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)


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Dining Room Gets a Face Lift

Last weekend while my in-laws were in from Florida for a visit, I finally found the opportunity to recover my dining room chairs. In our old house, I had covered our dining room chairs in a pretty (if a little bit dark) print from Marimekko, but the purple-grey and black print was all wrong for my navy and white dining room. Since moving into our new house in July of 2009, I had put off recovering the set, assuming I would be upgrading my dining room furniture in short order.

Well, flash forward nearly two years later and that dining room set is still there...and not going anywhere anytime soon thanks to a baby and a very expensive backyard renovation. And so, having resigned myself to keeping my furniture for another few years, I decided I should finally get around to recovering the seats. I scored two yards of a pretty blue and white print from Mod Green Pod at 50% off a few weeks ago that's much more in keeping with the room. I won't go into the process of recovering seat cushions as there are a plethora of how-to's online right now (and frankly it's super-easy...if you can wrap a present, you can recover a seat cushion).

I love how the print manages to brighten up the whole set -- sorely needed given the dark tones of the wood, especially against my dark wood floors. I've attempted to bring even more light to the center of the room by adding a white and silver runner from John Robshaw that I scored on One King's Lane a few years ago and a pair of silver peafowl from Joss & Main (yes, I love sample sale sites!). The lovely ginger jar print on the wall is by Anne Harwell and the frame is from ZGallerie.

I'd like to perk this room up a bit further with two other additions: either some great wall art or a mirror for the lone wall (which is visible from the entryway) and some fabulous drapes for the two windows on the left wall. While I continue to hunt for the perfect piece for the wall, I'm working on the drapes right now. I'm in love with Iman's new fabric line IMAN Home available at Calico Corners and have decided to use one of her fabrics for the drapes...the question is, which print?
While I'm leaving heavily towards Option A with its two shades of blue that coordinate with the seat fabric and its larger scale print, I wanted to take a quick poll and see what my readers thought. Besides, who doesn't love a poll?

So you tell me, what do you think?

  • Option A
  • Option B
  • Option C
  • Option D
  • None of the above. I have a better idea!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Have you checked out TradHome, the new online decor magazine? It's a collaboration between Lonny Magazine and Traditional Home and I'm loving the fresh, updated take on traditional design. In some ways, the magazine reads much like Traditional Home as it features the work of the magazine's 20 New Traditional Designers, which in itself is great as the short article they usually run in the magazine always leaves me wanting more. Even better though, TradHome takes advantage of its digital medium by incorporating videos (love the short video featuring Jonathan Adler and Charlotte Moss!) and of course tons of visual eye candy in its over 300 pages.

The main feature of this inaugural issue (please say this won't be a one-off!) is the work of the 20 New Traditional Designers, some of whom I was familiar with and love while others were knew to me. Of the 20, my top 5 (old and new) favorites:

Bonesteel Trout Hall

Bonesteel Trout Hall consists of a dynamite trio of interior designers that nails classic Californian style with ease. I love the Moroccan-meets-Western influences of this master bedroom. While there isn't a lot of color, there's a ton of gorgeous textures and intricate details to keep the eye interested. 

Erika's blog (Urban Grace) was one of the first design blogs I started following back in 2008, when my design obsession first took off. I've followed her career closely ever since and I was so thrilled to see her work featured here. Erika's style is decidedly traditional, but with a casual, beachy vibe that suits her Gulf Coast roots. And need I mention how much I love the vaulted ceiling in this master bedroom? I burn, I pine, I perish...

Jamie Herzlinger

The blue grasscloth wallpaper stopped me in my tracks while the intricate chinoiserie styling of the white chairs left me in a swoon. A rich cranberry velvet seat is a great balance to the blue walls and adds warmth that's nicely played up by the rich dark wood of the table. A modern chandelier is hung high enough not to obstruct the view of the gorgeous feature wall.

Sara Gilbane

Sara Gilbane's portfolio has been in my favorites' folder for some time now, but I love some of the more modern, updated work showcased in TradHome. This living room, which its classic Chesterfield done up in a peacock blue velvet juxtaposed with C. Jere's raindrops sculptures is a great blend of traditional and midcentury modern. Tonal horizontal stripes add subtle pattern and accentuate the high ceilings.

Tilton Fenwick

Another dining room with bold blue walls and white chairs, but this one has an entirely different feel with its luxe beach house look. I absolutely love the strong turquoise wall color, especially against the slick white furniture. Baker's tulip chair is a favorite of mine -- it's got a great classic shape streamlined and updated in a crisp modern lacquer. A white lacquer parsons table has a strong architectural presence that holds its own against (but does not compete with) the chairs' shape. It's "new traditional" at its best.

Have you checked out TradHome yet? If so, what did you think? Who were your favorite New Traditional designers?


Monday, April 18, 2011

Jane's House: The Study

Today we're kicking off the design of Jane's house with her study, which will be in a 12' x 11' bedroom on the second floor of their new home. The room itself is fairly standard, though there is a lovely large West-facing window that we'll be playing up with some wonderful draperies. As this room will be primarily Jane's, we decided to go for a slightly more feminine look and play up the traditional-meets-bohemian look that feels just a bit English: think prep meets paisley. It's warm and comfortable, but still a little bit dressed up. Jane also requested a warmer color palette, professing a love for golds, oranges and reds. Of course, P.W. has declared an affinity for blues and grays, meaning that (as is so often the case), the decorator must put on her mediator cap and find a way to make both parties happy.

So where to begin? Well, I always like to find a rug or a fabric that really ties a room together; something that combines all the colors of the room into one fantastic print. From there, you can simply pull out wall colors and accent colors with ease. While I found this rug actually midway through the design process, I immediately knew it was the perfect piece to pull what had been disparate pieces together into a coherent design. Aside from the great color palette of sage green, orange, red-orange and slate blue, the large-scale floral pattern with its slightly raised pile reminds me of crewel work, lending it the sort of traditional-meets-bohemian vibe that I was going for. What makes this even better: at $329 (less a 25% discount we scored thanks to Horchow's frequent sales) for a 5' x 8', the rug is a good buy.

Next up are the fabric selections. Since Jane is a fan of warmer, earthier tones, I decided to pull out the rich orange in the rug as the primary accent color, with warm shades of chocolate brown and sand to keep the room grounded. The Moroccan-style tile print of the draperies is open, airy and fairly neutral, but still interesting. We'll pick up on the more exotic prints with an ikat print in two colorways of coral and sand. The bolder coral will go on the desk chair, while both colors will be made into throw pillows for the daybed (the one existing piece that's going into the room). Finally, a simple sand and chocolate ticking stripe will add a masculine, geometric touch to the space as another print for the pillows. Besides, I'm of the opinion that a room is never truly finished without some sort of stripe.

To balance the warm tones of all the fabrics, I decided to pull out the slate blue in the rug for the wall color (Benjamin Moore's Santorini Blue). Not only does the contrast of cooler walls with warmer fabrics and furniture create a more interesting room, but it also serves another key purpose: it brings in P.W.'s beloved blue-gray, ensuring his tastes are reflected in the room as well. Now that we've selected the color palette and fabrics, it's time to pull everything together:

As I noted, the only existing furniture we're working with is the West Elm daybed. We'll keep with the chocolate brown finish for the other major furniture pieces as well, selecting clean, modern furniture with simple lines and smaller foot prints to suit the dimensions of the room. Jane originally was attracted to a sawhorse-style desk she saw in a Ballard Designs catalogue; however, P.W. requested a glass-top desk, so we found this one on sale at Pottery Barn for under $300 that combines the glass-top with the open, sawhorse-style that Jane was so attracted to in the other piece. I opted for a simple Parsons-style chair (with slightly flared front legs, which lends it a bit more grace and femininity) upholstered in a vivid orange ikat -- just as comfortable, and infinitely more attractive than an ugly office chair. 

To make up for the lack of storage, I selected a small filing cabinet from West Elm (that can also pull double duty as a side table) and some West Elm woven storage boxes in creams and slate blues add texture and are pretty enough to leave out. On the other side of the daybed, a vibrant orange table adds interest and color and breaks up all the dark brown furniture. A vintage-style task lamp from Pottery Barn adds a bit of antique flavor and interest.

Source List:
Firenze Embroidered Panel in Chocolate (Ballard Designs)
Malabar Fabric in Sand and Coral (Ballard Designs)
Ticking Stripe in Chocolate/Cream (Mod Green Pod)
Woven Storage Boxes (West Elm)
Modular File Cabinet (West Elm)
Upholstered Couture Chair in Malabar Coral (Ballard Designs)
Photographer's Task Table Lamp (Pottery Barn)
Ava Desk (Pottery Barn)
Martini Side Table in Persimmon (West Elm)
Vanessa Rug (Horchow)
Santorini Blue by Benjamin Moore

Of course, I'll post pictures once the room is finished (should be sometime in June), but in the meantime we'll continue to search for a few fun accessories and art to really make the space sing.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Jane's House

Jane's House (as of April 15, 2011)

I know it may feel like I have abandoned you, but I promise I have not. Indeed, I've been hard at work on a new project (and a series here on Odi et Amo) -- Jane's House! My sister and her husband P.W. are designing and building a new home in the greater Houston area (right near me, in fact!) and I'm both honored and excited that they've asked for my help in decorating a few of the rooms.

While the house is still under construction, we're already starting to plan how to decorate it -- after all, that's the fun part, right? Jane and P.W. are almost doubling the square footage of their last home, so they'll be needing quite a bit of new stuff to fill the house. So, while several rooms will remain largely empty for the time being, they'd still like a few rooms to be "done" enough to feel like home. And, of course, since this is reality, they're also on a budget.

The Floor Plan

Over the course of the next few weeks, I'll be laying out some ideas for my sister on a few key rooms: her study, the master bedroom, P.W.'s media room (i.e., his pride and joy) and the open concept living room/kitchen. Throughout this process, my goals remain three-fold: to keep my "clients" happy, to stay within their budget and to demonstrate that great design can indeed come at an affordable price and from accessible sources (i.e., everything will come from "big box" stores -- no trade-only here!).

Stay tuned for the first installment next week: Jane's study! In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend! 


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Baby G. Update: Week 5

On Monday Baby G. turned one month old and I have to say it both feels like he's been around forever and that he was just born yesterday. What makes me happiest is that I feel like I'm starting to get more back every day: he's more alert, more active, and even starting to coo and verbalize some! Even better, we're starting to get more sleep as he's been sleeping 5-7 hours straight at night for the past 10 days or so.   I know, I know...I shouldn't brag and it's likely to come back to bite me in the behind in a few weeks or months (or with the next child), but for now I'm eternally grateful for the rest.

So far, his favorite activity (apart from eating, of course!) seems to be laying on my bed, staring at the ceiling fan, but he also loves car rides and walks in his stroller. He's a pretty serious baby, perhaps due to Dave's habit of discussing news and politics with him every night, and is already showing signs of being very independent. He tends to prefer sleeping in his bassinet to in someone's arms and is already good at falling asleep on his own (provided he doesn't get himself too worked up first!).

As you can tell from those chubby cheeks, he's also putting on weight like a champ. At his one month check-up last week, he weighed in at 10 pounds, 8 ounces and based on our inexact weigh-in at home, he's now over 11! I certainly hope he's an early walker because at this rate, I won't be able to carry him for long!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Elephant in the Room

It's no secret that elephants are an incredibly popular motif in interior design right now. From paperweights to side tables, they're popping up just about everywhere. My favorite iteration so far though has to be this chic console table, shown above in classic white and below in cherry red. It's safari-chic but all glammed up in slick lacquer. 

You can snag one for yourself from Circa Who on 1stDibs. If you're looking for a less expensive way to bring an elephant home with you, here are a few other great options:

Source list (clockwise, from top left): (1) Hook, Anthropologie; (2) Cast-Metal Elephant, West Elm; (3) Bottle Stopper, ZGallerie; (4) Bookshelf, DwellStudio; (5) Blue Elephant, Pieces; (6) Stationery, Iomoi; (7) Tape Dispenser, Iomoi; (8) Side Table, Revival Home & Garden; (9) Silk-Screen Print, Serena & Lily; (10) Salt & Pepper Shakers, Jonathan Adler; and (11) Pillow, John Robshaw.


Friday, April 1, 2011

HUGE Sale at Mod Green Pod!

Just wanted to alert everyone to a huge sale going on now at Mod Green Pod, an eco-friendly fabric and wallpaper company based in Austin, Texas. Everything, yes, everything is currently 50% off. Fabrics are now $15/yard for solids and $20/yard for prints. Wallpaper is currently $55 a roll. Hurry while supplies last! I'm thinking of picking up some fabric to recover a small bench I bought on One King's Lane a few months ago.

And no, I'm not a paid promoter, just a big fan. A few years ago, I used their Grand Jubliee fabric in cream to recover a wingback chair. It's now one of my favorite pieces of furniture -- and where I nurse Baby G. every night!

Happy weekend!

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