Today was maintenance day on this here website, which is why there is no new and/or fabulous content for you to enjoy. I fixed some stuff, and re-wrote some stuff, and re-designed some stuff, and unsuccessfully tried to decide on a new bio photo since the current one is so old I actually have short hair. I hate all of the new prospects, and now that Ben Corda is gone, I am in a real pickle and look like this:

Aw. That is real sad. So y'all know what that means, right? It means it's time for Ask AB: Anything Goes Edition. The last time we did this was almost a year ago. It was pretty fun. So, what do you want to know? Beauty, hair, clothing, decorating, personal? Ask, and you shall receive. To the comments!

Photo: Ben Corda *sob*

AuthorAB Chao
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You may recall a design I did for a local client a while back: it was for a young boy's room, and I posted the design board here, and it seems like that was a million years ago. Anyway, the little boy was really into maps and space, so I just kind of went for it with that in mind. Oh, and he wanted bunk beds BAD.

I convinced the kid's mom to go super-dark on the walls and ceiling, and we decided to design the room around a vintage map of India I found on Etsy (which would not only be a nod to the family's Indian heritage, but also be really cool, because vintage maps are really cool).


This room is one of a very few that I have done that somehow look exactly like their design boards. It's really extra-satisfying when that happens, because it means you've gotten exactly what you wanted, design-wise, and also that you are a brilliant genius. Just kidding.

The wall color is Farrow & Ball Plummett. The ceiling color is Farrow & Ball Down Pipe. The pendant light is a Nelson saucer lamp, and the orange chair is a Saarinen reproduction. The zebra rug, which is basically the only thing that was already in the room, is made of wool and is from Target from a long time ago. I wish it were still available. Bring back your wool zebra rug, Target! The map is vintage, from the adorably-named Midwest Splendor.

The bed is from Restoration Hardware. The bedding is from Pottery Barn. The striped wool blanket is from Hudson's Bay. The desk was custom-made from pine and lacquered to within an inch of its life. The desk chair is vintage, from my own plentiful collection of Eames desk chairs (my garage is full of them, please don't rob me in the night).

The globe, pencils, and bear erasers are the client's own, and are kind of my favorite part of the room. You erase with the bear's NOSE, y'all.

The London double-decker bus and Big Ben figure are from the child's collection (he is very into London things, also). The elephant print is of Hindu Lord Ganesha: Remover of Obstacles and Lord of Beginnings! I love him and that print is just gorgeous. The log side table is from Paul Michael. The curtains are white linen, from Gray Line Linen.

Wouldn't you love to wake up in this cozy bunk every morning? I would. I'm so happy to have gotten to decorate this room, and I hope the family loves it as much as I do. (What? I can be schmoopy too.)

Happy Friday, y'all!


All photos by the incomparable Ben Corda.

AuthorAB Chao
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As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was asked to decorate a room in the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway.

I decorated the guest room. Some of you may recognize items from Chao Camp. Another fun fact: all of the plants/flowers I used for styling came from my parents' house, which is located within walking distance of the St. Jude house.

Some awesome shops that donated items include Fabulous Fabric (curtains, curtain rod), CoCo's (bedding, green lamps, orange throw), Woodstock (bed, bedding), Traditions on Trenton (bedside tables, jar with spools, Black Forest antlers), and Paul Michael (cowhide rug, log side table). Wire chair, kilim pillows, Meredith Pardue painting, table accessories, interior, prop, and floral styling courtesy of AB Chao Interiors.

Here is some more information about the contest and the house:

The St. Jude Dream Home® Giveaway is a chance to help the kids of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Each $100 ticket represents an opportunity to win the beautiful house with an estimated value of $330,000. The house is located in the Belle Point subdivision in Monroe, Louisiana. The house was built by BRACO Construction.

The winner of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway will be drawn on KARD FOX 14 on Sunday, July 15, 2012, from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Visit the St. Jude Dream Home house June 9 – July 8, Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. The house will also be open July 9 – 14 daily from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Sign up free at any open house to win the Open House Prize: A $2,500 Visa gift card!

 Today is a special edition of the advice column, for which I stopped taking submissions a few months ago. But this is a person I know in real life and so she gets a special advice column. Also she is having a baby. Yay!

DeAnn sent me a few pictures of the in-progress nursery:

It's basically a blank slate, which is my favorite kind of slate. And check out that awesome straight-up for-real zebra rug. Yes! I love it. I do, however, have some suggestions. Let's get started.

First, some basics.

1. The existing zebra rug stays. We'll build the rest of the room around it.

2. Every room needs some baskets. They hold things. Things like diapers, and baby toys! These from West Elm are pretty cute, but if you are on a tight budget, these plain wicker ones are also good. 

3. Those corner windows are kind of a trick to cover in an attractive manner, but I think DeAnn should have some Roman shades made in a soft gray linen, one for the big window and one for the small window. They should be outside mount so the shades meet at the corner, creating a seamless transition and giving the impression that you totally meant to do it that way. I recommend Gray Line Linen for this project -- their fabric is gorgeous and affordable.

4. And, PAINT. I want the trim and baseboards painted white, for sure. If you must, DeAnn, paint the walls white too. But if you're feeling daring and want the coolest nursery ever, do like the Rolling Stones did and paint it black. Well, dark gray. And then paint that sad brown door with a few coats of high-gloss green. You heard me. DEWIT. Paint colors, top to bottom: Benjamin Moore Super White, Witching Hour, and Pear Green (Apple Green is also good.).

We're also going to move some furniture around. The changing table needs to go where the bookcase currently is, and the crib needs to get centered on its existing wall (remove the hook). The bookcase can either be removed, or can go on the wall with the wide window, all the way into the corner next to the crib. The rug and rocker can stay where they are.

Now that we've got the basics covered, it's time to do some accessorizing, yes? I've selected some high/low accessory options:

1. In keeping with our black/gray/white theme, how about a graphic throw blanket to soften up that rocker? High: Jonathan Adler, $295. Low: West Elm, $29.

2. Every room needs some art, does it not? I'd love to see a great big painting over the crib. Wouldn't one of these look so good with our black walls, white trim, and hot green door? Yes. High: Aaron Collier, $2600(but seriously, don't buy this, because I want it bad.). Low: Michelle Armas, $150(which is actually a poster-size print of one of her paintings, and I'd do exactly what she recommends about mounting on Gator board and putting it in a floater frame).

3. Crib bedding. I would, as a lifelong Southern person, do the crazy poofy long-bed-skirty monstrosity on the left, but I know this is not for some. The one on the right is a little more cleanly lined, and definitely more affordable. And if you are on a crazy-tight budget, go buy some black and white mattress ticking, pay somebody's sister-in-law $20 to make a gathered bed skirt out of it (all the way to the floor, please!), and buy a white crib sheet from Target. DONE. High, $614. Low, $326.

4. Both of these options would be very cute next to the rocker, but only one of them is on sale for 20% off right now. Guess which one? High: Bungalow 5, $351. Low: West Elm, $129.

So that's that. Looking good, right? We're almost done -- I just have a couple of suggestions for some extras, totally optional. See below: 

1. You could wallpaper the crib wall, or not. This cute and subtle marine life print would look good with the dark (or white!) walls and either painting, though. Pattern People, Hygge & West, $135/roll.

2. Floating shelves over the changing table. I say definitely go for this one. Shelves hold lots of stuff! Like baskets, which also hold lots of stuff! IKEA LACK shelf, price varies.

3. Overhead pendant light. I love this classic Nelson lamp, but whatever you choose, put it on a dimmer. This is non-negotiable. Nelson saucer lamp, $269.

4. A jute rug for layering underneath the zebra. Will add a new and cozy textural dimension. Overstock has many.

5. Paint the bookshelf white if it is staying in the room.

6. Remove the star lanterns and replace them with this fabulous mobile (maybe in a more manly color). Mobile, $45.

7. A floor lamp for another light source, and for being cute near the rocker and side table. Taper Shade Floor Lamp, West Elm, $199.


Whew! I think that's it. I hope you use some of these suggestions, DeAnn, and I DEFINITELY want to see after pictures. Go, baby!

AuthorAB Chao
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A couple of years ago around this time, we knocked out a wall between adjacent closets and added a bathroom to our one-bathroom house. The renovation was a major project, but one that was worth all the annoyance/dollars/tears, and changed our lives. Here is a quick refresher on the before:

Real pretty.

I have been promising to show y'all the after since that time. I guess two years is long enough, so please accept these pictures I have taken for your enjoyment: 

Facing the sink.

 From just outside the bathroom door.

Stripes! Jars! Colored Pencils! Fun times.

A look inside the shower.

Various Polaroids/Japanese tape/blogger cliches.

From the shower looking out.

I don't know if you can tell from these angles, but the bathroom is kind of tiny. For instance, in the above photo I am standing inside the shower having a relationship with my tripod.

So there it is. I hope you enjoyed it. I sure did, except for the part where I had to crawl under and THROUGH the tripod legs to get to the shutter button.


Floor: Generic black penny tile/charcoal grout
Mirror: PB Teen
Sconces: Hudson Valley Lighting
Glass shelf: IKEA
Sink: IKEA
Toilet: Toto
Fixtures: Kohler
Shower curtain: IKEA, then custom sewn and monogrammed
Stool: Vintage
Hooks: The Hook Lady
Art: Lot 9 Press, Lisa Congdon, various Chaos

PS. Those of you waiting on rate sheets will have one in your hot little hands in the next day or so. Thank you for your patience!

PPS. Thank you for the nice knee notes. Not only was it neighborly, I guess you could say it was KNEE-ded. (I'll show myself out.)

AuthorAB Chao
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Oh, hello. What's up, Internet? It's December! I just today finished up the last of my decorating projects for the year, so I'm going to take the next few weeks to wrap presents, sip wassail, and re-examine my business plan for the new year. Yay!

I'm pretty good at recaps, maybe you've heard. So now, presenting the last few weeks of my life, as illustrated by Instagram.

I attended Camp Mighty, which was both 1) mighty and 2) camp-like. It was awesome. We talked, we drank, we bonded, we life-listed, we hugged, we saw superband The Tontons, and we learned a bunch of things. Seriously, if you are able, get your ass there next year. Unless you went this year, in which case you already know it was real fabulous.

My trip to Palm Springs also included a bonus couple of days in Los Angeles with Pamela (with whom I am currently not speaking, as she has elected not to spend New Year's Eve with us and the Lowe-Huffs -- A YEARLY TRADITION, I MIGHT ADD.). We had fun times, like when we were at the Roosevelt for hamburgers, and accidentally got invited to Mindy Kaling's book party. No big deal.

While I was away, my handy/nice/dreamy husband replaced all of the screen on our porch and painted the door high-gloss red. He is so awesome I should be using expletives.

I also received some cute packages for future clients in the mail.

Like THIS. Jealous? Me too.

Thanksgiving was the next week, and we observed the sacred tradition of beer and shots at our local bar on Wednesday. If you are not hungover on Thanksgiving Day, you are probably not from the South -- EVERYONE is out late the night before. I remember one year when a friend of mine was so sick she had to skip the WHOLE THING with her family due to throwing up all day long. She is now a revered local legend.

Then it got cold and I turned 36. Wait. I mean, I turned 36 and THEN it got cold. Oh, number forty, you are too near, both in temperature and in age. PS, I hope y'all like this outfit. I picked it out just for you.

This year is the very first that we have had a real tree in our house since we moved into the place. I have gone through so many fake Christmas tree phases over the years that a live one never stood a chance. But when I spotted this semi-flocked one at a local nursery, I couldn't resist. Check out all my awesome Christmas spirit. (Fully decorated tree and living room pic to appear soon.)

A bad thing that has happened in the last two weeks is that I sustained running injury (for the first time in over 3 years, what?). It's my knee. From overuse. Why is that even A THING, y'all? Whatever. HATE. Shut up, knee.

The only prescription for this problem is rest, ice, and stretching. So I have been diligently doing all three, to the detriment of most of my frozen fruit. I ran 5 miles yesterday and everything felt ok, so I'm calling this one over for now. And if not: I WILL CUT A KNEE.

In an insane small-world turn of events, I saw The Tontons AGAIN this past weekend. A block away from my house, at a bar in my town. Not only that, but their manager and I discovered that we graduated from the same college on the same day. We all became best friends instantly, obvs. So that was pretty cool. If you ever get a chance, go see them before they blow up, which will happen soon.

I hope you have enjoyed this educational Instagram recap. Oh, also, if you have any great holiday card ideas featuring all Chaos + Hank, be putting those in the comments. We spend every year trying to top this one from 2006, and we've got nothing.