Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hitting the Road

(image via Garden & Gun)

This has been another crazy week! I apologize for the lack of posts, and I'm headed out of town tomorrow for a wedding this weekend in NC! I promise I'll be back with a fun post to redeem myself for this past week!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dog Couture

Meet Max...he's a handsome fella with a bark that is bigger than his bite (and he doesn't bite!). When we were looking to get Max, I naturally got really excited about all the fun "accessories" to buy him. Now, I have to clarify - I'm not a fan of clothes or car goggles or jewelry for dogs (all though I do get a kick out of it when I come across a dog donning any of the above) - but I do like a handsome collar, tasteful dog beds, etc. Below are a few things I consider "dog couture."


I absolutely love this fabric! Peter Fasano is the original creator of this great, whimsical pattern. Most of his designs are available in both fabric and wallpaper. However, Country Swedish has made their own version that is a bit easier on the wallet. I plan to make a dog bed cover out of this for Mr. Max!

I love this needlepoint, graphic collar from Harry Barker. This company has got the right idea - all their products are quality and in good design.
Again, more great patterns from Peter Fasano! This one is called Dotty, and I think it would look fabulous in a powder room. It has a glamorous appeal to it. I would mix it with a fabulous gold mirror and some bold red accents!

Also from Peter Fasano, this pattern is called Pitter Patter. How fun would it be for kids if you covered your mud room walls with this!?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Happy Friday!

(image via Perry Cabin)

TGIF! I'm headed to The Inn at Perry Cabin this weekend for a girlfriend's birthday celebration (and this is where me and the Mister got engaged!). Hopefully this hurricane won't mess up our plans! Enjoy the weekend~

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Heartbeat of a Home

(all images via Cottage Living)

Kitchens have always been called "the heart of a home," and I truly believe in that statement. It's always the place where friends naturally congregate when you are entertaining, it's the headquarters for a family - where you gather to eat together, where the kids do their homework, and where you sit and enjoy your morning with coffee and the paper. When the Mr. and I took our 2 month hiatus to Europe, we always found ourselves sitting around the kitchen table of our various hosts talking late into the night while filling ourselves with hot tea and cookies.

I know for my future kitchen, I want to make sure to get it right...and to not skimp on the details of this all too important room of the house. I thought I'd share what I think to be something of the "must-haves" of a great kitchen:

THE PANTRY - this room/closet should be easily accessible, and of course not overlooked when it comes to decorating it. I love the mirrored doors and how the inside door has been wallpapered - it's like a little surprise every time you open the pantry doors!

A BANQUETTE - I love "nooks" and if the room can handle a breakfast nook with a banquette, I consider it a must! The space encourages sit-down meals together and lazy mornings with the paper and coffee. (I'd take the kid to go along with it too!)

THE FARMHOUSE SINK - This sink is not only good-looking but extremely functional...the ideal balance between form and function. Traditionally, these types of sinks can cost a pretty penny. However, Ikea has provides a great cost-efficient model!

THE WORKSPACE - My kitchen tends to be where the mail , the keys, and the calendar of life etc. all pile up. Having a place to keep it organized in one location would be divine!

THE ATTACHED OUTDOOR LIVING AREA - I love how this space is connected to the kitchen through the French doors. It makes complete design sense to have an outdoor living area right off of the kitchen, so all you have to do is step inside to refresh drinks. I can just imagine using this area during fall mornings for my coffee and paper!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

1st Home vs. 2nd Home

(image via NY Times)

I was having lunch with a friend the other day, and we were discussing how wonderful it would be to have a vacation home. Nothing fancy, just a "place" where family and friends can meet for holidays, long weekends, and spontaneous getaways. I started thinking about this and images from the movie Dan in Real Life popped into my head...I love that movie! In particular, I love how they had a family lake house that was old and shabby but in a quaint, charming way, and everyone knew where to show up when the family was getting together. I think older homes that are well-lived in are like the Velveteen may have some "worn" areas, but it's just a telling sign it's been well loved.

So in thinking of this idea of a second home, I came across this wonderful article in the New York Times about a young couple who lives/works in NYC, but decides the first home they would buy would be a weekend home in the Catskills. They find a fixer-upper, spend around $12,000 in renovations, including decorating the house (I'm sure it helped the wife was an interior designer)! I showed this article to the Mr., and we were inspired. Maybe we should peruse the listings for a cabin in the Shenandoahs for our first home purchase!

Check out this little jewel!

Friday, August 14, 2009

It's All in the Details

One element that sets "interior design" apart from just furnishing an interior with any ol' stuff is detail. It's the careful thought of adding an extra pleat, fold, bit of trim to curtains, a particular finish on hardware, and the texture and pattern of a fabric that tunes the entire room to a perfect harmony. I wanted to leave you this Friday with a few pictures of details that add a powerful yet understated punch to a room. Enjoy!

(image via Lindsay Harper Interiors)

I love this idea/memo board with all it's various colors which ties in the green limes, yellow lemons, and fabulous blue Chippendale just sings to me!

(I'm not sure where I pulled this image from...suggestions?)

The Greek key trim and inverted pleats add a soft sophistication to this table skirt. I love the subtle banding around the top of the skirt too.

(Again, I'm not sure where I pulled this image from...suggestions?)

Two things to notice here - the wonderful architectural remnant above the door frame and the painted handrail in a beautiful bluish-grey that correlates to the floor. Again, it just sings!

(I'm sorry, I did it again. I'm not sure where I pulled this image from...suggestions?)

I love this little carved out reading nook. Painting the inside of the space creates a little jewel box - perfect for a cup of tea and a good book in the early morning or on a rainy day.

(Image via The Inspired Room)

What fabulous shutters and a perfect gas lantern to complement the curb appeal!

(Image via Pink Wallpaper)

Isn't wallpaper one of the best design concepts? Wallpapering the inside of this cabinet adds a just little punch. You could do the same with a more traditional china cabinet creating a younger, fresh look.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Small Spaces and Small Budgets

I've been playing "nanny" this week for a friend of mine that recently had a baby and just went back to work. She is trying to find a great nanny that is located in the Capitol Hill area since she works on the Hill....if you know anyone please pass their name along. Anywho -my week has been a bit busy on top of working on several projects.

Therefore, I'm skimping out a bit today by providing you a link to a must read blog post by Cote de Texas. Joni shares with us six great homes that prove you don't have to have a lot of money to have a well-designed just takes having an eye for style and being creative with your resources and the way you arrange things. This post speaks to my mantra!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dream Home

The hubby and I are still renters, and we live in a fantastic place to boot. However, I've decided to use these "renting years" to start collecting ideas for my dream home:) I'm not one who desires a multi-million dollar home but rather an older home, with nooks and crannies throughout the house, including a requirement that every room must be frequently used...or I don't need it!

I would love to buy a very small home and then build onto it as our family grows (although I am aware I am signing up for potential renovation stress). Maybe it's the 700 sq. feet that the hubby and I are in right now that has changed my perspective on how much space someone really needs. 700 sq. feet is perfect for us, and Max, the dog. Here are just a few items on my "must have" list:

(image via BlueStar)

I'm a nut for balanced doses of course. I would love to have a primarily neutral kitchen with pops of color such as this fabulous range! Look at how many colors it comes in!

Now I know the idea of chalkboard walls is a bit saturated at the moment, but I still love it. I would want one in my kitchen and of course in a children's bathroom or room.

(image via Pink Wallpaper)

Next, I would want an antique, claw foot tub in the master bath. However, I would paint the outside a delicious color. I can just imagine crawling into this after a long day with a glass of wine and a good book!

Now onto the family room. I have been in love with this Schumacher fabric, Chiang Mai Dragon, for so long. I have a memo of it that I have on my idea board so I can lovingly gaze at it every day:) I plan to make curtains out of them for my family room. I also would love to have a George Smith sofa upholstered in a chocolate or golden brown mohair. Mohair is one of my favorite fabrics for upholstering pieces that would be in a well-lived room. It's cozy and durable.

(image via Schumacher)

(image via George Smith)

(image via Kravet)

I'm a big believer that homes should have the owner's personality spilling out of every room, in an organized fashion, of course! I love visiting friends homes and getting a sense of who they are just by stepping foot into a room. Homes are such intimate places of refuge - it should be the one place where you can truly and freely be yourself and in turn, your home accepts you, warts and all! There is no judgement when you walk in the front door after a long day.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Just a Quick Post!

I just returned from seeing Julie & Julia, and you MUST clear your calendar this weekend for just 2 hours and go see it! It's "laugh out loud" funny and inspirational to all who aspire - and it will make you want to pack your bags and move to Paris tomorrow. I don't know much about Julia Child, but, boy, she was full of one-line zingers! Even the hubby loved the movie :)

I came home with a glimmer of hope of being a decent cook one day. For some reason, I have the hardest trouble cooking entrees, but desserts are no problem....maybe my desire for the latter and my insanely LARGE sweet tooth are what push me to master the art of desserts. Bon Appetite!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Grey Gardens

I finally got around to watching Grey Gardens the other night, and I must say it is definitely a film you don't want to miss. After the movie was over, I sat there dumbfounded over these two women! I couldn't stop pondering the twisted relationship between Big Edie and Little Edie and how they allowed themselves to live in such an isolated, unrealistic and captive world! I think the film really hit home when I saw excerpts from the original documentary filmed in the 1970s - these women were real and they really did live a life of captivity in utter squalor.

Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore were absolutely fabulous and embraced Big and Little Edie to a "T." I now want to rent the original documentary to compare the two films and to witness the real Edie Beales!

Now, of course I fell in love with the house, Grey Gardens. One of the producers of the film explained that the film had three main characters, Big Edie, Little Edie, and then the house itself. I couldn't agree more. The house was designed by Arts and Crafts architect Joseph Greenleaf Thorpe in 1897 and, I read that Ben Bradlee, former Washington Post editor, purchased the house in 1979 and had the house and gardens restored to its former state. I would just love to pull up in that driveway every day!

P.S. You'll love Little Edie's outfits as well!

Next movie I am hoping to see this weekend, "Julie and Julia" - I just can't wait!!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Back to Life...Back to Reality

As I mentioned earlier this week, we just returned from a fabulous week at the beach with my family and Ron's family. Because it was such a magical week, I can't even begin to recount all the wonderful moments, so I'm just going to leave you with a few highlights....

1. We spent the week playing games...lots of games, and our $20 volleyball set from Wal-mart held up well despite the wind.

2. Not only did I get to spend time with Ron's family, but I was able to spend time with my family as well (Dad was taking the picture).

3. The mother-in-laws were just two peas in a pod!

4. One of my favorite parts of the week were the dinners we cooked. On this particular night we made a low country boil called Frogmore Stew which had shrimp, crab legs, corn, potatoes, and onions....mmm!

5. Fun times were had with Ron and his brother Jimmy. This photo was taken right before I had my wardrobe malfunction. Unfortunately, I had just come in from boogie boarding, leaned down to grab a bottle of water and my bathing suit top just popped off! Fortunately, Jimmy was able to shield his eyes quickly from the nightmare. We are a close family...but not that close!

6. My sister, Laura, and I, grew up playing tons of card games. So we were excited to find some willing players to participate in rounds of Spades and Gin Rummy!

7. My mother-in-law is just too cute not to share!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Juxtapositions of J.Crew

(image via J. Crew)

Most of my friends know how passionate I am about J. Crew...I get giddy every time a new catalogue appears in my mailbox!

It's not just the clothes I get excited about, but it's all the elements that make J. Crew what it is - the styling, the photography, the witty wordings, the interesting color selections, the textures and the juxtaposition of pairing casual with dressy. I definitely believe there is an interior design lesson in every magazine as I'm often inspired to take the pages of the J. Crew catalogue and apply them to interiors. Who says you can't take a velvet upholstered sofa and put it in front of a rustic, coffee table made of reclaimed wood?

(both images via J.Crew)

And the brains behind all this creative ingenuity is Jenna Lyons, J. Crew's Creative Director. She is in the current issue of Town and Country. My dream would be to design interiors part of the week, and the other half would be to walk in Jenna Lyons' shoes.....but for now, I'll just stick to drooling over the delicious content J. Crew continues to create!

(image via Town and Country)

Monday, August 3, 2009

To Market To Market

Well, I just returned from a fabulous week at the beach...more on that later. I'll post pictures as soon as I get them edited and sorted. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you two of my favorite design companies. I discovered these companies while I was at Market in High Point back in the spring.

Natural Curiosities (NC)....the name says it all. This art emporium embraces mediums of all types. In their market space, Natural Curiosities showcased everything from antique maps, to pressed and framed banana leaves to silkscreens. The ingenuity in the way they frame or display a piece takes a simple object and elevate it into a masterpiece. NC celebrates a simple approach to art but in the process they create a sophisticated and intriguing piece of work.

I loved their pressed, framed leaves. The circular frame takes a simple leaf and turns it into a fabulous l'art d'object.

The other display I couldn't tear myself away from was the work of artist Fernando Boher. Again, his subjects are just everyday items, but these are silkscreens framed and grouped together. How fun to have a display like this on a wall in your living room or office. It adds a bit of whimsy to the atmosphere!

(image via Natural Curiosities)

The second company that I am slightly obsessed with is Bobo Intriguing Objects. We arrived to their space early one morning as they were having a first come, first serve designer sale. While we waited outside, they supplied coffee, Krispy Kreme donuts and entertainment. There was a duo playing banjo and fiddle accompanied with singing....Bobo had me at hello.

Bobo specializes in one-of-a-kind found objects, and the owner, inspired by his travels all over the world often creates reproductions of the extremely rare pieces. Bobo's style embraces the eclectic, industrial chic look that has made its debut in the recent years.

I am a lover of using found objects for interiors, so the minute I stepped inside I felt right at home. Below is a wonderful piece that I think would make a fabulous kitchen island...*sigh*