• Hanging Glass Containers / totally by design

    Greenhouse plants

    Late March days, especially this year, with its long winter, are days of transition. I have been buying seeds, but have not sewn any yet, as the soil is not warm (of defrosted for that matter!) enough. It is warm, then it is snowing, then it is warm again, before it freezes overnight. I was curious today what a local garden market Ricky’s has been up to. I thought for a moment that maybe it was me hibernating, while the rest of the world is already picking arugula from the cold frame and arranges grape hyacinths and miniature daffodils into window boxes. Well, while this is probably happening some places, my local garden shop was experiencing last quiet day before the season starts.

    Hanging Glass Containers / totally by design


    Banana plant / totally by design

    Cacti / totally by designThe citrus fruit trees were hard to ignore with the orange blossom scent in the air, I could stay here for a while. Note to self for next winter, when the sunroom remodel is complete. I already have a ceiling high grapefruit tree grown from a seed, but no blossoms so far. Maybe it needs a company.

    Lemon tree / totally by design

    Citrus plants / totally by design

  • Modern Vintage Style

    Vintage style finds for the home

    An early afternoon Sunday stroll through a neighborhood brought me to a charming local vintage shop. I am still avoiding buying things until the basement reorganization is complete, and I am making every effort to channel things in the direction out of the house, not in…You can read here why. But, this book caught my eye.

    Modern Vintage Style

    I spent the afternoon browsing through the super inspiring interiors, already plotting repainting the three lamps stashed in the basement…See page 31 for what I am talking about! Finally, a book on vintage that does not feel like a time capsule of sixties or seventies, but perfectly balanced modern take. No wonder, Emily Chalmers shop Caravan is based in London.

    Folklore Tin and Modern Vintage

    My other find was a Folklore enamel storage can. I have seen these more then a year ago, the entire line is lovely. Great for home or a picnic.

    Yesterday was also the day I brought my pastel ceramic collection out of the basement. These moved with us from another home, they were originally left there by the previous owner. I never found out the name or age of these, as they have no markings, but they always make appearance on my table around Easter. Pastels are not the colors I am usually drawn to, and I always look for ways to pair them with something else for less candy-color look. The new book should help with the ideas!

    Tabletop pastels / totally by design

    Vintage teacup / totally by design

  • Marie Kondo / Totally by Design

    Declutter and organize Marie Kondo style

    Clearly, I must have been living under a rock, it turns out. While the rest of the world fell in love with Marie Kondo and her “life-changing magic of tidying up” making her latest book a bestseller with 2 million copies sold, I just discovered her book last week. Thanks to C, who found it in our local library, alerted to it by a newspaper. That means that I completely missed last year’s feature in New York Times here and more recently on decor8 here. It’s never too late, right?

    Marie Kondo / Totally by Design

    For anyone interested in the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, Marie Kondo offers warrior style approach. Not for the faint of heart. “Tidy a little a day and you’ll be tidying forever”. Instead, the radical approach is to get rid of stuff (don’t fall for storage solutions – useless!). Pile everything on the floor and ruthlessly go through it, item by item.  Clothing, even books, must be first placed in a massive pile on the floor and then individually handled. Only items that “spark the joy” are to be saved.


    You will find talk about “one source of truth”, as C and I call it, or a dedicated space, genius in its simplicity vertical storage, folding your clothing,  and generally not leaving things “for later” to deal with. My personal favorite is emptying a bag completely at the end of the day. It’s a little thing, but I like the state of mind it creates. Also, treating your belongings with respect, especially clothing, and extending their longevity and usefulness to us, as well as always greeting your house.

    Glass Blue Bird / Totally by Design

  • Yellow carnations on marble / Totally by Design

    Styling with pale yellow

    It might also be called: desperately seeking sunshine. Today was the first day with temperatures above freezing in a long time…The warmth will not stick around, yet, but the sunshine is strong and encouraging. Usually about this time of the year I am drawn to color yellow, pale, meadow primrose type.  Here is a quick impromptu flower styling. No primroses on hand, but these yellow carnations are as lovely in recycled lemonade bottles. As it happens, this is also a color of a certain cockatiel named VP…

    Yellow carnations on marble / Totally by DesignYellow carnations in lemonade bottles / Totally by DesignCarnationAndTinBird feathers / Totally by DesignYellow cockatiel / Totally by Design

  • White kitchen cabinets/Totally by Design

    Kitchen Makeover

    We had a beautiful winter light today. Mid February sun is already above neighbors’ house flooding the kitchen for hours. That called for two things: clean up and photos. I never posted the story of our kitchen makeover, waiting for it to be finished. I would call it 80% done…We still need art, more shelves (turns out our model has been discontinued at IKEA, so need to get super creative), window treatment on the northern side and many other.  Here is our kitchen progress so far!White kitchen cabinets/Totally by DesignStove and stainless steel backsplashCoffeeStation

    Cabinets: IKEA Akurum with white gloss door panels. As of February 2015 these are replaced by Sektion system in US

    Countertop: Caesarstone “Misty Carrera”, custom order through IKEA

    Door handles: IKEA Blankett

    Faucet: IKEA Aleskar

    Appliances: Bosch

    Espresso machine: Rancillio Silvia

    Grinder: Baratza Vario

    Table and benches: West Elm Emmerson line

    Pendant lighting: Kartell FL/Y

    Wall paint: Farrow & Ball “London Clay”

    Tiles: Tierra y Fuego Santa Barbara (pattern discontinued)

    The new kitchen is complete color reversal of what we found when we bought the house. The old cabinets (although well done probably in the eighties) were dark, tall and seemingly permanently fused to a yellow Formica backsplash and countertops.


    KitchenInProgressOur new kitchen and dining space.Emmerson dining table and benches / Totally by Design

  • Pink Freesia Solo

    Winter Color Blooms

    Getting freesia in February is an old tradition for me. February 6th is my Name’s Day, as it is celebrated in Poland, St. Dorothy. Way back getting a single, scented freesia stem (any color!) from friends or family was such a treat. This year I got myself a bunch ahead of time and enjoyed them this super snowy week.

    Pink Freesia Solo

    pink freesia on marble

    pink freesia and Meyer lemon


  • Interiors,  Travel

    Color story in blue – Navy NYC

    While visiting NYC recently, I made sure to visit a place that I spotted on Instagram few times and intrigued me very much. I fell for the interiors, although judging by lovely breakfast we had and the online reviews, the place is wildly popular and would love to check out its lunch or dinner menu too. Presenting color story in blue: Navy. Vintage Japanese fabrics in the window tell it all.NavyFrontNavySidelightNavyEntryNavyCounterNavyCornerNavyPostcard

  • Blue wall with concrete and stone

    All about color blue

    Jen from Poppytalk made my day (more like entire week!) publishing my photo yesterday not only on her Instagram but also on her blog. All week long readers and followers of her super inspiring design and DIY mega blog competed in hashtag color challenge, every day different pre-designated color. I was already over the moon when my photo of heirloom tomatoes made it to round up of red. You can see the lovely collage here.

    Here is my Echinacea from the blue series:

    Echinacea form my garden
    Echinacea from my garden

    The day turned out to be all about blue. I spotted this great feature wall in a loft setting.

    Blue wall and reclaimed wood
    Blue and reclaimed wood
    Blue wall with concrete and stone
    Blue wall with concrete and stone
    Blue wall with metal and wood
    Blue wall with metal and wood
  • Parquet

    Wallpapers for country in the city

    Few weeks back I came across a wallpaper that is a perfect mix of charming rustic, but not dated,  floral but not too cottage. Here is a gem of a wallpaper from Finland: Sugarplum Tree by Photowall.

    Sugarplum Tree
    Sugarplum Tree

    I searched out a few more that I would love to try out in our house, maybe in the sunroom? Once the old wood imitation paneling comes down next year.

    My pick for best light color wallpapers are: Feathers in Mustard by Mini Moderns (left) and Sugarplum Tree by Photowall right, close-up)

    Feathers and Flowers
    Feathers and Flowers

    My favorite for dark colors are: Parquet by Farrow & Ball (left) and Butterfly Garden by Osborne & Little (right)

    Dark Wallpaper
    Wood and Butterflies