Monday, September 26, 2016

Kitchen and Bath Updates and a Black and White Fixation

This summer we did some upgrading of our countertops in 
both the kitchen and the master bath.
I realize I never blogged about them.   Why?
 I guess I never thought the kitchen or the bathroom
looked neat enough to take a bunch of photos.  
But since Fifi was coming out for the photo shoot 
I did take a photo of the kitchen right before she arrived.  
The lights were on, as it was a dark and dreary day and so the pic looks yellowish. 
When a few images sneaked onto the blog a few weeks ago,
a sharp eyed reader and pal demanded to know all about them!! So Nita, here you go!
With the new counters we got a new sink!  
Out went the old washboard porcelain vintage sink.  Which I did love.  
Green canisters from an Etsy source and an old tole chandelier 
and then some green toile curtains I made are the other new additions to the kitchen.
One version of my old kitchen (for about a year), 
was this one with the bright green paint on the  beadboard back splash.  
I did get tired of it, and then repainted it white...but it does look pretty here.
Anyway, I love my new counters with the undermount sink
 as it gives me more countertop space to the left and the right of the sink, 
which I really needed.
 Overall the "new" kitchen is still very cottage and cute.
Another new (minor) change was I decided to paint the 
laundry room/ bathroom cabinetry black.  
After I painted my new French Doors black, I thought they looked incredible...
and so I got the idea to do these cabinets. 
I love the look, and even though we didn't change anything else, 
the room feels very different. In a good way! 
 Black is becoming a slight obsession with me, 
and I realized this after doing several projects using black, or black and white. 
 Always a classic, black just has a classy look about it.
This was where the black fixation thing started...
with the exterior paint on the french doors.
WOW! They looked so fantastic!
So then I painted the little french door for the shed black...
And that looked really then I made a new umbrella cover 
in black and white copying the pattern from the old covering. 
 Its all so chic, in black and white.  
And then the black and white buffalo check curtains (Country Curtains)
in the TV room with the black and white rug (from Overstock)
But I digress...
The other countertop upgrade was in our master bathroom.  
This was a major improvement!
Going from formica to stone is just a huge change!!
We both love the difference it made in how light and airy and rich the bathroom feels.
The countertop is quartz and its in white with grey and bits of aqua and celery green. 
 Really very pretty stone, and so the cabinetry was painted in a pale aqua blue 
to enhance the coloring in the stone.
So that led to me adding a few french crystals in aqua to the gold chandeliers,
 as well as painting the closets in the same shade as the vanity.  
The walls are Simply White and its all very bright and happy in this space.  
This was the former space. Theatrical French Lady Style.
All done in pink and cocoa with gilded accents.  
Pretty, but I think we were all ready for a change.  
(Note the old formica countertops that were a dark grey color.)
When Fifi styled it for the magazine, she put back the pink hooked rugs. 
 It looked really pretty that way too, because my towels have pink in them.
Fifi wanted to know why I didn't paint the door aqua too?
Hmmm, I just thought this time, it should be white. 
But maybe she is right.
I think she probably is right. 
(Speaking of the Fifi Photo Shoot, she sent me a few images I can share...
so here is this one from the bathroom of course!)
Anyway, those are the new changes that missed being called out in the blog, 
so here they are!  Its been a fun and busy summer and maybe the courtyard
and our new fence overshadowed some of these other home improvements. 

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Friday, September 23, 2016

A Fall French Country Home Tour with Soft Surroundings

September has ushered in the cooler fall weather, and I couldn't be more excited to be partnering with Soft Surroundings to create a new look for this room for our French Country House Tour.
 I am working with a group of super French Country Bloggers headed by Janet Coon of Shabby Fufu blog.  See the fabulous furnishings and accessories from Soft Surroundings and how we all have incorporated them into our own homes. The icing on the cake is that Romantic Homes Magazine is going to cover our French Country Fall Home Tour to spread the inspiration around!  
So many ways to style a room for fall, and sometimes a new piece of furniture  
or a great accessory is a fabulous way to get you inspired.
Pale shades of blue are my go to colors, and sometimes Fall decorating can be a challenge.
My fall palette is typically less of the oranges and more of the beige and tans.
Even then, I am a less is more girl, when it comes to fall decor, so I choose carefully.
I actually started decorating with only traditional fall colors....
but then I opted to add something softer.
(Thats why at some points you will see my big pink floral bouquet and other times it will be missing.)

How about these blue Cinderella pumpkins?  I think they were made
for  me, 'cause I rarely do orange! I snapped up a bunch at the farm stand
and knew they would work perfectly with my fall decor plan.
For starters, I used one of the French Norman Grain Sacks from 
Soft Surroundings as a rustic runner and focal point of the large trunk/coffee table.  
This is a vintage grain sack with a newly applied graphic in a romantic french style
 and I just love it!  Its a rustic tan color and has a dark aqua stripe down the middle.
Add some blue pumpkins (of course!)  to create an easy fall centerpiece.  
A plaid throw in grey and tan tossed over the back of the sofa is 
also an easy decorator trick to bring in the fall season.
Don't forget to play around with throws and pillows, 
you will be amazed at the different looks you get.
There are also a lot of things you can do with a grain sack for that casual 
French Country look, but used as a runner its super easy and stylish.
Pillows made from these pretty old grain sacks are another option of course. 
 A great fall accessory, don't overlook the grain sack!
Similar French Empire Crystal Chandelier
Now, to my favorite piece from Soft Surroundings....
the Fontaine Wingback Chair in French Grey !! 
Soft Surroundings is a clothing and furniture company both online 
as well in brick and mortar stores.  Their furniture is lovely and has a
French sensiblity to it, which I adore. 
This handsome chair has added that perfect balance
 of masculinity to my room that has feminine touches.
French style can be fussy, and this chair mixes it up nicely.  
The Fontaine has that deconstructed look that is rustic and appealing.  
The chair is in a dark grey linen with tan burlap that is placed on the outside 
of the seating area for a two tone look, with deep button tufting. 
 It's already my husband's favorite place to have his morning coffee.
It's such a gorgeous chair! 
Shop similar items: Blue Chandelier
Last, but not least, the Riviera Nesting Tables were added to complete 
the new look of the room.  I adore these tables in the distressed blue finish.
The blue has some green in it, which is my favorite kind of blue.  
My walls are painted in pretty Ben Moore Woodlawn Blue,
so you can reference that color if you are considering this versatile set. 
Many of you may know I used to paint furniture professionally,
 and these tables are done very nicely.  
Even my son thought they were antiques!  
They are made from solid poplar wood, not a composite.
Well built and sturdy, I couldn't be happier with them.  
At the last minute I added these flowers....
And then I had to take photos of the whole room again.
So pretty! 
Yummy pink and blue with grey and tan:
~the Maison Decor Fall Palette~
Maybe not the typical Fall decor for most, but its fun to make 
it my own. That is what personal style is all about!
Either way, I love decorating and its been fun to play with my
new furnishings and accessories from Soft Surroundings.
Cozy up for fall and pull your chairs around the fireplace.
Set out some pumpkins and add some leaf garlands around your mantle 
or mirrors.  Use your favorite colors that go with your palette and
you will create a fall feeling in no time that is your style.
Our living room still has the romantic look I love, but the new additions
have given it a rustic flair, perfect for fall and the cooler months ahead.
Although I received compensation for this post, all opinions are my own.
I really couldn't wait to work with this company!
Now I'm headed to visit my blogger friends homes to see how they changed it 
up for fall with Soft Surroundings, and get inspired to decorate for Fall.
Even I haven't seen them yet!!
There are two groups showing off their amazing homes (along with mine)
 on Thursday and Friday. See below.
Click on the links to visit each blogger and prepared to be WOWED!!

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Shabbyfufu | Maison de Pax | Dixie Delights | Cedar Hill Farmhouse | Confessions of a Plate Addict Savvy Southern Style Housepitality Designs


Edith and Evelyn Vintage Maison Decor Designthusiasm
So Much Better With Age Eleven Gables Slightly Coastal

Please note there are links to purchase similar items under some of my photos.
I am a member of the Amazon LLC Associates Program, designed to allow
bloggers to earn fees from linking to
I earn a small commission off of each sale, and that helps to support my blog.
This commission does not effect the pricing on your item!  
Know that if you purchase through my links and other bloggers links, 
you help support our blogs. Thank you!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Day One: French Country Fall Tour with Soft Surroundings

Hello and Welcome to the First Day of The French Country Fall Tour 
with Soft Surroundings and Romantic Homes Magazine.
I will be back to share my home tomorrow with a group of amazing decorator bloggers.
Today you can visit the bloggers listed below on Thursday's links
and tomorrow the links for Friday's group will be active.
So if you click on my link, it won't work until Friday, got it?
I know you will not want to miss this...
These are some of the most incredible decorators on this tour~
and with the beautiful additions from Soft Surroundings, 
you will find inspiration galore!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

French Fall Decorating Tour....

Just a special notice to let you know that I will be joining twelve
other French Country bloggers in a French Fall Home Tour.
We are partnering with the amazing Soft Surroundings company
 and Romantic Homes Magazine! 
Thursday and Friday,  there will be homes showing off the 
best of the best in French Country for fall.  
Don't miss it!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

My Photo Shoot with Fifi O'Neill and Mark Lohman

 I had the pleasure and the honor of being selected to have my house featured in 
Fifi O'Neill's Romantic Country magazine.  For months it's been in the making, and 
the last few days were killer, getting everything looking polished and shiny.
Living with a pesky puppy in particular means white slipcovers need to be washed
and I didn't dare put them back on until the morning of the shoot.  As soon as I 
did, Colby came over and wiped his breakfasty mouth on one of the cushions.
Grrrrrr!!! I decided to have him spend the day with my son Brandon to get him out
of the house and away from what was about to take place.  While I waited for 
Fifi to arrive with photographer Mark Lohman and his assistant, son Taylor, I took a 
few shots of my "before" status.  I was very interested to see what Fifi would do to
style the rooms in the house.  As soon as they arrived, I gave them a tour of the 
house and they rooms they wanted to shoot.  They spoke their own language it seemed
as they made decisions rapidly about what angles would be shot, and what things 
needed to get changed up for a good looking photo.  They have shot over 50 homes 
together and they work efficiently and playfully to capture the best these private homes
have to offer.  So for me it was a pleasure to observe and sometimes chime in on 
the different stages of how the photos were coming together.
Although we started in the bedroom, these iPhone pics show them in action.
Little adjustments are made between each shot, and then accessed in the monitor.
Notice how dark the room is...after having sunshine for the last three months, it decided
to be the darkest day ever the morning of my shoot.  But I was told not to worry.
And boy was that the truth, as I soon would find out.
 They set the monitor on the piano top and focused for this shot, only the sofa
and coffee table.  Fifi set up a cup of tea (actually diet coke with water) and some 
other items she rummaged from my kitchen.  She asked if I had a few cookies...errrr...
no I did not. But luckily I had my mother in law (who lives next doors) to rely on.
I proudly told Fifi and Mark that she was a Swedish gal who loved baking cookies and I 
would run and get a few for this shot.  But when I went over to get them, she looked 
flummoxed and said all she had were some Keebler elves cookies in the freezer.  
Hahah!! OMG, the cookies were little elves....with writing on them. Not so Romantic.
Then Fifi asked me if I had any mint, and when I gave her some sprigs from the garden,
she arranged the cookies on the plate with the mint and it all looked quite nice.
This was the resulting shot.  Most beautiful!  
She added big fluffy pink hydrangeas to my Costco bunch of roses
 and the floral arrangement went from standard to luxurious.
Fifi plucked elements of my pink lusterware collection for the "tea" service.
A snap of the camera would result in micro adjustments of a pillow or a throw,
and those little adjustments often made the difference between average and glorious.
The shoot actually started on the top floor of the house with my bedroom and bath.
The equipment was all brought up by Taylor and set up to include lighting
and the camera and the monitor.  Here Fifi checks the shots from the bedroom.
After checking, she would go make adjustments. When it came to my bedding,
she opted to switch out some of the pillow cases and added toss pillows and a pink
chenille bedspread to give it a more layered Romantic look. Colby hates that pink spread
and when I did have it on the end of the bed once, he made sure to get it off in short order.
After the main shot of the room was taken, Mark zeroed in on some detail shots.
The small swedish chair came out of the bathroom, as did my pashmina.
It ended up being a very pretty shot, and I loved it.
Seriously, how good is this?!
The master bath was the second room to shoot, and they worked on an area
that centered on the sink.  White rugs were replaced with a vintage hooked rug
I had and Fifi set up my vanity bench in the center.  It looked pretty before
they even snapped a shot!  She switched things around and used some of my costume
jewelry and my big bottle of Chanel No 5 to make the shot more glamorous.
Other rooms were the kitchen, my tiny dark kitchen.
But they made it look bright and beautiful.
And the dining room, which centered on my transferware collection and the Swedish bench I got
from Matthew Mead and then they did an overall shot showing the whole room.  So pretty!
After six hours, my day of watching styling and shooting had come to an end.  
Things were returned to their rightful spot and we said our goodbyes.  
It was such a fun experience for me, as I covet home decor magazines, 
and have examined lovely rooms over the years in their pages. 
 To have my house come out in Romantic Country will be such a thrill!
Due to be out in December, it will officially be the spring issue. 
 Other homes around New England will also be featured.  
If you have instagram check us out!
Fificoconut and Amymaisondecor are our account names.
Since we both hate having our pics taken we decided to just
look at each other, hahah!
At the end of the day, the wires were all corralled and the dog was let back
into the house.  Life begins again, regular style.
But I will always love the idea of how it could be... with a small village to help!

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