March 29, 2012

a shopping trip's diy inspiration

I love it when you find diy inspiration in the most unexpected places. I thought I'd just want to buy everything at Hudson, this irresistible shop in Boston's South End. But I found the more I looked, the more I thought, hey I could make that instead. Might be fun. And certainly a lot cheaper.

First of all, I am now obsessed with painting diagonal stripes on a ceiling. But beyond that, see those wastebaskets that are handpainted? That is a diy waiting to happen if I ever saw one.

If you have a strange nook or niche in your home, fill it with books. They don't have to be stacked neatly.

Fabric-covered frames. So easy! And a great use for leftover swatches and odd cuttings. I wondered why I hadn't thought of this sooner.

I thought I was over the oversized-letters-as-wall-art trend, but seeing them here as a foreign word really got me excited. There are a ton of tutorials out there for making these, but Kristen has a super easy one. Now go to it! Who needs a weekend project?!

March 27, 2012

boston's south end & a shop tour

I took a little break yesterday to hang out in the South End and catch up with my friend Susan. The weather cooperated, except for a little wind. And the trees are in bloom. How amazing are these magnolias?!

I can't get over the gorgeous pink color of the second one. {Update: a reader has informed me these are actually tulip trees. Thank you! I was wondering how magnolias could survive up here in the Northeast!} Anyway, the day was just perfect for strolling this great neighborhood filled with charming restaurants, cafes and shops. Oh, and irresistible brownstones. I want to live here. My house in the city. Why not?

We did a little {window} shopping, and the main attraction was my all-time fave South End store, Hudson. I can't get enough of this place. They've absolutely nailed a pitch-perfect mix of vintage items and new pieces. You'll see.

Gorgeous oversize antique table, vintage sign, shiny lamps, a tray full of pretty things. 

Killer sconce in coral red, striped settee, yellow pillows, funky mirror.

That chest.

Huge round antique mirror. I want it.

More baskets, vintage. And you know how I love those.

Another amazing rustic table, crazy awesome orange lamps, huge wooden bowl, bamboo frames, vintage trunk/suitcase.

I fell in love with the fabric on this pillow. Anyone know it?

What can I say? You must go. Or at least check it out online. So many great finds here. I wanted everything!

March 26, 2012

a room i love at splendid willow

chris barrett design

Did everyone have a great weekend? I feel like I've been away from blogworld for so long! What is new? But I'm jumping back in with two feet today. You can find me over at Splendid Willow, where my friend Monika has asked me and some other bloggers as part of her 2 cents series to talk about a room we are totally smitten with. As I'm sure you could have guessed, mine has to do with a kitchen!

March 22, 2012

obsessed with open weave baskets

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across this image of a little girl's room on Pinterest and loved its softness and texture. And soon, those baskets were calling my name.

I've always loved baskets, because they're beautiful and totally practical for storing all kinds of things. But these are special, I think. The open weave design is so interesting and delicate.

cottage living nov 2007

And I've been searching, but still cannot find a clue as to where to get them. Are they vintage? Most likely. French? Probably. Expensive? Definitely.

I found some baguette baskets (but these are often too open) and grape-collecting baskets (but these tend to be oval and have a closed weave) in a Google search, but I haven't hit the mark yet. This is the closest I found, but it's meant to hang on a wall. So, any clues, friends? And are you as obsessed as I am? Or am I crazy to spend hours hunting for a specific basket style?

March 21, 2012

garden spring cleaning

I don't know what it's like in your part of the country, but the weather in the Northeast lately has been phenomenal. Sunny and exceptionally warm. I have skipped the garden boots and gone straight to flip flops, and with it feeling like summer already, I am pretty obsessed with getting the yard and gardens ready for the season. Nevermind that there are no leaves on the trees yet. I'm ready.

Not as ready as I would be if I had a space like this. I have always loved this organized potting shed featured in Cottage Living long ago. It feels rustic and casual but still incredibly neat. The peg rack is a smart way to lay out tools and always know where everything is. I dream of having room like this someday. In the meantime, I'm making do, and clearing, snipping, raking, and seeding. In the hot March sun! 

March 15, 2012

target's getting their pillow act together

Looky what I found at Target! Great pillow styles. I know, I'm shocked too, so I had to take some pics to prove it to you all.

My jaw dropped at the look first, but also at the quality, which is quite nice for a few of them—namely the embroidery and down fill (I told you I was shocked, and this is what really made me get the phone out and start shooting) of the paisleys. The others are simply great patterns, something I've never, or very very rarely, found at Target before. In fact, I'd long stopped even walking down the pillow aisle because the choices were so disappointing. Not so now. These remind me of something you'd find at Pottery Barn or West Elm, for much more of course, these days. The Moroccan-inspired patterns are spot on, and the scale of the larger pillows is perfect.

Of course the prices are incredible, which is not a surprise at all. I think the most expensive of the bunch was $35. I'm tempted to pick up two or three for the living room, if I could only decide which colors I like best. The reds are kind of great, no?

March 13, 2012

bedroom color & pattern for spring


Spring is here! The weather has been absolutely awesome around here lately—bright sunshine and balmy enough to open the windows and let the warm air inside. The warm weather gets me wanting to freshen up every room, but especially the bedroom for some reason. Here's some lively color and pattern I'm loving lately.



west elm

traditional home

And sometimes a new pillow may be all you need.

kerrisdale design

Don't these rooms all feel so fresh? Not exactly crisp, white, and serene, but still fresh. I never want all-white in the spring—maybe because I've had enough of the gray monotony of winter, and the snow! But the color and pattern are exactly what I'm craving now. What about you?

March 12, 2012

mixing it up with cabinet colors

Ever since I found this inspiration image for my parents' kitchen redo, I've been noticing this trend of different-colored uppers and lowers.

For a while we saw islands that stood out in a different shade, or a china cabinet in a contrasting color, but now it's the entire kitchen of the uppers and lowers that are mixing it up. I like this trend of not matching finishes/colors (just as I like getting away from matching upper closed cabinets all together). What do you think? Do you like? Would you do this in your home?

coastal living


apartment therapy

house & home

cottage living

Most examples I found had white cabinets on top and the deeper color on the bottom. It's hard to imagine this reversed. You just wouldn't want your kitchen looking top-heavy. But if you've seen an example, I would love to see how it works, so please share!

house beautiful

I thought about this for our kitchen, as I really like how it feels less predictable and more eclectic. But for our small kitchen, with a lot of finishes already going on, I'm worried it'd break up the space too much and make it feel that much smaller and busy. I still file this under "like" though and even "would like to do someday"!

March 8, 2012

a real-life update to a builder's beige kitchen

My parents are not ones to settle for a boring builder's look or quality (that must be where I get it from?) So when they moved into a sweet but plain Jane home a few years ago, they set to work making it their own. The first thing to go were the off-white walls, since Mom and Dad aren't afraid of color (hello, plum!). And in the kitchen, they upgraded all the appliances to stainless. But the cabinets, though decent-quality wood, still felt cheap-looking in a not-quite-light and not-quite-dark finish.

And notice no hardware? Why do builder's skimp on this?

Well, they looked into new cabinets, but they weren't really into spending 9k and doing a total reno. And as I said, the cabinets were in decent shape, just boring beige wood.

And you know what I'm about to say: paint to the rescue. Again.

I started scouring some inspiration pics for Mom and Dad, and they wanted white, but all white would be too severe in their home full of color. And we talked grey, but I thought all grey could be too dark against the rich colors they have going on too. So we compromised.

The inspiration. (And you've seen this one before too.)

Mom loved it. Dad was convinced. And here's their kitchen now. For about one-tenth the cost of brand new cabinets, they essentially have new cabinets. And an entirely new look.

Oh, I'd love to see white subway tile instead of the plum walls, and I'd love to clear the countertop and top-of-cabinet clutter, but hey, Mom and Dad only listen to their designer daughter so much! By the way the colors are SW City Loft and Peppercorn. Great choices. (The grey looks much less blue in person.)

I think the kitchen looks great. And congrats to the parents for a job well done! And for saving a few bucks too!

March 7, 2012

back to reality?

I'm back from our cruise with the family, and after 10 days away I have to say it's nearly impossible to get back to reality. Not when my head is still here.

sapphire beach, st. thomas

And here.

orient bay, st. martin

But I have a new client appointment today and lots of current clients to follow up on. Not to mention all my blogs and magazines to catch up with. Oh, and I still have a torn-apart kitchen to think about putting back together again! Let's hope inspiration comes upon me soon now that I'm back in the real world.

March 2, 2012

in case you missed it: thinking about the kitchen part 5

Just a little more dreaming today before we get to the ugly work of floor planning next week. We don't have a ton of space in this quirky room, but we'd still love to find a spot for a wine fridge. How civilized!

style at home

Side note: I loooove those old wood floors and that rope handrail on the stairs.


Okay, so it's huge and totally unrealistic for our kitchen. But so cool!


Oooh, narrower is better.

darryl carter


I do love the wine fridge in an island. It seems the perfect spot for it. If only we had space for an island!


This narrow one is adorable! And still has plenty of storage. This may be what we end up with.

Of course, we'll have to make any wine fridge super-functional with a workable counter on top of it, but I think we can make it work. If you're dreaming of a new kitchen, you may as well dream big. And then plan for reality!
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