Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bohemian Garden Party....

Bohemian Garden Party at
I was searching through Wisteria's online catalog when I came across this Bohemian outdoor garden party. Looks like a fun, playful, scene for a lazy Sunday afternoon. I think I would serve guacamole and chips and homemade fish tacos to go along with this. The food doesn't sound bohemian, but the bright colors and cheerful flowers remind me of a fiesta!! Fish tacos and guacamole are some of my favorite foods, so they go with everything to me!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ethan Allen Upholstered Headboards

I have a client that is looking for a headboard for her new condo bedroom. I looked at her room; She had painted her walls a light grey, had selected graphic patterned black and white bedding and had ebony furniture. The bed is the first thing you will see when you enter the room, so she wanted a headboard that would be dramatic. She had selected a beautiful, big, curvy ebony bed. It was certainly a dramatic shape, but with the colors, the existing furniture, the size of the room and the bedding already selected, I thought the size and color of the bed would be overwhelming for the space. I thought a white, curvy shaped upholstered headboard with a black "crystal" chandelier hanging above would give her the drama and the effect she was looking for and work well with the existing selections.
I have had upholstered headboards custom made for clients before, this can be a pricey option. I was looking for something more budget friendly. I was so pleased when I saw the upholstered headboards from Ethan Allen. I have always thought that Ethan Allen has a great quality product with a good price. They have done a great job lately of offering a wide variety of furniture styles to choose from. Most people think of them as being very traditional, as in years past, but they have broken out of that mold.
I thought the Alison headboard, shown below, would be perfect for my client's needs. The price is great on these, $799 for starting fabrics; the price varies according to the grade of fabric chosen. That is a great price point for the quality and the detail that each of these has. I want the Alison myself!! I had an Ethan Allen bedroom set, from the age of 5, that my daughter has in her room now. It has held up really well!! I also have a few Ethan Allen sofas in my home that have stood up to lots of wear (I should blog about some of the trials these sofas have seen!!) , so I feel confident that these headboards will stand the test of time.
Finding a stylish, well made product at an affordable price is a luxury worth sharing!!

Ethan Allen Jenson Headboard

Ethan Allen Isabel Headboard

Ethan Allen Alison Headboard

The Jenson Headboard dressed up.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Horchow Catalog Full of Inspiration......

I was browsing online through the Horchow website the other day and was very impressed with the site. I haven't been on it in awhile, I peruse through the catalog and I occasionally find an item for a client online, but this was the first time I had spent anytime looking through the categories. What I really liked was the Rooms & Ideas category. If you click on that and then Shop Our Rooms, it comes up with several categories to view room settings with their merchandise. They have Living Rooms, Dining Rooms, Bedrooms and Entries and More, all set up to spark your creativity. Pottery Barn's website, years ago, used to have a similar feature with a house tour decorated with all their merchandise. They would have the homes decorated for the holidays too; They discontinued that feature, I really enjoyed it.

Horchow was the first luxury mail order catalog started by Roger Horchow in 1971 and later sold to Neiman Marcus in the late 1980's. They carry everything for the home from bedding to furniture. I remember the catalog around our house when I was young and looking at the bedding, tableware, furniture and lighting and dreaming of the rooms I could put together with them. When I moved into my first apartment, after college, I started receiving the catalog in the mail. Although, at the time, I could not afford anything from the catalog, it was still a source of inspiration. I remember a photo of an assortment of gold framed prints and mirrors of different shapes and sizes arranged in a very interesting composition. I loved this and decided to do something similar on a wall in my apartment. I went to Target, Pier 1, TJ Maxx, sales at Hudson's, stores I could afford, and looked for gold framed prints and mirrors in similar shapes. I arranged this on my wall and it turned out great!! I got a lot of compliments on it, loved looking at it and it cost me a fraction of the price in Horchow.

A few years later I made my first purchase from the catalog. It was the Bahia stemware, that I still own. I still love the colors and the "art deco" inspired stems. It goes great with my Portmeirion (that I posted about a few days ago). I was pleased to see they still carry it. I can add to my collection!

Bahia stemware from Horchow online.

Pictured below are a few of the living room settings to shop from Horchow online catalog. Sure to spark my creative juices!! Enjoy the luxury of browsing luxury goods!!

I will not be able to post again until next week. I hope you will come back then!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Oldie But Goodie......

Remember this before and after from an earlier post on recovering furniture? The before picture was a chair a client had found. It was in bad condition, but like Charlie Brown said of his Christmas Tree, "All it needed was a little love", and I added, "and the right fabric!! " I think it dressed up well with a bright pop of color and a flirty little skirt!!

Before -----------------------After
Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised when looking through Horchow's website to find the Nicole Chair (pictured below). It is similar in style and color to our "dressed up" chair. The Nicole Chair is more tailored than our chair, the silk fabric used allows for a more tailored box pleat. We used a velvet, so I thought a more "free flowing" skirt would suit the strength of the fabric. But both chairs are similar in size, color and shape. The original chair did not have a skirt, but I thought the shape called for one - looks like I was right!!

Horchow's Nicole Chair -------------------Our flirty little number
I thought it amusing that I took the picture at almost the same angle as the Nicole Chair. I took the picture over a year ago.

But not in price!! The Nicole Chair retails for $1799 with a shipping cost of $125. The reupholstered chair was a fraction of that cost. The original chair was free, the fabric used cost $300 and the labor was $200 - for a total of $500!! I think they both seem like elegant little jewels for a room. What a luxury it is to recycle a found object into a beautiful piece that people would pay a nice price for. A little imagination and design know how can take you far!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I started out my Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and the July issue of Canadian House & Home. As I was flipping through the magazine, I came across the image below of Sophie Conran's collection for Portmeirion.

I stopped in my tracks..... because, if you have been reading my blog, you will know that this photo represents a lot of the things that I like: white dishes, white table linens, white hydrangeas, white roses.... I also thought this photo was fitting for a Saturday morning because it reminds me of the "remnants of a party". It made me think of waking up the morning after a party and seeing all the dishes and serving pieces ready to be put away, the flowers awaiting a new spot, boxes of presents ready to be looked through, a chance to reflect on the festivites the night before.......
This photo also reminded me that my "love affair" with dishes started with Portmeirion. When I was in my teens, Martha Stewart was just becoming well known. She had a Thanksgiving special that I saw on PBS. I was hooked!! I remember her having a dining room that had a closet, she opened it up and it was full of stacks of dishes, serving pieces, glassware..... she was looking through the closet to find the appropriate pieces for her table and was explaining, "this came from a tag sale at such and such", "this piece was passed down from whos it", "this was a wedding present". I remember watching this and thinking, I want one of those closets someday!! I didn't know what a "tag sale" was, but I surely wanted to find out!! I come from a large family and have always been interested in setting the table for the various holidays, parties and dinners. My mom used to let me shop for the table accessories for her from a young age.
After that, I decided to find a pattern of dishes to start my collection. I went to the china department at our local Hudson's and fell in love with Portmeirion's Botanic Garden. It appealed to me because, it was floral, but not too "girly" and I was fascinated that each piece had a different floral motif on it. The Botanic Garden collection has been around since 1972, designed by Susan Williams Ellis. She based the pattern on herbal and botanical drawings from the 1800's. She named them after an 18th century poem, The Botanic Garden by Erasmus Darwin, Charles' grandfather. The pattern has stood the test of time, becoming an icon of English design. When I traveled to England, I saw it everywhere.
I was very pleased to see Sophie's collection for Portmeirion, because, although I still love my Botanic Garden, my taste runs now to a more modern white set. It is good to see that they are catering to a wide range of tastes, but still sticking with their classic styles. Their pieces are all well made and stand up to oven and dishwasher, pieces that you will have in your collection for years. I occasionally mix pieces of my Botanic Garden with white dinnerware. It will always have a special place in my heart, as I have been collecting it for years dreaming of my future. My then boyfriend, now my husband, would buy me pieces stocking up for our life together, it was a reminder that we would someday be married. When we registered for our wedding, he was with me selecting serving pieces and the dinnerware we still needed, thinking to the dinners and parties we would have together. The pattern, to me, represents my dreaming of the future, family and togetherness. Although I have not been collecting it for years, my husband came home awhile ago with a set of Botanic Garden square plates. He said he saw them and knew I would like the different shape; it touched me because we have been together for so long and that was one of the first things we collected for our future together.
Looking online for the Sophie Conran collection, I saw it is available widely at stores such as Bed Bath and Beyond and Macy's, perfectly accessible for someone collecting and dreaming of their future....

Part of the Sophie Conran collection for Portmeirion.

Gorgeous bowls from the same collection. I like how the grooves and irregular shape make it seem as if it just came off the pottery wheel.

Such an interesting pot, by Sophie Conran, I would love to see it sitting on my countertop.

This collection, by Sophie Conran for Portmeirion, is called White Oak.

The Botanic Garden Collection, near and dear to my heart!!

A place setting from my collection.

Part of my collection of serving pieces.

Stacks of Botanic Garden dinnerware in a small corner of my dish closet; thanks, again, for the inspiration Martha!!
Funny how something as simple as an advertisement for dinnerware can make you think back through good memories. That is truley one of life's little luxuries!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Comfort Zone

One thing that is often on my mind is personal style. I have blogged about this several times; about how to start recognizing yours and following it and also about being fascinated with people's personal choices, in fashion and home decor, and how they come to these. Along with all of this, I think people generally have a "comfort zone" when it comes to personal choices. I know I do when it comes to fashion. This becomes very evident when I step out of mine and try something new. For example, months ago when my husband and I went to a resort in Mexico, I bought a maxi dress. I wore it to dinner, one night at the resort, with flat sandals, bangle bracelets and a pair of hoop earrings. At the resort, I felt very comfortable and stylish in this dress, I had never worn a maxi dress before, but felt like it fit in with the carefree resort atmosphere. Flash forward to this summer. I wore the dress to a dinner function we attended, I felt like I had a costume on!! The style of dress was appropriate for where we were at, I am 5'-10" so I can carry a maxi dress, if I saw somebody else in this outfit, I would've thought she was stylish; so what was the problem?
This got me thinking about how comfort zone, surroundings and expectations often influence our personal choices. I think,when I was at the resort, being in different surroundings and atmosphere than normal, I was able to easily step out of my "comfort zone" of dress and be a little more carefree. Being in my "normal" environment, surrounded by people I normally see, for me wearing something "trendy" made me feel out of place. I was surprised at myself, because, although I am not trendy per se, I consider myself stylish and am not generally worried about what I am wearing compared to what people I'm with are wearing. For example, I would not feel out of place if everyone was wearing jeans and I was wearing a dress. My husband wears a suit to work everyday, so when we go out to dinner he likes to be casual, I like to dress up, so we are often miss matched, c'est la vie!! So this is why I started to think about "comfort zones" (my husband often says I over analyze things!!).

Thinking about this, I realized I have a fall uniform:

J Crew Jeans J Crew Velvet Blazer
Michael Kors Purse Kitten Heels
Running errands, grabbing lunch with a friend or shopping on a typical fall day you will see me in some variation of dark boot cut jeans, a J Crew black velvet blazer, kitten heels and a hobo style purse. I change the accessories, sometimes a scarf, sometimes a chunky necklace, sometimes a print shirt, sometimes a corduroy jacket or long sweater, but the basic ensemble stays the same. I have kitten heels in different colors, leather and suede.

Michael Kors Jacket Cole Haan boots

Or I will add a printed jacket, I have many, and kitten heeled low boots. I brought the topic of "uniforms" and "comfort zone" up at dinner with girlfriends the other night, and one of them said, fall is coming you will soon bring out the kitten heels!! But think of it, we all have some sort of "uniform" that we fall back on that we feel best in. How many times have you thought, I have to look good so I'll wear such and such because that's my best look?

All 3 shoes by Calvin Klein from my closet

Wearing flats felt out of place to me because, above, are a sample of the heels I usually wear out at night; they are my comfort zone for evening.
So the question is........ If you feel confident and stylish in your "comfort zone", should you mix it up? With fashion today, (and partially thanks to the Sex and the City girls who mixed it up well!!) there are no hard and fast rules. Well, having said that, I would consider a good cut and a good fit a rule not to break (just think of "mom jeans"!!). Individuality is often expressed with fashion choices and good ones stay in vogue; What images are conjured when you think of Jackie O., Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Catherine Deneuve, Coco Chanel...... they are just a few style icons who stayed true to their look, had basic style principals that they hung onto and whose style still reigns supreme. The look of confidence that you get when feeling good about yourself is the best fashion accessory you can have!! This comes from being in your "comfort zone", whether it be trying out the newest trends or wearing your same fall uniform!! Embracing yourself and your style is key!!
Having said that, I think I might inch out of my "comfort zone" this fall and purchase an item in the classic style I'm comfortable with but in a beautiful buttery color or animal print, such as the boots below. Or in a great color like the turquoise Kooba bag I'm crazy for!!

Over the knee boots and python boots by Stuart Weitzman at Nordstroms and Kooba Hadley bag from Neiman Marcus.

Afterall, feeling good, feeling confident and fabulous accessories, are great luxuries!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday Afternoon Luxury, Lunch With My Sister

I wasn't planning on posting today, but I made a lovely, quick lunch with my sister and I thought it was worth sharing. The photo is not styled, it is taken as it was plopped onto the plate and before I ate it. My sisters came to stay the night with my daughter and I last night, my husband is away. It is nice, and a great luxury, to have sisters who are also your friends!! We had a great time, made pizzas on the grill, the bean dip my friend was kind enough to share the recipe (I will share it at another time), wine and homemade cookies. I had actually planned on writing about our "girls night in", set the table, arranged the food, lit the candles and well..... a few glasses of wine and giggles and the evening took off before the camera came out.
This afternoon, we had an early lunch and are heading to the pool for the afternoon (not a bad day, I might add, the weather is lovely!!). I thought I'd share what we ate as it was really quick to put together and very good!!

-Whole wheat Naan bread spread with goat cheese and covered with fresh beef steak tomato slices baked until bread was crunchy and cheese soft.
-While that was baking, I mixed arugula and basil leaves and dressed them with fresh lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and fresh cracked pepper
-When the bread was out of the oven, I topped it with the arugula mixture and topped that with avocado, (because frankly, this summer I am addicted to avocado and am topping almost everything with them!!)

Served with a glass of sparkling water outside with wonderful weather, it was a perfect little lunch with perfect company!! Now off to the pool to enjoy my luxurious day!!

Friday, August 6, 2010


When choosing things for my personal interiors, I generally go with earthtones with occasional pops of grayed colors such as greens and blues. I don't have any white walls or ceilings in my home; I love the look of white walls in photos, but don't think I could personally live with white walls, since my furnishings are warm colors, I would always want to "warm them up". Having said that, as I was shopping for flowers yesterday, my daughter asked, "Mommy why do you always pick white roses?". That got me thinking, that even though I consider myself an earthtone gal, there are certain things that I always choose in white. In certain areas, I can't resist the clean, crisp, simply elegant, lovely feeling that white represents.

Roses for sure!!!! Always found in my house.

These roses are still going strong after almost 3 weeks!! I couldn't bare to throw them out, plus I like the way the slightly browned edges look with the golden frames and golden veining of my bathroom marble. I trim the tips of the roses every few days and change their water, this keeps them going for a long time!!

White kitchens. Again my dream kitchen, Lynda Reeves of Canadian House & Home.

White bathrooms. This one is from Canadian House & Homes. The textures and details give this white bathroom a sophisticated, elegant and crisp feel. I am adding this to my dream house list!!

White bedding, always!! This is from Scandia Downs website. Luxurious like a soft cloud, you are destined for sweet dreams!!

I always go for white dishes. These are Aegean White by L'Object (I think I must start collecting them!!). I love, not only the look, but that you can mix so much with them. A large white dinner plate with a small patterned salad plate on top is so elegant and versatile. An all white table with a burst of color from the napkins or flower arrangement can take on so many styles!! Playful, fun, elegant, dramatic, it's endless!!

White table linens. Again, as above, starting with all white and accessorizing can give you endless possibilities!!! Look how divine, serene and elegant the subtle green hues added to the white make this wedding table, featured in Veranda, look. The beauty goes on and on.......

There is something so clean, lovely and fresh about white candles. Not only in one of my favorites, Jo Malone, but in pillars, tapers, votives...... I always go for white.

To me, nothing says luxury like a clean, fresh smelling, soft stack of white towels!! I always choose white towels. They bleach like a dream and always seem spa like to me!!

Can't forget a cool, crisp, floral glass of white wine!! My go to!!

By the way, my daughter got 3 beautiful hot pink roses for her room. Hot pink is her go to color!! Starting my day thinking about white, clean, fresh accessories and rooms, has added a little bit of luxury to my morning. Now, time for a shower with a clean, white towel!!!

What colors are you drawn to?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Had A Dream.......

It might have been my sound sleep thanks to my new pillows but last night I had a beautiful dream........

I dreamt I woke up in Italy......

I stayed in a luxurious Villa on a hill, overlooking the Italian countryside.......

I had on a white eyelet dress like this one from Anthropologie........

Tory Burch lace up espadrilles.......

I had a Pucci scarf wrapped on my head a la Audrey Hepburn, to add a little flair of glamour and drama......

And big Chanel sunglasses a la Jackie O.......

I ran down a country hill (very gracefull, I might add!)........

And followed a carnival parade.......

To a gorgeous alfresco picnic, with beautiful views.......

I was served the freshest ingrediants from the region.....

Lots of homemade pastas.........

Beautifully divine and decadent desserts (I ate and ate and didn't gain a pound!!).....

And of course, lots of Vino.......

Back at the Villa, I took a long, luxurious bath, with a great view and a gentle breeze.........

Watched the breathtaking Italian sunset.........

Slept in a cozy overstuffed bed with lots of fluffy new pillows!!!!

It was a glorious dream!! I am going to take these happy thoughts with me all day today!! I wish you sweet dreams tonight that fill your day with happy thoughts and luxurious memories!!!
Better yet, I hope all our dreams come true!!