Friday, February 27, 2015

High Five Over Winter Friday

It's Friday. This week I feel like we have reached a finish line that I need to drag myself across. Do you feel that way too? I have a hunch that it's related to being stuck indoors too much, faced with a landscape that resembles the cold, dead surface of Mars. But, hey the weekend HAS to be better, right??? After all, it's the weekend!

Here are a few things that were exciting enough to share, otherwise known as my Friday High Five.

1. Awesome Art & Nature
I mentioned this in last week's post, too: feelings of awe can prevent disease. What I didn't realize, though, is that there can be many different sources for awe including art, God, and nature (and possibly really pretty rooms??). This is a quick read for a better life.

2. Spring Dress
Ann Taylor
I'm on the hunt for a spring dress or two. Why must it be so hard to find something that is stylish yet respectable? Grrrrr. This perfectly-pastel boiled wool dress is out of stock, which is a major bummer because it would have been a great work/Easter dress. But that dress everyone is talking about? I only see white and gold.

3. Girly Rooms
Redecorating my daughter's room has been forefront in my mind and I'm thrilled by the ideas these three ladies have shared of their own daughter's rooms: Cassie, Bethany, and Kristin.

4. Great Read
Station Eleven looks like a great post-apocalyptic story, set along the shores of Lake Michigan. The Michigan Humanities Council just announced it as their Great Michigan Read for 2015.

5. Best of the Nest

Some of my favorite bloggers are hosting their monthly Best of the Nest series. Check out Kris, Pam, and the rest to see all of the great submissions. I am including my room-switcheroo there, too.

Happy weekend! (Die, winter, die! :)
xoxo ~Carrie

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Symmetry: Chairs

One of the easiest ways to add symmetry to your room design is by adding a pair of something.

I especially like chairs.

A pair of chairs can be a great way to inject some fun pattern in an otherwise neutral room.

La Dolce Vita

Or, a way to add some excitement and interest with color.

A sofa of canary yellow or chartreuse might feel overwhelming, but a pair of chairs in those colors is just right.

via Carla Aston

A pair of chairs can be a great way to inject some luxurious texture like this pair of velvet chairs.


My wished-for-style lately for my own house has been the swivel bucket chair, "the chair that gives you a hug." I love that a pair was used in the Modernism Showhouse in Palm Springs recently!

To create this look in your own room is simple: just buy two instead of one. Easy peasy!

Last night I popped onto our local Craig's List to check out the furniture, and found these beauties.

It was as if the sky opened up and angels sang...

"Beautiful, like new two matching high quality barrel back chairs that swivel 360 degrees. Recently professionally reupholstered and show virtually no wear. Will fit into various decor and are very comfortable. Been in a older, single, non smoking, no pet, persons home. Amazing opportunity to obtain these chairs at a very reasonable price of $150 each or best offer. Must be seen in person to fully appreciate their quality and beauty. Thanks for looking. Can assist with delivery. Please phone call only."


A close-up on the fabric and upholstery.

I'm not a fan of the ruching (a French term which means to gather, ruffle, or pleat) on the back of the seat, which makes it feel a bit dated. But the large scale floral pattern is pretty and I am in love with that teal base color.

How much would you offer for these beauties? Or, do you feel that swivel chairs should be left in the 80s??

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Oscar Spoilers

Did you all get a chance to watch the Oscars? This was the first year in at least a decade that I was really into it, despite not having seen any of the Best Picture nominees (my daughter was rooting for Big Hero 6 in the animation category, and hooray, it won!).

I had to DVR the show, and even at this point--Tuesday morning--we still have not found out who the winners are in the major categories. I am hoping that this was Bradley Cooper's year for Best Actor; he's been nominated for the past three years, and his performance in Silver Linings Playbook was awesome.

Avoiding the news yesterday was a challenge! But it did help with a new resolution to stay offline until I get to the office.

I am more excited than ever, though, to watch movies, despite what this article may have to say about it.

Because there are the muted colors of The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Plus the gorgeous outfit of the woman who won for best costumes, Milena Canonero (on the right). Sequins! Plus red shoes!

The best-supporting acting in Whiplash and Boyhood, both of which look like movies my middle-school-aged son might enjoy, and the speeches by the winners, were pure gold.

The many, many foreign films. Full list of nominees here.

And Birdman, because in this article, it was the film whose d├ęcor most resonated with me.

 It was cited as being a great mix of high and low. Isn't this green sofa stunning?


The Lonely Island/Teagan & Sara performance of "Everything is Awesome" (watch here) was my favorite of the many great musical performances. Tim McGraw looks totally different, doesn't he? I haven't seen the Lady Gaga/Sound of Music tribute yet, but it was one of the few spoilers I read about yesterday.

Finally, did you know that the girl in 50 Shades of Gray is the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson?? I did not, until the Oscars, but boy does it make me feel old. :)

Do you love rooms inspired by movies? What is your favorite movie based only on the sets or costumes?

Friday, February 20, 2015

High Five Freezing Friday

It is colder today in East Lansing than it is in Anchorage, Alaska. It is colder even than Antarctica. It is FREEZING!!! Perfect for catching up on my reading, otherwise known as the Friday High Five.

1. Oscar Night
I'm not sure that I've seen any of the movies nominated for Best Picture this year, but last weekend I finally watched Silver Linings Playbook, which turned out to be a great movie! If you are looking for a nice family movie I highly recommend Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Keep an eye out for Steph, the girl at the yoga class--she is from my hometown!

Glitter Guide
If you plan to watch the Oscars Sunday night, there is a fun printable and some great party tips on the Glitter Guide here. Domaine has decorating inspiration from this year's nominated films in this article.

2. Inspiration

Recent research shows that living in awe can help prevent diseases including Alzheimers. If you need some inspiration, how about this guy's story?? Then read more about Detroit here.

3. Coffee Table Styling


I've been looking forward to this one! Twelve amazing design bloggers sharing their cocktail table styling secrets. Check out Mary Ann, Emily, Rene, Carla, Karolyn and the rest via the links.

4. Eating Healthy
Martha Stewart Living

I'm going in for a physical later this morning, which has me thinking about how to live healthier. Martha has a day's worth of healthy recipes here that look pretty and tasty!

5. Saying Grace

I shared my design ideas for our dining room yesterday, and this morning found this article extolling the virtue of saying grace before meals.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Design Plans: Dining Room

Last week I mentioned that I had swapped our kitchen sitting area and dining "room"--everything on this level of the house is pretty open-plan so is it really a room??

Anyhoo, I am still delighted by how the two spaces are functioning. But, design inspiration calls!
This space has a very similar layout to my own with the window on the right and the long, triple light fixture over the table.

Now just imagine that beach print as brush stroke art.

Source Unknown
Another option would be to paint the wall behind the table a dark, moody color like here and layer a large rug underneath the table. I think it would be great at nighttime, but probably not the look we are going for right now.

Carrie Hatfield

I've dreamed of a banquette for a long time and this cozy nook might be the perfect location for one. I'm not sure if ours should wrap around like the one in the room above, designed by another Carrie, or just run along the back wall.

Brushstroke art in the dining room just can't be beat! If this one were a Rorschach test, I'd see a bunny!

My Plan:

A reproduction of The Last Supper might not be for everyone, but it seems like a good choice for where a bunch of Catholics break bread. This bright, color-packed version of it also helps to balance out the other color choices in my plan. The Robert Allen ikat bands (far right) would be great on the banquette cushion and maybe on some drapes on either side of the window. A splash of neon is always fun; although I'm not yet sure how that could be incorporated since I intend to keep the table and chairs we already have. Another version of black brushstroke art, this time behind a bar. And, finally, a white tulip table. As I said, I want to keep our table, but I'm thinking of painting the top white. I even like the chair fabric in this last photo--we could easily swap out this lookalike for what is currently on the seats.

What do you think? Do you have any brushstroke art in your house? How about neon or religious scenes??

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Big City Living

Did you watch the SNL 40th Anniversary show the other night? I did, and it reminded me of how cool New York City used to be in the 1980s.

If I was wild and free, I'd live in a high-rise apartment building in a gritty city. Some place where the next generation of comedians and musicians, artists and fashion designers are living and working. Some place that is unbearably exciting. Some place like ... Detroit.

Now, before you think I know anything about Detroit, I should tell you that I have never lived there and only go to the city once or twice a year. For work. But, in the way that a distant cousin is special because they're family, that's how I feel about Michigan's biggest city. And, bolstered by articles like this, my hunch is that Detroit is the next big thing.

In fact, I have even found the perfect place to live!

The Ashley, a former hotel, is a ten-story recently renovated apartment building near Grand Circus Park. It's within walking distance of where the Lions and Tigers play as well as close to the Fox Theatre, Detroit Athletic Club, and Detroit Opera House, as well as being on the People Mover line.

What most impresses me is how inexpensive the rent is for downtown city living. Less than $1,200/month?! Besides the proximity to everything and gorgeous views, it is all brand-new! The building opened this month, and according to their Facebook page, still has a few apartments left to rent.

The lobby area and balcony were restored earlier this year. A donut shop and wine store are opening in the building, too!

I love how the beautiful old floors were preserved as well as the old glass in the windows.

The elevator before & after is looking sharp.

Check out the gorgeous light coming into this kitchen.

A glimpse of the city from these windows.

I think it would be so fun to decorate these spaces! World Market has some great smaller-scale sofas that would be perfect for this amount of square footage. 

Have you ever considered high-rise living? It could be a great option for baby boomers who are downsizing as well as millennials making a name for themselves. 

All photos via The Ashley and its website unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dreaming About: Palm Springs

Single digit temperatures. Wind chills in the negatives. These are the times that try moms' souls. For real. I saw so many college students walking to class this morning wearing neither hats nor gloves that I got frost bite on my brain.

It is also already Tuesday somehow and yet stiilllllll February... How can that be? This has to be the longest month ever. The good news is Modernism Week in Palm Springs.

Celebrating and fostering an appreciation of midcentury architecture and design is the point of this ten-day extravaganza. And could there be any place more perfect for it than Palm Springs?! I don't think so.

Citron Bar at Viceroy

Presidio Pool at Viceroy

Viceroy Hotel

Saguaro via Conde Nast Traveler
So much sunshine and gorgeousness ... even before seeing the Christopher Kennedy Show House.


Just two of the light, bright spaces in the show house. 

My favorite room, though, has to be the den by Parker Kennedy Living. I am in LOVE with all the blue Robert Allen fabrics and the mix of textures.

Are you ready for spring??? I am!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

White Space

For a short month that is not even half over, February feels like it has been jam-packed with activity. I think that has a lot to do with how much white space usually exists in my calendar. Lots of days with nothing out-of-the-ordinary; lots of time at home. Which is certainly beneficial. There is a lot more calm and a lot less chaos since we stopped doing this and going there. It's also a big part of a book that I'm currently reading, called Hands Free Mama (the subtitle is "A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!"). 

Yesterday was supposed to be one of the busiest days of the month, with jury duty smack dab in the  middle of the day. I left work at noon, rushed back to my side of town, and was the last person to sign in. I had Hands Free Mama in my purse to catch a few extra minutes of reading time before my name was called, but it also occurred to me that just maybe I'd see someone I know.

Ha! It was like a big old party in the courtroom! So many friends were there, doing their civic duty, and we even made some new friends. The afternoon was spent catching up and chatting about books and the FitBit, and I got paid for it! I need to finish my book, borrowed from the library, so another mom can check it out next. I LOVE where I live!!

Today also happens to be the fifth anniversary of the day I closed on the purchase of my last house--the one I bought all by myself. You can see the goodbye tour here. That house was in a small town only 20 minutes away, but I never connected with people there like I have here.

The Hands Free Mama has been inspiring me in other ways, too. Like the images from yesterday's refresh.

Which didn't hide the recycling...

Or the errand bags. Or papers all over the table.
Because I only had a few minutes to take photos and I was going to make the most of the time and the gorgeous light streaming in our windows.
If I waited for perfect, it might never have gotten done.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Changes to My House

Over the weekend, I made a few changes around our house.

I flipped the sitting area that I designed in last spring's One Room Challenge linkup with our dining area.

The two areas just weren't working the way I wanted them to.

The sitting area felt a little too precious. A little bit too removed from the life of our house. Even the name of it: Keep. Eh...

It also felt like there was too much wood in the former dining space. It was too tight and yet also too much space between it and the kitchen.

Although I'm still not super keen on this mix of rugs (black & gold swirly vs. blue & white geometric patterns), they are working better than they had been.

And I really kinda love having such a soft rug underfoot when I'm getting juice from the fridge.

This LEGO table was unloved in a corner of our upstairs living room. So much more fun now!

The console had been a dumping ground when it was closer to the front door. Now it neatly holds all of the homework stuff.

This is a nice empty space for errand items now under the kid art gallery wall.

Adding the upholstered sofa and textured pillows to this area softens up so much the wood paneled walls.

This cabinet area looks so much better with a little bit of styling.

Mail gets put here now and seems less overwhelming to deal with. 

Maybe it's just all that wine! ;)

This tight little nook (which is the exact same width as the former location) makes sitting at the table feel more cozy than before.

For now we are keeping this bookcase here. It gives us a place for all the cookbooks. Bonus: the board games make it easier to actually have family game night!

A glimpse of the runner that had been in the kitchen in its new space in front of the back door.

I swapped out all the decorations that were on top of the barmoire for this big seagrass basket.

Overall, I am thrilled with the way the first level functions now and how it looks!


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