Friday, March 26, 2010

Seriously, this is spring?

It snowed in Cleveland yesterday.  That's right, a week ago spring officially arrived everywhere else, but here it snowed.  We went from sunshine and mid 60s to snow and low 30s in the span of a week.  Welcome to life in the Midwest.

My body is in desperate need of sun, warmth, the feel of thick grass under bare feet.  But, as anyone who has spent any time in this part of the country knows full well, you are not safe from snow, cold and frost until well into April...if then.

So all I can do is fantasize about what could be and hopefully, one day soon, will be...

Enjoy your weekend whatever the weather brings.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Perfect Place for a Settee...The Dining Room, Of Course

Ever since I first saw a photo of a beautiful curvy settee pulled up to a dining room table (years ago), I've lusted for that look in my own dining room. 

Something like this....

or this....

 or maybe this...

 or even this....

I would put it right there under the round black mirror.  What do you think?

Initially I thought Nate Burkus HSN Studio Sofa would fit the bill since it's the perfect size, comes in green velvet, has a great price and I love the look (not to mention the casters - love furniture on casters), but according to its description, it can only hold a maximum weight of 250 pounds.


 So you're having a cocktail party and you spot two of your much beloved, but horizontally challenged buds heading for your beautiful little studio sofa.  GASP!  What do you do?  Try to distract them until a skinnier friend plunks her tiny posterior down thereby saving your mini sofa from destruction?  Put a sign on your sofa spelling out this dubious weight restriction? Hide the sofa in the basement until the party is over?  None of these seem like acceptable options to me so I wrote off this one pretty quickly.

For now it shall remain just a nice little unfilled decorating dream.  I've got a lot of those ;-)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Very Stylish Small Space

I have a love of small spaces.  I honestly think most of us think we need more space, but in fact we really need less stuff.

Have you ever noticed that the bigger the purse you carry the more crap you put in it?  When you're all dressed up for the evening, you usually select a small beautiful purse to carry and somehow you manage to pare down to what you absolutely need in order to have the priveledge of carrying a small beautiful bag right?  So why don't we do that with our homes?

In any event, I have many examples in my style files of small spaces I find exquisitely beautiful and thought I would occasionally share one or two with you.

Often these small gorgeous spaces are in large cities where real estate is scarce and super expensive and people have learned to live with less.  This particular example is the 250 square foot apartment owned by California designer Grant Gibson located in historic Nob Hill in San Francisco (from the November 2005 issue of Better Homes and Gardens).

In the past I've always shied away from white walls, but you can see why they were the perfect choice for this space.  With all the colors from the dark woods, black accents, rich rug and gold and silver, white is the perfect backdrop to these well chosen possessions.

I love how he uses his collection of silver trophy cups for plant life.  In the article, Grant comments that "When you live in a studio apartment, you can't simply display all your beautiful things.  You decide which pieces really matter, whether for sentiment, function, or both."

I love how he painted the wood on that curvy chair.  I have a similar upholstered off white chair with blonde wood that I've wanted to stain or paint dark for ages and revisiting this photo convinced me that I need to make the jump.

This photo (below) just gives a hint at his kitchen but it looks so cool - wish they had shown more.  

Another great quote from Grant, "A huge focus in my design is to keep a timeless look, and part of that strategy, whether a space is big or small, is being selective.  My favorite quote is one of Thomas Jefferson's.  It says, "That which we surround ourselves with becomes the museum of our soul and the archives of our experiences.  Hold onto the things that have stories.  It's OK to mix styles and periods, because that mix allows for a beauty that can be appreciated for years to come."   Well said :-)

Make the most of your space and go purge something you don't need.  You may make some money from selling it or, at the very least, contribute to your tax deductions.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dreaming of a Better Guest Room

Now that I've more or less got the dining room and living room where I want them, I have my eye (well, technically both of my eyes) on my very boring guest room.  It's not horrible or anything, just sort of drab.  The bedding was custom made, but that was in 2001. 

I do know that the bed is extremely comfortable because every single person who has ever slept in that room tells me how comfortable it was and how well they slept.  I bought a very high quality mattress and added one of those toppers that's supposed to gauge your body temperature and adjust accordingly.  Not sure of the science, but it seems to work.  I also have several sets of high quality (always purchased on the cheap at TJ Maxx, Marshall's or Home Goods) super soft sheets for the guest room too.

Here it is in all it's hum drumness...

The furniture was actually purchased for my master bedroom in my second apartment.  My first apartment in Pittsburgh was so small there was only room for a daybed.  Eventually I moved on to higher quality furniture for my master bedroom and put the old stuff to use in the guest room.

That clutter under the little desk (that also serves as a bedside table) is a box of tissues and stacks of magazines for guests to read while waiting to drift off.  I try to put everything in the room that I want when I stay in someone's guest room.

And yes, that mirror is hung way too high.  I have never gotten around to repositioning it after deciding against some decorative items under it that would have made it a little less out of whack.

In addition to a matching bell jar lamp, the other bedside table has a water carafe, and two small candles.

The wicker basket next to the dresser is for a guests dirty clothes.  Yes, I am willing to do a load of laundry or two - just enough to make them want to come back, but not enough for them to overstay.

The photos at either end are of my two nieces and my niece and nephew because family stays in the room more than anyone so it makes them and me happy.

Here are some guest rooms that have been inspiring me lately...

This one from Apartment Therapy is so striking.  I can't think of any other word for it; I can't stop looking at it and keep discovering yet another thing I love in the room.

Even though this sunny yellow guest room from Better Homes and Gardens has coordinated bedding (something I'd like to get away from), I love the individual furniture pieces...the headboard...the chair...the desk.

This soothing blue-green guest room with black and white is so crisp and cool.  And best of all, guests have their own bathroom.  This is not a luxury my guests have - they have to share with me, but I always allow them to have the bathroom first.

I don't know the source of the guest room below, but love it.  I love the painted white floors, the uncovered window, the crisp white linens. 

And I've saved the best for last.  Below is the guest room in designer Joni Webb's beautiful home.  How does she get guests to leave?  I mean, you would have to pack my bags for me and pull me kicking and screaming out the door cause I would not leave this room of my own accord.
So I continue to gather ideas, but it will probably be a while before I decide on a look or pull together a budget to get my guest room where I want it to be.