Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Velvet, Cream and Grey-Teal

This is one of my favorite inspirational photos of an interior. Maybe it is nothing extraordinary to others but I just want to melt into that chaise. Simple but not cold. Accent walls normally annoy me (commit or don't!), but I love the deep grey-teal wall with the cream. The fireplace. The hydrangeas. The multiple mirrors. The storage. The basket. The floor lamp. The wee mercury glass tables. The glowing velvet of the pillows. Even the candelabra reflected in the mirror. This please. In the Little Victorian. Now.

Most of the furnishings come from Ochre, which is of interest since their products are contemporary but also lush and likable.


Pillow Shams, a love letter

I am totally repulsed by the ugly ends of nekkid bed pillows wriggling out of the confines of an open ended pillow case. Ikea pillowcases (like other European cases) generally have a Wee Flap to prevent that problem, but the nearest Ikea is five hours away.

So: shams. Shams are a delightful solution for my too-busy-to-sew-right-now self. It is easier to put a pillow into a sham case than a regular pillow slip. Also, since The Chef has banned decorative pillows from our bed, the shams serve a dual function of keeping the pillows fully enclosed and looking neater and more "made" without using pillows that are (gasp) solely decorative.

Of course the kind of sham one wants to use for this purpose is the simplest kind-- just made of regular cotton sheeting (or linen or hemp or bamboo or whatever your fancypants self sleeps on). As an added bonus both standard sized pillows and king sized pillows can be smushed into a standard sham case. This is such a simple solution that I wonder why it isn't more common. Everyone should start doing this Now. Go forth and gird up your naked pillow ends!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Paint & Suffering

Dead Celery Yellow-Green was the original color of our dining room. Or at least that is what The Chef (/Bob/my spouse) called it. So we painted it the color at the top of this pyramid:

Restoration Hardware Glacier. The result was Not Swell. Lessons learned:

RH’s Glacier is a cool, clear, white-blue. I think it might reflect light sweetly in a bathroom with no windows or a gloomy room that needs cheer. Sadly, we used Glacier in the brightest room in our house. Also sadly, all the other paint colors in the house are more mid-toned and muddy. Glacier looked like it was literally Glowing On The Walls. Scary. No photo. We repainted before the brightness could sear my retinas.

It is also basically identical to Benjamin Moore’s Harbour Haze. Swanky designer, Jeffrey Bilhuber, once listed Harbour Haze as one of his favorite paint colors. I want to ask him where he uses it successfully, but I rather doubt he’ll post a comment on my blog to answer ;).

Alsoalso, the quality of RH’s paint struck me as so-so. It is a bit thin-ish and coverage is not its strong suit. But the Subtle Velvet finish is nice. And Restoration Hardware has some nice colors and a small enough deck to keep the anxious homwownwer from overwhelm. If you choose to use RH paint and not have it color matched elsewhere, don’t forget to stirstirstir because RH paint is pre-mixed and has been hanging out on a shelf for ages.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Adventures in Homeownership

At the top of a gentle rise on a city street is a romantically dilapidated Victorian mansion. The white paint peels lazily. Cicadas chorus. The multi-storey peaks of turrets and stained glass cast dappled shadows of deliciously faded elegance. How many women have met a suitor on that porch? How many trysts have taken place beneath the gracefully bowed southern trees? How many evening stars have been sighted from the rickety widows’ walk?

Down the street, a prostitute recently stabbed a fellow sex worker. Around the corner,  behind boarded up windows, lives a family of ten. Across the street is our new house—1400 square feet of  awkward and adorable. A little red farmhouse. Southern gothic. Victorian Era. Ours!

And by new house I mean old, but renovated. Our house was built as a tenant farmer’s house in late 1800's. Now it is in an urban neighborhood. It is a peculiar house in a peculiar place, which suits us just fine. It is also our first time owning, and I feel the need to create a space to write about my adventures in fixing, decorating, growing, painting, building, thrifting and generally making things and making do.