Wednesday, February 29, 2012

We need your vote today!

Homies Topper 2.24.12.jpg

I just found out that Alamodeus has been nominated for 'Best Home Design Blog', but we can only win with votes from our readers.

Please visit the ballot site, register and vote so we can take home a 'Homies.' Getting that award without posing on the red carpet would be perfect.

Balloting ends midnight on 1 March, so please vote now. Many thanks in advance for your vote! Click here.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shutter love ...

My mind keeps returning to some glorious shutters I saw in photographs from the House of Turquoise.

Image via The House of Turquoise.

I love the double set of shutters that cover the arched, double windows and French doors. What a yummy color to instill a tranquil island vibe. 

Image via The House of Turquoise.

In tropical climates, shutters offer practical protection from the elements, yet still allow necessary airflow.

Image via Pinterest.

But, you'll have to indulge my less-than-practical side for a moment. I know it would take oodles of paint coats to keep shutters looking as good as those above, but they really make a lovely screen. What a gorgeous way to keep inquisitive neighbors at bay and offer instant privacy.

Image via House Beautiful.

I'm all for recycling shutters. I've done it in my own home and love the way less-than-perfect paint lends characteristic age in this bath. I'm also quite fond of the wood paneled facade on the side of the tub.

Image via Aidan Gray.

Shutters turned bed headboard always resonate well with me, as do shutters for pure decorate effect on walls.

Image via Velvet & Linen.

Even a simple bookcase can be turned into a classically-styled armoire with the addition of shutters.

Image via DishFunctional Designs.

DIY storage solutions can make use of shutters in almost unlimited ways. A little imagination and a novice skill level are all that's needed to craft beautiful furnishings. 


Image via HGTV.

There's everything to love about this sofa table. It could also be topped with a sheet of glass to create a flat surface for any use. And, to think I've only been using my shutters on a window.


Garden folly ...

One of my favorite things in beautifully manicured European gardens is the presence of follies, those fanciful structures placed for aesthetics and amusement.

Image via E and P Photo.

The New York Times described garden follies as "eccentric, eye-catching, frequently functionless structures ... so fascinating and seductive, so decadent by today's standards.''


Image via Linen and Lavender.

Temples and pavilions, towers and urns have held their place in many formal gardens, but follies can really be any structural addition, be it large or small. 

Image via unknown.

Even a simple wooden obelisk can take up residence in a little garden plot to add amusement.

Image of a Alexis Tricoire design via The Secret Gardener.

I would love to add a garden teepee created for climbing vines. It's a natural ornamentation combined with a simply built structure that I think our guests would enjoy as well.

Image via The Fancy.

Skip the gothic arches and windows, I am far more drawn to contemporary follies ... my favorite being the enormous clothespin above. Brilliant execution with a 'pinched' berm. How incredibly clever!

Image of an Auckland park folly.

There is no shortage of creativity when it comes to contemporary follies. Half buried architectural 'ruins' hearken back to early follies that recall actual ruins of monastic houses and ancient Roman villas.


Image via Pinterest.

Visionary art frequently blurs the line between artwork and structural follies. No matter, they amuse with their fantastical size and humorous subjects.


Image via Pinterest.

The definition of a folly certainly lies in the eyes of the beholder. So, does a sculptor's outdoor art qualify as a folly? 


Self service ...

Serving trays can be ever so humble, or they can exude personality. Unusual materials and paint treatments can make serving trays an art form unto themselves.

Image via unknown.

I like to use a variety of baskets to carry dinnerware, and I often enlist them into active duty at a buffet.

Image via A Beach Cottage.

There's no reason relegate vintage crates to museum status. I'm all for putting them into service as food and drink trays.

Image via The Creativity Exchange.

If you're looking for ways to create unique serving trays from everyday items, look no further than a cutting board. With the addition of interesting drawer pulls on either side, that dowdy old board becomes a lovely tray.

Image via Better Homes and Gardens.

Craft a tray from an old window by affixing your favorite fabric or wallpaper on the backside of the glass, then, give the frame a good sanding before applying a coat or two of gloss paint. Add drawer pulls to each end to finish the serving tray.

Image via Etsy.

Now, I know what to do with my collection of wine corks. I can glue those babies onto a reclaimed tray from the thrift store to create a conversation piece for my next soiree. There must be several dozen on Etsy for sale right now.

Image via Etsy.

No need to consult the spirits. Instead, add handles to a game board and load the new tray with spirits! The board may need some support. A 1/4" sheet of MDF will add sufficient strength to the backside of the board.

Image via CentSational Girl.

Every time I stop in at thrift stores, I find some rather dowdy trays waiting to be transformed into things of beauty. It only takes a small remnant fabric piece, some glue, sealer and a coat of paint to give that ugly ducking new life.

Image via Pinterest.

And, when that tray is no longer in use, give it a coat of blackboard paint and write a welcome message to guests. It dresses up a wall beautifully!

Love those pearly whites ...

About this time last year, I wrote a post about my growing attraction to pearls. While I do love the classic style and sensible fashion of pearls, I'm also drawn to the opalescent sheen and color found in these gems.

Image via Dinner Cinema.

Who could resist Audrey Hepburn's portrayal of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's? Those pearls added a sexy, sophisticated air to the otherwise vunerable young woman. But, it was that ebony and ivory styling with basic black and creamy beaded strands that became an iconic classic.


 
If you think pearls are passe, think again. In the image above (left), Actress Katherine Heigl rocks the red carpet in varying, subtle shades of baroque pearls. Baroque pearls are simply pearls that have an irregular shape like those above right (via O'Day Cache). Cultured freshwater pearls are most commonly baroque, as are cultured saltwater pearls.

Image via Christian Louboutin.

I'm equally impressed with pearl-inspired fashion heals from Louboutin. I would take this pair home in an instant. I love the style and color!

Image via Sandy Pandy Candy.

My family teases me about my extensive collection of pearl white shirts and blouses. Yes, I do have quite a few and I adore each and every one because an ivory top can go from casual to dressy with a quick change of accessories.


I'm actually leaning toward painting my kitchen cabinets in ivory and gray whenever we get around to remodeling. Images above and below via Great Oak Circle.


And, I'm converting from patterned colors to solid ivory linens in our master bedroom. I may be a bit crazy, but pearly white just seems cleaner, crisper and just a bit more comforting.

Image via Vancouver based interior designer Maria Killam.

Image via Classy In The City.

Pearl. Ivory. Cream. By any name, I'm hooked.

Dear Tooth Fairy ...

Losing a tooth meant only one thing as a child ... the beloved Tooth Fairy would arrive to take the tooth while I slept and leave money in its stead. Don't laugh, those quarters added up after a while!

Hand-knit tooth pillows via Buy.com.

Back then, there were no special pillows, so the Tooth Fairy had to be pretty stealthy to reach under my pillow to replace the tooth and leave some change.

Now, there are special little pocketed pillows for the transfer of loot. And, teeth bring in big bucks these days. We're talking cash, baby!

Tooth Fairy pillow via Lisa Loves Holidays.

What I really love is the letterpress Tooth Fairy Kit (below) found on The Vitrine. It is such a cleaver keepsake to give to new parents of toddlers. Too bad I never saw this when my children were wee ones.




I think everyone should have an official certificate from the Tooth Fairy, don't you?



Saturday, February 18, 2012

Loving Lacroix ...

I have recently fallen in love with Christian Lacroix. Okay, I've never actually met the intriguing French designer, but I am smitten with his artistry, opulence and theatrical style.


Lacroix seems perfectly at home in the Wonderland photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue (he is seated at right, above). He is unapologetically dramatic with an approach to design that is informed by his study of art history and early dreams of becoming a museum curator or costume designer.



My recent interest in Lacroix resulted from the beautiful Baroque angels portrayed on a new line of his stationery (above left) that I purchased before last Christmas. I love each and every one of the high-style notecards and journals, including the Astrology series trimmed in black felt (above right).


Even his Virgin series of paper goods (above) has caught my eye. 

 

Lacroix is certainly a man of great artistic talent, but he must also possess a keen wit and fertile imagination to transform the tale of Sleeping Beauty with his interpretative illustrations that connect the beloved fairy tale with a fashion savvy make believe world.




His biography notes that Lacroix began sketching historical costumes and fashions as a young boy. By looking at his more recent sketches (above), it's obvious that his artistic flair is born from a sense of whimsy, too.


Really, you must have a sense of humor to design haute couture that draws from fantasy, fables and folklore. It's pure entertainment on the catwalk.

 

I find that his accessories are absolutely beautiful, a bit of medieval madness featuring semi-precious jewels. His work has evolved as has his brand - intertwining fashion and lifestyle goods.


Christian Lacroix has also applied his interior design talent on a number of landmark hotels, including several of the best luxury hotels in Paris. The Hotel Notre Dame (above and below) is a testament to his fondness for drawing inspiration from diverse cultures.


It's as if the rooms have been curated with the finesse of a museum exhibit.


Lacroix takes it one step further into a fantasy realm with his designs for the Hotel Bellachasse in Paris (below).


And, his flirty artistic side shows a joyful caliope of colors in the Hotel Le Petit Moulin guest rooms (below).



Even though he severed ties with his namesake fashion house in 2010 following bankruptcy, Lacroix continues to impress with the introduction of his latest menswear line.



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