Art on an Artists’ Budget at DENY Designs

Riddle me this:

  • Is your leftover-from-college IKEA duvet cover in desperate need of an update?
  • Does your home artwork consist of images from Pinterest you printed from an almost empty color printer?
  • Are you inspired by creativity, color, and art, but just don’t know how to incorporate it into your life on a sensible budget?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. In fact, I myself answered yes to each and every one of those questions. But lucky for you, I found a solution to each of these conundrums.

Conun”drum” roll please… (I crack myself up)

It’s called DENY Designs. DENY Designs is an out-of-the-box website that realized the one-size fits all model of home decor is a way of the past. I mean, these days we are sharing smart cars, eating organic food, and being meaningful in each and every purchase we make. Why should home decor be any different? That’s the point of home design—it is our chance to stand out from the crowd, to show off our personality, to match our personal style in our home.

DENY offers us the opportunity to have a piece of artwork that doesn’t cost a bagillion dollars on almost any object you can imagine. DENY combines unbridled artistry with everyday household items. If you are thinking, “Kelly what the heck are you talking about,” here’s what I mean: let’s say you wanted to add a clock to your wall, or a jewelry box to your closet, or a duvet to your bed, or a canvas to your wall. You with me so far? Well, what you are going to want to do is head over to DENY Designs and check some of their thousand or so artists, choose a design, and then get it hand printed on the item of your choice.

You know how people have their custom orders at Chipotle? DENY allows you to get that custom with your home decor item. And I know the word “custom” makes you think $$$$, but don’t worry. Unlike a side order of guac, DENY seriously makes it easy to add style and art to your home on an artist’s salary.

Okay enough of the written word, let me show you the goods. Once you see it, you’ll get it’s brilliance.

Here’s what I’m buying. Share what you want in the comments below.

deny pics



Living Quarters

Maybe it’s because I watch Downton Abbey or maybe since we are in a loft which is basically just one big room, but rather than calling it a living room/dining areas, I like to call this space the living quarters. We do most of our living here. Along with entertaining, eating, dancing, TV watching, card playing, cocktail making, and lounging.

With our 20 ft ceiling and sky high windows, this space gets beautiful light and we are lucky enough to have a small view of our purple mountain majesties which makes for a perfect sunset.

One hilarious thing about our home is that there is not one closed door closet. So that makes for creative storage solutions, like this set of fire red lockers we HAD to get. Speaking of hilarious, you should see how the storage looks inside (it’s terrifyingly stuffed to the brim).


lockersA great thing about decorating our space is that I own Good Ol’-Fashioned Party which provides me with nearly limitless options of inventory to add to our home. Like this bar for instance. This is where the built in desk was, but we had this lovely antique bar that was too heavy for us to haul to events, so it needed a full time home. Here is it’s home. Rightfully adorned with a disco ball (one of the only purchases I made for this place) and vintage collected bar ware.


Another great Good Ol’-Fashioned piece of goodness that I am borrowing is our adorable pink love seat that matches our crane (that lives in our loft, from back when our building was a Sugar Machinery building).


books2entry books

Remember how I told you about our creative storage solutions, a wall of shoes was one of those solutions. What gal doesn’t want a wall of shoes?wall of shoesturtleMore funny collections I didn’t know I had coming tomorrow :)

Kitchen Tour


While the kitchen is Jed’s primary domain, I certainly spend a lot of time in the kitchen, (not only cleaning,) but because it is the first thing that you see when you come through the front door. You enter our space and are instantly in the heart of our home looking out to our beautiful living quarters.

kitchen againkitchen

When we moved in this past July, we did not need to do a thing. From the industrial feel with the stainless cabinets and concert floors to the useful blackboard painted door, the space was perfect and fit our lifestyle so wholly it was truly meant to be. We’ve only done two updates in the space: one, we removed the built in desk that was in the living area, which we later learned was butcher block wood, so we repurposed it as our HUGE cutting board on our island. Not only is a beautiful piece of wood, but it really is the ultimate working space for putting together our meals. And then we decided to open up one of our bottom cabinets to add a little life to the kitchen.

kitchen cab

kitchen2rinoCome back tomorrow to get a look at our main living area :)

Manly Monday: Pump the Brakes

Is it manly to change a (3)

Apparently Kelly’s brake lights are out. This was just brought to her attention the other day, and now they need to be replaced. However, we’ve got a bit of a philosophical difference over how this should go.

My idea is to teach Kelly how to figure out what kind of bulbs she needs,demonstrate how to replace one, then let her replace the other in case she ever has to do this again in an emergency. You know, teach a man to fish and all.

Kelly would like this situation to proceed according to her idea of traditional gender roles. That is, I buy the bulbs for her, replace them while wearing a white t-shirt and jeans, then give her a passionate kiss while wiping grease off my hands.

Which is better? Honestly, not sure if either one is better, just that they are different. I certainly don’t mind replacing brake lights. It’s super easy, but that’s sort of my point—it’s so easy that I don’t think Kel should be intimidated by doing it, or impressed by me doing it. And I get that she wants to be taken care of and that it’s a nice thing for me to do for my wife, just like it’s nice when she cleans the kitchen (something I like about as much as she likes changing brake lights).

Is it manly to change brake lights? Should it be? Why? What does a horse shoe do? Are there any horse socks? Is anybody listening to me?

Painting Adventures

A couple of weeks ago Jed and I ventured out to Hobby Lobby in search for a big wall clock (a wall clock scavenger hunt was my Christmas present). After surveying the clock inventory, we decided nothing was speaking to us. We somehow got distracted by a brilliantly inspired idea to paint our own paintings to fill the space above our entertainment center.

I should preface this with the fact that neither Jed and I are painters. We’ve never painted. We don’t draw. The closest thing we’ve done to sketching is eyes closed during a competitive game of Cranium. But we do love art. We have a HUGE impressionist coffee table book where we display the painting of the week, we’re contemplating membership to the Clyfford Still museum, and the only souvenir we brought back from our honeymoon in Paris was an incredible modern painting we bought from an artist in Montmartre.

So there we were, scouring the Hobby Lobby aisles in search of brushes, arcylic paint, and painting paper. On our ride home we talked about all the things we could paint: maybe a landscape, a portrait, a sunset, a still life—the options were limitless. An hour later we were set up in our loft, Jed using the kitchen island as his work space and meat the dining table. We didn’t talk to each other for an hour, just listened to music and painted.

The results? We both agreed that it was an incredible experience. I went with a contemporary abstract look at our bookshelves.


Jed painted a memory of a place he had visited in Argentina after college, called “the end of the world.”


We are clearly not experts, but we loved it! It really was a therapeutic experience. We were able to enter into our own creative worlds and just relax and paint. There was no mind chatter, just concentration. While we were able to paint together in the same room, it was an activity that fostered independence.

Jed has been joking with me recently because now all I think about is painting. “Oh that sunset would be incredible to paint, ” I say. “Look at those colors! I want to capture that.” Here are some paintings that I want to emulate:

painting painting2

1, 2, 3, 4

History of Valentine’s Cheese

Valentine's Day (1)

Jed and I are all sorts of romantic mush during Valentine’s Day (and throughout the year too). It all started five years ago …

We were a few months into our long distance courtship, and like most weekends around that time we were making some kind of journey to see each other. This particular weekend we were both making the trip to our lovely friend’s Vermont cabin, meeting a huge group of friends and, of course, each other for a weekend of fun, snow, and sleep. Although this Vermont cabin was beautifully spacious and full of places to sleep, because so many friends were gathering the only last free bed was a spare twin in a downstairs closet.

Jed and I, being madly obsessed with each other, thought this was practically the Ritz. It was in that closet Jed and I gave each other our first Valentine’s Day gifts, gifts that set the tone for our entire relationship.

I gave Jed a box. A box I spruced up and filled with treasured momentos: bus passes, Red Sox tickets, cocktail napkins from our first date, Playbills from shows we’d seen. That box has traveled with us from New York and Boston to LA to our rentals in Denver and now sits happily on our bookshelf in our first home, and we continue to fill it with keepsakes of love and memories.

Jed gave me a Good House Keeping Cookbook. I opened the first page and on it he explained why. I cried reading his writing and reading the story he shared. That cookbook might be the sweetest gift I’ve ever been given, and I think it was in that closet where we both realized that this thing we had was it.

So sure, Valentine’s Day might be a cheesefest, but come on, who doesn’t want a piece of delicious, romantic cheese once and awhile?

1079_KellyJedWedding01June2013.jpg3213_KellyJedWedding01June2013.jpg Kelly and Jed's wedding on June 1, 2013. Photo by Ellen Jaskol.

Miami Wish List

Jed and I just booked a trip to Miami and Key West and because I haven’t lived in California for a long time, my beachware wardrobe is, dare I say, lacking. So as I prep for my trip, while I don’t want to go crazy buying island prints or items only acceptable in Miami, I am looking to add a couple of fun pieces to my suitcase. When in Rome.

Here is my Miami wish list:

Art is Everywhere

colors of the rainbow

I know you might be sick of hearing about my neighborhood, but a girl in love has to shout it from the rooftops. Am I right? When my neighborhood meets 70 degree January weather, there really is nothing sweeter. Check out what I discovered on my Sunday stroll….

snake orange army
blueShop this post