Monday, November 30, 2009

Enter to win this giveaway!

Kikkerland LET Light Imperial Chandelier
available from

While many have begun the hunt for holiday deals on must-have items, I am happy to offer a special of my own ... this completely unique mini-chandelier (it is about the height of a wine glass) that will be given away* to one of my lucky readers courtesy of
Add light and sparkle to any small area with this dazzling and artful object created by designer, Chris Collicott. Just 3 AA batteries and it is good to go (optional adapter is available).

I can picture using this item to decorate for the holiday season ... maybe hanging one at each window instead of the traditional plug-in candle? Or it could be equally pretty hanging over a writing desk, bedside table or in a kids room.
Wherever it ends up, it is sure to generate conversation and a smile or two! And isn’t that what the holidays are all about?


To enter to win, all you have to do is post a quick note on the comments section of my blog, sharing your favorite holiday tradition, and I will draw one name from the posts that I receive.
While you are contemplating your favorite tradition, here are a few iconic design items that I discovered on that would make anyone smile ...

Gus Modern Timber Table

Kartell Mademoiselle Chair
with Missoni Fabrics

Alessi Parrot Corkscrew
by Allessandro Mandini

Kikkerland Charging Station

The Vitra Vegetal Chair by
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

This chair from Vitra looks just like a snowflake to me! How pretty a bunch of these would be around a well-dressed holiday table.

Or for a little one in your life, this
Rocking Crocodile from Wonderworld
looks like it would be adorably fun ...

Best wishes as you navigate your holiday shopping, and good luck to all of you entering the Chandelier Giveaway! I will be announcing the winner on Thursday, December 3rd (please post your “favorite tradition comments by Wednesday, 11:59pm EST to be included in the drawing).

*The fine print: Unfortunately, this prize item can only be shipped within the United States and Canada so I apologize for any international visitors to my blog! The winner must provide a delivery address to receive the giveaway item.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Have a sweet (and savory) Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving tablescape by Beth Hylan.

Table linens by Threads Couture.

A nest filled with dried corn at each place setting.
Where Beth got the corn ...

I filled the fireplace at the Studio with a large container of rose hips and set a scene in front with this planter that I used to temporarily hold Beth’s Thanksgiving arrangements and mossy gourds.
Try placing a large arrangement of red, orange and yellow flowers in your fireplace. It is a great alternative to lighting it, and the arrangement can be placed on the dining table after the feast has been cleared.

Something snuggly to wear at the end of the day.
Monogrammable PJs from Threads Couture.
Available at Beth Hylan Design Studio.

If you are up for shopping the day after Thanksgiving, come to Beth Hylan Design Studio in Reading. We will be open on Fridays
from 10am - 5pm (along with Saturdays and Sundays) from now until December 18th. Beth has lots of beautiful holiday ornaments to choose from including the “Wish Ball” pictured above. In my decorating corner, I will be offering a *special price* on consultation Gift Certificates ... a great gift for that someone on your list who has everything (but might not know how to arrange it all!)

Happy Thanksgiving!
xo Yvonne

Monday, November 23, 2009

Small change ... big difference

This sassy little bench is a huge improvement from ...

its previous forlorn state (what was I thinking??)

etting ready for company is a great motivator for many of us to freshen up our living spaces. There is nothing like hosting a party for a couple dozen guests to want to start all over again somewhere (or everywhere!) With the holiday season just around the corner, I thought I’d share some great before and afters from my client files that show how easy it is to make a big difference by changing a few things.

The main flaw in this good-size kitchen
was a domineering set of outdated cabinets. Newer black appliances stuck out next to the lighter oak of the woodwork. My clients, anticipating a future renovation, wanted to spiff it up in the meantime.

By painting the long line of upper cabinets a light creamy yellow (closer to the wall color) they are not as heavy and boxy-looking as before. The bottom cabinets got a fresh coat of a bright colonial blue (self-priming Aura paint from Benjamin Moore did the trick) which is similar in tone to the black of the dishwasher and oven, helping them recede into the background. Shiny new hardware and a pretty toile fabric at each window helps to update this kitchen from “I am living with this
to I am loving this. Even the vintage stove top looks stylish now, as does the red sink (blue, red and yellow are a great, primary color combination).

The homeowner of this family room addition was looking for a pop of color. Her collection of red and blue glassware inspired my suggestion to define the space above the built-in bookcases with a deep, rich red. To get her visually on board, I provided a computer mock-up of the space with the new color ...

Here is the newly painted space which is pretty close to the visual I provided. With Thanksgiving company coming, we did a furniture shop to find the new sofa, chair-and-a-half and ottoman pictured in the after shot above (and at the store below).

A chair-and-a-half is one of my favorite must-have pieces. It is perfect for curling up with a good book or snuggling with a little one to read a story. Two adults could also share the space (if they are in the mood, that is!) I actually have one of these love seats of my own that will be re-invented soon (it has undergone one-too-many transformations into a fort over the past few years). Check back around Christmas (?!?) to see my master bedroom relocation, which is where my favorite chair will be placed (out of harms way!)

Here is my soon-to-be-new master before ...

And here it is just about ready to be insulated ...

A note of warning to all of you out there lusting after old homes ... my husband and I fell in love with this 100-year old fixer upper, I think mostly for the “before and after” potential that we saw in it. If I had my chance to do it again, I would have bought it before having kids (not with 3 toddlers and a baby on the way, again what were we thinking???). Fixing it up with four little ones under foot hasn’t been the we-can-do-it adventure I hoped for! Although when this Cinderella-before-the-ball house is finished, I am sure we will forget all of the blood/sweat/tears/money that we poured into this renovation-without-end. Until then, I will have plenty of before-and-after-content to share with all of you : )

Friday, November 20, 2009

Project Runway ... what I would wear

If you haven’t had a chance to catch the season finale of Project Runway, come back to this post later. The following images were taken while watching the show on DVR.

Loved the top portion of this gown (including the belt) designed by Althea. I would love to see it as a long top to wear over jeans.

The designs of Carol Hannah are destined for the red carpet, but I loved, loved, loved these shorter pieces that are both fun and flirty.

This faux fur hoodie designed by Irina is on-trend and beautifully done.

What a killer look ... Irina rocked it with this composition of pieces that really show her design aesthetic. Details made the difference for this New York inspired collection. The helmet was a
brilliant give-them-a-show touch, but a prop that I would probably leave on the runway!

Who I would most like to work with ... Irina. Her attention to detail, amazing craftsmanship, and all-around creative vision make her a true artist.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A wedding to remember ...

Art by Felix Doolittle

Pop some champagne, put on some music, and celebrate the times of your life
(or in this case, you are cordially invited to join me as I stroll down memory lane ...)

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

The invitation

Photo credit: Loren Sklar Photography

The girls, the flowers

The happy couple

Photo credit: Loren Sklar Photography

The cake

The honeymoon

If I were to do it all over again, I
wouldn’t change a single detail!

If you know a happy couple ready to tie the knot,
here is their chance to enter to win
a wedding to remember

Spread the word, and good luck!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Inspired by ... the Twilight saga

Limited editions, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces created out of century-old papers and inspired by the Twilight saga by Stephanie Meyers.
Now available at Beth Hylan Design Studio. Open weekends only, Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday noon till 5pm. E-mail Beth at for prices and availability.

New Moon in theaters November 20th.

Beth Hylan Design Studio
159 Ash Street, Reading, MA