Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Decorating Proj Number One

So, it is the first of December, which means that there are only 24 more days until Christmas! Time to decorate, buy gifts, write cards, bake treats etc. Over the weekend while I was home in the country, I went to one of my fave antiques stores (will talk about that later) and I found these three fun vintage Christmas post cards (below)! They even had writing on the back which made them even more special. You can find some on ebay too!
I really wanted to do something interesting with them rather than just have them. I didn't want to cut them to make cards either. I decided to display them in a really fun and festive way! I attached each one them them to a red grosgrain ribbon with about an inch in between and a few inches extra at the bottom. You can get lots of great ribbon at Kate's Paperie. Then I took another red ribbon and tied a floppy blow and safety pinned it to the top, attached it to my door and voila!
Now I have the start of some fun and inexpensive Christmas decorations! YAY! (I might need to calm down.)

Alicia B.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kitchen Dilemma

Kitchen featured in the 1950s in House Beautiful. WOW.

Yesterday afternoon as I was looking out the window in my parents' kitchen to watch the neighbors walk by (it's what we do in the country to pass the time apparently), I was blinded by the sunlight streaming in and had to look away. It made me start to think about the idea of curtains in the kitchen. My mother says she doesn't want them because they will get cooking debris (oil etc) on them and get dirty. She also really likes the light and openness in the kitchen and doesn't want to feel closed in by curtains. I wanted to see what other designers have done in kitchens, as the 3M filters on the windows my parents have just isn't cutting it. See below.

T. Keller Donovan uses a pretty blue toile valance in this otherwise white Nantucket kitchen.

Wooden roman shades would def solve the problem of cooking oils/dirt and since these are pretty thin, they still let the light in. By Noel Jeffrey.

In this uber colorful french style kitchen the designer, Michele Allman uses a red toile fabric and a traditional pinched pleat drapery style in the windows.

One of my now favorite designers John Peixinho who works mainly in Newport, RI also used a roman shade style in this kitchen, but I think it's a thin parchment colored fabric. Low maintenance, light blocking and good looking.

James Michael Howard designed this sleek clean kitchen and used an ivory linen shade in the large window. I like how he continued the strong dark horizontal line on the mouldings into the curtain.

Though the stove is right in between the two windows with long drapery, the designer used floor length drapery and a valance. This may seem like a lot, but it starts to become an architectural element as it echos the door off to the right. From Domino.

Another simple roman shade style but with a little kick with a small vertical stripe running down it. By Caroline DeCesare for the movie Something's Gotta Give. (Good movie but uncomfortable to see with your grandmother.)

One of my many design heroes, Victoria Hagan solves the entire problem of the light by creating these beautiful clerestory windows which provide great but indirect light.

If you're feeling DIY-ish, Martha provides this how-to on making your own curtains in my old fave magazine Blueprint. I like this one because it lets in light but it has very pretty and subtle polka dot texture. So cute!

Well, I helped my parents with their ivory shades from Kravet in our den, so maybe I can help them solve the dilemma of being blinded by too much light and feeling too closed in inside a big kitchen.

Alicia B.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful for...

Turkey Craft from Martha.

Since Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, I wanted to share a few things that I'm thankful for; in the design world and otherwise. Here goes!

My friends, family, and loves (only one) who are all super supportive of me.

My health. I'm strong as an ox, people!

My blog and all the support I've gotten from people and people in the "blog world." Who knew a silly girl like me would get mentioned in the Washington Post! Yay!
Photo available in my Etsy Store!

The amazing food I'll be eating tomorrow. What is your favorite part of the meal? Mine is the stuffing...oh god CARBS. YUM.

The entire design world, including amazing designers like Katie Ridder and her classic yet fun designs.

Crown mouldings, wainscoting and the color pink. Is this list getting too frivolous? This was designed by Madeline Stuart. Perfection.

Oh yeah. PIE!! This delish recipe is from Martha!

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving all! Eat lots of turkey (if you eat meat), stuffing, cranberries, and mashed potatoes. Btw, TWENTY NINE DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS!

Alicia B.

Branca's New Store!

This morning I got an email from Branca announcing their new store! It is a collection of home objects from one of my favorite designers, Alessandra Branca. I'd love to show you some of my favorite things from the store but I loved them all! The blue hand blown glass vases, the regency faux bamboo cane armchair upholstered in a red wool tartan, the owl (even though I hate owls) measuring name a few. I highly recommend visiting the store in person if you live in Chicago (my lucky sister!) or visit it online HERE.

I love when designers start their own store or their own furniture/fabric line. It's like they are selling their favorite things to you! A gift to the design world!

Coming up: Things I'm thankful for !

Alicia B.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Rita Konig's bedroom in her fun eclectic apartment in NYC. She uses a floral pattern in the bedspread, the wallpaper and even the light fixture!

So over the summer I was seeing lots of geometric patterns, lattice work etc in fabrics and wallpapers. WELL, summer is over, and so is geometry. Sort of. Anyway, I've been noticing a lot of flower patterns in wallpaper, bedspreads and fabrics in general. I find it quite calming in a world full of dropping numbers and people panicking about the economy etc. (clearly I need to get out of NYC for a few days). Flowers are pretty, sweet, and simple. Take a look at some of these sweet rooms.

I think this wide floral patterned dining room makes the space look bigger than it already is by adding a depth and openness to the walls. By Michael Taylor.

I know, I know. It's very traditional, but SO pretty! Look at the effect of the large beams on the ceiling leading down to the simple but beautiful curtains and into the room. By Markham Roberts.

Again, Markham Roberts (genius) uses the flowers to frame out a room/area, and it continues around the room (tablecloth, flowers on table and on mantle).

Even with traditional flowers, you can make the space look modern. Living etc.

Mix many different floral patterns for an eclectic look like this one by Fawn Galli.

Does this wall paper look familiar? (See above.) Found it in Domino.

It could be fun to use big bold flowers, like this one in Greenwich, for a glam/modern/but also classic look.

There is a lot of floral fabric in this bedroom designed by Barry Dixon (love!), but it is a pretty wide pattern so it appears more subtle and not too over-flowered. In the huge glass vase, the theme continues! So cute!

It's interesting how even though we are seeing lots of flowers, they can still maintain a modern look or some of the geometric quality. I think that when people think flowers, they think old lady designs or a stuffy chintz, but they can be light, feminine, modern, or glam depending on how you place it. Thoughts?

Alicia B.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dining Table and Sofa? YUP!

As if it wasn't obvious enough how much I adored the show Top Design (Eddie and Nathan in particular), I'm going to keep talking about it even when it's over. The show was silly sometimes but other times very inspirational and brought forth many design questions/issues. Remember the episode with those (ridiculous) Swarovski Crystal chandeliers? In Eddie's dining room that he designed, he put a sofa on one side of the dining table and chairs on the other. I was completely bewildered with the judges said they had never seen this idea before. I had seen it countless times in Domino and House Beautiful and had even used that idea in a school project! Anyway, I've collected some examples of this being done. Enjoi!

Tom Scheerer put this elegant sofa on one side of this breakfast/tea table. I think it looks very calming and draws your eye to the windows.

This one also leads your eye to the window but also give you something to settle on visually as these windows are floor to ceiling and there appears to be a lot of open space.
By architect Joeb Moore from Kaehler/Moore.

How elegant and cosy does this sweet little table look with these small sofas? From House to Home. I love the colors in this room too; perfectly feminine and inviting.

On the back wall they placed a gorgeous loveseat. From Domino.

You don't always have to have a sweet delicate little arrangement. Here, Alessandra Branca puts a heavy trestle table with an armless seat and matching high backed upholstered chairs.

I think the lesson learned here is, use a sofa with interest; some sort of embellishment or beautiful fabric. Also, don't have the sofa with it's back to you as you enter the room. Has anybody ever done this? I'd love to see pictures! I think it's a very sweet idea and when I have a small sofa I would use it in my breakfast room (when I have a breakfast room too). Perfect.

Alicia B.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oscar de la Renta: Swoon

I just got the new Vogue for this month and of course flipped DIRECTLY to the spread on Oscar De La Renta's home in Connecticut. No, he's not an interior designer, but interior design and fashion work incredibly close together. It's so interesting to watch the trends work off each other. Anyway, Oscar De La Renta is an incredible designer, let's just get that out of the way because it's obvious. His house in the Connecticut countryside (as well as his wife) is gorgeous/adorable. Take a look:

In the article, he loved the house but his wife didn't so he "gave" her the bedroom because it is her favorite room. Isn't that so sweet? Look at the incredible architectural detailing here. The bed isn't really my taste (a little bit to frou frou) but it looks perfect for his adorable and elegant wife.

He uses more of that floral motif (as in the bedroom above) in the wallpaper here and it matches the drapery as well. And on the right, that chair is so classic and weird; I love it.

This style might not be everyone's taste, but I think it's beautiful. If you look at every little bit of this room, each part is so personal. You can really tell that each object has been collected; it might have a special meaning or a story to it. Plus, how can you not love the mouldings and the slightly rounded ceiling in this room? I DIE.

Oscar (we're now on a first name basis) says that he bought the house for the view/property that it was on. Well played ODLR. Well played.

Alicia B.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Plaid Love

Isn't this Ralph Lauren tablescape so cozy/beautiful? I don't think I would change one thing about it.

Ever since I took a look at the new Loro Piana interiors collection (yesterday) I've been loving on plaids (more than usual) for interiors. They look so cozy and warm and I definitely need that since, if you are in New York today you might have frostbite (me). Plaids are coming in different forms, window pane, tartan, gingham, etc. Here are some you could...warm up to? Wow.

Nathan Egan loves this wool plaid from Rogers and Goffigon. I do too.

This comfortable and classic looking interior was designed by John Peixinho with a tartan plaid bench in front of the fireplace. In Newport, RI.

Mixing tartans is allowed too! From Domino.

Designed by David Mitchell this mix of different neutrals and beiges is carried by those two chairs in Rogers and Goffigon wide gingham print.

I SUPER love these two chairs. They are covered in Colfax and Fowler Lanark plaid.

Jeffrey Bilhuber covered these two chairs in a soft Bahagalpur plaid by Shyam Ahuja.

Through looking, I think the best places for plaids are Ralph Lauren Home, Colefax and Fowler as they are a British company, Holland and Sherry for plaids, tweeds and herringbones, and of course Loro Piana. Am I a stodgy old British man? Hmm.

Alicia B.