Saturday, February 26, 2011

Will "Secrets from a Stylist" Bring Me Back to Watching HGTV?

Tune in Tonight: I am hoping that HGTV's new show "Secrets From a Stylist" will renew my spirits so that I'll start watching this channel again.  I used to be very addicted to HGTV - but the channel has lost its lustre for me over the years.  Too many cheaply created or formulaic programs (endless Househunters ad nauseum) had me switching the dial to find other prograns more worthy of my time.  So I hope that this year's Design Star winner, Emily Henderson, will create a buzz on that network.  Then I'll gladly return to watch!

Emily Henderson, with Glee co-creator, Ian Brennan

She has a modern., yet traditional take on designing - which I am looking forward to.  I like the way that she can take an unused, non-functional room and create a useful and beautiful space.  Practicality - not something over-the-top  - is what people really need to see on television today. 

Emily with Ian in his newly designed living room

I love her style and I am rooting for her.  Just hope that she has taken some diction lessons - and that she starts to speak a little more slowly. Let's see how she does tonight - Saturday at 9PM.  Let me know what you think of the show!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Do it Now: Some Thoughts and Words from a Chronic Procrastinator & the Red Dining Room

The Clock that I Need, from the Blog - Come Full Circle

As I sit here, looking on the Internet for that perfect color and idea that I want to present to a client for a dining room re-design, I came across this image quite by accident.  I need this clock...badly.  If I procrastinate any more with this client - I may lose her. I have the idea for her dining room in my head already - but I don't think I have ever seen it.  So - I started searching for something close.  The client is pretty color fearless (thank goodness!) and she'd love to have a red dining room. 

Beautiful use of red and orange by the design team at Nahemow Rivera

This image may help her see an entire room - but her space is not as grand as this and she has 9 foot ceilings. An entire red room would close up her space too much. 

Here is another beautiful dining room, but again there's quite an expanse of white moldings and built-ins that allow the room to be light and bright despite the rich color

A beautiful pinkish red dining room by Mark Morris Design Group

Again in this beautiful room, the tall ceilings and windows allow the use of a deep saturated color.  So I have been thinking that the red hue could be beautifully used on the upper portion of the room - and we could create a beatiful cream or white painted wainscot treatment below.  It's a very formal and traditional look for a dining room. That would work - but then I remember that she purchased a large wrought iron chandelier and perhaps this this treatment might be a bit too formal.  The client has a young family and the room will be used for homework on weekdays.  Nothing like trying to clean scuff marks off the light colored wainscoting (not to mention the banging chairs!).

So I think that I have to come up with a durable finish for the wainscoting - perhaps a beautiful deep, rich semi-gloss red.  To create a lighter feeling, I'd like to have vertical panels above - that feature a grasscloth wallpaper in a honey tone (or I could do a faux grasscloth, if the cost of the wallpaper is too dear).  That way my client's room will look taller and the room won't look as closed in and the look will be less formal - and more durable. 

Not a dining room - but this is closer to the idea of the wainscoting and panels (below and above).  The above picture shows a longer horizontal upper treatment, whereas I would like to create vertical panels on the upper portion.  Having a lighter tone with the grasscloth inserts would help lighten the room - plus the client would like to have a yellow, honey toned living room, which is adjacent to her dining room.  The colors of both rooms would go beautifully and the red wouldn't be coming out of nowhere.

I had also suggested to my client that we should do something special with the ceiling.  Perhaps a gorgeous design to tempt your eyes upwards...

Ceiling design by artist, Kay Allen

Or I could paint and antique a beautiful Anaglypta (raised wallpaper) and trim it with molding to create a faux tin ceiling panel (only in a copper and perhaps with verdigris) that would keep it traditional but more informal.

Anaglypta wallpaper, from Southern Living

I can see some beautiful gold and red striped silk panels (or faux silk, if we're being more practical) to finish the first few parts of this room. 

So, now I think that I'd better call my client.  Blogging has helped me figure out the room for my client - and I have some visuals that will help her to see what I'd like to do in her room.  All without sketching (which I still may have to do!)...but at least now I have killed two birds with one stone - a blog post and a mood board!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Some Unique Decorative Items From the New York Gift Show January 2011

So Many Beautiful Things to Look at...Too Little Time:  I always try to make it to the New York Gift Show in January and August at the Javits Center and the Piers.  I missed the show last August because I was in the throes of creating a room for the Designer Showhouse at Caumsett State Park - and so...I couldn't make it.

But I made it this January - despite the frigid temperatures and snow.  I have to say that the show was pretty good - a few of my favorite companies were noticeably absent.  But, there were a few new ones that made up for it.  Here are some of my finds.

Jonathan Adler had some beautiful products - beautiful porcelain boxes and, of course, some bug pillows - which were everywhere.  First image: Elle Decor

Wholesale heaven! These velvet bunny banks were so much fun - I bought 3 @ $14.50 a piece. The multicolor votive holders came as a set of 18 - for $69!  From Barreveld DK Living

 Same company had these gorgeous iridescent bunnies also.  Was I attracted to all the signs of spring?  You better believe it!

Barbara Cosgrove was there of course.  I love all of her lamps.

More bugs!  From Two's Company. Image: Elle Decor

And butterflies. From La Maisonette.  Image: Elle Decor

This was my favorite find - a new company from Highland Park, IL that makes these beautiful storage ottomans called Couefs (and that's the name of the company). It stands for Chair Ottoman  Upholstered End Table Furniture because you can use them as seats, end tables etc. They had am array of fabrics - even tile and wallpapered ones and you can customize your own with COM.

You can even have a pull out surface for a drink!

Here's a view of one of their tiled coeufs - with a shiny metallic fabric top.  Beautiful!

Vintage Print Gallery made me think of spring also! Image: Elle Decor

Images above, of course, from perennial Gift Show favorite - Luna Bella.  I have several of their lamps and pendants and I always get so many compliments on them

Modern lighting was also represented, as in this felt (yes, felt) pendant 

Of course, some beautiful distressed items like these columns from JM Piers

Antiqued urns from Go Home

And beautiful Tuscan vases, urns and planters from Abigail's

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Step-By-Step Recipe for a Romantic Bedroom: Part II

Part II of creating a romantic bedroom for Valentine's Day & Beyond...

Pillow from Alexandra Ferguson on Etsy, details below

You might not want to be that obvious (or would you?), but in this post, I continue to give some ideas to build up the romantic qualities of the bedroom - layer by layer. I call it “Layers of Love.” Maybe you can bring out the "Let's Make Out Pillow" once you've created your Love Retreat!

After re-doing my own bedroom when I was single, I told my soon-to-be-husband that I was creating layers of love for Valentine's Day.  I did all the things that I am telling you in this post (well - almost all of them!) - and six months later, we were engaged.  I think that it all really helped to set a mood for us.  Designing for all of the senses is important every day - but for Valentine's's extra important!

Drape Fabric: If possible, add draped curtains or gauzy fabric to the bed. This gives your bed a cocoon-like aura that’s so romantic. Here’s a great (and inexpensive) idea that we did for a beautiful home that we staged in Muttontown NY.

Romantically draping gauzy fabric on this bedding helped sell this $3.5 million home

This is an easy and simple way to add fabric when you don't have a canopy bed:  From Redbook

Area Rugs: You want a tactile experience for your feet as well, so why not bring in something luxurious – such as a soft rug.

A luxurious Flotaki rug; Image from Apartment Therapy

Accessories that Set the Stage for Romance: If your budget allows, bring in opulent silks, velvets, tapestries and textured fabrics for the bedding, pillows and throws.

Lighting: Besides candles, bringing in beautiful lighting can help set the mood. Chandeliers not only look beautiful but they can also cast a lovely glow in the bedroom. Remember to install a dimmer switch as you don’t want harsh lighting overhead. I’ve also seen two small chandeliers over each nightstand – and the look is so beautiful and romantic.

The bedroom from "It's Complicated" had a small chandelier over a night table - not over the bed.

And you don't necessarily have to have a traditional chandelier. Modern lighting works beautifully as well, as seen in this bedroom designed by Lee Ann Thornton 

Lamps with beautiful silhouettes or gorgeous damask fabric and beaded lampshades on the nightstands (also on dimmers) add another soft dimension. You might want to have an uplight in a corner to cast a beautiful shadow. Think about how a beautifully lit plant in a corner can look with an uplight gently delineating its curves on the walls.

A beautiful lamp, mirrored night tables, tufted headboard
and a picture of you and your love is a recipe for romance

Art for the Bedroom: Think about adding a scene that both of you love – a landscape or perhaps a place that you vacationed together (Paris, Rome…Hawaii). You don’t want to be overtly sexual with your art – just a suggestion of the love and togetherness that you both share.

Soft tones call for gentle art as in this room designed by Gerri Bremmerman

Art and pillows can be very holiday specific

It can be more masculine-oriented (with a mix of feminine decor),
as in this room designed by LuLu Powers

Or, it could be artwork depicting a favorite topic or pastime.  Room designed by LuLu Powers

Make it personal: Perhaps you made (or received from your love) something that was special. Make sure that that is prominent in the room. My husband made me a small framed photo of our initials that we carved on a bridge in Paris. He added the words “On a bridge in Paris.” I love this present every time I see it and it reminds me of how much in love we were then and are still today. You might even consider making something special for your love for this day. Some decorative cupcakes, a heart made out of construction paper (remember doing that in gradeschool?). It doesn’t matter how beautiful – it’s the thought that counts.

Easy to make (easier to buy) sachets made from Toile de Jouy fabric and lavender from Provence Available at

Mood Music and Sounds: Continuing the sensory experience, you may want to add some soft music to your love recipe. Pick your beloved’s favorite music and add it to your ipod for that special night. Be it classical or contemporary, music played so softly in the room will add to the romantic mood. You can also think about a sound machine to add forest sounds or some gently moving waves.

Lastly, Add Something Sweet:  Whether it's chocolate or some simple Sweethearts from your childhood, adding something for the palette finishes the layers of love.  Don't forget some champagne (or red wine, if you are eating chocolate!). Forget your diet today - it's allowed!

So start doing some of these things and I know that you will have a beautiful Valentine’s Day. Give yourself permission to just linger and cuddle and enjoy some special time together.

Happy Valentine’s Day to All! 

Link to purchase Alexandra Ferguson's pillows

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