Monday, December 16, 2013

Season's Greetings

It is a minimalist Christmas at Church Street this year. I have to admit that mustering any enthusiasm for decorating has been a struggle and I decided not to put up a tree despite registered disappointment on the part of some household members. (We are spending the 25th with my sister and will admire hers.) I divulged this shameful confession to the lovely shopkeeper of a favorite store in town - she sympathized, said I wasn't the first person to share the (lack of) sentiment with her, and told me not to sweat it.

So I'm keeping it simple, focusing on enjoying free time to spend with family and friends, savoring the season without embellishments. We have no formal entertaining planned but I have decided to maintain a month-long open house. This is the extent of my decorating and I'm done so if you're in the neighborhood come on over. We're ready for you. xoxo

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Home Décor Resource at One's King's Lane

It's no secret that One King's Lane is a fantastic online shopping venue for both new and vintage home furnishings and accessories, but did you know about OKL's Home Décor Resource pages?

The Home Décor Resource provides a very clear and concise outline of the history of furniture and it's myriad styles from the ancient to the present day. Perhaps you have a favorite piece you would like to know more about? This is a great place to do your research.

I was curious about this pair of fruitwood chairs I recently bought from a Rhode Island antiques store. In the gloom of the dark shop (that was packed to the rafters) I spotted one the chairs, covered in an old, tattered silk, and asked the elderly owner it might be one of a pair. The mate was unearthed and I giddily left, no questioned asked. Cleaned up and reupholstered in Schumacher's 'Iona Linen Plain' in Oatmeal, they are stunning but I wanted to know more about the specifics of the style.

The Home Décor Resource provides overviews of periods and furniture styles, and then categorizes styles by century. Each section contains an illuminating historical summary of the time and its politics, and includes photographic examples of the style being discussed. I assumed my chairs were French so spent a little time exploring the period 1700 to 1800 and It wasn't long before I found a chair similar to mine in the chapter entitled Directoire.

The carved details of the chairs - the palm leaves, scrolls, reeding and rosettes are characteristic of the Directoire style.

I upholstered the chairs in a plain linen because I didn't want anything to distract from the beautiful frames. However, I did embellish one chair with this small pillow made with a piece of embroidered linen.

My grandmother saved everything and this piece of embroidery, dating to 1890, was originally part of a tablecloth belonging to her great-uncle. By the the time it came to me (the fifth generation) the tablecloth was ready to be retired. The motto 'Gaudeo' means 'Rejoice.' I love it.

To locate the Home Design Resource on One King's Lane, visit the Sitemap at the bottom of the home page and select History of Furniture.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Vermont Artisans ShackletonThomas

Last year I wrote about Vermont potter Miranda Thomas whose work I collect and today wanted to share with you a feature I currently have on REstyleSOURCE about ShackletonThomas, the workshops of Miranda and her husband, renowned furniture maker Charles Shackleton. Below is an out-take from the day's photos; please click here to see the rest.

Miranda's pottery in a preliminary stage

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

One Room Challenge Week 6

Sadly, I do not have a big reveal for you today in the last installment of the six-week One Room Challenge. Having to select a new fabric for Sophie's headboard and bedding in Week 4 set us back a few weeks on that delivery, and we are still waiting on her desk and upholstered chair and ottoman (which I knew we would not have until later this month.) However! The roman shade has been installed and it is fabulous. I am totally enchanted by this Schumacher print.

My workroom did a fantastic job of taking the best advantage of the large scale pattern, and with the fabrication overall. The backside is a work of art - it looks like the construction of a ball gown.

As Sophie's bedside chest is currently in the cabinetmaker's workshop being copied as a small bookcase it feels like we have actually lost ground, but her bed is now made up with new linens from Pine Cone Hill and Traditions Linens (that nicely complement the Chelsea Textiles pillows) so she can finally move back in.

Also, we picked up this mod flokati rug by nuLoom to put beside Sophie's bed. We all sleep with the windows open so the floors get quite cold at this time of year (it was 19° outside on Monday morning!) - this will take the chill off and feel so good underfoot.

So, while we wait on delivery of a few items, I hope you will stayed tuned - subscribe by email or follow in Google Reader. I expect to share the completed room in about a month's time. To those of you who have been checking in since Week 1, thank you for your encouraging and often funny comments. And thank you to Linda at Calling It Home for organizing the One Room Challenge and inviting me to participate - I have enjoyed it so much!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Church Street Blues (and Whites)

I'm so happy to be back at The Pink Pagoda for my second Blue and White Bash. Thank you to Jennifer, our always generous hostess. This month I am sharing some personal images from Church Street. When I think back to my first winter in Vermont, I recall gazing out on the frozen tundra that stretched for acres beyond our back door and marveling at the charms of the man who convinced me to begin a life here. I did up our first house in reds and yellows as a defense against the dark and cold, but a trip to Oslo to visit my sister one November a few years later showed me I had it all wrong. As Scandinavians know, echoing the colors of the icy landscape indoors is the key to contentment in a climate of short days in long winters. Who would have believed then that November would become my favorite month of the year?

This post is linked to the The Pink Pagoda's November Blue and White Bash, head over for some more Monday morning inspiration.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

One Room Challenge Week 5

It is hard for me to believe we are getting close to the end here with the beginning of week five - the month of October has flown by! - but we did have some exciting progress at Church Street in the last few days and all I can say is I could not be happier that I have an extra roll of this wallpaper in my possession. It is totally fabulous and I am going to be using it again - for myself. Sorry, Sophie!

Michele at My Notting Hill suggested a powder room and she is right on - I am going to use it in the downstairs half-bath of our cottage in Rhode Island. And I would like to take a moment to give a shout-out to my painting and wallpapering contractor, Jeff Wilmot, who got this job done in three days - because I asked him to. Seriously! Who wants this guy's number?
Jeff and his colleague Tricia who did the paper installation

Tricia did such a beautiful job of hanging the paper as well as the detail work of disguising the switchplate and outlet cover on the wall.

New developments...I am having a cabinetmaker in Boston build a copy of the small Chelsea Textiles bureau that will be Sophie's bedside table but reworked as a bookcase for the other side of the bed. When I did the new floorplan for Sophie's room I inserted a place holder on the right side of the bed balancing the bureau on the left. At the time I wasn't sure what we would put there.

Like all serious readers, Sophie has a collection of favorite books she likes to revisit and wanted a place in her room to keep them. A few years ago I had a pair of bookcases made that were modeled on the same Chelsea Textiles frame, shown below in my living room.

The version for Sophie's room will be scaled down to the proportions of her small bureau.

Lastly, Sophie has been looking for some decorative accessories to complement the redesign of her room and this petite lacquer tray for the bedside chest was her first purchase. I thought it was a great find - chic and very inexpensive - source (you won't believe it!) here.

Fingers crossed that the window shade will arrive in the next few days so Sophie can move back in (even though we will still be waiting on the headboard.)

If this is your first visit...the One Room Challenge, or ORC, is a semi-annual event, organized by Linda at Calling It Home, where 20 bloggers made up of Professional Designers, Interior Design aficionados, and Diy'ers share the transformation of a room from start to finish. Over the course of six Wednesday's we write about our progress. You can catch up on my previous installments here at Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One Room Challenge Week 4

Welcome to Week 4, the post about steps forward but mostly steps backward. Setback #1: the seafoam green linen we selected for the headboard and bedding was discovered to have a flaw running down the center of the entire length of the yardage. I probably didn't mention before that it was the last 17 yards available in that color - IN THE WHOLE WORLD - but it was, so we ditched the linen and went with a Norbar cotton, 'Wendi', in Tide and White, colors almost identical to our original choices. After comparing the cuttings I decided that the cotton was probably a better weave for the application anyway, which, combined with the fact that it was more than half the price of the linen, made me feel like we actually ended up better off.
Fabric Round Two

Setback #2: a misunderstanding about the amount of wallpaper I needed to order. After measuring and calculating the quantity needed to accommodate the paper's 32" repeat, my painter/paperhanger, Jeff, told me to order two rolls. As I mentioned in week one, I very rarely use wallpaper - the two times I have purchased it in the last 10 years it was from European design companies and I was not clear on the fact that almost all US residential wallpaper comes packaged in 'double' rolls although it is priced by the 'single' roll. I placed my order for the paper on Schumacher's trade website where the online order form only gives one the option of ordering by the single roll (you see how this might be confusing?) Thinking I was following instructions, I ordered and paid for two single rolls and didn't give it a second thought when Schumacher sent one double roll. I thought it was the equivalent of two rolls; Jeff's reply, "" Here is a very clear explanation of what you should know when ordering wallpaper: Single Roll vs. Double Roll Explained.
The not so fine - but definitely confusing to me - print

So this snafu necessitated reordering not just one, but two additional 'double' rolls. Why two? Because there weren't any remaining rolls in the same print lot as the one I already had and I wasn't willing to risk the second roll not being a perfect match, and, yes, I was too impatient to wait for a cutting! Also, I assumed I would be able to return the roll from the first order when 'claims' heard my plight. Guess what? 'Claims' cares about nothing but their 30-day return policy so I told Sophie I hope she LOVES this paper because it is going to show up in her life again - probably in her first apartment since we only need the tiniest bit of the second roll. She is not disappointed.
Wallpaper Round Two

And then, last Friday I arrived home after a long work day and discovered that Jeff, who had received a pleading email from me Thursday evening, had slipped in a few hours at the house that afternoon to get started on Sophie's room - even though it was not raining!

My hero.

If this is your first visit...the One Room Challenge, or ORC, is a semi-annual event, organized by Linda at Calling It Home, where 20 bloggers made up of Professional Designers, Interior Design aficionados, and Diy'ers share the transformation of a room from start to finish. Over the course of six Wednesday's we write about our progress. You can catch up on my previous installments here at Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

One Room Challenge Week 3

The focus of this week's ORC progress has been on seating. When the plan to redecorate her room was still in the conceptual stage, Sophie shared some of her ideas with Mr. H's mother. Nancy, who has always been a big influence in Sophie and her sister's lives, rightly pointed out that what the room has been lacking is a comfortable place to curl up and read - something Sophie does a lot of. Yes, the vintage slipper chairs were adorable but not really practical.

Nancy told us to find the chair and she'd make it her birthday present to Sophie. In my mind the chair needed to be on the small size as Sophie's room is tiny, just over 10' by 12', and have a rounded back as I envisioned it positioned in one of the corners. Sophie and I looked at several chair styles and both fell in love with this antique Napoleon III version.

One drawback of antique chairs is that the seats can be quite low - the seat of the above chair was only 13" high - so, guided by my friend Loi at Tone-on-Tone we found this chair from Lee:

photo: Lee

It is the perfect size at 27" wide by 32" deep, and only 33" tall so it won't seem out of proportion in a room with a low ceiling. While Lee offers an abundance of great upholstery choices they also have a COM option so you can send you own fabric, which we did - a simple, white cotton from Kravet - and we added a cute tufted ottoman so Sophie can put her feet up when she is lounging in her new chair.
photo: Lee

As I said last week, capitalizing on natural light is a priority in the redesign of Sophie's room. While contemplating her new chair we considered where it would be best positioned for comfort as well as exposure to the window which led to our deciding to flip the furniture layout of the room and put the headboard on the wall where her desk had been and vice versa. I think this will put her work space in the room's brighter, open area and her sleeping space in the cozy eave.
The way the room was:

The bedroom's new layout:

In the last piece of seating news, I picked up Sophie's new desk chair at a great Swedish design shop in Hudson, NY, Hedstrom and Judd. I had spotted it there on a previous visit and when Sophie and I settled on the black Chelsea Textiles desk, Mr. H chauffeured me back down there in an epic day trip to collect it. He is a good man.

Still no painter, still hopeful that rain is on the way and he might show up this week.

If this is your first visit...the One Room Challenge, or ORC, is a semi-annual event, organized by Linda at Calling It Home, where 20 bloggers made up of Professional Designers, Interior Design aficionados, and Diy'ers share the transformation of a room from start to finish. Over the course of six Wednesday's we write about our progress. You can catch up on my previous installments here at Week 1 and Week 2.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

One Room Challenge Week 2

As we begin week two I don't have much visible progress to share since last week but Sophie and I have made a lot of decisions. The first thing we had to do was finalize the paint selection as we are on 'short notice' with our painter/wallpaper hanger. As soon as it rains he is coming over. We spent several days contemplating four options I had mixed in sample sizes at our local Benjamin Moore dealer.

As paint will, the colors looked different at certain times of day. After much consideration our mutual feeling was that the sample that best matched the background of the Schumacher wallpaper had a slight yellow tint and the computer chosen match looked a little green. A third option just seemed dull while our unanimous choice at the lower left, White Chocolate OC-127, has a pure, luminous quality at all times of day. Sophie would like me to point out here that she suggested we sample it in the first place.

During the process of emptying Sophie's room and removing the heavy balloon shade I was struck by how much more light the room got. It became clear that the disadvantage of the single, north facing window had been exacerbated by the voluminous window treatment.

Capitalizing on the available natural light became a priority. I was set on curtain panels which would leave the window unobstructed when they were open, but when I went to measure I noticed (for the first time!) that the window in Sophie's room at the back of the house is positioned slightly higher than those in her sister's room at the front of the house - where I did hang panels - and the trim abuts the ceiling.

A curtain rod traversing the trim board would not have looked right and Sophie rejected the idea of a cornice built over the trim and hardware for fear it might bring down the already low ceiling. We settled for a flat Roman shade (like this is her sister's closet) that when raised will reveal much more window surface than the balloon shade did.

We decided it would be fun to use a little more of the wallpaper's 'Go Baroque' print as it is available in a coordinating fabric and I think the predominantly white material will not interfere with my priority of lightening up the room. As the repeat is so large we will get one frame centered in the shade, almost as it is below, and do a 2 1/2" border of Schumacher's 'Avery Cotton Plain' in ebony.

On to the furnishings. Sophie really wanted a new bed but that would have consumed too much of the budget for this project considering what else we wanted to do so we decided on an upholstered headboard. Add a coordinating quilt and bed skirt, and (in my opinion) you get a lot of bang for your buck. The shape Sophie chose from my workroom...

I like that the corners echo those of the square frame in the wallpaper pattern.

Using the Norbar linens we selected, the headboard and quilt will be made in the seafoam green with white piping and the bed skirt in white with a seafoam border.

As I mentioned last week we were considering Chelsea Textiles for furniture options and decided on using their black and Gustavian grey finishes, black for drama - which is Sophie's priority - and grey because I like it.

It's my feeling that the clean lines of the Gustavian reproductions will provide a nice balance to the curvy wallpaper print. We ordered their 'writing desk with one drawer' in the black finish (which, unfortunately, will not arrive until November) and I recently spotted a coordinating desk chair that I am hoping to pick up soon.

Since storage space is limited in Sophie's room we chose the 'small bureau' for her bedside table in the Gustavian grey finish. Last week I drove down to New Jersey to pick up the chest which was in stock at the Chelsea Textiles warehouse - longtime readers will know I love a road trip - and here it is, not being shown to its best advantage, in my garage.

The stretch of good weather expected in the week ahead does not make a visit from our painter look promising, but I am ever hopeful! Let it rain!

If this is your first visit...the One Room Challenge, or ORC, is a semi-annual event, organized by Linda at Calling It Home, where 20 bloggers made up of Professional Designers, Interior Design aficionados, and Diy'ers share the transformation of a room from start to finish. Over the course of six Wednesday's we write about our progress. Stay tuned!