May 28, 2010

garden progress

Where I've been spending most of my free time (read: every waking moment when I'm not working) these days is out in the garden. The front and back yards have come a long, long way in the the two summers I've been here, and I couldn't be happier with the progress. This spring, things are finally starting to take shape and look like a real garden.

Clematis climbs a trellis on the front on the house.

The peonies look beautiful out front too. Here they are a few days ago about to bloom.

And today, they're looking so full and bright and luscious. I can't get enough of peonies. This fall, I'll have to plant more. 

I've also got the window boxes filled. Can't wait to see these in another month, when they've really started to fill out. Ignore the peeling paint—I'll get to that next year!
What's in the window box: sweet potato vine (Blackie and Marguerite), white verbena, dusty miller, euphorbia, and mini double magenta.

Out back is where the real blood, sweat, and tears have taken place. When I moved in, most of this was weeds up to your knees. And here it is last spring, with a lot of work already done and lots, lots more that followed.
 Oh, there was sooo much cleanup to be done. Here it is now.

 The bleeding hearts were buried in the weeds. They're totally mature and looking really good and full in their new homes. The hostas and ferns were found in the yard and transplanted too. I still have some holes to fill—let the plant shopping begin! I have to stop myself from going crazy with the spending and the buying here, because I totally could.

So far I've added just a few columbine.

And some lamium maculatum Purple Dragon. Love the silvery foliage on these. I planted them last May, and this year they have spread so well.
 Still want to add Siberian iris, lily-of-the-valley, epimedium, Chinese ground orchid, hellebore, and solomon's seal.

Finally here's what the back fenceline looked like last year.  

Now, I've got a little trellis up and am trying to coax a climbing rose into covering all the ugliness of these two fences, metal posts, tree trunk, and lopsidedness. How many years do you think it'll take?


All the progress is totally exciting, and with all the hard work that goes into it, completely satisfying. It's become an addiction. One I'm happy to feed! Happy beginning of summer, everyone!

May 27, 2010

natural, simple, with a dash of color

The color splash in this stunningly simple Brad Ford room is red, but I think it could easily be yellow or orange too—something to pop against all the soft neutrals, the natural materials, and touches of greenery. This room feels so right now and so timeless. And it feels like it could be anywhere—on the water, in the burbs, in the country. 

I really love the modernness of the crisp lines here too—everything working so harmoniously together. Notice how the spindle chair on the right mimics and completely balances the staircase on the left? Genius, that Brad.

May 26, 2010

wish list: drika.b bags

I am totally obsessing over the adorable, colorful styles and beautiful, detailed craftsmanship of drika.b bags, totes, satchels, and wristlets. I want one! Or two. No...I pretty much want one of each. You'll see—they're pretty irresistible.

The very talented Adriana designs and handmakes each bag start to finish with the prettiest fabrics and upholstery webbing for the handles—a unique touch I have seen nowhere else.

Which is your favorite?

Go ahead and buy a few for your sister, your best friend, your mom, and yourself. Check out all the delicious offerings at drika.b's Esty shop.

And now through May 31, drika.b is generously offering 10% off on all purchases for my lovely loft & cottage readers. To redeem the discount, just add the code DKB10%OFFL&C on the “message to the seller” during Etsy checkout and a refund will be issue after the order is received thru PayPal. Offer excludes shipping charges. Not applicable on previous purchases. Happy shopping!

May 25, 2010

tuesday tip: ceiling fan fix

If you're like me, you part-love and part-hate ceiling fans. The love part of you adores open windows, breezes, and lazily watching the slow revolution of fan blades overhead on a hot summer's day. The hate part of you immensely dislikes the look of these things. I mean, let's face it—many of them are not pretty, and most rooms, unless you live in the tropics, would be better served stylewise with a pendant or chandelier.

When I moved into my place, there were ceiling fans in every room. No kidding, every room. I thought this a bit much. So I took some down. But in certain rooms I really fell for the functionality and didn't want to give up it up. If I did I'd end up hermetically sealing myself off in air-conditioned isolation for a few steamy months of the year. Not my idea of summer living.

My favorite way to deal with a ceiling fan is not to rip it down but to cover it up. A drum shade is an ideal quick fix. This is what I did in my kitchen. So, put a shade over it, and you just might be able to live with (and even love!) your ceiling fan.


Find great drum shades here.

May 24, 2010

mini project: switchplate covers

I'm kind of on a DIY kick lately. Have you ever tried covering your light switch plates? I forgot how cute this could be!

Plain old boring switchplates can become a place to add unexpected color and pattern to a room—a simple fix with paper, xacto knife and glue. Adding style to the smallest of details is what makes a room truly unique.

This might be fun to try with fabric too (a fabulous way to use up those small fabric samples that pile up!). Here's a great tutorial for fabric at Pink Chalk Studio. Her detailed instructions are awesome and the results beautiful. This photo shows the process almost complete. Pretty fabric, huh?

Has anyone tried this? What do you think? Decorate switchplates or leave them be?

May 21, 2010

taking a dresser from free to fabulous

The guest room dresser is finally finished!

Remember where this started? Back in February I found this sad little dresser on the side of the road on trash day. Can you believe someone was throwing this poor thing out? No, neither could I.

So, I dragged it home and planned to fix it up. Plans being what they are, I had just finished cleaning, sanding, and priming the thing when it was immediately put into service in the guest room, which my cousin occupied for a few months while getting settled in a new job and new life here in Boston.

I finally got a rainy day here to stay inside and finish it up. Lots of white paint and some sweet Anthropologie pulls did the trick. The guest room's now ready for my next visitor—who will it be?

Next up for this room: Flor carpet tiles and some paint on the walls. Any paint color suggestions?

May 20, 2010

vineyard bath, white and light

This month's Elle Decor features Meg Ryan's totally drool-worthy home on Martha's Vineyard. The bath, in particular, caught my eye. I want to be here now. How about you?

All that light! All that white! I love the simplicity of the unadorned windows, the open beamed ceiling, and a vintage wire basket of towels combined with some high-end elements like marble and that pretty mosaic tile rug.

The rest of the home is no less serene and simple yet spectacular. Check out more here.

May 18, 2010

tuesday tip: be thrifty

If you've avoided flea markets, I'm here to tell you it's time to take another look. As evidence, check out the furniture and art I found (for very little dough!) last week at Brimfield. (For more Brimfield inspiration, check out what design*sponge and Good Bones, Great Pieces found too.)

If budgets are tight and you don't mind a little hands-on work to freshen up your discoveries, there are some great finds to be had at salvage shops, flea markets, antique stores, and thrift shops.

Find Furniture
southern living

There are not many problems that paint cannot solve. Give an old piece of furniture a fresh look and feel with a few coats.

Try wallpapering the drawer fronts and adding new hardware too.


Find Lighting

Look twice at thrift store lighting. Spray paint and a new shade may be all it needs.

Find Art

Old postcards in new store-bought frames make for interesting, inexpensive art. Think wide mats and skinny frames for an updated look.

Rene from Cottage and Vine created a gorgeous art wall with Goodwill plates and some spray paint.

May 17, 2010

wrought irony dinnerware giveaway winner

We have a winner!

The set of four Wrought Irony outdoor 10" dinner plates by Working Class Studio goes to commenter #3, Melissa. Congratulations, Melissa!

Please contact me and let me know where to send them and which color/pattern you'd like or if you'd prefer one of each style.

Thanks to all who entered, and thanks to CSN stores for sponsoring the giveaway!

brimfield finds

On Friday, I got up early, drove an hour, and spent a fun, exhausting day with Erica of Decorica scouring the hugeness and sprawling madness that is the Brimfield Antique Show. Wow. I don't know if the show has gotten bigger in recent years (I haven't been in maybe four) but there are tents/booths as far as the eye can see. There's plenty of junk to be found, but lots of cool flea market finds too, and some very nice (and expensive) antiques too. Brimfield has it all.

Here's some of what I found.

This set of two adorable twin beds was just $150 for the pair! I don't know how I resisted! Oh yeah, my guest room isn't big enough for two twins. Even so, this deal was hard to resist.

Beautiful antique Swedish clock. Gorgeous color, handsome face, sweet curves. (Sorry for the plastic disguise, but it was drizzling and you don't want to take chances with antiques in the rain!) This is a dream purchase for someday, but starting at $3,000 a clock like this was too rich for my blood. It, and everything in this booth, was the real thing though. Jeffree of Lone Ranger Antiques spends 5 months of every year traveling throughout Sweden to add to his amazing collection. Check out his site and check him out on the Martha Stewart Show tomorrow too. Here's another piece of his I fell in love with.

Blurry shot, but I hope it still conveys the beauty of this dropfront secretary. Made my heart skip a beat.

Antique French ticking in beautiful colors—my favorites were the crimson tones.

Beautiful embroidered linen pillow, an antique from Czechoslovakia I believe. The red was so vibrant and the craftwork so perfect and detailed!

Architectural elements abounded. You could fashion almost anything out of them—brackets for shelves, pediments for headboards, balusters as lamp bases.

Just a cool bamboo mirror with trelliswork. I would paint this baby a bold color.

Was in love with this Boston map, with its crisp black frame and yellow hued map. I couldn't find my way to paying the $300 they were asking for it though. I'm sure someone with deeper pockets snapped up this beauty by the end of the day though!

Pretty green glass bottles. Love the scale of these and the beautiful color.

And now, finally, to what I did come home with!
Vintage ribbon! The navy chevron is so dark it looks black. I'm not sure what kind of pattern is on the red, but it has an old folk art kind of feel. These will be fun to add to little projects.

A set of small-scale (maybe 5 x 7) French city maps and architectural drawings. Will have to find some frames worthy of these beauties. I love that the only color in these besides the washed out black ink is a soft tangerine.

Old French vocabulary flash cards. Simple little things, and so adorable I couldn't resist. Will maybe pin these as a collage on a pretty fabric board.

And the pièce de résistance! My find of the day was this great 100-year-old steamer trunk. Despite missing the leather handles and a key, it was in very good shape, and they were asking so little for it I could not resist. After getting it home and doing some research I have found similar flat-top steamer trunk styles (though in perfect condition) for around $500. I snagged mine for $70. What really got me about this though was the sweet paper lining the inside. What a pretty surprise when you lift the lid!

So what do you think, readers? Have you been to Brimfield? Planning to go? What have you found? What are you hunting for?

May 14, 2010

field trip: brimfield

I'm off to Brimfield Antique Show with Erica of Decorica. Goodness knows I don't need another project (Remember the dresser? Yeaaaah, it's gone nowhere. And I've got some open kitchen shelving to paint, doors to paint, raised garden beds to plant, a chair to reupholster...) but it's just too tempting to imagine what totally unique, cool finds I could discover in the rows and rows of sellers here. Years ago, on my last visit to Brimfield, I picked up some great pen and ink botanical studies. At the time I thought they were a bit pricey at $25 each, but framed in tortoiseshell frames from Target, they actually look infintely more expensive than that and have added much-needed character and style to many a room in the years since. By now I have come think of them as priceless. That's the kind of stuff you can find here. And that's why I'm going. Stay tuned to see what I pick up on this trip.
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