Posts by Nicole Curcio (page 3)
Greetings from the (messy) desk of Rejuvenation’s master multi-tasker! If you’ve ever seen one of our products on TV, in a magazine or online, chances are I had a little something to do with getting it there. If you’ve attended one of our in-store events here in Portland or Seattle, I was the person working behind the scenes to find the right speaker, make sure you received your invitation, AND had some tasty hors d’oeuvres and wine during your visit. Perhaps, we’ve exchanged commentary on Facebook or Twitter over the last couple of years?
My latest task is figuring out all of the marketing that goes into opening a new store in 2011, but you’ll learn more about that later. I’m an ideas person and I have a really fun and exciting job here, as I try to make all of those ideas into reality. Interacting with all the great people I meet through work is the best part of my job, so thanks to you all for that!
My background is in retail and fine arts. I started at one of our competitors as holiday help in college and over the course of six years held every job from gift wrapper to store manager and everything in between, before I left my hometown in Connecticut and headed for Portland, OR. I wandered into Rejuvenation’s showroom shortly after my arrival and the rest, as they say, is history!
When I’m not working, I can be found in my pottery studio, home painting or running (quite literally) around Portland with my Aussie pup, Basil (who can also be found under my desk from time to time). While I’m no expert on history or antique lighting like some of my cohorts, I can certainly connect you with the right resources and people to provide ideas and inspiration to get the job done. Your comments and questions are always welcome.
You can find me on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/rejuvenationlightingandhouseparts, via email: email@example.com or right here.
Two truths and one lie about me:
- I once owned a home built in 1900 for the factory workers of an old fire hose factory.
- I’m somewhat accident prone. I’ve broken my right wrist once, my left wrist four times, a collar bone and a finger.
- I am horribly allergic to cats.
Our friend Joanne Palmisano, author of Salvage Secrets, called me a few weeks ago to ask about our glass knobs and pulls for a DIY project she was planning. When she explained she was turning a dated dresser into a dazzling nightstand/make-up station, I asked her to share it with you all via guest blog post. Enjoy!
One of Joanne's favorite venues for antique and salvage hunting
Once again, I was roaming my local recycle center in search of material for a DIY Network project, when I spied this vintage dresser. It looked in rough shape. But as I circled in with eyes narrowed, like a hawk going in for the kill, I knew it had a lot of potential. Without leaving its side (things get snagged pretty quickly there), I hailed a friendly staff person and asked the price. Twenty-five dollars. Well, I could take a chance on this piece for 25 buckaroos. Sold!
Into my car it went. A dear friend of mine helped me carry the dresser down to the basement—where it sat. For months. I worked around it, building coffee tables, twig chandeliers, wedding frames, headboards… Finally one day, while perusing the Rejuvenation site, I spied some gorgeous pink glass drawer pulls and knobs. They would transform my dresser, as Prince Charming saves the forlorn princess! I promptly ordered the hardware and vowed to spend that weekend whipping the dresser into shape.
The dresser awaits its transformation
Fast-forward to Saturday morning. Coffee in hand, I headed down to the basement to say hello to my little dresser. First I took off the old mismatched knobs. Then I sanded the heck out of the piece, wiped it all down, and made sure it was ready for paint. Then I got another cup of coffee.
Next, I started painting. And painting. And painting. I ended up using three coats of white semi-gloss because I was too lazy to put down a primer first (live and learn!). I did, however, let each coat dry properly before I added another and sand in between coats. Then I let the paint really dry, giving it a few days to cure.
The following Friday, a brown paper package all tied up with string arrived in the mail. (OK, it was brown, but no string.) I couldn’t wait a single second before opening it. There, carefully placed on a bed of air pillows, were my Prince Charming(s): the knobs and pulls. So beautiful!
Rejuvenation knobs and pulls, waiting to be put to good use
The next day, with (you guessed it) a cup of coffee in one hand and the package in the other, I headed down to the basement to introduce the knobs and pulls to their new home. Installing them couldn’t have been easier—I didn’t need a single tool!
The dresser was now ready to become my new nightstand-cum-makeup-table. Never again would I have to store my makeup on the windowsill, or hunt for a spot to stow my nighttime reading.
Ta da! Isn't she lovely?
Set in the corner, bathed in southwest light, this old ugly duckling dresser looks like a swan. (I know, I’m mixing fairy tales, but the metaphors work!) I love it. I love the handles. And most of all, I love that I salvaged an old piece and made it new again.
Back in February, Portland held its annual Home & Garden Show at the Expo Center. John and Sherry Petersik, authors of the blog Young House Love, attended the show and toured our fair Rose City. They were first-time Portland visitors, so I was curious to hear their thoughts on their trip. And for all of you DIY enthusiasts, I asked them to share some of their experiences and ideas on that topic as well.
John and Sherry presenting at the Portland Home & Garden Show
You guys were recently in Portland for the Home & Garden Show. For those who could not attend, can you tell us a little about why and how you participated?
That’s actually an easy answer: They asked, it sounded fun, and we’ve never been to Portland before, so we figured “Why not?” Since we’d always heard great things about P-town, we saw it as an opportunity to see the city and meet some of our West Coast readers we might not otherwise have the chance to bump into. Plus, we go to home and garden shows for fun, so being guests at one (we were interviewed by a few morning shows, held a presentation about growing your blog, and hosted a meet and greet) sounded like a good time—and it was.
The bloggers (in front) with local pals
What was the most inspirational thing you saw at the show?
We were both in awe of all of the garden and outdoor ideas at the show. Maybe it’s just because we’ve been so deprived of beautiful greenery over the winter season (it doesn’t stay quite as lush where we live in Virginia as it does in Oregon), but we were drawn to all of the impressive landscaping and hardscaping displays that were created just for the show…and all indoors to boot! There were several that we wanted to just pick up and haul home to Richmond.
As you probably learned during your visit, Portland is chock full of local artisans who make handcrafted products. Can you share a few memorable discoveries from your visit? Any new house projects inspired by your trip?
We’d always heard Portland was a very green city (we watched some Portlandia to prep for our visit—ha ha!) but we were still enamored by how eco-conscious everyone was and how many items were described as recycled, reclaimed, or re-something else. One person who especially inspired us was Jim from Northwest Cedar Specialties. They salvage scrap lumber from home remodels, constructions sites, etc., and turn them into beautiful cedar planters. We’ll definitely be looking twice at the pile of scrap wood we’ve got back at home!
Recycled planks turned into planters
It seems like you guys are always working on a project. Even right before you left to come to Portland, you started installing a new floor! So many of us have the DIY bug, but finding the time is always a problem. How do you do it? Can you share some time-saving tips for project planning?
Now that blogging about our projects is our full-time job, it’s certainly a bit easier (and more important!) to make our home projects a priority. But even before this became our profession, we found it was a lot easier to muster the energy to do a project if we broke it down into small, manageable pieces. It may seem like an impossible task to fit “Remodel the bathroom” into your schedule. But it’s much less intimidating to find time for individual steps like “Go shopping for tile” or “Remove old toilet and vanity.” We find that working at night after our daughter Clara has gone to bed allows us to get the most done, especially since the blog is quieter during those hours as well.
As you have changed out the lighting in your home, how have you selected the replacement lighting? Besides price-point, what sorts of things guide your choices?
A lot of times we find ourselves prioritizing design, function, and price. For instance, when trying to replace an ugly hallway fixture, it was less about finding a statement piece and more about just getting the existing eyesore out of there. So we ended up reusing an original-to-the-house light that we had left over from another spot. But when picking pendants for our kitchen remodel, finding something stylish was at the top of our list. (Function was also important, but less so because we had recessed fixtures to provide most of the light.) We were willing to splurge a bit more on those.
How about kitchen and bath hardware? Finish is always a big consideration, but are there other factors that influence your decision on the final product?
We love using hardware as a way to bring balance or contrast to the look of a piece or even an entire room. We think there’s something fun about putting a traditional pull on a clean-lined cabinet to tone down its modern feel. Or adding colorful (or sparkly!) knobs to an old piece that might need some livening up. I guess you could say we like to look at a kitchen cabinet, bathroom vanity, or really any piece that calls for hardware, and ask ourselves if we want to keep in line with its style (and go for something classic and not too bold), or if it’s an opportunity for us to have some fun (with something brightly colored, interestingly shaped, or boldly metallic).
Recently I had the pleasure of working with actor Bronson Pinchot to get our lights across the country and into his kitchen—fast! The fixtures were for a soon-to-be-aired episode of his new show on the DIY Network called The Bronson Pinchot Project:
Hollywood’s favorite character actor, Bronson Pinchot (Perfect Strangers, Beverly Hills Cop), has a secret life. He’s been quietly buying neglected old homes and buildings, and restoring them into eye-catching masterpieces. Each episode of The Bronson Pinchot Project finds Bronson and his crew of local contractors renovating another room at one of his properties in Harford, PA. Bronson Pinchot is a hands-on renovator with the skills of a contractor and the eye of a top designer. Rural Harford becomes the backdrop for a unique mix of reality TV and home improvement.
One of Bronson's PA properties, now featuring our lights
Having been a huge fan of Perfect Strangers as a kid, I was extra excited about the project! Bronson was kind enough to indulge me in a little Q & A:
You have done so many things beyond your acting career, from key-chain making to graduating magna cum laude from Yale. When did you get the home restoration/remodeling bug?
When I was eight. There was a chicken coop with a little caretaker’s space in the backyard of the house where I grew up. I took lots of old stuff from the house and the Salvation Army, and made a cool little house where I sat in a rocking chair and read books, with the garden all around me.
You’ve mentioned your love of our antique lights. Is there any era you are particularly fond of?
Early twentieth-century industrial takes the cake. I don’t think it has ever been equaled for beauty of conception and execution.
When did you first fall in love with “old stuff”?
It was all around me as I was growing up. My parents taught me that old things were full of soul. That was good on a number of levels, because we had very little money and no new things.
It's all about the Benjamins
Is there a particular antique item that you collect or covet?
Well, I can certainly never get enough of the early Benjamin socket clusters, especially when there are more than four. I have lights with six and seven clusters. I could happily close up shop and do nothing but collect early lighting. I collect 19th-century plaster casts of Greek and Hellenistic architectural sculpture from the 5th, 4th, 3rd, and 2nd centuries B.C. I love pre-1800 carpets from any part of the globe. Whieldon plates with splatter decoration. Early textiles, very faded. Early seating, 1840 and before. And I have to say, I covet early houses and seem to collect them.
You have a new show that focuses on your home restoration projects. Can you tell us a little about that?
The show basically just covers my life in a documentary fashion. I own several pre-Civil War properties in a tiny town in Northeastern Pennsylvania and I have a large collection of architectural salvage from the period 1750 to 1840. I do a different room or a different project on each episode, with my local and loyal work force. And we have a heckuva lot of fun
How did you end up in Harford, PA? What was your inspiration for the restoration work you are doing there now?
I did a computer search for a Greek Revival and the house came up. The owner said that though he was out of state, the door was open. I knew I had to have it just from that. The inspiration? Necessity is the mother of invention. The house needed lots and lots of TLC. Addressing each issue was an education for me. And I segued from just fixing to enhancing and adapting….and learned to build in a 200-year-old style along the way! Obviously there was no interior lighting in 1840 to speak of, beyond candles and firelight. So by sheer trial and error, I found that early industrial lighting worked for me. Fantastic piece of luck on that, because it is usually the greatest stumbling block when working on pre-Civil War interiors.
A glimpse of the kitchen pre-remodel
Can you describe your design and brainstorming process when it comes to beginning a new room remodel?
I live in the room as is until I know exactly what the room wants to be. I mean, I really LIVE in it, and I let it whisper its secrets to me. I pay attention to the views and what the light does, and try to figure out how to maximize what’s great about it and minimize what’s wrong. Then, with a very general game plan in my head, I strip it of everything that is not meaningful—all the later band-aid jobs and improvements and so on. Then I sketch and sketch and sketch, partly on paper, and partly on the walls with blue tape: “window here,” etc. And I let it evolve. One little thing that works leads to other things that work, and finally it’s singing, and then it’s done.
The finished kitchen (note the lights over the sink)
Do you think holistically about the entire home or do you tackle things room by room?
Each room is like an episode or chapter in a story. The house is the whole novel. So the bedroom is the intimate, wonderful, secret subplot, and the living room is a big, jovial ballroom scene, and the kitchen always has to be like visiting with your grandma. My grandma would have loved both of the kitchens I’ve done on the show. I know she’s watching. I know she’s particularly tickled that Rejuvenation stepped in to bail me out with all my nice ceiling pendant lights for the kitchen at Decker Court. There was no way in heck I was going to find eight matching antique ones with milk-glass shades and zero drop, which you were gracious enough not only to design but to ship to me overnight!
Do you find one source of inspiration or theme that drives your creative process?
Well, where a real estate agent would say, “Location, location, location,” I substitute, “Emotion, emotion, emotion.” How does the room make you feel? How does the exterior make you feel when you walk out to get the paper, or return home after a long trip? If it’s like being in love, and you can’t bear to tear yourself away, you’ve done it.
Would you mind sharing your most memorable DIY project that just didn’t work?
There have been so many…! I always say that the show would not be possible if I were not drawing on ten prior years of mistakes. I put quite a bit of effort into my “keeping room,” which is where the cooking was once done and where guests were entertained. I made it a precise replica of an 1840 keeping room and when it was done, I thought, This is a crashing bore. All you need is a velvet rope and a dummy in a powdered wig. You idiot—you’ve made a museum! It was “admirable” but it didn’t make me feel happy. So I took it all apart and did it again. And again. And yes, again. I may be able to get the hang of it when we get to that room in the next sequence of shows.
After such a great conversation, we’re even more excited to see the episode that features our lighting, airing Saturday, March 17th on the DIY Network! We hope you’ll check it out too and tell us what you think.
We had a little fun working together along the way...
As a home design blogger and enthusiast, I’m always game for a remodel. So when it came time to renovate our 1920′s Portland bungalow, I was up for the challenge. The first room we tackled was the kitchen: We wanted to modernize the space (hello ice maker and garbage disposal!) but keep it consistent with the rest of the house, sticking with the 1920′s period craftsman feel.
We searched high and low for the right cabinets, tile and paint colors and we learned a heck of a lot along the way. One thing we didn’t search too hard for was our light fixtures. Already huge Rejuvenation fans, we knew our remodeled kitchen wouldn’t be complete without customized fixtures from this lovely store.
I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking. Here are the before photos…
And the after photos…
What do I think really completes this room? No doubt: Our fabulous Rejuvenation light fixtures! We get loads of compliments on them and they fit our small space perfectly. After much deliberation and many measurements, these are the lights we landed on:
Lighting over island: Rejuvenation Rhone 4 inch classic pendant with Rejuvenation schoolhouse opal 8 inch shade
Lighting over sink: Rejuvenation Rhone 4 inch classic pendant with Rejuvenation schoolhouse opal 10 inch shade
Thanks for all the inspiration and the quality goodies, Rejuvenation. Our kitchen thanks you!
Hey Portlanders! We’ve teamed up with the paint and color experts at YOLO Colorhouse to bring you an evening event at our flagship store to help get you thinking about those upcoming spring DIY projects . Our friends at YOLO Colorhouse will introduce their spring color palette and share their process for finding the perfect color. Then Rejuvenation’s Company Historian, Bo Sullivan, talks about the making of our new Arts & Crafts lighting collection. You’ll get a close-up look at early catalogue drawings and prototypes. If you’re in Portland on February 16th, please come by the store to see us. You can find details here. For our friends living in parts beyond the Rose City, Virginia Young, Co-Founder of YOLO Colorhouse, agreed to write a guest post just for you. Take it away, Virginia!
When asked to be a guest blogger for Rejuvenation, my thoughts immediately went to what Rejuvenation is known for: distinct period lighting, and how lighting connects with color. Lighting and wall color are the two most powerful tools homeowners can use to inform the time period and character of a room or home.
Inspired by Rejuvenation’s period lighting lines, we decided to pull together architectural color palettes designed to flow through the home and influence, along with the fixtures, the style and feel of the space.When looking through our collection of 92 interior hues, it was great fun to have Rejuvenation fixtures as the inspiration behind our own period palettes! These are just a few examples of how colors from our Earth’s Color Collection and The Color of Hope Collection reflect the mood and style of a point in history, while still feeling quite contemporary in the home.
The YOLO Colorhouse Mission palette — LEAF .02, CLAY .04, GRAIN .06 , CLAY .06 — is inspired by Rejuvenation’s Buckman Mission style light fixture, the Cascade chandelier and the Deck- Mount Clawfoot Tub seen above. The amber shades, antique copper and bronze gilt finish of the lighting fixtures harmonize easily with the more muted hues in this natural color palette! Beautiful!
The YOLO Colorhouse Industrial palette is right on trend for 2012. Simple utilitarian fixtures like Rejuvenation’s McCoy work well with basic hues like STONE .07 and IMAGINE .02. Incorporating pops of red and yellow like CREATE .04 and ASPIRE .06, bring warmth and energy to a home when used in combination with a cooler, more industrial aesthetic. We especially love the way the functional re-purposed look of the Wiley interacts with colors in this palette.
The bold, clean forms of Rejuvenation’s Echo and Glide wall brackets inform this palette of classic black and white. Color finds its way into this combo with butter yellow ASPIRE .03 and a pop of that classic deco green THRIVE .04. We think THRIVE .04 and Rejuvenation’s green porcelain finish are related! What a great color to immediately set the period to Deco in your home. Or use it as a beautiful pop of color against a more neutral backdrop.
Sleek, clean, and a hint of playfulness. These are the characteristics of our Mid Century Modern palette. Rejuvenation’s Sfera 16 mid-century pendant, Corona pendant and the Orbis pendant, pictured above, echo this elegant, yet slightly whimsical feeling of the 1950s. While the white of IMAGINE .05 is an easy go-to for this period, the bright accent hues of THRIVE .02, DREAM .04, and PETAL .06 are just as great and not to be forgotten!
About Yolo Colorhouse
YOLO Colorhouse® stands for premium, environmentally responsible paint products with beautiful, simplified color palettes. Founded by artists, YOLO Colorhouse Inside has 92 harmonious hues designed specifically for interior architecture. At YOLO Colorhouse, we are proud of what’s NOT in our paint: no carcinogens, no mutagens, no hazardous air pollutants, no ozone depleting compounds, no formaldehyde, no phthalates, no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and NO BAD COLORS!