West Elm . Sherwin-Williams – leaning toward the green.
Kermit said: “It’s not easy being green.” Oh Kermie, I think green is beautiful. It’s the color of nature, and new beginnings. Of money and survival, of going for it. It’s rough and rustic, delicate and beautiful. It’s shades span the muddy and the pure. It’s a color that could work in all seasons, and for a man or a women, a little girl or a tiny baby boy.
Not long ago I had a visitor to my apartment and she declared it the ultimate Bachelorette Pad. I laughed, and have to say with No. 4, I’m guilty as charged. Still it made me think about what my place might look like if I designed my place with a man in mind – not just any man, but a manly man – one that likes the outdoors. A city place with an ode to the outdoors.
Since it just occurred to me, and I am not actually going to change the design of my beloved No. 4, I chose to consider just the bedroom. I like mossy greens, and evergreens, textures that evoke the outdoors, and of course something that would actually grow there.
I love changing up the design and furnishings in my home, wantonly following the color trends of the season, or the Pantone Color of the year. I thought to myself today, what will happen to me when I no longer just go out and buy a new house so I can decorate again? Gasp, will I have to choose a single design that I live with for the rest of my life?
That’s just unimaginable. I don’t want to sound spoiled, so I think I need to remind everyone that I’ve moved about a million times in the last three years so I could continue to design and decorate. It’s not really that ideal. Wasn’t it Dorothy Parker who said, “I started this career because I loved doing houses. I had done three of my own, and I couldn’t keep on moving my family all the time, so I started decorating other people’s homes and buildings.”
I do foresee a future when I no longer have the inclination to move every 8 – 12 months. While that doesn’t feel at all like me, I think it will in fact be me….somewhere down the road. I’ve only owned this place 351 days. That’s right – tomorrow marks my 1 year anniversary here. Yet, I am restless, even as a few nudgy items left unfinished, I feel ready to move on.
Still, I am staying for a least one more full year. A virtual eternity for me. So I’ll stage for the show, in a season that seems most fitting for No. 4, but in order to appease my desire to flee I am working a seasonal change-up. I wondered to myself if it was possible, through flowers and pillows, and maybe an accessory here and there to give a living room a facelift – a make-over – a touch of the daring and or whimsy. Please do let me know if you think I succeeded, or if you have ideas of your own on how I can remain happy in a marriage to this place that has to last me for another whole year.
Nashville is a growing city. By more than a 100 people per day, and their appetite for food is growing with it. Music City is singing a savory tune these days as it expands its repertoire of talents to feed the hungry, and they are doing it in the prettiest way possible.
Since my last visit in May there must be a dozen new restaurants that have popped up across the 21 or so neighborhoods to please your palette. The sophistication of the food took me by surprise. It’s not just southern fried deliciousness, which you can certainly get, it’s a fusion of flavors, and continents, coupled with fresh produce, spices, in magically surprising combinations.
Barista Parlor a converted gas station with coffee that will really rev your engine…tooo much?
I could eat this food within the walls of defunct cinder block gas station and love it, but they’ve paired it with elegantly designed spaces. I think of Boston as a city that loves its food, and its citizens, whose insatiable desire for the new and the hip drive a steady stream of new places to eat, to the market, but look out Boston – Nashville just might have you beat.
From The Gulch to Germantown, and 12 South we explored the design and culinary delights of six spots in three days. Sea Salt, 209 3rd Ave. N, Nashville. The Southern – an old favorite never disappoints with its fresh design and traditionally inspired southern food, and unbelievable raw bar. Bar Taco – a chain, but a deliciously conceived one at that. Mockingbird, 121 12th Ave. N, Nashville. I thought this would be my favorite, and it was until the following night when I dined at Fifth and Taylor, 1411 Fifth Ave. N, Nashville, an old mill building where a sculpture of General Nash the city’s namesake stood guard over the crowd atop his sculpted horse. Henrietta Redstole my heart with the orange blossom Monkey Bread and their oysters…Yum-O!
HerMAZEing. Y’all, I’ll let you in on a little secret….”I Love Hermes”. From belts to bangles, and miles of colorful scarves, I have a thing for the H. It’s so classically elegant. The designs so intricately artistic. The brand so fantastically French it’s no wonder I am mesmerized by the House of Hermes. Please, please whatever you do – don’t pronounce the H – it’s silent…”ermes”. It’s tres gauche to make that American mistake. Now you are in the know.
Wash and Wear.
One of the things I admire about Hermes is their ability to stay relevant as trends and styles change, and fashion becomes more and more casual. I remember the first Hermes scarf I purchased in my early 30’s. I saw Madonna wearing it as a cute halter and I fell for it. I wore that scarf all summer on Nantucket and felt like my ship had come in.
Upon my arrival in Nashville, my incredibly chic friend Jennifer Borden announced that Hermes in all its brilliantness had a pop-up in the Green Hills Neighborhood, through this weekend. Hermesmatic is a laundromat of all things, where one can bring their well worn scarves to be dip dyed in one of three colors of your choosing; fuchsia, violet, or denim blue. The process is done on site and takes between 24 and 48 hours to dry. I missed that window but don’t cry for me Argentina because while the dip dying of your own scarves was free for those that arrived on time – you can purchase already dyed scarves, neck and bow ties so there’s that. Can you see my moratorium on spending sliding out that silky door?
Their quintessential color orange is splashed throughout the pop-up. Washing machines, laundry baskets, logo. It’s so brilliant it brings a tear to my eye.
Be prepared to reinvent yourself.
While this is a limited engagement, I would bet you’ll see this service “pop-up” as a regular offering. It’s too hip not to become an Hermes classic.
Painfully chic laundress.
In the city that never stops singing – these scarves can carry a tune.
I met a gal that recently found her way to the states – and more specifically the South End, where she bought her first condo – via Hong Kong. She carted back a boat load of blue vases, urns, and dishes in the signature hue and asked if it was possible to create a design that incorporate her extensive art collection and her prized china. I said yes of course.
The addition of orange brings a fresh pop of contrasting color to the scene.
While I love chinoiserie I do believe there is a line you can cross. I think of it as the Mason Dixon Line. A Boston city apartment shouldn’t feel like a Southern mansion dripping in excess – the challenge then is to use it to inform the design palette and theme, while keeping it sophisticated and chic. Think pastel Paris with pops of blue and gold accents or a more muted backdrop of neutrals with orange accents.
Left: Mark D. Sikes Loves blue and brings a sophistication with these muted tones. Right: French Country Cottage balances warm and cool for a cluster of cherubic perfection.
I adore white and blue but think that it feels more coastal than city. Softening the tones and introducing creams, warm violets, dusty greens, and gray blues will help give it a cozy chicness that will welcome and calm after a long day composing art schemes.
Top Left: Gold Puddle Trays – One Kings Lane. Top Right: Spiked Accent Table – One Kings Lane. Bottom Center: Caracole Lena Accent Chair – One Kings Lane.
Galbraith + Paul Wallcoverings and Fabric. Left: Bellflower in Dolphin. Right: Southern Shades via Etsy.
posted by Beth Connolly Labeled: fireplace, styling
What’s particularly great about this design challenge is that there is NO furniture that one must work into the equation. Just artwork, and blue chin. Awesome.
Go a little bolder with Cole and Sons Hex Wallcovering and a high gloss painted door or vanity.
This post represents my preliminary picks. I hope I’ve headed the ship from the China Seas to the Atlantic in the right direction.
It can be found in Verellen’s new line of lower priced upholstered pieces. Sofas, chairs, ottomans, and benches, Verellen knows just how to put a smile on my face. The Belgian based company is all about artisanal goodness. They craft their pieces with love – I still cannot get over the fact that their base is located on a farm where chicken wander freely around the property, offering their support and contributing to the happy vide.
Happinest by Verellen Dreamy Club Chairs
I first learned that this new line would be released this summer at Artefact in Belmont, MA where Tom Verellen spoke about the companies history, craftsmanship in an age of mass production, and disposability over heirloom. He talked about bonding customers to the brand for life, forming partnerships, and …. still being accessible.
Happinest by Verellen Dreamy Sofa
Here’s where Happiness comes into the picture. Verellen, can only be found in a few select locations across the United States and it’s pricy. In my opinion it’s worth every penny. I have had my Verellen since my first flip and if I have my way – you’ll see it in number 10 too. It’s perfection – it’s lines are sexy, its compact but sits deep, its graceful and welcoming after a hard day in the city. It offers comfort, but it was not cheap.
Happinest by Verellen . Quirky Ottoman
Didn’t my ears perk up at the mention of their new – less expensive line. A line that 20 and 30 year olds could afford, and begin a life long love affair with this delicious brand. Not a vast collection, but one that will likely suit many tastes. The names of each are fabu; Dreamy, Happy Modular, Love, Lucky and Quirky. Of the five – I love Dreamy the best. Interestingly I don’t love: Love, and Lucky doesn’t feels boxier than I think Luck should feel, but there is something that is so Verellen wonderful about the collection- and I hear from Sue Marsh at Artesan that they have been tweaking the design to give this line – the lines that curve and embrace.
Happinest by Verellen . Happy Modular
It’s the happiest surprise I’ve had in a long time.
Everyone knows I love Wearstler. She uses color combinations and geometric patterns that have me swooning. Add chocolate to the mix and I’m catapulted into a divinely unhealthy infatuation. Comparte – located at 912 S. Barrington Ave. Los Angeles is a jewel box of a chocolate shop.
Oceany greens, petina’ed coppers, marble greys – all accented by the colorful pastel, papered chocolate bars, and brass lighting and shelves. The grey marble, which lines the shelving nooks and spills out onto the floor like an accent carpet takes on an almost violet hue when paired with the green palette. The stores narrow footprint, and high ceilings feel La La Land magical – a tiny anteroom to a Versailles Palace. Instead of tea, prepare yourself for the frozen hot chocolate station.
It’s the prettiest palette I’ve set my peepers on in a while. Wouldn’t I love my next condo to feature this combo. Grey marble always makes me feel grounded. I breathe a little easier when it’s part of my scheme, the other swirls of paint are the watery jewel tones of my seaside dreams.
The display behind the receiving desk is a geometric sculpture inspired by Louise Nevelson. Born Leah Berlawsky in 1899, Louise and her family left Russia to start a new life in Maine. Louise found her way to NYC where she attended high school, and later The Art Students League she became known for her monumental, monochromatic wooden sculptures. Today she is considered one of the most important figures in 20th century American sculpture. Wearstler’s signature geometric patterns are not only a wonderful owed to Nevileson, but showcase her knowledge and appreciation of those that have contributed to our artistic heritage.
Pun intended – on a big mistake. I am not terribly patient and don’t always take the time to ensure the outcome is going to be as intended. Now don’t jump all over me. No one starts out by saying to themselves – this is going to turn out badly, and does it anyway. I honestly believe it’s going to work….but ugh….then it doesn’t.
The way they should look. Just breaking the floor.
In this case the object of my misguided efforts are my brand new, incredibly expensive curtains. They look like high-tides. They are in fact 9″ shorter than one could reasonably get away with. My preference is a slight puddle – not too messy, but not too formal either. I’m so far from breaking the floor in this instance it would be laughable if the fabric hadn’t cost me $3500. for 4 slim panels, and that was with the designer discount. Quel domage.
The way they actually look now. Terrible.
That’s going to leave a mark, or will it. Since I pledged to tell you the truth, in all its ugliness – the truth – I am bound to reveal. What the heck good would that do if I didn’t learn from my mistake and provide you with some sage advise? So here it is:
Install your rods first.
Make sure they are at the desired height.
Hang the rings that you plan to use on the rod
Hooks are attached to the curtain – typically they fall about 1.5″ from the curtain top – but consult your fabricator regarding location and add this to your overall fabric length.
Don’t plan to use rings (grommeted curtains can be measured from the rod to the floor.
Restoration Hardware offers a solid guide to selecting the style that’s right for you and then ensuring you measure accordingly for a perfect fit.
Now that we’ve got the getting right part down, let’s talk about those of you that are like me…something went amiss, and you absolutely must fix it. When I hung the first panel I knew immediately what I had done. I laughed, and then started to try and figure out a solution. Now I could have lowered the rods so that the top of the curtain brushed the top of the casing – it still would have been about two inches from the floor. I could also have let down the hem to make up that difference, but I am a huge fan of curtains that extend way above the casing of the window – if ceiling height permits – which in my condo it does – I feel compelled to use it. It creates the illusion of grandness, in what is a pretty small place. Fortunately I was forced to buy a pretty large lot of fabric, and have a surplus. My best friend and design confidant Tiffany came over and together we strategized. The solution: add a foot to 18″, raise the rods to maximize the height, and at the seam add grosgrain ribbon. I think I might add several courses of the ribbon to enhance the effect. I don’t want it to look fussy, but I want it to look intention and hide the error of my ways.
An alternate approach that would resolve this problem are solid panels that are added to the bottom – much more economical. So, back to the fabricator they will go, me with my head hung low. Thanks for allowing me to get it off my chest. Now that I’ve made this horrible mistake, you can happily avoid it.
I love black and white. It feels so clean and graphic, but doesn’t necessarily scream coastal. My challenge today is to find a way to make it feel right at home in this Cape Cod bath. I have a few additional non-negotiables including a black countertop on the white vanity, white subway tile and a driftwood inspired ceramic tile which will comprise the floor material.
I’ve been pushing for shiplap on one of the walls in the bath. I like the paneled look, and it feels very beachy. I would paint this white, Benjamin Moore’s Cotton Balls or Decorator’s White. I would be accented with black hardware from Schoolhouse Electric, and an oil painting to bring a bit of color to the space.
Left: Shades of Light – Young House Love Dapper Sconce $75. Right: Wayfair Hickory Manor House Regency Convex Mirror $335.99
The vanity wall, which is very small would also be painted in the chosen Ben Moore White. The mirror and the sconces will be black to tie into the countertop. The mirror I have chosen is a convex Regency – nautical without being too obvious. Sconces feel the same, like they belong in a coastal setting but not in a contrived manner.
Left: Schoolhouse Electric Nicolai Towel Bar – True Black $129. Right: Schoolhouse Electric Galley Pull – True Black $34.
To soften the overall look, I’ll fight hard to paint the ceiling in Benjamin Moore’s Nickel Gray, and add the tiniest oriental rug to keep it from being too stark.
Left: Benjamin Moore’s Nickel Right: Gray grout with white subway tile – POP!
Finally, the subway tile will be oriented vertically instead of horizontally to give it a little pizazz, and finished with a gray grout to transform the overall look into something really special.
Picking things that are going to appeal to a large audience isn’t as easy as just having the appropriate budget to spend. The inhabitants, and even casual users, will tell you exactly what they want in the design – even if there time there is going to be brief. Herein lies the challenge. You will never please everyone with your design choices.
Left: Oly Studio – Flowerfall Chandelier $3,000. Right Top: Parsons Table – West Elm $400. Right Bottom: Pappelina Rug SVEA, Grey.
Offering options in these trying times is likely to be your safest – albeit not the purest route to achieving your overall aesthetic. I am going to tackle it room by room as I have already encounter much opposition along the way.
The bedrooms are easier because people feel ownership or none at all – those you can work with a single end-user to determine the design. Public rooms require a good deal more diplomacy, and in the busy season, I feel a little less diplomatic than this situation might call for – still – I soldier on, because in the end the input from those that will enjoy the space matters a lot.
Left Top: Pottery Barn . Francesca Beaded Chandelier, Grey Left Bottom: Knoll Saarinen oval table – Inmod $899. Right: Turkish Oushak – Nazmiyal Collection $62,000.
I have devised three rough plans for the living room, center around the chandelier, carpet and table. Which would you choose for a Cape Cod, year round home?