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Friday, May 28, 2010

D.I.Y.: Colorful Pots

All spring I have been looking for great cobalt blue pots for my front steps. It's not that they are so hard to find. It's just that they don't seem to ever run less than $60 per pot and that was a lot more than I wanted to spend. Then I finally had an aha moment this week while making placecard holders for a party last night in which we spray painted miniature pots to use as the stands for the placecards. Why not just buy terracotta pots and spray paint them cobalt blue? I went to a few places before I finally found the right size and shape for what I was looking for, but I found them. Step two was to lay them out on newspaper on the grass.

Step 3 was to paint them. I used Krylon Indoor/Outdoor Gloss Paint in Regal Blue. I first painted them upside down and then flipped them to do the rims and upper part of the interior. This paint dries super fast so it only took a few minutes before I could flip them. I could have gotten away with just one coat, but I wanted them to look as good up close as they did from afar so I did two coats. You can also do a spray primer first, but I wanted them to be a little more rustic looking with some of the terracotta showing through.
And voila, here is the finished product with plants. The color is a close match to my front door and shutters, and it is amazing how cohesive the front of the house now looks. I do like terracotta pots, but I just wanted something a little more special for my front steps (even though the rest of the front entry needs a LOT of work still) and I like how it came out so much that I'm thinking I might do the ones on my back steps too. The total cost for 2 pots (not including plants) was about $33 so a pretty significant savings compared to the colored ones you find in most garden centers. Of course, now I think I need new house numbers and a new light fixture never mind the woodwork that needs to be repaired and the steps that need to be replaced.
Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Etsy Pick of the Week: Buoy Pillow

When I first saw these life size Buoy Pillows by Cobalt Sky Studio on Etsy I thought they were cute, but then when I saw that they can be customized with a last name, house number, or baby's name and birth date, they became a little more irresistable. They are the perfect unique gift for anyone who lives by the sea or just loves the nautical look. And at $25, you can't really go wrong.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Under My Umbrella

Watermelon Cover by Santa Barbara Umbrella
Ahhhhh, the beach weather has finally arrived and a little bit ahead of schedule here in the Northeast. I am eternally conflicted with my complete and total adoration for the sun and my very fair and freckled skin. And while I can handle a little too much sun (even though I shouldn't) I can't bare to see my kids whom are even more fair skinned than I (in fact the doctor claims she has never seen a fairer pair) get a sunburn. Hence it is time to figure out how I will shade these two outdoor loving little people. Here are my favorite picks for beach and patio umbrellas.

Lillypond Umbrella by Santa Barbara Umbrella
Hampshire Stripe Round Market Umbrella by Pottery Barn

Mid Century Sunshade available at Design Within Reach

Tuuci Razor Shade available at Design Within Reach

Aqua Market Umbrella by Pier 1 Imports

Bamboo Parasol by The Conran Shop

Now I just have to figure out how to keep the little dears under my umbrella. Enjoy the beautiful day!

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Favorite Day of the Year

I spent most of the weekend in the garden moving plants, extending my perennial garden, mulching, etc. and was so tired and achy last night that I went to bed at 8:30. This weekend was also the 3 year anniversary of when we moved into our house and even though there is always a lot of work to be done when you own a home, I am amazed at how much progress we have made in our yard which had been long neglected before we moved in. Today I got a reminder of why it is all so worth it, the day I look forward to all year...more than Christmas and my birthday. My absolute favorite flower is the peony and I am so happy for the few short weeks they are in bloom each year. Today our first peony of the year is in full bloom! Here it is, and I'm looking so forward to the dozen or so more that are to follow. It is so rewarding to work so hard and have such a beautiful result. For those of you who don't garden, you might think I'm nuts, but gardening is a little bit like raising children. You remember when you planted each thing, where you got it from, and are amazed by how much it's grown with all of the tlc you've provided it. So I encourage you all to go out and get dirty! It'll be well worth it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

18th Century Colonial Renovation: Part IV

The 18th Century Colonial Renovation we've been following has made quite a bit of progress in the past month and we can now see a bit more of what the end product is going to look least on the outside. This week the clapboard was installed on the front of the house (the sides are going to be shingled). The material they selected for the clapboard is call HardiePlank lap siding. It is a fiber cement product that is resistant to moisture and rot and only has to be painted every 15 years. It is also considered to be an eco-friendly product that earns points toward LEED certification (if you are going for that). In case you don't remember what the front of the house looked like originally, here is a reminder. The front porch has obviously been removed and a new set of double stairs will be installed soon.
As for the interiors, it still looks like this, BUT, really this isn't all that bad because all of the electrical, heating and plumbing have been installed and the inspections are are being done so we should be seeing sheetrock very soon. Above is the future kitchen. You can see the stack of 8" wide plank flooring that is going to be installed in the kitchen-the only room besides the master bath where new flooring needs to be installed. The kitchen cabinets have also been selected and they are going with Ikea's Abstrakt cabinets in high gloss white and the counters will be butcher block. This room will truly marry the colonial look with a modern one, but I think it's going to be very cool in the end. Things are really starting to come together and I expect we'll be seeing some finished rooms in the next month!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Etsy Pick of the Week: Bubble Chandelier

As soon as I laid my eyes on this Bubble Chandelier by Jean Pelle, I knew it had to be my Etsy Pick of the Week. I love the airiness of it combined with the natural twine that wraps the cables that hold it all together. It comes in two sizes as well as an elongated version. I would love something like this for my living room or a pair of them would be great to hang over a bedside table. I would just need to clarify with the kids that these bubbles aren't for popping.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Envy Inducing Chaos that is 9 By Design

I just finished catching up on last night's episode of 9 By Design on Bravo. Have you been watching it? It's the reality series featuring Cortney and Robert Novogratz, their 7 children, and their amazing design business, Sixx Design. Every time I watch it I think that they are crazy and that I could never live the way they do. They are famous for buying up completely dilapitated buildings in New York City and turning them into stunning buildings that are pieces of art in and of themselves besides being beautifully decorated and that sell for tens of millions of dollars. But after thinking they are crazy I get envious of their fearlessness. I'm not even sure that's the right word, but you can often sense Cortney's trepidation about putting the house on the market (again!) or leaving her new baby behind while she goes to London for a few days, and then within moments she gets right on board with whatever the idea may be. They do make mistakes (like booking the location for their book launch in London for the wrong date), but they do things themselves and they don't pretend to be perfect which makes them even more likeable. I think I tend to overthink things way too much and then I feel like nothing gets accomplished. So I think it's time to stop thinking and start doing. How I'm not exactly sure, but I'm not going to think about that. If you are doing then things are happening that will lead to new things. Sure, the Novogratz family has some help with the kids, but they are very hands on with their children and at the end of every episode you have seen a fabulous design, can feel the love in their family, and can see that there is more adventure on the horizon. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out on Bravo on Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Brimfield Report

My first trip to the Brimfield Antique Show on Friday was a great experience. We barely even scratched the surface of what was there. I think we visited 6 or 7 of the 23 fields that were open, but it gave me a good sense of what you can find there (just about anything you can dream of). Some of the booths were very well styled (above) and some were literally just boxes and boxes of what many would consider junk (but if someone will buy it then there is still value to it).
My partners in crime were my husband and 1 yr old daughter. The stroller was helpful in carrying our goods, but I think the people pulling wagons were the smartest so if you go keep that in mind. Sometimes even the smallest things are heavy.

Vintage Fiestaware
When I say you can literally find anything there, I mean it. Here are some of the higher end items that caught my eye.

Beautiful Sleigh Daybed
Vintage Stove

I love antique washstands. I actually have one sitting in my garage just waiting for our downstairs bath to be redone. They are great space savers because they tend to be smaller than modern day vanities and they are generally much better quality than your average modern vanity too.
Loved all the vintage letters and symbols in this booth.

When I first saw this booth, I thought what a bunch of junk. Some of the instruments and equipment were literally snapped in half, but then I became totally inspired by them. If you wanted to do a sports or music themed room for your child, I would much rather see vintage baseball bats or hockey sticks on the wall than a baseball or hockey wallpaper border. The instruments could easily be spray painted in fun colors to hide the damage to them. The items can still have a great life as decor even if they aren't otherwise functional.

Some of the items were new products and not antiques which I have mixed feeling about.

A selection of glass door knobs. There were actually some incredibly beautiful doors that we saw too.

Some of the items were really random and I wasn't sure what on earth I would do with them, but I thought they were kind of silly all in a bucket together. Perhaps garden decor?

And there were many many things that were modern and didn't have that antique feel so even if antiques aren't your thing, you will still likely find things you love. We actually only spent about 3 hours at the show and I would have loved to have spent some more time looking at some of the silver and dishware. There was oodles of it and it was a great place to pick up a little silver salt and pepper set or candlesticks.
I did not actually find any of the items I went in search of, but have no fear, I didn't come home empty handed. I'll share my purchase with you once I get it put in place. I broke my own rules and didn't grab anything until I was done looking. I missed out on one of the things I went back for because the vendor had left already, and I almost didn't get the other items either because someone else had scooped all but five of them up just as I got back to the booth, but I am happy with my purchase.
The next show is July 13-18th so mark your calendars now if you're interested.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Etsy Pick of the Week: Cape Cod Beach Tables

We've had a bit of a tease of beach weather here in the northeast. What had been a beautiful spring has suddenly turned into chilly and windy weather. I am hoping that if I start posting about beach items, the warm sunshine-y days will come back to us. This Cape Cod Beach Table from Etsy is perfect whether you are hitting the beach for cocktails and sunset or you're spending the whole day at the beach with the kids. Keep those lunches sand free! It would work great at the park or a concert or polo too because there is actually enough room to put a few glasses and plates on. Now if the sun would just come back out!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Brimfield Opening Day!

Today is the opening day of the Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, MA. I have always wanted to go and this year I finally am! Nothing is going to stop me. We are planning on going Friday which is supposed to be a little rainy and we will have at least onechild in tow, but I don't care. This is supposed to be the show of all shows. Their web site says that if you can't find what you're looking for then you probably aren't ever going to find it. There are 23 different fields which are run by different promoters and over 5,000 vendors that show their goods. I am looking for a chandelier for my dining room, a child's chair that can be reupholstered in some beautiful Beatrix Potter fabric that my mother is holding onto for the kids, and any cool vintage fabrics that I can find. Of course, I imagine I might find some other things too and will spend much of the day convincing my husband why I need to have those things or sending him off to look for something else while I snatch up what I want. I will of course let you all know what I find. If you are going to go be sure to check out the Brimfield Antique Show web site and the listing of all the show hours since not all fields are open every day and the hours vary by field. And remember to bring comfy shoes and that you'll always get a better deal if you pay cash. The show goes through Sunday, and if you can't make it this time, you can check it out again from July 13th-18th or September 7th-12th.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Whale Basket

It seems I have a thing for case you haven't noticed. But wouldn't this Pottery Barn Whale Basket be amazingly adorable with the Little Whales wallpaper I posted last week? It comes in white or honey. I might actually like looking at all the toys in my house if they were stored in this basket!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Serena & Lily: Not Just Kid Stuff Anymore

Many of us who are moms are already familiar with the fabulous nursery and children's bedding designs of Serena & Lily. The company launched their first line in 2004 with bedding and added upholstered furniture such as gliders and headboards as well as lighting, rugs and custom paint colors to match their fabrics, but always a bit more geared towards chidren.

Tess Bedding
But over the past year, I've noticed that they have started adding more home decor that isn't baby or kid oriented, and I must say they are doing a spectacular job at it.

Custom Upholstered Furniture
In addition to their fabulous bedding, you can now get custom upholstered furniture for your bedroom, living room or dining room using the fabulous Serena & Lily fabrics. Whether you are looking for something calm and traditional or bold and modern, they have something for you.

Lucky Lacquered Table
Plus, they have added unique pieces to add that pop of color or eclectic feel to your home.

Greek Key Lamp

Their lighting selections have always been great, but now they have more sophistacated offerings.

Navy Deco Frame Rug

And the Serena & Lily rugs are simple but still make a statement.

Leaf Diamond Fabric

You can also buy the Serena & Lily fabrics by the yard to add coordinating curtains or to reupholster an existing piece of furniture.

Punch Paint

And of course, the Serena & Lily paint ties it all together. Whether you are a design diva or design challenged, Serena & Lily couldn't make it any easier to create a beautiful room for yourself or the kids.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Whale of a Wallpaper

I am in love....with a wallpaper. The Little Whales wallpaper designed by Geoff McFetridge is completely smile inducing. I would like to put in my son's room, a bathroom, or just about anywhere else I could find. It is modern and traditional at the same time and couldn't make me any happier. Available at Walnut Wallpaper.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Roseberry Winn Tile

This past Saturday, my sister, mother, daughter (with her 13 months of design expertise) and I made a trip to Tiverton Four Corners to check out the Roseberry Winn Pottery Seconds Sale in search of some tile for the 18th Century Colonial Renovation my sister and her husband are working on. Finally, we're starting to get to the really fun stuff on this project! Roseberry Winn Pottery is the masterful collaborative work of Michael Roseberry and Bruce Winn who go through many phases of design before they develop a mold to cast their beautiful designs which are then hand finished. Besides tiles of varying sizes, they create vases, pitchers, mugs, bowls and much more, but we were there to focus on tile.
It is clear that Roseberry Winn tile will add a truly unique and custom look to any room. These are just a few of the sample boards they display in their store to give you some inspiration.
Above is a large selection of the top quality tile designs they offer.
And here are some of the "seconds" that we were choosing from. These were considered lower quality because of inconsistencies in the glazing, air pockets, cracks, etc. however most were perfectly fine and there were enough of them to get a stack of like colors.
We were looking for tiles that would work in the master bath, kitchen, and the two fireplace surrounds in the living room and master bedroom. So since my sister wants to go with sea blue and greens for her master bath, we chose the cross radial tile in an aqua color which will either be used in the shower or as a sink backsplash. The white box radial tile will either be used in conjunction with the cross radial tile in the master bath or possibly in the living room in each corner of the fireplace surround.
In the master bedroom she is thinking of going with a lavender gray color. This has not yet been run by my brother-in-law, but we bought the waves tile in a soft lavender glaze (this photo doesn't do it justice) so it looks like he might not have much of a choice, and it's actually quite nice. We didn't have any luck in our search for kitchen tiles, but we were quite pleased with what we did find (and since then I've found a great idea for kitchen tiling that I'll share soon). These tiles are normally $12 per tile so $108 per square foot-not cheap-but by buying just enough of them at the $5 per tile sale price to create accents and mix them with more reasonably priced tiles, she is still going to achieve a custom look. Of course, if your budgets permits, go all out and you're sure to be pleased with the results as well.