may “speakeasy” at Monarch Restaurant

After a month in a cocoon, we had a great turnout for our May “speakeasy” at the newly redesigned Monarch in Maplewood!  Thank you to all who came out and helped make our evening a success!!!

A huge thank you goes to Derek Maschek (a designspeak team member) and a member of the architecture team responsible for Monarch’s transformation.  Visit Space‘s website for more recent projects!

Amazing display of Monarch butterflies in the Dining Room!

It's all about who you know! Space was kind enough to donate a few of the extra butterflies for our surprise raffle.

Our surprise vendor - Laura Bergmann was a big hit!


Visit Laura’s website for more inspiring products!

Where It’s At: FORM 2011

So, if you haven’t already heard of this amazing contemporary design & furniture show, you may be living under a rock…

Last year, The Luminary Center for the Arts debuted an event that brought hundreds of underground modernists out for speculation and awe.  In a city so unusually traditional, I was amazed to meet a great number  of unique and interesting individuals at last year’s show.  This year is shaping up to be nothing short of a spectacular sequel!

Still not convinced?  Those of you that have attended our monthly “speakeasy” events probably recognize a few names on last year’s list as our surprise raffles.

For me and DesignSpeak, FORM was a huge success.  But more so for St. Louis.  It is so refreshing to see cutting edge design and designers embraced and encouraged.  On that note, I encourage you to either attend or show off your stuff.  We want to see your faces!  :)

Here’s all the relevant info:

FORM is presented by The Luminary Center for the Arts as a forum for exceptional designers to showcase
their work, connect with a community of other designers and sell directly to supporters. Proceeds from the
event will go directly to the designers and to support The Luminary Center for the Arts, a 501(c)(3)
nonprofit artist resourcing platform created for the production and presentation of innovative art, music and cultural projects.

Early bird applications are due April 25th – all applications are due by May 23rd and may be submitted online at For more information, please contact Brea McAnally at

Only 2 weeks left to apply! Deadline for all applications May 30th!

*Booth spaces begin at $200 with a 20% discounts to students and recent graduates.

*100% of all sales go directly to exhibitors

*Exhibitor perks include an online designer listing, 1/2 page full color listing in exhibit catalog, discounts on travel and hotel stay for  our of town exhibitors, exposure to 2500+ attendees and more!


creating a home by mandi maurer gray

Choosing a home and creating a personal space, a sanctuary to call one’s own, can be such an intensely amazing, yet sometimes overwhelming experience. It can be compared to choosing what college to attend and later what career path to venture on.

A home is  where the heart is, where our personalities and quirky traits are free to run wild. I tend to feel that we are sometimes missing the true nature of what our homes should represent. They should not be designed solely to enhance future buyers or to function as a sort of museum. Homes are to be lived in and to be part of the memories we create with our family and friends. In a world that is constantly on the go, how do we find a place of calm in our homes at the end of the day.

This is where designers enter the picture. When choosing a designer, I feel it is very important to interview each other to see how well both the client and the designer click, to get a feel for the chemistry between the two. After all, the process of designing your home should be fun, so making sure the designer & client relationship is a good fit will ultimately produce the best possible results.

Once you find the right designer for you, you may want to ask yourself a few questions…

What feel do I want this home to have for both myself, family and company? How do I see the rooms functioning on a daily basis? Is there a focal point to the rooms? Do I want to express myself through lots of color or do I want to keep the overall color scheme neutral and add pops of color through accents and accessories? What do I feel is my personal style? Am I more of a traditionalist or more of a modernist?  What does that mean to me? It may also be a good time to show your designer any inspiration pictures you may have been collecting in order for him/her to get a better feel for the style direction. The design duration lasts as long as it takes to make your space exactly what you had in mind. Your dream home.

Ultimately, the designer’s job is to create peace of mind and a well-designed home that the client is proud to call their own. A home of peace of mind, relaxation, functionality, personal style, and happy memories to come.


“The living space is never unfinished and never finished. It lives with those who live within.” -Josef Frank

“God invented the giraffe, the elephant, the cat. He has no personal style. He just goes on trying things.” -Pablo Picasso


DIY Upholstered Headboard Wall – Part 1 by Andrea Beckman

Every design starts with a vision.  This vision is often inspired by a particular piece you love…a chair, a table or piece of artwork.  Whatever it may be, it begins to set the tone and direction in which you design; but sometimes certain things such as layout or window placement can hinder that vision.

Prior to moving into my new apartment, I had a vision for my bedroom and it included wall lights.  Refined and somewhat industrial looking is what I had in mind.  So when I came across these wall lights (on sale + coupon) it did the trick.  I bought them and set them aside for my future space.

wall lights

Now, let’s fast forward to the apartment that I found and am currently living in…..

Challenge: There is only one wall that works for the bed to go on.  That wall has windows on it…well how about that!  Now where do I hang these wall lights that I am committed to using?


Solution: Create a “headboard wall”.  Build a headboard that has end pieces extending past and in front of my windows.  Mount my wall lights to the side extensions.  To complete the look, cantilever shelving to act as bed-side tables.


My thought…this will create a dramatic focal point that is cozy and most of all, house my wall lights!  When I shared this with a few others, their response was, “And cover up the windows”?  Well yes,  I figure the windows are tall enough where they can still allow for plenty of light in the space, and because they are tall you’re still able to appreciate them.

This is no new concept, but it is new for me and my assistant (dad) to build.  Important Note: Whether or not this turns out is still TBD…it’s not complete yet!!  I have only completed the first phase which is the upholstered headboard.  You will have to stay tuned for my follow up post which will include the finished product.

Now we begin, DIY Headboard – part I, creating the actual upholstered headboard!

Step 1: Decide what you want your headboard to look like.  Is it going to be arched, scalloped, squared?  What material do you want to use…solid, striped, patterned? Do you want to add any details?

Because I knew this would be next to my lampshades and wood planks I wanted a material that would provide a nice contrast.  I chose a heavy textured linen in a charcoal with blue undertones.

My inspiration:

West Elm: Nailhead Upholstered Headboard

When I came across West Elm’s upholstered nailhead headboard I loved it!  It was exactly what I had in mind.  While this headboard is reasonably priced and I’d love to have the ‘real deal’, it was still more than I could afford.  I already owned a huge roll of imitation nailheads that I bought years ago and this would give me a reason to finally use them.

West Elm: Nailhead Upholstered Headboard

Step 2: Create your frame:  We created a frame out of 2×4’s.  Three verticals and two horizontal with an overall dimension of 26″ x 60″.  This is for a queen size bed.


We then covered the frame by running 1 x 6’s horizontally to create the face.  You could also use 3/4″ plywood along with many other material options.  We used 1×6’s because we already had it to work with.

Step 2

Step 3: We adhered 2″ foam to the face and left a 1-1/2″ perimeter along the top and two sides.  We did this to allow for the nailheads.  To attach the foam to the wood we used a heavy duty spray glue.  That baby is going no where!

Step 3

Step 4: We then stretched an inexpensive white backing material to cover and give the backside a finished look.

Step 4

Step 5: We stretched 3/4″ backing material over the foam and stapled to the backside.

Step 5

Headboard with the batting on it.

Head board with Batting

Step 6: Finally the fun part, attaching the fabric….or maybe the not so fun part, five re-dos over!  Because my material had a very distinct weave in it, it was very difficult to keep it perfectly perpendicular and strait.  When stretching it, the slightest pull too hard in any one direction would make the whole thing look crooked and off.  My material also had some natural give to it that made this even more challenging.  The more tout the material the easier!!


Before adding nail heads

Finished product!

Completed Headboard


close up


Stay tuned for “DIY headboard – Part 2” to see the finished product and how it all comes together (cross my fingers)!


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