Winter White

Image via Pinterest. Source unknown.

This photo may be incongruous with a December post, but the contrast between the white petals and black background reminded me of a nighttime snow storm. 

Maybe I'm not so far off after all.  

Mission Accomplished - Christmas 2012

Our Christmas Tree

The tree is up and decorated, the shopping is over, and the gifts are wrapped.  I'm happy that there is nothing else I need to do for Christmas except to relax, reflect, be grateful, and enjoy time with my family.  

My very best wishes to you for a happy holiday.

~ D ~

The Stockings Were Hung.....

Scalamandre Tigre Velvet Stocking

I have no business browsing Barneys website, but there I was and here it is.  The fabric has been in the back of my mind for months.  A few Tigre Velvet pillows would be fun. Mix things up a bit. It's hard though, to justify buying that fabric for a few pillows. The stocking costs less than I expected, considering it's from Barneys (what am I saying?).   Such a waste though, that it would only be up for a month.  The rest of the time, it would languish in a plastic bin with other Christmas decorations. Hardly the place for such a luxurious item (the cuff is faux fur--another plus). 

Too bad Christmas only comes once a year.   

Christmas in Boston

Gregory Van Boven Interiors.  Photo by Eric Roth. Traditional Home Magazine, Holiday 2010

I've mentioned how much I like to stroll through Beacon Hill in the summer and at Christmastime more often than I can count.  The exteriors of the stately homes are festively decorated at this time of year with wreaths, swags of boxwood, and miniature spruce.  There is much to admire about the exteriors, but I'm always wondering how the interiors are decorated too.

Gregory Van Boven Interiors. Photo by Eric Roth.  Traditional Home Magazine, Holiday 2010

My curiosity was partially satisfied when Traditional Home featured the Beacon Hill home of designer Gregory Van Boven in its Holiday 2010 issue.  I've been browsing that issue again and enjoying Mr. Van Boven's taste in decor and Christmas decorating.  The Christmas tree is a stunner and is there anything cuter than a Yorkshire terrier in a red bow, (except for my Baxter and Bailey, pictured at right)?

Gregory Van Boven Interiors.  Photo by Eric Roth. Traditional Home Magazine, Holiday 2010
 I haven't decorated with red at Christmas in years, (I've been in a silver and taupe phase), but the touches of red throughout Mr. Van Boven's home make me nostalgic for a red and green Christmas. 

Gregory Van Boven Interiors.  Photo by Eric Roth.  Traditional Home Magazine, Holiday 2010

And here is the home's classic Beacon Hill door.  According to the magazine, Mr. Van Boven throws a large open house Christmas party every year.  It looks like the perfect home for entertaining. 

P.S. These older issues of Traditional Home are stand-outs to me, but I do recognize the need for original material now and then.  Otherwise, I will have to rename the blog, "Traditional Home Redux."

Blue, blue, blue

Design by Joseph Minton. Photo by Emily Minton Redfield for Traditional Home.

Maybe it's because it's December, the approaching the holidays, the long nights and short days that I'm drawn to these vivid blues.  I'm not usually fond of bright color, formal interiors (or trim on pillows), but all week, I've been stealing glances of this room by Joseph Minton.  I just want to cradle that plump Fortuny pillow, lie back on the chenille sofa (Rose Tarlow fabric, by the way) and stretch out my flannel pajama-clad legs on that gorgeous ottoman. 

Design by Joseph Minton. Photo by Emily Minton Redfield for Traditional Home.

Here's another photo of the room, plus there's 17 more for you to see at Traditional Home (link above).  Another bonus is that the on-line article includes the sources for many of the fabrics and furnishings Minton used throughout the home.  I think it's time my sofa had some new pillows. 

The Last Roses

While walking around Beacon Hill on Saturday, Jon and I noticed climbing roses against a brick house. It was surprising to see roses on a cold fall day and I liked the contrast of bright, white flowers and shiny leaves against old red brick. 

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you, as always, for reading my blog!

F.D. Hodge Interiors - Junior League of Boston Show House

The Junior League of Boston's 2012 Show House is underway at The Potter Estate on the grounds of the Jackson-Walnut Park Schools in Newton.  The Show House is open until Sunday, November 18th, if you haven't had a chance to visit yet.  I went on Sunday just to see this room by Frank Hodge, one of my favorite designers.  It's an elegant, spacious study with chocolate brown Venetian plaster on the walls, a fireplace, sitting area and beautiful art and objects. 

Photo by Michael J. Lee from of F.D. Hodge Interiors.  Room designed by F.D. Hodge Interiors
Not visible in the photo above is this striking painting by Victoria Adams over a small sofa in the sitting area.  Frank has featured Adams' paintings in his designs before and you can read about them both in earlier posts here and here.

Lowlands 116  by Victoria Adams, 2012.  Oil on Linen - 24 x 24, from  F.D. Hodge Interiors
It's a stand-out room not to be missed. The Show House features rooms by other notable Boston-area designers as well.  Details about the Show House plus tickets and directions can be found at the Junior League of Boston's Show House website hereEnjoy!

Fall Color at Walden Pond

I hope you don't mind a few more photos, some of which have been Instagrammed (is that a word?).  Jon and I walked the perimeter of Walden Pond on Columbus Day.  It was a beautiful fall day and I took many photos from different points along the trail.  In case you're not familiar with the site, Henry David Thoreau lived in a modest one room cabin at Walden Pond (in historic Concord, Massachusetts) from July 1845 to September 1847.  

 Walden Pond is considered to be the birthplace of the conservation movement and I think you can see why from these photos.  To learn more about Thoreau and Walden Pond, visit the Walden Pond State Reservation website here.  If you're in the area, I highly recommend a visit, especially during fall.  It's a peaceful, but popular park and even a bit crowded when the weather is especially nice.

Instant Roses

I am always behind the trend when it comes to "social media".  The days aren't long enough to devote more time to the computer.  But I've finally given Instagram a go, since photography is one of my favorite hobbies. 

This is a photo of a postcard I've pinned to a wall in my office (well, cubicle really).  I took this photo with Instagram and love the results.  It's fun to have another creative outlet when time permits.

I hope you're having a great week!

Coffee Table Alternative

We stayed with a friend in NYC this weekend at her elegant apartment.  Instead of the usual coffee table, her living areas had large, upholstered ottomans.  Since ottomans don't provide a steady surface on which to place a drink, each ottoman was topped with a decorative tray.  This eliminated the need for coasters, which I'm always corralling and stacking on my coffee table.  

I searched online for decorative trays and my favorites were these boldly patterned trays by Madeline Weinrib (available at Barneys).   Unfortunately, they are beyond my budget, but have a look and see what you think: 

The black and cream chevron print is my favorite

A pretty fabulous black and cream Ikat print 

Even the plain, black tray from Barneys is pricey.

This had me thinking that maybe I could make my own tray.  Craft stores will probably carry unfinished wood square trays in the same shape as Madeline Weinrib's (I've seen them somewhere...) and maybe I could decoupage them in decorative paper.  My favorite papers are from PaperMojo:

Black and gold chevron print (currently sold out)

I love this brown and cream Japanese print

This bold black and cream print would be fun.

Another bold black and cream Japanese print

Black and gold print

Another Japanese print, this time in black and cream

Black and gold leaf print

Black and chestnut-brown

The same print in black and cream

Do you have any experience with decoupage?  I'm not sure this is much of hobby for anyone (other than John Derian), given all the technology available this days. If you have any tips, I'd love to hear them.

The Rest Of The Story

I've been studying the September 2008 issue of Veranda ever since I posted the photo of Laura Montablan's office last week. It's a jam-packed issue with interiors to suit every taste.  The variety of interiors reminds me of the dessert trolley at restaurants from a bygone era.  Remember those? There were so many choices--Boston Cream Pie and Baked Alaska flambĂ©, to name a few.  Or how about traditional New York Cheesecake?  I would have liked a taste of each, but could only choose one. 

And if I could only choose one interior from that magazine, it would be Laura Montalban's apartment. If you read the interview about Ms. Montalban at the New York Social Diary, you'll know that she was the design director for the late Bill Blass for over thirty years. If you've seen photos of Bill Blass's Sutton Place apartment, you'll know that like Blass, Laura Montalban has great taste.

Her apartment is filled with Beidermeier and English furniture, classical prints, Billy Baldwin slipper chairs and even a Jonathan Adler Greek key rug. Silver boxes and an iron coffee table with a black glass top contrast with the wood furniture (see the NYSD website for more).  The walls are soft gray.

 And I can't take my eyes off the leopard print fabric (by Clarence House) on the benches.  Now I'm wondering if it's time to bring some leopard into my living room. 

All photos by Bruce Buck for Veranda, September 2008.

Modern Times

The home of interior designer Laura Montalban via New York Social Diary
Here's something I never thought I'd say:  More and more often these days, I'm drawn to interiors that include contemporary furniture and lighting.   My taste is evolving and although I'll never go all contemporary, a room with a mix of modern furnishings and antiques catches my attention more than a room full of one or the other.
The home office of Laura Montalban seems mostly contemporary with the sleek white desk and book shelves until you see the ebonized cabinet, which cleverly hides the television. The black accents in the room are appealing, I believe, because they are the same color, but from different eras.  I've been thinking about that Tizio desk lamp for awhile and need to find a place for one in my house.

The vertical bookcase is interesting and not something I've seen before.  It's a great idea for a small space.

I also like the black-framed abstract collages.  Although it's not visible in these photos there is also a graphic black and white rug in the room.  It's a New York apartment not to be missed so click the New York Social Diary link above for the full tour.

What appeals to you--contemporary style, antiques or a mix of both?

Share the Fantasy

Erba Cycles of Boston
The last great bicycle I owned was an orange ten-speed Peugeot that my parents got me for my thirteenth birthday.  I felt very sophisticated riding a French bicycle (actually, I'm not sure it was really made in France).  That bike had style and I'm ashamed to admit that I flaunted it, which is not my style.  Other kids admired it and I enjoyed telling them that it was a Peugeot.  You know, a Peugeot, I'd say.  Peugeot  makes cars in France, you know (maybe they did know).  It's a wonder that I had any friends at the time. 

When I went to college, the bike sat unused in the shed until my mother gave it to Jeffrey, one of the younger neighborhood kids.  My mouth fell open with surprise when she told me. What?  That bike is too big for Jeffrey, I protested.  It's not his kind of bike.  I got over it though, knowing that the bike would be well used, if not well cared for.  The orange Peugeot would often be parked in front of Jeffrey's house, unattended and ripe for the picking by a thief with a penchant for European (perhaps) bicycles.  I considered having a talk with Jeffrey about responsibility, but didn't.   

That was 27 years ago and I hadn't thought of the Peugeot until I saw the Erba bike.  Made of bamboo, it has the mellow glow of a fine antique and the zest appeal of a racy sports car.  And look at that basket.  Can't you imagine peddling home from the farmers market on a warm summer day, the wind in your hair, not a car around for miles, no iPhone, no Blackberry, just the basket loaded with ripe blackberries and freshly baked bread?  I certainly can. 


Neff Architecture
Doesn't this look like a peaceful place to spend a summer weekend?  All this talk about Ina has me thinking about barns in New York. 

The scene would make a great painting too, but I'll to leave that to someone else as I can only paint on walls (with a roller).  

Speaking of Ina Garten...

Do you remember the Town & Country  article about Ina Garten's Paris apartment?  I still have that issue in my collection and refer to it often. In addition to the photos of Ina's living room and kitchen, the story discusses the apartment renovation and Ina's collaboration with the architect, Lia Kiladis.

Lia Kiladis

It's great story, but the Town & Country feature left me wanting to see more photos.  I was curious about how Ina decorated the other rooms and unfortunately, the magazine only showed the apartment's living area and kitchen.  I looked for information about Lia Kiladis online and although I couldn't find a website for her,  she does have photos of her projects on Flickr.  The bedroom and bathroom here appear to be from Ina's Paris apartment. 

Lia Kiladis

As an Ina fan, it was thrill to find these photos.  The rooms are understated, yet they make a strong impression.  The materials appear to be luxurious, but the lines are simple.  Nothing is overdone or superfluous.  It's just what I expected from Ina.

Ina Garten Is Blogging!

Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa

Maybe you already knew this, but Ina Garten has a blog on her website, the Barefoot Contessa.  Am I the only one who just noticed this?  There are only two posts so far, but I'm checking daily for updates. That's a bit obsessive, I know, although not when I tell you that my fantasy is for Ina to invite me to her home in the Hamptons for weekends of cooking, eating, flower arranging and abundant laughter. And I'd be happy to wash the dishes, of course.

Ina has different categories on her blog--Home & Garden, Entertaining and Travel, which look interesting---in addition to Food.  I'm hoping to see more photos of her homes since I watch her show not just for the recipes, but to admire her taste in table settings and decorating too.

Photo from Ina Garten's website, The Barefoot Contessa.

What To Hang Above The Sofa

Briggs Edwards Solomon Design, here
The wall behind my sofa is similar to the wall in this living room.  The ceilings aren't as high, but it is one big white wall.  There is a mirror over the sofa at the moment, but this photo has me reconsidering my choice.  I'm absolutely smitten with this room.  It will be a challenge to find such a large print without breaking the bank, but maybe I'll take some photos this weekend and see if I can make my own print.   

Sunshine and Light

Image Source

It has been rainy and cold all week in Boston.  We are all desperately craving sunshine and warmth. The only place I can find it now is in this photo. My day is brighter just from looking at these pink ranunculus.

Happy Weekend!

~ D ~

Signs of Spring

I thought you might enjoy these photos I took of tulips in the Boston Public Garden yesterday.  Spring is well under way and with it comes rain for the next few days (but I'm not complaining!).  And I have to add that the quality of photos from the iphone 4S camera continues to delight me....

Petals from nearby cherry trees make lovely confetti.

I love the intense blaze of red and yellow.  

Pink petals with white edges. I'd say these are at their peak.

Happy Monday!

~ D ~

Tricia Foley's Basement Renovation

The basement in my house isn't terrible, as far as basements go. It's dry, fairly bright and roomy, but could use some TLC. I'm not sure how much time I'd spend down there even after sprucing it up. The furnace and water heater are  noisy and I have an irrational fear of creepy-crawlies. It's also very dusty, which is a mystery to me.  The previous owners finished a section for their children's play area, complete with heat.  It's currently storing 24 cans of old paint.  I've been thinking that it would nice to have an attractive area for doing laundry and a large table for sewing projects (not that I sew very often) or even a home office.

New York designer Tricia Foley renovated the basement in her Long Island country house with fabulous results.  She even has a fireplace and uses the room for work as well as entertaining.  Her project inspired me to start cleaning-up my basement and see what I can make of it. Tthe painted picnic table and benches are simple and elegant.

There will be no fireplace or entertaining in my basement (here's a before shot of Tricia Foley's basement), but it may be comfortable enough for ironing clothes and a few DIY projects.

Tricia Foley in her renovated basement.

Plenty of storage...

Laundry would become a pleasure here rather than a chore.

How about a place for potting plants and flowers?

And this is the ultimate -- a simple home theater for watching movies. It's a projector and a blank wall.  So smart.

The full story is on the Martha Stewart website (from the November 2010 magazine).  You can also visit Tricia Foley's website, which will link you to her four (yes, four!) delightful blogs and she's also on Pinterest.

Have you renovated the basement in your home?  I'd appreciate any tips and suggestions.

~ D ~