September 30, 2011

carrie from hazardous design

Today I'm happy to have my friend Carrie from Hazardous Design. Carrie's undertaking major renovations and beautiful transformations room by room and project by project on her home in Providence, that I've been lucky enough to visit. It is awesome! Check out her blog by clicking the image below. Thanks for guest posting today, Carrie, and sharing what you love about fall.

Hello Loft & Cottage readers!

I'm Carrie from Hazardous Design. My husband and I are in the process of renovating our historic New England home on Hazard Ave. I'm thrilled to be guest posting for Casey while she's living it up on the coast of Italy to share some of my thoughts on Fall.

Ah, Fall.

Now maybe I should have confessed to Casey before I agreed to write this post that I'm not the kind of person that gets excited over Fall. I'm a Summer girl. I live for warm weather, green trees, days at the beach, outdoor dining, and long days. But, I'm coming around. There are certain pleasures that come with the change of seasons, and here are a few of mine:

Sweater weather. I'm talking about when it becomes too brisk to go without a sweater, but still too warm for a coat. I just bought this one on sale from Land's End Canvas and I can't wait to wear it on weekends. 

I figure it will be perfect to wear to football games, while running through piles of leaves, and while picking apples. Granted, I probably won't actually do any of these things with or without the sweater, because I rarely leave the house when the weather gets cold. However, those are exactly the kinds of activities I envisioned myself doing as I clicked the checkout button to my online shopping cart. 

Comfort food. Time to put the grill away and put the Dutch oven and casserole dishes within easy reach. On Hazard Ave, fall means spending a Sunday afternoon making a big pot of Mom's spaghetti sauce. I love how the aroma wafts throughout the house as it simmers. Let's not forget other Fall favorites like French Onion Soup, Macaroni and Cheese, Roasted Chicken with mashed potatoes...Yikes! I think I just gained 5 pounds just writing this. 

Fall decorating. Just recently, I freshened up the containers on my front porch by finally saying "buh bye" to my long dead petunias and planting some beautiful mums. By beautiful, I mean that they aren't dead yet (in fact, they haven't even bloomed). That is, I don't have the best luck with plants, but I will enjoy these mums for as long as I can keep them alive. 

House projects. On Hazard Ave, Fall has traditionally marked the beginning of some long term projects on the house. My husband and I tend to be home more often on the weekends once Summer is over. This means we could start a project and in theory, finish it before Thanksgiving. In fact, we just started renovating our family room (of which Casey so generously offered her assistance). The goal is to have a super cozy and comfortable spot to relax in once the room is completed. Until then, I'm going to have to live with it looking like this. If this isn't motivation, I don't know what is.

Lazy afternoons. Okay, okay. I know you can make the case for a lazy afternoon in any season, but there's just something about the crisp autumn air that makes me feel less guilty for staying inside and curling up on the couch on a bright and sunny day. Am I right? Ideally, I'd be napping reading a good book like "A Separate Peace" by John Knowles. I think "A Separate Peace" was one of the only books we were assigned in high school that I actually read. There's just something about a story set at a New England prep school that feels so classically Autumn.

You know what? Fall actually doesn't sound all that bad after all. Plunk me down wearing my new sweater on a soft couch with a good book, the smell of Italian food cooking in the kitchen, and I'll be a happy girl. Until about January. 

Any other cold weather hibernators out there? 

Casey, it has been a pleasure guest posting on your blog today! Hope you are having a fabulous vacation! 

September 29, 2011

rene from cottage & vine

Today we've got a treat with one of my favorite bloggers, Rene from Cottage & Vine, here to tell us about her fall must-haves. Rene's blog is my number-one go-to read for practical advice, creative ideas, and beautiful inspirations delivered in the absolute friendliest, most down-to-earth way. Click her header below and check it out.

Hi to all of Casey's devoted readers! I am Rene from the blog Cottage & Vine. Casey invited me over today to share my thoughts on fall so I'm going to share a few of the things that are inspiring me this season.

With each season comes a fresh new seasonal offering of fruits and vegetables. Funny thing is with each new season I am likely to say, "Summer food is my favorite or fall food is my favorite." No matter what, when fall rolls around I've gotta have fresh apples, butternut squash, pumpkin, and all of the other wonderful things fall has to offer. I love to make stews and soups, and it just isn't fall until I make my apple crisp.


Let's move on to clothing shall we? More specifically boots. Holy cow, there are so many amazing boots out there praying for the winning lottery ticket as we speak I could really go crazy. If I could only chose one pair it would be these. Just look at 'em would you. Yums!

When the air cools down it is imparative that every home have a cozy throw blanket. I love to see them flung over the back of a sofa or chair. Or even casually tossed onto an ottoman. However they land is good with me. We are lucky to have a couple of throws that Mom knitted for us that we like to snuggle under—handmade from the heart is the best!


Last but not least, bring on the candles. Lighting a candle while cooking dinner in the evening just feels good. My favorite candles are by Aveda, but for a real splurge these by Diptyque are amazing.

There you have it! Thanks so much to Casey for inviting me over today!

September 28, 2011

sherry from design indulgence

I'm so happy to have the talented, charming, and always fun and funny Sherry here from Design Indulgence. Have you checked out her blog? Click the image below to head over there, and I promise you will learn something, be inspired, and crack up more than once. Thanks for visiting, Sherry!

Hello Loft & Cottage followers.......I am delighted to be here with a little entertainment for you. I have been a follower of Casey's blog for some time and I am always finding some great ideas to either steal [I mean borrow] or copy [a form of flattery right?] on a regular basis :) Today I am going to show you a bathroom that I was hired to design/renovate. You will see why when I show you the pictures.

Let's start with the before shots that I took the other day.

This is in the basement and since it was never kind of became a storage area. that her kids are older, they are wanting a place to hang out and as you can see this is not very inviting!

She hates this vinyl floor so while we have to get a tile person anyway...might as well change the floor. Isn't that how it always goes.....? I agree that she might as well do it all at once. Of course while we are at about a few other changes.
Let's design it right now!

Since I am a big believer in neutrals for bigger expenses....I will suggest this for the tile surround in the shower. Classic subway...with a tiny bit of interest with the black added.

For the floors...I would love this. Yeah...who am I kidding.....this would probably break the budget so we will most likely go with this:

Just a classic black in white that comes in 12 x 12 inch sheets. Less labor...less money. It is a basement after all.

Next...the sink base.  We have a few choices that I would like.

I am a white this might be my first choice. But here are 2 other options that would also work.

This would warm up the space quite nicely. Or...

Something black.

I would paint the walls white and add my color with this....

Rug.  Love the colors.  I would pull out that small touch of blue with the shower curtain...

Made out of this.

Next...choices for the mirror. We have a couple and I do love a round mirror since there are a lot of square angles in a bath.

This one if we used the white vanity or....

Or this for the black and the natural one.
That brings us to the lights. What about these....

Love a little industrial....or

this one...
One more thing...the faucet.

This is one of my favorites...the Kohler Purist. Simple with just a bit of modern.
How about some accessories with a small gallery wall of black frames or...


And then a few black and white accessories to keep things clean...

Love these from West Elm. More West Elm goodness like this.

And finally...

Some jars that you could store soap and other cute things in.

So there you have it. Clean classic with a touch of color. You will have to stay tuned to see what we decide!

Casey...thanks for letting me work through this design on your blog....I think I have it now, so I can't wait to do the presentation.....

September 27, 2011

fran from green street

Today we have my great blog friend Fran of Green Steet talking about current fall trends, and I for one love where she's going with this. Thanks, Fran, for visiting while I'm away! Make sure you check out Fran's stylish, inspiring blog—click her header below!

A year ago this time I was guest posting for Casey while she traveled through Italy's beautiful countryside and here we are again!! Thank you, Casey for having me. No doubt she and Michael are having a blast!!

I recently stumbled across Katie Brown's home via Strictly Simple Style and was immediately inspired on how much it captured the current trends of the fall season.

Country Living

Wood. You can't help but notice all the natural wood used in this room—from the wide-planked floors to the rustic armoire. The warmth created by the wood's natural and organic texture is the essence of fall.

Nature-inspired tones. Moreover, this room has the quintessential colors that embody fall—golden hues, granny smith greens, moss greens and pops of red.

NY Times

Here is Katie Brown's home in the Berkshires and she has used some of the same furnishings from the first photograph. Again, this room captures the current fall trends.

Global Touches. What I adore about this room is her fresh take on the classic African style. It is an eclectic room that marries natural materials (wood), wordly finds and exotic textiles. I love the global inspired rug and how she stores her wood above the mantle almost as if it is artwork!

So, what do you say about these current fall trends—wood, nature-inspired tones and global touches—yay or nay??

September 26, 2011

camille from the vintique object

Today I'm very excited to welcome one of my favorite bloggers, Camille from The Vintique Object, who's sharing her gorgeous autumn arrangements and helpful tips for creating, displaying, and maintaining your own. If you love this post like I do, click the image below to check out her blog for more inspiration and information like this every day!

Hello, Loft & Cottage readers. I am thrilled that Casey asked me here today—her blog is one of my very favorites!
Plus, I couldn't be more pleased to show you a few floral design
tips and ideas for arranging beautiful fall foliage!

Here are five different arrangements I made using clippings from just a few trees and plants.

This tall arrangement has not a single flower in it, and might have looked a bit boring if I had used only one type of foliage. As in interior design, focus on using light/dark contrast, texture, color, shape, and varying size when arranging flowers and foliage. I added a grape vine leaf or two inside the vase for added color and pattern.

These mums were the few left alive from an arrangement I made last week. I grouped them together in a dome shape in my hand and used floral tape to secure the stems—but any kind of tape would work. After putting the domed mums in a mint julep cup, I tucked in leaves around the arrangement. (You could use a glass votive for this purpose as well.) Perfect for the bedside table, bathroom, or other small space.

Even though the leaves from this branch haven't begun to change, the just-ripening figs have an autumn harvest feel. I had to trim away a lot of fig leaves in order for the fruit to show, so don't be afraid to prune your branches a bit when you get them into a vase. Using branches with berries, fruit, or seeds adds interest.

I make this "arrangement" every year. Simply put unripened pairs on a tray or in a bowl and tuck in autumn leaves. Unshelled nuts add a nice touch too. When the pears ripen, eat them, and then buy more the next time you are at the store for a display that will last the entire season.

Arrange autumn leaves in a vase, the way you would flowers, making sure to let some hang over the edge of the vase. To add interest, tuck a group of different colored fruit, berries, or flowers off-center near the lip of the vase. Kind of like tucking a fresh bloom behind your ear. Here I used foliage from a liquid amber tree. The spiky fruit is also from that tree, and unripened figs are still attached to their branches, which help keep them in place.

Below are some tips for bringing branches indoors, arranging them, and keeping them alive.

Unless the temperatures have dipped pretty low at night, I'd spray the branches with a hose to remove insects and spiders. If the leaves have changed color, tug at a few of them first to determine whether they can withstand a good spray.

Smash the end of woody material with a hammer so that the branch can more easily take up water.

If you want your display to last longer, use a clean vase and one drop of bleach to keep bacteria growth in the water at bay. This is true for arrangements made with flowers too. Don't worry, it won't harm the plants at all.

Using your non-dominant hand as a kind of vase, arrange branches in a way that pleases you and then use floral wire, or even scotch tape, to secure your branches together. Then plop them in the vase. Heavy branches can be unwieldy otherwise! (Don't expect your manicure to last while you are doing this!)

This is the fig branch I used in the third arrangement above. Even though the opening to the vase is narrow, I couldn't get the branch to face the direction I wanted it to go. So, I used scotch tape to tape it to the vase. No one will notice.

To keep the grape vine leaf in the first arrangement in place while adding branches, I sandwiched it between a larger and smaller cylindrical vase. The branches went into the smaller of the two vases.

You can read more tips and tricks for arranging flowers on my blog here.

Thank you for having me, Casey. I hope you have a wonderful time in Italy. I look forward to reading posts by other guest bloggers—and to seeing what your designing eye took note of while you were there!

September 23, 2011

packed and ready to go!

It's hard to believe that in two short days I'm going to be relaxing and soaking up the sun on vacation in sunny Capri and Sorrento. But, I'm packing and so so ready to go! I love Italy and am beyond happy to be able to go back again, this time with my honey.

all images via pinterest

While I'm gone, I've got some really informative and inspiring guest posts lined up for you from these lovely ladies. Hope you enjoy and I'll see you back here in October!

Get excited!
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