Design Challenge

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.

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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.

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Bungalow 5 Camille 2 Drawer Side Table . Moss  Gray Tweed

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ballard Designs . Linen and Burlap Color Block Pillows from $39.

Happy Sunday.

Rosy Glow: Living in the pink

Photographers live for “the golden hour” that time of day when the light is glowy and romantic, and casts a shimmer and sparkle on those that are bathed in it.  It’s sequins and fireworks, and candle light.  It’s dew drops, and effervescence, and youthful sleepiness.  It’s first bloom, it’s a Florence skyline, it’s perfection.  I want perfection for a moment.  There…I said it.  I want it in that moment when the light sheds years from your world weary skin, and plumps your heart to overflowing with happiness and possibility.

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No. 4 Coming Together . Painting – Stephanie Shank . Verellen Sofa

I think I may be on my way to achieving it in my living room.  I went for the pastels and the peaches, the blush and palest of the cream white tones.  I blanketed it in a backdrop of Benjamin Moore Sand Dollar.  (oh Ben, we’ll get to you tomorrow – you’ve stepped up your game yet again – how you do please me).

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Pastel puddles under toe (not to be confused with undertow which sweeps you along and spits you out if you know how to work with it, or has disastrous ramifications, if you don’t)  We won’t think about that now.  We’ll think about the luscious Landry and Arcari Turkish Oushak that tickles my toes, and my fancy all at the same time.  Though I wasn’t sure it achieved my bright side fantasies, it is well suited to the setting and I have grown very fond of it.

 

Achieving lighting levels that will flatter you and your guests require some simple rules of thumb.

  • Variety:  Cans, pendants, chandeliers, standing lamps, table lamps, wall mounted,
  • Bulbs:  Say no to Florescent, yes to LED, and don’t be afraid to strategically employ soft pink bulbs,
  • Dimmers:  yes please – have an Electrician install them everywhere, variety is key to achieving a sultry smolder or a blushy beam,
  • In-direct:  keep them guessing.  From what point does the light emanate?  Hide it behind a plant, beneath a molding, allow it to splash a wall or painting rather than direct it’s beam toward some Bell in a Ballgown.
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Oomph Slipper . Bungalow5 Side Table . L & A . Turkish Oushak

I’ll be bringing back an Electrician – a fourth time.  There’s work to do yet, but my furnishings and art are working hard to do their part.

Spring Coat

Spring…it’s so full of promise. The fresh air that puffs in through the crack in the window, freed from the confines of its casing after the long winter.  The smell of cut grass and the sound of birds chirping – children’s laughter.

Left:  Mulberry Spring line . 2013 . Right:  Rhianna in Dior.

It’s natural to think of the outdoors, but why should your fence have all the fun?  Your furnishings are just as deserving of a fresh coat of paint as those wind ravaged planks.  When you live in locals that celebrate the seasons, it’s natures way of saying, “dress for the weather”.  Your interior should adjust to the change in temperature and temperament – just as your exterior does.  Hello spring shopping.  While its true I don’t need a change in season to signal a time for shopping, but others might.

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Bungalow5 . Taboret . In need of a new shade, but it’s 8 years old, is the perfect size for my small apartments, and works so well!

A fresh coat of paint on a piece of furniture can change the mood from cozy, dark, and mysterious, to playful and light. Now I am not suggesting you paint your furniture every four months, you’d never get it out of the shop before it was time to do it again.  Putting it on the curb isn’t the solution either.  Perfectly good pieces deserve a second chance.  When you buy furniture that is well made and classic, it can not only withstand the ages, but your whims.

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B5 . Powder Blue . What a pretty hue.

As I look around my admittedly chaotic, and cluttered home (construction is not yet complete, and my carefully orchestrated existence is exposed…quelle horror), I spy the pieces that I have carefully curated, and consider which will go to the shop to be sprayed.  If you are a DIY’er, or just someone that aspires to the same, there are plenty of resources out there to guide you on your skills journey.  Whenever I am desperate to learn something  new, super fast, I turn to YouTube.  Don’t laugh.  Everything you ever wanted to learn is packaged in easy to understand, instructional videos.  Pause as many times as you want, until you are certain you’ve got it right.  Me, I don’t have time for that.  Someday, but now, my minutes are accounted for, and I must use them wisely.

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B5 . What color would you choose?

My Bungalow5 Taboret will find its way down to Porcelain Patch & Glaze . 140 Watertown Street . Watertown . MA – www.porcelainpatch.com  where it will buy its new spring coat!

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

 

Make Me Blush

Go ahead, make me.  I’ve had a fondness for pink for ages.  Long before this most recent obsession that has everyone from restaurants to upscale homes crushing on this pretty pastel.  I painted my bedroom pink in my second property and loved how it made me feel. The soft complimentary light, the calming effect it has after a dusty day that tried its darnedest to make you into a dull girl.  It brings a little rose to the cheek.  It makes your lips curl up just a bit at the edge.  Men don’t have to admit to liking it, but I know many do.

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Sketch . London – 2 of those chairs arriving today in pale cream!

Today, my beyond fabulous painting that I purchased from Blue Print Store in Dallas will arrive here in Boston after its stopover in New Orleans.  Don’t ask, I just request they tell me when to be there to receive it.

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Blue Print Store . Dallas . TX – Stephanie Shank Artist

 

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Runway . Right way.

Kid Gloves will be knocking on the door between 2 – 5pm and guess what colors they will be delivering?  Pink, and blue, and mint, and peach, and red, and black, and my steady and enduring lovely…gray.  This painting will be the centerpiece of my next project.  Tink (that’s my sister) told me in no uncertain terms I wasn’t to buy any new furniture for this one…I crossed my fingers when I promised I wouldn’t.  Really, aside from me going broke and having to live with her when I am old and gray, what could she possibly have in which to object?  She is the happy recipient of many of my cast offs.  The Surf Shack has my beautiful apple green lamps from One King’s Lane adorning the matching Bungalow 5 white dressers, and complimenting the organdy tray ceiling accent color and Designer’s Guild striped curtains.  Come to think of it my little Omph slipper chair from Charlestown is in that bedroom too.  I’ve been thinking about re-upholstering my 6 month old day bed from Restoration Hardware and making it a centerpiece of her living room – another project I am working on for her now.  I digress.

Saltie Girl . Back Bay . Boston – @christiano336

Back to the super hot topic of this really warm color.  Pink.  Is it dangerous to paint a living room in this hue.  I’ve been dying to…do just that.  I saw a sweet little property yesterday that I allowed my imagination to go wild with a redesign.  A good sign that I have a fondness for the place.  It’s been well loved over the years (read:  super warn and in need of some TLC).  Until I find a boyfriend, I have plenty to spare, and want to put it to good use.  An offer will go in.

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Featured in Domino Mag – back in the day.

Seems like I am doing a lot of finger crossing these days.  If it chooses me, I just may have to engage in a “Blush with Danger”.  Would you do it?  Paint a living room pink?  Would you object if I did?  Please do tell.