Friday, May 29, 2009

Find of the Week: Polly George Ceramics

I've been pining for a vase or a teapot from British ceramist Polly George for months now. I love how graphic and modern her all-white pieces feel and the three dimensional motifs lend the pieces a sculptural quality. Unfortunately, there are very few distributors of her products here in the U.S. and her prices are, while probably justifiable given the amount of work that goes into each piece, certainly not wallet-friendly. Sometimes though, patience and some strategic Internet shopping can pay off big time.

Online emporium 2Jane is a great online source for "of the moment" housewares from independent designers around the globe and is one of the few shops online that sells a selection of Polly George's goods. Last week, while killing time between meetings, I checked in and saw that several pieces were substantially discounted. Acting quickly, I ordered the Small Butterfly Vase, for a mere $30 -- and the piece normally sells for $115! Yesterday, the vase arrived in the mail and I was completely floored by the quality. First of all, this is bone china, not just stoneware. Secondly, it's really not that small (it's 12" high) and, finally, the craftsmanship is really evident in person.

Here are two other great deals to be found at 2Jane:

Mr. Jones Teapot, originally $120, now $30

Ribbon jar, originally $20, now $5

And, while not currently on sale, I love the Mr. & Mrs. Jones Juicers ($94/pair). They're just the right amount of twisted and would make a great wedding gift for a close friend.

So what do you think of Polly George's work? Is it your cup of tea (horrible pun intended)?


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Week Five: A Tour Inside

Last Saturday Dave and I took Dave's grandmother and her best friend on a tour of our new house. Both widows in their 80s, these ladies drive around the South and Southwest volunteering their time and energy to various Christian charities and churches and I am constantly amazed by their energy and faith and we had a great time visiting with them. In any case, as promised, I took a few pictures of the inside to give y'all an update on the progress. I am still amazed at how much progress has been made in just about a month's time. After all, just a few weeks ago, the house looked like THIS.

When you step into the house, you're greeted by this two-story entryway and gently curving staircase (both two of my favorite features in the design). On the immediate right is the dining room; on the left, the study, which will be separated from the hall by french doors. Straight ahead is the family room, with kitchen off to the right.

The family room's primary feature is a huge wall of windows that overlook the backyard (right now, just a bunch of Texas red clay). The other prominent architectural feature is the fireplace, with large nooks on either side. Once we move in, Dave and I are hoping to create some built-in shelves/storage in each nook for books, pictures, and maybe even a small TV. This picture was taken from the kitchen, which will be separated from the rest of the family room by a bar-height counter.

The original plan also had a large nook over each of the lower nooks as well as over the fireplace. Fearing too many holes would make the wall look busy and just become collectors of useless ephemera and dust, I had them removed.

Since we toured the house late in the day, the long shadows made it difficult to photograph many of the rooms. Here's a shot though of our master bath in its current state, complete with the tub smack in the middle of the room, and a view into the closet and study beyond.

The entryway from the top of the stairs. I love the west-facing clerestory windows at the top, which will let in plenty of afternoon light.

Here's a shot of the exposed ceiling on the second floor. At this stage you can still see everything, including the huge amounts of wiring running through all the walls and up clear to the roof.

Unfortunately, I paid absolutely no attention to the location or number of recessed light fixtures in the house when we customized the plan. Since so many homes seem to come with limited lighting,
I may have been a little afraid to actually get the answer and had already factored into my budget the likelihood of having some installed myself. After taking a close look though, the house appear to have ample lighting in the "public spaces", though it looks like I'll have to be added much of my own lighting to the bedrooms (which is fine, since I think recessed lighting can be a bit harsh for a bedroom anyway).

Alas, this picture is almost too dark to be worth posting, but I went ahead and included it anyway so you could see the window seat that's going into one of three bedrooms upstairs. I've always loved the idea of a window seat (though in practice how often does one actually sit in it?) and completely forgot that one was included in the design, so this was a very nice surprise on Saturday when I saw it.

This is Dave's "man room" (also known as the media room). The curved ceiling and small windows should give the room a nice, cozy feeling. By the way, does anyone know why some of the lumbar is hot pink? We had Borax (an anti-termite treatment) put on the lumbar used in the foundation, but that turns wood bright blue, not pink, so I have no idea why we've got pink here.

This week, much of the construction will be on hold while various inspections are done to confirm all the wiring, etc. is correct before they Sheetrock the walls. Once Sheetrocking begins (hopefully next week!), things will really start to come together and I'll be back with more updates.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dressing for a Hot, Long Summer

I don't know about you, but the long weekend has me itching for a summer vacation -- and a few new fun and easy pieces to freshen up my wardrobe as I brace myself for four months of 90+ degree weather and high humidity. Cue J.Crew to the rescue. My go-to source for weekend clothing is offering several great lightweight summer dresses that are perfect for Houston's hot, long summer. Since many of these dresses, including the adorable bonbon dress shown below, are pretty simple, I'd kick things up a notch with bright summery accessories balanced by plenty of cool white.

Shown from top left:

Rafe New York stripe paisley large shoulder bag from Nordstrom ($196.90)
Steve Madden "Charrger" sandal from Nordstrom ($59.90)
Kenneth Jay Lane gold coin earrings from Bluefly ($35.10)
Cotton one-button cardigan in deep pink from Banana Republic ($49)
Jessica Simpson J354 sunglasses in white from Zappos ($56)
Michael Kors D-ring watch in white ($150)
Cotton bonbon dress in navy from J.Crew ($78)


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Bright Idea from IdeaPaint

Chalkboard paint has become something of a phenomenon in the world of design blogs. In fact, it seems like the megablogs Apartment Therapy and Design*Sponge post just about weekly on yet another room featuring a chalkboard wall. And, while I love the idea of writable (and washable!) walls, there are some drawbacks to chalkboard paint (like chalk dust and dark green-black walls) that make it not always desirable or appropriate.

For those looking for a way to create a writable surface without the dark color or the mess, there's a great new alternative out on the market: IdeaPaint, a paint that quickly transforms any smooth surface into a dry-erase board. While IdeaPaint appears to be primarily marketed towards businesses and schools, there are a million applications for the paint in residential use as well. While I can't guarantee that IdeaPaint will be the next big thing in wall treatments, Metropolitan Home's inclusion of IdeaPaint
in its annual Design 100 issue makes it a good bet.

Since I'm allergic to chalk dust, I love this as an alternative to chalkboard paint, which is getting a bit overplayed at this point anyway. Although I'm not quite ready to commit an entire wall to my random scribbles, I love the idea of applying IdeaPaint to the surface of an old desk -- it'd be like working on one giant notepad. For a seamless look, I'd take a sample of IdeaPaint to the hardware store and get a customized white (in a semi-gloss to blend in!) to paint the rest of the desk. Very slick.

UPDATE: Beth from Style Redux and Chinoiserie Chic sent over a slew of pictures showing some creative uses of chalkboard paint that could easily be done with IdeaPaint. A few of my favorites include:

($299.99, but an easy DIY with some IdeaPaint and an old dresser)

Chalkboard Eggs via This is Glamorous

(The glossy white of the IdeaPaint would mimic a real egg and would let you draw with colorful markers.)

Chalkboard Fridge via The City Sage

So what do you think? Is IdeaPaint a good alternative to chalkboard? If so, how would you use it?


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Shopping Bags as Art?

photograph courtesy of Canadian House & Home

On Tuesday one of my favorite blogs Style Redux had a post (see HERE) on upcycling shopping bags as art work. While reading Canadian House & Home's special issue on Condos, Lofts & Apartments (which I found at my local Borders earlier this week while stocking up on reading material for the long weekend), I spied yet another example of shopping bags-turned-art in the guest room of a chic and feminine Toronto penthouse.

While certain high end shopping retailers and designers undeniably produce some outstanding packaging (I can think of few businesses that have managed to brand themselves better than, say, Tiffany's), I can't help but think this is the home decor equivalent of wearing a Gucci logo t-shirt; in other words, it's brand over style. Ultimately though, the question of whether we are attracted to the beauty/value of the thing itself or just what store it comes from it may be a bit like asking if the chicken or the egg came first. I just can't say unequivocally that Chanel No. 5 would smell as sweet if it were called by any other name and sold at CVS.

On the other hand, maybe I'm just overthinking this. After all, I do like the idea of reusing these admittedly attractive bags and framing them as art -- especially in a dressing room or large closet, should you be so lucky to have either -- rather than simply throwing them away. And maybe I should just leave it at that. Since I'd love your thoughts on the matter, I'll open this up to a vote.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Week Four: Windows and a New Look

After a rather unpleasant dental procedure today, I decided to take the rest of the day off work and spend the afternoon and evening out in the 'burbs with my mom (who was generous enough to drive me to/from the periodontist). Since her new house is just a few blocks -- yes, I've actually made the affirmative decision to live near my parents -- I couldn't resist dropping in to check on the progress. While I expected the shingles to be on and the roof completed by the end of this week, I had no idea they would also be installing all the windows! It's amazing how much a difference the windows make; it's really starting to look like a home now. This weekend we'll be giving the grand tour to Dave's grandmother who is in town for a visit and I plan on taking some interior shots then to post on here next week. The views from the second floor balcony are (for Texas coastal prairie, anyway) quite lovely.

Not to sing the praises of St. Obvious or anything, but tonight I also got a brand new look for Odi et Amo. What do y'all think? The lovely and talented Erin at Designer Blogs hooked me up with this spiffy new look for a really great price. To top it off, she even uploaded the new design for me, which was a "must" for me considering my limited HTML skills. While the wait time is a month to six weeks, if you're looking to perk up the look of your blog, I'd definitely recommend her as the end result is more than worth the wait. Thanks, Erin!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Looking North for Inspiration

I have a digital subscription to Canadian House and Home and while "flipping" through it yesterday evening while Dave watched Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals [I lost most of my interest in pro-basketball in the late '90s after the retirements of Olajuwon and Drexler], I spotted the outside of this bungalow in the June issue's "before and after feature" (this picture, of course, being the "after"). I don't know about you, but the gray walls, sunny yellow door (which was painted in Lemon from Benjamin Moore) and artfully manicured topiaries had me at "hello" -- and left me wanting more. Fortunately, H&H's website included a gallery featuring a tour of the interior of the home (see HERE) and it definitely matches up to the expectations of the exterior.

The 900sf. bungalow belongs to H&H designer Emily Walker and her partner Mark Holden. Despite its diminutive size, the home looks much larger than it is thanks to a tight color palette and furniture and accessories sized to work with the small rooms. The color palette is captured in the framed Donghia fabrics above the sofa in the living room, which are so striking against the Cloud White (again from Benjamin Moore) walls.

Emily stuck to a rigid color palette of gray, purple, yellow and white throughout the house, but kept things interesting by featuring a different color in each room as the primary color. Thus, while the living room draws its color from yellow and purple accessories and art, the dining room features a dusty purple accent wall (in BM's Nightfall) with smaller hits of lemon yellow on the chairs. A glossy white table and over sized white paper lantern keeps the room from being too overwhelmed by the color and provides some necessary contrast.

Although petite, this galley-style kitchen is big on style with the Madeline Weinrib zig zag rug in steel (love!), black Eames bird, graphic art, and modern light fixture. I also love how the exposed shelving allows functional items like glasses and dishware to become artistic displays. By sticking with simple and modern black and white pieces, the grouping looks well curated and decorative rather than messy and purely functional.

The mix of high and low, old and new in this house is also really inspiring. In the bedroom, Emily paired a gorgeous Madeline Weinrib black & white endless rug with IKEA side tables and drapes and over sized vintage lamps. I also love dark walls in a bedroom and the gray here is gorgeous, especially when paired with white bedding and drapes, as shown here.

The small bathroom is given a jolt of sunshine with graphic wallpaper and colorful art. Simple and classic white fixtures keep you from going on color overload.

You've read me wax on about my fondness for Canadian House & Home in previous posts, but with the magazine's newly relaunched website, my fondness may have escalated to full-on obsession. If you're looking for a replacement for all those wonderful domino inspiration galleries that have disappeared into cyberspace (where do they go, anyway?), I'd highly suggest giving Canadian House & Home's website a closer look.

Since I love Emily's grey, white, yellow and plum color palette so much, I thought I'd pull together a few of my favorite finds that could help you get the look yourself:

Clockwise, from top left:
1. Trollsta Side table in yellow from IKEA, $79
2. Velvet cushion with yellow pom pom from Castle, $39 AUD
3. Ventura pillow in plum from Crate&Barrel, $39.95
4. Gray Trellis pillow cover from Nenavon at Etsy, $35
5. Ava's Chair in black, $799, upholstered in Cranston Purple, $37.99/yard, both from Calico Corners
6. Peri Comforter set from BlissLiving, $325 - $375
7. Small longneck vases from CB2, $2.95-$3.95
8. Thomas Paul feather wool rug from 2Modern, $270-$1466
9. Bird vases from Target, $19.99 each
10. Parsons dining table from West Elm, $399
11. Whittier lamp from Jonathan Adler, $395


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Change of Address

This past weekend my parents moved from their home of 22 years to a new (but nearby) house they built and customized themselves. While I'm excited for my parents, I'm a bit sad that "going home" no longer means going to visit the house I grew up in and their move has drive home more than ever that my childhood is long over. Meanwhile, the seemingly perverse realities that my (unborn) children will never experience Christmas in my childhood home or swim in my parents' backyard haven't really fully registered. For now though, I'm still having trouble remembering that I need to take an earlier exit when I head out to the suburbs for a visit -- and still having trouble finding a place for all the childhood through college mementos that up til recently had been stored at my parents'.

While this is perhaps a bit superficial, I find some comfort in the fact that the new house is drop dead gorgeous. Certainly, change is a good bit easier to handle when it's not only for the best (which this move was), but it's to a prettier place. I think my favorite feature is the gorgeous slate roof, which works so well with the brick and stone exterior. Since I thought you all might enjoy a few pictures of the new place, I asked my mom take some shots yesterday to share here with everyone.

The house is entered through an outdoor passageway that opens out onto a side courtyard, complete with outdoor fireplace. My sister jokingly refers to this part of the house as the Cloisters, with its narrow passageway and brick and stone archways. Personally, I really love the intimate atmosphere this space gives you immediately upon entering the house.

I just love the new outdoor fireplace -- too bad the family won't really get to enjoy it for another 6 months or so! My mother plans to install two large planters on either side of the fireplace for some additional color. I'd also love to see something decorative over the mantle; perhaps some decorative metalwork or even a star of Texas?

The side courtyard is flanked on one side by a small guest house (or casita, as my mom refers to it), which is just a guest room and bathroom. The separateness though of this space is excellent for anyone who hosts a lot of out-of-town relatives. If my sister and I weren't both in town, I'm sure we'd be fighting over who got to stay out here whenever we all came to visit.

This is the view of the side courtyard and outdoor fireplace from the yard. My mother has big plans for the landscaping here and I can't wait to see it. My hope is that in a few years my dad will capitulate and put in a pool.

The back of the house opens out onto a second large covered patio. Since the house is oriented on a roughly north-south direction, this part of the yard receives significantly less sun than the west-facing side courtyard, making it ideal for hot Houston summers. Fans underneath the patio will also help keep this patio cool and comfortable, even in 90 degree weather.

Since the back patio is just off the kitchen, my mother had an outdoor barbecue and mini-fridge installed here. Dave can't wait to start grilling and I can't wait to sit outside and enjoy the shade and a nice margarita.

While I didn't intend to leave y'all with a cliff hanger, I'll have to save a tour of the inside for another day as things are (understandably) still a bit unsettled on the inside. Once my mother unpacks and gets things more in order, I promise to finish this up with a tour of the inside. Just wait until you see her new kitchen; it's incredible.

So what about you? Do your parents still live in the house they grew up in? If not, how did you feel when they moved?


Monday, May 18, 2009

Magazine Review: Country Living

As is probably abundantly evident by my blog, I do not have what could be termed a "country" or even Shabby Chic aesthetic. Generally speaking, I dislike doilies, lace and calico and I think gingham is far better suited to fourth of July picnic tables than in my own home. And yet, after reading numerous bloggers like Erin at Elements of Style and Erika at Urban Grace raving over the "new" Country Living, I decided I had to give it a spin myself.

Fortunately for me, the newly revamped CL is not what I would generally describe as "country" -- there's a refreshing lack of barnyard decor (like the dreaded rooster-in-kitchen) and the aesthetic is far more chic than grandma. Instead, I would describe it as "modern cottage". For those of you sorely missing Cottage Living, it's really a great replacement. If, however, you dislike a more cluttered, vintage aesthetic in favor of a more streamlined, modern one, then you can probably guess that this magazine is not for you.

Overall, I really like how the magazine is laid out -- and I think the magazine industry could learn a lot from CL, with its focus on affordable style, a DIY-attitude and the use of accessible sources. Sound a lot like the old domino? Style aesthetic aside, it is. Of all the U.S. home decor publications today, this magazine comes the closest to replicating the spirit (though perhaps not the eye) of domino.

One of my favorite elements is that CL ends each house tour with a one-page spread on translating the look to your own home (which typically means highlighting key pieces and accessories and where you can purchase similar items). Each issue of CL also includes spreads on various trends and key pieces, both of which often appeared in our dearly departed domino on a regular basis. I wish more American magazines would pick up on both of these story-types. I find it odd that two major foreign publications -- Canadian House and Home and LivingEtc -- run these types of articles regularly, but no (current) U.S. publication featuring modern/contemporary decor does. Hopefully House Beautiful and Metropolitan Home will get with the program and start creating similar features. CL also includes regular recipe features as well as crafting and DIY projects and while the crafting/DIY skews a little too cutesy for my taste, their recipes definitely suit my Southern palette.

My major complaint -- and I recognize the absurdity in what I'm about to say here -- is that Country Living is just too country sometimes. For example, the May issue featured an entire spread devoted to gingham and included a story on the history of canning. These are not stories that a Houstonian can relate to. Having said that though, many of the homes featured are lovely. Page after page of old and beautifully restored cottages allow the escapist in me to long for the "simple life" complete with white picket fence and a crumbling barn out back. The magazine also features items that could easily translate to different types of decor, from contemporary to French provincial, and turned me on to some sources like Mothology, which sells these amazing storage totes, made from recycled Bordeaux sacks:

At $16 for a small and $24 for a large, these are priced at or below many other wicker or fabric storage baskets and have a lot more character to boot. I'd use the larger one to store towels (as pictured here) and the smaller one to store lots of gorgeous French olive oil soap.

Has anyone else picked up Country Living lately? If so, what did you think?

All photographs from Country Living.


Friday, May 15, 2009

The Next Big Thing: Neon Brights

If you caught any of the Fall 2009 runway shows, you'll know that 1980s neon brights are back in a big way. Designers like Michael Kors (whose Fall 2009 line is shown above), Oscar de la Renta, Jil Sander and many others are sending models down the runway decked in head-to-toe brights. While Kors seemed to prefer neon hues on the warmer side of the color spectrum, other designers showcased looks in brilliant shades of purple, green, and blue. To keep things from getting too crazy and since mixing one neon hue with the next runs the risk of looking dated (and blinding passersby), the designers largely stuck to a monochromatic palette, either pairing a single bright hue with a neutral one or just letting it stand on its own. I particularly appreciate Kors' take on the trend; his tailored and classic silhouettes really let the color (appropriately) take center stage.

Since these neon brights can be a bit tricky to pull off, why not punch up your summer wardrobe with a few neon accessories? Bright shoes, purses and jewelry mix easily with neutrals (I'd go for lots of white and nudes since black reads a little too '80s for my taste) and since the color won't be right up next to your face, there's no worry that that neon yellow or green won't suit your skin tone. Nordstrom has an amazing selection of bold shoes, purses and jewelry in a range of prices (has anyone else noticed Nordstrom has been making an effort to bring in lower priced items as of late?) to suit just about any budget. Here's a collection of some of my favorite Nordstrom offerings available on their website now:

Summer Brights

Just click on the collage to get details (and direct links) on all the items featured above. I have to say, I'm seriously lusting after those gorgeous turquoise suede DVF flats. [Insert not-so-subtle birthday hints for family here.]

As interior design and fashion become more and more intertwined, it should come as no surprise that bright, bold colors are a big trend this summer in home decor as well. As with fashion, a little goes a long way; accordingly, I wouldn't suggest running out and buying a neon pink sofa. Instead, why not layer one or two layering accessories (pillows, throws, fun tableware, vases, etc.) in with your existing pieces? These small touches will keep your house looking fun and current for summer, but won't break the bank. And once fall comes back around, these smaller items can be stashed away until next year.

Clockwise from top left:
1. Flower melamine dining collection from Target, $17.99
2. Cortez pillow from Crate&Barrel, $19.95
3. Paco Mirror in orange lacquer from Jonathan Adler,$295
4. Retromodern Mini Grill from Anthropologie, $98
5. Ruffled Shower curtain from India Rose, $110
6. Kew Duvet set from BlissLiving, $225-$295
7. C.C.F.C. poufs from OM Home, $60
Posy Vases from Kate Spade, $65/set of 3
9. Seasonal Metal lantern from notNetural, $50
Milk Glass Lamp + Suite Dot Shade from PBTeen, $25-$49


Week Three: Roofing

My mom (aka my eyes and ears on the new house) checked in on the progress yesterday and things are moving along rather quickly (scary!). It's really starting to look like a house, isn't it? I can't wait to see it once the brick goes up. For me, the hardest thing to visualize was how the brick would look. After all, all I saw were a few samples but, as paint chips have shown me, when you take a small sample and throw it up on a whole wall (or house), the effect can be very, very different from what you had imagined.

On Sunday, Dave and I will be going by to do a walk through with our sales representative. During the walk through, we'll be marking the location of each and every outlet (electric, cable, phone jack, you name it) in the entire house. The not-so-enjoyable task tomorrow will be to sit down with the plans and sort out in my head roughly where I'll want the TVs, beds, etc. so I can be sure that on Sunday we get it right the first time. After all, if I spend the next 20 years complaining that the cable outlet is on the wrong wall, I'll only have myself to blame.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blue and White is Always Right

Perhaps it's because of the imminent arrival of summer, but lately I (like many bloggers, including Christy of the fabulous A Lil' Welsh Rarebit) have been drawn to rooms decorated in blue and white. While more than one book has been written on the topic, I think the look is classic and timeless enough that my posting on it won't just be beating the proverbial dead horse.

The the cover story in the latest issue of House Beautiful featured a Hamptons beach home decorated by David Lawrence (living room pictured above) almost entirely in navy blue and white. The result is stunning, and while the colors are undeniably beachy, the house doesn't look like a typical beach house, with no rattan or cheesy shell print pillows in sight. I think the house is a great illustration of how the blue and white color scheme can be at once traditional and contemporary, refined and yet still casual.

Another great example of a blue and white beach cottage look done right is this master suite, designed by the dynamic duo of Nathan Egan. The palette here is much quieter than in the David Lawrence's beach cottage, but the sky blue and oyster tones are perfectly suited for an oasis-like master retreat. I also appreciate how the designers didn't let the colors or furnishings compete with the beautiful white-washed walls and ceiling.

Here's a living room in Wainscott, Long Island, decorated by Thad Hayes. Again, the soft blues and whites create a cozy, beachy space that's still sophisticated.

This den in a summer home in East Hampton decorated by Elizabeth Martin is yet a fourth beautiful example of beach house chic from New England. I love the wall color here, especially against the white wainscoting and dark rattan furniture. The space looks elegant, but cozy and lived-in. I also love the idea of blowing up a family photo to poster-size; it's so personal and keeps the room from looking too "decorated". My one complaint about this room would be to loose a few of the throw pillows on the sofa. One of my big designer peeves is when there are so many throw pillows on a sofa or chair that you have to move them just to sit down.

As far as I'm concerned though, the entrance hall/stairwell in this home is absolute perfection:

The coral chandelier is a great nod to the setting, and I love the pale blue ceilings and sand-colored walls. When I think of beach houses with "style", I tend to think of those in Nantucket or the Hamptons. Ironically, I've never been to either location, but I like how understated all the homes seem (unlike, say, in south Florida where I picture all the houses awash in various shades of pink and turquoise).

With every silly generalization I make up, of course, comes an exception or two to prove that, in truth, anything (even bright turquoise) can be done with style and panache. This breakfast nook in a house on Johns Island, South Carolina, was decorated by Phoebe Howard. By keeping the palette monochromatic, Phoebe is able to use a brilliant hue and make it almost understated. This is Florida-style done right.

Of course, blue and white does not have to come off as beachy. The color combination can read distinctly masculine, especially when the walls are washed in a deep navy, like in the bedroom decorated by Kansas City designer David Jimenez. What I particularly like about this space is the bed linens, which look like they're made of mens' dress shirts; the look is classic American style to me -- very Ralph Lauren. David's prior work at Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn is also pretty evident in this room, I think, from the Valencia-style bed to the task light.

In my new house, I'm definitely going to have to try painting out the backs of bookshelves a different color because I'm loving the look in just about every iteration. This den was designed by Little Rock designer Tobi Fairley (who also has a great blog HERE) and, while it incorporates a lot of brown, in addition to blue and white, I couldn't resist posting it here. This space seems just so livable to me -- there's even a TV mounted above the fireplace.

And since blue and white shouldn't be limited to the living room or den, here are a kitchen and a dining room from designer Sherrill Canet's portfolio:

This kitchen, located in Quogue, NY, makes me weak in the knees. I'm typically of the mind that cabinets should either be natural wood or white (or cream), but these robin's egg blue cabinets are lovely. Of course, the cathedral-style ceiling, top of the line appliances, and sea of an island don't hurt either. Notice how the island's cabinets are painted a deeper blue than the wall cabinets; a truly masterful touch.

And finally, this "breakfast room" (looks like a formal dining room to me!) in Mill Neck [Long Island...are you detecting a trend here?], New York, illustrates how navy can really be used to punch up a space without reading as loud. I think the Chippendale chairs are a great counterpoint to the heavy white [marble?] linear table. I also really like the art over the buffet; it's modern and suits the color palette of the space but still stands on its own (i.e., it's not just a design tool).

Whew! This post is getting rather long, but once I started looking for blue and white, I realized just how ubiquitous a design trend (albeit one with indefinite staying power) it really was.

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