Looking Ahead to 2011

The year is coming to a close and I want to thank everyone who reads, comments, emails, follows, and subscribes to my blog all year long.  Having a blog is great fun and I've enjoyed getting to know new people and fellow bloggers near and far.  Thank you all for your support and friendship. 

And lest I carry on like Sally Field at the 1985 Oscars, I'll move on now to a few of my plans for 2011. Nothing strenuous or exciting like climbing K2, but it's good to get even the little things down on paper:

1) Spend more on fresh flowers and less on imported cheese

Sure, I love French cheese (who doesn't), but it would be best to eat it less often. Sometimes I balk at the bunches of fresh flowers at Whole Foods, thinking do I really need to spend $12 on flowers? But then I get home and while putting away the groceries realize that in three days the flowers will look better than a half-eaten $9 wedge of St. Andre and I regret not buying the flowers.

2) Consider drapes for the living room and bedroom

I have lived in my house for ten years and never considered myself a drapery kind of person. They always seemed too fussy and too puffy for my taste. Shutters have been my window treatment of choice since there is not much privacy in the city and shutters allow light to come in while shielding views from the neighbors.  But the idea of adding drapes is growing on me.  Drapes to bring warmth, coziness, pattern, and color to my rooms.  Yes, these are definitely on the list for 2011 and I've recently become smitten with these crisp chocolate brown checked drapes.

Interior design by Pamela Pierce. Southern Accents Magazine, Nov/Dec 2003. Photography by Tria Giovan

3) Finish painting the walls upstairs

This is self-explanatory.  I changed the colors of my walls from taupe to white this summer and am very happy with the change, except that I haven't finished the rest of the house yet.

4)  Post a photo of myself on my blog

I have been reluctant to put my face "out there" on the web.  I have a "day" job and wonder what will happen if a colleague or client discovers my blog. Will they think it's frivolous, silly, or unprofessional?  One of the benefits of having a blog is getting to know other bloggers.  I enjoy seeing photos of bloggers and putting a name with a face and sometimes even a voice with a face.  People like to know who they're communicating with, right?  So, I resolve to post a photo of myself on my blog profile and leave it up. For at least for a month anyway.

5) Buy or make a Christmas tree skirt

For years I have deluded myself into thinking that a Christmas tree skirt is unnecessary and it's just not so.  The tree looks fine with a few nicely wrapped gifts under it, but after Christmas when the boxes are unwrapped and the gifts are put away, one is left with a bare, cold, metal stand that just doesn't look good.  A piece of burlap or leftover fabric draped around the tree would be better than nothing.  Enough said.

6) Post more of my own photos

I will make it a point to never leave home without my camera this year and will attempt to post more photos of my home. Even if it's a simple grouping of items lying around the kitchen, like the first photo above,  taking my own photos is a way to express creativity and originality.

7) Plant the paper whites earlier next year

The purchase of the bulbs took a back seat to the purchase of everything else this holiday season and I did not plant my paper whites until just before Christmas.  I almost can't bear to look at these little stubs everyday and part of my morning routine is to rotate the pots to maximize sun exposure and then stare at the bulbs for a few minutes, silently imploring them to grow. Faster. Please. 

8) Add more plants outside

My outdoor space is only about 300 square feet and oddly shaped, but it could use more plants next spring.  More boxwood, more flowers, more everything.  This white garden will be my inspiration.

Photo of Loi Thai's garden by Jennifer Sergent of DC by Design Blog

9) Invest in outdoor furniture

Even if it's just a a few French style folding chairs like this one from Wisteria and a metal table, dining outside once a week will be a priority next summer. The two feet of snow on the patio should be gone by then.

10) Take a painting class

I love to visit museums and when it's not too crowded, I like to get up close to a painting and study the brush strokes, the blending of paint, the highlights and the shadows.  Oil painting, in particular, fascinates me and I am determined to take a beginners painting class this year.  I'm no Sarah Lamb when it comes to painting, but I'm looking forward to giving it a go.

So as 2010 comes to a close, I thank you again for your readership and your friendship and wish you all a very happy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year.

Snowed In

We are expecting a blizzard today in Boston so the after-Christmas sales will have to wait, but several hours of guilt-free interior design web and blog browsing lie ahead.  Fun! Then some shoveling ahead. Not so fun.  And although Christmas 2010 is over, it's still "the holidays" which means that my ongoing interest in Christmas decorating is justified.  It's never too soon to plan (although I use the term loosely) for next year.

This room was designed by Pam Pierce of Houston and the photos were featured in the Houston Chronicle, December 2009.

I like the use of pears, surrounding an olive tree in a French terra cotta pot.  What a clever, inexpensive way to bring some natural color and texture into holiday decorating. 


White roses, more pears, and branches decorate the dinner table.

Here's a view of the entire roomThe greenery above the curtain rods is another pretty and inexpensive way to liven up rooms for the holidays.

To view the entire article in the Houston Chronicle, click here and to view Pam Pierce's website for extensive photos of her interiors, click here.

If you are in New England, hunker down for the storm and stay warm!

Six Days Until Christmas

Do not attempt to adjust your monitor.  My photo was blurry so I added the painting effect using Paint Shop Pro . 

Still shopping, wrapping, working, writing Christmas cards (take a breath), and not yet baking with only six days until Christmas.  Somewhere along the way, I misplaced my plan to be "more prepared than ever this year" for the holidays and I can't seem to find it.

If you're in the throes of holiday preparations, I hope you're having a productive weekend.  And to those who are done with everything they needed to do, savor the fruits of your labor.

Before and After: The Christmas Tree

The tree is up and in the stand and decorated for Christmas 2010.  This always  seems like a major accomplishment at Christmas-time, since it's a busy time with year-end issues at work, shopping for gifts, and a few holiday parties in between. 

Here's the "before" photo of the tree.  We cut our own tree, as we have for the past few years and always on the Friday after Thanksgiving week when there are no crowds.  I'm sure if there were more people at the farm, I'd get some odd looks for photographing pictures of bare, soon to be cut trees. 

I was concerned with getting a tree that wouldn't be too tall for the living room, thinking that we needed a tree less than eight feet tall.  As it turns out, nearly all the remaining trees were no more than seven feet tall and we were hard pressed to find a tree tall enough!  We went home with a six-footer. The owner informed us that 250 people descended on the farm the day after Thanksgiving, which was why there were so few tall trees left.  Apparently it's better to brave the crowds during Thanksgiving week than risk having a Lilliputian-sized Christmas tree.

So here it is in all its glory and waiting for a few wrapped gifts.  Most of the ornaments are vintage mercury glass from my childhood along with many that I've been collecting on eBay. 


And lastly, thanks to Brooke Gianetti for the sweet Christmas ornament that I won during a give-away on her beautiful blog Velvet & Linen.  I've hung it on a boxwood wreath which hangs over a mirror.  It's difficult to see here, but the ornament is made from a vintage silver spoon and is stamped with "Happy Holidays".

So with only thirteen days left until Christmas, I hope you're having a festive holiday season!

Beacon Hill Decorates for Christmas

The nearby neighborhood of Beacon Hill in Boston is charming anytime of year, but I especially like to walk there during the holidays.  Many of the doors and window boxes of these historic homes are beautifully adorned for the holidays and a walk around the neighborhood is a good opportunity for inspiration and ideas.

This pale blue door is my favorite. Most of the doors on Beacon Hill are painted glossy black.  The blue is a nice change and really sets off the evergreen wreath and miniature trees.

This striking facade with a statue of a reclining woman is very unexpected.  The soft greens and grays of the plants in the window box complement the gray trim of the window frame.  She looks to me like she is waiting for someone to return.

Here's a window box filled with a classic combination of evergreen, ivy, pine cones and red berries.

An unusual, but pretty yellow door with traditional swag and wreath.  A classic gas light is just to the left, with an equally classic Boston "no parking" sign.

Another black door. This time with a contemporary container and traditional window box fillers arranged in a modern style. 

A pretty window box filled with a variety of greenery

A vibrant cherry-red door

I was taken with this gray brick house with gray shutters and a bare tree.  It's difficult to see, but the homeowner has hung gilded wreaths on the windows inside the home.

Plantings don't have to be elaborate.  Here, simple boxwood and variegated ivy in black containers are all that's needed to enhance this simple entry way.

A closer view

This box has leathery magnolia leaves tucked behind miniature evergreens. The magnolia leaves provide an interesting contrast to the lacy ornamental kale at the front of the box.  I like the variety of textures used here.

Another simple and striking arrangement.  Evergreens and ornamental kale with pink highlights.

This entryway caught my attention from down the street.  A beautiful stained (instead of painted) door is paired with tall copper planters and small concrete containers.  I'm not sure what the green vine-like plant is, but it's a nice alternative to evergreens.

A closer view of the copper planter

Colorful fall gourds and kale.  They still look fresh, even in December.

I hope this post has given you some ideas for decorating the exterior of your home for the holidays.   Even if you don't have an elaborate home or your own gardener (I have neither!), a little greenery and color can go a long way to brighten the outside of your home during the winter months.

All photos by me and my trusty Olympus D-520 Zoom camera