Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Country French Winter Decorating

In the weeks before Thanksgiving I start adding what I call "Winter Decor". 
 It sets the mood for the holiday season, but stays away 
from too much of a Christmas feel.
So I like to add lights and some greenery with ribbons.
I switched out the summery white curtains for grey ruffled sheers.
And candles in the windows. Love those candles.
Old silver trays and accents look pretty with the grey and white theme.
Its simple and elegant and rustic.  
Layer silver plates and trays on top of each other.
Sprinkle faux snow or add more greenery or pinecones.
A vintage chicken wire urn gets a simple
treatment with a bunch of faux iced branches with pinecones.
Later on I will switch the centerpiece for something more Christmassy.
 In the living room there is greenery, lights and ribbon on the mantle.
Because I had my granddaughter over I pulled out a tiny tree.  
Undecorated it has a winter woodland effect. 
Later on after Thanksgiving, or close to it, I will embellish things with 
ornaments and make it more, more, more!!  I select ribbon based upon 
fabrics and colors in the room for a serene look.  My father, however,
 would be saying put on some RED ribbon!! He is a traditionalist.
 The small battery operated twinkle lights can give anything a magical feel.
A garden topiary form with grapevine that I found antiquing in Maine with my sister
was scooped up and brought home and put on my petite French desk.  Take a second look
at your garden accessories and bring them indoors and wrap them with lights! 
 There was one exception to the early Christmas, 
and its this tinsel tree with pink pearl garland
that is sitting on my gilded Florentine chest of drawers.  
Little pink velvet pumpkins nestled underneath will hang around 'til Thanksgiving. 
 Pink bottle brush stars with pearls ornament the drawers, 
all in an effort to enchant my little one.
 Reeve is now almost two and a half, and she is obsessed with all things Frozen.
Particularly Elsa!  We both love it, its the cutest movie, and now Frozen 2 is coming
out.  I love the Scandinavian clothes and set designs in the castle, its inspiring!
Hope this inspires you to get decorating your home so that when Thanksgiving is over,
you are ahead of the game and can enjoy decorating at a leisurely pace.

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Our Lake House Inspiration Board

Its been months and months of planning for the lake house that we
plan to build next year in New Hampshire.  Dream homes come in 
many shapes, sizes, styles and prices and ours is a modest one,
but a dream home nonetheless!
I have a lot of experience buying a home and redoing it, but never
have we built a home, and so this is exciting but a different process.
We are using a modular company that will build this house to our
specifications, and it needs to conform to the allowances by the town.
When I saw this home of @featherglass on Instagram, it struck me that it was very
similar to the design we had going on our drawing board.
We will have windows flanking a French door topped with transoms facing
 the lake, with a side staircase, similar to her home, also in New England.
Her home has more doors and windows, but this photo is indicative of our plan.
It was so nice to see a house in real life that mimics one on a drawing board.
Our floor plan is very open with the kitchen, dining space, and living room all
in one big room.  We will have our sofas and tv and fireplace in the area closest 
to the wall of windows and French doors, while the kitchen and dining area
will be on the other side of the room. Ellen, of @featherglass has her
 dining table near her staircase, where we will have a sitting area of toile furnishings.
 Most of our existing furniture will be coming with us if it fits in the house and we 
can use it and it looks good.  We aren't millionaires (yet) and so this is the furniture plan. 
 There will be two separate seating areas in the living room.

We love these IKEA Extorp sofa and love seat in beige we purchased two years ago.
They will be centered around a fireplace with an antique mantel creating a cozy space
for our long winters on the lake.
 An antique mantel will be something we will hunt for to give the house some character,
like this one I saw on eBay. So many antique shops up there, so it will be fun to find the right one,
that fits the style we are going for, which is more farmhouse than fancy.
 Then there will be a second seating area facing the French doors that open to the lake,
which will be lovely during the summer with the doors flung open to the deck and the view. 
This personal favorite fabric, Bosphorous Toile by Covington, 
will be made into a slipcover for the new purple sofa that we recently 
got from an estate sale.  I love it's soft gentle colors of sand, grey and misty green.
 The seating area will include the French bergere chair and ottoman that
 wears the same fabric which I did several years ago.
On my wish list is a fun and coveted piece, like this French Pastry table, that I can use as a
bar and serving table for entertaining.  It will be one of the few "new" things 
that I hope to find for the lake house.
The color of the walls will be white. There is not a lot of wallspace in the room and we 
don't want an outline of color around all the doors, windows and transoms. 
We want the lake and the trees to be the focal point and
 this color will create a serene feel to the space.
A reupholstery project for the dining room chairs is underway, using
this pale blue gingham check by Lilyoake designs at Spoonflower.
Much of my antique lighting will come along, like this basket chandelier.
And this square lantern will hang in the front entryway.
Vintage lighting is one of the things I like best when decorating a home.
Overall there will be less fancy French gilded things.
 Less things in general. Which is a challenge for me!

The goal is simplicity and comfort with the addition of a few well chosen antiques
to create that age that I think gives a home soul.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

A Garden tour at a French Country Estate in Newport Rhode Island

Matthew Mead took me to a book launch party last month. 
It was held  at the French Country estate of retired food editor of 
Bon Appetit magazine, Bettie Bearden Pardee. 
Bettie is the author of the blog Private Newport, 
and gives her readers the insider view of wonderful Newport Rhode Island.
Bettie is featured in the new book, Entertaining at Home, by Ronda Carmen. 
 Matthew was the principal photographer and I shared many fascinating chats with him 
as he traveled the country shooting the homes of designers 
as they showed him how they entertain at home.  
Ronda's book is just wonderful~ you will be inspired with all the entertaining ideas
and recipes and ways you can invite others to your home to party in so many ways!
Join us as we step behind the gated entrance of this truly magical French Country home
and poke around her gardens and outbuildings soaking it all in.
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Monday, September 23, 2019

Pumpkin Punchbowl Centerpiece

 The first day of fall has arrived in New England, and so we say goodbye to our short lovely summer.
 The nights have been cooler and the days have been pleasant, but these nice fall days are
fleeting as well, and winter weather will be next.  But until then, lets dive into decorating for
fall.  I am not a big fan of too much fall decor around the house, but one thing I do
love are the pretty fabric pumpkins that are everywhere!  Over the last several years
I have either purchased them or made my own using all kinds of materials.
 For a nice and easy centerpiece I assembled them all in my silver punch bowl that I found at the Brimfield Antique Fair.  This punchbowl has been so much fun to use for centerpieces for the various
holidays.  Everything looks good in it!  This year I picked up some pink velvet pumpkins and a tiny blue floral pumpkin, both from contacts I have online on Facebook and Instagram.  My blogging and Instagram friend, Larissa Jenkins, has a cute Etsy shop and she sold her pink velvet pumpkins there.  Her blog, Welch House 1900, is on my sidebar if you want to visit her incredible old house 
and see the masterful decorating in the style of  Glamorous French Vintage style.  
The blue pumpkin I noticed on a Facebook post was being sold by the beautiful shop called Vignettes in San Diego.  I reached out and left a note that I wanted it...the shop owner quickly contacted me with her phone number and the next thing you know, 
here it is in my punch bowl like the cherry on top of a sundae! 
This was last year's thanksgiving centerpiece using many of the pumpkins I made myself,
and some velvet pumpkins I found at Homegoods. 
 We are having a party for my mother in law to celebrate her 90th birthday,
so I made a grand buffet tablecloth for our dining room out of a pale grey and cream toile.
The centerpiece looked really nice on the cloth, and I plan to use some of my vintage silver
trays for the party to give it that fancy vintage look I love.
Making my own pumpkins is a lot of fun, as I get to use leftover home decor fabrics or
I upcycle velvets from old clothing like jogging suits and fashion them into cute pumpkins.
Enjoy the links below for either making your own or visiting independent shops and blogs
that I find very inspiring! 

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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Country Home Magazine Shoot on Cape Cod

 Life is sooo glamorous these days!
During the week, sandwiched between babysitting
for my 2 year old monkey Reeve (which entails peanut butter sandwiches and diaper changes), 
I was invited to be a model and play a "guest" at a photo shoot for Country Home magazine
 by my friend Matthew Mead, the multitalented superstar in the magazine and book industry.  Matthew was producing this segment for CH and the location was 
my friend Sandra's beautiful home on Cape Cod.
 Sandra's home is quite famous now.
It has appeared in several magazines and has a devoted following on
Even I wrote a blog post about it with lots of pics when I first visited it after 
both of our homes were featured in Matthew Mead's DECORATING magazine together.
 This house overlooks Old Silver Beach and its simply spectacular inside and out!
The CH shoot was about a summer Pie Party on Cape Cod.  
Just like a little movie, the magazine shoot has a script and Matthew Mead was the producer. 
 He advised me to come in a blue and white gingham shirt and to arrive at noon.
This side porch was to be the setting for the "Pie Party", and it is a porch I know well,
as I have slumbered in the dreamy room that leads out onto the stone pillared porch.
Yup, this is MY ROOM when I stay at Sandra's!! Yummy!!
There are French doors to the right that lead to the side porch.
So when I arrived I walked through my bedroom (lol)
and this was the scene, with the ocean as a backdrop.
While Matthew was getting the props together for the shoot, I grabbed
a pic of him with our hostess.  Matthew was going to have one of the pies
cut up and placed on the antique blue and white plates that all the "guests"
were to gobble up while being photographed. Ha! Have you ever seen 
pictures of people actually eating?  I myself cannot wait to see how we all
look at this Pie Party, eating and laughing at the same time!
Sandra Cavallo, Amy Chalmers, Ellen McHale
One of the other guests is also one of my favorite people, artist Ellen McHale.
I met both Sandra and Ellen through Matthew 
when he was doing his own magazines on decorating several years ago. 
 Flashback to 2015.
This is the night we all met up at a party I threw for Matthew Mead 
for the magazine launch at my old shop Maison Decor.  
We had so much fun that night, laughing our heads off.
We have remained good friends and our point of connection is style guru Matthew.
 We aren't supposed to share too much of the actual shoot, but I wanted
to show you part of the styling Matthew did.
 Those antique silver glasses were scooped up by Sandra 
at an antique place and they have quite a story to them. 
 They are sailing trophy glasses from the Beverly Yacht Club.
Her kids are into sailing and she loves anything that has a meaningful story behind it, like I do.
Which is why we both are drawn to using vintage in home decor, its so much more interesting!
 He also used a fabric by the fabric designer Paula Arndt 
that is similar to the one I upholstered my Swedish trundle bed. 
You can order fabrics and samples from her Spoonflower account. 
 I ended up choosing the faded blueberry gingham
at the top for my sofa.  Isn't it pretty? 
You can see it in the background at my dining room table. 
Anyway....I digress.
 Ok, here is one shot including a pie....
but really, look at the porch view!! 

For the last scene we shot, we were all sitting out on Sandra's lawn in the 
old weathered Adirondack chairs and waiting to be handed plates of pie. 
That will be one of the shots in next summer's issue of Country Home magazine.
Which is something to look forward to after the fall and very long 
New England winter....sigh.

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Monday, September 2, 2019

Decorating Changes

Our living room has gone through some decorating changes this summer.
It all began with selling the painted baby grand piano.
Since we are planning to move to our lake home one day, (which is yet to be built),
I decided to sell off a few things we wouldn't be taking,
 like the piano to get prepared for the eventual move.
Then we impulsively bought a lilac colored sofa at an estate sale auction 
and played with where to put the sofa, since the piano was gone. 
Yes I said "WE", as hubs egged me on to buy it because it looked
much more comfortable than the Swedish couch we had.
 Also. the lilac of the sofa and the blue color of the wall just was a bit too much
for my taste, and I hated how the sofa looked against the staircase banister.
So that was going to have to change....

The couch went back between the windows, but not before I 
painted the walls a neutral color, French Canvas, by Benjamin Moore.
The corner where the piano was gained the mora clock from the front
entry area and the small French provincial desk.  
The Swedish trundle bed/sofa that started off in the living room last year,
was moved to the dining room for seating along the farm table.
I have been reupholstering it in a blue and white gingham.
I painted a pastoral mural to hang above it, however it ended up being moved
into the living room as seen in the previous pic above.  One thing leads to another,
and our home hasn't seen this much decorating activity in a long time.
A mirror and the opaline sconces got moved over the Swedish sofa.
This was the same mirror that hung on that wall shown in 
Nora Murphy's County House Style book.
An arrangement of purple transferware plates surrounded the mirror.
So it's been a full summer of moving furniture around and painting walls.
I have more changes to share but I will end it here, 
wishing you all a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!
We are visiting the lake cottage these last days of 
August, taking some needed family time with hubs and the kids,
before the school year begins and everyone is back on the wheel.
Goodbye summer and hello to the cool fall days that 
have quickly arrived in New England.

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