Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Trend Alert: Canopy Beds

Canopy beds aren't just for little girls' rooms anymore. Lately, the classic furniture piece has been popping up all over shelter magazines and in interior designer's portfolios -- and I can't seem to get enough. Following the old mantra that "bigger is always better", builders today are making incredibly large master bedrooms. Sure, these may seem like a luxury to prospective buyers, but more often than not, homeowners are left wondering how to fill the vast spaces to create cozier, more romantic bedrooms. Canopy beds are a great solution for those oversized bedrooms as they not only take up a greater volume of space in the room with their height, but they also create the feeling of a room within a room. Additionally, canopy beds are a wonderful way to demarcate between sleeping and sitting areas, which also makes a canopy bed is a great solution for a loft.

When I saw this gorgeous quatrefoil bed in a recent spread in House Beautiful, my jaw literally dropped. {And for your reference, it's the Asilah bed from Ironies.} Hand-carved and inlaid with bone, it is, for me at least, the ultimate bed (I burn, I pine, I perish...).

David Mitchell

For a more modern look, keep the lines of the bed clean and architectural. Forgoing a fabric canopy will enhance the look. In this small bedroom designed by David Mitchell, the dark spare canopy is a wonderful contrast to the clean white walls as the vertical lines of the bed sharply set off the horizontal slats of the paneled walls. The height of the bed also highlights the height of the room, which is particularly important when the footprint of the room is small.

Kathryn Scott

I love the clean, Early American farmhouse feel of this bedroom. While both the headboard and floor-to-ceiling curtains sport an intricate floral pattern, the simple bed linens keep the look from being fussy (or stuffy).

In this room by famed Chicago designer Kara Mann, I adore all the contrasts of the dark brown lines against the clean whites of the room -- from the floor to the bed too the walls, large white spaces are framed by dark brown lines. The more intricately carved wood sidetables keep the room from veering into cold and geometric.

A second room from Kara Mann. While I generally prefer canopy beds without any sort of fabric on top, a simple, gauzy white fabric, draped casually on top has a wonderful beachy feel and would be a great way to change your room up for the seasons.

I love the metal work on the foot of this bed -- so much so in fact that I might have foregone a bench altogether just to show it off more. That said though, I do love how Coleman used simple white drapes just at the head of the bed to create the impression of a soft and dramatic headboard. By leaving the rest of the canopy unadorned, Coleman keeps the look from being too precious.

I love the look (and feel!) of an upholstered headboard. In this bedroom designed by Tom Stringer, you get the best of both worlds with this bed that features a canopy bed with an upholstered headboard. The soft yellow stripe, paired with yellow sidetables, is such a refreshing jolt of warmth in this predominately white and blue room.

Tom Scheerer

I love the coral color of this bed, especially in contrast to the china blue bedding and denim colored rug. I also like how Scheerer has designed the canopy with its tautly pulled cover and gentle pleatings on the panel behind the headboard.

Jodi Macklin

Another example of how well a canopy bed works in the light, beach-inspired bedrooms that I find myself so drawn to as of late. The injection of navy blue, in lieu of a lighter shade, is a refreshingly bold (but not jarring) choice for a bedroom.

There are literally dozens of wonderful options for canopy beds available on the market today. Here are my perfect dozen, from a budget-friendly IKEA bed to a "price upon request" (i.e., if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it) stunner by Oly Studio.

Sourcelist (from top left): 1. EDLAND bed from IKEA ($299). Since this bed is made out of wood, it's a great candidate for a bold paint job. 2. Turner canopy bed from Restoration Hardware ($999.99). I love the subtle tapering of the posts on this bed, crafted out of black cherry. 3. Canopy metal bed by Annie Selkie for Vanguard Furniture ($2,599). You can't get much more "Chinoiserie Chic" than this. 4. Modern Glamor Hayward Bed from Ethan Allen ($2099). This bed is a wonderful blend of British Colonial and Hollywood Regency. 5. Italian Campaign canopy bed from Anthropologie ($1250). This bed has risen to iconic status, thanks in no small part to Miles Redd. 6. Antonio canopy bed from Pottery Barn ($1,299). A great bed at a great price; swap out the headboard fabric for your own to get a truly customized look.

Source list (from top left): 1. Summerland Key bed from Cottage and Bungalow (call for pricing). This gorgeous faux-bamboo frame comes in over a dozen great colors. 2. Milleunanotte canopy bed by Emaf Progetti from AllModern.com ($7,161). The bed-equivalent of the Parson's table, this simple bed will never go out of style and would work in both traditional and modern interiors. 3. Legion Bed from High Fashion Home (pricing upon request). Low to the ground, this platform bed draws upon both Chinoiserie and Romanesque influences. 4. New Country canopy bed from Ethan Allen ($1049 bed; $179 canopy frame). The black finish and paired-down details on this bed skirts a traditional country look in favor of a cleaner, more architectural style. 5. ducduc Cabana canopy bed from AllModern.com ($1895). Technically a child's bed, I love the idea of using a twin-sized version of this bed (with the matching bolsters) as a wildly glamorous daybed. 6. Oly Studio Walker Bed from Tonic Home (call for pricing). Similar to Anthropologie's canopy bed, but with an upholstered headboard.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you woke up this morning with everything (and everyone) you could want underneath your Christmas tree. As I reflect back on the blessings of this past year, I know that starting this blog has given me some of the best gifts I could have wished for: a voice and an outlet for my creativity and, just as importantly, a community of wonderful and supportive readers and fellow bloggers. Best wishes for a wonderful day full of merriment, memories and (of course) style.

Photograph courtesy of Canadian House & Home.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Decorating from Coast to Coast

After posting pictures of my Christmas decorations earlier this week, I was so excited when several of you took me up on my offer and submitted pictures of your own homes all decked out for the holidays. My excitement became even greater when I realized how wonderful so many of these pictures were -- I am so impressed! In particular, I love how many of you go well beyond traditional holiday decorating (i.e., a Christmas tree, stockings and a wreath). Instead, decorations line stairwells, tables, and just about any spare corner in your homes creating a wonderfully festive atmosphere throughout the house. Perhaps best of all though, I love the variety of decorations and styles that these photos display; no matter what your decorating taste, I'm sure you'll find something you like.

Our first stop is to Dallas, where loyal Odi et Amo reader Nichole lives in a charming traditional home. There's such a line when it comes to outdoor decorating between being festive and being tacky, and I think Nichole tows that line beautifully with some simple garlands around the columns (which highlights her charming portico) and a wreath on the door. I also like how the decorations can be enjoyed in daylight as well as at night.

Aside from the Christmas tree, festive garlands hung along a banister are my favorite holiday decorations and when they can highlight a gorgeous stairwell, as they do here, all the better. I also love how Nichole placed two small Christmas trees on the landing. Well done, Nichole!

I suspect many of you will recognize this D.C.-area front door as belonging to Beth (author of two of my "must read" blogs, Chinoiserie Chic and Style Redux). Her red angel wreath is such a gorgeous and fun alternative to a traditional spruce wreath and really pops against Beth's black door.

Colorful blue and pink ornaments bedeck more towering greenery in Beth's sitting room.

A close-up of Beth's Christmas tree in her family room shows off an array of beautiful metallic ornaments. I love the mixture of textures and styles here, all made cohesive by a gold and silver color palette. Beth has done a wonderful series this month over at Chinoiserie Chic chronicling her holiday decorating room by room; if you're looking for innovative ways to deck the halls in style, it's a must read.

Our next stop is southern New Jersey, where we'll check in on the home of A Lil' Welsh Rarebit's Christy. Christy's colorful Christmas tree reminds me so much of the Christmas trees of my childhood -- the colorful lights, mix of ornaments and lovingly wrapped gifts just sing "welcome home for the holidays!" to me.

I love the warmth and personality of Christy's mantle, which displays are variety of holiday treasures both old and new. There's also a certain urban quality here with all these colored lights against the brick wall that I find very appealing.

Next we'll make our way to Iowa and Kara's midcentury modern-inspired living room. I love how Kara kept her holiday decorations in line with her overall design aesthetic. The effect is simple and modern, but still cozy and festive.

A few simple snowflakes, a bowl full of blue and green ornaments and a cute throw pillow were all Kara needed to make this corner of her living room feel festive.

And, of course, how could I resist including a photo of these cute faces? Kara's adorable pups are Arlo and Minnie, respectively. Be sure to check out all their many adventures over at Kara's blog, Living in the Moment.

The final leg of our virtual tour brings us back to the Dallas area at the home of Liz, whose blog It's Great to be Home... chronicles the ongoing renovations of her charming '60s-era ranch (as well as the house flipping venture she recently launched with her husband). Liz's gorgeous living room (and that stunning fireplace!) is hands down my favorite room that she and her husband have redone. For the holidays, Liz has shown the fireplace off to its best advantage with two small trees and a lovely green garland.

Liz's Christmas tree is just so joyous -- I love the tightly edited red and gold color scheme, which compliments all the creamy neutrals and rich browns of her home. The simply wrapped ribbon really makes a statement, doesn't it?

Finally, Liz decorated the buffet in her dining room with more greenery and a red runner, which ties the tablescape in with the decorations elsewhere in her house. I particularly love Liz's collection of large silver candlesticks, staggered at different heights thanks to a silver cake stand (brilliant!).

Thanks again to everyone who was kind enough to submit pictures and I hope the rest of you are as inspired by them as I am. Tonight Dave and I are off to Florida to spend Christmas with his family and, while I'll be sans-laptop while I'm gone, I'll be back home on Monday, enjoying our "staycation" and blogging away. But until then...

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Decorating for Christmas

I've been meaning to post photographs of the house all decked out for the holidays for several weeks now, but between long workdays and even more demanding nights and weekends (I can't remember my social calendar being this full since, well, ever!), I've only just gotten around to uploading the pictures. In an effort to work with what I've got, I didn't go out and buy all new decorations this year -- though I'll readily admit I was tempted, especially since the color scheme in the old house (largely browns and golds, with some red and green accents) is so different from the color scheme in the new house (primarily blue and white, with a strong dose of metallics for good measure). Accordingly, I can't say that the end result represents precisely the look I was going for, but I'm happy overall with how everything turned out, especially in light of my limited time to devote to decorating this month.

I'll admit that I love a real Christmas tree; however, between my allergies and my neatnik nature, real trees don't exactly love me. My compromise then is to pick up a lovely spruce wreath every December at Whole Foods for the front door; that way, I get a bit of that gorgeous smell every time I walk in the door and the mess (and my hay fever) stays outside where it belongs.

I love the look of gorgeous garlands draped dramatically down a curved staircase. Alas though, this year I couldn't find one that suited both my taste and my budget, so I simply made do and threaded a few light strands around the banister. Hopefully I'll be able to score a few garlands on the cheap during the post-Christmas sales. So while my light installation isn't exactly gorgeous during the day, at night it beautifully frames the lighted Christmas tree, drawing you into the great room.

The dining room is where most of the new holiday items found a home. Inspired by the many images of gorgeous chandeliers bedecked with graceful ornaments that I've seen this year, I picked up a few sets of inexpensive snowflake ornaments from Target to outfit the chandelier. The mirrored Christmas trees (which I love -- they're truly impressive in person!), beaded runner and mercury glass votives are also from Target. The tablecloth is by Marimekko and available at Finn Style.

A close up of the snowflake ornaments. I initially started with just 6, but added another layer after deciding that it looked a bit underdone.

I pulled a similar trick in the breakfast nook, only this time I went with larger mercury glass ornaments (also scored at Target) that I rehung using inexpensive ribbon. Since this chandelier is much smaller, I thought it could handle just a few larger ornaments. The beaded snowflake runner is also from Target. Next year, I'm going to try and add a few lights and/or ornaments to my topiary for a bit more festive flair.

The mantle was decked out in our Christmas stockings (which I purchased at Pottery Barn several years ago) -- and yes, even the pets get their own stocking. I'm hoping to replace these in the next year or two with a bespoke set in silver, white and blue to coordinate better with my new family room.

The Christmas tree, with Olivia sleeping underneath it (all the animals love the Christmas tree and spend the month of December camped out underneath it -- I assume they're attracted to all the sparkling lights). You'll notice my tree doesn't really have a theme; rather, the ornaments are a mishmash of heirlooms (I have several sets from both grandmothers), childhood favorites and new purchases. While I adore the look of a well-curated Christmas tree, with ornaments in only one or two different colors, in practice I can't part with my own rag-tag collection, which bring back fond memories of childhood and my grandmothers.

My attempts at a high quality shot (which was supposed to end up on our Christmas card) of Olivia underneath the Christmas tree were largely fruitless. That said though, doesn't she look adorable all curled up in her pink bed and wearing her pink coat?

And what about you? Did you go all out and deck the halls this year? If so, please send me your photos -- I'd love to share them here at Odi et Amo.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Round-Up: 2010 Calendars

Dabney Lee at Home Monogrammed Desk Calendar ($25)

As the end of the year rapidly approaches, I'm beginning to look forward to the start of 2010 with a renewed sense of optimism. Like many of you, 2009 was a year of great anxiety for Dave and me. In many ways, I know that we are very blessed to have made it through the year with our jobs, bank accounts and sanity (relatively) in tact. Indeed, things could have been (and could still be) far, far worse. But -- and this may just be blind optimism -- I'd like to believe that things are not just looking up, but are actually on the mend. And so, as we find ourselves at yet another transition from one year to the next, looking back on the past and hopefully to the future, I am reminded of that Counting Crows song from the '90s:

And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe

Maybe this year will be better than last
I can't remember all the times I've tried to tell myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass.

On a lighter note, I'd argue that a necessary precursor to embracing the present is to keep track of it. Sure, you could rely on your Outlook calendar (and boy, do I), but sometimes it's nice to have something pretty to look at as well -- and I am not talking about those horribly cheesy "rah team!" calendars handed out by your company. Every year I indulge in one or two (or three) desk and/or wall calendars to decorate my offices at home and work.

Of course, if you're still doing some last-minute shopping for the holidays, calendars also happen to make the perfect, inexpensive gift. If they're monogrammed (like the Dabney Lee version above) or contain personal pictures, then all the better. I typically buy an extra one or two every year for emergency gifts for co-workers and acquaintances.

Source list (clockwise from top left): 1. Snow & Graham Wall Calendar ($29). 2. Tara Hogan Letterpress Calendar ($42). 3. Paris is for Lovers Calendar (Irene Suchoki; $20). 4. Illustrated Desk Calendar (Up Up Creative; $18). 5. Letterpress Calendar with Walnut Base (The Paper Thieves; $26). 6. Desktop Calendar (Michelle Brusegaard; $20).

Source list (clockwise, from top left): 1. Custom Photo Calendar (Story by Mia; $50). 2. Lily Pulitzer Wall Calendar ($24.99). 3. Perpetual Calendar - Blue (Orange Beautiful; $28). 4. Kate Spade Desktop Calendar ($20). 5. Keep Calm and Carry On Printable Spoof Calendar (Women) (Little Brown Pen; $5). 6. Avie Designs Desktop Calendar ($20).


Monday, December 14, 2009

Suzanne Kasler: Southern Elegance Redefined

Looking back on the various designers and decorators that I've featured here on Odi et Amo over the past year, I was surprised to see that I really haven't showcased the Atlanta-based decorator Suzanne Kasler yet. Suzanne's work represents what is best about new-traditional Southern design -- interiors that draw heavily on classic French design with a graciousness and warmth that have become hallmarks of Southern style. And, like many of the South's new design stars, Suzanne happily mixes antiques with modern art, rumpled linen with velvet...and it's precisely this mix that breaths new life into traditional Southern style.

All of the rooms featured in this post are from a single home in Atlanta, Georgia. As print magazines begin to disappear, one of the things I find myself missing the most about the traditional magazine format is the whole-house spread. While blog posts featuring a collection of single rooms centered around a single theme can be inspiring, I love to see how designers work to create a "look" for an entire house. I'm a firm believer that, while there's no need to stick to a single color palette when decorating each space in your home (boring!), the goal should be for rooms to work together and flow effortlessly -- yet thoughtfully -- into each other. Of course, this is much easier said than done, but I think one of the best ways to get a sense for how this unity can be achieved is to examine as many homes (and not just rooms!) as possible.

Without question there's a formality to this living room -- certainly, the layout is very traditional, as are many of the pieces. The mixed-and-not-matching side tables add a bit of interest and break up all the symmetry. A good rule of thumb though if you're trying this at home is that, if you're mixing side tables, keep the table lamps matching; conversely, if you're going to mix and match table lamps, keep the tables underneath them the same. That said though, the looser upholstery on the sofa and chairs lends a softness to this space that makes the space inviting for guests and the homeowner alike.

There's little about this dining room that I don't love, but I'm particularly struck by the strong sense of symmetry in this room, subverted just a bit by the mismatched dining chairs. The overall effect is formal but not stuffy.

The light, casual air that the white painted furniture gives to the dark chocolate velvet is perfectly in keeping with the brightness of the room. The floor-to-ceiling drapes also help soften the huge windows and help bring the high ceilings down to a cozier height.

This picture also graces the cover of Suzanne's new book and I think I can see it -- though simple in composition, it perfectly illustrates Suzanne's American-meets-European style. Gorgeous dark herringbone floors are such a bold contrast to white walls and the graphic pattern of the curtains is an unexpected and contemplrary touch.

There's just something about a pair of twin beds that I find absolutely endearing -- perhaps it's because they recall a Dick Van Dyke Show -style prudishness that I find quaint. The girlishness of the linens and white furniture here is well balanced by a deeper, more sophisticated pink on the walls. A dark gourd lamp grounds the layout, drawing the viewer's eye towards the center.

A blue and white bedroom is classic, peaceful and gender neutral. And that gorgeous chandelier print fabric on the curtains, canopy and side chair? I'm in love. Does anyone recognize this fabric? If so, please let me know as it would be absolutely perfect in my own master bedroom. {Update: Via Christy over at A 'Lil Welsh Rarebit, I've discovered that this fabric is called Spangle Blue and is by Andrew Martin through Lee Jofa. Thanks, Christy!}

This ranks high on my list of all-time favorite teen rooms; it's sophisticated but still quite youthful. I love the contrast of the white walls against the red-orange slatted ceiling and bold graphic curtains. The hammock-inspired daybed by the windows is such a whimsical touch -- perfect for daydreaming, girl chats and overnight guests.

The color palette of this bedroom recalls the soft blush and deep chocolate brown used in the sitting room. The pink used recalls the pale pink of a ballerina slipper -- an analogy I suspect Suzanne played up here with her choice of artwork and fabrics (most notably in the pink silk on the slipper chair). I am particularly drawn to the luxuriousness of the fabrics: the rich silks of the chairs and tufted headboard, the softly pleated roman shade.

In addition to her design services, Suzanne also has a line of furniture with Hickory Chair and lighting available at Circa Lighting. I'm particularly enamored with her quatrefoil designs -- especially her Alexandra side chair and quatrefoil table lamp. And, if you're looking for the perfect gift for all the design enthusiasts on your holiday shopping list, autographed copies of Suzanne's new book Inspired Interiors are available through her website for $50. {Hint hint.}


Giving Back this Holiday Season

Today, I'm joining in with several bloggers in a collaborative effort spearheaded by Paloma Contreras of La Dolce Vita, in order to make a difference for a very deserving charity. Pencils of Promise is a wonderful 501(c)(3) organization (which means any donation you make is tax-deductible) out of New York that partners with local communities and organizations to build schools of early-stage education in developing nations for some of the world’s most impoverished and undereducated children. Sadly, there are more than 75 million children in this terrible situation worldwide. Last December, the Pencils of Promise team visited a small village in Laos and by July 2009, they had built a new school for the village children who started attending classes on September 1st. This month, Pencils of Promise will be opening their third school and they hope to open the doors to education for more children in 2010.

In the spirit of the holiday season, we are asking for your help today on behalf of these children. Just think of the enormous impact we could have if each person who reads this post donates just $1.00. If you are willing and able to give more (35.00 buys shelves for a classroom, $50 provides pencils for one year, $100 provides a teacher’s salary for three months and so on), it would be greatly appreciated. We are in the midst of the giving season and hope that you will find it in your heart to make a donation to this worthy cause today. Or donate via PayPal through their website if you prefer. Every little bit helps and together, we can make a difference! If you would like to stay informed about the difference Pencils of Promise is making, be sure to become a fan on their Facebook page.

I know that there are a million deserving charities competing for your donations this holiday season, but I hope that you'll consider including Pencils of Promise in your charitable giving. I have always believed that education for all is fundamental to solving so many of the worlds' problems and charities like Pencils of Promise are playing an important role in levelling the playing field and providing equality of opportunity to children who would not otherwise stand a chance to break free of the devastating effects of poverty.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dear Santa...A Gift Guide for Me!

I toyed with the idea of compiling a gift guide or two for the holidays this year, but ultimately ditched the idea because (a) I'm fairly certain the blogosphere has maxed out on gift guides this year and (b) gifting is and ought to be personal -- you know your family and friends far, far better than I do and any suggestions I have would be far inferior to whatever you can come up with.

And so, I've decided instead to compile a gift guide for me -- and if you find something you like for yourself or a loved one, then I'm flattered. Certainly, some of these items are a bit out of budget for most (if not all) of my family members and friends, so consider this a list addressed to Santa. {Oh and while you're at it Santa, can you snag me a gorgeous Chinoiserie tree, too?}

Kate Spade Genny (Eggplant) (Zappos; $263). Be still my beating heart. I loved these when I saw them in red and black, but I'm positively salivating over Kate's eggplant version.

Peacock Snow Globe (West Elm; $29). I'm not generally a fan of snow globes, but West Elm's latest series is really quite chic. And of course my favorite is the stunning white peacock. I'd leave her out on my desk all year round.

Quatrefoil Key Pendant (Tiffany's; $1000). I'm actually not a huge jewelry girl -- I tend to wear the same few pieces on a regular basis and often forget to wear any altogether. That said though, even I get a little bit weak in the knees when I see a Tiffany's box underneath the tree. And if it had this key inside it...well, I'd promise to be a very good girl this coming year.

Dove Ornament (Jonathan Adler; $24). I'm always happy to receive a gorgeous ornament or two and Jonathan Adler's newest offerings are almost too lovely to put away when the season ends.

Pavilion Lacquered Box (Thomas Paul; $36). There are innumerable uses for small, pretty lacquered boxes and I suspect you can never have too many of them laying around. I'd put this one by my bed to corral jewelry, coins and all the little things that seem to collect on nightstands.

Sake Experience Gift Set (Fresh; $95). Fresh's Sake Bath is honestly the best bath soak a girl could ask for. The smell is divine and the stuff really has a way of seeping into your bones, relaxing all the stress away. A corresponding lotion and candle would just be icing on the cake.

Hampstead Mirror (Williams-Sonoma Home; $595). This is for my powder room, where I'm dying to replace my builder basic frameless mirror with something that has a bit more pizazz.

Black & Gray Zebra print ballerinas (Pretty Ballerinas; €179). A girl can never have too many cute flats, and while just about any pair of Pretty Ballerinas would fit the bill, I can't get over the fun black, white and gray print + cute pom-poms on these.

Monogrammed Desk Pad (Dabney Lee; $65). Personalized stationery is always welcome, especially when it comes in bold prints like zig zags, greek key and quatrefoil.

Hector Throw (Missoni Home; $275). A soft cozy throw is a great wintry gift and you can never go wrong with a subtle tone-on-tone zig zag. This one has been on my wish list for several years now.

Asymmetrical Bow Pullover in Sweet Papaya (J.Crew; $78). This sweater is perfect for the office or weekend and I love the bright, fruity color. I'm also a sucker for any top that has a pretty tie around the neck.

JPK Pleated Satchel (Nordstrom; $198). Nylon is a great alternative to leather if you're looking to lighten your load (after all, have you ever noticed how heavy some leather purses can be?). I love the raisin color coupled with the gold hardware. Ample pockets and a fun lining ensure that the inside is as functional and pretty as the outside.

Vera Wang "Lisa" jeweled ballerina flat (Nordstrom; $295). I know, I know, this is the third pair of shoes to appear in this post, but I want (nay, need) these shoes specifically for my sister's wedding. I plan on wearing flats both to be more comfortable and to avoid being over a foot taller than the other bridesmaid (the groom's sister). Of course, I'm sure I could find plenty of other occasions to wear these pretties....

Now what about you? What do you want for Christmas?

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