Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to build a holiday centerpiece

You will need: boxwood greens, floral foam, a dish to hold everything in, plus a good sense of proportion.

Prepare your ornaments using ribbons, baubles, wooden floral pics and wire, cutting shears, a good holiday play list.

If these directions seem too complicated, stop by the 

Holiday Centerpieces-To-Go
$30 each at the Country Store
– while supplies last –

Brought to you by The Village Home and Garden Club of Lynnfield

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My picks from Pottery Barn

It’s easy to mix plaids, prints, solids and textures in one area when
they have a color in common (this year it is a rich red).

Walk into any Pottery Barn and you will leave with either bags filled with home decor goodies or a mind full of I-can-do-that ideas. Last month, my friends and I from the Village Home and Garden Club of Lynnfield (we officially added a home decorating component to our program this year) had our meeting hosted at the Pottery Barn located at the North Shore Mall. Two of their design associates shared with us their tips for setting a holiday table and switching out everyday living room decor with holiday inspired pieces.

Everything in their showroom works together visually, so you really can’t go wrong when bringing home new pillows covers, blankets, table top accessories, etc. You can save a little money, however, by shopping around at lower priced home good type stores, but the styling at PB is worth the trip.

I did see two items that spoke to me ...

$49.00 for salad plates
$59.00 for dinner plates

When entertaining for the holidays, having an extra dinner set on hand is so much better than resorting to paper or plastic. I would use them for everyday as well since we are constantly running out of clean dishes. A dozen dishes could just about get my family of six through the day, and we would only have to run the dishwasher once.

My favorite gift-worthy item from Pottery Barn were these hand-hewn Blonde Wood Pedestals that look just as good on their own as they do serving food. They range in price from $24.50 – $89.00. While they may be ordered with a monogram, I like them better as is. They remind me a little of a family of turtles. Cute, efficient, and smile generating.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The gift for someone who has everything ...

Monique Johnson, Susan Kanoff and Sharon Sullivan
preparing for The Swap Soiree in North Andover 

Some people can be so difficult to buy for during the holiday season: they have a closet full of designer fashions, racks of shoes, purses for every occasion, more accessories than a small boutique  ... what could you possibly add to their already full closets? My suggestion? An hour or two with fashion coach Susan Kanoff of A Great New Look.

Susan is a wardrobe consultant who can just as easily fill a closet as she can edit one that is overflowing with too many choices. She offers gift certificates for wardrobe consults and will even shop with clients to help them find just the right combination of wardrobe items to make them feel and look their best. She also has a wealth of fashion connections and style tips that she is happy to share with her friends and clients.

Wardrobe consult “after photos from Susan’s website.

Where to find Susan ...

On Wednesday, November 28th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm she is hosting a designer clothing swap in North Andover called The Swap Soiree. Along with event planner Monique Johnson of Monx Design House, these two women have coordinated quite an evening of fashion fun. For the price of an $18 ticket, guests can shop rack after rack of designer fashions, shoes, and bags and take home as many bargains as they are willing to swap.

They are still collecting clothing donations from 9am to 4pm tomorrow at St. Michael’s Church on Main Street if you want to thin out your own closet, otherwise, guests are able to buy tokens tomorrow night for $4 a piece, with each token good for one item. Such a win-win!

I stopped by tonight to drop off some donations from my own closet – I feel emotionally lighter already – and saw lots of like-new pieces and others with tags still on them (we all have a couple of those in our closets ; ) Any clothing that does not get taken home after tomorrow night’s event will be donated to a local charity. Along with designer labels there will be seasonal refreshments and raffle items (Robert Jason Salon of Andover is just one of the sponsors). I will be looking for some sparkly items for my holiday wardrobe and will be asking Susan for her advice while I shop. 

Tickets are still available through EventBrite.

For holiday gift certificates, contact fashion coach Susan Kanoff.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Shopping Shout-Out

Ame and Lulu is one of my go-to favorites for functional pieces that are perfectly on trend. They always have what I am looking for whether I am styling a room or looking for a special gift that stands out from the crowd. Do your cyber shopping with them today and get 30% OFF your entire order!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Kitchen Tour Week: Day Seven

Hello! Gorgeous! I love so much about this kitchen by Karen Swanson of New England Design Works. This was one of the last kitchens that we visited on the Wenham Museum Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour. I have a neat photo of the designer in this very space, taken in August when it was completely gutted. I am very impressed with the transformation! The wallpaper is fabulous, the modern lighting is dramatic while functional, the art – although not intended to remain on the counter edge – sets the mood. From the acid green chairs to the sliding barn door to the whispy white surroundings, this kitchen has an eclectic edge yet feels right at home in this 1850s colonial. 

Horizontal tongue-in-groove walls create a unique backsplash above a 48 inch Wolf range plus inset cabinets from Pennville Custom Cabinetry. Karen is a dealer for this product line and chose many custom features to show off in her own home. 

The stainless steel sink has a very modern faucet. Both go nicely with the stainless steel cabinet door screens and pulls.

A shoe closet was a designer must-have for this busy family.

Cherry red cabinets in the butler’s pantry are a happy surprise between the kitchen and the living room. Mixing it up like this keeps life interesting!

The last kitchen on our tour was a short walk up the street. The homeowner, Jeremy McElwain did a lot of the work himself. Industrial chic pendant lighting and modern touches throughout the home give it an urban vibe, yet the traditional surface finishes maintain its historical integrity.

When dealing with an exposed brick chimney, one way to incorporate it into the space is to make it a fresh focal point.

We were told that we could peek inside the gray custom-designed cabinets, and so we did. This one was our favorite, accommodating three bins for recycling.

In the living room: styling by homeowner Mary Fortunato

We saw a lot of great kitchen spaces on the 5th Annual Wenham Museum Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour. Thank you to all of the sponsors, designers and homeowners who shared a days worth of dream kitchens with us!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Kitchen Tour Week: Day Six

How was your Thanksgiving? I imagine that this next kitchen on the Wenham Museum Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour would be a great spot to host a big family dinner. Designed by Wilson Kelsey Design, it features plenty of counter space, a variety of seating, and efficient work zones with top of the line appliances.

I love a round table. Besides encouraging engaged conversation, it also breaks up the horizontal and vertical planes in a traditional setting. These chairs look super comfy, too. What a great spot to enjoy a home cooked meal, second helpings, dessert, drinks. The bar in the distance features black granite, while the center island and sink counters feature white and gray Calcutta marble. It is a very elegant combination tied together with crisp white cabinetry with frosted glass accents by The Cabinetworks of New Hampshire.

Designer Sally Wilson of Wilson Kelsey Design 

John Kelsey in front of the commissioned wall mural by Zoe Design

A hammered metal bar sink with traditional dual-lever faucet

A slightly contemporary single-lever faucet with pull-out spray at the main sink

The first floor powder room is equally impressive with its black leather embossed wall covering, custom designed console, and stand-out-in-a-crowd fixtures.

A sitting area at one end of the kitchen provides additional room to gather, allowing guests to relax out of the way while keeping the cook company. The combination of gray blue fabrics with zesty pops of orange injects a subtle energy to the neutral palette of the surrounding spaces.

Sally recently shared her bath remodeling expertise at the “Studs to Stunning: Remodeling Tips from the Pros” design seminar hosted at Designer Bath. Take a peek at her presentation here.

Come back tomorrow for the last set of kitchens from the Wenham Museum Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Kitchen Tour Week: Day Five

Happy Thanksgiving! Today’s kitchen from the Wenham Museum Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour was staged by Indigo Blu Trading Company of Beverly. The kitchen itself was custom built by Meadowview Construction. It is a real beauty!

Dave West of Meadowview Construction

Dave pointed out to us that the counters are made from a granite named “Blue Eyes”... can you see the bits of sparkling blue mixed in with the gray?

Six-burner French range from Lacanache. Plenty of room to cook side dishes while the turkey roasts. The range hood is hidden nicely behind custom millwork.  

We all really liked the details on the cabinetry, like the extra bit of trim on the bottom of the upper cabinets.

Stainless steel sink with pull-out faucet.

The dining area is just off of the kitchen, as is the living room. Even with an open floor plan, this home has a cozy feeling to it. 

A wine fridge built into a separate set of wall cabinets is out of the way of the main traffic flow of this well-designed kitchen. 

Thankful for my friends who joined me on the tour this year: Katherine Hawkins, Rosanne Palazola and Tina McManus.

More kitchens to come after I enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal and some real-life quality time with the family : )

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kitchen Tour: Day Four

photo courtesy: Howell Custom Building Group

Howell Custom Building Group worked with the homeowners to create, design and build this inviting family space. The goal of the design was to improve traffic flow between the kitchen, mudroom and family room by replacing walls with half walls and columns. The centerpiece of the kitchen is an oversized island featuring one piece of black walnut for the counter top. Diagonal flooring visually expands the space and diverts the eye in the open floor plan. 

– from the Wenham Museum Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour 2012 program book

A herringbone pattern mini-subway tile backsplash creates a modern focal point above the cook top. In a large kitchen like this, a pot filler is a welcome luxury.

Columns and half walls separate the kitchen from the family room. In this photo: Steve and Susan Howell of Howell Custom Building Group.

Next up ... a NorthShore Kitchen

This traditional cherry and granite kitchen was designed by NorthShore Kitchens Plus. The custom cabinetry has many hidden features from a warming drawer under the cooktop to an uber-efficient pantry just around the corner.

The double oven pictured below is probably the most coveted item of Thanksgiving Day cooks across the country.

I still have some more kitchens to share, but before I get to them, below is a photo of our post kitchen tour snack: pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips (an unusually good combination) served with champagne (which is always good ; ) Thank you, Katherine!