let there be light…

January 31, 2018

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…and let it make a statement.  Your light fixtures are the right place to take a risk, make a point, and inject some personality.  Yes, they can be expensive but they truly are the jewelry of a room (and who wants cheap jewelry?) Now thats not to say something inexpensive but fun and whimsical or creative, or unique isn’t a great idea… I’d celebrate that.  Typically though, you get what you pay for with light fixtures.

Two points I’d like to make are 1. your light fixtures don’t have to match, in fact they shouldn’t (unless were talking about scones in a space, a long hall, or pendants over an island or other instances like that) Mix it up from room to room, and have some fun with not doing everything in a certain genre, you can have an old crusty lantern in one room and a modern saucer in another. BUT the finishes must speak to each other.  Lighting is no different than any other detail on your home.  Windows, masonry, woodwork to create cohesiveness those details have to tell a story through color, texture, shape or style.  And if you’re mixing up style, focus on the finishes telling the same story.

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The other point is you can change a light when it falls out of fashion, but you have to rip out that backsplash accent you couldn’t live without, and trust me… you will get sick of the over designed backsplash.  Or the niche detail you think is a good idea now.  There is no harder job what it comes to good design than restraint.  Thats why i started by suggesting you put the “risk” into light fixtures, they really are easy to change out.

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Parting thoughts… use light fixtures to enhance a space, not just light it.. places like the top of bookcases or over your favorite painting (but not if it has glass please). Add sconces down a boring hallway or up a staircase.  Don’t think about them just providing light, make them a point of interest, design them into your space and for pets sake PLEASE put them ALL on dimmers.  Unless your pulling out a splinter or reading the dictionary, I’m pretty certain you need to dim your lights down.

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The End.

 

 

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Once you go black…

January 21, 2018

scarsdale-home-by-tamara-magel-photo-by-rikki-snyder…it’s said you’ll never go back.  For the record I love a little black. It’s a crisp sharp neutral that adds sophistication to a space.  Walls fade away when a room is painted a deep dark color but I like black best surrounded by lots of white (or grey, or taupe).

Seen here as a countertop and select cabinetry, the black feels a tad industrial and decidedly modern.  It adds an articulation, punctuation… a moment.  These White kitchens have added interest because of the black.

It’s pretty obvious from these pictures how black in a neutral room pulls the eye!  I love how the light fixtures are highlighted by choosing the a finish so dark.

Cabinetry  in black really grounds a space and a light counter will set off dark base cabinets best. I still like brass hardware, it don’t feel passé to me (yet, it’s 2018) and it’s an easy change when it really jumps the shark, so i say go brass!

img_1484In fairness to the folks that posted, designed and photographed these beautiful kitchens, I’m not trimming and editing out the information captured when I screen shot these images.  I encourage you to seek these folks out, follow them, and support those who deserve credit for the pretty kitchens. img_1481img_1482img_1483img_1524

You all know by now that I’m a BIG fan of white kitchens… select White Kitchens in the cloud to the right to see years of posts on them, the do’s and don’ts and what it takes to really make them work. For today I’m just posting a few recent favorites, a few pretty kitchens… be inspired!

 

houseLet’s get one thing straight… I am by no means “ready” for Christmas.  I feel like it was Thanksgiving yesterday and now suddenly there are 8 – EIGHT! – shopping days til Christmas. WTF?!  Anyway, I’m wrapping garland, lighting trees, hanging wreaths and decking the frapping halls as fast as I can. Thank heaven I have a giant attic filled with years of Christmas hoarding, if there were a trap door I’d just shove it all through, but there isn’t so I’m getting my exercise which is good cause it’s Mac Cheese Season.  So this year we went for Laurel Leaf Garland, it’s a nice change from all the pine you see this time of year.  No snow yet, and I’m still debating lights on the garland.. yes? or No?

wreathThe Front Door area is also still unresolved, Love my wreath, but the bittersweet and the big berries in the wreath are not jiving for me, there’s a disconnect with these elements.  I’m thinking fill planters with bright green moss and swap redder berries in the trees.  smalltreeThis is what were calling the little tree (it’s 4 or 5 feet) I like to have a home-spun tree in the Library, near the fireplace that holds the ornaments we have collected and have been given over the years, you know the sentimental stuff.  My Mom is coming out in just a few days to spend Christmas with us so I’m hold off on decorating this tree until she gets here.  I also have a stash of photo albums under the ottoman to reminisce over while we trim the tree.

graveI’m including this image because the holidays are a time when we most miss those who are no longer with us.  It’s a time of deep reflection and can be difficult for some.  We lost someone dear to us this year, so we make sure to honor their passing and to tell stories and remember them to keep their memory alive.  The season is truly about love, compassion and giving so we think of those we have lost and hold close those still near us and take care of those who need more, or suffer this time of year.

candlesI love a scented candle.  Seriously I do… these are my top three right now. Icy Blue Pine by Votivo and Vermont Wood and Wassail by Farm House Pottery… both available locally at Surroundings.  All have the freshness of the season without being to powerful, I love these candles, seriously. napkinsSpeaking of Surroundings, a great stocking stuffer or hostess gift is a cocktail or hand towel and we carry Caspari because  they have so many great styles.  This is a holiday appropriate gift that has a purpose and fills a need & it also gets used and goes away so you’re not giving clutter or a nic-nack that the receiver might not want to have to keep around.  Hey, so is a scented candle… see how I did that.  Anyways, don’t be surprised (if I know you) if you get a package of pretty napkins in your stocking.

santaLast but not least, there’s SANTA.  My vintage Santa collection is growing but I have become more particular in recent years because I don’t want duplicates.  I find a lot of the rubber faced Santas of the 50’s and 60’s.  My heat melts for paper faced Santas with cottony beards and the wooden Santas of Scandinavia are also favorites. No matter what makes you happy this time of year, no matter how or what you celebrate, I hope you have a magical holiday season surrounded by Family, or friends or both.  xoxo

 

 

Blue & White

November 7, 2016

img_1049It’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)

 img_6376 img_4025Stark 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)

img_4023 img_3815The 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.

img_2776 img_2362A 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.

img_2150 img_1936Things that go well with blue and white rooms:  Tortoise Bamboo Blinds, White Shutters, Brass Accents, a Pop of Color and more Blue and White. Thanks for stopping by…

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Dreams Do Come True

September 18, 2016

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“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…

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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!  

L.B.F (little black faucet)

September 11, 2016

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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.

e77c2a06ea19cc88495dd454cdf79a18I’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.