Monday, December 9, 2013

Take a Seat

It doesn't matter how much reupholstery we do around here, I am always amazed with the results. This is such an easy way to breathe new life into a piece of furniture, or a room for that matter.
This wing chair has been used in several rooms in my client's house and most recently became the reading chair in the bedroom.
I have no idea why it looks blue in the picture, because it was hunter green! I was originally hired years ago to make draperies for the living room to go with this chair.  They are still hanging in that room today.
The chair had a matching ottoman.
The walls of the bedroom had recently been painted and we installed new relaxed Roman shades in a beige and white linen sheer which you may remember from an earlier post. The bedding was a print featuring greens, beiges, and reds.  To update the chair and coordinate with the new color scheme, I suggested we use a small neutral check with a red welt to add a little spunk.  Love how it turned out.
We added the red pillow later.  Wouldn't it look cute monogrammed?
Here are some other chairs you may have seen before to inspire you either to use a gorgeous color, a fun pillow or a fantastic print - or even grommets!
All fabrics by Scalamandre
Fabrics & trim by Brimar
More Brimar - notice the grommets in the skirt!
Now that they are predicting more snow for these parts, I think it's time to curl up with a good book!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Wouldn't That Be a Pretty Room?

Samples keep flying into the studio. Some are chosen for a specific client, others just to have on hand.  This group, especially, makes my heart beat faster.  If the right person doesn't come along, I may have to use them in my own home.
Five fabrics. I usually look at a group like this and think, " sofa, drapery, chair, ottoman, pillow" or something along those lines. Perhaps this is too much for one room. But maybe it is perfect for adjoining rooms..............
That large scale embroidered fabric is scrumptious, right?
The pink strie chenille is by Maxwell. All other fabrics are by GP&J Baker (distributed through Kravet).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Field Trip Friday - It's Back!

Finally, there was a little downtime last week and the opportunity - and more importantly, willing paricipants (!) - for a field trip.
We didn't have to go far. We went to Middleburg, VA to be precise. It was a central meeting spot for those in our group.
Baileywyck Farm and Shoppes is located on St. Louis Rd. in Middleburg. This is the heart of Virginia horse country for those unfamiliar, and even the drive there was spectacular. The shop is located behind a house and next to Golden Dreams Therapeutic Riding Center. Part of the proceeds from the shop are donated to Golden Dreams.
Before we even entered the barn that was loaded with all the treasures, we posed outside the entrance where there were lots of vintage garden items. I was in heaven already!!
We were greeted at the door by the owner, Lisa Vella. She owns the shop with her brother, Jim Vella.
Lisa is a really fun, enthusiastic person who generously shared her knowledge of the antiques she has, plus some stories about the thrill of the hunt. (The hunt for antiques and treasures, that is!)

This is the inside of the 4000 square foot barn, which was packed to the gills with all kinds of Wonderful. There were beautiful antique furniture pieces, accessories,  chandeliers, and even rugs, so with all the looking up and looking down, I had to make several trips around the place. Though I didn't photograph them, there were many pairs of antique doors which caused me several fits of hyperventilation. My favorite pair, from Brittany had gorgeous ironwork on them. Now to save my pennies and figure out a place for them (I can think of several!)

Not everything in the barn was old. There were room fragrances and diffusers. Also several new pillows.  I especially liked the one above with the double ruffle with raw edges made of burlap. There was a similar one with the ruffle being constructed of four layers of silk whose edges were not sew, but cut with pinking shears. Beautifully rustic!

The Baileywyck Shoppes are located at 21197 St. Louis Rd., Middleburg, VA 20117
The hours are  Thursday - Sunday, 11:00-5:00.  Other days by appointment. (or by chance, as their website says).
Upon leaving Baileywyck we headed straight for a sign we had seen for an Estate Sale. One can only imagine what we'd find at an estate sale in Middleburg! As it turned out, there was a lot of stuff, but mostly yardsale items. I took a picture of this record set and sent it to my friend, asking if she needed any piano music "in an Intimate Mood". She replied, "I'm willing to bet 'The Girl from Ipanema' is on that record"!
It was a hot day, and a girl gets thirsty so we ended our adventure at Cana Winery at the other end of Middleburg. It really is a pretty spot with the loveliest views. You can bring your lunch or buy snacks there. It was the perfect way to cap off Field Trip Friday!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Relaxed Roman Shades

Here are a few shots from my last installation.
Notice the beautiful symmetry when you have multiple shades repeated. These are Relaxed Roman Shades.
One upgrade I would suggest making when you have multiple shades like these is to get a continuous loop cord instead of a pull cord. It makes it so much easier to adjust all the shades to the exact same height.
Another thing to consider is the lining. Some people will opt for a blackout lining so you can't see where the window underneath stops and the wall begins. We decided against that as the fabric was a pretty, semi-sheer embroidered linen and we liked the lighter look.
Fabric by Kravet
Trim by Stout Bros.
We added trim to the bottom edge only, to follow that graceful curve.
Another option is to band the hem, the sides or both with a contrast fabric.
Finally, consider the view as you enter the room. Looking in from the door, the windows, table and chair make a charming vignette and invite you in.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tricks of the Trade - Window Treatments

You can borrow a trick from fashion when thinking about window treatments for your home.  Ever notice how only one part of your outfit has to be fabulous, while the other pieces play supporting or even wallflower roles?  Think of wearing jeans and a t-shirt with a fantastic, one of a kind necklace. Or those gorgeous crazy-expensive shoes.
The same thing can be done with window treatments. Here's a little video showing some lovely curtains and valances using this trick to great advantage. Sometimes when we break the budget with the fabric cost we just do a simple little treatment (and save on labor). Or we up the ante of a budget minded design by using a trim that is perfect, though pricey. Every once in a while, the drapery hardware is the star of the show. See if you can spot the trick.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Another DIY

Actually, this is a DI-MY as in Do It Myself.

One of the basement bathrooms in my new house came wallpapered in what I described as faux leather squares. It wasn't offensive or anything and it's masculine style is well suited for it's location next to the bar.

But I had a idea to make it a little more custom.

I bought inexpensive upholstery nailheads in a copper color. Copper seemed appropriate for the color of the wallpaper, and the ceiling outside the bathroom is a copper colored tin.
At the interesections of every 4 squares I pushed in a nailhead. You read that right - I pushed it in. They went in easily with just a little thumb pressure. I only used my hammer on a few near the ceiling.

The effect is really lovely. Subtle, yet interesting.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What a Difference a Shade Makes

Here are just a few before and afters, showing what a difference simple woven wood shades can make to a room.
My clients had taken down their off-white fabric Roman shades. They had blended right into the wall color. Hoping for a kiss of color, they chose this Matchstick style from Horizons in a color called Pecan.
It actually had an orange undertone that complimented some copper accents they had in the dining room and a large sectional you can't see in the living room.
Dining Room Side - Before
Dining Room Side - After
Dining Room Bay - Before
Dining Room Bay - After
Dining Room Full View - Before
Dining Room Full View - After

Monday, March 4, 2013

I Have Expensive Taste

There, I've said it.

It seems I can walk into any kind of store and invariably the thing that catches my eye will have the highest pricetag. When you are wired this way you have to learn something: I am willing to wait (until I can afford it) more than I am willing to settle.

Which brings me to my office decor. The shelves and the desks and the file cabinets and the electronics are set up and sure, I can certainly work in here and I love it. But I have 2 bare windows that are crying for Something Pretty and I have no shortage of resources for Pretty. I have had this Lorca sample (available through Osbourne & Little) hanging up for 3 months and I'm sure I have to have it. It makes me happy.
You can see that it is an embroidered silk. The large flower with the green "stars" is actually velvety to the touch.
Did I mention that it retails for about $560.00 per YARD!!!!
Then there is the sample I have hanging out in my basement TV room. It is a Vervain fabric, from their Barry Dixon collection. I have been in love with this pattern, Cacao Vine, since it was introduced a couple of years ago.
I have it hanging upside down. The cacao pods look like hot air balloons this way.
This one's a bargain compared to the first. Between $200-$300 per yard.
Which brings me to a solution that I'd like to share with you. When it comes to decorating with fabric (or Soft Furnishings, as we like to call them) there are so many ways to use JUST A LITTLE of that expensive fabric so you can maximize your budget. Sometimes just one pillow will be enough to satisfy you, but when it comes to window treatments, you have fabric conserving options as well. There are plenty of valances that only use one yard of fabric. You can mix a valance fabric with a less expensive fabric for the draperies underneath.  You can line some valances so the fabric peaks out from underneath, or use it for banding down the vertical edge. A contrast hem, from 5" to 15" at the bottom is also pretty and economical.
The red bottom band could have been longer to use less face fabric.
This swag probably used 1 1/2 yds.
Cornice boards! You can't see that this was a gorgeous lattice weave silk. Simple sheer panels underneath.
More cornices in an embroidered silk.
Plain dupioni on top; very expensive embroidered silk 12" hem.
Make the tabs a contrast fabric.
Each of these valances used approx. 2 yards but these were very large windows (doors).
Very flat little valances. Used about 22" of fabric for each.
Flat valance. The interest was in the trim and the covered buttons.
Simple  silk swag with no cascades.
A bed corona. I didn't make this, but you could do something less elaborate to conserve fabric. I like the mix, though.

Friday, February 15, 2013

DIY'ers..Here's one for you!

There are a lot of holes in this house. Holes where speakers used to be. Holes where control panels used to be. A hole where there used to be a medicine cabinet. Holes in the ceiling where the roof leaked. Holes where doorknobs used to be. (that is the oddest one, I think. Who takes doorknobs with them?)
There was a very large hole where there used to be a very large stove. So we had to purchase a new stove to fill that one if we ever wanted to eat dinner - or scrambled eggs - again. There were also holes where dishwashers went. The kitchen had 2 dishwashers and the downstairs bar had one. I was lucky enough to buy a stove that came with a free dishwasher and there was one left behind so I only need to get one, eventually for the bar. There were 3 holes where there used to be wine coolers. One in the butler's pantry, one in the master bedroom and one down in the bar.  Those holes in particular were driving me crazy because they ruined the pretty look and also, I had filled each one with junk or boxes. (The butler's pantry hole housed my tool box and drill -- very handy for my constant repairs but boy, what an eyesore).

 I scored big last week at Bed Bath & Beyond. I found a lined curtain panel for $9.99 that I intended to use as a shower curtain. When I got it home I found that it wasn't wide enough but it WAS the perfect color. So I decided to make a cafe curtain to cover the hole in the butler's pantry. My idea was to cut the bottom off and hem it to size, using the existing rod pocket and header (which forms the top ruffle) with a tension rod. No sewing maching and no drilling required.
Here you can see just how unattractive some ready made curtains really are. Wrinkly! You have GOT to iron those things if you are going to use them. Also I told a designer friend I was using my upstairs landing as a cutting table. She was spray painting a chandelier, bead by bead, at the time. She said, "Oh the things we do for ourselves that we would never do for clients!"

Once I cut the piece off I realized I had enough for another curtain. This time I flipped it upside down and used the hem as a rodpocket and just hand sewed the hem at the bottom.
This is the finished curtain (ironed!!) in the butler's pantry.My tool box and drill are hiding behind it.
This is the downstairs bar. Home of a future dishwasher.

If you've been doing the math, it means I got 2 curtain panels for $5.00 each. While they are not as nice a fabric as I would normally choose, they are certainly the most cost effective solution I could have for something that is most definitly going to be replaced within the next 6 months.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Details! Details!

Was quite taken with this chair in the lobby of the Washington Design Center. Luscious fabrics. Gorgeous colors! Wonderful variety of textures. All by Scalamandre.
Check out the arm detail. A piece of silk was inserted as a band on the arm and then nail heads were added. Almost too pretty to sit on.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dream vs. Reality

Would you believe that I have been trying, FOR OVER A MONTH, (sorry, was that too loud?) to add another blog post. Actually, I was trying to add a picture and Blogger was misbehaving badly. I just checked and it appears to be fixed now but I was all ready to write a post that was words only, so here goes.
I have noticed something funny recently that maybe you already took note of. But I tend to romanticize people, places and events so it was a lesson I had to learn by living it and observing it.
If you have been reading this blog you know that I have recently moved into my dream house. I, of course, had a romantic notion of how the space would be, and how we would live in it. I have a great big, happy life by anyone's standards but I noticed that no matter how beautiful, elegant, stylish, spacious, (insert your own adjective) or fabulous your home is, the following is still going to occur:

You still make your own breakfast.
There are still breakfast dishes in the sink when you make dinner.
Sometimes, even if you love to cook and even if you have a fabulous new kitchen with a top of the line stove, you just don't feel like making dinner.
More bathrooms means more toilets to clean.
Light bulbs need changing.
Bigger closets don't mean you still don't leave your clothes on the floor, sometimes.
You still have to get up and go to work every day. When the alarm goes off at 6:00am it isn't easier to get up.
There is still lots of vacuuming, dusting, cleaning, scrubbing, tidying and organizing to do.
The garden hasn't suddenly decided to weed itself.
Things still break.
Things still leak. (make that twice for my bedroom ceiling!)

Still, I love it here.
Now, I've gotta go empty the dishwasher.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! 2013!

Following a quiet New Years Eve since I was playing nurse to a husband with the flu, awoke late, had a leisurely morning and we decided to celebrate a little late by going out for a nice lunch. He was feeling much better!
I had mentioned that I was feeling a "little French today" but that was just to start practicing my goal of learning to speak the language better. But soon, realized that my first meal of the day was in Paris! (Virginia!) After a beautiful ride through the countryside we had a lovely brunch at the Ashby Inn in Paris and I highly recommend it. We even drank French wine - he, a nice  Pinot Noir, and I with a white Chateneuf-de-Pape. Really, it doesn't get any better.
My thoughts always turn to resolutions - don't yours? And I received a thought provoking email on this subject, suggesting that you pick just ONE resolution and direct all your attention to it. To see the video, click here.
I have been thinking lately that instead of creating resolutions, couldn't I just have a THEME for the year? Such a different approach, but it seemed easier to me. Resolutions seem to follow themes anyway. For example, instead of "lose XX pounds", what if the theme was "Healthy"? So when you have a behavior or a decision to make, like eat the cupcake or not, you choose whether it follows your theme or not. Healthy or Not Healthy.
a bakery in the "real" Paris
One theme I have chosen for 2013 is "Simplify". The question I will be asking myself is "Will this simplify my life or complicate my life?" This can apply to all kinds of things: people, events, things, requests, commitments made and to be made.
The other theme I think could make a difference is "Self-Discipline" because I have seen a total decline in this area! ha! Just reminding myself of those two little words might help me develop some better, more life affirming habits.
So which is it for you? Resolutions or Themes?