Sunday, November 30, 2014

Dining Room Makeover and Thanksgiving Day

Our dining room has been undergoing a few cosmetic changes in the 
past few weeks.  It all started with getting the enormous purple turkey
platter to add to my transferware collection.  I decided to take down the
mirror in the dining room and put more of my transferware on the wall.
After the purple was added, the blue opaline chandelier clashed, so I 
decided to finally hang up a different antique chandelier I had been hanging
onto for over a year.  "Not for sale" was the tag on it, as I used it in my shop
for adding ambience.  I planned to hang it someday, but didn't know where.
Do you buy things because you love them, and then hold onto them until
the perfect place presents itself it? On occasion I do, particularly with antique
chandeliers.  We will move one day, and when we do, I will pull an Ernest Hemingway's
wife move, where she took down all his ceiling fans in his Key West house and installed
her antique French chandelier collection while Ernest was off on a fishing trip.
But I digress...So gone was the beautiful blue next to the dramatic purple, and 
the room was feeling better to my eyes.  Purple is a tricky color to use in 
home interiors, too much is too much!! Purple plates on the wall feel just about 
right.  I may be adding a purple damask, toile or checkered roman shade or swedish
shade in the windows, but thats about it for adding more purple.
Sylvia and Tobey always run into the room when I start snapping 
photos.  Everytime. Finally they get bored and toddle off. So you may
see bits and pieces of them in these shots.  Dillon is too mature to care 
about trying to get into any photos on the blog.  So while I was switching out
chandeliers, (or should I say Mr. Maison Decor was doing that), I was
also happily working in my new vintage French Settee for seating.
But after I added that, I hated the chairs I had. They were too low in
profile and didn't feel balanced opposite the taller cane back settee.
See what I mean?  One chair was being painted, but since I wasn't
feeling it, the rest stayed in their natural state until I could get excited 
about keeping them.  And so the day before Thanksgiving I saw a post 
in Facebook by one of my customers who paints furniture with our 
Chalk Paint.  She was selling a set of 6 French Provincial cane back chairs!
I sent her a private message on Facebook, and in 3 hours her hubby was
delivering them into my house!  Hehehe...yes a LOT of planning was 
involved. NOT.  I just knew I would love them, so I bought them, and I was
also happy to do business with another small business owner, who happened
to be a good customer of my own shop.  Her business is called Melissa's Perfect Piece
Melissa paints furniture with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, 
and sells from her home and markets her furniture 
on Facebook if you want to look her up.
So I had my FP cane back chairs to go with my French settee I bought
from another small business guy, designer/stylist Matthew Mead.
But Thanksgiving was next up, and so I pushed the settee in front 
of the backyard window, and used all of my chairs for the 8 or 9
we had coming over for dinner.  I was already plotting on the new
floor plan after this holiday was in the books.
This morning I had Mr. MD help me remove the extra table leaf
and then switch the settee and the chairs around.  I took the solid 
cherry chairs to my shop where they are now for sale.
 I love this settee! And my purple plates!
I put two big linen pillows and one small 
quilted purple velvet pillow on the settee.
There was one other thing I did the day before Thanksgiving...
It involved breaking out my Annie Sloan paint....
I couldn't have the library/office cabinet stay 
that soft blue color had to go!
So French Linen to the rescue. I am still in the process of deciding what
else I want to do to it, but I like the darker grey in the mix.
And it all started because of a Turkey plate and a French settee....
I never got a family photo taken during the holiday.
But we had a great time, and hope you did too!
 One last thing...I like having some greenery in this room.
So there are various urns and containers carrying plants 
and orbs with lights.  I may have just the perfect French bistro
side table to put here to hold them all...
 If I can squeeze it in and it looks right, I will show you next time.
But its time to move onto Christmas decorating isn't it?
Looking forward to decorating a little bit more with naturals
this year, and some sparkle of course. Thanks for reading the blog,
its fun writing it, and I get a kick out of having some of my 
blog readers come by the shop to say hi, some of them
from across the country, like yesterday!  So this is a special
hello to Yolanda and her awesome husband and daughter
from Indiana.  You guys rock!!

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Palace Doors~Make your own!

After visiting Versailles I came home quite inspired.  
This is a room in Marie Antoinette's casual palace, the Petit Trianon. 
As you can see its more formal than how most of us live, 
but if you could take away one decorating idea, 
I think it would be the molding.
Look past all the gilding and brocade and you will see 
the most beautiful moldings on walls and doors and fireplace surrounds. 
The moldings in the small country palace were painted in muted colors
 with the raised relief in white.  This inspired me to want to build my
 own palace door as a wall decoration.  Why not?
 Large artwork is hard to find, 
and I like the idea of hanging a door on a big wall, 
or propping it up as a display piece as it makes a great backdrop
for that empty corner of the room.  
I had a few old doors in the shop and last week  I transformed
 it into a Palace Door using Efex appliques and Chalk Paint. 
 Check it out!
 This is a finished shot of the bottom of the door. 
This shows how the Efex appliques look after we attached them
to the door. 
 Another view looking at the bottom of the door.
 The door was an old white door,
we did not prep or repaint, we used the white base
as our starting point. 
You can use scissors to trim the pieces to fit perfectly.
 After coming up with something we thought
would look good, we painted the Efex with Pure White
Chalk Paint so it would match the door color.
I don't have pics of that part. We added some
texture using crackle, but that is an optional step.
The Palace Doors in Versaille were really
not very crusty looking!  I just like things a little
bit more rustic, so we added some texture with
a crackle medium. Then we applied a custom mix
of Paris Grey and Pure White over the entire door.
 Its pretty amazing how you can transform something using these Efex.
This is my mantle, and it is done in a traditional, not rustic style.
It is a Benjamin Moore paint over the entire thing, in a white semi-gloss.
See the options you have to create different looks?
 We love our Palace Door. 
You can create the door of your dreams.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Incredible Painted Finishes! Segreto Style!

I like to think I know a thing or two about painted finishes...I
 have been working on them for years now and am
 always turned on by a nice looking paint job! 
 Some of the nicest finishes are the ones that don't hit your 
over the head, but instead lure you in closer, asking for a second
 glance or the brush of your hand across the loveliness.  
In this category, the painter standing at the 
top of the heap is Leslie Sinclair. 
 She started a decorative painting business 
which is now recognized as the best of the best, 
and lucky for us, she has captured her work in book form.  
Luscious thick glossy pages holding beautiful images 
of real homes by real designers with her amazing painted finishes. 
The book cover alone is a knockout, isn't it? 
 Look at those cabinet doors!  Such fabulousness!
So who is this book for? Its not just for someone like me who 
is totally into painted finishes, not at all. 
Its for people who love beautiful homes, 
great design and tips and ideas on how to copy
 some of these same looks in your homes.
Hundreds of amazing looking homes, all shared in 
these lovely glossy pages.  I adore this huge book! 
 Beautiful kitchens....
 From country style to elegant and posh....
 rustically elegant dining rooms...
 stunning yet approachable.... 
 Over the top glamorous French style...
 Old world manor style....
 with decorating inspiration for all of your rooms!
 So take a trip through some of the most beautiful homes you have ever seen,
and learn how they came to look so amazing at the hand of Segreto.
You will see before and afters and learn what techniques were used 
in each of the rooms.  Leslie shares so much in these pages, it was 
so interesting to read an in depth description and not just a little blurb.
 She divides the homes into their style classifications
 and then the tour begins for each of the homes showcased.
 You will fall in love with this elegant and inspirational book!
I would order one for myself for Christmas, but I already have it 
upon request to write this review as I just adored her first book!
So pull a Secret Santa and order one for yourself :-)
Leslie shares paint colors and paint techniques for those of us interested,
and every page has full blown images of the most current design trends going.
Lots of stenciled walls, tinted plaster walls, cabinetry and furniture 
painted finishes~all of them more gorgeous than the next.
 This large beautiful design book has an interesting story
 that you may not know, and its that Leslie published it herself! 
 So it is a true labor of love, by a small business 
woman who had a vision for sharing her incredible work. 
 I love this part of the behind the 
scenes story, how she just decided to finance and publish it 
and hoped it would appeal to 
readers.  So you will only find it for sale in independent decor shops, 
antique shops and other small businesses who love Leslie's work
 as much as I do.  You won't find it in book shops or the big box stores, 
because it was published by an independent~Leslie!
 Leslie has it available online for purchase with ten dollars shipping, 
which is a good deal, because it is huge and heavy.
So open up the door and the pages to a world filled with beauty.  
Trust me, you will be glad you did. This is one book you
 will love keeping on your coffee table to grab for 
leisurely and pleasurable reading many times over!

To purchase Segreto Style from Leslie's website click here 
She has it on Amazon too, click here
Know that when you do purchase you are 
shopping small from independent businesses 
like Leslie and mine this holiday season.
And thank you for that!
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Holiday Workshops!

Pinch me! 
I am taking a day to myself to go to a Holiday Workshop
offered by designer/stylist/photographer Matthew Mead!
I saw a notice posted on Facebook from this fab style guy
who was opening up his studio to do intimate workshops.
How exciting!
The workshops will be holiday decor classes with Matthew
and his wife Jenny.  Wreath making, centerpieces and adorable
one of a kind dioramas are on the menu!
 There are several workshops to choose from~
I am attending on December 6th and will be making
a wreath similar to the one shown above.  
Very Williamsburg-esque, don't you think? 
 I love the idea of naturals in holiday decor,
and am excited to produce a wreath like this one.
 Oh, and if you have seen the December issue 
of Better Homes and Gardens, this cover
was produced and styled by Matthew! 
 This is the diorama offered in one of the workshops.
You get to put in elements of your own choosing, 
but how amazing is this?  You can create
one to take home, 
and Matthew will even photograph your work. 
 He is a professional photographer
and his images are iconic.  
This diorama was created by one of the ladies 
that attended last weekend's workshop,
and was photographed by Matthew Mead.  Its a forever keepsake. 
 I would make several of these and hang them in tiers from
 my kitchen window as a charming winter/holiday decoration.  
 You can also choose to make a holiday centerpiece. 
 Matthew demonstrated how to create
this arrangement for the students last week.  
Its elegant and natural and simply gorgeous!
 To get more inspiration if you cannot attend one 
of his amazing workshops, check out this images.
Plenty of natural greens and simple touches can 
give your home a look of style and elegance at Christmas.  
How can one get tired of this?
 More simple yet beautiful ways to decorate~stacked compotes 
or cake trays with apples, pears, pomegranates and
 tiny floral arrangements in white and green all spell Holiday Magic!!
 This purple vignette would be 
perfect for my dining room! 
I need a small tabletop tree and some glass balls in purple. 
How easy and yet so sophisticated!
For many its the red and the green that are their go to colors.
 When you use natural elements like nuts and florals and 
simple greenery you can get a beautiful look with
 a timeless feel for your holiday decor.
So think "natural" and get the Matthew Mead look
this holiday season.  If you are lucky like me you 
can sign up for a workshop and get hands on design
training with the master himself!  He cooks up little
savory treats and does demos and trades stories all the 
while you get to create your own masterpiece!
I am the one usually teaching the workshops, so this
is going to be such a treat for me.  Hope you can join me
or Matthew in one of his holiday workshops.
You know if I hear of a good thing, I am going to 
share it! So here is your holiday fun idea:
look at the list and pick the one that works for you
and get in the holiday mood!!
If anyone wants to ride up with me for the 
December 6th workshop I have two spots in my
car if you need a lift!
Just send me an email at
and we can coordinate.

For more Matthew Mead inspiration, 
check out his Facebook page here and his blog here.
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