Monday, January 31, 2011

Stair Runners

My friend emailed me over the weekend, "Fran, I fell down the stairs yesterday and I can't get up!"  Ha..(a running joke between the two of us).  In all seriousness, though, she did fall slightly (thank goodness she is okay and that she wasn't holding her baby), but said she was in desperate need of a stair runner and didn't know where to begin.  Could I help?

Runners are practical and stylish additions to any staircase.  Before selecting one though, you want to consider your other area rugs or carpets that are in view of the staircase and make sure the runner will coordinate (not match) with them.

A runner should be wide enough to cover most of the main section of the stair, leaving about 3 inches on each side (from edge of runner to wall or baluster).

Choose a flat weave carpet rather than a cut-pile or plush carpet.  They install better.

Dark patterned runners are more forgiving and will hide a lot especially if you have kids and dogs.  But, a light to medium tone is always a classic choice.

One of the most stylish and affordable rug companies I know is Dash and Albert and is always a good place to start.

The next couple of days, I'll be researching some sources for my friend.  If you've had any luck purchasing runners and want to make any suggestions - they are more than welcome!!  Also, we'll be sure to take some before and after pictures!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Striking My Fancy

Lately I am finding things left and right that I want for our home.  So tempting....

I'm currently considering these sconces for our bathroom renovation.  Love the quatrefoil detail.  

These are on clearance from JCP and think they would look lovely in our family/living room.  

I just purchased these spotty coasters from Jamie's furbish shop.  

Love this Madeline Weinrib 'Mandala' look a like for our upstairs hallway.  

Lucite nesting tables for our family/living room.  

I have been in love with the Angela Adams Mammy charcoal rug for so long - I need to find a place in our home for it!

Loving these tissue covers - would be perfect touch for my son's room. 

Ok, back to reality!  How about you - anything you've been coveting for some time now?
Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Steele Marcoux's Cottage

In the most recent issue of Southern Living, I was delighted to see a feature on Steele Marcoux's, Coastal Living's design editor, quirky but cheerful cottage.  The thirty month remodeling project produced a stunning 1920's 1800 square foot cottage.  Let's take a peek.

So many things I love.  Where to begin?  I love the custom touch of the full-length lumbar pillow on her  Lee Industries sofa.   She seamlessly mixes high and low end furnishings by pairing her Lee Industries sofa with a West Elm jute rug and Target coffee tables. 

I have to say I haven't always been a huge fan of the honeycomb mirror, but it is perfect in this space!  And, yes it is the Pier 1 version.  Behind the sofa is a black painted console table that she upgraded by placing a mirror (instead of glass) on top of it.  Love that custom touch and all the touches of 'green' especially the green mini shades on the chandelier.  

Traditional meets modern with the antique secretary paired with the lucite stool.  Love it!  Steele lined the inside of the secretary with a cream wallpaper to lighten it up. Brilliant!

I love the color she painted on these walls - grayish pink called Calamine by Farrow & Ball.  I love the camelback sofa paired with the painted cane back chairs and all the pops of pink, green and brown (note the Ziggurat curtain fabric by Quadrille?).  

Love the chinoiserie meets Palm Beach feel of her dining room.  She introduces an unexpected pattern by adding wallpaper which is a great touch.   One of the things I found amazing is that Steele and her husband had almost nothing (very little furniture and small budget) when they moved into this cottage and yet their home looks like it has been lived in and effortlessly collected over years.  It's perfection if you ask me!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Before and After: Kitchen Flat Roman Shade

This year I resolved to add some final touches to our kitchen.  One of the things I wanted to do was to add a flat roman shade to our kitchen window.  Not for privacy -  I just wanted to add a dose of color and pattern.  Here is my kitchen now with my new flat roman shade:

Don't you love it?  I bought the fabric at an awesome price from LGN and was contemplating doing the shade myself.  Even though I got the fabric for a great price, it was still more than I would usually pay and I didn't want to risk messing up the fabric.  So, I opted to have the roman shade done by Windows by Melissa (found via 6th Street Design). Melissa does custom window treatments.  Here is another shot:

Melissa did an amazing job and the shade was super affordable compared to how much custom shades run.  I am extremely happy.  Just so you can get the real effect, here is the before shot:

And, another before shot:

A big difference, huh?  I think the shade makes the kitchen and now every time I walk into my kitchen I smile!  Thank you, Melissa!!  It was great working with you!

Sidenote: I made my post column wider and so now I can post larger pictures.  I think it looks a lot better.  Here is a great tutorial if you need one!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Celebrating 100!

Well, I'll be!  This little 'ol blog has reached 100 followers - who would've ever thought?  I am giddy with excitement and simultaneously a little dumb founded?!?  Seriously?!  My blog - 100 followers?   So, from the bottom of my heart, MERCI!  Thank you for visits, your comments, your compliments, your interest and your patience (I know my DIY projects take forever to finish)!

I started this blog to be "in the spirit of creation."  Creation is a such a wonderful and beautiful thing; and, I am just overjoyed to how many times we can "create" or experience "creation" every day.

Before blogging, I had no idea that this world existed.  It's a little like this whole separate parallel universe.  But, once you start blogging, some very warm hearted souls start to follow and before you know it, you can't remember what you did before blogging!  It's a wonderful thing.

So, thank you again from the bottom of my heart.  Thank you for your kindness and support all my blogger friends!!  And, if you stop by and don't regularly comment, I'd love to hear from you - just say 'Hi'!!
Wishing you all a very happy weekend!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Progress is being made...

Remember, one of my 2011 resolutions is to get my office into shape?  Shelves and canvas photos have been hung, de-cluttering has begun and major organization of my magazines, fabric samples and files has been taking place.  My inspiration board is a work in progress but this is how it looks at the moment.

Inspiration boards take time - you can't force these things.  Funny, lots of pink on my board.  I hardly have any pink in my house.  Maybe this a gentle nudge trying to push me in that direction??  Hmm...Remember, the before?  Blank slate.  

Monday, January 17, 2011

Kiki & Polly: Mini Prints

Lisa Golightly's (Kiki & Polly) artwork has made its rounds in the blogosphere and rightfully so!  But,  have you seen her new 'mini prints'?

I recently purchased the above two prints for both our master and our son's bedroom.  For $10 each, how can you pass it up?  They are so adorable and would be a perfect addition to any gallery wall.  

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pleasantly Surprised...

This week was a good one for me in blogosphere.  We got a snow day which allowed me to blog a little more!!  Always a good thing.  

And, two talented and stylish bloggers, Casey from Loft and Cottage and Maureen from Eclectic Revisited passed along the Stylish Blogger Award my way!  Thank you, ladies!!  It's great to be recognized! 

So, without further adieu, here are 7 things about myself:

1. I live in the coldest and draftiest house in all of New England.  Our house is old and I hate the cold.  
2. During my single years, I lived in Manhattan for eight years working for an investment banking firm.
3. My husband and I got set-up through a mutual friend and our first date was a friend's wedding.  He lived in CT and I lived in Philadelphia, PA.  After our first date, he drove down every weekend to see me and we got married exactly 365 days after our first date.
4. I have an ungraduate degree in Accounting and two Master degrees in Organizational and Counseling Psychology.
6. I have had the opportunitiy to live in many places: PA, NJ, Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), TX (boarding school), Brussels (Belgium), Rottweil (Germany), FLA, NYC, and now CT.  
7. I speak German fluently and taught German boys English at a boy's boarding school in Rottweil, Germany.  My first day of teaching, I was standing in front of a room of teenaged German boys and I will admit, I was nervous.  Thinking of ways to break the ice, I thought I would say "Don't worry, I'm cool".  Well, little did I know that the formal word for 'cool' in German also has a second slang connotation.  So, what I really said and what they heard was, "Don't worry, I'm horney!"  I never lived that day down and it was an uphill battle from that day on.....:)
8. And, one more, I love to laugh.....I have a stupid/silly kind of sense of humor and l love movies like 'Airplane' and the cartoon 'Far Side' cracks me up!!

Now, I get to pass along the Stylish Blogger Award to some recently discovered blogs.  I'm always amazed by the talent I find and I am sure you will love these blogs as much as I do:

As part of accepting the award, they'll...
+ Thank and link back to the person that awarded them {me}
+ Share seven things about themselves.
+ Pay it forward to some recently discovered bloggers.
+ Contact those bloggers about the award! 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A new addition: An Elephant Planter

Browsing through the latest Lonny, I soaked up every detail especially the feature on Hillary Thomas' designs in Marlien Rentmeester's home.

While I browsed I noticed the elephant planter on Marlien's mantel.  How adorable!  Having always wanted one of these, but not having enough space for one, I thought why not get my elephant fix with an elephant planter??  Besides, I could use a little more greenery in our house.  So, I immediately went to Ebay and look what will be arriving very shortly.....

Isn't he cute?!?

PS:  Also, did you notice that Hillary Thomas is opening a store and coming out with a blog!!  Can't wait!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Inspiration: Dining Room Turned Leg Table

This weekend I went over to my friend's house to help her with her dining room.  She just moved and is starting from scratch.  She wants to be practical (as she has two very young children) and stick with a dining room table that will weather the storm, accommodate a large party of guests and is fairly traditional.  She has yet to officially define her style.  How many of us can relate to this?  And, until she does, she just wants a practical room that will last a couple of years.  

So, let's introduce the wooden turned leg dining table.  A look she likes.  Here, are some inspiration pictures:

An espresso stained table matched with simple white side chairs.  The varying shades of wood create depth and interest throughout the room.  

A fellow blogger's breakfast area.  A farm table paired with her dining room chairs.  Love the citrine and gray color combination - so fresh and clean.  
My friend is considering an unfinished table where she can pick the stain of her choice.  Here, is an example of a honey stained table with white Gustavian like dining chairs.  The look is casual, but is dressed up with a crystal chandelier and silver accents.  

Another honey stained table matched with rattan wicker chairs to create a natural and warm look.  I like the addition of the horizontal curtains that add a modern touch. 

An espresso stained table paired with slipcovered side chairs.  She is not a fan of slipcovered chairs, but I only show this for the table.  

A sophisticated room touched with a hint of subtlety.    

A different turned leg table - formal and classic in design.  

So, do you have a turned leg table and how is it used in your design?

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly....

So, remember this awesome find for $30?   This is the Good.....

Take note of the red upholstered seat.  See the red fabric?  Well, that is the Bad.  Goals are to paint the chair.  Check.  Done in an awesome new color which I love!  Second, is to reupholster the seat in a new fabric.  I decided to take the red fabric off for fear that it might show through my new fabric.  Well, here comes the Ugly.

Not one layer of fabric, but two?  I thought this only happened when taking down wallpaper?  To top it off the white plaid fabric is textured so I had to take that off as well.

Well, I finally finished and with only one injury when I jammed the screwdriver in the palm of my hand trying to take out those pesty staples.

We're approaching the finish line folks!  I can't wait to show you the reveal!!  Stay tuned.

PSS:  All pictures (except for the first one) are shot with a new camera!  Santa was good to me this Christmas.  I received the Canon EOS Rebel T1i.  Still learning the ropes as you probably can tell.  Can use all the help I can get!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Color Inspiration: Peach and Yellow

Lately, I have been obsessed with this spring color combination - peach and yellow.  The colors in this combination create a dreamy, fresh, and vibrant feel!  Can you tell I'm done with winter and ready for spring??  I swear I was meant to live down South where it is warmer.

Below you see a peach and gold color combination as evidenced by the wall color and the acrylic chair.  I would love to use this color combination in a girl's nursery or bedroom. 

In the next photo, I love the color of the peach curtains paired against the yellow chair.  

Kristen Hutchins creates a more subtle and softer look pairing these two colors by using a peachish, pinkish throw and pale yellow euro shams.  And, how much do you love the lucite desk chair?

Here, Kristen Hutchins picks up the two colors with the fabric on the sofa seat and the peach tulips - Just lovely!

Okay, now I am ready for some sun and warmth!  How about you?  Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hello 2011!!

So sorry to be 'tardy for the party!'  But, we've had a house full of sick puppies the past couple of days.  BUT, my love for starting the new year has kept me strong - determined to start the year on the right foot.  Here is a glimpse of what I hope to tackle in terms of design for 2011.

1. Finish my office/toy storage room/ guest room.  I resolve to clear clutter, get organized and have a well oiled working machine (!!

2.  Completely redesign our dining room.  It is the last room in our house that has my husband's mark (his decor from pre-marriage days).  And, it is the one room where we do the most activities - eat, crafts, ichat, family discussions, etc.  Go figure!  What was I thinking?

3. Add some finishing touches to our family/living room.  I resolve to have at least one 'finished' room in our house.

4. Complete the renovation on our upstairs bathroom and finally finish my son's room, my upstairs hallway, add some final touches to our kitchen and hang some photo wall galleries.  So, basically every room in our house!! :)

5. Lastly, I'd like to update my blog's look and feel and enroll in a couple of design courses!!  

Here's to all of you - my readers - wishing you the best for 2011!!  I'm amazed each and every time I get a comment - that there are actually people out there taking the time to read my blog!!  Thank you!  And, if you ever find yourself in the CT area, please drop me a line!!