Saturday, October 31, 2015

Silvery French Chairs

 Metallics are super hot in home decor right now.  Luckily I have a 
connection with a guy who has launched his own line of metallic paints.
Matthew Mead Studio Metallics are acrylic metallic finishes that need no other
sealant...just paint and you are done! 
The dining room is currently a construction site as we just put
some French doors in a spot where there once was a window.
So while I wait for the trim and the wall to be finished I set out to 
paint my french dining chairs.  Using a simple chip brush I put 
one coat of the Silver Studio Metallic over the Old White Chalk Paint
that used to be on them.  They were never finished with wax so I could
go right ahead and paint.  If you plan to do this over waxed furniture, remove
the wax with  a cloth and some mineral spirits, then paint. I liked the effect I got
using the chip brush because the paint has some substance, and so it looked a bit
like a strie finish.  I loved how they came out!  
 I recovered all the chairs with drop cloths and used an upholstering nail gun
 to do so which made it a breeze.  All of this was only accomplished because Colby
 went with his dad on a trip one day recently giving me time to whip out this project.
Seat cushions are usually on hard compressed boards that make
 regular staple guns ineffective.  Air compressors are the way to go!
The french doors are in, the trim will be done, and then I can get to doing a few decorating changes that I am excited about.  Mr. Maison Decor worked on the interior framing this week so there is progress (this pic is from two weeks ago).  When its finished I will be more than on it to show it off to you.
So goodbye to the fun purple and green fabric and the distressed white woodwork.
Matthew Mead's Studio Metallics are sold at Fusion Paint dealers
 if you are looking for some terrific metallic paints. 
This is the same paint that I used to paint the interior of my work room studio cabinet in Pale Gold.
Aren't they yummy?  
Speaking of Matthew Mead, all the people in his two latest mags got together for a reunion party on 
Cape Cod at Sandra's house.  She was in the same issue with me.  Matthew took these pics and I 
think his collages are so amazing, they really give the vibe of the gathering.
It was a beautiful party, and some of us even slept over (including me and hubs).
A night to remember....thanks Sandra and Phil for hosting.
And finally, Happy Hallows Eve to my readers! 
 Signing off with a shot of Colby, who is growing like a weed.  
He is going to be modeling for a dog catalogue, haah! 
 Since its halloween his costume is the devil in disguise.  

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

A New York state of mind: Fame or Fortune?

Two of my favorite creatives met for lunch in New York this week. 
 Matthew Mead and Annie Sloan.  Wow. 
 I was invited to go to the city with Matthew but I am sadly chained to the house rearing the new puppy.  I would have really enjoyed this meeting, as I think very highly of them both.  Annie inspired me so much that I opened shops to sell her paint and dedicated three years of my life doing so.  Most people know me in relation to her incredible Chalk Paint.  Shortly before I closed my store, I met and became friendly with superstar designer, author, publisher, editor, lifestyle guru Matthew Mead. 
 He has become a very close friend and we have engaged in many collaborative projects, with some new ideas in the works.
To learn more about this guy,  Matthew Mead, here is a terrific short video about him.
A talented man influenced by his mom.  Watch this video.  Compelling.
I feel I influenced my own son, exposing him to a lifetime of mixing business with art and design.
He has traveled further along down his own road now, and its been satisfying to watch. 
There were other interesting and amazing meetings that happened this week before Annie and Matthew met for the first time over lunch.  My son, Justin Power, was selected by a NYC producer to come shoot some segments for a potential design television show!  So he headed to the big city and it turns out they asked Annie Sloan to shoot segments as well as another Annie Sloan stockist from Kentucky, the talented Liz Brantley, of Liz Douglas Designs. 
 Here is a behind the scenes photo of Justin (before hair and makeup) flanked by Annie Sloan and Liz Brantley (after hair and makeup) and then on the left was a New York stockist, Amanda Preppard of Suite Pieces, who shot a segment, and Annie's sweet daughter in law, Lizzy Brown (R).  
Justin getting his makeup done...
(He is going to kill me for putting these photos on the blog.) 
 I would ask him, whats going on now??  (and then I would get a pic, haha)
I was stuck at home doing doggy care while he was being Mr. Hollywood! 
I mean I just turned down a six day HomeGoods photo shoot as their stylist. UGH.
 I was thrilled for Justin.  
Would he get discovered on a bigger platform and then everyone could see how talented he is? 
That is what I am hoping for of course.  And what I think will happen....
That night after the shooting, Annie Sloan had a book signing at a very hip shop, Verdigreen, located in New York's East Village.  Its so rare when Annie comes to the US and even more rare when she gets a chance to step inside one of her own stockist's shops.  
Word got out that Annie would be there and 
there was a large gathering there to welcome and toast her.
 Annie looked radiant coming from her tv shoot. Excited and adorable owner, stockist, Azie Shelhorse, beaming that Annie was in her very own shop.
 I've said it a million times, little business are so hard to pull off, and nobody works harder than independent retailers, like Azie and my son Justin, at his shop in Boston, Pioneer Goods.  These celebrations are lovely recognition, and it helps to drive more business to their shops, hopefully.
The same night that Justin was shooting his tv thing, and Annie was having her book signing,  there was also a book launch party for designer Tricia Foley, that Matthew was invited to.
Tricia is known for her white on white color palette and restful country home, which is the subject
of her new book, Life|Style.  I had preordered it so I got it when it was hot off the presses two weeks ago.  It is truly inspiring and got me thinking of emulating this simpler life style.
Matthew Mead has some of his stellar photography in her book.  As a matter of fact he thinks she 
is really amazing and tracked her down years ago. 
This video above was produced by Matthew when he visited Tricia in her Long Island, NY home.
Seeing people on video really gets to the heart of them, so if you are interested have a look. 
This week more than ever, I am struck by the fact that some people in my circles, the ones that follow a life path based upon their creative abilities, find validation in many forms like being published, or having their shops receive "Best of" awards....yet it hasn't translated into financial success or security for them.  It has been so interesting to see how some in this field can get leverage and find super success while others, equally talented,  are still working on gaining traction as far as the financial pay off where their creativity translates into the almighty dollar.  Tough to do, but certainly very possible, especially when their talent is through the roof.  Its a frustrating fact in this industry, and why I am happy to see good things happening right now.  I am encouraged when I see those who have success helping others find the same.  
Since I shared some videos, here is one of three that Wagner produced highlighting
me and Matthew doing our thing with their new sprayer.  
We look so profesh!! 
These videos are a work of art!!  You have to check them out!
Here is another one of our videos showing us painting chairs. I HATED painting chairs.
 I think I like this one best.  
Now know that we are  filming in 100 degrees inside his warehouse. 
 I think we did amazing, and look cool calm and collected!
My only regret is that I didn't start my Whole30 diet plan before I filmed
as I would have lost ten pounds and looked a little more Hollywood. Hahah!!
So while all these peeps were doing glamorous things this week, like book signings,
 and shooting tv pilots, and rubbing elbows with the NY jet set and drinking champagne,
I stayed home to rear Colby, my intrepid little pup.  
And cook dinner.  And do laundry.
But do not fear, I can't help but dream my creative dreams too.  
I have been working on some neat projects with the amazing Matthew Mead.
Now all I have to do is get this dog trained. 

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

French Door Awning and Bad Puppy Tales

What a pretty courtyard!  I found this image when I was googling exterior fabric awnings.
I have an opportunity to work with Matthew Mead and Sunbrella and this could be the perfect 
project for my new French doors and courtyard.  I plan to make the awning and am considering 
either a wide grey and white stripe fabric or a classic black and white stripe.   The french doors are 
officially installed, and now we have to do the interior and exterior trim work, as well as 
put in the steps to access the outdoor courtyard.  After that a fence will be coming so I can
contain the new puppy and hopefully that will make a world of difference in my quality of life!
Just to see how far we have come, it wasn't long ago that this uninteresting back side of the house
looked like this.  A good place to throw a random tire or whatever, you know?
Since it is the north side of the house there are few windows, and that makes the facade look
strange.  But since no one sees this side of the house, it isn't the biggest deal.
But it is a private area and I came up with the courtyard idea...but the problem with that
was that to access it you had to leave via the front door.  With the outdoor grill set up 
out back for summer dinners and entertaining the front door was not ideal.  At that
point the french doors came into play (meaning in my minds eye) and finally I got hubs to 
go along with the concept.  I think it will become our most often used door, as hubs drives up
to the back of the house in his truck.  I may just start doing the same as I can bring in the
groceries without climbing two flights of stairs as our house is built into the side of a ledge,
and the front is at a higher elevation than the back.
Some granite blocks were set so we could start using the door.  When completed
the granite blocks will run the length of the door.  I have a pair of lanterns to flank the
door, and they are solar so that this space will be illuminated all night long.  They still need to be
wired, and I have no idea why that is, but we will get it done.  Now imagine the awning over the door.  I have to make it just right, as the doors swing open to the outside, and I really don't
want to look at an awning from inside the dining room, but I don't want it mounted too high on
the outside of the house either.  So that is where I am at with the planning.  Of course all the trim will
be put in place and it will look wonderful.  It already is awesome just going in and out the back.
 I have to mention Colby....he is running us ragged.  He is one bundle of energy
and Mr. Mischief is his tag name.  I think we are making progress on the house
training, but on the eating and chewing and biting front, we are not as successful.
So its a constant eye, and I am finding it hard to get anything done.  Its really been 
a huge adjustment,  imagine having given birth to a newborn who can instantly run 
and has sharp teeth.  Its not cool. 
 Colby does like to lay on the lap of whoever is 
lucky enough to be in hub's recliner, which is where I am finding myself these days
because that is the room he is quarantined in for the time being. I had no idea there were 
so many shows on day time tv.  I admit I am enjoying Who wants to be a Millionaire.
Last time I saw it the show was hosted by Regis Philbin. Now it is Chris Harrison from the Bachelor!
Who knew?
I will not get sucked into the soaps (I used to watch in highschool)  
and I will try my best to avoid the Kardashians.  I have NEVER watched TV
during the day, and now I am all about the questions on the Millionaire show. 
Anyway, back to Colby.  Its all his fault.  I have to stay in the TV room now with him.
 Sometimes he can be let out into the kitchen.  Look at him looking like 
he is the perfect puppy. He is NOT!!! He just wants another treat.  As long as I 
am in the kitchen he hovers and hangs out hoping I am going to whip him up a meal
or a snack.  Now I have to make a confession...I found out that I have been underfeeding
him by about half the calories he needs!!! OMG!!! I was talking to hubs and I said he always
seems so hungry, he acts like he is starving all the time.  And he did look skinny....
so I just grabbed the computer to google the caloric intake for a pup his age and size, and I 
was in shock!! OMG! No wonder he is being a pain chewing every rock and piece of mulch in sight. Not to mention our arms, legs....the vet told me how much to feed him when he was tiny, but I 
guess I didn't increase it enough.  How would anyone know exactly how much to feed a puppy?
Compound that matter by the fact that he has been having digestive issues (diarrhea) and we 
finally have that resolved.  So to introduce his new dry puppy food has been scary business
as I don't want to slide back into the bad tummy scene.  Oh man, this puppy thing is not for 
anyone who has a life to live.  I am in over my head, but now have to go with it.
The little gate we set up to contain him in the man cave TV room is not going
to work for long.  He busted through it this morning.
So wish me luck, and if I get anything accomplished on the home front it is
truly a TRIUMPH!!
PS. Just as I hit publish, I hear a loud snap right next to me....
what was Colby doing?
He ate the trim piece off the new door sill!!! 
OMG wait til I tell his father when he gets home.
See what I mean?  This dog is relentless.
Good thing I enrolled in puppy classes last night. 

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Friday, October 9, 2015


 Its mid October and finally feeling like fall.  
I styled this elegant center entrance colonial during the summer for
 HomeGoods and these are the professional photos from the shoot.
 White lanterns, instead of the traditional black, 
make a unique statement with faux and real pumpkins.  
 The porch was cozy and cheery with all the white and orange. 
 My front porch is very small but I have mums, pumpkins
 and a wreath to create a seasonal entryway.
You can spy the vintage cast iron urn I used in the HomeGoods shoot in the first photo 
of this blog post.  Birch logs filled the urn for the shoot.  
Classic urns are wonderful for decorating most any season outdoors. 
 Use your imagination!  I even use my urns indoors sometimes...
A kitchen display for apples was Matthew Mead's great idea.
In fact he is full of innovative ideas, and you can feast your eyes on the amazing
fall decorating ideas he has in the latest issue of his FINISH magazine.
 Click on the link and you will read this magazine right at your laptop or your mobile phone.
Don't miss this issue, its truly filled to the brim with great and inexpensive decorating ideas for fall.
He also reveals my Design studio at my home in this issue of FINISH.  
A funny back story is that I didn't realize he was going to shoot ME, using the sprayer, and there I was on this hot summer day in my understated Bermuda shorts and my son's tshirt. 
 I figured we would be moving and lugging props so I dressed like a bum.  
Well its all right there in the latest issue.  Sometimes you just gotta roll with it.
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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Wyoming Trip and French Door Installation

We couldn't wait to make the return trip to Wyoming!
It had been ten years ago since we found this beautiful part of the country.
Visions of the wild west danced in our heads as the date approached.
But first we had other matters to attend to.
Seems like this month was jam packed with so many events, including putting in our French door off the dining room.  It has been a dream of mine for a while now, and it was finally happening!! In true husband and wife DIY fashion, we did indeed install this thing together.  A first for us both.  Since the door weighs a thousand pounds at least, hubs used his skill and genius and put straps around the doors and attached them to his excavator and lifted the massive French door into position. I had the important job of guided it carefully onto the sill that hubs had created with his sawzall.  Ha! Don't be afraid peeps, just cut right through your house and keep your fingers crossed.  As we like to say around our house, "Better Lucky than Good" and it seems to be how it rolls for us.  We didn't have to deal with an wiring issues as this house was a prefab and the wiring was put underneath the floor construction, instead of inside the walls!  So no wiring to deal with, just get the hole the right size. Weatherize it and insert door, then all that remains is to seal it up and fix the siding and then interior.   But seeing as we had scheduled a trip to Wyoming and the door had come a few days earlier, we couldn't leave it outside to the weather.  So we put it in and did a temporary seal, until this week, when I hope we get a chance to finish it properly.  
This was the scary/fun part...haha. 
That is my dining room with my husband/fearless DIY contractor inside
 figuring out how to pull this off.  Formerly a window opening, it will now be a doorway
 we will use a lot.  Of that I am sure.  So stay tuned for the finished photos, 
hopefully sooner than later.
 The other hard part of leaving on the trip was our new aquisition, Colby.  So we lined up help from Colin, my mother in law, my neighbor and a doggy daycare.  Between the village we had it covered!! I wrote up lists of how to do this and that for him and taped it all to the fridge.  He had been having digestive issues so the day before we left I took him to a good vet and they gave me all kinds of medicines that our caregivers were going to have to administer.  They did the trick too, as he is 100% fine and was so in just a day.  Good vets are PRICELESS I tell ya!
 Hubs buttoned up the inside of the door the night before we left...
and within hours we found ourselves in one of our most favorite places, 
Jackson Hole, Wyoming!
We stayed for three nights at the Rusty Parrot Lodge, and what a treat that was.  It is a very small 30 room hotel and it caters to those looking for a quality experience with almost a fancy home lodge feel.  The beds were out of this world comfortable and the decor was just beautiful. 
Our arrival was delayed so it wasn't til midnight that we got to the Rusty Parrot. We found the front desk closed but a small envelope with our names addressed on the front.  I felt like Alice in welcomed us and instructed us to phone the night manager to show us our rooms.  And quick as a wink we were set up in our rooms, and tucked in for the night.  We were exhausted from the entire day of traveling from Boston to Texas and finally Wyoming. In the morning the first thing I wanted to do was go hit the coffee bar in the library and head out onto the roof deck.
 A full coffee bar is set up here, 24/7.  Hubby liked this feature very much.  I liked the decor~from the burberry plaid rug to the leather furnishings and paneled walls. This was Western Style with a luxe twist.  I could get used to this!
 The sun was coming up and it was gorgeous outside!  There was a chill in the air and so an attendant lit the fire pits for us.  We settled into the sofa and sipped our coffees taking in the majestic views. What a great way to start our vacation! We had many things planned and so without dragging out this post, I will post a few of our highlights with a brief description. 
 We started the day off at the Saturday Farmers Market in downtown Jackson.  We shopped and walked around the square listening to a local band serenade the crowd.
 We posed for pics next to the most touristy of traps, including this big Moose.  Soon we found a pair of cowboy hats to buy....and then it was time for lunch.  This was easy living, and we were having a blast.
We spotted this roof top lunch place opposite the famous town square, 
a perfect spot for people watching.
Fall was in the was a crisp 68 degrees and the leaves of the Aspens were falling.
 This park has four elk antler archways and are a favorite spot for picture taking.
 We returned to our hideaway hotel and hit the roof deck again for cocktails before dinner.
It was three days of shopping, eating, walking around town and a few activities like bike riding and rafting too. We were ready to relax and take full advantage of what Jackson had to offer.
The Rusty Parrot had complimentary bikes. Since it was one block away
 from the happening downtown square it was fun to take advantage of that option.

We also geared up for a trip down the Snake River with the Jackson Hole White Water Co.
The wet suits were recommended for the trip as the water was freezing! 
After our Whole30 we were feeling slimmer and it was a pleasure to try on clothes 
and these wetsuits too.  
We had a blast cruising down the Snake with Ian, our guide, at the helm.  
 We shopped for HomeDecor stuff too.  This shop had the best Western stuff and it was hard to resist.
We were falling in love with the Western lifestyle...we even started looking at homes for sale!  But then we got to realizing that a vacation here every now and again will do just fine.
One last night in Jackson meant a lovely dinner at the Wort Hotel in their Silver Dollar Bar and Grill.  It was easily our best dinner all week, and its in the oldest hotel in Jackson!  
Then after dinner we enjoyed more shopping on the boardwalk... I loved this window display by Pendleton.  My son's shop Pioneer Goods Co in Boston also sells Pendleton decor, like these amazing keep sake blankets.  I think they are incredible, and I gave one to my husband for Fathers Day.  Its an heirloom blanket, and if you ever get a chance to see them, you will see why. This one in the window caught my eye, in its pretty color combo of aqua and brown.
We would return for one more night at the Rusty Parrot and then head for the Teton Pass
to spend the next four nights in a log home in Idaho.  Before we left Jackson
we visited the Elk preserve which was an incredible place created to protect the Elk population.
 After almost losing the Elk to the harsh winters at the turn of the century the local people and the government finally did something about it.  The Elk preserve was created to defend against poaching as well as to offer supplemental feeding when weather was harsh.  
 Leaving Jackson WY towards Idaho, one heads through the mountains in a cut out rode called the Teton Pass.  Its the most incredible road with fabulous vistas.  At the very top of the pass is this sign and we stopped for a photo op and a look at the views.  
 We arrived 30 minutes later at our incredible log home in Victor Idaho.  I found this place on Airbnb. We have rented the most fabulous homes through this website....and never been disappointed.  We found a custom log home with 5 bedrooms, even though it was just us two.  A water fall and a pond along with a hot tub under the stars was all right here for us to enjoy.
 Something so perfect about staying in a log home on a visit to the west!
A large deck faced the southern side of the property, and had a line of Aspens offering shade. We were thrilled to be in Idaho!  It was completely gorgeous.
 The next day we set out for Yellowstone Park.  We would enter through the west access point, which meant driving north through Idaho, entering Montana and then back again to Wyoming to the West entrance.  
 It was a splendid day and we had a major league road trip on our hands. 
 Luckily hubby likes to drive, and I got to look out the windows at the view. 
We saw potato fields and farming operations in Idaho, 
and then finally we arrived at Yellowstone.
 It was more majestic than I recalled and it had incredible sights and smells of the sulfur pools and hot springs. We spent all day and into the evening touring Yellowstone and put 330 miles on the car.
 The following day we enjoyed a low key visit to the golf course across the street from where our log cabin was located.  Can you imagine playing golf in a place like this?  It was amazing!
Our log home host, Ben, suggested we have lunch with him at this golf resort.
 No arm twisting needed.
  The last thing in our weekly docket was to fit in a horse back ride, which we did at Spring Creek Ranch.  They had a professional photographer take pics which was really nice to have as a keepsake.
We all got saddled up and were assigned horses based on our various sizes.
Hubs was the first one put on a horse, and I was the last out of the group of 9.
And finally we were off...
It was a cloudy day and it made for a pleasant ride. 
 The views were spectacular, and like being on the raft, we felt so much more
at one with the environment, being out on horseback. What a great way to see this area.
It was a true highlight of our trip.  
We only took a one hour trail ride but we had view that looked across to the Grand Tetons
 as well as down into the valley of Jackson Hole.
 We were in a group of other riders that all turned out to be in a wedding party from Boston!  
So that was pretty funny, and we shared a few laughs along the trail.
Dave followed the guide on his horse, Chester.  
Chester was a big ole slow horse.  My horse, Nugget, was a finicky filly in a hurry.  
She had her nose up Chesters behind the entire ride, once kicking out her back legs
 as the guy behind me approached. Woah!! I was not in my comfort zone really,
 as I hadn't been on a horse since I was twelve.  So one hour was plenty of a trail ride for me.
 We left Spring Creek Ranch, which also happened to have been the place Dave and I stayed when we were here ten years ago!  My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and took their entire family out to Jackson Hole for a week!! It was such a great family vacation, one we will never forget.  These are the things that are so important for families, taking time to do things
and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Thanks mom and dad. 
You did that for our entire lives and it was awesome. 
Here is the pic of us all ten years ago in Jackson on the Snake River.
 My son Colin sits on the front of the raft in the "bull" position at age 13. 
 I am right behind him in the white ball cap, with Dave to my left padding in front of my dad.
My other two sons, Justin and Brandon are on the opposite side of the raft, 3rd and 4th in line from the lead paddler, my brother in law Tim, and my brother Brian behind him.  My two sisters flank my mom who is drenched, seated int he back of the boat.  This was simply a blast!
 After we left Spring Creek, we visited the Teton Village and had lunch.
The Teton Village is the ski resort and there are tons of condos and hotels and 
places to eat and shop.  Its a little village nestled at the foot of the mountains.
Lunch was followed by a nap and then back out to eat again.
 Dinner at Gun Barrel, which was filled with taxidermy of all types, which
lead to these silly pics.
If you want to feel small, look at a bison or a moose.  
 And in a blink it was over....
7 lovely days with my husband spent in the wild west had come to an end.  
Life was waiting for us back home.  
We had a French door to finish and a puppy to hug.
and train.....

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