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.
January 2, 2015
I have always liked the classic Hudson Bay blanket. The primary colors of the signature HBC Collection striped point blanket first became popular in the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714). First commissioned by HBC in 1800, the multi stripe has never been out of production since. It is the most popular colorway of all the HBC point blankets, past or present. Over time, it has become the product most identified with HBC, and by extension, Canada. Calling it a classic is an understatement I guess!
Careful attention to detail and authenticity ensures that today’s customer is acquiring the same high-quality blanket as the one produced centuries before. Today the Point Blanket is manufactured in Yorkshire, at the finest woollen mill in England. The number of points, or handmade thin stripes, on the edge of the blanket reflects its size. Authentic HBC blankets are 100% woven wool.
I have a pair of mid-century chairs that belonged to my grandmother that I would love to recover this way. Even though the textile is wool, I think the palette would support any season and wool is so durable. Who wants to help me convince my husband this is a good look for our chairs in our tiny cottage by the sea?
In a very simple room (all white) this sheet set or duvet cover could look cute, but beware! a little bit goes a very long way. Please avoid the pillows to match, the candle and the coasters, iPhone cover and everything else this pattern is tortured into covering. I think it’s best look is just being a blanket and after that, upholstery. It looks so good on this little ottoman, doesn’t it?
July 23, 2014
It’s always a lovely drive down to Narragansett Rhode Island… Several bridges, miles of coastline and farms and charming towns along the way. I made a recent trip to deliver some goodies to a client there and here are just a few (non-professional) iPhone snap shots. Just wanted to share what was keeping me busy these days. Among other things I was picking up a custom sisal rug from Merida from their Fall River plant. Very exciting to me as I had never seen their operation before and I’ve been selling Merida for over 10 years.
Check out this state of the art facility. They have work tables that must be 30, 40 or maybe even 50 feet long! I loved seeing the guys working on custom bindings, and I feel lucky to have the “workroom” so close – by just a few towns away – not because I intend to visit more… but because my orders come so quickly! So after the brief tour of the Merida facility, I was on my way to deliver not only a beautiful sisal rug but ALL of this furniture (mostly LEE Industries).
This room was a totally different layout when I first saw it. Sofas flanked the fireplace just out of the frame to the right. It was cozy but cut the room in two, and no one was using the other half of the room and that was the space with the best views of the ocean beyond. So, I pushed a sofa to the window and turned another sofa to face the fire-place. English arm chairs covered in a Thibaut woven fabric flank the fireplace (so there’s still a cozy spot for cold nights) but the room is much more open and inviting. We 86’d green sofas and red and green striped chairs so the greige palette is quite a change. Once I place the coffee table and a few accessorizes this living room will be done.
Since the kitchen is open to the living area the client and I decided to update the yellowy kitchen too by painting the island a warm tannish grey Ben Moore Revere Pewter HC-172 and the other cabinets Ben Moore OC-85 Mayonnaise. The white is still a warm white but the yellowness is reduced to something that feels white, without feeling like primer. The existing kitchen had beautiful wood countertops but the island had a basic “builders special” granite top so we upgraded the counter surface on the island to this beautiful Calacatta marble. We chose to have it honed, knowing a highly polished surface would give way to use.
Last but not least, what do you do when you walk into a clients bedroom and you discover they have a water-bed that they are not willing to part with? you recover it! I chose this nautical looking woven from Thibaut to update a well made but dated wooden bed. The dark nailhead coordinate with the bedside lights and sconces in the room and maintain our intended “tamped down” tonal, quiet range of colors. We repainted this room too, a dark mocha to set off the view… pale blues and creamy whites brighten this master bedroom and keep it interesting.
Different client, different house, different look. I can and do use color. Quite a bit in fact, even though I prefer to live with less of it in my life. I enjoy the enthusiastic client that asks for color. This hip couple wanted something that felt younger and more playful than what their pervious designer had given them. The house is big, and formal and in an area where, um… Lets just leave it at the first designer made assumptions based on the house and the area, she didn’t know her client. The shot above is a screened porch. We started from scratch with the exception of the brown woven side chair, the set was newer and very useable so I found a dining table to match and we worked with it (recovered cushions of course). The chaise can be flipped to allow the user to face the fireplace in colder months and away from the fire when the fireplace is not appropriate.
This is the same clients sun room, the only thing we kept was the woven wallpaper. Oh, and I recycled the settee that has the Thibaut print on it,because it was the right scale, well made and it allowed us to spend more on other things in the room. I love this room. Plenty of color – NAVY is a color – for the client and still tonal and sophisticated and grown-up feeling too. The dark inky blue sofa is from LEE, the custom pillows are all made from Thibaut fabrics. All thats missing here is a rug. Were going to go tan to pull the wall color because this fall the floors are going dark! The lighter rug on the dark floors with the tan walls is going to look amazing.
Thanks for checking out the blog, hope you got inspiration from it. xo
January 21, 2014
Newest addiction: Hot water with Meyer lemon and local honey. Best consumed in your jammies, cozy in front of the fire, catching up on my blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Caution! do not attempt without your readers – I prefer Eyebobs. They are relatively cheap, they have a style for every face, a color for every complexion, religion or persuasion. Once your settled in enjoy the best prices on the internet on Ebay, usually… unless you – like I – covet the book Four Years in Paradise. It’s giraffe cover is coveted by designers and other visually driven folks, but it’s selling for 250.00 or more. Anything nautical, LV luggage and a few other fetishes later I decide to indulge what may become my mid life crisis manifested: the Volkswagon Truck, volia!
The perfect “weekend car” right? BTW, “weekend car” is code for Provincetown car. I could shlep plants, dogs, firewood and bikes in a cool truck like this and look oh so cool doing it. Bikes! oh yeah… I could really use a cool new bike. I’d like a white one please with leather grips and a basket, or maybe a black one? I love the idea of a pretty bike. It’s like having a nice car. These bikes didn’t come from Ebay, but they are pretty.
I’ve been on line for several minutes, I way beyond Ebay now. I’m looking at real-estate in Provincetown. The thought of a summer house, ah… I love the daydream of furnishing a tiny house I call my own. Maybe it will look like this…
I love the Japanese-Modern vibe When you design homes for a living and you have hoarder like tendencies, this simple aesthetic (drink all you longtime readers) would be hard to manage. I’m more of the everything white but layer it up kind of guy. But the chair is pretty.
Slowly getting tired, the heat of the fire is making me sleepy, and this lemon-honey potion is a far cry from my evening coffee that is probably the root of my late night Pinterest affliction. as I nod off and think about taking the dogs out one last time I’m wondering what my look should be for work tomorrow. Maybe roughed up jeans with a chambray shirt and a blue blazer. A nice pair of shoes can save even a borderline sloppy look. I’ll do lace up cap toe brown shoes. perfect. now I can sleep.
November 18, 2013
Ok, Ok… I spend more time on Instagram and Pinterest these days than I do writing blog posts. I’m sorry. In an attempt to satisfy my hunger for interior eye-candy and to share here with you I am combining in today’s post.
Here are just some of the images I pinned, or re-pinned today on Pinterest. I’m searching to a commonality, a theme and what stands out to me is a conscious “undesigned” vibe, as if these rooms just happened (they didn’t, btw). And, I think they all have a masculine vintage-modern vein to them… something old something new?
I want to label these images, most have some mid-century element but the look ranges from mid-century, 70’s loft-style, minimal, and a whole lot more. There is a spare yet eclectic aesthetic that I think I’m responding to. No pattern per-say, earth tones, it’s decorating made (to look) easy. I for one have a hard time stopping, I like to just keep adding but I have to say I aspire to less is more. Let me tell you that all these undecorated spaces were thoughtfully stylized, edited and controlled. Theres a big payoff if you can just say no to prints, and all the other bells and whistles available to us all via the design market place.
Let the furniture say what you want the room to say. Invest in quality sofas, chairs and case pieces… and by that I don’t mean expensive ( although expensive is often built well, and I wouldn’t say no to it). Buy it because it’s right, buy it because you love it.
October 29, 2013
I’m in the market for a day bed. These images reminded me of one I had seen in the pages of Elle Decor. I love the high-sided coziness, the relaxed look… not quite a sofa not really a bed. You get all the guilty pleasure of being in bed, but sitting – or laying – on something that a whole lot nicer than a twin mattress with a few big pillows on it.
This day bed shown in grey and flax are available from West Elm. The upholstered Nailhead Trim Daybed comes in your choice of brushed heathered cotton and is finished with a nailhead trim.78″w x it is 41.3″d x 34.5″h. and has a solid and engineered wood frame. It is recommended for use with Twin Mattress (sold separately). I think I’m going to need a full-sized day bed so I can’t buy this one but you should. It’s great looking, buy two for a guest room / media room. Here’s the one that started this whole thing… pretty right?
October 6, 2013
If I am ever lucky enough to have a second home near the ocean, I promise myself to not overdecorate it.
I swear I will do my best to keep the furnishings simple and clean, understated and comfortable. I’ll keep the finishes low sheen and matte, the fabrics soft, light and easy. I won’t insist on trendy patterns, I won’t use strong trendy colors and I won’t make so perfect that it’s not easy to relax in.
I vow to keep interesting books on hand for guests and renters, and firewood near the fireplace to cut the chill on cold nights. I will honor the bones of the structure, and celebrate the quirky oddities. I won’t remodel with the latest and greatest, I won’t insist on marble countertops and stainless steel appliances.
and…I’ll paint everything white (Simply White – Ben Moore).