Sunday, January 24, 2016

2nd!!! Last!!! Final!!! Post on the Cape Cod Showhouse Bedroom (you know I'm lying.....)

 I really thought that this would be the last post on this room.....
but it turns out that I can squeeze another one out before I'm done.
(that didn't sound right, but I'm too lazy to figure out another way to say that. You all can give suggestions in the comments section!)

Let's see, where were we?????
Continuing with this bedroom which is one of my all time favorite rooms that I have ever, ever, ever, ever done, let's study the twin beds.
I installed a pair of half testers over the beds.
(half testers are the valences that hang over the head of a bed creating the look of a half canopy)
I love the look of half testers, and have one in my bedroom in Massachusetts.
In the case of these beds, since there was a beamed ceiling, I used the edge of the first beam to dictate the depth of the tester.
This created a deeper valence than I usually do over a bed.
I usually have one that's around 15" deep.
Here's the one in my Massachusetts bedroom, it's not as deep as the Cape Cod ones.
Sometimes I hang pictures over the back drapery, and sometimes I don't.
In my own bedroom, since the headboard was tall and the ceiling was low, there wasn't much room so I left it bare, hanging pictures on either side of my queen bed.
In the shot below, since there was a lot of plain fabric and only creamware plates on the wall, I chose a pretty pair of bird prints in silver leaf frames.
For reading light, I hung an antique pair of tole sconces that I had rewired and added a 
candle wax slip and custom smocked cream silk shade
This is the clearest I could get the picture enlarged.....sorry....
The great thing about doing showhouses is that you end up with cool stuff in your home, this way you can justify the expense of doing these projects.
I installed these sconces in my Watertown bedroom, and loved them.
In my new Massachusetts home (well, new 12 years ago.....), I have no use for them, so they're in a closet. I love them too much to get rid of them. 

OK, back to the showhouse room.
Between the beds, over the night table, I hung a pair of "creamware" plates that I found in a junk store. They aren't real creamware but from the forty's.
I wanted something between the beds, but something without a strong pattern.
Since doing this showhouse, I have stumbled on some more of these plates, and have hung them in my Massachusetts condo master bath.
Here's a better closeup of the plate. See, it has a pretty basket weave effect on the surface.
I know nothing about these plates, but looooove them.
OK back to the Cape.
Between the pair of beds, I placed the matching night stand.
As I mentioned in my last post, I don't usually like furniture in a suite of matching pieces, but in this case, for some reason, I think they are 
I found a pretty green alabaster lamp and had the shade made for it.
It's hard to see in the picture, but it has a silk and crystal bead trim hanging from the edge.
The retro phone is a refurbished one I picked up in an antique mall in New Hampshire.
It now sits on my desk in Massachusetts, looking good but getting in the way.
The receiver is too heavy to have long conversations, it doesn't have a speaker for hands free work, and the ringer is sooooo loud that it scares the #$%  out of me every time it rings.
I'm considering putting it in the closet with my pair of scones.......

I used the beaded shades in my current living room, so here's a better close up.
The trim was from Scalamandre, I don't know if they carry it anymore, everything pretty seems to be disappearing. Over the beaded trim the custom lamp shade maker, Blanche Field, applied a ribbon with metallic gold edges. Then, in the middle of the ribbon, a cord was covered with the twisted ribbon and sewn on.
This kind of workmanship is rare and expensive, but if your are obsessed with details like I am, you find a way to pay for this stuff.
I'd rather have this then go to fancy restaurants.
Of course, I don't like fancy restaurants, they frown on sweat pants.
Sometimes when I dress a bed, I stack the pillows against the headboard.
Sometimes I stack them flat.
In this case, since we didn't want to cover the painting on the bed, we stacked them flat and placed a pretty needlepoint pillow against the pile.
I say "pretty" because I designed and needle pointed them.
I now have them in my Massachusetts condo in my living room.
I had the brilliant, ha, idea to make the letters look like ribbon.
Well, I don't think that I accomplished that, but at least you can read what they say.
The R and R stands for rest and relaxation, since this was a vacation guest room.
I don't think anyone figured that out, and probably thought it was some guys initials.
At the foot of the beds, I folded a pair of matelasse coverlets.
They were inexpensive from Bed Bath and Beyond.
 The way to get the pattern to stand out is to wash them in hot water and then dry them on high.
Another trick I use when dressing a bed for a photo shoot.....
If the folded quilt or throw at the foot of the bed looks too flat, then I fold it around a down comforter. 
That's what I did here.
I'm a woman.
I can fake things.

On that note,
Later, Gator


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Before the Year 2000 Cape Cod Showhouse....

I don't remember the exact year......

It was some time in the 1990's.....


Below is the overview picture from Traditional Home Magazine of the room I designed.
Since it was the Cape Cod Academy Showhouse, it was on Cape Cod!!!!!
I chose a downstairs little room that I made into a bedroom.
The room had an awkward layout with two doors and a fireplace.
The decorating committee had assigned it to be a bedroom.
Well, there was no wall space for a pair of beds.
And since I had a pair of pretty beds,
I needed the wall space.
They cover up what they don't like
 by using devices that would never work in
You guys are probably sick of hearing this, but two of my best buddies own Drape It, my drapery work room in the Boston Area.
They allowed me to go wild in showhouse rooms.
In this one, we used plywood to cover the fireplace and then covered the plywood with the chintz that was used in the room.
Since the pair of beds backed up to this fake wall, the lack of a baseboard was not noticed.
As you may have realized by now,
I have an unhealthy love of printed cotton.
Today all anyone seems to want is linen.
My new line of fabrics is mostly linen,
because why spend two years designing fabric if no one will want to buy it?????
kids these days.
This is not what I wanted to be talking about.....
where was I?????
Oh, yeah,
printed cotton.
So, I love printed cotton, and I wanted to cover the walls and ceiling with a pretty print.
The problem was that I usually used prints that were of bouquets of red and pink blooms.
But that wouldn't have gone with the orange color of the wooden beams and moldings in the room.
I worked my way through several fabric lines before I found this pretty pattern in Brunschwig & Fils.
The flowers were orange and yellow, just what I wanted.
I couldn't believe my luck!!!!!
orange cabbage roses!!!!!
(the reason there is a grey line running through the picture, is because I spliced together two pages from the magazine.)
When we laid out how the fabric would be placed on the ceiling, since it was running between the thick beams, we didn't worry about matching repeats, but centered the pattern in each individual space.
Then we use generic gimp to cover the staples.
I usually like a double welt to cover staples, but that would have been a tremendous amount of fabric and labor. This was only a temporary installation, and yous gots to choose your battles when doing a showhouse room.
My friend Gary McBournie found the set of painted furniture at a country auction.
He can't pass up a bargain, so bought these pieces figuring I would flip my lid for them.
He was right.
The foot boards were painted with really pretty floral arrangements.
Each bed had a different bouquet, which I think is sorta spiffy!!!
do I wish that digital cameras were available back then, I would have taken a gazillion close ups of details and vignettes.
Here's a front view of the night stand,
and here's the dressing table.
I'm going to write two posts on this room, so I will have more pictures of the furniture next time.
Why do one post if I can do two?????
 I fell in love with a drapery treatment I saw in a magazine, and was just waiting for the right place to try it out.
There was a radiator between the two windows, so I just ignored it, and draped the panels over it.
Since this was a summer show house, that wasn't a problem.
Be careful what you copy when using a showhouse room for inspiration.
We designers can fudge an awful lot when working with just a little money and not a lot of time.
I worked with Joe at Drape It on how to drape the swags of the valences. 
They couldn't be too full, or the casualness of the look would be ruined.
Believe it or not, 
 it's easier to do a formal look with a swag, than a casual one.
OK Kampers,
that's it for today.
I'm still in Florida and it's humid as hell.
I need to get some exercise.
You need to go outside yourself and go for a walk, 
just like ME!
On that note,
Later, Gator

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My New Slipcovers!!!!!

Hi everyone!!!!!
have you missed me?????
Well, first excuse.....I am trying to finish my #$% fabric line for a spring launch.
(I am now working on the last pattern.....lets keep our fingers crossed......)
my other excuse is I've been sick.
So, now I can write this blog!!!!!

For those of you who have been reading this pathetic attempt at prose for the past couple of years, you may remember me waxing poetic about the wall paper in my kitchen and family room.
It's a Lee Jofa print named: Althea.
It is one of the most beautiful traditional floral prints in the whole wide universe!!!!!
one day I was sitting on my rump on my sofa in my family room trying to decide what I should do to redo the room as it was getting a little faded and pathetic and sad.....
I had tried to drink the Kool aid, and gotten a chair from Pottery Barn in  a white slip cover.
This is my TV chair, (and where I eat my dinner.....) so it gets a lot of use.
The seat cushion didn't hold up, and stopped supporting my flat old ass after a while.
The slip cover was really, really, really hard to get back on, so I didn't wash it that much and it started looking a little stained.......not the best look.....
I am 
really, really, really sick of white slip covers.
Stick a fork in this look.
It's very, very, very not cozy in New England in the winter.
It was time to change the chair.
I bought one from O Henry House, which is available to the trade.
Well, I am in the trade!!!!!

If you have a designer, you can buy O'Henry House from Studio 534 in the Boston Design Center.
I chose a chair that is the same as the pair I have in Florida.
I bought both a new chair and a new sofa, as my old couch was 29 years old. It was well made, but had loose back cushions, and with my aging back, I needed more support.
So I bought a tight back O' Henry House sofa too.
I had them upholstered in a simple soft green ticking stripe that would look OK when the slip covers were off being cleaned.
(in my special washing machine, that is my normal washing machine, that is the only washing machine I have, so that makes it special.....)
Then the question was what to make the slip cover out of.....
Krissa Rossbund, my buddy who is the decorating editor at Traditional Home Magazine, told me that she is tired of the look of everything in the room being in the same print.
So I fought the idea of slipcovering the furniture in the same pattern as the wallpaper.
I fought it and
I fought it and
I fought it.....
and I lost the fight.
One day as I was deliberating about 
what to do....
what to do....
I realized that the decision might have been made for me, as the fabric may have been discontinued,
 since I had been struggling with this dilemma for over 10 years.
So, I called Lee Jofa to check, 
It was still available in the linen, but I didn't want the linen,
there were 64 yards left.
There would be no more after that.
So, I bought all 64 yards, in a panic.
I was too freaked out to find out how much I would actually need.
Besides, what if I needed more in the future?
I had the two chairs, ottoman and sofa all slip covered in the Althea fabric, with pretty soft gathered skirts. 
And then I took pictures to share with the class.
Isn't it pretty against the wallpaper???????
I decided against a contrast welt, which I almost always use, but in this case I just felt that I didn't want to outline the shapes.
Below is a shot of my chair in it's old slipcover that was used in my previous home.
It went fine with the room, and I loved the bobble fringe at the top of the skirt.
But it was very faded.
Here are the new slipcovers with the soft gathered skirts.
I don't like a full gathered skirt, I feel its too much fabric.
I also changed the rug to a simple wool stripe.
I had it made from a Stark Carpet broadloom that looked like a sisal, but has the warmth of wool.
Below is the room with the old sofa and the old plaid rug.
That's my kitchen countertop in the foreground, in case you can't figure out what the #$% you're looking at.....
And here it is today.
This look is so much my look that I can't believe it took me this long to do it.
The up side is that the slipcovers are brand new!!!!!
Below is my new TV, eating dinner chair.
Below is another one of my brilliant side by side comparison collages!!!
The slip covered look is OK, not as much pattern, probably lots of folks prefer that.
But for me, the extra pattern feels more like my home.
I had trouble taking the shot below as the light was so bright in the morning, but I was too lazy to retake this in the afternoon.
This room needs a wide angle lens.
I have a wide angle lens.
I was too lazy to use that too.
Aren't I a great blogger?????
On that note,
since I'm now back down in Fleirda.
Later, Gator

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Guest House on Martha's Vineyard

This post will finish up my wanderings down memory lane visiting the job I did for the Newhouses on Martha's Vineyard.
Separating the main house from the guest house was a deck that was the same level as the floors in both houses so that Wynn Newhouse, who used a wheelchair, could easily enter and exit both residences.
I wrote about the deck last week, and decorated it in a way that would relate to the guesthouse, as its double French doors opened onto the private outside seating area.
I repeated the wicker details from the deck inside in the living room.
Since I decorated this house for a story for Country Garden Magazine, I used lots of flower patterns and prints throughout the downstairs.
It was a good deal for the Newhouses, as whatever I used that they liked, they could get at my cost.
I did bring some of my own accessories over to the island for the shoot, as there is never enough 
to fill up shelves and table tops when doing a shoot.
As you can see in these pictures, I didn't lack for LOTS of stuff.
I decorated everything using catalogs.
This was before the days of shopping online.
Boy, it would have been so easy now.
Ballard Design was my go to for the botanical prints.
They didn't have quite enough individual prints, so I had to double up on some.
Since it was for a story, and not a client, I figured no one would notice.
Imagine my surprise when I saw that they are still hanging on the walls 25 years later!  
This was in the days before I designed fabric and actually had time on my hands to needlepoint.
I designed and made the round pillow with the no weeds message.
I wish I had made the red slash line thicker.......
Oh Well.....
The upholstered furniture was from Hickory Chair,
The green coffee table from Maine Cottage Furniture,
The white wicker chair with the magazine holder.......
I don't remember.....
this was a looooong time ago, and I'm an old fart.
The black metal table to the right of the sofa was an antique bar cart with small wheels  I convinced June, my office manager and besty, to buy when we were out trolling the junky stores. It ended up being perfect for her family room.
Well, I made her let me use it for the shoot.
(Notice that besty and Betsy are very similar in spelling????
That's probably why I'm so wonderful!!!!!)
This house had been the garage for the main house.
Les Brown, the architect I've been saddled with for most of my adult life that I work with, designed it to be a one bedroom with living room, wet bar and loft.
I wanted the walls to be planks of wood, and had to spend some time with the carpenters to show them what I meant.
They didn't understand the beauty of cracks!!!!!
So, we had to choose a nail that was the width of the cracks I wanted, that they could use as a spacer.
I had learned my lesson on a little house I redid in New Hampshire.
The carpenter was very proud of how he could make the would ceiling look like it was a solid piece of wood, that ended up resembling plywood, in my less than humble opinion.
He kept on assuring me that over time the cracks would appear......
What's the point of using boards if they end up looking like plywood?????
that's my take on that!!!

 I added a  flirty skirt to the small tufted chair and another needle point pillow, designed and sewn by MOI!!!
It says "sit down right here" the words are in the corners.
So it could say "sit right down here" .........
Being the great blogger that I is,
I just ran and got the pillow and took a shot using my iPad, 'cuz I be too lazy to get out my camera.
It's in the closet right by my desk,
where I'm sitting right now,
but I'd have to take off the lens cap.......
anyway, here's the pillow in all its glory, laying on my desk, as I type!
I made the pillow out of left over yarn I had, which is why it's a little of this and a little of that.

The white wicker table in the back corner was an antique that we found in a local store, we borrowed some things from local merchants for the shoot.
It may be from Maine Cottage Furniture......
OY, OY, OY, who can remember?????
I went a little trim crazy on the pillows. I loved the multicolored yarn fringe on the pink ones.
I still think this cabbage rose fabric is beautiful. It's so fresh in its coloring.
At the time of this story, which was in the late 90's, I had just started seeing multiple fabrics used on one piece of upholstery.
I was smitten!!!!!!!
So, I used a gazillion on the sofa.
The floral is on the tops and bottoms of the cushions, as well as the inside body of the sofa.
The inside arms are a large plaid.
The outside arms and the boxing on the cushions are a smaller plaid. 
And then, of course, there's the two more fabrics plus trims on the toss pillows.
Then there's the small all over pattern of the small button chair and a couple more patterns on the little footstool and the larger striped ottoman.
And contrast welting.....
I like to use a lot of pattern.....
has anyone noticed?????????
It's funny, because I just had the sofa and two chairs and ottoman in my family room all slipcovered in the same pattern as the wallpaper, so I have evolved a little......
probably not.
 Across from the sofa was the potting bench.
Catherine Newhouse was adamant that she wanted a potting bench.
I never saw her plant a flower, but she was very clear that she
I designed it to hold a farmer's sink with a faucet that looked sorta like a pump handle, all in keeping with the theme of the POTTING BENCH!!!!!
All the accessories on THE POTTING BENCH I brought from my home.
I wanted it to look like there were tons of vases and pots, ready to handle any cut flowers or plants needing some care.
I brought my zinc plant labels that I still use today in my vegetable garden.
 I used another basket to hold the trowels and rakes for gardening.
 Below are three shots from today that I found on Vignette Design Blog by Delores Arabian.
It now can be rented for a few weeks in the summer, and she stayed there!
 The present owners kept the floral prints on the wall and moved the living room table from the main house into this little guest house.
I wonder if they noticed that some of the botanical prints repeat?????
 This is how the POTTING BENCH looks today.
It's being used as a bar in the guest house, which is a wonderful use for my little creation.
I noticed that they changed the knobs.
Boy, I went to a lot of trouble to find those particular wooden knobs.....
(that's the first time I ever used LOL.....LOL)
The wooden countertop has held up well over the years!!!!!
 The outdoor deck is still pretty with the climbing roses flowering.
Non of the furniture I used for the photo shoot was kept.
that's if for Martha's Vineyard,
next week it's on to something else my tiny mind will unearth.
So on that note,
Latah, Gatah

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