Monday, July 6, 2015

Style Alert! Vintage Luxe Mod Rocks this Shingle Style Cape

 If you love great style in home decor, you are in for a treat! 
 I had the pleasure of seeing my friend Sandra's home in person
on my way to Martha's Vineyard last week.  Her home was also featured
 in DECORATING magazine by Matthew Mead.  So while I had seen it in print,
 it was even more terrific to get to walk into the pages of her amazing home.  
Sandra lives on Cape Cod with her husband, two kids and one fabulous dog, Scout.  
They bought an old cottage and basically did a rebuild, but saved as many
relevant items from the cottage, placing them thoughtfully throughout the house.
You would never know this is a new home as it has an authentic feel that
 would fool most anyone, all because of the deft hand and choices made 
by this dynamic designer.  Starting with the entryway, the white oak floors 
with a lime wash are so beachy and inviting. An old carved newel post Sandra
 found at a junk shop on the Cape found its true calling
when placed in the airy entrance of their beach house. 
 Lovely Scout met me at the door, and followed us around as Sandra
 gave me the tour.  This area is in the entrance to the right of the door, 
with a big basket holding rubber walking boots
that would come in handy at the end of the afternoon.  I was captivated by the
 room Scout was in, as I had seen Sandra's double dutch doors that were 
custom made by her brother.  A stone fireplace was made out of the rocks 
found on the property during the dismantling, and incredibly it also doubles 
as a pizza oven, as her husband loves making home made pizzas for the 
family and entertaining.  Yum! Sandra designed all the doorways and the windows
 which were a significant reason why the home had so much character.  
Keep your eyes open for them as we tour the home.
 The kitchen had modern cabinets that played second fiddle to the massive cement table with industrial chairs.  I loved everything about this room.  Was I becoming a convert to the vintage modern mix?  I noticed most of Sandra's light fixtures were old pieces, or parts of old pieces that she cobbled together in her unique and talented way, creating notable moments in every room.
 A long and lean old crystal light fixture hung low over the wicker seating area in front of the pizza oven.  One heart shaped stone that the family found at the beach is now permanently featured in their hand made stone fireplace. 
 Off the kitchen is a long room that holds both the dining area and the "formal" living room.
Here the dining area is a modern arrangement that is balanced out by the vintage chandelier and accessories. 
 Splitting the room in half to house the living room, all the upholstered pieces have a mod
vibe while the accessories are decidedly vintage. The beautiful window design was created by Sandra and then custom made for their home.  Really the best of both worlds, by combining muntins and open spaces. The coziness that muntins offer a home and the open glass spaces to take in the beach views unencumbered. 
 Most of the wood finishes in the house are a limewash or whitewash feel~worn and loved.  I happily followed Sandra around the house, trying to snap pics and take in what she was telling me.  I could have spent many more hours, as I was falling in love with her house, and the choices she had made to create such a compelling and beautiful story.  We went on to other rooms that although were secondary rooms, were still outfitted in the thoughtful and artful style that is all Sandra. 
 Her butler's pantry was saved from the old original cottage, and the cabinets 
were installed in a space right off the new kitchen.  Here she has showcased 
her collection of old silver pieces in a nod to their spot on Old Silver Beach.  
 Piles of old silver pieces mixed with cookbooks, and some blue and white 
transferware on the shelves in this charming pantry.  Sandra frames silver utensils 
on linen backdrops and lovely silver leaf frames.  
 A powder room wall has a collection of black and white photographs and mementos.  
 Sandra frames a lot of things that become beautiful pieces of artwork.
 She mixes them up with fragments or odd and unusual pieces that really make
 for a soulful home.  She doesn't use color, but favors all the natural tones
 from black to white and everything in between.  Lots of textures keep it interesting: 
rag rugs, wire and willow baskets, washed and worn woods all create lovely harmony.
A sunny sleeping room on the first floor houses two iron beds dressed 
with vintage linens and blankets.  Burlap and linen shades soften each window
 and one of Sandra's hand crafted chandeliers dances above the beds. 
She also makes enormous and artful wall clocks, like this one in their home office.
Witty wall art at its best.  
 After the house tour, Sandra's hubby made us a cappuccino to go along
 with a slice of delicious berry tart. I could get used to this....
 A quick tour of the grounds was next! 
 Sandra pulled on a pair of pink Hunter boots and tossed me a cream pair in the perfect size.  
How serendipitous. It was a misty day on the Cape, but I was excited to see the outside.
  Look at the facade~it looks like an original structure, doesn't it? 
 Here you can see  the lovely windows that Sandra designed. 
Just as she had done inside her home, Sandra had placed interesting and beautiful pieces
 strategically around her grounds.  I loved this twig bench. 
 Every piece she used outdoors had patina and style.
 And with that my exciting side trip came to an end, although I hope to be back... 
maybe next time it will be with an overnight bag for a girls weekend! 
How about it Sandra?

Follow Sandra on Facebook here and on Instagram @oldsilvershed to see lots more of her
amazing style and home. 

 If you would like to see Sandra's home (and mine)  in the DECORATING MAGAZINE, by Matthew Mead, you can order from the publisher by clicking here. 

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

From Newport to Martha's Vineyard and a Best of Boston Award!

Its summer in New England! 
Nothing better than trips to the resort locations right
here in our own backyard.  Just last week I was in Newport finishing up a decorating job
capped off by a photo shoot with the talented Matthew Mead.  He graciously shared these
shots with me, so I could show them off here.  This will be my "pillow story".  All of the shots
taken were in a neutral backdrop, and it was up to the pillows and flowers to add the oomph.
 Designer pillow from HomeGoods (shhhh, no names allowed) was the perfect touch.
Most of the pillows have down inserts, and so many beautiful patterns and solids to choose from to make your room spring to life.
 My theme here in Newport was blue and white on a base of grey and tan. 
 Repeat the pillow colors with flowers and you have a winning combination.
 Hydrangeas are the best of summer flowers, and I have my own Endless Summer bush right on my front walkway at home.  These came from a florist and had huge mopheads. 
 Elsewhere in the house, I used one pillow to great effect.
 An overall white bed got a whimsical lift from this pretty birdcage pillow.  Out of camera shot was the artwork that repeated the colors in the pillow.  We used Downy wrinkle releaser (in a spray bottle from the grocery store) to make this bed as smooth as a baby's bottom without any ironing!  I use it all the time, after I was asked to review this product from the manufacturer on my blog.  It is amazing at getting out wrinkles, and after the shoot I think everyone who witnessed it became a convert.
But I digress...I am headed to Marthas Vineyard with my parents for a few days and along the way I will be stopping at my friend Sandra's house.  Its on Cape Cod and was featured in the DECORATING magazine with me this past month.  I cannot wait to step inside, and I will grab a few shots to share after the visit.  Then it is onto the ferry and a rare visit to my parent's home.  Looking forward to spending some quality time with them.  We just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at my home with a small dinner party.
We were kind of a skeleton crew, missing two siblings and two of my sons and my daughter in law, but we managed to have a very lovely evening out in the courtyard and around the dinner table.
I bought this art glass vase from HomeGoods for the Newport photo shoot, but the homeowner decided to pass on it.  Well instead of returning it I thought it might make the perfect gift for my parents in honor of their 60th.  It should look great on Marthas Vineyard with its watery color feel.  And no flowers needed either, just place it on a table or chest for dramatic impact.
Lastly, I am busting out at the seams about is that this morning Justin texted me and in his understated way sent me a link to this:
He won BEST OF BOSTON  in the Home Boutique category!! OMG!!!
 I am sooo proud of him and all his accomplishments. 
 If you haven't been to Pioneer Goods Co yet, maybe its time for a visit.
 Open Wednesday through Sunday,  its the perfect way to spend this rainy Sunday, don't you think?
He also has an online shop for those of you not in the Boston area:

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Note: This post is partially sponsored by HomeGoods as part of my participation in their designer Pinterest board, Happy by Design.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Creating Summer Style using Neutrals with Blue and White, a Newport Photoshoot

 "Neutrals plus one" is just about as foolproof as you can get when looking for a color
scheme in decorating.  Last week I had an installation in Newport, Rhode Island,
followed by a photo shoot with Matthew Mead.  This location is a large town house
owned by Efex's Lydia Langston.  ( Note: Efex is the latex applique brand that you may have
seen me using on different projects, like my own living room mantel, which you can read about on the sidebar under Project Gallery.)  Lydia asked me to decorate her place, and being in Newport, the color palette I wanted to use would be classic seaside with blue and white.
However  it would be subtle and soft and not cliche.  Take a look at some of the spaces,
like this guest bedroom which had loads of white and beige with hints of Duck Egg blue ( a 
pretty oceanic green/blue).  Through out the house there is a mix of grey and tan with a white backdrop and then bits of blue were added for classic summery style.
We started off with having all the walls painted from a yellow to white. Lydia had the basics for 
upholstered seating in khaki and white pieces.  So with the basics in place, my "neutrals plus one" stage was set.  All I needed was some blue and white accessories from HomeGoods.
 It doesn't take me long to fill up a shopping cart or two...
 Linens for the dining table, pillows, cute paper cocktail napkins and a really cute capiz shell tray in blue and white which I planned to use on the coffee table were selected.  I found some silver rocks and added them to my cart~I wanted to add them around the pillar candles for the large hurricanes on the mantel.
 These would flank the big trumeau mirror that we made, and that dead space underneath the jumbo pillar candle would get a base of small silver stones. 
 A large Italian glass vase in a watery color mix of blues and greens caught my eye.  I wasn't sure where it would go, but it "felt right".  So when you are out shopping for your accessories, buy things that you like.  You don't need to know where it will go, as I find most things that I love always end up being featured somewhere to great decorative effect.  You can always return it, so that makes the buying part easy and fun.  No worries, throw it in your cart and see if you can use it.
 On an earlier trip to HomeGoods I did a pillow run.  Here you can see some of the pillows placed on the neutral furnishings.  Subtract the pillows and what do you have?  A completely neutral space in white, grey and tan.  Add one color and you have instant style! In our case it was the color blue, in all its wonderful shades from light to dark. You can also see the large mirror we created and hung 
with pieces of tape to hold the mirror in position as I had just applied the adhesive. We had just hung it up and would have to wait til the day of the photo shoot to see it in all its glory, sans tape.
There will be a dedicated post later on how to create a fabulous Trumeau mirror
like the one created here.  It was pretty amazing to make such a thing of beauty.
Back to the decorating part...adding flowers in pretty containers and filler accents like this gold box in a sea urchin motif would be the important things that create the style factor.
Bookcase shelves were filled with a bits of blue and white by using pottery on the shelves, 
and any of Lydia's books that had blue, white or tan bindings.    
Matthew and I had a great time styling and working this shoot together.  I always learn a little bit more just by watching him make changes or suggestions.  We were laughing about the wine glass, which was a prop in almost every shot.  Of course I might have stolen a sip or two each time I moved the glass.  The guy is laid back and filled with a quiet genius.  You have to pay attention to him or you can miss these moments.  
As the stylist/decorator on the job, I moved about the room adding and subtracting, switching things up.  The coffee cup had to go...Matthew said it read "too white" in the shot. 
 Adjustments like this would dictate the final result in the photos. 
 We spent the entire day shooting the house.  
I will share the beauty shots next time, when Matthew sends me his beautiful images.
 Julia, my old shop manager (now dubbed my styling assistant as she learns more of what it takes to style and decorate spaces) watched Matthew close in on the water glasses.  
I guess we all are learning, haha, like this moment when Matthew quietly told us we were all standing in the reflection of a mirror he was trying to shoot.  So we all crammed in next to him and began giggling.  It was really fun, sometimes silly but plenty of work had to be done. 
It was a day of dogs, dogs and more dogs.  Lydia had two black labs and was babysitting a terrier. Often times we had to stop to take their photos because they were just so terrific. Decoy, a cancer survivor is 14 years old and is the biggest lab I had ever seen!  A gentle giant with a great disposition I fell in love. 
And then there was little Winston.  He followed us from room to room, never further away than a couple of feet.  He won our hearts with his perseverance on being included in whatever we were doing (we were dog sitting him as his owners were off on an excursion). 
Overhead birds eye view shows Julia stepping out of the camera range, but not Winston.  We would have to coax him out of the shot almost every time!  What a camera hog. He finally got his beauty shot when we set him up on the bed.  What a star!
 Look at him thinking "Don't you guys know how much better this bed shot 
would be if you had ME sitting up on top??"
"Well finally people!!  See how great I look?" He cracks me up!
Then he laid down and really went for it!  We all let out a collective gasp. 
Winston was so damn impressive.  He was working it like he was a professional dog model! 
 His owners have no idea they could be cashing on him.
This was the shot of the bed in the guest room.  
This room had the most beautiful light, and the soft colors were really my style. 
 Not as seacoast as upstairs, but certainly a summery feel with a splash of Paris mixed in. 
 Perhaps thats why it was my fav~a French twist on coast resort style.
The bedside table was simply done with books and flowers and a few filler pieces
 like a seashell and jewelry.  And there was that prop! My wine glass...
it was time to take it upstairs and outside for our dinner on the deck. 
 The Newport shoot was a wrap.  
 We dined alfresco with our furry friends at our feet. 
Matthew Mead, Julia Sullivan, Lydia Langston and me~bidding you adieu for now.
I will be back with Matthew's pretty shots so you can see how spectacular
 it came out through the eye of his lens.  
(Where was hair and makeup? I could have used a bit. )

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Note: This post is partially sponsored by HomeGoods as part of my participation in their designer Pinterest Board, Happy By Design.  Check it out for tips and tricks and pin the tips you want to save for future reference on your own style boards.  Its a great way to collect your inspiration and ideas for current or future projects.