Friday, May 31, 2013

Updating My Dining Room

Before I continue with the tour of Connie's Vermont home....
there're some things I want to share with the class....
Yesterday was my Dad's 98th birthday!!!!!
tonight I am having my family over to my house for a home cooked meal of take out Chinese!!!!!
My Dad is very fond of Chinese food.
I try to avoid it as it is very fattening!!!!!
it's for his big day, so he gets what he wants.
The man could stand to gain some weight.
I should be so lucky.
To honor this great occasion, I went to my fancy linen store to look for new place mats.
You betcha!!!!
I was sooooo excited about what I bought, that I took pictures to show you guys.
I found place mats, but the piece de resistance was a table cloth.
It looks like grain sack!!!!!
I mean....
It goes great with my cabbage leaf plates, 
also from Home Goods...
My flat ware was from Target.
Too bad I'm boycotting them.....
This is my one year anniversary of my boycott.
I don't think they miss me, but I miss them, 
but I'm sticking to my guns.
back to my table cloth.
I love the way the stripes relate 
to my awning stripe fabric from Brunschwig & Fils.
The whole table looks festive and fresh, just like my Dad!
I bought two of these table clothes, 'cuz you know they're going to get destroyed.
I also bought place mats.
I was going to use them because I like the way I've painted the top of the table.
Here's a shot of my new place mats,
try to contain yourselves....
They are very large, so some members of my family....
(you know who you are....)
won't put their wine glasses on the bare table and leave stains.
They're plastic, so are practical.
They look like baskets!
here I went and bought these really practical place mats.....
and what do I do?????
I'm back to using a table cloth.
Which I'll have to wash, 
and fold up,
because I am certainly not going to iron the damn thing.
happy birthday to my dad.
May he like what I'm having for dinner.
On that note,
Latah, Gatah

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Accessorizing With Country Antiques

When Connie and I started accessorizing her Vermont home, she definitely liked the feeling of an "American Country Home".
I probably brought in stuff from all over the world, but it fell together to work with the Americana  tone of her house.
I started a collection of wooden spools that were from local mills,
(I think.....)
and added in some wooden boxes.
Then I went and found some treenware, which is a wonderful thing to collect, if you're looking for stuff......
Treenware , for those of you who don't know.....
is household items made entirely of wood.
The pioneers made this stuff, 'cuz all they could get their paws on was wood.
'Cuz there was lots of that in pioneer times.
Wood, that is.....
They made dishes and bowls and cups and chalices and on and on.
You've probably seen it, and didn't know what it was, if you don't know what it is, that is......
Here's a picture I found on the internet to show you a close up.....
Then Connie and I started collecting paintings.
We liked the feel of the dark paintings against the creamy walls.
They worked well with the armoire that was painted in a black milk paint.

On the mantel I did a collection of rams and sheep.
The painting had sheep.

The mantel shelf had rams.

That's a ram on the pipe holder in the middle
On either side of the painting is a wooden grid that allows the warm air from the fireplace to circulate back into the room.
It's a heatilator.
They usually have really ugly vent covers, but the wonderful woodworkers who worked on this wooden home made the wooden grids in their woodworking shop.
They would if they could, so they did!!!!!
So here's the way Connie's collection looks when not in a magazine shoot
Here's the two ways the bookshelves look.
On the left is the Traditional Home styling.
On the right is the way it is every other day.
The editor felt the way Connie and I had it, would look too spotty in the picture.
This is just an example of what looks good in a picture may not be the best for real life.
On the bottom shelf is a framed piece of tatting that spells out Nast, which just happens to be Connie and Chris's last name.
I don't think that's a coincidence.....
Do you?????

On that note,
Latah, Gatah

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Using a Secretary as a Bar

Connie and I found this pretty reproduction secretary.
she didn't need a desk in her living room.
But I wanted this piece in the room, 'cuz it would look good.....
So I suggested that she use if for her bar.
'Cuz every living room should have a bar.
How else will you be able to tolerate people coming to visit you?????
that's what we did.
It works great for holding bottles and glasses, plus supplying a surface for a tray and martini shakers.
The doors have chicken wire instead of glass, which I love for a country look.
I mixed some wicker pieces into the room, creating a more casual feel for the space.
The lamp on the table was made from an antique andiron of a Hessian solder. 
I had an oiled parchment shade made for it.
It's cast iron, so it works with the primitive American accents in the room.
The check fabric on the seats of the wicker chairs is a smaller scale than the club chair buffalo check.
Using similar patterns in different scales is a way to increase visual interest, yet still keep a unifying theme.
To the right of the sofa is a wicker floor lamp that I found and stored in my garage.
I knew I'd never find one this nice again in such good shape.
If I remember correctly 
(and I probably don't.....)
I had my workroom reline the inside of the shade.
Connie loved it, so I was happy to sell it to her.
Sometimes when I was out and about, I would buy something that I felt was wonderful and not easy to come by.
Connie has been a great client, because she never assumed I had some hidden agenda, was was trying to slough some old crap I didn't want onto her.
She recognized the gems that I had hidden away.
As I've told you before,
some of the best things in my home are great finds that I snagged for clients who didn't want them.
I kept them for me, me, me!!!!!
In the picture above, there is a ladder back chair sitting in the middle of the room.
It doesn't belong there, and I don't know what it's doing there.
I took this photo on the fly years ago.
I probably moved it there because I was doing something in the hall and it was in my way.....
It's the chair that usually sits at the secretary, but I switched it for the dining room side chair,
So it was sitting in the middle of the room, in the way of the shot, and I didn't notice because I am brain dead!!!!!
oy! oy!
I'm going to squeeze one more day out of this room.....
(or two)
and then it's on to the kitchen!!!!
on that note.
Latah, Gatah

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Checks and Toile and Tapestries, Oh My!!!!!

Continuing along in Connie's Vermont living room.....
Now let's look the other way!!!!!!
When I work off of a toile fabric, there are some tried and true ways to create a fabric scheme.
No one ever taught me this.....
I have just done what many before me did.....
studied magazine pictures of rooms I like!!!!!
When you see several rooms you like with similar schemes,
analyze what they have in common.
This is the best way to figure out what your look should be, and how to create it.
I choose a toile.
Then I look for checks, plaids, stripes and solids that match the colors of the toile.
I look for other fabrics that pull in the color, but have other colors too.
This keeps the room from looking too static.
In the picture above, notice the side chair against the wall.
Here's a blow up.
The coral color is in the pattern, so it still works with the room, but the predominant tones are brown and green.
I added some more color and pattern with toss pillows.
That center needlepoint pillow works because it looks like an American sampler, so it goes with the American antiques spread throughout the room.
Get a clear vision of the room you want, and then bounce around inside the perimeters of that idea.
Like the cow toy?????
Connie and I found that antiquing and fell IN LOVE  with it.
For the wall color, I matched the background tones of the toile fabric.
Connie went up to visit the job site when it was first painted.
This was when we had JUST STARTED working together.
She hadn't embraced her love of color yet.
She called me to tell me the walls were bright yellow.
That couldn't be right.
So I double checked with the painter that he had used the right hue.
When a room is empty,
and all you see is the color against the white woodwork trim,
the yellow can look much stronger that it really is.
The next time I went up to check the jobsite,
I brought the fabric and showed Connie that the walls matched the background PERFECTLY.....
And she's trusted me (sort of) ever since.
I am not a lover of white walls.
(unless they are wood, like beadboard or V-groove or paneling or .....)
I used a sisal rug for the floor, because nothing is better for style and casual chicness than sisal,
and it ain't expensive!!!!!

So that's it.
Another short post.
Some are long.....
Some are short.....
Some are good.....
And some are no so good.....
(I won't go so far as to admit that they are bad.....)

I am busy sewing my niece Miriam's draperies.
You think you can do it in one day.
or two.
Tops in three.
She only has three windows in the living room.
But these are lined and going to be wonderful.
I keep offering to do this stuff.
(oh yeah, I like doing it)
Next I have to do her slip covers.
It's so lucky that I'm retired.
I am once again rambling.
How do I end this?????

on that note....
Latah, Gatah

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Country Living Room in the Vermont Mountains

Well Campers!!!
We've perused Connie's entry hall and her dining room, so now it's time to 
explore the living room!!!!!
Take a deep breathe.... we're going in.....
Traditional Home Magazine 2004
Some of you may remember this room.....
Some of you won't.....
Some of you don't care.....
and some of you wonder what the @#$ I'm going on about....
This was the room that Connie first hired me to decorate.We started with the wonderful toile from Brunschwig & Fils.
This is when I found out that Connie's favorite color was coral.
Of course at that time, I didn't realize that this was the color that would haunt follow us down to Florida.....
But the girt just loves this hue.
She's blonde, so it looks really good with her coloring.
She tends to wear it too.
She's got sweaters......
She's got shirts....
That's as far as I'm going......

As I mentioned when showing off her dining room,
I unified the some of the rooms on the first floor by using the same fabrics throughout the spaces.
The check on the club chair is the same one I used for the dining room draperies and host and hostess chair

The ottoman fabric was used on the dining room side chairs.

Now some folks could accuse me of being lazy.
And they might be right.
But using the same fabrics in several rooms, in different applications, is a good way to unify areas of a house that are open to each other.

I designed the bookcase/fireplace wall and had it installed to everyone's delight!!!!!
If I do say so transformed the room.
before I get hurt, patting myself on the back.....
I must admit that adding it was Les Brown's (the architect's) idea.
'cuz, as I've repeatedly told you.....I am a rock star when it comes to interior architectural details.......
I chose a mantle that was very close to the style I had in my Watertown home.
Here's a shot of my old living room with the fireplace....
House Beautiful
now you know.....
I just copy what I like.
I don't have an original idea in my skull.
I am a big fat fraud.

how's that for no filter?????
On that note.
Latah, Gatah

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Betsy Answers a Couple of Questions.......

Even though.....
I am no longer doing a Q&A.....
Folks still ask me questions!!!!!
Every now and then,
 the questions are broad enough 
that the answers could help more than just the writer, 
who is asking for free advice.

Today, I will answer two that I think the class could benefit from.
(from which the class could benefit?????)
(is it snooty to not end in a preposition?????
(grammar rules keep changing.....)
If you don't find anything useful in these answers.....
(well, that's not entirely true....)

First Question!!!!!

Hi Betsy,

From your blog I see that you are a dog lover.  So, hope you can help
me with my doggie / decorating dilemma.

I have a collection of Staffordshire dogs.  My favorite has been an
only for very long so I finally went hunting for his mate.  After
months of searching far and wide, wouldn't you know it, a woman who
lives about 40 miles away from me has what I needed!  Now I want to
display them on the wall on either side of a very ornate French
mirror.  My problem is what size and what type of wall bracket should
I use?

The dogs are 10" tall, 7.5" wide and project from the wall about 5 ".

I have attached a photo of my one dog (his friend is still in the
mail).  I have also attached a photo of the wall where I want to
display them.  ("Hang" sounds too cruel.)  There is lots of wall space
to cover.  The walls are 10 feet high and 17 feet long.  The mirror is
48" high.

I found the following brackets:

Bellacor: Palm Leaf  11" wide x 12' high x 6" ext
Bellacor: Acanthus Bronze  15.5" wide x 10 3/4 high x 5.75" ext
Bellacor: Capital Shelf  16" wide x 13" high x 7" ext

IBG Stores: Leaf Scroll Bracket 11.5" wide x 9" tall x 5.5" ext

I have even thought of buying the large bracket from Suzanne Kasler on
Ballard Designs and adding a larger shelf.

Any advice on proper proportion of statue to bracket?  Any other suggestions?

Thanks,  Charlotte Des Fleurs

a good example is what I did for my friend Kris.
Below is her living room
First I hung the brackets over the prints.
Then we added more pictures to the wall, and I lowered them to under the prints....
there are many ways that your brackets could be hung.
In my den in Massachusetts, I hung them with a print leaning on them with the dogs in front....
So, there are lots of options.
As to the size of the bracket.
They should just be a little wider that what ever you are placing on them, unless it is a picture, and then you can have the picture wider than the bracket.
It's all about scale.
The bigger the item, the more room you should have around it, otherwise it will look top heavy.
In your case, since the dogs are 7.5" wide, I would want the brackets to be around 9" or wider. But not too wide.

I really love the brackets from Ballard Designs, 

But the style of the palm leaves may be more in keeping with your room.
If the finish is crappy,
just paint them!!!!!

Hope that was helpful.

Next question!!!!!

Hi Betsy,

I found your blog yesterday and have spent the last 24 hours lost in all your posts. I love it!  I remember seeing your Sunapee cottage years ago in a magazine and am so happy to have found your blog and see a bit of what you have been up to decorating wise.
I have a question which I have been struggling with since we bought our house 5 years ago and I would love your opinion.  We have a large pretty master bedroom with 7 windows. The windows all have half shutters that are really pretty and also functional as they provide just enough privacy.  My issue is that the room just is not cozy and I am wondering if it needs window treatments or the issue is something else. I am afraid of the cost of window treatments as we all know custom treatments no matter what are a lot.  I am sending along photos of what I have done so far in the room and would appreciate your thoughts on the window issue and how to make the room cozier.  The room is long, maybe 18 feet and has a small attached room and the the closet and master bath. Any thoughts you have would be great!
Thank you.

Then she added some more furniture, which helped.

First I have a question for all you guys out there who buy big houses, and then don't want to spend the money decorating them.....

If you have a house with a lot of windows.....

This is a lovely room.
But you're right....
draperies will make it much cozier.
If you don't want to spend a lot of money,
why not get simple sheers and sew them together for a fuller look.
One panel looks too skimpy, but two together are nice.
If you can't sew, just hang them together on a rod, and that would probably work too.
This is what I did for my friend Lissette, 
(however, I sewed them together.)
We got the sheers form Pottery Barn.
Then we got the poles and rings from Lowes.
Then I sewed the pinch pleats at the top and sewed the rings on.
If you do some of the work, you can save buckets of money.
To see the whole project....look here.

I think you would be amazed at what adding draperies would do to this room.
I can't feel at home in a place until all the windows have some fabric on them.
I still need to do a valance in my sewing/project room.
But my needs come after my niece Miriam's, and I'm sewing her draperies for her at present.

Was this helpful?????
I hope so.....

So, campers...
That's it for today,
I pulled my back this morning just pulling up a crummy little weed.
I just turned the wrong way.
So, I can't sit any longer at this blasted computer.
on that note,
Latah, Gatah

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Styling a Dining Room

Remember when I told you guys about how I had to fix Connie's Florida dining table, so folks could actually sit at the end?????
This was the table I'm talkin' about......
There were stretchers at the ends (strips of wood) between the legs, so no one could pull a chair place to put your tootsies.....ya get me???
I had them cut out, so it would actually function like a real dining table.

The reason I could have stretchers between the legs of Connie's Vermont table is.....
The top overhangs enough to let a chair pull up so's you can eat.
See how it overhangs?????

If you look at the two dining areas, you can see that I have certain details that I like to use...
 (over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.....etc.)
I like the host and hostess chair to be different from the side chairs.
Sometimes I do them in the same fabric....
Sometime's I do them in different fabric.

In my niece Miriam's dining room, I plan on making slipcovers for the chairs at the table's ends out of the same fabric as the rest of the room......
I plan on doing this just as soon as I finish sewing her living room draperies.
Her living room is really coming along, and I will be sharing that with you guys in the near future!!!!!
(actually.....maybe the seat of the slipcovers will be the toile, and the skirts will be the blue of the back pillows......hmmmmmm.....)

In Kris's house, I used the paisley that I had the walls covered in for the host and hostess chairs,
and then covered the seats of the side chairs in a plain fabric.

In my own dining room, I have three pairs of chairs covered in two different fabrics.
The slipcovers on the square back French chairs used to be on the chairs that are in Miriam's dining room.
They sort of fit my new(ish) French chairs.....
I gave Miriam her host and hostess chairs, as I no longer had room for them.
They originally belonged to my grandparents and were used in their New York apartment.
When I inherited them, they had beautiful needlepoint seats.
I used these chairs for over 20 years and the needlepoint bit the dust.
It's in shreds.
It was really fine and pretty.
Don't give me nothin' 'cuz I am the destroyer!!!!!

Once again I've gone off on a tangent.....
On that note...
Latah, Gatah
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...