Feeling Blue: Chinoiserie Chic

Blue Chin 1

posted by:  Beth Connolly Labels:  Fireplace, styling

In the best possible way.  In the clean, fresh, bright, and brilliant blue that comes from this gorgeous china.

Blue Chin 2

posted by:  Beth Connolly Labels: fireplace, styling

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.

Blue Chin 2

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.

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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.

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Galbraith + Paul . Reverse Monarch in Ruby.

 

 

Happinest: isn’t an illusion

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Happinest by Verellen . Happy Modular

It’s the happiest surprise I’ve had in a long time.

 

Sweet Design: Wearstler’s new chocolate shop

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.

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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.

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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.

KW Choc 1

Raise the Curtain: A short story

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.

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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.

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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.

 

If only it were Black and White

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.

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My inspiration

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.

Seaside sophistication.

The Battle of the Manse

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.

Left:  Ro Sham Beaux Chandelier Malibu 18 $1998.  Right Top:  Ballard Designs . Tatum Trestle Table $1099.  Right Bottom:  Ballard Design . Braided Jute . $449.

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?

World of Color Confusion: picking the palette take 2

So as predicted, Jo-Jo shot down the color selection I so carefully made with a NO!  Not even a kind, no, no et non.  Just NO!  I don’t want gray and Nantucket Red is too muted.  The only other hint of a direction she’s given me is she wants the navy blue whale wallpaper I found on Instagram over a year ago, and I can no longer track down.  Of course, she is adamant about that paper.  It was very cute.  She has a playful side – she likes a little tongue in cheek whimsy.  I’m not trying to deny it to her.  The Manse should be an expression of her personality…but for the life of me I can’t locate it.  I keep presenting alternatives, to which she responds…NO…I want the whale paper.  This may require divine intervention, or at  the very least inspiration.  Help!

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The Chronicles of Home always has such beautiful style.

The plastering is complete and now I really need to pick the colors.  I’ve turned to Instagram thinking I would find a clear direction, but while I many primary colors my natural inclination is to move toward softer hues. I fear if I mix it up too much, it will be a hot mess.  Some of the colors should remain in the rainbow, don’t you think?

Cory Connor Designs right – gets an A+ for painting the baseboard and the molding in hot pink.  One Kings Lane displays an array of colors that look beautiful together.

Left:  Schumacher wall covering is the color palette I typically gravitate toward.  Right:  Is Christopher Farr’s wall covering that I am dying for.

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The Every Girl . simply perfect uncomplicated beauty.

While I I still really love the kelly green, I have a feeling that it’s just a trend and my affection for it will pass.  While paint is the least expensive, and most impactful of your styling options, it still costs money and requires a fair amount of disruption to change it.  With that in mind, I’d like to get it right the first time.

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My Bella Storia . who doesn’t like a polka dot?

In my search for that dang whale wallpaper, I came across quite a lot of inspiration.  I only hope that one, or a combination of several of these will illicit a resounding YES – see, just like I told you…..

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OKL . I LOVE PINK.

Happy Sunday.