Saturday, June 25, 2011

Island hopping ...

No, my island hopping has not included some tropical destinations. Rather, the islands I've been visiting are in truly fabulous kitchen photos that I've collected over time.

Aloha, good looking! My heart is a fluttering just looking at the zinc-topped island below, and the rustic kitchen isn't to shabby either!

Photos above and below from Elle Decor.

I am simply a Country French devotee evidenced by my cuisine love above. The marble-topped island provides plenty of work space and a convenient prep sink.


Next time you visit IKEA, take time to admire their handsome and attractive kitchens. I would be more than happy to take this island (above left) home. Dallas interior designer Lisa Luby Ryan wins today's island lust parade with the antique, wooden storage table (above right).

Before we leave the islands, I want you to see one more gorgeous heartthrob. This image from Cote de Texas proves that marble makes every surface look better. The casual shaker style cupboards and island cabinetry rise to any occasion, casual to formal, with the use of a handsome Carrera Marble.

Tickled pink ...

Six months into 'Honeysuckle Pink' as Pantone's Color of the Year, and I'm still not tired of the shade. Amazing! Mind you, I prefer pink in small doses, and it seems others of like mind enjoy honeysuckle as accents, too.

Ooh la la. The Paris Apartment image hits the mark with a perfect balance of pink color.
With neutrals as a background, pink seems to work beautifully. What I love about the apartment above is the chameleon approach to accessorizing the space. When Pantone selects next year's shade, new pillows and throws can be introduced to highlight new trends.

The pink sofa below is a showstopper amongst the neutrals and textural elements in the room. Oodles of natural light in the room above and below reinforce the pops of pink.

Photo source unknown.
Those far more brave than I will appreciate the dramatic decorative approach below. Is it just me, or is pink's intensity at maximum capacity against a Reflex Blue wall color?

Pink, tufted canapy is vividly captured in this photo from Design Blog 1969.

Far from subtle, the 'Barbie Suite' at Las Vegas' Palms Casino Resort captures the true essence of the doll and Pepto-Bismol, all at the same time. I'm feeling a bit of heartburn, indigestion and upset stomach just looking at this room. Exactly, who would request the suite below?

Is there any real chance Ken would enjoy his stay here?

Just give me a lovely vase of hydrageas, and I'm tickled pink.

Up against the wall ...

The last time my portrait was painted, I was four or five years old. Actually, it's quite a good likeness. But, it really doesn't have the artistic impact needed to capture and hold attention in a room, which is why I've decided to include more large canvases in my home.

Wouldn't a bold visual like the one above (via The Diversion Project) be a great addition to a space? I would certainly love to own it.

The painterly style of portraits can cover lots of artistic periods, mediums and color palettes ... just about all suit my taste. I'm not sure why I gravitate to the human form over other subjects, but like a moth to flame, I'm hooked.


Yesteryear's charm is evident in the portrait shown in the photo at left via The Diversion Project. Dining with ancestors would be great fun! At right, portraiture with a modern approach becomes the focus in a sitting room featured in Shelter.

Oh, Mona, you know how to jazz up a room! I am totally in love with the larger-than-life graphic photo trend that has taken art to 'everyman' thanks to large format printing capabilities. Somehow, I'm sure Leonardo da Vinci would have been happy soaking in a tub under the watchful gaze of his muse. Image via Elle Decor

My new 4' x 4' giclee on canvas 

Above is my newest art addition. I'm quite fond of this reproduction that's resting in the foyer. Its eventual home will most likely be in the guest room, but for now this chap seems happy to have a prime viewing spot near Venus.

You probably aren't wondering about my portrait that I mentioned earlier, but for those curious minds, here I am ...

A very young Alamodeus captured on canvas.

 Ah, to be forever young!

Upon reflection ...

I like mirrors as art! With bold frames and creative placement, mirrors add architectural design, dimension and light to a room in a way that no other element can.

Designer Tom Scheerer shows his masterful touch with mirrors in the photo above. What a lovely, subdued color palette reminiscent of buttercream.

Layered mirrors are magical, particularly over a fireplace mantle. I like the distinctly different styles of the mirrors (above) found in the Brooklyn townhouse of artists Elliott Puckette and Hugo Guinness. Their home is featured in the new Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People book. Image via Habitually Chic.

In my mind, layering mirrors multiplies the design effect as well! The photos above confirm that there is strength in numbers. From tabletop to wall, mirrors set an elegant tone in the image (at left) from Simple Everyday Glamour. At right, Elle Decor does not disappoint with the Moroccan-inspired, mirrored wall. That is one amazingly beautiful marriage of form and function!


Sure, the two ornately-framed, antique mirrors above would send you running for a bank loan, but they are strikingly beautiful and worth every penny, don't you think? Images via Remodelista (left) and Cast Stone Effects (right).

Who's the fairest of them all?

Leaving it all on the table ...

My father would always say, "A place for everything, and everything in its place." Sometimes, the best place for everything is on a convenient tabletop.

Excluding dust, I like having our surfaces filled with family memorabilia, art, books and (much to my hubby's dismay) magazines. A problem arises due to the fact that I have no knack for creating intriguing vignettes or tabletop displays.

Oh, how nice it would be to have merchandising skills that tell a story or establish a theme. Kudos to the stylist who drew inspiration from the sea for the shot below.

Image via Style at Home.

I'm not sure which I like more, the gutsy, lavender console table or the collections that reside on and under the tabletop. As I look at the photo above from Design Manifest, I want to meet the home's (no doubt interesting) owner. Vignette love!

Understated beauty is at work in both of the images above. At left, photographer Jeff McNamara has captured my idea of refinement and taste. Sure, I have skirted round tables like this one at home, two of similar size to be exact. Neither of mine exhibit the classical flair attained here. This one was certainly designed to be swoon-worthy. At right, a minimalist restraint is evident in the photo via The Diversion Project. The table decor here has a dramatic charisma.

Oh, give me a refectory table, and I'll pull out all of my baskets and worthy possessions to give it a humble, yet beautiful, personality. And, to think that dust not only makes it better, but it's expected! Photo from The Paris Apartment.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Office slump ...

If you spend most hours of your day working in an office as I do, you have no doubt experienced the 'office slump.' You'll recognize the symptoms - a desire to rearrange, change out the wall color and art, get a new chair, buy colorful file folders, etc., but have no clue how to marry function and form within your budget.

This image from Home Design Decorates shows a home office not much different from our own.
Our desks and chairs are in stained woods, rather than white finishes.

I have a roomy home office with lots of natural light and ample space for both hubby and me to work at each of our individual L-shaped desks with plenty of file drawers, additional worktables, armoire storage and guest seating. But, the room lacks color and the task lighting leaves a lot to be desired. I'm in an office slump!

Apparently, there is a modern maven inside me yearning for a sleek space like those above. I have no clue where office stuff is stored in the workspace owned and designed by Marie Olsson Nylander (left), but it looks delicious! I'm equally afflicted with 'I Wantism' when viewing the two-seater home office (right) via Happy To Be At Home.

Maybe I would be cured if I could find a way to go paperless and declutter my office. I would love to have a clean, spare space with loads of good looks like the one shown above from The Design Fairy.

Glam 'his and hers' desks and textured wall treatments (shown above) make my heart sing. At left, designer Ron Marvin flaunts the masculine side in Lonny Magazine. A sunny space with Asian influence is featured in Elle Decor (right).

Perhaps, I just need to add some colorful accents to create an inspirational workspace. Image above via Home Office Decoration.

Image via The Design Fairy.

Today, I feel like I want the diva design treatment shown above. I'm not sure that hubby could ever be convinced ... although he does like blue, he's just not the 'diva' type. Oh well ...

Pallet potential ...

After receiving some heavy shipments, we have been left with several wooden pallets. Recycle, you say? Sure, that's just what I have in mind. I'm thinking there are some incredibly beautiful upcycling treatments that may be a project-in-waiting.

Isn't this the coolest outdoor swing you can imagine? I love it. What a brilliant recycling effort shown via Relax Shacks. It looks absolutely awesome in the tropical setting seen in the photo.

The image via Alternative Consumer (above left) gives me a great idea for constructing an impressive storage armoir. An industrial coffee table seems like an easy transition for a stained pallet. Photo via Pinterest.

Pallets as architectural elements? Absolutely brilliant idea. As shown in the photo above, pallets have been transformed into exterior shades and moveable shutters to manage light and heat. Even if they served no purpose, these modern elements are a beautiful architectural feature. Image from Wooden Pallets For Sale.

The uber hip, deconstructed look of pallets has not been lost on retail establishments. Just check out the pallet facade on the trendy Matteo Outlet in Los Angeles (above left) or the wall of pallets at Vessel Garden.

Are there large volume discounts for sandpaper? I sure hope so!

Clinking in the closet ...

Grandfather's bistro wine glass with grape etching.
Every moment spent at my maternal grandparent's house was fun and memorable. I adored being at their home, filled with an enormous amount love, laughter and an endless supply of good, homecooked food!

This special place in my heart also held a magical closet filled with my favorite toys, and oddly enough, my grandfather's favorite wine.

My grandfather was a humble man of simple taste, and his evening glass of wine always came from a jug stored in that closet. I watched with fascination as he would pour the dark, red wine into a beautifully etched bistro glass that has since passed through the family to me.

His sweet bistro glass is one of my very favorite family pieces.  Even though I've inheirited multiple sets of lovely wine goblets and sherry glasses, none are as magical as that little glass. Since neither of my parents drank wine, I guess I acquired my grandfather's enjoyment of the vine along with the glassware.


Photo of the classic French Picardie Bistro Glass (above left) from World Market. Above right, Sutton Fitzgerald offers their etched glassware for purchase online.

As you can imagine, I have a special fondness for bistro wine glasses. While they never went out of style in the Old Country (pick any spot on a map of Europe), Americans never really appreciated the utility and beauty of this glassware until recently. Now, these stemless beauties are gaining phenomenal ground in the marketplace and can be found in the trendiest of restaurants and bars.

The Swan Antiques have for sale some 19th century, squat stemmed glasses (shown above) at their shop in the UK, which can be purchased online. I'm quite fond of their lovely antique charm, too.

I do tend to use our stemware for wine tastings and soirees at our house, and I don't keep my wine among the toys and winter coats. But, I do keep grandfather's aged, bistro glass safely in the cupboard until it is time for a special toast!

I will always remember the good things that came clinking out of my grandparents' storage closet, including my fondness for wine!

Locavore suppers ...

Becoming a locavore is really all about becoming conscious of the foods we eat, knowing where and how our foods are grown. The steps we take to eat locally produced food can benefit our health, protect the environment and support small farmers in our area.

With the public's growing participation in the local food movement, numerous Farmer's Markets have sprung up in the U.S. in recent years. Of course, we're just finding out what our friends in Europe have known for ages ... fresh fruits, vegetables and livestock sourced from family farms footsteps from the city is far better than anything harvested hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away and transported at a cost to our environment.

Related to the locavore movement is the phenomenal rise in Farm to Table restaurants and supper clubs that are bridging the gap between farmers and chefs.

You can't go to the internet without tripping over hundreds of establishments that offer sustainable suppers at some charming farm or amazing, historic venue. So, I've plucked out a few that were recommended in Bon Appetit and have a web presence you can check out. Enjoy!

First, the mother of all locavore dinner programs that has a serious wait list for tickets:

Outstanding In The Field
Travels to locations across the United States and Canada

Dai Due Supper Club, Austin, Texas

Dai Due Supper Club
Austin, Texas: Held weekly

Peaceful Belly
Boise, Idaho: Held June to September

Photo from Peaceful Belly, Boise, Idaho

Meadowlark Farm Dinners
Boulder, Colorado: Held June to October

Guerrilla Cuisine
Charleston, South Carolina: Held monthly

Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery
Champaign, Illinois: Held every other week from spring to fall

Plate & Pitchfork
Portland, Oregon: Held in July and August

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