Saturday, August 22, 2015

Me and Matthew Mead turn Hollywood!

Its been a whirlwind week!  Matthew Mead, legendary "Style Guy Guru", asked me to be in several videos for Wagner Spray Tech Company introducing their new Home Decor Sprayer.  OK, maybe not so Hollywood, but for this girl, its pretty close!  We will be in the LIGHTS CAMERA ACTION world!! He's been putting together their visual campaign for all their new sprayers and rollers.  And since we are buddies and I am a designer who loves to paint stuff, it was a natural fit.  So, up at 4:30 in the morning and on the road to New Hampshire to get to the shoot for the 7 am start.
 The first day of shooting would be in Matthew's 8000 square foot warehouse.  A 4 man video production team from TriGlass,  as well as the Wagner Marketing and Development Group had flown in from their Minnesota HQs to create a series of professional How-to videos for their website.  It was exciting stuff!! They would be shooting 6 videos, and I would be in 3.  It also happened to be one of those hot humid dog days of summer, and the warehouse was without air conditioning. Upon my arrival the video guys were setting up the lights and the cameras.  We would begin shooting momentarily.
The video team set up their shot and finally it was time to join Matthew "on set" to do the Introductory video for Wagner. How cool is this!?
I snapped a quick pic and then joined Matthew while the Wagner team sat on the upper level of the open warehouse floor. They would  watch and advise us after each take.  This was going to be fun!
 Since I was in front of the camera, these shots were provided by Matthew's assistant Tory.  These pics give a good depiction of behind the scenes making of the videos.  Matthew and I would shoot about 4 takes in a row without a script.  We had the idea of what information we were providing but it was all ad-libbed which made it exciting and nerve wracking.  Each take was a little different as you can imagine, and there is sure to be an entertaining blooper reel. The new HomeDecor Sprayer is sitting on the table and the old flea market chair is one we will be transforming live on video.
 After the introduction about the Home Decor Sprayer, it was time to spray.  Mind you, I had never used this sprayer before.  The Wagner team handed it to me filled with paint, and then it was time to point, shoot and spray.  After spraying an area of the chair, they would yell CUT and then we would get ready to spray the next part of the chair.  Sometimes they wanted to be in nice and tight for closeups and other times it would be from a distance so you could see all the action.  
 At this point, all that is left to shoot is the vinyl seat on the chair.  I was totally floored and amazed by how darn easy this sprayer was to use, and how awesome it was covering the chair!  If you have ever painted a chair, you know that they are the most tedious pieces of furniture to paint.  But with the sprayer it was done in about two minutes total spray time.  And check out the drop cloth for the lack of overspray.  It was tight and controlled with great coverage.  No paint clothes, no apron either...just a drop cloth underneath and we were good to go!  This sprayer is a game changer for indoor painting for those pieces you want to knock out quickly without a fuss. 
Look at how amazing the chair looks after the paint job!  Only three more to go, and you know that with the sprayer you don't get the feeling of dread when you have to paint another chair.  When we did custom painting at Maison Decor, we charged a minimum of $100 per chair because they are so difficult to paint without globbing and dripping.  Every time your brush meets a joint you have to pay attention to the excess of paint that naturally gathers in those spots.  With the sprayer this was a non issue. 
Two videos down, one more to go!  The day was heating up and we had to cool down by putting iced down cloths around our necks for relief. The team had a large bucket filled with ice water and all these cotton cloths soaking at the ready, which was a life saver.
 In between shots, Matthew and I would sit on the upper level waiting for the next video to get set up.  I was having a blast even if it was 90 degrees!  It was so fun being part of this creative project and working with Matthew.  After ten hours we finally wrapped up.  I would return the next day to do one more video all about spraying smalls with the Home Decor sprayer.  This would show the versatility of the sprayer. Smalls and furniture are all fair game with this sprayer.  
 As a designer, I had input on how to create a stylish room out of found objects.  Accessorizing in a monochromatic scheme using different shades of one color on a paint strip is an easy way to get great results.  This grouping shows off a mismatched collection, but after spraying with shades of one color you have a total WOW factor! 
 Can you imagine trying to paint this sunburst with a brush?  It's a one minute spray job with the sprayer.  Embellished with a bit of gold and its a scene stealer for sure.  On day two we did a video all about spraying the smaller things.  This time we filmed in Matthew's studio.  At one point I found myself cracking up because we had to do so many takes on one section.  Each time Matthew would start off by saying "SO AMY! " in a very excited voice.  It just got funnier and funnier every time we shot it until I finally had to stop to compose myself.  You know that laughing that turns to crying thing that happens sometimes when you least expect it? A case of the sillies?  OMG it was happening in front of the crew.  How unprofessional.  Hahahah .  Oh well....I got it under control and we finally got it done.  Like I said, I would love to see these bloopers. 
This shot is the only one I have showing what the Wagner Home Decor Sprayer looks like.  It will be in stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby next year, but at the end of September they are going to sell on the Wagner website with a limited amount to see how the public receives it. They are going to be in for a surprise because most people I know that paint, will find this the ideal sprayer and its going to sell out in a flash.  How about this?  I will be doing a giveaway on my blog for my readers, so stay tuned for that! I might even giveaway two if they let me!!
This was a week I will never forget.  Doing something like this, as part of a professional creative team was new and exciting!  Matthew is a dream to work with, his creative abilities continue to shock and surprise me. We will be collaborating on more things, like a book (yup) and more videos, and maybe even some television!! We will be hosting an event in November too,  how to shop flea markets and antique shops to find those special vintage items at great prices. You will spend the day with us  "Hitting the Holiday Antique Trail" to pick up gifts and special finds, on a guided tour to our favorite haunts.  Sound good?  So lots ahead for us as we team up with Wagner as well as each other creating Lifestyle Events and publications that are all geared to finding beauty and bringing it home.  
PS~I was lucky enough to take one of the Home Decor sprayers home with me after last day of shooting.  I have some stuff that I plan to paint (starting with my new French Doors for the dining room that will be arriving soon).  This sprayer really rocks! Oh did I already say that? 
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dining Room Centerpiece and a Magical Book

We have been really getting our house straightened out since I have been home.  Our dining room used to have tons of mail and bills on it as we never had time. Time to sort, time to file, time to organize...but now with setting up TWO home offices (one for hubs and one for me) its all working beautifully.  That means my dining room looks pretty most of the time, and that makes me pretty happy.  Our french doors for the back of the house (behind the camera angle) are on order and I imagine they will be in place within a few weeks. Super excited for that day!  In the meantime we do use our table for dining, instead of bill paying...which has been lovely.  In the center I continue to use the big metal and rope tray I got at HomeGoods as a service station of silverware and napkins.  It makes setting a table a breeze.  
 The kitchen is the next room over.  We have a coffee bar station set up along the hallway wall and that may have been one of the best things we created.  When you have small spaces, making them function is a challenge.  We were always bumping into one another in the morning, trying to get our coffee, but no longer.  I highly recommend figuring out where you can put a coffee station if you have the same issues with a small kitchen.  There is only so much space!! 
Speaking of space, I will need to move this bonnet top secretary to another location once the French doors get installed. 
 Although I have gotten fond of my silverware and napkin caddy as a centerpiece, I did pick up this enormous zinc dough trough from England at one of my favorite antique shops in New Hampshire.  I am dying to use it, and although I imagined it being repurposed into a garden sink, I wanted to try it as a centerpiece.  Filled with mums or ornamental cabbage would be amazing, don't you think?  I might try and pop two Boston ferns in it to add some life to the room until its really fall.  I don't like to jump the guns on the seasons....I will not forget that brutal never ending winter. 
Its been wonderful to enjoy meals in the dining room without having to clear off mail and papers to make space.  And speaking of making space and getting things straightened out I happened upon a fantastic and affordable book that is a NY Times bestseller.  Its a Japanese method of getting rid of clutter and getting organized.  Its called "the life changing magic of tidying up".  I read half of it yesterday and promptly went upstairs to my closets and was able to magically tidy them, resulting in five large black trash bags of "discards".  It was pretty easy when you apply the Japanese way of thinking to your "tidying" method.  Its more about what you want to KEEP than what you want to GET RID OF.   I am hopeful I will get my entire house magically tidied!! It felt amazing to just get to my closets.  
 Here is the little book that will do big things for you, if you let it.  I have been buying a lot of books and here is the rest of what I am reading this summer.
This is a tribute book to Charles Faudree, the legendary designer whose middle name is Country French. It was written by his favorite photographer who compiled this beauty of a book.  He recently passed away and the book is filled with his best designs and I found it totally gorgeous and inspiring! 
 Speaking of French, this is a new one written by Sharon Santoni.  I follow her on instagram and saw that she had written this interesting book about her stylish French girlfriends.  Its a closeup look into the lives of a bunch of French ladies, and its more about real life and a day in a life of....kind of like stepping into their shoes.  I found it a great read, as I want to see the real side of France, not a postcard.  Their homes were both in the country and the city and I found many decorating ideas just by seeing how they really live.  So if you love French decor, this one is for you too.
 For my gardening side, I couldn't resist Charlotte Moss' new tome Garden Inspirations. It is a lush publication filled with gorgeous gardens, both hers and other gardens, many historical and well known, like Versailles.  This is a filthy rich book! Great for a gift for any garden lover, or as a present to yourself.  
The latest updates around this house besides tidying up, and a french door installation coming, is that Mr. Maison Decor and I have decided to do the WHOLE 30 plan.  We were inspired by my son Justin who did this a year or so ago.  He looks amazing and feels great. We started yesterday and have 29 more days to follow. Its a regiment of getting back to the whole goodness of real food and cutting everything else out. That means no sugar, dairy, beans, wheat, alcohol etc.  But it does mean fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, chicken, fish and eggs.  Its a bit of a lifestyle change, and we are up to the challenge. I am hoping to drop weight, and hubs is hoping to get rid of his inflammation in his joints. He wouldn't mind dropping a few pounds too.  If you want to learn more, try googling WHOLE30.  
And if you want a knock your socks off delicious as it is easy HOME MADE WHOLE 30 MAYO recipe that is compliant, try this one. I did and it was simple and amazing! We use the blender stick from Kitchen Aid, which is the one I picked up from Costco before we began Whole30. We have been using it for everything since we started our diet (yesterday)!! Hubs whips us omelets with chopped veggies in a flash. Today I made the mayo. Buy this one tool, you will be glad you did. Then make home made dressings and mayonnaise that are so superior to store bought...oh, but I digress.
Lastly, I'm super excited to be heading up to Matthew Meads studio to make video for Wagner Spray Tech company.  I went up last week to practice being "live".  Its going to be interesting! We are going to be showing how to use a brand new small sprayer to be used for Home Decor!!! Its like the size of a dustbuster, and its going to be life changing (for peeps like me).
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Note: This post is partially sponsored by HomeGoods as part of my participation in their Pinterest Designer Board, Happy by Design.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Perfect Linens for our Master Bedroom

 Perfect Linens. 
 It's really what makes or breaks a bedroom for the most part.  A beautiful bed is so inviting, and its also wonderful to climb into at the end of a long day, slipping in between those nice cool sheets!  So when I got the offer to review some sheets by the Perfect Linens company I was more than happy to take them for a test drive.  It's been awhile since I photographed my master bedroom, so this was also the perfect opportunity to show it again.  Its airy and romantic and it has that European vibe I love. 
 Like much of the rest of my home, my bedroom is done in soft colors. I tend to favor blues and greens as many of you know.  So I selected a sheet set called Second Skin, that had a pretty embroidered edge in green, called Fern.  It has the traditional touch that I love and it mixed in beautifully with the soft colors of the bedroom.  The Second Skin sheets are soft and supple, cool to the skin, yet light and cozy too.  They feel amazing! 
 And did you know, Perfect Linens is a company that sells only sheets.  No other home decor stuff or linens, just SHEETS! They are laser focused about selling the most comfortable and best quality sheets that last and don't end up becoming pilly, scratchy or stiff etc.  Because we all know that sheets can be a major disappointment.  I know that Justin and Madison (my son and daughter in law) received new bedding for their wedding, and after only two laundry cycles, the sheets were all pilly. YUCK.  That's not very romantic, and those sheets went right in the trash.  Perfect Linens has curated only the best of the best in sheets, so this will never happen when you get their Perfect Sheets! 
 My point is, we don't get to test out sheets, we buy them and then are stuck with them, hoping for the best.  It might have looked fabulous with that fancy "Hotel Sheets" label, or the "Egyptian Cotton" label or the high thread count, but it turned out to be a bummer.   Perfect Linens does all the testing and washes every sheet set ten times!  They advise on how to launder their special sheets so you have the perfect sleep experience each time they go back on the bed. The best part is that you take them out slightly damp and dress the bed, simply smooth it with your hands and it eliminates any wrinkles.
The other great thing about this sheet set, is that at this point in my life, I find I wake up feeling hot and have to pull back the sheets...well these sheets feel cool on my skin but I'm still cozy.   
I love my new sheets from PerfectLinens.  They are as elegant as they are soft and silky to the touch,
100% Egyptian cotton with a 400 thread count, made in Portugal (the place where amazing linens are produced) and they have been tested by the company to stand up over time.  
If you are interested in getting your own sheets, I am happy to offer all of my readers a $35 discount code for any sheet purchases at Perfect Linens. 
Simply Enter MaisonDecor35 in the coupon code promo when you purchase. 
Click HERE to visit PerfectLinens for your perfect night sleep! 
 Sweet Dreams! 

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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Organize it Gorgeous! My New Home Office is Rustic Gold Glam

 Setting up this room to be my new base of operations is taking a bit longer
than I thought.  I do realize I have come full circle, as this room was my home office
before I opened my first store three or four years ago.  Now that I am back home
I need a place that functions well for the kinds of things that I do, which include
projects that involve painting, sewing, stapling, writing.....
Mr. Maison Decor told me had this old table that I might like to use.  
He has had it for years and it was in his mothers basement.  
I am sure she was thrilled (!) when I decided to drag it out of there,
power wash the grime off of it and stick it up in my new office/studio.  
It was pretty much what I was looking for, a bit of industrial workshop type table. 
 Nothing I needed to worry about ruining as I will be tossing drop cloths over it 
and painting things, in addition to other things of that nature. 
 But it mostly functions as my desk and so the desktop has paper clips, pencils, paper etc.
  I found beautiful accessories at HomeGoods that add style and function. 
 One of my favorite things were these giant gold paper clips. 
 I have been using them as bookmarkers to hold pages of interest while
 I have been reinventing this space.  I also clip all the outgoing mail together 
and throw it in my bag on the way to the post office.  No loose letters with
 one of those clips. HomeGoods had black and gold journals and interesting 
gold accent pieces that I decided to use in my office as well.
A large china cabinet now houses all of my supplies,
 many in fabric lined wire baskets.  Mixing and matching the various baskets, 
they all look pretty smart inside the cabinet.
A reticulated gold metal container on a wooden base holds my hammers 
and paint stirrer sticks.  Well it is the kind of thing I reach for a lot!
  But you could put rulers and scissors and pencils in yours.
 An old iron urn holds my paint brushes and it looks pretty as a decorative accessory. 
 Any time you can create a pretty moment for a functional purpose, DO IT! 
 It kills two birds with one stone.  Your paint brushes don't have to be in the basement.  
 This centerpiece accessory is the main desk caddy. 
 A simple topiary takes the center spot for a bit of fluff, 
but the side pockets hold envelopes, checkbooks 
and one of the cute HomeGoods journals.
This space is still getting worked on, and while I search for the office chair I want,
this old rush seat chair gets the glamorous look with a Sheepskin through and a crewel pillow.
Making do for now, these let me take my time to find just the right chair.
A room size seagrass rug is on its way too!  
That will make a world of difference in the finished look.  
Mixing it up a bit with some industrial bits and my signature french look
all makes me very happy....and with the HomeGoods accessories mixed in with
my vintage stuff, you could say I am very HomeGoods happy!

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Note: This post is sponsored by HomeGoods as part of my participation in their Pinterest Designer board, Happy by Design. Please stop by and get lots more organizing tips as well as everything else you could imagine! 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fabulous Find: Vintage Green Bench

The past two weeks have been a bit of a summer blur. I am enjoying my summer this year like I can't remember when!  Leaving the confines of retail has been so rewarding.  So much is going on with regular life and other creative pursuits for me. A few weeks ago we visited my parents on Martha'sVineyard for almost a week, and have had a few day trips here and there. That with finishing the numbers for our taxes to drop off to our tax guy have left little time for updating the blog.  Lots of fun and lots of work with a clear plan on getting our house a bit more organized has me energized for the month of August!  So with the revitalization of our family summer down time, I am ready!
Yesterday my sister Ellen said to me, "you haven't blogged in a long time you know".....
so here we are.  I am blogging about this great wooden bench that must have lived its previous life in someones workshop or summer cottage.  At one point it got a fresh coat of green paint, without benefit of primer, which led to this lovely peeled off finish. I will put a coat of Annie Sloan wax on it to preserve the finish and to give it a soft luster.  You may recall that I recently bought a long bench from HomeGoods and put it in front of the sofa instead of our coffee table and it functioned so well!
The narrow size and wooden top held lots of books and magazines along with a coffee cup or glass of wine, leaving plenty of space to maneuver around the narrow room.  Last weekend I visited the old mill in Norwood, MA  that is now an antique cooperative, called Winsmith Mill. What a fabulous place!  I bought more than a few things, my favorite was this old wooden bench.  The green color was right up my color palette, sending the HomeGoods bench back to the front hallway where I first placed it.  Benches are just so versatile in home decorating.  
I am just head over heels about this finish. 
And a shout out to my Dad, a budding stylist....he placed these two 
HomeGoods pillows side by side on the center of the sofa~they looked
so great!  I tend to arrange my sofa pillows from end corners to the middle.
Loving these pillow colors with the bench too, very summery.
Blues and greens against the white and gray is very refreshing.
 I also found another old blue bottle for my collection at the Winsmith Mill,
along with an alabaster lamp, old wicker baskets and small vintage alarm clocks.
 The bench came from the Vintage Peacock, a place that has 29 vendors just
 in that one area.  I never made it to the rest of the Mill, but I plan to return soon.
Here are the remains of last night's impromptu dinner party as my dad had come off the island for his annual physical.  Since he was in town for the night I invited Justin and bride Madison over and they brought along little sister Taylor and of course Sylvia, (my most favorite little schnoodle in the world)~two delightful extras! Taylor is looking and feeling great as she waits for her heart. I know many of my readers are following her story, and when there is an update I will let you know.  For now its living life and being in the moment, always a good place to be, don't you agree?
 My growing collection of old silver baby cups were filled with snippets of the flowering mint from our garden and placed in front of each place setting.  What a great time we all had around the dinner table.  We took a group selfie with Colin's fancy iPhone with remote setting.  We were being a bit goofy, but it made for natural smiles.  And right behind me is the window that will be gone soon, as the French Door is in the works!! 
Our fun and funny family selfie at the end of the evening.
On the menu were gigantic steaks that I cooked on the grill, roasted red potatoes 
with vidalia onions and garlic, steamed broccoli, a garden fresh salad with my own tomatoes, and grilled fresh pineapple slices, which I had never done and were outstanding!  
Organic lemonade, red and white wine and a few growlers rounded out the 
drinks for this hot summer fete. 
Tonight I have sister Ellen and Mike coming for dinner to discuss the nuts and bolts 
of installing the French Door. Mike is a contractor and is going to put it in
 with Mr. Maison Decor and Colin.
Let the table setting begin again! 
Tonight it will be pork tenderloin....have to think about the sides.
And last but not least in the goings on around here is this resurrected home office space. 
 It will be a studio/workshop where I can have all my supplies in one space.  
The Marie Antoinette Linen Press will be coming up here (its still outside under a tarp in the yard), along with a big metal table and a room size seagrass rug.  Sometimes it seems all we do is move furniture around here. We wonder what the neighbors say as they see us pulling more furniture out of hubby's truck.  Colin and I lifted that monster china cabinet up the stairs and down the hall and put it in my new space.  I was shocked I still had the strength to do such heavy lifting, which just goes to show that its mind over matter when you want to get something accomplished.  The big black dresser is leaving, as is a pair of matching night stands.   
For sale: Thomasville dresser and nightstands. 
The first hundred bucks takes it.  (Pick up only of course!)
Any local takers? if so, shoot me an email at
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Note: This post is sponsored in part by HomeGoods as part of my participation in their Pinterest Designer Board, Happy by Design.  Stop by and like some of my posts! I would love to see you there!
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