Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer is here!

It's not the official date in June that starts my summer, it's Memorial Day weekend. You too? I absolutely love everything about summer...being outside with my family, the sun, the warmth, the beach, wakeboarding, tandeum bike rides with my husband, outdoor showers, al fresco dining, sunset boat rides, landscaping and of course, dipping my toes in the Hamptons waters! What is it about the summer that makes you tick?

I tend to be a very grateful person, but today even more so. I'm especially mindful of the reason for my freedom. Thank you to all who have served and to those who continue to protect our country's freedom. My American flag is flying proudly today!

Last night we enjoyed a sunset boat ride. I watched the sun settle behind the trees thinking of how grateful I am to be an American.

Enjoy your Memorial Day!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bringing the outside inside

In the spring I did a post about bringing the outside inside. At the time, my forsythias were in bloom and I trimmed a few braches, brought them inside and put them on the dining table. Now that it's summer, I trim a few blades of my ornamental grasses and bring inside on a weekly basis.
And, here it was in the spring. 
It's simple and looks striking. I'm a big fan of bringing clippings in from the too? Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ikea favorites

When it comes to Ikea I think there is something for everyone, right? I don't get there often, but it seems when I do I'm consistent with what I purchase or what grabs my attention. Truly, for me it is the simple things at Ikea I gravitate are some of my absolute favorites. 

I am 100% sold on Ikea's Bumerang wooden hangers.
I love opening a closet and seeing uniformity with all the same hangers.
This seems silly, but I am nuts about the Fantastisk white paper napkins. They are large, absorbent and great for meals where you aren't using cloth. 
I have a Blaska set in the laundry room, the garage, in the hall closet and inside the wooden storage unit on the deck...just about any place where it is convenient to have a dust pan and little broom handy.     
I must begin with saying I've had a ton of fancy pepper grinders over the years and haven't exactly done cartwheels over any of them. This simple one from Ikea is the one I've loved the best. I cook daily and have been using same one for the past four years, when I first discovered its magic. It's a great size for holding in my hand, I don't have to pump a little nozzle at the top to grind my pepper, it's compact, tucks away nicely in the pantry or cupboard and works well.   
 I first fell in love with the Expedit bookcases five years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter who is now four. I use them for confining toy bins to one location. Since toys are so colorful, I use simple off white bins that I bought at the Container Store. I like the clean lines of the piece and the function of all the cubbies for putting bins. The Expedit comes in two different sizes (as shown below) and several color options. It also comes with anchors for the wall to prevent it from tipping over. Since buying ours five years ago, I've seen the Expedit bookcase with favorable write ups several times and in many is really a perfect piece!

And, this one I like sitting horizontal, but it depends on your space as to how you would use.
And, because these colorful plastic dishes/flatware are perfect for the kiddies when snacking outdoors. I'm also planning to use them for my son's second birthday party this summer (which will be a Monster Bash Birthday Playdate!)

 What are some of your favorites at Ikea? Perhaps I'm missing some goodies! 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Land of Nod letters

When it comes to decorating spaces for children I get excited! I love to create beautiful or handsome spaces for bedrooms, functional and inviting nooks for play spaces and a little personalization where I can do it tastefully. It's fun and educational for kids to see their name proudly displayed. I'm a big fan of Land of Nod's letters and numbers. I put my daughter's name on a thin pink ribbon and my son's on a thin blue ribbon in their shared bathroom. We practice the letters during bathtime with our son who is learning his alphabet.
Check out the Land of Nod website:
They are $2.95 per letter, so it's inexpensive artwork! 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wallcovering in the pantry

Over the weekend I tackled wallpapering the pantry in our vacation home. I took our small, ho-hum pantry and gave it a little personality with this whimsical wallcovering by Brunschwig & Fils (that I scored at their annual warehouse sale) called Potager. A potager is an English "kitchen garden" infused with French "styling" in the landscaping of a "vegetable garden", as commonly referred to here in the USA. The interesting history of a potager dates back to the 16th century. This wallcovering would not be my style to use on a kitchen wall, but absolutely my style for inside the pantry!

An image of the pantry from the outside.

A peak of a shelf before wallpapering. The space looks drab even though the shelving is new.   
The empty pantry. I removed the shelving and prepared the walls before starting the project.
Look at the difference between the wallcovering and the spaces without.  
A close-up look.

Now, when I open the doors I see happiness!
I am a big fan of using the inside of doors for storage. On one door I have oven mitts, spices, backing items and a holder for plastic bags (we don't have much, but we do have some.) 
And, on the other door I have seven shelves for spices and a bag caddy that I use for all of my son's bibs.

This pantry easily houses our non-perishable food. I cook and/or bake almost daily, so our refrigerator is normally packed with perishable foods. I also store our melamine dishes in the pantry. Now, time will tell if I eat more because I like opening the doors so much!

A little touch with a big impact. This is the second closet space I've done and I'm thrilled with the results. It adds so much to such a small, but used daily space. This type of interior design is for you, the homeowner! Happy Monday!  

Friday, May 21, 2010

Butterfly beauty

Yesterday was a fun day for me. I got to meet fellow blogger, the Zhush! She has quite the flair for covering all things fabulous and is the ultimate sleuth in gathering images for each and every post! I love visiting her blog... After meeting her I confirmed she is absolutely my cup of tea. We decided we'll be getting together again.

During our little get together I told the Zhush about what I was doing at home with my kiddies...growing butterflies. Yes, my husband saw a commercial for growing your own butterflies and ordered the kit. I immediately thought, caterpillars, chrysalids and a net container in our home to grow butterflies? Really husband? What I was really thinking is that everything in our home has a spot and I could not think of a spot for this little "farm" he wanted to create. Yes, I thrive on organization in a home, but I also thrive on seeing the world through my children's I changed my attitude and experienced magic. The kit my husband ordered.

For the past two weeks we've had this kit, five caterpillars that formed into chrysalids and recently into five gorgeous butterflies. Our children have loved looking with sheer excitement every morning, afternoon and night at the process. On Wednesday we witnessed a butterfly become a butterfly before our very own eyes as it shed its' chrysalid. At that point I thought about the magic in witnessing such a beautiful transformation! Yesterday when I returned from meeting the Zhush we set the butterflies free. We shot video of our children giggling, smiling and being the most gentle I've ever seen them. They released the butterflies into nature and my eyes filled with tears as my children experienced nature first hand.

Before the release, here are four of the five butterflies we grew.
The release...all flew away and we waved goodbye. This one spent some time on my daughter's witness the magical expression on her face was worth finding a spot for the project.
After it left her finger, the butterfly joined nature.
If you have young children in your life you may want to give this it a try. Or maybe you've done this before? It was a beautiful experience for our whole family...fuzzy caterpillars, ugly chrysalids, colorful butterflies and a million little memories of the various stages our children (and us) witnessed. There is beauty in the unexpected experience. We gave a little something back to nature yesterday and it felt good, real good. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The cobbler's children have no shoes...

and my family has no dining room chairs. Life happens and two years have passed with my husband asking me if we will still live in the same home when we finally get dining room chairs. Love, the answer is yes!

 Our dining room sat empty for one year as I walked by it daily saying "I'll get to you soon." This past year I've hung the wallpaper, had a custom size carpet made from a local carpeting store, purchased a traditional oval dining table and completed my search for dining chairs. Picking the chair I wanted in the dining room was easy. I've always loved a Louis XVI chair. What took some time was originally thinking I'd score the chairs and have them re-done. That plan did not pan out, so I contacted a trade only source that makes chairs in Italy and we've been communicating since January. After securing the vendor, I needed to decide on the textile for the back of the backs, the textile for the seat and back; as well as the trim work for both spaces. Just recently I've pulled the final look together for the chairs and now they are ready to be made!

I'm doing this Louis XVI chair in a painted white satin. Two armchairs and 8 side chairs.
Since I have two little kids there aren't many options in our home where I can use silk. I knew the back of the chair would be one of the few spots I could use such a textile. Here is the silk and the trim for the back of the back.
The shagreen leather, the white satin wood chip and the French natural nailheads for the leather parts of the chair.
It was worth the wait. I did not rush and I'm 100% in love with how I believe the finished chairs will look. While the chairs are being made I need to decide on the sconces, the chandelier and the mirror before my punch list is completed. Designing a home takes time and patience. I've learned to create a list, be patient and handle one task at a time when it comes to my own home (this was not an easy thing for me to learn.) 

Do you have a space in your home that has sat unfinished? Do you take your time in letting your home evolve or are you more into instant happiness? Both thought processes are acceptable!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


The beauty at Cashon & Company has tagged me in the Hello Lover Award. Here's her post:
 The rules are for me to join the fun by sharing my favorite seven shoes (this was no twist of the arm since I love, love, love shoes.) I believe our preference for style of shoes is perhaps, one indication of our preferred style for interior design. I say preferred because I've met many people who tell me that their home is not representative of them. This happens for many reasons; some homeowners know what they like, but don't how to get there on their own, some individuals are renting and some just don't have an interest. So, in some ways we express our style through our attire.

When I think of my favorite shoes I immediately think of my wedding shoes. I still wear them either for fancy occasions or with a pair of jeans and a great top. I love these jewel studded shoes! I've been known to pack certain shoes in my carry-on luggage when traveling...these being one of them!    

When it comes to heels I refer to them as my "stepping out shoes" (comes from my NYC days)...stepping out of the apartment into a taxi, stepping out of taxi into a restaurant/show, you get the idea. I LOVE heels, but I mostly sport them for evenings out.  
And, because my life is much more practical than wearing heels everyday I have an assortment of ballet flats. Here are two of my favorites. 
I simply can't get enough of flip flops, whether they come from the drug store or not. They are my go-to footwear in the summer and if you were to bump into me you'd probably find me in one of my many pairs.
I hope these wonderful ladies join us in a little blog diversion and have some fun with shoes!
I'm tagging the following seven:

What do you think? Does your fashion style relate to your interior design style? Have a great day!   

Monday, May 17, 2010

Foyer closet

A week and half ago I posted about having attended the Brunschwig & Fils annual warehouse sale. I mentioned and showed images of the fabulous Christopher Norman wallcoverings I scored, one of which I said I would be using in my foyer closet to give it a little facelift.

Christopher Norman's hunter green shagreen wallcovering.

This weekend while everyone was snug in bed I was up working to tackle one of my projects. Once I cleared the closet out I was able to begin preparing the walls for wallpaper.
Work in progress. Look at the difference. 
Here is the completed look...a subtle yet, noticeable change. 
I have hooks inside of the closet doors to assist in keeping the area tidy.  The hooks are great for easy access to umbrellas, my daughter's bookbag and for hanging coats to button the top button prior to putting in the closet (I can't tolerate grabbing one coat and having other's fall.) 
I'm happy with the results of my $5.00 a roll project...thanks to the fabulous warehouse sale! After all, it's the little things that make us happy in life! Happy Monday. Enjoy your week.    

Friday, May 14, 2010

Summer dreaming

With the past two weeks having been exceptionally busy, I've found myself thinking about this pool that will soon be opened. Have you found yourself thinking about summer days? If you are on the opposite side of the world what is it about the winter months that has you dreaming?
Enjoy your weekend!  

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another hostess gift idea

I've mentioned an orchid as being a great gift to take to a hostess. Another option is cocktail napkins. It's fun to give a gift that someone might not necessarily buy for themself, but would love to have. I have given and been given cocktail napkins as hostess them! They are the unexpected gift that is not easily forgotten. I was given these cocktail napkins eight years ago and still use them...and, I'm reminded of the giver every time I pull them out for use.
I bought these linen peacock cocktail napkins a few years ago from Gracious Home in NYC. The embrodiery is fabulous!
These green linen napkins were also a gift and are fun for summer entertaining.
 And, just by chance they all work well together for a little mixing and matching.
I recently spotted this napkin that comes in two colorways at Anthropologie. Buy four, six or eight, toss in a bottle of wine and you have the perfect hostess gift for the friend that has you staying the weekend!
I think it's just as fun to take a bottle of wine to a back yard bbq and toss in few paper cocktail napkins! These are sure to get a few chuckles. These are sitting in my built-in ready for guests!
This is because I can laugh at myself. I happen to think salad is a meal!
And, because communicating isn't the only thing Mars and Venus do differently!
Think out of the box and have fun with hostess gifts! What are some of your ideas?