Undoubtedly the living room is a big deal in any home. That’s where you curl up on the sofa with a good book and a glass of wine, argue about what you are going to watch on TV – Tree House Masters or Hallmark Channel, sometimes I do that – judge away if you must, entertain friends, have long talks, and generally…well…live. As much as I appreciate that the living room can be the heart of the home, I long for my own bedroom when I am between flips. I dream about my bed, I imagine how lonely it is in that freezing cold storage box, and feel a little less than whole.
For me that poor cold bed is my everything in that room. Sure I love my closets, but they have doors, so they are practically different rooms entirely. It’s my perfect Prana Mattress, my feather stuffed pillows, my layers and layers of blankets that create a coziness I sink into. It’s a bit ironic since I suffer from such serious sleep issues. A post for another time.
I want to make sure that the master bed gets the special attention it deserves. The whole room that is, not just the bed. It’s a big room too so making it inviting without stuffing it with furniture, keeping a minimal aesthetic in keeping with the modernist look, is the challenge.
A king size bed will help with the scale of the room, a large low dresser, a bench at the end of the bed for taking your shoes off at the end of a long day – all important elements. Add black out curtains (a non-negotiable), some great bedside tables, and maybe a comfy chair. For me, no TV in the bedroom, but that decision I will leave up to the owner.
I spend a good deal of my time fantasizing about beautiful objects, exotic places, and different ways of life. I love my life, and find great joy in the make believe. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy travel so very much. To step into another culture, to talk to other people about their lives and paths – fascinating. It’s healthy to imagine, don’t you think?
This weekend of Sales, Sails (I am on an island after all) and Sales, had me troving the internet for steals, and deals. I ask that you keep in mind the relativity of a deal, based on the items I’ve carefully curated, some of which buyers would conduct months, or even years of research before taking the plunge – I might buy on a whim.
CB2 x GOOP. Boucle Chair. $899. (ready for ship October 2018)
Judge away if you will, life can take you in funny directions, if only you are willing to let it.
Fiat Jolly . 1959.
Amazon – by the way – is taking over the world, and while it makes me nervous, I find it AMAZing that they can ship me a home for free. So I’ve decided to stuff my worry down into my toes, and save it to my favorites list. Later today I may just put it into my shopping cart and click send.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mid-Century Nautical – look at that in-lay detail….summer breeze.
Target: Lily Rattan Arm Chair – Left $139. and Lupini Rattan Bench – Right 180.49
Having just spent a gross amount of money on furnishing The Manse, carefully selecting a combination of that “it’ pieces, the cheap and chic, with the up and coming little known, and vintage repurposed, I’m not only exhausted, but I am broke.
Love this mid-century modern inspired chair. Peoria Wood Arm Chair – Target $169.99
I wondered if, like the contest I had with my older sister a few years back to see who could get the best Target outfit for under a $100. Had to be complete. I think we both did pretty good. It got me wondering if you could furnish your whole house in Target and be as happy as a lark with the results.
I took a gander and I have to say, I really liked what I saw. Now that’s not to say that I wouldn’t want to accent it with a Sister Parish pillow or a Scalamandre leaping zebra wall covering for my powder room – who wouldn’t? The point is, they’re hip collection is likely to make you happy, without breaking the bank.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ballard Designs . Linen and Burlap Color Block Pillows from $39.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have looked at so many chairs they are all starting to look alike. I fell in love with two tables – a very reasonably priced Ballard Design Trestle table, and a mid-range Dovetail Campbell table, which I was surprised wasn’t more expensive. Why you ask? The answer is simple – I was born with silver spoon taste. It’s legs are turned, and have a beautiful curve, it’s finish rustic. The combination is refined without being prissy, coastal without being kitsch.
That’s the trick. Being suggestive without being overt. That’s why I have spent so much time looking, looking again, second guessing, and finally making my selections. Trust me when I tell you – mistakes will still be made. It’s the nature of the process. Some will be easy fixes, some will cost a disgusting amount of money to fix. Ouch. Those, however, are the ones I will never make again.
After all that searching, I landed on chairs from the most unlikely of places. Will I consider them a mistake. Time will tell. I chose a version of the Windsor Chair in a dirty blue. High backed – arm chairs that will sit at the head of the table. Side chairs are going to be a simple Parsons curved back chair from IKEA. Yup. In the end, frame plus slip cover is just $129. a piece. The will be used most frequently. Everyone likes to sit in the “kitchen” – since the dining room is open to that tiny, but incredibly sweet, u-shaped kitchen, I know that is where people will hang out.
Tick Tock . Perfect accent to play off the gray.
I am going with a Cirque Pendant by Louis Poulsen. The colors are muted – not the bright primaries you would normally think of for a seaside seeing, but the strips scream nautical and French. What more could I want?
I imagine a red and white ticking stripe napkin, with a gray matte, metallic charger, and a rough hune string, tied loosely around the cloth. Maybe a sprig of thyme or rosemary tucked into it for effect. At the center of the table I would have one of Jill Rosenwald’s vases or platters. Her pottery is perfect. I might even go for one of her leafier patterns. Dare to go wild.
Jill Rosenwald Pottery . South End
Piece by piece. Bit by bit. It is beginning to come together.
My brother-in-law refers to me as “The Girl”. You know, the help that’s hired to make things happen, the one in the background, who has no name. That’s me. I know I am someone that can get things done. I’ve always been a doer, a producer. Nonetheless I prefer to be thought of more as “That Girl”, rather than “The Girl”. Marlo Thomas was so quirky and cute and like Mary Tyler Moore, she was making it on her own. True one lived in NYC and the other in Minneapolis, and I live in Boston, but still….I’m going to make this thing happen on my own.
Laying it all out helps to pick a balance of high and low.
This thing of course is The Manse, and like the middle of any good TV show it looks more like disaster is about to strike than it’s ready for the flash bulbs to start popping, but I’m confident. Sort of…Oh I have a million decisions to make still. Bed sets to buy. Dining chairs, lounge chairs, desk chairs, occasional, and every day. I’ve got furniture to paint, miles to go before I sleep.
“Chair”ish this time because once you’ve bought it, there’s no going back.
If money were no object. I wonder if I would have no creativity at all. It’s a possibility. Not to worry, right now, I am being forced to get seriously creative, because I have spent WAY too much, and here I thought I was doing well. By that I mean, maintaining a budget that I never wrote down, but had a rough idea in my mind I was willing to spend. No – that ship has sailed, so now my living room looks like a grade school art project. All the surfaces are covered with cut outs of furniture, lighting, linens, and all the items I need to complete this place before 28 April.
Struggling with the right mix of coastal and comfortable.
That Girl will pull it together, and she’ll do it in style. You just keep the faith.
Is something I say to others – as in “Do it yourself – I’m up to my eyeballs in my own projects.” When it comes to doing it myself – well…I can haul things, drag things, move things, lift heavy things – but you are unlikely to come to me, asking me to whip up a few curtain panels or a couple of pillows for you, and while I’ve painted a time or two in a pinch, no one is complimenting me on a job artfully executed.
I’m more of a project manager than a DIY’er, and yet The Manse has forced me to resort to just that. Attempting to furnish a home from top to bottom is EXPENSIVE. But that is exactly what I am attempting to do. The Manse had become The Land of Misfit Toys – in a manner of speaking. In her rundown state, the bric-a-brac that had collected within her walls was fitting, but now that she’s the proud lady on the block, she’s demanding a whole new wardrobe. People are coming for tea and she wants to be ready to receive them.
I’m doing my best on behalf of the old lady, but some things are indeed going to receive a light sanding and a coat or two of paint – in a coordinating color of course. I feel like I’ve been on the hunt all over the northeast for tables of all sorts, side, bed, coffee, dining – for dressers, and bar carts and shelves – for things that started out as one thing and will end up being something else entirely.
The Caning feels very Cape Cod.
All this hunting and sleuthing has resulted in my very first DIY project. Aided by a couple of 50 degree days, I singlehandedly dragged a desk out onto the deck, found one of my Father’s 4 – yes you heard me correctly – 4 sanders, I know not what makes one better than the other, but I am certain their is a reason to have that many. Maybe they are like shoes? If that IS the case, than I certainly cannot argue with having four – in fact I might ask – why not more?
Ta Da! What do you think?
At any rate. I sanded and cleaned and painted, and repainted and low and behold, I did it. I think it looks pretty good, and I hope you do too, because I have a set of $10. bedside tables that need to be done – a real find! I have an old ice box that I am going to use as a linen closet, and a coffee table that would have been perfectly perfect, if it has only been gray. It will be when I am done with it. If you are worry, I would say that it may not be misplaced. Fingers crossed.