Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring/Summer Essentials

Although Houston enjoys moderate winters, there's just something about Spring that puts a little bounce in my step. Perhaps it's the promise of summer (though my summer vacations have long since passed) or the newly budding flowers, but a gorgeous spring day never fails to put me in a good mood. And, of course, I love spring and summer fashions: the bright colors, the perky prints, fabulous sandals and's just so refreshing after months of grays on black.

This Spring, I'm looking to update my wardrobe with some fresh new staples that are easy wearing...and easy washing (both Baby G. and I seem to go through several wardrobe changes a day now)! The type of clothes that will transition from mommy-hood to my pretty casual office. Navy and white (especially white jeans!) are my go-to's for warmer weather, but I'll be updating the classic nautical pairing with bright accessories like those gorgeous Tory Burch Sandals (orange and hot pink are both amazing with navy) and fun prints like Kate Spade's Daycation shopper. An on-trend maxi dress in a bold print is an easy weekend staple that will keep me cool and casual without feeling schleppy. Finally, I'm longing to swap out my everyday watch for something fun, light and a little bit different, like Michael Kors' resin and rose gold watch.

Clockwise (from top left): Coral Dress (Tory Burch), Jersey Blazer (Boden), Daycation Bon Shopper (Kate Spade), Denim Pleated Trouser Short (Gap), Gold Coast Lacey wallet (Kate Spade), Stripe Sunburst Tank (J.Crew), Horton Sandals (Tory Burch), Michael Kors Show Stopper Resin Watch (Nordstrom), Sexy Boot Surplus Jeans in White (Gap), and Dorrie Skirt (J.Crew).

What pieces are you craving this Spring? Any new trends you're dying to try out?


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Baby G. gets his portrait taken

Last weekend my college roommate (who married my cousin!) came over to take pictures of Baby G. for his birth announcement. I went with an announcement from Pear Tree Greetings, which has a great selection of modern stationery that's highly customizable. Of course, I had to do an aqua and orange color theme to go with his nursery. Here are a few of the gorgeous pictures Lisa took:


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor

I wanted to acknowledge Elizabeth Taylor's passing today. I was a huge admirer of her work, especially her title role in the 1963 version of Cleopatra, which ranks in my top 10 for all-time favorite movies. After all, with Elizabeth Taylor, Rex Harrison, Richard Burton how can you go wrong (especially when you put them into a 1960s epic with some seriously fantastic costumes and sets)? Besides, for Hollywood, it's fairly accurate insofar as it closely follows Plutarch and other ancient (albeit Roman and heavily biased) sources on the Queen.

Burton and Taylor set the screen on fire as Antony and Cleopatra. Fun fact: this is the film in which they first met and began their romance (though they were both already married!). If you haven't seen Cleopatra, I strongly encourage you to go rent it and watch it this weekend in tribute. In any case, as far as I'm concerned, few stars today possess Elizabeth's beauty, poise, style talent and star power. She will be both remembered and missed.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Miles Redd loves velvet sofas...and so do I

Most designers tend to have a few favorite things (be it a particular color, pattern or even piece of furniture) that they use over and over again in their work. And sometimes that repetition can become a designer's trademark, their personal signature on a space. For Miles Redd, there are a number of elements  that the New York based designer returns to again and again: bold color on the walls (often in high gloss), animal print and Chinoiserie all immediately leap to mind. But one thing I hadn't noticed until today was Redd's penchant for rich velvet sofas, often in bold jewel-tone hues. And like Miles, I can't seem to get enough.

Why velvet? Well you'd have to ask Miles himself; however, in my opinion, velvet has the perhaps unique ability to feel at once incredibly luxurious, but also incredibly comfortable and inviting. I can never keep my hands off of it -- and it's this gorgeous textural experience that I suspect keeps Redd coming back. Besides that, velvet works anywhere, from a TV room or study to a more formal salon or living room. It's unquestionably the star that plays so beautifully with Redd's maximalist style.

Is there anything sexier than red velvet? Maybe just red velvet set against pink walls. I love how Redd sets these feminine colors off against the serious artwork and otherwise more masculine feel of the room.

The rich olive green is a nice visual rest from the bold patterns of the rug and pillows. By repeating the wall color in the center of the large room, it also helps ground the floating seating group and keeps the space from feeling too expansive.

A rich chocolate brown velvet feels positively decadent, especially when played off against bold stripes and cheetah print chairs. The ruffled taffeta curtains in the icy blue bring in some coolness to the otherwise very warm space.

The shape of this sofa (enhanced all the more with the nailhead detailing) is absolutely to die for. The green is a nice counterpoint to the rich reds in elsewhere in the room. And those Elkins chairs? Love!

More red velvet, this time with a fringe skirt. The black and white fabrics and art are such a great balance, lending this room a decidedly modern edge despite the traditional furniture and layout.

When I think of orange velvet, I think of this hideous orange chair from the '70s that Dave had when I first met him in Austin. And yet somehow, this orange velvet seems to work. If I were that little girl though, I'd be napping on it rather than on the floor.

More olive green velvet! Such a rich pairing with the deep teals and oranges in the room. This has to be one of my all-time favorite rooms of Redd's.

So what do you think of velvet sofas? Love 'em, too, or hate 'em?


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Baby G. Update: Week 2

In some ways, it feels like an eternity since we brought Graham home from the hospital; in others, it feels like the blink of an eye. So far, we have been blessed with a healthy, generally happy baby who's been growing like a weed (an inch and 1 lb, 6 oz. in a mere 13 days!) and even giving us some (relative) rest. This week, we've seen a decrease in the quantity and increase in the quality of his naps; he's even been sleeping for 4 or 5 hour stretches at night! I chalk this up to the benefit of having a larger, full-term baby as well as our continued efforts to put him down at the first signs of sleepiness rather than waiting for him to get overtired and fussy.

On Monday Dave returned to work and I've been adjusting to playing a stay-at-home-mom. I'm off work through May and starting to get into the rhythms of my new life. The first few days I felt very panicky and my anxiety translated to some difficulties breast feeding (largely now resolved thanks to the invaluable help of a wonderful lactation consultant). Physically, I'm feeling better and more like myself every day and am thrilled to be back down to my pre-pregnancy weight already (which, admittedly, is about 10 to 15 lbs heavier than my preferred weight, but we'll worry about that later...).

All this notwithstanding, I'm not going to say it's been all roses. The idea of someone being so utterly dependent on me still scares me to death and the thought of not getting an uninterrupted night's sleep for at least another few months is utterly depressing. I also long for the time when he's able to interact more (though he is becoming more and more alert every day). But...I have to remind myself that babies are newborns for such a short period of time and that I need to savor what he can offer now; namely, being utterly adorable. And yes, I'm a bit biased...but shouldn't I be?


Friday, March 18, 2011

Vintage, yet modern kitchen

When you look at shelter magazines and design blogs as much as I do, it can sometimes feel like you've seen absolutely everything before. Been there, done that. Sometimes it feels like the more I dive into design, the harder it is for designers to truly knock my socks off and show me something I haven't seen before. Kitchens and baths seem particularly vulnerable to my growing design ennui as designers and builders continue to cling to the same predictable styles and materials.

But of course, every so often a room comes along that reinforces why I fell in love with interior design  in the first place. This updated vintage kitchen belongs to Bob Williams (of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams) and it, along with the rest of the home, is featured in this month's Traditional Home. And I love it. The mix of materials, from Carrara marble (an exception to my grip about tiring of seeing the same materials over and over again) to honed granite (a finish I'm loving so much more than polished right now!) and butcher block is superb, especially alongside those dark teal cabinets (brilliant!) and the mix of new and old appliances and lighting. It's the best of vintage and modern and perfectly suits an older, remodeled home. The overall effect is elegant, but also warm, inviting and intensely personal.

The modern red drum shades are a bold touch of color that matches the intensity of the deep teal cabinetry and beautifully sets off the black and white tile floor. The few upper cabinets along the back wall are painted off-white to blend in with the walls and help keep the room feeling open and bright.

While there's a lot to be said for ultra-modern, high tech appliances, they never have quite the same charm as a vintage piece. The concealed vent hood ensures that the focus stays put on the 1930s range.

In yet another nod to the home's period, Williams converted a vintage 1940s walk-in cooler into a pantry. Now how clever is that? I also adore the marble baseboards and wall-to-wall subway tiles. Talk about easy cleanup!


Monday, March 14, 2011

Master Bedroom Design: Almost There...

Back in December, I updated y'all on my master bedroom (re)design as we swapped out our queen bed for a king and our tiny end tables and dresser for more ample (and more glamorous) storage. At the time, I was dubious as to whether or not I'd be able to get anymore done on the room before Baby G's arrival, as the nursery had become my top priority decorating-wise.

Well, I suppose that nesting instinct really kicked in my last few months of pregnancy and I was able to add a few more decorative touches that really make the room feel more complete. While I'd still like to add some curtain panels around the three-windows and some artwork (or something!) on the wall opposite the bed, I feel like the room is really starting to take shape.

I added this sunburst mirror that I picked up from Horchow on sale over the the long dresser. The finish is a goldish-silver (or gliver) that I think adds some warmth to the room. I didn't want to stick with just silver -- it seemed too matchy-matchy (and a bit cold with all the grey in the room!). The other big change on this end of the room was swapping out my old (and a bit dull) Pottery Barn rug for this graphic cream and blue flatweave from DwellStudio.

My big splurge was this Jonathan Adler screen (also scored at Horchow on sale). I really wanted something substantial in this corner, not only to fill the space, but to help balance out the height of the four-poster bed on the opposite wall. 

I love, love this vintage Chinoiserie lamp. I scored it off High Street Market on Etsy some months ago (alas, it had been languishing in my hall closet for months before I got around to finding a black paper shade for it). I also added a greek key finial for that extra little touch.

A few more shots of the room in its almost finished state. I'll be honest, since the arrival of Baby G. the room isn't looking quite as pristine, what with G.'s bassinet next to the screen and my dresser now cleared off to make way for the changing pad and associated accoutrement. We'll be moving Baby G. upstairs to the nursery in a month or two when his sleeping schedule stabilizes, but for now I'd like to remember my bedroom as the sanctuary it was, rather than the mess it's rapidly become!

Ah well, I know in time we'll get there again!


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Graham Kirk

Graham Kirk arrived on Friday morning at 11:08 am at a hearty 8 pounds and 10 ounces, 20.5 inches. After checking into the hospital Thursday evening with regular contractions, we ended up having to kick-start my labor with Pitocin around 3 am (don't worry, I caught some solid sleep from 10 pm on). Once my doctor broke my water at 8 am, things quickly accelerated (as did the pain!) and we were pushing by 10.  Dave was fantastic throughout, as were the nurses -- all in all, much less scary than I expected.

We got back home last night and it's definitely been an adjustment to our schedules and our lives. Family and friends have been fantastic though, cooking and cleaning and changing diapers while I work on nursing and healing (unfortunately, I lost a significant amount of blood so I'm working on getting my strength back as well). I'll be taking a few weeks off from blogging while we adjust to this new addition to the family.

Many thanks for all the well wishes late last week! Y'all definitely gave me the extra encouragement I needed to get through the last few days.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Plannin' and Dreamin'...

 IAmPregnant Ticker

Wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin'
Plannin' and dreamin' each night of his charms
That won't get him into my arms

Okay, so I may be taking some liberties with the old Dionne Warwick song, but the essential message is the same: if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. I'm 39 weeks pregnant today, 4 cm dilated and waiting for everything to start. I went to see my OB/GYN yesterday and she expressed surprise that I was still pregnant. Trust me, after several false starts over the past 3 weeks, I'm surprised, too. Even my Gmail seems surprised, as these past two weeks I've ceased receiving my weekly prenatal updates from various and sundry websites that I've been perusing during pregnancy.

Yes, I know, I'm not even technically at my due date yet, but with everyone in my family delivering early (even with the first one), I half expected to be in a similar boat. After weeks of co-workers marveling "you're still here?!" and daily texts from family and friends alike "just checking in," I can't help but feel a bit of pressure to get on with things -- as if I had any control of it!

Well, I suppose I have some control of it. These days an induction after 39 weeks is offered up as an option without any required medical need whatsoever. And that makes me a bit nervous. Shouldn't we wait until the baby is good and ready? Isn't it also true that the average pregnancy actually runs longer than the 40 weeks allocated to women by their doctors? The answer to both is "yes"...and yet....

 Pregnancy Ticker

Now that I find myself at this late stage of pregnancy, I'm suddenly very sympathetic with women who elect to make this decision. Indeed, there's some comfort in having a firm deadline, in being able to wrap up things at the office in a definitive manner without the vague (and often unhelpful) "I'll be here 'til the baby comes...whenever that is" response. A response, by the way, that my clients have not been particularly receptive of. Everybody likes a due date, a deadline, a goal. Letting nature take its course is so antithetical to modern life, where we attempt to control everything. Patience and flexibility just don't seem to jive with our schedules.

So what have I decided to do? Well, I've currently got an induction scheduled for Friday, which would require Dave and I to show up at the hospital at the unholy hour of 4 am in the hopes of having a baby sometime before COB (close of business) on Friday. Very convenient for my doctor, yes? I'm justifying this decision on account of my (normally very low) blood pressure having creeped up in the past few weeks. While not at dangerous levels, this upward trend is somewhat worrisome. In the interim, I'm working from home, walking twice a day and praying to God that he'll come of his own volition. If not? Then I suppose I'll let Science take his course and pray that I'm not making the wrong decision.

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