Merry and Bright

I can’t believe it’s Christmas Eve.  It sneaks up on you when you are rushing round trying to get ready.  I thought I was in good shape, but then I went and left some essential details until the end.  The details are what matter to designers because it’s the je ne sais quais that turns the nice into the surprisingly cool….beautiful…or pulled together.  Everyone deserves a little “quais”  Non?

 

For me it was disguising the obvious gifts.  Some people want money – greenery I like to call it.  Also, unoriginal – but try as I might, they won’t be dissuaded.  Money is what they want, and so, who am I to judge.  Money they will receive, but not in any obvious way – surprise and delight it must be.  I thought about a cool box in which to house the treasure, I thought about a container with hidden compartments in which my loved ones would have to hunt for their prize.  I settled on none of that.

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we must use the tools we have…left over from holiday shipping.

My fascination with tiny houses led me to my cardboard creations.  First a log cabin, fire burning within, decorated for the holiday season, with the promise of special things, just beyond the door.  There is something very special in that cabin, indeed!

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Voila – something very special lies just beneath the roof.

 

The second is decidedly more Hundred Acre Wood.  A cylindrical tower of birch with its musical roof is a welcome respite from the cold, and the cash that it houses will certainly go a long way to warming the recipients heart – at least I hope it will.

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scouring the woods for window box riches

I was inspired by the ice laden trees that resulted from the freezing rainstorm that made for a miserable Christmas Eve . Eve.  The sun came out today and all glistened and sparkled as if it was Mother Nature’s intention all along.

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A stash of cash within the 100 Acre Wood Cabin.

 

Warmest Wishes to you and your family for a wonderful holiday.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Pedicure: paint a little happy under toe

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.

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Hoxton Hotel . Paris

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Happy Sunday.

A Room for all Seasons

 

Spring….

I love changing up the design and furnishings in my home, wantonly following the color trends of the season, or the Pantone Color of the year.  I thought to myself today, what will happen to me when I no longer just go out and buy a new house so I can decorate again?  Gasp, will I have to choose a single design that I live with for the rest of my life?

Summer….

That’s just unimaginable.  I don’t want to sound spoiled, so I think I need to remind everyone that I’ve moved about a million times in the last three years so I could continue to design and decorate.  It’s not really that ideal.  Wasn’t it Dorothy Parker who said, “I started this career because I loved doing houses.  I had done three of my own, and I couldn’t keep on moving my family all the time, so I started decorating other people’s homes and buildings.”

Fall….

I do foresee a future when I no longer have the inclination to move every 8 – 12 months.  While that doesn’t feel at all like me, I think it will in fact be me….somewhere down the road.  I’ve only owned this place 351 days.  That’s right – tomorrow marks my 1 year anniversary here.  Yet, I am restless, even as a few nudgy items left unfinished, I feel ready to move on.

Winter…

Still, I am staying for a least one more full year.  A virtual eternity for me.  So I’ll stage for the show, in a season that seems most fitting for No. 4, but in order to appease my desire to flee I am working a seasonal change-up.  I wondered to myself if it was possible, through flowers and pillows, and maybe an accessory here and there to give a living room a facelift – a make-over – a touch of the daring and or whimsy.  Please do let me know if you think I succeeded, or if you have ideas of your own on how I can remain happy in a marriage to this place that has to last me for another whole year.

 

 

 

Choix – pillows with punch

Nantucket is home to AMAZING design. From fashion to home furnishings, fine art, to fun jewelry, ACK has a knack for attracting the talented and visionary.  This season I have been surprised and delighted by a number of new shops. My insatiable appetite for new design accents is so easily fed on this island it’s intoxicating.

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Joey Wolffer . Esme Yozell, Retail Marketing Manager

I visited a tiny spit of a shack on South Wharf called Joey Wolffer.  A little bit of everything,  the stores clothing was unusual and beautiful, jewelry, just right, and accessories  – so fun, and trendy. What really caught my eye were the pillows.

Esme Yozell, Retail Marketing Manager shared with me that her Mom Abby is the designer of the pillows they have showcased in the store. A lover of France – her Choix Home brand is metallic fabulousness.  Inspired by international travel, and vintage baubles and materials, the pieces are unique, beautiful, and inspired.

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While Choix has more than pillows, its the pillows that speak to me.  From Camo, to fabulous nubby textiles, sequins to metallic surfaces, fringe and a fair amount of statements that seem timely, and emphatic.

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Pineapple appliques, Fun words and non-sensicals like HA!  Bossy!  Never! – the variety of interpretation that can be associated with them is fantastic.

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I have a thing for sequins – i have an even bigger thing for fringe. Oh boy –  ridiculous. I love that Abby has embarked on this business venture, has tied her daughter Esme into the process as she manages this Nantucket store, and brings her love of travel home to us all.  Find her pillows at:  Jeoywolffer.com or choixhome.com.

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Esme with her computer case.