Monday, January 25, 2010

Master bedroom preview, part 2

Our current master bedroom is used in this photo
as a backdrop to showcase a pillow collection
that I designed for a seaside home.

I spent last week researching final choices for our new bedroom. I still love this color wall – Benjamin Moore Crown Point Sand which is kind of tan, kind of greenish – but I plan to go with something a tad whiter since there is less natural light in the new space. Although now that the room is completely plastered, it actually looks pretty bright up there. Even so, I have been seeing so many great all-white rooms in both design magazines and on the web that I would love to have one in our home as well.

My top color choice right now is Benjamin Moore Marscarpone. It is a bright creamy white with a touch of yellow that will help to give the room a sunny disposition even with just one window. I am planning on keeping many of the same fabrics that we currently have (reduce, reuse, recycle!) This tea-stained stripe was used to create our custom bedskirt – which I love – and would not feel right about replacing.

Here is the skirt with a sample of carpet. If we decide to go with wall-to-wall (less $ and/or labor) this medium taupe will ground the space well.

This lighter version looks kind of blah to me. Plus with the light walls there will not be enough contrast. Also, our headboard is tan linen and I would rather go with a darker color on the ground. Our top choice would be pre-finished hardwood which my husband could actually install, so the price without having to pay for installation just might work out for us.

This dark stained oak is our top choice right now. It would look appropriate in a 100-year old home.

On top of the hardwood, I would use our existing wool carpet. Here is just a peek of the border (the carpet is all rolled up after coming home from the cleaners, so I could only grab this little shot). It alternates squares of creamy white with greens and golds.

Most of our bedroom furniture is Swedish Home from Ethan Allen. The creamy white wood finish will blend in with the wall color, which will make the space appear larger than it is.

This chandelier from our current
room will move with us. I love it even though it does not give off a super amount of light (we will add additional layers of light next to the bed, and in the corners of the room).

This piece of white washed furniture has been with me since my first apartment at twenty-one.
Wherever I go, it follows!

Our current coverlet is neutral in color. It has always been a little small for our king-size bed (even though it is king size, go figure!) so it might end up on the foot of the bed and I will look for something in the same color family but more generous in scale.

I have a pair of zebra striped down-filled pillows from my design inventory that I will add to the mix.

Plantation shutters from Smith & Noble

At the window, I am thinking that a shutter would be a nice choice, allowing us light and privacy control.

My second choice would combine drapery panels (made out of tan linen, perhaps?) with a semi-sheer panel created out of this vintage hand-printed fabric. We often have deer in our backyard so I liked the reference to the world outside our window. I have been saving this fabric for something special, and I am thinking our new room would be a good place for it!

Monday, January 18, 2010

There for you ...

American Red Cross 2010 Calendar
from the American Red Cross online store

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti on Jan. 12, there has been an outpouring of generosity. So many have reached out to lend a helping hand by donating time, supplies or funds to aid in the emergency relief. At the same time, many of us are in the position of reflecting on how fortunate we are to have a roof over our heads and our loved ones safe and near. We are reminded how lucky we are to have the basic necessities of life.
To have clothing to protect us from the elements ...

Organic Vintage Tee

To have fresh water to drink ...

Red Cross Stainless Steel Water Bottle

To be able to take care of ourselves
and the ones we love ...

Vintage-style Personal First Aid Kit

And when those basic needs are met, to have the resources to enjoy leisurely pursuits ...

American Red Cross
Holiday 2009 Skier Card

And to know that when we are suddenly unable to take care of ourselves, someone else will ...

“History Through Posters Umbrella

Back when the
American Red Cross was founded (in 1881!) they had to spread their message to cities, towns and countries with the help of posters like the ones seen on the umbrella and calendar above (all items are available online at the American Red Cross store). Today it only takes a matter of seconds to spread information via the internet. If disaster relief is needed, financial support is just a click or text message away. I think it is just amazing and so inspiring to see people use social media to “answer the call!

Years ago, I used to work full-time as a graphic designer for an agency that created direct-mail ca
mpaigns for non-profits like The American Cancer Society, The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, The Special Olympics and the American Red Cross. My job wasn’t very glamorous, and even with all of the projects that I worked on I can’t say that any were portfolio worthy. However, I did feel good at the end of the day that I had done something to help others.

My official two cents ...

Now it is easier than ever for anyone to help. And you don’t even need a stamp, envelope, pen or checkbook! Just text “Haiti to 90999 to donate $10 (charges will appear on your cell phone bill) or Yele to 501501 to donate $5 (same deal) or visit the American Red Cross online to learn how you can DONATE NOW.

And if you want to spread the word in a more traditional manner, wearing the Red Cross logo across a t-shirt is a cool way to do it ; )

P.S. Since my boys are home from school today, we chose a new quote for our quote board. “Life’s most urgent question is, What are you doing for others?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The runner up quote, also from MLK, was
The time is always right to do what is right.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Master bedroom preview, part 1

As I pulled in to my driveway early this week, I came upon this mesmerizing sight. There is nothing like a huge boom truck delivering a bunch of blue board to bring a smile to this decorator’s face! I will now show you a series of before and after pics from this project ...

Master phase 1:
new floor boards are put down over newly insulated and framed floors. What I don’t have a picture of is the true before, when there was a chimney surrounding this black vent pipe and the access to this space was a pull-down ladder that was situated in a 2nd floor bedroom closet! My I’ll-never-forget-memories from the day the chimney came down is a story for another post!

Master phase 2:
framing of the new room has begun! What happened next was Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we did not get back to this project till the new year (and the day I created our at-home-projects timeline calendar!)

Master phase 3:
We are now fully insulated. Doesn’t this space just look warmer?? A crew showed up last week and created this sci-fi like scene. Spray foam insulation is the latest energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly technique used to achieve a completely air-tight insulation application. Here is a close up of under the eaves (which will be a great area for long-term storage) ...

The difference in the overall temperature in our house was noticeable right away. Before, heat was going through the slate roof which would cause landslides of snow to come crashing off the roof during the winter months. When my kids would go out to play, I used to fear that they would be caught in a mini-avalanche if they walked too close to the sides of the house! Now, the snow stays on the roof like a blanket. With the added insulation, it is also a lot quieter in the space. Bonus: we are expecting to cut our heating bill almost in half which is something to look forward to!

Master phase 4: the walls are up! Yesterday the boarders did their magic. A dream is starting to look like a reality! This dormer will soon be my mini-office. There is actually room for a good-sized desk and file cabinet in this little nook (see my sketch below). Now all we need is an energy-efficient double pane window to replace the ancient single-pane ... the only window in the main house that was never changed by the previous owner (we will replace this in the spring).

I used a neat online tool, icovia to sketch out the plan for our new room. I first discovered this resource while reading the blog of Linda Merrill. I asked her about it, and she walked me through a couple of her projects (virtually). The software offers a lot of options, although the monthly fee certainly will add up. The offset value to the monthly fee is that program updates are received automatically (without having to purchase a new version). Plus, if I were to sign up I could cancel at any time. I have already tried it out for a couple of spaces, however I cannot save my project work until I become a member.

What you can’t see in the above drawing is the future master bath (just framed for now) and the walk-in closet. Both of these will be just outside of the room and to the right. I will be very happy to finally have space to hang all of my clothes in the same spot instead of stashing them in various closets like I am doing now (old homes like this one are notorious for their lack of closet space!) I also like the idea of having our clothing storage located outside of our room – it will be much more serene. To check out some inspiring walk-in closets, visit Heather Clawson at Habitually Chic who recently posted some enviable spaces!

Come back next week to see the completely plastered room along with my color and fabric choices. I am off now to make some final decisions on the flooring ...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

You are invited ...

A second shiny object was delivered to my door this past weekend. I had a $35.00 credit at Rue La La* which I turned in for this adorable bunny plate by Arthur Court Baby (I still have a little left over after paying for shipping and the plate.) Now I realize that I don’t have any little ones eating baby food anymore, but I do love anything with a bunny on it, so I am adding this piece to my collection. Plus, I never know when I will have to stage a baby room ...

But what is Rue La La you might ask?

* Rue La La is an exclusive online destination of premier brand, private sale Boutiques that are open just two days each. Joining is free, but you must be sponsored by an existing Member.

Your existing member? C’est moi ... yours truly!

I have actually had a peek behind the scenes of Rue La La, which is located in Boston. The place is all a-buzz with stylish happenings ... photo shoots being shot, glamorous models on set, racks and racks of designer clothes being whisked by, and tons of props on hand (a stylist’s dream!) So if you would like to see what all the buzz is about ...

Visit then simply register to start shopping!
You will soon receive regular e-mail alerts announcing upcoming 2-day boutique sale events.

Fashionable linens by 1891 by Sferra

While Rue La La’s main focus is wearable fashion like Calvin Klein, Dolce&Gabbana, and DKNY, they often feature fashionable home good items as well like Tivoli Audio, 1891 by Sferra and items from the Global Views collections (all to be featured on January 14th.)

Items from Global Views

Tivoli Audio products

And they will soon be featuring the work of the winning designer from the Bravo series Launch My Line (which I have not had a chance to watch, but I like the idea of the collaboration).

This boutique style shopping experience becomes even more interesting when you invite your friends ... with every purchase that a friend makes, a member receives a $10 credit to buy more la la! So this is your invitation to shop (the deals are that good!)



And if you are wishing for a chance to receive a free item of your own, check out the shared blog of friends Kristin and Megan: BonBon Rose Girls. They have some really cute pieces that they are gifting to a handful of their lucky readers to celebrate their one year blogger-anniversary! Check them out and “bonne chance
(good luck!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Design tip ... orchid

A deep cranberry colored shawl warms up a
bookcase in the corner of our dining room.

Now that the holidays are a distant memory, I figured it was time to freshen up my interiors with a new indoor plant. I’ve mentioned before how much I appreciate the orchid as a quick design statement. They’re simple and elegant, the perfect antidote to the decorating over-indulgences of the past few months.

Brazilian Teak

A Georgia O’Keefe-inspired close-up

My husband and I made a trip to our local home improvement store on Friday night after a nice dinner out with friends. We were in search of some pre-finished flooring options for the new bedroom. I brought home a sample of Brazilian Teak – which is not so dark that it will show every speck of dust, but still deep enough in tone to offset what will be creamy white walls. I also picked up this lovely orchid for a mere $15 (they often go for around $40). It was sold in a 4-inch clay pot which I then popped into my blue urn that most recently held a large spray of evergreens.

I had to build up the bottom of the urn with some crumpled tinfoil to set the smaller pot at the right height. Then I used moss around the base of the orchid to hide the gap between the small 4-inch pot and the larger width of the urn. I happened to have still-very-green moss that I had transplanted to pots from my backyard in mid-October to use for visual merchandising at Beth’s shop. When dried, it forms a soft and natural carpet that is easy to move.

Art by Beth Hylan

I love how moss hides the dirt that is usually exposed with indoor gardening. If you would like to achieve the same results and do not have access to live moss, most garden supply stores sell bags of spagnum moss that will easily take care of several pots. I have even used fake moss that comes in sheets at craft stores. The real deal, however, is by far my favorite. Just topping off your existing houseplants with moss (or your outdoor container gardens, if you are in a warm climate) adds designer polish in an instant.
Give it a try!

I thought this butterfly clip used to secure the
stem of the new orchid was very clever.

Endnote: Congratulations to my friend, Kim Smith, who eloquently wrote and joyfully illustrated Notes From a Gloucester Garden, which was recently listed by Carol Stocker of the Boston Globe as one of the best gardening books of 2009. You can almost see my personal copy in the first photo of today’s post (it is to the right of the blue photo album).

Now is a great time, especially for New Englander’s like myself, to start researching garden design plans for spring. Kim offers many tips on choosing plants based on scent, color, texture and even desired ambiance. Her stories about creating her garden are a pleasure to read, and the watercolor illustrations make me want to get out a paintbrush!

Gardening, whether inside or out, honors the beauty of nature and provides visual joy with little effort (how many things can you stick in the dirt and expect it to get better with time?) If you struggle with a “I-kill-anything-green” attitude, remember, you can always start with moss (no watering required!)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thanks Skirted Roundtable!

A couple of weeks ago I was surprised to discover that I was one of three lucky winners (chosen at random) who would receive a holiday giveaway item courtesy of the women at The Skirted Roundtable, a must-read-and-listen-to blog that features podcast discussions between the three design bloggers (Linda Merrill of Surroundings, Megan Arquette of Beach Bungalow 8, and Joni Webb of Cote de Texas) with invited guests from the design industry.

Previous podcasts have included Margaret Russell of Elle Decor, Eddie Ross from Martha Stewart and Top Design fame, and most recently Stephen Drucker, editor-in-chief of House Beautiful magazine. Just to have my name and blog posted on a site that features so many industry greats was honor enough!

But on to my present ...

Here is the gift box with pretty tissue
and this sweet card from Linda ...

And here is my giveaway gift ...

I love it! Bowls and shiny objects
are two of my favorite things : )

I celebrated with a little photo shoot.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Now for you, my dear readers,
I have a fun assignment!

From the beautifully decorated set of It’s Complicated
– written and directed by Nancy Meyers –

Go out and see the move “It’s Complicated” with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and scene-stealer John Krasinski from The Office. With so many recent posts on making good choices and keeping resolutions, I think we could all use a few laughs!

Images from It’s Complicated website

I have to say, this was
the best movie I have seen in a long time. The sets are fantasy eye-candy and the script was hysterical, yet thought-provoking. If you would like to read up a little about what some of our friends at Skirted are saying about the film, go to Silver Screen Surroundings, or Cote de Texas, and then check in with them at the Roundtable next week as they chat it up with Beth Rubino, the actual set decorator for the film. I wish I could be there (in person or virtually) to pick Rubino’s brain! I have always imagined that set decorating would be a great career choice for an artist/decorator. What a huge canvas!

I am loving this cook’s garden ... its “a good thing!”

For those of us who can’t be at the Roundtable in person, you may download SRT podcasts via ITunes (it’s not complicated) and listen while you do other things (like paint a couple of walls like I did this week!)

Room designed by Ginger Barber and
photographed by Victoria Pearson.
This bedroom from House Beautiful
is the cozy/casual look I am going for
in my new master bedroom.

(more on that next week)

And be sure to schedule time to listen to SRT and Stephen Drucker from House Beautiful discuss the relationship between the magazine industry and the world of design bloggerism (yes, it is an actual word!). Drucker shares insight from his industry experience (he used to work for Martha Stewart Living – I thought I recognized him!) and explains what goes on behind the glossy pages of shelter magazines ...

How to get your own copy

Like how they discover talent, how design work is presented, the time line from scouting a location to when our much looked forward to magazines arrive in the mailbox (or at the news stands.) With the recent demise of so many great design magazines, I have seemed to transfer my addiction from mailbox to inbox, surfing online daily for that “I wish I lived there” fix.
I think that is part of why I love writing/photo-styling for my blog. It motivates me to create and publish designs in the present moment. Blogging can be very zen, don’t you think?

Have a great weekend,
xo Yvonne