Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Go Vertical

Let's forget, for the moment, about the "art wall."  It's a thing these days.  I know them and love them.

But there are lots (and lots) of ways to hang art for impact.

Do you remember this cover of Domino?

I have always loved the way it made use of that sliver of vertical space between the windows.  Those drawings are so simple, and the repetition packs a graphic punch.

Interestingly, when searching for this image in lieu of scanning it, I came across another version which leads me to wonder if the good people of Domino edited in those extra frames for impact.

Taking the arrangement to the top of the window treatments makes a huge difference, doesn't it?

You CAN try this at home.

Over Christmas break, I had a few days home alone, and I decided that the upstairs hallway needed some BIG art.  Like the 4 foot by 5 foot Smashing Pumpkins poster that my husband bought at a concert in 1993.  The six smaller frames marching down the hall felt a bit staid.  I knew they could have more impact somewhere else.

Like the dining room.  In a room with tall ceilings, a vertical column can add drama and emphasize the ceiling height--win/win, if you ask me.  For an added bonus, fill the frames with something small and intimate.  I love watching people get drawn in to these images, which are small scans of vintage African stamps that I (randomly) collected in Junior High.

Want further proof ?  I went digging for additional examples of vertical arrangements.  Here's what I found.

Formal: gold frames, stacked one on top of the next.

Modern: small, colorful abstracts in clean-lined frames.  Taking it to the floor makes it very modern.

[via Lonny]

Traditional: collections grouped in simple frames, evenly spaced for balance.

Warm: a little movement within the rectangular perimeter takes the edge off, as does the eclectic grouping of images.

Bohemian: mixed frames, rustic finishes, COLOR, and a haphazard edge take the edge of the structure here, giving it a little bohemian flair.

Gallery wall!  Okay, even the ever popular salon-style wall can work in a column!

See?  Works with any style home.  What do you think: are you ready to go vertical?

Monday, January 30, 2012

What's in a name?

I remember someone telling me once that Heather is a stripper name.

I was shocked, mostly because I was actually named for the flowers that grew in my parents' backyard in California, and I always thought of it in a category with Rose, Daisy, and Iris.  Those old fashioned names are a far cry from a stripper pole.  But it made me very aware of the associations that come along with naming.  (I happen to be one of those people who chooses her nailpolish by the name as much as the color.)

Our younger daughter's name is Eleri, which we thought to be an Irish "Ellery" (and we pronounce it that way.)  (If you are so inclined, more on that here.)

Most people have either never heard of the name or, if they are of an older generation, associate the name with Ellery Queen, a fictional detective appearing in a series of novels in the 1940s.  So I have been interested to see that furniture retailers have picked up the name lately.

First there was the Ellery chair from West Elm.

Ellery Chair

And now the Ellery stool from Anthropologie.

Somehow, looking at these, I can't help but feel we chose the right name for our daughter.  A little tough, but round around the edges.  A little cool, but not overly so.  More complex than first sight might let on.  A bit of a tomboy, but not too interested in getting her hands dirty.  I bet a group of "creatives" sit around a room throwing out names for new furnishings, writing lists of attributes they associate with the name.

My younger brother and I refer to Room and Board sofas by name.

A client recently bought a pair of vintage chairs I found with the name of the maker and the designer attached, and I remember her commenting that she loves that her chairs have names.

I wonder, do you refer to your furniture by name?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Small Measures: painted doorframe

Tape off an area the size of the baseboard.  Add a stepped detail on top, and finish it off with a wood finial.  Pick a color, any color.  Voila.

Friday, January 27, 2012

If money was no object: Chandelier

I like budgets.

(Okay, I don't necessarily like following them.)

In project management, I like that budgets tell the complete story of what you are planning to do.  I like that they require choices.  In decorating, I often feel that because a limitless budget means limitless choices, it would be impossible to start anywhere.  My own home, which I love, is the product of the ingenuity that comes from the more limited choices of smaller budgets.

But my blog friend Elizabeth recently posted about the pieces she would choose if budget was no object, and it has stuck in my head.  Without being limited by dollars, going totally on what I love, what would I choose?

And so, a new series.

I'm starting with the one definitive thing that popped into my head:  The crystal ship chandelier.

First spotted in Muriel Brandolini's living room, and blogged here.

It may also be familiar from this post, "if I could steal someone's living room."

And look, here are more.

Elle Decor

Yup, no question about it.  If money was no object, I would have a crystal ship in my dining room.
Do you have a favorite chandelier?  Remember, money is no object!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A chair makeover and an upholstery trick

Reupholstered wing chairs have been a huge trend lately--have you noticed?

Jamie Mears of Furbish is the queen of radical makeovers, like these,


but plenty of people are getting in on the act.

Here's why:  a good-quality new armchair starts at about $900, and goes up from there.  Often, the fabric choices are basic or bland.  And there are only so many options with the kind of height and presence that a wing chair offers.  While you can easily spend that much remaking an old chair, you don't have to; and if you do, it will be a completely unique piece.

I'm in the process of putting re-upholstered vintage wing chairs in three different homes (in three different styles), and the first one came back from the upholsterer yesterday.

Everybody loves a before and after, yes?

Fun, right?  (Ignore the wallpaper and carpet.  It's all going eventually.)  For this room, I needed something bold, but the pattern couldn't upstage the art in the room (landscapes and floral still lifes) and couldn't cost a lot.  This ikat stripe was perfectly in my color scheme and, at $7.49/yard, I couldn't really go wrong.

Now, a trick.

Most upholstered chairs have some cording around the cushions and finishing the seams; this is called the "welt."  You can "self-welt" with the chair's fabric or contrast welt with anything you like.  Self welt is meant to sort of disappear into the chair, where contrast welt is meant to pop, like so:



For our chair, a self-welt felt a little messy to me with all the stripes, so we created the welt from the widest silver stripe in the fabric.  

It is a cleaner look without being too contrasty.  Love the way it turned out.

Want to try this yourself?  Scour craigslist and vintage stores, and plan to pay about $50 for the chair.  Wiggle the frame to be sure it is solid, lift the chair--it should be on the heavy side--and push on the seat to see if the springs are tight.  While new foam is not super expensive, spring repair can be.  For a modern take, look for wing chairs with straight legs, a smaller rolled arm (or straight arm, though that can be hard to find), and minimal flourish to the back, and have fun with the fabric.  

Stay tuned for the reinvention of a pair of these ladies.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

From twin to queen

Don't you just love seeing "finished" rooms evolve?
In a random frenzy of pinning yellow and purple inspiration, I came across this room in Amanda Nisbet's house, an old favorite, as featured in House Beautiful.

[via House Beautiful]

And then I stumbled upon this version, which I assume was the later iteration as it seems unlikely that one would downsize from a full or queen to a twin.

girls bedroom lavender amanda nisbet
[via simplified bee]

Which do you prefer?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rest your back

There are a number of built in backrests in my future.  One is a kitchen banquette flanked by tall cabinets, and I like the idea of giving the backrest some shape--a straight back feels a bit linear with the built ins. I am loving this shape, borrowed, I suppose, from upholstered headboards, but somehow all the better for its grander width.

Especially that first one, with the slightly irregular, definitely not perfect, curve and almost-wonky nailhead trim.

Also, strike me down, I have no sources.  When I grab reference for a project (as opposed to specifically for the blog), I am much lazier about tracking where it came from.  If you've spotted these before and can fill me in, please do!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Small measures: partial slipcovers

Classic Windsor gone casual fun.  We're doing this in one client's house to play down the spindles, and in another's to amp up the color.  About the easiest slipcover imaginable!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Floating Office

For a little girl's room that I am working on, we're planning a wall of built ins.  Originally we were thinking a wall of shallow, front facing shelves like this.

[via Elizabeth Sullivan Design.  Hi Elizabeth!]

But then we decided that we should add a work surface, for drawing now and homework later.  And the more we thought about it, the more we realized that full depth shelves probably made more sense in the long run.

To start to think through the function and the look, I started pinning.

Source: google.com via Heather on Pinterest

Feeling inspired!

Do you have any great book and desk solutions in your space?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A whole new take on "exposed brick wall"

While DIYers the world round paint over their brick fireplaces, artist Jim Drain offers a brick substitute to those lacking the real deal.

This makes me miss working with artists.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lampshade update (diagonal stripes!)

Yesterday I shared a loooooong list of things to do.
Afterwards, it occurred to me that I have also actually accomplished a number of things over the past few weeks that you haven't seen yet.

Like a little lamp update in the girls' room, taking this turquoise lamp from this

To this

Much better.

It is subtle, though a leetle less subtle than it appears in this photo (the combo of pale and bold colors in this room is turning out to be very difficult to photograph).

With all the bold patterns in there, I wanted something soft and quiet, and with floral and ethnic already employed, stripes was the way to go.  This is a lovely Ralph Lauren silk that I got for only $12/ yard at S.R. Harris.

Applying it was simple.  There are lots of tutorials out there, but I basically followed the two on Isabella and Max, here and here.  I did not remove the tape trim at either end of the shade, simply covered it up with the fabic because I wanted a very simple clean edge.   I used a tacky spray to attach the fabric all along the shade, then I cut the fabric to about 1/4 inch past the shade, tucked it under and glued it with some dritz liquid stitch.

I love how the stripes are off kilter (because the shade has a slight cone shape, a patterned fabric is not going to stay straight, and a stripe only exaggerates it).  Much of this room is symmetrical and very finished; the wonky stripe feels a little more bohemian.

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 Home Goals

OH, boy.

Over the past year or so, I've seen a number of bloggers post their home to-do lists.  I find them interesting to read, actually, and I have thought about posting my own.  Nothing like a sense of accountability to keep you on track, yes?  And then I just saw the goals link up at The Nester, so I figured, what the heck?

I often think about my own projects in terms of the short term, longer term, and waaaaay on the horizon.

Short term: I may have already purchased supplies, basically know what I want to do, and just have to do it.

Longer Term:  I see a problem and am ruminating on solutions.  I would like it done sooner than later, or as budget allows.

Way on the horizon:  dreamy ideas that, truthfully, may never happen.  And I'm okay with that.

So without further ado, my 2012 home goals (plus a handful of waaaay on the horizon)


Girl's room:
Finish small pillow for swing chair
Make a new book bin for under the bedside table
Frame and hang final art
Paint the bathroom stripes

Upstairs hallway:
Build and buy new frames for large-scale art to layer over magnetic paint

Guest Room:
Decide about final fabric for bedding, order, sew pillowcases
Cover roller shade in fabric or replace with bamboo blind

Master bedroom:
Paint moroccan side table
Add to gallery wall
Clear top of closet shelves

Comfortable office chair (since the cushioned ghost chair isn't cutting it)
Revamped toy storage

Dining Room:
Spray bases of Eames chairs
Fix sheers (currently too short, and tab top)
Frame Japanese print and hang

Living Room:
finish sewing curtains
interesting trim treatment to curtains (pinboard in motion)


Wallpaper or paint treatment for Living Room fireplace wall
Build frame and create artwork to hang over TV when not in use
Paint treatment or upholstery on office accent wall
Paint backs of office shelving
Possibly recover guest room lampshades
Indoor tree in front of dining room windows?
Laundry room.  Just that, Laundry room!
Move new fixture to dining room, maskros to stairwell
Deck dining furniture


New ceiling light fixtures in all bedrooms
Wallpaper or something interesting on powder room walls
amazing modern adirondack chairs for front yard
finish the basement!!

Well, I hate to say it, but I kind of regret doing that.  Going in, I was thinking what a short list I have.  Ha!  Not so short.  And I probably forgot stuff.

Well, at least I have you all along for the ride!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fabric Fun (A project update)

Remember this living room update?

We've shifted the color scheme a bit.  The husband felt the yellow rug got a little lost on the wood floor, and the wife had a hankering for raspberry (which, of course, I will never argue with).  We're keeping the mix of diamonds on the curtains and large-scale floral for an accent, but here's the new grouping (the grey couch doesn't change).

The raspberry diamonds will be panels on two sets of windows, the small-scale turquoise cut velvet upholstery goes on the pair of Danish chairs (those are going to be ADORABLE), the floral gets piped in that teal linen on 2 20" squares, and the lighter metallic gray will go on a bigger chair (yet to be found.)  The new rug is an ivory shag with lots of different textures, Safavieh but found at Home Goods.  Walls are light grey.

Can't wait to get these fabrics ordered and get this transformation up and running!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Small Measures: Notepaper lined cabinet

Romantic.  Shabby Chic.  Pretend they are old love letters (as if anyone has handwriting like that anymore.)  Fine, then: letters from your favorite grandmother.  When script is an artform, why keep it in the drawer?

Friday, January 13, 2012

I want to go to there

I'm a color kind of a girl.  I made my mom paint my room orange at the tender age of 4.  My husband buys me gold shoes for big birthdays.  The palette for my current house is raspberry, green, chartreuse, blue, rust, yellow, brown, black, white, and gold.  (I wish I was joking).

And yet:

I just made this, and I want to crawl in and live a new life.  And write in my pristine muji notebook and stare into the serene landscape hanging on my wall, or lie on my bed and touch my cascasing flower chandelier with my toes.

This board was actually inspired by the sophisticated ombre curtains.  I spotted them at Crate and Barrel the other day (not really generally known for their textiles), and was intruiged by the vertical fade and the super tonal and subtle colors.

After yesterday, I felt those little frenchy x-back chairs deserved a turn out of a dining room.  And so, voila.

The exercise of creating a dreamy bedroom sent me many places:

The all-white living room I created at 24, because "better do it while you can."  (where's the color in that, you ask?  In the bedroom.)

The four quirky and delicate white ceramic vases I brought back for my then-roommate from a road trip to Arroyo Seco, New Mexico.

A photo shoot in L.A. that led to a night of camping on a cliff over the surf of Ensenda, Mexico.

The carved-wood bowls my father in law is thinking of making.

Perhaps I am starting to understand the reason for a restful palette:

The room recedes, allowing your own crazy dreams to stride forth.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Round up!

I just love a good classic.  When I first suggested a cross-back french bistro chair for a client in New Jersey, I had a hard time finding images of them in inspiration images.  But in the months since, they seem to be everywhere--not just in designed homes, but in just about every retail outfit you can think of.  I went down the rabbit hole of pinterest for quite some time last night (my account was on fire with re-pins!  Follow me here), and found it reconfirmed:  this chair seems to work just about anywhere.

Funky Modern:

[source unknown]


[Via Coastal Living]
Rustic (and dressed with linen pillows):

[via Canadian House and Home]

Personalised family dining room | Dining room design idea | Wooden dining table | Image | Housetohome
[via Living etc.]

Serene and Sleek:

[via House and Home]

Shabby Chic:

[vi Canadian House and Home]

And the product round up:

There are slight variations in color and seat construction, but all at a reasonable price point.  So take your pick!

Set of 2 Constance Side
Ballard Designs Constance Chair, set of 2 $299 (Chestnut, shown.  Also in black or driftwood oak)

Anna Bentwood Side Chairs - Set of 2
Home Decorator's Collection Anna Bentwood Chair, set of 2 $299 (shown in Chestnut, also available in black)

Bosquet Side Chair Sets

William Sonoma Home Bosquet side chair, $149 (shown in driftwood, also available in honey)

Click to view the Cadence Grey Chair by Arhaus Furniture
Arhaus Cadence $199, sale $139 (in black, medium wood, and grey)

Click to view the Kensington Dining Chair by Arhaus Furniture

Arhaus Kensington Dining Chair, $199, sale $129

Teva Living Cross Leg French Chair, Oak Wood, Special $95 (regular $115)

Classical Bradford X Back Antiqued Black Side Chairs (Set of 2)

Overstock.com Classic Bradford x-back chairs in antiqued balck, set of two for $189.99


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