Thursday, December 6, 2012


I bought a new-to-me couch the day before Thanksgiving.

It's an Ethan Allen Chippendale-style couch that I got from Salvation Army for $150. It's very similar to their current Chippendale sofa, which starts at $1,700. So yeah, I got a good deal :)

There's a bit of wear on the legs, but nothing some light sanding and new stain couldn't help and the fabric is in perfect condition. Unfortunately, I really don't like the fabric. It's a bit grandmotherly and doesn't go with my style. It's especially awful with my pillows.

So I'm going to get it reupholstered very soon. Meanwhile, I've been looking at fabrics online to get some ideas. It's a big decision because I know I'm not going to get it recovered anytime soon. Plus unless I stick with solid off-white, it's going to change the look of the room so I have to decide how much of a difference I want, if any.

I do like my curtains, but wish I had another pair and Anthropologie doesn't carry the green anymore. I've looked on ebay but haven't seen them there either. So if the new fabric doesn't go with the curtains, that's okay.

I've been down on the color of my walls for a while, but the idea of repainting makes me want to curl up in the corner and cry. And even if I hire someone (which is probably what I'd do), what color? I've thought seriously about a darker turquoise like Hague Blue. And possibly doing the woodwork the same color instead of keeping it white.

I've also thought seriously about going white or just barely off-white.

But then maybe I'll keep the current turquoise. There's nothing wrong with it and it does go nicely with just about any color I throw against it. I like bright colors that act as neutrals.

 I'm not sure I like having a couch full of pillows anymore so I'm fine with getting a fabric that doesn't go with all of my current ones. It'd be nice for it to go with some of them, maybe the Kelly Wearstler ones, but then I don't mind the idea of getting new ones, either. I think I could reuse these in my guest bedroom and shake that room up a bit. Or maybe switch so my bedroom is more blues and greens instead of pink. Ideas, so many ideas!

The one thing I do know is that I'm leaning heavily towards a printed fabric. And I want something that makes me smile, like the wallpaper in my powder room (which I also use for the background of this blog and my twitter page and have yet to tire)

So something a bit bold and geometric over floral. Flamestich patterns have especially been calling out to me, though I have yet to find one that's perfect. Or even close to perfect. And of course the ones I'm most drawn to are the most expensive. But I'm not going to pay $150, 250 or 350/yard (yes, I picked one out that was $350 - I've since started sorting by price). Even $100/yard is too much. I'd like to keep it well under $50/yard, though for something spectacular I'd go higher. The couch was dirt cheap, after all. I was thinking that a new couch would be $2,000 - 2,500 so ideally when all is said and done, this couch won't cost more than that.

I'm almost finished with my new TV stand and am pretty darn excited for that. I think once I have that installed and my living room cleaned up and the old couch taken away, I'll be able to get a better vision on what's right.

And if I can't find the perfect print, I'll just go with solid off-white. It has made me pretty happy for the past three years!

Monday, September 10, 2012

color thoughts

For about a month now, I've hated pink. HATED. When I wear pink to work, I can't wait to get home to tear it off my body. I really want to finish my bedroom - and all I really need is to paint the walls, buy a new accent pillow and maybe some new lamps - but I can't help thinking about replacing the coverlet and repainting the side tables so it's all not so pink and purple.

This picture, that made me so ridiculously happy when I took it, makes me recoil just a bit right now.

 (though now my sheets are orange-y peach & pink paisley, which takes out the candy-ness of the room a LOT and I only use one of the pillows)

This is kind of shocking for me because I've loved pink for years. It's my happy color. Feeling sad? Put on some more pink blush. Feeling happy? Put on a pink sweater. But I'm not unhappy at all right now so what's with the pink hate?

At the same time, I'm incredibly drawn towards yellow. Bright, sunshiney yellow, drab mustard, even this neon-ish yellow-y acid green cardigan that's much more yellow than green that completely washes me out gives me a thrill when I put it on.

I want some yellow in my house. My kitchen is the obvious choice since it doesn't have a color yet, except that I have orange-y maple cabinets and I don't think yellow would work. But maybe I just haven't found the right shade of yellow. Yellow would be pretty with the blues and greens I have going on in my living and powder rooms. It'd be a good transition. Or maybe I could paint my kitchen navy and have yellow accents. Hmmmm...

But what I really want is a yellow couch. Like a yellow & white ikat or chevron - something completely impractical and unrealistic. Impractical not because the light colors would show dirt, but because I'd want to repaint my walls since I think bold walls & bold couch would be overwhelming in my tiny house

And then I'd probably want new curtains since the pattern may not play well with my current curtains. Unrealistic because  know I wouldn't be satisfied with a bargain priced fabric. But it'd be really really really pretty. It is in my head. Swear.

I couldn't find any pictures of yellow-print couches that I liked, but here are some pretty rooms with solid-yellow couches. And I would be happy with any of these.

Of course, less than a year ago, I would have sworn that I'd be happy forever with a pink couch. So maybe there is some truth to the conventional wisdom that one should have neutral couches and jazz it up with pillows. Though I do still love my pillows (and they'd be pretty with yellow!)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

bad magazine reader

So I'm sitting here procrastinating doing real work and catching up on House of Turquoise, thinking how I seem to read more DIY and real-life blogs instead of pretty-pictures blogs and maybe that should change when I see this picture


The turquoise with the dark red candelier. The dramatic picture on the wall adding that perfect, purposeful touch of black.

And then the rest of the room? C'mon. It's so freaking fabulous it almost hurts to look at it.

Finally on the third picture I notice the House Beautiful in the lower corner and I'm totally ashamed. And it's a house in DC, too! I have three or four issues of this magazine sitting on my coffee table. I also have three or four Martha Stewarts, about 6 Vanity Fairs (suckers are dense!) and god knows how many Spins. I also haven't read an issue of Lonny in forever and a day, forget about any other online mag.

I love magazines. I love seeing the perfect rooms. They keep me focused in decorating my own house. The DIY/real-life bloggers also have gorgeous homes, but they're often a bit more cutesy than is my taste. Well, I'm not sure if cutesy is the right word. But definitely not as sleek. The room above is sleek and it's what I ultimately want. There are some sleek elements to my house, but not enough because it's a lot easier to not be sleek. To buy that bright, roundish floral-printed whatever that's calling out to me at Target. To half-finish some crafty DIYish project.

So I need to get back to reading my magazines and need to resubscribe to a few pretty-picture blogs and get my head back in the game. Keep my eye on the prize. And no, I don't think athletic references are out of place in a design blog whatsoever.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I Want! I Want! I Want!

One of my favorite parts of Jonathan Adler's website is the "I Want!" section. Style icons list their three favorite JA items and it's pretty cool to see how Jonathan can be so perfect for both Iman and Lara Spencer. And because I love JA so much, I decided to do my own.

Keep in mind, I dream big.

1. Lampert sectional in Tanzania Indigo, $5,490
C'mon, a sectional in navy zebra? Of course I need this! I would have no problem redecorating my living room around this couch (think navy zebra on top of turquoise walls would be too much, even for me).

2. Chippendale chair in Ireland Avocado, $645 x 4
This chair is how I found Jonathan Adler. I don't even know where I first saw it, but it was instant love. I need four of them to go around my faux-Saarien table (and around the real one once I can afford it).

3. Large Fontana bowl, $198
Lately I've been keeping my fruit in a bowl on the kitchen counter. I've been using the pretty floral one I found at Salvation Army last year, but it's very round and thus takes up a lot of space. This one is oval so will fit better - and it's gold striped.

But you know what, I also love all of the little JA items. The smaller bits of pottery, the various things dosed in flamestitch patterns and wildly bright colors. So I'm going to do a second set. And since this is my blog, I'm going to do four more items, not three. Basically because I couldn't think of which one to not include.

1. Utopia Elephant mug, $26 x 2
I've never been much of a brown girl. My dinner plates are bright white, my salad plates are various bright colors on white backgrounds. But my mugs are brown-based. I don't really know why, but it makes me very happy to have them be brown. Maybe it's because all the things you drink in them are brown? Coffee, tea, hot chocolate. Even green tea is an earthy shade. So these elephant mugs would fit in quite nicely because you can see the brown clay through the glaze. Plus I get a kick out of the little faces.

And why two? Because while I like things to be mismatched when I'm hosting a big party, for just two, I like being matchy-matchy. And the person I have most often for tea tete-a-tete is my mom and she'd get a kick out of the little faces, too.

2. Blue Boxed matches, $5.95
I'm so getting these on my own. $6 for a little brightness inside my junk drawer? Yes, please! And the match tips are pink! I might have to buy a box for everyone I know. (sorry, just ruined Christmas)

3. Peacock coasters, $68
With my old coffee table, wet drinks never bothered me. I stained the table myself and it looked like it. Plus I didn't apply the stain until after using it for a while unstained - and didn't bother sanding out the pen marks and other dark blobs. It was rustic, it was fine, and glass rings weren't really noticeable.

But on my glass table? I notice - and am bothered by - every single random mark. I need coasters, bad. And ones with shiny gold graphic peacock feathers would be quite perfect.

4. Flame umbrella, $28.95
This is also going into my shopping basket. 30 bucks for such prettiness? Total bargain! Plus it will go with my green scarf. This will definitely have me wishing for rainy days.

So what do you think of my picks? What would be yours?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

rant of the day

I'm going to use this term a lot in this post so I just want to get out of the way that I hate it. And it's related to my rant, but not the actual subject.

pop of color


I used to like it. Pop is such a bright and happy word, but man is it overused. Everything is considered a "pop of color" including the actual subject of my rant.

And because the term is so popular (pun intended), temporary accessories being used to justify color schemes.

House Beautiful did this recently. Talked about how a house had so much pink in it. But in almost every room, the pink "pops" were flowers or other accessories that just screamed "the stylist added me!"

The worst offender, to me, is the dining room.

Yes, the pink livens up the space, but how likely do you think it is that the homeowner buys a bunch of hot pink hydrangeas every week? A better "pop" would have been hot pink dishes or a large hot pink glass bowl in the center of the table. Something that at least pretended to be permanent. You know, like the pillows and throw in the living room.

I do think they're pretty fun, but I also have my doubts as to their existence before this photo shoot.

And while I'm sure the orchids in the kitchen were also brought in for the shoot, at least they're plants and could theoretically be considered an integral component to the room.

Now, the faux accents in this house are not all pink. In another dining area, the accent is green and - again - to me, this is how flowers should be used in a photo shoot.

I'm going to assume that the large green cabinet was already there. And, yes, I know that it could have been brought in as easily as the flowers, but it at least seems more permanent. So then the greens in the floral arrangement just highlight the green cabinet and the green in the little painting on the other side of the doorway.

So yes, flowers are very important for photo shoots and make rooms more enjoyable in real life. But they shouldn't be considered the accent color, they should be used to bring out the actual accent colors.

But wait - this isn't even my real rant. All of this is also just background.

My REAL rant is that since magazines do this, now bloggers and blog-followers do this as well. And it's not just design blogs. I remember one blogger - who I no longer follow so can't remember her name - talking about her "pop of color" for her outfit being her orange watch. That she was pairing with a long-sleeved shirt. Which meant that the only way one could see her "pop" was if she happened to move her arm in the right way.

To me, this isn't a pop of color. That's like saying your pop of color is the pink lining of your shoes. Or, back to the home design world, the back of your throw pillows. Sure, it's a fun little surprise (and I highly encourage fun little surprises), but it shouldn't be considered an actual part of your color scheme. A better half-hidden pop would have been a necklace that you tucked inside the open neckline of your button-down shirt. From the back or even the side, it's not seen. But full-on, it's obvious. Or instead of the backs of your pillows, have one or two actually be a color (or a different color). Throw a few colored vases into your bookcase, keeping the rest of the room neutral. Something purposeful and that you don't need to rebuy every week.

It's also like reading a fashion magazine and trying to emulate the models or celebrities, many of whom were airbrushed. And even if they weren't airbrushed, the hairdresser might have back-combed their hair so it looks fuller than normal from the front.

Magazines are about inspiration and one shouldn't try to completely copy the look. It just isn't realistic and, frankly, looks as much a hot mess in real life as that overly back-combed hair.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

trend prediction: red, white & blue

Around Memorial Day and Independence Day I always see magazine spreads and blog posts full of red, white and blue decor. Sailboats, beach houses and little boys' rooms also often feature this color combination. It's patriotic, nautical and beachy all at the same time.

So what makes me think this will be a trend? This room from February's House Beautiful:

It's almost shocking because it's NOT patriotic or nautical or designed for kids. It's just a really lovely, grown-up room.

The traditional pairing for blue is yellow

The current darling is orange

And then pink is always bright and fun

But red? It's different and daring BECAUSE it's usually just used for patriotic or nautical themes. This room makes you realize that of course it's the perfect accent color because red and blue are natural partners.

I love blue. It's pretty, it's soothing, it's almost universally liked. In my office, we ask new employees 5 questions - what's your favorite color, favorite book and/or movie, birth order, where were you born and what were you doing before you came to our company. I've been there for 11 years now and it's always a surprise when someone picks a color other than blue. Blue is just an easy color to love.

Red is harder to love. It's such an active color. It's the color of anger and of passion.  It's bold and fearless and calls attention to itself. It's incredibly fun and fabulous, but it takes a strong personality to pull it off in large doses.

And that's what makes it the perfect antidote to blue. Wearing blue makes people like you while wearing red makes people respect you. Blue is calming, red is energizing. Putting the two together creates balance.

Look at Diana Vreeland's room again. Do you see it? I'm pretty darn sure the leaves are blue (don't tell me if I'm wrong!). Just a subtle touch that helps make all of that red easier to handle. The white does the same thing. Both cool off the fiery red and make it playful and fun. Wouldn't you want to go to a party in Diana's apartment?

And wouldn't you just love to sleep in this bedroom?

And then this living room is loved across the blogosphere, but it so wouldn't be as much fun if the red wasn't red or the blue wasn't blue.

Red, white and blue - not just for holidays anymore.

Do you agree?