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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Zesty Design Offerings!

I thought I'd do a little follow-up to last weeks Tuesday Tip for you trend lovers who want to squeeze more zest out of summer....enjoy!
Caribbean getaway.

Are you brave enough to wear one of these?

A great color combo for a nursery!

I'd wear these with navy or gray.

Zinnias add zest to any garden...why didn't I plant some seeds for cut flowers this year!?

A bold choice for an island, but it sure looks great in this kitchen.

I could see this on the counters above!

Yellow hibiscus, something to make you feel like you're enjoying an island vacation.

This combo makes a fabulous guest bedroom, especially combined with the black furniture.

Wishbone chairs, very cool.

This has a little bit of everything, and yet feels so calm and relaxing
 thanks to all that white, a nice departure from typical beach house colors.

Ahh...still my favorite way to enjoy citrus!
 Images courtesy of Coastal Living, Country home, Etsy and Google.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Tip

Listen to the voice. The nagging one inside your head that says "I'm going to take care of that...tomorrow." We all have a list of small aggravating things we keep meaning to get done around the house.

I plan to cross several items off my list this summer so I can shut the voice up...and sleep better!

My first item that came off the list today:

I finally got around to cutting the fringe short on two rugs. I don't like it long.
I find it distracting and it's a trap for dust and pet hair. Not to mention it gets tangled in the vacuum.
So when I acquire a rug that has it, I cut it short.  One five strand knot at a time.


Almost there.  I don't worry about getting it perfectly straight, afterall it wasn't before!

Tools needed: one firm piece of cardboard or poster board,  a brush to get the knots out and scissors.
Tiny tip: I've found that titanium scissors make the cleanest and easiest cuts.

One more. Upstairs hall runner.


While I was blocking the the kids to clean out their backpacks, desks and closets.
Yield: two bags of trash. A bonus item crossed off the list!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Weekend Pleasure: Holmes

Sometime last year, I discovered a great way to spend an early weekend morning. Not alone with my coffee and the dog, while everyone else slept in, but with this guy:

Overalls and a took belt, his usual attire.

For those of you who don't know who Holmes is, in my opinion, he's the best thing on HGTV. Mike Holmes is a contractor extraordinaire!!! He knows more than any contractor I've ever met working or seen on television. And, for the times he doesn't know something, he knows people that know. Yeah, talk about the ultimate fantasy guy to know. Currently he has two shows:  Holmes On Homes and Holmes Inspection. Both are entertaining and informative. Oh, and he has a magazine too. Something for the beach or pool bag?

Mike, that aqua shirt is so cool!

I found Holmes by accident when I was channel surfing looking for my other favorite contractor's: Norm, Tom and Richard aka the This Old House guys. It seems they had another schedule change and that's when I found Mike. Within 15 minutes, I was having a total love fest. Although, after making introductions to my husband, it's now a threesome. He says things like "let's fix this and make it right" and "let's rip this all out and start over". Makes me want to move to Canada. He points out all the things that bad contractors do without coming off arrogant.  And, despite his tough guy looks, he is seriously compassionate and very charming. I'd even say charismatic!
Cleans up pretty good, eh?

Both his son and daughter work for him, along with a great guy named Damon and many other very skilled craftsman. Each week there is a different disaster, courtesy of an incompetent and often
unlicensed/dishonest contractor. The distressed homeowners at their wits end enlist Holmes to find the problems and correct the mess. He always goes beyond what any "normal" contractor would ever do.  The ladies always hug him at the end and often the men do to....he's that good. Check your local listings for times!

You'll want to have a leisurely breakfast with this weekend pleasure. May I suggest pancakes. Extra syrup.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Tip

Get fruity. In case you haven't heard citrus is trending. Really. I know, gave me a chuckle too. Isn't citrus always "in" for summer. Apparently not...according to the experts. It has been declared citrus colors of orange, yellow and green are "in" for Summer 2011.  So here's two simple, attractive and low costs ways to be a little trendy and enjoy citrus!

Lemons look good in just about anything. Picked these up at the grocer. I purchased the little wicker trays at Smith & Hawkin years ago. I think a trio of these would be the perfect centerpiece for a casual gathering.

Purists, your eyes do not deceive you....I used hydrangea leaves from my garden!!!
Tiny tip: next time your lemons come without leaves, improvise!

Basket of limes. Summer staple. I just grab this and take it out on the deck. Mojito? Conona?

Fruit lined up reminds me of the farmers market. Clementines, limes and apricots.
 Huh? Oops...just pretend they're lemons!
I took this photo before I read in a magazine citrus was trending.
  I was just going to talk about (again) how much I love utilizing things that serve multiple purposes.
The last time you saw these baskets used was with their glass liners from a favorite post last year.

Hope your first day of summer has been a juicy one!!!

All photos courtesy of A&A

Monday, June 20, 2011

Finally A Diagnosis...

At first I thought it was a simple case of DADD aka design attention deficit disorder. My bigger concern was that it may be DP, aka design paralysis. I've only had symptoms of DADD before. It never lasts long. I've seen clients and friends suffer greatly from both and left untreated, it can result in some pretty sad rooms.

I've never had DP before since I am typically a very decisive person. However, the rooms in my own house were whispering a different story. I had to address it. So this past week, I was not on some fabulous vacation, but instead getting diagnosed and seeking treatment.

Analyzing my head. Poor guy, I better help him with the diagnosis.
The symptoms of DADD are moving from one room/project to the next before completion. Not uncommon in design, especially when you're waiting for any type of contractor work to be completed or custom orders to be delivered. Like I said, I've had this. It's not permanent, the symptoms always pass.

The symptoms of DP in my mind are far worse. Harder to treat. They require a willing participant, and a serious amount of intervention. They include an inability to make any design decisions for fear it is the wrong decision. The wrong color, pattern, size, etc...I've never had that happen to me. I prefer to move forward and indulge my love of design knowing that mistakes will occur. Yes, even people in the biz make mistakes. The difference is that we know that they are not fatal. EVER. It's usually my challenge to help others figure this out. To move them from their current state of paralysis to making the decisions that result in a space they enjoy rather than one they obsess over everything they dislike about it...everyday.

Diagnosis: design deranged.
 As I looked around my house, each room needed something, both major and minor. I realized this was not DADD or DP but something else all together. Why wasn't I able to get these rooms done??? After a few days of pondering this, it hit me. I had let myself slip into complete DD. I was design deranged. I'd had a break from design sanity. Simply put, I forgot to treat myself and my own house like any other project that I would do for someone else. Sure I had a plan, but it had a major flaw. I was starting to force these imaginary deadlines on myself that weren't needed. Typically design plans for a room have a deadline. Or at least a completion date projected. Houses with unlimited budgets have deadlines. My particular situation was different. What was my deadline? The next room? The next project? A party? And why was using the word done?

Design for most of us is a very solitary process. This was one of those times I wish I had a design partner or friend with equal (or more) experience to bounce ideas off.

Mary McDonald has Nathan Turner. She's lucky and he's a saint!
 And, then there is budget. I have one. They impose limits and delays more than any other single thing ever does. But, what I'd lost sight of is that it also creates challenges and creativity. I needed to change my mind set to eliminate the word done.  Even though completion is the desired result when working with clients. It's usually what they want and expect. Still, I never like to suggest something just to make do when I know it's not quite right. And, here I found myself trying to do just that. Most designers see their homes as design labs. It's in our DNA to make changes and adjustments more than than average person. The reality is that in designer speak "done" seems like an oxymoron or at least to me.

The therapy and self diagnosis worked. By the weeks end the creative juices were flowing again and things are starting to fall into place, little by little. And, the best part? I was reminded that it's okay not to be working on design daily and succumb to DS. You know, design saturation.

Sometimes, you really do have to stop and smell the roses. I had forget that step. I was too busy getting bogged down analyzing color, size, shape and all the little details that go into a room. I had denied myself the best part: the enjoyment and interest of imperfection and letting things unfold in due time.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!!!

Fathers have many titles and are so often the unsung heros of familes. In our house Dad is often known as:
  • The fun parent.
  • The grill master.
  • The lawn ranger.
  • The dog walker.
  • The ball thrower.
  • The homework helper.
  • The wisdom dispenser.
  • The joke teller.
  • The sports lover.
  • The wrestler.
  • The teacher.
  • The vacation planner.
  • The provider of unconditional love and support.     

Celebrating wonderful Dads everywhere!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bring On The Blues!

It's only early June and it's already feeling like late July. We just had two 100 degree days! Whenever it gets really hot, there are certain colors I always crave and blue is one of them.

Two of the the best things about spring and summer is switching fragrances and cutting flowers for inside.
What scent are you wearing this summer ladies and gents? Please do tell!

The right scent is paramount, but I must admit I am very swayed by a pretty bottle! I wore Dolce & Gabbana's Light Blue last year and it was very nice, but the bottle is quite plain, so I went back to Ralph Lauren's Blue this year. This tiny sample bottle just came in the mail yesterday. I ordered it online from Amazon and now I have a collection of each size for my vanity.

These mop heads will get so much bigger, but I couldn't wait!
 Early this morning, I headed to the side of the house to clip some hydrangea blooms before it got too hot.

I've had this vase forever, but haven't used it in years.

Flowers and fragrance....hard to imagine life without them!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How Far Would You Go?

Few things in life are more annoying than rude people and bad customer service. We avoid them both whenever possible.  Recently, we came to the conclusion we needed a third car. With our son home from college and working, juggling schedules with just two vehicles quickly became unmanageable.

So last Friday morning, my husband and I drove three hours south to Williamsburg,Virginia to buy another car. There are about 50 dealerships within a twenty mile radius of our house. You would have to practically give the car away for us to consider stepping foot in one of these places. I don't know about where you live, but in the Washington, DC area buying a car is about as appealing as thoroughly cleaning a rest stop bathroom and takes far longer! Very slimey. So we decided it made perfect sense to just go our favorite dealership. It's owned by two brothers and the salesman we purchased our last car from, nine years ago, is who we called on again for this purchase. When we arrived, he had the cars we wanted to test drive ready to go. After my husband made his choice (our son will now have one of the old cars to drive) we signed the papers and left a few hours later. I hugged our salesman and said "thanks so much, see you soon". Yep, it was that pleasant.

And, since we were already in one of our favorite southern cities, might as well make the most of it and spend 2 days enjoying a little R&R. Even though I've been playing catch-up this week, it was a small price to pay for a little hiatus!

We visited old friends and new....

I had to stop by to see the horses. When I lived in Williamsburg, I would visit them every week.

This girl stole my heart. We just met and she gave me a nuzzle. If my dog was a horse, she'd look just like this!

Sheep are so cute, don't you think?

Did a little shopping....

I really wish I had a place for these bug prints. Guestroom?

This shelf came home with me. It was suppose to go in the laundry room, but it's 3 inches too long!
Any suggestions???

This would be fun in a beach house.

How about an aqua and lime green rug?

Or maybe orange and cream geometric?

And, dined in favorite restaurants....
If you are ever in the area, I recommend the BTB. Oh, and you'll need a reservation,
sometimes they are booked weeks in advance!
All photos, except the first image, courtesy of A&A

Friday, June 3, 2011


I am not entirely sure why, but I've had a long time interest in pedestals. It's probably related to my interest in architecture and history.
Suzanne Kasler. This is actually a pair, the mate is on the the other side of the table.

I had someone ask me once if I could find them a "thing" that is used for plants and statues! Often they are confused with plant stands. Pedestals are more substantial in every way as their main function is to support heavy statues, vases and busts. When I think of pedestals, I tend to think of them as being mostly from the Roman era or Victorian period. Of course, neither of these are entirely correct, but I mention it because I think others may share that perception or may consider them to be too formal or old fashioned. 

Pedestal with a bust. Classic combination.

I also love old garden urns and spent years on a quest to find a matching pair and then of course matching pedestals. Pairs of either have eluded me. It's not that I can't find pairs, I just can't find pairs that I like and can afford! Twice I have found pairs. Once at an auction and once at an antiques show. They were so exquisite, I wanted to cry.

The lion heads make the pedestals interesting and fun!

During the late 90's I purchased two pedestals from two different shop owners. One is  painted cream and you saw it here topped with a black antique garden urn in my dining room. The other is a gorgeous antique pedestal. The only information the shop owner provided was that it came from an estate, is made from mahogany and is believed to be English.
My pedestal topped with a giant finial.

The last of this season's peonies. It's an ever changing display on the pedestal.
This pedestal weighs a bloody ton and takes two people to move it! The detail on the bottom even in it's crumbling state charmed me. I paid about $300 for it and remains one of my favorite things. I wish I new it's age, details of it's original owner and what kind of house they lived in?

Detail of the base.
One of the most appealing aspects of a pedestal, is they take up dead space and make dull corners more interesting.  I love using mine for seasonal displays of flowers or branches. All pedestals look amazing topped with finials, urns, sculpture or a fabulous bust. They are especially perfect in dark corners that don't get enough light for plants or trees. I also love to see a pedestal at the end of a hallway or in front of a window, they add so much interest.

In the corner of a hallway.

A pair flanking the french doors of an Americana styled breakfast room.

Pedestals really do work with any style or decor, which makes them just about the perfect accessory! Don't care for classic or antique versions? How about some with a modern twist?

Mariette Himes Gomez

Thomas O'Brien

This glass pedestal is incredible. You wouldn't want anything obstructing that view!

Acquired Objects just went through similar agony to mine of trying to find a pair of pedestals and instead cleverly chose to created her own, with the help of her handy husband. She needed a pair on which to place two recently acquired antique urns. The pedestals were based on a magazine cover. You can read about the details here, they're fantastic!

Mary McDonald. I am almost positive these are from the Wisteria catalogue from a few years ago!
 For those who don't want to spend the time searching for the perfect pedestal or making your own, catalogues such a Wisteria and Restoration Hardware can yield some decent pedestals. Don't forget to check e-bay and 1st dibs too. For the die hard treasure hunter, check your local antiques dealers, salvage yards and don't forget to check Grandma's attic!!!

Except where noted images courtesy of Elle Decor, Tradtional Home, House Beautiful,Vernada