Monday, October 11, 2010

French Country: Enchanting Yellow & White

 This home from Country French Magazine caught my attention.
It has all the elements I think are important.
Its time for me to redecorate since I will soon be incorporating
 two households of furniture into one.
So I started off by putting together magazine pics
 of the rooms I love,
 to give me direction when I have to 
choose and edit our furnishings.

Painted furniture, french chandeliers, curvy furniture...
 Yellow walls, white slipcovers, 
garden decor brought indoors, and touches of black....
 Vintage furniture and garden urns topped by an old chandelier. Yellow and white.
 Fancy old mirrors, more chandeliers, urns, touches of floral in the carpeting and artwork...
 This theme repeats itself in this other home that was also featured in Country French.
A beautiful pastel floral carpet sets the tone in this yellow room with pink, green, blue and white.
Smocked toile draperies and gilt touches in the mirror and the chandy add elegance.
 Darling damask lampshades in 
raspberry sit on a painted yellow sideboard.
 Yellow walls, floral rugs, iron and painted furniture, white slipcovers with floral pillows...
more toile draperies between the door frames~
enchanting without overpowering the living room.
Vintage pieces in furniture, lighting, baskets, and the
painted trumeau mirror give this room classic french appeal.


I have things that I would love to use in our Boston house,
 that are in our NH house that is going to be sold next month.
Trying to keep the things you are fond of and at the same time creating a room
 like the ones I am attracted to is a challenge.
 Realistically most of us don't toss out our things and start from scratch.
Most of us redecorate using things we have and perhaps
adding a few new elements like drapes, a mirror or a new carpet.
 Here are some of the things I could use in the living room:
A pair of yellow and white toile slipcovered loveseats with ottoman, a white slipcovered sofa, a painted country hutch, black and white toile draperies with matching slipped wing chair, ivory mirrors, a black floral needlepoint rug, a tole tray collection, lace panels...
 pink and green toile draperies, a room sized lilac lace patterned rug, purple transferware, french provincial marble top table, iron and carved wood coffee and end tables (and I am not averse to painting them off white!), yellow patterned asian toile London shades  with pink and yellow tassel trim, a black leopard frenchy chair...
This rug is in the NH shop Rustique. Her blog button is on my sidebar, The Rehab Boutique.
 I was taking a pic of the stuff on top of it...but this rug stayed in my mind. 
I like the faded vintage feel, but wonder if it would be too small in front of the couch.
 I'll have to call Bridget and get the measurements! 
 I sold the brown sofa above and have moved in the white slipcovered sofa. I also removed the aqua floral rug as it was too colorful and modern feeling. The yellow window treatments I am ambivalent about...they are kind of bright. I have added linen fleur~de~lis panels sheer panels underneath and they create a softer feel. Would I be better off with new linen panels or some of my toile panels instead?
The black needlepoint rug is in here now, but it is not like any of my model pictures from the magazines.
I could try the small faded hooked rug from Rustique or use my large lilac rug...
I am happy with the  sofa and the floral french quilted pillows against the yellow walls.
What about if I painted the iron and wood coffee table ivory and got rid of the leather ottoman?
If I get rid of the black rug, the bright top treatments and use a creamy distressed coffee table, that might be what I need? I would love your thoughts! It is not uncommon for decorators to struggle when making their own decorating decisions, so any feedback you have would be helpful and fun to read!
I had hubs hang an iron fitting from a plumbing supply store to hand a lace panel against the staircase. 
I love how it looks! Our family photos litter the top of the piano now.
Real french lace is yummy.
I took this picture last night...I tucked an iron plant stand next to my front door.
Here it is in daylight. This shows the truer wall color: Ben Moore Harp Strings. It is a happy cheery yellow. Living in New England is probably the reason I go towards a yellow wall instead of the now popular greys.
I also use a lot of mirrors when I decorate. This venetian mirror is hanging above the mantel at the moment. I repainted the mantel white over the blue I had painted this spring. I know, I know....but I don't mind tweaking and painting until I get it right. This mantel started white, then went pink, then faux bois in a wax finish, then blue with a white glaze and now back to Dove White. In just 3 years! I still have yet to accessorize the mantel.
I want the living room to coordinate in feeling with the dining room. I love the light airiness of this space. I switched the position of the table and stuck it against the wall and plopped a little lamp. Its a large peninsula now and it opens the room up by this unusual arrangement.

I'll be moving down furniture from NH and adding to this room and subtracting. 
 I would love to hear your thoughts on what YOU think YOU would do to try and recreate the look of the homes in Country French magazine!
Read more »

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Frenchy Mrs. Hemingway: A chandelier lover too

Talking so much about chandeliers lately reminded me of a trip
 I took while in Key West to the Ernest Hemingway House
 which is now a museum.
Every room has a Parisian Chandelier,
 courtesy of Pauline Hemingway!
Ernest married Pauline, which was his second time to the altar.
Pauline stole him away from her best friend, his first wife Hadley (not a nice trait). 
Pauline's rich uncle bought this house for them in Key West. 
She was a Kansas City girl too and 
had all her children born back at the family home in KC.
What I find fascinating is the things Pauline did to the house.
She was formerly an assistant editor at Vogue Magazine in Paris. 
While in France she collected chandeliers! 
After they settled into this home and Ernie was away on a fishing trip
 Pauline had the workmen take out every ceiling fan 
and replaced them all with her gorgeous chandelier collection.
Ernie was furious because the Keys were hot and now there were no fans.
However, I completely understand Pauline's actions in this regard.
Now the only breezes to be had would be coming through these lovely shuttered doors.
This was the only image I could find of one of her chandeliers...
but I saw them all in person and they were quite exquisite. 
See her frenchy couch?
The house was also famous for Hemingway's six toed cats.
A pair of iron and crystal wall sconces amid the masculine Hemingway ephemera. 
What a mix of personalities, this husband and wife: the hunter/writer vs the Parisian wanna-be.
The other thing Pauline did to the house was 
to install a pool while Ernie was away on another jaunt. 
She sensed him drifting away in their relationship
 so she had this pool built as a gift.
 He was not happy and accused her of trying to spend every last cent he had!
 Sensing correctly, he did end up divorcing her shortly thereafter and  moved to Cuba.
 Pauline stayed in the Key West home with their two sons until her death.
This blurry image is the only other one 
I could find of one of the many lovely chandeliers
which hung in their living room. 
Pauline was known to have truly loved her husband. 
She was a woman of great style, 
who was also a home renovator and decorator,
 a chandelier collector, 
and a lover of all things French. 

Ernest and Pauline Hemingway at the Hemingway home in Key West.
This image is of the couple in happy times, courtesy of JFK museum.
Rumors are that she haunts her beloved home in the Keys.
Read more »

Tagged by French Country Cottage

I got tagged by Courtney of the French Country Cottage.
 Is that like playing tag?
 I think so...she and I love to read each other's blog
 and check out the latest projects.
Courtney asked me to answer these ?s.

*What is your biggest dream?

 As a decorator, my dream would be to work
 in the world of home decorating/shelter magazines

Wouldn't this be a great magazine?

My other dream would be to have a cute shop
 that would sell home furnishings
 and decor that appeal to me!
 So anything frenchy, vintage or shabby would
 be in this shop.
 I would also have a section of window treatments
 that are being recycled from people
 who have redecorated and
 changed out their old drapes.

As a mom my biggest dream is to have 
all of my children live happy and fulfilling lives. 
Sounds cliche, but in this crazy world
 it is a big goal to accomplish.
 I see them all trying to make their way
 and you have to hope they can do it..
so it is a big dream of mine for that to come true. 
Dreams are good!

*Where do you live?
I live outside of Boston in an urban setting.
 This is a city who has seen a downhill slide
 and has its share of issues.
 We will move someday to a location 
that suits us better,
 but for right now because of hubs job,
 we are staying put. 
So my focus is on making our outdoor
 and interior spaces  welcoming ones. 

*What were you like in High School?
I hung around with the older kids in upper grades,
 and couldn't wait to graduate myself.
 Our friends all were welcome at 
my parents home
I loved Art and English classes
 and was on the swim team.

*Favorite place to visit?
I love traveling through Europe,
 with Greece being my favorite place.

*What or who inspires your decorating style?
Anything done by Elizabeth (Betsy) Speert from Watertown Mass. 
Her style is so recognizable to me,
 I can always pick her home decor projects
 out of a magazine.
 I also am inspired by Suzanne Kasler
 and am looking forward to a book
 by designer Carolyn Westbrook.
kitchen design by Betsy Speert
Photo by Michael Partenio 
*What do you love about yourself and what would you like to change?
My favorite thing about myself is my confidence 
and trust that I have in my own decisions.
 I would like to be less impatient.

*What is your all time favorite movie?
Out of Africa. 
This movie had it all:
 a great love story, beautiful scenery,
 a gorgeous house filled with beautiful things.

I love Country French and Courtney has done some 
beautiful decorating makeovers in her house. 
Her kitchen and
 her outdoor pergola all inspire me. 

I love her bathroom most of all. 
Click on the bathroom picture to check it out!

Read more »

Monday, October 4, 2010

Chandeliers~ Maison Decor Style

All things shabby and sweet,
 this teeny cottage has a crowning touch~ a chandelier.
I read about this cottage that belongs to
 Sandra Foster in the New York Times.
I know this is a blogland favorite~its amazing.
Crystals drip from this white iron chandy,
 while another chandelier graces a sleepy hideaway.
Maison Decor would put a chandy
 in a chicken coop if she had one.
My new favorite
This picture was taken with my iPhone at 
a boutique on Martha's Vineyard.
There is a tree outside the window in the background, 
so look closely and you can see there are
 three separate "lotus blossoms"
 of light and crystals that hang 
from an iron scrolled fixture. 
All the chain and wiring is also painted white
 and it is simply shabby chic.
The shop owner told me she thought
 it came out of an original cottage.
I ADORE this light fixture, 
but alas at $1800 it was too expensive.
However it inspires me to paint the chain and wiring 
on this vintage number I just hung in my kitchen.
This pearl and heavily beaded chandy is from Zimmans.
My home office chandelier has some crystals 
that I swapped out with pink ones from ebay.
This is a  fairly pedestrian crystal chandelier
 I bought at an auction over 20 years ago.

A pink pearl and iron chandelier, also from Zimmans,
 with wax drips on the candle holders.
I love the masculine edge of black iron
 paired with the girly pink pearls.
Frenchy style chandy with beads and crystals. (Zimmans)
Pink ribbon and pearls...(Zimmans)
Chandelier with shades! (Zimmans)
A whimsical birdcage chandy 
with colored flowers made from beads. (Zimmans)
A painted wood and iron chandy 
strikes a country note. (Zimmans)
Graceful silvered iron chandelier from Midnight Farm
Something a little bit New Orleans style
 about this teardrop chandy,
 this treasure is also from Midnight Farm.
I love sparkly chandeliers!
Don't you?

links to:

Midnight Farm is located on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts,
 right near the ferry station in Vineyard Haven.
Zimmans is located in Lynn, Massachusetts
 in an old industrial building.
My Home Office is about my  frenchy office
Sandra Fosters cottage is a NY times article

Read more »