Monday, June 30, 2008
"What does every room need?" This is what House Beautiful recently asked designers.
And here are the answers:
"Something living! Nothing injects a sense of life into what can be the least lived-in room in the house like a beautiful tree or plant. My two favorite trees are Kentia palms and fiddle-leaf figs. For something smaller, there's always room for a maidenhair fern or potted ivy. A vase filled with branches or oversize leaves is a quick fix and will last a while. If the tree and plant thing feels too high-maintenance, you can always just put some tulips in a jar and call it a day."
"Something very personal — an object, a painting, a collection. Things don't have to be expensive, but it's the personality that makes any room feel grounded and 'real,' not some anonymous space."
"Candles, and lots of them. They conjure romance instantly."
—Roderick N. Shade
"A tray. It makes a disconnected group of objects seem like a collection."
—T. Keller Donovan
"Candlesticks. I really love the bronze ones by Gene Summers, in varying heights. They layer the light in a room — and are beautiful objects in their own right."
"The one accessory I really fight to put in every living room is a TV. Plasma, of course, and as big as possible. It makes people use their 'trophy' living rooms other than for the proverbial high holy days. And if you want to be chic when you have guests, program it to play Matthew Barney or some other video art."
"Layers of cushions in tactile fabrics. I'm not a big fan of using lots of different colors in a room, but layering lots of pillows of different textures is an incredibly luxurious yet cozy look."
"A stylish throw. A good quality throw can last a lifetime and adds a dash of color and pattern as well as comfort and a homey quality."
"Trays for coffee tables and ottomans. They keep the tablescapes contained in their own frame, of sorts, and add another dimension and texture to the styling. They also make it easy to lift everything off when you need more room for entertaining."
"A photophore — it's a vaselike candleholder that you put votives in, and it gives off a soft, romantic, diffused light that makes a room look so warm and inviting."
credit: House Beautiful (see www.housebeautiful.com)
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If I had to pick one thing, I would have to say...black. Any room could benefit from a bit of black. Even with an established color scheme, black adds a certain snap to a room.
Of course, when I say "black," I mean a very dark color, metal, fabric, etc. That said, it's really a personal thing--pick up any magazine, and you'll see rooms without black (but you will also see plenty with it). Rooms that work without black mystify me. I want to know the secret. But that's another blog entry. ;-)
Traditionally, black "grounds" a room. I think of it as creating gravity.
It also helps spotlight other colors.
Dark metals behave like black:
While this room would look pretty with a white wicker loveseat, I wonder if the colors would be as vibrant. The dark wicker works its magic.
And it's just plain elegant.
I can't imagine this kitchen with white or cream counters:
But you have to be careful. The black must be sprinkled judiciously, like freshly ground pepper, making sure the distribution isn't clumped but, rather, spread around. This room has a nice balance, and the black/dark is subtle.
Picture frames are a sneaky way to add black.
Too much and it will overwhelm. It will have the gravity of Jupiter. Or, it will become part of the color scheme. But for black to work behind the scenes it really has to be quiet and unobtrusive.
Examples would be: touches of black in a rug; black lampshades, books with black jackets, black boxes (I love to buy inexpensive ones and paint them--I also have no shame about painting accessories any darn color I please); pillows trimmed in black; figurines with bits of black; matting in framed art. Etc.
Sometimes a touch is all that's needed. The black in this pillow holds everything together, and the other colors seem pure and clear.
I would love to hear your ideas. When it comes to your home, what is the one thing every room must have?
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Before we get started on today's "Quest," let's eat every crumb of this walnut coffee cake:
Now it's time to hit the road on a quest. It's a gift for a dear friend, a special cat cup. It can be old or new, preferably cafe au lait sized with flat handles on either side to rest one's thumbs. Preferably, it should have a cat in the cup's bottom.
This will be a snap, I thought. It's not an obscure cat artifact. It's a cup. Easy peasy. Right? But not too easy, I hope, because I love quests--especially if I am looking for a friend.
First, I made a beeline for the glass cases with the pricey stuff. No cups or mugs, but here's an old bronze cat.
This is an unusual cat figurine, and I can't see the price. The cat has an odd yellow glass tail.
This black cat is adorable, but he's not in the bottom of a cup.
Cat mugs! Success! But there are no cats in the bottom. So we move on.
I buy a little bag of cat nip for my friend's cat, Chicklet.
This case is filled with antique cat items, and lots of cat and dog jewelry.
A toy sleeping cat.
Cute cat plates.
A white cat
Dog art, mostly new, but very cute for a dog themed room:
Vintage dog art.
This oyster dish is $85. No discernable markings. My father grew up on the Gulf Coast, and I am specially fond of oyster dishes.
I'd hoped these cream soup bowls would have a cat somewhere. ::Sigh:: No luck. I'm starting to panic.
Now I'm getting warmer--cat mugs. Alas, no cat inside the mugs.
Dejected, I wander over to the cat perfume bottles and try to breathe in the fumes of "My Sin." (For those under 50, "My Sin" was dimestore perfume.)
More dog art
a glamor puss
I look at this blue pitcher each time I come to this store.
Then I wander over to the vintage jewely case...and almost fall in love with the evening bags. While I don't smoke, I do love the cool, Art Deco cigarette case.
Years ago, a friend gave me a Limoges box. My eyes cross when I look at the triple digit prices on this collection.
The shop owner wasn't there, but I left her a note, asking if she could help me find a cat cup. And I'll check on Ebay. This is part of Questing, isn't it? But sometimes it makes me work up an appetite. So, in my mind's eye, I fly over to Austria, and sample some pastries--no calories, of course. Won't you sit down and join me?
Monday, June 23, 2008
Well, I tried to find spaces on RMS, but the website has gone kaflooey. So, I borrowed some spaces from _Southern Accents_. If you're having trouble getting to RMS and you need to see some design, and you need to see it with friends, then let's break out the cookies and have some fun.
Here's the garden room's interior. The galvanized steel ties it all together. If the cloche (on the table) is missing, I took it. My morals have plummeted since my path crossed with that SKINNY GAL.
A Pawley's Island hammock is the stuff of a southern childhood. In reality, when I've stretched out in one, a bird always flies over me and leaves a souvenir.
In case you don't know by now, I dearly love Adirondacks, especially if they have cushions.
This is a porch in Point Clear, Alabama. It's refreshing how they used natural wicker instead of white (even though I love white). I specially like the color of this wicker--I don't know, it just lends a modern touch against all of that bygone glamour.
I could never keep this clean; but I love it. The natural wood furniture, with its modern lines, creates a striking juxtaposition with the traditional pergola. The dog statue is my favorite. It would not fit into my beach bag.
The next two pictures show a beach house. The flowers were stolen from Tootsie's greenhouse. Aren't they fabulous? I have several butterfly bushes, but they aren't near this huge.
I haven't seen a retro glider or chairs in years. These are divine. I love the off-white table--it's so unexpected and just right. A vase with a red flower is the finishing touch.
photo credits: Southern Accents
Monday, June 16, 2008
Ever since the Sur La Table catalog arrived, I have been staring at the dessert on the cover. I didn't have access to the specific ingredients, so, like most hungry cooks, I improvised. Do you have an easy, summery tart recipe? What about savory tarts? Here's the recipe from their website:
No-Bake Lemon Berry Tartlets
A quick and easy bite-size dessert.
• 1 jar Stonewall Kitchen Lemon Curd
• 1 cup whipped cream
• 1 package of 24 Mini Tart Shells
• Mixed fresh berries
• Powdered sugar
1. In large bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Fold in the lemon curd and mix well.
2. Spoon 2 Tablespoons of mixture into each mini tart shell.
3. Top with fresh berries and powdered sugar.
Author, Kimberley Davis, Sur La Table Corporate Ch
Friday, June 13, 2008
I'm still Rat-Racing, but I wanted to say hello and to show you some pictures from our Get-Away-From-the-World cabin. It was one of those "finds" that we almost missed because it was way, way off the beaten path. It had been empty for years. Someone had built it and then decided they hated it. It was designed for a beach, with teeny tiny bedrooms; but we loved it. We didn't have television or a telephone for a year, and then my Honey wanted to see a football game and we ended up with DirecTv. I never had time to "decorate" because I was always in my pajamas, reading and relaxing. Most of the accessories came from Fred's and the Dollar Store, and each one was utterly and completely perfect. We have slowly added art by local photographers. The contemporary lamps came from Shades of light.com. Most of the furniture, including the faux lilies, were things we brought up a few pieces at a time. I painted clouds in one room (we never repainted--and the house had some decidedly weird colors). Next time I go, I'll take better pictures. I wish we could get away from the world more often. Lily Tomlin once said, "Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat." Have a great weekend!
Remember, if you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns!
~Allison Gappa Bottke
"A well-beaten path does not always make the right road."
"People create their own questions because they are afraid to look straight. All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don't sit looking at it--walk.”
"A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn."
When all's said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it's not so much which road you take, as how you take it.”
--Charles de Lint
“You often meet your fate on the road you take to avoid it”
“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth...not going all the way, and not starting.”
Note to Linda: No, the picture with the Adirondacks isn't on my property. It's from a vineyard in Maine (I think). Note to Smeckygirl: I bought that vase in 1994. I turned it upside down to look for an identifying mark, but I can't find one. I'm glad you like it. It's one of my favorites, too.Maybe you can find a similar one on Ebay?