Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

The room is painted the beautiful Van Deusen Blue. The table is ready to be set for Thanksgiving.

The eggprints are hung.

The builder special chandelier has been updated with shades, instantly improving its appearance.

And now the table is set. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Red Dining Room

Today's Washington Post Home Section has an article on Red Dining Rooms for the Holidays. As the author, Anne Kinderdine, says, red is a bold statement. The vibrance of a red room is undeniable. By the way, they missed a couple of my favourite reds, Pratt and Lambert's Algerian Red and Ralph Lauren's Hunting Coat Red.

It's funny, when I began to choose paint color for our dining room, my immediate thought was to paint it red, probably. Even though my children believed that I was spending hours Contemplating Beige. I was really thinking Red.
Then I began to decide that I shouldn't paint it red because, after all, I'd always had red dining rooms. Except, I haven't had a red dining room, ever. Okay, I came close with the paper on one breakfast area wall, and I've had a near occasion of red on a living room wall that was next to the dining room, it was Drop Dead Gorgeous but other than that, I don't believe I've had a red dining room. Wait, let me think. Nope, Never. Not even in the Show Houses I've done.
In fact, not only have I not had red, I've always had wallpaper. One was a pale peach pattern on cream and the next was an Historic Natchez paper. Charming and 'afternoon tea lovely', but not bold. Try as I might, and although red is my favourite colour, I just couldn't pull the paint gun trigger on it. Maybe because I already had two rooms painted red. I guess, even though I'd never had one, I was beginning to think of it, stunning though it is, as cliche. Another red side effect, overuse. But drama was needed.
When my daughter suggested blue I thought ugh! Eeww, blue, baby blue, again eewww. Don't get me wrong, I have seen many beautiful pastel blue dining rooms, but I wanted drama. More and more I began to be drawn to the idea of blue.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Updating the WC for Thanksgiving

I am updating the WC for Thanksgiving, the Wedding China, what did you think I meant? We have a really nice China. It's called Turquoise Florentine and it is truly lovely. But can be a little boring. Or maybe I'm just in need of a change, occasionally, say every 20 minutes. So here is the china:

There are a lot of available options for updating the china. I could choose to play off the color, say by adding salad plates with complementary or analogous colors. These from Mottahedeh, available from, would satisfy a complementary scheme. But, at $175 for a single plate, Ouch! not happening.
I could use one of the colors in the center floral pattern as chargers. I have in the past added red chargers behind the china. It does create a stunning look. But this year I wanted something more comforting, something that was truly Thanksgiving. Not only that, the Carp plates are out of my budget.

So, I headed off to TJ Maxx, determined to keep this change of pace under $50, $75 max. I found salad plates made by Johnson Brothers China.
The pattern is His Majesty. Within this pattern, there are the neutral browns as well as the red that is in the center flower pattern in the Wedding China. I also found placemats with a large fall leaf pattern stitched onto the bottom right corner. All of this was under fifty-five dollars. Napkins were found at Bed Bath and Beyond lurking back in the sale aisle, $5 for four napkins, bringing the cost up another $10 to sixty-five. I would have made it under seventy five, but then I found the Monkey napkin rings and I knew they had to have a home on my table. Add the Monkey napkin rings from the previous post and I'm sliding in at around eighty-five dollars.
Still, less than half the price of one carp plate.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oh, yes I did - my bad

John, of This young house, posted today about HGTV's Twenty Five Biggest Decorating Mistakes.
Guilty of number 22, undressed cables. You know, they just wouldn't put on that lovely Laura Ashley dress that I made them. undressed cables
All kidding aside, the office is a work in progress.

I Have flying monkeys and I know how to use them

So, A few friends will be joining us at dinner on Thanksgiving. They are not quite the traditional decoration expected at Thanksgiving. Not pilgrims, not turkeys, but monkeys. Monkeys on sale at ZGallerie. Okay, they aren't really flying monkeys, more like log sitting monkeys, but I do know how to use them.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The nature of the beast

What is design? How does it differ from decoration?

Design is improving the functionality of the space or the room.

Decoration is solely improving the appearance of the room.

For example, say you have a kitchen with new cabinets, new floors, new laminate countertops, everything is current, everything looks good.

Decoration only considers the surface treatment and the looks of the place. Decoration would paint the walls and add window treatements, perhaps upgrade the countertops and the floors. Design fixes the problematic layout, tailors the kitchen to the owners, adds amenities that improves the function. Decoration would paint the cabinets and walls and maybe change the flooring. There is nothing wrong with decoration, sometimes that is all that is needed.

Design considers questions: how many cooks will be using the kitchen? How will the household be using this room? Is universal design an immediate or long term need? Design considers the maximum length of the triangle and the length of the shortest and longest legs. Is the lighting adequate, both ambient and task?

This is the reason we are so often disappointed with home decoration shows on television. These shows never consider much beyond "how does it look?". They leave a poorly functioning room poorly functioning and throw a lot of things at it that don't help even one bit or confuse you as to the rooms function. Does a household with a seven year old boy need a killer entryway? With expensive Stueben glass on a pricey table? Wouldn't a room with toy and coat storage nearby be more appropriate? It can be drop dead gorgeous, but it had better function and be tough.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Top Design

If Top Design is still trapped in your DVR, I won't spoil it by disclosing the winner, but, if you want to be surprised their rooms, stopped reading now!

Who would you hire? I know whom I would hire. And, whom I wouldn't.

Overall her town house was very scattered, First we are in an art museum, then a disco lounge, then a must be quiet library with a study table, then the circus came to town, first this look and then the other. However, despite the bounce from one color scheme to another, the upstairs had personal livable rooms.

Favorite Things:Mirrored Headboard!!! I am sweatin’ that! Made with mirrors laid on blocks of wood at different angles, it was stunning. Loved the damask wallpaper, maybe the paint color worked better live than on camera.
In the Family Room, I Loved the Fuchsia sofa but, sorry three dimensional wall sculpture is too granny for me.
Ahh, the Study, I adore the Route- 66 motel picture which is perfect! Hmm, I think that my own double exposure Burger Chef neon sign Photo, will finish out my black and white bedroom perfectly. But what is up with that window treatment.
She really overstretched her carpenter for the time and could have done an effective built in bed with stock cabinetry or not at all.
I like the upholstery fabric in the living room, the one she thought was too drab. The walls were too drab, not the upholstery. A midtone neutral is perfect, maybe she should have rethought the “black and white” theme. She didn’t stick to it everywhere so why here? Plus, that T’ang horse was so overused in the eighties, if I see it one more time, I’ll scream. Made me wonder why she forgot that vase of Calla Lilies oh, and The View.

Overall, his look was very drab nearly funeral parlor drab.
Favorite Things:
Blue Grass cloth Cut in diamonds, what can I say-but very cool.
Color inside the lamp shade very interesting.
Study was very well executed with yellow played well against the grey.

Wow talk about Granny wallpaper, the foil up the stairs smacks of 1978.
Favorite things: Painting that he created with dripped paint I had a friend in school who wanted to do something very much like that, Bet she wishes she had now.
The paper plate on chicken wire, copyright it? Um, yeah no, but I’m sure he will.
The study with the shelves was very well executed and worked well together.
Wall of pictures, sorry I thought that looked like a great idea for how to deal with the ancestor pictures, not the wall of ex-boyfriends, but I really liked it. Really, Nathan, you've dated men that old?