Thursday, May 31, 2012

Welcoming in Summer! Transforming a Mantle to Celebrate the Season

Although we had a wonderfully snow-free winter (almost, except for the freaky Halloween and one other little storm), I always look forward to the warm weather, swimming, barbequing, sailing and just enjoying going outside without a coat!  I've already been in our pool - the water temp got up to 79 degrees (and I know that most of you have to wait til it's high 80s and above) - but I just had to kick start summer by jumping in.

So, my house had to get a summer thing going on...and the first place is the mantle! Since we live a block and a half from water, I had to add some sea fans, starfish and coral.  And - the birds are a must.  My husband's favorites are the small piping plovers, which are endangered here on Long Island.

I picked up the bird carvings last summer when I went to pick up an outdoor rattan seating group on Craigslist.  The young man selling me the rattan told me that he had some other items from his dad's house that he needed to get rid of and so...of course I had to take a look.  The carvings, done by his father, were sitting in dusty boxes but I could see they were wonderful. In fact, one of them got an Honorable Mention in a National Decoy Show. 

Here's the winner!  My husband's favorite.

And whenever I decorate anything in my house, there always has to be things that jog my memory and bring me back to a different time in my life. One of these is the centerpiece, the framed antique print. I've had this since about 1979 and I bought it in Manhattan at the Argosy Bookstore on 59th Street. The Argosy, still in business after 87 years, is a treasure trove of old prints and books that I always loved to browse in.  Back then I only had a little bit of money to spend on artwork - but this wasn't too expensive and it reminded me of myself with my children.  I was a single mom then and this image helped get me through some hard times.

The title "The Good Mother" gave me solace when times were bad

I didn't even have the money to get it framed but years later a wonderful boyfriend got it framed for me.  It was done beautifully with an gold and antique blue frame - which used to go with my living room furniture. But in my home now, I had to re-stain the frame in an antique green to blend better with the decor on the mantle.

And the urns?  Well, these were the first things I bought at the New York Gift Show when I went into the design field.  They look antique (although they aren't) and the landscapes on them seem to go well with my antique print.

So, I hope you enjoyed my little homage to summer (with some of my memories thrown in!).

You might also enjoy reading how I created the mantle and gilded and antiqued it.  Click here to read about it!

I am sharing this project with....

Monday, May 14, 2012

The San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2012: Part 2

As promised, some other images and ideas from the Showcase House in beautiful San Francisco, CA.  The Showcase was situated in Laurel Heights, which is one of the most beautiful enclaves in SF.  There's a lot of history in this area - and the surrounding houses show it.

One of the most lovely areas was the upstairs terrace.  I could have stayed there all day!  It had views that went on forever of the area but the decorations on the terrace itself were so incredibly gorgeous.

The "Roof Terrace" by Frank Holbrook Design

I just loved this furniture from the Barlett Collection with these tiger striped ottomans with the green and coral fabrics.

The plantings on the terrace were so colorful and sumptuous (and more purple hues!)

I loved this 1920s marble console, which the designer aged by painting over the original brass base. Purists would say "Don't touch it!" but I think it looks great and in keeping with the theme and color fo the terrace.  Beautiful job! I love the old watering can with the hydrangeas spilling out - I have been thinking of doing this with an antique red watering can that I bought recently at the New York Gift Show. 

Look at the views and the wonderful table setting!  Woudn't you want to just sit here,
relax...and have a cocktail?

Some of the more unusual designs at the Showcase, included this really unique and beautiful elevator in the home that was inspired by Alice in Wonderland.  Designed by Lawanna Cathleen Endonino, the outside was a nailhead studded keyhole on the faux ostrich door. 

The picture above doesn't really do it justice - but it was a lovely vignette with wallpapered walls of Osborn & Little/Designer's Guild Nubucco Gold Watelet Wallpaper. Once inside it was difficult to tell which was was in and which way was out! There was soft music playing and wonderful mood lighting.  I loved it.

Another unusal room was the upper floor powder room.  I stayed inside this room for a while because it was really so unique. The mirror was a work of art.

The designers, Joe McGuire and Sophia Kabler Cowley of KCS Inc, wanted to blur the typical lines of mirror and vanity and so they created this mosaic of tile and mirror on the wall. The mirror cuts away to reveal "Tacciato Diva" tile by Walker Zanger. This artistic feat must have taken many days to do - it was really beautiful.

Another unusual room was the first floor bathroom.  This was a" bathroom as gallery." created by Ma(i)sonry designers, Michael Polenske and Carissa Duncan. It featured a chandelier made of an umbrella with "airport-confiscated" scissors hanging from it and a clawfoot tub filled with scissors.

This room also featured repurposed fixtures and petrified wood - as well as antique books and other treasure (notably a sculpture made from book pages). 

Another very unusual room was the Dining Room.  I could have stayed there for hours, just eyeing all the beautiful changes and designs in this room.  Created byMarysia Rybock of Scavullo Design, this very clearly grand, Victorian architectural space was transformed into a modern and informal place to eat and entertain. Also note, the room was sporting some high chairs and splashes of purple/lilac - which I found in many of the rooms in the Showcase.

The use of multiple resin tables makes the room more playful, modern, as well as informal and functional.  I loved the creative use of reindeer moss on the stone fireplace that was beyond repair.  This was a stroke of genius - and it adds to the whimsy of the room. Another modern touch was on the traditional mural that had some "bubble quotations" from the figures, i.e. "I never looked so good."

Another fabulous room that was out of the ordinary was the "Teen Only Hang Out Room," designed by Emily Meghannam of EM Design Interiors.  Just one look at the ceiling's removable wallpaper and the funky chandelier, you knew you were in for a unique treat.

I loved the sofa pit idea - my kids (and I) would have loved a room like this.  I thought that the heart shaped photo collage as a focal point was a great idea - something I would like to do in my stepdaughter's room at home.  I also loved the retro use of the bar cart and the neon sign saying "You Only Live Once."

More images coming soon!!!  Hope that you enjoyed this. For more information go to San Francisco Decorator Showcase.  The show runs until May 28th.  The location is 202 Jackson St in San Francisco. It's so worth a visit

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Here are a Few of My Favorite Images from the San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2012: Part 1

Hi everyone...I had the pleasure of attending the San Francisco Designer Showcase yesterday with my daughter, Jessica.  We stole some precious "girl time," since daddy was going to mind my little granddaughter, Peyton.

Most of the pictures, taken with my iPhone, were a bit rushed because even though I was technically allowed to take photographs because I am a design blogger - it seemed every docent in the Showhouse hurried me on when I was snapping away...and there was always someone in my way!! Anyway - the people at the Showhouse were much more lenient than any I've experienced in New York.

The first thing you saw was an entire green wall, made from beautiful succulents, designed by Davis Dalbok of Living Green as well as Plants on Walls. I would love to do this in one part of my backyard.  This is gorgeous.

The beautiful sculpture just adds to the serenity

The entry hall, by Dara Rosenfeld, was beautiful.  I gravitated to the zebra Porter chairs that flanked a very stately fireplace first. I had blogged about Porter chairs before - the history of them and how they are being used now. You can read that post HERE.

The zebra hide Porter chairs are drop dead gorgeous!

The gorgeous fireplace mantle in the hall is original to the house

Other trends at the Showcase House...

Besides these chairs, many rooms sported other kinds of tall chairs.  I also saw several striped rooms, but instead of vertical...they were horizontal.

I love how the designer, Heather Hilliard Design, just ignored the panels (and the fireplace columns, see above) in the room and had the decorative artist - Willem Racke - stripe right over them.  Trust me - that is not an easy thing to do because the woodwork etc. will tend to get your stripe off kilter.  It seems to lend a sculptural quality to the room and it blends so beautifully with the other elements in the room. (And speaking of sculpture - look at the fireplace screen!)

Even the custom headboard was striped - this increases the peacefulness and the serenity of the room.

I've heard that some people don't understand horizontal striping - but when done beautifully, as in this room, it lends a peaceful quality to a space.  You know how calming it is to look at a horizon?  That's the effect that horizontal stripes have in a room. And you feel peaceful in this bedroom - so it really works. 

Another trend I noticed was the use of natural materials - burlap and linen and fabric, in general, to cover open shelving, as below. 

Fabrics were used to cover unsightly items - like the washer and dryer below in the "Press Room," by Lisa Bakamis Interior Design.

More of the Press Room - using some of the other trends...graphic, trellis wallpaper and mounted black and white photos (love the "black strip"s over the eyes - a humorous touch)

And fabric - this time an Hermes scarf, was used behind glass paned cabinets...

From "Her Office," designed by Catherine Kwong

 There was also a lot of purple and lavendar fabrics and colors being used in the Showcase.  I was really taken with this lovely bathroom by Tineke Triggs of Artistic Designs for Living.

The sconces, by Visual Comfort, lend a sophisticated elegance to the room. I just adore the pattern on the wall. It was taken from the designer's favorite fabric - but blown up and stenciled on the wall by Laura Smith Blair.  It looks a little like Jane Shelton's Vermicelli Square - but I'm not 100% certain.  Anyone know this pattern?

And the ceiling in this bathroom, featuring a beautifully stencilled design in gold, was made more lovely with this chandelier, from DeSousa Hughes, which echoes the sunburst mirror.

Other touches of purple include...

From "Her Office" by Catherine Kwong 

Guest Bedroom by Matt Murphy Studio

More images and trends from the Showcase in the next post!

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