Water Water Everywhere

Today is one of those days. You know the ones, don’t you. It’s raining outside and regrettably, it’s raining inside too. It’s not supposed to do that. Water is grand on the beach, overlooking the Adriatic, shimmering in the infinity pool. It can even be pretty amazing when you are riding it down a rapid or through the lock system of a French canal – you comfortably ensconced on a lounge chair on the lido deck of the luxury liner. It’s a whole lot less romantic when it’s gushing in through an electrical conduit. That’s a pipe whose job it is to hold the electrical wires neatly in – and the water – tightly out.

Slim Aarons . El Venero – Mirabella Spain

I think it’s safe to say, that at this point you know it’s not doing it’s job. I wonder if Bill Belichick did the yelling if they’d send someone over to fix it. I’m horse and it hasn’t resulted in any shame faced Eversource technicians showing any initiative. You’d think two fire trucks, 3 pick axes, and 6 burly men with hoses would have stirred up a little more fix-it action, but no. The only action I’ve got is Niagra Falla, in what should be my new bedroom. Maybe I could sell tickets to the spectacle – help pay for the damage. Anyone?

I’ve decided to turn my attention to happier aquatic experiences – ones that are safely painted on the page, captured in a photograph, ones that require you to use your imagination to experience the H2O.

OKL. Happy Frills.
Beverly Hills Hotel. What a way to experience water.

Keeping Time: Customization in the 21st Century

If you knew me, and some of you do, you would know that I am not patient. It’s not a charming or cute quality. Oh I’m sure if I was played by some Hollywood starlet in a movie of my life, they could make you adore me and my foot tapping impatience, but taking a breath and thinking it out has its advantages. I suppose this is a cautionary tale of sorts in that regard.

I can’t be alone in wanting things to happen quickly, and to be customized to my liking. I cannot wait for the day that I can point my digitized magic wand toward an upholstered piece from one of my flips and change the color. You were blue, and now I wish for you to be white, or cream, or pale grey. The possibilities are endless and so is the trouble you could get into. We’re not quite there, but we are getting close.

OKL. Palette . Daphne Slipper Chair . $474.50

It’s pretty exciting to see generations old companies evolve, combining artisanal craftsmanship with technology. If speed to market is part of the new name game, another part is customization. So what else makes up this new world of commerce? Collaborations, you build the furniture, I’ll design the fabric and throw my back into it – or as the case may be, a name. Preferably one that is well known in the design world. Collabs are popping up all over the place. The EveryGirl, Clare Vivier, Peter Som, Joanna Gaines. X marks the collaboration and they are hot.

OKL . Palette . Pillow $64.50

I was pretty excited to see One King’s Lane jump into the X-Game with a new service called Palette. You choose from a selection of furnishings or pillows, pick your fabric, now for the colors – 15 are available, select the scale of the design – small, medium or large, and choose a finish – and a frill or two if the piece warrants it. Ta-da. You have a customized piece that will ship to you from Cloth & Company the name behind the X, from Chicago, in 3 weeks. That’s right. Customized for you and delivered in just 3 weeks.

The Inside X Clare V. Sardines Sette. Photograph copyright dan cutrona

OKL is savvy. You don’t necessarily have to invent everything. Sometimes you just need to pay close attention and connect the dots. Last year I came across a 4th Generation family owned company. It struggled and then reinvented itself. Tillett Textiles and the T4 Color Pad technology that allows you to choose from 180 patterns, 55 colors and 12 grounds – think of the possibilities of fabrics that you can have your custom pattern printed on – I need a mathematician to help me figure out just how many options , but suffice it to say – it’s a lot. Then I came across a company called The Inside. Between their collaborations, and inexpensive upholstered pieces that arrive at your doorstep – you guessed it – in 3 weeks, we are witnessing a response to a demand.

Tillett Textiles. My custom print on the bed! Photography copyright dan cutrona

OKL married the two concepts, and like I said in the beginning…it’s magic.

ACKt 2: Nantucket Charm

One Kings Lane – a favorite on-line decor store of mine, as much for the photos that top their “shop the look” stories and designer profiles, as for their furnishings and the carefully curated bric a brac.  This morning, as I sit surrounded by bountiful Hydrangea bushes, their branches staggering under the weight of late summer blooms, a soft breeze and a quiet hum in the air, I feel the need to contest their assertion that you can “capture the spirit of Nantucket” by clicking add to cart.

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OKL – Could be Nantucket

I’m not saying you shouldn’t try, but some things simply can’t be bottled up and sold.  The cloud formations that float by in skies that feel vast, and unending.  Honey Suckle and cobblestones, fog horns and ship’s bells, vine ripe tomatoes and Pocomo oysters – salty and sweet all in one.  It’s old money and new, it’s battered, bright and briny, it’s quiet contemplation and sing-along yoo-hooing.  It’s the feelings you feel when you slow to a stroll instead of panicked run.  Those feelings you feel that speak truths about you, that can’t be captured in a painting or postcard.

Wharf Cottages . In town.

The writer suggests that you can recreate this feeling in your home, wherever it may be.  Perhaps that’s true, if the truth is that you’ve never been to Nantucket before, and your basis for recreation is the photograph they provide.  Still I discourage you not.  This place is special enough to give it a shot.

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Sconset Cottages

Me, I like my walks on the wharf, my voyeuristic tendencies kick into high gear as I peer, not so subtly into the home lives of the well-to-do, and connected.  I recently saw one of the cottages go up for sale.  A two bed for over $8M!  These are exposed stud, uninsulated, summer hide-aways.  Split swing front doors to let the breeze pass through, a hook here and there for a straw hat.  A bed, a book, a cooking nook.  Everything you need and nothing that you don’t.

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Peek-a-boo

Island living.  Oh I’ll take a piece of it here and there to sustain me through the long winter, but the charm of Nantucket for me, will always exists right here, 30 miles south of Cape Cod.

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Bygone Days of Books: Style your shelves

Have you ever been in a situation where you found yourself unloading a storage unit, and asking yourself what the heck were you paying to store all that stuff for?  I’m not judging you if the answer is a resounding yes.  Me, I have the opposite disease.  I like to unload things, leave them on the street, give them to a friend, let one of my sister’s borrow the rug, chair,  painting or pillow –  permanently.  I don’t know why this is my particular affliction, but it is.  So you can imagine my surprise when I found myself unloading a storage unit – that did not belong to me – to take nearly all the items to the dump – there final resting place.  Not happy!

Books

Birds of a feather.

Among the items that were discarded where boxes and boxes of books.  Having been stored in a damp out-door storage unit for the winter – they were worse for the wear, and sadly had to be tossed.  Having moved a time or two in the past, I am well aware of the weight of books, and have carefully culled my collection to those most prized volumes, and my desire resource books for which I find regular insight into the most perplexing interiors challenges.  I can never seem to remember where to hang that painting – is it 54″ on center from the floor – one of my books will tell me, so you can see the necessity in keeping those around.  Beyond that – bookshelves are all about visual interest for me.

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Minimalinteriordesign.com

A little bauble, a wooden bird, a small painting that would be lost on the wall but comes to life on the shelf.  a Chinese Urn, a succulent or petit potted plant, a paper weight.  Large, small, tall, fat – varying the sizes of objects on shelves creates interest.

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Studio McGee

There was a time when I thought that nothing else could provide as much insight into another as a bookshelf full of books that they love.  No one could accuse me of being nosy for pursuing a bookshelf, but it’s another thing altogether to pick up the kindle that’s just lying out on the table and start reading the stored book listing.  You mine as well just pick up there phone and start scrolling through their call log.  As if!

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OKL

Fear not, a well styled bookshelf tells a story too.  Not in words of course, but I think it will provide those of you that are curious enough to ask, with a conversation starter or two.

Feeling Blue: Chinoiserie Chic

Blue Chin 1

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.

Blue Chin 2

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.

 

 

World of Color Confusion: picking the palette take 2

So as predicted, Jo-Jo shot down the color selection I so carefully made with a NO!  Not even a kind, no, no et non.  Just NO!  I don’t want gray and Nantucket Red is too muted.  The only other hint of a direction she’s given me is she wants the navy blue whale wallpaper I found on Instagram over a year ago, and I can no longer track down.  Of course, she is adamant about that paper.  It was very cute.  She has a playful side – she likes a little tongue in cheek whimsy.  I’m not trying to deny it to her.  The Manse should be an expression of her personality…but for the life of me I can’t locate it.  I keep presenting alternatives, to which she responds…NO…I want the whale paper.  This may require divine intervention, or at  the very least inspiration.  Help!

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The Chronicles of Home always has such beautiful style.

The plastering is complete and now I really need to pick the colors.  I’ve turned to Instagram thinking I would find a clear direction, but while I many primary colors my natural inclination is to move toward softer hues. I fear if I mix it up too much, it will be a hot mess.  Some of the colors should remain in the rainbow, don’t you think?

Cory Connor Designs right – gets an A+ for painting the baseboard and the molding in hot pink.  One Kings Lane displays an array of colors that look beautiful together.

Left:  Schumacher wall covering is the color palette I typically gravitate toward.  Right:  Is Christopher Farr’s wall covering that I am dying for.

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The Every Girl . simply perfect uncomplicated beauty.

While I I still really love the kelly green, I have a feeling that it’s just a trend and my affection for it will pass.  While paint is the least expensive, and most impactful of your styling options, it still costs money and requires a fair amount of disruption to change it.  With that in mind, I’d like to get it right the first time.

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My Bella Storia . who doesn’t like a polka dot?

In my search for that dang whale wallpaper, I came across quite a lot of inspiration.  I only hope that one, or a combination of several of these will illicit a resounding YES – see, just like I told you…..

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OKL . I LOVE PINK.

Happy Sunday.

 

 

 

Freeze Frame: heART stopping collections

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Just the way I style . single pieces that match the decor.

For the longest time I owned very little art that could be considered worthy of collection.  Some of my very first pieces, a pair of black and white photos I took on a barge trip down the Canal du Midi in France, a small original abstract painted in oil by a friend, I took care in framing.  I made these disparate pieces come together by using the same thick mat, its bevel at a sharp angle to draw the eye in, and the use of matching black frames.  I still love these pieces, but they often end up stowed in the back of a closet in their moving boxes.  Why?  My own inability to combine them with newer works of art I have collected along the way.

Living in the South End allows my voyeuristic tendencies to be satisfied without the police getting involved.  As I wonder the streets at night, homes are lit and visual access abounds.  There is one home on the corner of Union Park and Tremont that has a wall of artwork that leaves bare only small pockets of space between pieces.  When I dine at Aquitaine I can see it’s not a single wall, it’s a least two, I suspect the whole room is littered with artwork.  This displays a fearlessness that I do not possess, but admire.

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OKL . The use of architectural moldings to frame pictures within frames.

I dated a guy recently that subscribed to the same aesthetic philosophy – every square inch was spoken for with his photographs and rock band posters.  While the remainder of his place could have used a redesign, he got the art work right, well at least that which he hung on his wall.  I was the most precious piece of art he was likely to come across, and his curatorial instincts passed right over this little gem.  A story for another time.

OKL . left: artwork hung on walls  and rested on furniture.  Right:  black frames pull together different media.

As a flipper I often draw inspiration from a new single piece of artwork.  I want this piece to take center stage, but I don’t want to make all my other artwork feel unloved.  It got me thinking about what the experts would do.  I offer up this advice to you all, but respectfully ask you to forgive me for not deploying all the techniques.   I need to protect my investment and spare myself a hole filling expedition prior to handing over the keys.

OKL . Left the use of gold frames and similar color ways tie these pieces together. Right:  Keeping it simple, matching hues.

Grouping Art:  thematic art (nature, seascapes, portraits, etc. can be the theme that ties a display together)  similar colors, the same or similar media – oil, watercolor, black and white photography, magazine covers, etc.) can help pull together pieces that otherwise don’t have a direct relationship.

Framing:  in matching or complimentary frames, pieces that otherwise have no apparent relationship look like two peas in a pod, likewise, bringing a color palette together through the use of matting works nicely, using wall moldings to act as a frame for several pieces can bring them together in a non-traditional way, and bring organization within those borders.

Scale:  While everything need not be the same size, if that is your visual preference, mat and frame smaller pieces to match larger, hanging a smaller piece of artwork directly next to a larger one, and at eye level can invite the viewer in for a closer look.

Layering and Stacking:  hang it on the wall or not.  Desks, bureaus, mantels, counters and other surfaces offer opportunities to display art, playing with scale and size, largest pieces in the back, smallest toward the front, ensures all will be seen.

House Beautiful . Left:  Boldly using wall space – black and gold frames tie pieces together, but it looks professionally hung.  Right:  Birds and butterflies tie this rooms art together, while the black painted wall acts as one large mat.

I am not at that stage in my life where I would consider hiring an Art Consultant.  Maybe when my quest is complete.  Having said that, I call on my artist friend, John Vinton from whom I have purchased a number of abstract seascape of my native Cape Cod.  John is a wonderful talent, and a generous man.  He comes and helps me hang my most sacred pieces at the completion of each renovation.  He makes me smile.  If you don’t know John, and live in the Boston area, you could try these folks:

Jacquline Becker . Fine Arts Consulting Services . www.beckerfinearts.com . 617.527.6169 or Haley & Steel . www.haleyandsteel.com . 617.536.6339.

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OKL . Layered for interest . keeping it eye level.

While I am not the type of person that has the patience to nudge and mark and measure and remeasure, if you are attempting to do this on your own, I recommend laying it out on the floor, or creating templates.  This is particularly important if you are selecting a pattern that is complex, or asymmetrical.  Better safe than sorry.  Happy Hanging.