The last few years I’ve been asked by many friends and acquaintances to name my style. Is it curiosity? Is it a desire to determine their own style, figure out if they want me to help them with an upcoming project? To be honest I hadn’t given it much thought. When I first started this project of mine, I would have simply said my style was “French”. Later I might have clarified that it was Parisian French – not countryside. After I completed No. 2 I had to admit that I had been bitten by the Mid-Century Modern bug, and began thinking of my style as Modern Glamour for it’s harmonious coupling of modern and mid-century furnishings, fresh takes on traditional prints with age old techniques and plenty of gold, silver, and chrome, from leaf to brackets, baubles and knobs, fancy frames and chandeliers, decorating with metals does indeed bring a little glamour to a space.
I can’t exactly remember how I came to know who Emily Henderson is in the first place. Perhaps Instagram where I am introduced to so many amazing people and products it’s revolutionized my curatorial expeditions. There in my feed, my world and my eyes – open wide. It calms me when I am anxious and excites me when I am in need of inspiration. So I may have found Em here or I might have spied her in a Target commercial, it matters not. I think her style falls somewhere no the spectrum of Boho Vintage. Not mine at all, and yet I am attracted to all that she does, and after reading her book Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves, I think I know why.
Creating Visual Interest.
Emily began her career as a prop stylist for residential photo shoots. Looking to add the details, mini vignettes and touches that would create visual interest, and tell a story to the readers. So while she doesn’t consider herself a decorator per se, she certainly brings a space to life.
Rule of 3’s.
The book is very well written, funny, and real – making you feel as if you’d be fast friends with her if she didn’t live all the way across the country. I love that she challenges you to NAME your style, first by taking a quiz and then by finding adjectives or words that appropriately evoke an image of that style. I took the quiz just in case I had been getting my own style wrong all this time, but I nailed it. I love getting A’s. at 95 points I am considered: Modern Glam. While Mid-Century Modern isn’t considered complimentary on her style wheel – Zen is, I think the clean lines work well with the detailed style for which I associate most powerfully. I think I’ll call it: Marie Antoinette Goes to Hollywood.
I love the holidays – the Martha Steward style holidays that is. I like it to be pretty, and for all of my projects to turn out like her’s. I think it goes without saying that – that never happens. I have a track record that resembles more or less a miss, a miss, a miss and a couple of hits. I try not to beat myself up over all the misses, and to celebrate the hits.
Shawna Havenga of The Wild Dahlia demonstrating the intricacies of an arrangement.
Earlier in the week I attended a really fun event…DI-Wine where we were instructed on how to make a holiday centerpiece. Shawna Havenga of The Wild Dahlia gave us some really smart tips on how to create something beautiful and organic looking. Start with greenery, we used lemon leaves, fern, and eucalyptus. Frame out the highest and widest points within your vase or base. We used a floral foam to ensure the flowers and greenery would stay exactly where we intended them to be. These two tips really set the stage. Shawna also recommended stripping the stem of the flowers and ferns to decorate the base and cover the foam – any additional bald spots can be covered in moss. Perhaps my favorite new insight is to loosen the petals to open the roses, giving it a really natural, pretty look.
Sylvie and Tiffany celebrating the season with me.
I am very proud of the arrangement I was able to make, though it is a little more structured than Shawna might approve of, and one of the benefits of having an unstructured arrangement is undoubtably the cost – a little less expensive than the arrangement I created.
This got me thinking what fun it would be to have party posies that I could bring as hostess gifts. Flowers are always welcome, those that come in their own little vase, jelly jar, or tin, are an instant hit. They require a little planning, you aren’t going to pull them out of a drawer and tie a ribbon around it and go, but its for this reason, that they will be appreciated that much more.
A perfect posey in a little vase be the bell of the ball!
I love Christmas. I’ve already started to listen to holiday tunes. They make me happy. Make me feel optimistic. We haven’t yet arrived at the holiday parties, and the family feuds that dull ones enthusiasm. This time, before Thanksgiving is untarnished, and the world feels full of blushy innocence.
Ben Moore might go ahead and introduce a new color for 2018. Pantone has launched theirs – a bit hard to believe in my option – but there will be tried and true hues. Those that inspire, offer a nod to elegance and innocence and possibility.
For me – they scream – Let them Eat Cake. Those French pastels, accented by black and white that are the hard shell, that once bitten, gives way to a softness. We need those contrasts in our home, in our work spaces, and of course in our natural environment whether that be a seaside local, a mountain range, a lazy river or a desert, they spring to life when you are subjected to the sharp contrasts.
Marie Antoinette . Kirstin Dunst in all that sugary glory.
No. 4 is all about innocence so I am considering bringing the sophistication in a tree, and decorations that are all black, white, and gold. A balance between decorative and organic. Can I pull it off. I have just a few days to figure it all out.
The things I still don’t know. I’ve barely scratched the surface. Today I learned about Mushroom Wood. I’d never even heard of such a thing before. I’ve encountered all sorts of woods in my quest. Oak and Walnut, Pear, and Zebra, Mahogany, and Pine and so many other varieties in-between, but Mushroom Wood – I said with a healthy dose of disbelief, no foot of mine had fallen on any such surface.
Stone wood Products . Dennis . MA
As it turns out, I wasn’t entirely right or wrong. Mushroom would isn’t a specific wood. It’s actual make-up is either Hemlock and/or Cypress – both soft woods. I am not sure where they fall on the Janka scale, but suffice to say, they are somewhat malleable.
Mushroom Wood . Look at that grain…so pretty.
These woods are used for bedding bins in which mushrooms are grown. During the growing cycle the enzymes digest and erode the soft wood. This makes the wood appear as if its the bed of a river, eroded by the running water. The pattern is unique and beautiful. The color is a rich caramel.
Crickets investigating the wood.
It’s particularly amazing because it looks historic. Next to the hand hune beams it looks authentic. This is important as we augmented The Manse with some Mushroom wood to provide some visual interest, and continuity. We are at a point in the design where the details make all the difference. The space looks clean and quite beautiful, but there is a point in any construction project that you can go to far – a mon avis. If you aren’t able to maintain a few original components – we were here – then adding them back in, give a space some warmth. Makes if feel like a home that one could actually live in. This is the goal – at least for me.
Bring a little authenticity to your refreshed environment.
The Manse just had beautiful Hickory hardwood installed in the downstairs, and the hallway of the upstairs. The hardwood that is original to the home in the two upstairs bedrooms it was determined, would remain. Having never been refinished, they are substantial enough to withstand a serious sanding, and could then be refinished, but I think that after a good buffing, and the right shade of paint, they will look pretty spectacular.
I am a fan of painting floors. I’ve painted on new hardwood that I just had installed, and on floors that have seen better days. There is something that feels coastal about a painted floor – though distressed and casual is not the look I am going for in this instance. I’ll ask for the finish to be high gloss. This small upstairs bedroom, with it’s twin beds, deserves to have a little drama.
Benjamin Moore . Bridal Rose
The walls are going to be painted in Benjamin Moore’s Bridal Rose – a color that I am fond of, and which made an appearance in No. 2 in my bedroom. It’s so subtle most people don’t see that it’s pink. It’s sophisticated, not girly and that suits me too.
A little worn, but they’ll be good as new.
I want to pair it with a hue that resembles this seating area in The Hoxton Hotel in Paris. It’s dark and a bit muddy or moody and that appeals. If you happen to know the name and maker, please do tell. I plan to email the hotel and inquire. There will be no moldings in the house, so I will plan to paint the floor, the base and the interior doors in the hue.
A slick and sophisticated look.
Think preppy, but all grown up. Fingers crossed I get the approval I am looking for. I’ve been told I can do a single room – anyway I want. I am hoping that wasn’t followed by a …. as long as I love it too. I think in the end, it will meet the approval of the Owner.
It’s a funny thing. How others regard us, and to what extent we allow that view to shape our actions, to determine who we become. I’m obsessed with this new movie that’s being released in a few lucky cities across the country…Lady Bird. It’s Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, and tells the story of a coming of age gal, working to figure out who she is, in the face of many people that seem to have decided for her, what she is, or is not going to become. In speaking to one of the nuns in her catholic school she proclaims her interest in being a Math Olympiad, to which the nun responds – “but you’re not terribly good at math.” Lady Bird’s brilliant quip – “that we know of …. yet”, to me expresses an admiral defiance.
Hanson Street before the start of construction.
That we know of yet – is what keeps me going. I get asked frequently – “what number are you on now?”. I’m on number 4. A good number of people believe I’ve been on number 4 for far too long. For those of you keeping track, I just passed the one year mark in this place, and for the record, it feels like a long time to me too. They ask me if I think I’m going to make it to 10.
Activity, forward momentum, I thrive on motion. Sitting still is not easy for me. Sit I must though in order to ensure my plan moves forward thoughtfully. As interested in achieving 10 as I am, and believe me when I tell you – I want that gold star for my dust covered effort, but I cannot lose site of the fact that I am not just building homes, I’m trying to built a stable financial future for myself.
Making it my own.
When all of the sawdust clears, and I turn the lights out, take a last look around, close and lock the door on 10, the real goal is to have a million in the bank account. I’ve never been very good at math….I could stand to channel a little Lady Bird….that we know of … yet.
Little King . Brooklyn . NY – Photograph by @cainite_via Instagram
I’m a rule follower. I always have been. I like the structure of a rule. I feel that following them has kept me out of a good deal of trouble over the course of my life. I’ve liked them, I’ve hated them (while still begrudgingly holding true to the line), and apathetic to them too. So why is it then that this “so called rule” bugs me so much?
No. 3 Waltham Street . Benjamin Moore’s Deep Royal
Article ,after article, I read about the cardinal sin of painting a small space in a dark hue. “Don’t even think about it” some warn. “Turn you eye toward the barely there pigments” others instruct. To that I simply proclaim – “What the “f#!x?
Left: Keepsmilinghome.blogspot Right: No. 2 in Benjamin Moore’s Peacock Feathers and Cole and Sons Wallpaper
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say “This rule should be broken”. It should be broken frequently, and with a bold disregard to the prevailing authority. Sometimes rules simply must be cast aside as ridiculous and archaic. I’m not saying it to be a rebel, I’m simply disagreeing with the premise entirely. I’ve lived my life in small spaces. I’ve colored them dark, and light, and cozy. We humans like a cozy spot to call home, and wrapping yourself in the warmth of a rich, deep, hue really is all the to-do. Am I expected to live my life in white because I live small? I think not.
As we turn back, and enter the dark days of winter, I encourage you to embrace colors that have a little personality. Start slow if you must. The interior of a closet, a powder room, a small mud room or laundry room. Test it out if you don’t trust me yet – I won’t be offended, but be prepared to begin an affair with your bad side….and I mean that in the best possible way…of course you know that.
There I found – yet another pop-up shop. I love pop-up shops for their cutting edge introduction of products and services that might never have caught my eye otherwise. I do sometimes wonder about Big Brother and how omnipresent he is….Framebridge showed up in terms of a store in Nashville and then uncoincidently on my Instagram feed!
This company is super cool. It offers a really inexpensive alternative to framing art, and if you have ever tried to frame a piece of art – however insignificant – you know it can cost an arm and a leg. Often way more than the cool coaster that you picked up in a Montana Ranch Bar, or on the CA Coast on one of your surf adventures. Still, don’t they deserve to be memorialized? I think so. Framebridge just might be the answer.
Commemorate special moments.
Don’t know exactly what your style is? They’ll help. You’ll be guided through a visual questionnaire that isn’t just fun, but will identify your style. From there, their team will work to pick a number of options from which you can choose. Know exactly what you want…don’t fret – just ask for it and it will be delivered.
Start small . think expansively.
Delivery – it’s on them. Now if you have a bit of a pessimist in you, let me clear it up. You can of course send them digital images at no charge and they will frame and return to you for free, but that’s also true of your diploma, your print, a canvas that can be rolled. They’ll send you a tube to place your art work in, and 3 – 5 business days later – you better be ready to hang your art.
Remind yourself what it’s all about.
Want tips into turning your home into a carefully curated masterpiece – Framebridge can help there too. With prices that range fro $39. – $199. it’s pretty hard not to be surprised, and delighted.