I feel it in the air today, though I know in my heart of New England hearts, there will be many more warm days before the snow arrives, the crisp weather of this next season is sure to come. Why then am I recommending you assess your outdoor furniture and consider buying now, right before you’ll be up to your eyeballs in holiday decorations, and gift lists as long as your arm? If you have ever attempted to buy outdoor furniture in March, April, May or gasp – June…you know you’ve already missed the boat. Sure, you’ll be allowed to purchase it. Buy now, and prepare to hold your breath until November. That’s right – November. If Thanksgiving is warm enough, which sometimes it is here in Boston, you could entertain family and friends under your pergola with your new dining table and chairs, and then haul them downstairs for a long winter’s sleep.
If you purchase now, you’ll have the benefit of some pretty amazing sale prices. When an outdoor sofa, which in this region you use for maybe three months if you are lucky, costs about a third more than your indoor sofa, which you use all year long, getting some kind of a break on pricing is a non-negotiable for me.
Options may be a little more limited, but 60% off is 60% off, and after a winter that seemed like it would never end, you really want to be able to pull those furnishings out of storage the very first springlike day that comes along, and get to taking advantage of it.
Above: Left Top: Anthropologie . Linen Haverhill Chair $595.50. Top Middle: Ballard Designs . Antelope Hand Tufted Rug in Grey 9 x 12 $899. Top Right: Shop Candelabra . Boyd Delux Credenza $4797 Bottom Left: CB2 . Forte Channeled Leather Extra Large Sofa $2379.15 and Bottom Right: Etsy Mid-century Side Tables – Pair $250.
I love a good challenge. It’s decidely easier to spend someone else’s money than my own. Though, admittedly I am pretty good at spending that too. This gives me the perfect distraction from my own renovation project and its associated budgetary challenges – you don’t even want to know how far over budget and how extensive the scope creep has been – you just don’t.
Left: Mineral Ice by Benjamin Moore will be the main color palette for the common areas and the living room. Right: Rejuvenation . Poplin Floor Lamp $423.
Look #1: Drum roll – $12,317.30. This includes significant discounts from West Elm, Ballard Designs, CB2. January is a big sale month.
Look #2: West Elm Sectional as posted above. Top Left: Target Warwick Wood Ratan Side Table $85.49 Top Right: World Market . Natural Basket Weave Jute Rug 9 x 12 $314.50 Bottom Left: Article Mara Walnut Coffee Table $299. Bottom Right: Etsy . Sideboard in Walnut $1897.45
Total for Look #2: $6264.83 Note that it does not include 2 side chairs or any lamps in this look – and they will be needed.
Now I don’t want you to think that I am being irresponsible with the recommendations I am putting forth for this young professional – on the contrary, I conducted an extensive search of some of my very favorite places – West Elm, The Inside, Etsy, Verellen, Shop Candelabra, World Marketplace, Rejuvination, and more. I went back to some tride and true Ben Moore colors, and picked a few new, and I will visit Home Goods for lamps and accessories, because well, they are simply the best for inexpensive, transitional lamps (remember, that’s a modern twist on traditional), and they knock off high end accessories faster than I can make my way down to NYC to get lured into buying the original. Thank the Lordy- Lord for Home Goods. Sometimes I think it’s too good to true, and then I pinch myself, and there it is…devine design, but not by Candice Olson – I love you unsung HG Knock-off Division heros.
Top Left: West Elm . Leigh Coffee Table $488.60 Right Top: West Elm . Flourish Rug 9 x 12 $1279.30. Middle: Shop Candelabra Boyd Delux Credenza $4797. Bottom Left: Target Single Drawer Hafley Side Table $62.99 Right Bottom: Ikea . Veda Arm Chair $199.
Look #3: Total $10,088.88 no lamps included in this look
So, back to the challenge: A condo that closes next week. A major move from DC to Boston, a series of subs lined up to execute the work – a tiny bit of demo, open a wall here, let the light in there, refinish the floors in a walnut stain – I approve even though the decision was made before I arrived on the scene, and paint. Then – a totally clean slate. Music to my ears. No Grandmother’s sofa to work into the mix (excuse me all you Grandma’s out there – I love you – truly I do, it just makes it so much easier when you can start fresh). To be clear, I would have taken that sofa and had it reupholstered for more money than you would have approved – so don’t you see…it’s just better this way.
Additional pieces I love and which could all work with any of the looks. Top Left: West Elm . Retro Tripod Coffee Table $209. Top Right: Etsy Walnut Credenza and West Elm . Kidney Bean Coffee Table $365.
Every room needs furniture. Two beds, a living room, and presumedly a dining area – though that is not part of my scope (hey you – you know who you are – the guy this challenge was posed for in the first place – I’ve got three dining tables if you need one.
I am well trained by my sister Jo-Jo to provide 3 options. She likes options, and a full design presentation. She provides the budget and I provide three schemes that fall within the same, and she picks. I will say, she typically picks items from all three options, but that’s her right – she’s paying.
I’m pretty excited about what I have selected and do hope that Jake will be too. It’s a lovely way to begin one’s life in a new town – don’t you think?
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.
West Elm . Sherwin-Williams – leaning toward the green.
Kermit said: “It’s not easy being green.” Oh Kermie, I think green is beautiful. It’s the color of nature, and new beginnings. Of money and survival, of going for it. It’s rough and rustic, delicate and beautiful. It’s shades span the muddy and the pure. It’s a color that could work in all seasons, and for a man or a women, a little girl or a tiny baby boy.
Not long ago I had a visitor to my apartment and she declared it the ultimate Bachelorette Pad. I laughed, and have to say with No. 4, I’m guilty as charged. Still it made me think about what my place might look like if I designed my place with a man in mind – not just any man, but a manly man – one that likes the outdoors. A city place with an ode to the outdoors.
Since it just occurred to me, and I am not actually going to change the design of my beloved No. 4, I chose to consider just the bedroom. I like mossy greens, and evergreens, textures that evoke the outdoors, and of course something that would actually grow there.
Redd gets it right for Ballard. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Miles Redd found his way to NYC where he studied Interior Design at NYU. Though some call his style quirky and theatrical, I think it rather sophisticated. Sophisticated need not be stuffy, and with Miles love of shiny objects and surfaces, and high gloss paint in bold poppy colors, he’s a far cry from boring.
I once had occasion to meet Jonathan Adler, and I asked him if he knew Miles because their design styles seem to share an ability to coax a smile out of even the most steadfastly serious individuals. Jonathan reported that they were good friends. Smile I did at that. I told him that I drew much inspiration from his furnishings and accessories, and I hope to be able to tell Miles the same one day.
Diamond Coffee Table.
When my Ballard Designs catalog arrived the other day, I spotted a canary yellow, ribbed and upholstered, with a long tassel fringe chair on it’s cover. I saw it and said, that’s new, and I wonder who they have designing for them now. If only I’d REDD on I would have discovered.
Channeled Slipper Chair $599.
I paged through trying to find something – anything that perhaps I didn’t love so that I might narrow down the topic of discussion, but this Bunny Williams trained talent really gets it right. His acid green diamond coffee table $599. , also available in navy with chrome, is a stunner. The diamond dining chair with the fretwork detailed seat in chalky white or high gloss black and an a bright selection of leather fabrics to choose from, making it both edgy and glamorous all at the same time. $649. The glass deco fireplace screen for $299. is a yes! The Alberta Button Headboard, $699. (queen) and the Tuxedo Chest $2299. in black lacquer are just a few of the stand out pieces in this collection.
Miles style can sometimes look buttoned up in its perfection – as is often customary among Southern designers, but it takes the edge of with a bit of the playful in the form of a polka dot, or a gingham fabric, and you are reminded of how and why he rose to the top of the design world so quickly since opening his own studio in 1998….he’s good.
Diamond Dining Chair.
While the pieces are a little pricier than Ballard’s typical pp, I’ll be one of the first to say I think it’s worth it. I better get moving with number 5.
I’m always pleasantly surprised by the number of people that I talk to that have flipped a home, or are considering it. While I haven’t run across anyone that does it quite like I do, I suspect if I keep at it long enough, and talk to enough people, I will. There’s a camaraderie in knowing that others have been through the war. Have suffered through the frustrations of construction, and want to share their stories of failure and triumph. It’s comforting to learn that you aren’t the only one to have made a mistake, and to learn about resources or avenues that you hadn’t considered before, from those that have done it.
Left: Serena and Lily . Striped Fabrice. Right: Serena and Lily . Striped Oxford Sheets
We’re all just trying to earn our stripes. Not to prove something to the world necessarily, but to ourselves. It’s possible to work hard and win. That’s one of the most gratifying things one can do.
Ballard Design . Striped Sectional Bench
I’ll earn those stripes when I am through with this project of mine, and with every property that I complete along the way, I plan to brand it in some small or large way with them. They are fresh, they are quintessentially french, they are nautical, and opinionated, and all the things I love about the places that have made me .. me.
I am reminded of their ability to be time and trendy all at the same time. Fall fashion is going to go bold with stripes, with tailored designs and stiff cotton shirts – be prepared to be wowed by the simple detailing that turns a work shirt into a work of art. Since fashion and interiors follow similar trends, in color and pattern, be prepared to see the heavy use of stripes between the glossy pages of your favorite magazines.
Finding a way to strike a pose….Modernista.com
For me, the feeling that stripes illicit will always be in style. While I am never going to feel like I’ve arrive, I’ll happily keep adding stripes to my sleeve as I make my way through life. Mine as well do it in style.
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.
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.
The traditional motif symbolizing “welcome” – posh doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny. PB Teen$119.
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.
Flavor Paper . Fruits of Design . Sweet Potato Mica Clay Coated.
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?
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.