Friday, August 26, 2011

The Long Goodbye.

{Baby G., about 6 weeks ago}

I suppose in some ways this post was inevitably, but I wanted to delay it until I was absolutely sure. I didn't want to lead you on or risk saying something I didn't mean.

I've decided I'm going to pack it in here at Odi et Amo. While I thoroughly enjoyed the 2+ years of blogging (and reading blogs), between juggling more responsibilities at work and a new baby, I just don't have time anymore. Beyond that, I'll confess that I've lost a lot of interest. Sure, the first few weeks of not blogging were a bit tough (something akin I'd imagine to going withdrawal), but as the weeks flew by, I've found myself missing this less and less. What time I have free I simply no longer wish to spend blogging. Perhaps even more importantly, my design mojo is all but gone. I'm just kind of...over it. (Sorry!) Might I change my mind? Of course, but I suspect that will require a serious change in my circumstances (like not working).

All that being said, I do miss my blogging buddies -- and I think of you often. You were wonderfully supportive during my various and sundry home renovation and home decor projects and so understanding during my pregnancy and Graham's first few weeks when I went all but AWOL. I wish you all the very best and hope sincerely to keep in touch (and get back in touch) very soon.

Much love,

PS - For the time being, I'll be leaving my blog up and publicly available. As far as I'm concerned, I spent way too much time on this blog to simply let it go into oblivion. It was a labor of love and, like all loves, even when over still stays with you.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Back to Work/Back to Reality....

{Baby G. loves his play mat!}

Today was my first day back at work following a 12-week maternity leave. It was both easier and harder than I had expected. On the one hand, I felt as though I'd simply picked up right where I'd left off; my time away felt more like days rather than weeks. And yet…everything felt different as Baby G. continued to dominate my thoughts as I struggled to make it through a sleepy afternoon without the benefit of a nap.

The idea of leaving him with our nanny (whom I like very much) does not distress me nor do I feel overcome by guilt, convinced I am betraying him by not spending every waking moment taking care of him. And yet...I do feel some regret, some sadness in the knowledge of how much I’ll be missing in the coming weeks and months. I’ve spent the past 12 weeks witnessing every milestone, no matter how trivial and I’ve loved seeing Baby G. develop into a much more alert and interactive being than he was just weeks ago. But I also know that prior to Baby G.’s arrival, I loved my job and a large part of me is excited at the prospect of returning to my professional life, ready to conquer new challenges. I know many of you out there are also working mothers (and fathers) and share these mixed feelings with me.

{...And his mobile!}

I am sure you've also noticed the drop off in my posting (and commenting!) over the past few weeks -- and my absence is simply the byproduct of my cherishing what was left of my time at home with my son. Unfortunately, as I adjust to my new role as a working mom, I expect my blogging to remain sporadic, as my priorities have by necessity shifted to accommodate this new addition to our family. In the coming weeks and months, I hope to find my way back here to the design blogosphere, but in the meantime recognize that my reality currently does not allow for the level of involvement that I'd had the luxury of having up until 3 months ago. I ask that you bear with me during this transition and I hope we are able to reconnect soon once I’ve figured out how to fit my passions for design and blogging around my new duties as mother.

Know though that I do miss reading many of your blogs on a daily basis, living vicariously through your renovations and DIY projects and sharing your day dreams and fantasies of beautiful design. I firmly believe that blogging has revolutionized and democratized the interior design world and I’ve loved being a (small) part of that shift. I hope to see you all back here soon for more of what I love, hate and hate to love in the worlds of design, fashion and style.

Until then,


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

There's Something About Orange

While just about any technicolor shade is right on trend this summer, there's something about orange that I'm loving right now. Perhaps it's because orange seems just right for the increasingly warm weather. Or maybe it's just the punch of bold, bright, cheerfulness that my wardrobe needs right now. Or maybe it's got something to do with how well it pairs with other colors I love like navy blue, turquoise and white. Regardless, orange is a "must have" for me this summer.

The key to pulling off head-to-toe orange? Keep the silhouette simple and streamlined; the color is the standout here, so keep the details unfussy and accessories (try just some simple gold jewelry) to a minimum. Also, stay monochromatic if you want to keep the look feeling sophisticated and edgy as too many bold colors easily read as too young. Nude shoes are a great (and leg-lengthening) choice.

Despite my love of statement-making color, I'll confess I don't always have the hutzpah to wear head-to-toe brights myself. I all too often tend to retreat behind black, navy or gray. If you're anything like me (and I expect many of you are), then the easiest way to play with the bolds and brights found on the Spring 2011 runways is to incorporate these shades into your existing wardrobe in smaller doses, via shoes, jewelry, and handbags.

Source List:

St John Double Face Crepe Jacket and Pencil Skirt (Nordstrom; $795 and $395)
Diane Von Furstenberg Bateau Neck Dress (Nordstrom; $285)
Verbena Dress (Tory Burch; $350)

Kate Spade New York "Daycation" pouch (Nordstrom; $50)
Lanvin Grosgrain espadrilles (Net-a-porter; $595)
Elephant Belt (Kate Spade; $95)
Cara Accessories Bead & Metal Bangles (Nordstrom; $48)
Dylan Large Shoulder Bag (Linea Pelle; $415)
Tory Burch Synthetic Straw Shoulder Bag (Nordstrom; $350)
Horton Sandal (Tory Burch; $295)
Shabby-Chic Linen Ballet Flat (Banana Republic; $79)
Juicy Couture Endless Summer Stackable Rings (Nordstrom; $88/set of 3)


Monday, May 16, 2011

Car Query

Locked, loaded and ready to roll!

Yes, I know I've been a very bad blogger, but y'all may be unsurprised to hear that being a new mom and blogging regularly aren't exactly simpatico. In any case, while I promise better, design-oriented posts later this week, I wanted to pop in this morning and get folks' thoughts on cars.

2011 Acura RDX

While this isn't exactly a car blog, I thought you, my lovely and smart readers, might have some valuable opinions and insights on purchasing a "mom" car. After swearing up and down I wasn't going to succumb and trade in one of our small sedans for a SUV just because I happened to have a 15-lb. bundle of joy...well, just 10 weeks in, and I'm succumbing and we're going to start looking for a smaller, crossover SUV later this year.

2011 Volvo XC60

So here are my criteria: (1) comfortably fits rear-facing car seat while allowing ample room in the front for 6'-plus parents (something our current cars do not allow); (2) reasonable amount of cargo space for carting gear, groceries and the occasional flea-market score; (3) not so big that I'll detest driving it (I had a 4-runner for exactly a year in law school before trading down to a Matrix -- it was way too big for me then, and still is now); and (4) under $35k. Oh and yeah, I'd like leather seats, too.

2011 Volkswagen Tiguan

Tall order? I certainly hope not! Right now, I'm thinking about the Acura RDX, the Volvo XC60 and the Volkswagen Tiguan. I currently own an Acura TSX (and love it; we'll be trading in Dave's older Pontiac Grand Prix), but I have very little experience with Volvos or Volkswagens personally. There are things that I like and dislike about each of these models, but I'd prefer to hear your opinions uncolored by my own so I won't go into details here. 

Have you owned any of these cars or know of someone who does? If so, would you recommend one (or all of them)? Do you have any other suggestions? Regardless, would very much appreciate your thoughts!

Update (7/4/11): We bought the Tiguan and couldn't be happier! (Though we did test drive the Volvo xc60 and it is a very, very nice car; we just found a deal on the VW we couldn't refuse!)


Friday, May 6, 2011

Wave on Wave

Tobi Fairley's Arkansas home is featured in this month's Traditional Home. While I'd seen many of the rooms before via her online portfolio, I was still excited to see one of my favorite designers featured -- and to see a few "new to me" rooms. Her entryway, with its bold black and white wallpaper is certainly a stunner, but it's actually the Vitruvian scroll molding on the stairs that really caught my attention. What's more, I knew I'd seen it recently in House Beautiful....

With its softer, cooler color palette, this dining room by John Howard (Phoebe Howard's husband) is just about a complete 180 from Fairley's bold entryway, and yet the pattern works just as beautifully here as a subtle nod to the North Carolina home's beach locale.

While the motif has traditionally appeared on architectural friezes, there's no need to restrict the pattern to hard surfaces. In this living room, Katie Ridder creates architecture and movement with draperies edged in Vitruvian srcoll trim.

Want to know more? The pattern is a classic -- literally -- and you'll find it featured prominently on Greco-Roman buildings and mosaics dating back thousands of years. The name Vitruvian Scroll is for Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, a first century B.C.E. Roman architect whose book De Architectura was immensely popular during the Renaissance. And yet, despite its antiquity, the pattern (like greek key, the angular variant of the same scroll motif, which I waxed poetic about HERE) still feels modern and fresh to me. The soft curves of the Vitruvian scroll, however, reads as more feminine, more sensuous. And, since it's not experiencing quite the same level of popularity right now as greek key, it also reads as a bit more unusual.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Baby G. Update: Two Months

Tomorrow Baby G. will be two months old -- man, does time fly! In many ways it feels like he's only been with us for a few days and, yet, I can't really imagine my life without him now. With each passing week he's getting bigger, more alert, more expressive and definitely more fun. This weekend we discovered how much he liked sitting up against one of us, looking out at the world (surveying his domain, as we like to joke). His serious demeanor continues, and he still spends much of his awake time quietly watching everything and everyone.

This week Baby G. managed to find his hand...and he's currently obsessed! In fact, I've been having trouble getting it out of his mouth so I can feed him.

Another change over the past few weeks is how interested he is now in mobiles, toys, etc. He's getting pretty good at batting them and even grabbing the ring on that bird hanging in the foreground. Today I set up a mobile over his crib that plays Bach and Chopin and he was absolutely mesmerized...well, for 15 minutes or so until he got tired of it. But, hey, I figure 15 minutes is about the max attention span you could possible expect at his age!

Of course, the big milestone at two months is the first round of immunizations. I'm actually excited at the prospect of Baby G. getting his first round of shots tomorrow, as it means I'll be taking him out more without worrying so much over every passing sneeze or sniffle. At the end of the month, we're headed to Florida to visit Dave's family and while I don't relish the thought of loading all of Baby G.'s gear onto a plane, I am very much looking forward to seeing everyone (and getting out of the house!).

Tilda has adjusted well to having Baby G. around. Indeed, she's incredibly protective of him and treats him like a member of our pack.

Of course, she's still a puppy herself, which means she can sometimes be a bit overly enthusiastic. I figure once Baby G. is mobile, he'll more than get her back though.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jane's House: The Master Bedroom

Jane's House as of April 20, 2011

Editor's Note: This post is the second in a series detailing the design of my sister's new house. If you missed last week's installment for Jane's study, go HERE.

Well, the construction of Jane and P.W.'s house continues at a quick pace -- indeed, the exterior is all but finished, the drywall is up and the flooring is going down. As they've set a closing date for the end of the month, I'm going to redouble my efforts to finish the decorating plans for a few key rooms. This week, we'll be focusing on their master bedroom.

The master bedroom is generously sized at 14' x 16', with a nice bay window overlooking the backyard, which will make for a lovely seating area for reading and relaxing. Like many couples, Jane and P.W. are looking for a balance of masculine and feminine, warm and cool tones and all on a strict budget! Moreover, they already have a nice bedroom set and are hoping to get a new look without investing in new furniture. Fortunately, this means I'll be working with some great basics that can act as the foundation for our new design.

Jane and P.W.'s existing bedroom furniture are from Pottery Barn's Valencia bedroom furniture line, whose classic yet clean lined pieces are stained a dark mahogany, as well as an existing white armchair and ottoman. These pieces are the perfect transitional building blocks and will add weight and balance to the lighter, more eclectic accessories and small furniture items that we'll be layering in to create depth, interest and personality.

Jane has her heart set on this soft modern Ikat print duvet set from DwellStudio. It's palette of grey-blue, greige and sand will be the jumping off point for the room. We'll pull out the cool grey-blue with the sheets a throw pillow for the white chair and the warmer greige for the walls, painting the room in Farrow & Ball's Elephant Breath, a color with interest and depth that goes way above simple beige.

The next layer will come in with accessories. The first task will be to swap out the simple oil-rubbed bronze knobs on the dresser and side tables with some gorgeous mercury glass knobs from Anthropologie. Yes, they're a splurge when buying in bulk, but they'll completely transform the pieces, bringing in the more ornate, traditional elements that Jane is so drawn to. 

Next, because this is a bedroom, I didn't want to get too crazy with color and pattern, opting instead to create interest by varying textures and materials. As the main furniture pieces are dark wood (as the floors will be), I wanted to create some balance with lighter accessories. A pair of alabaster table lamps bring in a classic material, while the modern silhouette echoes the simple lines of the furniture. A bone mirror over the long dresser will add interest and a feminine touch. A bone side table repeats the material over in the seating area, where we'll also add a leggy chair with a feminine print (in a not-so-feminine grey) to balance out the larger, skirted armchair. A small garden stool next to it will bring in a touch of metallic.

So here's the look all put together:--

Source list:
Elephant's Breath Paint (Farrow & Ball)
Valencia Sleigh Bed (Pottery Barn)
Emile Lamp (Crate & Barrel)
Mercury Glass Melon Knob (Anthropologie)
Valencia Side Table (Pottery Barn)
Round Bone Mirror (Wisteria)
Valencia Dresser (Pottery Barn)
Carly Chair (Crate & Barrel)
PB Basic Armchair (Pottery Barn)
Dotted Trellis Azure Pillow (DwellStudio)
Chinese Garden Stool (Wisteria)
Chenille Jute Basketweave Rug (Pottery Barn)
Pintuck Azure Sheets (DwellStudio)
Batavia Dove Duvet Set (DwellStudio)
Bone Side Table (West Elm)

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