Tuesday, June 30, 2009
My obsession with HGTV comes and goes. I am so accustomed to seeing repeated episodes of my favorite shows – House Hunters, Design to Sell, Property Virgins, The UnSellables – that I’ve almost given up on flipping to that channel. Fortunately, another option for design addicts exists: FNL or Fine Living Network. I know. I had never heard of it either.
My resourceful mother has been a devoted viewer of one designer in particular. Sarah Richardson: a design genius hailing from Toronto, Canada. Her team – Design Inc. – is innovative and intuitive, and I have yet to see a room they’ve done that I haven’t liked. No detail is overlooked, whether it’s choosing buttons to sew on pillows or fresh flowers for the mantel/table/nightstand/bathroom counter. When this group arrives, they are bound to leave you with a space worthy of being on TV. Here are some rooms from their online portfolio for your viewing pleasure.
The Mothership – the Design Inc. Office.
I don’t see any cubicles… or florescent lighting. What is this magical place?
The Family Zone: Kitchens, Living Rooms, Dining Rooms, etc.
Notice her extensive use of soft, neutral colors. You’ll often hear Sarah referencing “the colors of water” as her main design inspiration.
It’s like a retreat… only you get to sleep there every night.
You can cancel the appointment with your psychiatrist. Schedule a bath instead. These rooms are sure to eliminate any stress or anxiety. Notice all of them have fresh flowers and chandeliers. Love.
Sarah Richardson and friends turned a run-down, dirty, smelly real pigsty (that was falling to pieces on a client’s extensive property) into this cozy, kid-friendly retreat. Now that’s impressive.
You can check out more of her Design Inc. designs here.
Or here for Sarah’s House.
And here for Sarah’s Cottage.
Yep. Three TV shows. And my mother Tivo’s all of them.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Bright and early Saturday morning, checkbooks in hand, my mom and I headed over to the Hinsdale Antique Fair. I was surprised there were only twenty or so vendors; I thought there’d be more. But this ended up being a good thing because it took us a couple hours just to thoroughly scour all of them. If there had been more, I doubt I’d have left without putting a significant dent in my bank account and a serious sunburn.
I most enjoyed looking at the vintage and antique furniture and home furnishings (compared to jewelry, toys, clothing, etc.), because I’m always on the prowl for affordable, quirky, new pieces that will one day furnish my own abode (and at a more reasonable price than Pottery Barn and other big name stores). Here a couple of my favorite finds:
This yellow table and chairs set circa 1970s for $125.
Affordable – check.
Quirky – check.
Chic – check.
I absolutely adored this antique bed in a worn, light-green finish. It’s actually the original paint, it’s just chipping off.
I almost bought it but didn’t because it was (as all antique beds are) for a full-sized mattress. I own and will always have at least a queen. But for $440, it was a steal. Stores like Anthropologie sell vintage-inspired iron and brass beds for prices circling $2000.
My mom purchased: (left) bee catcher (right) antique wine bottle. You can see the swirl stains from the wine on the glass. As for the bee catcher, so interesting. You fill the inner base with sugar water or honey, bees fly into it from the hole at the bottom, and they don’t know how to fly back out. Ta-da! Bees are caught. She, however, will just be placing these on her fireplace mantel. No bee-catching in this house.
My purchases: black-framed oil paintings. I’d love to hang these on a dark wall. Maybe in a powder room painted a dark grey. Again – once I have a place of my own. Minor detail.
All in all, a successful day. Neither of us splurged but we both managed to leave with a few great pieces.
If you like the look of vintage furniture check out these french beds! They look amazing.
Friday, June 26, 2009
The other day, while my mom and I were on on our regular voyage to Pottery Barn, I fell in love with a chair. The shape was simple but interesting. And I know it looks like it could be uncomfortable because the seat is deep-set, but it wasn’t. It was perrrfect. The only thing I’d change is the fabric. From the busy pink and green floral to a more simple grey or blue. It would look great anywhere: a family room, in an office or bedroom for reading, or two paired together opposite a couch. I assume it’s a new piece because it’s not yet available online.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
July’s House Beautiful features the Brooklyn brownstone of Heather Evans, a marketing exec and former model, who lives there with her four daughters. Designer Jonathan Berger converted the classic structure into a fun and fearless, girls-only dwelling by bombarding the space with fuchsias, florals, and French-styled furniture.
I love the idea of having a pink room, but it’s always a challenge convincing male cohabitants that it’s a good idea. Lucky for these ladies, they had only their femininity to consult. And clearly they got the go-ahead.
Game table seating in the main living room was given a facelift when the chairs were reupholstered in this pink leather from Global Leathers. I’d say money well-spent. They look years younger.
The wall color in the entryway? Benjamin Moore’s Razzle Dazzle.
Can you say self-fulfilled prophecy?
The French motif begins with the furniture – the ikat-covered chaise lounge and matching chairs – in the sun-drenched seating area of the main living room.
A little less French. A little more exotic. All in one room. The designer created three seating areas in this large, front-of-the-house space, and exaggerated the difference with the unique colors and textures.
Bold zebra-print carpet and hot pink walls greet guests in the entryway and continue up the stairs to the second floor.
Pink, brown, and blue – oh my! The blue chairs enhance the sea foam color of the oversized, custom bulletin board, and the Venetian pink milk glass chandelier compliments the pink-patterned upholstery on the back of the chairs.
The suzani bedspread, velvet-trimmed headboard, and antique ottoman don’t “match” by traditional standards, but blend so well in this space for that very reason.
Even the more casual family room has dainty pieces. Often a no-no when children (or men) are taken into consideration.
Lesson learned? If you are living sans-testosterone, embrace it! Use colors, fabrics, and styles that would normally be vetoed otherwise.
Speaking of which… I’ve been wanting to paint my office. Razzle Dazzle, anyone?
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
This just in: there is a new New Moon book cover that I wanted to share because I am (hold your breath) a Jacob fan when it comes to the Twilight series. He’s laid back, funny, and not quite as controlling as another of the book’s heroes (who will remain unnamed). Plus he looks like this. Can you blame me? I definitely prefer the original artwork for the series, but I did say in my very first post that this blog is a sort of “virtual eye candy.” How could I pass this up?
I promise no more Twilight posts for a while… well… Maybe.
As if seeing Edward Cullen come to life in the movie Twilight wasn’t enough, it was almost more exciting seeing his room on the big screen. Viewers could easily see past the perfectly arranged mess – a century’s worth of journals, books, and albums strewn about – to the key design elements making up the sleek, modern, and relaxing space. It was, to be brief, the perfect space for the Edward we all know and love.
Puzzle desk from Crate and Barrel
Eames chair from Design Within Reach
Floating wall shelves in white from West Elm
antique radio from eBay
Cadman spine bookcase in silver from West Elm
Platner table from Design Within Reach
Barcelona daybed replica from euromoderno.com
Cream shag rug from Target
*Note: Feel free to amass your own collection of
antique albums and books on your own time.
**I know nothing about technology so I’ll also leave you to find
your own flat panel TV and stereo system.