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February 28, 2011

house paintings

My husband and I love to do little drives through the country on the weekends. There are beautiful mountains and so many trees... but also amazing houses. One of our favorites is the old estate of Mirador, which I recently discovered was once the home of designer Nancy Lancaster. Awesome!

The home in this beautiful watercolor from Laura at Bright, Bold & Beautiful looks really similar to Mirador. Laura does custom work--you can send a picture of your own home to her, and she'll send a work of art back a few weeks later!

One day, I would love to have a pictorial record of every house my husband and I lived in. There is something nostalgic and special about a painting, don’t you think? To get your own, check out Laura's Etsy shop.

February 25, 2011

Cheap Chinoiserie

 Foo Dogs | $19.50+ each

I love a little Chinoiserie. I sort of missed the boat on decorating for Chinese New Year, but who needs an excuse for a little Asian flair? Pearl River actually has some neat home decorating stuff at very enticing prices.

Do you like Foo Dogs? I do, but they kind of creep me out at the same time.

Hand-painted Lanterns | $19.50+ each

These would look amazing over a party buffet.

It's fun to peruse their online catalog--there are both gems and weird crap. Check out the little teas and toiletries, which are worth buying just for the cute vintage tin packaging!

February 24, 2011

Mirrored Glass & Floral

I spotted this cabinet at Anthropologie. Check out the glass treatment. Kind of like an old mirror or mercury glass... but do you see the pretty floral fabric peeking through?

February 23, 2011

Design Idols: Rachel Ashwell

 When I was about 14, I discovered HGTV and design shows. I loved watching Trading Spaces and the British design program Homefront, but the show that really defined my style was Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic.

For years, I loved watching Rachel's show to see her flea market finds and the soft, romantic interiors she designed. A marriage of British country style with a laid-back, California attitude.

Elements that define Shabby Chic include WHITE, chipping paint, soft colors, linen, gold accents, crystal, ruffles, and flowers. So well-loved and comfortable and clean.

 I admire both designers who have a defined style and also designers who work in many styles... Rachel is definitely one of the former. The woman knows what she likes. She is Shabby Chic. 

From Rachel, I've learned:
When in doubt, paint it white.
Whites, chairs, and china don't have to match. Nothing has to match.
"Be without, rather than making a wrong quick choice." -RA

Did you know Rachel has a blog? She doesn't post often, but when she does, it's fun for me to see a glimpse into the mind and process of one of my design idols.

Photos from Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture unless otherwise noted.

February 22, 2011

Target Trellis Pillow

I picked up this lovely little trellis pillow at Target this weekend. Nothing is better than the real thing, but you can't beat $13 for a decent imitation!

February 21, 2011

Jefferson Design

 Happy President's Day!

Given the holiday today, I thought I would share a few photos of the interior and architectural design work of President Thomas Jefferson.

I live within walking distance of one of Jefferson's greatest architectural accomplishments, The University of Virginia. Its crown jewel is the beautiful Rotunda, modeled after the Pantheon in Rome.

The university's Main Grounds are seriously stunning, and the Lawn has barely changed from Jefferson's original plan (though it's been rebuilt a few times). This is where I go jogging in nice weather. No big deal.

UVa Media Relations

Both the University Grounds and Jefferson's home, Monticello, have the most interesting and ingenious little features. This fireplace is built on the stairs between the second and third floors so the stairway isn't drafty. Sorry for the crappy iPhone photo, but isn't it cool?

I snapped this quick picture of an interior parlor--everything is true to Jeffersonian/Federalist style. Did you notice the incredible crown moulding and dentil trim? And the blue and gold trim inside the window?

Fun fact: Elizabeth Taylor is no longer welcome at the university after lounging on one of this room's very original, expensive antique settees in the 70s.

Happy President's Day! 

February 18, 2011

Elle Decor Showhouse

I spotted the 2010 Elle Decor San Francisco Showhouse at Abode Love earlier this week and had to take a look at the whole thing! There are great 360-degree views of every room online, so you can take in every detail. Here are some of my favorite rooms:

Guest Bedroom | Elizabeth Martin

Kitchen | Palmer Weiss

Palmer Weiss is always a favorite. I love the geometric Ann Sacks tile!

Teen Bedroom | Grant K. Gibson

Awesome color palette. The de Gournay wallpaper is killer!

Guest Bedroom | Suzanne Tucker

More amazing wallpaper (from the designer, Suzanne Tucker) and great colors.

If you get a chance this weekend, check out the whole house!

February 17, 2011

Tour: The Wright House

I stumbled upon the blog and beautiful home of photographer Natalie Wright this week, and you'll be happy I did! Her house is full of good ideas and a lot of fun DIY stuff.

Let's begin at the front entry...

This entry vignette has basically everything I love--neutrals, gold, nature, and interesting furniture. Natalie has created cool little vignettes all over her house. Love them.

How cool is the chalkboard? And the totally indestructible painted concrete floor?

 These two little spaces are probably my favorite images from Natalie's home.

You know that awkward nook cutout by the stairs? Not awkward at the Wright house. No dusty faux ivy on this ledge. (thank you!)

LOVE the mirrored sideboard. Like REALLY love it. 
And Natalie clearly had more luck with her chevron painting skills than I did!

Ahhhh, to have such organized kitchen cabinets! The labels are beautiful and so functional, and I love the idea of handing measuring cups and spoons inside the door. Such a good use of space.

This vintage mail sorter is just perfect for the collection of vintage cameras.

Perfect laundry/mud room. The wainscoting, the whitewashed floors, the curtain ties, and that door. 

The re-purposed old window hides the breaker box? This is genius.

Check out the rest of Natalie's house, before-and-afters of her projects, and her beautiful photography at The Wright House and Middle Gray Photography!

Photos courtesy of Natalie Wright.

February 16, 2011

Crafty Fail

Photo courtesy of my iPhone

I have loved these gold chevron canvases for a long time, so I finally decided to make them for my master bedroom this weekend. It was a lot more time-consuming than I thought it would be... with no payoff because the paint seeped under my (high-quality) painter's tape! Bummer! I was super, super careful, but the tape just wouldn't adhere to my canvas.

I'm not giving up! My next idea is to try freezer paper. Ever used a stencil on canvas? Think that will work? 

February 15, 2011

Step *Away* from the Florals

Rosa Alba & Swan Lake | Nina Campbell

Maybe it's Valentine's, or the warm weather in the South, or the coming Spring... I am so into fun, uber-girly prints lately. Of course, as soon as I start trying to decorate my home with a guy in mind I become obsessed with girl stuff.

 Spray Flowers  & Cut Roses | Kath Kidston

Cath Kidston is the queen of playful English florals. Everything in her shop is so fun and happy. I have this wallpaper on my work computer (still rocking the Chiang Mai Dragon at home). If you need to indulge in a little harmless girly-ness, check out the rest of her free desktop wallpapers here.