Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Plug In Pendant Lights

Why do manufacturers think we want these? Do we?

I think a hard wired pendant lamp is best, but I'm wondering if I'm missing something.

Short post. Just wondering.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Well Placed Accessory

While poking around on Facebook, I noticed the The Ritz-Carlton in the right hand navigation list, asking me to like its residences in downtown Baltimore at the Inner Harbor.

I don't like pages on FB easily, but I will take a peek. I have no idea who the photography credits belong to or who is responsible for the design of each of the rooms below, but I hope I find out. Yummy yumminess - why am I living in the suburbs again? Oh - because I love my house, too, and will even more once it's finished. And kept sparkling. Note to self.

But I digress. The Ritz-Carlton Residences at the Inner Harbor Baltimore:

 That wallpaper in the kitchen. Swoon.

You can see floor plans and get other details here.

One thing that always strikes me in model home rooms is the sense of restraint (well, usually). The well placed accessory carries so much more punch than a bunch of clutter strewn about. This is not a skill I've mastered. I really need a ten thousand square foot house to accommodate my need to shop and bring home decorative accessories. Seriously - I just bought an oil painting today. It's ridiculous.

If I ever hire a designer, I will really only need them to edit and place my accessories. If I ever become a designer (shh! latent dream!) this will be my number one challenge - the biggest thing I need to master.

The second biggest thing will be to squelch my desire to do something myself when I know good and well I need to hire a professional, but I am quite certain that's another post.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm Still Here

Work has consumed a lot of time lately, so my projects are suffering, but I'm still here. Hope to get a few pics of a few things up and running on a few posts soon.

Meanwhile, isn't this pretty?

From Decor Pad
Eye candy gets me through the busy times.

Have a great day.

Friday, August 6, 2010

At This Very Moment....

My husband is installing new cabinet pulls in the kitchen. I cannot tell you what a difference this small fix makes. Will have to post about it.

Yes, this is our Friday night. We are rockin' and rollin' people.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You Learn Something New....

I have already run into four thousand problems with my doorknob idea.

They are not the problems I assumed I would have.

I assumed that, because I was buying vintage doorknobs, I might have a problem fitting them onto my modern doors, which already have holes and whatnot cut out to support the existing doorknobs. So I measured once, then measured again, then chuckled to myself because I figured I was beating some system and as long as the math added up, I'd be fine.

Welp - totally forgot about the different doorknob types.

There are passage/dummy doorknobs, which exist only to pull or push open a door, and have no locking mechanism. There are privacy doorknobs, which do have a locking mechanism. There are more types, but these two are sufficient detail for the problem I've encountered with my beautiful vintage doorknob set. It arrived today.

'It's beautiful. It's vintage. It fits over the existing hole.

It does not have a locking mechanism, and I only have exactly what you see above. You see, that vintage doorknob is designed to be used with an actual key. See the keyhole? It's not decorative. It once worked.

Therefore, the interior fittings do not have the locking thingie that goes in the doorjamb. I have no single doors that are passage only and don't require a lock. Not a single one. I have two sets of french doors, one of which has passage doorknobs, but...the set above is not just passage. The knobs have that... stick thing... that needs to go into a hole in the door. And I'm not sure I'm up to the task of carving out a doorknob hole, plus it would leave raw metal sticking out one side if I tried to divide the set to use on both doors.

If this is not making any sense, it's because I need to go to bed. Bah, humbug.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Thomas Pheasant

I love him.

Well, I love his work, to be clear, having never met him and already being quite in love with someone else, my husband. But if both my husband and Thomas Pheasant were standing in my driveway, begging me to allow one of them to design my living room, I'm afraid I'd have to send my husband off on an errand.

In my defense, if they were both begging for a kiss, my husband would win.

I can't remember who or what introduced me to Thomas Pheasant, a DC based designer that I would love to just answer the phones for, because I know his offices must be splendid. I mean, look:

Yes, that's him, but it's the lamp I can't tear my eyes from. And I love that he found that horse, which is slightly ridiculous, and brought it into that space and poof! Now it's fabulous.

All his rooms just feel like spaces I could be in for a long time. So that's why I love him.

Er, love his work. :)

All images from Architectural Digest.

One of the things that stands out about his rooms, to me, is how he blends traditional leaning items with modern. This is my life's goal, as I am married to a man who loves modern items and, design wise, is in fact somewhat of a minimalist. Compare this to my traditional leanings, complete with braided trim and rooms stuffed with furniture, books and art. 

I believe that a harmonious relationship is reflected in your environment as well. I remember reading an interview with Jennifer Aniston, immediately post-Brad, in which she noted that at least now, she could buy a comfortable couch (apparently Brad likes hard, angular furniture, while she is more slip covered Shabby Chic. At least that's what I gleaned). Therefore, it wouldn't be fair for me to bury our house in antique, sculpted armoires atop Persian rugs, even if they are hand woven and unmatched in beauty by any other type rug in the world. Ahem. The least I can do is toss a clean lined armoire on top of the Persian rug. 

And that is something Thomas Pheasant would do. Albeit better.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Decision: Doorknobs

When I started this blog, I said I was going to focus on getting small projects completed, so I could then move on to large projects. So far, my posts have been a mishmash of both... certainly, replacing one lighting fixture is a small project, but replacing the lion's share in the house? That's a larger project.

So I guess I should redefine small, which in my mind are projects I can mostly do myself. Larger projects, like replacing our exterior siding, and while we're at it, the windows, building a porch, renovating the kitchen, renovating our master bathroom, repainting the entire interior, landscaping, installing drainage, replacing the garage doors (this list is starting to depress me, so I'll stop): those things are for some nice contractor to worry his pretty little head about, with my just picking out materials and colors.

So, in the small project vein, I'm happy to report that I've decided what I want to do about doorknobs. Actually, I'm returning to my original desire, which was to have different vintage doorknobs throughout the house.

I do love me some vintage doorknobs:

Image: Lovetoknow.com

Images: http://atincupchalice.com

It would probably be less time consuming and slightly less expensive to find reproduction doorknobs, but I don't want reproductions. I want the nicked, tarnished, flaking paint patina of a doorknob that actually lived in an old house once. This will require some extensive eBay hunting, patience, and yes - learning how to test paint for lead. I might have to have paint removed from some of them.

I'm therefore quite happy to report I won my first vintage doorknob on eBay this morning.

I'm pretty sure this is the new handle for the coat closet downstairs. It's the closest door to the front door, and I've (pretty much) decided to just go one door at a time, working my way through the house.

I should be done in five or six years. :P

Can't wait for my doorknob to arrive!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mid-Century Modern, the Chorus

It's fitting that a day after the season premier of Mad Men I should run into this mid-century decorated doctor's waiting room(I don't know whether I want to work for Don Draper or make an honest man out of him. I'd decline the latter based on my being married, but it seems, unfortunately, that that would make me exactly his type. But I digress).

I love the chairs.

Image from the Bucks blog.

I also like the coffee table, the artwork, the planter (I could see that on my deck) and the rug. The colors also work nicely. This is from an article detailing how you can punish doctors who keep you waiting, but this would rank fairly high on my list of waiting rooms.

Well, technically, it would rank number two, behind one I saw recently in Owings Mills, Maryland, that made great use of mod fabric (sorry, no photos). Otherwise, I'd have to admit I haven't run across many design noteworthy physician waiting rooms, but one can always hope.

Be well. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Photo Theft

I had to do it.

I love everything about the room below, so it was physically impossible for me to not right click on it, snatch it from the wonderful blog House of Turquoise (if you love blue and do not read House of Turquoise everyday, you are leading an unfulfilled life) and hurl it with amazing speed onto my own blog. I want it to rest here so I can easily find it again and show it off. I need it to rest here.

I love the symmetry.
I love the bold use of the very ornate sideboard and hutch (will that much going on, are they still just a sideboard and hutch?).
I love the playful, bold fabric on the chairs, which marries the traditional styled chair with a contemporary feel.
I love the doors - I want to propose to the doors and bear their children... sixteen of them, in fact, which is the number of interior doors in my own house.
I love the window treatments.
I always thought I disliked the fake candlestick chandeliers, until I saw it here. Love.
Love the gilt edged mirror. Life without a little gilt is boring.
Love the cream walls.
Love the painted ceiling. The ceiling alone makes me want to run out and buy paint, and subject my family to all sorts of fumes TONIGHT. We are having a heatwave in the Mid-Atlantic; opening windows is out of the question.

I love this dining room. Would that mine become even a shadow. Thank you to House of Turquoise (and designer Caldwell Flake, I believe) for sharing.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mid-Century Modern

I pay a lot of attention to set design when I'm watching a movie or television show. Often, I'm paying more attention to the decor than I am the plot - I've been known to rewind a movie to catch the dialogue because when Starlet whispered to Leading Man, I was too busy admiring her sofa to hear what she said.

For the record, I love furniture and I love design: almost all of it. Wanting to live with it all the time and being able to admire it are, for me, two distinctly separate things. I don't want to live in a cottage/country home, but I can walk into one styled that way and swoon with the best of them. Likewise, the gilt-rich furnishings of the White House's historical rooms would be too much for me to encounter every day, but that doesn't stop me from lingering on every photo of every side table and settee, thinking about the craftsmanship and wondering about the hand of the fabric. There are few design styles I dislike altogether.

Which brings me to mid-century modern. More and more, I've come to realize that when I'm watching an episode of Mad Men, or a movie set in the fifties and sixties, I love the furniture. Sure, some of the plaids are screaming for Marsha and Jan Brady and occasionally, the stain of the wood seems dated, but overall, the crisp, clean lines of mid-century modern always look classic to me, like they could be dropped into a 2010 house and play the role of a newly purchased piece just fine.

So, some eye candy:

The character Don Draper's office, in AMC's Mad Men (image found on halcyon.com):

An Elle living room, image sourced from Apartment Therapy:

From Metropolitan Home:

From blog.vastudc:

I'll probably always prefer to live in rooms that are a mix of traditional and modern - this girl needs a little bit of gilt - but if I had to choose a very close, second runner up: it would be mid century modern, purely.

From Lookliloos.com:

It is entirely possible my admiration for mid century design stems from the chairs, since I have a bad, bad thing for chairs - more on that later.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I've always known I would replace the doorknobs in our house. They are builder's grade brass - boring. They are probably one of the first things I notice as "off" in our rooms, yet they are the last thing I think about in the hardware store. I think my husband must be brainwashing me.

Luckily, two of the doorknobs in our house have broken. Yay! Doorknob shopping that requires no explanation. You must have doorknobs.

What I'm trying to decide now are what kind of doorknobs to get. While I think my house flows, we do not have the same metal finishes in each room. The room I'm sitting in right now, the dining room, has antique gold window treatment hardware. Our office has black drapery rods. The kitchen cabinets are in the process of getting stainless steel pulls (more on that later). Our bedroom has oil rubbed bronze hardware; the basement has brushed nickel, as does one son's room. My other son's room has black hardware and my daughter's room sports white curtain rods. Somehow, it all works; I suspect it's because the rooms are large enough that they don't really seem like one unit, even while being somewhat open to each other. Each room is very much its own personality, but the decorating style in each makes them all family.

My choices seem to be finding a finish that relates to all that and using it throughout, using a different but coordinating finish on each level, or even more deeply mixing and matching. For instance, I could do a doorknob in one finish on the public facing side of a bedroom door, and a second finish on the interior side.

I have no idea. And it's a big job, because I can't just change the doorknobs - I will have to change and/or paint the lock jamb thingie and the hinges.

Hmm. Maybe it's a good thing only two doorknobs have broken.

I have always liked glass doorknobs, since my late Aunt had them in her Tudor style home in New Jersey (someday I will have to do a post on Aunt Shirley, who was responsible for immersing both my mother and me in the love of interior design).

But glass doorknobs can scream Victorian:

As these do to me. There is nothing about my house that speaks Victorian. With the right decor, I think those could also do well in a beach house, but despite actually living in a beach house, our home has coastal touches but I"m not sure if it's beachy enough to carry that ornate glass knob.

Then I found these:

That, to me, is stunning doorknob. It does exactly what I always hope an item will do - meet Traditional Me and Modern Husband halfway in the middle. It's clean AND pretty. I love it - trouble is, I found it on a http://www.housetohome.co.uk. Darn UK. Shipping could be pricey and I don't even know the base price. I will have to investigate.

After I posted this, I realized what I'd love to do is have a plain glass doorknob against a doorplate that coordinated with whatever metal was going on in the room, perhaps aged. I think doorplates help a glass doorknob not disappear anyway, and the right plate shape could further pull the glass doorknob away from traditional and into a little more current, a bit coastal, somewhat...okay, somewhat beachy.

Definitely have some investigating to do.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Light On The Ceiling Goes Round and Round....

Technically, I dislike ceiling fans. They are not an aesthetic favorite, and I have a hard time finding ones I like, beyond the big Tommy Bahama looking ones that lazily swirl over porches - those I like. Having neither a porch nor a porch ceiling, they are nothing like the ones I have, and so I'm contemplating replacing them.

Well, that's not true. I *know* I want to replace them, but I'm not sure with what. There really is no substitute for the delicious breezes they create, so I've made peace with the three ceiling fans we have in our master bedroom, living room and kitchen. I just haven't made peace with the brass fittings and walnut veneered blades the master bedroom and living room fans have, and I'm only eh about the all white version in the kitchen.

Because I don't love them, finding a replacement is going to be tricky. My "perfect light" is a lamp with a beautiful shade on a table. All other lighting - let's just say I'm no easy date, since I'm already shopping outside my lamp on the table preferences.

But there are a few contenders. All these are from Lamps Plus, and let me tell you: scrolling through nineteen pages of ceiling fans is no pleasant task. I need to make a new rule: once you've found something you like, you can stop looking. Too bad I'm looking for three different rooms, however.

Anyway. This one hides the blades a bit, a concept I really like. It's a little too...something for me, though.

This also conceals the blades, and could possibly be a contender in the kitchen, depending on what we decide to do there.

That last one also seems like a cute addition to my son's room, and as long as we're talking boy - the next is probably the first ceiling fans I've ever seen and dubbed as adorable:

Very aerial.

Back to the grownup spaces... the three blade fans seem to really be catching my eye:

They seem sleek and unobtrusive. Less obtrusive, even, than a white ceiling fan, which theoretically should "disappear" into the ceiling, but from my experience, does not. So if you're going to see it anyway, it may as well have some ooomph.

This one is similar, but with a darker shade, which I think improves it:

Last, this one brings a coastal vibe I really like. I'm wondering if it's too casual for my living room, but it could probably work well in my bedroom:

Some of these may be a hard sell to my husband, so we shall see.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Happy Little Finds

While we simmer here in the Mid-Atlantic's summer humidity, allow me to post a few little recent finds that have made me happy.

This oil painting just spoke to me. I don't know why. It's a painting of what appears to be the beginning of a walk or a driveway, and the home appears coastal... sandy terrain, a shabby beach fence behind the mailbox.

It's one of the few things that I have bought recently that break my new rule: know where you will put it before you buy it. I just liked it. I came home and tried it out in our entryway, our basement family room, and finally our master bedroom over the bed, where it now looks as if it was born there. The frames there before, photography, were not appropriately scaled. This feels much better to me.

This is the second (of only two!) rule breaker - this unique little lamp. It was difficult for no photography skills me to really capture all that's going on with this finish. It's brown, it's blue, it's iridescent, it's making me grin every time I see it.

Unlike the painting, I knew where it was going before I got all the way home, however. It's sitting in my soon to be little craft/project space. More to come on that later. And I think I'll be replacing the shade.

The rest are unique pillows. From Tommy Bahama:

Am I a message on the furniture type girl? Not usually, I thought this was not overbearing, and kind of fell into that casual elegance feeling I like.

The stitching on this one attracted me.

No one is going to lay down and snuggle this one, with it's stiff floral embellishment, but I liked it anyway. At any rate, people in my house tend to toss the throw pillows onto the floor, so comfort was not a deal breaker here.

Again, I couldn't capture the true beauty here. The wonderful top blends a suede like material with cotton, and reminds me of lace. A plain white band separates that from the corded bottom. And I love the colors.

Shopping is ridiculously fun.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Let There Be Light

With the exception of a few recessed can lights and my dining room chandy, every single ceiling light fixture in my house needs to be replaced.

The current fixtures are mostly some variation of this:

Lowe's is selling them for four dollars. That's if you buy them individually. I have a feeling the person who built/rehabbed our house got a bunch of them for a lot less, and he put them everywhere. The kitchen. The hallways. The bedrooms.  Where he didn't install a ceiling fan (of equal value, of course), he tossed up these lights.

I don't like them.

The good news is that they are so bland that they almost fade away. At least that's what I'm hoping. The bad news is, well, take a look at the four dollar bargain bin light again, and you won't have to be told what the bad news is.

So along with my other projects, I'm on the hunt for lighting. I want crisp pieces that compliment my decor while adding a soft punch. I don't want them to overwhelm, or necessarily be a full on focal point. I just want them to be another layer, a finishing touch on each room.

I love lighting, and my house is filled with lamps, lamps and more lamps. Those are so easy: buy, screw in bulb, walk away. Ceiling fixtures require a little more effort (mainly by my husband, aka our house electrician). They require scheduling and installation. Therefore, the time between this post and the final installation of all the lights will be lengthy... but more now, I am content to peruse the options.

Considering for the halls:

I think this light from Lamps Plus is a beautiful, beautiful neutral. My husband is less than sold on them. I either have to work on him, or fall equally in love with other options. I haven't gotten him to give me any options yet, but I suspect he wants something more utilitarian, like this:

Frankly, that's so similar to my current four dollar specials, I could just spray paint their casings and have the same thing. Which actually is an option... perhaps an oil rubbed bronze paint? I'm not sure that will satisfy me.

I'm scrolling through Lamps Plus as I write this post, and all the lights I'm attracted to are along the same lines as the first one I posted. Round, a hint of color, sort of mid-century in feel.

Yep. Gonna have to work on the husband.

Monday, May 31, 2010


The more photos of my daughter's room I see, the more I question my window treatment decision. I'm still mourning the absence of a funky, graphic print for her curtains.

Her curtains are just so... I don't know.

They are tailored and do not appear as shiny in person as they in the photos, although they are a faux silk. They just aren't as fun as I imagined.  My imagination ran somewhere more to this:

I found this fabric bundle during a Google image search; the fabric is by Josephine Kimberling.

Also love this bundle:

I believe the designer there is Kaffe Fassett.

Fun, fun prints. If I want, I can repurpose the curtains in her room to our lower level family room, which also has yellow walls and blue accents (of course, I am eyeing prints for that room, too).

So we shall see. Maybe as the room comes together I'll fall in love with them a little more.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Experiments and Frustration

I feel like I need to place a paragraph of apologies in this post, but suffice it to say: I haven't become a world class photographer since the last time I posted.


I finally hung two of the prints I had for my daughter's room.

The Experiment part:

They are really close together.

This is on purpose. I didn't want to hang them too high, but I also didn't want the lowest one to be too low, because frankly, I'm not sure my just barely 2.5 year old daughter and son can handle the responsibility of art in a room they spend unsupervised time in (as in, sleeping at night, waking up in the morning).

I hung the sturdiest one (I'll explain that during the frustration part) on the bottom, hoping that if they touch it and realize it doesn't come off, they will lose interest. Meanwhile, I'm leaving the opposite side of the window bare until I learn more about the combination of this low hanging art and my toddlers. I find it better to introduce new things a bit at a time.

I am very pleased with how the frames work with the shutters and the curtain rod, even if it is very easy to work with and sometimes boring white:

And now, for the Frustration part:

I have such a hard time hanging things, particularly framed art. It really frustrates me. And when I read about people who very easily accomplish it by laying out the art on the floor first and deciding placement, I just get even more frustrated, because that never. ever. works for me.


I have yet to buy two frames that are exactly evenly weighted and hang exactly the same way on a wall. It has literally never happened to me. All the frames used for this project are from Michael's, and they are the exact same frame, yet the center of gravity for each frame is totally different.

Even though I decided placement before hanging them, I still had to move the screw (for the hanging apparatus on these frames, I prefer the grip of a screw. I'll take a photo of it when I hang the next two). I started by using a ruler and level to place the screws directly in line, but the perfectly lined up screws made one of the frames tilt to the left. So I moved the screw, and it titled to the right. I kept moving it until both frames were straight and aligned. And even with all that work, the top one still swings if touched.

The math? Two frames hung, two holes being used, four holes lurking behind the art, which I'll have to putty and paint if I ever redecorate the room or we decide to move.

I have learned that I get a lot less frustrated if I just accept that this happens to me, and go into the project knowing I'll be creating a lot of holes. It helps that I'm going to put off the other side for a few more days.

Meanwhile, elsewhere at the ranch, I have relocated a photo gallery wall to a large staircase wall and ledge I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with.

It is a large wall, and I have a lot of pictures to go. I didn't bother laying out these beforehand, mainly because this wall will fill in as our family goes along. Everyone (mainly me) will just have to deal with part of the wall being blank until the pictures are taken and framed.

I estimate the wall being... I dunno. Twelve feet by ten? With a ledge. So... big. I might hang empty frames as I find them, and then fill in when a picture becomes available. My husband thinks my habit of doing that is hilarious. From time to time we live with the pictures of strangers that come with the frames.

I also plan to use art and such in what is essentially a collage. That drawing in the lower left corner is by me, that wooden man was recently snapped into two by my son so was pushed further down the ledge than he will ultimately rest when my son is old enough to not toss him down the stairs.

While I was taking these photos, two little people came up the stairs saying, "Cheese!" Of course I couldn't resist.

Nothing I put in the house compares to them and their brother.

Have a great holiday weekend!