It’s no secret that I love Benjamin Moore. I talk about him ad nauseum, sure there are other paints on the market with clever names, but are they as dependable as Ben? I think not. I know I am not going to be in this condo forever, maybe just a few months more, who knows. However long it is, it feels like if I have to have that bedroom the way it is now, one foot in and one foot out the door, I might just scream.
I’d like to vigorously enforce my right to change it up. I want to paint the moldings midnight blue or soot or blue note. I want to cover the walls in Phillip Jeffries Indigo Nights, and snuggle a couple of Bungalow 5, Benjamin bedside tables, in navy blue, right up next to the bed, or maybe the Serena and Lily Blake Nightstand in blue. They are both grass cloth covered, but the Bungalow has soft edges and chrome hardware and the Serena and Lily is a Parsons knock-off, hard-edged with a gold pull. They are both so pretty, and having a bedside table would mean that I wouldn’t have to get out of bed when I was done reading my book to turn off the light.
I could get a new year set of sheets. I have my eye on Matouk’s Joplin, it’s blue floral pattern is sophisticated and happy all at the same time.
Dare to, wouldn’t it be, life is but a dream. Heck, if that’s all it is, throw in the Oomph four poster bed while your at it.
It’s a bit ironic that my very favorite color, the color that makes me smile from ear to ear, and brings cheer to my heart is saddled with an idiom that means the opposite. That’s just wrong. As it turns out I am feeling a little blue. It is the end of the holiday season, which provided such a delightful distraction to the pandemic. What bauble, bell, and holiday whistle doesn’t? As I look longingly at the Christmas Tree that I have put at the bottom of my to do list until now, I feel sad. It really does bring a special glow to my space, and let’s face it, we’re all in for a long winter. The good news is that I wasn’t using my fireplace so that I wouldn’t have to clean it between showings, and now that I am not showing the old gal – she and I can get fired up.
To make extra sure I don’t shed any tears as I dismantle the tree, I went on the hunt for a bundle of blue best ofs to share with you. Since the color blue signifies the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven, according to the color wheel pro, and who wouldn’t believe them?
As a Cape Cod Gal, it is no surprise that this color calms me and makes me want to take a deep cleansing breath. Just thinking of the ocean allows me to conger the brackish salinity of a Wellfleet oyster and set my taste buds a tingling. The vast expanse of blue sky dotted with gauzy clouds that greet you on a summer day, the blue birds darting through the marsh and bogs in spring, the inky darkness of a muscle shell, the proud hull of a sailboat. Who wouldn’t be made happy by seeing that rainbow of blue hues?
Pull them into your home all year long, or start slowly. Maybe a single gingham cocktail napkin in a pale blue. No one has to know, you can keep it in your pocket or underneath your water glass. Just try and see if it doesn’t make you smile. Go on, we’ll get through this winter together.
While rattan always strikes me as a decorative accent best showcased somewhere down south, I find I long for it when the weather even hints (as it does here in New England, in fits and starts) of becoming warmer. It feels right that furnishings should get a little lighter, allow a warm breeze to pass through them – even if they are indoors.
Now if you have begun to conjure images of the Golden Girls in their Florida condo, let me stop you right there. This isn’t bamboo and peach palm fronds that I’m talking about. Rattan can be sophisticated, elegant even, and I am here to prove it.
Rattan is derived from the Maylay – Rotan, which consists of an old world species of climbing palms, which in turn, belong to a sub-family known as Calamoldizae, which is Greek for reed. Now we are getting somewhere, so stick with me here. Those reeds are woven into cords, which are wrapped around a wire frame, allowing the decorative object or piece of furniture to take shape. It’s an art, and oh boy, are there ever some designers that elevate the form.
Mario Lopez Torrez is perhaps my favorite for his cheeky use of monkey’s. A Mexican Artist known for his mid-century creations – though it is believed he still produces pieces today in his village – Ihuatizo. If a visual examination of the intricacies of his designs don’t convince you of his status, perhaps the price points at which his pieces sell will.
City or seaside, north or south, I have a hankering for rattan.
If you’re like me, you admire perfectly upholstered pieces with their pretty piping, but think them just outside of your realm of sophistication. Now of course I have upholstered pieces, and some of them even have piping. I’ll even go so far as to say – it’s contrast piping, which means it is in a different color than the base fabric. You knew that though, and if you didn’t, it likely means you go for more modern lines. It need not be persnickety though. It can be cool, and tie disparate elements in a room together.
I guess the bit about tying different elements together is what has me most interested in piping right now. Having spent a boat load of money on No.5, little of which the viewer will be able to appreciate. Boo hoo, but which was necessary nonetheless, I will be forced to re-use much of what I have. Cue the violins. I know none of you are feeling sorry for me. Perhaps we can all learn something from this experience.
It occurred to me that I might get a little daring and add a true contrast to the base fabric. After all, there’s no law that says it must pick up one of the colors in the pattern, or be a boring neutral. Why not have a double row of piping. Why not make one of those rows an entirely different color – why not I ask you – why not?
Designers are always making up rules and then turning around and breaking them, and then calling that rule that they just broke, the new rule that everyone should follow. I’m not blaming them for creating confusion, or design chaos, in fact I encourage it. Get after it. Just understand that even if we don’t have a host of IIDA initals after our name, doesn’t mean we can get to experimenting on our own. I plan to do just that. If I fail, I’ll be prepared to accept the I told you so’s.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
None of my properties have broken the 1000SF mark. The largest at 935SF wasn’t the one that felt the biggest and the smallest – 525SF didn’t feel the smallest. Layout is everything when it comes to the livability of a space. Natural light and high ceilings also contribute to a feeling of expansiveness even if you don’t have a sunroom off the kitchen or a game room for the kids.
Pint Sized . 525 SF
At 708 SF property No. 4 feels smaller than I’d like. The living room is petite and as I have mentioned there is no room for a dining table. All around, furniture solutions will play a big role in my comfort and overall happiness in the space. Fortunately I have learned a thing or two about furnishing small spaces, and new clever, creative and well designed solutions for those of us that choose to live small, arrive like welcome house warming gifts to the market all the time.
Tried and true small space hacks include:
Lucite Chairs – they stack, disappear, and can be used in endless ways from desk chairs, to living room seating, at the dining table, or tucked into a corner of a bedroom. I also use mine as a stepping stool – it supports up to 300lbs.
Barely there. The Louis Ghost . Phillip Stark for Kartell
Side Tables – placed side-by-side they eliminate the challenge of a large single coffee table, and can be broken apart and moved around to accommodate a guests cocktail or an Hors D’oeuvres platter.
Suzanne Kasler’s Living Rm. uses upholstered stools and small coffee tables for interest and versatility.
Stools and Poufs – seating in small spaces is always a challenge. Multi-purpose furniture is a must. Whether you choose an inexpensive garden stool, upholstered piece or a pouf, whether you display a flower arrangement, a stack of coffee table books, or rest your weary legs after scurrying around the kitchen preparing cocktails for an impromptu get together, I take seriously the adage – you can never have enough!
Pouf an extra spot for someone to sit.
Some of my favorite new to market finds include a modern take on an old European favorite – The Gossip Chair by Oomph. Oomph really understands how to design these tiny little petite-fours that they call chairs and have them comfortably accommodate a a 6′ tall, 285lb man. No small accomplishment. Having used their Slipper Chairs in two separate applications – both in narrow living room spaces – I can attest to their elegance and functionality. If you must gossip – do it in this chair.
Oomph . Gossip Chair $3630.
CB2’s Recluse Desk is contemporary cool – hung on a wall, and disguised as an objet d’art. Clever and functional. Now that’s sexy.
CB2 . Recluse Desk $449.
In my hunt for a dining table solution, my friend recommended a company called Resource Furniture. Who knew a 17″ console table could expand to a 115″ dining table. Now that’s brilliant.
Resource Furniture . The Goliath Console . price upon request.
As I prepare for another busy week, I’m hoping for a dash of that inspiration to float my way. Happy Sunday.