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Mid Century Living

If you have orange and brown on the brain today (the stores are packed with it), you’ll love to see the colorful home of artist Jenn Ski that I wrote about this morning at Real Simple. I shared some photos of her home taken by Boston photographer Bob O’Connor and find her pad a delightful mix of old and new.

Bob O'Connor Photography

I know lots of you are are fans of the mid century style and will really love Jenn’s gorgeous home and be inspired by her fresh take on it. Enjoy!

(images: bob o’connor)

Posted in Decorating Tips on October 30, 2009

Seasonal Decorating

I thought that this morning I’d share a glimpse of how one blogger, Nadine from Herz-allerliebst in Germany, decorates her home for the seasons. Her cozy decorating style is, at least the colors and accessories, quite common here (in the north where I live) in books, magazines and in many of the local shops but Nadine infuses lots of her own handmade elements to give this look personality and warmth. I love seasonal decor because nature redecorates the landscape every three months and with that, there are so many textures, smells, colors and patterns that we can bring into the home. Seasonal decor, at least the style that I prefer and use, is kept very simple by either bringing in found objects (nuts, seed pods, leaves, etc.), using flowers and greenery that is in season to create thoughtful arrangements, or simply by using functional items as decor — instead of hiding them away, display your pretty scarf on a hook in the hallway and your yellow wellies by the front door.

Seasonal Decor with herz-allerliebst

There are many simple, affordable touches that one can add without going overboard or spending too much money. In my opinion, I guess based on the time period when I grew up, less is more when it comes to this sort of thing if you want to keep the look clean, focused and somewhat modern  – whether that’s vintage modern, mid century modern, Scandinavian modern – I think the key is to decorate without the decoration taking over – bringing a season in from the outdoors doesn’t have to be the focal point, you can simply mix it in with what you already have to complement your current decor – not distract from it. Nadine does a lovely job at this. I’m quite fond of how well she mixes things without losing her personal style or straying from her color palette. These photos show both her fall and winter ideas. They are so cozy and accessible and while not all decorate in this style, you can still pick up ideas from examining her photos and arrangements of things no matter what look you have going on in your pretty little nest.

Seasonal Decor with herz-allerliebst

Seasonal Decor with herz-allerliebst

Seasonal Decor with herz-allerliebst

Seasonal Decor with herz-allerliebst

Seasonal Decor with herz-allerliebst

Seasonal Decor with herz-allerliebst

You can see how some elements are used again, but in a different way or with other things that make them look fresh, like the glass cloche and the little deer, for example. Lots of simple touches, like ribbon and baker’s twine, are inexpensive but charming. Simple wreaths on a cabinet give an otherwise all-white cabinet a bit of color and warmth. Using seasonal fruits, flowers, branches and twigs, nuts and veggies also dress things up but are also functional – you can eat most of them or return them to their natural environment when you are finished. I like that her muffins were made with homemade flags, an easy DIY but it definitely makes a simple snack look even more appetizing! Add a warm blanket, some candles, and you can easily create a cozy space, too!

Lovely work, Nadine!

(images: Herz-allerliebst)

Posted in Decorating Tips on October 26, 2009

Fall: How To Cozy Up Your Home

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?

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)

Posted in Decorating Tips on October 12, 2009

I Heart eBay

I love eBay and here’s a round about reason of explaining why because I’m feeling rather chatty (or you can say long winded) today. Okay, so I hit the farmers’ market in our square today and grabbed all these flowers for 5- Euros (about $7 USD) and a most beautiful loaf of bio bread for the apple preserves that my cousin handmade for us yesterday, fresh from the tree in her garden. And so, I went home to arrange the flowers and to present this bread to my husband to enjoy the apple preserves with — and what arrived as I was busy preparing lunch?

Flowers for 5-Euros

Apples & Bread :)

A box from the Netherlands, from Danielle who recently put a lot of her vintage German vases on eBay. Well this is the vase I won and I absolutely love it. To. Die. For. Right? Thankfully no one had to die for it though so all is well there… Want to see? Sure you do…

Enjoying the day...

I plan to put wooden spoons and kitchen utensils inside of it and place it next to my stove. Won’t it be a nice addition to the kitchen? I think so… Although the intended purpose is most likely for flowers or to display with nothing at all inside, but I see this vase and think of rustic wooden spoons… perhaps Turkish ones?

Le Souk Pouffe

And this is the next delivery I’m expecting from Danielle, as she just stocked these crocheted pouffes in her shop, Le Souk, and it will go just perfectly in my bedroom. I’ve been having a nice time setting up house, as you can tell.

But back to the vase… I cannot stop looking at it, I love it so! I’m delighted that Miss Danielle put her things on eBay, I’m such a fan of her style and that site but even more when I win things that I really, really want. Have you scored any good finds lately? Tell me about them, I love knowing what you find that makes you giddy and long winded, too. :)

Now I think I’ll go have some of the apple preserves again – this post made me hungry. I’ll warm them up this time and put some on a scoop of vanilla ice cream and then add some cinnamon, walnuts and nutmeg on top. Oh yes, that will make my evening really sweet I think. It’s after 9pm here, so I’m logging off for the night, I have some projects to work on around the house, so I’ll meet you back here tomorrow!

P.S. I picked up a CD today that I’ve been playing over and over again all afternoon, it’s by Berry and it’s called Mademoiselle. You can sample some of it here online. It’s French and just wonderful.

(images: holly becker for decor8, with the exception of the last image taken by danielle de lange.)

Posted in ceramics, Decorating Tips on October 07, 2009

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