Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 489: Happy Halloween

Spooky, creepy and scary isn't really me, but I do love these dark, dark walls in the home of J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons' 1890 Brooklyn brownstone.

Chalkboard paint in the master bedroom? Hey -- it works!

Erika pointed out that Jenna sprayed the new brass fixtures with salt water to give them a patina to match the reclaimed herringbone floor (swoon!). What a clever idea!

Have a safe and happy Halloween, everyone!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day 488's budget compromise

I realize I risk sounding like a total snob, but I like nice candles. I like that they come in pretty, simple glass jars that don't have pictures of clothes drying in the sunshine or a barrel of apples. I like that they smell fresh, but not too flower-y, herb-y but not too kitchen-y (did you get that?). And, of course, it's a major bonus that they (usually) burn uniformly and I don't have to resort to burning a votive in the middle of a wax column to get my "money's worth."

Oh the times, they are a'changing! I burned the last of my "good" candles a couple of weeks ago, and finally got desperate enough one night at Wal-Mart to give the MainStays Mulled Cider a try (for a mere$3.48). It smelled delightful enough, but I was still skeptical. I am happy to report that I have been totally delighted with my cheap new find! You can see that I've burned at least two thirds of it, and look how nice and even it is! And it smells just like fall.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 487: Blackberry Farm kitchen

Apologies if you've already seen this, but Granny Smith Green has recently added her images of the kitchen at Blackberry Farm to her series, and it is exactly as you would expect: Understated, tasteful, and designed to take full advantage of the farm views!

The marble countertops aren't glaring white, but compliment the gray cabinets, which is a nice change from the ordinary. What look like white porcelain knobs really make a statement on the cabinets and drawers. A butcher block island contributes a little texture, and the green watering cans on the bottom shelf are so charming!

Above, antiqued brass pendants are a stylish alternative to stainless. The mixed finishes (brass pendants, stainless appliances and porcelain hardware) keep the room from looking flat.

To take full advantage of the views, upper cabinets were left off. This seems to be a growing trend, but I'm not so sure I'm organized enough to pull it off. You'd definitely need ample pantry space to make this work in a real kitchen.

I've also been seeing lots of backsplashes like this one recently. The miniature subway-style tile is a fun alternative (click on the photos to get a better look). Simple mouldings and beautiful wood paneling like this are seen throughout the house.

Opposite the big, beautiful Viking range is a pretty little hutch that holds stoneware made by Southern artists. Granny Smith tells us that the beige pieces were all handmade in Tennessee.

Thanks again for sharing, Granny Smith!

And if you still want more of the Farm, Southern Accents had a big spread full of beautiful photography in the September-October 2008 issue.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day 486: feeling the autumn chill

We woke up our first frost this morning, which is probably a little hard to believe for some of you! Even after putting our duvet into its cover (we've been sleeping under the empty cover all summer) I still managed to convince Wes to turn the heat on last night (we made it five days until his November 1 goal).

As much as I totally hate being cold, I really love the cool, crisp air -- probably because it justifies my desire to wear a scarf everyday!

What is it about this weather that brings out a serious desire to be on a farm in me? Luckily, Martha Stewart shared some images of the first frost on her's to satisfy me (that, and the pumpkin spice Coffee Mate in my coffee).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 485's easy makeovers

Photo by Pieter Estersohn, Interior by Amelia Handegan

House Beautiful offers a list of 101 easy home makeovers, and I think it's full of great ideas! Well, some are easier than others, but it's still a fun (and quite comprehensive) list, and a good excuse to post some pretty interiors I've been hanging onto.

1. Buy something Lucite. One piece will make any style room tastier — it's like adding salt.

2. If a room has three or more pairs of anything, put one half of a pair away. Too many pairs, too stiff.

3. If you have a modern room, make yourself buy one traditional thing, like an old ceramic bowl or brass candlesticks with beeswax candles.

4. If you have a traditional room, make yourself buy one modern thing, like a steel table. (Featured in the magazine: Platner Side Table, $662;

5. Paint a white paper lampshade your favorite color — the color you'll never find in the lampshade department.

6. Wallpaper the inside of your bedroom closet. (Featured in the magazine: Butterfly in Jubilant, to the trade;

7. Use leftover wallpaper to line the drawers of your bedside table.

8. Get rid of all the pieces of furniture you're afraid to sit on or use.

9. Find a tired old bargain brass chandelier at a thrift shop or antiques shop. Spray paint it white. Or a color — if you have courage.

10. Every room needs a little skin: Add a pillow or ottoman in an animal print. Try Eric Cohler's Dinisen for Lee Jofa. (Featured in the magazine: To the trade; Faux zebra pillow (shown), $423;

11. Buy a photography or botanical book, take a razor blade, and cut it up. It's not sacred. Put a dozen pages (the more, the better) in matching inexpensive frames, and hang them in a row or a block. Wow.

12. Add a little architecture: Buy wall brackets and hang them above your living room doorways, like keystones. (Featured in the magazine: Carved Wood Bracket #1853, to the trade;

13. Replace half your family photos with new pictures. Gather them from all around your house and group them in one place where you'll really enjoy them.

14. Buy a big pretty tray — try lacquer. Take all the things on your coffee table and arrange them on the tray for a whole new pulled-together look.

15. Pull apart a set of twin beds and bedside table. Rearrange them in an L-shape, head to head, with the bedside table in the corner.

16. Order an inexpensive big round table and skirt. Use it like your attic: hide all your junk underneath. (Try and splurge on overnight delivery.)

17. Buy flowers for your bedside table instead of your living room. Just a few buds in a small vase. Just for you.

Photo by Erica George Dines for Atlanta Homes & Lifestyle

18. Add a long bench to the end of your bed — it will look much more finished. Put a marbled-paper box full of your old love letters on it!

19. Throw a party and see where your guests move all the chairs. They're telling you something. See if you can't leave your furniture the way they rearranged it.

20. Conquer your fear of flower arranging. Anybody can arrange one type of flower in one color, cut short. Buy twice as many as you think you should — too much of a good thing always works with flowers. Put any extra stems in small glasses.

21. Take a white garden bench and paint it the color of your favorite flower.

22. Put a real rug, not a bathroom rug, in front of your bathroom sink. It will hold up just fine. (Featured in the magazine: Siena Rose, from $54;

23. Rearrange your living room. Instead of one big seating area in the middle of the room, break it up into two smaller, cozier seating areas.

24. Take a wallpaper you've always secretly wanted — but were afraid the pattern was overwhelming. Paper only the wall behind your bed, like a headboard. Or paper the ceiling if the room is small and the paper's light.

25. If you have a full bookcase, remove one shelf of books and treat it like a shadow box.

26. Out of season, stack your leftover wood — artfully — in your fireplace.

27. Instead of one shower curtain, buy two. You'll love the fuller look — and they will keep the floor drier.

28. Pick three or four books with the prettiest dust jackets and display them face-forward on your bookshelves. (Featured in the magazine: Peter Lindbergh: Untitled 116, $120;

29. Open that coffee table book! Instead of displaying the cover, open it wide to your favorite page and let it really take over your coffee table.

30. Buy a large map, poster, or print and cut it into equal parts. Frame all the sections and reassemble them on the wall.

31. Pull apart a big inexpensive mixed bouquet from the supermarket. Group similar flowers and put them in small vases. You'll have some for every room.

32. Instead of buying complete matched sets of towels (something's always missing at the store), buy different shades of one color and mix it up. (Featured in the magazine: Company Cotton Towels, from $5 each;

33. Go on and create an instant collection. There are 604 white pitchers for sale at this very moment.

34. Gather all your accessories that are the same color from every room in your house. Don't worry how they relate or what you bought to go with what. all of them together on a tabletop.

35. Buy a big modern shallow bowl, fill it with photos, and put it on your coffee table. An instant conversation starter.

36. Hang longish pictures in the dead spaces over doors. Pick strong images you can see from far away.

Interior by Pheobe Howard

37. Split up the pair of lamps on either side of your sofa. Buy a floor lamp for your sofa, and use the pair in different corners of your room. (Featured in the magazine: Amazon Lamp, $129; Cresswell Lighting: 800-688-2579)

38. Paint the inside of your kitchen cabinets a color that sets off your dishes and glasses. Everything will look cleaner and more finished.

39. Take your jewelry out of the box. Put all your bracelets together in a big bowl and drape all your necklaces together over a bust. It worked for Coco Chanel.

40. Tired of the same-old-same-old matte-finish walls? Roll on a topcoat of Ralph Lauren's Candlelight paint and they'll have a soft new glow. (Featured in the magazine: Candlelight topcoat, $40 per gallon;

41. Use your best silver and glasses every day. What are you saving them for?(Featured in the magazine: Audubon sterling silver 4-piece place setting, $640;

42. Put a table next to your tub. You wouldn't have a sofa or chair without a table, would you?

43. Change your house numbers. (Featured in the magazine: Classic House Number, $9.99 each;

44. Change every light switch in your house to a dimmer. Including the bathrooms. Now add a dimmer to every lamp.

45. Remove three things from every room in your house. You'll feel liberated.

46. Invest in a set of matched wooden hangers for your closet. You will feel like the most organized person in the world. (Featured in the magazine: Premium walnut hardwood hangers, from $13 each;

47. Paint just the front edges (the "piping") of your bookshelves. Or tack on a fabric trim.

48. Hang small pictures at the corners where bookshelves meet.

49. Remove all the pictures scattered around one room and rehang them on one wall, together — "salon style."

50. Tack nailheads on a plain, inexpensive ottoman.

51. Create your own lantern: Fill a bamboo or wood birdcage with LED pillar candles of different heights.

52. Install battery-powered lights in all your closets. You don't need an electrician or a carpenter!

53. If you always buy white candles, next time buy black.

54. If your kitchen is cramped, remove your upper cabinets and install open shelving. Just as much storage space, but without the bulk.

55. Hang two large mirrors on opposite walls. You won't recognize the space. (Featured in the magazine: Large Lily mirror in white, $1725;

56. Make a slipcover for your headboard, even if it's wood. Ever consider shocking pink?

57. Love the frame but hate the picture? Dump the picture and have a piece of new "antique" mirror cut to fit it.

58. Paint the ceiling of a white room a pale, pale blue or gray. It will feel as if there's no ceiling at all.

59. If you have a room with a low ceiling, put up striped wallpaper or curtains — it will feel a foot taller. (Featured in the magazine: St. Charles Stripe wallpaper in blue on white, $49 per roll;

60. Iron your bed linens with scented water.

61. For your entry hall, paint an aluminum flower container and fill it with lots of umbrellas, all the same color.

62. Decorate under a console table. Dress up all that empty space with big inexpensive objects in dramatic shapes. Or put an ottoman there; who ever has enough seating?

63. Add a deep-colored silk lampshade to your living room. Red, turquoise — it's like buying jewelry. (Featured in the magazine: Empire Shade in Rose, $153;

64. Replace your ten-ton coffee table with two ceramic Chinese garden seats. Or a big ottoman with room for everything and your feet, too. (Featured in the magazine: Garden Stool, $395;

65. Change your heavy curtains for sheers. Your room will still look soft, but much more modern.
66. Cover the books in your bookcase with white or brown kraft paper, and write the titles on the jackets with a fountain pen in a really personal handwriting.

67. Turn a tabletop into a drinks table. Choose liquor bottles for their shapes and labels, then buy lots of glasses and an ice bucket. Do everything in one color: Picture blue bottles and glasses on a blue tray.

68. Pile all your rugs in one place. Now start all over and put them someplace new: Move the bedroom rug to the living room, and vice versa.

69. Buy handfuls of jewellike beads at a craft store. Put them in a big glass apothecary jar or footed vase.

70. Tired of your red coral? Spray it black!

71. Have a long leopard runner made for your hallway. Or get one ready-made: Leopard runner, $595;

72. Buy a sweet (or sexy) folding screen, put your sofa in front of it, and hang pictures from the screen — pretend it's a wall.

73. Instead of centering one big piece of art over your bed, hang one really small piece of art. It will have even more impact.

74. Bring your favorite piece of outdoor furniture indoors. (Featured in the magazine: Café table, $780;

75. Put a hint of color in your trim. Instead of white, paint it the wall color cut in half with white.

76. Upgrade your desk: Buy two dozen of one color pencil and fill your pencil cup. (Featured in the magazine: Faux Shagreen Pencil Set in Orange, $30;

77. Trim your window frames with grosgrain ribbon. A glue gun will do it.

78. Buy all the inexpensive mirrors you find at yard sales, paint all the frames one color, and hang them together.

Miles Redd's front door (at least I think so ...)

79. Paint your front door a new color: How about Farrow & Ball Minster Green or Pitch Blue? 33 per .75 liter (exterior eggshell finish);

80. Mix fresh herbs into your flower arrangement, instead of florist filler.

81. Buy a pair of sconces that take candles. No need to hire an electrician, and the prettiest light you'll ever have in a room. (Featured in the magazine: Sconce, $275 each or $550 per pair;

82. Have mirrors cut to fit inside your window frames. Your room will sparkle.

83. Arrange your flowers in anything but a vase: Go through your pantry and find a pitcher, a tureen, a mug, a teacup.

84. Take the doors off a closet, tuck a dresser into it, and frame it with curtain panels.

85. Gather up your family photos. Group your black and white ones only with other black and white ones. The same for your color ones. They look sloppy when they mingle.

86. Move your sofa and coffee table away from the fireplace. Try two club chairs with a big ottoman between them. Much cozier.

87. Change just two knobs on a chest of drawers for a look that's really special and personal. (Featured in the magazine: Rose quartz knob, from $26;

88. Hang a mirror in your outdoor room.

89. Buy some inexpensive bamboo side chairs, spray them a yummy color, scatter them around your living room. Cheaper than cashmere throws, and much more useful.

90. Create "wainscoting" by painting the bottom third of your wall a different, slightly darker color.

91. Buy a shocking pink or acid green throw. They're neutrals. You'll see.

92. Love your table but tired of cleaning (and cleaning) the clear glass top? Change it to milk glass or mirror. Or paint the underside.

93. Does your big round table just not look right? It needs something tall in the middle, or it will always look restless.

94. Rearrange your fireplace mantel. Instead of one candlestick at each end, mass lots of them on one side. Remember: Odd numbers make the best arrangements.

95. Hang a picture on a mirror.

96. Get your sofa off the wall. Pull it into the center of the room with a long table or desk behind it, a lamp, books. Accessorize!

97. Find a really charming child's chair and tuck it next to your fireplace.

98. Get rid of your ancient, clumsy stereo equipment. Buy an iPod and a dock. It's all the sound you need. (Featured in the magazine: Bose SoundDock Portable Digital Music System, $399;

99. Find a wallpaper with flowers or big paisley teardrops, cut them out, and paste them on your walls your own way.

100. Rearrange your bedroom: Center your bed in front of a big window, framing the headboard. Now the sun won't wake you up any more.

Interior by Phoebe Howard

101. And when all else fails: Buy something purple. Anything! A pillow, a throw, a bunch of flowers. Nothing wakes up a room like a little purple.

Sincere apologies for falling off the face of the earth last week! I was in a wedding over the weekend, and got in a little over my head trying to tie up some loose ends -- both at home and at work -- before leaving town. But I'm back now, so thanks for sticking around!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 479: guest bedroom idea

The Matine Toile Collection is back at Pottery Barn! (Did it ever go away? I'm not sure ...) Wes loved this when we were registering for our bedding, which puzzled me, as I have always considered toile a pretty feminine print. For whatever reason, we opted for something a little more simple in the end (a solid matelasse duvet), but I still really like it -- especially since it's now offered in purple!

I'm thinking a sham and a quilt would be pretty with the soft green walls I'm leaning toward for the room (for this month, anyway!). Now if only the lilac options will appear on e-bay ...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 478

Whew, Monday already?! At least we've got this pretty room to admire.

Photos by Jason Bernhaut for Cottage Living

Grab a copy of the November-December issue of Cottage Living to see her dining room redo, too!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Day 475's pretty

Love this centerpiece by Layla at The Lettered Cottage.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 474's ideas

I was browsing online today, and came across this. I'd much rather decorate with natural materials than fakey things (and then have to store them after the holidays), and I think this look could be really easily recreated with easy-to-find things -- and it'd probably be cheaper, too!

Photo by Kindra Clineff for Country Living

I'd cut a hole in the top of some "Baby Boo" pumpkins (picked up for $.69 each at my local Publix) and insert a white candle.

Sheet moss can be found at craft or garden stores and used until it's too dry and crumbly. Then I'd add some acorns, pine cones, sweet gum balls, and pretty leaves from my yard (and maybe the neighbor's, too...).

Guests would write what they are thankful for on plain manila gift tags and hang them on the tree.

Now, the tree is giving me some problems. Bryn found something that might work, but at $159, it's not the budget-friendly option I had in mind. I would probably gather some shapely branches from the yard and anchor them with sand and rocks inside a pretty urn or heavy vase.

Too bad Thanksgiving at our house is years away!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Day 473

She's at it again. Gosh that table is pretty!

More of her goodness here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 472's question

Photo by Angela Moore for Domino

Have you ever made a lamp out of something that wasn't a lamp when you found it? Did you do it yourself or have it done?

Please share.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day 471

It's been a year since my mom moved from our farm (not the one you're seeing above!) in Tennessee to Birmingham, and though I am very, very glad to have her here, we all miss the farm. After ten years, Tennessee really stole a piece of my heart, and I'm always happy to be back in the rolling hills -- especially this time of year.

I was getting a little nostalgic about my "home state" this morning, which made it even more sweet -- and ironic -- that I ran across these amazing images of Blackberry Farm on a blog I hadn't visited before called Granny Smith Green. She visited this summer and came back with hundreds of photos; I'm going to share some of the new farmhouse on the property (which is the one you see above).

But first, a little background, courtesy of Traditional Home: "Blackberry Farm is a 4,200-acre working farm in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, near Walland, Tennessee. Kreis and Sandy Beall bought the property in 1976 and over the years have turned it into an expanse of guest rooms and cottages that has been named one of the best small hotels in America.

Today their son Sam runs the property, although Kreis still directs the design of all the guest rooms, often with the help of Atlanta designer Suzanne Kasler. She strives to make each room unique, "because I'd never design two rooms the same in my own home," she says.

In addition to its beautiful setting, Blackberry Farm is known for its outstanding food. Much credit for this goes to Sam, who attended culinary school and also worked in the hotel, restaurant, and wine business in California."

The farmhouse living room, loaded with linen and a relaxing palette.

Here is the same room, as it appeared in Traditional Home. You can see the colors better here, but I think I prefer the more sparse, less styled version seen above -- though this looks very Suzanne Kasler.

Pretty console table in the living room. All of window treatments are linen panels or generous roman shades -- love! I also really adore how much more like a home than a hotel it feels. When can I move in?!

The dining room, which again, feels like a home. Upon arrival, guests find fresh-baked cookies and a stocked pantry and refrigerator.

This is one of the guest rooms. The farmhouse walls are clad in wonderful wood paneling, painted bright green in this room. All of the furnishings are unique, too. Here, I love the upholstered headboard with nailheads and the painted chest.

The bathrooms, oh my! This one, if I saved these photos correctly, belongs with the green guest room above. The wood panels are horizontal, which I love, and there is as much marble and subway tile as your little heart could desire!

I know I have expressed my distaste for vessel sinks before, but these are done really tastefully, and still seem traditional and appropriate. I really love this vanity ... wonder if Wes could build it ...?

Another pretty guest room, this time with a really unique bed placed in front of a set of bookshelves.

In the same room, a lovely fireplace with a very cool piece of furniture next to it.

This double vanity is really up my alley! Undermount sinks are a quick way to my heart, and those sconces are very cool.

Beautiful shower with amazing vintage-style fixtures. Through the little double doors you can see the bedroom. This is also a good view of the beautiful pine floors that are present throughout the house. Perhaps it's best that I haven't visted, as I might have to be removed from the property by force when my reservation is up.

This is master bedroom, and my personal favorite. The goose down pillows wear the Blackberry Farm monogram in all of the rooms, but here it makes a graphic statement. The wood paneling looks spectacular painted a rich brown, and those painted end tables are gorgeous!

This room is just too, too pretty, but not at all in an unattainable way. The formula is pretty simple: White bed linens, one strong accent color (we've seen chocolate brown, bright green and bold orange), simple window treatments in a luxurious fabric, a beautiful pair of lamps, pared down accessories, and at least one great piece of art.

This also my favorite bathroom. The mirrors mounted in front of the window are so great -- especially if you have the rolling hills of Tennessee to look at while you get ready each morning (what? I already said I was feeling nostalgic today!).

This tub is beyond description. Perfect, just perfect. While I can ooh and ahh at the beaded board and fabulous fixture, Wes can watch football on the wall-mounted flat screen TV (one of nine in the house) and we'll both be the happiest of campers.

Thank you for sharing, Granny Smith Green!

PS -- one of my favorite photographers, Bryan Johnson, shot a wedding at Blackberry Farm in May. You can find his drool-inducing photos of the farm and the event here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Day 468's pretty

Photo by Shannon Amidon

More gorgeous gray-green pumpkins!

Apartment Therapy

Eddie Ross

Happy Weekend!