Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bohemian rhapsody ...

I've been assisting my BFF with her wedding plans, and now the big day is just a month away.

Last weekend, we were finally able to go out together to shop for dresses. As the bride, she knew she needed to find THE dress, and I had to wait on her selection to secure mine.

That shopping expedition did cement one thing. We're going bohemian for this ceremony. The wedding is all outdoors ... ceremony and reception following. That eliminated anything heavy or long. It's just too hot during the Texas summer. But, I think the dress at left from Casual Wedding Dresses is perfectly cast for this event. Don't you?


 

We both love the look of Magnolia Pearl dresses (above). Who couldn't love these gems that are so feminine, definitely bohemian, cool and comfortable. But, they weren't exactly what the bride had in mind for this day. So, we kept on looking.



At last, my BFF found the style she was after. Short, white, blousy, boho dress with three-quarter sleeves. It's very similar to the looks above via I Wedding Dresses (left) and by Juicy Coutour (right).

I lost count, but I believe she purchased no less than six wedding day ensembles on our shopping trip. So, she still hasn't selected a dress for her special day. Although, she does have rows of shopping bags from which to choose. I am at least fairly certain of the theme (unless she goes out shopping again.)

Now, it's my turn to find something to wear. I'm going to whip out my sewing machine and create a bohemian look for my day as Matron of Honor. The bride mentioned her preference for incorporating a coral color, so off I go to the fabric shop.

The center of attention ...

The subject of wedding centerpieces keeps coming up in conversations with my friend who is about to marry.  It's an outdoor, picnic-themed wedding, and she'll be using colorful, vintage tablecloths to top the white floor-length cloths on the dining tables.



She and I have been collecting vintage tablecloths from every consignment shop and antique store we've visited over the last year. Now, she's asked me to come up with some ideas for casual, yet festive table centerpieces.


Photo above via All Women Stalk. Unknown source for image at right.


Mason canning jars keep floating to the top of the centerpiece candidates list. They are certainly at home in a picnic theme and can be decorated with twine, raffia or wire as shown in the photos above and below. Jars are charming vases for the wildflowers we have in mind and can serve as vessels for floating candles, too.  Images below via Emmaline Bride (left) and Brabourne Farm (right).

 

Thinking outside of the box, or jars as the case may be, creates new uses for other utilitarian objects. As long as there is a concealed container to hold the flowers in water, graters and bags can be used as unique wedding table centerpieces.

 

Images above via My Home Ideas (left) and Invitations & Decorations (right).



Porcelain pitchers are a great choice to hold flowers, too.


When I told the bride-to-be about carving little logs for the table centerpieces, she loved the idea. We may be drilling water wells in small sawn branches and purchasing a wood burning tool to embellish the bark with the wedding date and couple's initials.


Nasal passion ...

I will admit I have an obsession. It is the exotic scent of Tuberose. To be exact, it is the extract of the plant Polianthes Tuberosa.


Of course, the flower is undeniably beautiful, but it's the scent that sends me into an aphrodisiatic, drooling, weak-at-the-knees tailspin. I simple adore this fragrance, and when the opportunity arises, I buy a few stems which fill my home with an enticing, perfumed air.

Evidently manufacturers are aware of the tuberose's irresistable force, too.


 

If you have more money than scents (ha), visit the Private Collection of Estee Lauder for a sensual dose of this night bloomer in their Tuberose Gardenia line. Votivo also produces the alluring tuberosa fragrance in aromatic candles. Jo Malone also combines the two very heady fragrances of gardenia and tuberose in their Vintage Gardenia cologne. Ooh, aah!


I first discovered my passion for tuberose when I bought a bar of handmade soap in a San Francisco, California boutique years ago. Once the bar was used, I couldn't locate another soap of equal quality. So, I planted tuberose bulbs in my garden and nursed them throughout their first year. It wasn't a spectacular success, but the plants lived.





Year two was a dud, and my plants never bloomed.

If all things had been perfect, I could have made a haku lei like the one above (image via the Hula Supply Center), placed it upon my head and paraded around my yard with the sweet scent of my beloved tuberose swirling around me. Unfortunately, it was not to be. 





Early to bed ...

Weekends just beckon for napping on a daybed. In my mind, all of these are perfect places to host a mid-day snooze.


Daybed image via Belgian Pearls.


If we ever get another drop of rain, I would choose the daybed next to a big picture window for some Sunday afternoon dreaming to the sound of raindrops tapping on the glass.


Iron daybed photo via Chez LouLou.


I'm thinking a good book and a glass of wine are just about the only things missing for my total relaxation under a canopy of shady leaves. The iron daybed above would be a Provencal pleasure.



Image via Vosges Paris.


A soft cloud of pillows and surrounding linen draperies whisper an afternoon lullaby that would surely entice everyone in my household.

Okay, I'll admit I have taken an extended rest on workdays, too. I think photographer Karen Carey has the right idea below. Just add a daybed to the office.



I better stop. I'm starting to yawn and still have work to do ...

  

Barn raising ...

I'm convinced that I would love living in a converted barn. Sure, there are habitats with equal character, but I'm sure there are none as warm and inviting.


Barn photo via Yiangou Architects.

If I could find the perfect barn renovation project, I would want for no more than the stone structure above. Its beautiful wood beams and unadorned stone walls are my idea of heaven.


Barn conversion image via Carrier and Company.

Woods always ages beautifully, bringing warmth and personality to a barn conversion. The photo reflects the interior design work of Carrier and Company and speaks to the influence of wood in the overall design scheme. Rustic, simple pieces come together in a casual, welcoming space made for relaxation.


Photo via The New York Times.


A preference for painting barnwood white lends a cottage feel to this former home to horses and goats in New England. With the light palette shown in the photo above, furnishings take on a stronger role and artwork pops.



Photo from Classic French Homes.

I'm convinced that the French and English have barn renovations down to an art. What a beautiful bedroom! I love the original beam details that remain in the new room painted a snow white. This little French jewel is for sale. Yes, I'm ready to mooove in!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Slipcovers for summer ...

When it's time to lighten up with a summer palette, nothing does a better job than slipcovers.


The classic bones of traditional chairs are evident with tailored slipcovers in white cotton duck.
Image via Canadian Home & Country Magazine.


Those slipcovers don't need to be white to brighten a room. Just take a look at the image from Attic Magazine (above left). The blue and white gingham cover on the kitchen chair adds a lively element to the country design scheme. What fabulous attention to detail the ecru slipcover presents at right. It gets high marks for personality, too. Image via Southern Living Magazine.




Cottage decor is a perfect fit for slipcovers, but when tailored for a snug silhouette, they are right at home in a more formal setting, too. Photos via Pottery Barn (left) and Attic Magazine (right).

Of course, slipcovers are in their element in seasonal cottages at the lake or beach. They wear well, take lots of abuse throughout the summer and can be washed and readied for return visits before heading home.

What a beautiful look these slipcovers present at the dining table. Of course, the view is killer, too.

Photo at left via My Home Ideas.

Bathing in black & white ...

Not since the Romans introduced the world to the grandeur of their baths have we come close to replicating their decadance. But, I for one, would say that the baths in black and white below offer more temptation than most of us could resist.

Start carting in the marble, boys!



Black and white marble bath with a tub to die for. By designer Celerie Kemble.

Both of the baths above tick all the boxes for beautiful design. Photos via Art & Decoration Magazine (left) and Windsor Smith (right).


Send in the champagne while I soak in my bubble bath! If I drown, I will drown happy in this bath
photographed by Italian photographer Guido Barbagelata



Even with a decidedly urban take in the bath above, the materials, including the corrigated tin and glass shower enclosure, really appeal to me. Image via Remodelista. How I would love to own that sink!

Throw in the towel ...

Linen, hemp, flax ... these are a few of my absolutely favorite things, and I particularly love these fabrics as dish towels (and tea towels, too.)


Can you possibly feel more connected to the past or more in tune with earthly organics than when using these beautiful weaves?

Translyvania Linens is producing reproductions of French-inspired designs (shown at left in a image via Remodelista.) Above right, the photo via Hello Trade focuses on a traditional blue and white design.



Towels can step outside of their household chores to create simple, yet dynamic placesettings for informal dining like the image above via The Sweetest Occasion.



I wouldn't hesitate to throw a classic hemp towel on a rustic table as a tablerunner or placemat like those shown in the photo above from Decor de Provence.

The great thing about the natural fibers of hemp and flax is their supple hand and casual nature. I love to wear them (Flax), and I find their charm in home decor hard to resist.


Pillows made from antique towels and vintage grain sacks are equally at home in cottage decor and in modern industrial settings. Photos above via French Country Decor Guide (left) and French Larkspur (right) attest to their appeal.

Royal connections ...


Painting of the First Earl of Essex by Walter Devereux.
What, there are no painted portraits of royal ancestors in your castle ballroom? Too bad.

If you were a decendant of the First Earl of Essex, you could hang a canvas of this handsome chap and claim an impressive lineage. But, I'm guessing you don't have a ballroom either.

What to do? Shop for some great art that allows you to impress even without a pedigree.

I am thoroughly in love with the canvases (below) featured in a collection from Roche Bobois. This regal pair would look amazing in any room, but they are magnificently striking among the subdued tones of the salon.

You can create whatever familial ties you want to this faceless couple. They can cleverly adorn a room while incognito!  Perfect when you're simply tired of your mundane family and favor an 'enhanced' royal connection.



Did I mention my great, great, great uncle and aunt, the Duke and Duchesse of Hamsterdam, posed for these portraits? Oh, this could be fun. What a hoot!


Contemporary portraits of royals from Roche Bobois.

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