30 June 2010

Helena's Kitchen, etc....

I am late to this party....but I just read The Selby last night.  It is fun and colorful, and I love that the homes are real.  How great is that black vent with a copper register?  The kitchen is very NY, yet the white and open shelving seems to beckon back to her Scandinavian roots.

One reason I have so many books on the blog is I get a discount when I click and order them from here.  I buy a lot of books, so I need all the help I can get.  

Books are also my inspiration.  As much as I have learned from blogs and love them, I will always buy books.  I guess once an English teacher...always an English teacher.

I knew this book was going to be fun when you see the introduction page is full of stickers!! 

The boys have already found them and stuck them on each other.

Helena isn't the only model with her home featured, here is another:

Everything about this book & website is hip:

fun watercolor portraits you find of each home owner

the epitome of a NY kitchen...she has her library in her open shelves instead of plates.  Love it.

Are you like me?  Do you love a million styles?  Wouldn't it be wonderful to have about six homes?   I would have:
1.  our current home (I do love it!)
2.  bohemian art pad...kilim rugs, messy gallery walls, loads of books that are not matchy-matchy
3.  an arts & crafts bungalow for Chris
4.  a modern and open beach home
5.  a true Scandi-cottage in Oslo
6.  A modern/rustic Brooklyn townhome (I am specifically thinking of that Fitz home from The Brooklyn Home Company!)

and a few more fun images....look what my friend & client found yesterday!

What great panels filled with fabric roses?  From Anoki Home Atlanta.

Have a good one!  ....Julie

29 June 2010

Country Home Magazine Files

 I really love Country Home.  Maybe I just need to save some money and put out my own magazine.  I really long for this one, Domino and Cottage Living.  I still have hope in magazines!  I have a Kindle and still buy books.  Won't you always buy magazines.  Anyway, I need to really start saving my pennies.  Here is one of my favorite all-time spreads from the Brown Camp Lofts (maybe it was around 2006?  Don't quote me on that).  Enjoy...

I really love funky.

so soft and romantic...yet modern, too.

I love the relaxed elegance of this loft.  Those chunky wood shelves, the tv left out for the shoot (!), and the exposed ducts.  Just enough rustic and just enough glitter.

This totally doesn't really fit with the loft's other rooms.  That is why I love it.  It is French & funky & fun.

I actually have a box of mirrored tiles downstairs.  I wanted them to work around our farmhouse sink.  It just didn't, though.  I will find a new use for them soon.  I LOVE this sink with the little sparkle of a backsplash.

I wish I had more of the kitchen.  I think it is on Chris' computer.  If I waited 'til things were perfect to do anything ....well, I would never do anything.  

This space still is fresh and inspiring to me years later.


28 June 2010

You tell me....

Is this beautiful oyster shell mirror from my beloved Anthropologie really $3,000 + 
better than our shell mirror from HomeGoods (a mere $39)

The tag said this was handmade, too (in the Philippines)  

I still love you, Anthro...but three grand for shells?


27 June 2010

Design is Art

I know the title "design is art" is really a no duh kind of title.  I just really feel it belongs up there with all other forms of art.  This advertisement from Ralph Lauren Home really inspires me.  

If you can squint, you can see that I have it tacked to the bottom right of our inspiration board in our bedroom.  If really should have this in an office, but Chris and I tend to have most of our ideas here...this is where we talk.  When we are here at the end of the day this is where we have our solitude.  We tack up our past here (photos and favorite quotes that have gotten us through our lives), our present (pics of boys), and our dreams...images of actually using the Airstream and of things we wish to create.

from Sunset Magazine

I love this ad because it is really art to me.  I need to find out the designers RL use...I want to find their portfolios!

I am posting it again so I don't have to scroll back and forth!  They have really captured the soul of the room...I can't imagine this room with no other decor.  That simple mantel is perfect for a beachhouse, and I love the loads of book and accessories.  But, mostly, I love that peacock blue moulding and the floral artwork.  There is informality, formality, seriousness and whimsy all in one room.  This room is art--it elevates the senses.  (At least one--mine!)

I am not good about looking at things at surface value.  This is a blessing and a curse.  I can't do small talk...don't know how (and this is tough when you live in a country club).  I know one fault is over-analysis and taking things too seriously.  The positive side of this trait is I am a good listener and and I am not quick to judge.  I know that people we meet are going through a lot of stuff...I tend to seek out the good.

I read a lot still, yet now more design books than poetry.  But I love Easy Elegance for the same reason I love this poem, "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold:

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the A gaean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Looking at a room by Atlanta Bartlett (below)

raises the same emotions in me that I get from reading this poem, or by listening to this song:
Cat Stevens Father and Son

(I need to learn how to add a video.  This is worth watching--Cat Stevens circa 1974 singing it live.  I know he is a little odd, but name one artist worth his salt who isn't?)

There is such beauty in any of Van Gogh's self portraits, too.  I am lucky to have been able to see them in Paris face-to-face.  Amazing.

from vggallery.com

I wish to create rooms that make people feel....not just a prettily decorated room.

One book I am now reading that isn't design is Rollo May's The Courage to Create.  So.  Good.

If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.
Rollo May 

26 June 2010

Some Swedish Eye Candy

Yes, this family does constitute as eye candy.  Can they be any prettier?  But I actually mean their home (found on Skona Hem )

I poured over the Swedish websites so much while we did our renovation that I actually could translate the language!!  You can tell from our home that I really, unapologetically, love white.  Do you think it is because my ancestors are Swedish?  That is a good question, if I do say so myself.  Do you like the decor of your forefathers?

Okay...look at this home!  

I love how the planking isn't perfect

And I love the light floors

I have those same chairs!!  I know we have seen this type of kitchen a lot, but I don't tire of it.

I need to learn the story behind these beds.  Just like my son's bed made in Germany.

Still love anything Tolix.

In our next house I would love to find a true Swedish stove like this to have in our bedroom.  This is the nicest I have seen!

perfectly styled...

And the dear outside:

Oh, I want to visit!  Have you been?  Julie

25 June 2010

Design is Hard

A Perfect Gray left the cutest comment the other day.  I asked y'all your opinion (that phrase is so southern) about whether or not I could cover the backs of the bookshelves.  She told me I would laugh about her response, which I did.  Her books have been covered, uncovered, and now flipped around....just showing their neutral goodness.

It seems Sibella Court has a penchant for white books, too.

I even did this while staging our previous home to sell:

I did have a lot more color in our other home...but choosing only (mostly) white books and turning some around help to neutralize the bookcase a little.

You know, her comment about what she did got me thinking about how far some of us will go for good design.  Just like Carrie with her Manolos...

Some of us are willing to endure pain for good design.

One of my favorite rooms of all time..an image of the Brown Camp Lofts from Country Home Magazine (R. I. P.)

Some things I (and my family) have gone through on my quest for beauty...

1.  Arguments with my honey, Chris

He's a cutey, isn't he  (You can tell he is in the film industry...who else could deal with all that hair!)

I think he has now learned that this is my art; a form of expression of my heart.  It has been a long journey, though, for him to understand.  I think it took me a while to learn how to properly communicate this to him, too.  Now, he is so on board that he bought me my own toolbox and filled it up with decorating goodies.  That shows his support more than anything he could say.


Some shot someone caught of me in college and then put on Facebook (this is exactly one of the reasons I'm not on there anymore)...But, I was about a size 4 then, and a comfy size 8 now.

I have chosen this.  Any of you with young kids know that you get little, if any, time to workout.  I do get some...I have a great husband and mother-in-law.  But I don't use this time at yoga.  I do walk from time to time, but mostly I spend this time at antique stores or looking at paint samples.   

I really don't think you can have time for it all.  Am I wrong?

My kids pay another price.  They have spent as much time in Anthropologie or reading design books as they have in storytime or reading Dr. Seuss.

Here is evidence of Liam not on-board with my staging...

and a few seconds later.

I used to feel so guilty about it, but now I really think I am a better mom when I have my own passions to occupy my mind.  I do my best to be present with them when I am with them, too.  I am not always successful at this, but I try to be!

Good design takes a lot of physicality, too!  Moving and hauling and nailing are fun, but tiring.

Do you think design is hard work, too?  What is that old saying, "Anything worth having is a lot of hard work." ?

Oh, and some more work I did yesterday...here is a pic of my friend & client's house:

we're making progress....

Have a good weekend.  Julie

24 June 2010

I'm Learning Something

I am learning that what will make a good decorator is the same thing that makes a good person--being selfless.  (image via Habitually Chic )

The past few weeks I have had so much fun helping my friend, Jennifer, decorate her dining room, living room, entry, powder room, kitchen & breakfast nook.  I write so much about this because I am new to it...and it is a dream come true!

We have gone down one road of what she thought they wanted....and now this has brought us to something like the picture above from Bungalow Classic....neutrals with pops of blue and violet (and a little zebra like pictured above!)  But, I have learned that to get to what THEY want....I had to get out of the way.  I am really just a vehicle to help them discover the "home that is already in them."  It has nothing to do about me.

I do serve the purpose of "giving them permission."  I think many times people really know what they want, or they do want to go wild in some part of their home.  I think, sometimes, all they want is conformation that it is okay.  (a damask stenciled bedroom....image source unknown).

If I were to push my ideally beautiful room, it would be something like this above, styled by Atlanta Bartlett...trademark spareness, whiteness...with lovely rustic touches.

But that wouldn't be them...and isn't that who it is all about?

She really loves, as she calls "the love affair I have with my chandelier".....this is true.  I think I have succeeded in really loving an inanimate object.  (my kitchen)

But, as we learned, this isn't her....isn't them!

She even is being an ideal, selfless wife.  She is forgoing her dream (gray-violet painted walls) in the dining room....to please her husband who wants neutral. 

 It is not all about her, either.  It is about a family.

It is about mixing a little of her glam.....(we're putting one mirrored piece in the DR)

with his masculine neutralness....

(a picture of a rustic bench we want to locate...image via Simply Grove )

With the kids' playfulness...

easy-to-clean goodness found in a Louis Ghost Chair (I think House Beautiful image)

I think some decorators and designers are all about signature style.  If you walk into a Kelly Wearstler room....you KNOW who did the room.

Perhaps there are some families who say..."I want this room to look like a Kelly Wearster room".  I bet this isn't many.  

I bet to have a long career as a decorator (which I hope to have!)....you serve mainly as an instrument that pulls the design out of your client.

What are your comments on this?

By the way, thanks for voting!  It looks like I have a new project this weekend....cover the backs of the bookcases!

I have made a little progress with the mirrored stairwell...there are now 5:

Thank you, Homegoods!  What would all of us do without you?