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Friday, December 31, 2010

18th Century Colonial Renovation: Move In Day!

I can't think of a better way to end the year than with being able to answer the most commonly asked question of the year, "Have Meg & Kurt moved into their new house yet?" with a resounding "YES!". The movers came on Wednesdsay and while there is still a lot of unpacking and a few final items to take care of, they are very happily in their new house after over 14 months of renovations. Before we go too far, you might want to take a peak at the beginning of this 18th Century Colonial Renovation to refresh your memory on what it looked like in the "before" pictures.
The most dramatic changes on the front were the removal of the front porch and the addition of a double sided staircase as well as new Hardiplank clapboard.
The sides and back of the house have been re-shingled and the trim has been painted to coordinate with the front of the house.
In addition to the new shingles, the back of the house got a new 8' sliding door and mahogany decking at both entrances.
Here is glimpse up the very narrow back staircase by the kitchen which received a fresh coat of paint on the walls and stairs. I always love a second staircase in a house. I don't know why they don't do that more often in new homes.
Before I go too far, I need to mention that I went in to take pictures the day before they moved in so there were still a few work related things laying around like a dry vac and garbage can in the middle of the kitchen. The kitchen was the one room that received new flooring. The cabinets are Abstrakt by Ikea.
All new appliances went into the kitchen and there are some nice little features like the pot filler over the stove. The one thing that still needs to be decided on here is a backsplash.
There used to be a chimney in this space, but as it wasn't necessary, they removed it and were able to add this custom built in bar and entertainment unit between the kitchen and den.
This room was considered the dining room, but they will be using it as a den as it is open to the kitchen. The new slider is the biggest addition to this room. You can see in the corner of the room and on the ceilings that there are exposed beams. The one in the corner was partially damaged and needed repair, but they were able to cover up that area with a nice box molding that doesn't look out of place.
The living room/dining area has a new wood stove and under that furniture cover is a wonderful gate-leg table that fits nicely along the wall when not in use and can be pulled out to the center of the room when entertaining more formally. While you can't see it in these pictures, the upper part of the walls are covered in beautiful grasscloth wallpaper by Elitist.
The rooms are filled with natural light which makes them so open and bright.
The front entry and stairwell were painted as well as the floors and staircase. Unfortunately, the old floors here were in too much disrepair to refinish, but I love the look of painted floors.

The stairwell from upstairs.
The master bedroom is enormous and very bright.
A new master bath was added off of the master bedroom. The upstairs had only 1 half bath before the renovation, but now has two full baths as well as a full bath downstairs.
The master bath shower. This proved to be the most challenging of their DIY projects, particularly in getting the tile floor level with the drain, but it came out really nice. The glass enclosure has not been installed yet, but will be soon.
The long hallway was once part of each of the bedrooms so that one had to pass through one room to get to the next one. The color is one of my favorites-it's in my own living room too-Ocean Air by Benjamin Moore, although it looks quite different in this space because there is only one window in the hallway.
The guest/kids bathroom is spacious and soothing. Again, the floors were painted in this space.
An antique vanity adds some more character to the space.
This is the third bedroom. I actually didn't get pictures of the second bedroom because the final coat of paint was being added later on the day I was there. This room fits a twin bed, and I love the melon color.
While this room is on the smaller side, it is cozy and quiet and a spot one might retreat to for some down time.
On the third floor, the original beams and closet remain with their dark wood, but the floors and walls have all been painted Super White by Benjamin Moore.
I LOVE this! I have always wanted an all white room. This will be an office space and is the one room in the house with clear views to Newport harbor. I also love how they had built in drawers added into the walls to maximize storage space.

So there is the grand tour! I'm sure we will have many more projects from this house to share as finishing touches are made on the decor and things get unpacked. I know this is making for a very happy New Year for this family.

I am so excited about what's to come in 2011. Just a few of things I'll be bringing you include a fabulous wedding I'm planning in June, several projects around my own house, a Chateau & Bungalow product line and perhaps the revival of another fabulous product line as well as all the other great things I come across in my travels.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year too and thank you for following me!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Books on Display

File this under "Why didn't I think of that?" This wall of books on display in a nursery means you'll never forget what titles you have in the house and is sure to instill a love of reading. Plus, it's fun to look at. While it works great in a nursery it would also be fabulous in a living room. Why hide all those beautiful book covers? And all you need is a few pieces of wood to get the look of an incredible feature wall.

Image via Blabla on Facebook

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Simple Holidays

When stores start decking the halls in September, it's easy to get caught up in all of the hullabaloo that makes the holidays complicated and stressful instead of joyful and about family and friends. Sometimes just going with the flow also gives you the best results. On Thanksgiving morning, my mother came over to my house to "do" my window boxes for the holidays. I am very lucky because my mother likes doing this sort of thing and with two little ones, by the time I get to thinking about it, let alone actually doing it, it is usually not worth it. I made my way outside as my mother was finishing up to see how the window boxes looked (as though I warranted a say in this free service being offered to me), and my mom was pulling together the leftover greens. There wasn't enough to do much with them so I suggested we pull together a little swag for my front door. Of course I didn't know where my floral wire was so I just grabbed the first piece of anything resembling string I could find which happened to be this navy and red ribbon on my car floor (secret revealed-my car is a catchall). So now I have a have a very simple swag with a little touch of prep-which suits me just fine-for my front door for the holidays. And if I'm being totally honest, when I showed it to my son he said "Oh, that's the string from my pants." I was wondering where that ribbon came from. Oh well.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Interview with Couture Parties

I know I've fallen a bit behind once again, and unfortunately I had to take a sick day on Sunday which has had me scrambling on all my work this week. But I didn't want to leave you totally empty handed. One of the bonuses of my job as a writer for our local is that I get to interview some of the amazingly talented super cool people that live here in the Newport area. If you missed my interview with Jeff Soderbergh, be sure to check it out here. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing event designer Stephanie Frazier Grimm of Couture Parties whose work includes parties for major Hollywood celebs like Jennie Garth and Kelly Rutherford just to name a few. As you can see from the above photo, she does amazingly beautiful and stylish parties and is actually quite an inspiration to me as someone who is making it all happen. Check out the story on Middletown Patch.

Image Source: Stephanie Frazier Grimm

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Black Friday Everyday

If you are anything like me you prefer not to head to the stores on Black Friday to fight the crowds, but you also really enjoy a deal, and not just once a year. Over the past few years, there has been an influx of web sites popping up where you can find fabulus deals on designer housewares, clothing, toys, trips, wine and so much more all from the comfort of your own home. The way most of these sites work is that you join them for free and then they email you with the deals of the day or you can just go to the site. They put items up for sale for a limited amount of time, usually a few days, but you have to act fast to get the size, color, etc. you want as many of them sell out quickly.
The sites I follow are Ideeli, One Kings Lane, Gilt, Hautelook, The Foundary, and Ruelala. Whether you're looking for designer denim, luxurious bedding or fabulous accessories, there is literally something for everyone on these sites and the prices are oh so right. So don't drive yourself crazy on Friday, sleep in, sit back, relax and get great deals from home.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turner Pocock Cazalet Wallpaper

Tennis anyone? Bunny Turner and Emma Pocock of the U.K.'s interior design firm Turner Pocock have teamed up with artist Catherine Cazalet to create a fun and funky line of wallpaper. My favorite is the Tennis wallpaper in the kelly green. While it would be perfect in a clubhouse, it would also be incredibly unexpected and fun in a bathroom, bedroom, entry or mudroom.
If tennis isn't your game there are plenty of other fun patterns to choose from including Zebras (above) and Polar Bear, Ostrich, Ibis and Cricket. I hope they have a line of fabrics to match in the works because I would love a chair in one of these too!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Smathers & Branson Needlepoint Coaster Sets

Entertaining just got a whole lot preppier. Now even your drink can accessorize itself with some classic needlepoint. Smathers & Branson, famed maker of needlepoint belts, headbands, and key fobs for the preppiest of the preppy, has recently launched a new line of needlepoint coaster sets, and I must say that I think I might need to add these to my Christmas list. The problem is that I can't decide between the black labs in honor of my pup, the sailboats because I love all things nautical, the four versions of the American flag that will make me feel like I live in a Ralph Lauren ad, or the horse racing theme to go with my collection of mint julep cups. If none of those suit you, there is always the lacrosse sticks, fly fishing and fox hunting themes, and if you don't have any hobbies that might be listed in the Preppy Handbook, you're probably out of luck. Cheers!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Etsy Pick of the Week: Tray Chic

I always love to use chalkboard paint in fun ways, but it's true that while functional it isn't exactly chic in most cases. That is until now. Etsy seller Her Majesty's Pug transforms silver plate trays into magnetic chalkboards that are perfect for to use for both entertaining or to hang on a kicthen wall that's a little more glam.
The trays come in a round, rectangular and oval shapes and are a mere $10.50! I was going to suggest that these wouldn't be that difficult to make, but really at that price, I'm not sure it would be worth the trouble. I think these are a fabulous way to put the menu up on a buffet. I think I might take a look for some smaller silver plate dishes and make them place card holders, but any way you use them, I love this idea!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ralph Lauren 4D Show

Have you seen the 4D show that Ralph Lauren literally put on their new Madison Ave mansion storefront last night? The event was a celebration of the 10 year anniversary of which is now, and it was quite the spectacle. I was invited to head to New York for it by a close high school friend who was one of the producers of the show, and unfortunately I couldn't make it, but at least I (and you) can watch the installation on YouTube. I highly recommend taking the 7+ minutes to watch the video. When was the last time you saw polo players barreling across a building facade, models walking a runway on a balcony or a supersized version of your favorite purse, belt or tie flying overhead?
Seeing this use of 4D technology makes me wonder what will come next with it. You can't help but think that there is no limit to it other than your own imagination. It certainly appears that it could make set design and event planning a lot more exciting, but it would be very cool to see how this could translate into your own home. I certainly am excited to see what else there is to come.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sferra Sample Sale

If you've ever seen Sferra linens, you know just how incredible they are. The bedding, besides being super soft and cozy is also incredibly beautiful and sophisticated. The table linens are impeccable and I can't say I've ever seen a Sferra item I didn't like. With a full line of linens of all kinds and for all ages, a fabulous line from Kelly Wearstler and cashmere scarves, there is a little something for everyone, and starting tomorrow you can get it all for up to 70% off. Sferra is holding their sample sale at Chelsea Market from Nov. 10-14 and if you are anywhere near there, I'd say run, don't walk to get there. Just another reason to be bummed I had to cancel my trip to NYC this week.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Vintage Scarf Decor

I've always loved using objects in ways other than for what they are meant. I was perusing Vivre this afternoon and found this fabulous use of vintage scarves by Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent on a chandelier and some chairs by Susan Fellman, and I think this is a perfect combination of fashion and home decor as well as art and functionality. The chair uses three different vintage scarves and each of the pieces is made to order so no two are alike.

Not surprisingly, the prices on these pieces are steep. But if you have scarves that you aren't wearing but still love or are looking for a new piece of art, think outside the box. Frame one, have it turned into a pillow or bring it to your local upholsterer. I love the thought of a bedroom or vanity chair, even if just the seat, being upholstered with a beautiful feminine scarf.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Etsy Pick of the Week: Rock the Boat

This adorable tender rocking cradle by Beaver Boatworks is almost reason enough to have another least for those of us that adore boating and seaside living. (I can just see my husband shaking his head no as he reads that.) I have quite a few friends who it would be perfect for. This accurate replica of a ship's tender is cyprus planked on a mahogany backbone with a lacewood transom. The company sells bedding to fit the unusual shape.
And just in case you thought it couldn't get any cuter, it does. After you are done using it as a cradle, you can get the conversion kit and turn it into a wagon. This has me written all over it, unfortunately the price tag doesn't, but hey, if you can swing it, I say go for it!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

18th Century Colonial Renovation: Part VII

Perhaps the question I get asked more than any other lately is "Has your sister moved into her new house yet?" Unfortunately, the answer is no, but the good news is that there has been massive progress in the past few weeks. Above you can see the new built in bar and soon to be built in bookcases. The paint has been purchased for almost every room and much of the trim has been painted. The tile has been mostly installed in the two upstairs bathrooms, and since these pictures were taken the floors have also been re-done and the rooms are starting to look bright and spacious.
The lower and a few of the upper kitchen cabinets have been installed, and the appliances have arrived! It's actually starting to look a bit like a house that someone might be living in somewhat soon. And that would, indeed, be the goal. There are grand hopes that they will be moved in for Christmas. I think we're getting to the point where it will be more fun to reveal rooms as they are completed. These pictures aren't the most exciting, but I wanted to give you an update since it's been such a popular question.
Check out the progress of this renovation, here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy Chic Bedding

As most of you know, I LOVE Jonathan in a hugely enormous way. So I was really excited yesterday when I saw that he has brought back his line of bedding. Yay! Being a Newporter and growing up in Lilly Pulitzer, I have to say that the Pink Flame Bedding pretty much sums up a perfect marriage of preppy and modern for me. It almost makes me want to move my 19 month old into a twin bed so that I can purchase it, that is until I think of the fact that she would be able to escape her bed and I might not sleep for months.
For a more subdued, but equally stunning look I like the Blue Syrie Bedding. I can't think of a style house that this wouldn't look great in. Beach house, city, just works.
Orange is one of those colors that I don't think gets enough respect. My bathroom is orange and I see people cringe when I say that, but then they see it and tell me how much they love it. Actually, the fabric of this Orange Mustique Bedding would make a fabulous shower curtain for said bathroom. The first thing I thought when I saw this bedding was that it reminded me of Matouk, quite possibly one of the best bedding company's on the planet, and this provides a similar look at a more affordable price.
All of the Jonathan Adler bedding is 400 thread count 100% cotton percale, and there are several other patterns that are equally as fabulous. Now you can get a chic night's sleep.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

End of Season Gardening

While I love all of the seasons, I never have an easy time saying goodbye to my garden come late fall. And even though I must admit that I've highly neglected the garden of late, I will still miss it until spring. I found this hydrangea bloom last weekend and became mildly obsessed with it. The colors are so spectacular in it and it was that last little bit of beauty from a summer bloom.
This week, we had our first forecast for frost and so after taking the kids trick or treating and getting them to bed, I ended up in my vegetable garden with a flashlight at 10 p.m. picking every last thing I could-tomatoes, peppers, green beans. We didn't have the frost that was forecasted, but I thought it was a good reminder that it's time to bring it all in. If you have potted herbs, you should be able to bring those in and keep them going inside for a bit. Or pick them and dry them or freeze them in water in ice cube trays so you can pop an herb cube out as needed.
Frost also means that the ground is going to be frozen soon so if you want to see daffodils, tulips, crocus and other spring bulbs, now is the time to make sure you get them planted. There is nothing quite like that first bloom after a long winter.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Etsy Pick of the Week: Mudworks Pottery

I know, I know, it's been awhile. I must admit that I've been in a bit of a funk lately and as a result haven't been feeling very inspired, just mostly overwhelmed. I don't know exactly what the reason is for it all. I think it's partially that I put my baby into school and partially that the reason for it is to really commit to my new job as a freelance writer, blogger. A job that I truly am enjoying, but am also conflicted with because it is not my "dream job". For the greater portion of the last 10 years of my life, my dream has been and continues to be to create and turn Chateau & Bungalow into a booming business. Somehow life seems to keep getting in the way, and I know that I really can't complain because so many of my other dreams have come true, and not everyone can say that. And I know that I have to keep plugging away and not complain and know that things will happen when they are supposed to happen as long as I keep working at it.
What does that have to do with a fish mug? Good question. I was at my favorite farm stand, Sweet Berry Farm, today with the kids and caught the back of this mug on the shelf. I picked it up and this adorable little fish face looked back at me (this picture actually doesn't do it justice compared to it in person). I couldn't help but smile. As you have probably heard me say before, I'm a big fan of smile inducing objects. Our homes are much happier places with them and so I came home and found the company online to share with you all. Who knew that a funny little fish mug by Mudworks Pottery would be what it takes to inspire to find the time to get back to blogging. I promise I won't go that long again. And I think maybe I'd better head back to the farm and bring that little guy home to remind me not to get discouraged and to keep me caffeinated (he holds 14 ounces of coffee!) which I'm going to need to get everything done.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jeff Soderbergh Furniture

I am so lucky to live in a place where there are so many talented craftsmen. There is something about the ocean that seems to draw creative people. I have long been a fan of local furniture designer Jeff Soderbergh's architectural salvage furniture, and am lucky enough to get to see it in several of my friends' homes (and hopefully some day my own). This year he was featured in the House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year designed by Jeff Lewis of Bravo's Flipping Out, and recently I had the opportunity to interview him for our local news web site Middletown Patch. He is amazingly talented so be sure to check it out here.

Image via House Beautiful.

Friday, October 8, 2010

One Year of Chateau & Bungalow

This door at the entry of Vanderbilt Hall, a luxury Newport hotel, caught my eye as I was walking past it this morning. I love the door knockers and the deep green color of the door. I'm sure part of it is because it's one of the things that I loved the most about the house I grew up in which also had the lion's head door knocker and dark green door. It's a striking combination. The entire entry (below) of the hotel was looking crisp and fall-ish, but sophisticated at the same time. Don't be afraid to use rich, sophisticated colors like this. It makes all your seasonal decorations stand out even more.
Also, today is the one year blogiversary of Chateau & Bungalow. I'm really having fun with it and have enjoyed all the feedback I've gotten from all of you. A year ago, when I started this blog, it was a way for me to have a creative outlet while I was unemployed and staying at home with my two kids. Never would I have guessed that it would lead to a new career as a writer/editor. I'm now writing for multiple media outlets, but I am still committed to building Chateau & Bungalow into a much bigger business and hope to be offering products to you all as well. Thanks so much for reading and I would so appreciate it if you share your favorite posts with your networks. I'd also love to hear what some of your favorite posts have been. Was it the color your own wallpaper, the book shelf styling, architectural fences, 18th Century Colonial Renovation? There are 150 posts to choose from! Thanks for a great first year, and here's to many more to come!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Brightening Up Beige

The folks over at Ohdeedoh, Apartment Therapy's kids blog, always have great posts of people's before & after's in their homes. I came across this nursery this week, and was very impressed. On the surface, it looks like a cute well designed nursery, but what's so impressive about it is that upon a closer look, you can see that it is a room with beige painted walls and beige carpet. This is a rental that looks like anything but! So many people get stumped by what to do with a rental and how to infuse their own personality into them. Here, the homeowner put a bright colorful area rug over the beige wall to wall carpet, and added a scalloped wallpaper border that she made from contact paper. To find out how, you can check her blog, IS*LY. While this was done for a child's room, you can easily use these ideas for an adult's room too. So go on, and brighten up those beige rentals.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bookshelf Stairwell

I was researching a totally different topic for today's post when I came across this bookshelf staircase on Apartment Therapy in an image search and decided it was too good not to share. This is in a London flat and the stairwell is hidden from the main living space and takes the unit's owners up to a previously unused loft space that is now a bedroom.
Being someone who is always looking for storage solutions and someone who hates to get rid of books, although I don't have nearly this many, I figured there are others of you out there that might have a similar storage problem. And it doesn't have to be books. If you have collections of other (non-breakable) items, you could display them in the same way. This stairwell was a new build so they were able to do it exactly to their specs, but it's always good to think about what lies behind your walls. In so many cases there is "dead" space where built-ins can be installed, especially where there are dormers, fireplaces, etc. Obviously you'll need to be careful not to do anything to any load baring walls without the assistance of a professional, but don't be afraid to think outside the box, or in this case inside the walls. Go to Apartment Therapy to read their full story on this project.

Images via Apartment Therapy