August 23, 2011

what’s in your tool kit?

If you ever watched The Rachel Zoe Project when Rachel or Brad went to dress a celeb for one of her big events, you’ll remember that they brought a styling kit packed with all sorts of things — mainly Spanx and other undergarments.  After all, you can’t have a red carpet moment ruined by over-exposure … or those pesky lumps and bumps that “normal” people have!  If Rachel or Brad didn’t have the right things in their styling kit — quel désastre.

Well, I have my own version of the styling kit, and it stays in the back of my car at all times.  I suppose you just never know when there might be a decorating emergency! Really, I attribute my ever-ready tool kit to the saying “proper prior preparation prevents poor performance” … otherwise known as my father’s oft-preached version of the Scouting motto “Be Prepared.”  (Try saying that five times fast.) And I do appreciate knowing that I have my essentials whenever I need them!

So what do I consider the essentials?  First things first — the Klein 16″ canvas tool bag holds all of my gear in style.  After all, a designer can’t (shouldn’t!) look like a schlub.

Inside you’ll find three fan decks — one from Benjamin Moore (what I use most often), one from Sherwin-Williams (what many homeowners have) and one from Farrow & Ball (because they have beautiful colors).  I whip these out if I need to match a client’s existing paint, furniture or finishes for my use later … or to talk general color direction.  For actual color selection, I use my large color samples.  (If you are selecting colors on your own, please do yourself a favor and re-read Maria’s fabulous and very informative blog!)

There’s also a levelbecause anything crooked is a pet peeve — along with pink work gloves and a leopard-painted hammer and screwdriver. After all, shouldn’t tools have style?! I bought mine locally, but this is the same set.  Never fear — as per my design philosophy, I didn’t sacrifice function for style.  The screwdriver has 2 Phillips and 2 flat head attachments.

I’ve also packed a first aid kit … partially because I need one handy for my kiddos anyway … and partially because it is easy to get a boo-boo when opening boxes or performing other tasks on install days.  Yep, I broke out a Band-Aid just last week.

Specifically for window treatment installation, I have a spool of ribbon (to train drapes to keep their folds) and tiny scissors.  Of course, I have a measuring tapewhat designer doesn’t? — and I also keep a roll of painter’s tape.  I use that stuff for everything!  With all of these things tucked in my bag, I find myself prepared for almost everything.  And the time I end up unprepared, you can bet I’ve just discovered the next thing to add to my tool kit!

Do you keep a tool kit handy?  Am I missing anything?

Photos from AmazonMaria Killiam (xo!), The Stepping Stone, and Target.


  • The enchanted home
    Aug. 23, 2011
    Love it! First I love the bag, so chic and everything else from your leopard hammer to the first aid kit...brilliant. "Dr. Design to the rescue"!
  • Liz Carroll
    Aug. 23, 2011
    Love this Traci! Great post!! :)
  • Elizabeth@themustardceiling
    Aug. 24, 2011
    Great idea Traci! I used to carry a tool kit in the car when I was doing a lot of staging projects...I haven't gotten out of the habit, but I do always carry my fan deck...just in case :)
  • Marianne {Style For Living}
    Aug. 24, 2011
    I do love your chic bag, Traci. Mine is an LL Bean monogrammed tote and holds just about the same things as yours, minus the first aid kit and the ribbon spool. I may need to add those.
  • amanda burdge
    Aug. 24, 2011
    I have a tool kit...mine has everything from rubber bumpers, to nails, band-aids, glue, furniture sticks, level, scissors, tape and I even have a small paint kit with 12 colors. Clear nail polish, super glue, wire, picture hooks....lord you name it and it is in there. I have two in my car and I make my assistant carry one too. You just NEVER know!
  • Sheila Zeller
    Aug. 25, 2011
    Love it... and you always make me laugh! I HAD to share your hammer and screwdriver with my husband :-) He thought it was awesome too! My tool kit always has a pencil, white eraser, and some Elmer's sticky tack... you just never know when you might need to straighten the artwork!
  • James
    Aug. 25, 2011
    Nice collection Traci. As owner of a window treatment installation company, I know what you mean about being prepared at all times. Interestingly enough I use massive amounts of painters tape as well and have also used the "ribbon" technique to train draperies. Something that I've recently added to my toolbox is a pad of 3" x 3" post-it notes. I use it to collect drywall dust as I am drilling when mounting drapery rods. Just make your mark where the screw should go, stick the post-it to the wall just underneath your mark. Then fold the bottom half up and it voila, minimal vacuuming required. Work on concrete walls and those aluminum framed windows in commercial buildings as well. By the way, we are just down the road here in Greenville, SC so if you need a helping hand give us a shout.
  • Classic with a Twist
    Aug. 26, 2011
    I love this Traci and sure could use something like that. My problem is that I keep taking things out of "my bag"... use them for other clients and don't put back! Sigh- I'm working on a lot of things! Great tip!
  • Stacy Naquin
    Aug. 27, 2011
    Cute bag! There is a "level" app that works awesome in case you forget yours.

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