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.