Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Holidays!

From my home to yours, wishing you all a very happy holiday!!
It has been a great gift to travel this road with you.
Thank you so much for reading, commenting and continuing to inspire me.
Wishing you peace and happiness in the New Year!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Living Room Evolution

I wanted to share with you the evolution of my living room.
(click on any photo to enlarge)
My living room is a warm and inviting room with windows on two sides and sun coming from a third side through the Conservatory. I have always been hesitant to cover the windows with any window treatments - as I hate to block any light. But, clearly my living room needed some softening. Above is the before.
After a long search for perfect Belgian linen and a tutorial from Joni at Cote De Texas on curtains (do click this link - it is a fabulous resource) the day came to have the drapes installed. I hired a professional drapery installer. I am a good at many things, but this area is best left to a professional.
Here is the after (please disregard the wreaths in the windows as they are part of my holiday decor.) The curtains are Parisian pleat tops, double window width with a trouser break bottom. The rods are hand forged iron and sent up from New Orleans by my dear designer friend, Millie. You can see the richness and softness the new window treatments bring to the room.
Here is the living room from another angle. You can see my cherished Mora clock to the right. For the story on how I acquired that clock click here. Notice the sweet Gustavian chair in the bottom right of the photo.
Here are the Gustavian chairs from another angle. The painting is a lovely work by Cape Cod artist, Anne Packard. We usually put our Christmas Tree here.
This angle is taken by standing at the Mora clock. Also notice my new "soft" seagrass rug- which really is very soft with white cowhide rug overlay - to learn more about cowhide rugs click here.
I added a few more holiday decorations in this shot. Notice the garden urns by the fireplace filled with berries, branches and evergreens.
I added more oversized mercury glass ornaments to compliment the ones on the mantel and also to pick up the sparkle from the mirrored trees in the Conservatory. I also love the texture and smell of the Rosemary Topiary trees.
Finally here is a close up of a reliquary and pedestal, as well as a close up of the garden urn. I love the warm colors and the way that the evergreens and mercury glass add a holiday sparkle to my room. Let me know your thoughts, should I add more holiday decorations or leave it as is?
(all photos property of Willow Decor)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Conservatory, Framed Intaglios & Holiday Decorating

One of my favorite rooms in my home is the Conservatory. It's sort of a Garden Room and Music Room in one.
(click on any photo to enlarge)
It sits directly off our Living Room. You can see a bit of the green Living Room couch in this photo. The Conservatory is fairly large as it houses both a seating area and baby grand piano.
My favorite features are the mouldings and the huge arched french doors which lead out to our brick patio. Sun pours in from three sides of this room, including the front windows in the living room. It has gorgeous light through out the day.
Here is how it looks most of the year. You can see the greenery through the windows. The light in the photo is not the best, but it gives you the general idea.
On the wall opposite the piano I recently purchased a set of nine intaglios from Things that Inspire's new business venture, Quatrefoil Designs. TTI was so helpful to me. We decided on a "gliver" frame color (a cross between silver and gold) which really compliments my other artwork in the adjacent living room. Instead of paper matting, TTI was able to use the remnants of my 100 year old antique linen from my Swedish furniture re-upholstery project, as the background mat for the intaglios. They turned out stunning.
Hanging them proved to be a tedious task. My sweet husband spent several hours making sure they were straight and symmetrical. He's so good at math and so patient! Thank goodness opposites attract!
The finished wall turned out better than I could have hoped. The texture of the antique linen mat is such a wonderful compliment to the Swedish furniture. I hope to eventually find some beautiful sconces to hang on either side.

The Intaglios are very high quality and the price is very reasonable. If you are thinking of adding a set to your home do check out out Quatrefoil Designs.
As I mentioned the French doors open to the backyard and the brick patio.

I love the mossy brick and old stone walls. Both are original to the house; over eighty years old.
I have posted so much about not over doing the holiday look but working to enhance your already beautiful rooms. I wanted to share with you some of my Holiday decorating. The "bones" of my house are so lovely. I also adore my antiques and do not want to have them get lost because of over zealous holiday decorating. Each year I edit and use less decorations, but it seems my house still looks festive. Here is the Conservatory as it looks most of the year. (Well actually without action figures, ipods or dog bones laying around)
Here is the room decorated for the Holidays, just after we got a few inches of snow. I have a collection of antique Mercury glass, mirrored and silver glitter trees. They look gorgeous on the piano and the pedestal. They catch the light and all the day the room just sparkles.
Here is a close up of the piano during the year. The crown sits on its own pedestal behind the piano.
I just replaced the fresh flowers with the silvery trees and relocated the crown to the table in the seating area. Notice the sparkles of light on the doors to the right. All day the light sparkles move around the room.
And here is a close up of the newly upholstered Swedish chair (read more here) and Tara Shaw Maison iron table (read more here). I just added another needlepoint holiday pillow and a mint julep glass with holiday greens for a festive touch. Simple, but beautiful.

Over the next few days I will post the rest of my house decked out for the holidays. And if you hear singing, its most likely me Fa la la la-ing!!

(all photos property of Willow Decor - please link)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Decorating in White - Part II

One of my most popular Holiday posts last year was the piece I did on Holiday Decorating in White. Why are we so drawn to decorating with white? Is the simplicity? Or perhaps the way it sets our everyday things off with a magical glow? My favorite part of decorating in this way is that it enhances your rooms rather than overpowering them. They become more elegant, more festive, more magical, but all the while still remain your same beautiful rooms.
(studio house design)
Let's try to picture the room above with out any Holiday decor. It is a lovely room - neutral with a bit of sparkle from the crystal lamps and silvery wall coverings. Perhaps the mercury glass is out all year. Now, look how the holiday accents add to the beauty of this room. The tree adorned in white, glass and silver ornaments and really becomes a focal point. Then add in the glittery branches and small wreath on the mantel; and the white roses and silver wrapped packages and you have an elegant room for holiday entertaining.
This homeowner must have a large home to have a room set aside for a winter wonderland. I generally do not like white flocked trees, but these look lovely as a backdrop for the large green tree and winter white Santa. Perhaps this is a sunroom or conservatory that rarely gets used in the winter months.
(Country Living)
I love this room. Here just a few items set off this neutral room with a holiday glow. The mantel is adorned with branches and a white wreath, while a white decorated tree stands front and center. I like the packages all wrapped in coordinating paper.
(studio house design)
Here is another room with silvery branches. I really like the ornaments hanging in front of the mirror and the addition of eucalyptus. Again a predominately white tree and coordinating wrapped packages add elegance.
This room comes alive with addition of white linen, white lights and greenery. The two trees on the mantel really add a lot of interest and sparkle,but my favorites are the white stockings by the fire and stocking adorned with greenery hanging on the shutters.
(Country Living)
Here is a simple vignette worth looking at because it can be adapted to any decor. This home owner has a lovely collection of white pottery, by adding small boxwood wreaths and a few ornaments you instantly create a holiday display.
(Country Home)
This room, adorned with long white chair skirts and gorgeous table cloth is perfectly accented with small burlap wrapped trees under glass. I love these Holiday terrariums and also the greenery tied with jute string on the backs of chairs.
(Country Living)
Another table set with items that bring the outdoors in. Here glass apothecary jars are filled with pine cones and small vases hold flowers and evergreens.
(Country Living)
I love the use of cast iron garden urns as vases. This one is lovely filled with lilies and flanked with evergreens.
(Country Living)
Here a white washed cast iron urn is filled with moss. Coordinating colored ornaments become more special displayed in silver bowl under glass. This simple effect can be added to any room and any color scheme.
(Country Living)
I love when people carry holiday decorating into the bedrooms. Here guests wake up to white trees, garland and white linen stockings draped along the footboard.
(Country Home)
Finally some cream and white antique linen stockings. Each tucked with sprigs of boxwood create a special holiday look that can be used in any area of your home.
For more ideas click on Holiday Decorating in White -Part 1. I love the simple and elegant style of decorating that enhances your home for the Holidays.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Seven Things You May Not Know

About a month ago a fellow blogger, Emmie of Aspirations of a Southern Housewife, gave me a Kreativ Blogger Award. Emmie writes a wonderful blog, do stop by and check it out!
Thank you Emmie for nominating me. You need to share seven things about yourself. I tend to be a rather private person, so I have been hesitant, but here they are in no particular order.
I am an incredible procrastinator but also an over achiever/Type A personality. This causes me lots of stress in my down time but very concentrated blocks of productivity during my work time.
I am half Italian and half Portuguese, My grandparents on both sides came to America in their youth and spoke only broken English. I love my heritage. I am very expressive and passionate about life, actually about almost everything.
Of all the areas of design my favorite is kitchen design and spacial planning. I really should have been a kitchen designer; perhaps someday I can play one on TV.
I have an incurable antique furniture habit. My basement and attic are filled with furniture that will someday find the perfect home - but until then happily reside in spaces above and below where we actually live.
I love puppets. I wanted to be a Puppetry major in college but my parents thought it was irresponsible. Instead, at their urging, I entered college as Accounting major (what a laugh!)
I am a mother of two beautiful children. They are amazing people and they make me laugh everyday. I can not imagine what my life would have been like with out them.
I believe we are all connected somehow and that we need to be good to one another. I try to be a better person every single day.

I am also suppose to nominate seven other blogs for this award, but I am interested in so many blogs I couldn't possibly choose. So, if you would like to share anything about yourself, please consider yourself nominated. I would love to know more about YOU!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday Decorating with Antique Grainsacks

Everyone who regularly reads Willow Decor knows my love (obsession?!) with antique grainsacks. So can you imagine how excited I was when textile artist, Kym Fraser, of 3 Fine Grains sent me photos of her new Antique Grainsack Holiday Collection.
Kym transforms authentic antique German grainsacks, hessian and french jute into gorgeous pillows and throws, but what to do with the small scraps of the precious material that is left over? Well Kym has designed these extra pieces of history into the most wonderful Christmas ornaments and stockings.
Above is her Christmas star made out of French Hessian with real antique glass buttons.
Another star fabricated from a striped German grainsack.
One of my favorite designs is the Dove. This lovely little gem is made from 100 year old antique linen and an antique glass button eye.
Hanging in front of the Dove is an antique button over an antique spoon ornament.
Here's another one for that special mother in your life - (I hope my children are reading this!) Plain small hearts and large hearts are also available, as well as partridges. Kym's ornaments range from $10 to $15.
My other favorite items in Kym's Holiday Collection are her antique hessian and French jute stockings.
They come with a ruffled or striped cuff made from 100 year old antique linen. The striped stocking is $65 and the Ruffled $75. Surely Santa would appreciate these beauties and pack them full of goodies!!
Finally, an antique German grainsack finds new life as Christmas tree. Contact Kym directly for more information on this one of kind item. Notice that Kym also used jute upholstery webbing as garland for her tree. You can learn more about using jute upholstery webbing in home decor in my post here. Now here is the exciting part; contact Kym between now and December 6 and mention Willow Decor in comment line and you will receive 10% off your purchase. If you are interested in any of these items please contact 3 Fine Grains. Happy decorating!!!