Thursday, March 29, 2012

Closet Case Study

A young friend, in the process of designing her first house, asked for some inspiration photos for help in planning closets. Being someone who believes that good storage is essential to peace and harmony, I understand why this is such an important part of the blueprints.

While it's likely we all have a 'fantasy' closet in mind - maybe 100 square feet fitted with serious cabinetry, a spot for a pretty chair, lit by a chandelier...

...I thought I would share some practical ideas so I turned to the First Lady of Order, Martha Stewart.

The ideal closet design has hanging spaces for long and short items, a few drawers, shelves for folded clothes and bags, and racks or cubbies for shoes.

Shelf dividers like these will keep stacked sweaters or shirts from toppling over.

I freely admit to having OCD and had to share these labels (which I love.)

I use drawer dividers liberally; I bought something similar to these at The Container Store, which, by the way, can be a dangerous place for someone like me.

A generously sized coat closet in your mudroom or front hall is a blessing. If you are planning for this now, make it twice as big as you think it needs to be. Trust me - you will thank me.

Living in a climate where temperature vary widely with the seasons, a spacious linen closet is important. The blankets and down duvets that keep us cozy during the fall and cold winter need a place to be stored when I switch to light quilts as the weather warms up.

I am a big believer in using baskets in the effort to organize the contents of my closets. I use the open canvas bins from, again, The Container Store, to hold scarves and other accessories. The link will take you right to them!

Having cleaning supplies stored in one place makes getting household work done a little easier. I have a centrally located closet (devoted exclusively to this activity) that I have to walk by several times a day so it is hard to procrastinate for too long.

And while we are on the subject of storage, anywhere you can take advantage of space, do. Here shelves beside the stairs to the basement hold bulk supplies. Another good place for built-in shelving - your garage.

Since I am not ruling out the possibility of one day building my fantasy closet, I will share one more. This, in my opinion, is truly perfect.

Sources {1, 2, 3, 4, 56, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13}

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Try This at Home

After a string of warm days last week we had snow yesterday, but I am still hopefull for an early and long Spring this year. Here is a simple and beautiful mantle arrangement by designer Benjamin Dhong that is perfect for the season.

You could recreate this vignette on a console table against a wall as well as on a mantle. Start with the mirror...

Rinaldo gold leaf starburst mirror from Worlds Away

Recycled glass has a lot of character. I like this footed vase.

Ask you florist for flowering quince branches.

Crystals are believed by some to have metaphysical powers. I recommend buying them solely for their decorative benefits.

Mineral Miners quartz cluster

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Fever

"It's Spring Fever. You don't quite know what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!" Mark Twain

Well, I've got it but I do know just exactly what it is I want...I want to re-do my living room. This may come as a surprise to my darling husband who thinks the house is "finished," but thing is, the living room needs tweaking to accommodate our family today.

A few years ago, when the children were smaller, we down-sized from a spacious house on a large piece of land several miles outside of town to a cozy village house on a lot not much larger than its footprint.

What we gave up in square footage and acreage, we gained in convenience and access to the myriad amenities of a charming college town. I also discovered the pleasures of 'container' gardening on our small terrace. Last year I planted these moonflowers. They took all summer to grow, produced three blossoms which opened for one glorious night in September, releasing the most intoxicating scent, before being killed by an early Vermont frost a few days later.

Anyway, with my daughters now adult-sized teenagers we need more space to spread out and get comfortable. The little family room off the kitchen is too small to contain us and the current living room is too formal for real lounging.

Unfortunately, the antique sofa that belonged to my great-grandmother will need to go into storage. Yes, even though I swore I would never have one, last year as the situation in the garage was spiralling out of control, I signed a rental contract on a self-storage unit to house those items currently out of circulation.

And what will take its place...a deep, comfortable sectional. Now before anyone with an aversion to sectionals makes a face, I have just added the Verellen catalog to Henhurst's furniture lines and I am going to be the first customer. This is seriously stylish upholstery.

And my sectional will be, too. It will look just like one of Verellen's gorgeous sofas...only big enough for two teenagers to stretch out on. I like the arm on this model but will probably add a skirt.

Verellen's Belgian influenced and American made upholstered and slip-covered pieces are are casual but sophisticated. They would fit easily into an interior by one of my design heroes, Alex Vervoordt.

Photo Sources {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 67, 8, 9, 10}

Verellen's designs are timeless as well as made to the highest level of quality in the US furniture industry - frames are crafted of hardwood maple with dowel joinery, seats are supported 8-way, hand-tied springs. And they put a premiuim on comfort - isn't that what we really want in our furniture?

Fortunately, my husband is accostomed to my moving the furniture around and is always helpful when the urge strikes. That is a good thing because my plan involves rearranging not just the living room, but the dining room as well. I will do a before and after post when the furniture arrives.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Ghost Chair

The Phillipe Stark designed Louis Ghost Chair has been around for about 10 years and become one of Kartell's all-time bestselling products. I think it looks as fresh and chic today as the first time I saw it.

Sources {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10}

I have seen the Louis Ghost Chair referred to as a 'modern classic,' and I agree. It is here to stay. To be precise, the armless version in photos 5 and 7 is called the Victoria not Louis, but both are surprisingly comfortable and available in eight colors, six are transparent and two opaque.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Try This at Home

I love this vignette by designer Greet Lefevre of Belgian Pearls.

Try the Belgian look in your own home. Start with the coffee table...

coffee table from Zentique

Your accessories...
Arteriors Lunar vase

stoneware bowls from Christiane Perrochon

amber glass votive from General Wax
The sofa...

Artesia Normandie sofa

A few budding quince branches in the vase and you're done.

 photo: Mo + Mo Living

Monday, March 12, 2012

Orangery or Conservatory?

It is my current fixation, and I like to be precise, so was wondering if the terms were interchangeable, or if there was a distinction?

A little research indicates that the fundamental difference between the two structures is that conservatories have walls entirely of glass whereas orangeries will have partial side elevations constructed from hardwood or stone.

Sources: {1, 2, 34, 5678, 9,10, 11, 12}

Formal or informal, simple or elaborate, I think it would be a dreamy addition.