June 29, 2010

tuesday tip: curtains as doors

In addition to too many ceiling fans, my house had too many doors when I moved in. First there were the completely offensive hollow-core wood closet doors, which had the honor of being the first thing I ripped out on move-in day. Then there was a door between the kitchen and the living room. I still cannot figure that one out. Then there was the nest of doors in the back of the house, to the pantry, to the upstairs, to my office, and to the bathroom. That's right, four doors in a space of about four feet. Something had to be done.

{my pantry has a softer look and easier entry now}

Some doors got removed completely and the openings left clear. Others spaces still needed to be covered but couldn't handle the clearance required for a door. A curtain was an ideal solution, softening the space, covering what needed concealing, and posing no clearance problems.

{i ditched the closet doors, and instead of replacing them with bifold, i hung curtains instead}

Here are some of my favorite curtain-as-door solutions:


country living


west elm


June 28, 2010

garden devine

Over at All the Best today is this beautiful garden by Michael Devine. And it's so putting my yard to shame.

It's good to have something to aspire to, right? This is beautiful! Someday my garden will look like this!

By the way, if you're in the area, Michael Devine is hosting an open house of his garden in Kinderhook, New York, on July 3, July 27 and September 3 from 10 - 1. Visit his site for details.

garden update: what i've been up to in the backyard

There's been lots of progress in the yard in the last few weeks. I never thought I would get to have a vegetable garden here with all the shade, but it's finally happening!

Step 1: Long row of evergreens along the chain link fence are removed.
This is the view from the deck. Ugly stumps remain. And it looks so bare! What is that garage next door? I couldn't even see this before! The view is taking a little getting used to, but it's all a big improvement and a good start to a new yard. I now have sun and can have a garden.

Step 2: Raised beds assembled, laid out, filled and planted.
They look best and will get the most sun here. But something must be done about those stumps. And the hideous chain link. And the view of my neighbor's driveway and house. Ugh.

Step 3: Willow fencing
I found this great willow fencing from Gardener's Supply and ordered it up immediately. It's affordable and easy to set up. I attached this to the chain link with garden ties and it's pretty secure. Most importantly, it does wonders for hiding all the ugliness and adding a semblance of privacy.

Stay tuned for more garden updates—this is just the beginning! To come: repairing the lawn, edging, building stone wall to cover concrete ledge at the back fence, more plantings, a new deck.

June 25, 2010

shopping :: terrain

The other day I spotted this industrial-rustic zinc set of hooks on Remodelista. Isn't it cool? It'd be perfect in my (imaginary) potting shed but just as awesome in an entryway, mudroom, kitchen, bathroom, guest room...uh, I guess I would totally use it anywhere.

But not only did I fall in love with this particular accessory, I fell in love with absolutely everything from the online shop it came from, Terrain. Has anyone else discovered this resource? Amazing stuff with character and history and style. Oh, and did I mention that a shocking number of pieces are completely affordable? The Zig Zag Hook Rack is just $38. Of course, some of the vintage stuff (and some of the stuff I am really lusting for) is super high-end, but there's lots here that's very accessible.

Oh, even better, there's a real-world Terrain in Glen Mills, PA! with a full-service garden center and nursery, home store, and cafe! All as chic and timeless and charming as what you see online. (Oh, just saw that they are owned by Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie—darn, I kind of had the idea this was a small operation.) In any case, I have no idea where Glen Mills is, but PA people, if you live anywhere near there, I am jealous. And I'm thinking I'm going to have to take a detour here the next time I head down to see the parents. Happy shopping!

June 23, 2010

get the look: tented outdoor room

 Can I please have this in my backyard? Pretty please?

Who could be lucky enough to own this little piece of backyard oasis heaven? This woman, featured in Traditional Home, that's who. Jealous. I can just imagine spending a hot summer's day out here, lounging with a lemonade and a good book, a breeze lifting the canvas—then a hot summer's night, lanterns lit, string lights sparkling, music playing, guests laughing and happy. This custom room might be out of reach for most of us, but I bet you could get the look on a budget. Here's how.

Add some tassels to the top of your tent, plant some greenery in your planters, mix up some sangria, invite your friends, and I'd say you're good to go!

June 22, 2010

the runners up: my style in one picture

In my attempt to step up to From the Right Bank's "style in one picture" challenge, I spent a good many hours last week hunting for the one image that conveys my design style—a nearly impossible task! Among the hundreds of images I studied, there were a few runners up that I just loved and didn't want to leave behind. Even though the Cottage Living kitchen I chose is beyond amazing and fits me just so, these rooms all were worthy contenders and I thought it was worth taking a look. Herewith, the runners up:

Painted furniture, sisal rug, pretty pattern, light plus dark.

An antique-y, lived-in feel, with natural materials, softness, and contrast.

This might be the closest to the kitchen I eventually chose. Light plus dark, eclecticism, cool casualness.

This one is all about soft color and a casual lifestyle. Love the lantern, art, and sconces too.

Maybe a little too antique, but the natural materials plus a pop of color make this a close second.

Do any of these rooms speak to you too?

June 21, 2010

5 beauty must-haves for summer getaways

And now for something completely different. In honor of the first day of summer (yippee!) I just had to join Rene from Cottage & Vine today in choosing my five cosmetic bag must-haves for summer. Here are the good old—and new—reliable beauty essentials I'd take with me on a little (or a long!) getaway to the beach or lake, resort or cabin.

1. Korres Lip Butter is super-hydrating, paraben- and sulfate-free, and gives just a hint of natural-looking color.
2. I have long been a fan of Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer. It's a makeup but so much more: it's sheer, moisturizing, and contains SPF and retinol. Love.
3. The Clarisonic Mia is my new absolute essential. Lightweight, easy-to-use, super-gentle cleansing. Amazing. You must try this. I am not one for gadgets, but this one's results (baby-soft, clear, younger-looking skin) have me absolutely hooked.
4. I know the flat iron is not exactly low-maintenance, but I cannot resist adding some straight, sleek polish to what would otherwise be a fine, frizzy head of hair. Solia's Flat Iron is lightweight and comes in pink. How can you argue with that?
5. Last but not least, with a great eyelash curler from Shu Uemura, you can skip the eye makeup altogether and still look stunning.

June 18, 2010

design challenge: my style in one picture

Today I'm stepping up to the challenge issued by Ally of the awesome blog From the Right Bank to find the one picture that sums up my design style. I spent way too much time searching last night for something that captures everything I love in design and while it's hard for any room to encompass everything I adore, this Cottage Living California idea house kitchen came the closest. Here's what it's got that I love love love:

*High contrast of whites against darks plus a big boost of one color
*Architectural detail: check out that amazing ceiling!
*Graphic patterns: rugs, tile
*Softness and texture: slipcovers, basket, a knit on the back of a chair
*Light! Love those big windows
*A little shine: stainless steel
*Natural materials: a woven basket, a wood bowl on the counter
*Open, breezy, stylish, laid back feel
*Oh, and don't forget good fresh food {maybe that's really why I love this room so much!}

So what's your design style? Could one picture sum you up?

June 17, 2010

fab find: kainkain on etsy

This week, on a search for pillows, pillows, and more pillows for a living room design, I stumbled across so many pretty and unique Etsy designs. Kainkain, maker of modern, contemporary and affordable home decor, is too good not to share.

Kainkain hails from Jakarta, Indonesia and offers up the most exquisite embroidered pieces, from pillows to table linens. Just feast your eyes on these gorgeous designs.  


Aren't the colors and patterns just so yummy?! Kainkain even let's you custom-color and personalize to your hearts' content. So great if you're looking for a sofa or table pick-me-up, or a beautiful, unforgettable gift.

June 15, 2010

tuesday tip: fabric-covered shade

I've had it in my head for a while now that I needed to do something with these boring white pleated shades on my $14 Ikea sconces. I've had these wall lamps for ages, and while I love their function, their style left quite a bit of room for improvement. And white shades, after years of use, can also start to look yellowed and dingy. Not exactly attractive. Or romantic, considering these are in my bedroom.

So the other night I grabbed some fabric samples and fabric glue...

...removed the existing pleated covering off the paper shade, glued the new fabric on, trimmed and glued under the top and bottom rims—and voila!

In just under 30 minutes I had transformed my plain old shade to something so cool and so pretty. If I had any idea how great this would turn out I'd have done it years ago!

 In fact, this project was so easy, it sort of feels like cheating. But hey, I still think you should go for it. This super-easy fabric-covering trick gives new life and coolness to boring old shades. In fact, it's also kinda addictive. I now have the urge to cover every shade I own. Don't say I didn't warn you.
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