Thursday, August 28, 2008

Day 425

Photo by Keith Scott Morgan for Elle Decor

We're headed to Hilton Head for the weekend, see you Tuesday!

Happy Long Weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day 424's finds

I don't really think it's any secret that I like Martha Stewart. Love her or hate her, I just really appreciate her aesthetic, and let's face it, she's got some talented folks hard at work coming up with next greatest thing. What can I say, it's up my alley?!

Having said all of this, I really don't know how I'm just now aware of Martha Stewart Crafts. I've seen the display at Wal-Mart (and debated about buying the most lovely pair of $17 scissors with a perfect green handle), but the site is full of fun, easy-looking crafts and pieces.

This versatile garland is so cute! And it's on SALE! There is a happy birthday version, too.

Very cute gift wrap and accessories.

Of course there are plenty of Halloween tricks, and I'm sure Christmas will be up before we know it! Ahhhhhhhhh.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day 423's before and after

I was out of town (again) over the weekend, but Wes didn't seem to mind. Stuck indoors because of relentless rain (again), he busied himself by painting his massive desk.


And now, after:

It's a pale gray, and he's probably going to give the handles a once-over with black spray paint to glossy them up and make them darker.

After that, I've offered to tackle the extreme cord problem that's plaguing the room, then we'll add a couple of accessories to jazz things up.

This lamp is much more suited for a desk. Antique brass, please! And hey, the "smart" version is on sale for cheaper than the regular version -- I'm solving the cord problem already!

On the floor, I'd like to add a preppy-meets-practical rug from Dash & Albert. You'll notice Wes has an affinity for plaid by the background of his laptop.

Next, I'd add some reproductions of vintage cycling posters, here and here.

Wes has his own ideas for the office, so stay tuned for those and let us know what you think!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Day 422's details

Small details can really elevate a simple house (like our little rancher) to something more special, so as we're making changes and updating, I'm trying to keep the details in mind.

One of them is lighting. We have some really bizzare lighting in our house right now, and most of it is basically pointless. They produce so little light in all three bedrooms that they hardly ever get turned on (which is fine by me, I prefer lamps any way).

But a lamp isn't a solution to everything, especially in our narrow little hallway.

This hall leads from the breakfast room to all three bedrooms. Since Wes has declared that finishing it is now on his radar, I'm at work figuring out how to make it a little more, you know, pretty.

The wimpy little fake-brass flushmount fixture has got to go. But what to replace it with?? The ceiling is extremely low, so we definitely need something low-profile.

The low-profile version of the Pullman flushmount at Hudson valley Lighting is nice, and I don't think it would interfere too much in the hall. I like the more finish and the vintage style.

Also on the list, new doorknobs. The fake-brass-that's-actually-plastic isn't doing it for me! It'd be great to have something more substantial, like these (BTW, Lowe's carries something similar for less, but their Web site is under construction. I'll keep you posted).

After part of the wall is repaired, we'll paint it Grant Beige by Benjamin Moore, which is the same color in the living room. I'd like to hang something on the walls, the placement of the doors and the thermostat make it tricky. One thing I have decided in this process is that I'm not so sure I'd ever want to build a house. Besides my affection for old houses, I cannot imagine having to make all of these decisions at one time! Yikes.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Day 419's pretties

Photo by Tria Giovan for Southern Accents

It seems we're not the only ones who are into gray these days. This gray-green study by Gerrie Bremerman is a new favorite. Love the little bit of orange she included.

Photo by Erika Powell

And Erika hung her matches on a lovely gray wall (color is Sherwin Williams "Hardware") above a very fun striped sofa. It seems this moody color is taking on more cheerful roles.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Day 417's eye candy

Positively drooling over the super-swank Luxe Hotel on Sunset Boulevard designed by Mary McDonald.

I don't know what is up with me and pink lately, but YUM.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 416's quiz

Our marriage has not just been the blending of two lives, but also of two different styles and aesthetics. Wes has a clean lined, almost modern sensibility, and I, well, for all of my predictability, I'm kind of all over the place. I definitely lean in the direction of a classic, sometimes country look, but I always prefer things to be clutter-free and simple.

Yesterday I came across a Style DNA Test on and decided to settle my inner style debate, once and for all!

According to the results (based on my chosen collection of images, shown above), my style is somewhat officially "Simple Chic."

"This classic look ranges from the opulence of a Louis XV armchair (I've got two of those!) to the simplicity of a Georgian dining table. Fortunately, you don't need original antiques to recreate the look in your own home (phew!), even on a budget. Keep most things classically simple, adding some finishing flourishes with well-chosen details: a chandelier above the dining table, perhaps, or an ornate framed mirror or print (like the one I found last week?)."

My Deco then recommended a few simple chic rooms that I might like:

Other than the raspberry pillows, I could get on board with this living room.

The bedroom is pretty dead-on. Love the upholstered bed!

Dining room is a bit sparse, but the table and chair combo is fun! These rooms are a bit more modern than I tend to go, and don't reflect "me" the way that I think the thumbnails I chose do.

Again, a little bare in the office. I know I said I like things clutter-free, but a desk this clean is completely unattainable!

So that was fun! What is your Style DNA?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Day 415's project

I doubt that this will surprise many (if any) of you, but we had another busy weekend! We've been debating about what color to paint the office for weeks (months, even!) and finally bit the bullet on Saturday.

Wes originally wanted blue, but we couldn't agree on a shade, so we opted for gray. Ironically, the gray he chose turned out very blue! I swear we couldn't have chosen this color "blue" if we tried, so I'm glad that we took a chance and we both really like it. It's definitely dark and a departure from the rest of the house (which is what Wes wanted), and I think it will be really sophistocated in the end (which is what I wanted).

Well, it's looking gray in the photos, so who knows! And ick, that blue chair does not photograph well! A slipcover is on "the list" but might have to be custom as we're having a hard time finding one to fit its boxy shape. And we're thinking white roman shades (perhaps with greek key trim) for the windows.

We moved a more feminine dresser my dad gave us into the guest room, and brought Wes' old dresser (which he painted white) into the office. I love the way white pops off the dark walls. And clearly we need doors for the closet, but since Wes organized his clothes according to Roy G. Biv, it's kind of fun that it's open!

Wes discovered the wonder that is spray painting this weekend, as he spray this lamp and an A/C vent black.

The next project in the office is this massive desk. I've tried to get rid of it on a number of occassions, but it has managed to win me over. It is big. The finish is not pretty. Should we paint it? I'll have to take another picture so you can see.

Through the office door, you can see the lovely butter yellow that used to cover the office walls (and every other wall in our house, for that matter!). And yes, that is sheet rock mud on the wall in the hallway ... the to-do list is never-ending!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Day 412's project

Remember back in May when I totally teased you about a project? Well, sorry about that! It's just now coming to fruition, and several of you guessed correctly, we're reupholstering chairs!

These two French-inspired chairs sat in my great-grandmother's living room for many years, and as my granddad put it "no one ever sat in them." Later, they were moved to the family's lake house and sat in an out-of-the-way spot. Though I spent countless summer weekends there as a kid, I barely remember them. We acquired them in the spring as we were helping to clean out the lake house and replace the old, musty furniture.

After a few hours in the sunlight the musty smell is much better, but the msutard yellow chenille fabric leaves a little to be desired. They were made in the 1960s, after all. After much soul searching, I finally selected Paisley Linen by Suzanne Rheinstein for Lee Jofa in Slate Blue, and this morning shipped them off to the upholsterer (which I will tell you more about after I get them back safe and sound).

This is a project for work, and I'm excited about showing you the finished product -- both the chairs and the project!

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day 410's find

Oh, Wisteria. How you taunt me. Wouldn't this little chest be sooooo perfect in our dining room?! The bleached wood, the antiqued hardware ... I'm dying here.

And don't even get me started on how great this mirror would look above it! Oy.

Add a gorgeous lamp and ta-da! Wes' bar and my serving area is complete.

If you need us, we'll be peddling for pennies to pay for all of this ...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 409's questions

Where have I been? Why have I not discovered Fishs Eddy before? And when can I order some of these blue plates?!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 408

I mentioned last week that my mom brought us a dining room table as a housewarming. Well, here it is! She bought the table at auction a few weeks ago, but doesn't have a place for it in her house. What can I say, I get it honestly!

I'm a little perplexed about what kind of chairs I should be looking for. My first instinct would be something upholstered, but do I want all six to be upholstered? And there is the matter of the two chairs that flank the window. Should I just look for four dining chairs and pull those two up as host and hostess chairs when I need more seating? We've tried, and they are a bit short, but not unbearably so.

You might also notice that the desk-turned-dressing-table-turned-bar is gone. I sent it back to school with my sister (so now it's a desk again!), so I suppose we're on a casual hunt for something to replace it with.

Wes would like a surface to use as a bar, and I, well, I am undecided. A little chest would be nice, as Style Court mentioned. And then there is the matter of that green sideboard.

On the other hand, I think it would great to have something a little larger (but not quite as big as this) and paint the inside. I've got a little collection of white pitchers and cake stands that need some love, and I really, really like this image. I've seen several cheap-ish chippendale secretaries and such around town that I wouldn't mind taking a paintbrush to. Oh decisions, decisions ...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Day 405

All of these gorgeous pictures have me all excited to go home to my dad's farm in Tennessee tomorrow (as if I needed help with that).

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day 404's favorite colors

For the past several years, I have really been into blue and greens. My mom still finds this so strange, I guess because I used to gravitate to more autumn colors than summer colors. In any case, this change of heart came around the time I started gathering things for what is now our house, and it is filled with plenty of blues and greens. Not to mention, those were the colors of our wedding.

This 1890's Victorian on Long Island is right up my "new" alley. The simple shingle exterior alludes to the pretty, cheerful palette indoors.

In the living room, grasscloth-covered walls contribute plenty of texture. Velvet curtains seem like an odd choice for a summer house, but in this bright apple green, they are perfect. And oh that sofa! The pleats on the bottom of the slipcover are divine!

A little step ladder next to the sofa is filled with books, mementos from summers past, and of course, binoculars!

Designer Kate Swope papered the guest bedroom in a sweet floral by Schumacher.

Photos by Michael Luppino for Country Living

Day 403's accidental collection

Without really realizing it, I have amassed a pretty little collection of blue and green ceramics. None are vintage, two are actually from K-Mart (love that Martha Stewart Everyday collection!), and none of them cost more than $10. I didn't even realize how great they looked together until they were pulled out of their usual spots while we painted the living room and TV hutch.

Photo by John Coolidge for Country Living

When I spotted this pretty collection in Country Living, I had to know more -- the colors are so great! These are all Bauer and Pacific pieces, which are plentiful on ebay.

Perhaps Martha filled some with blue hydrangeas for her patio lunch?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 402's palette

I have always loved the combination of black and white. It's graphic without being scary, and interesting enough to use with just hints of other colors. When applied in different textures and with a bit of gray, it is totally dreamy.

A quick look at his portfolio reveals that Ron Marvin loves black and white as much as I do! He fearlessly accents with bold colors, such as yellow and red.

This 1834 house is home to the owner of Tine K Home, a European furnishing company. I love the painted brick with the black windows and doors. When paired with the classical architecture, it is sure to look chic forever.

Inside, ebonized floors and white walls set the tone for a simple palette that is more about texture and shape than color.

I've posted this image before, and I still love the black mini-hexagon tiles with the white porcelain sink. Graphic towels and a rug complete the look, even though the walls are taupe.

This dining room, which is (was?) in the Hamptons home of Sarah Jessica Parker, was one of the very first images that I tore from the pages of Elle Decor and saved (I still have it!). Black matte paint unifies an unmatched set of chairs and doesn't distract from the dramatic chandelier. This unfussy, unpretentious look is perfect for a beach house!

Photo by Paul Costello for Domino

Punches of black give this all-white bedroom just enough graphic interest.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Day 401's party recap

Maddie getting some love from the guest of honor

On Sunday, we hosted our first party! It was rather last-minute, but there was still plenty of preparation to be done. I love planning and decorating for parties, but I'm always surprised at how much time you spend preparing versus the time it takes to actually have the party. It's a very disproportionate equation, in my opinion. I really aspire to be a laid-back but still very capable and gracious hostess, so perhaps that will change as I perfect my skills.

But, I digress. This party was in honor of my baby sister, BA. It's a tradition in my family to have a little going away party when one of "the cousins" heads to college, and it just so happens that, so far, we've all headed to Auburn University. Our generation is the third in our family to be educated on the Plains of Auburn, so sending another down there is always accompanied by much fan fare and Orange and Blue.

I volunteered to host BA's better-late-than-never Auburn party (she took two years after high school to do a little Kingdom work) knowing that all 16 of us would be quite cramped in our houses, but it was still fun! It was also the first time most of the family had seen the house (hard to believe since they all live in town!), so most of the preparation for the party involved getting the house ready for it's first real close-up.

Mom brought a table (and then left it for us, as a house-warming gift!) and we set it up in the dining room. I got to use all of my Auburn serving dishes for the first time, which was fun. Wes manned the grill and made his secret recipe hamburgers, which were a big hit.

I had no idea our kitchen table would hold so many people!

All of "the cousins" decked out in our Orange and Blue, and Maddie, who thought the party was for her.

And now, as a special treat, I have recieved permission to share a secret with you!

Without further ado, Wes' Secret Recipe Hamburgers

2 parts ground chuck (or your preferred ground beef)
1 part sausage
(so, if you use 1 pound of beef, add 1/2 pound of sausage)
1 egg
Worchestershire sauce (or Dale's)
salt and pepper

Mix meat and egg, with clean hands (just jump right in and get dirty), in a large bowl. Add ketchup, mustard, Worchestershire and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, and grill over medium heat. Burgers must be well done due to the presence of sausage and egg.

It's hard to say how much of each to add, as we're still perfecting the proportions ourselves, but they are the most delicious burgers you will ever taste. Enjoy!