Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hot Property

Lately, I've been dreaming a lot about houses. In fact, I've always dreamed about houses, and think that it represents my self, which is confirmed here. As my life has improved, the houses I see in my dreams have gotten better, too.

The other night, however, the dream was more of a nightmare. We were moving again (we only moved into our current house 13 months ago) and I didn't have any boxes or want to pack all over again.

It could be that I had this nightmare, because before bed, I spotted this gorgeous house for sale at an unbelievable price.

The house is listed at only $159,900 and has a whopping 2,862 square feet. That's about $56 per square foot! A house of comparable size in the same desirable neighborhood can be found here for about 2.5 times as much.


The house was built in 1935 and appears to have the charming period details typical in Art Deco architecture.


I particularly like this fireplace and all of the black-framed windows.


With some decorating, it could look like this chartreuse-chaired beauty.
The catch? The buyer must complete the renovation started by the current inhabitants. From what I can tell, they have completed the renovations on the first floor but the second floor, where the majority of the bedrooms are located, has been completely gutted.


A view of the remodeled kitchen.


The house in greener days. This could be an amazing find for someone who is willing to put the work in (either on their own or by hiring a contractor), and I'd be happy to decorate it for you!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Novel Interiors: A Book Review

If you love beautiful rooms and great books, you are in for a treat! 

from A Bloomsbury Life
Lisa Borgnes Giramonti, the author of the blog A Bloomsbury Life, has published a beautiful new book. Called Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature the book features tons of gorgeous, glossy photos by Ivan Terestchenko. I wasn't familiar with either of them before I got the book, and let me tell you, I was missing out.

The photos of the rooms featured in Novel Interiors are all new to me. This is not unremarkable considering I have pinned over 13,000 images here. What can I say? I like a beautiful room. I am 99% sure the above image from the book shows Mark D. Sikes' entryway. Doesn't he have the best front door?! I love the paneling and the contrast of the dark paint against the blonde wood flooring.

There are quotes about living interspersed throughout the book, and it's these quotes that link the featured rooms to the great novels in literature. I have never read Brideshead Revisited, but it's going on my list after seeing this chinoiserie-stocked vignette!

Novel Interiors is wonderful in that way. You can either approach the book as a guidepost to d├ęcor you like based on your favorite novels--or, you can find a new book to cuddle up with based on which style of room you are drawn to.

There are six chapters, each of which represents a different interior design style and its corresponding literature: Shall I Put the Kettle On?; Remembrance of Things Past; Living au Naturel; Oh, the Glamour of It All; Anything Goes; and Sometimes a Fantasy. There were rooms in each genre that I liked, but one chapter in particular that had me oohing and ahhing at each turn of the page. (It was Oh, the Glamour of It All, if you were curious, and the featured authors are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Graham Greene).

At the end of each chapter is a nifty checklist of what items you need to buy in order to achieve this "look" in your own home. Abstract art, lacquered furniture, and white leather are some of the items on my list for Oh, the Glamour of It All.

The book also has some charming insets with information on how to collect dining chairs, set up a cordial bar, or add drama with portieres (drapes in a doorway--which I did in my own house here), to name just a few. The appendix contains a brief summary of the authors and books featured in each chapter. There is also a source guide (handy for those who want to re-create a look) and location credits so you can figure out which famous people's homes were featured.

The index is also quite handy for figuring out whether your favorite author made it into the book. After reading the story "Edith Wharton's House of Mirth" in the winter issue of Domino, I was excited to see where she fit in (it was my second favorite category: Remembrance of Things Past). Wharton's Berkshire escape, The Mount, illustrated the design principles she wrote about in her book The Decoration of Houses, another on my must-read list.

Overall, this is a lovely book, perfect for using on its own as part of the styling in a little vignette, to page through and get inspiration for decorating, or to enjoy as a fan of great literature. I think there may truly be something for everyone!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. The images in this post are photos I took of the book with my iPhone. I highly recommend buying the book to see these images in their true format (and without my thumbs protruding into the image). You can buy it online here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Kitchen Organization & Blog Updates

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I'm making some updates to the blog, and the process of naming things reminded me of an organization tip that I use in my house, particularly the kitchen.

Every cabinet and drawer has a name that indicates its purpose. Besides having drawers for tableware and cooking utensils, we also have the overflow drawer. This contains bulkier tools as well as things we don't use as frequently but are still useful like the cheese slicer and potato masher.

The same naming system works for the cupboards, too. My husband added shelves to a small broom cupboard to create a pantry when we moved in. This is where we store canned goods, sauces, and every other nonperishable needed for making a meal, thus making it known as the cooking pantry. Cereal and oatmeal are also in this cabinet. A small cabinet near the stove serves as our baking pantry. This is where I store everything we need for making desserts (flour, sugars, cupcake liners, etc.). And another cupboard is known as the snack cabinet. This is where items for packing the kids' lunches are also kept.
Habitus Living
A set of high cabinets is reserved for "extras"--all of those things that we buy at the grocery store because it's a great deal but we don't yet need. Extra bottles of ranch dressing and maple syrup, jars of spaghetti sauce and peanut butter, and boxes of rice and spaghetti noodles are on stand-by in this out-of-the-way area.

I find that giving things a name helps me communicate my organization plan to my family. When I'm telling someone where to put something away or where to find something that they need, it's a lot easier to say "extras cabinet" or "overflow drawer." Usually I only have to say it once, they catch on fast! This process also containerizes what we have so that we don't end up with wayyy more than we can comfortably accommodate. Ideally, this is how it works anyway. ;)

Coco & Kelley
All of this organization is meant to get dinner (breakfast and lunch) on the table a little more quickly and with a little more panache.

There are still (many) areas that could be better organized in my kitchen, but I think that's just life. It's a process, not perfection.

Do you like to name things around your house?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Using Art to Make a House a Home

Imagine you've just bought a new house. Maybe it's your dream home. You've spent every penny you have to ensure it is in the most desirable neighborhood and has the number of bedrooms you need. The realtor hands you the keys and you walk an empty room.

How do you turn your blank canvas into a masterpiece? What can give it instant style and character? What makes a house a home? ART!
Vintage art can give a new-build home a sense of character, or create a sense of being collected over time in a room that's just been recently put together.
But what to do if you're too busy working to pay the mortgage to hang out at auctions or scour flea markets? The answer is The online auction site has thousands of paintings and you can browse by category. For this room, I thought it would be fun to use a combination of some beautiful old portraits and a landscape. These are the three that I chose for our design.

The top image is called Farmhouse with Hay Bales. I like the colors in it and the antique gilt and gesso frame. The portrait of the girl is an oil on canvas--the pink in her bow makes it feel fresh. And the portrait of the man in colonial dress is the largest of the three paintings with an understated frame.

And here is how the room would look with the art on the walls. The landscape painting is hung over the fireplace with the portraits on each of the adjoining walls. To make the room not feel too fussy, I brought in furnishings with more of a mid-century modern vibe.
The color and texture of the sofa are meant to evoke the green coat in the man's portrait. The pink John Robshaw pillows reference the girl's pink bow. The beni ourain rug brings the neutrals of the French farmhouse into the room. And the brass legs of the chair, tables, and lamp coordinate with the frames and add a little sparkle.
Check out Polyvore for the list of sources used in the room. 


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