Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I’ll Have A Blue Christmas

I’ve Got the Christmas Blues, and Turquoises, and Silvers… and even the White stuff I’ve been dreaming of! It is uncanny that on the very last day of autumn, snow flakes began to fall outside my window as if to welcome the Winter Solstice.

So this afternoon, when Winter officially arrived, all of the holiday decorations seemed to sparkle just a little more under the light of the full moon, and look a little happier… and in my home, a Blue Christmas is not a sad thing! Something magical happens when you combine the “Blues” with the reflection of the snow and some twinkling lights!

The influences for my Blue Christmas are a little bit retro modern, a little bit coastal, and a little bit whimsical.

Cocktail table set for a little Christmas Cheer

If a Blue Christmas Tree doesn’t look “retro” or “modern,” I don’t know what does! I can remember that as a little girl, my ultra hip parents would get a fresh tree, but they would never consider leaving it green… each year they chose a different paint color to have it sprayed, and some years even flocked in the corresponding hue. One year it was blue, the next white, the next turquoise, and another, silver. They of course also selected just the right shiny and frosted ornaments to create a dramatic but lively monochromatic masterpiece highlighted by the oversized lights and shimmery tinsel so chic in the day. If you love "Mad Men," you would have adored attending a holiday party at my parent’s house! My blue tree is a much smaller scale than in my childhood home, but still has its own mod vibe…

Blue Christmas tree

Other decorative elements of Christmas Blues, and Turquoises, and Silvers…

Jingle bells in a crystal bowl

Silver candle on lacquer tray

Mercury glass floral arrangement

Silvery mesh gift with ribbon and poinsettia

Silver floral arrangement with blue pine cones & turquoise ornaments

Holiday decor with a decidedly coastal flair…

Watery blue & turquoise sea glass wreath

Wreath with sea shells and silver net & ribbon

And a bit of Winter Whimsy…

Cute Christmas visitors in blue scarves and hats along with coastal elements

Adorable Christmas princess decked out in silvery tulle and pale blue feathers

Today is the Winter Solstice… we are the farthest from the sun… daylight is short, but happily will get longer as the season progresses. Temperatures are cold, but our interiors are warm and sparkle with holiday joviality. Cheers!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Fall That Almost Fell Through The Cracks

My initial enthusiasm for creating this blog was cut short by some technological challenges that I encountered somewhat early on. You see, my loyal computer, an IBM Thinkpad laptop, has been with me since 2002… quite a while in the electronic world. It has served me well, but unfortunately, the high tech applications and gizmo's that make a blog (especially relating to interior design) shine proved to be just too much for it. So, consequently, I had to step back a bit and assess my next move.

I have forged ahead into the present day and gotten a new laptop… a Sony Vaio. It’s very cool looking on the outside in Iridescent Blue, and it has all sorts of new features. But, of course, since I was used to the ole tried and true, I am now on a learning curve getting up to speed in using it... not only is the computer itself new, but everything on from the operating system to the individual programs barely resemble what I have used in the past. But it is indeed exciting to be back on-line.

The bad news if that I have just about completely missed Autumn! But the good news is that it is still technically here through December 20th, so I am not going to let it fall through the cracks! This is just to let you know that I am back. Next time, I will fill you in on a few things that have gone on throughout the Fall before I officially welcome Winter and the Holiday Season.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer Time... It's Show Time

Each and every summer for the past few years, my visit to the Decorator Show House in York Harbor, Maine has proven to be one of the interior design related high points of the season.

Show houses are always sources of inspiration for interior designers and clients alike. They allow the designers participating in the project to get as creative as the organizers and spaces allow, and show us their up-to-the-minute ideas. The experience can motivate we designers to try new things (a different hue, a mixing of fabrics and patterns, or a different use for an object perhaps?), and home owners to update their own spaces in small or substantial ways.

The York, Maine show houses are always a bit magical. Just driving through the curvy lanes of York Village to the Harbor, where this year’s house is located, you can easily see how this area became a popular summer colony at the turn of the 20th century… and it still is today.

This year's was the 21st Annual Decorator Show House, which is a major fund raiser to benefit the Museums of Old York. The home is called “Twin Cottage” because it is the twin sister to “Mayfair,” the 2007 Show House. The house itself was built in the Shingle Style in 1904 and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and York Harbor Beach. I had not done any research before visiting this year, and the minute I drove up, I thought that the house looked a tad familiar. But once I walked through the front door and into the foyer, I knew that it was related to the neighboring home I had toured a couple of years ago. The layout is similar, but to the participating designers, it was a new canvas... no two design interpretations will be alike, even if the houses might appear to start out that way! (This is a good reminder to those who fear that their home is too 'cookie cutter' to be exceptional!)

Below are a few photos that I snapped of the lovely Shingle Style home… photography was not allowed inside, but once the designers make pictures of their work available, I will pass my favorite spaces on to you.

Approaching "Twin Cottage" from the side

Front view from the garage plaza

Friends & fellow designers Leah, Eileen, Deb & Carol

The Veranda

Ah, here I am...

just wishing I could spend the rest of the day

luxuriating on the veranda!

Friday, August 6, 2010

As Summer Floats By

I think that the most beautiful decorative accessories that you can use in your home are made of glass. And that goes double when it comes to decorating in the summer.

When you have taken down your heavy window treatments (and washed your windows!), when the skies are bright and the sun is shining, what better way to bring some sparkle into your life than with reflective glass objects?

Any time I am placing lighting in front of or near a window, I search out a lamp with a glass base, clear or in a color that coordinates with the space. Rather than block the natural light, the lamp accentuates it and makes it literally shine.

And when accessorizing, I reach for glass candle holders, statues, vases, and jars filled with sea glass (more on that another time!). My personal favorites are an ensemble of clear, green and varied blue glass floats delicately poised on a frosted glass footed bowl soaking up the sunlight near the French doors in my great room.

Their hollow forms allow the sun to pass through from one to the other, melding their hues, and their mottled surfaces echo the suns rays.

This particular collection is special to me beyond its intrinsic visual allure. Here’s the story of their provenance...

The floats belonged to interior designer and lifestyle author Alexandra Stoddard and her husband Peter Megargee Brown. I became a fan of Alexandra many years ago, when I first picked up a copy of one of her earlier books, Living A Beautiful Life. Since then I have read every book she has written. Her beliefs about gracious living are always eloquently put, ring true for me, and I in turn pass them on to my clients. She not only writes about interior design, but about other aspects of celebrating life and interpersonal relationships. Her philosophy is to "Love and Live Happy!" Who doesn’t want to do that?

A few years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to attend a "Happiness Weekend" hosted by Alexandra and Peter near their village home in Stonington, Connecticut. We, and a small group of devotees, spent the weekend experiencing first hand the gracious living that Alexandra encourages. She and Peter even invited us into their home, which we had only seen in photographs. What a joy and thrill! At the time, they had two homes, their lovely cottage in Stonington, and a ‘primary’ residence on Park Avenue in New York. They shared with us that they were at a point where they wanted to lessen the weight of their acquisitions. As special as the objects were to them, they did not want to be burdened by the volume of things they had accumulated. Each of us was given the opportunity to point out an item that spoke to us, and if we were lucky, it might be something they could part with. I’ll bet you can guess what I had my eye on... those floats! Now, each time I glance at them, I envision them in their original home, where they brought beauty and joy just as they do in mine!

Alexandra, me, David and Peter
If you look carefully, you will see the glass floats
perched on top of the cabinet above Alexandra's shoulder

To learn more about Glass Floats:



For more on Alexandra Stoddard & Peter Megargee Brown:


I hope that this leaves you feeling buoyant!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It’s Summer… Sea The Light!

Interior design is a multi-faceted process… it starts with understanding everything about a room… what is its function, who will be using it, when & so on. From there a floor plan is developed, and all of the elements are selected to make the space successfully achieve its goals… flooring, wall & window treatments, furniture & lighting. A lot of thought, time, and often money, are invested in furnishing the room of your dreams.

But, in addition to doing their jobs, these elements have a higher calling of reflecting the personality of the people using the room… for example their level of formality, lifestyle, favorite colors, and decorating style to name a few.

Although the room is probably already beautiful with its key pieces in place, designs often fall short by stopping there. They don’t come alive until accessorized with items that speak to the season.

Summer is such an easy time of year to celebrate… who can’t wait for sunny days, warm temperatures and outdoor entertaining? Lighten up your interiors to echo the easy going nature of the season… start by removing heavy window treatments & rugs, and other décor that casts a too-serious-for-summer feeling to your interiors.

Accessorize with items inspired by sunny places such as the sea…

Vignette with Nautical Chart

Bring the outdoors in with beautiful summery flowers like hydrangeas...

Hydrangea & Sea Urchin Bowl

Or even both sea and garden combined. Wreaths are a wonderful, unexpected surprise on an interior door!

Sea Theme Wreath With Hydrangea

Be inspired by the beauty of summer...

Crystal Bowl with Glass and Pewter Seashells

I have been an enthusiast of seasonal design for a long time, both professionally & personally… but presenting my perspective on a blog is brand new… starting in the summer is perfect for me as it is my favorite time of year!

This first post revolves around brightening your attitude & lightening your interiors with accents from the sea & garden. During the next two weeks I will be on holiday, but in the following weeks, I will venture into different ways of expressing the seasons in & around your home... so meet me back here!