Monday, March 29, 2010

Which Would You Choose???

Here are my current wood counter stools with the Ballard Design toffee checked chair cushions. If you look closely you will see that the chairs are actually different. The two on the ends I bought at a discount many years ago because they were being discontinued by the manufacturer. When I needed an additional stool I bought a similar one from Ballard Designs.
What I like - the tall backs, the warm wood tones and cushions - over all the chairs are very comfortable for sitting. We don't like that we can only fit three stools. I have two children and when they each have a friend over, only three can sit. Also we don't' like how the stools protrude into the walking area.
Here are the Tabouret stools. Aren't they great?! Did I mention they were only $50 each - I am still giddy about can find them here. What I like: Aesthetically I like their lines and the way their color ties in with the stainless steel in the kitchen. I love how four stools (and children) fit. I also like how they push in and make a clear pathway for walking by. I don't like how cold they are to sit on in the morning and how uncomfortable they are with out a back. I also worry they are just too industrial looking (a family lives here after all!)
So readers, what do you think?? Which do you prefer and why???

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tolix or Tabouret?

(House Beautiful)
I really love industrial style pieces mixed in with my decor. One of my most popular posts last year was on industrial kitchen stools, if you missed it click here. Perhaps its because they look wonderful mixed with any decor.
One of my favorite items are the industrial stools from Tolix. What appeals to me most is their small size, wonderful lines and how I can tuck them under the center island to create a clear walking path.
(Apartment Therapy)
Tolix is a French company that makes extraordinary metal furniture. I wanted a change in the kitchen, but budgets being as they are I really couldn't justify the price when I had perfectly fine wood stools.
The Tolix stools are available through Melissa Edelman Antiquaire, a Chicago-area dealer who represents the full line of Tolix or above from Sundance catalogue. But at $245. plus shipping per stool I had to pass. So imagine how thrilled I was when I found a copy at The "Tabouret" stools are very close to the wonderful original Tolix stools and at 2 for $99.00, I thought they would be worth a try.
I have had them for several months and I am very impressed with the quality. The are wonderfully versatile and since I purchased them, they have been moving all over the house. They have been in the Butler's pantry, the basement playroom and even as our primary kitchen center island stools. Here is the link to them at When I first found them they were out of stock but I signed up for a notification and when they were back in stock I purchased them.
Tomorrow I'll show you our center island with the current wood stools and then the Tabouret stools and you can help me decide which we should use in kitchen.
Enjoy your Saturday!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Fabulous DIY Project!

I was over visiting my friend Marian at Miss Mustard Seed this week and I have to tell you her recent project stopped me in my tracks.
Marian took a $6.00 dresser she purchased at an auction last fall and turn it into a work of art!
The veneer was chipped and bubbled and beyond her ability to repair. So, she decided to paint it and then cover it with antique sheet music. Isn't this a wonderful effect?
And in case your feeling crafty and inspired she has more photos and the step by step instructions here.
This is only one of her many projects, so don't miss a visit to her blog, Miss Mustard Seed.
By the way, she is part of So You Think You Can Decorate Competition; so if you want to see other great projects, or vote for hers, click here.
Thanks for inspiring us, Marian!! I am off to search the attic to see what I can create!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sheer Bliss

I have always been enamoured with sheers. I love the romance and natural light they let into a room.
(National Curtain Company)
They soften hard lines and provide a beautiful fluid motion from a breeze. Here is wonderful example of antique shutters which are enhanced and softened by the striped sheers.
(o. disegno)
When the light is right, sheers can create an incredible romance in a room. Even a room that is dark can be brightened with sheers. I included the room above to show, though dark, how even a north facing room can benefit from the natural light.
(Southern Accents)
When I was twenty and in my first apartment I bought a huge mosquito netting to hang from the ceiling over my mattress which sat on the floor. I did not even own a bed then! I envisioned myself chic like Mata Hari. This picture is much better example of what I was trying to achieve back then. This Niermann Weeks beds is gorgeous with the gathered sheers. Isn't this so romantic?
(c. everad)
This canopy is taunt - creating a much more sophisticated and contemporary feeling. This is a simple and inexpensive way to add the romance of sheers to your four poster bed.
The sheers here create a wonderful juxtaposition to the cold lines of the metal bed. Even in spare rooms such as this, sheers add a layer of softness. If you pull them closed you create a romantic room with in a room. (s. lane)
But sheers can used outdoors to create a room as well. Here we see this lovely dining area become a spectacular outdoor oasis.
(s. lane)
They can also make sweet slipcovers. Here these embroidered sheer slipcovers soften the lines of the french bistro chair.
(c. everad)
You may remember this photo from a post I did on the popular Ghost chair - you can read about it here. Even slipcovered the Ghost chair retains its ethereal qualities.
(p. mitchell)
The bath is another area where we are seeing sheers used. I love them as a shower curtain in this space because they provide privacy with out visually dividing the room. Here they are in soft shade of lavender.
(s. lane)
This sheer shower curtain boasts wonderful ribbon embellishments. Also notice the beautiful table slipcover.
(s. lane)
But sheers are not limited to white, here a wonderful turquoise linen provides privacy, as well as the color accent in this room.
(r. hammick)
Sheers can also provide the pattern in the room. The light enhances these beautiful floral sheers

(julia clare company)

Finally these striped sheers provide a private resting area on an outdoor veranda.

Where do you like to use sheers?


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Relaxing on the Porch

(crisp architects)
I'll be taking a few days off this week to spend some relaxing time with my family. Here is fabulous porch that certainly would provide a welcome oasis. Everyone needs a few moments to slow down and toast some marshmallows. See you in a few days...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Grand Country Home

It is so peaceful to sit outside and enjoy the day when surrounded by beautiful countryside. This newly constructed home, by Crisp Architects, sits wonderfully on several acres of spectacular rolling hills. It was built in three distinct sections to mimic the way older homes evolved over time. In this way, they were able to create a wonderful example of how new construction can be made to look like a historic home.
The Living Room is awash in warm historic colors of mustard and russet. Notice the ceiling detail where 200 year old hand hewn beams were used and the beautiful century old reclaimed hardwood floors. Also notice the deep transition doorways between the Living Room and Foyer. This adds immensely to the historic feeling of the house.
The formal main entry is very large and flooded in natural light. It provides a neutral backdrop for the home owners folk art collection.
On the opposite side of the foyer you enter a warm and inviting library. The wood shelving, hand hewn beams and antique flooring make you feel like you are in a room at least a century old. It is hard to believe that this is new construction. Again notice the deep transitions in the doorways.
The home features a soft blue kitchen. Though not my taste it is an interesting departure from the usual white cabinets. The blue is a wonderful compliment to the antique floors and stainless steel.
Artfully designed to look like an addition added over the years, no "historic style" home is complete without a sun room. This one is so lovely. Notice the railings, the exterior column details and the pergola. Nothing was missed - I am in love with this!
And it is every bit as lovely inside with incredible moulding details and beadboard ceilings! Great furniture choices, with a mix of antiques and a zebra skin layered over a sisal rug. Also notice how the placement and height of the tree and then tall lamp carries your eye around the room.
The master bedroom is beautiful. The highlight is the fireplace, again a wonderful job of making the room look very vintage. Notice the hand forged hardware on the doors.
Every grand country home needs a wine cellar. The design is very thoughtful with a bar area and separate tasting room. The wine barrel against the brick walls is a nice touch.
You all know how excited I get when I see wonderful period details incorporated into new construction. This home is an incredible example of great design with no details overlooked. To see more photos of this home, click here.
James Crisp of Crisp Architects also writes a blog, On the Drawing Board, which has wonderful tips and information on home design and construction, to read more click here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chappaquiddick Boat House

Some of my most favorite spaces are smaller ones. And this recent renovation by Hutker Architects in Martha's Vineyard is no exception.
Formerly a boat house, the 1,100 square foot renovation opened up the space and provided a wonderful ocean escape for the family. Built right over the water, it's almost as if you are on a boat.
Upon entering the neutral decor lets the water views take center stage. You will notice that the trim, walls and ceiling are all painted the same color. This is an old decorating trick. If the trim was a painted a whiter shade than the walls your eye would stop (even for the briefest second) at each opening. By keeping the color uniform your eye stops only when it sees the view or into the next room. I find this trick really opens up a room.
The family room has plenty of seating and the ottoman coffee table is a wonderful addition which adds a nice textural element and a few extra seats. Again a neutral sofa is key and the pillows add the dash of color. Notice the beamed ceiling and beadboard above.
This kitchen is perfect! It has all the amenities you need in a carefully designed space. Green soapstone and rattan stools compliment the family room decor. I really like the different rugs. Not matching the rugs, but choosing complimentary colors adds another layer of interest.
Who would guess that this small area could seat 8 adults? A good trick in a limited area is to add a banquette. I am sure you can even fit more if they were children! Pale blue dominates this area, but notice it compliments the ocean and because it is so subtle it does not compete with the view. Every ocean retreat needs a hideaway spot and this one is lovely. Built in drawers provide much needed extra storage. I like the addition of arched opening - it is a wonderful way to frame the spectacular view.
Finally the porch - what a beautiful spot to relax. For more photos click here.
Enjoy the the weekend!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Welcome! A Swedish Home Tour

Did you ever wonder who actually lives in those homes that are shown in the magazines? Or, what happens when the actual owners decide to move? You might recognize this home from an older issue of Better Homes and Gardens. It is located in North Carolina and is currently for sale. I was over at Harmony and Home a few weeks ago and she had taken her readers through a tour. I thought the house was unique enough that you might want a second a look if you missed it the first time around.
Built like a traditional Swedish Country home the owners made several trips to Sweden for inspiration.
Inspired by the famous painter Carl Larsson of Sweden, who is known for his charming artwork and his book "At Home", in which he drew scenes of domestic life; the owners tried to capture many of the same qualities of the Larsson House in Sundborn.
Here is the actual Larsson house, which is now a museum in Sweden. Can you see the similarities??
Carl Larsson and his wife, Karin, lived in this country cottage at Sundborn, which the couple took over in 1888 from Karin’s father. He and his wife Karin are credited with the bright colors associated with the Swedish country style. The house was something of a revelation in rural Sweden at the end of the 19th century. The colors of red and green in the dining room, and yellow, blue and white in the living room, provide iconic images of simplicity that typifies the Swedish country style. Much like America's Norman Rockwell, Larsson became quite famous by depicting the images of everyday life in his artwork.
Both images above give you a flavor of what lies ahead in the home that is for sale. For more information on Carl Larsson and Karin click here.
Upon entering the North Carolina home you can feel the influence of Larsson. Although the traditional bold colors are not really my style or taste, when the colors are more subdued I find the style very charming. And, I do really like this entryway. The painted woodwork in a soft blue and the wonderful detailed painted flower swags are very pretty. I also like the pale yellow Swedish bench and very pale floors.
The living room is awash in blue and white. In any style and in any decor blue and white is always a classic. The fireplace is hand painted to elicit the feeling of an old fashioned Swedish stove. Again notice the wonderful hand painted walls. I think this room is lovely. Here is the dining room and it very much captures the true Swedish country feeling. Some things to note are the high beadboard walls capped with a shelf, and the use of teals, reds and yellows. If you look at the Larsson artwork above you can really see the similarities in architecture. Here is a close up - notice the Swedish words painted on the walls, the cupboard and red check.
The kitchen truly makes you step back in time. I must say I much prefer my white an gray kitchen, but I applaud the owners for almost perfectly capturing the feel of a true Swedish country kitchen.
Here is a close up of the detailed hand painting.
Here we see the more hand painting
Most striking to me is this entry way open to the second floor. Notice the spectacular railing detail.
This bedroom takes you back to the part of Swedish decor that resonates so strongly with me. the soft blues, whites and gauzy sheer curtains.
Finally the master bedroom. This room would look lovely in any house. It is the classic blue and white again, mixed with wonderful French inspired reproduction furniture. Of note is the fabulous Swedish bench at the foot of the bed.
Though not a home for everyone - I thought it was a good lesson in identifying what parts of the Swedish decor that you like and can use in your own home. To check out the real estate listing which has even more photos click here.