Sunday, September 26, 2010


Chrome is the new oil rubbed bronze. For bathrooms, if you are planning a new bathroom rehab, plan it using chrome - and Victorian Chic. This doesn't mean that you should start ripping out the oil rubbed bronze yet, do go ahead and finish that bathroom that is part ORB and part brass all oil rubbed bronze. Oil rubbed bronze is a classic, as is antique nickel. Frankly, polished brass is also a classic, it fits the Georgian style, though it is on the wane now, it may come back around as soon as we are grow tired of the everything-painted-white-shabby-chic and it's variants.

Cursed with builder grade faucets? No, plastic handles never looked like the crystal it ws attempting to emulate. Upgrade them to a curvacious Fin-de-Siecle look for very little money.

Frankly, there was a time when we wouldn't have dreamed of planning an all white kitchen, or bathroom, it was simply too Post-WWII. Also, the WWII generation tossed ball an claw tubs out of their houses with a vengenace, too uncomfortable, not modern. Now all white with a ball and claw tub is the epitome of elegance again. take a look at these beauties from Overstock.

This is a basic color board for a master bath, based on a Fin-de-siecle look.

Friday, August 13, 2010

And they are all mine!

I am very excited! I just received my first batch of samples of my fabric designs from Spoonflower. I ordered the 8" by 8" samples of my favorites and they arrived yesterday. Since they are small, the patterns are not completely visible on many. For example, two yards of the black, green and blue fabrics would look something like this. The fabric which they use for the samples has a very fine hand, I chose the lightweight cotton sateen.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Guest Room

Remember this? My very first blog post, was about this Concept or Mood Board. That month and the summer was full of Prom and College so I never got back to the results.

Be sure to head back to Susan's for more metamorphosis Monday postings!

The guest room had become a dumping ground for laundry, stuffed animals, and cast off furniture. The swing arms lamps are touch lamps, which don't work with a wall switch, hence the need for a regular style table lamp, the little bronze lamp on the table. Tables and their cloths, cast off from other rooms, found their way into the room. Pictures banished upstairs to give a home to Christmas decorations, never returned after Christmas and never recieved just treatment. In short, the room had become a dumping ground of last resort.

The original plan for the room was a major attempt at trying to out-Buatta-Buatta, or out-Faudree-Faudree, or however you want to say it, the plan was w-a-y over the top and not really my style or a reflection of what I want now. In fact, the plan never really progressed very far past being painted. I no longer wanted 5, 6, or 10 different fabrics. I no longer wanted a fussy, over-stuffed room. Now I am increasingly fond of high contrast, clean lined design. White furniture against a black or deep mahogany wall. Simple one color fabrics, preferably cotton or linen, paired with one accent fabric. No or fewer faux paint finishes. Simple, calm, relaxing.

When I first started to remake the room, I created a mood board. Prior to this, my Mood Boards or Color Boards were begun after many hours at the drawing board, creating the plan. This time, I wanted to work in a more conceptually free starting place. I found a photo of an Oscar de la Renta Marigold silk faile ballgown with an embroidered skirt. This became the center of the board. If you squint just right, you might be able to see it on the mood board picture.

Additional images followed, fashion mixed with interiors, most of which were cabinetry, not bedrooms.

The swing arms had to go, happily, my daughter wanted them in her room, where they 'fit' better. The white down comforter was fine, but, for warmer weather, it was replaced with a matelasse coverlet. I found "Blanc de Chine" style lamps at Target. I might have gone with gourd lamps, were I shopping today, but I like the height and the black, slightly flared, drum shades on these. I kept to a yellow and black and white scheme, using the image of the Marigold dress as a model to shop for accessories, most of which were from Target and TJ Maxx. The center pillow will be replaced with a matelasse sham, soon, though I like the pattern and the black and white, the pink is too much. The print, which I originally used in a Designer Showcase, many years ago, was moved to another wall and replaced with a photo gallery. Most of the frames were purchased at Michaels.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Luxuries in Light: James Beebe Hawes

Decorati Access is a beautiful site where you can be inspired, shop and get design advice. Today, McLean, Virginia based James Beebe Hawes is featured. A few of my favorite photos from Decorati and his site are here. More of his beautiful portfolio can be found on his site and on Decorati, Luxuries in Light: James Beebe Hawes

I adore the artwork, above, reminiscent of a window, over the fireplace.

This is one of my favorite uses of symmetry, I jokingly called it "two chairs and a tall thing" after I realized how many were in my favorites file.

The light pours into these serenely beautiful rooms.

The Chandelier and fireplace lift the eyes up, while

the neutral colors and low furniture reinforce a calming effect on this deck.
Which is making me rethink that deck stain, just kidding.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

ThinkGeek :: Penny! knock knock knock Shirt

Mrs. Lane and I are fans of Big Bang Theory. I know a theoretical physicist, I can attest that she is equal parts Penny, Leonard, and Sheldon. Maybe when life gets a little saner, I will be back to posting about decor and other things. In the meantime, I can at least enjoy that a shirt exists out there which makes me smile, then burst out laughing!
ThinkGeek :: Penny! knock knock knock Shirt

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Snow Damage Redeck

The snow damaged many things about the yard. A five year old Japanese maple just starting to grow to be a beautiful tree snapped off at the top. Four foot hollies were bunny munched. The snow covered them completely such that only the tops rose above it. The bunnies could easily reach them and had a feast! The plants will grow back, but other things need more direct intervention.
We have a bench with a beautiful back. The original cushions were never wonderful. After the weight of snow, and summer sun damage, the cushions were torn and needing replacement. A year ago, I set up the mood board for the plan to rejuvenate the deck. The local home improvement store now stocks tall chair cushions which are close to the plan.

Be sure to head back to Susan's for more Metamorphosis Monday transformations!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Go Bold or Go Home

Joni of Cote de Texas has admitted to a carrying around the Dec / Jan 2010 House Beautiful for the lovely rooms on the cover. I too have been carrying it around, but for a different article than the rooms of Jill Sharp Brinson. These are very inspiring rooms!
Truly, there are several inspiring spreads in that edition. But the one that hit me right between the eyes for an awesome solution to a design problem I have been turning over and over in my head, was the piece on Mary McDonald's interiors in LA. You see, we have a new design dilemma, what to do to update a room to suit a young lady whose room hasn't changed much since she was thirteen. This room happens to have a red wall very similar to the red in the McDonald dining room.

Recently, my older daughter graduated from The University of Oklahoma, and moved home with an internship and further preparations ahead for law school. Which brings us to our design dilemma. What to do to make a room, originally created for a young teenager, appealing to a young adult?

A few years ago, not long after we moved into our house, we painted her room Ralph Lauren's Devonshire, with an accent wall of Hunting Coat Red. These paint chips don't quite depict the color as brilliantly as it exists in reality. The hunting coat red is very vibrant, both colors are less blue than they appear here.

That's pretty much where we stopped, a few pieces of artwork were hung, a few pieces of furniture were purchased, to replace the small chest we bought for her as a baby, but no drapes or window treatments, beyond providing privacy, were ever added.

Slowly, as the collections that are inevitable with middle school and high school and college gather in one's life, the room took on a look that was comfortable, but less sophisticated than she would like.

Now we are needing some drapes to up the sophistication factor.

This leads to our next style dilemma: The Mid-Century Madness

Oh, one other thing, lately, owing much to the Series Mad Men she had become especially fond of, as she put it, all things mid-century. If we change any furniture, she wants them to have some comfort factor. Think more Eero Saarinen, far left, less Bertoia, near left.

Now this is a style which surrounded me when I was younger, much younger. We called it Danish Modern when I was living it. The term Mid-Century is more recent and appears to have been coined for Cara Greenburg's book Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s. My mother was a Colonial (for the den and some of the bedrooms) and French Provincial (for the Formal living room) decorator rather than a Danish, International Style or any other kind of Modern decorator. In our mid-century suburban ranch house, we lived the mid-century style: it was around us, both in the homes of friends and sprinkled in to ours. We had an Atomic Starburst clock and the candle sconces that usually came with said clock, comfortably ensconced in the same room as the colonial highback couch, some onion bulb lamps, nestled near the French Provincial furniture and an atomic TV light. Ours was orange, and melted on one side from the time it fell over! The country club, where my father was golf pro, had Danish modern chairs. When the club remodeled with a more Ralph Lauren / East Coast "Country Club Style" and less California / Palm Springs / Rat Pack / Danish modern style, they were cast off in favor of heavier stuff. While we are examining Mid-Century, let's not forget the influence of television shows. The Dick Van Dyke show, set in a very modern, very California style suburban house placed in New Rochelle, New York, oozed Mid-Century style. I've checked it on, Rob and Laura Petrie's house can't be found in New Rochelle! The picture below is from The Babuk Report.

So now we have two problems.

First, what to do to add window treatments to a red wall, that won't diminish it, since we don't want to repaint it just yet. Second, how to update the style to add some mid-century style without a total redo and lacking those off-white linen drapes that we left back in that ranch.

Achieving a Mid Century look is not so easy when the room has a British Colonial decor. Lacking, as my daughters' like to say, the fundage to completely redo the room in mid-century modern, we started to ask some questions. Could we keep the British Colonial furniture, yet still create some mid-century sensibility by adding some accents, say drapes, lamps and artwork simultaneously upping the sophistication? Can we infuse the room with the Rat Pack / Mad Men feel?

Draperies being the first addition brought to mind another problem with Mid-Century design, purist Modernists generally lack window treatments. The architecture was stunning, if there were drapes at all, the windows were a wall of beige, slubby beige. The sense of the time was that the architecture, the view, and furniture were the stars. Everything was the star except the window treatments. It was as if the designers, dare I say it, just stopped designing at the windows.

We turned again to the article on Mary McDonald, and a clue emerged in the very first question of the article, a reference to "channeling Tony Duqette". So, we channeled, actually we surfed. This Duquette designed house in Bel Air, CA, seems to have the right mix of drama and serenity, modernity and traditionalism. Though it is a bit more Hollywood kitsch then suits my daughter. And the drapes, if taken completely literally, would be red. Tough to match and to find. So, on to the next consideration.

Now, slubby linen is wonderful and would make a definite Mid Century statement, but we have that aforementioned red wall, which we had no desire to repaint, we have that British Colonial feel already going on in much of the room and that fundage issue, slubby linen ain't cheap, especially now that it's popular.

So we stared at the wall and moved our heads this way and that, to better see the possibilities. We visualized it empty, not tough as it already was. We visualized it draped in damask and visualized it draped in ikat. We considered whether to go, as McDonald had with a dramatic, patterned fabric; considering this fabric and that fabric.
Were we going to have to go custom? Would these fabrics, though graphic, push push the look forever out of reach of the Mid-Century modern that she craved?

Then, it hit us. Considering all we knew about Mid-Century Design its origins in the thirties, the shared references to International Style and to Streamlined Art Deco, we realized that what we needed was the industrial inspiration that these designers embraced and transformed. What makes something industrial? Especially, how do you get the look of the mid twentieth century? What was the embodiment of post World War II industrialism? Steel.

Steel colored drapes, cool, out-of-the-machine-shop steel colored rodding, This says industrial. Silken fabric, a nice curve to the finial marries it to the existing look in the room. To complete the look, a white down comforter replaces the country-style snow man flannel comforter and future additions are planned for an upholstered headboard, a Danish modern bedside table and desk chair and a Lamp with Modern sensibilities. But for now a black steel bookshelf replaces the american painted end table. (I know, on what planet is that British Colonial?)

Here's is the mood board.

The pictures of "The Look, So Far" aren't turning too hot. Seems I need to learn how not to breathe, even with antishake, I shake. Here are a before and two afters:

Be sure to head back to Susan's for more Metamorphosis Monday transformations!

BTW, was anyone else out there taught to spell dilemma dilemna as I was?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blog Makeover

Blog Before
Blog Before Picture Click for Larger

Finally! I found some time to work on a makeover of this blog. If you are reading this in your google reader, you won't see much of what was changed, you'll need to hit the blog page to see it.
The most obvious change is the header and the background color. I like a page with some richness, so the background changed to grey and the letters changed to white. For all those who prefer black 'ink' on white, you'll want to keep reading this page in your reader.
So many times images loaded were cutoff at the right side, on both the side bar and the main page. Those had to be expanded.
This meant that the header needed expansion, truthfully it needed a lot of things. Long admiring Susan's collage header at Between Naps on the Porch, I created a photo collage for my header. I used Adobe Fireworks but Susan has a tutorial on how to use Picasa to create a collage.
This rendered the Title less than readable. I changed it to Edwardian Script ITC, blew it up and we have the results you see now.
I added an image description and image citation style, which you can see above on the "old page" image. It's not working out as well as it did on the "Women of our Time" page I created sometime ago, the image of which is below. I am fairly certain that the success of the page from which the image was taken has to do with the table structure which kept everything in line and behaving.

Not all the print could be white. Links were rendered in various shades of green.
So, what do you think? Better? Worse? Not really different? Leave a comment and let me know!

Be sure to head over to Susan's for more Metamorphosis Monday!

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I'll admit, I'm not a big fan of pink, which is odd, because my favorite color is red. Odder still, pink roses abound in my garden, in fact I eschew red in the garden! Perhaps my less-than-beautiful mind believes pink to be simply a pale imitation of red.

But this Robert Abbey lamp could make me change my mind. It's just the right pop of color for a my soft grey, pink and white fantasy bedroom, a Benjamin Moore Dove White room with a white fluffy down comforter and white matelassé pillow shams. In summer, the comforter is changed for a white matelasse coverlet. These pillows are Sferra from Neiman Marcus, but JC Penney has a lovely collection.

A white linen box pleated valance and draperies at the window with a soft pink grosgrain ribbon placed precisely one and five eighths inches from the bottom of the valance.

A beautiful bouquet of Madame Ernest Calvat roses, from my garden, in a fat round antique mercury glass vase, from my Granny.

I'd place these on the antique, white bedside tables. This pair from Regan & Smith, might be just right. But,a small skirted round table will suffice until the budget allows.

To ground it all on the fantastic cinnamon maple floors, an Antique Oushak rug, from Keivan on 1stdibs. This keeps it from becoming too cotton-candy-ice-creamy.

To end on especially beautiful note, Jacksonville Florida designer Phoebe Howard has some lovely pink rooms.