Recommended Screen Time

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Overlays.com . Anchor Novelty Panel

I’m all about the details.  Don’t get me wrong, you’ve got to have a big picture vision, but like any good golfer, if all you’ve got is a monster drive off the tee, you’ll be losing to the likes of me.  Everyone that golfs knows that the short game is where you shave strokes, where you annihilate your opponent.  It’s the same with design – for those of you that think I”m being overly dramatic, if you want to stand out – you simply have to do it in the details.

Left:  Applied to a valance gives it texture and interest.  Right:  Applied to a simple wood dresser, and painted in a solid color offers subtle texture.

Now you can spend money getting those details right, or you can get clever.  The fact is, the less money you spend, and the more clever you are, the greater the wow factor.  It’s the almighty leveler of design.  Artistry and ingenuity will always turn an eye.

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Sold in long lengths in excess of 90″ – 2″ wide, these are perfect for creating interest at baseboard level, along the moldings at the ceiling, or as a simple detail on a piece of furniture.

As I headed to the Cape to continue developing options for The Manse, I had my Galbraith & Paul – Lotus Fabric in toe.  I know, I purchased it about a million years ago now.  I’ve been in a state of recovery after having paid a mind boggling amount of money  (for me) to the Federal Government in Capital Gains tax that took the wind out of my sails.  I just stopped moving forward, and I never stop moving forward.  I have a deep fear of sinking to the bottom of the ocean like a stone, so trading water as fast as I can is a past time.

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Glam it up with a bit of gold.

Fear not, the fabric was a toe back in the water.  I popped into Helen Baker Interiors, 94 Main Street, West Harwich to ask for her help in fabricating the curtains, and enlisting her services for The Manse.  I have ideas, but so does Helen and she is great fun to work with.

Get ready to get creative.  Choose your pattern or custom design your own.  $150. base fee will get you started.

As we were catching up, introducing one another to new favorite finds, like a game of … have you heard of this…. I shared LuxHoldups.com and a few fabric designers she hadn’t worked with previously and she shared with me Myoverlays.com  – HELLO – this site is awesome.

The classics will never fail you… go Greek.

I absolutely adore geometric patterns and fretwork.  This site offers laser-cut applicable wood patterns to transform your simplest “read inexpensive” pieces into something really special.  Template, glue, paint, and prepare to be noticed.  I’m not a huge, DIY’er, but I think I could tackle this type of project.  Just considering the color combinations would pass the time.  I love that these templates can be applied to wood, glass, mirror or drywall, and come in various sizes, and custom options.

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Transform any old piece of furniture or add to existing built-ins – this age old pattern brings a touch of class

I won’t name the high-end furniture maker’s, whom I adore, and maintain allegiance, but with these beauties, you could create your own corner of cool for …. dare I say ….. thousands less.  One last pitch for a product with which I am not associated in anyway – they have templates specifically designed for the modification of IKEA furniture.  Case closed.

 

Going for Broke: gambling on real estate

It is an addiction, this business of gambling on real estate.  Always searching for the next thrill, desperate for the rush  you get when you bet the right amount, and the roulette ball lands on your number – euphoric.  The anxiety that accompanies the decision to stay in the game, hold, or cash in your chips.  The fear that the chips your cashing in won’t cover the bets you’ve made.  It’s a risk, and the timing, the timing is everything.

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One of my favorite signs….

I’m not much for sitting around and waiting things out. I came home yesterday to find that my next door neighbor (whose building is part of my condo association) has a For Sale sign out.  I don’t actually see the property listed, a tactic that the broker uses to drive a single source sale – a questionable practice at best…. nonetheless, those are all two beds, as is mine, now that I converted it from one to two, and I felt jealousy when I saw the sigh.  It’s true, I had a visceral reaction to that proud sign, swinging in the breeze, strapped to the wrought iron fence, determined to attract a buyer.  I want to put mine on the market, but I have to wait.  I am tenacious, but not patient.

Waiting patiently for fabrication…..

There are things to do yet, curtains to be hung, hardware to be installed, doors to be built for the millwork cabinet in the living room, the perfect chair to be hunted down, a sparkling gold bar cart to be bought, brass wire covers to locate, my front door hardware to be installed by someone that actually knows how to install door hardware.  You see, I am actually not ready to leave yet, but like a girl that can’t commit, I’m ready to dash from the alter before me and my intended can tie the knot, and become comfortably numb.

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LuxHoldups . Etsy . Awaiting installation.

Not that I believe all long term relationships are a recipe for conformity or boredom, there are many that I admire, it’s just that while I like No. 4, I can’t see myself settling down…forever… not yet.  So the search continues, and in the interim, I will give my all to this commitment.  It deserves the best from me, and I just know that the next lucky person that gets it will wonder why I ever wanted to leave it.  At least I hope they will.

Happy Saturday.

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Perfect … of course it’s already sold!  Flare . Soho. NYC

Bellflower Blues: reconciling the reality of budgets

I’m stubborn.  I don’t think I could hide this reality even if there was a desire to.  I’m stubborn, and I embrace it for all the good and bad it brings into my life.  It’s dragged me across the finish line more times than I can count when I wanted to quit.  It’s had me smile politely when teachers, counselors, family members told me all the logical reasons what I was attempting to do couldn’t be accomplished, shouldn’t be tried, would lead to disappointment.  Set the expectations lower.  I smiled, as if I was in agreement, while all along I was thinking to myself… we’ll see.

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Galbraith & Paul . Bellflower

This same stubbornness has kept me from saying I’m sorry when I was wrong, from letting go of an idea that didn’t serve me, from accepting, and making minor adjustments when by all rights, it would have been in my best interest to do just that.  I’ll work harder to know when my stubbornness is good for me and when it is not.  That is something I am good at – hard work.

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Galbraith & Paul . Wing-backed Chairs in Lotus

I think of this now because of a Fabric and Wall covering company I stumbled across a few years ago in a new studio called 534 in the Design Center in Boston.  Galbraith & Paul has been around since 1986, though I didn’t know it.  A PA based company started by Liz Galbraith and Ephraim Paul their artisanal approach to hand block printed fabrics is oh so lovely.  This age old technique is the simplest of the printing methods, the easiest and the slowest, so patience is a must, or pre-planning essential as lead times are between 10 and 12 weeks.  I barely hang on to a place long enough for it to make it worthwhile to purchase these works of art.  Stubborn…so purchase I did.

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Galbraith & Paul . Small Star.

Now, because these are handmade, and their painted nature is evident in the alternating thickness of the paint that appears at the edge of the block print, and the watery washed out nature of the portions in between, they are all individual works of art.  This type of art is expensive.  I mean really expensive.  The kind of expense for which I wasn’t prepared.  The same kind that will make getting to the million I am attempting to get to …. really, really hard.  I did it anyway.  I acted like I was compromising when I ordered the fabric for the curtains in the bedroom.  The beautiful Lotus fabric in the color way . Dove, the sample which I have been carrying around in my purse for months, dreaming of, appreciating, bonding with.  How could you possibly expect me to say we were breaking up because of a silly thing like money?  I didn’t, I wouldn’t, I couldn’t.  I spent $3500. on what amounts to two panels – two very full panels in my defense.  Clearly, I would pay anything for love.

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Galbraith & Paul . Tusk

From this same maker I planned on using a second fabric for the Roman Shades in the living room.  A sublimely perfect pattern called Fern.  I said to myself, I’ll let this one go.  I can’t possibly afford both, but perhaps I can.  I just may have thought of a way to order the minimum lot, accent the base, and just possibly get exactly what I need.

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G & P – Parquet in Light Mineral (left) Reed in Willow (center) Sakura in Light Mineral (right)

Another way to get a little bit of this beauty in your own home, head down to Room and Board.  They have an exclusive line of pillows and lighting in their fabrics.  That’s what I call a win – win.

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Galbraith & Paul . Fern

Work in Progress: me and everything I do

There’s something so reassuring about knowing I am not finished.  I understand many people like closure.  I know they want some defined moment that says, “I’ve arrived” or “I’m done…finally”.  Life rarely presents perfect moments, so for me, knowing that I can get better, do better, learn something that I’ll apply the next time, is both gratifying, and comforting.  I don’t have to beat myself up for falling short, for not having the right words just when I needed them, for not knowing the sequence, the consequences, the heartbreak.  Oh we type A’s can be tough on ourselves.

A good decision.  Installation of an original South End door…Perfect.

I attempt to preemptively prepare for this – I do it with varying degrees of success.  Today, I know that I got some things wrong.  We boarded before we had the electrician wire – mistake.  We painted the kitchen cabinets before we ripped out the countertops –  mistake.  We are still in the process of negotiating AC, and will have to enclose before we have approval – delay – additional cost.  I’ve spent hundreds of dollars sampling colors for the new place.  If anything is certain, despite my best efforts, one or more of the colors I select, will not turn out the way I intended.

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Finding my way….Galbraith & Paul Fabric and Farrow and Ball Lotus Wallpaper with Benjamin Moore Paint Samples

C’est la vie.  Note to self, don’t do that again.  There will be another opportunity.  While I will surely make new errors in judgement, and come across situations I hadn’t been faced with before, they will be new, and I will learn from them too.  Sometimes these lessons feel like a black eye, and sometimes they feel like a gift.

Left:  Dove White  – Right:  Cloud White, Benjamin Moore

This tiny little Hanson Street property feel like a gift, even if I do have dark circle under my eyes.  It is going to be a petite bijou – a little jewel, and what gal doesn’t love jewelry?  No gal, I know.  My charming little bedrooms are going to be havens – the corridor leading you to the a perfectly aligned point, each door installed at an angle.  My not so subtle reference to the bow of a boat.  My need to express my coastal upbringing ever-present in my design.

“To banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality.”  John Ruskin

Left:  Lavender Blue.  Right Top:  Violet Mist.  Right Bottom:  Whirlpool – all Benjamin Moore…it’s the best!

Cheers to vitality.  Apparently I have a lot of it!

Tone Deaf: neutrals that sing pretty

Neutral isn’t exactly a melodic word.  I’m afraid for many it elicits feelings of the lukewarm, of the refined, of the boring.  However will I scale that steep hill of prejudice and ensure that my new space is happily sophisticated?

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White, cream, tan, brown, grey, and black are all essential neutrals.  They are not necessarily quiet, as is evidenced by black and white combinations, or dark chocolate and a cool stark white, but they can be.  Warm creams, paired with tan or taupie grays, and whites that incorporate trace amounts of the primary colors – Red, Yellow, and Blue, and your secondaries – Green, Orange, and Purple, create the subtlest undertones.  I know this, and I know which neutrals sing the prettiest tunes to me, so why am I denying myself the sweet sound of gray?  I love it.  I am hypnotized by it.  This is not poetic license to sell a point.  I literally become entranced, and am calmed by gray spaces.  For me it is the perfect cool compress to a heated day.

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Amir Khamneipur’s Manhattan Apartment . House Beautiful.            Heaven to me! 

The reason is simple.  When I started this quest, I promised myself that every nest would be different.  Now I suppose I could have sold a book about ten gray, one bedroom condos, but even writing it sounds a little boring to me.  So number four is going to be cream and white in the living area, some variation of sage green or slate blue in the kitchen.  The bedrooms are still to be determined.

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I would be lying if I said this palette didn’t make my chest tighten a bit.  My breathing become a little shallower.  Who would have guessed that something so bland could initiate a panic attack?  Don’t worry, I won’t pass out.  With my new Stephanie Shank Painting as my point of focus, with all its beautiful peaches, and sea foams, sky blues, and purple hues, I can feel the rosiness returning to my cheeks.  I’ll get through this, and I know just how I’ll do it.

Benjamin Moore’s:  Left . Paisley Pink.  Right Top . Tissue Pink . Right Bottom . Wild Aster.

Accent colors will play an important role in this new home.  In keeping with the soft whistle of a tune I am creating, the shades will be pastel.  Pinks, violets, pale blues, and greens are all getting serious consideration at this stage.  To give it a little edgy interest I will throw metals in the mix, perhaps a brass legged coffee table, brass hardware throughout, fabrics of varying textures for those that feel the need to touch everything…like me.  Ah ha, it’s feeling more interesting by the moment.

Left . Oly Studio’s Diego Cocktail Table . Right Top . Schumacher’s Najang . Right Bottom . Knoll’s Boucle Classic Fabric in Cream.