Notes From the Janery Studio

Interior Design

  • Velvet: A Surprisingly Pet Friendly Upholstery Choice

    When choosing pet-friendly upholstery, velvet is a gorgeous and luscious fabric that is often overlooked, probably because it seems more delicate than it is. If you’re in the market for new upholstered furniture you’re in luck, because velvet is definitely having a trendy moment in the spotlight.

    (Pink chair image credit: The Pink House.)

    Unlike some trends (ahem, chevron?), however, velvet is also timeless and classic, and won’t feel dated by the time the next season rolls around.

    Blue Velvet Sofa High Ceilings by HGTV


    Five years ago, my husband and I decided to reupholster our Crate & Barrel sofa. Their standard fabric upholstery was not durable - for people, pets, or life in general.  The fabric attracted stains, pilled easily, and its rough weave held onto pet hair for dear life. And the fabric was that basket weave texture that cats love to dig their nails into.  

    Rich Purple Velvet Sofa


    I wanted to revitalize the sofa with a rich purple velvet.  My husband said that would make our living room “look like a brothel.”  We agreed to disagree . . . 

    I wasn’t seeing a lot of velvet in the design blogging world four years ago.  I was excited by the idea of doing my own thing, but more importantly, I knew that velvet was a great choice for pet-friendly upholstery. 

    Are you surprised?  

    Velvet is a woven fabric, but the threads are cut to give the fabric a short pile, kind of like a rug.  This is why the fibers release pet hair so easily, rather than trapping it like traditional woven fabrics.  Also, most cats don’t like to claw it because it lacks that woven texture.

    Pro tip:  Applying a protective coating such as Scotchguard helps it weather stains and spills even better. We had our upholsterer do this professionally when they recovered a vintage chair in navy velvet for our baby's nursery. And it works for most fabrics, not just velvet!

    Velvet can be made with many fibers, from the more affordable and washable polyester and cottons, to the higher end wools and silks.  

    Mod Green Velvet Sofa Plants Source Unknown 750px

    (Source unknown)

    There’s a vibrancy to velvet that adds a touch of glamour to any room.  The fabric works in a almost every design style, too, from Art Deco to English Country to streamlined Modernism.

    Parisian Chic Apartment of Sandra Benhamou Velvet Tufted Sofa


    And don't get my started on how amazing it looks in the dining room.

    Jonathan Adler Goldfinger Velvet Dining Chairs


    I’ve always loved upholstered headboards, but many are covered in woven fabric. That’s a definite NO in our pet-friendly house! My cat would like nothing more than to stretttttch her legs up to the top of that headboard and rake the claws down through a rough woven fabric.

    Krista Watterworth Silver Velvet Bedroom


    When I eventually do our master bedroom update, my first DIY will be to upholster the headboard in a deep peacock blue velvet.  I have a thing for all shades of blue-green, and headboards look amazing in velvet.

    Velvet Bed from Anthropologie


    Fast-forward to the present day where velvet is now totally on-trend.  I never did get my luscious purple velvet sofa.  We compromised and went with a mid-century inspired, distressed leather upholstery in a buttery pecan.  While far from my vision of luscious purple opulence, it’s stood the test of time with pets, toddlers, and the occasional wine-spilling adult.  But that’s a story for another time.

    Pet Friendly Upholstery Emily Henderson for The Fig House Colorful Velvet Upholstery


    If I’ve now sparked an velvety idea for your next room makeover, here are a few great resources from three of my favorite designers:



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  • One Room Challenge Reveal: The Office

    It’s the final day of the One Room Challenge, and I’m thrilled to be revealing two finished rooms here on the blog!

    The Challenge is created by Calling It Home in conjunction with House Beautiful, and over six weeks many bloggers work to makeover a space (or two) in their home. It’s my first time participating and I’m so thankful I did. I needed something to motivate me to not just start, but complete the projects and this did the trick!

    While I do link to my sources for items,nothing in my space was sponsored.  Photography is by Laura Metzler, who does all my product photography for Janery.

    Janery One Room Challenge Black and White Office Reveal Paper Flower Bouquet / Nefertiti Print / Black Deco Dog Bed / Deco Diamonds Wall Stencil

    Am I happy with my new office?  Yes, I think it is fabulous - with the exception of my white rug being too small :)

    My goal was to create an elegant, art-deco inspired corner office nook to complement the larger makeover of our long basement rec room.  The makeover is happening in three phases:  Office, TV room, Playroom.  I also wanted to push my interior design skills and try new things, such as a bold black and white statement.

    The wall stencil challenged me the most - read more here and here - but I do love the result. I spent hours touching up the stencil with tiny artist brushes, and could do more.  It makes my office fabulous, there’s no doubt about that.

    Let's peek at what I had before.  The image on the left is what is now my office, and the image on the right is my old office corner:  

    Janery Office Before One Room Challenge

    What a world of difference!!!  This is honestly the best before and after I've ever done.

    Janery Black and White Art Deco Office Stenciled Wall

    In addition to stenciling I removed some bigger items, moved the Janery storage, and purged a lot of office clutter. Both my old office shelves and a random dresser stored a lot of office supplies, most of which I didn’t need.

    Janery One Room Challenge Black and White Office Desk Detail

    I built a wooden riser for my desk so that my monitor would be at a healthy height. I can use the space underneath to charge my phone, my tablet, etc. I also tried several fancy gold or brass lamps before deciding I preferred a fun zebra lamp! I’ll share more about that in another post.

    Once the new wall was stenciled and I moved my desk and computer in, I realized that the decorative shelves I’d planned for would just cause visual clutter. I pared down my office supplies and stored them in my new filing cabinet and the beautiful white box on my desk.

    Janery Black and White Office Art Deco Wall Stencil File CabinetLamp / Sydney Hale Candle / Box - Homegoods / Waterproof Mug Mat / File Cabinet

    I initially envisioned big, lush hanging plants all over the space, but during the last week I realized the space was too small for all my ideas. Instead, I jumped on the terrarium bandwagon and had a lot of fun making them! The chains are anchored into the ceiling beam so there is no risk that they’ll fall on my computer.

    Janery Art Deco Office Gold Hanging Terrarium Boobs Art by Funnelcloud Studio

    Now, let’s talk about the art!

    I’m slowly collecting pieces I love for the house, and the office is no exception. See that small painting hanging with my terrariums? It’s part of the BOOBS! series by Rachel Roellke of Funnelcloud Studio. The boobs are gold leaf and so much fun in person. She also did the Things That Are Awesome print that is hanging by my studio doors below.

    Janery Office Things That Are Awesome Illustration Art Funnelcloud Studio

    The paper flower bouquet in the vase is by Paper Rose, and I'm blown away by the quality.  

    My two departed pets, Charlie and Doctor, look over me while I work.  The pink portrait of Charlie was painted by Kim Vargo of Yellow Brick Home.  

    Janery Office Juniper Briggs Art Nefertiti Print Yellow Brick Home Pet Portrait

    And finally, the biggest piece in the space is that large bust of a woman, the Nefertiti print by Juniper Briggs.  Words can’t describe how much I love it. My mom always told me she wanted to name me Nefertiti because, as a baby, I had a long neck.  The memory of her telling the story cracks me up.  When I decided on the black and white theme for my office, I knew this painting had to be in it.

    Before you go, let’s discuss the design elephant in the room:

    Janery Black and White Modern Dog Bed Art Deco Office

    My white rug is too small to completely cover the tile floor and it bums me out.  I decided to order a custom cut and bound carpet, but there’s a delay. At the last minute I ordered this this cheap area rug for the photo shoot, which I will save and use for future product shoots.

    The one room challenge may be over, but the fun continues with phases 2 and 3.  I’ll be finishing the TV area next, followed by the playroom corner for my toddler. I hope you’ll stick around to see the basement come to completion!

    Here's a sneak peek of the furniture we're using in the rest of the basement.  Click here to score the new Black Deco Charlie Cushion (waterproof dog bed), inspired by my office, here. 

    Janery Charlie Cushion Waterproof Dog Bed Wassily Chair Chrome Lamp Juniper Briggs Art

    PS: My office only represents about a third of my work in the One Room Challenge.  I hope you’ll view the reveal of my professional sewing studio as well, which is right off my office!  Just step through the french doors, or click here. :)

    Janery Art Deco Office Sewing Studio Entrance

    Also, thank you again to Linda for hosting this challenge.  It feels so good to have this space started!  Please be sure to visit the other guest participants - you can find them all here!

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  • One Room Challenge Reveal: The Sewing Studio

    It’s the final day of the One Room Challenge, and I’m thrilled to be revealing two finished rooms here on the blog - my office and my sewing studio. I’ve divided the “reveal” of the finished spaces into two posts because I had so much to say about each.

    But first, the background! The Challenge is hosted by Linda of Calling It Home with media partner House Beautiful, and over six weeks many bloggers work to makeover a space (or two) in their home. It’s my first time participating and it was super stressful but amazingly rewarding!

    Janery Sewing Studio One Room Challenge Reveal

    My sewing studio is the most important part of my One (or Two) Room Challenge, because it’s where I sew all the products for my home decor and pet bed business, Janery. As my business grew, our landlord agreed to expand the room using part of our unfinished basement. I then didn’t put any permanent systems into place because I wanted to work in the room and figure out the best layout, etc.

    One year later it was definitely time to implement some long-term solutions and systems. Let me give you a tour!

    The sewing studio is behind the french doors at one end of our large basement rec room. 

    Janery Basement Sewing Studio Entrance

    As you enter the room, you see my large and tall fabric cutting table.  It's a beast that is about 5 feet square, large enough for me to roll out bolts of fabric.

    This was the most important piece of furniture that I built for the space, because it's customized to my hip height.  Spending hours cutting fabric can hurt your back if you have to bend over to a normal-height table.  (Ask me how I know ;)

    Janery Sewing Studio Cutting Table Cork Walls

    I built a picture ledge to hang above the cutting table so that I could display things like my favorite photo of Charlie, who inspired the business, and the covers of magazines that my products have been in. 

    Oh, and see that gold border around the ceiling? I used gold Washi tape to do that!  A perfect renter-friendly solution.

    The wall opposite the table has large cork boards made from homasote panels covered in fabric.  I use the cork boards to pin up orders, but also fabric swatches I'm eyeing and any magazine pages that make me happy and inspired. (No joke, I've been saving some magazine pages for years just for this cork wall.  I also added some strong hooks because some fabrics, like velvet, should be stored hanging so they don't get creases.

    The base of my cutting table is a solid block of storage, and though I was unsure at first, I'm now really happy with how it worked out.  I took the easy route and built a two-tier table top that fits over a base made with four Ikea Kallax shelving units.  It wasn't the cheapest approach to buy 4 Ikea units, but it was the easiest. I don't have time to DIY every single piece of furniture. 

    Janery Sewing Studio Fabric Rolled Bolt Storage Shipping Storage

    I love how the Kallax shelves make my fabric bolts so easily accessible when I'm cutting orders! And I stocked up on square polka dot bins from Target.  You can't see it all, but the shelves that don't hold bolts are full of bins holding my lesser-used supplies such as quilting fabrics and materials, and extra rolls of packing tape.

    The top tier of the shelves I built, and I made it tall enough to hold my tissue paper and shipping envelopes on the side pictured - while the other side holds shipping boxes.

    Below you can see the wall facing the cutting table. The Elfa shelves (from my former office) were the perfect size for this wall, and they hold my bins of fabric scraps as well as my small shipping supplies and stationery.Janery Sewing Studio One Room Challenge Wall Storage Elfa Shelves

    (See the sewing machine? That's the machine that started it all. . . a generous birthday gift from my husband when we were first dating!)

    Having all my shipping supplies within grabbing reach makes a huge difference.  If you're running a product business, you need to make the shipping process as easy as possible.  Now I can just line up my packages on the cutting table, then grab the hang tags, tagging gun, business cards, package enclosure cards - really everything I put into completing the package.  

    (My larger products are stored in a private nook in another part of the basement, but they are easy to grab and bring to the studio for packing.)

    Janery Sewing Studio Cutting Table and Packaging Storage

    Psst:  Look at the right side of the photo above:  my cutting ruler sits on a lip below the cutting table.  This is one of those tiny details that actually makes my life SO much easier when I'm cutting from large bolts!

    The smaller, nook-like area of the room is the "addition" that our landlord added last spring.  It turned out to be the perfect size for the sewing part of the room.  

    Janery Sewing Studio Sewing Machine Table Corner

    We did a little recycling here, using scraps from an old DIY table as the table tops for my serger and for my sewing machine. The serger got attached to its table with a screw (because it operates at high speed and you don't want it dancing across the table) and my husband built a dropped platform to hold my sewing machine at table height.  

    These are little details that don't matter aesthetically, but matter from a sewing process standpoint.  (I still need to paint the dropped platform for the sewing machine, but no biggie.

    Janery Sewing Studio Babylock Sewing Table

    Let's chat details for a minute - the pegboard wall storage is another game changer, and I'm sure I'll fill it up over time.  A magnetic strip from the hardware store holds my screwdriver and sewing machine feet, and the thread and bobbins are right above it. A plastic drawer unit below the table holds all the zippers I use on a daily basis.  

    Let's be honest - I'm excited about pretty much everything about this room. Nothing makes work better than having everything you need right where you need it.  

    Janery Sewing Studio Cutting Table Use

    Huge thanks to photographer Laura Metzler who does all the product photography for Janery (and makes me feel less silly in front of the lens)!

    Also, thank you again to Linda for hosting this challenge.  Please be sure to visit the other guest participants - you can find them all here!


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  • One Room Challenge, Week 5: Putting it all together

    The last week of The One Room Challenge is upon us, and I'll admit I am relieved to be nearing the finish line for my sewing studio and office. The theme for week five of the One Room Challenge was basically "build all the things".  And paint.

    Janery One Room CHallenge Week 5 Sewing Nook

    There's a lot to do to "finish" the rooms so I'll keep this short and sweet.  I'll share more details on things after the big reveal, I think.

    Things that were built, painted, and done this week:

    • Spent hours touching up the paint on the stencil wall (with the world's tiniest paintbrush)
    • Hung & framed a pegboard for sewing storage
    • Painted, sealed, and built a little fence on my serger table (to keep the serger in place when used at high speed)
    • Painted, sealed, and created suspended tray on sewing machine table (to make the machine flush with tabletop)
    • Built, painted, and sealed a picture ledge for the studio
    • Hung fabric-covered homasote panels to create massive cork boards in studio
    • Built, stained, sealed a riser for my desk (to keep the monitor at a healthy height)
    • Sealed my studio shelves because the paint was tacky
    • Shopped for random things I needed, created a massive pile to return...


    The spaces are so close to being completed.  Now it's a matter of putting everything in its place, which is my favorite part!

    Janery Sewing Machine Table

    Needless to say, I haven't done this all on my own.  My husband has helped tremendously, mainly by being fun dad to our daughter while I am out running errands.  He also built my sewing machine table, which I am so excited to use.  Also, my dad visited for the weekend, and he helped with many projects.  

    I'm off to put all the things in their place, and then roll out the white carpet in my office nook before my photographer comes to take some photos (of a new product!) in the new space.

    I can't wait to share the finished spaces with you next week!  

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  • The One Room Challenge: Week 4 in Black and White

    During week 4 of the One Room Challenge I spent the majority of my time fighting to stencil my office wall!

    Let’s just say I’m putting the “challenge” in this One Room Challenge.

    The studio has posed an interesting challenge. I’ve been trying to keep up with increasing orders, which has been hard since apparently everything I need is stashed in boxes in the other room. I need to get this room finished so that I can start working efficiently.

    When my machine started acting up yesterday, I realized it was due for its annual service. I updated shop notifications for customers, and any orders placed starting today will ship after May 8th.  Since I still make most products to order, I have to take a “spring break” week each year to get the machines serviced.

    Janery One Room Challenge Studio Shelving

    I painted and hung my shelves, and started building my new sewing machine tables. I’m hoping to paint them today and seal them tomorrow.

    Moving over to the office:  After last week’s fiasco with my hand-cut DIY stencil, I ordered a stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils. When it arrived I was excited to get started (again) on my office wall.  First I painted the whole wall black, because I wanted the stencil pattern to be white. I also repainted the trim glossy white, because it was showing a lot of wear.

    Spoiler alert: I never want to stencil a wall again.

    My big art deco stencil had a lot of thin strips in the middle, so I hunted down some Repositionable Adhesive to help the stencil stick to the wall.   The first run with the stencil went great.  

    I was optimistic! I was excited! I was happy to be making progress!

    The second run with the stencil went a little less great; the paint roller kept pulling the stencil away from the wall. When I carefully removed the stencil from the wall, it took some of the paint from the first area with it. I waited a bit for the first two areas to dry more, then started stenciling on alternate sides so that no fresh paint would be touched by the stencil.

    Janery One Room Challenge Wall Stencil Mishap

    The stenciling is now complete, but it’s far from crisp and clean.  The paint bled a lot, despite all the different methods I tried (dry roller, stippling brush, foam roller).  I think I had to use too much paint because I was applying white paint over black. The stencil did best when it was freshly washed, which meant I showered with my stencil 4 times during the process of painting one wall.

    I have a lot of touch ups to do - especially to the borders left of the window -  after I regain some sanity.  Fortunately most touchups will be black paint over white, so it should cover easily. The white isn’t as solid as I hoped for, but it will have to do.  

    Janery One Room Challenge Office Wall Stencil

    A few of my key accessories and fabrics for the office corner look fab against it, so I’m calling it a win.

    Janery One Room Challenge Office Accessories

    There is still a LOT of work to do, so the TV area, and the toddler play area will have to be completed after the challenge.  But I already know this was enough to keep me going on the project long after the 6 weeks are up!

    My dad is coming to visit this weekend, and fortunately he likes to help me with projects.  We’re going to be pretty busy!  I think I’m over the hardest work now, and I look forward to the spaces coming together this week. 

    I'm sharing my progress (and mishaps!) in more real-time via my Instagram stories, so follow me there to stay in the loop and chime in when you have opinions!

    Also, don't forget to check out all the other guest participants in the One Room Challenge!

    PS: If you're new here, welcome!   I'm Jane and I run a fabulous pet bed & home decor business. I founded Janery because I believe pets - and their keepers - deserve beautiful products that fearlessly handle whatever life smears, lays, and throws on them.

    Catch Up On Janery's Spring One Room Challenge:

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  • The One Room Challenge: Week 3 Mishaps

    This week during the One Room Challenge I ran into some roadblocks!  Oh, the drama of an interior design project! Something is always bound to go wrong, especially when you tackle new DIY ideas, but as an eternally optimistic person I'm always momentarily shocked, surprised, and discouraged when it happens.

    But then I get re-inspired and dive back in again, reverting to my overly optimistic self.  (Want to see where I'm headed? Check out my Pinterest board.)

    Progress slowed because we went out of town for a long Easter weekend, but I was excited to dive back into DIY when we returned.

    My next step was making a stencil so I could paint an art deco-inspired pattern on my walls, as shown here:

    Did you know you can cut your own wall stencils? I loved this idea because I couldn't find any stencils I loved when I first searched for them.  

    I purchased a set of stencil blanks and a good Exacto knife in the stencil aisle of the craft store.  I then made a shape inspired by my inspiration wallpaper, and printed it out.

    Janery ORC Stencil blanks

    After taping the stencil pattern onto my cutting mat, and then taping the stencil blank over it, I was ready to cut. 

    However, as I started to cut I realized I had a problem. It's hard to explain in writing, but I realized if I cut out the parts that I wanted to stencil, There wouldn't be enough connections to actually hold the stencil together - I'd just have lots of loose pieces of plastic. 

    After trying several different solutions, I finally decided to reverse the stencil and paint the white areas instead of the black ones.  This would give me a stencil that stayed intact when I cut it. 

    I cut it out carefully using my exacto blade and a ruler.

    Janery ORC Cutting a DIy Stencil

    I taped it to the wall and painted a test run, starting in the center of the window for a symmetrical look.

    It was awful!  The thin pieces of plastic were so flimsy that too much paint seeped under the edges, and the top just looked sloppy because I didn't have clean lines at the point of the diamond.

    Janery ORC DIY Wall Stencil Mishap

    That would not fly.  

    I did my best to wash the wet paint off the wall, and headed to my computer to look for another solution.  I finally found a stencil that I loved almost as much - this Deco Diamonds from Cutting Edge Stencils.  I ordered it right away, but it won't arrive for a week.

    Janery ORC Cutting Edge STencils Deco Diamonds Pattern

    The stencil fiasco took up a lot of time, and so I don't have any other progress to report.  But the challenge is half over!  This weekend I'm going to hang shelves in the sewing room and build my sewing machine and serger tables. 

    I'm sharing my progress (and mishaps!) in more real-time via my Instagram stories, so follow me there to stay in the loop and chime in when you have opinions!

    Also, don't forget to check out all the other guest participants in the One Room Challenge!

    PS: If you're new here, welcome!  

    I'm Jane and I run a fabulous pet bed & home decor business. I founded Janery because I believe pets - and their keepers - deserve beautiful products that fearlessly handle whatever life smears, lays, and throws on them.

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