Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Blind Side

I just saw the movie The Blind Side, this week. You are going to want see this movie, too, at least twice. The movie stars Sandra Bullock, one of my favorite comedic actresses, in a dramatic roll, Tim McGraw, as her husband, Sean Tuohy, Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher, Jae Head as SJ Tuohy and Lily Collins as Collins Tuohy. The movie is the true story of how Leigh Anne Tuohy takes in a young man from the projects, a side of town about which she knew little, in fact, had rarely seen, certainly not up close and personal. Although their intent is to give Michael a place to stay for one night, very quickly he becomes a part of the family. This young man gives as much to his new found family as he receives. Michael and the force compelling him forward, Leigh Anne, are inspiring.

I feel just a bit guilty that the movie sets are also inspiring, constantly vying for my attention with the wonderful story! Although I was in awe of Leigh-Anne and Michael and the events surrounding Michael becoming a part of the Tuohy family, I couldn't help but drool over the Tuohy home.

Of course, one of the reasons that the sets are drool-worthy is that Leigh-Anne Tuohy is an interior designer. Set decorator Susan Benjamin has created a set in Southerm Traditional style using rich coppers and camels. The home sharply emphasizes the difference of the dual worlds which become part of Michael Oher's life during the movie. The draperies in the living room are fully pelmetted. The dining room chairs perfectly coordinate with the rich caramels of the damask tablecloth and the grasscloth on the walls in the dining room. The kitchen is done in beautiful creams and slates. ABC has an interview with the Tuohy's in which one can see that, although the colors are different, the beautiful Southern Traditional decor is on the mark.

This movie is truly a "real good feel good" movie. You will cry, laugh, fear, rage, and finally puff with pride at the experiences of this family as they become a family. Shoot, you might even become a Ravens fan!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Flowers on the table,...

The table is set,...

A pitcher of cool water,...

Ready for Elizabeth Lane's wonderful food!

Be sure to head back to Susan's for more Tablescape Thursday!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Before it changes again for Christmas,...

I thought I'd post the plate arrangement. This is the one area that changes with frequency around the house. I don't often change the pictures on the wall, especially since I often end up peppering the wall behind the pictures or the sconces with holes moving it around to just the right place. This is especially true of sconces, which often have issues with being level, or not so much. So, moving a picture in my house means spackle and paint, ugh. But rearranging things on the buffet a deux corps, piece of cake, and no walls are harmed in the process.
Last Spring, I went bunny, totally bunny.

Don't get me wrong, I love bunny, but after a while, well, I think I caught them staring at me. Just kidding, the spot just needed a change and a little editing discipline applied to it.

It's calmer, though it still might need a bit more editing.
Be sure to Head back to Susan's for more Met Monday.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall Mantle, Again

Fall is definitely upon us, the week of winter we've recently experienced in the Mid-Atlantic not withstanding. Every week there are changes to the leaves, outside and in. My mantle, notice I spelled it correctly this time, has been getting some intense attention to the detriment of the rest of the house hold Fall Cleaning. At least the mantle has been dusted!
This time, Mr. Mise en scène was responsible for the nest phase in the decor. That, and the squash molded, sigh! Real is wonderful, but one has to watch out for the mold. Mr. Mise en scène, wanting to put out our plush pumpkins, went in search of them finding them with the fall picks that I had been trying to avoid. I have been trying to stick to three rules: Simple. Simple. Simple. We did need something to take the place of the squash. So, out came the picks and up on the mantle they went.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mantel for Fall

It's fall and the mantel needs an update. Not only had the candles been there since Christmas, but a lot of extra things migrated there, especially when the new floor was installed. The Christmas candles needed to be stored, the breakables needed a new safe place, the arrangement needed simplification. In short, I needed a new look! Double time! I bought three buttercup squashes, gourds hadn't yet arrived at the market. White pumpkins were nowhere to be found. The squash has wonderful texture and great color, but they were not large enough to be the only mantelpiece. Looking around the room, I found the "remote" box, that created a perfect centerpiece for the mantel. Two brass candlesticks anchored the left side. Removing one section of one of the candlesticks created an asymmetrical balance.

Be sure to head back to Susan's at Between Naps on the Porch for more Metamorphosis Monday.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Powder Room

Big things have been happening at the Mise en scène abode. The latest is the powder room, which, if you read my earlier post, you know that this was an unplanned change. It began with a new floor and a premise: pedestal sinks are not really pedestals, they are wall sinks with a "fancy" post underneath. To properly install a pedestal sink, it needs to have a board behind the wall. In the building boom that in progress when we built our house, a few things got missed.
Adding to the difficulty was Mr. Mise en scène's decision to just touch up a few spots of the paint. Well intentioned, but a problem. You see, though there is no sunlight to this room, the paint had faded. The touch up's ending up making the room look like a sunburned giraffe.
Because of the noted lack of a board behind the wall, the cost to simply reinstall the pedestal was going to be costly. To replace the lackluster pededstal, for that matter to install any pedestal, required the board, ripping out the wall, installing the board, repairing the wall and installing the pedestal. And all that plumber time to install. All for a builder grade pedestal that I have never liked.
So, bottom line, what began as a new floor, ended with a new bathroom. Everything but the toilet and the medicine cabinet has been replaced.
Now all y'all know that sometimes, just sometimes, saying something like "Honey, we need to paint before we install the vanity" to your husband can cause a lot of argument. In fact, mentioning that the sunburned giraffe had to go, even after the sink was installed and a long weekend was approaching, brought on the arguments. But the sunburned giraffe paint had to go, in fact the red had to go. As I was silently adding this to my contractor list, those things I accomplish somehow, after saving enough money for a contractor, Mr. Mise en scène saw the light and the serious paint study began. Up went the candidate chips, mostly all in a variation on taupe, and a few blues and greens, go figure, were splayed upon the wall. Every trip to check the paint, a few came down. Finally, we settled on
Benjamin Moore's Alexandria Beige, HC-77. A few more shopping trips to get a towel ring, the bathroom toilet paper holder, and a light fixture. The light fixture was my thrifty treasure, I had my eye on a light priced at $110, for which I would have to wait a while, a long while. While in Lowes I spotted a very nicely styled light that was $45, I could have sworn it had been marked down from $78, which I cannot confirm now. In any case, $45 vs $110 is a hefty savings.
Not only did Mr. Mise en scène paint, he installed the toilet paper holder, the light, and the towel ring. Then he got on a role and installed a new outdoor light, to replace the "jelly jar", hung doors on the "home theater" cabinets and repaired a wall in the upstairs bathroom, installing a toilet paper holder there too. Mr. Mise en scène is getting steak tonight. I'll even get my alter ego, Elizabeth Lane, to whip up some Sauce Béarnaise to accompany said steak.
Below are the after's, keep scrolling down they are there, and be sure to head back to Susan's and Rhoda's for more Met Monday and Thrifty Treasures!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Oh, This Needed Work

While they aren't quite finished, the bookshelves got some much needed attention this weekend. Before and two afters, should I say during?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Transferware, of course.

After all the cooking that my alter ego Elizabeth Lane has been doing and the bathroom problems, heretofore noted. I was thinking that I just wasn't going to make Tablescape Thursday. I sighed as I got down my cereal bowl, and my favorite coffee mug, which I think bears a strong resemblence to basaltware. Then I stopped. I realized that this simple setting was so elegant in its form and gave me a tiny bit of joy every morning.

Be sure to catch all the beautiful tablescapes at Susan's!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Staircase dreams, bathroom realities

Today I'd planned to regale you with my dreams for the staircase. After replacing the floors, the stairs need an update. The woods don't match. However, instead, we ran smack into reality. The pedestal no longer fits beneath the sink in the powder room. No problem, call plumber, get sink raised, put pedestal underneath. I did mention to the plumber that the sink was coming off the wall, just a bit. Teeny bit really, no big deal.

Anybody else saying uh-oh?

You see, pedestal sinks are not held up by the pedestal. They are supposed to be held up by a board which is installed behind the sink and wallboard. Now, as all y'all know, I own a semi-tract house which is quite new. This was no do it yourself project gone horribly wrong. Yup, it was the builder sink and the builder installed it and the builder installed it wrong. To have it repaired involves cutting the wallboard, installing the requisite board, replacing, repairing and repainting the wall board then reinstalling the sink. Sheeew! An estimated cost of $300 - $400, for a builder grade sink. Probably a fifty dollar builder grade sink.

We have three choices, do all the above work and reset the builder grade sink back in the powder room. Purchase another pedestal, with better style and function, do all that work and place the new pedestal into the powder room. And, finally, the third option, find a vanity that we like, skip the wall deconstruction-construction and install that. Vanities don't really hang from the wall, they are just secured to it.
I like the third option. In truth, I am excited about the third option, as I have never really liked that builder grade sink.Mr. Mise en scène is not as enthusiastic. I need to choose an option that is practical, quick and not so costly, if am to prevail on the replacement. I could stand some really good arguments, too! I think we should have a vanity which allows the awesomely beautiful floor to show, misses the door swing, not easy, only twenty and a half inches of room before we've exceeded it. Thankfully enough room so that we don't have to have one of those shrunken cabinet with over sized sink contraptions. I am not a fan. And, to get Mr. Mise en scène happy with and committed to the project, it needs to keep the cost low, well as low we can make it. Those compelling arguments, anyone, anyone?

Although I like the European feel of this, I think it is too elaborate and ornate for Mr. M-e-S. I would prefer that the sink be recessed. It is also rather pricey.

A less costly option still has a European feel, check the cabriole legs, and a recessed sink.

Has anyone else experienced a "Surprise Remodel"?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Now that the floors are done, we can relax and enjoy brunch with a friend. The bowls are Mason's Koro. They are the perfect size for 'fruit cocktail'. The bunny Bordallo plates are just right for the yummy lemon poppy seed muffins, vanilla bread and banana nut bread. The pink gerbera daisys lend the right amount of punch to the hydrangeas. Luckily I have a great friend who can forgive the lack of pressing of the tablecloth.

Please be sure to visit Susan's for more Tablescape Thursday!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Floor Metamorphosis

The floors are DONE!
Although Princess Pussycat is not certain that she is happy with the floors or perhaps she is thinking we need to deal with those floor registers! We are thrilled and yes, Miss Kitty, we have replaced the floor registers with a more apporpriate wood!
The floors are maple. We considered Brazilian Cherry, but with as much dark oak, cherry and mahogany, we opted for cinnamon stained maple. If you are a cherry freak, like me, you know that cherry will darken with age or exposure to sunlight.

The dining room drapes needed to go. They had faded and fit into a different design scheme and color plan than the color currently in the dining room, as can be seen in this "before" picture. I had been rolling window treatment options around in my head for over two years since the room was painted, but, with the prospects of the two hottest days of the year coming looming before us, even after two exhausting days of floor replacement and China schlepping, we needed window coverings, pronto! Luckily, I had some blue and cream ship toile fabric. Perfect for panels to cover while the cherry stained bass wood blinds were being made; they would make a perfect accent panel once the blinds were installed. So, one more time, we emptied the buffet a deux corps so that it could be safely moved away from the windows. And, after Mr. Mise en scène installed the drapery rods. And, after the six or seven holes drilled trying to find the one spot that didn't have a stud were repaired. Up went the panels.

And now, the before and after:

Be sure to stop by Susan's at Between Naps on The Porch for more Metamorposis Monday!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

No room for tablescaping

Have I told you that I have a builder house in the 'burbs with little character? I attribute this to the "battle of the sexes" that every married person has. Mr. Mise en scène is a dyed in the wool new house buyer. The oldest house in which we have ever lived was built in 1967. It was literally a little pink house. The brick was physically pink! Try coordinating shutter colors with that!

I, however, am an old house lover, preferably one built in the late 1800's to the 1920's. The house above is more my vision of my dream house. Growing up in our 1950's ranch, I was jealous of the friends who lived closer to downtown and in an old house. Mind you, the ranch was pretty nifty, too, but couldn't compare to a bonafide niche-filled old house.

So, when we moved from Okie-Dokie land to the Washington D.C. area, guess what we bought? A brand spanking new builder house, of course! I had always dreamed of building a new house someday. This dream is the twin of the old-house rehab dream. In my dream, I would pour over floor plans, selecting the one which would accomodate all the changes our family would encounter from grade school to college to grandkids. I would choose just the right balance of public to private space. I would consider the graceful curve of a barrel vaulted ceiling over the soaring loft of an arched ceiling for the foyer. I would spend hours sourcing elegant lighting, comely door handles and exquisite, yet functional, flooring. I would choose the correct layout for the kitchen, suggesting design alterations if need be, better to change on paper then to wait until cabinet load to fix a flawed plan. And, finally, most importantly, there would be a sweeping staircase, worthy of Prom and Wedding pictures.

Well, when we finally built a new house, what did we get? Do you want fries with that? Yes, it was the fast food equivalent of house building. Everything was an upgrade, not much of an upgrade, more an upgraded price than an upgraded item. There was a horrible kitchen layout, no sexy glazes for the cabinets, no flooring beyond home center basic. Granted, we had our choice of green diamond or tan diamonds in the vinyl, and a selection of the ugliest laminates I've ever seen for the countertop. And most importantly, there was no Prom/Wedding-worthy sweeping staircase. The stair case is a narrow straight run with ugly neo-Victorian newel posts. I nearly cried.

So far, we have fixed the kitchen, replaced carpet with wood floors in the family room, and painted away the builder white. And this brings us to today. At this moment, I am stuck below ground, corralling the cats, and listening to clanging, banging and rumbling noises that make me fear for the safety of my beloved buffet a deux corps. Another Metamorphosis is under way, a much needed and long overdue replacement of the carpet in the dining room and living room and foyer. So glad we have the home theater up for my entertainment!

So today, there is no tablescape Thursday. There is no table to scape!
Below are the before's and the state of the kitchen! Monday, there will be afters for Metamorphosis Monday.

Be sure to visit Susan's site for more Tablescape Thursday Posts!