Monday, November 28, 2011

Pretty Powder Rooms

I've never wallpapered a room before. But my first attempt would definitely be the powder room:

Love wallpaper in small spaces.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Thanksgiving Photography Priorities

I meant to do another Elle Decor's 2011 A List post...really, I did...but the holiday prep, day and aftermath got the best of me. I'll have to double up on posts next week to catch up. In fact - I should probably do that anyway since it will be a little odd to write about a "2011" list in 2012...

In the meantime - I also completely failed at taking warm family photos of our Thanksgiving dinner. This may have a lot to do with the fact that our children are still pretty young and were barely at the table (and only my daughter put any thought into her holiday attire - the boys were still in the logo tee shirts that they put on that morning).

Earlier in the day, when I assumed that family photos were going to happen, I snapped some pictures of all my simple rose centerpiece and pretty china waiting to be set on the table.

I also took a picture of the killer dessert I made.

Okay, so the picture isn't great (there is a reason that I don't bother with shots of food on the table - foodie photography is not my forte). BUT the dessert, an eggnog cake was divine. I highly recommend the recipe.

Sending you belated holiday wishes! And if you're not in the U.S. - I hope that Thursday treated you well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blue and Orange on a Rainy Tuesday

I'm serious - it's coming down outside! It's looked like evening all day.

Anyway... With Thanksgiving day fast approaching, the blogging week looks very short... I'll be back tomorrow with another A List designer from Elle Decor's 2011 list. But in the meantime, here are some pretties in the way of blue and orange:

I think I like the aqua combos best. You?


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Elle Decor's 2011 A List - Designer #3: Sheila Bridges

*Each week, I'll be looking at Elle Decor's "A List" of designers for 2011. See full details on here.

Today's spotlight is on Sheila Bridges.

Here is what Elle Decor says about her:

This New York decorator is known for her savvy updates on traditional Americana—from her handsome design for Bill Clinton’s Harlem offices to the spirited interiors of her own Colonial weekend home in New York’s Hudson Valley. She has a fashionista’s sense of pattern and color (yellow is a favorite) and an eye for the standout element—a Fornasetti rug, a Frank Gehry cardboard chair—that makes a room click.
Here are some pictures.

This was an easy one. I really like Sheila's work.

I love her subtle use of color and eclectic mix of furniture and accessories. And of course, yellow is my favorite...

I keep coming back to the first room above (also shown from a different perspective halfway down). I would never think to upholster all three pieces of furniture in the main seating area in the same fabric - especially one that matches the wall color. Now I want to do that in every room of my house. Okay - that would be excessive - but I'm crazy about that space!

Other thoughts: I like that the rooms are full of art, books, and personal objects, but they don't seem cluttered. The general impression is clean and modern, but the elegant furnishings still convey a sense of home and comfort. Traditional pieces and design elements give balance to some of the whimsical touches and the effect is that of warm and welcoming sophistication.

What do you think of this designer? Any differing opinions?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Painted Chests!

Some new painted chests have arrived at the shop.

Aren't they pretty? I love how they could work in any room. If I had the space, that green one would look great in my dining room!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blue + White 4 Ever

Today, I'm thinking about blue and white...

I love this simple combination. When in doubt - you can never go wrong with blue and white. Fads come and go (didn't we all hate brown and orange in the '80s and '90s?) - but this palette can be easily updated with accessories and splashes of color like the yellow and green in image #1.

Chic. Effortless. Timeless.

Now - off to carve a heart on a tree: Kate + Blue & While 4 Ever.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Elle Decor's 2011 A List - Designer #2: Alessandra Branca

Last week, I wrote my first post about Elle Decor's "A List" of designers for 2011 (see details there).

And today's spotlight is on Alessandra Branca.

Here is what Elle Decor says about her:

Call her a passionate neoclassicist. Born in Italy, Branca developed an aesthetic steeped in antiquity. Nonetheless, she’s a woman of our times. She likes comfortable rooms and the color red—also stripes that recall vintage mattress ticking. Expect plush upholstery and fabrics, as well as shapes you’d find in a museum’s Greco-Roman hall, accented with anything from Moroccan mirrors to Chinese foo dogs.

Here are some pictures.

There are a number of things that I like about Branca's designs. First and foremost, the focus on comfort and seating. All of the living room/family room spaces have been arranged for conversation. Since these are rooms where people gather, it seems like an obvious priority - but I'm often surprised by how often rooms featured in magazines seem far more conceptual than livable.

Branca's designs also have a lot of personality. The art, the textiles, the whimsical details... They all give me an impression of the person who lives in those spaces. I want to explore the rest of the house outside of the frame.

Finally - I love the fact that these rooms don't have to be perfectly staged to have the same impact. The beds don't have to be perfectly made (as pictured above), you can take away every floral could kick your shoes off and curl up in a chair. The detritus of life doesn't take away from the overall effect. These rooms were designed for people, not cameras.

The elements that don't appeal to me are more prevelent in pictures that I didn't include here (though picture #4 is a pretty good example). I really don't understand the  heavy burgundy and yellow/gold  palette. I reminds me of professionally decorated Federal homes that some of my friends lived in during the '80s. It's so dated - I feel like I just stepped into an apartment in the Watergate from twenty years ago (remember, I live in the DC area). Anyway - I won't harp on that. It just strikes me as odd.

And what's going on with all of those shaded sconces? They're featured in a lot of the images on her website - and they seem a bit superfluous to me. They add an element of clutter to rooms that are already richly layered with antiques and objets.

Many of her bedrooms (none pictured here) have the matching wallpaper and bedding style that I also remember well from the '80s. And when done in a floral or a toille, it can be a bit overwhelming. So that wasn't my favorite either - though I do love it for the daybed featured above.

The last three images appeal to me most. They are fresh and bright, with a great mix of modern and traditional elements. And strangely enough - none of them are on
While I may not love all of Branca's designs, I'd prefer to see a range like this in a designer's portfolio. And all of these images convery a sense of comfort and personality, with an emphasis on bold textiles, unique accessories and art. It takes some serious talent (and experience) to bring all of that to the varied personal styles of her clients.

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them (especially if you have some in favor of the burgundy and yellow...)

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