Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuft Love

I am a total sucker for anything tufted, and I do mean anything: I have come dangerously close to buying tufted dollhouse furniture a time or two.... and this was BEFORE I had children.

And then there's lucite: ever since I bought a vintage stacked acrylic lamp on eBay ten years ago for my home, lucite and I have had a special little thing going.

So imagine my state of bliss upon discovering a company that combined tufted upholstery with lucite finishes! (I think I actually blacked out for a second from the high.)

Naturally, I had to share my findings with you:

I'm working on tracking down purchasing particulars for all of these pieces, so if something catches your fancy, drop me a line and I'll keep you posted. I am thinking I have no choice but to bring in at least one of those ottomans or benches to the shop. It's really out of my hands, at this point.

While we're discussing lucite, I know many of you are fans of The Paris Apartment, a wonderful site dedicated to all things Parisian. (You can even go on a Paris shopping tour with site founder Claudia; if you're reading, Claudia, do I get a discount? I'm sure your site will be FLOODED with traffic as a result of this post [she says sarcastically, which I now feel obligated to add after the Anthropologie incident].)

Claudia features an excellent selection of lucite items in her online boutique, but my absolute favorites--more accurately, obsessions--are her selection of lucite handles. These are totally over-the-top fabulous and I must have them at all costs (or, at least, $28 per pull) for my kitchen cabinets.

I can't decide if I prefer the simple lucite toggle or the version with a chrome cuff. You might have spotted the latter in a recent issue of House Beautiful, which also mentioned that the cuffs are adjustable, enabling it to fit virtually any pre-existing hardware holes. Love it!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Off the Wall

Last week took me once again to the local design center, a favorite place to wander or, more often, seek out the perfect welt or chair fabric to complete a current project.

My most recent visit was a little of both: My goal was to track down the perfect wallcovering for a client, a married couple, one of whom hates wallpaper. Good luck with that one, right?

In an effort to appease the wallpaper-averse of the two (who dislikes it primarily for its perceived permanence), we came up with the idea to fabricate framed panels of it, thus making it less expensive (as we're not covering an entire room or even an entire wall) and removable. Voila!

Now to find the perfect pattern. Easier said than done. But I stopped dead in my tracks in the local Osborne & Little showroom when I entered to see an entire wall done in this:

Not only is it insanely gorgeous, but it's the perfect colorway for our room, soon to be done up in ink blue with orange leather chairs, and the insanely beautiful new Talitha rug from Jonathan Adler... Have you seen it?Like many of Jonathan Adler's rugs, it can be customized in any of his wool colors and fabricated in any size. We're ordering it up in an ink blue and natural combination. Can't wait to see the finished product!

But I digress. (Shocker, right?) Let's get back to that wallpaper.... Egads! It's a new issue from O&L designed by Henry Wilson, described by O&L as such: "the celebrated photographer, artist and Indian expert, who has been commissioned by Osborne & Little to design this magnificent collection of wallpapers."

Henry describes his inspiration as follows:“The rich combination of wall and architectural detail and soaring architecture in India can be overwhelming, much of the fine detail is easily overlooked among the kaleidoscope of pattern and colour. It is these frequently missed decorative details that I have drawn upon for my designs.”

Goodness knows we are a sucker for anything with a) pattern; b) color; and c) any sort of reference to India. Sold!

Check out some other colorways and patterns from the new line:

See the full line here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day of the Dad

I am so incredibly fortunate to have two amazing fathers in my life, neither of whom I share any genetic material with.

The first is my dad, Buzz, who entered my life as my stepfather when I was eight, then legally became my father when I turned 18, when he adopted me.

My dad has had a remarkably interesting life: He produced one of Jimmy Buffet's first albums, was the voice of Alvin on one of the Chipmunks' musical endeavors, and sang back-up for Brenda Lee fresh out of high school. He's written a book, been the voice of PB Max candy bar, and been entertained by Elvis at Graceland, but none of these things are what makes him special in my eyes. His most remarkable accomplishment? Loving a child born to someone else as much as his own. Not many men could or would do such a thing. But my dad did. And does still.

My husband, Chad, is remarkable in his own right, for a host of reasons. But the one I am most grateful for: his boundless love for our two daughters.

Though not his profession, Chad has a passion--and gift--for writing, and often writes about fatherhood and our girls. The following essay is a perfect illustration of the kind of father, and man, he is:

"The best we can do is show kindness regardless of circumstance. What’s the kindest thing? It would be better if this were asked more. My best friend once commented that I seemed happy. I thanked him and said I’d found my simple formula: I do things that make me so and avoid stuff that doesn’t. I try to be as kind as I can. I go easy when I inevitably screw things up.

Of the things I want for my daughters love and kindness are paramount. I want them to embrace what they’ll learn about happiness and avoid the pitfalls. There are small indicators that Piper, age three, is on her way. She’s driven to comfort. When her mom is sad I’ve seen her shower her with kisses or put on a kooky display, anything to cheer her up. Even before she could talk she had a keen sense of others suffering and a strong desire to make it better for them. It’s of this trait that I am most proud. I must help protect it at all costs. It’s the most valuable thing she’ll ever possess.

Shortly after the tenth anniversary of my grandfather’s death she and I were having a conversation. In response to being told her great-grandpa was a good guy and grew apples, just like the one she was eating, she said, 'When I get big I’m going to grow apples.' She pointed at me. 'For you, Dad... I’m gonna fill the whole yard.' Then she stretched out her arms and showed me how much.

There have been moments I’ve felt love as strong, but never more so than then. These are some of the best words I’ve ever heard. My heart is swelling as I write. This is immortality. I cannot be convinced otherwise. I’ve seen it for myself in the unbounded space between the outstretched hands of my firstborn. I’m written into her. The best part of me lives on, the only part that deserves to see forever.

So live well, Piper, and know that I’m with you in a very literal sense. Nothing can change that. You have my eyes, my nose, my feet and hands, and most importantly the shiniest part of my heart. When I go, find comfort in your own feelings and actions. Let them remind you of me in both your best and darkest of hours. And as for the rest, it’s up to you. Wherever I go I wish to take the worst parts. They’re of no use to you. You know this. The trick is letting go, sorting wheat from chaff. You and sis decide. I leave it in your very capable hands, the same ones that once showed just how many trees you intended to plant for me."

Happy Father's Day to my two favorite fathers, and to all the dads of the world. Where would we be without you?

Friday, June 19, 2009

My New House

Isn't it simply perfect?

I plan on painting the shutters black and the front door a high-gloss kelly green, slapping on a gigantic brass doorknocker of some elegant sort and, of course, adding as many boxwood as humanly possible to the front yard. The pink rhodie will probably have to go, but the fact that it's pink may save it.

A few small details:

1. It's not for sale.
2. If it were, I'm quite sure I couldn't afford it.
3. I can't remember exactly where it is... only the fact that it's a few streets over from the Montlake Cut here in Seattle, close to the water, which brings me full circle to number 2 above.

I am seriously considering writing the owners a letter (once I work out exactly where to send the letter, of course) professing my love for their home, and asking them to let me know if they'd ever like to sell it. Is this likely to be perceived as charming or insance? Anyone ever done something like this before?

I've got it bad for this house!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

You Need Therapy

Big thanks to the lovely people over at Apartment Therapy for featuring my yard today, which I have discussed here ad nauseum and will refrain from doing so again as my random act of kindness for today.

But since we're talking about Apartment Therapy, they featured an ingenious idea a few months back that I saved to my reference file, and now seems as good a time as any to pull it out for everyone to see.

I (and a lot of us, to be sure) have a love-hate relationship with the TV: I love to watch it (and hate to watch it--another post entirely), but hate the idea of making it a focal point of the room. I like the idea of hiding it in some fashion--behind a piece of art that slides away a la Celerie Kemble, behind a panel of an entertainment center, etc.--but I also like the idea of admitting to the world, "Yes, I am human and therefore flawed. I love me some 'Bachelor,'" and putting it out there for public consumption.

Which is why I think the idea below is a nice one:

Though I fear the television may be a bit low for ideal viewing, I would be willing to make such a sacrifice for this insanely fabulous way to display it. Kudos to interior designer Kelly Giesen for her creative solution to this age-old (or at least, half-century-old) dilemma.

She's got another TV (this one in her bedroom) hiding behind that fabulous mirrored screen at the top, too. Love it!

Check out the full post here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Talking Trash

Our Imperial Trellis wastebasket is featured in the current issue of House Beautiful, along with 49 other delightful ways to rid yourself of garbage.

Shown in green (#41, not ranked in order of awesomeness, I might add -- and please ignore my seriously lacking scanner skills):

...it is also available in charcoal:

Additionally, there's this version honoring the wonderful David Hicks:

All are currently on sale for $77!

And while it's not exactly the glamorous way I'd always imagined being featured in House Beautiful for the first time, it is House Beautiful, nonetheless. First stop, trash can. Next stop, design project.

Might I add, by the way, that the July issue of HB is, in short, awe-inspiring. Miles Redd has outdone himself yet again (studded green leather doors, navy lacquer walls, oh my!), and the home by Jonathan Berger is one of my favorites in recent memory. The pink entry is drool-inducing.

Domino, schmomino. I am loving me some House Beautiful! (Hearst Communications, if you take this one away from me, I'm coming after you. Remember: we all have your address.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What's Growin' On

One of the things I most anticipate in my garden each year is the opening of the clematis growing up the front of our house. Over the years it has become intertwined with a climbing rose that's a just-right creamy yellow, and the two blooming together make quite an impact.

The blooms over the door are my favorite...a few days away from opening, I suspect.

In related gardening news, it's getting closer to the annual Georgetown Garden Tour, one of the few remaining events of its kind in the city that is free to enjoy. The great thing about this tour? Anyone can participate. The bad thing about this tour? Anyone can participate.

We've opened our garden for the last five years or so, and it's so much fun to meet fellow gardeners, share ideas, and listen to people fawn over all your hard work. Strangely, it's also fun when they don't fawn and instead point out all the things you did wrong.

Our fabulous graphic designer has designed the promotional posters for the last few years, and she recently unveiled this year's design:
As the lovely poster indicates, this year the tour is on Sunday, July 12. Come on down, and don't forget to stop by 813 S. Orcas and say hello!

On the interiors front, I recently nabbed these for myself and am kind of loving them, despite their noxious vintage vinyl smell. (Please, no one tell me in any specific fashion exactly HOW bad that is for me.)

I found the '50s/'60s-era wallpaper on eBay a year or so ago, and just recently got around to doing something with it. The custom turquoise frames are by my best-friend-in-my-mind Jonathan Adler from his line for Larson-Juhl.

I love the connection between the glass mosaic backsplash and the frame color... Now if I could only get my act together and paint the walls! It's only been six years, after all. Don't rush me.

It's slo-o-o-o-wly coming together in the Living Room. Still on the list:
  1. Sofa reupholstery (Fabrics all ordered. Woo hoo.)
  2. Wallpaper in kitchen (Ordered. Double woo hoo.)
  3. Paint for entire room. (Can't bring myself to deal with this one.)
  4. Chevron stencils for entry. (See #3, though I do at least have the stencils. And the paint. Only lacking motivation. They were all out at Benjamin Moore.)
  5. New side chairs (Just snagged on eBay for $40 a pop. Sadly, the fabric going on them costs 3 times more per yard than each chair!)
  6. New kitchen cabinet hardware (I am so over the top about this that it will be the subject of an entire post shortly. One word: lucite.)
  7. New floor lamps (All picked out. Waiting to win the lottery. Note to self: Buy lottery ticket.)

Is it just me, or is making to-do lists completely depressing?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

Imagine my surprise to receive my most recent Anthropologie catalog and find it done in partnership with Nashville's own Hatch Show Print. Now where have I seen them featured before...? Gosh, it's on the tip of my tongue...Oh, wait: Right HERE.

Come to think of it, this new couch of theirs looks awfully familiar, too:

Oh, right...that's because it was IN MY LIVING ROOM.

Strange coincidence? Probably. But in case it's not, Anthropologie, I would like this: This:

And this:

Now we're even.

Monday, June 1, 2009

You Like Me, You Really Like Me

I'd like to thank the Academy, my mom and dad...oh, sorry--just practicing my acceptance speech, as our humble little blog has received its first award...well, award *nomination*, but let's not dwell on the details.

Abundant thanks to the lovely and stylish Rebecca June for the Splash Award nomination.

What is a Splash Award, you ask? I didn't know myself, and for all I know it could be the blog equivalent of a chain letter, but regardless, it's a great place to tout my favorite reads and elaborate on what makes them special to me.

The Splash Award is given to alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive and inspiring blogs. (I am happy to be any of those, btw.)

When you receive this award you must:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let your nominees know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you have received your Splash Award.

As I am an inveterate rule follower, here goes (in no particular order, other than that in which they occur to me):

1. Rebecca June, who is so sweet and cute it hurts....in a good way. We would have listed her even if she hadn't nominated us. Every image she posts is a keeper!

2. Jen West Design and her side-splitting blog jentrified, which incidentally gets my vote for best blog name ever. Not only is Jen's style impeccable but she could moonlight as a stand-up comedienne.

3. The incomparable isuwannee, both for its awesome southern name and Jamie's wry and honest style. Her "looking at on eBay" is a perennial favorite, and she will forever be associated in my mind with fabulous bookcases.

4. isuwannee's more caustic but equally hilarious cousin, Decorno, where we can read people's brutal truths on everything from zebra rugs to the economy to bedroom advice. What more could you want in a blog? It doesn't hurt that she gives us shout-outs every now and then.

5. Pink Wallpaper, whose posts are exactly what I would write about, and images I would show, if she didn't do it first, and more than likely, better.

6. What Is James Wearing, to which I was introduced by my #2 candidate above, Jen West. James is completely fabulous and I wish more than almost anything that I could go shopping with him.

7. Beachbungalow8, for her fantastic images and not-everywhere posting topics, all viewed through a style lens I love.

8. Michelle at M.A. Belle for her generous spirit, her admirable production mission, and her fresh, colorful style.

9. Joni at Cote de Texas. Though our styles are quite different--mine of the color and lacquer, hers of the neutrals and linen--Joni's passion for what she writes about shines through in every post and makes for great reading.

Obviously these are only a fraction of my favorite blogs. Here are some others I think are great and read regularly (and incidentally, I know I am not reinventing the wheel on most of these...though they're popular, I figure it never hurts to give credit where credit is due.):

Kelley Moore Creative (the namesake of the second half of "Coco & Kelley")

Anne Bryant Creative (world's best graphic designer!)

....and about 25 others, but my fingers are getting tired.

Happy reading! I hope I may have led you to a new discovery or two that will inspire and delight you.
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