Saturday, July 28, 2012

Aqua, turquoise or teal ...

I wonder how many times I have interchanged the names of aqua, turquoise and teal when referring to shades of blue/green. I'm probably not the only one who has erred when trying to pluck out the right color description. So, this is for all of us who want to make amends and get it right from this day forward.

Not everyone will have their monitors adjusted the same, so there will be some differences as we each look at the colors above, but I'll try to describe them as best as I can.

The word itself comes from the Greek word kýanos (which we now call cyan), meaning blue. Aqua is considered a secondary color about half way between blue and green on the color wheel.

Like the wall colors in the rooms below, aqua can be bright and vivid in electric hues or a watery pastel.

Image via Decor Pad

Image via 2 Move Home

Image via Eclectic Revisited

Image via My Mod Style

The word 'turquoise' is French and was first used to describe the gemstone commercialized by the Turkish (and now more identified with the American southwest). On the color wheel it is a green with blue tone and ranges from soft, pale colors to vibrant, intense shades.

This is my personal favorite in the color block, and I think the more lively, the better!

Image via Coco Cozy

Image via Once in a Blue Room

Image via Country Living

Image via Eclectic Living Home

Image via Iasara

Teal is a low saturation color that is as often called teal-blue as it is teal-green. It is a moniker given by the English to a shade that replicates the color surrounding the eyes of a 'Teal Duck.' It incorporates black or gray pigment into the combination of blue and green to create a rich, warm and inviting color profile.

Image via House and Home

Image via House Beautiful

Image via Four Walls and a Roof

Image via Apartments I Like

 Okay class, there will be a test later!

Wash day wonders ...

Only a few decades ago a room devoted to wash day chores was a rarity. Today, a laundry room is standard in most American homes, and these spaces are modern and luxurious.

Image via Shelterness

While I'm totally content with my less-than-opulent laundry facilities, truly useful washing centers (even mine) all have common denominators: good appliances, ample space to sort and fold, room to hang clothes that need pressing and space to house ironing equipment and storage for supplies. 


Images above via Best Laundry Room Ideas.

Good lighting is also key so stains can easily be seen and pre-treated, and we can all agree that a bright, cheerful space makes the washing duties far less grim.

Images above via Best Laundry Room Ideas.

It's amazing how a bit of paint and some personal decor can reflect a homeowner's personal taste even in such a utilitarian space.

Image above by designer Sarah Richardson

While these rooms may be all about function, form is what sets them apart as pleasant spaces for the most mundane of tasks.

Image via Shelterness

It's not that I plan to spend my non-washing hours in my laundry room, but a welcoming space certainly takes some of the drudgery out of these duties, particularly if other functions are accommodated in the same area.

Image via Laundry Room Ideas

I love the designer touches found in all of the laundry rooms pictured here.

Image via Shelterness

I'm beginning to feel a bit inspired to hang some art in my laundry and, perhaps, give the shelving a new coat of paint, too.

Image via House Beautiful

What I like best about my little room is the ability to close it off and hide the clothes awaiting ironing. I'd say these barn doors accomplish the same thing beautifully.

London calling ...

It would be great fun to be in London for the Olympics right now. Instead I'll be watching the coverage on television and hoping to get a glimpse of one of the world's great cities between sporting events.

To get in the spirit of this UK travel destination, a clever London map bracelet might be just the ticket! 

Image via M. Kaboodle

But, it's always the Union Jack flag that catches my eye. My alma mater, Winston Churchill High School, was represented by Great Britain's flag, so it's no wonder that I feel a bond with this iconic symbol.

Image via Chic Little Blog

A few weeks ago, I posted about the use of flags represented in decor. Designers across the globe are fond of using these international symbols to accessorize spaces.

Images above via Home Life (left) and Not On The High Street (right).

I'm not advocating using an actual flag. After all, there is protocol for the display of real flags. What I am particularly fond of is the stylistic flag imagery found in contemporary upholstered pieces. And, from the extensive use of the Union Jack in interior decor, it's an apparent favorite everywhere.  

Image via Vivienne Westwood

Designers like Vivienne Westwood have even translated the symbol into uber chic wallcoverings. I can see the appeal of the weathered flag design in spaces intimate or grand.

Images above via Decor 8 (left) and Ideeli (right).

But, if you really want to heed London's call, is there anything more symbolic than a British phone box?

While I doubt that many Londoners decorate their flats with kitschy symbols, they do indeed have a style all their own.

Check out the 'London Style Guide' by Saska Graville for a pictorial stroll through some of London's fabulous residential and commercial interiors.

On the menu: Tomatoes Provencal

With our abundant tomato crop this summer, I've been experimenting with newly discovered tomato recipes and have found another delicious, international dining inspiration.

Image via French Essence.

This recipe for Tomatoes Provencal comes from author Vicki Archer, an ex-pat living and loving life in the South of France. I came to know her work after reading her books  'My French Life' and 'French Essence' a couple of years ago. I highly recommend them both.

She also writes a blog entitled, 'French Essence' from her farmhouse in Saint Rémy de Provence. But, I digress. Vicki's yummy recipe for summer's bounty notes she chooses "tomatoes that are as ripe and as red as possible without being over" ripe. She always buys them several days in advance and leaves them on the table to fully ripen.

If you have a garden, as we do, I would pick them ripe from the bush the morning of preparation.


15 tomatoes (serves 10 people)
6 cloves of garlic
Olive Oil
Sea Salt (Le Saunier de Camague, if available)

Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees.
Wash tomatoes and cut the tops off, about one third into the tomato.
Place the tomatoes face up on a flat non stick baking tray.
Add 5 or 6 generous cloves of garlic to the tray.
Splash olive oil over the tomatoes. A generous pour but don’t drown the tomatoes.
Sprinkle liberally with sea salt. This salt makes all the difference, and Le Saunier de Camargue* is recommended.
Bake in the oven for at least 4 hours. Then, turn the oven off and leave tomatoes in there for another hour or so.
Serve on a platter and scatter fresh basil on top.

These tomatoes are delicious served warm or cold. Their caramelized texture is perfect with barbecues or as an accompaniment to salads.

* If you cannot find Le Saunier de Camargue Sea Salt in your local store, it can be ordered online from Amazon.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rug fragments ...

Every thrift store and consignment shop visit includes a thorough scanning for rug remnants. From estate sales to flea markets, I keep a lookout for old woven rugs and fragments that could be used for future decorating projects.

Image via interior designer Pierre Yovanovich.

Talk about indestructable! Old tribal kilim rug remnants have been sewn together and used to reupholster a sofa with a unique style.

Image via Miss Modish.

I think kilim rug fragments are getting harder to find simply because they are in high demand as pillow covers.

Image via The Brick House.

Practicality and durability are hallmarks of woven rugs, so it's no surprise that chairs and benches are sporting remnants as family friendly textiles.


Images of dining room above via Elle Decor.

Image via Apartment Therapy.

I might not be brave enough to try it, but look at how clever homeowners have joined rug pieces together for a colorful flooring option.

Above, joined pieces make a one-of-a-kind stair runner (via photographer Corey Walter) and even a dramatic window shade (via Perch, New Orleans). Brilliant work by these rug revolutionaries, wouldn't you say?

Rustic luxe ...

I'm always posting photos of decor that appeals to me in some special way. But, today I am sharing the Rustic Luxe design style that speaks to my soul. It's much like the way I live life, with one foot in Texas and the other in France.

Image via Eclectic Revisited.

This style is all about the pairing of opposites: rustic textures with elegant lines, rough finishes and luxurious textiles, etc.

Image via Beyond Luxury.

It's gilded frames resting on stone walls, crystal beads set upon worn woods.


Images above via Apartment Therapy (left) and Cote de Texas (right).

It's handmade pottery and luxurious silver, collected treasures and newly discovered art.

Image via Decor de Provence.

It's leather and lace, velvet and linen, and always seems to have a story to tell.

Image via Eclectic Revisited.

It is designer John Saladino at his best. When everything looks as if it has been curated over time, perfectly suited to the surroundings without effort and without regard, that's when rustic luxe appeals most to my basic instincts.

Images above and below via John Saladino.

Rustic luxe is at home where the setting includes rough-hewn beams and ethereal chandeliers, a respect for history and a serene palette.

Image via Veranda.

I feel it has much more depth and a richer character than Shabby Chic, yet is far less pretentious than Old World decor. I think of it as a stylistic inheritance from that dear old Great Aunt who was a Ziegfeld girl, married well and retired to Antibes.

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