Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! I love blogging...thank you for being "treats" in my life!

Last night I baked four dozen cupcakes for my children to share with their classes. I signed up for snack duty in September not knowing I'd be without power due to a snowstorm! Despite the snow, I got the job done.
I'm hostessing Halloween dinner for ten, these Two's Company candles will add a festive vibe to the table.
Bags were filled so that my children can give their classmates a special Halloween treat. The Two's Company python tray is available through the Zhush.
Every year I set a special place setting on Halloween and Valentine's Day for my children. A place setting that isn't elegant like at Christmas, but rather kid focused with stuff that won't have me invited to the queen mum's for tea, but will have me receiving huge hugs and kisses from my kids. The "bat banana," skeleton straw and wind-up toys are joy, for kids!
 My son and daugther will have a special note waiting for them at breakfast. 
 What's on your Halloween agenda? Have a fun filled day!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

When A Friend Decorates

This week's When A Friend Decorates features fabulous elements of a Manhattan apartment belonging to a friend with a super cool job in television.

When she first spotted this chair, she loved the clean lines but not the original textile, so she had it reupholstered to give it this fab look. The chair, the textile and the chic all the way!
This city gal was resourceful in taking two old bench seats and recreating the textile and the nailheads, not to mention the herringbone hardwood floors. 
The picture rail adds detail to the space. I like how she pulled together the colors in her apartment through the abstract artwork she showcases in matching white frames. Such a clean, crisp look.   
Anyone who has resided in NYC knows that maximizing space is essential, often times by tricking the eye. She customized her Parsons table with the same stone as her kitchen countertop, creating a seamless flow from kitchen to eating area. The bright red cafe chairs are a perfect punch of color! 
I am especially fond of how her space is practical, functional and clutter free (and she has two kids!) What are some of the ways you've revitalized old furnishings?  

Want elements of your home to be featured in a When A Friend Decorates post? E-mail me details and images of your space.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nature Center Carnival Birthday

One of my son's absolute favorite outings is to visit the nature center. It was without question that his third birthday party be all about turtles, chincillas, lizards, ferrets and bearded dragons!
A nature center carnival made for a fun and festive theme. I used a red textile for the tablecloth and for the polka dot runner I rolled wrapping paper right down the middle of the table. The bumble bee, snake, spider, butterfly, ladybug and frog face masks were enjoyed by all! The table was set with lizards, frogs and all things creepy crawly. Party gifts were given in red and white striped gable boxes.
My favorite son (and my only son!) is already talking about his next birthday party. While he considers whether his next theme will be airplanes, robots or Dino Dan, I continue to wonder where the time goes?  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stickable wall art as framed art

With my son having recently turned three, it was time to take down the baby photos on the wall in his room. Keeping in mind that little kids have fleeting interests, I wanted to do artwork that looked good yet was affordable enough to switch as his interests change.
I took wall art (the stickers that you peel and put on a wall) that I purchased at HomeGoods for $7.99 and framed it to create this new artwork catering to my son's love of robots!
To give it a clean, crisp look I took remnant wallpaper (from the Ralph Lauren wallcovering that I used below the chair rail) to affix the robots to and then framed it all together. 
I am a firm believer in it taking a lot of time, effort and energy to design spaces. I like to create spaces that grow with the child instead of the child growing out of the space. Over the years these frames will play host to my son's various interests making it the perfect transitional aspect to his room.

I think it is very important that a child's room have elements that allow one to believe that a child happily resides within. What are some ways that you incorporate your child's hobbies/interests into his/her room?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Fun - South Africa

What is your dream travel destination? Have you gone? My dream travel destination was South Africa, and  still remains my favorite place ever visited. Here I posted about how one's sense of adventure can correlate to their sense of pushing boundaries/thinking out of a box/being bold in their interior design choices.
Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge is a study not only on indigenous animals, but in being environmentally aware of one's surroundings...being "green." The very long dirt road through the bush to arrive at our lodging, no paved roadways, instead respect for the environment.
Look how the accommodations are built into the side of the landscape.  
After walking around the small hill and seeing this, I immediately had respect for how Sabi Sabi seamlessly mixed the lodging with the environment.  
A fallen tree made into a headboard in the presidential suite. Fabulous! 
Look at how the counter and column are made out of fallen trees from the bush and the Sabie River.
Besides the grand size of the bathroom, I love how the large the window is above the tub.  
Here's to an evening sans electricity. Al fresco dining, candlelight and hoping a lion isn't on the other side of the hill!
It was amazing to visit Sabi Sabi, a place where nature has not been ruined by infrastructure and superstructure. In what ways are you "green" when designing/decorating your interior spaces? Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The outdoor armoire

Kids have lots of stuff, and lots of stuff for playing outside. Our Hamptons yard generally looks like there has been an explosion of toys. Since we have an area with a covered (not enclosed) porch, I placed an armoire outside to stow of my kids "outside toys" to eliminate the need to run in and out of the garage.
Inside the armoire I store hula hoops, balls, trucks, t-ball sets, a box of bubbles, a box of little explorer toys, a box of kiddie gardening gloves/tools, kites, pop-up tunnels and the list goes on...

I was not willing to try this "experiment" on an expensive piece of furniture, so I purchased this solid wood armoire from Craigslist. The armoire is indirectly exposed to the outside elements, so it does not get rained or snowed on which has kept it in good condition. 

Where do you keep your kids outside toys? Do you have a spot where you could place an "outdoor" armoire? 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When a Friend Decorates

When a Friend Decorates series continues with one of my favorite bloggers, Elizabeth of Pretty Pink Tulips! Through blogging, Elizabeth and I have become friends. She has a discerning eye that allows her to edit the details of her home wisely, thus creating a beautiful home.

What I love most about Elizabeth's formal living room is how she mixes pieces together to create harmony and intrigue. She combines silk and velvet pillows with the jute rug under the Moyer cow hide rug to perfection. She tosses in scene-stealing floor lamps, but then grounds them with an antique settee so that each play off of one another. She created a feeling of comfort with symmetry. Lovely space!
No ho hum, been there, seen that kind of floor lamps for Pretty Pink Tulips residence.  
I love how she left the gift tag on her orchid. A beautiful touch that says a lot about how she not only values the gift, but the meaning behind the gesture. The gold bamboo tray is perfection!
I always think good design should "suggest" things to do, and this seating vignette does just that....sit, relax, enjoy my home and take a look at Preston Bailey's book.
I can't rave about Elizabeth or her home enough, both are beautiful! Do you find yourself gravitating towards symmetry when decorating a room? Did you notice how she skillfully created a neutral space but then added punches of color? Thanks Elizabeth for sharing your home!

Send me an e-mail if you'd like me to feature your space in a post on When A Friend Decorates!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trim Enhancement

As you know, I'm a huge fan of enhancing some of my retail/to-the-trade finds with trim. Here, I added trim to this lamp shade to sharpen its appeal. I used fabric glue and attached the trim in about ten minutes. Highly recommend trim enhancement!
Have you enhanced furniture or furnishings with trim to give it a more tailored look?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Fun

People always ask me what it is about the Hamptons that I love so much. It is simple...the natural beauty captivates me. The greenery, the ocean, the hundred year old farms that sit on the ocean blocks, the woods, the bay, the harbors...all of it I find appealing.

Here's are some aerial views of the Hamptons, with Sag Harbor in the foreground of the first image.
If you've been to the Hamptons, what is it about the locale that you love? If you haven't been, did you realize that it has so much green? Does nature inspire your design and decorating? Here's to a weekend full of happiness! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

My kitchen helper

If there is one thing that says home, it is the smell of food cooking in the kitchen. I am a stickler for homemade meals for my family. There are days when I count on my "helper" to assist with a slow cooked meal. Five years ago I bought my first Crock-Pot, I've been using it ever since.
What's for dinner tonight? The Silver Palate's Chicken Marbella. I've tossed all the ingredients in the crock pot to cook on low. We'll be back in the early evening for a homecooked meal that required about twenty minutes of prep time this morning.

Here are some of the meals I like to prepare in my Crock-Pot:
A whole chicken with one teaspoon of butter and seasonings.
Italian sausage, fresh red peppers, green peppers, yellows peppers, sliced onions, olive oil and Italian seasoning.
Brisket with onions, one beef buoillon, a hint of water. It pulls apart into shredded pieces, my family devours!
All the fixings for a good pot of chili.
Ina Garten's beef bourguignon
Homemade million dollar meatballs. If you want the recipe, I'll share in comments.
And, the list goes on...

Do you own a slow cooker? Want to share some recipes? Here's to a house smelling like "home" when you open the door. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

When A Friend Decorates

When A Friend Decorates series continues with a friend who flawlessly marries family heirlooms or thrift store finds into her family's stylish home. She has an amazing eye for pulling together the old with the new to create a home that is rich in history and quality of furnishings, yet evokes modern day living. She has talent!

Just to enter her home through the antique door is quite a treat. I love the arch! Adore the knocker!
The gold gilted mirror and console were inherited treasures. They are antique, gorgeous and super heavy.
She inherited three of these chairs, all were dark wood and upholstered in a different textile.  She loved the pieces and the fact that they were once a beloved aunt's, so she gave them a modern day freshness by having them painted an ivory and enhanced them with a stunning textile find from Calico Corners! Perfection!
The details, close-up.
This antique sofa had her swooning when she saw it in a thrift store. She recognized a quality piece when she spotted this gem and immediately purchased. She then had it reupholstered prior to delivery at her home. There is a special spark about a home that has furnishings that aren't all massed produced. She excels at mixing the old with the new. This sofa will soon be flanked by two Worlds Away end tables.
I love this room, it is flooded with natural light, has furnishing that are rich in family history and yet, the space feels like "her" family's home.
Are you a fan of mixing antiques with the made today furnishings? Do you have an eye for spotting quality antique pieces, but having them updated to fit into your modern day home?

I'd love to feature your space in my series, When A Friend Decorates. Whether your space has a show stopping vignette, a closet that has been given the royal treatment or a room with style send me an e-mail with your images!

Monday, October 3, 2011

From closet to playroom

In our Hamptons home I converted this basement level closet into a playroom for my children. This image was taken during the demolition. The back wall was replaced with drywall, a ceiling was installed, the carpet was removed and the doorway widened to create a cozy and fun spot for little ones to play.   
My kids are loving their new space! Simple, organized and functional! 
The Dalmatian hanger is perfect for my son's fireman costume. Cute, right? Notice the Ikea dog tail hook? I hung six on "her side" and six on "his side" when you enter to the playroom providing an practical place to hang their costumes. 
Sometimes good things come in smaller packages! Happy Monday!