Before and After

Who doesn’t love a good before and after? Whether it’s a new hair style or new room styling, a fresh approach is always welcome. In my opinion the easiest way to update Interiors comes down to these three basics:

Fresh Paint – especially for wood trims
Replacing carpet with hardwood
Updated lighting

These photos beautifully illustrate these ideas:

Fresh paint – replacing the “builders white” with a soft grey creates good contrast for this space.  Note the wood banister has been painted to give a more uniformed look.

Hardwood flooring visually expands this interior,  but appropriate sized area rugs can be added to anchor a space also.

A modern lighting fixture updates and completes the look.

A few more examples:

Easy as one, two, three! Paint, flooring, light fixtures.

Weddings

Today is the big day for the royal wedding. It will be starting a little early for me, but wishing those kids all the best!  I look forward to seeing the photos, etc.

Let me go on the record as saying I love weddings. The celebration of the blending of lives and families is so sweet. Weddings are the true exclamation point to a commitment and clearly marks a new beginning.

Aside from this lovely sentiment, what I love the most about weddings are the flowers.  How I adore them!  Traditionally, hundreds of years ago, they were used to perfume the air and cover up any unpleasant smells from guests.  Yes, not so long ago Saturday was bath day, so naturally a good day for a wedding celebration. But I digress.

Wedding flowers set the mood for the celebration, identity key participants (naturally!) and emphasize the color scheme.

As someone who lives in a 150 year old home, I like a vintage feel:

Landon Jacob

What does this have to do with an interior design blog?  The same way flowers emphasize the color scheme of a wedding, flowers can emphasize the color scheme of your home.

Continue reading Weddings

Chillin Time

It’s that magical time of year when we need to get our hands into the good earth and plant wonderful flowers and vegetables. My garden was fairly well established until the happiest woodchuck I have ever seen racked havoc on my beautiful garden.  As a result a lot of TLC is needed to bring it back.  But also a good opportunity to incorporate some changes.  By change I mean less flowers and a large hammock.  I am thinking less work and more relaxing!

I don’t have the luxury of two big trees, but a hammock stand will suffice:

 

I have narrowed it down to these choices (all available at Hayneedle.com):

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What is it about a hammock, is it the simplicity of the design?  The way it cradles and rocks us?  Is it the way it clearly states it’s chill time?

But here is the real question, a single or a double?

Happy Relaxing!

 

 

Signature Scents

My favorite place to stay in NYC is The Edition.  I have  blogged (see Opposites Attract) about this hotel! It has everything I enjoy! The only drawback however is I feel no desire to leave and venture out into the city!

Of all the many amenities of this beautiful hotel, the way it smells is my favorite!  I inquired about how this wonderful scent was achieved and was told it was a signature scent, Black Tea, created just for the hotel.  Of course this scent is available for purchase in the form of candles etc.  How lovely!Our sense of smell is our most primal and is a way to influence moods and behaviors.  There are many easy and inexpensive ways to add a signature sent to your home.

Flowers and greenery are a natural way to perfume the air.  My favorites: lilies and eucalypus; I especially like the way these earthy scents mix with citrus and lavendar:

Cut lemons at a slow simmer on the stove is a great way to infuse the air; add your favorite herb to make it unique:

Cleaning solutions of vinegar and essential oils; lemon or lavender are my favorites:

And any products by Mrs. Meyers; all a delight:

Candles; well you can never can have too many:

Stay consistent with your choices (lilies, lavender, lemon, etc.) and your home can have its own signature sent!

A Sense of Place

I have been doing a good deal of work related travel lately and enjoying it! The travel has involved meeting some interesting people from all parts of the US. A lot of our conversations center around regional architecture in our home towns.

These conversations started me thinking how important the idea of a “sense of place is”. I live in a beautiful town on the Hudson River with gorgeous 19th century architecture. To place a Gap or a McDonalds here would be a crime! Archictural landmarks make a city unique and gives each city a sense of identity.

My colleagues span the country, from New York to California. As you may know I have a rich fantasy life (see previous blog post). So when someone says the are from Long Island and have a 1920s style home, my mind goes to – yes the Great Gatsby:

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Gatsby – Perfect set design, the location speaks to “a sense of place”. It is important to embrace where you live and celebrate the regional history and landscape. Enjoy the ways your city and your lifestyle are unique and incorporate these ideas in your home design. A few good ways to accomplish this:

Framed photos depicting area landmarks:

Also framed area maps:

Books about area History:

The idea is to give a glimpse of what makes your city or town unique.

I hope you love your city as much as I do mine. How great it is to appreciate all the uniqueness of where we all live across our beautiful country!

Black Is My Happy Color

It has been a crazy busy summer here at 1865 City House! Why does summer fly and winter drag? In an effort to “catch up” I will be reposting a few of my favorite blog posts the next few weeks, just in case you missed any.  Enjoy!

I saw a girl wearing a tee shirt the other day that read “Black is My Happy Color” and I laughed because black is my “go to” favorite color. I remember my first black velvet dress at around age ten, I thought is was the most elegant thing I had ever owned. Maybe my love of black started then.

Today I strongly believe no interior is complete without a touch of black. It is a timeless color. Black always adds emphasis just like a black picture frame highlights the white mat and photo. Oddly it can make small rooms seem bigger, as the lines tend to disappear. Black will always add depth and can anchor a space like no other color.

There are many ways to incorporate black to your interiors. Consider adding accents and textiles in black when looking for a bit of drama or elegance.

Yes, I know, one of Benjamin Moore’s most popular colors is “Simply White”. However, pair it with black and you have a winning combination.

Looking Up

I have been to NYC more times than I can count (lucky, I know!). Still more often than not, I end up with a sun burn on my neck. Crazy, first because I should remember to use sun screen, and second, because I look like a tourist – at risk of all touristy pitfalls – but I digress.

I am always looking up in NYC to see the amazing architecture. The same is true in Interior spaces. The ceiling is often overlooked but a great opportunity to add a statement.

Here are some great options to consider:

  1.  Simply paint the ceilings

Decorpad

2.  Add wallpaper

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3.  Apply Tin

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4.  Add a coffered design

5.  Or add your own design

Decoist

So basically, just when you thought you were finished decorating (btw you are never finished) “look up” the opportunities are endless!

 

 

Time to Fake It

June, so many beautiful and amazing flowers! Early last week I bought a bouquet of Peonies. I wish I had photographed them, so pretty! In my opinion Peonies are the frangance of summer! But alas all good things must come to an end. I awoke today to a vase surrounded by fallen petals. So sad.

I adore fresh flowers, my garden is planted with the intention of having cut flowers for display inside my home.

However fresh flowers and plants need tender loving care and have an expiration date:

This being said, I will admit to the purchase of fake flowers and plants. These beauties can fill up an empty space and require no care at all. However best to keep them on the small side, as it is harder to find larger arrangements that look natural.

Here are some of my favorities fakes:

Of course there is nothing like the real thing, but once and awhile it’s ok to fake it.

Please Wait to be Seated

Chairs – let’s be honest.  We all have “our” chair.  Growing up I remember my Dad had “his” chair.  We all knew it was off limits when he was home.  It was a comfy recliner.  It’s funny how these chairs become part of your personality.

Just think of popular tv shows and movies:

Joey and Chandler from Friends had their BarcaLounger chairs:

Agent Kay and Agent Jay from Men in Black and their Iconic Egg chairs:

Morpheus and Neo from The Matrix had Red Leather Wing Chairs:

Personally, a wing chair is my chair.  I actually own three.   They work for me.   Just like black dresses, I keep telling my self “no more,  you have more than enough.”   But at the end of the day you can’t have too many black dresses – or wing chairs.  Here is a definition and a little history about wing chairs:

wing chair
[ˈwiNG ˌCHe(ə)r]
NOUN
a high-backed armchair with side pieces projecting from the back, originally in order to protect the sitter from drafts.

Called the wing back, easy chair or fireside chair, the wing chair as we know it developed over time. Wing chairs appeared in English manors sometime in the late 17th century and soon thereafter appeared in colonial houses in America.

Design
The basic wing chair consists of four legs situated in a squat little square. A long back with slight incline and high arms on each side surround the square. Two small ears, or wings, flank the sides above the arms. Since its inception, the design of the wing chair has changed little.  

Purpose
The wing chair sprang from necessity. Residents of stone-cold English castles and chilly New England houses huddled around their fireplaces, seeking to soak in as much heat as possible. The angular shape of the wing chair retains warm drafts from the fire.

Noahsnet.com

Here is my favorite wing chair at the 1865 City House:

Somewhat vintage, and so comfortable!  Like Goldelocks this one is “just right” for me.

Whats your favorite chair style?

Denial

What’s the old joke, “Denial, it’s not just a river in  Egypt.”?  Ha ha ha, right? I had one of these moments when I realized I have been living in denial regarding my minalmalist quest. I was feeling overwhelmed with all of the springtime maintance of my home, and decided it was time to put my minimalistic goals into action.  It was time to downsize yet again! I came up with a list that looked something like this:

#1. Essential sprucing up details to make 1865 City House market ready for a quick sale.  A couple intense weekends, an it could be done!

#2.  Loft type rentals close by.  Many great options.  Some so appealing!

#3. Essentials to keep. This is where it got real. Choosing just a dozen or less furniture pieces, yikes!

Artwork, even harder, and the China, if you follow me you know I have this China obsession:

So end of story, it’s not happening at this minute in time. I have often blogged “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for an interior designer to become a minimalist”, so very, very true.  And of course “minimalism is a different thing to different people; it’s all a matter of perspective.”  Even truer.

So I will continue to edit my “stuff” and I will complete my sprucing up list, at a more leisurely pace however.  And by the way, I just picked up this beautiful china set from a friend…

That’s all for now, Happy June!