January 27, 2010

natural curiosities

This morning, over at Elle Decor, I discovered this amazing, unique source for art and wall decor. This is not stuff you're going to find at art.com or anywhere you normally shop. Natural Curiosities has beautiful and totally distinctive maps, botanicals, photography, textiles, silkscreens, architectural drawings, landscapes, modern art, and lots more. This all sounds like pretty standard fare until you actually SEE this stuff. This is a collection of truly creative and original works. You will want to start shopping immediately! Below, just a sampling.

It's true that no room is complete without art. A few of the remarkable, imaginative pieces from this shop will do wonders for any home, instantly infusing it with personality and soul.

January 26, 2010

dark trim, light walls: do you dare?

Last week, I visited a new client's home with certain expectations about the space I was about to see. I knew I was going to a townhouse in a stylish, high-end new development. You know, the kind that's called Newbury Farms or Partridge Hill and has huge stonework pillars outside and a gate to make you feel like you're entering a private community (when in fact the gate is never closed and you never need to get buzzed in). The outside had some style, with a pleasing mix of siding and faux-stone facing, but it still looked like a pretty typical New England "luxury" condo project.

What I didn't expect to see when I actually got inside the unit was the reversal of the typical painting plan you see in most new construction these days. So, beige walls and white trim were out the window. Instead I saw this very pretty scheme of ivory walls with sage painted trim. How unexpected and lovely!

I love the way the warm tan color of the limestone tile surround looks against this soft green. So unpredictable! A white mantel and trim just wouldn't have this impact. And check out how great the door looks below.

Dark paint + light walls feels very traditional and is a really fantastic way to instantly bring some timeless style and a sense of history to new construction.


The green trim even looks great against the wood floor.

Painted trim has a long history. It's classic New England and yet still very relevant today. As evidenced below. Black and white--classic and modern.


Turquoise looks bold and very today. Imagine if the walls had been painted turquoise. That would have been too much in my opinion. Instead, the teal is just a pop, a highlight around the room.

Kimberly Coleman bedroom via High Heeled Foot in the Door

High wainscoting and thick moldings add to the impact here.


This one's subtle, with the fireplace painted a slightly deeper neutral shade than walls.

House Beautiful

And grey, classic grey that is totally now too.

House Beautiful

I like this look. It has such impact. But I'm on the fence about doing this in my own house since the walls are all pretty much painted and the trim is all white. Maybe I could try it in a space yet to be finished, like the dream laundry room. But are you feeling brave? Do you have a room you could envision doing this in?

January 21, 2010

antiques. yes, please

Love this vintage chest of drawers. Look at that detail! Also, let's take a moment to appreciate the beauty of this vignette. Simple forms, subtle tones, and then that splash of mini yellow blooms. It makes my eyes happy.
{stylist Aaron Hom, image via desiretoinspire}

January 19, 2010

a bedroom for summer on the coast of Maine

Oh dear. Some women were not made for this world. And by this world I mean the one we're living in now in the middle of Massachusetts, in the middle of winter and snow and freezing cold and dripping noses and waterproof boots, in the middle of interstates and road rage and bills and mortgages and 5-day workweeks.

No, some women (and I yes am talking about one woman in particular here) were made for the coast of Maine in the summer. With views of the bay and bright sunshine reflecting off the water and fresh breezes and flip flops and zero responsibility and her own boat! So this room's for Jen. A bedroom for her home here to transport her to Castine, when it all gets to be too much, which is, let's face it, pretty much always!

January 15, 2010

as if you needed another reason

You can never, really never go wrong with an all-white kitchen.

This beautiful space spotted at (and designed by!) katie-d-i-d.

January 14, 2010

martha, homekeeping goddess

It was just a matter of time. Martha Stewart, the ultimate domestic diva, has come out with a line of cleaning products. They are all very green and safe, non-toxic detergents--everything from glass cleaner to carpet stain remover--that are mostly plant- and mineral-based. Oh, and the packaging is not too hard on the eyes either. That counts for a lot!

Apparently, the line is not quite available in retail stores yet, but you can order here or even better, enter the giveaway every day this month to win. Free stuff. Yay!

January 13, 2010

the other sink makes me feel bad

This may be the funniest line from It's Complicated. Well, if you're into homes and design, it's the funniest line. If you've seen the movie, you'll know what I'm talking about. Jane, played by Meryl Streep, is divorced and very much not planning on becoming attached again. She is, however, planning a renovation, for some reason, of her already beautiful home. Makes no sense. The place is already amazing!
But I digress. As to the line of dialogue in question, Jane's talking to her architect about her (totally unnecessary) renovation and is adamantly against the by-now-standard double sink vanity.
See, when you're single, there's only one sink that gets used. That sad other sink just sits there empty, unused, and lonely. And to Jane, who currently doesn't have a significant other to use this second sink, and who is convinced there will never be anyone to use that sink next to hers again...well, it makes her feel bad.

So who needs a double sink? Here are some gorgeous vanities with just one sink. Just. For. You. Showing how beautiful single can be.

"It's Complicated" set decoration by Beth Rubino, set photography by Melinda Sue Gordon, images via silver screen surroundings, a pina colada, cote de texas, Pottery Barn, Sarah Richardson Design, decorpad, House Beautiful, pointclickhome, Coastal Living

January 12, 2010

bookcases, looking good

Yes, you can have three large open bookcases like this if you can keep them looking this casually, unstudiedly organized. Here's how:
  1. Leave some negative space. Don't overfill.
  2. Vary the look. Books don't have to stand. Stack some things horizontally.
  3. Make it personal. Add vases, leaning pictures, and objects that mean something to you.
styling by Aaron Hom, image via desiretosinpire.net

January 8, 2010

fabric in frames

image via bhg.com
What to do when you're bored with your art? When you can't stand to hang another beach scene, fruit still life, vintage advertising poster, botanical print, or portrait? Give your walls a little break from the usual and frame up some fabric. The result is a refreshing change and can bring some pretty pattern and lively color to a bare wall. And did I mention it's cheap? Especially if you are lucky enough to have some remnants left over from some old pillow or curtain project. Put those scraps to use and fill some frames. I did this when I first moved into my place with some old samples of discontinued fabrics. It was fast, easy, and--since I already had some old frames--free.

I liked the results so much I kept doing it. There's some framed fabric in almost every one of my rooms.

Here's some more inspiration.

image via Country Living

from lulalouise.com

You can also go large and create art that's really beautiful and dramatic. Check out the impact of this colorful ikat fabric below.

Elle Decor image via aliciabdesigns.blogspot.com

And this is one of my favorites.

image via Canadian House and Home

In her daughter's room, designer Julie Charbonneau framed a large piece of silk toile and used it as a backdrop for an adorable print. How plain this wall would have looked without it!

So, what do you think? Have you used fabric as art? Have these images inspired you to try it?
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