and that such sweeping projects and new product offerings came from such a tight group.  Maharam does partner with some of the most cutting edge folks around: Hella Jongerius, Bruce Mau, and Paul Smith to name a few, and they're new products really show a commitment to innovation. 

Maharam is a fourth-generation, family run business.  The office is light, bright, and airy (any creative's dream!).  The head honcho's office is out in the open, with a library fit for a design king.  In fact, anyone in the office is welcome to borrow his books.  He also has a nice collection of bikes I would have liked to take out for a spin.

 Textile Sneak Peeks

Maharam Digital Projects - Full Scale sampling.  " the convergence of art and design, Maharam Digital Projects is an expansive are carefully curated portfolio of digitally printed wall installations."

I have a renewed appreciation for what goes in to launching new textile patterns and weaves.  Maharams studio is the perfect example of what dedication and hard work can bring to designers and the marketplace.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hunt & Gather: Cake

No Birthday is complete without a chocolate cake.  We stumbled upon Little Cupcake Bakeshop while walking the streets of soho.  While I think the Americana trend is a little overdone and overused (we saw it just about everywhere we turned) the place was very cute and warm.  The cake itself was incredible: moist, with just the right amount of sweetness.

The classic carrera marble cafe table with iron base will always be my favorite.  It serves as the perfect backdrop for baked goods.

Later that night, my friend Sarah brought me a bounty of yummy cupcakes from Billy's, her favorite bake shop.  Their pumpkin spice is amazing!  We also celebrated with a Belgian Beer toast and lots of frites.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hunt & Gather: The Brooklyn Flea

I somehow managed to completely skip over Saturday in my trip diary, a day that was actually quite eventful and fun.  We journeyed over to Fort Greene, Brooklyn to check out the Brooklyn Flea, a highly recommended stop by many of our friends, including Casey over at KID Collective, who happened to be arriving in the city the day we left!  Be sure to check out NYC through her lens over at her blog.

I love the pattern play the trees created on these old Brownstones.  We both felt that if we were to move to Brooklyn, this felt like a very comfortable neighborhood that reminded us of home.

Portland is seriously lacking in the Flea Market arena, so it was with great anticipation that we dug through each vendor's collection.  You can learn a lot at a place like this- a cooling table is not for sunbathing, for example.  I'm only on season two of Six Feet Under, so you'll have to cut me a break. We agreed before we entered that we could only purchase items that could fit in our suitcase, unless we encountered the deal of the century.  The Fritz Hansen table we so desperately wanted to take home was overpriced, and we really couldn't justify shipping an industrial table home.  So, we ended up with a few lightweight souvenirs from our trip:

Fig Studio Fact:  I collect tea towels.  I have a towel from every trip I've been on in the past 5 years.  My husband has managed cut holes in nearly all of them, but they are still special to me and every time I hang my towels it's a reminder of my love for travel.  This 2011 Buy Local Calendar towel is by the talented Claudia Pearson- you can make your purchase in her Etsy store.

We collected enough vintage press letters to spell Guggenheim, now we need to figure out how we want to display them in our home.  Perhaps mounted on a beautiful wallpaper sample or in on of our terrariums?

My birthday fell on a Monday and the one stop that I could not miss wasn't going to be open for us to celebrate, so we were sure to hit it up Saturday.  The Red Hook Lobster Pound.  I'm pretty much obsessed with seafood, and lobsters aren't exactly an Oregon specialty.  I wanted to try Maine fresh lobster, whole, with all the juices.  We weren't disappointed!  Full flavor with all of the trimmings.

Secret find:  The new Brooklyn Ikea has a free ferry on weekends.  Red Hook to Pier 17 in 20 minutes flat.  What a deal, and what a view!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Row Your Boat Ashore

A Central Park first for us.  The cheapest entertainment on the island, and a welcome rest for our feet on this beautiful day.

The perfect spot to view Fall's colors

Glimpse & Gander: Empire State of Mind

The best cure for jet lag is to hit the ground running and never look back.  Our first NYC destination has been on our must-see list for a while, as Phase 1 was still under construction during our last visit in '08.  The Highline phase 1 is a 9-block long elevated public park offering sweeping views of Chelsea and the Hudson. The design reveals a true nod to the structure's past role as a freight rail line, and has preserved what could have been a true loss to the city.  This is one of the best examples of adaptive re-use I've seen, and I hope it serves as a model for other cities facing industrial change.

Nature softens industrial remnants and modern interventions

The success of this project is magnified by the sheer number of people using the space.  It's a beautiful, safe place that allows users a respite from the concrete jungle below. Many used the reclining lounges to finish up work on their laptops, while others were simply taking the opportunity to bask in November's mild warmth.

After spending almost an hour in the park, we headed down to the Chelsea Market to pickup some Oregon wine from the Wine Vault (a favorite I discovered while studying at Parson's) and grab a quick bite at the market's crepe stand.  We made our way back to our home base for the week and relished in the fact that we still had six days left to explore and eat our way through the city.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Planes, Trains, and Ferries

Fig Studio is off to New York City to see family, friends, and a few incredible showrooms.  We've gathered a list of all of our favorite spots in the city and a few new-to-us adventures, including treasure hunting at the Brooklyn Flea...

....and a side trip to the Philip Johnson Glass House

We'll share our finds with you upon our return.  Enjoy your week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cover Your Walls

After two weekends of wallpaper hanging for this project, I've got wallcoverings on the brain... and stuck to my hands and painter's jeans.  I'm really loving the graphic qualities in many of the new prints out there, and I particularly admire the collection from Oh Joy! for Hygge & WestStone's Throw Away allows the viewer to complete the story, to see beyond the lines and interpret the pattern. As a side bonus, this print may help hide wall imperfections in older homes, where other wallcoverings can actually enhance blemishes.

Fig totes around a journal with a similar print

My other favorite is out of Madison and Grow's Pasadena collection.  I have this spec'd on a current project so I'll have some beautiful installation shots to share by Spring 2012.

Elizabeth : Moonbeam on Cream.   You may have spotted this in your latest West Elm catalog. 

Angles: Erica Wakerly for Hermitage has been around for a while but I'm still waiting to see a smashing installation.  I keep this one tucked into my back pocket for just the right client and space.


My favorite spaces to cover in print:  Entryways and powder rooms.  What are yours?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Stud Pumpkin

Leave it to Sweet Paul to come up with the most rockin pumpkin I've ever seen.  

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Designer + Architects

Fig Studio has a very special partnership with Giulietti/Schouten Architects, and I'm honored to have worked on several projects with the firm.  Not only do I get to work with my husband, but I'm surrounded by talent, experience, and a strictly positive working environment.  Looking on the bright side has been a regular theme over the past year, and I've found this to be especially true for all of my design friends. 

 GS Architects Crane Penthouse received an IIDA Citation Award at this year's design awards

Starting an interior design studio during one of the worst economic downturns in recent memory is crazy.  Let's face it.  I have days when I wonder if this was the right decision, whether I should stop living my dream and "get a real job" at a large firm again.  I have days when I'm so proud of my accomplishments I can't imagine doing anything else.  None of the success I've had in the past year would have been possible without my partnership with the firm, and I feel that our clients see the difference when they choose to work with us.

 Powder Room, Fig Studio Interior Design

Seamless communication, tip-of-the finger resources, and a fluid design synergy are all key elements to our successful partnership.  We see all elements of each project from napkin sketch to final installation.  We are able to easily coordinate finishes to structure, bold design choices with tiny details, and see the vision through to the last nail.  Stop in to our studio on NW Thurman Street, send me a message, or give me a call.  We'll talk through your project details and see how we can help.  No project is too small or too large, and consultations are always complimentary.