I love collections; they make my blood run hot with lust. Talk about your eye candy! I went to visit my friend Greg in his “country manor” the other day and wished I had brought a bigger pocket book to smuggle, I mean, help him clean out some of his dust catching items from littering his crowed surfaces.Don’t guys like clean tabletops? I was only going to help him out.
I’ve got to give the guy kudos; he sure knows how to set a wonderful table scape. I wish I could take the credit for teaching him, but since he’s MUCH older than I am, I guess he got good at it first.
When I design the arrangement of items for a table scape, I like to think of them the same way I would do foundation planting. I set the taller items in the back, and layer things lower as I place them towards the front of the table. The man loves crows, I don't know why, but he just does. they are all over his house. I think they are wonderfully graphic birds, and have strikingly handsome silhouettes. (Sort of like Greg)
There's something going on with him and blue pots and vases. He's been collecting them for years. I wonder if it would be suspicious if his house got burglarized and the only things stolen were his blue pots? Of course when he came to visit me, I would claim that MY new pots were a special acquisition from my new blue pot dealer. I can't believe I just wrote pot dealer.
OK campers! I've posted the next chapter in the ongoing story of my adventure in West Palm Beach. Click on the picture of the cottage to the right, it will take you to my website, and go to the projects page where all the before, during and after pictures are shown of the cottage's bathroom. If these seem like exactly the same words of last Sunday's post, that's because I copied and pasted them! For this weeks post I had to teach myself how to use a blueprint program, having been living the past few decades in a preindustrial haze. It was a free program, and to make it easier to use, of course one had to upgrade to the version that cost some moolah. I REFUSED TO GIVE IN TO CONVENIENCE!!!! So it took me hours to figure out. The plans are a little rough, but get my point across. Of course, I could have drawn them and scanned them, but that would have been too easy.
Let us continue where we left off in the adventures of
Aunt Betsy and Niece Miriam in their quest to rescue a very dreary dining room. I used Miriam's phone camera, and my hand obviously moved, so I apologize for the blurry picture. The window treatments came with the house, and although they are pretty, they don't work in the room BECAUSE it is a dark space and the fabric covers part of the glass.
Last weekend we dragged home the sideboard and a work order was submitted to me for painting it this weekend. It went something like this: "Aunt Betsy, I don't know what to do next!" Where upon I replied (this may be a little bit embellished for literary purposes) "Don't you worry, my darling niece! I will help you redo this LARGE piece of furniture, so you can happily continue on your new journey of wedded bliss." OK, maybe I have never spoken so sweetly to anyone in my family, but if I did, well, let’s just say they'd want to know where the drugs came from. So, I met Miriam out in Acton Massachusetts at Calico Corners to choose the fabric for the dining room. We were looking for something to use to cover the dining room walls above the wainscoting. Now to answer the question as to why upholster the walls rather than use wallpaper, the answer is very simple: I DON'T KNOW HOW TO WALLPAPER. But I do know how to upholster walls, and I have a staple gun, and I have a compressor, and I have staples!!! We took home an armful of fabric samples to try out on the walls because you HAVE to see the fabric in the space where it is going to be used. We narrowed it down to three options, from which his majesty could choose. The absolutely amazing thing is that both Ross and Miriam liked the same sample, ah wedded harmony!
Then I used my trusty level to apply tape to the walls to give them an idea of how the new wainscoting paneling detail would look. We plan on doing a similar application to the one I used in the West Palm Beach bungalow dining room. The reason for using the same treatment is that I am very old and have run out of ideas.
This time when I went to Miriam's I brought my camera, so I could take better pictures!! But I left my film chip in my computer, so my camera had no film, so once again I was left with the crummy phone pictures. Oy.
Then it was time to paint the sideboard! So I asked Miriam to open up the drop cloth I had her buy for this project. Now just let me point out at this juncture, that my niece is a very smart young woman, at the peak of her intellectual prowess. The sideboard is 60 inches long. The drop cloth she bought was MUCH shorter than 60 inches. OY, OY, OY VEY. She said "Don't worry, we could use a sheet!" So she ran upstairs to bring down a sheet. She only has fitted sheets. THEY DON'T LIE FLAT!! So Ross (super husband) went to get a drop cloth while we sanded. Now I'm not pointing any fingers, but it seemed to take an awful long time and he came back drinking out of a Duncan Donuts cup. We applied one coat of primer, and then I started playing around with a second coat, and we decided we liked it like that! It looked old and beat up and worn, just the way I felt after a full day of manual labor. Next weekend I will add some striping detail and maybe wax it.
After two coats of primer.
After choosing the fabric, I felt the draperies we had bought from Pottery Barn wouldn't work, so Miriam has to return them. I have now added another project for my sewing machine. I am going to make window treatments out of the same fabric we are applying to the walls.
Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of Aunt Betsy and Niece Miriam in the pursuit of a gorgeous dining room.
P.S. The reason the fonts keep changing, is I am having lots of trouble with this blogging program. It's free, so I'm not going to complain. (Much)
Ok campers! I've posted the next chapter in the ongoing story of my adventure in West Palm Beach. Click on the picture of the cottage to the right, it will take you to my website, and go to the projects page where all the before, during and after pictures are shown of the cottage's sunroom.
I'mhelping my niece, Miriam, with her new home, so I figured I would take you along on our journey to create lots of style with just a little bit of moolah. Sooo, in order to share this adventure, of course I have to document it with lots of pictures. In the process of doing this, I unintentionally deleted the before photos of the chandelier I found for her. @#$% new technology! But WAIT!!!!! Maybe I can defeat this alien form by using its evil for GOOD!!! Soooooo.....I Googled a solution, and found one!!!!! It is a free download called Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery. It looks like it's working. Hopefully by the time I'm finished writing this I will have regained the before shots to share with you. (Just checked on the retrieval, it's taking a real long time, but I think it's working.) I don't think retrieving the before shots of the chandelier is worth thisAGGRAVATION, so I will ask you guys to imagine what it looked like in its crummy old gross cheap brass finish before I started painting it.
I just found this picture of the antique store, you can see the chandelier hanging in the middle of the room. This is just great, in the picture it looks better in the brass. You'll just have to take my word for it, the brass was really cheap looking.
I will share the process of decorating her dining room as we do it, rather than the dramatic before and after. That way you can feel like you're right in the trenches with us. My niece, is a computer programmer, and admittedly, absolutely clueless when it comes to this decorating silliness. Being a newly wed, she and her husband are figuring out what they want their house to look like, and who gets to decide what should be done. Her hubby, Ross, being the smart young man that he is, has decided that we can do pretty much what we want as long as we don't touch his study.
So last weekend we trekked out to Haverhill Massachusetts (neither of us ever having been there before) to look at potential sideboards. Miriam had found the source on Craigslist, and liked one she saw on the website. Being her aunt, I explained to her that she was wrong, she just thought she liked it, but that (what a surprise) what she REALLY liked was the one I liked.
Now before you think I just brow beat her, riding rough shod over the sweet young thing that she is, she came around to liking this on her own, especially since it was half the price of the other one. Of course this isn't the way it will end up. This next weekend, we are making this sows ear into a silk purse with sandpaper and paint. It will end up having a 1920's cottage flavor with much more style than the first sideboard.
After we left the antique store, we hit Pottery Barn and picked up some pretty sheer linen window panels and an extremely affordable sea grass rug. It was so much fun, and it was ALL her money!!!!
Hey!!Is anybody out there??? OK, now that I have your attention, click on the picture of my Florida cottage on the right side of the screen, then go to my projects page. I've put up the pictures of the kitchen work.
As most of you have gathered by now, Amy came to visit me yesterday to help me set up my blog. Now, I didn't ask her for her advice like she asked for mine, but being the generous soul she is, she gave it anyway. If you don't know Amy, check her out at: http://maisondecor8.blogspot.com to see her stuff. She didn't like my entry, wasn't thrilled with the large painting, felt the cover on the bench was too plain, thought the hanging wire baskets full of my gloves and scarves were messy looking, and pretty much trashed the whole space. The photo to the left, is cropped to hide all the
problems she pointed out.
This picture shows what she's talking about. But the reality of a home, is there are items that have sentimental value, and this large painting was the first good piece of art that I bought when I was 23. In my new condo there weren't many walls large enough to house this painting (I've only lived here since 2005, so for me that is new). The messy baskets, were ones that Kris and I had in our antique shop that no one else thought were as fabulous as I did, so I took them HOME! They are hanging on hooks that were installed to hold lanterns, and the lanterns felt too big, so I improvised and ended up with my messy solution for winter storage.
This is what the bench had under my wonderfully and skillfully sewn slipcover, it was white and I wanted some color, so I used a leftover drapery panel from the living room to make a simple cover.
This is not the prettiest room in my house, but it holds my STUFF, and anything that holds my stuff has my undying affection.
I maintain an internal dialogue, constantly telling myself what to do. I can find this interior voice very annoying, so I tend to ignore it. For example, I’ll think “Take the plates off the wall before you try to rehang the picture, or you might knock one off and break it.”So what do I do??? I DON’T, leave them on the wall; knock one antique majolica leaf plate, newly arrived from England onto the floor, chipping it.This is one of a matched set of four. I need it for the photo shoot of my cottage. I can’t get another; it’s an antique from England. I am an idiot. I am an idiot. I am an idiot.
Luckily, as an idiot, I have become quite accomplished at repairing a myriad of different things. I glued it back, mixed paint to the exact color of the glaze and repaired the darn thing to complete and total wonderfulness. If I had taken the two seconds necessary to remove the plate from the wall, I wouldn’t have had to:Go to Home Depot for the glue; glue the piece back on; try to remove the paper towel I glued to my finger tips; mixed the paint; painted the crack; clean the brushes.
I wish I could say I learn from my mistakes, but since I keep repeating them all I can assume is I have a learning disability, newly acknowledged called AOAODL disorder: As One Ages, One Doesn’t Learn disorder. I believe in better living through chemicals, so I can’t wait for the pill to fix this problem. Until then, I’ll just stock up on crazy glue.
I've been a designer for longer than some of you have been alive. I have now started a new page of my career, closing my firm and designing furniture, as well as writing decorating books. Some of you may be familiar with my work over the years by seeing me in magazines. I tend to think that I'm funny, so please read my postings with a grain of salt thrown in for flavor. My spelling is atrocious, so I am refusing any responsibility for spell check right here and now. I hope anyone reading this will enjoy the pictures, info and humor.