Thursday, April 29, 2010

Beautiful Baths, Creative Storage

Almost every one needs more storage in their bathroom. Perhaps we all need to get a bit more organized, but if you are clutter challenged like me, I wanted to show you some wonderful baths by designer, Molly Frey. You may remember a previous post on a fabulous coastal house by Molly here.
I love the bath above. Let's take a look at some of the elements that make this bath fantastic. First, the overall design with the sink sitting upon an open turquoise glass tiled cabinet - a perfect spot for storing extra towels. The wall mirror is framed out with sconces adding the perfect lighting.
A capiz shell chandelier adds a bit of whimsy to the space. I imagine the french doors lead you outdoors to a secluded hot tub - wishful thinking? I also love symmetry and this bath is a great example.

Of course Molly's marble baths are what generally catch my eye. Here is lovely example that was published in Traditional Home Magazine. The middle cabinet is open - again a nice spot for baskets or extra towel storage. Notice that the cabinets have "feet" to give the sink base the illusion of free standing furniture. I also love the sconce in this bath.

The tub is tucked under the eaves of the home in front of a gorgeous window and next to it we see another area for storage.
Here is a more streamlined, contemporary feeling bath. Two small boxes topped with limestone add the additional storage here. By not putting small doors on these, the look stays very open and contemporary - Interesting!
A more traditional design also shows you some ways to increase storage. Here the cabinets flanking the pedestal sinks sit directly on the counters. Unlike a kitchen, counter space in the bath can be more narrow to support your toiletries. The small ledge behind the sinks also add a space for lotions and creams.
Here we see a shallow medicine cabinet with mirrored doors built into the design. Not only is this cabinet functional, it becomes a wonderful focal point. This bath also has "feet" on the cabinet base.
The final bath has this cute little cabinet on the left side. A great spot for a razor and shaving cream - or perhaps it hides electric outlets and a blow dryer.
Above are several ideas to add a bit storage to your bath. To check out more of Molly Frey's work click here to her website or here to her blog!
(all photos property of Molly Frey)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Home for the Vellum Book & New Giveaway!

What a wonderful surprise to hear from Donna of The Decorated House house today. Donna was the winner of the Vellum Book so generously donated by Kym Fraser of 3 Fine Grains.
It has found a lovely home among Donna's other antique books and I think it looks stunning!! You can read all about the book's new home here. Congratulations again, Donna!
And, don't forget enter to win Dominique Browning's new book Slow Love. Head over to her blog, slow love life, and come back to WD and leave a comment! We will announce a winner on Sunday!! Read more about Dominique's exclusive interview with WD here!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Exclusive Interview with Dominique Browning & Giveaway!

We are so fortunate to be able to speak to Dominique Browning, former editor of House & Garden Magazine!
Since House & Garden, Dominique has been very busy writing books and recently joined the world of blogging. Her new book, Slow Love - how I lost my job, put on my pajamas and found happiness, is a wonderful touching memoir of her journey after leaving House & Garden and her steps toward self discovery. With thoughtful, honest insights she shares her struggle toward self awareness and peace. You celebrate her small triumphs, and share her fears as she moves forward into new, uncharted territory. Traveling along with her you are able to also slow down and rediscover the wonder and beauty of the world around us. Her words resonated so strongly with me that I just couldn't put the book down. I loved it!
So imagine how thrilled I was when Dominique was able to share with us a few more of her thoughts and insights on design and enjoying the process.
WD: You have been watching home design trends for many years. What do you consider timeless and classic?

DB: I've decided it doesn't have to do with style or period--things Baroque and things ultra modern can be classic. It has to do with integrity: things well made, and designs to themselves, fully exploring and expressing what they are. So, an elegant modern sofa by Billy Baldwin looks great now, and did fifty years ago. And works in a contemporary room, or in a room full of Fine French Furniture. WD: What is the most favorite room in your home -what details make it so special to you?

DB: Any room that has books in it, and a comfortable place to read. The details I crave: a table near a chair for that cup of tea or glass of wine. A soft, thick throw for my knees, or around my shoulders. A jewel of a pillow to brighten the air, and fabric that is not scratchy or irritating. And, finally, what I call an intimate landscape nearby--some small configuration of vase, sculpture, stone or bird's nest--anything, found or precious or both, that your eye can rest on, and your imagination can wander over.
WD: What are your favorite places to find inspiration for both your home and garden?

DB: I LOVE consignment shops, and have found treasures galore in what people are casting off, particularly if they happen to be in wealthier neighborhoods!
WD: With the struggling economy and many home owners having to stay longer in their homes than they may have wanted; what advice would you give to them regarding refreshing their spaces?

DB: Staying longer in a home would never be my problem! The longer you are home, the better your house becomes. Keep adding things you love, and they don't have to be purchased. They can be found objects, from walks in the woods or on the beach. Of course, an ever-changing pile of photography books goes a long way. And so does simply reupholstering ONE armchair. Or, getting a new set of towels in a vibrant color that you never would have used before. Amazing how small things make a big difference.

WD: How have you made the transition from critiquing rooms to really enjoying them?

DB: I have always enjoyed my rooms, and I'm still critiquing rooms! Just silently, muttering under my breath! WD: So often I hear from friends and clients "I just want to get this room done!" What tips can you share to help us enjoy the process as well as the outcome?

DB: First, start ripping pages out of magazines, pages with ideas that catch your eye. Don't edit yourself ahead of time. If your pulse quickens, rip. Then look at what you've got, find shared themes, and head in that direction. NEVER keep working with someone who makes you feel insecure, dumb, frightened or confused. FIRE AWAY! Don't wait for a crisis. This is when breaking up is easy to do. And enjoy it at your own pace--some people need to work slowly, one piece at a time. Others want that "magic wand" feeling--everything done at once. Stay true to yourself. And do not let yourself get talked into living with something you don't like. You wouldn't do that with a partner, would you? So why would an armchair be any easier?
WD: One of the many themes in your new book is your fear of change and the unknown. What words of advice do you have for others who share those fears, and how can they make fear become a positive catalyst?

DB: Don't run from fear--that's what I learned hardest. Stay with it, examine it, look deep into that dark heart. And start learning and changing. I have some bad habits (like always beating up on myself, internally--that horrid little voice that says nothing is good enough) and those habits kept me in a semi-fearful state. So I have had to literally talk myself through them, and train myself to change my ways of thinking.

WD: What are the most important things you have learned about yourself while writing your new book and blog?

DB: I LOVE blogging! I resisted it for years and years, back in HG days! I guess I just wasn't ready for it. So I learned something very important, both in my new online writing and in writing the book. Don't hold back. Life is short. Make the most of whatever gives you pleasure.
One of things I have missed the most from House & Garden is Dominique's Editorial Letters. I am so thrilled that her new blog, slow love life brings her conversations and touching insights back to us again.
As I mentioned, Slow Love, is a wonderful book! We are so fortunate that Dominique has given Willow Decor a copy for one of our readers. (or you can purchase it here) Just visit her new blog, slow love life, and come back here and leave a comment. Next Sunday I will choose a random comment and send off the book. I know you will enjoy both her blog and her book as much as I have.
Finally a very special thank you to Dominique Browning for sharing her time and thoughts with us! So thrilled she part of the blog family!!
(Photo credit: NY Times, House & Garden,Coastal Living, Iowa Garden, House & Garden AU)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Lessons from a Grand Home

One of the wonderful things about writing Willow Decor is the opportunity to get to know Architects, builders and other designers. Like any master skill, if you look closely and listen to these talented individuals you can learn an amazing amount. Master architect, Tom Catalano of Catalano Architects, was kind enough to send some photos of a house he recently finished. While the house clearly exceeds the price range most of us can afford, reflecting more closely on the design, we can learn a great deal about how to add details and features into our own more modest homes, for a stunning effect. Here is the exterior of the home. Of course it is beautiful, but interesting things to note are the the roof lines and the use of multiple materials. Stone, cedar siding and wood accents and doors are featured prominently. Additionally notice the curved roof lines, copper roofing and copper accents. The cobblestone driveway also adds to the wonderful feeling outside. In your own home try to assess if you can add any one of these features to your existing exterior. A new wood door or cobblestone edging along your driveway or walkway can instantly elevate your exterior.
Of course some things are difficult and expensive to change once in your home- like banisters. But take a look at this entry. The iron spindles add a such a lovely accent to space. Also notice all the mouldings in this area. They are so beautiful. The addition of moldings is another way to add grandness to your spaces.
The gorgeous living room has all the architectural features to make it a showplace: limestone fireplace, curved large windows, beautiful mouldings. Here the mouldings have been painted a soft seafoam, rather than white and become more prominent in the room. Paint is great tool to use to call more attention to a wonderful feature in your room - who could forget the black painted mantel from the movie It's Complicated (photo link here)?
The dining room color echos the living room colors and provides a beautiful flow. Also notice the light fixtures. I love sconces in a dining room. They provide ambient light that can really help create a spectacular atmosphere. Also notice how the beautiful windows are not covered with heavy draperies, but allow the light to flood the room.
Thea kitchen is an area where details abound: the ceilings are coffered, the cabinets have all the extras, not even the tile was overlooked.Notice the detailed inlay on the cabinet crown moulding and the extended sides of the cabinets. Also of note it is the wood wall moulding which highlights the arched opening into the breakfast/dining area.
I imagine that wall moulding was used to off set this moulding detail entering the family room. The wood trim around the stove hood is interesting. Here is a close up of the tile design. Although the center piece is most likely expensive, the tiles that are not embellished are generally more affordable. Adding decorative tiles in strategic places, can give you an expensive, beautiful look for a reasonable cost. This can be done in your current tiled space, by carefully removing specific tiles and replacing the opened area with something more dramatic. Another doorway with wall moulding that looks into the breakfast/dining area. I really love the raised fireplace. So cozy in the winter. Notice the color of the kitchen ties in nicely with the color of brick. Off the entry, which you can see through the doorway is the library. Who wouldn't love to be surrounded by such fabulous wood and furnishings? Notice the ceiling - a deeper russet than the kitchen. Painting a ceiling in this tone really envelopes you in the room. (Have you noticed I am really into painted ceilings lately?)
Wonderful marble bath with wall mounted faucet.
This house has it all, including a to-die-for mudroom. The beadboard walls are so inviting. I love the branch like pulls. Also notice the floor; the slate is set on the diagonal which will make the space seem larger, and then edged horizontally, interesting details!
Here a back stairway brings you to the second floor. I suspect it is off the mudroom due to beadboard walls. I love beadboard in a newer home. It adds a nice touch by adding depth and a sense of age.
This is an entry to seating area -not sure which floor it is on, but I included it to show the wall moulding detail. It is interesting to me how well the rosettes mimic the kitchen backsplash tile. I love when details of one room are echoed in a different way in another room and this is a great example. Stunning!
The master bedroom is tranquil and beautiful - again gorgeous windows and french doors to private patio flood the room with light. The leather headboard provides a nice balance to the stunning wood ceiling.
Finally the opulent master bath. So much space and light - a dream with private make up area, separate sinks and glorious soaking tub! Small glass shelves dividing the vanity spaces provide privacy and openness at the same time.
This house is an exceptional example of classic home design. Though we may never be able to live in such a home, there are many small elements we can take from this and use in our own spaces. Take a fresh look at your room. Can you add some crown moulding, paint the ceiling or the mantel, add some tile? Outdoors can you edge the walkway with cobblestones or create a pebble path in the garden? Small changes can bring big impact. Let me know if any of this inspires you!

(all photos by Eric Roth and property of Catalano Architects - do not copy without permission)

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Journey to the Finish

I do not mention my husband often on Willow Decor, but today is a special day! After many months of training (getting up at 5:00 am), Dave is running the Boston Marathon. It's wonderful how opposites attract! Dave has a passion for running (while I have a passion for chocolate)! Training happens all through New England's dark, cold winter and his commitment to this goal has been really amazing!!!
Dave is running with Miles for Miracles to support the Children's Hospital. Many of us have been touched by their experiences at Children's Hospital in Boston. So, if you feel inclined, click here to read more about the work they doing and consider sending them a donation.

And, if you happen to be on the Marathon route today - send a shout out to Dave as he runs by!! We are so proud him!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Exciting News!! & A Thank you!!!

Some exciting news!! Willow Decor will be featured in Romantic Homes Magazine's July issue! It will be on the newstands May 25!! More to come when it gets closer, but wanted to share this exciting news!!
Special thanks to Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for featuring Willow Decor on her Feature Friday Series! Click here to read the article and click here to enter her giveaway. Thank so much Rhoda!
Have a great weekend everyone!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

More of the Maine Beach Cottage

I wanted to share with you more of the photos Jamie Salomon of Salomon Photography, sent to me of Interior Designer, Francine O'Donnell's wonderful Beach House in Maine. Of course the blue ceilings in some of the rooms really caught my eye, but it's the whimsical, vintage decor that kept me wanting to see more.
From dining room above you can see the kitchen (and the beautiful blue ceiling) through the doorway. Notice the fabulous door moulding.
I like the use of the garden table with marble top and a mix of two different chairs. The addition of old chippy garden urns and the crystal chandelier adds to the warm, relaxed feeling.
Here you see a better photo of the table. Adding a thin stone piece on the radiator creates an instant shelf and display area for the owner's garden urns. Painted antique desk continues to enhance the cottage feel.
What an incredible eye O'Donnell has! She truly has a gift for combining vintage objects into beautiful vignettes.
Here is a closer look. Urns, statues, marble, painted tables, iron furniture, distressed mirror!! Fabulous!!
An old stove becomes a table for two antique garden chairs!! So many great ideas!!
Here is a great shot of the dining room looking in from the living room and beyond into the kitchen.
Gray walls continue from the dining room into the living room and provide a great backdrop for the interesting artwork. Clever mix of florals and painted antiques continue the cottage vibe.
Another view shows more vintage mirrors and books.
Another stone piece creates a radiator shelf.
Garden statue brings additional whimsy to this room.
The bedroom has a gorgeous antique iron bed.
Again we see a garden table base topped with stone - I love the artwork.
One of my favorites is this whimsical ampersand "framed" with two vintage frames. So creative!!
Finally the bath with industrial cart holding bath products and towels. Above vintage hand mirror becomes an art piece on the wall!
Francine O'Donnell's Maine Beach cottage is filled with great ideas for bringing a more whimsical flair to your decor!! Thank you Francine and Jamie for sharing this great home with us!