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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tuesday Tip

You can never have enough seating! So why not make it portable,  flexible and a little thrifty?

One of 2 benches in the client's foyer.

This is exactly what I did for a client and not just because I have a thing for benches, ottomans and stools. But because there was a need for additional seating for evening gatherings. However,  on a daily basis the room needed to be open for traffic flow, so to speak. The room, which I will show you in another post, was the first of it's kind I've ever done!

I recently saw this very similar bench at Home Goods.   I forgot to take "before" pictures of the benches I used,  so I thought this was a good reference since they too had faux leather seats. 

The solution? Add 2 benches to the adjacent foyer from Target! Recover them in a fabulous fabric that coordinates in 2 rooms so they can be put into service anytime. and look as if they belonged in either room here all the time.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Client's New Powder Room Revealed!

I think the main powder room of a house should have a little sophistication and at the very least a bit of flair! I know many decorators like to treat powder rooms like little jewel boxes, myself included. Client's on the other hand can be oh so apprehensive to go a little nuts. Such was the case with this client.
A graphic metallic wallpaper in the end brought the space to life!

This was how the space looked just after install and paint. Rather boring I thought. I originally proposed wallpaper, but the client got cold feet and couldn't commit.  

The room was newly created from a previous closet. The client also wanted to use an existing fixture and center it on the back wall and then add a long mirror to cover the wall from sink to toilet. In case you wondering how I felt about that, well you can read about it here. But let's just say I think a blank wall of darkness would be s a better option! My suggestion, albeit unconventional, was install a scone over the toilet. And, I knew just the one.

I thought the beautiful herringbone pattern marble floors needed to be a feature, not the toilet and sink! But sometimes you have to do things one way in order to get them done the best way. So everything was installed...

This is a very small room. I knew this oversized sconce would be a great addition to illuminate the room properly and distract from the loo. Same with the tall mirror, it had to be interesting and reflect as much light as possible. Adding these 2 items made a big impact, but the bland paint just wasn't doing anything for the gorgeous floors or going to yield the result I knew was possible with paper. So again, I showed my renovation weary- wallpaper phobic client 3 different papers that could work. She decided on a graphic metallic. No one was more surprised than me. She fell in love with the paper as soon as it went up. The outcome was thrilling for both of us! 

If this little jewel box isn't proof that papering the powder room is the way to go,
  I don't know what is then!!!

Sink & toilet: TOTO
Wallpaper: Thibaut
Sconce: Corbett
Mirror & Accessories: RLI Interiors
Final photo: Hadley Photography

Thursday, March 20, 2014

In Like A Lamb?

It's nearly impossible to believe I took this photo last Spring!

This was the winter of our discontent I think most would certainly agree.  St. Patrick' Day did not bring the luck of the Irish, it dumped 8+ inches of snow in my neighborhood. Just the sight of my snow boots and the shovel make me cringe. I keep wondering when the day will arrive that I won't come home and reach for something warm to put on and then turn on the fireplace? More snow is forcasted next week.

It has certainly been the winter of rescheduling! I feel like I am either making a call to reschedule someone or something or I am receiving a call to do the same. My calender appears as if a small child has taken to scribbling randomly on it. That said, I have many projects to share with you!

But I'm feeling optimistic we can all shed the wool soon, very soon.  Seems my washer was sick of all the winter clothes too, it finally gave out and I'm on the hunt for a new one, do you have one you love?

Happy Spring!!!

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Snowy Valentine

I dashed out early Wednesday morning ahead of the snowstorm and crowds, to get ready for cupid's holiday. It felt like a sweet little victory to get everything checked off my list and spend the afternoon cooking and listening to French music.
A romantic card on a pretty cotton tablecloth.

Yesterday morning I came downstairs opened the front door and this was the scene.  Over 12" and still snowing. Those little mounds just beyond the Korean Lilac are boxwoods. By the time round two rolled through, there wasn't a bit of green to be seen. Yesterday afternoon was spent shoveling-round three comes tonight or tomorrow!

I couldn't decide on one color, so I chose three! Who says you need roses to set a romantic tone?

A little something for the foyer table too.

Who doesn't LOVE an embroidered linen hand towel? 

Wondering how long the shoveling was going to take yesterday...

so we could play!

Wooden letters and glass hearts to send hugs & kisses and wish you a

 Happy Valentines Day!
All photos courtesy of A&A

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What Would Edith Wharton Say?

Dearest Edith,

I am writing to inform you that formal living rooms are no longer in fashion. Well, at least in the 21st century. Well, at least at my house. And, perhaps a few million other people.

A formal living room that Edith would certainly have enjoyed.

Please don't faint when I tell you that the living room, formally known as the parlour, has far too often become a large box devoid of all architectural detail,  fireplaces and appropriate furnishings. Well at least (no fireplace) at my house. And, perhaps a few million other people.

I have read your book, like any decorator should, cover to cover.

It's incredibly sad. And incredibly liberating! You would be quite shocked to learn that people rarely dress up and entertain in the living room except perhaps during the holiday season. I must confess I often wear pants or jeans, a silk blouse and heels while entertaining. I know you don't know what jeans are and that's just as well. If you did, you would likely gasp. Pants are like men's trousers, but for women. With the exception of hiring the occasional caterer, I do all the cooking for parties. I have no servants. People often gather in the family room (which should really be called the living room because it's where we do most of our activities), libraries and kitchens. Probably because of the lack of servants. Well at least at my house. And, perhaps a few million other people.

Classic yet modern in it's multi-purpose function of working, dining and whining. I love the idea for this space, but I would whine without at least two comfortable chairs next to a fireplace to enjoy my favorite bottle and a good book!

Even though I have a library, it has been my dream for far too long to convert our seldom used living room into a large library/office. The current library is small does not have adequate bookshelves, but it is a wonderfully cozy room with a fireplace and a large window overlooking the backyard and we use it in every season,  every day. It's probably my favorite room. I love to shut the french doors read, listen to music, enjoy my favorite elixirs and even work. A larger library would better suit our particular lifestyle. I don't know if we'll have the chance to fulfill our dream of converting the living room in this house, but it's high on the list for the next one! I think you (and hope architects of the future) understand this preference and shift and would be proud that we (decorators) will strive to include appropriate architectural details and volumes of books.  And of course only a few, well chosen biblots and most definitely keep the bric-a-brac to a minimum!

A devoted reader

PS: I do understand that not everyone would agree with me on this point. And I have seen and been a guest in some beautiful, well appointed living rooms that the occupants use for formal entertaining. And although it's not for me, as I prefer a room that serves more than one function, I still appreciate the beauty when I sit in one that is well done and love to help clients create one if it's part of their design dream and lifestyle. After all, life unfolds in the rooms we use and love the most. It's where our memories are made and the details of our stories are gathered for future generations. I know dearest Edith, you would approve of that sentiment.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Baby, it's cold outside!

Talk about the shivers!!! On my way home, I passed by this house located in Middleburg, Virginia.  The large icicle over the doorway was about 5 feet long- absolutely horrifying! I was already freezing cold and this just made me want to get home quickly and park myself next to the fireplace for the evening. We still have plenty of snow on the ground and with the latest weather forecast, it seems few will be escaping Mother Nature's icy grip this year. Brrrrr. 

I certainly hope there is another way into this house!?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014. What's In/What's Out?

Every year the Washington Post publishes it's Out/In List. And,  just like every new year I read it along with Dave Barry's year in review. The DB article is a cynical, albeit mostly true, synopsis of what each month had to offer in world events, politics and people that captured our attention for better or worse. Mostly the latter.  It is always so damn funny. The out/in list is an entirely different read,  almost like the pulse of current pop culture and trends.  I am always surprised by the things that I've never heard of and the things that don't make the list. So this year I felt compelled to come up with a list of my own!


OUT                                                               IN
weird pet pictures                                           silly pet pictures                  
Wiener, Spitzer, Ford                                     anybody else
fiscal cliff                                                       bankruptcy
parking spots for expecting mothers              parking spots for actual handicapped people                
loud talkers                                                    discreet talkers  
over sharing                                                   restraint
trellis patterns                                                 velvet solids
neon colors                                                     jewel tones
skinny jeans                                                    long skirts
scarves in summer                                          scarves in winter
gloves                                                             long gloves
bulky coats                                                     car coats and capes
Dexter                                                            Downtown Abbey
20 something know-it-alls                              50 somethings who know more, but don't over share
yearly trends                                                  classics
chemically aged or faux brass                       naturally aged solid brass and french brass
succulents                                                      topiaries
cupcakes                                                        muffins
dinner parties                                                 supper clubs
texting to talk                                                 actual phone conversations
air kissing                                                       real kissing
bromance                                                       drinking buddy
baby bump                                                     pregnant
my bad                                                           oops
people who think they're interesting              people who live lives beyond social media
big egos                                                          graciousness
wonderful, fabulous                                       the truth
smart phones as security blankets                   confidence
politicians on late night                                  dignified leaders
whatever                                                        witty quips
back scratchers                                               scalp massagers
antlers on cars                                                wreaths on car grills
inflatable holiday decor                                  wreaths on windows,  lights that work
stretchy dog leashes                                       standard leads controlled by considerate dog owners
ugly Christmas sweaters/theme parties           adults acting like adults                                        
public marriage proposals                              dignified private proposals
saying what you think you should say           having an opinion

And on that note, I'd love to hear your opinions of what you think should be on the list!