Monday, February 25, 2013

Comfy Kitchen

This kitchen is maybe a bit fancy for my taste but there are a few things I'd like to point out about it.  First,  look at the armchairs adjacent the island.  Maybe it's because I often feel isolated while I'm cooking, but I'd love for my husband or a friend to be able to settle in next to me while I'm working.  And somehow it feels more comfortable to sit in armchairs than at a bar.  With kids in the house, the armchairs would  probably need to be slip covered, but still, it's a beautiful idea.

Second, I love how the coffee bar is separated from the rest of the kitchen.  No need to interrupt what's going on in the cooking area to pour yourself another cup while lazily reading the paper in those armchairs.

Third, if the floor of the kitchen were stone or tile, it would feel a lot less warm and inviting to sit in the armchairs, so I think the choice of hardwood is perfect for the space. 

Another one to tuck away into the files of "someday kitchen."

Hope you've had a good start to your week, Everyone. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top Five Favorite Living Rooms

I've been thinking about doing a series like this for sometime now --listing my top five favorite images for each room of the house.

I think I'll start with the living room today.  Here are the photos of living rooms that I fell in love with instantly when I saw them.  The kind I'd be happy to have in my own house.

I think this one is probably my favorite of the bunch.  I adore the bright, white walls, the relaxed vibe, the stripes on the chairs and the yellows and blues mixes together.  There is more pattern that I might normally use, but I do love it here.  It has just the right touch of wood and warmth to balance the cool white.  The beams on the ceiling and the fireplace shape are perfect.  And there is just enough asymmetry in the decorating to throw the symmetry of the room off a bit.  It feels cozy and casual and anything but pretentious. 

I wish there were wider angle views of this room (there is another photo, which you can see here), but regardless, I love everything I see.  The overscaled illustration, the casual/natural feel of the furnishings, the gorgeous warm brass sconces, the bright white walls with tons of contrast, even the pattern on the navy blue pillow is fabulous.  A room full of texture.

Are we sensing a theme?  Love the tones of green and blue (with some orange/yellow warmth) the wood, the fabulously asymmetrical overscaled art.  How the floor lamp on the left balanced the art on the right.  And the painted brick is pretty awesome too.

Just as an aside, I do wonder if we are drawn to rooms that feel familiar to us.  For the longest time, white walls seemed anything but acceptable in the decorating world (at least it was repeated over and over again in magazines), but I've always loved them.  And I think it's because I grew up with bright white walls in house filled with light.  My mom painted a huge wall of brick like this in our living room, and we always had wood antiques, which I think think are divine against white.

LOVE.  Jessica Helgerson designed this one and she remains one of my absolute favorite designers.  The eel traps above the fireplace are pure genius.  In fact the entire room feels a bit sculptural, doesn't it?  Not a single antique here, but lot of mid-century stuff.  Which surprises me since I have very few mid-century pieces in my own house.  Then, again, I grew up in mid-century built house, so maybe that's where this love comes from.  Anyway, I'm not sure I'd love to get comfy in this room, but it is beautiful nonetheless. 

This is one I was delighted to find on Pinterest, as it had been a tear sheet from Cottage Living years ago.   This room feels so current, yet I think it was featured at least five years ago, maybe more.  I remember that it is a California cottage.  I love the rustic wood, the bright white walls, the casual feel of the sofa (I think there's another parallel to this one), and the contrast with touches of black and dark wood.

I think it's important to realize that our tastes can evolve too.  Below is a living room that I still love, but it doesn't land in my top five anymore.

Oddly, this living room (also from Cottage Living)  is probably more similar in style to my current living room that the aforementioned photos with its dark antiques and floors, classic architecture, beige sofa...

If one pays attention to the advice of magazines (which were my main source of decorating advice before blogs and Pinterest) one might feel the need to follow someone else's rules about decorating.  Use lots of color!  Neutral is boring!  Introduce varying patterns in different scales!  Well, folks, I've come into my own when it comes to decorating and I'd say it's clear what I love. Neutrals; lots of natural texture; balance of symmetry and asymmetry; a few overscaled pieces; wood tones against white walls; smalls bits of color in greens, blues, and yellows; very little pattern; and lots of contrast. 

But it took years to get here.  To get to a place where I can identify what I think it good decorating and beautiful for another's house, but not for my own.  That's the key, really.  We can admire a style, but how do we differentiate that from our own?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tea Height





All of these coffee tables have one thing in common -- they are all at tea height.  It's really just a fancy way of saying that they are taller than the typical coffee table, which usually sits at or below seat level.  Perhaps we should call them a tea table instead? 

In this photo of my living room (taken ages ago) you can see that our coffee table stands at tea height.  It belonged to my grandmother, and supposedly it once stood as dining table until she had it cut down.  (We'd had it only a matter of weeks before my girls started to ruin the top, so I promptly "upholstered" the top in pleather --which has held up beautifully to all manner of abuses.)

After having lived with both varieties of coffee table, I thought I'd list the pros and cons of the tea height.

  • easy for entertaining as you don't have to reach far for your drink
  • or plate of food if it's a casual get together -- you can literally eat off the thing
  • perfect for watching videos or shows on a laptop
  • not comfortable for propping feet on 
  • takes up a lot of visual space in a room
That last part is one I've been meaning to do a post on -- how tall furnishings can hinder (or help) with the feeling of space.  I'm going to have to do bit of scouring to find photos that will help me prove my point, though.  So it may take some time.

I've given thought to chopping my grandmother's tea height coffee table down a bit.  Quite frankly, I'm more into comfort and casual living than formality.   And since my grandmother had no problem chopping the legs down on an antique, I figure I can do the same.

**In my previous post, I said I was going to show you pictures of my new collection, but I'm feeling too lazy to upload and sort through my photos just now. :)

Friday, February 8, 2013


 I ordered and just received this book in the mail.  It is fascinating and has gotten me to think more about the process and beauty of collecting.  Collections of things can easily take a wrong turn unless done in a defined and intentional way. 

I don't really collect many things, but I have started a new collection based on something I found and loved this summer.  I'll show pictures in my next post.

<click on photos for sources>

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


My business partner and I were thrilled to be recently interviewed by the talented Lori Fuller of Lori Fuller Photography for her blog.  She's doing a new series focusing on small businesses. 

To read more and see the beautiful photographs she took of our eclectic little shop, click here

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Some Favorites

Hello Friends!

Just checking in since I didn't have a chance to do two posts this week like I normally like to do.  So while I have a few minutes today, I thought I'd share some photos of interiors that I've been drawn to lately.

 This is photo of the Fat Radish in NYC.  Love the leather handles on the cabinets and look how the map is hung.  Had it just been tacked up as a poster on the tiled wall, it would not have nearly as much presence.  You've got the texture of wood, rope, and iron to add to the pattern and color of the map.  I think I might try to duplicate something like this in our shop.

Guess I'm really loving maps and worn wood lately...

When I pinned this photo with the description "sink on the side" my sister commented that it would be a awkward to use.  Well, I can see her point.  But I have to say that I enjoy seeing spaces used differently.  Look how the pendants are hung too. 

I'm pretty in love with this pantry.  It reminds me of something you'd find on an old sailing ship, minus the breakables up on shelves, of course.

I'm sure many of you read about these vintage school house stools found on 1st Dibs for House Beautiful's Kitchen of the Month.  The island was designed around them so that they tuck under.  As a mother, I really can't think of a more practical choice for cleaning up the floor underneath.

So, I'm putting it out to the world:  Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Ballard Designs, you all would be wise to duplicate and manufacture this stool.  And for that matter, an island they could safely attach to.  I think they'd sell like hotcakes.

Moving away from kitchens, this is one I've been meaning to show for awhile. I'm pretty sure those are coffee filters on the wall.  I really like them.

And that brings me to the point of this post -- coffee filters in decorating can be a bit too sweet, frilly, or cutesy for my decorating taste.  Rustic/country can really easily run in two different directions and I'm finding I'm much more attracted to the more serious, spare, and modern (and neutral) variety.  Which I'm sure is evident in these photos. 

It's been such a busy few weeks.  I'm really missing reading and commenting on blogs and am hoping to get some time to do that this weekend. 

Hope you all have a great weekend!


<click on photos for sources>