Saturday, October 29, 2011

Living on limestone ...

There are drawbacks to having your property perched on limestone, like when it's time to plant, or dig for any reason. But, I adore the look of limestone, and the upside is the beauty of the rock when taken from the earth to fashion homes and hearths.

Contemporary Hill Country design continues to use limestone construction materials.
Image via Love Where You Live.

Texas Hill Country vernacular architecture is a beautiful mix of limestone and cedar that early German settlers used in their construction to carry the natural textures of the land throughout the built environment. 

Image via Elle Decor.

Stacked limestone walls are a hallmark of Texas Hill Country design. While a necessity in the early construction methods of historic homes, today's designers and builders continue to translate the rustic beauty of the landscape to the interior of many new builds in the region. 

Image via Metropolitan Home magazine.

Limestone fireplaces evoke a warm, happy hearth and home. Equally at ease in a contemporary space (above) or traditional ranch (below), limestone blends gracefully in just about any design scheme. 

It's interesting that so many people familiar with both often compare the Texas Hill Country with the Provence region of France. There is a remarkable similarity, including: terrain, temperature, crops, and the proclivity for limestone building construction.

Images above and below via Euro Trash.

"Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam," and where the light from the chandelier does play. Move this yummy French guest house to my place or get me there ASAP. I'm in love. And, yes, I'd like to keep the horse, too.

Images above via Euro Trash.

Now, do you see how limestone love can be contagious?

Light my fire ...

What's the next best thing to a campfire? No guessing. I'll give you the answer ... a backyard fire pit. With a historic drought in our state and a burn ban in effect, the most we can light up outdoors right now is a grill. But, I'm thinking ...

Fire pit image via Pinterest.

It would be lovely to invite friends and family to gather around for a marshmallow roast, wearing big bulky sweaters and holding a foamy hot chocolate cupped in our hands. Sublime little vision!

Image via HGTV.

It's not too late to build a fire pit for this season. It seems that a fire pit is an easy build in just a few hours using precast concrete paving stones. Most of the big box home improvement stores carry them in stock, and you have the option of dry stacking the pavers or setting them in place with mortar.

How to build a fire pit. Images via Home Road.

Maybe a modern fire bowl would be the better solution when DIY is not an option. Both of the bowls shown below come with easy to use instructions.


Images above: hemispherical Firebowl Hemi 36 from Solus (left) and Pinterest (right).

Image via El Dorado Stone.

Stacked limestone would be a beautiful solution on a paved patio or tiled stone terrace.

Image via Houzz.

For the truly adventurous DIYer, why not build forms and pour concrete for a fire trough. What a beauty! Then, you can even host backyard fires on a wood deck.

Fall's faux fur ...

Now that we finally have some cooler weather, I can actually think about this year's bounty of faux fur. Fashionistas are sporting the season's luxe fakes on everything from shawls and coats to vests and boots.

Image via Love Fashion Pics.

The streets of Paris offer the best glimpse of faux fur for this season. Above, Chanel's smoky gray 'fur' scarf beautifully accessorizes this winter's best looks. 

Faux fur image via Style Hive.

A full length faux fur can glam any style. I think it rocks with jeans! Whether you're in Paris strolling through the Tuileries Garden (above) or hitting the streets of New York (below), its a 'haute' look that raises the bar of 'cool.'

Image via Logical Harmony.

Below, Fashion Week in Paris reflected the fun of faux fur on the streets as well as on the catwalk.

Images above via Ultra Style (left) and Vera Wang (right).

Faux fur booties image via Discount Women's Dress Shoes.

I love, love suede and faux fur boots. So much so, I bought myself some boots a few weeks ago similar to the ones above. Mine are knee-highs rather than booties, but just the same, I can't wait for the weather to cooperate so I can wear them!

Faux fur throws from Restoration Hardware.

Any guys who love the feel of fur, but have reservations about wearing their desire, might consider a faux throw. I know I would love the luxury of snuggling under any one of the lovelies from Restoration Hardware.

Dreamy dress forms ...

I've previously posted about my love for dress forms, and have even tried my hand at creating one from paper mâché. It won't ever be used for dress-making, but it makes for an interesting, life-sized sculpture!

There's a hauntingly beautiful magnetism found in a vintage dress form waiting for the arrival of its ghostly seamstress.

Seamstress form for sale on Etsy.

The rare gentlemen's form, circa 1900, was for sale on Etsy some time back. The bidding got too high for my pocketbook, but what a spectacular specimen for the winning bidder.

Dress form image by photographer Mandy Lynne.

Photographer's find the vintage dress form equally artistic, and I'm so happy that they share my eye.

Vintage dress form images via Love Stitching Red.

Dress forms (above) in the hands of blogger and textile artist Carolyn Saxby take on feminine personas when embellished with jewelry and lace. 

Image via Trouvais.

The full dress form above (circa 1909) reminds me that even with dieting and exercise, I never would have squeezed into the fitted waistlines of the time.

Image via Modern 50.

Ready to teach a sewing class, or just look like you do? If so, you might want to purchase or rent this well-worn form with a sunny disposition from Modern 50, a great little website with every vintage item you can think of for sale or rent. 

Image via Lori Miller Design.

Lori Miller has taken her interest in everything old to create a collection of greeting cards designed exclusively for those who love all things vintage. So, of course, she has included her dress form photos as sweet cards available through her website.

Autumn centerpieces ...

I've begun to plan an autumn centerpiece for my dining table that will take us through Thanksgiving. I'm particularly interested in using some lovely pheasant feathers that I have in my studio just waiting for their debut in a great arrangement.

Image via Houzz.

A sweet, simple vase with pheasant feathers and floral stems is a super simple autumn centerpiece, and if you have a hunt theme, these elements are perfectly suited.

The nice thing about an autumn centerpiece is its decorative lifespan as a warm, inviting room accessory after it's finished with tabletop duty. Both of the arrangements above were designed by the Silky Flower Store.

Image via Stone Gable.

I might want to go dramatic with a vintage urn, gorgeous pheasant feathers, dried hydrangeas and hints of holiday elements in a metallic finish for extra flair. I really like the one above created by Stone Gable for their photo shoot.

Image via In Decorating.

Looking for a simple Thanksgiving centerpiece? Surround a glass hurricane and candle with mini corn cobs and wrap with humble twine to create a welcoming harvest theme.

Image via Studio Ten 25.

Centerpieces can have a dramatic impact with little fuss. Take a simple copper pot and place a gourd in the center. Surround the gourd with floral foam and place berry stems and flowers in the foam. Easy project. Great rustic character!

So many choices ... I'm off to forage for centerpiece supplies.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Please come in ...

There is nothing I enjoy more that inviting guests into my home. In a perfect world, I'd have a grand foyer to create a sense of welcome and warmth at our entry.

Image via Elle Decor.

It would be so nice to have lots of space to include a hall of some proportion at the front entrance, like those entry foyers shown above and below.

Image via Emulty.

But, we all work with what we have to create an inviting space (albeit sometimes small) to greet visitors.

Image via Casa Sugar.

Just because it's not a voluminous space doesn't mean the entry can't have character. It's a great space to introduce personal touches that communicate your individual aesthetic.

Image via Willow Decor.

I'm particularly fond of the way country cottage charm is related in an entry. Rustic elements seem so at home in a foyer. In the photos above and below, farm implements and worn, wooden occasional pieces feel genuinely welcoming.

Image via Zeo Spot.
And, if the entry opens directly into a living room, well-placed furnishings tie them together beautifully.

Image via Country Living.


Looking at my chest ...

Is there hope for a less that perfect chest? Absolutely! I took a bland white chest of drawers that had served two of my daughters from kindergarten to college and gave it an old world spirit.

Standard ho-hum white chest before.

I started with help from my dear hubby who lifted the top off, pulled the top drawer out, cut down the side and back and replaced the top to make a shorter chest.

The next steps were my project playtime with the application of layers upon layers of paints and glazes with light sanding in between to create depth and age. Then, I stenciled, sanded, glazed and gilded to give it a sense of history and the appearance of a century of wear and tear.

Now, the sweet chest adds some much admired character to our guest room. It makes a perfect bedside partner to our antique Indian mirror.

It's fun to see what other refinishing techniques have been used on plain white chests to create 'after' effects that are 'wow' worthy.

Image via Be Colorful.

A brilliant use of chalkboard paint and gray trim (above) creates an outstanding chest renovation.

Image via Elle Decor.

Elle Decor features a chest refinishing project (above) that takes the banal to a beautiful state.

Image via Home Furniture.

Okay, if you have tons of inspiration, more than average talent and lots of time on your hands, it just doesn't get much better than this crazy, cool Moroccan-esque treatment.  Kisses ...

Framed to perfection ...

When is a bed frame more than just functional? For me, its when the beauty and craftsmanship from head to foot, and that which lies between, becomes art. I want a bed frame that lures me to sleep rather than lulls me there.

My heart has always belonged to iron beds, but I am really taken with the beauty of elegantly carved wood headboards and footboards.

Photo of guest room at the Villa Borgo Santo Pietro in Chiusdino, Italy.

What an amazingly beautiful baroque fantasy. The Grand Suite at Villa Borgo Santo Pietro (above) offers an exquisitely carved bed for guests. Oh yeah, this is my idea of a good night in Tuscany!

This beauty has been sold, but it was listed on Ebay!

What could be more lavish than a bed with a French pedigree? I'm sure slumber is so much better in a carved bed frame in French Blue (above) or gold gilding (below). 

Images via Graham and Green (above) and Tobi Fairley (below).

Even the simplicity of a upholstered, carved headboard sends me to a happy place.  Upholstered in a neutral fabric with textural interest like Dupioni silk, cotton velvet or even wool, upholstered bed frames offer a quiet elegance that I find charming. 

Image via Sweet Pea and Willow.

There's nothing like a four poster bed for drama.

Image via The Right Bank.

Talk about allure. Draped in sheers, this four poster makes its presence known with a bit of a gypsy flair. (I do envision some bruised shins on those crazy logs below!) Tell me this bed wouldn't appeal to both sexes. It has just enough sass, spirit and casual elan to make a bedroom magical.

Sweet dreams, my love!

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