Bygone Days of Books: Style your shelves

Have you ever been in a situation where you found yourself unloading a storage unit, and asking yourself what the heck were you paying to store all that stuff for?  I’m not judging you if the answer is a resounding yes.  Me, I have the opposite disease.  I like to unload things, leave them on the street, give them to a friend, let one of my sister’s borrow the rug, chair,  painting or pillow –  permanently.  I don’t know why this is my particular affliction, but it is.  So you can imagine my surprise when I found myself unloading a storage unit – that did not belong to me – to take nearly all the items to the dump – there final resting place.  Not happy!

Books

Birds of a feather.

Among the items that were discarded where boxes and boxes of books.  Having been stored in a damp out-door storage unit for the winter – they were worse for the wear, and sadly had to be tossed.  Having moved a time or two in the past, I am well aware of the weight of books, and have carefully culled my collection to those most prized volumes, and my desire resource books for which I find regular insight into the most perplexing interiors challenges.  I can never seem to remember where to hang that painting – is it 54″ on center from the floor – one of my books will tell me, so you can see the necessity in keeping those around.  Beyond that – bookshelves are all about visual interest for me.

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Minimalinteriordesign.com

A little bauble, a wooden bird, a small painting that would be lost on the wall but comes to life on the shelf.  a Chinese Urn, a succulent or petit potted plant, a paper weight.  Large, small, tall, fat – varying the sizes of objects on shelves creates interest.

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Studio McGee

There was a time when I thought that nothing else could provide as much insight into another as a bookshelf full of books that they love.  No one could accuse me of being nosy for pursuing a bookshelf, but it’s another thing altogether to pick up the kindle that’s just lying out on the table and start reading the stored book listing.  You mine as well just pick up there phone and start scrolling through their call log.  As if!

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OKL

Fear not, a well styled bookshelf tells a story too.  Not in words of course, but I think it will provide those of you that are curious enough to ask, with a conversation starter or two.

Sail Into Summer: Decorator’s Pop Up Sale

CC Fabrics Sale

Nautical Accents galore!

Having successfully finished the design of The Manse, and completed the photo shoot last weekend – cue empty feeling.  I find myself with some free time – time, by the way, I have been begging for, and now, I’m not at all sure I want it.  As I write this I can hear my sister saying “don’t you go filling up that blank space with another activity”.  I believe she excluded learning Portuguese, buying any more real estate, or ripping the deck off my boyfriend’s house.  What a buzz kill – I mean concerned sister.

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Pillows:  Custom Designer, nautical and every day:  change up your design with a few easy accents.

When I completed the project, I found that I was surrounded by a number of beautiful pieces that either didn’t end up working in the home – think massing, style, placement, and a number that were just plain wrong, even though in another setting they would be nothing but RIGHT.

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who doesn’t need a little end table to place your cocktail on?

That got me thinking.  Here I am, storing and moving, and shuffling, and loaning, all these carefully curated – hold it – not everything is carefully, thoughtfully curated – some things simply steal my heart and scream “take me with you”, and so I do.  While I have loved these things, used many of them (gently) it is time to find them permanent homes, where they will be loved and cherished, for longer than the shutter speed of the flashy camera, that my brilliant photographer wields.

 

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A little bar, a side table, a book shelf – use your imagination – it’s beautiful.

So, together with my best friend – who has a penchant for collecting (with France being a favorite spot), and an incredibly talented, and dear friend that is an Interior Designer on Cape Cod,  we have mined the depths of our closets, storage units, barns, back offices, and shops and are bringing together an incredibly eclectic, carefully curated (this time it’s true, I promise) collection of furniture, art, pillows, lighting, accents, nautical knick knacks and more, that are bound to delight, and shine light on your interiors.

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Mid-Century Nautical – look at that in-lay detail….summer breeze.

Saturday:  8:30am – 3pm

Sunday:  9am – noon

Cape Cod Fabrics/Helen Baker Design. 94 Rt. 28 West Harwich, MA

We’ll have Rosé – so there’s really no way you shouldn’t be there.  Cash or Venmo.

 

Vaguely Vignette: creating moments that won’t last

As I prepare to have my sister’s home shot on Saturday, I have come to a number of realizations.  First, that which I have come to consider “normal” is anything but.  I have had to explain to my Father at least a half dozen times, why we were hanging paintings, photographs, signs, and the like off center, up high, down low or not at all, letting them lean casually on a piece of furniture as if I was deciding whether or not the wall above would become its permanent home.  The reason of course is…staging.  What gets framed out within the confines of the view finder looks entirely different – dare I say horribly wrong – in real life.

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Proud moment when everything came together.   I painted that console table!

In small spaces, where cameras, and tripods, jigs and jogs in the walls, eaves, and any number of less than perfectly wide-open, square spaces (like say a 1789 home that was renovated – maintaining “most” of its original integrity might have), faking the scene is critical to telling the story.

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Coasting into the shoot as if it was no big thing….

If this feels like an Is this Real or is it Memorex commercial – it sort of is.  For you younger readers, that’s a reference to a cassette tape commercial.  If you are still not with  me – look it up.  I’m thrilled that I have such young readers.  The point is, cameras cannot capture everything, despite what TMZ might lead us to believe.  There is a lot of pulling pieces into a frame, with great effort, making the dress appear as if it has been tossed on the settee, awaiting the cocktail party in just a few hours, the book lying open on the bed, having just been abandoned for a dip in the ocean.  These things are carefully manufactured.

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Flowers in a Jill Rosenwald Vase … cut scene.

I have been filling this home with furnishings and objects for coming on 6 months now.  It wasn’t until the last two weekends that I even attempted to start and set the scene.  ( I only work on this project on the weekends).  Scene setting is an exhausting endeavor.  It requires gathering hundreds of objects, some rare, some cheap but interesting, some vintage, some natural- think shells and drift wood, some art, and some others would never consider art, and pulling it all together.  Is there a secret to it?  A science?  I’m still not sure.  I try and test, remove, and replace, add and subtract, curse and commend, and eventually after a little more nudging, a tiny bit of consideration and consultation, arrive at the vignette.  Alas, the point of the story.  While I cannot show you all I have been up to, I am happy to share this one perfect moment.  Perfect, anyway, from my point of view.

 

Design Challenge

2 days, 4 rooms, furnishings and accents.  No lighting, no renovations, no wall coverings. I went to Dallas with no plan in place other than to visit my beloved Blue Print Store.  The timing and the demands that I am currently facing are both exciting and challenging, and didn’t allow for the pre-planning that I recommend so strongly when putting down cold hard cash, and working to turn your house into a home.

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I spy a magnificent pice of art.

It sounds a little dramatic when I write it like that, but our home is a sanctuary of sorts.  Many of us don’t recognize how supportive, restorative, and healing our environment can be, and any environment that can be all that can certainly be the opposite.  Whether it’s “unfinished” or “disorganized” you are contending with, like a constant complainer at the office, it wears on you.  Having the opportunity to help someone create a space that will nurture and make them happy is a pretty awesome gift to receive.

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Bungalow 5 Camille 2 Drawer Side Table . Moss  Gray Tweed

So we started with art.  I’ve decorated 2 of my 4 places with a single piece of art in mind.  One of the paintings came from Blue Print, the other from a local artist with whom I have great respect, and who casts swirls of paint on the canvas like the ocean waves of my youthful upbringing.  Talk about generating joyful feelings.  I loved my Cape Cod upbringing, so it seemed fitting that one of the designs would reference my earlier years.  My friend and I felt the same way.  Art is such a personal thing, and while no price tag can be put on something that elicits strong emotion, the pricer price tags can elicit the same for reasons contrary to our objective.  Still – we launched off with that in mind, and as is often the case with Blue Print, we fell in love with not 1, not 2, but a slew.

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Restoration Hardware Belgian Linen Single Cushion Sofa.  The cleanest look with no messy cushions!

With the clock ticking, we immediately decided on one main piece from which to build the design, and a secondary, and quite different abstract to help pull together the elements of the dining room.

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Ethan Allen Barrymore Dining Table – sale on now through the end of March!

 

Every project requires a budget and we had one – though generous, the task of furnishing two complete bedrooms, a living room, which we only going to allow 2 chairs, a carpet and some drapes to remain, proved daunting.  I’ve made enough mistakes with a sofa to measure twice and cut once, but I’m always a little nervous.  No space is going to accommodate all that you want without some compromises, sacrifices, and cleverness, but dare I say we did good.

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One Kings Lane Seagrass Console Table.

Paintings really help to bring disparate colors into the palette and create interest in a room.  If you know roughly what you like, and you are exhaustive with your search, you can come up with a close approximation, as we did when we realized the bed room set for a young boy wasn’t in the color we hoped for.  Houzz provided a perfect substitute and at a price that was jaw droppingly low.

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Houzz . Coaster Zachary Full Bed. $318.66!!

A long weekend, but an incredibly fun one.  We did good.  Now if we could just find that elusive coffee table.

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Ballard Designs . Linen and Burlap Color Block Pillows from $39.

Happy Sunday.

Into the Blue: Blue Print You’re My Home

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Blue Print Warehouse . 1516 Edison Street . Dallas Design District

I take a deep cleansing breath right before I open the door to Blue Print.  That door that I have come to know so well, that door that says:  “Hello”.  To say its welcoming seems so insufficient, but it is, just that.  It’s southern without being steeped in sweetness.  It’s friendly without being overly solicitous.  It’s passionate about the artists it represents, and excited to share the stories of the lands from which their very special rugs have traveled.  It’s unapologetically happy, bright, and light.  Even the antiques when rested gently atop a rug in bright oranges, purples, and pinks take on a more cheerful countenance without loosing their sophistication.

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Color collection perfection.

They have a very special gift – these gals.  They have an eye for art, a nose for the next trend, and a head for business, and I love and admire them for it.  I want to move right in, tuck away in one of the back living rooms, in close proximity to their lovely garden.  Even the kitchen, which is meant only for employees, but which I have stumbled upon during previous visits, is perfection with it’s raised moldings in the shape of a diamond – J’aime bien!

To feel grounded and uplifted all at once is a heady feeling.  I aspire to be one of them, and in the interim, am happy to be among them.  My visits there inspire me.  It’s like visiting Paris or Bali or being on the water.  It’s like grapefruit Perrier (which they always offer me when I arrive), mint chocolate chip ice cream (which is one of my very favorite things in the world), it’s like wild sock-eye salmon (which I need like the air I breath).  It’s like being loved.

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Black Birds Singing in the dead of night….

I will admit to feeling a little worried that they were moving away from the Turkish Oushak, which came into my periphery four years ago during one of my first visits to Blue Print.  A new rug has made its debut on the big stage.  It’s a little nappier, and decidedly happier than an Oushak.  One of them looks just like a Picasso Painting, and the price only slightly reflected the reality that it is not.  It could easily reside in a kids bedroom, or in the uber sophisticated Upper East Side Apartment of a socialite style-maker.  In other words, it brings some serious bang for the buck.

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The new nappy – Turkish carpets gone wild.

Today will be a test of my will.  The question of course is will I leave with one of those rugs.  I’ve put it on hold.  Pugga (my boyfriend) said that it was a foregone conclusion.  I want to prove him wrong, but I’m not sure I’m strong enough to do that.  I can be stubborn, but I don’t want to cut my nose of to spite my face.  Is saving face more important than the sheer joy I’ll get from having that rug?  These are the universal questions I grapple with.  Give me strength and a little of that Irish luck.

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Gone Fishing.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Paule Marrot: born to art

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Doves . Paule Marrot via Natural Curiosities

Destiny – perhaps Paule Marrot was destined to be an artist.  At just 14 years of age she attended L’ecole Des Arts Decoratifs. She was painter, a textile designer, an engraver, and a  teacher.  She was a favorite of Jaqueline Kennedy, who used her textiles to design a room in the White House.  Two dimensional  in nature – at first glance, they may appear to be simple, but they are in fact quite sophisticated.

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Shell 2 . Paule Marrot

They are cheery and whimsical.  They are a walk through a European garden in summer.  They are in full bloom, when you are in need of a smile.  Drawing inspiration from nature, and the ocean, Paule produced over 320 textile designs during her career.  Collaborated with Renault and sold one of her fabric designs to renowned fashion designer, Paul Poiret.

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Trees . Paule Marrot

Today her prints can be purchased from Natural Curiosities, and fabric from Brunschwig  Fils.  I adore them, and would love to have them in one of my homes, and I wouldn’t ever sell it.

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Cherries . Paule Marrot

Framing Out the Situation: Getting art right

Nashville seems to know the things that I have an interest in, and presents them to me …. it’s a bit spooky if I do say so.  Nonetheless, I am appreciative of being an object of its solicitation.

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Framebridge . Custom Framing

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Be reminded …. 

Happy Saturday.