One Room Challenge–GO!

Well, it seems like a swell idea right now:  I’m jumping into the One Room Challenge as a guest participant.  Thank you to Linda of Calling It Home for organizing it!
one room challengeThe ORC starts today, and I will have an update on my room here every Thursday, leading up to the final reveal on May 12.  I’ve chosen to do our kids’ playroom and adjacent hallway.  Please don’t break up with me after you see these love-forsaken photos.
playroomThe playroom is on the upper floor with the kids’ bedrooms.  It is open to the hallway…and has every piece of leftover furniture from our last house and loft studio apartment.  The only thing I did with any thought was put up the gallery wall of all their art and a few pieces of mine.  I abhor the space.  Like, makes me want to gag.  So, it makes for a good candidate.

In the plans are a new sofa, a new rug to layer over the seagrass one, paint the walls and trim, new lighting, and a new table.  I want to paint a pattern on the ceiling…neck hurts already.

playroomThe addition that is going to take some real time is doing a built-in for the TV wall and wrap-around window seat.  I had a meeting with Chris, who is onboard, to build the unit.  This will break up the long wall.

playroomTake a moment to really eyeball that light fixture.

playroomI’m planning on extending the makeover to the adjacent hallway:  clean it up a bit, maybe add some paint.

playroomThe sleeping alcove is also in the hallway, and I want to finish it, too.

playroomI’m going for a subtle 1980s feel for the space.  Geometric shapes and bright colors, black and white pattern, maybe a Memphis nod.  I’m hoping to use the Aimee fabric from Clarence House for some upholstery.  Red will play heavily–it already covers the sleeping alcove and the interior of the hallway bookshelves.  Red, I know it’s not an interior favorite, unless you’re a dining room of yore, but I like it.  A lot.


I hope you’ll check in next Thursday when I show you my plan in more detail and update with things purchased.  I’m so happy this space will get the love a room for play deserves.

An Early Design Influence

It was sometime in the 1980s, and our next door neighbors were redecorating their home.  I was friends with their daughter, and in those days we bounced back and forth to one another’s home.  So it was with keen interest that I took in every detail of their project, looking forward to seeing what was new on each returning visit.  Normal for a kid?  Probably not.

The fact now that I can see each room vividly fascinates me.  At the time I didn’t know I was cultivating a passion within me, but my inner fire was being fanned by their design process.  They chose a pickled hardwood floor for their dining and living areas with an inset ivory carpet banded with blue and peachy-pink.  The new sculptural sofas had pillows to coordinate with the carpet, and a Lee Reynolds painting hung above a console.  They papered their walls in the kitchen with a showy floral and bird pattern in blues and roses.

It was all very pretty to me, but I remember being struck especially with the gameroom that was off the kitchen.  My friend and I played a lot in the gameroom–chess at the bar or billiards…I’m sure we did a number on the felt.  But in the remodel, the pool table was traded in for a smaller bumper pool table and the other half of the room became a TV lounge.  I can remember being so excited at their choice to put in black and white checkered flooring, thinking even at the time that it was daring and fun.  It paired well with their wood-paneled walls and was just an overall beautiful graphic punch.  They layered a neutral fuzzy rug over the checks with a large square white coffee table.  The sofa was dark gray, and there was a Eames-like lounge chair in the corner.  One whole wall was the wet bar with mirrored walls, with a large stereo cabinet nearby.  And, they covered the windows with a textural ivory vertical blind.


It was the first room that really struck me.  It was all the pattern and textures: checks, wood, mirror, leather, carpets, lacquer, plush upholstery–enough to make a budding artist take notice.  And, I think the fact that the design was so classic appealed to me even if I couldn’t articulate that at the time.  It’s a strange, beautiful, mysterious thing to watch the passions build in young people, to watch the natural attractions occur.  I love seeing it in my own children and wonder what it is that is building in them.

So I am anxious to see if my memories are as accurate as I feel they are.  Time to check in with the neighbors.

What is your earliest design influence?

A Blogging Close Call

Whew, I thought over the weekend that I had lost the whole blog.  All 10 years of embarrassing myself here.  I had an old email address associated with the hosting account, which means I missed the email reminders that my hosting fee was due.  Bam, so, no payment, no blog.  Don’t be like me.  I resolved the issues, but a week had lapsed and there was no blog when the account was reactivated.  I initially sort of panicked.  But, then, honestly, I felt some relief–even in the midst of knowing my favorite posts could be gone forever.  I did not have a back-up file.  Don’t be like me.

So I spent the weekend wondering what to do.  Part of me felt like it was a gift from God, a sign to call it quits.  Lord knows I pray to him everyday about what to do with myself now that I’m done homeschooling.  But what about my plans to open up shop and sell art–wouldn’t my blog help?  But what did the relief mean?  Was I relieved to bow out and not have the pressure of coming up with content on a regular basis?

My friends on Instagram had some really generous and wonderful encouragement to offer.  And, that is what I have always loved about blogging–the camaraderie and support.  I would miss that.  Even if things have changed a lot in blogland.

So I thought, maybe it isn’t all bad to have it all lost.  It could be a fresh start if I want to resume.  Also, we have a BIG project coming up soon that I can’t wait to share with you all.  I can’t imagine embarking on the project without the blog to share the finer details.  Instagram is such a favorite tool, but sometimes I want tell more of the story.

Angela Chrusciaki Blehm art www.tphblog.comAnd, the art!  Friends, I am so excited and pee-in-my-pants scared about painting and offering it for sale.  This has been a loooooooooong time coming.  When I graduated with my art degree 16 years ago, I immediately jumped into decorative painting and design for children to help my husband through graduate school.  Then came the babies, my husband’s illness, and years of homeschooling.  I have not had the chunk of time, until now, I need to make art.  While I’ve done many paintings and creative projects during those 16 years, this feels like the real beginning of my art career.  I think I might throw up…

So, Sunday night when my blog was recovered and back online, I felt, well, confused.  Maybe I wasn’t supposed to quit.  So I decided to forge ahead with the pros outweighing the cons.  A blog refresh is coming soon so I’ll get that fresh start I was excited about.  A shop is coming soon, as well, to sell my wares.  All that worrying…my husband was right…was for nothing.  Almost.  Sometimes the close calls make what is truly desired really apparent.

Angela Chrusciaki Blehm art www.tphblog.comI’m hoping to have the shop full when I launch it.  I’m arting under my full name, Angela Chrusciaki Blehm.  Easy to remember, right?!  It is CROO-SHAW-KEY.  It’s Polish.  My shop is empty and undesigned, but I’ll let you know when it’s ready to go.

Okay, enough chatting.  I need to get painting!  Ah, I’ve been waiting for this day…

Ribbon Art

It must be the girlie in me that loves ribbons–but even so, I am trying to strip the ribbon of its girliness to a modern yet still playful form.  I’ve been putting them in my last few paintings:
www.tphblog.comwww.tphblog.comBut then I wanted to isolate the ribbon’s form by releasing it from the canvas and other superfluous imagery.  I wanted to cut one out of wood.  This is one for the guest room, just playing around:

www.tphblog.comIt wasn’t until recently that I had time to make more.  Did you see these on Instagram?

www.tphblog.comThere are more to come and a shop in which to purchase them and other new art–hopefully soon!

I’ve been having fun with the scrap wood by making kissy lips.  This one makes me think of Tom Wesselmann.

www.tphblog.comI made two pairs of the red lips below.  Anyone want a pair for your gallery wall?  If you do, go to my Instagram and find this photo below, leave a comment telling me where your first kiss was, and I will pick someone from the comments on Friday.  I’ll go first:  movie theater.  Gah, so romantic!

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