Archive | March 2015

The Guest’s Room

GIVING YOUR HOUSEGUESTS A BEAUTIFUL STAY

Having houseguests should be as much a treat for you as it is for them.  Yes, it does require planning and preparation, however this need not be stressful.  The key is having a guest’s room or rooms ready at all times.  With attention needed for meal planning and preperation, it’s a relief to only need to run a dust cloth and fill a flower vase.

Twin beds are the best choice for a guest's room

Twin beds are the best choice for a guest’s room

Having more than one guest room is the ideal way to be prepared for the varying types of guests you may host.  However, if you have only one, twin beds are ideal.

Beautiful French influence

Beautiful French influence

I could sink into one of these

I could sink into one of these

Love the window as well as the ceiling

Love the window as well as the ceiling

Enchanting

Enchanting

Quite cheerful

Quite cheerful

I have loved this room for some time

I have loved this room for some time

This lovely room has a convenient door to what I would like to think is a small patio area

This lovely room has a convenient door to what I would like to think is a small patio area

Your guests most likely have not seen bedposts like these

Your guests most likely have not seen bedposts like these

Luxurious detail

Luxurious detail

Wonderful high ceiling

Wonderful high ceiling

Beautiful

Beautiful

We all want to make our houseguests comfortable.  What is equally important is to make them feel special.  There are countless ways to add that special something.  You may know of a favorite candy, scented candle, magazine or book that would be so appreciated.

What a lovely touch.  Monogrammed soaps and guest towels are easily available to order an receive even if you have a short amount of time

What a lovely touch. Monogrammed soaps and guest towels are easily available to order an receive even if you have a short amount of time

Thoughtfully beautiful

Thoughtfully beautiful

The guest’s bath should be equally considered.  Bath salts, candles, lotions and soaps are very thoughtful.  Have plenty on hand to replenish after your guests leave and you’ll be ready for the next to arrive.

Flowers...always

Flowers…always

Williams-Sonoma

Williams-Sonoma

So thoughtful

So thoughtful

Thoughtfulness in the bath

Thoughtfulness

So thoughtful to have some of those items that may have been overlooked during packing

So thoughtful to have some of those items that may have been overlooked during packing

Who wouldn't feel welcomed by this in their room

Who wouldn’t feel welcomed by this in their room

Just a little something

Just a little something

A breakfast tray is above and beyond and oh so memorable for your guest

A breakfast tray is above and beyond and oh so memorable for your guest

Now if you should be so fortunate to have more than one guest’s room use this as an opportunity to step out a bit.  Make one suitable for a male guest.  Even a young nephew or grandson will appreciate a  more masculine room.

The boys are back in town

The boys are back in town

A smaller room is another opportunity to exercise your decorating desires.  Enjoy a night there yourself.

Perfect for a single guest

Perfect for a single guest

Whether you have houseguests frequently or infrequently, make a point to enjoy the occasion.  Taking time to be with friends and family who we aren’t able to be with often is a gift.  Life is hectic and there are constantly issues that seem to take presidence over just enjoying the here and now.   Don’t wait, extend the invitation, host a weekend that will be long remembered because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

 

 

This entry was posted on March 31, 2015. 8 Comments

The Butlers Pantry

THE NEW APPRECIATION OF THE BUTLERS PANTRY

The butlers pantry is no longer a thing of the past.  New construction is including this useful space.  The space is typically located as a bridge between the kitchen and the dining room.  It functions as both a staging area and a storage space.  It makes a convenient location for wine storage, a beverage fridge and a bar sink.  More extravagant homes have a much larger pantry which is otherwise known as a caterers kitchen.

The traffic does not travel through this pantry

The traffic does not travel through this pantry

Attractive and efficient

Attractive and efficient

Window is a nice feature

Window is a nice feature

Love the floor

Love the floor

Reminisant of the homes of the early 1900's

Reminisant of the homes of the early 1900’s

A passageway style of pantry

A passageway style of pantry

There are advantages to the passageway butlers pantry that I find most attractive for the way we entertain today.  It acts as a buffer between the kitchen and the dining room.  The pantry in our house is off of the kitchen and away from the dining room.  I wish I had thought this out better.  I don’t like having the commotion of the action in the kitchen so close to the conversation during dinner.

The light fixture is such a smart choice

The light fixture is such a smart choice

This is more than just utility

This is more than just utility

There are all degrees of options with today’s butlers pantry.  It is actually an opportunity to excercise your creativity.  You may be fortunate enough to have a large amount of square footage and a generous budget to work with.  However if that is not the case, do not be dissuaded from creating your own style for this space.  The majority of the homes we live in have the laundry room off of the kitchen.  Consider moving the laundry to the basement or to the bedroom area of the house then converting the former laundry into your butlers pantry.  There is a water and drainage source already in place!!!

Love the artistic element of this platter storage

Love the artistic element of this platter storage

A 15 on the scale of 1 to 10

A 15 on the scale of 1 to 10

Separate but useful

Separate but useful

Elegant

Elegant

The photo above represents thoughtful storage.  Linens and flatware are organized in these drawers.

The China is not just stored, it is displayed

The China is not just stored, it is displayed

Good organization paired with attractive containers make even the smallest pantry a lovely feature.

Perfect use of open shelving

Perfect use of open shelving

This may be small but it is powerful in design

This may be small but it is powerful in design

Another form of butlers pantry devotes attention primarily on the storage of serving pieces, silver, china and stemware.  Many of us keep these treasures packed away to keep them safe only to bring them out for special occasions.  Unfortunately those occasions are becoming more infrequent.  By shelving them in a pantry, we are more likely to use them much more often.  At the very least, we are more able to see and appreciate there existence.

Carolyne Rhoem

Carolyne Rhoem

Bunny Williams

Bunny Williams

Generous size

Generous size

Reminisant of my Great Grandmother's

Reminisant of my Great Grandmother’s

 

Hopefully this post has given some food for thought when it comes to creating your own pantry.  It may require thinking a bit outside of the box or it may be easier than you think.  Just spend some time treating yourself to the appreciation of the items that encourage us to entertain.  To commit to increasing the number of “special occasions” in your life.  It may be a birthday or a holiday or just a Wednesday, but whatever day it is make it your own because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

This entry was posted on March 30, 2015. 8 Comments

The Kitchen Staircase

THE USEFUL KITCHEN STAIRCASE

One of the smartest decisions we made when designing and building our house was to include a kitchen staircase.  When we built our house our children were young and the kitchen staircase was their main thurofare.  Now with just my husband and myself, oh I mustn’t forget our Ellie dog, in residence…we use the kitchen staircase the majority of the time.

 

This staircase is a dominant feature of the kitchen

This staircase is a dominant feature of the kitchen

From bedroom to breakfast room

From bedroom to breakfast room

The staircase may deposit directly in to the kitchen or just outside the kitchen in a mud room or hallway.

This would be considered either the back staircase or the kitchen staircase

This would be considered either the back staircase or the kitchen staircase

Back staircase

Back staircase

A kitchen staircase is quite useful yes, but it is also a fabulous architectural feature for the room itself.

It is reminisant of the grand older homes where there was always the presence of a butlers pantry and a back staircase.

Vintage comes to mind

Vintage comes to mind

Darryl Carter

Darryl Carter

The landing is terrific

The landing is terrific

The outstanding feature for this kitchen

The outstanding feature for this kitchen

Great design

Great design

Very authentic

Very authentic

So very convenient

So very convenient

Perfect staircase

Perfect staircase

Especially in Europe

Especially in Europe

Stunning, stunning, stunning

Stunning, stunning, stunning

A Charleston favorite

A Charleston favorite

So warm and welcoming every morning

So warm and welcoming every morning

Look closely

Look closely

The kitchen staircase is the last traveled at the end of the day.  It’s the pathway from sleep to that first cup of coffee in the morning.  Either way it is a satisfying journey because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

This entry was posted on March 29, 2015. 1 Comment

The Home Bar

IT’S FIVE O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE

It’s Friday and five o’clock.  My husband and I have a tradition in the years after our children have grown, Friday evening cocktails.  This was particularly special during the time when he was commuting to the East coast every Monday, returning on Friday.  I tend to be a vodka and tonic girl but my husband enjoys variety.  With that in mind, we have accumulated a variety of spirits and mixers.  I have found that it actually is a good practice to keep a well stocked bar at all times.  One less list and one less stop to make.

Very handsome

Very handsome

I love when a necessity provides a reason for a decorating event!  I admit, there may be an occasion when the piece of furniture comes first and the idea for a bar follows.  Which ever the case, the home bar should be away from the kitchen.  As we all know, everyone gathers in the kitchen, whether that be your guests or just your spouse.  In fact I have two home bars. One in the den and one in the dining room.  Make use of nice trays, lamps, glassware and art.

Love the art

Love the art

This antique French hutch is a perfect home bar

This antique French hutch is a perfect home bar

This chest may serve other purposes as well

This chest may serve other purposes as well

Cute bartender

Cute bartender

French bakers table

French bakers table

There are a multitude of choices for the bar itself.  The more unique the piece the better.  Logistically it must work well, not intrusive or awkward.

Great use of an antique trunk

Great use of an antique trunk

David Jimeniez design

David Jimeniez design

Bunny Williams

Bunny Williams

Charles Faudree

Charles Faudree

Nell Hills

Nell Hills

Love the inclusion of the antique doughbowl

Love the inclusion of the accessories

When stocking the bar, there are a few must haves.  Of course, add some of your own touches.

THE WELL STOCKED BAR MUST HAVES

VODKA

GIN

RUM

TEQUILA

SCOTCH

WHISKEY

VERMOUTH

GINGER BEER

BITTERS

TONIC

SIMPLE SYRUP

SELTZER

WATER

COLA

CITRUS JUICES

LEMONS

LIMES

STRAINER

JIGGER

SHAKER

CITRUS PRESS

JULEP STRAINER

BAR SPOON

CHURCH KEY

Y PEELER

CHANNEL KNIFE

HIGH BALL GLASSES

MARTINI GLASSES

ROCKS GLASSES

COLLINS GLASSES

Well stocked

Well stocked

Beautiful

Beautiful

Always Pellegreno

Always Pellegreno

Why not the entry?

Why not the entry?

Summertime

Summertime

I use a doughbowl this exact way and love it

I use a doughbowl this exact way and love it

Although the outdoor bar will not be a constant as it is in the house, never the less it should have the same aesthetic.  Put your own creative touch to your home bar with unique containers, a collection of cocktail napkins and bowls of nuts, olives and pretzels.

A bowl of smoked almonds of course

A bowl of smoked almonds of cours

Whether your Friday night is a quiet evening with your favorite person or a loud and lively one with friends, it is a celebration of the beginning of the weekend.  Celebrate a week well lived and a future one to look forward to because…

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

 

This entry was posted on March 28, 2015. 9 Comments

First Impression

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ENTRY TO YOUR HOME

We have heard from the time we were youngsters that you can never have a second chance at a first impression.  This holds true for the entrance to your home.  From the curb to the door bell, the importance of this impression can not be overstated.  In my years of designing and decorating homes, all too often my initial visit to a clients home is unsettling at first glance.  Clients were willing to devote a healthy budget for interior decor, yes of course to please themselves, but to also impress others.  By overlooking the importance of the landscape, hardscape, lighting and the door itself…unfortunately that first impression is not a desired one.

Layers of lovely and thoughtful design

Layers of lovely and thoughtful design

Levels of first impression

Levels of first impression

A Charleston favorite

A Charleston favorite

Outstanding lantern

Outstanding lantern

Although the door itself is the most important element of the first impression, the second most important is the light source.  Long gone are the days of the single overhead porch bulb.  The lamp fixture at the entrance should be as much an investment as the foyer fixture.  Gas lanterns are my absolute favorite, but regardless of the energy source, the fixture should be an eye catcher night or day.

Gas light magic

Gas light magic

Extended lanterns

Extended lanterns

An alternative option to side lamps

An alternative option to side lamps

Soft and manicured

Soft and manicured

I am partial to clean and manicured green space near the house.  A variety of heights and levels add interest without demanding constant care.  Containers are deserving of the name…they contain the plantings.

Charleston charm

Charleston charm

 

More Charleston charm

More Charleston charm

The symmetry is very welcoming

The symmetry is very welcoming

Beautiful door

Beautiful door

The door.  Oh how critical is the door.  Few of us are fortunate to have the foresight and most likely the finances to have the door of our dreams when we first build or buy a home.  I would encourage you not to “settle” for long , if at all.  What ever your taste and the style of the house requires, make the investment as soon as possible.  Whether it’s single or double, glass or wood, custom crafted or antique…make it magnificent.

Antique french wood

Antique french wood

More Antique French

More Antique French

Ironwork

Ironwork

A little color

A little color

Double arched

Double arched

The scale is so well designed

The scale is so well designed

Wonderful stone surround

Wonderful stone surround

Taste specific yet what an impression

Taste specific yet what an impression

Very European

Very European

The photograph below has been in my inspiration file since it was first published.  It is the genius of one of my favorite architect firms, McAlpine-Tankersley of Birmingham, Alabama.  Everything about it is perfect.  The scale, style, material….all elements give a perfect first impression.

Someday...I will have this

Someday…I will have this

We are an “enter through our garage” society.  It’s more convenient and secure, yes.  May I suggest though that on occasion, you enter your house by way of the front walkway and door.  Visit your home as a guest and think about the impression you have.  If it calls for a little here and not so much there, don’t put off the solution.  It’s so important to have a good impression the first or fiftieth time because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

This entry was posted on March 27, 2015. 4 Comments

Summer Kitchens

THE SUMMER KITCHEN

There are several variations of the definition of a summer kitchen.  From a single built in gas grill, to the extravagant Viking appointed culinary playground.  Either way, outdoor cooking and dining is one of summer’s greatest pleasures.

Love the hood

Love the hood

image

This design allows for interaction with guests

This design allows for interaction with guests

 

Open air summer kitchen

Open air summer kitchen

Perfect in every way

Perfect in every way

Most open air summer kitchens are located in parts of the country where inclimant weather is not an issue.  California and Arizona come to mind.  In fact I would image in those areas a summer kitchen is a must have.

Beautiful as well as quite functional

Beautiful as well as quite functional

In many newer homes, the summer kitchen is part of the outdoor living and dining area.

I am in love with this

I am in love with this

An all encompassing outdoor space

An all encompassing outdoor space

A serious cook's kitchen

A serious cook’s kitchen

Good lighting is essential

Good lighting is essential

I see a long, lingering summer meal here

I see a long, lingering summer meal here

Lovely

Lovely

Great proximity to the fireplace

Great proximity to the fireplace

All surfaces, including the floor, was considered here

All surfaces, including the floor, was considered here

The open shelving is a perfect touch

The open shelving is a perfect touch

This design allows for interaction with guests

This design allows for interaction with guests

There is no question…these summer kitchens are rather extravagant.  Although we would all most likely love to have one of them, that may not be practical.  That shouldn’t prevent anyone from enjoying those grilling occasions of summer.  Don’t limit this pleasure to only weekends.  What better way to decompress on an ordinary Tuesday because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

This entry was posted on March 25, 2015. 1 Comment

It’s All In The Details

SMALL DETAILS CARRY THE BIGGEST IMPACT

I have always appreciated the small details of everyday life.  A beautiful room is comprised of more than large pieces of furniture.  Those details may be of the personal nature, photos framed in antique silver or a silk tassel dropping from the handle of a chest drawer.  Detailing does not mean cluttering.  It is paying attention to that which most people would simply overlook.

More nail heads

Nail heads

More nail heads

More nail heads

I have always loved nail heads, particularly on the back of chairs.  It is the type of detail that makes seating more than just chairs.

The silk tassle

Yes, tassels are formal.  However just one of these beauties dropping from a drawer handle is one of those details that, combined with other delicate detail items, makes a beautiful room composition.

Lovely carving

Lovely carving

image

image

image

The carved details in European antiques are the exquisite details that can not be substituted with anything else.

Bannister detail

Bannister detail

The bannister of a home’s staircase should be more than a collection of lumber yard spindles.  Yes, this is an additional expense, however I would prefer to consider it an investment.  We invest in fine quality in many aspects of our homes…why should the staircase be undeserving of such quality.  After all, it is a highly visible structure where detail makes a tremendous difference.

 

NOW FOR THE MOST IMPORTANT DETAILS

 There are a multitude of everyday items in our lives which do not seem to require much attention.   The dogs food and water bowls, the dish towel, a soap dish etc., etc., etc.  Why not put a little thought in to making these ordinary items a little less ordinary.

Attention for doggy

Attention for doggy

Much more attractive than through the drawer handle

Much more attractive than through the drawer handle

Antique French letter drop

Antique French letter drop

An antique letter drop can be easily installed in to any exterior door by a good carpenter.  The majority of homes have street boxes so this is more for appearance but never the less a welcoming detail.

Ahhhhh, the handwritten letter

Ahhhhh, the handwritten letter

Speaking of letters..a most important life detail is the handwritten note.  There is no more treasured method of correspondence.  Penmanship is a loved ones voice on paper.  It hurts me to see us lose this most personal voice to the e-mail and text.

Oils and herbs

Oils and herbs

Rather than shoving the often used vinegars and oils in to a cupboard, why not dress them up a bit while at the same time keeping them contained.  The same may be said for often used utensils.

Lovely organization

Lovely organization

 

Another Charles Faudree thoughtful design

Another Charles Faudree thoughtful design

It is so simple to put thoughtful detail in the guest powder room.  European soaps are fragrant and richly colored.  Perfect for that rarely used silver compote.

 Not your ordinary soap dish

Not your ordinary soap dish

Monogrammed guest towels

 

My most beloved detail is the monogram.  Most linen shops offer monograming, even those online.

image

Let's sleep on it

Let’s sleep on it

Those details I have been speaking of do make us feel somewhat lifted…so why not take that with you when you sleep?  Monogrammed bedding is a small luxury detail that we all deserve to give ourselves because….

 

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

This entry was posted on March 24, 2015. 9 Comments

Alfresco

DINING ALFRESCO

Although we are only approaching the end of March, I am already anticipating the wonderful outdoor dining of summertime.  I have several areas at our house that provide a lovely environment for our meals.  This includes breakfast, evening meals for just the two of us, weekend lunches by the pool and of course dinner parties for a few or for many.  Everyone seems naturally more relaxed when the meal is outside as we tend to linger longer….that even includes the host and hostess!!!!!

Wow

Wow

Delicious

Delicious grilled balsamic steak

 

imageimage

Rustic yet elegant

Rustic yet elegant

I loved an aged wood table for outdoor dining.  I find myself drawn to the wood itself because of it’s natural existence.  Set with pretty glassware, china and even fine flatware and you have the most gorgeous atmosphere to enjoy your companions, your food and of course wine!!!!

Beautiful

Beautiful

Love the combination of all elements

Love the combination of all elements

One of my summer staples

One of my summer staples

I would be here every evening

I would be here every evening

Joyful

Joyfu

It's all in the details

It’s all in the details

Presentation is always important

Presentation is always important

image

image

What is it about dining outside that makes the food more delicious than in the dining room?

Joyful

Joyful

imageimageimage image

image

Here’s to sharing many meals with good friends and family alfresco.

Because…

EVERY DAY MATTERS

This entry was posted on March 23, 2015. 7 Comments

Consider Menswear Fabric

MENSWEAR FABRIC 

There is a warmth and sophistication associated with handsome menswear fabric.  I don’t believe there is a fabric pattern more suitable to a library or den.  The traditional colors are satisfyingly neutral while at the same time dramatic.

Warm and dramatic

Warm and dramatic

The wool content in these fabrics give them a sturdiness that is so desirable for those rooms that say, “Come in, put your feet up and relax.”  Add a bit of leather on an ottoman and you have a rich, warm space that is family friendly.

A pair of these fireside

A pair of these fireside

So handsome

So handsome

Warm plaid

Warm plaid

The combination of leather and menswear is dramatic

The combination of leather and menswear is dramatic

Handsome

The menswear covered headboard is the perfect element for the more masculine bedroom

The menswear covered headboard is the perfect element for the more masculine bedroom

I appreciate when a home with multiple guest’s rooms devotes one to a more masculine flavor.  Take advantage of a former bedroom for a son and create a more “grown man” respite for when he visits.

Nell Hills

Nell Hills

More design by Nell Hills

More design by Nell Hills

Great scale

Great scale

Fine choice

Fine choice

The ottoman is a terrific piece to upholster with menswear fabric even if that is the only piece to wear it.  The neutral pattern compliments many textures such as rough linen or a sturdy cotten.

Charming

Charming

Modern style...traditional finish

Modern style…traditional finish

Coffee and a book

Coffee and a book

Love this

Love this

A houndstooth patterned carpet is an unexpected and very handsome choice.  This would be a perfect addition to the staircase which empties into a den or family room.  Be opened minded and treat the staircase as an additional piece for the room.

Enjoy the process of including menswear fabric in your library or den to create a sophisticated warmth because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

This entry was posted on March 23, 2015. 7 Comments

Antique European Urns

THE BEAUTY OF ANTIQUE EUROPEAN URNS

 

Magnificent

Magnificent

Now that spring has arrived I begin my annual brainstorming as to what will be planted.  The antique French urns I have collected for years are foremost in my mind.  My collection is present as you approach our front walkway as well as either side of the front door.  I edit carefully as not to overdo a good thing.  The pool offers several places to group urns as well as allow the larger ones to stand alone.

My favorite color palette

My favorite color palette

Oh so French

Oh so French

Lovely color combination

Lovely color combination

The antique urn is as captivating inside the home as it is in the garden.   They are charming vessels for a collection of objects as well as greenery.

A collection of antique books

A collection of antique books

Foliage isn't the only natural that is lovely in an urn

Foliage isn’t the only natural that is lovely in an urn

So interesting

So interesting

It isn’t always necessary to fill the urn.  Placed properly, with just the perfect highlighting, they become an object of art.

A passageway becomes an art gallery

A passageway becomes an art gallery

For the interior or the garden

For the interior or the garden

I have never had any regrets about investing in my antique urns.  They have given me many seasons of pleasure.  Because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

This entry was posted on March 21, 2015. 7 Comments

Coffee And Dessert At Our House

ENTERTAINING FRIENDS FOR DESSERT

 

Dinner out with friends is a favorite way to spend an evening.  Hosting a dinner party is also a warm and appreciated way to preserve precious time with those we care for.  Having friends relaxing in your home is joyful, however there is no denying it takes a good deal of effort.  Why not find a compromise?  Dinner at a favorite restaurant followed by coffee, dessert and after dinner drinks in your home.  This is a nice change from the standard of having friends over for cocktails before dinner out.  Order one or two favorites from your bakery if you are not inclined to create one of your own.  An elaborate layer cake or a grandmother’s magnificent fruit pie…a lovely way to end the evening.

 

Casual, lovely presentation

Casual, lovely presentation

French Crepe cake

French Crepe cake

French Apple Tart

French Apple Tart

Cake and coffee

Cake and coffee

Cappuccino anyone?

Cappuccino anyone?

French Silk

French Silk

Cheesecakes are easy and impressive

Cheesecakes are easy and impressive

Poached pears with chocolate sauce

Poached pears with chocolate sauce

Scrumptious

Scrumptious

 

Beautiful details

Beautiful details

Delicious

Delicious

I am very fond of this easy way to entertain friends at home.  That being said, I still want to make the evening finale special.  That demands that I pay particular attention to the presentation.  Be creative!

Clever, clever, clever

Clever, clever, clever

The small details are so memorable

The small details are so memorable

So unique and quite charming

So unique and quite charming

Elegant

An elegant, thoughtful service will be a sweet memory for both you and your guests.  Because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

This entry was posted on March 21, 2015. 4 Comments

Table Vignettes

THE ART OF THE TABLE VIGNETTE

Coffee tables, sofa tables, foyer tables…all deserve attention when it comes to the arrangements upon them.  We have all witnessed the tired floral arrangement centered in what is otherwise a nice piece of furniture.  Such a shame.  With a little concentration and collection of what is most likely already somewhere in your home, an artistic arrangement of treasures and trophies will give life to a highly exposed surface.

 

This grouping tells a story

This grouping tells a story

 

Mary Carol Garrity's talent on display

Mary Carol Garrity’s talent on display

My friend, Mary Carol Garrity of Nell Hills, is the most talented woman I know.  She is an artist when it comes to “layering”.  An important ingredient in the most attractive vignettes.

Charles Faudree

Charles Faudree

The late Charles Faudree was the master of the table vignette.  We are fortunate to have his books to guide us now that he is gone.

Books, booksand more books

Books, books and more books

Lovely combination

Lovely combinatio

What to do with a collection of coffee table books?  Keep them as an intregal element of the vignette.  Just think outside the box.

Table art

Table art

Framed artwork is not limited to the wall.  This is a step up from the ordinary framed photograph.

Perfect composition for the surface of a small chest

Perfect composition for the surface of a small chest

Drama in the center of the room

Drama in the center of the room

Charles Faudree

Charles Faudree

Great combination

Great combination

Symmetry

Symmetry

Window light

Window light

When composing the tablescape with a window backdrop, be conscious of the colors and textures outside.  The eye does not stop at the window.

Elegant foyer

Beautiful candlelight interspersed with other items is elegant.  Fine candleholders will keep the charm of the tablescape alive in the daylight.

So welcoming

So welcoming

By mounting the mirror low on the wall, it becomes part of the table top composition.

Lamplight adds to this attractive tablescape

Lamplight adds to this attractive tablescape

Enjoy the process of trial and error when you are designing the table vignette.  Gather treasures from around your home, keeping in mind a variety of height and material.  Feel free to add and subtract as you work the process.  Editing is critical.  When is it complete?  Believe me, you will know.  Because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

This entry was posted on March 20, 2015. 3 Comments

European Farm Tables

 

 

 

EUROPEAN FARM TABLES

 

For years I have been attracted to the European farm table.  The patina of age as well as the long and narrow form are perfect for both formal and casual rooms.   Upholstered chairs are particularly attractive when surrounding such beautiful wood.

My longing for such a statement piece was finally satisfied last year when our breakfast room became home to a wonderful antique French farm table.  I had the good fortune of coming across a wonderful antique shop in Wales, Walton House Antiques.  Although my long desired table came by way of the UK, it couldn’t be more country French!!

 

My long desired French farm table

My long desired French farm table

 

Simply elegant

Simply elegant

The juxtaposition of fine china and silk upholstery with the aged beauty of the antique European table is my favorite composition for a dining room.

 

I have had this photo of Susan and Jack Arnold's table in my inspiration file for years

I have had this photo of Susan and Jack Arnold’s table in my inspiration file for years

Rustic and yet so elegant

Rustic and yet so elegant

So very European

So very European

What a lovely and active kitchen

What a lovely and active kitchen

Would love this for a kitchen as an alternative to the standard island

Would love this for a kitchen as an alternative to the standard island

I am captivated by this photo and have been since it was first published.  This magnificently long farm table takes center stage in this modern kitchen.  The contrast is stunning and extremely functional.

Perfect in a formal dining room

Perfect in a formal dining room

What could be more warm and inviting than candlelight reflecting from the glow of waxed and aged wood.

The hearty work table of a French kitchen

The hearty work table of a French kitchen

Perfection

Perfection

This would accommodate a large and hungry group

This would accommodate a large and hungry group

This exudes warmth

This exudes warmth

Smaller but no less lovely

Smaller but no less lovely

Clever contrast

Clever contrast

This lovely is ready to find a home

This lovely is ready to find a home

 

There is nothing that makes more of a statement of love than gathering around a table to enjoy great food, family and friends.  This has been true for centuries and will remain true for centuries to come.  Because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

 

This entry was posted on March 20, 2015. 2 Comments

The Nursery At The Grandparents

 

 A NURSERY AT THE GRANDPARENTS

 

Becoming a grandmother is without question one of the most unexpected joys of my life.  I was never one to be giddy over the prospect of grandchildren.  My goodness how my attitude changed with the birth of our granddaughter almost four years ago and again one year ago with the birth of our grandson.  Perhaps it is the knowledge of how fast our children grew up that has taught me to savor every moment with these babies.  When I am with them, particularly at our house, I don’t concern myself with anything other than play.  Beds may not be made, phone calls aren’t returned, no room is off limits, breakfast includes ice cream for dessert and “Lolly” will play anything my babies want!

 

As most young couples, we didn’t have a lot of money when our babies were born.  We went from two incomes to one and things were tight.  The baby’s room was cute and colorful, but far from my fantasy nursery.  Well with grandparenthood comes years of experience, a mental list of “would have done it differently, and a much healthier bank account.  Well, it’s never too late.  Grandchildren, or even the dream of them someday, can provide an opportunity to create that fantasy nursery.

Fantasy Nursery # 1

Fantasy Nursery # 1

Love the lighting

Love the lighting

 

A must have in a granddaughters nursery

A must have in a granddaughters nursery

Perfection

Perfection

 

Love the crib floating in the room

Love the crib floating in the room

We may not have twins, but two babies at one time is sweet

We may not have twins, but two babies at one time is sweet

 

 

So sweet

So sweet

 

 

Love the use of the hand mirrors

Love the use of the hand mirrors

 

Why not use one of the larger bedrooms in the house for the nursery?

Why not use one of the larger bedrooms in the house for the nursery?

Love the pops of deep color

Love the pops of deep color

The babies do become toddlers

The babies do become toddlers

I do believe this has EVERYTHING

I do believe this has EVERYTHING

Who would have thought black would be so outstanding in the nursery

Who would have thought black would be so outstanding in the nursery

Such a calm and soothing palette

Such a calm and soothing palette

Baby must have accessories

Baby must have accessories

A true fantasy nursery

A true fantasy nursery

Love the use of the hand mirrors

Love the use of the hand mirrors

Make a beautiful nursery in your home as a gift to your grandchild, your child and yourselves because…

EVERY DAY MATTERS

This entry was posted on March 19, 2015. 6 Comments

Lamplight

 

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT ACCESSORIES ARE THE ONES THAT SHED THE LIGHT

 There is a reason my friends and family refer to me as the Lamp Queen.  My passion for these beauties began when I first began making a home.  I don’t know of any other object that adds more emotion to a room than the glow of a finely made luminary.

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A classic

A classic

Great scale for a window table

Great scale for a window table

Welcoming pair for the foyer

Welcoming pair for the foyer

Black shades are a favorite for accent light

Black shades are a favorite for accent light

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Lamplight should not be limited to living and bedrooms.  Kitchen counters, powder rooms and passageways are lovely areas to add soft lamplight.  A home need never be dark.

 

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Powder room

Powder room

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How charming

How charming

Kitchen counter

Kitchen counter

 

The height of this pair is captivating

The height of this pair is captivating

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This is a wonderful alternative to overhead lighting

This is a wonderful alternative to overhead lighting

Genius

Genius

There has been a new and unique use for table lamps of late….the dining room table.  Granted, the logistics of the electrical may be somewhat challenging, however not impossible.  Where there’s a will.

 

Diminutive but powerful

Diminutive but powerful

 

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Perfect for entertaining in the garden

Perfect for entertaining in the garden

Great positioning

Great positioning

 

 

The perfect accent

The perfect accent

 

Lovely light distribution

Lovely light distribution

 

 

 

This lamp provides the perfect mood lighting for the art

This lamp provides the perfect mood lighting for the art

Choose your lamps carefully.  They are much more than a source of light.  They are what brings your room to life which is what we want from a lovely room because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

This entry was posted on March 18, 2015. 5 Comments

Buffalo Check


       BUFFALO CHECK

So subtle

So subtle

                                              

 

There are are paisleys and stripes, traditional and modern.  One pattern that is universal is the Buffalo Square.  It can be subtle, used on an ottoman or accent pillow.  It can be bold, used as upholstery on a sofa or window treatments.

 

Just that extra something

Just that extra something

The use of Buffalo Check with other patterns is attention paid to the very details that make ordinary dining chairs extraordinary.  I can’t over emphasize the impact of this subtle detail.

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The use of buffalo check on the chair cushions compliments the drapery fabric.  This is a smart way to add depth.

Perfect detail to give the room impact

Perfect detail to give the room impact

A mix of pattern lends interest in a small space.  By using Buffalo Check on the cushions as opposed to duplicating the drapery fabric, the room has depth.  A bonus….your eye notices both.

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There is an abundance of Buffalo Check in this room, yet it is not overwhelming.  I love it!

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This is another example of the blend of the two patterns.  The neutral color is gentle and beautiful.

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Love all of the features of this chair

Love all of the features of this chair

This chair has a multitude of possible locations

This chair has a multitude of possible locations

Love the matching headboard and dust ruffle

Love the matching headboard and dust ruffle

 

Buffalo check on all surfaces of chairs

Buffalo check on all surfaces of chairs

Perfectly appointed corner

Perfectly appointed corner

 

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This is a wonderful use of my favorite pattern.  Creation of lampshades is a work of art.  A lost art.

Beautifully french

Beautifully french

I will have this, thank you.

I will have this, thank you.

Buffalo check is the most style friendly pattern in design.  Choose a smidgen or be plentiful with the amount.  Whatever satisfies your desire because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

 

 

This entry was posted on March 17, 2015. 5 Comments

Elements Of A Beautiful Room

 THE BEAUTIFUL ROOM

A beautiful and comfortable room is comprised of a variety of elements.  No one singular object or color makes a room beautiful.  The “perfect” space is the ideal combination of texture, shape, scale and hue.  When done correctly, it is emotionally satisfying.

Breathtaking

Breathtaking

 

 

 

This photograph demonstrates the elements of symmetry and scale.  I am very sensitive to the balance in a space.  There should be a sense of equality in the weight of the elements.  The large windows and floor to ceiling built ins provide the foundation that requires the table and chairs to be substantial in size.

 

Mmmmmmm

Mmmmmmm

 

 

This lovely room is a testament to successful furniture placement.  The fireplace is both focal point and backdrop.

 

Perfect illumination

Perfect illumination

 

Lighting is critical.  I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the position and amount of lamplight.  This photograph illustrates the perfect balance of both overhead, mid level and eye level illumination.

Wonderful combination of elements

Wonderful combination of elements

Charming

Charming

Jack and Susan Arnold's home

Jack and Susan Arnold’s home

Beautiful color scheme

Beautiful color scheme

Elegant and soothing

Elegant and soothing

Beautiful great room

Beautiful great room

One of the most stunning rooms I have seen

One of the most stunning rooms I have seen

 

Simple in it's beauty

The simplicity of this room is the key to it’s beauty.  The lack of a floor covering in order to expose the glorious wood floor is a very smart move.  The soft hue and texture of the walls beg not to be complicated with artwork…the walls are the artwork.

A beautiful room is emotional food for the soul which each one of us deserves because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

A Tisket-A Tasket….A Lovely, Useful Basket

 

 THE AGELESS BASKET

 

Very few homes are without one or several baskets.  These works of art provide endless uses.  Antique baskets have captivated me because they actually seem somewhat fragile and yet stand the test of time.

Clever use to contain blueprints.

Clever use to contain blueprints.

Hot air balloon, anyone?

Hot air balloon, anyone?

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Always a lovely addition by the fire.

Always a lovely addition by the fire.

The texture of the wood and wicker combination is perfect.

The texture of the wood and wicker combination is perfect.

Gathering baskets are wonderful wall art.

Gathering baskets are wonderful wall art.

What a terrific idea Ina has.

What a terrific idea Ina has.

 

Attractive storage method

Attractive storage method

The oversized vintage trunks and square baskets do a great job of wrestling those hard to store baking racks, cookie sheets and cutting boards.

 

 

Love antique french baskets.

Love antique french baskets.

 

Lovely way to present flatware for everyday.

Lovely way to present flatware for everyday.

 

There is no shortage of use for these wicker wonders.  The original use was more of function than form.  Oh how that has evolved into beauty of their function.  Baskets are present in several rooms of my house to both contain and entertain.  While bottles of liquor may gather in one…nearby another will host napkins and flatware awaiting the guests.

 

So many possibilities

So many possibilities

About to find it's place on the wall

About to find it’s place on the wall

 

These baskets are as much a statement as anything else in the room

These baskets are as much a statement as anything else in the room

A treasure of vintage finds

A treasure of vintage finds

I love the search for antique baskets.  They are one of the easiest antiques to collect because they are available in so many locations.  When you find one with the beauty of age, grab it, you will always find a place and use.

Stacks and stacks

Stacks and stacks

Function and terrific form

Function and terrific form

Baskets of natural greenery

Baskets of natural greene

Baskets are just as much at home in the garden as they are in the house.  I use them for plantings for my outdoor dining table.  Of course there are countless serving uses for our summer suppers in the garden.

Coffee table?  Of course!

Coffee table? Of course!

Side table?  Why not?

Side table? Why not?

 

I adore the use of large vintage wicker trunks as tables.  They provide terrific storage for winter throws in a den or extra blankets in a guest’s room.

 

This is so attractive

This is so attractive

 

Find your own creative use of a vast collection of antique baskets.  They are also much appreciated hostess gifts.  Pass along one of your finds…it is a generous and thoughtful gesture.  Because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

This entry was posted on March 17, 2015. 6 Comments

Mirror Mirror On The Wall And In The Hall

 

MIRROR IS THE VERSATILE ART

 

 

Regardless of the style of the space, a mirror is always a good idea.  To visually enlarge a space as well as reflect light through composition.  Antique mirror offers double the pleasure as the frame can be a piece of art in and of itself.  The aged patina of the frame along with chips from time are an exquisite addition to the impact of the piece.

I have found that inexpensive mirror is always a mistake.  There is a harshness to it that will leave a coldness to the space.  Invest in mirror as you would a piece of art.  To settle for less will leave you disappointed and unsatisfied.

Beautiful patina of aged mirror.

Beautiful patina of aged mirror.

The perfect staircase art

The perfect staircase art

Works of art

Works of art

 

Simply grand

Simply grand

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It is critical to understand that the subject reflected in the mirror is pleasing to the eye.  I have been witness to mirrors being positioned with only the straight on reflection considered.  So discouraging when you see a cluttered kitchen counter reflected in a dining room mirror.

 

Mirrors make magic in a small space

Mirrors make magic in a small space

 

This may be tucked away in your attic

This may be tucked away in your attic

Stunning in a foyer.

Stunning in a foyer.

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Great height

Great height

If the eyes are the mirror to the soul then the mirror is the soul of the room.  They reflect light, they portray image and they extend space.  These are elements of a satisfied soul because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS

This entry was posted on March 16, 2015. 5 Comments

Antique Copper

 

ANTIQUE COPPER

 

There is no doubt that one of, if not the most important culinary tools is comprised of copper.  The experienced, as well as not so experienced cook knows of the beauty in which the heat is evenly conducted through a copper saucepan.  This even distribution is what brings about the velvety smoothness of a chocolate ganache or the rich creaminess of a bernaisse.image

I have been in love with the decorative element of antique copper for years.  My kitchen is definitely a testament to this.  From the pot rack loaded with antique copper saucepans over my island cooktop to the mammoth stock pots that line the shelves in my pantry.  From the patina aged copper pot holding wisks and spoons to the casserole stuffed with oils and vinegars…..Antique Copper is the precious metal.

 

My desired collection

My desired collection

 

French kitchen

French kitchen

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Food is always attractive when presented in antique copper.  Perhaps a vessel for the fruits or vegetables that are on a countertop.

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I will find myself collecting copper saucepans wherever I go.  They are tucked away in many antique shops.

 

A culinary must

A culinary must

French kitchen

French kitchen

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Antique Copper

There is absolutely no better form of melting chocolate than copper.  The heat distribution ensures a velvety end product.

 

 

Winter love

Winter love

 

In the cold of winter there is nothing more satisfying than a copper stock pot simmering away.

 

Beautiful copper saucepans

Beautiful copper saucepans

 

 

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The accomplished cook appreciates excellent tools as they provide a vessel for their creations.  The novice cook appreciates excellent tools for the same reason.  Creating wonderful food should never be considered a chore but a joyful activity because…

 

EVERY DAY MATTERS