Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Art of Restraint

When the master painter took brushes to the desert the "Art of Restraint" was born... Nowhere else can one hear the silence more amplified.
My friend Linda's (RMS mom of a german shorthair) desert home showcases this beautifully. Linda's interiors echo the sheer beauty of nature. Take notice of how carefully she has edited her kitchen. The art of restraint at it's very best.

When the "Art of Restraint" is not utilized, the results are not visually pleasing, as is the case of this next kitchen. Though it belongs to one of America's wealthiest couples, with the resources to hire the most sought after designers... they somehow missed the mark. A classic case of the "Art of Restraint" ignored... What do you think?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Feeling Blue

The color blue has been associated with just about every fashion trend ~ a blue and white color combination has been used all through history. Symbolically, it signifies constancy: think of the phrase "true blue friend".

But as with any color, it is not for everyone. Virginia designer Barry Dixon uses blue sparingly in his projects: "The temperature goes down five degrees in a blue room," he says, "and it can be very unflattering to the skin".
I agree with Mr. Dixon and rarely use blue in any of my own projects. I challenged myself to find blue rooms for you that I too find appealing. I love this room, it is the guest room of Joni at COTE DE TEXAS (Be sure to check out her great blog for more of her work.)

I find for me to enjoy blue rooms , most the time they must include lots of neutrals, texture and dark wood. I also believe that the inside of a home should echo the outside, such as in the case of a beach home ect. I am feeling the blues with these rooms, so tell me how about you?

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Dance

Furniture provides many flat surfaces for the placement of accents. Coffee tables, consoles, side tables, desk and bookcases are all potential dance floors.
Though our dance floor may be the back ground for our loved objects, they never take a back seat. The more attention lavished on these surfaces ~ a superior paint job, or fine polish on a mahogany table, the more handsome the accents placed on it will appear.

Ideally the arrangement of the dance should create a pause and draw the viewer in... But if it is not well balanced, regardless of the beauty of the objects involved, it will not be pleasing to the eye.

The most fascinating groupings invariably include contrast of color, texture, shape and scale. Pairing the old with the new and the rough with the smooth has the makings for a fresh new dance. Take a look around your castle, do your accessories need new partners?

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Do you ever find yourself in the mood... Even though I love the look of these romantic, overly feminine rooms, I know they are not for me. And yet, they always turn my head.
I stop and linger, I fantasy, I wonder about the person who created such soft sumptuous spaces and tell myself ... someday.

But deep in my soul they will forever be like " the other man", fun to think about, but knowing full well, "it is never going to happen". So tell me... do you have any fantasies?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Building Character into a New Home

The youthfulness of a recently built home can artfully be disguised by the details and unexpected surprises that one can tuck into the corners of a fresh new space. Designer Brooke Giannetti has managed to do this beautifully in her own "Newer" home.
It's the unique and unusual vintage pieces like the large mirror that was once a window in a church... the architectural corbel that came from a older home in New Orleans that magically turn ones interiors into rooms with character.

Flea market finds like Brooke's painting casually tacked to the wall whispers of a past life once lived. Wood board walls and built-in shelving add lovely character to this newer home. Do you need to add a bit of character to your castle?
*For more of Brooke's work, be sure to check out her blog, "Velvet & Linen !"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Get to know Mr. Carter

Washington D.C. designer Darryl Carter is sophisticated yet comfortable, desirable yet attainable, classic yet contemporary and is therefore defining the emerging style known as "New Traditional".
He has a furniture line sold by Thomasville. The pieces have a fresh look with the feel of having been collected over time.

His work has a patina of a well-worn antique, but on a practical note, a credible reproduction could be used and work just as well.

Often rooms are predominated by art, so the objective is to create rooms that respect those objects while remaining intimate. I am finding more and more that he is one to watch! Are you watching?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Who Am I ...

Decorating a space should always start with the answer to this very important question, "Who am I ?"truthfully, not the fantasy me, but the real me...
Make decorating choices based on how items make you feel, not what's available, "On Sale", or free from the in-laws. Everyone has a budget some big, some small, all can be worked with. Remember your home is not a show room, it's a place to nurture your emotions and your interest.

When you do not have the funds to start over, you just have to be smarter... So loosen up, you probably have more flare than you give yourself credit for.

Your home is the one place where you should be safe and free to live your life your way. It should reflect the people who live there. So, Who Am I ? Simplicity and unpretentious, as comfortable as a new pair of cashmere socks...Tell me , Who are YOU ?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wardrobe of a Home

My home has it's winter coat on as I write these words. Simple seasonal decorating changes can transform your home and give your accessories a spirit.
I love the look of tarnished silver in the cold months, but come spring... everything gets polished. Changing your homes wardrobe helps you stay fit as well, because you are always going up and down the attic stairs...not to mention the weight control your home will achieve in the process! Add some weight in the colder months with warm throws and lots of books by the fireplace. Lighten things up when spring comes...White slip covers , simple window treatments ect.

I'm ready for a spring dress to come down... how about you?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Simple Beauty

Those who know me know my motto is "Keep it Simple !" I read about a national survey questioning American families about "What they wanted most ..." FYI : Wealth and prestige did not make the list. The hands down number one item on the list... To simplify their lives ! A white on white color scheme is the epitome of simplicity.
" Simplify for Impact." Simplicity is good for the stressed. Simplicity is easy to live with and easy to look at.

Most simplified interiors are patternless. Pattern is a possibility, but only when used sparingly. And it may not be too far off base to say , "Simplicity is good for the soul." So tell me, "Do you need to simplify your life?"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rooms that Haunt

Do you ever come across a room that haunts you... you innocently walk past your own dining room and catch a glimpse of it lingering.
You go to bed, not a care of worry in the world and you hear it calling your name.

These are just a few of my many hauntings . I see them and their sisters in my dreams ... I find myself searching high and low for them and making deals with the devil ... What kind of rooms are haunting you late at night?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Elements of Surprise

Using a detail to create a note of surprise works best if it looks like a spontaneous gesture. Objects that are not usually considered conventional accessories can make pleasingly offbeat details.
This unexpected note is a breath of fresh air that prevents an otherwise quite traditional interior from looking static or just too safe. Sheer contrast is a key element in creating an effective design surprise.

A room with a clever twist resides on the high ground of decorating. An object is provocative when it shows up in a room where it is least expected. Using an offbeat detail may require advance planning, but the preparation should never show. Any hint of contrivance would look strained, and then, of course, the surprise would be gone. So where is the Element of Surprise in your castle?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

COLOR ~ No Commitments

The number one fear in home design : COLOR ! Color can lock you in a design style quicker than any other element. Colors come in and then quickly go out! But part of the fun of decorating is in experimenting.
If you love to stay on top of the design trends and fads, the easiest way to do that is with COLOR ! Start with a neutral backdrop with some staying power and have some fun with color.

Changing the color of acessories can make a dramatic statement in a room. I can see this bar in all sorts of differant colors.

I wonder if they will love their living room five years from now, or even one ?

Friday, February 6, 2009

"Details are the soul of decoration"

When world-famous architect Mies van der Rohe said that "God is in the details," he was talking about buildings, but the same profound truth applies to the art of decoration as well.
It is the details of a room that give it personality, or "soul". Unfortunately, some rooms lack this quality altogether, even though they have perfectly fine furnishings.

In editing the details of a room the designer becomes an artist, making decisions about color, texture, and composition. As he/she does this, the room becomes his own. God may be in the details, but you should be too, if you want to create a room with "soul". The sheer number of accents and accessories that are placed in any given room depends to a large degree on the basic style of that room. A sleek, minimal contemparary scheme will not remain so, if it becomes too loaded with objects.

A profusion of items, however even clutter may actually enhance an English country setting and make it cozier and more charming. One does need to be careful though, too many and you don't see them. In the end, there are no absolute answers when it comes to these elements of design. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the editor... would you agree?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Get to know Mr. Spada

Boston designer Charles Spada is one of my favorites. Simplicity and subtlety are important to the aesthetic of his work, he is no fan of cold, sterile environments and neither am I. He believes that Zen-like surrounding are for Buddhist monks , not for people who want to be nurtured visually and emotionally~ by their homes.
An English Chippendale bench fronts a french console displaying favorite art .

To create a focal point in this Living Room, Charles designed the sleek 1930's style fireplace with recessed shelves on either side. The warm tones of the bare oak floor keep the neutral color scheme from looking cold.

Once again he highlights his love for low-key color schemes. He believes simple and subdued is the epitome of perfection and wouldn't you agree the results are exquisite?