Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Inspiring Mix

Filing is not exactly my strong suit.  In addition to paper files littering my actual desktop, I tend to have files littering my computer's desktop as well.  Sometimes when I go to clean up, I find images I didn't remember saving, and then it's like being inspired all over again.

Apparently I liked this image from Good Housekeeping enough to tear it out of the magazine and scan it.

I've been pushing myself to create more tension in my own design work by bringing in that weird or quirky item that isn't at all "obvious" but totally "works."  In this bedroom, the mix is super eclectic, but to my eye it all "goes" really well--the balance of black and white, the rectangular shapes, the movement in the painting and tree with everything else pretty static.  

But then there's that throw pillow!  The colors, the pattern, the style--none of it relates to anything else in the room.  I never would have thought to put that there (and honestly, it's possible that that was the work of the stylist), but for some reason, it totally works.

Do you agree?

This is the alchemy of design, if you ask me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Designing with Chairish

I swear I'm still here, designing.  Sometimes all the business and logistics and paperwork get in the way, and I need to remind exactly myself why I really love my job.  (hint: It's making beautiful and interesting rooms, natch.)

So when the folks at Chairish invited my to participate in their September design challenge, I thought it would be a fun way to get back to the joy of designing without the drag of budgets and, like, practicality.

The challenge?  Shabby chic.  (Hilarious to me as a Laura Ashley loving child of the 80s.  It's baaack!)  At the end of the day, this is a look that's about pretty, about ease, and about fanciful pieces mixed in an eclectic way.  Since I seem to be all about floral and granny chic these days, I figured: I got this in the bag.

Chairish sent me a bunch of pieces to choose from (see the full selection here), and I immediately gravitated towards that bergere chair with the floral chintz.  SO.  PRETTY.  I also loved the greenish nightstands and, of course, the fancy chandy.  Using these pieces, I started out doing a little girls room--since I recently redid both my daughter's rooms, I've got little girls on the brain.  But in the end, this room is really more for me than them.  Pretty, calm, still sophisticated.

So what did I do?  The lines of the Chairish pieces were fanciful and feminine (and I layered it on with old school embroidered shams and flamestich), so I wanted a simple, casual foil.  I chose rectangular shapes and a beachy palette and materials.  The linen upholstered bed  from Pottery Barn is such an easy, blank slate that can complement more intricate pieces and let them shine.  The Paule Marrot artwork over the bed (dreamy!) repeats the floral of the chair, but in a looser, more whimsical way.  And I love how all those blues (the lacquered grasscloth dresser, the urn lamp, the Les Indiennes euro shams, and of course the beachy striped rug) calm everything down.

Another way to keep things together:  look for common elements, and repeat them.  Here it's that idea of the sculptural.  From the undulating curve of the dresser front to the articulated pedestal on the dining-cum-writing table and the tiered corners of the washed-wood mirror, to the pretty little stars on the wall sconces (oh, and don't worry about the pair of $18,000 rock crystal lamps!  Sculpture galore!), every shape, save the bed, is interesting and textural.

Hmmm.  I just wore myself out lining to all those beautiful products.  As too often happens, I love my own bedroom but this has me wanting to start over!

P.S.  Do you know about Chairish?  Like a well edited Craigslist--the site connects buyers and sellers, but all the items are droolworthy.  Check it out.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Curb Appeal

Curb appeal has never really been my thing.  Kind of related to my disinterest in gardens.  It's not that I don't like these things, it's just really, I'd rather put my money (and energy) into interiors than exteriors.

Last fall, we realized that the siding on our house had possibly never been painted.  So we had to do that.  Somewhere along the way, my husband decided to build a couple of modern adirondack chairs. And a few weeks ago, we had a photo shoot here, and I actually put a little time and energy into sprucing up the front.

The lesson?  It didn't take much to take our house from bland to charming.  (Well, except for the painting--that was time/money/work.)

Here's the house when we moved in-ish:

And now.

I love how the paint colors took the look from contemporary but sort of bland to more of a modern cottage vibe.

And nothing cheers up a front exterior like a pair of flowering trees!

Of course, now the leaves are changing and my pots will die.  But I will have the planters for next year.

Bottom line?

I'm a total convert.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Unexpected obsession

When I was wrapping up a formal entry/foyer/stairway/landing earlier this summer, I suddenly had a vision of the little finishing touch that would bring the space to life: a pair of ball topiaries potted in terra cotta on the console table.  (No, not specific at all!)

Guess what?  No one sells live indoor topiaries in the summer.  They are a "holiday item."  Can you even?

I now know more than I ever would have thought about topiaries.  They are typically made with ivy or moss (for low light) or boxwood, rosemary, or olive for outdoors/ full sun.  And every major catalog with a traditional leaning carries fake ones, starting in the fall.

Here are some examples of topiaries in interiors.

And a round  up of some (fake) ones to be purchased.

(For sources, go here and click through.)

I'm holding out for the real deal--coming soon.


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