Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another peek...

I mentioned the other day that although I do have a vanity in my bedroom, it's not really where I keep all my "stuff".  My bedside table is pretty large so I keep a collection of my favorite accessories and assorted girl stuff close by so that I can enjoy it daily.

Okay, you know by now that I always give you the breakdown on the goods so here goes...The mirror is from Home Goods and I know it was way less than $100.  The fancy silver wood box in the center is also from Home Goods and was purchased on clearance for $5.  The two frames are also from Home Goods but I don't remember what I paid for them.

If you live somewhere that doesn't have a Home Goods, my heart goes out to you.  Truly, it is the most fabulous place ever.  You should email or call the company and harass them until they build one near you.  It will save you massive amounts of money on the most awesome stuff.

Back to the details....this poor guy (also from Home Goods clearance - he was damaged when part of their ceiling caved in and he was caught in the waterfall) has been horribly abused between having to wear my fishing hats and various necklaces.

That picture frame still has the picture that came in it.  That's embarrassing to admit, but honestly I keep forgetting to take pictures of my nieces and nephew that will fit into a vertical frame (no, I can't use it horizontally as it gets lost behind all the stuff here).

The silver Paul Revere bowl was a bridesmaid gift from my girlfriend Karen's wedding, the little silver tea light holder is from the local American Cancer Society Discovery Shop and I think I paid $1 for it.  The china sugar bowl...long story...not worth the time to tell.  That long gold thing with the pretty flower on the end is a bookmark.  Unfortunately, it's completely impractical since it weighs too much and always falls out of the book, so I just leave it here.


On the other side are some perfumes and a picture of my gorgeous niece, Olivia Rose (I just took it a week ago and finally remembered to do a vertical shot).  Is she not perfection itself?  I truly have the most beautiful, intelligent and accomplished nieces and nephew ever. 

That tea cup and saucer you can just see part of is from my tour of Buckingham Palace.  On one of my trips to England, they had just opened it to the public for the first time ever to pay for repairs done when the royal family's country house was damaged by a fire.  I bought that and a pretty little box that's on my vanity.  The friend with me on the tour made fun of me for "buying into the tourist traps" but I still love both pieces and I'm happy I bought them (so there Janice!).


I truly believe that clutter causes people stress and I avoid it as much as possible (that's actually critical in a small house like mine where it can quickly overwhelm you) but, to me, this is pretty clutter that brightens up my day.

That's all for today.  I am hosting family for the holiday so not sure if I'll post tomorrow, so just in case let me wish you a very Happy New Year.  I hope every single dream you have comes true in 2010.



Monday, December 28, 2009

A Peek Into My Vanity

I finally retrieved my camera from Mom and Dad's house and took a few snaps of my own vanity.  It is an antique piece my Gram and Gramps bought for me when I was a teenager. 

Apologies for the crappy photography.  Also, please note the spots and lines on the mirror are due to the advanced years (sounds so much better than really old huh?) of this piece and not due to my lack of housekeeping (which does occasionally happen).

The lamps I bought in an outlet years ago...can't remember the name and not even sure if they are still in business.  The crystal is part of my small Waterford collection (fairly certain that's a requirement of every girl of Irish decent).  The photo on the right is of my Dad when he made his first cute in his short white pants and knee socks :).   The other photo is my Gram with her parents, twin sister and other siblings at the lake when she was a kid.

Truthfully, this piece is just for show.  While I always do a front and rear check (Mom always warned me to NEVER leave the house without doing a rear view check) in the full length mirror of my vanity, I do my makeup in the bathroom and put my jewelry on at my bedside table that is closer to a functioning vanity right now.  I'll show you that next...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Stuff happens...

I did not post pictures of my vanity yesterday, today or until I return from my parents after Christmas as my Mom informs me that is why I can't find my camera.  I left at the rents house last weekend. 

I do have a cute little Kodak to sub with but if the pictures aren't worthy, I won't post them.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Vanity, Thy Name is Woman...

I have an antique vanity that my Gram and Gramps bought me when I was a teenager.  Initially I painted it antique white to match my French provincial bedroom furniture (did I just hear you gasp?  I know, I was stupid...didn't know any better).

Many years later, I had it professionally restored and it's been admired by many of my house guests since.  As I was dusting it the other day, I decided that taking a look at girlie vanities might be fun.  So, here goes...

Featured in Southern Accents, this is Mimi Williams mirrored vanity and this one pretty much screams old hollywood glam.  I love everything about it...especially the gorgeous chair with the rolled back.

Much simpler and streamlined but equally beautiful in its own right, this one belongs to Katie Lee Joel, food critic and chef (AND Miami of Ohio grad - maybe my brother knows her?) and arbiter of great taste.


This gorgeous number belongs to Pamela Skaist Levy, founder of Juicy Couture.

This is an odd sort of vanity, with many vintage photos of nude women.  Not entirely sure why a woman would want to fill her vanity with vintage nude photos of women, but...some things are best left unexplored.  It is certainly interesting though...

This is sweet, simple and super pretty...

Tomorrow, I'll show you my vanity.  Please send me yours too!

p.s. Tonight I got to spend some time with friends, brought together by my dear friend Kim visiting from out of town for Christmas, and it was awesome to see all of you. MERRY CHRISTMAS to all and here's hoping everyone's New Year is far superior to the last year :-).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Expired Design

On Tuesday, we took a look at the designs in the House Beautiful Details book (published 1996) that had beautifully stood the test of time. 

Today, some of the designs that didn't fare as well.  Apologies for the pictures but my scanner is acting up and I couldn't capture the entire image in some cases.

There are definitely elements of this room that would still be stylish today, but that sofa is seriously ugly and what you can't see (because of my crappy scanner) is the round wicker chair across from the sofa that kind of compounds the ugliness of this room.  I am willing to concede that I just don't like extremes much and the architecture of this room is extremely modern.

My scanner only captured a tiny portion of the room and it actually reads much brighter here than in the book.  Not visible are the very cluttered mantle with a mirror above that seems to reflect nothing but the dark ceiling.  There's also a large animal skin rug with the head attached (how do they avoid tripping over it?).

I do realize this is an old Victorian home and the decor makes sense for a Victorian, but they've just crammed so much stuff into this room.  I feel sorry for the person who has to dust it.

I wish the scanner hadn't cut out the table that is white and very contemporary - a nice contrast to the chairs and the fireplace.  What I don't like about this room and what I think dates it is the overwhelming wallpaper.

The white milk glass as art is very now and beautiful, but you can barely make it out with all the business in that wallpaper.  If you've read this blog before, you already know I'm a wallpaper hater but I can appreciate some papers.

So if I could make over this room, I might paint the walls black or deep blue and allow the fireplace, the milk glass and the table and chairs shine.

This photo also scanned much brighter than it is in the book, but even that doesn't help it.  This room wouldn't be horrible if they could just ditch the wallpaper.  I can't imagine having to look at that every day without wanting to hurt yourself.

Another corner of the same room.  I love that they put a giant pot of flowers completely obscuring the fireplace in front of the fireplace and a bunch of roses on the mantle because having wall to wall flowers and flowers all over the furniture just didn't feel like enough flowers.

That's it for today.  I'm taking today off to bake Christmas cookies for our family get together tomorrow.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Blissful Christmas at Designing Bliss

I'm taking part in The Nester's Christmas Tour of Homes 2009 this year (my first blogging year and my first time participating in one of Nester's events).

So here is my little (it really is quite small - befitting a small space) tree that I decorate entirely in gold, silver and white.  Actually, all of my Christmas decor is in these three colors.

Ummm...please disregard the clutter of unwrapped gifts you see all over the floor and stairs.  I've been busy trying to build a business and haven't quite gotten around to wrapping gifts.  I promise they'll be beautifully gift wrapped by this Saturday when we have our family party.



A few of my favorite ornaments up close.  All of these were collected over time, mostly during after Christmas sales and some are gifts from family and friends who know I take decorating my tree very seriously and want to help the cause.

As you can see, restraint is not my style when it comes to decorating my tree.  The more I can get on it, the happier it makes me.

This is the mantle in my living room...

In keeping with my commitment to decorate using mostly what I already own, the mosaic candle holder was a Christmas gift from many years ago, the cross was a new purchase from Tuesday Morning ( $7), the pearls were from my jewelry stash.

My angel in gold is kind of old...I've had her for many years, but she still looks beautiful and I'm not ready to replace her yet.

For about a week after I decorated the tree and mantle, the right side of the mantle sat empty white I tried to find something that tied the whole look together.  I finally decided to "shop the house" (duh!) and found this rusted iron candelabra in the basement.

I bought it years ago on clearance and once I got it home just couldn't find the right spot for it.  Still, it was so cheap I couldn't bring myself to return it knowing I would find a good home for it eventually.  The rusted brown color perfectly compliments the brown finish in the cross and the bronze of the candle holder on the other side of the mantle (if I'm allowed to say so myself ;)).


My side tables are too small to do much with so I just put a little tea light inside an ornament and my  cherub bust that I bought a few years ago.

Thanks so much for stopping by and a blessed and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How long does it take for great design to expire?

As I do about once a week, I stopped at the local American Cancer Society Discovery Shop  to see what new (old?) goodies are on display.  In today's search I found a decorating book called Details by House Beautiful (purchased for a whopping $3).

I paged through the book expecting it to be hopelessly out of date, but found many of the photos could have been taken today with just a little wallpaper here, updated upholstery fabric or lamp there.  Surprised, I flipped to the front of the book to see when it was published...1996.  That means most of these photos were taken, at the latest, in 1995 (I imagine many well before that since it takes a while to put a book together).

A decorating book with photos that are at least 14 years old, but most definitely not showing their age led to the question, exactly how long does it take for design to expire?  Sure things go in and out fashion in the home (suzani, zebra, sunburst mirrors, mercury glass, etc) just as they do in our closet.  But, when do they clearly expire and need to be donated, scrapped, passed down or just plain trashed? 

While you ponder that question, I thought I would share with you some of my favorites from the book.

Although this isn't something I would necessarily do in my house, I love the "sleek, minimal contemporary scheme" pictured here.  The antique chair is incredibly cool, but not so sure it would be comfy to lean back on.  No idea what the curved piece is on the left, but I LOVE it.

This is the sitting room of Boston framer and art collector, Roger Lussier and I can easily imagine this room appearing in a current issue of House Beautiful or Traditional Home. Below are two more pictures of this room that I snagged off Mrs. Blandings blog.


There is nothing I don't love about this little corner of a French salon where a bamboo ladder (with a few slabs of wood slipped through the slats to hold the books) keeps the otherwise formal room from looking stuffy.

Aside from loving the wall, trim and chair (shades of green :), I'm loving how the curves of the chair (beautiful BTW) are echoed in the photograph above it and the vase next to it.

I'm always attracted to rooms that perfectly mix the very traditional (the striped silk chair) and the contemporary (graphic black and white print).  When your home office is just a small section of a main room like this, you really have to be on guard not to let the normal office clutter take over.  This person went to great trouble to find containers that would be as beautiful and interesting as they are functional.

Later I'll share the ones that did not stand the test of time so well (you knew that was coming no? :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Does Decorating for Christmas Get Any Easier Than This?

With Christmas tablescapes still on my mind, here are more super easy (and inexpensive) to duplicate ideas for dressing your holiday table in style.  Enjoy!

Seriously, doesn't get any easier than this.


Okay now, go whip up a little number for your table then sit back and feel all smug about how talented you are and how much money you saved. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nothing Vanilla About White ... Dinnerware

This Sunday evening I'll be giving a presentation at Stein Mart featuring their white dinnerware.  I'll be showing several ways to dress a table over the holidays using their dinnerware and whatever else they have available for me to work with.

In addition to the ideas floating around in my head, I found these inspiring images to help get my creative juices going.

Using just greens, ribbon and fabric, this very nature inspired setting is the height of elegance and extremely easy to duplicate.


Technically this isn't pure white, but easily could be and would look just as elegant with just a silver charger for some shine.  I love this look for a formal New Years Eve dinner party.

Love this buffet style set up.  I'm thinking New Year's Day.  Hot soup, sandwiches, wine and mimosas by the fire.

Of course, it would also make a beautiful buffet for a more casual New Year's Eve party.

This would work perfectly for a buffet set up and you could just use pretty ribbon to tie the rolled napkin if you don't have/want the greens shown.

Although I decorate entirely in silver, gold and white for Christmas, my favorite color is pink so I heart this table setting.

The white poinsettias in the mint julep cups say Christmas, but the table setting with champagne glasses and the little boxed gift remind me of an engagement party, engagement party over the Christmas holiday :-)

 Hopefully I've convinced you of the endless versatility of white dinnerware.  I think I'll have to go to Stein Mart and pick up a set for myself.