Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Last day of summer vacation ...

I based this painting “Boardwalk to the Shore
a photo I saw in a magazine early in the spring.

Can it really be the last day of August already? You know that feeling you get when you attend a really fun party where everyone is dressed their best, people are relaxed, the food is delicious, and the drinks are
thirst-quenchingly good ... then all of a sudden, mid-conversation practically, you start to notice the music has been shut off and people that you hadn’t even gotten a chance to say hello to are putting down their glasses and are embracing the host with a fond farewell??? Then you start to think, is it really over already? Next the lights come on, food is being Saran-wrapped, and you figure it must be time to go.

I really hate the end of a good party and that is how
the end of August feels to me. As I look around my summer garden, which I admit I did not tend to with half the enthusiasm as I had planned, I see that there are some dawdlers who have decided to stay on for awhile. I intend to enjoy their quiet company for at least a few more weeks, even though so many of their more colorful friends have come and gone. These are low-maintenance guests who do their own thing and still look impressive at a time when the party season that is summer is coming to a close.

A galvanized bucket (with drainage holes in the bottom) makes a great garden container and adds a
bit of rustic charm. I filled this one with chives,
flowering garlic and tri-colored sage.

This second container is filled with some delicate plants – a chrysanthemum from last fall, a young poppy, and a marigold that my son brought home as a seedling on the last day of school. He watered it in its little styrofoam cup for over a month and then it was ready to transplant outdoors. We put it in this mini-still life-garden that also shows off shells and driftwood from summer outings to the beach along with some hidden treasures. When it rains (which did not happen very often this summer) the vintage blue pitcher that we actually found buried in our yard collects water for future watering use.

These “hens and chicks are successful
transplants from my Dad’s garden.

What started out as one large succulent,
has now grown some companions.

Succulents store water in their leaves which makes them the perfect plant in dry heat or if you are too busy enjoying summer to remember to water.

A tray of colorful succulents makes a design statement
indoors at FDO Group at the Boston Design Center.

If you prefer the ultimate in low-maintenance,
then these ceramic versions are for you.

Ben’s kindergarten science project turned marigold.

Think small. Planting tiny seeds
in the small space given you
can change the whole world or,
at the very least, your view of it.

- Linus Mundy

Even though the warmth of summer is coming to an end, there will be lots of projects to get started on and fun events to look forward to in the months to come.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Classic styling ...

timeless classics

Classic & Timeless

If you are a big HGTV fan (like I am) and just watched the season finale of Design Star on Sunday night, then you are familiar with the winner, Emily Henderson, stylist and author of the blog The Brass Petal. During the last couple of episodes of the season-long challenge, each of the remaining contestants had to share what their future design show concept would be. Emily, who has professional experience styling interiors for numerous publications, proclaimed that her show would celebrate the wardrobe-to-room concept (Domino magazine was famous for this).

While we viewers were all wondering who would win (although I knew from the start it would be her!),
Emily was actually busy taping her new show. She has shared on her blog that the final format will be a bit different (since it has been done before by Thom Filicia of Dress My Nest) and will be called “Secrets from a Stylist. I can’t wait to see what she has to share, especially since I love styling spaces to create visual stories, and I know she will have a lot of great insider info on how to create great looks in
whatever space they throw her way.

Susan Kanoff, Fashion Coach

I still love a good outfit-to-room, however, and for the next few weeks I will be featuring a collaboration between myself and fashion coach, Susan Kanoff, who I met through a mutual friend, Ginny Williams at a recent event. Our first project involves creating a classicly tailored room based on an outfit worn by
a woman who appreciates classic style.

The trench coat above is a stylish solution for dealing with the past few days of cold and wet weather that we have been experiencing here in the Boston area. I used its camel color to define my room in the form of the antique mohair sofa. I used the quilted pattern from the vintage Chanel bag as inspiration for the patterns in the room (lampshade uses cream and tan while the Moroccan table with mother-of-pearl inlay has some of the brown from the leather belt). A black lacquered coffee table with great legs and a stylish silhouette speaks to both the Louboutin shoes and my fashion favorite, the pencil skirt. While the Anthropologie light fixture is on the pricey-side, it is certainly a show stopper, much like the way a great piece of jewelry will often get all of the “where did you get this?

Next week I will show a room based on Susan’s picks for the back-to-college crowd, followed by some visual advice for decorating with fall fashion colors in mind. Let me know if there is something that you would like to see from Susan, and definitely consider giving her a call directly if you would like expert advice on re-styling your own wardrobe. If you would like your home to look its stylish best, I would be more than happy to help! You know where to reach me ...

Monday, August 23, 2010

A few words from a friend ...

My friend, Rosanne Palazola of Tuttle & Co.
in her designed space at Tapley Hall for

Reflecting on Danvers History through
Interior Design
, July 2010

Portrait of Louise Thoron Endicott
by John Singer Sargent

Rosanne’s space at the summer design show at Tapley Hall paid tribute to Louise “Lulu” Thoron Endicott, who while a privileged resident at Glen Magna Farms during the early 1900’s, was not afraid to get her hands dirty, and spent much of her time tending the gardens.

Inspired to bring the outdoors in, Rosanne created
a thoughtful vignette that combined items from
the Danvers Historical Society collection with
a handful of modern elements for this indoor
version of a gardener’s potting shed

Carpet from First Oriental Rugs of Danvers

Rosanne combined richly textured fabrics,
simple burlap walls, and artful images to
create a charming and memorable space.

The sentiment on this accent pillow was
appreciated by many visitors to the show.

An historically patterned floorcloth created by
Lisa Curry Mair of Canvasworks Floorcloths

Please visit Rosanne’s design blog, Focus on Design when you get a chance. Her recent post on a canvas floorcloth presentation that we both saw while at Glen Magna Farms for our Designer High Tea includes a lot of the information that I have been meaning to share (it is so nice to have friends who participate in the same events and then write about them in their own blog!) Since I have been noticing floorcloths a lot lately – chevron patterns seen on numerous design blogs and a large scale shell painted on one at the York Decorator Show House – I thought it would be nice to share a bit of this conversation with you ...

Click here for more about floorcloths
in the words of Rosanne Palazola

Question: What would your floorcloth look like if you were to commission (or make one) for your home? Click here to add your thoughts on the Canvasworks blog, or feel free to share your comments here!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A color palette from York, Maine

Seashells on a picture ledge.

Hydrangea blossoms in my mother’s garden.

A stone wall decorated by nature’s brush.

Stepping stones on the way to the water.

A vision of brilliant textures and colors.

Short Sands at the end of a beach day.

What views have inspired
you this summer?

Paint Colors: Benjamin Moore
Inspiration: Mother Nature

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Summer Nursery: Design in Detail

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Wertz

When I design a space, my goal is to weave together fine details to create a grand picture that is both beautiful and engaging. For The Summer Nursery at Tapley Hall, I chose details that reflect a story book theme, the spirit of adventure, and the tender touch of mother nature. It is an imaginative space that honors the classic relationship between parent and child.

Natural textures played an important role in telling this
story by-the-sea. Linen. Wicker. Rattan. Grass.

I picture this nursery in a grand Victorian, somewhere along the ocean’s edge. A true respite from the city.
A quiet place to relax and enjoy the natural rhythms
of the ocean while celebrating the ebb
and flow of motherhood.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Wertz

This is a story of juxtapositions where visual
contrasts create symbolic interest ...

Traditional styling paired with modern fabrics.
Fine art sharing space with story book illustrations.
Tailored pieces with a hint of youthful exuberance.

Bright pops of color and playful patterns infuse
this vintage space with modern freshness.

Favorite characters add visual entertainment while
preserving cherished memories from “story time.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Little Bear by Elise Holmelund Minarik
A Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson
Zen Shorts by Jon Muth
Anything by Eric Carle

A story to ponder is woven in wool.

Zebra and leopard prints pay homage to
the wild adventure that is parenthood.

Expectations, a collection of candid photographs
and reflective stories from new mothers,
reads very much like a blog. It was published
in 1998, the year I had my first.

A little boy charms.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Wertz

A charming little boy, illustrated by my
all-time childhood favorite, Eloise Wilkin.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Wertz

A wildly adorable visitor finds a perfect place to sit.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Wertz

Simple dressing of a palladian window
includes a summery sheer that
captures light and softens the view.

Dragonflies, tassels, and garlands of pearl add
a touch of whimsy to the traditional valance.

More tassels are repeated on
a vintage reading lamp.

And one more tassel
decorates a doorknob.

A crown because every child is royalty and
every mom should be treated like a queen.

Stars from the sea as a reminder
of a child’s limitless potential.

A mother’s pearls add natural sparkle.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Wertz

A sequined pillow shines brightly.
Truly, a baby is a blessing.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Wertz

Sweet dreams ...

Special thanks goes to:

Bassinet: Danvers Historical Society Collection
“Summer Sky” oil painting: Mary Taggart, Wakefield
Valance: RDR for Yvonne Blacker Interiors, Lynnfield
Upholstery and Sheer: Acorn Interiors, Andover
Persian Tabriz: First Oriental Rugs, Danvers
Flowers: Fiddlehead Flowers, Salem
Elizabeth Wertz Photography

And of course, I can’t forget ...

My husband, John, and the stars in our sky:
Zachary, Dylan, Owen and Ben

Thanks for all your love,
support, and inspiration!