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? :)