Princess Lala

13 posts
chandelier swinging, martini swilling, coffee drinking, city slicking, country loving, dog doting, boot stomping, heel clicking, loud laughing, book reading, breathtaking, style making bon viveur prone to scandal.

Dear Lala: The Apartment Shame Series

OB-girl loftDear Lala,

I really enjoy the photos of beautiful rooms that you share on Crasstalk. As someone who has no natural design ability (as you’ll see from the fact that I still own a butterfly chair; mostly I use it as a receptacle for coats) I find them delightful and inspiring.

It’s pretty typical for old Chicago buildings to be long and narrow as that’s how the property lots run, and my problem is that I am not using half of the space in my small apartment at all (“the dead zone”).  I’d say the main room is 30ish feet long by about 9 feet. Continue reading

Spotlight On Artist Hsiao Ron Cheng

birdcage hsiao ron chengBased in Taipei, Taiwan, Illustrator Hsiao-Ron Cheng was born in 1986.  Using pencils, oils, mixed media and digital, she manages to pack an entire fairy tale into a single picture with that perfect balance of creepy, cute and curious.

“My work allides to the deformation that physically separates human from plants and animals. The environment and situations that I paint are often of surrealist nature, remniscent of school, and partly based on phantasy. My aim is to create more complex worlds with more complicated stories with childlike and cruel creatures, showing different kinds of the fragile and oppressive anima in life.” Continue reading

Purple is Back (And I’m On Board if I Can Call it Plum)

Gosh, I hate to be the “I told you so” girl. Wait, no I don’t. I LOVE being her. Anyway, I predicted it, okay? Purple is rolling back into your lives on the everywhere scale.

Here is the thing about purple that I have learned; for people who love it, it never goes out of style. They are the purple people, and they started their love affair with it long ago in a land of Polly Pockets and My Little Ponies. F’real. It is a magical colour to many.  Continue reading

The Definitive Style & Gift Guide For The Discerning Cat Lady In Your Life

Here it is everyone, our Crassiversary! I cannot let it pass without paying homage to our beloved CCLC ~ Crazy Cat Lady Contingent. I am grateful  for all of your fun and contributions and though I sometimes mock, you know I lurve you CCLC. I am also grateful that I have you all corralled here at Crasstalk where I can keep an eye on you. Have you ever tried herding cats? Well, Crazy Cat Ladies are equally wily.

My gift to all of the CCL’s and the people who love them; A Definitive Shopping & Gift Guide for the discerning (but still way crazy) cat lady. Because, really, how many cat tapestry tote bags do you need? Continue reading

Photo Monday Anniversary Edition!

Happy Crassiversary, Crassholes!

Where do Crasstalk from? We know you slores love an overshare, so let’s have it. On the sofa in your undies*, cowering in your cubicle? From your mobie in class? Give us a snapshot from your day!

*feel free to post shots in your undies *cough Bots cough Ofkie cough BP cough Ponce cough agp cough Thunder cough* Continue reading

Time For A Rousing Game Of Who Am I!

I am the saddest, loneliest spinster in Hollywood. In history. Who am I?

Okay funsters, it’s snowing in Spring and the week is dragging on. It’s time to bring drag out the bored games. WHO AM I?     Okay, now you go…and remember we are experts at this game, so do some brainstorming. And no cheating, cheaters!


*Top Photo- I enjoy bath houses, airports & wigs. Who am I?

Featured Artist – Todd McLellan

“In my series disassembly, I have used old items that are no longer  by the masses and often found on the street curbs heading for disposal. All of the items in the photographs were in working order. The interesting part was the fact that they were all so well built, and the parts were most likely put together by hand. I envisioned all the enjoyment these pieces had given many people for many years, all to be replaced by new technology that will be rapidly replaced with half the use.”

Todd McLellan




All Images from

*click to enlarge

Dear Lala: I Have Hit a Wall with this Windowless Box!

Dear Princess Lala,

I spent a long, horrible summer putting up drywall in my basement.  All I have to show for it is this empty yellow box.

There are no windows in the space, so we put in six recessed lights (on a dimmer) and a central fixture.  The ceiling is too low for anything really fun or dramatic with lighting.  I definitely want to use the space for an office and a guest room is optional (we have an extra bedroom that we use for guests now).  I buy a lot of furniture on Craigslist and love a bargain, but I’m willing to spend money on a few signature items – a rug, a bed, a cool print – that I can take with me.  I don’t plan on living in this house for more than a couple of years, so I want to spend my money on things that I don’t have to leave behind.

I’m not afraid of color, but I can’t live with deeply saturated colors.  I actually don’t care for yellow, but I wanted something warm to balance the gray of the fake slate floor.  This new space is directly off of a big family room in our basement, which is

mostly cream with neutral carpet. The slate floor continues from the office to the connected bathroom.

I’ll send better measurements when I can shake the child from my leg.  Which reminds me – this is NOT a kid space,

though there may be grubby little ones passing through to use the powder room during play dates.

I have hit a wall with this windowless box and need some inspiration.


Cheers & Smooches,

Your Loyal Subject


Dear Lovely,

Congratulations on all of your hard work and new skill set! No one likes drywalling, not even professional drywallers. Perhaps you have hit a wall with this room because it serves no immediate need- you have an available guest room and you are not working from home full time.  I am game to explore the dual potential of this space and create an office that doesn’t feel so underground!

I’m okay with the yellow & choose to treat it as a cheery neutral backdrop. I won’t stray too far from the existing contemporary style and palette of the rest of your home. Building from the ground up, I propose a mainly grey palette punctuated with toasty maple wood to give it warmth and a bit of a vintage vibe. I like the idea of skillfully mixing in a few lilac and deep purple accents to draw a relationship to the connecting powder room but don’t over do it. I am always wary of being too ‘coordinated.’

Home Office With Daybed

I rather like the idea of a modern daybed in this room and am inspired by the simple, chic lubi daybed from CB2. While

floor plan to scale using lubi daybed from cb2

taking precious little floor space it actually unfolds into a king size sleeper. This leaves plenty of room for a proper desk with ample work surface. Max out the storage with a mixture of closed & open options. In addition to floating shelves above the desk, choose a tall bookcase or wardrobe for the short wall nearby to house your printer and computer accoutrements. These shelves will establish a nice height line in the room that can be repeated by adding a large print and substantial floor lamp to the daybed wall. A lower open bookcase along the entry wall with a large photo grouping or fabric covered bulletin board above will fill out the space nicely and give the room a nice sense of proportion & scale.

I chose the Zebra rug in grey & cream from West Elm as inspiration to keep it bright and fun. I could as easily visualize the Chrysanthemum or Ferris rugs at WE in this room. When I am on a strict budget for a room, I will choose a solid color remnant from a carpet supplier and have it machine bound. This has the added benefit of being able to custom size, super size or silly-size a rug to suit your needs. Sizing: Position a 7′ x 9′ area rug to ground the seating area, leaving about 12″ under sofa or choose a custom size 7′ x 13′-6″ to fill entire room with an equal border of floor showing on all sides.


Sophistifunk! Hip, edgy and underground. *click to enlarge

Lighting: It is wonderful that you installed both recessed lighting and a central light fixture, all on dimmers. It is always best in any room to have multiple sources of controllable light but especially so in a room without windows, further enhanced with ambient  & task lighting/lamps. I encourage any basement renovators to install the latest and greatest in recessed fixtures/pot lights. I really hate to ask someone to change a fixture that is brand new but I really want you to change the brand new center light fixture. I appreciate how difficult it is to find a low profile fixture for a room with less than high ceilings- really, I just scrolled through 800 of them. I also realize you not wanting to bust the bank on your basement reno but it seems too builder-basic foyer. This room isn’t either (and neither are you) so here are some picks for between $59-$189 in your town.


Clockwise from top left: Home Depot $189, Metro Lighting $141, Metro $59, Metro $172. *click to enlarge*

Additional Finds & Inspirations:

I cannot help myself with mid-mod inspired furniture, I like to see it paired with well travelled, global accents like over sized baskets or Asian fretwork. Vintage industrial elements like printer’s blocks and wire baskets make a hip. happy marriage too.

St.Louis has a robust Craigslist and it may also serve to guide your inspiration for this room. I hope this becomes a room that inspires, where ideas are born & private dreams are hatched! I feel I have spent some time in it already. In fact, I believe I left my shoes by the daybed. If you could send those back to me, I would be much obliged.

As Ever,

P to the L

Please send your design dilemmas and disasters to [email protected]