Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Getting close to nature.

I am inspired this week by
the world outside my window ...
enjoy the view and bring some of
the outdoors-in for yourself.

The budding of the trees. My favorite green.

Hand printed Sprig Storage Box from
Organic. Practical. Beautiful.

Narcissus gone wild ... my deer friends obviously dont care for the taste of these scented beauties, because they are everywhere in my yard, yet I have only a couple of surviving tulips.

“White Flower, 1929

fine art print by Georgia O’Keefe

Pair an unusual frame with a contemporary print to make it unique. I am quite pleased with this classic design combination of “floral with stripes
that I created using the Frame Studio feature at The warm gold frame (Cosmo Metallic) is a nice complement to the cool blue and white of the print.

Bringing colors indoors ...

If you love the sunny yellow of a forsythia, try painting a room with Benjamin Moore Hawthorne Yellow HC-4. It is subtle in tone, almost buttery, and will avoid the “highlighter yellow that would result if you match to the flowers true color. Add linens in soft greens with pops of bright rhododendron pink, plus dark woods as an accent, for a fresh first-weeks-of-spring palette. Try plugging in your favorite colors as I did here compliments of Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer

This print says floral in a subtle way. Put a couple of pillows made in this fabric on a khaki colored sofa, and all of a sudden it looks fresh and modern. Hatteras Daffodil Fabric $50 per yard, available through Company C.

A tree trunk left bare of it’s bark ...
(deers devour bark like some of us
humans devour salty snacks!)

Tables made from reclaimed wood available through Pottery Barn ...
Rustic Wood Accent Table $199.00 - $249.00

Take a shot at making your own if you happen to have some dead trees hanging around and a decent saw-z-all. My husband was inspired to make this pair of rustic chairs. I was impressed.

Perhaps if I keep feeding the neighborhood deers, they might be so kind as to drop a couple dozen antlers as a thank you?

Paul Bunyan, Large Chandelier: 6 feet high, 6 1/2 feet wide, 24 lights

These antlers – shed naturally – would look stunning hanging in my barn/future function hall (my husband and I both come from large families, every gathering is like a small catering event!). I’ll have to wait to collect deer gratuities, however, because this amazing creature is sale priced at an impressive $5,990.oo

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shopping for antiques in Lynnfield

Photo courtesy of vintagesteph

I have been looking for stylish items for one of my current design projects, the renovation of The Stevens Estate in North Andover. This architecturally romantic 1886 mansion designed by Boston architects Hartwell & Richardson, and former home to the family of Moses and Charlotte Stevens, is now owned by the town of North Andover. It is host to weddings, conferences and functions ... I actually celebrated my 30th birthday there with family and friends (seems like yesterday). We had such a great time partying on the rolling green lawn and exploring the many floors of this estate (upstairs rooms offer accommodations for overnight guests) that I am honored to be a part of the team of talented designers that will be bringing this mansion back to it’s former glory. Check back soon for images of the newly decorated “Inglenook.”

In my hunt for unique items to add sparkle to this gorgeous estate, I have made my way to a favorite local antique shop ...
vintagesteph located on 347 Essex Street in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. Some of shop owner, Stephanie Pernice’s pieces seemed perfect to set the stage for romance at this stately manor. Check out some of the vintage goodies that Stephanie has in her collection plus see new items gathered from recent trips to New York at her upcoming April Barn Sale, Monday 4/27/09 and Tuesday 4/28/09, open both days from 12 noon till 5 pm.

“Our mission is to find excellent quality furnishings for home, garden and table of enduring style and function. Vintage is finally being recognized as the original ‘green design element. Recycling the past adds character to your home. - Stephanie Pernice

Photo courtesy of vintagesteph
Here are some of the items you will discover on a trip to this local destination for fabulous vintage finds ... chandeliers, sconces and lighting; various bistro, sunroom and wrought iron sets; garden antiques, textiles, jewelry and small antiques; custom-made furnishings including bookcases, dvd cabinets, and farm tables

Here are some of my favorite “fab finds” from
past shopping trips to Stephanie’s carriage house ...

This delightful creature was adorned with a
rhinestone necklace
(and not much else!)

This could be lovely filled with a feathery plant.

How cute is the boy dressed in blue?

This sconce is one of a pair. And so is this hook ...

Hand-tinted vintage photograph

I loved this framed print for it’s colors,
flowering trees and the charm of the
meandering dirt walkway. It reminds me
a little of the path that winds around
Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield.

Something about the scene in this
tiny framed print caught my eye.

Fabrics aplenty for this textile lover!

Photo courtesy of vintagesteph

Stephanie and I both love a good chenille, a vintage pattern and a romantic print from yesteryear. I have taken home numerous fabrics from her collection and have combined them with modern materials to create pillows for my collections. Here are a few ...

These are available with or without down-inserts ...
email me at for more information.

Garden Gate ... made with a vintage
tea towel and backed with chenille

Back view and front: Birds in Paradise
(One of Stephanie’s favorites)

Vintage Trellis Collection ... pairs available
(I love the combination of aqua and coral)

Along with antiques, you will find some great hand-crafted items at vintagesteph.

Photo courtesy of vintagesteph

These birdhouses, created by John Warren, are so sweet and beautifully crafted! Each one is completely unique and tells a different story. They make a great gift for a bird-watcher or gardener (they were a huge hit last year for Father’s Day ... stock up now!)

Another custom piece by John Warren created out of vintage elements and re-purposed to solve today’s decorating dilemmas ... love the leaded glass door combined with the embossed tin.

Photo courtesy of vintagesteph

If you can’t make it to Lynnfield,
vintagesteph can often be found at:

the Brimfield Antique Show, Brimfield, MA
May 12-17; July 14-19; and Sept. 8-13, 2009

(Check with Stephanie for exact dates and locations.)

You may also add your name to her email list to be notified of upcoming events, or give Stephanie a call at 617-921-4773 to set up an appointment to shop.

Located at 347 Essex Street, Lynnfield, Massachusetts
For inquiries, call Stephanie Pernice at 617-921-4773
{by appointment and special events}

Happy hunting!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Accessorizing for a design show

Pearl bracelet by Carolee; Handbag designed by Jane Skelley;
Dress by Max and Cleo; Shoes by Tahari; Floral overcoat by Vertigo Paris;
Background damask fabric is
Clayton Ocean from Calico Corner

With the Tablescape Design Show that I will be participating in at the Wenham Museum coming up in less than a month, I am thinking a lot lately about what I will wear to the preview party (isn’t that half the fun?) and what I have worn to shows in the past.

Last September, I helped my friend, interior designer Patricia Finn with some styling for The Newbury Bath, a room that she designed for The College Club of Boston. I was able to join her, and the many other talented designers and artisans who revitalized spaces at the Club, for the gala event celebrating the completion of the project. Since Pat had chosen a gray palette for her sophisticated bath renovation, I decided to wear a gun-metal gray cocktail dress that, if it came in any other colors, I surely would have bought them all (it was one of those perfect fit, perfect price moments)!

After finding this fabulous frock (I am not showing the whole dress because I will wear it again!) and then a perfect pair of pumps, I called my talented friend, handbag designer, Jane Skelley to see what she had available to complement my ensemble in her custom-made collection. She quickly emailed a few photos from her inventory, and the one shown above was just what I had in mind. Since I always receive so many compliments when I carry one of her bags, I decided I had to share her work on my blog.

Here are some stylish totes from her spring collection ... contact Jane at to snag one for yourself (shipping is available). Each bag is unique, featuring a different combination of fabrics, trims, handles, shapes and sizes. They are “perfect for any occasion, day or night” and for you girls out there who *adore* fabric as much as I do, they are the ultimate accessory to decorate an outfit! Ask about hosting an at-home handbag party (how I was first introduced to Jane) or visiting her at an upcoming shopping event. The hardest part is deciding which one to pick. Here are some of my designer tips to help you in your quest for the perfect bag ...

If you are fashion-forward ...

#524 Red Velvet ... $55.00
14 1/2 in. wide x 9 in. high (plus handle)

If you are traditional ...

#527 Cranberry & Seafoam Floral ... $28.00
6 in. wide x 7 in. high (plus handle)

If you like traditional with a twist ...

#538 Red Floral with Gold Trim ... $45.00
10 1/2 in. wide x 7 1/2 in. high (plus handle)

For the preppy at heart ...

#534 Pretty in Pink Plaid ... $50.00 *SOLD*
14 in. wide x 8 1/2 in. high (plus handle)

You are “at home in the modern world* ...

#536 Modern Girl at the Park ... $48.00 *SOLD*
16 in. wide x 6 1/2 in. high (plus handle)

*Photo featured on

You are wild about animal prints ...

#491 A little leopard ... $30.00
8 in. wide x 6 in. high (plus handle)

You love the classics ...

#520 Tootsie ... $50.00 *SOLD*
16 in. wide x 6 1/2 in. high (plus handle)

You are an all American girl ...

#540 Shining Star ... $55.00
14 1/2 in. wide x 9 in. high (plus handle)

You are easy-going ...

#487 Blue ultraSuede Beauty ... $45.00
10 1/2 in. wide x 8 in. high (plus handle)

You just want to have fun ...

#532 Spring Fling ... $28.00
8 in. wide x 6 in. high (plus handle)

And just as one black piece of furniture can add visual balance to a room, here are a couple of wardrobe must-haves that will make any outfit look complete ...

#528 The Little Black Bag ... $30.00
8 in. wide x 6 in. high (plus handle)

#537 The Bigger Black Bag ... $50.00
16 in. wide x 6 1/2 in. high (plus handle)

My clients are always saying, “I love this fabric so much I wish I could wear it!” With a beautiful handbag designed by Jane Skelley, now you can!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Flowers, books and architecture ...a few of my favorite things

Blossoms at the Beebe ...

Held the weekend of March 28th, 2009
to benefit the Lucius Beebe Memorial Library
and the Wakefield Chamber of Commerce
Wakefield, Massachusetts

If you have been following my blog for awhile, it is no surprise that I have a thing for botanicals. Naturally inspiring, flowers add that finishing touch that make a room come alive. Just check out the glossy pages of any great design magazine and you’ll see floral arrangements used to complement most of the interior shots (and exteriors, too). And the best part? Their exquisite beauty is accessible to all. Here is just a handful of the arrangements that were on display. Each composition honors a literary work of art.

Black Beauty
written by Anna Sewell

Arrangement by Cynthia Reardon
Donated by The Wakefield Garden Club

The Lace Reader
by Brunomia Barry

Arranged and Donated by The Read ... Eat ... Talk Bookclub:
Becky Rohr, Marianne Snow, Mary Taggart, Cathy Gyurina, Donna Loews, Catherine McDonald, Marty Vatalaro and Kathy Foley

Meet the author, Brunomia Barry, who inspired this collaboration at the Wenham Museum on May 9th, 2009 at 1 pm. She will be reading and signing books, plus there will be an exhibition on lace making. And be sure to come back to the museum on the weekend of May 16th – 17th between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm for the North Shore Design Show: TableScapes.

**I will be one of the featured designers!**

Here is an arrangement that I collaborated
on for the show at the Beebe...

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
and David Oliver Relin

Donated by Gathering Change, Inc.
Arranged by Dorothy Goodwin and Yvonne Blacker

Photo courtesy of Dorothy Goodwin

As board members of Gathering Change, Inc., a non-profit organization that collects spare change from local communities to support our neighbors with their basic needs, we could relate to this humanitarian best seller. Greg Mortenson’s mission to promote peace by building schools and providing education has led to improved conditions for so many, and is a testament that even small changes can make a big difference in the world. Likewise, Gathering Change has donated over $10,000 to date of collected funds to help stock local food pantries in our communities. And to think it all started less than one year ago with “a bowl of spare change.”

Photo courtesy of Dorothy Goodwin

This unique arrangement also
pays tribute to change ...

The Inauguration: Based on Michelle Obama’s
Inaugural Gown designed by Jason Wu

Arrangement by Karen Keough

Love it! What a great way to personify the confidence and style of our newest First Lady. And quite fitting, too, in the ballroom-like setting of the Beebe library ...

While I was taking these photos, I was captivated by the beautiful backdrop of this 1922 architectural gem in the heart of Wakefield. With a little research on the Beebe website, I discovered that this Classical Revival structure was designed by the acclaimed Gothic architect Ralph Adams Cram. Other projects of his include several buildings at Princeton University, including the chapel, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and more than one hundred churches and chapels across the country.

More recently, the Boston architectural firm of Childs Bertman Tseckares was hired to redesign a 1969 addition to the library and to restore the original 1922 structure. Cheryl Webb Scott, a local interior designer, is credited with designing much of the interiors selection of furniture, fabrics, carpets, and color schemes. I was enamored with the ornamental swags that are a recurring motif throughout ...

Mrs. Jack: A Biography of
Isabella Stewart Gardner

by Louise Hall Tharpe

Donated by The Beebe Library and
The Wakefield Chamber of Commerce
Arranged by Beth Hylan

If you live in Boston and haven’t visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum yet, now is a great time to go. Their annual Hanging Nasturiums courtyard installation, which features 20-foot long bright orange nasturtium vines cascading from balconies above is now on exhibit through mid-April. You will also discover paintings, sculpture, tapestries, furniture, and decorative arts from cultures spanning thirty centuries. Definitely worth a field trip!

More from the Beebe ... and floral designer Beth Hylan

(She is such a talented artist – she has helped me many times to add the finishing touch to my own design projects. She also creates custom jewelry
Petals to Keep out of pressed flowers.)

The Sibley Guide to Birds
by David Allen Sibley

Donated and arranged by Beth Hylan

Love this one for the eggs, love the next one for so many reasons (I am a big fan of chartreuse and have always been smitten with Bells of Ireland)

Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy
Donated by The Gaffney Family
Arrangement by Beth Hylan

A dramatic display of blossoms
effortlessly in tall cylinders.

The Invitation by Oriah

Donated by Tania, A Unique Salon + Spa
Arrangement by Beth Hylan

I had never read the poem that weaves throughout this book, but it is now on my list of favorites! An excerpt ...

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your hearts longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

And finally for the kids ... and the young at heart.

The Tale of Beatrix Potter:
A Biography
by Margaret Lane

Donated and arranged by Parker Florist

And another Potter ...

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
by J.K. Rowling
Donated by The Beebe Library and
The Wakefield Chamber of Commerce
Arrangement by Beth Hylan

Check out these stunning Black Velvet roses
that Beth Hylan used to interpret this haunting story
of young love,
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

(I admit it ... I read the book and watched the movie, too!)

Bee-motif furnishings enchant the youth room
along with guests reminiscent of another time ...

thx 4 stopiN by...
flwr grl