November 7, 2016
It’s a classic that never seems to fall out of favor. Blue and White feels appropriate in any season, in any place, and in any room. The above image is a family room I designed for a summer house on the South Coast of MA. The clients were young and I wanted the room to feel sophisticated and classic but relaxed. The wide striped rug from Barrier Island Rugs sets a sporty tone and the ticking stripe on the swivel chair and the Kelly Wearstler pillow fabric all play nicely together. (Upholstery by LEE Industries)
Stark Carpet is a leader when it comes to broadloom and rugs. They have an endless supply of patterns and styles and there is not shortage of blue and white. I’m particularly fond of the ones in my photograph that I’m using for current client. As you can see these patterns go from bedroom to living room to staircase, blue and white can be used to suit any space. (headboard by LEE Industries)
The color story doesn’t have to stop at fabrics and rugs, Front doors, art and accessories are all fair game. Here’s a shot of my front door, a clients house and one of my most favorite pieces of art by Marine Edith Crosta. Her unique miniatures are hand painted and framed in her East London studio. The frames and glass that she uses are antiques so the sizes and characteristics can vary, which I love.
A blue and white palette benefits from an added neutral or a pop of color like red, but that doesn’t mean you have to add another color. That said you can also play with the amount of each color you use to find the loo you want. I love a dark blue room with a crisp white chair rail, like the Private club house I designed for a local Golf Club.
September 18, 2016
“Create your own reality” is a phrase friends and I saw once inscribed on a school or civic building when we were in our early twenties. I think it was in the Sunset district of San Francisco. It became a catch phrase for us, used more in jest at first, but it has become a mantra for me that has guided me in my adult life. Many years ago I decided that I’d like to have a home in Provincetown, it was in fact September 15, 2011 click to see entire post (FIVE YEARS AGO) I set my eyes on this house…
And now it’s mine (ours). It has been for 3 years now. I stalked it, I watched it I asked about it, I found a realtor that knew the owner, we inquired, we offered and we were accepted ( with a little negotiating ). I pinch myself every time I pull in the driveway – not only am I so very happy to have parking in this bustling little town – but I can’t believe my good fortune to have the opportunity to be the caretaker of such a beautiful cottage, in such a great location, in a town I love, only an hour and a half away from home. So here is where we are now… moved in, interiors cute, beachy, relaxed and for the most “done”. But the bathroom is crying for an update. So the last few posts have been about making sensitive choices that will update the bathroom, without it feeling like it doesn’t belong in this tiny, charming little cape house from the 30’s.
Mostly, I wanted to recognize that 5 years ago to the day almost, I had a dream. Today I’m sitting on the sofa, writing this blog and throughly aware of the gift it is in my life. I love this house. I want to do right by it. I’m going to keep processing materials and ideas in my mind and maybe on the ol blog til I have a bathroom worthy of showing off. Until then… Check out my posts Summer (house) May 19, 2014 and SeaSide Chic – I think so anyway August 3, 2014 for previous posts featuring other shots of the house. Cheers!
September 11, 2016
I want to do something unusual in my bathroom remodel and I love the look that brass fixtures give a room but I worry that in my marine environment that the brass won’t stay pretty for long. I don’t need it to stay perfect forever but that’s not the only reason I’m afraid to use it on this project. You see, it might come off as a bit to glammy for the house. In fact I’m pretty sure I’ll have to save that look for a different project. I need something a bit more subdued, rustic but modern. The obvious choice is black.
To me black fixtures in a bathroom give a Scandinavian vibe. It’s european for sure but there is a modernity that says Danish modern and mid-century to me. I also like the 20’s 30’s aesthetic black and white give, again it’s modern… but modern with a twist. I’ve never in my 25 plus year career spec’d black fixtures for a bathroom, if you can believe that. So, I have no idea how it will hold up. or if it will look bad in a year. or if upkeep is hard… but i think I’m ready to experiment with my own bathroom, before I tell a client they ought to go for it.
I’m going to go with Dorn Bracht for my faucet and shower sets. There are many brands that offer black as a finish, but I love the X handles of the Tara series and the clean smile neck of the faucet. Pop back in a few days… I’ll share some inspiration images with you so you can see the look I’m going for.
January 5, 2016
An architect makes a house, a staircase makes a home… if it’s a show stopper like these! I love a dramatic staircase because foyers and stairwells are typically difficult to festoon or bedazzle with furniture and fabric, although one or two of these images may prove me wrong. It’s really all in how they are designed, built and decorated. If you’re not lucky enough to have the budget or space to create something magical, work with what you’ve got a god for some DRAMA. Always a classic, the white painted riser and the black tread makes a statement. It’s an elegant choice and can be achieved on almost any typical staircase. All one color works too, but go for something bold if you choose a monochromatic look. The sisal on these stairs is a nice counter to the slick, shiny formality of the black and white. It ‘s the perfect Yang for the stairs Ying. …if you know what I mean. You might not have an all brass circular staircase in your home or apartment – get one if you can – but you could think about panting existing metal balusters antique gold in lieu of the expected black. You can also replace balusters without replacing your entire hand rail system, check into it if you hate yours. MMMMMM…. I do like a spanish influence, and these stairs are pretty classic. In the States, I think you’d see more terra-cotta tile with these pretty decorative painted tiles but simple cement stairs like this that are made on site are everywhere in Mexico, Spain, Portugal and other countries… I find this style charming and they last forever. Let’s just pretend you are stuck with a plain old, run of the mill staircase. First paint it, stain it or do what ever it needs to freshen it up. Then add pattern, animal works for me. But if you a bit more conservative you can go geometric or stripe… but I suggest animal. Grrrrr. Your last resort, the absolute final final option is add art, LOTS of art, like Philip Mitchell did at the Kips Bay Show House (and follow him on Facebook too, he’s fab). He actually did a lot more than just toss some art around, the rug, wall coverings, paint, light fixtures and everything else you see were all carefully hand chosen – you should be as diligent. But if all else fails, add art.
If you’re going to leave it bare, and I mean completely naked… you had better have one sexy staircase already!
Here is how I updated my back stairs. I painted the risers and left the treads a stained pumpkin color and added an antelope pattered broadloom, expertly installed I might add. The texture of the V-groove vertical boards is enough to add interest without hanging art.
December 31, 2015
This is my Jam! I love the creamy natural vibe of these spaces, these finishes and the relaxed, natural aesthetic (drink) they present. I don’t miss the patterns, the colors… I don’t miss anything that isn’t in this range, everything I need in a room is right here… The white,the leather, the polish and the rough… perfection.
Same goes for this kitchen… the Walnut/Teak tone of the wood and the marble and the white and the polish… thats all, thats everything.
Of course there is a style to the furnishings that is also VERY compelling. I’d say these are all pretty contemporary spaces, but the warm natural elements keep these rooms feeling warm and inviting. There is a mid-century vein running through these images that feels authentic and not kitschy. I like it.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
February 7, 2015
We have a LOT of snow Back East with more coming soon so I can only dream of khaki shorts and fill-flops, serving my friends gin and tonics and decorating with the heat of summer and refreshing ocean breezes in mind. But it’s that dream that keeps me from becoming too terribly depressed when I’m so cold I dread getting out of the shower. I think what’s really going on is this is the first year in many my Husband and I have not taken a warm weather vacation mid-winter to escape the grey doldrums, if only for a week or ten days. So I propose we take a break from shoveling, take of our hats and scarves and if only for a few minutes pretend were somewhere warm, with tanned skin, the scent of salt in the air…
I guess it’s all that is conjured up in the mind when one thinks of summertime that makes decorating toward a nautical theme so attractive. It reminds us of vacations, and summer houses, lazy days reading under a shade tree, BBQ’s and friends staying late around the dinner table you set up in the yard… perhaps that is what is it that makes a nautical theme so pleasant. It’s like your on vacation when ever you are in your nautical room. Or, maybe it’s really a beach house.
January 19, 2015
I’m staring down two bathroom remodels and in many ways they couldn’t be more different and in other ways they will end up with many of the same details. One bathroom is tiny and has an egress out to the yard and beach and a step down which prevents certain floor plans, the other is a good sized room with a paladin window on the largest of the four walls and three doors. What to do?!? Well…
BATHROOM 1. Is hopefully going to get a full slab shower stall. It’s simple, rich, and spare but still has a quality and a quiet elegance I think this little room needs. The plan will be to have a removable teak “mat” inside the shower and a rain style shower head. Frameless glass door is a must to maintain the simple, uncluttered vibe. It’s shaping up to look a lot like this image (above) but I want to bring back some more traditional elements so I won’t do a poured concrete counter top or the contemporary open shelving instead I’m thinking horizontal V-grove boards on the walls with built-in medicine cabinets and a sink that feels like an updated throwback like the bathroom below. I think I really like the oversized dark floor of this bathroom too. Should hide dogs hair, dust and debris better than a white floor (the other option I’m thinking about).
BATHROOM 2. Is a big room to fill, but I need to get a tub, shower, toilet and 2 sinks into a room with three doors and a BIG window. I really want to put the sink into an armoire, the idea of “furniture” in this space appeals to me because I think the room – it’s also 9.5 foot ceilings – needs to be filled up a bit. This idea might make two sinks impossible but the extra sink is more negotiable than the tub, shower or toilet. Those are must haves! There are existing hardwood floors in the room currently, and I’d like to make them work either as is or perhaps painted, I love a painted floor. I am planning on subway tiles floor to ceiling in this room with V-grove board ceiling and an over sized lantern centered in the room. This bathroom will be mostly if not all traditional.
What do you care? Well, here are the lessons in todays blog:
1. Before you call the contractor, and before you head out to go shopping for finishes. PICK A STYLE or the “look” you think you want to achieve. This will help you from getting distracted once you are standing in front of all those bright and shiny choices and you either glaze over or pick something that has nothing to do with your desired look.
2. MAP IT OUT. Spend as much time as you have planning and playing with how the room can be set up, use tape on the floor to do this, or make templates from newspaper or draw mini versions (to scale, kits available on-line if you don’t have this talent) and plan, plan, plan.
3. Like most of us, you probably have a budget. It’s pretty helpful to MAKE A LIST of everything you think you need and put a price next to it to help you understand how much you have to spend on each item. Splurging on a sexy faucet might mean going cheap on the toilet. Mosaic tile floor might mean run of the mill tile in the shower. Once you have your list, be sure to subtract the contractors (and sub-contractors) labor estimates, reduce your over all budget number and then have fun shopping.
4. Unless you intentionally want some shock value keep the overall vision of your project in keeping with the architecture of the home/condo/apartment. There is nothing worse than walking in a Colonial home and getting hit with a Tuscan bathroom. WRONG. Want Tuscany? Move there.