Shannon Berrey

The Oxford Exchange

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I'm not sure if I should start this post by explaining the history behind the fantastic Oxford Exchange or by scolding my Tampa friends and clients for not bothering to tell me this place is down the street from them! {You know who you are and ya'll have some 'splainin to do} 

A brother/sister team are responsible for the refurbish of this 25,000 square foot social experiment. They discovered the building back in 2010. It was originally built in 1891 as a stable for the Plant Hotel and has seen a varied group of tenants and businesses in the past 100+ years. The purpose was to create a place where people could gather face to face and exchange ideas. There is no Wi-Fi downstairs, an attempt to force people to close their laptops and talk with each other or read or ponder.

It feels a little like Anthropologie meets Restoration Hardware. It is a finely curated collection of items that were inspired by visiting private membership clubs in London and Highclere Castle. It boasts a restaurant, shop, library, bookstore, Buddy Brew Coffee and TeBella Tea Co.

It is full of inspiration - black and white marble floors, rich stained wood, black coffered ceilings, tufted sofas, exposed brick, and gas lamps. Responsible for the design of this old-world marketplace is interior designer Mary Beth Courier and Atlanta architecture team of Smith Dalia.

One of my favorite design elements is found on the walls of the Conservatory. The brick pattern looks like a chunky cable knit sweater. And it doesn't hurt that is completely bathed in the Florida sunshine.

In a short time, The Oxford Exchange has hosted many Galas, events and weddings. I can't imagine a more beautiful spot to say your 'I do's'.

Get a load of this wooden staircase and brass railings covered in framed oil paintings. 

Simply try it/Encourage your kids awesomeness

Monday, February 24, 2014

You guys know that I love crafting and creating with my kids. As boys get older, these opportunities happen way less often. Jack is a gamer -- an all out computer game luurver. When Maris wanted to up her laptop style years ago, we bedazzled it with a monogram made out of teeny rhinestones. This took more than a few hours... But, Jack wasn't looking for a bedazzled computer and I couldn't convince him to paint it with chevrons ;) No, he had his own plans. 

He had been wanting a new computer for a long time. For Christmas, he asked for no gifts, just money that he could put towards a new computer. He spent hours researching all of the components that he wanted. He placed his orders, and soon, boxes and more boxes from different companies from all over the country, started arriving in the mail. If I recall, there were 7 in all. I'm not going to lie, I was a little hesitant for him to spend so much on such an idea. I could not even contemplate the knowledge or the courage to attempt building your own computer! But, I never let him know my hesitations.

He worked patiently and diligently to piece it together. After many hours, he walked in painfully defeated when it just wasn't working. After many more attempts, He finally came to the conclusion that the motherboard was defective. At least, this was his hope. So, it was repacked and sent back to the company for a replacement. A new one arrived, and we may have done a little happy dance when everything lit up and google was accessed!!  

But, he decided that the inside of his computer was so cool { it glows, ya'll!} and yet, it really couldn't be appreciated because the vent was so small. He came up with the idea to remove the side panel, and to turn the vent area into a large window. This would show off all of the innards of his great DIY work! I thought it was a great idea and I worked as his apprentice. We traced a new window shape and then taped off the area with painters tape. We didn't want to get any scratches on it. We tried using the Dremel, but, it  was really hard to cut through and not precise. 

We {and by 'we' I mean 'he'} ended up, instead, using a Metal Nibbler tool. It works kind of like a hole punch. You squeeze it and it makes precise tiny cuts through metal. This took Jack a super long time. But he was patient and with sore hands and arms, he completed the cut out. 

The cut edge was really sharp. We went in search of trim which landed us at Napa AutoParts. Rubber window trim has a little channel, which, was the perfect thing to trim out the interior of the new window.  {sorry I don't have a pic of this step}. It is attached by removing the paper on the inside of the channel that reveals a 3M glue. It's really sticky. Then the fine folks at Lowes had a free scrap piece of plexiglass that they cut to 12"x10" {a little larger than our opening} and using 3M sticky tape, we taped the plexi to the back of the panel. 


BOO-YAH !!!!  WHAT!!!

Nestled in with its friends: glowing water speakers, lit headphones, keyboard and mouse {all Jack's selections!!} feels right at home. 

So here's the thing. Design is 50% talent and 50% confidence. You may have fabulous style and innate talent, but, if you are too scared to attempt it, then you will always live in 'the safety zone'. I think one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is the push to step outside of what's accepted. Encourage dreaming big. My parents did. They had no idea, most of the time, what was stirring in my brain, but they always, always made my ideas feel important and they were my biggest cheerleaders {and still are}.  

Tackle the projects your scared of! When Maris and Jack own their own homes in years to come, I want them to feel empowered to tile their own floors, wire their light fixtures, paint their walls, refurbish antiques, and to sew their own curtains. I want them to remember that they watched their parents tackle their own dreams because they {we} had the confidence to simply try it. Believe in them, you may be amazed at what they can accomplish!!

Some parental advice

Friday, February 21, 2014

Be careful, parents, what ads and commercials you allow your kids to be exposed to.

They're paying attention. 

Have a great weekend!

Classic bathroom redo: Before and After

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I love it when readers share their Before and After's with me!! A friend that I grew up with sent me some pictures of his bathroom as it appeared a few months ago.

Bless his heart. 
let's talk about this.... 2-toned wall tile in flesh and pinky brown. lots of it. ugh. very commercial white tile with ginormous grout lines. fairly contemporary vanity and mirror.
 A strange hodgepodge that equals a not so lovely combo.

He ripped pretty much everything out. He added wainscoting to the walls and painted them a crisp white. Classic subway tile was added to the shower and it continued all the way to the ceiling. 

Beautiful volcanic ash rectangluar tile was installed on the floor. I really love the fact that he went with this shape AND that he laid it lengthwise. It's a much more interesting shape than the generic 'square' and it helps to make the room appear bigger when laid in this direction. Because the room is relatively small, the addition of the frameless glass shower doors allows the room to also feel bigger verses a shower curtain, which, would hide a good 15 feet of space. 

The walls were painted with BM Patriotic White which has really soft blue/gray undertones. A pedestal sink, new mirror, toilet and a stainless light fixture complete this classic, lovely bathroom renovation.

Great job, Scott!

Shannon Berrey Bio
I'm an artist, interior designer, wife and mom. Join me here as I share projects, ramblings, and inspirations.
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