June 30, 2011

garden update: in bloom

I'm just loving when things come into bloom. My sweet pea, which I had no idea could be a perennial til I stumbled across some incredible variety, just popped with this lovely purple flower.

I love that it's growing like wild but still looks so fragile and delicate.

A view down the bed...

Yes, I need an edger.

And this is my favorite place to hang as the sun goes down...

Not bad for $16.99 chairs from Home Depot.

Still lots of cleanup and seeding and planting to do, but look—no stumps! Last weekend we rented a stump grinder and removed all the stumps (all 21 of them!!) from the right side of the yard. I planted a big classic lilac in the back corner to celebrate. Now I cannot wait for that to fill in, and for spring scents, and next summer's yard to be leaps and bounds better than this one.

June 29, 2011

how {and why} to wash your windows

After a long stormy winter, I always make a point of washing my windows as part of my spring cleaning routine. I'm a little late this year in my to-do list, but window cleaning is absolutely on my agenda for this week. It's long overdue to get rid of the dust, dirt, pollen, and grime and let the light really shine in. I'm always amazed how much brighter, fresher, and lighter it makes everything in my house look and shocked at how it improves the view outside and inside.


Here's what you'll need:
{1} bucket filled with some lukewarm water
{2} two microfiber cloths, one wet and one dry
{3} windex, or white vinegar in a spray bottle if you're going natural
{4} squeegee

martha stewart

And here's how to do it:
Step 1. Soak your cloth in the water, squeeze out excess, and wipe down your window.
Step 2. Spray the glass with your cleaner and wash with the wet cloth in a circular motion.
Step 3. Run the squeegee down the glass from top to bottom and then left to right, wiping excess water after each sweep on the dry cloth. Easy!

Need more convincing?

images via pinterest

By the way, one of the secrets to a good interior photograph? Yup, clean windows. So get to it!

June 28, 2011

lake living

I definitely have summer vacation on the brain lately. When the sun finally came out this weekend, Micheal and I did some cooking on the grill and much-needed reading and relaxing on the deck. It was bliss! And with a mini-trip to CT this weekend for July 4th and a real island getaway planned the weekend after, summer is officially ON. Sorry in advance for the bad scans but I had to share this home I fell in love with: a lake house featured in the most recent House & Home. Have you seen it? Right now, its simple, relaxed vibe is speaking to me. I wish we had a lake to run off to right now. Why wait for the weekend?!

Reinforces my desire for a white slipcovered sofa and white painted planked wood ceiling. Also love the wicker and simple blue and white color scheme. So soothing.

White and light wood in the kitchen: been seeing a lot of this. Also, how much do I love and need that lantern and turned leg island in my life?

This was the image that really sealed my love of this house because it's such an awesome mix of materials and patterns. The graphic striped rug, clear glass pendants, chunky rustic mirror, and bench seating with block-print cushions are perfect together. Also reinforces my desire for a bench or banquette at my kitchen table. Love.

Just adore these vignettes. A closeup of that distressed kitchen bench (must keep my eye out at the flea market!), spool floor lamp and giant world map, bookshelves flanking the bed to create a cozy nook (though I wish they'd trimmed out the flimsy Ikea shelves with some more substantial molding to lend weight), and that simple blue canvas, low bowl, and angular metal lamp. Perfection for a simple lake house, yes?

Check out a full video tour here at House & Home!

June 24, 2011

summer friday

Today, my sister, brother-in-law, and nieces are here for a little visit, and I'm so psyched to see them! (And have them meet a certain special someone for the first time!) Awesome brother-in-law is keeping his promise to help me with some yardwork, and when it's all done we'll all be happy to get the grill going...

and spend a nice summer night outside with good food, great conversation, and lots of laughter...

all images via pinterest

Hope you all have some of the same this weekend. Have a good one, everyone!

June 23, 2011

window layering with bamboo and fabric, and my go-to sources

We all know that a little layering makes a room more interesting...and the same, I think, goes for windows. For the first layer on a window, I'm a huge fan of bamboo shades. They add instant texture and character and a casual feel that I adore. For part two of the effect, I like to soften up the hard bamboo with a fabric to bring color and contrast and sometimes pattern. Each layer looks great on its own, but together on a window, it adds up to more than the sum of its parts.

I've been doing this a lot, in my own home, with bamboo flanked by fabric panels.

in my living room

And in my client's home, with soft Roman shades over the bamboo.

sarah & anna's room

I can hardly claim to have been the first to wholeheartedly embrace this bamboo layering effect. Here are some favorites.

palmer weiss


And now, my go-to sources. I won't do any fabric treatment these days without Windows by Melissa. She did the raspberry roman shade in my client's girls' room above. Melissa's construction is excellent, her prices incredibly affordable, and she's such a fast worker and a delight to work with too. She's offering a special discount right now just for loft & cottage readers: take 15% curtain panels (ready made or custom) with code LCCURTAIN and take 10% off Roman shades with code LCROMAN. Make sure to use the correct code for curtains versus shades. Happy shopping!

As for bamboo shades, these rustique shades from Overstock are my go-to solution. Awesomely inexpensive but good quality, available in any specific width and length you could want for inside-mounting, simple to install, and great-looking. Highly recommended!

June 22, 2011

unique plants for a shade garden

Back when I was planning my backyard garden, I got pretty obsessed with finding the prettiest, most uncommon plants for my very shady space beyond the typical ubiquitous choices like hostas, ferns, lily of the valley, and bleeding hearts. All of which I have in my yard and love, by the way. It's just that I also wanted some variety, and some uniqueness in the shade. Here's what I came up with, some of which I've already incorporated, and some of which are still on my to buy/plant list.

from left to right: 1. bergenia 2. hellebore 3. chinese ground orchid

Have you planted any varieties of these? Are there others I should know about? What's your favorite shade garden plant?

June 21, 2011

mini-project: simple rope design pillow

The other day I was inspired by the pretty One World pillows for sale at One King's Lane and was stopped in my tracks by this beauty. Did you see it too? {If you're not part of One King's Lane, here's an invite for you. Great merchandise at great discounts!} I love the lumbar shape and the sweet, simple, classic rope design.

It instantly made me think of the trim I bought to finish off the edges of my reupholstered chair (which I still have not done by the way! Yes, I need to find time soon?!}.

If I have some trim left over after the chair is done, this would make a great DIY project with just a bit of fabric glue and a lot of patience on a plain white linen pillow.

June 20, 2011

fresh vintage bath

Can you be in love with a bathroom? Um, yes. I'm sure you've seen this one from Lonny's latest; it belongs to the totally talented Angie Hranowksy. And yup, I'm in love. I'm inspired by its expanses of fresh white, soothing pale blue on the walls, its vintage feel made clean and modern.

And what really gets me is the staging: the touch of antique silver, the fringed towel on a hook, a little bouquet on the corner of the sink, those damask towels hung different ways (genius!), and the graphic black and white block prints from PerlaAnne. You can get them here. And I think I will. I know my bath needs a refresh. What better place to start than art? And, I hate to steal the look exactly, but how pretty and luxe do those towels look? I think they're from Anthropologie. Find them here.

June 17, 2011


I'll leave you with this thought for the weekend, dear readers, that puts a little smile on my face each time I read it. Happy summer and happy Friday!

June 16, 2011

my potting bench

A few months ago, my parents visited and dropped off the potting bench my dad made for me. How awesome is he? Well, it's finally been getting a lot of use, now that I've got it set up against the back of the house in the perfect spot and filled with all the things I need and want close at hand when I'm gardening.

There's plenty of room for soil, sprays, and my watering cans underneath, and on top I've got some pots and a few plants ready to go. I installed some hooks on the side to hang hand tools like my trowel and cultivator. Now everything's right where I need it, and as a bonus it looks so cheery in this formerly empty space. Thanks again, Dad! I'll be spending lots of time here and over the weekend, and I could not be happier about it!

P.S. Another awesome part of this gift is a small plaque my dad had made to put on the bench that reads "From my hands to your hands. Love, Dad 2011." I love that this thought will live with this piece as long as I have it, and hopefully, even longer...

June 15, 2011

laid back dining

I'm so enamored of banquettes and almost any kind of upholstered seating at the dining table. It makes for such a casual, comfortable vibe and really invites my favorite kind of entertaining at breakfast, lunch, and dinner: long, lingering, and laid back. And beyond meals, think feet up, coffee drinking, newspaper reading, and wine sipping between meals. In kitchens large or small, and whether it's a built-in or freestanding seating, there are so many ways to make this look—and lifestyle!—work for your home.


elle decor

my homme ideas

via pink wallpaper

celerie kemble


chris barrett design


peter dunham

style at home

house & home

What do you think? If you can't create a built-in seat, I love a freestanding settee or banquette. Ballard has some lovely settee and bench options.

June 14, 2011

dining and decorating in providence

This weekend, a few of us blogger girls got together at Carrie's gorgeous fixer-in-progress house in Providence for a little decorating talk and dining and...shopping, of course. My idea of a great way to spend a Sunday!

sorry for the picture of the back of your head, Sarah! why oh why didn't we get a good pic of the three of us?

Carrie is behind the blog Hazardous Design and this beautiful bath (even more stunning, dare I say, in person). Have you seen it?

Back in April I had a little party and raffled off a one-hour design consultation, with Carrie the lucky winner. Sarah, of the blog Pewter + Sage, was at the party too, and all three of us had a hard time ending our night, so it made sense to continue the business and decor talk. At Carrie's house, she's working on her family room, and because she knows what she's looking for and already had some key pieces chosen, we made a quick plan. Over the next few months, we'll work on it, and she and I will keep you all posted on the progress. I think it'll be fun to watch the collaboration and see how the room takes shape over the weeks.

Well, after a house tour and more decor talk, we headed off to lunch at the most charming bistro, Red Stripe, near Carrie's house in Wayland Square. Um, first of all, I want to move to this neighborhood, and second, I want to eat and hang out here at least once a week. So cool!

The design obsession never ends. We were all enamored with the fabulous tile floors. How delicious is that pattern?

After an incredible lunch, we shopped a bit around the corner. Comina had my favorite rugs of all...

beautiful dinnerware from Arte Italica

these colorful recycled glass pendants from Cisco Brothers...

and an adorable super deep and curved settee I was dying to sink into.

At Butterfield, I think I wanted everything. Hello, beautiful John Robshaw and Thomas Paul pillows.

And hi, chunky glossy blue mirror. I feel a DIY project coming on to recreate you in my home.

These birds were stately yet fun. I could find lots of places for them.

I wanted these signs. You can create your own? Love when you can personalize and make it special.

And I wanted every single one of these John Derian trays. Every one.

Finally, we headed to the antiques mall and scoured the place for finds. Carrie was the lucky winner again, taking home a cool, oversized honest Abe for just 25 bucks. We took him around the house to see where he fit best. Check out Carrie's post to see how great he's going to look in her dining room.

By the way, Sarah and I both vote for keeping the wallpaper. Yeah, it's old, but it has a sort of block printy Les Indiennes sort of look. Tres chic.

All in all, an awesome get-together of like-minded girls, and we're already planning visit number 3!
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