Sunday, March 29, 2009

Since I don't have enough to do....

Like a multi-tasking maniac, I spent Friday re-doing my kid's bedrooms before company came for dinner. Re-doing in this case, meant painting a large bookshelf black right up until the company was about to arrive and adding a great new black and white graphic rug. Then, yesterday, when I should have been relaxing or at the very least working on the french chairs, I decided to tackle our workshop/office.

I'm determined to get organized once and for all and get rid of all the things we don't use or don't need. It's time to simply. But I think I'll need one of these.....

In order to create a an organized office space like this

or this workspace/craft room

or a haven like Kelly Wearstler's beautiful office

I'll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Update: French Chairs

As promised, here's the progress on my French armchairs.

I mentioned I had found caning under the upholstery, so my plan has changed and evolved as I've literally uncovered their potential (literally with about 10,000 nails and a right hand that can no longer grip anything due to the pliers).

I've found working with the unexpected makes for the best product in the end. Regardless of the pain and extra work it entailed. Today, I picked out french linen fabric for the seat. It's so beautiful - I can't stand it. I'll continue to update you at each milestone.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A must read

If you like European inspired designs, this book is a must for you to read. Axel Vervoordt is often referred to as the father of Belgium design. He is a master at blending Belgian, French, Italian, and Swedish (to name a few), designs to create an organic, natural, relaxed room. The pictures are inspiring. This is a must have for your design library.

Project: French Chairs

Here's what I'm currently working on. I just found two very 80's french chairs (don't you love the pink satin bird-floral? no?) and am giving them a new life. In the process of stripping them yesterday, I discovered that they had the original cane back and seat. What a find! You never know what gem you are going to uncover. I will keep you posted on the progress.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Kids' Rooms

I love houses that flow from one room to the next. I love rooms that maximize the space and are designed with long-term use in mind. So it's not surprising that I like kids' rooms that don't have an overly juvenile theme. However, I believe that the rooms can still be kids' rooms by the accessories that are used - the foundation just needs to be classic enough to grow with the child while also pleasing to the parents and the house.

I have two very active boys under the age of 8. Putting together their rooms has been a process over the years. We are bombarded with Pottery Barn Kids, Nickelodean and Disney everywhere we turn. I resisted these juvenile themes, but it wasn't easy since there aren't a lot of classic options in the market. Just try to find an area rug that doesn't have butterflies or footballs and isn't pink, green, navy or red.

I ended up having two custom (meaning twin sheets sewn together with piping) duvets made for their beds. I did matching medium blue duvets (but with one side striped and one side tonal paisley) so I could reverse them and their rooms wouldn't be exactly the same. My long-term strategy was to develop rooms that they could grow into while having pieces we could use as our needs change (when we finally buy that beach house) and complemented the rest of the house. There's nothing worse than having to redecorate a room every couple years as their tastes change and then donating all the pieces that you spent tireless amounts of energy and money on. Now, I just have to change out their pictures and bookshelves as their interests change. Right now, I'm in football and basketball land in one of my son's room and dog's in the other.

Here are some great kids' rooms that will stand the test of time. Enjoy.

Suzanne Kasler from March Traditional Home. The use of space in this room is amazing. I love that each bunk has it's own sconce for reading. This is the perfect room for a large family or a kids' wing in a second home. What really makes it work is the color palette and use of matching bedding so you're eye doesn't focus on one element.

Another great tonal room for a small boy. You would only need to change out the stuffed animals and accessories in this room as the child grows. The white bedding is also something you don't usually see in a kids room. It is genius. People shy away from white, but it's the easiest to clean since you can bleach it.

Photo from Cottage Living. Love the tonal blue and white stripes in this room with the neutral bedding and furniture. This could be used as a guest room if needed.

Photo from Cottage Living. Love the use of color in this girls' room. It's fun and young but still sophisticated. Again, all the main elements of the room are neutral (seagrass rug, white walls, white bookcases, lucite end table). Another room that could double as a guest room.

Photo from Domino. (sorry for the bad scan - I have a thing about tearing out of magazines). This is one of my favorite boys' rooms. The palette is soothing but not juvenile. The bedding and furniture is classic and timeless. Just the accessories and fabric on the chair let you know that a young person lives in this room. Beautiful.

Photo from Traditional Home. Another great multi-use room. This daybed doubles as a couch which could be used in a foyer, living room, or media room down the road. Again, love the neutral color palette with the pop of fun green and cream striped pillows and window treatments.

Photo courtesy of Traditional Home. Another great boys' room. Love the palette - can you tell that I love blue? This room is in a Southern California beach house so it blends with the rest of the house. The built in captain's bed and armoire is a great use of space. One of my favorite elements - grass cloth wallpaper - is used in the room to give it some texture.

Photo courtesy of Traditional Home. Another great use of space in a beach house. The nautical theme works with the rest of the house. It's sophisticated and fun, without using the typical lighthouse and shell trappings of a typical beach theme. I love that you can pull the curtains if you're attempting to sleep in. If it only worked that way when you're sleeping with bunk mates.

I hope you enjoyed my perspective on kids' rooms. Have a great day!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

One of the best from Traditional Home...

Usually, Traditional Home is a little too formal or old "traditional" for lack of a better word for me. But this month's house by Suzanne Kasler left me inspired. It's beautiful, simple, approachable, and best of all, livable for a family. Something that you don't see very often in shelter magazines.

Beautiful neutral living room. Sophisticated, yet casual and inviting. I could curl up in here an read a book or have a glass of wine with friends.

Family dining room off the kitchen. Love the nature inspired chandelier - it's an incredible, casual focal point. Too bad it's been discontinued.

Chic, young dining room. I'm in love with the aqua grass cloth wallpaper.

Kitchen is perfect blend of classic and contemporary. This kitchen will age beautifully.

My favorite part of the house. The bluestone patio and pool is resort worthy. I would love to spend my nights around this pool with friends and family.

This house also has a great kids wing and bunk room. A must if you have a large extended family like mine. I will include it in future posts. Right now, I just want to dream about this pool.....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Would you make a u-turn for these?

I did.

I was driving on a busy arterial when I saw these sitting on the side of the road with a "FREE" sign. I asked my friend if she was okay with me turning around to pick up the chairs on the side of the road. I whipped a u-turn and drove back as fast as I could so no one else would get them. You may think I was crazy... I'm sure my friend did! But, I had been looking for a set of old butterfly chairs for over three years when these appeared. I could tell that they would be great once you stripped off the old fabric and refinished the wood. They don't make furniture frames like they used too (The curved backs of these are solid wood). Sometimes it's better to reupholster and refinish than buy new just based on the quality of the frame. Unless, of course, you are buying Baker or George Smith.

Want to know what they look like now????

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Wish I was here.....

Pool deck

Pool dining area

One of the seating areas in the living room

Other portion of the living room

Open dining area in living room/kitchen

Kitchen - notice the wine trough under the window

Media room

One of the bathrooms

Another beautiful bathroom

All photos courtesy of Southern Accents 2006 Showhouse. The consistency of color and textures throughout the house is one of the best I've seen. It's so relaxing and casual, yet sophisticated while still approachable. I've been longing after this house since it was published. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Photo courtesy of Domino

Love that designer Austin Harrelson used this seldom used formal dining room as a library. Do you have a space in your house that you're not using? Can you turn it into a multi-purpose room?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lichen glazed wood

There's something about the lichen glazed wood in this house that makes me want to move in - and I'm a white woodwork kind of girl. The architecture is classic Bobby McAlpine and the interior design is Susan Ferrier. I love the warmth and character the lichen glazed wood adds and it's so unexpected in a new home. The neutral based room with the pop of chocolate and blue also adds to the cozy appeal.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Timeless Kitchen

I'm loving the warm neutral palette of this kitchen by Phoebe Howard. It's so refreshing to see a kitchen that's not all white but is still crisp and light. This is a classic palette that will never go out of style and looks different as the light changes throughout the day. The style is a perfect blend between classic and modern, which in my book equals timeless. Once again, Mrs. Howard has exceeded my expectations.
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