Monday, October 31, 2011

wanted: buffet lamps

I was out in Annapolis the other day, meeting a friend for lunch. She was running a few minutes late so I popped into a couple of home stores, natch. And I saw some buffet lamps. They were very much like these from Circa Lighting:

Of course, they're also $378 each. At the store (whose name I cannot remember), they were $310. Cheaper, but still not exactly in my price range. But wouldn't they be pretty flanking my TV? I've long wanted sconces, but am moving away from that idea because it would involve hard wiring and considering I keep putting off even switching out the stupid automatic light switches the previous owner installed in the kitchen & bedroom, well, I don't see this happening anytime soon. I have looked for ones that you can just plug in, but they're either ugly or swing-arm. And for my location, neither is a good option.

I had thought about buffet lamps, but in my head they're always these dainty, spindly things. I'm not a dainty person and neither is my decorating style. But these lamps? They are quite substantial while not being overpowering. They'll add plenty of light to that side of the room but not be oppressive.

So what do you think the likelihood is of me finding $600 on the sidewalk? I'd say "when I win the lottery," but as the ads say, you can't win if you don't play.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Room for Color outtakes

Hopefully you've already voted for me in Apartment Therapy's Room for Color contest. But maybe you're still wavering. Or maybe you just want to see more of the faaaaabulous photos my brother-in-law took of my living room. I've talked about the various pieces of my living room a lot so in this post I'm going to highlight the newer pieces.

I'll start with my throw pillows and am finally, FINALLY, done with shopping for throw pillows. I bought them from etsy seller labdesigns. She did some fantastic work on these pillows - even the color of the zippers are coordinated. How awesome is that? 

This peacock pillow isn't from labdesigns, it's from Target. But it plays nicely with the designer fabrics while keeping things from being too matchy.

Of course, the very newest member of my household is my faux cowhide rug. But first I have to start with the coffee table. See, I've wanted a gold & glass coffee table for a while because the wood one was just too heavy and visually bulky. I searched all over the place at all sorts of price points for a version that also had a shelf underneath and couldn't find one anywhere. I had seen Bossy Color paint one from Ikea gold and it was quite pretty in her living room, but it was the same size as my wood one and I wanted smaller. Plus I was iffy about the floral pattern on the shelf. Would that be goofy in real life? More searching and the best I could come up with was a $1k version that was mirrored, not glass. So I caved. Bought the Ikea one and painted it gold. And I love it. I don't notice how big it is anymore and I use the shelf constantly so I don't have papers piled up on top, which means I can actually put decorative objects up there like my glass platter or some flowers. Or both!

But it was almost too airy now. I needed a rug to ground the space, but I didn't want a rectangle. I wanted to soften the angles of the room and my seating arrangement a bit and a rectangle would have cut off the dining area and the room's small enough as is. So I thought - oooh, cowhide! And then I found this fake one on Overstock for a great price. Done.

I love the mottled look through the glass on top. And somehow the flowers work so much better in gold.

Moving back over to my doorway now. It was still warm the day Karl took these pictures so instead of coats, I have my collection of LL Bean boat and tote bags hanging up. I still have them all here as they're perfect to grab before trips to the market or for bringing stuff into work, but they're covered up by coats.

But they're not new. What's new is over to the right. The doorknob to the powder room.

How freaking pretty is this? It's from Anthropologie, bought on sale, and I adore it. It's the perfect thing to bridge the turquoise of my living room with the green of my powder room. It makes me insanely happy.

All of these items also brought more patterns into the room, made it more of a collage, made it cozier, made it more me.

So if you haven't voted for me yet, what are you waiting for??!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

vote for me!

Every year, Apartment Therapy has a contest called Room for Color. I love it because, hello, I love color! All of the rooms are so inspiring and when I first learned of it, I knew I had to enter my living room. Last year something went wrong with my submission and it didn't go through, but this year I got the confirmation email right away and this morning my room was posted! Woo hoo!

So you have to vote for me. I mean, come on, you're reading my blog! Plus look at this room. Does it not just scream "COLOR!" All you have to do is go to this page and click on the big red button that says "Add to favorites." Easy.

This is the first round of voting and it's done by region. As I write this, there are only two entries in my region (East), but more will be added until the 11/8 and then this round of voting closes on 11/21. Then the top vote-getters in each region then compete against each other.

Ask all of your friends to vote for me as well. Ask all of your relatives and coworkers. Ask strangers on the street. Vote early, vote often. Ha - I kid with that last part. You can only vote for a room once.

Did you miss the link? Here it is again:


Friday, October 14, 2011

making decisions: my office at work

I brought in a couple of pillows from home that were about to end up in Pillow Purgatory (ie the spare room closet). I love the color they bring into my office, but in the sea of creams, browns, grays and secondhand furniture that is my office, they just seem a bit out of place. Instead of being bright and cheerful, they're a bit pathetic. Which just means I need to add a bit more life into the rest of my office, right?

My brother-in-law is a photographer and took the most beautiful pictures this summer when he and my sister were in Vermont. I mentioned to him that he should make some of them into posters, but then kinda forgot about them. But then I was thinking about what I could add to my walls and immediately thought of these picture. They're just so green, they'd be perfect.

I already have a large poster of Grand Central Station and my first thought was to add 3 photos to either side:

I went with vertical because I liked these shots better and I like the neatness of it. I have a scattered gallery wall at home and I love that, but at work I like more order.

But then I thought - hmmmm, what if I got rid of the poster? It's not like this poster has great meaning for me. I had a blank wall in college and this poster filled it up. It then moved with me to my DC apartment and lived perfectly in the foyer there for almost 8 years. When I moved to Greenbelt, this poster no longer had a home (and its purgatory space was under my bed). So I like having it in my office, but it's not mandatory.

If I took it out, I would add a lot more pictures and think I'd do a sort of modified grid:

And I like all the color it adds, but it just feels a bit messy to me. As a nod to work - there's no there there. No real focal point. Plus looking at the first grid, I can see how the light from Karl's pictures mimic the light coming into GCS - it's all coming from the left. It works, right?

Okay, decision made. I'm going with the first option. THIS is why I have a blog, to help me think through all of my decorating options as well as to chronicle them. My mind gets jumbled with all the possibilities, but when I see it in print, it suddenly becomes clear.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

did a bit of gardening today...

And I literally mean a bit. See - I'm not a gardener. Never have been. But one of the reasons I moved out to the suburbs is because I had been having Spring Fever like crazy for a few years and I thought this meant that I was finally ready to start gardening. Notsomuch.

Today I headed out to the yard to hack away with my needs-to-be-sharpened push mower (that came with the house - yay!).

I've dumped grass seed on the yard a couple times, but it's mostly just weeds and vines and moss, which is fine with me - less mowing!

Then I was doing my normal ripping out of the grasses along the edge that the mower doesn't reach and trimming the bushes so they don't poke a person's eye out and I kinda accidentally ripped out everything from one of the planters on the deck. No big loss - it was just a mess of lemon balm. But then I was left with a planter half full of dirt. Hmmmmmmm

I then grabbed my tools:

Liberty for London gardening gloves (they fit better than traditional gloves, it's not just that they're pretty!), clippers and this crazy scary trowel my mom gave me as a housewarming gift. It has sharp teeth on one edge, which is perfect for dividing plants, but just makes me think of Crocodile Dundee

Anyway, I went to the front yard and took a few pieces from this large dark green hosta by my front door and took a piece from the sedum that grows along (and over) my front path. Perfect, right? Two plants that definitely needed to be trimmed anyway.

Then I added them to the planter. Voila!

Another signal that I'm not a gardener? I wasn't able to save any of the leaves or flowers from the plants in the transfer. But it's the roots that count, right? And if it all fails, well, all I lost was about 10 minutes. It really was pretty easy. Maybe this gardening thing isn't scary after all. (emphasis on the maybe)

And I was able to save the sedum flowers to make a little nosegay!

Overall, it was a successful afternoon and I was so happy to spend one of the last 80 degree days in my yard.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

one of my favorite pictures

I was just reading an article on House Beautiful's website about designer secrets and came across this photo again:

I love it. I love the mix of lime green and purple. I love the grasscloth wallpaper. I love the bookcases flanking the fireplace. I love the simple mantle and the worn brick of the fireplace. I love the old brass andirons. I love the extra thick molding (BTW design world - in the US, we drop the U, just like we do with the word color). And I love the TV placement.

This picture is often used, as it is in the article I took it from, as an example of why you don't need to hide your TVs behind armoire doors anymore. And really - everyone still knew what was lurking behind that massive piece of furniture in the middle of the room. It's much better to hide it in plain sight, like on a bookcase filled with lots of books. Especially when it has a black frame, when it's turned off, it's just kind of a non-entity. You don't feel compelled to look at it like you did with the big box TVs.

In my house, I have my TV on a bookcase with an antique quilt behind it. That little vignette is so busy that the TV just blends in even though it has a silver frame.

Not the best picture due to the flash highlighting the screen, but trust me. Especially since I've since restlyed the bookcase and have branches on either side of the TV. But my camera is dead so no updated pictures.

Leigh & Leslie Keno had a show on PBS a few years ago and I remember the first question they would ask folks is "where's the TV?" because people would try so hard to hide it. But then how could you watch PBS and the Kenos' show! It really doesn't make sense. There's plenty of high-brow stuff on TV - saying you watch TV doesn't have to mean you watch hours and hours of Jerry Springer and The Jersey Shore.

Many people are lucky enough to have multiple living spaces so they can have a room for non-TV life and a room for TV life and that's great. But it's nice to know that if you only have one living space that your TV doesn't have to suck all the life out of it.

Modern technology and modern decorating ideas are great.