Monday, April 28, 2014

Dining/ Office two ways

Folks, I am in one of those "something's got to give" moments, and clearly it's the blog that is taking the hit.

My volunteer commitments are out of control at the moment, and my family is making their discontent known.  This weekend my five year old delivered an envelope (addressed, by the way, to Hethr, not "mommy") with a wrapped drawing inside and a note that read as follows: "Dear Mommy, I think we should do more things together."

It will be so.

Right now I am very lucky to be working on one space in an amazing 1970s home, filled with light from enormous windows and all sorts of quirky layouts and interesting features.  The room is technically a formal dining room, but used as a homework space for the kids and sometime-office when mom works from home.

We talked about looking at options for a round table with 6 chairs or a rectangle table set up like a desk, with one big comfy "executive" chair facing a pair of more kid-friendly chairs.

Here's what my client did not choose:

Similar palette, similar vibe, different layout and all different pieces.  Both honor the home's vintage while still feeling current.

What would you choose?  Hopefully I will share my client's choice, if I get the a-okay.

Oh, and did you miss me?

Say yes!

Monday, April 21, 2014

I'm Looking For: Fully Upholstered Dining Chairs

Dining rooms can get pretty "heavy" pretty quickly.  The prominent pieces in the room--table, buffet or hutch--tend to be wood.  Throw in two dozen chair legs, and that's a lot of "hard" elements.

Slipcovers are an option, of course, but that look can be pretty casual and/or traditional, not to mention a bit heavy itself.  In order to minimize the number of wood finishes in a room, I have been drawn lately to fully-upholstered dining chairs.  You retain the leggy quality while keeping your elements to a minimum: one fabric, all over.

Here are some favorites, in several styles and a wide range of price points.

From top: leather, elegant, modern, and classic parsons.  something for everybody!

For sources, click here and click through.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Framing for Mood

I met a client at the framer's yesterday, and I was struck, as I always am, by how much impact the right frame can have on the beauty of a work of art.This particular framer is an old friend of my brother's, he has an unmatched eye for color, and over the years he has taught me a ton about the possibilities with not just the frame, but the matboard as well.

We were framing this pretty little oil painting, and my first instinct was to gold on the frame to draw out the bright colors of this sunset.

The gold frame with the ecru linen is bright and pretty.

But, when he brought out all the linen spacers I immediately pulled this sort of murky, khaki color.  It pulls from the colors of the trees and, with a sort of warm pewter frame, recedes and allows the painting colors to jump forward.

It's a little moody, don't you think?

 Ultimately, either of these framing options work for the painting, but the two options create a different vibe.

People sometimes get overwhelmed by framing--so much choice, such a committment--but I think this just goes to show that there is often more than one "right" answer.  You want to honor the art AND make it work for you and your space.

Ultimately, we chose a gold frame and ecru liner, but I didn't grab a snapshot of the final combination.  You'll see it when it's hung with a host of other landscapes in my client's dining room!

Monday, April 14, 2014

8 ways with: textiles

There is nothing I love more than a good textile.  They just bring instant character and dimension to a room, and make your space feel collected.  Not sure what to do with them?  Allow me:




My master bedroom

wall hanging, 
House Beautiful

Amber Interiors


Furbish Studio


My guest room

Amber Interiors via Jamie Meares


Amber Interiors

couch cover or throw, 

Furbish Studio

Design sponge

Framed as art

Furbish Studio

St Frank

Next time you see a cool old textile, snap it up!  There are so many ways to use them.

Friday, April 11, 2014


Sotheby's showhouse via

Where oh where has this week gone?  

In between massive amount of work for my volunteer committments, design presentations, and new client meetings, I am still thinking about finishing.  up.  my.  house.

In the living room, I need to finish sewing the white curtains (Ikea ritva's that will get doubled and pinch pleated), and I am always going back and forth on embellishment for them.  I love the crazy modern-art aspect of the embellished curtains above.  They are almost like sculpture!  Perhaps I should focus on getting the panels sewed in the first place...I have been living with hug puddles of fabric on the floor for going on three years....

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Trend alert: up and over

From her Dutch teacher, my 5 year old picked up the very cute habit of saying "oofta!"  and I keep hearing that word, with a little bump in the middle ( OOF-ta!) when I look at these wall-and-ceiling treatments.

Design Sponge

Betsy Burnham

Source unknown.

I think this works especially well in the first example, where there is a little ceiling angle to highlight.  There is a real energy to these up-and-over stripes, isn't there?


Thursday, April 3, 2014

8 ways with headboards

A headboard is all about giving a bed--generally the largest piece in the bedroom--presence.  While headboards can be had at all price points nowadays, sometimes you just want to do something a little...different.  How about giving one of these guys a try?

8 ways with headboards:

1. Lean a trio of panels (wallpapered?) behind the bed
Four Magazine

2. Hang a rug

Windsor Smith Designer Show House

3. Try a straw mat on for size

Architectural Digest

4. An upholstered screen will do

Eddie Ross

5. Or a set of carved tiles

Pottery Barn

6.  Shutters work

7.  Upholster the Wall

David Netto in House Beautiful

8.  Finally, skip the headboard and go straight for the canopy.

San Giorgio Hotel, Mykonos via Remodelista

I will admit, I am a headboard devotee, but I find these possibilities pretty appealing....

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A pretty living room

Hi friends!  It's spring break for my girls this week, and we slipped off to visit grandparents for a couple of days.  I'm mostly taking the week off, but wanted to pop in a few times to share some goings-on.

I shared a pretty, simple dining room the other day.  It shares space with the living room, open-plan style.  We started, some time ago, with floor plans, and after playing around with the layouts with their existing furniture, we decided on this:

The goal was to create two distinct spaces while keeping a reasonable traffic flow.  We also wanted to create a more intimate conversation area, and managed this handily with a pair of facing apartment sofas.

They entertain with a big group a couple of times a year, so we ordered a table with extra leaves.  Both the wing chairs and the stools in the living room can be pulled over to the dining room to take seating from 6 to 10.

Here's the living room first draft:

(the chairs will be a tweedy blue)

And here it is all together:

My client did not want a lot of pattern, and wanted to keep things simple, restful, but pretty, so this is all about those repeating curvy shapes.

So pretty!  Can't wait to see it come together.


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