I was shocked that over the last couple of weeks, I've had 50+ emails asking me if I was going to be featured in a BHG publication, as it seems so many bloggers have these past few months, after I teased that I couldn't quite share what big news we had, and that it had something to do with the house. So, instead of teasing, I figure why not spill the beans, right? And in order to protect the innocent, I'll leave names eschew.
Two years ago, our house was published in a local newspaper, or I should say, THE local newspaper and called "Home of the Month". It was a rewarding article, with about 5 pictures of the house all set up for summer. You might recall some of the photos here on the blog.
Now, I know I'm being hard on myself. This room, and the others featured in the article, got great reviews. In fact, it spurred the interest of a local magazine all about interior design, and now, (after giving the newspaper article room to breathe) they want to feature our home in the Spring 2012 issue. Excitement ensues, right? Not so much.
You see, a couple of months ago, I went into an all out frenzy changing paint colors in the house. The green had bothered me long enough - so I chose a more neutral, and uber trendy gray from Restoration Hardware. It was supposed to look like this:
Restoration Hardware's graphite gray, a warm sorta brown/gray combo that I thought surely would look great with all the leather and wood - after all, isn't that what RH is all about? But when I got it home (a mere $192 later) and painted the walls with it, it looked like this:
And though I loved it when it went up - in fact, loved it in the daylight, usually - the room looked more blue than gray, and everything else started to look cheap. Not a good word in my book. So, I fell into a rut then, and decided to go over to the dark side and get rid of all color. New seagrass rugs, white slip covered furniture, even some fancy schmancy DIY trumeau mirror:
Wow, you've never seen this picture before? Well, it's because from any other angle you could see the piles of stuff that littered the house during my mad-max decorating explosion! Here, the walls are now a soft taupey-griege from Martha Stewart Living called Ashbark. It reads differently here, against the grain of the natural woodwork than for those of you who might have picked it for your home with white wood. It's softer, less saturated, but still with great hue so that sometimes it looks honey, sometimes it looks gray, sometimes it looks beige - it's like having the onset of color-blindness around here!
And while I admit, that I still love that mirror, and didn't hate the idea of the white slipcovered furniture - it still didn't look right in this house. Now, some of you are saying paint the woodwork, and while that certainly would change the feeling of the room and give great ease to my decorating woes, it's not an option. No use in arguing over it - it'll just make things worse. (Trust me, I know from experience!) Of course, since money was apparently growing on tree's this summer (note the sarcasm) I also moved my way into the dining room:
I've painted everything on the ground floor, with the exception of the kitchen, this color - and I really do love it. It took forever to get it all done, in fact - I think there are still areas of the foyer that need my attention - but it's (almost) done. I spent a fortune on a pair of luxurious gray/blue silk 108" drapes for the lone window in my dining room, and then went about sewing 4 of these tabbed slipcovers in white, and ballet tie chair pads in natural linen over the newly reupholstered (burlap) dining room chairs. Yes - I was trying real hard! But although it made for a pretty picture, it wasn't right.
I decided that the overall feel was going too feminine. Having that vibe in the house was like putting a football player in a dress. It was fun to look at, but only for a few minutes, before you started to notice that it was completely ill-fitting.
So I started playing musical chairs - buying, this time a little more thoughtfully, and getting some great bargains from my awesome sponsors!
Here's a few snapshots of the living room today, completely a work in progress:
Alright, so, what do you think? Honestly? Remember - this is for a magazine shoot for Spring 2012. I decided to keep some of the white, introduce taupe linen, and firewood in the fireplace. Not quite done there - and though they're not here now - there will be plenty of fresh flowers in this room when they come to take pictures on the 26th.Comfort-Works linen slipcover custom made to fit it perfectly! More about them, and their amazing company later! The zebra (which has seen better days and needs to be backed) I bought on ebay for less than $300 a couple of years ago is still layered over the seagrass. Here you can tell how beautifully muted the color of the walls are - I love how they just stand back, out of the way - letting everything else shine.
This is an end table to a set that Scott bought long before I met him. The coffee table was left (accidentally) in Texas. We had been using it in the basement for storage, but I liked the lines of it, and how it brought the umber tones of the woodwork into the room and off the walls. In the background, my large brass framed museum prints of Picasso's Don Quixote take the place of that old door that had been there for years. I quite like this look, do you? I removed the Restoration Hardware sconce from the wall - something Scott now says he had wished I would eventually tire of. I have to admit that it was a bit awkward.
On top of the table an Asian bowl - this time not the cheap stuff from TJMaxx, some design books, Silver Ethiopian prayer beads, and a really fun calligraphy brush I bought during our trip to Texas last week. I got it at a great store called Wildflower Organics on S. Lamar in Austin. They have a great store (lots of bedding options) and beautiful vignettes and displays. This was one of two, and I thought it was so unique I had to have it. I thought it had been the only one I'd ever seen - besides of course the other one at the store, but I found one exactly like it used in a Jeffrey Bilhuber room while flipping through 'Defining Luxury' yesterday.Calico Corners called Velluto Espresso that I can't get enough of - and used in several other places in the house) has the karate chop. BUT, I did go gentle on it - in case it ever decides to go back to the land of nod, I don't want it saying nasty things about me! (If this doesn't make sense - read this funny blog post here!)
cross bottles I make, which are consequently for sale! Email me.
Phil Michael Trading Company. They carry great garden stools at really reasonable prices - and are having a sale right now to welcome Fall. This garden stool is the perfect sidetable here on to the right of the sofa, and I think I like the way it's styled with a great brass bowl I paid a dollar for at an antique shop 10 years ago, and more hydrangea. I just love that soft green.
Painting this thing required a lot of patience, and a ton of paint. Thankfully, I had about 10 different shades of gray in the basement from when I was trying to find a color to work in the living room. Oh how sometimes it all works out for the best, right? You can tell (from the candle sconce) that there's some gilded surfaces in there, too, and some old crusty white gesso style finish in the creases - which I accomplished by using paintable caulk. The appliques were cheap, from Lowes, about $4.00, the rest of it (sans the sconces which were a little more difficult to make) is just layering onto plywood. All in all - it's a project that will take you a good weekend to complete - but if I can do it, so can you!
And a quick peak at the foyer table and chair. I finally fixed this table (the one that had broken from the weight of the crap on top of it from the newspaper shoot) and styled it with this super heavy antique brass charger, vintage Asian porcelain, and a small bed lamp with a silicone tipped bulb! My favorite! The chair, an old captain chair to our dining room set, now looks a little french bergere don't you think? With arm pads made from a great paisley fabric from Calico Corners and a small chocolate and cream check. The axis hide pillow was an obvious perfect fit! This is a little less "Spring 2012" but, I do love it!
So, there you have it. It's not finished - it's nowhere near perfect, and I doubt that it'll ever make it into a national publication - but it's gonna be good enough for Buffalo - one way or the other! Please, let me know what you think - your feedback is so very valuable!