Gaining “Clare-ity”: Clare V. and the Collaboration Chain

Yesterday, I posted about Clare V. and her collaboration with The Inside.  Today I want to talk about her collaboration with Wallshoppe, an LA Based on-line wallpaper company.  I’m excited, fascinated, and daunted by all that these young ambitious designers do.  I wonder if they struggle, but eventually reach a tipping point where the opportunities flow, and one need only respond – YES – more than one says no?  Whatever their secret – they are leveraging the heck out of it, and borrowing – or associating – themselves with other like minded designers, to cross promote.

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Clare V. X Wallshoppe . Stipes Onyx . 27″ x 54″ Removable Lengths at $58.

I feel a little like Alice in Wonderland after having fallen down the rabbit hole.  The Everygirl took me to The Inside, the Inside took me to Clare V., Clare V. took me to Wallshoppe, Wallshoppe took me to Laurel + Wolf an Interior Design firm founded by Leura Fine, who is the brainchild behind Wallshoppe.  First she set out to democratize interior design, with her on-line consultancy – need help with a single room?  Multiple rooms, a whole house, and know that you want options – there are three different pricing packages to meet your needs, and designers that match with your style (they help you figure out exactly what that is – by the way), create a floor plan, interact with you about the selections, and they purchase the items you want and have them shipped to your home.  Floor plan in hand, and styling assistance a live chat away, you can be sitting pretty in your professionally designed living room in less than a month.  (Merchandise availability and lead time dependent). No wonder the venture capitalists went gaga for this gig.

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Nate Berkus  X Wallshoppe . Malibu Blue and White

Wallshoppe has done something really smart, a mon avis, as it relates to those more timid souls, afraid of making a mistake, and staring for the next 40 years at a pattern that makes them ask themselves – “what the hell was I thinking”? – They made it in both traditional rolls, and in removable, easy to install, coordinating patterns and colors.  If Farrow and Ball and Schumacher are boardroom and stilettos, Wallshoppe’s collaborations with Nate Berkus and Clare V. are flip flops and a day at the beach, or a walk barefoot in the grass.  They are easy, and cheery, playful, and whimsical, and they make me smile.

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Wallshoppe . Y Not – Pushpop

I do hope that Clare V. will not be offended that I plan to augment her design.  After all, it is inspired by HER design, that is making me want to change the paper.  Let me explain.  She has designed in collaboration – of course – this pale pink on white wallpaper – Liberez Les Sardines.  That’s French for “free the sardines”.  Maybe some of you are catching on to why I like her so much.  While she hails from Minnesota, she worked in France for a TV Station, married a Frenchmen, and her designs – with their signature stripes – are quintessentially – French!

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Clare V. X Wallshoppe . Sardines in Pink.  Just imagine it with that hot pink stripe, gold and green!

So I asked myself – where are those stripes when I want them?  Need them?  They are missing from the Liberez Les Sardines!  And I simply cannot have that, so I will be introducing them to the removable wall covering.  What’s the worst that could happen?  It wrinkles up?  So what – even without my neon pink stripe, my mossy or kelly green ( I haven’t decided yet), and metallic gold, it’s going to look fabulous inside the closet of the pink bedroom on the Cape.  Oh happy day.

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Nathan Turner X WS . Splattered in Watermelon

 

Coastal Design on a “Time” line.

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Serena and Lily . Priano Wallcovering $88.00

When the temp drastically drops like the Zipper at the Barnstable County Fair, it’s a bit hard to think about coastal living, but seaside schemes I need to make apart of my waking dreams, or I’ll never make my deadline.  It’s a self imposed one, but there are implications for missing it nonetheless.

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Schumacher . Bloom . Emerald and Ore

What are they you ask?  Well – my father will return from Florida sometime between the second week in April and the beginning of May, at which time he will head down to the storage unit, extract his leather recliner, and place it smack dab in the middle of the living room claiming it is a health necessity.

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Schumacher . Balloon 

This will obviously ruin my entire scheme.  The only possible scenario that allows me to be ok with this, is if in some brilliant stroke of luck and timing I am able to make all the decisions, procure the perfect mix of vintage, antique, new, and used (by us – but don’t count on a lot of that being allowed into this space), staging it, and having it photographed, all before his return.

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Cole and Sons . The Ardmore Collection . Singita

If by some design, wish giving fairy godmother I am granted my hearts desire – to be published in Coastal Living, New England Home, House Beautiful or some new edgy design magazine that is too hip for me to even know about it yet – then I will be totally fine if that chair and a bunch of tchotchkes arrive on the scene – like an uninvited house guest at the height of summer.

 

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Quadrille .China Seas . Jungle Green and White

 

Why you ask?  How is it possible that I would actually be – ok?  Well, nothing in this world is permanent.  Photographs offer the best possible, fake representation of what you wish your space could look like – could be – all the time, but in reality it’s a fairy tale.  Take an idea or two from those photos, work around that green recliner, tell yourself it is the color of the ocean – and let it go.

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Quadrille . Interweave . soft pink on almost white

To be memorialized in one of those mags would feel like a ride on the zipper – scary, thrilling, an amazing to be recognized for what is going to be an all out race to – not only complete – but create something amazing.

 

Feeling Blue: Chinoiserie Chic

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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.

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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.

 

 

Bedroom Magic

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World Market . Rattan Twin Headboard.  $124.99

The kind that comes from a hot day in the sun, good food, plenty of exercise, crisp cool sheet, and a gentle breeze coming in through the window.  Sleep is often elusive to me.  I live through fits of insomnia chased by adrenalin rushes, and sheer exhaustion.  The rare and special gift that is an uninterrupted nights sleep – is magic.  For those of you, I could sleep anywhere people…just stop reading now.  Move along.  Nothing for you to see here in this post.

Left:  Serena and Lily:  Linden Sheet Set . Palm Green $258. Right:  Serena and Lily . Metallic Pick Switch Quilt $198. (twin)

I just of course – plenty for you to see here, even if I am jealous of your ability to lay your head down at will, close your eyes, turn off your brain, and fade into the nether region between night and day.  You are blessed.

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Christopher Farr . Carnival Green – Imagine Custom bedskirts in this cute print.

All this talk of sleep arose from my desire to select the color palette and decor for the bedrooms in the manse.  Since I am primarily there on the weekends, I want the colors to be a bit more vibrant than my year round surroundings.  I love Kelly Green and feel that it’s a nice mix between nautical and nature that works well for Cape Cod.

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Schumacher . Zebra Palm

My picks range from the high-end to the low for the first of the four bedrooms.  From World Market to Schumacher, I was shooting for a cheery space to escape to, read my book and fall asleep to the sound of crickets.

Fruit Punch: Flirt with a little fun

The weekends are too short, and summer in New England is the shortest of the short . shorts.  With no spring to speak of, one really feels the need to make the most of the good weather, when said good weather finally arrives.  Sun, sand, ocean, and fantastically fresh food.  To bite into a juicy peach, savor a sweet chunk of pineapple, smack your lips as you sip a tart and tasty lemonade – that’s summer.  It got me thinking about the roll of fruit in interior design, naturally.

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Etsy is an amazing source for original art work.  This gracefully executed watercolor, brings a little of that fun fruit to an Urban or Suburban setting.  Etsy . Tina Vu Studio $45.

I’m not thinking dark paneled walls, velvet curtains, and Peter Paul’s Rubeneque beauties lying naked in heaps of grapes.  I’m thinking a little more playful, a bit of young at heart, more daylight than dark, more laughter than tears.  Fruit motifs span the gamut from sophisticated to childish, and it’s perfectly ok to mix the two, why not, no law.

 

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The traditional motif symbolizing “welcome” – posh doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny.  PB Teen $119.

City

For city surroundings I do recommend you lean toward the sophisticated palette.  Potted fruit plants, faux and real, can bring a little of that summer indoors, and remind you that the world is not all hardscape.  (Try Ballard Design for some realistic looking faux plants) Sculptural elements like china or metallic pineapples, sitting serenely on the shelf of an étagère, the spire on top of your skyscraper of interiors books, glinting and beckoning at that 5 o’clock hour from it’s outpost on the bar cart, pineapples are indeed welcoming.  Wall coverings that blur and obscure the fruit feel polished and fresh, and are perhaps just the right splash of irreverence for a powder room or guest bed.

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Flavor Paper . Fruits of Design . Sweet Potato Mica Clay Coated.

Summer Escape

Summer rightfully brings out the kid in us all.  By my account there is far too much seriousness going around these days.  I’m not condoning irresponsibility, just suggesting that buying a Crew Cuts tee shirt from the kids department that has glittery cherry’s on it, is perfectly acceptable, and frankly much more economically responsible than buying it from J. Crew Woman’s.   Just saying…I did it, and you feel free to judge.  I am also suggesting that a sequined watermelon throw pillow, could really make rolling from Sunday into Monday, just a little bit happier, and if you woke up in these delightfully chipper cherry sheets from Serena and Lily, who’s to say you wouldn’t have the best day ever?

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PB Teen . Tutti Fruity Pillow Covers. 16″ Square – $12.99 each.

To making the most of your summer weekends, and not allowing yourself to turn Sunday into an extension of Monday.

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Serena and Lily . Cherry Sheet Set. $128. – $228.

 

 

 

Ode to Etsy: small business . big community

New businesses, ways of working, entirely new economies, and economic realities…are popping up at a pace that is frankly dizzying.  Sadly many companies, and ways of life are disappearing just as fast.  I’m telling you right now, if Dairy Queen disappears into that good night, there will be nothing good about it!

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Etsy . SouthernShades $70.

Etsy represents an old way of doing things, like back in the day when people attended craft fairs to get one-of-a-kind gifts, and pieces for their homes, with the new reality, people are so super busy that the thought of traveling to Brimfield for the Antique Flee Market seems as daunting as going to Fiji to meet the Dalai Lama…impossible. It’s the time not the dime that’s the problem.  And this my friends lends itself nicely to the reality that our intense need for speciality items hasn’t diminished one iota, even if the way in which we go about getting these things has.

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Etsy . Mowdwrk . $295.42

More than a convenient place to shop, Etsy, which was launched in 2005, and is global by nature of it’s this e-commerceness”e”, is a community.  It feels a little like WeWork, and though store-owners don’t share the coffee or the medical plan, they are benefitting from a peer-to-peer network, and the collective power of hanging your shingle along side other photographers, pillow makers, jewelry designers, and a shared belief artisnal over mass produced.  Maybe I can’t get to Brimfield, or Fiji in the next few years, but bet I bet I can get something something unique from one, or both places, on Etsy.

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Etsy . Thetuftedfrog . $260.

Let’s talk price.  Some items are very expensive.  Predominantly one of a kind, and handmade, it should not be surprising, but more often than not I find them far more affordable than the larger stores in which I am inclined to shop.  This has led me to start proactively searching there site before I hit send to place my order.  I’ve simply got to stop spending so much money on furnishings.  Money that I will never get back.  A year ago, I would have told you that it absolutely wouldn’t be worth all the disruption, if I couldn’t design my properties just exactly as I wanted.  If you can’t read between my lines, I’ll spell it out here for you – expensive!  Now that I have been turned on to Etsy, I feel like I can have it all.  Want the new Schumacher fabric for your throw pillows –  one of the Etsy Store Owners likely has it.  I’ve even found things I didn’t know existed before.

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Etsy . LoveColoray . $320. removal wallpaper

Etsy’s opened a whole new world to me.  I could log some miles surfing those shops.  Back to the problem of time…Happy Sunday.

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Etsy . CanvasCarnival . Curtains . Price based on size.

Re-Making of the Manse

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The Manse . circa 1789

Finding new life after more than two hundred years shows fortitude and resilience.  Jo-Jo’s late 18th century home sat directly on the frozen earth, no modern barriers of protection, its only insulation the newspaper and sail cloth that lined the walls underneath the wall paper.  Who knew wallpaper wasn’t all form, it was a big part function.  I stand educated.  Perhaps all these less technical methods allowed the house to breath.  One’s survival depends on it, after all.  I thought the old girl would crumble when she was jacked up, when that carefully preserved earth was shoveled from under her, when her old bones, which were crooked with age, were laid gently down on her new foundation, miraculously, they did not break.

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The new addition.

She rested, and settled, and straightened herself out.  When they say “built to last”  this is what they mean.  Like a surgeon at work on a poor souls scoliosis riddled back, when the builders were done, she’d grown taller.  Nearly a foot of ceiling height was gained, a modest 6′ addition added to the rear of the house to accommodate another bedroom. She underwent eye surgery of sorts, getting all new windows, and a hair cut in the form of asphalt shingles.  Her every day dress is shingled on three sides, but she’s wears her Sunday best, in the form of pale grey painted clapboards, and Nantucket Red painted doors, on her front facade, greeting Parishioners as they head to Holy Trinity just steps away.

She has been an excellent patient, allowing her team to work wonders as they fortify her skeletal structure, remove and strip the toxins – mold, lead, termites – that took up residence at 261 Main, and prepare to insert an entirely new respiratory system (Heat and AC where it didn’t exist before), and a sparkle in her eye, in the form of all new wiring and lighting.  Somehow, even now, with not a light on, she manages to shine.

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The took the whole tree trunk …why not?

This weekend was all about the big push to outfit her.  A gal can’t be expected to wear only one outfit for the next 200 years.  Flooring, hardware, appliances, fixtures, paint colors, wallpaper, you name it.  My head is swimming.  We visited Stonewood Products . 15 Greatwestern Road. W. Harwich to look at flooring and interior siding options.  Rough Sawn Fir, and Schoolhouse Oak, Shiplap in Pine.  I looked at Smeg, Blue Star, Miele, Bosch, Fisher Paykel, refrigerators and stoves at KAM Appliances . 210 Yarmouth Road . Hyannis, MA.  Martha Stewart, Woodman, and Kraft Made kitchen cabinets, and tile, Home Depot.  Subway, penny, Carrera, fish scale, Tileworks . 705 Main Street . Harwich. MA.  Vanities, sinks, color combinations.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.

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Jim Falla . The Architect in the midst of his creation.

I’ve never seen the point of troubling too much over the decisions.  You make them.  Some are good, some are bad.  You do your research and then take action.  The amount of time you worry over whether or not it’s a good decision, doesn’t seem to impact the outcome for me, one way or the other.  So, since time is money.  I make them quickly.  Jo-Jo does not.  There will be a lot of coaxing to get her to commit.  She makes me put together design boards with three options for every space.  She insists that she is my Client, in the way only Jo-Jo could.  In the way only the youngest in the family could get away with.  Much love Jo-Jo – you’re boards are in the process of being assembled.  Get ready to decide.

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Stonewood Products . I wish you could smell this place…heaven.

As I sit and look at the snow falling in the back yard, I envision a tiny house in its farthest corner.  This tiny spit of land already holds two homes, but I feel strongly that it could accommodate one more. It would be tiny after all.