Two Types of Wood: No. 5/3

Those dedicated fans will have heard me mention L. Francis Herresmhoff a time or two before.  When I have quoted him a half a dozen times or more, you will start to quote him too, because he was funny, and rather insightful. Now you are in on my secret plan.  L. Francis said:  “To most people, particularly the ladies, there are two types of wood, one is stained red and called mahogany and the other is not stained red and is not called mahogany.”  This wood will be the basis of concept 3 for project number 5.

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 6.57.46 AM

My tiny hesitation with this design concept is that it leans a little toward the nautical.  It all started with the desire to have a brightly varnished mahogany countertop in the kitchen.  I wasn’t even thinking about cabinets – just the beautiful finish of the wood, gleaming under a perfect pendant.  I wanted something other than my standard Carrera marble counter.  It’s not as if I have fallen out of love with it or anything, it’s a beautiful material.  It’s more of a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder… I think.

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 6.36.22 AM

I can see the cabinets painted in a deep muddy blue, hand carved mahogany cleats for door and drawer pulls (how in heavens name am I ever going to be able to retire)?  The backsplash done in a rough hewn ship lap, a la the powder room at Nantucket’s Cru.  Beautiful.  If I were to go all the way it would require a pretty big effort as I would want the mahogany baseboards too.  Instead of molding (no problem for most places – they don’t have it anyway) I would replicate the same simple base but apply it to the wall, adding a piece of quarter round to the top.  elegant.

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 6.42.01 AM

I love the rough and the polished side by side.  It’s got personality.

I have always wanted a built-in around the headboard of the bed. This concept begs for it – so screaming boat cabin sheik I can’t stand it.  Why the heck not?  This is Boston, a port city after all.  There are boats everywhere.  Go luxury liner or go home.

One more concept to go before you weigh in.

The French Way or the Highway: No. 5/2

apt paris 1

Note:  puddling curtains, herringbone floors, chair rail, slip covered sofa, simply white.

The French love their all white apartments with their perfectly stunning herringbone laid wooden floors, and I love the French.  This has led me to toss around the idea of going stark, and letting the art and the furnishings do the talking.  That would mean no wallcoverings, and no accent colors.  I could play with different tones of white, of which there are a boundless number.  Don’t test me, I’ll blanco bore you to death with the shear volume of offerings.

apt paris 3

Note:  Herringbone Floor, Paneled walls, and architectural details, and …..white.

It is interesting to consider texture on the walls – even in white that can be a pretty intriguing statement, it doesn’t feel super French to me though.  Grand architectural moldings, and paneled walls, chair rails, or simple applied moldings feel more authentically Parisian apartment – which is the look I would go for, if I go for concept 2.

apt. 4 paris

Note:  encore, encore, encore – this repetition never gets boring for me.

I might have a slipcover made for my Verellen sofa.  I had it upholstered for No. 4 in a beautiful cream silk and linen Turkish fabric.  This look would demand something a little looser.  Breezy.  That’s the French way you know – looking effortless….minimal.  Oh sure, you can find a Louis the XV commode or Etagere, dripping in gold acanthus leaves, but that’s likely because the recipient got it from their grandmother and with the price of apartments in Paris, can’t afford to replace it with something more modern.

apt 7 paris

Where in the heck am I going to find that molding in Boston?

My art work would remain the same, but I suspect, somehow look entirely different.  It’s amazing what throwing a piece of art on a wall covered surface will do to the colors – dramatically different. The same of course goes for a different pigment.  When buying a serious piece of art (read expensive) always make sure that the seller will allow you to hang it in your home first before you finalize the purchase.  Who wants something that looked divine in the store and looks more like a consolation prize that’s handed out to the loser on The Price is Right.  NOT ME.  Now if you are buy a Monet or a Rembrandt, then you aren’t going to have the luxury of trying it out first.  I don’t feel bad for you.  Just redesign the whole room around the piece of art, and not the other way around.  You can afford it.

apt 1 london

Note:  Floors, molding, white, amazing, but in full disclosure this apartment is in London – clearly we know where they got their aesthetic!

Be ready to vote shortly.  I have at least two more concepts coming….Happy Saturday.

Cinco de Color Selection: No. 5

Getting ahead of things helps keep me from falling behind.  That’s why I start planning the color palette long before I have my place on the market.  In this case, No. 4 is scheduled to land just after Labor Day.  Interested?  Very little inventory on the market, and mine is a honey of a property….a good things come in small packages kind of surprise.

HS 5

Makes sense to me….Homesense furnishings and accessories.

I feel like the halfway point demands a grand gesture, a dramatic statement, a wild moment at the very least.  I believe in milestone celebrations.  My yoga coach is always talking about living in the moment, enjoying the journey – well if I live until I am 100, I am literally living in the middle of the moment of my life, and my quest.  Maybe I should have fireworks.  Enormous balloons?  A Pony, or perhaps a zebra.  I’ve always felt most strongly that graphic prints are the very best statements in a home, so a zebra seems fitting.  I doubt my budget will allow for any of that, though I am confident I could come up with all of the aforementioned items and the party would be FABULOUS.

HS 1

My favorite color….gray!

Staying focused can be a drag sometimes, but planning the direction of No. 5 is not, so let’s get on with it.  I was sitting next to one of my industry colleagues the other day at a board meeting (I’m in the corporate real estate industry and my colleague is in charge of real estate for TJX Companies – they own Home Goods, Homesense, Marshalls and more).  I got to chatting with Chris about designing one of my flips using only items I purchased at Home Goods.  Such is my obsession with that place.

HS 3

I’ll take the screens, the garden stools, that lamp and the pillows!

Could it really be done?  Could it really be done by me?  I love an outrageous idea like this, that might attract the attention of the media.  I like being on camera, and one day, might just have my own show. Who knows, the American appetite for design is insatiable.  Lord knows I’ve done other equally outrageous things to get published, not the least of which include spending more money on a yard of fabric than some people pay for summer camp for a kid.  That decision isn’t likely to be forgotten, at least until I pay off my credit card.  When will I learn?

HS 4

Color coordination makes me happy.

This route could save me thousands upon thousands of dollars.  I can also attest to genuinely loving what they have to offer.  I buy a massive quantity of goods – which make my home decidedly better than good!

My go to list of items include:

  • garden tables
  • lamps
  • bed clothes
  • knock-off accessories
  • rugs
  • pillows

They do one of two things, fade into the background ( I mean that in the best possible way), or they wow on their own.  Now it is true that my go-to approach is to mix HG items with pricier brand name pieces.  It always feels really good when people comment on the assemblage of items, singling out an HG find, but could I do a whole home?  Their furnishings aren’t among their strongest offerings, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bed in any of the stores.

HS 6

Ah, but they do have them, and it’s lovely.

Home Sense on the other hand has expanded offerings, and just recently open in Braintree, MA.  I can stop on my way from Boston to the Cape.  More concepts to come.  Please do weigh in.


Less is More: getting a design underway

Details, details, they can get in the way of one’s creativity – don’t you think?  I love a project where I’m not given too many perimeters.  The type of space, the materials needed, and their purpose is enough.  A general color way direction doesn’t hurt either.  If it isn’t explicitly stated, I’m going gray.  My perfect neutral with its full compliment of emotions, and ability to accommodate any gender, any age, and stage of your life.

Wexler Office Sample Board

We’ve got your blue grays, and your violet, your sage, and your putty, your clean and your smutty.  We’ve got sophisticated, and silly, whimsical and worldly, we have a splash through a tidal pool gray, and a bruised purple gray of the sky as it turns to night.  You  get the picture, I hope, because I am not supposed to be talking about gray at all, this blog is about a corporate office color palette.  It’s true that most of what I selected for the original round, did in fact include gray, but ironically the Client went with a sandy beach of an option.  Who could blame him, the 4th is right around the corner, and if you don’t get a little sand in your shoes now, you blink and miss it.

Wexler Office Sample Board v2

Like a writer facing a blank page, some Clients are simply better in the editors role.  Ask them what they want, and they may honestly say – “for it to be done”.  Others stare off into the distance hoping a mirage will appear on the horizon, a perfect glistening representation of their space to be.  I feel that way about math so I understand entirely the sentiment.  When it comes to design however, I like the freedom of creating something well – that I would like.  What’s wrong with that?

I would be thrilled to come to work in this pretty little office space, if it were just a tad closer to my home.  I hope that Lee Wex will have no trouble executing the design he saw fit to pick.