Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

From all of us here at Revival Home & Garden, may your holiday season and coming year be filled with light. Thanks for brightening our 2009!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Back in Business (or, Stephen Drucker Made Me Do This)

Followers of our little blog will recognize a few things about us:

1. We love design magazines as if they were our own children...okay, more than that. A LOT. And we are down to a select few that we actually open the day they arrive: Elle Decor and House Beautiful. (And then there were two.)

2. We try not to devote too much attention to projects featured in said magazines....there are lots of other blogs who do a much better job at this than we are likely to. But the last time we did, it was of that insane House Beautiful cover spread with the pink chairs and the discontinued Kravet Ikat pattern everywhere. You know the one. And can we discuss the recent red, red, red Miles Redd HB cover project???? When can Miles Redd have his own magazine, full of nothing but Miles Redd projects? Who's with me?

3. I have been ridiculously infrequent in my blog postings as of late.

Until today. Because something happened to bring all of these factors together into a single unifying force that compelled me--nay, DEMANDED me--to crank out a new post. What happened was this:

Stephen Drucker, editor-in-chief of House Beautiful magazine, former editor of Martha Stewart Living magazine, and former something at basically every publication serving as an arbiter of style in modern society, walked into my shop.

Thankfully, I was wrapping up a transaction with a customer (good to look busy and somewhat successful, yes?) when he entered. I immediately recognized him as familiar but couldn't quite place him until he approached me and said, "Hi, my name is Stephen and..." He had me at "Stephen." Stephen Drucker! House Beautiful! Can't. Breathe.

I'm happy to report that he couldn't have been more charming. I immediately begged him not to go under for fear of depriving me of one of my few remaining reasons to get out of bed every morning, to which he replied that House Beautiful isn't going anywhere.

(Collective sigh of relief.)

I inquired as to what brought him to Seattle, to which he replied that he had never visited before and wanted to see what it was like. Isn't that a wonderful way to spend a weekend? I think I may have a new life goal.

He spoke highly of his time in Seattle thus far; let's hope he returns with cameras in hand. Stephen, I'm ready for my close up.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Waking the Dead

If anyone is left out there reading this sad, neglected blog, let me be the first to applaud your perseverance! With more than a month since my last posting, I'm shocked that you may be out there, still checking in now and then for a pulse.

Well, today your persistence pays off: a faint pulse beats on!

Since opening in our new location a few months ago, we have been a bit...well...overwhelmed. As you know, one of the primary motivations for relocating was to scale back while shifting our focus to our true passion: interior design. Not that we don't love lacquer boxes and classic children's books as much as--heck, probably more than!--the next person, but what wakes us up at night are thoughts of lacquering 18th-century oak chairs (gasp) and reupholstering womb chairs in Trina Turk indoor/outdoor fabric. Not so much the boxes.

The good news? Our plan is working! Lots of new clients and projects. So much fun. So many great people. So many great finds.

The bad news? Our plan is working! So few hours in the day. So many kids waiting at home. So much laundry. (Seriously, where does all the laundry come from? I really want to know. Is my family screwing with me?)

We're not complaining, mind you. Just trying to rationalize our absence from the blogosphere. If it's any consolation, I have written some AMAZING posts in my mind. Here's hoping they will be transferred to reality soon. One of them even mentions *you*. Yes, you.

In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at some our new inventory soon to be hitting the Web site as part of our New Year's Resolution. Almost none of our new store inventory is on the site (kind of the point of a Web site, right?), so obviously we are excited to mark this one off our to-do lists.

Thanks again for bearing with us through our growing pains. We promise not to be such a fair-weather friend in the future.

*Images courtesy of the fabulous Dorothee Brand, of Belathee Photography (gratuitous fame-dropping: she photographed the wedding of design*sponge's Grace Bonney)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Behind the Scenes

Primarily because of the insanity of my life (I know, join the club, right?), I am not as good as I should be about documenting my design projects--a goal for the New Year is to create an online portfolio of professional project shots--but I have a nice (though not yet complete) visual story of one to share.

This project began, in a sense, about a year ago, when a husband...let's call him "Chris" (since, well, that's his name) bought my favorite table ever for his wife as a Christmas table. Wouldn't you like to find this beauty under the tree?

Now, with a new fabulous table, a new and equally fabulous set of chairs was needed, which led to a need for some other new and fabulous items, and thus, a project was born.

The first matter of business? Selecting a new exterior paint scheme. I drew up some options (most traditional, a few more outlandish) using Benjamin Moore's great Color Preview program (incidentally, a great way to lose at least 4 hours of your life). Here were a few of my favorites options:

Here's the winning scheme, a combination of a few suggestions:

Classic and timeless, as well as a great representation of the schemes being incorporated inside. I put together some concept boards for various rooms; here's a peek at the Dining and Living Room inspirations:

Here's a peek at what made the cut in the Dining Room:

Most of the final selections are represented here--the Jonathan Adler greek key rug in the Dining Room (being made as I write), paired with affordable red-lacquer chairs from Pottery Barn sassed up with some colorful indoor/outdoor fabric on the seat cushions, and the stunning chandelier from Arteriors.

Compare the new light to the old (unelectrified!) fixture:

What an improvement. And now they can see what they're eating, too! (When I cook, dim lighting works in my favor.)

A few pieces, like this graphic bookcase from a local design showroom, were happy surprises:

And I unexpectedly scored a great (and gigantic) piece of art, a print made with a steamroller (!) by one of my favorite local artists, Tina Randolph.

We're still awaiting the arrival of a number of pieces, and there remains more work to be done, but I thought I'd share our progress thus far. Stay tuned!

*First image from the fabulous Conde Nast archives, a vintage House & Garden photograph by Herbert Matter

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Song of the South

Maybe it's because the holidays are drawing near, but lately I've found myself missing home. Not home as in where I reside with my husband and children, where I have settled in over the last six years or so, where I love to return to at the end of every day, but HOME. The place where I played on my first (and last!) softball team. The place where I had my first (definitely not last) kiss. The place where I stayed up late with my babysitter watching "Fantasy Island" and tried to figure out exactly what was going on in that bungalow.

For me, Home with a capital "H" is Nashville, Tennessee. The South. I love the South. I know it has a lot of baggage associated with it, some of it deserved, some of it exaggerated, and some of it just plain made up by people who have merely passed through or never even visited.

What do I love about the South? The obvious, of course: it's home to all of my family. When you leave a place as a single girl, you miss your family all the time, but you're building your own life, so it's easy to push those feelings aside in favor of the here and now. But when your life transitions to the next level, when you begin to create a family of your own, that's when you begin to miss your family in a way that hurts....and not just because you have to pay everyone who's not family to watch your children!

Then there are the little things: the insane food which, no matter how anyone above or west of the Mason-Dixon line tries, cannot be duplicated. (If I had a nickel for how many times I've said, "You call that 'cornbread?'" I would be lounging on a tropical island at the moment.) Sweet tea. Chick-fil-A. Need I say more?

The friendliness. Sure, some of it is phoney, but in the south, when you walk down the street, people--people you do not know--look you in the eye and say hello; they don't avert their gaze as they pass. People chat you up in line for no reason. Just because that's what you do.

The landscape. The rolling green hills and three-hundred-year-old trees. The beaches and seafod boils. The front-porch swings.

The driving. People drive fast there. People get in the left lane and actually pass the people next to them. Who knew this was something I was taking for granted the first half of my life?

The hospitality. The luncheons for the most insignificant of reasons. The food people cook for you when you have a baby, lose a parent, lose a job. The table settings. The deviled egg plates. The effort.

The decorating. Yes, I said "decorating." Southerners are not afraid of going all out where aesthetics are concerned. Of filling every vacant space with objects. Of passing down items from generation to generation, even if said items are worthless to the average person. If it's not tied down, we monogram it; it's not that we don't know they're our towels, we just like an excuse to throw curly script on something, especially if it's pink.

I know many (if not all) of these things exist in some form in all parts of the country, even in the world, but I miss my own special variety of it all, or at least the variety I have conjured for myself. Some of it surely has been romanticized, but isn't that the great thing about all that is far away, whether geographically or chronologically? We forget all that made us pull out our hair in favor of that which makes our eyes glisten with nostalgia. Thank heavens for that.

I was fortunate, growing up, to have an extra-special home/Home. We lived just outside the city on 18 acres, in a home built in 1808. As a 9-year-old child, moving from a duplex I shared with my single mother to what then seemed a palatial home with outbuildings, a barn, a pool and a guest house, I felt like Little Orphan Annie moving into Daddy Warbucks' estate.

As an adult, I now see my house of childhood in comparison with the McMansions that have sprung up all around, and I see that our house is not so grand. The edges are worn, things need replacing. But it has something those McMansions will never possess: soul. And that is a fine thing indeed.

My family has since gone through some changes over the last few years, and our family house is now for sale. My mother sent over a few of the listing photos, which inspired me to reflect on not only my childhood house, but my childhood Home, and why I miss it so.

Then I remind myself: home isn't a place but a state of mind--it's the people who make it home, and we carry those people with us wherever we go.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Talking Shop

(Quickly catch your breath after viewing the above photo....)

For those of you we haven't been harrassing via e-mail about our recent move, we are now open in our new location, the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. Our grand opening was last week, after a month-long hiatus since closing our original Georgetown location.

We have so many gorgeous new (and new "old") pieces that I simply had to share a few photos with our friends who must have been trapped under something heavy since last Thursday and haven't yet been by the new shop. (Those of you outside the city are excused.)

I'll be working over the coming weeks on updating our Web site with our new inventory, new store images, and hopefully soon building our online interior design portfolio so you can see some of the fun projects we've completed. (Baby steps.... I am lucky to shower most days.)

Take a peek inside the new shop. And whether you're two blocks, neighborhoods, cities, or states away, come up and see us sometime. We'd love to see you!

Now, for the tour:

Can we briefly discuss how incredibly GORGEOUS this piece is? I bought it at an auction, back when it was a medium-oak finish. My gifted painter worked his magic, and how you see the new incarnation. Somewhere Dorothy Draper is patting herself on the back.

Also, I would like to touch on the striped wall, which I'm sure (like me) many of you have admired in the pages of Elle Decor (mostly in bathrooms, it seems, or with a slight twist of vertical stripes ala Alessandra Branca). I had about a week to move in and put my own finishing touches on the space after the painters and other folks completed their work, and do you know what I spent about 98% of that time doing? Yes. Stripes. I'm now seeing stripes in my dreams (nightmares?). But I am really happy with the finished product, particularly against the insane secretary and adorable sconces from a new line we're carrying at the store, Stray Dog Designs.

Back to the tour:

Another glimpse of the aforementioned stripes, along with one of a pair of vintage greek key-embellished mirrors. You know me and the greek keys....

Also new to the store: Rubie Green organic bedding, by the divine Michelle Adams. Paired with vintage table lamps, chandelier, and prints, along with a Jonathan Adler zebra needlepoint rug and some of our favorite accent pillows, it's a lovely little vignette. If nothing else, now I have a spot to nap during lulls at the shop.

Check out the ball pillow. I had it custom-made from the Rubie Green "Jackie" fabric. Why a ball pillow? I don't know. But I like it.

The unfortunate aspect of the bedding vignette? It conceals....yes, another greek key! The vintage headboard is festooned with a pair of them. Sigh.

This little arrangement makes me happy whenever I glance its way: navy blue, hot pink, yellow, and white. You may recognize the sofa from a stint in my living room; its now covered in bomber white vinyl that actually resists even ink stains. The chairs are vintage, as is the coffee table, now in a shade my painter calls "American Cheese." Not likely to make its way into the pantheon of paint names anytime soon.

I love the framed wallpaper panels peeking out at the sides; I snatched the paper up from Elements of Style's etsy shop. The colors and graphic quality are perfect.

Another angle.

Gorgeous black faux patent leather on 19th-century French dining chairs (now with white paint -- I know if legions of people were reading this, about three-quarters of them would be shrieking in horror.) Flanking the two lovelies are a set of redone Thonet chairs, with seats in white faux croc vinyl. Yes, I am single-handedly trying to keep the vinyl industry afloat.

Accessories shot: Jack + Lulu paper products (love), vintage barware with the motif whose name shall not be spoken, along with a Simon Doonan/Jonathan Adler shrine.

Also new to the shop: Kaarskoker candle sleeves and customizable candlesticks. A better hostess gift anywhere? We think not.

And it seems I have developed an addiction to changing out all my standard candlesleeves with those emblazoned with peacock print, herringbone, and fretwork. Who would have guessed?

Come see it all for yourself. Doesn't everything look better in person? Well, except models. And celebrities. And furniture from West Elm. Oh, nevermind.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Couched in Beauty

I finally got my "new" vintage sofa back from the upholsterer, and if I may say so myself, it's a beauty.

Have we all seen the "Chiang Mai Dragon" print before? Yep. Do I tire of it? Never. It's a bit on the pricey side, so keeping its use limited to the sofa back got me a lot of bang for the buck. And because the back of the sofa faces the front entry, it makes a great impact.

The sofa front is covered in a buttery-soft, commercial-grade eco vinyl from Architex.

Why vinyl, you ask?

Here's how it looked before its little visit to the upholsterer:

The Living Room is slowly coming together.... baby steps. Literally.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Things of a Dove

To begin, I'd like to share some things I've learned over the last month:

1. Moving and blogging don't mix. (Does anything mix with moving? Maybe drinking.)
2. If you sell things at 50% off, it won't be enough for some people. (Not you, of course.)
3. The less often you blog, the less motivated you are to blog.

Yes, it has been something like a month since our last post. Though admittedly, we have been up to our ears in moving, ordering, reupholstering, quoting, and designing, we probably could have found a spare hour or two for some blog time. But I've found through this prolonged absence that blogging is akin to exercising: once you stop, you don't really feel like starting up again. Blogging inertia, I suppose? Same with Twitter. (Although thinking of reasons to "Twitter" anything is hard enough as it is.)

But I'm hoping it's like a bike: You just jump back on and it feels like you never stopped riding. In the spirit of that wish, I thought I would post a follow-up to a post from a few months ago about my glorious neighbor (and unofficial mayor of Georgetown), Jon Dove. I previously shared some photos of his beautiful yard and new garden room, and I visited him afterwards to capture some complementary images of his home interior.

Jon and I have differing interior styles, but I love so many things about his home: his attention to detail, his passion for collecting, and his love of accessories, as well as his affinity for history--both his own, and that of the land and people around him.

Take a look and see what I mean:

Upon entering, the taxidermy squirrels tip you off that you won't be seeing much Pottery Barn here.

Ditto the fowl on the bannister post.

I'm not exactly sure what the faux cat tells you.

I love this framed poem by the front door, especially the closing line. Jon actually went to Seattle High School, and did indeed become a fine and worthy woman. SHS would be proud.

Jon's lovely living room, with our own Palace Bench peeking out from the corner.

Of course I love the Greek Key border, and Jon's homemade bamboo curtain rod is simple yet so lovely.

A vignette showcasing some of our favorite books, and apparently Jon's, too.

Great art arrangement. The post was salvaged from a neighborhood building and repurposed as shown here.

I love how threadbare the rug is. If only it could talk!

A tighter shot of one of Jon's artful displays of treasures....

This urn is gorgeous, and the small painting of the woman is by a local artist who shows adjacent to our old location.... Jon brought it into the shop after he purchased it and I was green with envy.

This room is Jon's OFFICE. Could you die? It's like a scene from Tara.

Do we love a man who has a damask-covered chaise in his office? Yes, we do.

A menacing animal head and a turban-wearing duck don't hurt, either.

This is my favorite room in the house, though it's really more of a pass-through between the living room, kitchen, and office. The ceiling is wallpapered with fringe trim adorning the base of the ledge surrounding the room.

Light streams into the kitchen beautifully from the garden outside.

I am kind of obsessed with the turquoise-edged platter hanging above the stove. Jon, lock those doors!

I love the rainbow created on the shelves.

Jon had this light fixture custom-made by a neighborhood fabricator. Lovely, don't you think?

Jon, being a Renaissance man, is quite an artist. This is one of his paintings, which I plan on grabbing when make off with the platter.

The artist at rest. Even his fridge is cool!

Here we are upstairs. I love the detail on the doors, as well as the random objects Jon has installed over them all.

A man after my own heart: a fellow design-mag hoarder. This cupboard is filled with back issues of World of Interiors. I wish all magazines had white spines.

The Dining Room, something of a museum of religious artifacts. Dining in this room by candlelight is an unparalleled experience.

Turquoise shelves = happiness.

See if you can spot the pink David-head teacup. That's coming with the painting and platter.

Another one of Jon's paintings. He truly has a wonderful talent.

More dead animals, this time in the upstairs sitting room, which I love.

I love the gaslight, from an old funeral carriage.

Those peeling paint patches would keep me up nights, but for Jon, they work wonderfully. Love the paint detail at the tops of the turquoise chairs.

A vignette from the guest bedroom, themed as a child's room. The bookcase is filled with Jon's old toys and books.

The outline of a future mural. Can't wait to see the finished product!
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