Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sweet Serendipity

Serendipity- good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries. That was me serendipitous. Big, big, big, score.

Yesterday, I decided to stop by a store and see if they had chairs for my Mother's family room. Little did I know that the store was closing and they were having a one day sale for friends and family. 40% off their already very reduced prices. Yipppeeee!!!!

  Look what I found
It will be perfect next to the painted armoire in the family room
My find was covered in a delicious persimmon velvet with silver nail heads.
Looks like it came right off the set of It's Complicated.

And then a hemp covered sofa in a warm mushroom color.
Such a perfect day.

Lots of progress on the renovation.
The foundation passed inspection last week and framing is underway.

The true beauty of solid hardwood floors.
100 years later, minus two layers of hideous linoleum ...
and they look brand new.

Have a wonderful Wednesday.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm Still Standing After All This Time

Both me and the "not quite new dishwasher" are still standing. If you wonder where I have been...I have a really good excuse. I lost my mind, well temporarily at least. Adding a new addition of an 80 year old to your brood (who chooses to  reside across the country from you) has a steep learning curve. Not to mention,  the renovation of a 3 story plus basement 4 floors in total 100 year old house with 18" to 24" thick stone walls. I have spent more time in Pennsylvania this year than I ever would have imagined... I count my visits in months instead of  weeks. The finish line will be in sight soon with hope we will be done in January.

If you can't tell by the photo above this kitchen needed a little updating. Check out the Kitchen Aid dishwasher it was old in 1968 now it qualifies as prehistoric.Amazing that it still works. I had to replace my own dishwasher after 8 years. 

Anyway, I had this fabulous plan of sharing all the marvelous details of the kitchen design with you and I have failed miserably. I was going to start with a brief description of cabinet construction details
and talk about proportions. It all hinged on a photo of  a kitchen with clean lined simple panel inset doors, a 6" face rail above it and mitered inset beads on the cabinet face. Hard to understand without the photo.which I just realized is it at the cabinetmakers.

Hope your day is wonderful.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Who Will I be?

What do you do when your life plan has stalled? When for the first time in don't have to do something. Well maybe, a little something like pack a lunch, wake up a kid, do laundry. You are the same person you were only different because you are not doing as much of the same things. Work has defined who I was for so long and now less time is spent on work and more on my family. I am lopsided or maybe I was lopsided and am now evenly balanced.

I am still coming to terms with all the different "doing" since closing my stores. My family has managed to fill my time with errands, wants and needs and totally reversed the balance of my time. I get up in the morning and yesterday finally sat down at 9 pm to read my design magazine.Where did the day go? And how did I get the title "sort of a stay at home mom" from my oldest? He lives in fear I will join the PTA.

My day went like this....
Scheduled and fixed the garage door
Scheduled the lawnmower repair and septic repair at the lake
Bought brake pads for David's bike
Bought school supplies
Bought new food processor ( didn't work have to return it today)
Unpacked from vacation
Made a fabulous dinner borrowed the neighbors food processor
Went to the gym
Worked on my Mom's addition for her house and kitchen layout
Consoled and cheered up my 80 year old mother on the phone multiple times through the day

I sit here still trying to figure out who I will be when I grow up and how I will balance my passion design with the needs/wants of my brood. Hhhmmm. Maybe I need an office or a store outside of this place to keep everyday details from stealing my time. At least I got to write in my blog and maybe I will get to work on my headboards today with Reedy Roo as my assistant.

Anyway, life has changed my plans, no headboard and I am off on a plane in the next few minutes. Back home where I just returned from to take care of my Mom. Maybe, I need a mobile office......


Friday, September 17, 2010

How to fake it?

No, I am not talking about that. Is that all you think about? I am talking about height, size, scale of a room.What do you do when you are not blessed with 9' or 10' ceilings? Yours are a mere 7' ( really tough) or 8' foot. Most of us know the tricks for dressing skinny and looking taller? Well, they work for your room too.
Model-Head to toe color. Rich warm browns in different textures create a long lean silhouette. I forgot who this is....

Ilse Crawford founder of brittish Elle Decor creates a stunning room in neutal shades of stone. Hanging chairs float above the floor to create an open airy feel. And you can't avoid following the lean line of chain all the way up to the ceiling. The low couch and chaise exagerate the room height. The same as when you dress...don't cut your self in half applies to a room. The basic rule of a long tunic top with slim jeans or a cropped jacket with a high waisted skirt. It's all about playing with proprotions.

Miles Redd draws your eye up, up and up with lacquered rich navy cabinetry to the ceiling. If this was an outfit it would be a lean tailored pant suit with a simple thin alligator belt around the waist.

Somtimes packing more into a small space makes it seem larger. I won't share a pic ( wouldn't be nice) but we all know the power of spandex and forcing a little extra into a pair of  bike shorts or skinny jeans. Remember the Saturday Night Live episode of " Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans" and them lying on the bed to zip them....It works great for a room not for your thighs. Pic courtesy of Domino Mag (RIP) but check out Lonny Magazine online for most and by special order in print for those of us who need paper.

Draw the eye up and around the room with repeated pops of color. Make sure that is not your husbands photo with the face painted over...might not inspire romance. OOPS!!!! I forgot where this phot is from if you know please tell me so I can give them credit.

PATTERN, PATTERN,PATTERN.....BUT IT MUST BE THE RIGHT ONE.  The herringbone wood walls point right up to the sky, breaking up all the wood with an unexpected detail. So much more intersting than a vertical paneled wall or even a horizontal paneled wall.

Off to my closet to find an outfit that will make me grow an inch or two. Have a wonderful weekend.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Summer Happiness

Heading into the last big weekend of Summer... I am reminded of something my father taught me. "Happiness is a choice". I am reading a great book Happy: Simple Steps to Get the Most Out of Life by Ian K. Smith, M.D.

I love taking tests: style, personality love, relationship and this book has a Happiness Test, a first for me. Now I won't reveal all the questions because it would take way too long to type it and I might get in trouble with the copyright cops. You need to go out and buy the book and take the test for yourself. In less than 5 minutes you'll know how happy you are. The biggest surprise for me was my realization...if I could live my life over, I would change nothing. I couldn't think of one thing that mattered enough for me to have done it differently.Now part of that is probably due to hormones and not being able to remember parts of my life anymore and part of it is I really am Happy.

With the days getting shorter it is time to say goodbye to some of my Summer happiness makers and allow new ones to enter for Fall.

2010 Summer Happiness List:
A perfectly still lake,a slalom ski and a boat that can pull me at 32 MPH
My memory of Reedy Roo falling asleep on the potty with his pants around his ankles and his head slumped to the side...worn out from the beach
Hanging out on the lake with all three of my boys David( husband),Cameron, and Reed
A cold beer with my friends in the 100 degree heat
Early morning with a cup of coffee on the dock the chairs still moist with dew
 Staring up at the inky sky filled with thousands of sparkling stars

Goodbye Summer.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy Heritage Americana

Lately, I have been avoiding reading the newspaper. The headlines are depressing...economy slows, housing sales down, you know the titles.The rocky stock market, loss of jobs and malaise is turning us back to our roots. Forget the global trends for a second, take a look at the resurgence of plain and simple Americana designs popping up everywhere. Comfort food for your home via the Wingback and the Windsor chair.

The wingback is the quintessential New England, Martha Stewart style chair pulled up before a fire. Ever wonder why the wings? The original purpose of those wings and the high back was to keep drafts away and to protect the milky white complexions of women from the roaring fires flames.

The Windsor Chair originally from England was introduced to America by the 1726 governor of Pennsylvania, Patrick Gordon. American chairs were constructed out of softer woods like pine. The soft wood required thicker seats for strength.Unlike their English cousins they were always painted.

Did you watch Secrets of a Stylist on Sunday night? Fabulous new HGTV show with Emily Henderson the natural beauty, winner of  Design Star who makes you want her as your B.F.F.
She used both the big W's in her design more than once.Check her design out below.

See that chair tucked in the corner a black painted Windsor.

Center stage Emily's chair choice the Wingback.

So get out that dusty blue or maybe even mauve pink wingback hiding in your attic.Change out the dated upholstery for some simple natural linen in grey like Emily used or griege like Restoration Hardware's.Update the legs with paint or even more fun liming paste.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Minute Monster Monday

SSSssshhh they are still sleeping. I get up early everyday for the moments of peace. You know the ones I am talking about....those first few minutes when you don't hear...
"Mom, I can't find my bag of socks. I think the cleaning ladies took them"
or even better
"Mom, I have to bring home made cookies to school today."

I call them the minute monsters...all the little things that only take a minute and next thing you know it is time for bed and nothing you wanted to get done is done. The minute monsters have been munching on my minutes all summer and now it is back to school and back to hockey and they are devouring even more of my time. I am putting my new platform shoe down now!

In honor of my  "No Minute Monster Monday" here are a few feminine fabulous spaces...calm, relaxed
and Oh so peaceful.

P.S. My 130 pound minute monster just said" Mom you are the best ever" as he walked out the door for the bus. I guess breakfast was good and he was happy I made his lunch.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sun Shower

                                                          Photo credit  Living Etc. April 2009

Waking up and taking a shower here would be a glorious start to everyday.
Simple, flooded with light and colorful.

Why it works?
Complementary color scheme- yellow and blue. Complementary colors are colors directly across the color wheel from each other.

Traditional style dominates- shower stall with claw-feet, Bergere chair, floral wallpaper, deep paneled white trim work and tall baseboards are all very classic traditional elements.

Humor- the pops of color , vibrant blue paint on chair, red welting on chair, strong yellow on chest..keeps the room fresh

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mood Makers

                                                        Subtle nuances in color and texture

                                                       Elegance and luxury in empty space

                                                                   Personal collections

                                                                    Color control

                                                                    Dark lamp shades

                                                                       Layered texture


                                            Unexpected scale

                                                Repetition of objects

                                                                   Restraint and order

                                                         Old with new...ornate with simple

Friday, August 6, 2010

Twin Twins

Naked Wall

Finding two of anything is always harder. I have been scouring craigslist, antique stores and ebay for a pair of twin headboards without success. My room needs something with presence a hint of black, durable (teenage boys sleep here), style feminine but simple, ( this is also a guest room...the boys get cots in the living room if we are crowded),  tall 64" and narrow. It has been like a series of bad blind dates, too short, too wide, too girly, too blah and too expensive not that I have been on a blind date recently.

My doodle for the headboard

Simple iron posts and frame similar to this bed I made for another guest room will frame the MDF upholstered center. The center is 1/2" MDF cut with a jigsaw and will be padded and upholstered in a simple heavy linen. My MDF is cut and since I cannot weld you know what I will be doing this weekend ...upholstering and waiting for my frame.


I still need to figure out the final details for the headboard. Maybe a handpainted monogram, or other design, nailheads, whipstitching not sure. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Windowless Wonder


More Blah

The inside of my little lake house has been getting alot of attention...the outside, well you can judge for yourself. I did add the iron and copper window boxes, black shutters and painted the door turquoise....... but there is a long way to go. It is a 1000% percent better than it was..if you can believe it.

The front facade is a challenge. The front rooms to the right of the door are either bathrooms or closets...not spaces for large welcoming floor to ceiling windows. The only window on the left is in the laundry room above the washer and dryer. The extra beauty bonus big boring garage doors.

The entrance is less than welcoming recessed and tucked into the apex of the house. A dull grey concrete slab, low ceiling and overgrown landscaping are the finishing touches.

On a positive note, having all the bathrooms and closets on the front means the kitchen, living and bedrooms all have wonderful views of the lake. Plus the odd angle on the front makes the back of the house open up and follow the shore line.

Inspiration for the remodeled front exterior.

Flagstone path
Circular bench around our 100 year old live oak
Replace garage doors with large windows and french doors flanked by shutters
White painted pergola above new windows and doors
Small entry addition that projects out from main body of house
New door and windows
Big clay pots full of flowers

The best part, both David and I love the inspiration house and agreeing on the changes is the most difficult part.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Musings

Natural light and good bones are what makes a space. This home in Hamburg Germany photos via is magnificent. The windows rescued from a chapel are in perfect contrast to the simple walls.
No matter what your style...modern, rustic, traditional, formal, simple, even would work.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lost in the Everyday

Feeling melancholy.... The dark bitter chocolate silk shade of this lamp was lined in the softest pink..the color inside a seashell.The base a modern circle of clear lucite. Both modern and feminine I fell in love.

Two of these lamps were purchased. Similar but not quite identical, one ever so slightly taller than the other...a symbol of their uniqueness....

Our affair was short lived....a flying matchbox, thrown in a moment of fury
only a three year old can posses, shattered the fragile glass. Today, the garbage truck carried away the remnants and left me with a shade.

Do I search for my lamps twin, or do I open the naked table top in my family room to new inspiration?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Quarter Bath

Please explain why the previous owners put a fake Tiffany kitchen pendant off to the side of my toilet.

The rest of the toilet closet. Isn't it lovely? Nothing like a 30"x60" space with a toilet, pendant light.bath fan, and blank walls to make you feel at home. I just figured out what it is...a human size litter box with light.

The Little House That Could

The past year has brought both closed doors and opportunity. The closing of my second store a year ago left me a bit lost. What does a girl do when she doesn't have to go to work every day?What do you do with all the creative energy that was used on multiple clients houses daily for the past ten years?

My options were explode or find another creative outlet? So far since January these have been my new outlets.
Writing a blog
Remodeling my "Baby" the Lakehouse
Take a class and then another class and another class. Writing, photography, painting, acting whatever strikes my fancy.

Progress so far....on my personal 1900 sq feet of heaven

                                                 New paint on door

Paint color from inside

Remodeled Kitchen Upper cabinets replaced with wall of windows and open shelving

Remodeled Kitchen with custom designed table

Remodeled kitchen wall with hidden appliance storage
We kept the base drawers and rebuilt new uppers and housing
for the ovens and microwave.

  Breakfast nook turns reading nook..the perfect place for morning coffee

Laundry room- behind curtain #3 the washer and dryer

Laundry update raised existing cabinets to laundry counter height, upper cabinets go to the ceiling new sink, paint,hardware and counters. Took this room from plastic sink garage style to stylish laundry, second prep area for parties and even a bar if needed.

Only Living Area- Down with those walls..ceiling treatment yet to come

The lived in Living Room

Entry side A with one of my paintings

Entry side B with a bust of my David..ha, ha, does look like him

Office Area- my desk from 9th grade and antique oars made by my family

Boys/Guest room headboard project yet to come

Guest room

Guest room again
My need for a photography class is becoming more evident

The long hall with my favorite find
Dutch bulb crates on the wall

The Master

Master Once Again

Boys/Guest Bath still in progress

Master Bath custom vanity with oyster shell mirrors

Master Shower with pebble floor feels so good on your feet

My project list for this house is endless so stop by and check again and again. Oh and please pass my blog along if you enjoy it...I have a plan and it rquires your help to get more readers. Thanks for stopping by.