Santa Baby: All I ever wanted

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The Lucas . Shawmut Ave. Boston

I would take a sable under the tree, that would most definitely please me.  A duplex and checks – I’ll take it with two decks, and with a majority share in Tyvek, because what the heck, I wasn’t born yesterday.  Santa Baby, hurry down the chimney to me.  Eartha Kitt and Henri René sang this timeless classic for the first time in NYC in the summer, ironically, of 1953.  Her timeless crooning in her low sultry voice makes her requests for a platinum mine, a 1954 convertible light blue, and a ring – not on the phone – totally acceptable, and somehow, feasible.

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The Airstream . Globetrotter.  A Glamper.

It got me to thinking about what my own outrageous list might include, and decided I should put it out there – just in case Santa was curious.  After all, I’ve been an awfully good girl.  Santa Baby – slip the deed to a two bedroom condo at the Lucas under my tree.

I’ll take an Areostream for all my “Glamping” adventures.  An Eclipse 550 because commercial airline travel is …. disrespectful!  I’ll take a Goyard Travel Trunk too – in blue, because you simply can’t land on the tarmac with duffle bag in toe.

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Godard Travel Trunks.  Oh la, la.

A yard of diamonds from Tiffany, a bottle of Clive Christiansen “X” perfume, A Pied a Terre on the Left Bank, a driver, and a maid – she need not be live in, but she must do windows.

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Tiffany . Elsa Peretti Yard of Diamonds

Santa Baby, I forgot one little thing – a Renoir with the authentication papers – a girl needs a little extra security to ride those volatile economic times.

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Clive Christenson . “X” .  A heavenly scent and I’ve been an angel all year….

May the magic of the season infect you with a childlike wonder and belief.

Sticking It: Stinkwood instead of Ship Lap

If you’re like half of America, you’re a fan of Fixer Upper.  Chip and Joanna Gaines are a whole lot of fun to watch, and while their style doesn’t exactly align with mine, they have an undeniable chemistry, seem to love what they do, and it’s contagious.


Stikwood Samples.

They are fans of Ship Lap, which I would argue has made a major comeback because of them.  I wanted the bath in The Manse to be paneled in it, but didn’t announce my intention until the shower was already tiled.  Oy vey.  That means the transition between materials was going to be a problem – different thicknesses requires an artful solution.  A bevel perhaps, but the reality of that requires additional labor.  Additional labor means a change order.  Jo-Jo said NO MORE CO’s!  I don’t blame her.


Stikwood in weathered gray.

The solution- This ingenious product called:  Stikwood.  It’s peel and stick, reclaimed, sustainable wood.  That’s right – peel and stick.  European Oil Finishes and VOC Free Paints make it environmentally friendly too.


As easy as peel and stick!

Just 3/16″ thick, it’s perfect for my wall and will require no transition detail – better yet I can do it myself.  The on-line tutorials are great, and they tell you everything from how to measure to get the right quantity – it comes in 1 – 4′ lengths and is 5″ wide, and how to peel and ensure it sticks.  At just $14. SF – I might just be finding other places in the house to put it.


This really is a DIY Product.

Happy Sunday.

50 Shades of Gray: Admit it…it’s exciting.

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The Manse . Nantucket Red Door

Gray has come into its own.  I’ve long been a lover – and not a closet one at that – of gray.  It strikes me as being Parisian and sophisticated.  Since I want to be both of these things it’s only natural that I gravitate toward it.  Jo-Jo gets upset with me when I remind her that she called me a “One Trick Pony”.  My pony has way more tricks than one, but it’s favorite trick has depth and complexity, it’s pale and peaceful, daring and dark, shy and innocent, dirty and needy.  Gray will take you places and influence your mood.  I will not apologize for using it, in all it’s iterations.  Every magician has a show-stopper.  Gray is mine.


Tuxedo Kitchen Cabinets await.

And now it will be The Manses too.  The exterior clap board siding is a soft dove gray, the doors a perfect Nantucket Red.  The interior will follow suit.  While it’s a bit risky to go with a trend in a home that our family will continue to enjoy for generations beyond my own, I am going to do a Tuxedo Cabinet.  The bottom will be painted in Metallic Silver, the top in Chantilly Lace.  This is one of the two white that Decorator’s use consistently in their design, and which I have used for my trim, base, casings, and wood work over the years.  To me, it’s the purest white.  a cool, crisp, Mary Poppins style proper white.  All the wood work will be done in Chantilly – it will give the space the “pretty face”  it deserves.


Fifty Shades with a bit of modesty thrown in.

The walls will be painted in Mineral Ice – this is another color which I have used again and again, and recommended to others over the years.  Be warned, while it reads gray in The Manse, it sometimes reads pale blue.  It depends on it’s mood.  I tested it in several rooms, because in this instance I want it to be a true gray – a pale, and lovely Dior Gray.  It is.  In fact, all the main living, dining, and common spaces will be painted in this pale shade, as will the bedroom on the first floor.

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Benjamin Moore . Mineral Ice

The Bath on the main floor will be Ben Moore’s Chalk White – wall that is.   The base and door will be in Chantilly Lace, as I previously stated, and the ceiling will be in Nickel – yet another shade of gray.  I am all about the minimalist look, but I need moments of surprise in every room.  The ceiling, and Ship Lap-esque wall (read tomorrow’s post for what will really be used here), will have passers by giving it a double take.  If you’ve been following along, you know what it’s always Ben.  He was my boyfriend before P.R. came along, and while Ben was perfect for color at the right price, P.R. returns my adoration.  I hope we can all live in perfect harmony.


Ben Moore . Nickel

Dive into your adventurous side…50 shades is where it’s at.

Metalic Silver

Benjamin Moore . Metallic Silver



Naming Your Style: Henderson writes the rules

em4The 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.


Moder Glam

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.

The Holidays in Full Bloom

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.


My creation.

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.

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A perfect posey in a little vase be the bell of the ball!

Happy Holidays.

Bright Lights: Big Christmas

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.

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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.

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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.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

A Little Mushroom Will Do You….

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.