Monthly Archives

October 2009

Decorating Tips

Fall: How To Cozy Up Your Home

October 12, 2009

I was reading this article over at Woman’s Day magazine online giving some suggestions on how to cozy up the home for Fall. It made me think about how, despite the suggestions that exist out there in myriads of blogs and magazines, we all have a deeply personal way of decorating for the seasons and I’d love to hear from you this morning so we can all have a voice in this – how do you cozy up your home for Fall?

Fall: How To Cozy Up Your Home

Here are some of my tips, including things that I do personally to take my home from summer to fall:

1. Swap the throw on my sofa. In the warmer months I have a throw, but usually as decoration more than anything else – though I do use it on chilly summer nights from time to time. In the autumn though, I swap it out for a warm, thick throw. Chenille, wool, felt, a heavy cotton, cable knit cotton — all work nicely.  I have a gray cable knit throw that I love!

2. Pillows! I love to change my pillows with the seasons, that’s why when I buy pillows these days I usually buy only the zippered covers and leave the inserts in the store. I have so many inserts I do not need more! Silks and canvas pillows are exchanged for velvets and knits. I also like to use hues a few shades deeper than what I use in the summer. For instance, lilac and pale blue gets replaced with jewel tones like plum and turquoise or plum and deep sea blue.

3. Warm up your vignettes. For instance, I like to mix in cream and sand with my white pottery. I exchange pebbles and sea glass with leaves and acorns. No detail is left unnoticed!

4. Candles that are white, lilac and ice blue in the summer are exchanged for ones that are medium gray, plum, turquoise and cream. I also add in a bit of chocolate to warm up the palette. Also scented candles change according to the season. I currently have candles that are unscented from Villa Collection in gray and my scented candles are from Floris. The Floris candles can be a bit expensive, but are so, so worth it, they commonly sell for around 43 Euro for a 6 oz candle. I exchanged my Jasmine & Rose Floris candle with a Cinnamon & Tangerine. Also, I love Candied Fruit from L’Occitane, that is my signature scent for autumn I think. In the warmer months though, you can find me burning their Lavender candle, a favorite of mine for quite some time.

5. Speaking of scents, my scented sprays change by the season too. I keep a bottle of room spray in my bedroom and another in my hallway. The one in my bedroom is what I use religiously each night before bed, it puts me to sleep. It’s called Relax by German organic cosmetics company Amala. The spray I use in my hallway is from Annick Goutal in Paris, it’s called Noel and is perfect for this time of year. It smells like pine and berries. Soooo lovely. Perfect for freshening the air before guests arrive! That is, if I don’t have something cooking on the stove or in the oven – then of course no room sprays are needed. :)

6. My linens — table linens go from a summer palette to a warmer, more rustic one. I also like to layer tablecloths, a solid with a pattern, for instance. I use chargers beneath my china to warm things up as layers of things always give a cozy feel. They also help my white china to look more cozy. Same goes for bed linens, I add blankets and extra warm sheets but also the palette goes a bit darker in hue – from light gray to dark, for instance.

7. Bring the outside in: I tend to collect finds from my daily walks, I’m like a squirrel, especially in the autumn. I collect branches (ask my husband about the spiders I ask him to rescue from them) to arrange in large vases, leaves, pine cones, acorns and chestnuts to place around candles, on the table runner in the dining area, in the hallway in a small basket, even to add little ribbons to the stems and place them on the table. I love all of these fallen finds and also find some use for them, though they don’t always last that long and you have to make sure you find ones that are clean! Squash, pumpkins and other harvest goodies look nice on the table or in the kitchen on a counter.

8. Swap out art prints. This is another easy way to bring the Fall look to your home. I collect art prints and so I love being able to remove current ones and swap them out. This is the beauty of owning prints. Store the current ones in acid-free archive safe folders so you can put them back up next year.

9. Swap curtains, if you can. I don’t do this as often as I once did because now I have roman blinds in most of my home and those work great year round for me, but if you have drapes you can consider using linen and cottons in the warm months and in the colder months, opt for velvets and heavy cottons, or even lined drapes, as this can help you save considerably on your heating bill and warm up the room – velvet always makes a room feel very cozy.

10. Replace your rugs. You can roll us the sisal and replace it with a thicker, warmer throw. If you have few rugs you can add a few more when it gets cold, I don’t have wall-to-wall carpet so I need rugs when the temps drop or else my feet freeze and I have to turn the heat way up. And heat is not cheap! If you have a rug that is painted onto your floor, you can simply put a “real” rug over it to keep your toes warm until the temps go up again and you can reveal your hand painted or stenciled rug again.

11. Wood! Another thing that I don’t do simply because I do not have one, wood for the fireplace! It looks so nice stacked neatly inside or nearby, or if you have a fireplace that you cannot use, place candles inside instead and light them in the evenings for a warm glow.

12. Flowers and plants: See what is in season in your part of the world and work with the freshest, most beautiful greenery and blooms you can find. Try to treat yourself to a small bouquet each week, or pick some field flowers and bring them in. Using flowers that are in season can certainly give your home that fresh fall feeling!

Your turn – how do you cozy up your home this time of year? What are some of your favorite home scents?

Oh and to all those living in New England, anyone have a good Apple Cider recipe? We don’t have apple cider here and I’d love to make some for my relatives!

(Photos: Woman’s Day magazine online)






Inspiration

Erik Johnson Photography

October 12, 2009

Looking for a little inspiration to kick start your week? Look no further than the portfolio of American photographer Erik Johnson. With clients like Real Simple, Lucky, The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living and more, you’ve no doubt spotted his work many times but perhaps never associated his name with it. Well now you will! And this is the whole reason why I like to highlight the many talented photographers out there who visually work their magic producing some of the best photos in some of our favorite publications. I also think that it is a bit unfortunate how little most know about the person behind the lens — we just assume the photos appear out of thin air I assume (I once never gave it much thought, sad to say) — but they don’t. Very often magazines hire on freelance photographers like Erik Johnson and this is the work that keeps these talented people afloat, able to do what they love: take pictures that give the viewer a emotional reaction. And this is what makes magazines come to life: gorgeous visuals. Imagine a design or decorating magazine without photographs, only text? Blah!

Erik Johnson Photography

Erik Johnson Photography

Erik Johnson Photography

Please take a further look into Erik’s portfolio here. Highly inspirational work!

(images: erik johnson)






uncategorized

Happy Weekend!

October 9, 2009

Well dear friends, it’s that time again… time to bid another week farewell and welcome the weekend with a really big high five. Woot! I have so much going on over the next few days that my head is spinning but I can’t wait to get started so I’m signing off for now. What do you have planned? Anything good? Try to fit in something nice for yourself, promise?

Happy Weekend!

I’m having family over tomorrow and on Sunday, attending an outdoor festival with some friends of ours. I hope to squeeze in some “me” time on Sunday morning, I want to tackle my china cabinet and work on using my new watercolors (I was so inspired by Geninne’s videos I went out and purchased watercolors, paper and white ink, I have no clue what I’m doing but hey, it will be fun!). Today my husband and I made some delicious organic vegetable soup with fresh herbs so we’ll no doubt polish that off this weekend too since it suddenly feels quite cold outside (hat weather). I’m going to the bakery for fresh bread and pastries in the morning, a trip I love to take on days when we have guests coming by, and hitting the flea market bright and early too. There’s something about bakeries and flea markets on a Saturday morning, right? Yum. So that about sums up my weekend. Now it’s your turn, what will you do?

And remember: Next week, on Friday the 16th, I am hosting the annual calendar round up so if you’ve created a calendar for 2010, please submit yours to me via email (details here) by Monday. Thank you.

Have a great weekend, I’ll see you on Monday!

(image: sarah parrott, whom I wrote about today on real simple)






Arts + Crafts

Envelop: Print On Demand

October 9, 2009

This is quite a neat concept, so illustrators take notice! Serge Belmans, the man behind Envelop, just launched an online print-on-demand platform based out of Belgium where independent illustrators can create, promote and sell high quality cotton basics to textile lovers worldwide. Collections currently include tabletop linens, kitchen products, aprons, bags and pillow covers. Here’s a peek at what’s currently available…

Envelop: Print On Demand

Envelop: Print On Demand

Envelop: Print On Demand

Currently, there are 45 designers represented including Alli Coate (US), Julia Pott (UK), Kerozen (FR), Bart Aalbers (NL), Gemma Correll (UK), Cosimo Piediscalzi (IT), Maxime Francout (CA) and Marie Blanchard (FR). Truly a global community creating together! I’m really happy to see this creative idea turn into a new platform for illustrators and wish Serge all the best with it!

(images: envelop)






Shopping + Products

Design Night

October 9, 2009

This is one hot planter. I recently got word from Dominic D’Andrea and his wife that their company, Design Night, just introduced a gorgeous handmade ceramic planter and my gosh, it’s great! In fact, if I had outdoor space I’d be emailing Dominic right now asking for a white one, please. I’d love this on a patio. These limited-edition planters, called Nature, are intended for growing herbs and flowers. The opening at the top is able to hold plants that need to root deeper.

Design Night

Opening like a blossom, the form allows each pocket to collect water,” Dominic says. He adds, “The planter is made using a complex six-part mold (compared to the typical two- to four-part mold) with seventeen post-molding cuts. Each piece is carefully cast, hand-finished and glazed in Portland, Oregon. Three holes on the bottom allow for drainage. The planter is suitable for indoor and outdoor use.” Oh wait. Did he say indoor use? Hmmmm…. Now my wheels are turning. This is just so sculptural, practical (especially for city folk like me), and completely beautiful… what do you think? (images: design night)

(images: design night)






Designers + Stylists

Michelle Williams Interiors

October 9, 2009

I heard from interior designer Michelle Williams‘ publicist recently and wanted to share her portfolio in case you’ve not seen it before… Some of her rooms really caught my eye and well, something more. I’ll get to that in a moment. First, Michelle Williams Interiors has been featured in countless national publications including Marie Claire, InStyle.com and Renovation Style. She is based in Chicago where she lives and works transforming residential spaces. She really has that Domino aesthetic, don’t you think?

Michelle Williams Interiors

But now to what really inspired me to write about Michelle outside of her apparent talent. I felt inspired by her biography because I think many have the impression that most designers have been at it since birth and that if you haven’t why bother changing your career once you’ve hit your thirties and beyond? Easy. Because you can!

Part of her bio reads, “After Simmons College in Boston, Michelle moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a celebrity publicist. While she always felt a calling for interior design, it took a few years in the corporate world and encouragement from leading architects and designers to take the leap of faith. She moved back to Chicago and established a career in the design world.”

Very encouraging, I think! Imagine going from a celebrity publicist to an interior design, from L.A. to Chicago? That’s a leap! And now, fifteen years later, she has established herself as a go-to designer in Chicago and is doing quite well in her profession. I think these rooms show that talent and I’m so glad she trusted her gut and pursued her passion, clearly she has made the right choice. Let’s all give a high five to Michelle!

Michelle Williams Interiors

I guess the moral of the story is this: If you are really passionate about something you simply have to take the leap. So many successful woman did so and things worked out just fine. No fear! No fear! :) You. Can. Do. It. You risk more by not trying.

(images: michelle williams interiors)






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