Setting the Table

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Turkish Oushak . RH Home . Woodstock . VT.

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.

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Ballard Design . Tatum Trestle Table . $1099.

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.

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Dovetail . Campbell Dining Table . $1362.50

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.

Red Ticking

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?

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Cirque . Louis Poulsen . $314.15

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.

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Jill Rosenwald Pottery . South End 

Piece by piece.  Bit by bit.  It is beginning to come together.

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Jill Rosenwald Pottery . South End .

Happy weekend.

Earning Your Stripes

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.

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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.

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Modernista.com – painted striped stair

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.

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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.

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Madeline Weinrib Striped Carpet

Hello Sailor: Show your stripes

Long before Sailors sported stripes, they had a dark and devious past.  Perhaps it can be attributed to the inability to draw a line in the sand, and set those stripes firmly on one side or the other.  stripesIt’s not really black or white after all, and in the good old days they liked to keep things just that.  The ambiguity of it all resulted in them getting kicked to the dark side – perhaps strictly as a precaution, but there they sat none-the-less, for centuries.  Lunatics, Lepers, Prostitutes, Criminals, and sometimes Entertainers were forced to wear stripes – showing the world who they really were –  outcasts.

I suppose, Sailors figured they would take their chances, being considered the likes of any of the above, if it meant it would save their lives.  Worry about the consequences of their attire after they’ve survived near drowning.  red and white umbrelasAfter all, stripes have magical powers.  They can allow you to blend into a crowd or stand out in a rough sea.  They can trick the eye and delight the mind.  They can, of course have symbolic significance, as we are well aware from our beloved stars and stripes.

Napoleon ensured that the Breton Striped Naval Sweaters had 21 stripes to mark his victories.  It is hard to know if we should credit the combined French and British Navies for the stripes nautical association, or Coco Channel for bringing it into fashion in 1917.  Either way, I am grateful, and certain that they both “earned their stripes”  in their own right.

Was it this daring that changed the tide for stripes?  Hard to know for sure, but today they have a sunnier connotation.  On awnings they welcome you into a home or store, lined up vertically or horizontally they surprise and delight.  A quiet room becomes the life of the party, an entry a memorable moment, a beach umbrella a pinwheel of positivity.  So if you’re intent on “changing your stripes”, change them for the better.