House Hunting Outside Paris

Actually, I'm not house hunting anywhere right now, but if you dream of owning a home in France, The New York Times suggests looking just outside Paris in Neuilly-Sur-Seine where your dollar (or a few million of them) will go a bit farther than it will in Paris.

Lovely view. 
The article presents a feature on a apartment in the area for sale.  Unfortunately, there are only a few photos of the apartment.

This photo gives an odd perspective of the living and dining room, but they probably didn't have interior design fanatics like you and me in mind when they took the photos.  It would be nice to see more details of the room.

I was completely charmed by the kitchen and what appears to be a La Cornue range.  I've only fiddled with the knobs on the display model at Williams-Sonoma.  I wonder what it's like to actually use it.

A serene master bath with an interesting finish on the wall panels.  What a lovely place in which to start the day.

~ Happy Monday ~

Home Office Before & After

I'd posted a few weeks ago about the small room that we were making into a home office to accommodate Jon's furniture and here are the results.  We are very pleased with how it turned out.  It's a small room (only about 11' by 8') and although I was worried that it would feel like a closet, all the furniture fits in nicely and it's a warm, cozy retreat.  My hope was to give the room a cozy English library look.

 Here is the "before" photo of the above corner of the room.

 And the opposite wall "after" below.

I was concerned that the paint color would be too dark, but the blue-green hue complements the cherry furniture, which was my intent.  I don't normally use such dark paint colors, but white walls would have contrasted strongly with the furniture and done nothing to highlight the color of the wood.   
Above is the "before" photo of the wall against which we placed the desk.

Everything in the room is from Jon's former home, including the Simon Pearce lamp.  The green color of the lamp works well here too.  I chose an oatmeal colored rug, which works well with the furniture and paint color.  Special thanks to designer Frank Hodge for the carpet connection (thank you, Frank!).

The other thing I decided to do was to paint the trim the same color as the walls (in a Satin finish). Since the room is so small, I didn't think that highlighting the trim by painting it white would be a good move. I spent considerable time mulling over the ceiling color and since the ceiling slopes down and is only about six feet high at the back of the room, I toyed with the idea of painting it the same color as the walls. In the end, I went with ceiling-white paint because with only one window and a low ceiling, the room might have felt like a cave if the ceiling color was too dark.
The room is awaiting a custom Roman shade in a fabric that matches the wall color to continue with the idea of a cozy English library.  I'm also looking for a slim upholstered chair for this corner of the room. We also need the carpenter to come back (please!) and rehang the door.  Other than that, we're done and now turning our attention to other rooms in the house.  More to follow, soon and thanks for following along.

It's The Weekend

Photo by Michael Schreiner, here

Please raise your hand (or shovel) if you are ready for spring.  Although it will snow again tomorrow, I'm telling myself not to lose heart.  March is not far off and temperatures will be in the 40s next week.  If you're not living in a wintry climate, it may seem strange or even pathetic to note 40 degree temperatures, but if you've heard the words "winter weather alert" more than four times this season, you may be looking forward to the warm-up too.

Happy Valentines day and think warm thoughts this weekend.

Ina Garten's Napa Valley Kitchen

If you're a fan of Ina Garten's, you probably saw the Barefoot Contessa episodes that were filmed in Napa Valley, California, where Ina and her husband Jeffrey were apparently vacationing.

I was taken not only with Ina's recipes in this series, but also with the kitchen where the episodes were filmed. 

  By the way, the California sunshine looks so inviting that I could have pressed my face against my monitor to soak up some warmth, but managed to restrain myself.  I'm not complaining, but it's January in Boston and with the Polar Vortex and all that, I'm starved for sunshine right now. 

Anyway, a little Internet research yielded the house in Napa Valley where the Barefoot Contessa episodes were filmed.  I've convinced myself that this is  my dream house.  Doesn't this look like a fantastic place to have al fresco breakfast, lunch, and dinner?  The entrance to the kitchen is under the pergola.

This looks like a lovely space to relax with a book and take a nap after lunch.  The website shows the interior of this outbuilding, which is empty, so I haven't included the photo.

Here's the table where Ina and Jeffrey ate lunch and dinner.  Look at that grill in the background.  I can imagine grilling porterhouse steaks for dinner.  Tyler Florence makes an appearance in one of the episodes and prepares steak for Ina at one of his restaurants.

The dining area has plenty of built-in cabinets for storage.  This wasn't shown in the episodes, but it's so pretty, I had to include it.

Ah, the kitchen at last.  I do love this.  The dark (granite?) counter tops are similar to those in Ina's East Hampton barn.  One of my favorite features is the set of pocket doors that leads directly to the patio.  It's perfect for entertaining, isn't it?

The gas cook top is housed in a butcher block island.  And the sunshine....nothing like bringing the outdoors in. 

Another view of the island....

This is my favorite view and one that I remember clearly from the episodes, although the rustic island is not visible on the show.  Do you think that's a Sub Zero refrigerator?  It appears to have a chalkboard finish (and that was my guess from watching the show), but could that be true?  Any ideas?  Whatever it is, the refrigerator is on my wish list.

The photos of the house are from the website of Mint Locations, which represents exceptional properties in Northern California for film and photo shoots.  They have wonderful homes to view if you have some free time and want to see more of this home.


Home Office Renovation

Happy New Year!
Despite the 14 inches of snow we received on Friday, we have started the home office renovation and the contractor has been hanging the drywall. Here are a few photos of the room before the drywall was installed and during the installation. The photos aren't very exciting, but I'm sure you know what it's like when you're having work done to your home--every bit of progress is indeed exciting. 

The drywall should be finished today, which leaves the taping of the joints and plastering next weekend. I've already chosen the paint color, which will be a deep blue-green. The room is very small (ok, tiny!), but I am hoping the dark paint color will be good choice and it should work well with the cherry furniture.

The floors are pine, but I'm a bit tired of the rustic look (and orange-ish color), so we'll have wall-to-wall carpeting installed. I haven't even begun to look at carpet samples yet so need to do this, pronto. The carpeting needs to be installed before the desk and bookcases are delivered.
The former owners used this room as the children's bedroom.  When I bought the house, I had to take some space from this room to have a walk-in closet built in the master bedroom.  The original closet was unbelievably tiny, as is the case with these old houses.  The window is being covered with drywall and the exterior has been shingled to match the house. 

Such a mish-mash of framing!  The house was built in 1875, so this is not a surprise (I keep telling myself that anyway).
We're looking for a neutral carpet--something in an oatmeal color (no sea grass, however) and of nice quality, but budget friendly.  If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.  Thanks!

Merry Christmas

Painting by Constant Montald
Merry Christmas and thank you for your good wishes.
~ D ~

I'm Getting Married!

 I'm usually reserved and don't share much about myself here, but I wanted to share the happy news that Jon and I are getting married.   This is the happiest time in my life and I feel so fortunate to be marrying such a wonderful man.  I never thought during many years (actually many, many, many years) of being single that I would meet a man that is as good, kind and thoughtful as Jon is. 
We've been dating for six years, became engaged over Thanksgiving and have decided to marry this New Year's Eve.  The response from everyone has been "this New Year's Eve?", but we are eager and excited to start our life together and what better way to end the year and start the new one than with a wedding.  We are not having a wedding per se, but instead a small private ceremony.  As much as I enjoy weddings, the thought of planning one right now is daunting. 

Jon is selling his condominium and we will live in my small house until we figure out our next move.  This will mean blending his furniture with mine, choosing new furnishings together and making the most of the limited closet space in my house.  We're converting an unused room into a home office and I already have a dramatic paint color in mind for the room.  We have a few other home improvements we're planning  and it will be fun to share these on the blog. 
We've both been cleaning out clutter from our homes to get ready for the move so although the Christmas tree is decorated, I've not done much holiday decorating.  I've been inspired by great ideas from other blogs, however, so hopefully I'll find time to do more Christmas decorating. 
I wish you all the best for the holiday season.  Thank you for reading my blog throughout the year-- I greatly appreciate the time you take from your busy life to read, follow along and leave such kind comments.  It means so much to me.
All the best to you and your families,