Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kara Mann Design

Modern meets timeless beauty. This is how I would best describe the work of Kara Mann, a Chicago-based interior designer. I love her use of bright accents against neutral backgrounds. Notice how the gorgeous pillows pop in the bedroom and living room. I would LOVE to live in this ocean front villa. So amazing!!! Check out her also fabulous site at

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Magnificent Garden Design

My mouth is still wide open after taking a look at these images from Traditional Home. It's Stan Fry's magnificent gardens from his New Hampshire house. Designed by Gordon Hayward, master garden designer.

If only I had the space to try to do something like that!

Absolutely breathtaking.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Three Birthdays in Two Days

The good thing about having three birthdays in two days is you get to party ALL WEEK LONG (or even longer).

In the last two days, we had some of the following:

A chocolate cake. So yummy I could have it all over again.

Another yummy recipe: my husband's famous pasta with mushroom and cheese sauce.

And a few surprising gifts!

Now that our family has grown in size and age, we're thrilled to continue with the celebrations the rest of the week. Gotta party! (There are no more birthdays for us the rest of the year!)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Christmas Is Over!!!!!

So, what else is new, you ask? I know everyone's probably done with this by now, BUT I'm soooo excited to tell you I finally put away all the Christmas decorations at home (so late, I know!) Well at least I did it just in time for our Birthdays (did I tell you my husband's b-day is tomorrow and my daughter's and mine is the day after tomorrow?) Party, party, party!

I went from this:

to this:

Now the living / dining area feels soooo empty! It's actually VERY empty. This place has no decorations or anything, and it's still missing some furniture. Of course the living room and dining room are part of my goals this year.

Putting away the Christmas decorations turned into this:

Could it get any more embarrassing? Once upon a time, this was an empty room. Little by little, everything ended up here and it soon became the clutter/ironing room. I couldn't stand it. Clutter grew, like a living monster!

During the holidays, I allowed myself not paying attention to it. Then came our vacations, New Year's, you name it. For the first couple of weeks in 2010, my job didn't let me deal with it either.

That was, until TODAY.

You regular readers know that organising is the top priority at Casa Haus this year. Not being organized makes me feel so grumpy and anxious. Not having the time to get organized had made it worse.

To make it easier on me, I'm walking baby steps. My goal is to organize something at home each week. Even if it means a tiny spot somewhere in a room.

After working all morning and some hours in the afternoon, our empty room came back. I threw away a lot of things (mostly boxes and stuff), put away others and some I gave to charity.

(This is still were we iron, hence, the irons and ironing board). Hopefully the laundry room gets done soon to take them over there. Right there on the floor you can see my following assignment.

Of course, the next projects are:

Cleaning and setting up these garden lanterns.


Filing paperwork. How exciting!!!! :P

Oh well! At least the empty room's getting ready to turn into the office sometime soon.

Did you get something done this weekend?

P.S. Happily sharing with
 Amy at Design-Aholic for Victory of the Week
Remodelaholics Anonymous
Cottage Insticts for Make it for Mondays
Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Making the World Cuter Monday
The Persimmon Perch for Made it Monday

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"New" Year Exercise -Part II

Hi y'all!
Back to our New Year Exercise, but first, let me thank you for following me on this, and liking my suggestions. I was worried the post might be a little too long, (or too personal). But it seems it has reached out some of you, and that feels great. Even the lovely Amy pointed out this exercise is a victory all by itself. I love my great blogfriends ;)

Now, back to business.

Establish your priorities.

By this point, you should have two lists: the goal list, and the wish list. Coming up with both lists and even rewriting some goals or wishes on the way is very insightful. You probably realized some of your so called life goals, are no longer important to you, or the opposite, perhaps you hadn't noticed you were beginning to grow interest in new things and now they've become a big part of your life.

Well, now think about what's more and less important to you. You may know this by now, but if you're like me, and have a huge list of both goals and wishes, it's time to focus. Make it a little more realistic, and thus, doable. Where do you want to start? Which are the first steps? What's your starting point? Remember, some goals are long term goals, there's no need to hurry. Focusing on a few objectives makes it so much easier for you (and less stressful). Which goals would you like to achieve this 2010?

Of course I cannot and will not be able to have my dream home in a year (actually, this is a constantly evolving thing which you're never ever "done" with). I won't be able to work on ALL rooms as much as I would love to at once. But that's ok. I don't have to do all at once.

My priorities this year are:

Powder room
Laundry room
Daughter's room

Another huge priority is organizing. Both time and spaces.

Downsize your goals into smaller objectives.

You know what you want. You know where you want to go. Now make it easier, and think about what it takes for you to achieve each goal. A series of steps, perhaps. Some important ideas, maybe. The point of this step is not to stress you out with a huge To Do list. Think about a list of suggestions or ideas that will help you on your way.

For example, regarding my garden, these are some smaller objectives I have in mind:

Plant a tree (or two).

Have a herbal garden.

Bring more plants and pots.

The great thing about setting your goals, organizing them (short, mid, and long term), and prioritizing is you get a clear idea of where you want to go. This is excellent because once you know your destiny it's easier to know your way.

And of course, you can try this exercise with every aspect of your life. It's very helpful, believe me. Try sharing with your husband, or doing the whole exercise together, and it can do wonders ;)

Hopefully you'll find this exercise as good as I do. In my case, I've been doing some thinking and, as far as decor and blogging goes, it's been very insightful as well as destressful. I know what I want, and I know how I want it. Little steps towards my goals. Can't wait to share some more thoughts with you and begin working!

(All images by martha stewart)

Friday, January 22, 2010

"New" Year Exercise - Part I

(Don't worry, this post won't have to do with sweating, or anything like that, just a lot of reading, if you mind).

There's a little exercise I like to do every new year, and I thought perhaps you might like to try this too. (I know that the year is not so new anymore, but since my birthday in on Jan 26, I allow myself to take longer. I've always felt my new year begins a little later). =)

First, do a recap of the year gone.

(source: matha stewart)

This is the moment to think about gains and losses. Achievements and setbacks. It's important to do both sides, because most people tend to focus on one aspect and forget the other. You might feel you're stuck in this moment of your life, but when you sit down (or even write down) your accomplishments, you may realize you're actually moving ahead.

In my case, I remember 2009 as a great year. We just got married and moved in last 2008, remember? So 2009 meant going from the blank canvas shown  here and here to having furniture around the house. HUGE step. As well as some progress in certain areas, such as the powder room and the laundry room (need to work on a post on that soon). Of course there's still a long way to go, but 2009 was a good beginning.

2009 was the year I started Casa Haus too. I like blogging and blog reading. Actually I'm crazy about it.

Then, set your goals.

Get crazy. Think out of the box. Do not stick only to 2010. Some of your objectives might need a little longer, so try aiming further in time. When you have all of your goals written down, organize them into short, mid, and long term. Some of your mid and long term goals might be made up of smaller goals.

Some of my short term goals are the following:

Do some creative work
(I love painting, photography, and design, so any of those would do).

Spend quality time with my family

Improve my swimming times

Work on our dream home

(NOT our actual house)

Organise our spaces and time

(Actually my daughter's drawer)

There's a little in-between list you can try if you're not being able to come up with a set of goals. You can write down your "wish list", where you're allowed to dream and write everything you'd like in your life. This helps ideas flow. Then read your "wish list" and think about what you truly want, and what you would like to focus on. Now read your goals. You might want to add new ones and forget about others.

My personal "wish list" is huge. I actually like to do this list somewhat often. Any time I feel like I'm stuck or down, I like to write it. It helps me organize my emotions and ideas, and focus on what's important in my life. Also, I've read in several places that writing down your goals is the first step towards achieving them. And it actually works, so I keep doing it.

I wish every single room in my house was a room that spoke to me. That means I wish to work on every room in the house to make it a reality. I have tons of ideas and use tons of inspiration for this dream home of ours. It's exciting to work on it.

My wish list also includes more time, more time, and more time! We may not have the budget either, but if only I had time to work on things. Hopefully this 2010 gets me some.

I wish we could get a new lap top, and a new camera for me.
(this would be soooo huge!)

I wish Casa Haus grows and gets known by more people!

I wish I could work on a daily post for Casa Haus.

Try working on these first steps, and stay tuned for Part II of the "New" Year Exercise, coming tomorrow.

Until then, have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Nico Heilmann Design

Today I'm dreaming of these gorgeous pendant lamps by tecnolumen.

Good night everyone.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Casa Mishka

One of the things I enjoy most is house peeking. I can't help it. I'm constantly trying to catch a glimpse of other houses while I'm driving by in the city. Some other times, when I'm invited to people's homes, I really can't stop staring. I LOVE good design, and a beautiful house is one of the greatest joys I find in life. Really. I've found that lovely environments are so appealing to all (design-lovers or not)... I guess we all like being surrounded by beauty.

That's why I want to share with you a house I absolutely love: Casa Mishka.
It belongs to my best friend, her husband, and their little dog, Mishka.

Its bold, sharp, and modern design have amazed me from the moment they begun making it. I've been a witness of how an empty space can become a warm and personal retreat.

Andrea is an expert in thrift store and flea market shopping (something I'm totally trying to learn from her). Like this gorgeous chair sitting in her living room. Look how chic it makes the room look, while remaining modern.

Or the coffee table, which they also bought in the antique market. They cut its legs so that it would be exactly like they wanted it to be.

They're also great at arranging random elements. Look at how great the coffee table looks from up. I love the mirror frame, and how it's used as a tray to display more cute things. How clever!

Every corner in their house is beautiful. Look at this odd but great side table in the livingroom. The lamp is so lovely too.

The following picture shows the living room, the patio, and part of the dining room.

The living room and the dining room make an L shape, and the patio is right in the middle. The gorgeous piano is part of the dining room.

And again, it's full of beautiful "things" just laying around randomly.

Like this little bird candle and lamp.

Or the cute playmobil pirate.

Did you also spot the clock? I loved it from the moment it got home.

This is how it looks from the living room. The aqua color on the wall is so soothing. And the chairs. I didn't think they would go well together when she bought them, and now I LOVE how it all turned out.

Take a look at the simple but delightful patio.

What can I tell you? LOVE it.
(Sorry for my limited use of words, but I do! =)

I keep telling my friend she should start a home design blog, but she's really not into that (for the moment). Still, I had to show you the pics, so I asked her, and she's so nice she said yes!

Hope you enjoyed the tour!
What do you think of Casa Mishka? Which is your favorite room?