Sail Cloth: Putting together a coastal fabric collection

In my mind’s eye I breeze through the perfectly designed rooms of The Manse in a flowy cotton Ulla Johnson dress,

admiring my careful selections with pride, and a knowing nod to myself, just as I imagined it would look.  In reality…there are dozens of mistakes I will make, returns, concessions, screamed vulgarities, frustration, some tears followed by elation.  If I am making it sound terrible – it’s not.  It’s this very part that keeps me going.  That has me dreaming of different color combinations, fabrics, and patterns – textures and scale.  Like a golfer that swears they will quit, and then hits a perfect shot, I’m in for life.

 

I’ve already bought, and plan to return a number of items that upon further reflection – will not work.  If this were a Chatham Bars Inn buffet – my eyes would be bigger than my stomach – the repercussions are worse than a stomach ache though, because the beds won’t fit in the rooms!  Ugh.  New plan.  While I think I’ve come up with an alternative approach, it’s a disappointment.

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Cheeky Monkey . Add a little red felt heart on Harwich and we’re in business.

I want to be sure to get the fabrics right so I am laying out several scenarios and asking for input.  Jo-Jo will weigh in here of course.  I was turned onto a fourth generation textile design company out of Sheffield, MA called Tillett Textiles & T4 run by Kathleen Tillett and son Patrick McBride.  This company is hot!  They allow you to choose your pattern and your color way along with about a dozen materials from which you can print it.  If you are in love with their designs, and want a coordinating wallcovering you might consider printing on a lightweight fabric and then having it paper backed before hanging it.  Helen Baker of Helen Baker Interiors Inc. turned me on to them.  She knows the coolest resources!

White and Blue Bedroom:  2nd Floor

Top Left:  Carp Allowed It in Navy – Tillett Textiles (Roman Shades)  Top Right:  Bolero in Indigo – Sister Parish (Window Seat Cushion) Bottom:  Beans and Boys in Red – Tillett Textiles (Pillow for Window Seat).

Sister Parish is a textile and wallcovering brand founded in 2000 to honor the style of and spirit of Sister Parish of the influential Parish-Hadley Interiors firm that famed designers Brian McCarthy and Bunny Williams once called their work home.  I became familiar with them a few years back when I saw a pattern called Serendipity with it’s happy little stars and polka dots – two things bring a smile to my face.  Their patterns are perfect for a coastal haunt.

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Left:  Mally Skok . Mewar Pink Orange. (Window Seat Pillow piped in kelly green). Right:  Sister Parish . Clara B . Simply Pink (Window Seat Cushion.

Above:  Similar Wicker Chair – Antique Market Find with Top Left:  Tillett Textiles . Puffy Petals in Forest Green.  Top Right:  Tillett Textiles . Dots of Non in Forest Green piped in pink.

Above Left:  Tillett Textiles . Dots of Non in Forest Green – converted to wallcovering for bedroom closet interior.  Right:  Sister Parish . Clara B – custom upholstered daybed.

Last year, while at the Innovation and Design Center in Boston’s Seaport, I met Mally Skok.  I went to the talk because I had seen a room she designed for a show house and I was struck by the organic patterns and playful motifs.  She has a fascinating story, and is as lovely as her designs.

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Custom Upholstered Day Bed with Trundle by livenUpdesign. Via Etsy.

I love so much of what Serena and Lily produces, but struggled with colorways that would work in this particular application.  If I have to be honest, which I do, because what’s the point of writing all this if I am not honestly sharing my preferences, thoughts, and opinions.  I’m not perfect – nobody is and NObody likes a property that looks too perfect.  It feels inauthentic (probably because nobody lives there) Don’t you forget that.

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Louis J. Solomon . Commode for inside the closet nook.

So S & L is out and I am embracing a mix of designers that you may know, and others who may be new to you.  I do hope you approve.  Comments are sometimes welcome – just kidding – if I couldn’t accept input and alternative suggestions, where would I be?  Please do write.

Water Ways

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Hygge and West’s Mermaid Paper.

I was surprised to learn from my yoga instructor that winter – the season that is – is associated with water and fear.  It’s a time to look inward, and reflect.  I suppose in some cosmic way the Gregorian Calendar (that’s the one we currently follow – which was created by Pope Gregory XIII) with it’s year end, just after the Winter Solstice, and our tradition of goal setting for the new year – is in fact, a time of inward reflection.  Hum.

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Pottok . Little Whales Wallpaper.  At last I found it!

I’m a goal setter by nature.  I like the process.  I like to check in and reflect.  I love to see what the year has produced.  I’ve taken to telling people – whoever will listen really – what my goals are because I learned a few years back that in doing that – blabbing it to everyone, you are in fact increasing your chances of getting what you want.  Isn’t that the most amazing thing?  Somewhere in there, surely the psychology of accountability whispers in our ear, encouraging us along on our path.

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Marblous Oceany Wallpaper.

Fear can also be a powerful motivator.  No surprise that fear is what set me off on this quest in the first place.  The Quest for the Nest that is.  I find it eye-opening when someone tells me that they find what I am doing “courageous”.  I throw back my head and laugh – a nervous giggle whistling out through parted lips as I prepare to correct them.  It’s FEAR, not courage I want to scream.  Still, as I reflect on this past year, finish construction on No. 4…I have to admit, that I am in fact doing it.  Like water – I am finding my way, sometimes in the face of what seems decidedly unyielding, sometimes salty, and others deliciously enveloping.

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Serena and Lily . Seagrass Cloth . Amalfi

E.E. Cummings said:  “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always our self we find in the sea.”

I am a Cape Cod girl at heart.  I cannot argue with him there.

In this winter season, embrace the stormy waters, the calm tidal pools, the white caps, and ebbing tide.  There is something to learn and love from them all.

Money Can’t Buy Me Love: Finding a way

Money…what a disdainful word.  I sometimes love it, sometimes hate it, and often live in fear I won’t have enough of it.  This is all normal.  Everyone must make choices, decisions, look longingly at an item, or a destination that must wait for another time.  This longing is a good thing.  It forces you to ask why you want something (in my case it’s typically because it’s beautifully designed),  and it keeps me up at night, devising ways in which I might obtain said object, or falling into a fitful sleep where I dream I own it. That about sums up my obsessiveness in a nutshell.

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Amir Khamneipur’s . Gold Table

Unrequited love got me thinking about this.  A few months back I read House Beautiful’s edition about small spaces.  They featured an interior designer’s home in Manhattan.  Just 700SF.  Amir Khamneipur’s home is exactly the home I would craft if I had that kind of money.  It’s so clever, it’s a grey goddess of color beauty, and it’s accented by mirrors, and metallics.  I am a big fan of all.  It features a gold dining table with a powder coated base in off white.  It’s heaven, and I have been like a lovesick teenager doodling images of it on the pages of my notebooks, expressing my adoration at every turn, and finding a way to bring it up, casually in conversation.  Ugh, a fool for love.

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www.thechroniclesofhome.com – Jen’s DIY Grasscloth coffee table.

This table is in fact, one of Mr. Khamneipur’s own designs.  You can buy it.  This tiny little bit of a table, just 2 feet wide by 44 inches long, runs at a cool $7900.  Well that price made my love go stone cold.  The table is too small for even my little dining nook.  If I am completely honest I had a moment of total insanity when I contemplated getting two to fill the space.  Please!  It clearly was not meant to be.  Fate has a plan for me, and it’s not Amir’s table.

Left:  Grasscloth Wallpaper . Wallpaper Direct  Right:  Benjamin Moore’s Peach Cloud

I got to thinking about customizing a piece that will appropriately fit the space.  I do want that gold top, but the logistics and timing, not to mention the cost, had me considering another option altogether.  What about grasscloth?  How hard could it be to do make one on your own?  Surely, there must be someone out there that does just this thing.  Well in fact there is.  I found a gal who has a blog called The Chronicles of Home.  Jen even lives locally.  Now she is a DIY’er, and I am not.  I like to say – “You Can Do it….I can help”!  Jen made her own custom grasscloth covered coffee table.  Quite lovely.  She riffed on a World’s Away Design, covering the base in grasscloth as well.  Me, I plan to have my Dad construct the table, and my wall covering expert paper it.  Once it’s papered I plan to run two fat gold metallic stripes down the center with a peach stripe crisply inserted between the two before I varnish the whole thing.  I may paint the legs gold too instead of covering them in the grass cloth.

Left:  Ralph Lauren’s Metallic Gold Paint Right:  Farrow and Ball’s Lotus Wallpaper.

Love should be willing to meet you at least half way, don’t you think?  Happy Home Adventures.

 

 

Garden Party

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Hidden Garden . a restaurant with a story.

I wonder if it started with Winnie the Pooh and the Hundred Acre Wood, or The Secret Garden, perhaps too it could have been Lord & Taylor’s The Bird Cage Restaurant, which I have referenced before.  I loved it there, the chirping of the birds, the cafeteria trays, the enormous bird cages gathered in the center of the restaurant.  My sister Jo-Jo hated it.  The food, the noise, the fuss.  I’m a little fussy and I loved Raymond Lowey’s design, in just the same way I fell into step with Piglet and Pooh as they wondered the wood and snuggled into Pooh’s hollowed out tree for a pot of honey.  Maybe that’s the real origination of my love of tiny spaces and not boats at all.  They are cool.  They are magical. They are alluring.

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Schumacher . sweet little bird . they got it right.

Whatever the reason, however the seed was planted, this season has not ended for me.  As the snow piles up all around, I long for a little umbrella fern to poke its kelly green finery stubbornly through the snow.  I don’t think umbrella ferns are actually indigenous to this region, but that is the image that is in my head nonetheless.

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deGournay . breathless from it’s beauty.

This longing for spring and other things floral, and chirpy, and secretly happy is expressing itself in my desire for a pair of One Kings Lane Chinoiserie pillows that are singing a sweet song of seduction to me.  I think I’ve fallen under their spell.  But it’s not just the pillows.  Truth be told, I am attracted to all manner of botanicals, chinoiserie’s, and garden leaves.  There’s an elegance to bringing nature in doors.  Of course on my own terms.  This is not an open invitation to have a mouse in my house.  I realize I am no match for Mother Nature, but we have an agreement with one another, and I plan to stick to my end of the bargain, and can only hope she is a woman of principle.

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Bungalow5 Panels

Some of my very favorite’s come from Schumacher.  They do watery and bold, modern and old school Versailles in a way that elicits longing.  de Gournay is elegance and opulence and when I have a powder room again I think I’ll paper the walls in hand painted petal a la de Gournay… true artistry.

More deGournay….stunners.  Left is my favorite restaurant in the world, BG at Berdorf Goodman designed by Kelly Wearstler…my idol.

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OKL . Chinoiserie . I’m hitting the buy button.

The pale mint green panels of Bungalow 5 a way to introduce just a little garden to your Parlor Level unit or any old place you call home.  If you’re shy when it comes to florals, this is as careful as someone controlled, and reserved is likely to get, while still tipping their toe into the bird bath.  A pillow will do too.

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Irina Munoz Clares.  because nature knows has all the answers.

Finally, I fell in love with the bold and cheery designs of Josef Frank.  The South of France home featured in this month’s Architectural Digest, showcased a room papered in a print that’s so sooo, and not at all too much, and just the only place in the house I would want to spent my time.  To be frank, Frank – you did good.

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Josef Frank . Svenskt Tenn