Saturday, June 11, 2016

Choosing A New Coffee Table For Connie

SOOOOOOOOOOO.....
I sorta let the cat out of the bag in my last post.
I wanted to save showing you guys Connie's new coffee table for the sun room.....
BUT
I needed to show an overall view of the room.
Soooooooo.....
I kinda hoped you wouldn't notice that the table had changed.......
Did anyone?????
We had been using her old table from her previous beach house to tide us over until we could find one that was just right for this space.
Tradition Home Magazine
Above is how it looked in her old home on the ocean.
below is how it looked as a temporary stand in while we hunted for a replacement.
It is a beautiful table, but Connie wanted to go for a less rustic country look in her new home.
SOOOOOO.....
Chris, her hubby, got to take this table to his sitting area in his storage-garage space where he restores vintage cars in his spare time.
Now that the old man is retired.....
He's got lots of spare time.....
Don't tell him I called him old....
oops, he reads this blog!!!!!
SOOOOOOO.......
Connie and I were on the hunt.
It's one of our favorite things to do.
Of course, lunch is always involved because we are now of the age of 
"Ladies who lunch!!!!!"
It's not as much fun as it used to be, because as I've aged.....
now I can't eat half of what's on the menu.
Anyway, what could be better???
Antiquing and food?????
SOOOOOOOO.....
We were in the store that had the fabuloso chest that Connie got that I talked about in my last post.
And I was walking around mumbling to Connie about my vision for what the coffee table should look like.
I said I wanted it to be metal.
I said it would be great if it looked like an old garden table.
I said that we had to be patient and to keep looking until we found the just right oh my god this is it coffee table for her sun room.
WELL!!!!!
The proprietor of the store, whose name shall be a secret, 
(it's Susan)
was a big fat eavesdropper and over heard my whispered mumblings.
OK, maybe I have a loud voice.
My family tells me I have a very loud voice.
My friends seem to be of the same opinion.
Look.....
when you are the youngest of 5 $%# kids, you have to pipe up
 or no one will pay attention to you.

Anyway, she seemed to have overheard my comments to Connie.
She said she may have just what we wanted.
She brought me over to the magic table
 (also known as her sales counter)
and opened up her magic binder of inventory.
MUSIC PLAYED
BELLS CHIMED
ANGLES SANG
there in the pages of her book was exactly what I had imagined in my warped little mind.
SOOOOOO.....
Connie bought it.
The End.

No, wait, I'm not done.
So here are the pictures of the table, as it now sits in the sun room in Connie and Chris's new home.
You can see that the table was made out of an antique garden gate from France.
We have ordered a new chair that matches the sofa, and the seagrass chair, which was from the old house by the sea, is going to Chris's garage.
Wonderful legs were created and added to the frame that holds the gate.
The beautiful brackets that were incorporated into the leg design reflect the scrolls of the gate.
Here's a top view of the table. 
I can't believe that I voiced what my design concept was.....
and the shop proprietor whipped it out of thin air!!!!!
So the last thing to add was the draperies which have since been installed.
I wasn't there when they went up.
So Connie took a couple of pictures.
However, Connie's pictures are sorta crappy, so I will take my own next fall when I am back down in Florida
Don't tell Connie I called her pictures crappy.
(oops, she reads this blog!)

On that note....
Latah, Gatah
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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Furniture Placement in Front of a Screen

OK KAMPERS!!!!!
We're back for another segment of....
"let's trash Betsy's design"
AKA
"we don't like what you did over there in that section of that there room....."
In case you're wondering what in the hell I'm referring to, 
( to what I am referring????? 
In conversational writing,
 does ending the sentence in a preposition matter?????)
anyway....
check out some of the comments on my last post.
A few of you guys were not amused by the way Connie and I arranged the bookshelves in her living room.
They felt that they should only have been used for books.
They didn't like that I had covered the bindings.....
SO
I am now going to refer to those shelves as display shelves.
DOES THAT MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY?????
To me,
the most important aspect of designing a room is
MAKING THE CLIENT HAPPY IN HER HOME!!!!!

I think I have now used up all my bold letters, so let's get on to the new subject matter for today.

Off Connie's living room is her sun room.
I've been showing you pictures as we've progressed in working on this space and it is coming along nicely.
At least, Connie, Chris and I think so.
Connie's husband Chris, really has very little to do with the design, but he walks through the rooms while we are working, and he always has a smile on his face.
When we go shopping for furniture for the house, we don't take him with us for a couple of reasons.
1) He has no patience.
2) He would have a stroke if he saw the prices.

To bring you up to speed on the progression of the room, lets go back to the beginning.
At one end of the space is a set of double doors that lead directly into Connie's bedroom.
There is another doorway into the master suite hallway that allows each bedroom more privacy, so Connie wanted to close off this entrance.
I didn't like the doors at the end, as it made the sunroom feel like just a big long hallway with 7 doorways off it.
Two into the living room, one into the hallway, one into the family room and two to outdoors.
The door into the bedroom make seven.
Just too many.
          Well, I got rid of the sucker!!!!
I had a screen made to cover the doors.
Now the problem was that Connie hated the way the screen looked.
sheesh....
no pleasing some people.
If she's not careful, I'll start charging her for my services again.
I told her....
(here come some more bold letters, sorry about that.....)
I WASN'T DONE YET!!!!!
Every time I came over to the house, she had a different arrangement of furniture in front of the screen.
She started looking for a chest to go in front of it.
I TOLD her that we needed something tall, maybe a tall pair of antique chairs??
She kept looking at low chests of drawers.
Then one day, Connie and I were out shopping, we were looking for something to go in front of the screen, but we were having no luck.
So we ended up spending my money for a change.
She really seemed to be enjoying seeing me reach for my charge card.
We were in a shop with a lot of absolutely wonderful fake plants.
I went a little crazy.
You guys know how I love fake flowers.
I bought two pots and two agapanthus that looked so real that I first thought they were.
If you don't know what they look like.....
I stole this image from google
Anyway.....,
I'm wandering around the shop in a daze of euphoric delirium, when I stumble upon this absolutely gorgeous chest of drawers.
It's a Gustavian travel chest.
If you look at the side, you can see it's in several pieces.
Two boxes that fit on the base.
The sides have a beautifully painted motif
 (for me, it helps to show which is the top piece.....).
Drool worthy.
Knockout.
bowled over.
It was the opposite of cheap.
But there would never, ever, ever, ever be anything as perfect as this @#$ chest
 to place in front of the folding screen in Connie's sunroom.
I remember some pleading going on that afternoon.
It may have been me.
Possibly...

Connie Caved!!!!!
We both loved it.
She had fun playing around with what she had in the house, to find something that was as wonderful to set on its top.
Connie and Chris sold their home in Vermont this past year.
They sold it furnished, but kept some of their favorite things to bring down to Flerida.
This marionette horse was one of Connie's cherished pieces.
The white geraniums that I plunked in the cream stoneware pot, are from the same store as the chest.
These were supposed to be for me, but they got stuck in Connie's house.
So she ordered a couple more.
Here's a side by side of the low table in contrast to a taller piece in front of the screen.
Now we just need to add some little tables or objects next to the chairs to set drinks, and this end of the room is done.
Here's a side by side of Before Betsy, and After Betsy.
Or 
BB and AB
On that note, 
Latah, Gatah
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Friday, April 15, 2016

Styling a Bookcase

HIYA!!!!
Yeah, it's me.
Back for another beautiful, bodacious, bemusing, bull $%&ing post!!!!!
I am still helping my friend Connie with her home in south Florida.
We are now adding the layers to make it cozy and unique.
One of the sticking points that bedevil many a homeowner and aspiring designer is how to attractively arrange a bookcase.
Connie inherited a big built in one in her living room that we had to work around.
Let's take a stroll down memory lane to appreciate where we are now, today, this very
minute in time, as you are reading this here blog post that I am writing this very minute!!!!!
 This is the bookcase we got handed to us against MY our will.
We changed some of the fussier details, simplifying it to work with Connie's style and painting it a simple creamy white, getting rid of the glazing finish that had been previously applied.
If you want to read more on how we did this, you can read about it HERE

Then we had to figure what to put in it.
This is the point we had gotten to when I turned my attention elsewhere in the house.
I felt the back of the bookcase should be painted blue.
Connie finally caved, and I got what I wanted!!!!!
At this point she started placing various and sundry objects from around the house on the shelves.

She wondered why it didn't look so hot.
WELL!!!!!
I informed her.....
that's because i hadn't put on my thinking cap and concentrated on this part of the room!!!!!

When I design the clutter that goes on a bookshelf...
books are a must.....
Get it???
BOOKshelf???????
books?????
But, since we were doing a more polished look than I normally do, I wanted to do the covers wrapped in white, just like the big boy decorators do it!!!!!
Last year when Connie and I hit the annual Flea Market/Antique Show, we stumbled across some old muslin that we grabbed for 20 smackers.
When I saw it, I screamed melodiously intoned: "Connie! Come Here! Right Now! 
Now!!!!!,
 NO, NO, NO, put down that rhinestone pin,
 and come over HERE TO ME!!!!!"
boy, when you find the perfect thing that you were looking for, only you didn't know that it was just what you were looking for.....you (ME)get a little paranoid that someone could come along and swoop down and steal it from under 
your very eyes!!!!!
As I said, Connie bought it, and she
 cut it up and wrapped the books!
Don't tell Connie's husband Chris that we stole some books from his office to have enough for our bookshelf arrangement.

I wanted to do arrangements on the shelving that were all whites and creams.
I got her started on a collection of creamy white Abingdon Pottery.
But that wasn't enough to do the trick.
What to do?????
What to do?????
I KNOW!!!!!!!!!
CORAL!!!!!!!
That's creamy.
That's pretty.
That has interesting shapes.
I wonder why I hadn't thought of that before?
If anyone has an idea why such an obvious choice hadn't occurred to me, leave it in the comment section below.....(be kind)
I had Connie meet me at the local sea shell store that is between her house and mine.
I had the idea that pieces of coral would just do the trick for accents on the shelves.
We already had some pretty sea shells from Connie's ocean house, so we only needed to add one more.

The trick for displaying sea shells, is to have the proper stands to get them to stand up.
I had never had a stand before, and was quite impressed, let me tell you.
Just goes to show, an old dog can still lean some new tricks!!!!!
I created a somewhat symmetrical balance between the two sets of shelves. 
If you've been following this story, you may remember that the center part of this bookcase is the hidden doorway to the master suite.
Chris gave me a thumbs up on the decorating efforts.
That's as much time as he spent on the project.
I feel this side is done.
This side may need one more thing on the bottom shelf.
Connie doesn't agree.

On that note, 
Latah, Gatah
(I'm back up in Massachusetts)
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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Last of the Cape Cod Showhouse Bedroom

Hey! Did you guys think I fell off a cliff and DIED?????
Well I didn't . 
You're probably sick of hearing this by now, but I've been working my considerable a$$ off trying to finish my "Spring Collection" for my "Fabric Line".
Well, boys and girls, let us liberate these words from their quotes!!!! 
As my people busted out of Egypt,
 so shall my supposed fabric line
 bust out of supposition into the real deal!!!!! 
It was supposed to launch last spring......well it didn't.....
Then it was supposed to launch last fall......Well it didn't.......
I've got 10 patterns, 10 colorways each (more or less...) and they are all in their cozy little files of one full width repeat ready to go to the factory.
There are strike-off sample fabrics all over the floor of my living room and the dining table and the coffee table and the chairs.....
so it's lucky that I don't have any friends to come visit...... 
I have a little sitting room with my kitchen.
I've even had my logo (designed by me me me) federally registered!!!!!
I am a big girl.
I am a bidniss woman.
We have one more meeting to decide how we will display them in the wings at the Boston Design Center in Studio 534,
 and then we need to get them all printed out and sent to get the samples and wings sewn.
We need to get the tickets printed that will be stapled to each sample.
We need to staple them to each sample.........
I believe that someone else will be doing all that as I am already designing
 the "Fall Collection".
This time it's going much faster, as I now have a better sense of what I'm doing, and I don't have to reinvent the wheel.
(The wheel is square, isn't it????)

Anyway.....
Back to the room we were looking at before my ginormous gap in blogging!!!!!

Just a little refresher, here's an overall picture of the room.
It was a showhouse room I designed in 1767,
 way back when I was still working for people who could complain to me while I stood there and smiled and took it like a champ.
If you think it's fun to be an interior designer, you're out of your @#$ gourd!!!!!
However.....
it was fun to do showhouse rooms.
Lots of work and frustration, but fun.
It was like an HG TV show, no time or money, but you had to make it look really good.
The best way to do this economically was to try to use as much from you house as you could.
Or to plan a use in the future for anything new that you had to buy.

I had found this funky chair at a junk store for just a little money. I stripped the disintegrating old yucky rotting fabric and moldy old straw upholstery from it's poor old bones. It was probably made from mahogany. I don't remember, but just looking at the shape, I'm guessing that would be what they used. It's hard to see, but the upper corners have tassels carved in them, that I just loved.
Anyway, this was in the days before chalk paint, so I lightly sanded the finish off the wood and not knowing what I was doing, forwent the primer coat, just painted white on the raw wood. Then I rubbed it with my hands, and it developed this wonderful aged look!!!!!
A little light distress sanding and she was all done and ready to go to Drape It to be upholstered.
I used the same fabric from Brunschwig & Fils that I had applied to the walls and ceiling.
The way to get a good crown on a chair cushion, like the picture below, is a 100% feather and down fill. Nothing else will give you that look. 
I'M TELLING YOU THIS BECAUSE SOME OF YOU HAVE ASKED ME!!!!!
The pillow on the chair is one of my stellar creations. I've talked about this pillow before, as it's in my kitchen/family room. 
I made it out of scrapes of yarn that I had accumulated. 
It says, SIT DOWN RIGHT HERE, so I do.

I'm going to look at land tomorrow down here in Flerida.....
I love my house, but telling me about an open unbuilt piece of land is like waving a red flag in front of me. 
I am probably just kicking tires.
But just in case, I better be wearing my sh$% kicking boots!!!!!

On that note,
Later Gator
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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. 
Oy.

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 
SPECTACULAR!!!!!
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

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