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6 Things You Need to Know Before You Buy Your Next Throw Pillow 

I used to have this problem with throw pillows and Im guessing Im not alone. d be strolling through Target and before I realized it, there would be a couple of throw pillows that apparently leaped into my cart. 

Okay, so thatʼs not really the whole problem  the real issue started when I would get the pillow home and for one reason or another, the new pillow was just not fitting in with the crowd. Like, I thought it would look way better sitting on my sofa than it does. Where was I going wrong? 

I am happy to announce that I have solved this problem and now I am super excited to share the solution with you! The formula that I am going to share really works! And the best part is, all that pillow hoarding youʼve been doing over the past few years is going to come in handy because youʼre not going to have to head out to buy new pillows. You’ll just use the ones you already have on hand.

1. Mix sizes This one is important. You want big pillows and little pillows, not just for looks but also for comfort.  
2. Mix shapes This is probably one of the mistakes I see my clients make the most. Oftentimes, people will pick all square pillows and then the vignette just falls flat. For visual interest, youʼve got to have, at the very least, a square and a rectangle, toss in a round one and you’re golden!
3. Mix patterns The scale of the pattern on the pillows should vary. If you have a pattern with a large scale, you want to make sure to pair it with a pillow that has a small or medium pattern. This ensures that the patterns will complement each other instead of competing. 
4. Choose a color pallet Pick a color pallet and then stay in that pallet when choosing your throw pillows. 
5. Add texture Texture can make or break a vignette. Toss in some chunky texture next to something smooth like velvet  it makes the design come alive! 
6. Shoot for an odd number Odd numbers are going to be more visually stimulating than even, so the optimal number of pillows for your sofa will be three, five, seven, or nine.

Now that you’ve got some guidelines to work with, I encourage you to gather up all of your throw pillows and style your sofa like a pro. For more inspo, check out the pillows we have listed in our online store, or come see us in person at our Occidental or Sebastopol locations.

I bet you’d never guess that before I opened my business 7 years ago I was waiting tables.

If you’re curious about my journey and how I went from waiting tables to an established small business owner then keep reading because I am gonna take you way back to where it all began.

oh crap, that crazy dream I had actually worked.

It’s been over 7 years since I got the keys to my first-ever brick and mortar shop. 7 years! The journey has been truely one of the most transformative things I have ever done in my life. It’s pretty freakin awesome to look at something that I created and be like oh crap, that crazy dream I had actually worked. Jaw drop moment.

Boho Bungalow 2012
Boho Bungalow way back in the beginning when we sold vintage furniture and went by the name, Vintage By Design

Jeff and I were living in Costa Rica when we correctly prophesied that if we didn’t get back to California and buy a house quickly we would be priced out of the market.

So I guess the story really begins in 2010. My husband Jeff and I were living in Costa Rica when we correctly prophesied that if we didn’t get back to California and buy a house quickly we would be priced out of the market. So we packed up our dog and all of our most precious belongings and headed back to California. I had been living out of the state and country since I had moved to Hawaii 14 years earlier when I was 17 years old. Though California has always felt like home, it had been a minute since I was an official resident.

Before Boho Bungalow
Our first year in business when we sold vintage furniture

I did what I had to do until I could do what I wanted to do.

We purchased a 1990’s ranch house on 7 acres of land in the nowhere town of Cazadero in Sonoma County. It was all very lovely, save for the fact that we were kinda in the middle of nowhere, and there was very few employment opportunities. I really wanted a job in architectural 3D drafting. I applied to every architectural company in the area but the timing was terrible, and me resumé wasn’t that exciting. So I followed Oprah’s words of wisdom and I did what I had to do until I could do what I wanted to do. I got a job waiting tables at a restaurant, it payed the bills. After almost 2 years of that, I was starting to feel desperate to make a change.

Before Boho Bungalow
More before photos from our vintage furniture days

I had become pretty skilled at buying furniture on the cheap and fixing it up.

I ended up giving notice with absolutely no plan and no safety net. I kinda had a vague idea about wanting to flip furniture. We had just moved into a big house and with virtually no budget for furnishings, I had become pretty skilled at buying furniture on the cheap and fixing it up. I really enjoyed it and I wanted to see if I could turn my furniture side hustle into my full-time income source. I didn’t have a super clear vision of what that would look like, but I was determined to make a go of it.

Looking back there was probably a little bit of kismet or fate at play because I didn’t go around looking for store fronts. I was just driving through Occidental one day when I saw a for-rent sign. I signed a lease and bam, I had a storefront. Now the story is far from over because the store that I opened 7 years ago is dramatically different than the Boho Bungalow you know today.

Before Boho Bungalow
Back when we were Vintage By Design and had like 5 things in the store, lol

Everything about the shop has changed, even our name.

Everything about the shop has changed, even our name. We opened as, Vintage By Design, because I sold vintage furniture, so yeah that made sense. Now people naturally assume that since I completely changed my name and my inventory that selling vintage furniture was probably a bust, and they wouldn’t be completely wrong, but I have to say depending on the yard stick you’re using, in some ways it was wildly successful. Not to get too far into the ends and outs of retail, but essentially one of the ways to measure the health of a retail business is by how many times a year they turn their inventory. The standard turn rates is about 4 turns per year. The more turns the more successful the store is. Currently we do between 4 to 5 turns per year, which is healthy. But you guys my vintage furniture store did 10 to 12 turns a year which is bonkers. But you know why it wasn’t a sustainable business even at that turn rate, it’s because I was super limited in the amount of inventory that I was able to source. I was combing through craigslist adds, showing up at every flea markets and estate sales and I could never amass enough inventory to reach my goals. Another kicker was just how labor intensive moving that amount furniture is. It was just me and my little black pick-up. I would travel all over the Bay Area wheeling and dealing for vintage coffee tables and teak rockers, it wasn’t the worst and it felt truly amazing that I was able to carve out a demand for this business I created, but after a few years the hours upon hours of driving and the volume of stuff that I was moving just got to be too much. So I made some major changes to the inventory I offered and that’s essentially how we became the Boho Bungalow. It’s not the store I set out to create, but I believe it was always meant to be this way, and I couldn’t be more in love with the end result.

Hey! It’s me Faith, just working at my shop

7 years later, with 6 employees, 2 brick and mortars, over 7,000 Instagram followers and an online shop I feel like I am an established business owner

Now this is just some quick snippets that doesn’t begin to tell of all the failures, life lessons and learning that happened between here and there. But now, 7 years later, with 6 employees, 2 brick and mortars, over 7,000 Instagram followers and an online shop I feel like I am an established business owner and gosh darn it I am proud of that! I have so many plans to grow and so many goals that I am striving for, but I am terrible at taking a step back and saying look at this phenomenal progress, you did this!

Even more to the point is that there’s nothing that uniquely qualified me for this position. There are dozens of more reason why this shouldn’t have worked. And yet somehow, I was just scrappy enough to pull this one off.

What about you? Are you scared that you’re not qualified to be the person you dream of being? I wasn’t about to use that as an excuse for going after what I wanted and you shouldn’t either.

Bracelet Making Class

Join your hosts, Julia Cipollone and Faith Parker, for a fun evening of creating!

In this class you will design your own friendship bracelet, with the assistance and instruction of Julia from Topaz and Pearl Jewelry. You will leave with a finished product to keep for yourself or give as a gift.

This class is free to our valued customers. Registration is required and space is limited. No purchase is necessary, but we recommend bringing cash for material upgrades and add-ons.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bracelet-making-class-tickets-58610080328

Sonoma Made: Your 2018 guide for Locally made gifts.

Gift Guide

We want to make your shopping experience a breeze this holiday season. For that reason we’ve created this holiday gift guide that features Sonoma County’s most talented makers.

Beer Candles

Due to the fact that guys love beer, we think they’ll love Jackie’s soy wax beer candles. Her candles are always in high demand at the Boho Bungalow, because she uses an edible grade of 100% soy wax and scents them with heavenly aromas.

Handmade Earrings

Sonoma County native, Georgia Dwyer, designs and crafts stunning original jewelry from her Sebastopol studio. For that reason she tops our list of must-have gifts this 2018 Holiday Season.

Soy wax Candles

My dear friend and neighbor, Kristie Sheets, is the founder of the rapidly growing candle company, Local Yokel. She crafts her candles in small batches with meticulous care using the finest ingredients, consequently her  product is a crowd favorite. For that reason we think her candles make the perfect gift for anyone on your list!

Carefully Crafted Jewelry

Julia of Topaz and Pearl creates unique handcrafted jewelry pieces for the modern bohemian. As a result her jewelry makes it easy for even the fashion novice among us to exuded effortless style and pull off that layered look with confidence.

Modern Brass Jewelry

Probably because Amano Studio delivers style, quality and innovation at a price we love, they have become a consistent favorite among our staff and customers.

CBD Salve

Give the gift of health this season with Bonnie’s cannabis salves, bath salts, and drops. Our customers love these products because they treat a long list of ailments which include; sore mussels, arthritis, anxiety and sleeplessness.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Quick Tips For Styling The Perfect Credenza

Hey Guys! I just wanted to share with you some quick tips for styling your Credenza. The tips and tricks that I am going to reveal to you can be applied to any flat surface in your home: buffet, nightstand, dresser, bathroom counter-top, etc.

Clear everything on the surface off your credenza and anything that might be hanging on the wall behind it.

Look around your house for art work and rugs that are in the same general color pallet.

For step three you want to think about what you actually need to have on your credenza. Depending on it’s function you will have different needs. If its located in your entry way you might want to add a dish to catch keys or a pretty bowl to toss the day’s mail in. If its in a bedroom you might need a clock or a jewelry stand. Think about function and then add in the fundamental items that will help keep your life simplified and clutter-free.

This is where the magic happens! You can add in your favorite candles, crystals, brass figurines anything that you love and that fits within the style and color pallet you’ve selected. I like to add the botanical last because they really bring the most to the party. The perfectly placed vase of flowers or macrame pot holder just ties it all together in the end.  You’ll be high-fiving yourself if you’re a dork like me.

The final step is to edit, regroup and put the finishing touches on your vignette.  As a final check list you want to make sure that you’ve incorporated the fundamentals of good design which are:

1. Color is your color pallet soothing to the eye?
2. Pattern adds visual interested, without it, thing will look dull so toss in some pattern.
3. Texture contrasting textures is really important. I’ve tried pulling together a vignette composed of all similar materials and it was so flat and boring. Mix up your textures for visual interest.
4. Shape  as with texture you need to have a variation of shapes. Have you noticed how a square pillow needs a round or rectangle pillow to set it off? The same principles can be applied throughout design. You have to have a variety shapes or it’s gonna to look amateur .
5. Repetition repetition creates a place for the eye to rest. The goal is to create visual interest, but too much visual interest can be overwhelming. Seeing repetition in design is calming and soothing.
6. Balance you’ll be able to tell if your vignette is off balance if it feels like it’s going to tip over in a certain direction. Stand back a squint your eyes. Does it look visually “heavy” on one side and not the other? Balance can also be applied to color. If you’re working with a really strong color you want to carry that color through your design so that one area isn’t over saturated.
7. Bling just like every good outfit looks better with jewelry, your vignette is going to shine when you pop in some sparkly crystals, shiny brass tray, or a mercury glass candle holder.
8. Botanical a vase of flowers or a cute little airplant has such a huge impact on a space. Layer them on thick, you really can’t over do it here.

Want more inspo? Check out this buffet that I styled in a previous post 

 

2 chairs get a Bohohemian Furniture makeover

Back when I first opened my shop in the later part of 2012 I was in a real junk-hungry state. Possible it stemmed from being overly optimistic, like that pathetic chic who still sees potential in her boyfriend even though he’s in jail, again. Or maybe it was an over-confidence in my own skills and commitment, thinking that I could take a cast-aside item and make it valuable again, much as an alchemist takes ordinary medal and transforms it to gold. Regardless of it’s root cause, the end result was a garage full of junk that would’ve been better off had it been left where it was found. If these chairs could talk they would tell you some stories, they spent 4 long and dusty years watching new projects come, old projects get finished and make that coveted transition from garage-junk to admired home decor.  Meanwhile I couldn’t quite wrap my little brain around just what I wanted for them. I could tell that they had real potential as I am nearly certain they’re original Milo Baughman and would just need to be re-covered to reveal the beauty lurking within. After much deliberation I settled on African Mudcloth which is a very bold and trendy look, but I am ecstatic with how they turned out and I gaze upon them with admiration everyday knowing just how far they’ve come in their journey.

Here’s the budget breakdown;
Chairs $25 each Vintage
Mudcloth Urban Outfitters 3 panels at $69 each
Upholstery cost $150 for each chair

Before photo of Milo Baughman mid-century teak chairs

Invaluable life lessons from 3 of the industries top designers

I’ve had a pretty amazing August, in which I flew across the country to meet some of the industries top designers. These design Mavens all have dynamic careers in which they employ a variety of their talents. I can’t wait to share with you what I learned, so read along as I unveil valuable insight garnered from these talented designers/authors/bloggers and TV personalities.

Justin Blakeney and Faith Parker at Las Vegas Market
Justin Blakeney and Faith Parker at Las Vegas Market

Justina Blakeney author of The New Bohemians, is one of my all-time design idols. She not only authors one of the best blogs out there, The Jungalow, she also has her own custom lines of wallpapers and rugs and she just launched an entire line of furniture and home decor items called Selamat. I could go on… but I wont because all the sudden I feel incredibly lazy and unaccomplished.  (insert weeping emoji here)

While attending the Las Vegas Market earlier this month I got a chance to see Justina Blakeney host a panel of design experts. Mainly they discussed design trends, but that wasn’t the big take away for me. I found the fact that of the six design panelists, only one of them went to design school. Which answers a very important question, just how do you become a  famous blogger or designer?  The general consensus from the experts panel was….Umm basically you just put yourself out there and give it everything you’ve got. There is no formal university degrees in blogging (is there? I am pretty certain there isn’t… but I could be wrong) there may be universities that offer degrees in interior design but some of the top designer and Instagram influencers didn’t get to where they are via those routes. They got there by hustling hard and getting better everyday (of course a large dose of natural talent never hurt either, just saying)

Photo Credit stylebyEmilyHenderson.com

Faith Parker with Emily Henderson

If you don’t know who Emily Henderson is, then you shouldn’t even be reading this blog right now. Obviously you have no interest in design or you would know this extremely popular author, designer, and HGTV Design Star winner and host of Secrets of a Stylist.

So if you know Emily, then you know she came prepared, she had notes, slides and volumes of content. Here’s what I gleamed from her presentation on blogging, at HGTV’s Bloggers Block Party.

My Girl EM HEN believes that getting started is the biggest step. She stressed the importance of putting yourself out there. In the beginning aspiring blogger like myself, should focus on producing content. It might not be gold, or even good, but it’s a starting point and it will give you something to build upon. The idea is that you will naturally improve as you continue on your path, which makes it crucial to be consistently publishing content.

She continued to say how important it is to find your authentic voice. “Universal and unique” were words she used to urge us blossoming bloggers to find a balance between appealing to everybody and not appealing to anybody. She stressed not to be “too weird, but rather compelling”.

She continued to advise us to own what we know, and be transparent about what we don’t know. Basically she was saying don’t be a phony, everybody hates a phony. There’s nothing wrong with taking on tasks that are out of your comfort zone, but be careful not to over sell yourself, know what your limitations are and be as forthcoming about your experience as you are about your inexperience.

Retro Living room designed by Meg Caswell Photo from HGTV.com

Meg Caswell with Faith Parker

Meg Caswell

If you follow my Instagram account than you already know just how desperately I wanted to win the NyNow design challenge which would include breakfast with the Meg Caswell. Thanks to everyone who voted,  I was selected as one of the 25 finalist.

So what does Meg have to teach us?

Her story is inspiring because she has truly combined hard work and intention to get where she is today. She believes in the law of attraction and actually credits the secret for helping her to achieve her career as a HGTV design star and television host.

Looking back on my decision to don bright yellow clogs, I am feeling that perhaps they were prophetic and symbolic of the Yellow Brick Road. As Dorothy and her friends find the attributes they were lacking, my bright yellow clogs lead me to find just the advise I was seeking. To summarize, Justina and her design panel showed me that, what’s more important than a fancy-pants design degree, is talent, drive and an initiative, Em Hen was the kick in the buns to get started with a healthy reminder to always be authentic, while Meg taught me to work really hard, but also not to forget to trust the Universe, and remember to ask it for what you want.

 

To paint or not To paint

I purchased this gorgeous dining set on craigslist for a song and while functionally it was a fit for my space, stylistically it wasn’t working.  The idea of painted furniture amongst the design community seems to be a polarizing topic.  After fighting the urge to paint the credenza for years, I finally surrendered to my desires and out came the paint brush. I suppose I broke a few unspoken rules regarding the custodial responsibilities of antique ownership but I couldn’t be happier with the results. Secretly it delights the rebel within.

Details: I made my own chalk paint by mixing plaster of paris, water and Benjamin Moore’s paint color Geranium. I then used Olde Masters crystal clear paste wax to seal and protect the finish.

Journey to Otavalo

So you know how the law of logic  say you can have something fast and cheap while sacrificing quality, or amazing quality and great speed, but you’re going to have to pay big bucks, or high quality, at a great price, but it will take an eternity. Well that may be sound logic everywhere else in the world, but it doesn’t apply to buses in Latin America, anyone who has been bounced around on a bumpy road on a hot stinking bus with a rooster in their lap can attest to the fact that you get CHEAP and nothing else.  

My last adventure on a Latin American bus was my trip from Quito to Otavalo. I was on a mission to bring back some beautiful hand crafted artisanal goods. I opted to take the bus because a taxi would have cut deeply into my profit margins. One of the scenes that was most memorable was when police boarded the bus. Dressed in costumes and holding a ventriloquist dummy, what amazed me most was how polite and friendly they were. Check out the video below, and notice the rooster  that crows at the 10 second mark.

When I finally arrived in Otavalo it was everything my little heart had hoped it would be. There was row after row of stalls overflowing with alpaca scarfs, beautiful handwoven alpaca blankets, hand crafted dream catchers, purses wallets, you name it. Basically a shop owners dream come true. I walked around taking it all in, making mental notes, asking questions and talking with the artisans. Before getting down to the negotiations I made sure to sit down to lunch and reflect on the items that I wanted to take home. Sadly I was limited by what I could physically carry back on the bus. 

Magical Tidying Tips

Probably because I bought the book, my social media news feed has been blowing up with posts about the “Life Changing Magic of of Tidying up” , have you noticed how often you’re marketed products that you have already purchased? It’s like “hey dumb-ass I already bought that, so you can save your money and try to sell me something new”, am I right?

Anyways, after reading on Apartment Therapy how life changing and miraculous  these tidying tips were, I downloaded a copy of the book and got to work. Because, let’s be honest, I am in a hopeless pursuit to be, thinner, richer,  and tidier.

The premises of the book is that you basically throw away everything that doesn’t “spark joy”. So basically after completing the first step of her 5 step series I am probably going to be walking around in the same two outfits that I have left. I feel like “spark joy” is a pretty high standard to live up to. How many socks do you own that actually spark joy? I am far from a hoarder and make frequent donation runs to the thrift store, but with this new criterion for evaluating whether  an item stays in my life or leaves it forever, I was rampant with the disposal process.

You get the sense very quickly that the author has a major case of OCD. At one point in the book she references her nightly routine which entails completely emptying her hand bag, and then placing her hand bag into its very own appointed bag, if that’s not OCD folks, I mean come on, she’s got a purse for her purse!

Regardless of her mental state, the general take away from the book is this; don’t hold onto a bunch of crap that you don’t use, treat your belongings with respect, find a place for everything and put things back where they belong.

Now if she could just help me evict the homeless tweaker that apparentlylives in my car, that would be real progress.