Friday, December 11, 2009

Deck the Halls 2009

Our holiday decorating challenge this year is to work with what we have and as it turns out, Michael and I have quite a lot in our Christmas treasure chest.

Last year we did an alphabet tree made out of gingerbread cookies for the play room. This year Nick and Linus are very much into trains, so trains it is. I chose a blue and green palette for decorating the cookies; following a color theme keep the tree from looking too cluttered and the cookie decorating is more refined. Because we will be away during Christmas week we decided to use a tree from our artificial tree collection, a 6 foot winter white tree that I love. After the cookies were hung (with fishing line, not an easy job) I dug through the boxes and boxes of vintage ornaments and added some of our favorite blue and green balls to give the tree an extra shine. I’m thrilled with the results.

While digging through our ornaments, I also pulled out my absolute favorite silver, gold and glittered beauties and hung them on a faux feather tree in the more formal living room known as the “daddy room."

Last year we asked our über talented friend Teresa to make Christmas stockings for Nick and Linus. They love these candy cane and snowman stockings so much.

Wreaths, pine cones and nuts add a little more festive feel around the rest of the house.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Easy Thanksgiving Centerpieces

Using whatever service pieces and other small objects you have around your house, along with nuts and fruits from the grocery store, you can pull together a stylish and affordable Thanksgiving centerpiece in no time. After you’ve picked whatever produce you need for your recipes, take another pass around that section, this time with an eye toward the center of your table.

I love white on white. Here I used a white table cloth and a few favorite pieces from my white pottery collection to show off an arrangement of decorative cabbage from the farmer’s market and nuts from the grocery store.

Green apples tend to show up a lot in my arrangements. I love their shape and bright cheerful color. I paired them with some very inexpensive silver trays I picked up at a consignment shop along with hazel nuts. Red pairs and walnuts also work great.

You can’t beat the beautiful orange color of Satsumas this time of year and my kids love to peal and eat them (after their job as the centerpiece is done). This time I’m showing them off in a footed white ironstone dish and each place setting gets a lady apple in an ironstone salt cellar.

Keep everything low so guests can see each other and keep the conversation going. Make sure you take the labels off the fruit and don’t forget lots of votive candles.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Weekend Project: New Shelving

Our cook and design books had been sitting on the floor in our office far too long while Michael and I looked for shelving we both liked and was affordable. We’ve been in the same shelving cycle for years: move into a new place, buy some “temporary” shelving (that we always weighed a ton had to be assembled!) until we found something we liked. Inevitably we always ended up selling that before we moved into a new place, thus keeping the cycle alive. While we still haven’t found a unit we both agree upon, we decided to set up track shelving in the office and so far are thrilled with the results. I love that we still have floor space beneath the shelves, and having something on the wall adds a nice touch when looking in from the kitchen. All in all, I think it turned out to be a stylish and affordable solution.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Outdoor Fall Arrangements

I finally decided to stop pining for warm weather and embrace autumn by putting out mums and pumpkins. I love to decorate our front porch: it’s a classic set up and so welcoming for company. Pumpkins of all varieties are placed around a potted mum and an articulated skeleton on the front door provides a nod to Halloween. We don’t often use the front door, so I wanted another arrangement that we could enjoy from inside. I set up a centerpiece for our patio table just outside our dining room, now we can all enjoy the colors of the season from the warmth of the dinner table. Someday, I will get my wish to put out a GIANT pumpkin worthy of the great pumpkin himself.

Look for plants with just a few open flowers and lots of buds to ensure that they will last longer, perhaps even till Thanksgiving! Don’t forget to water your mums and other fall plants…though that’s not an issue in Seattle this time of year.

When it comes to pumpkins gather them in all shapes and sizes, and pick ones with the longest stem as they stay fresh longer. Don’t carry the pumpkin by the stem or it will break off. I added several squashes to the arrangement which provide various shades of green.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Phinney Staging: Fruit + Flower Refresh

When your house is on the market, there are lots of simple tricks to make your home as welcoming as possible to a potential buyer. A quick trip to the grocery store can provide you with some inexpensive accents that will make your home feel a bit more polished:

Fruit: A big bowl of green apples are a great accent to any room. They are bright, fresh and welcoming. We used a bowl of apples on a small table next too the front door. Depending on the season you could also use lemons and limes, pomegranates or clementines.

Flowers: I prefer arrangements of one flower in one color epically in a staging project. The flowers should blend in with the room, complimenting another color in the space. You don’t need a huge arrangement to stand out as the only thing a possible buyer might remember. Always keep the flowers tidy and fresh – dried out or dying flowers will send the wrong message to a future home owner.

Here I used green hydrangeas in the dining room (in this case we went for a tall arrangement to help hide a poorly placed outlet). A small tight arrangement of white roses in the bedroom complements the color palette.

White Pottery: My collection of white pottery came in handing as another accent piece throughout the home, offering a unified feel without taking anything away from the architectural details of the house.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Illuminating Style

Over the past few months I've spent a lot of time looking for a dining room light fixture. There are so many to choose from, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But I know what I like and I like these:

From West Elm comes this Capiz Pendant that fits the bill perfectly for a client’s need for a bit of femininity in a house full of men. Her 10 year old son collects rocks and shells and she wanted to feature that somehow in the décor. Not only is this a great tie in, it’s super chic.

Who knew Jonathan Adler had a lighting line at Lamps Plus? He's so cleaver when it comes to adding an extra flourish to classic designs. The chain-link detail makes this drum fixture even more sleek and urban. I'll admit it - the client for this light is me!

This fixture from Restoration Hardware takes the drum shade to a very stylish new level. The two-tiers, though unadorned, add drama to any dining room. You can get great deals at Restoration Hardware during their lighting sales…which happens to be on right now.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sofas I Love

Delicious is the first word that came to mind when I saw the Ted sofa at Velocity Art and Design . I love the classic modern lines. The showroom piece was covered in sea foam (gorgeous!) but you can get it in a wide range of colors. Think of all the fun you could have accessorizing it with pillows.

Okay, technically this is a love seat but look how stunning it is! This little lovely is from designer John Derian, covered in Belgian linen and made with sustainable hardwoods. I love the reverse camel-hump with the dip in the middle. Hmm, I wonder if it’s comfortable. I’ll have to check it out on my next trip to Portland (available at Cielo Home) or Derian’s own shop in NYC.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Puppet String

My sister-in-law, Regina, made these adorable animal hand puppets for Nick and Linus from a Martha Stewart craft kit. They were just too cute to get lost in a toy box or stuck at the bottom of our kid craft drawer, so I strung up twine and hung the puppets with clothes pins. Now we can take them down anytime we want to play with them, and when we aren’t playing Old McDonald they serve as a great decoration. Thanks Aunt Gina!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Staging: Phinney Ridge

When it comes to staging your home before it goes on the market, there’s no need to rent an entire house full of new furniture. The key is to edit and work with what’s already there, maximizing the existing space with fewer knick knacks and perhaps opting for a smaller dining table or sofa.

That’s exactly what we did with this 1927 Phinney Ridge bungalow. The original Mahogany trim, hardwood floors, leaded glass windows and coved ceilings are the real star of the house. In the dining room we moved out a buffet and replaced the large square table with a smaller round one to improve flow and make the room appear larger. Two foot stools and several end tables were removed from the living room and the fireplace mantel was reworked with vintage pottery. For the rest of the house it was a matter of de-cluttering and de-personalizing spaces so a potential buyer could picture themselves living in this beautiful home.